Monday, 29 November 2010

The hard work starts here

Frustrating couple of weeks since i got back from Kaly. Every year when the heating goes on i get a virus. Something to do with the drying out of my mucus membranes due to the dry air caused by the heating. Normally i'm over it in a few days but this time i got proper man flu. I was on the sofa for 4 days and have felt so washed out since i haven't had the energy to do anything.

I'm still coughing up little aliens and streams of thick green goo are constantly flowing from my nose but i managed to get out on Sat to Kendal wall. Not too bad a session considering. Just to get going again. Lots of volume bouldering and some routes. Tried a strong, short, 6c+ but it felt a long way away.

I've spent the time on the sofa constructively looking at how to put a training plan together.
This thread was particularly helpful:,16421.0.html

I was trying to decide between periodisation and progression as promoted in Self Coached Climber. Again UKB came to the rescue with lots of info for me to make an informed choice:,16435.0.html

My target is Comedy (7c) at Kilnsey before we go to Spain next October. My plan is mix periodisation and progression, and hopefully get the best of both worlds. I am going to train for strength and short routes through the Winter and then hit the fitness work for 3-4 months in the run up to Comedy.

Below is my basic outline:


4 sessions a week. 3 training + 1 performance.
3 x core + 3 x antagonists each week.
Routes are short. Mix of technical/vertical + strong/steep.


1 x 6c+ a week
CIR boulder @ V2
Cont climb 6a
4x4 - V2121
Body fat - 13% end of Dec


1 x 6c+ a week
VIR boulder @ V3
Cont climbing 6a+
4x4 - V3021
boulder session
Body fat - 11% end of Jan


1 x 7a a week
1 x Threshold boulder per week
4x4 - V2021
boulder session ( woody )
Body fat - 10% end of Feb


2 x 7a+
1 x campus a week
boulder session ( woody )
boulder - longer probs
4x4 - V1121



7b - hopefully outdoors ( Malham ? )

training wise not sure yet will see what i am lacking when i get nearer


Comedy 7c before Oct 2011
Lourdes 8a before 2012

As someone pointed out on UKC the most important thing isn't which system you choose but getting at least 200 quality training sessions in over the next year. Having the discipline and motivation is what's going to get me to 8a.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Return of the Mc

Kalymnos tufa fun

There's nothing like a great trip to get your motivation flowing again. Kalymnos had been my focus for the year and i wanted to get a 7b. I haven't posted since May after failing to get going with my climbing. Starting up a new business and a lack of motivation ( i was sulking about puddlejumper ) meant that i didn't climb outside again until July. A few hours bouldering here and there but nothing to speak of. The day out in July was to Chapel Head where true to form i fell of Tufa King Hard a few times whilst trying to clip the chains.

With Kalymnos getting nearer i got a bit more focused with lots of trips to my local wall to do some long circuits with partial rests. Once a week i got to Kendal to train on long, steep stuff. Would it pay off as i still hadn't been on rock much ? After a nightmare trip to Kalymnos involving a night in Athens airport i arrived on Sat afternoon. Totally wasted, but too excited to sleep, i went up to the Grotte where attempts to strike up friendly conversation with some French climbers ended with me being ignored. I guess stereotypes exist because there is often some truth in them. I met the rest of the group, and Gaz Parry, who was running the week, that night and got a good nights kip.

My first ever tufa

The first 3 days were on-sighting. Lots of easy volume was the order of the day, and what i had been badly missing all year. Day 1 saw about 10 on sights up to 6a+ and a go on our first ever tufa route at 6b. I fell off pumped to hell, before being shown how to do it by Gaz, and then getting up it 2nd go but this time with 3 hands off rests.

Day 2 followed the same process but i bottled out of 2 6c on-sight attempts as i wasn't feeling 'the flow' at all. My serious lack of climbing this year was showing. I did flash them both getting the cruxes where Frederick fell so i gained the confidence i was after from that. 6c tomorrow then ? When it came to deciding which route to go for Gaz ( who is a pretty tough task master ) gave me the 'options' of a very blan
k looking vertical horror show or a 30 metre overhanging route with a section on twin tufas. Both filled me with dread but the tufa route was what i was here for so i chose that.

