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DAN SHIPSIDES - Radical Architecture


Radical Architecture Day Out at the Roaches.


Climbing / painting field trip to the Roaches

During the project we organised a day trip to the Roaches with object of facilitating climbing and painting. A large group came - responding to adverts through the gallery's mailing list. Most of the people were connected to the art world via the gallery - but came from different walks of life and experience. Most had not climbed before.

The Roaches are in the Peak Districk and is an important place in terms of British climbing history in the mid 20th century.

At the Roaches I gave an hour long guided historical talk of specific areas of the crags, describing routes, historical anecdotes, trends in the climbing, climbing personalities, route names, grades and techniques. This was an opportunity for non-climbers to see this environment in a new way. It overlaid a layer of creative human activity onto a site which is often seen in terms of nature. The talk also introduced ideas in my art practice which frame climbing as an art form or as a cultural activity - so asethetics, style, technique, trend, history and beauty were incorporated into the talk.

The guided talk took several areas of the Roaches but predominatly the Lower and Upper tiers and climbing routes from the mid 50's and 60 featured heavily, including The Sloth, Valkyrie, Sauls Crack, Hawkwing and a strangly named route: "Clive Coolhead realises the Excitement of Knowing You May be the Auther of Your own Death is More Intense Than Orgasm" which is a climb made in 1983 by Nick Nixon.


The group then had a choice of climbing or painting - or could do both. The climbing took place on the Skyline Buttress on mid grade and easy routes called: Mantelshelf Slab, Karabiner Chimney and Karabiner Slab. These climbing was supervised by the Manchester Climbing Club.


We also had a picnic and it stayed dry.