Los Amazones 6c

Sat with my back to it while someone else climbed it i got properly nervous. I felt a lot calmer when i finally tied on and started climbing. That lasted about 10 seconds and panic set in as the 'soapy stone ' mentioned in the guidebook translated to polished slopers for the first 10 metres. I didn't expect to make it to the tufa section so just ploughed on and was pleasantly surprised when i found myself facing them. Throwing caution ( and technique ) to the wind i gave a forte display of tufa wrestling. Grabbing one tufa in each hand and going up them face on probably wasn't the best idea ;0)but i somehow got through it and gained a decent rest.

Thinking it must all be over now soon proved to be false hope. I was faced with a crack above me and two heavily chalked lines, one either side of it. One could have been a line of holds on the adjacent route, but it looked better for the crack, and the other i couldn't see. After a couple of aborted attempts to clip and take a look i picked the right hand line and went for it. Even jug pulling feels hard when you're as whacked as i was. Finally i made it and was well chuffed to have got a 6c on-sight on a route style totally alien to me. I learnt a lot about on-sighting from the mistakes I made just on that one route. Moves in the bank as Gaz says.

My elbow, which had been giving me grief during circuits, was now really sore after a lot of volume and then the on-sight. Frederick had done his 6c and went on to do another in good style. I decided against any more as even taking my shoes off hurt my elbow and picking my sack up wrecked. I was worried it could spoil the red point days but luck was on my side. Frederick, my room mate and climbing partner, was also known as Dr Stoehr and brought with him a collection of tablets a pharmacist would be proud of. After necking some pills he gave me it felt remarkably better remarkably quickly.

DNA (7a) flash

Day 5 was redpointing but i was feeling a bit greedy. After warming up i decided i wanted to flash DNA not RP it. With PLENTY of beta from Gaz and taping on my arm from the resident Dr. i gave it 100% and got the bloody thing. What a route ! 4 hands off rests ( including the double knee bar at the top of the page ), amazing position, amazing moves, and amazing location. Doesn't get much better really.

The arm was holding out so after another couple of routes i had a bolt to bolt go on Ivi, a 7a+ next door to DNA. Similar climbing but with less/poorer rests. the definition of pumpy. I got nervous trying to get to the 5th bolt which was a long sequence going out right, up and then back left involving a big fall if you fumbled the clip. That stopped me really but i was determined it wouldn't tomorrow. Next day i warmed up and bolt to bolted again and this time went for it. I fluffed the move, took a decent fall and banged my heel. Now i'd done the fall, and with a bit of beta for the move, i got back on and did the clip and bolt to bolted the 2nd half. I was expecting to do some links before going for the RP but Gaz told me to man up and get to it.

I was feeling very apprehensive. I'd only done the crux
once, and that was after a rest on the bolt and hadn't got the finish in my head at all. Nothing to lose i guess so off i went and had one of the best climbing experiences ever. It felt fairly easy as i confidently committed to the crux. Once i'd done that i was NOT going to fall off the easier, but pumpy, ground to the chain. The knee bars, that had caused tears in my eyes whilst trying them previously, felt painless this time though i've still got the bruises on my knees to prove they weren't. Whacking the last knee bar in to make the clip felt great and i couldn't believe it was over so quick.I felt i had climbed quickly, in control and made the right decisions. Gaz still said i climbed like a snail on valium but for me it was a massive improvement.

A massive thunderstorm, that even soaked the Grotte and cut off the electricity on 3 of the islands, kind of cut the day short.I had one try on Aphrodite ( 7a+) but was on it too soon after Ivi and didn't have the energy left.

Hand (off) relief provided by Ivi.

So i wanted a 7b this year and got a 7a+. But it was a 7a+ that used to be a 7b+ and i got it 1st redpoint after minimal working so that's got to be positive. Well happy to have flashed 7a too - which used to be a 7b. Gaz says there is no reason why i shouldn't get a 7c next year and then we move to El Chorro in October. That gives me 3 months to tick Lourdes (8a) ideally on Xmas day morning :0)