Thursday, 27 January 2011


How do you warm up on a cold January day at Malham ? I need to figure this out next time. Most things were sopping wet and so a re-match with Puddlejumper wasn't on the cards. The ever dry Consenting Adults was the pick of the day.

I'd never been on it before so spent some time on a bolt to bolt ( sorry Johnny ). I'm quite happy that the sequence i came up with seemed to be the way to do it. I felt much more comfortable than my first day out last year where my feet seemed to belong to someone else. I felt sharper and more accurate and decided it was going to go down quickly.

I wanted to link to the 1st bulge and then rest before going to the top, just to make sure my sequence was correct. However i buggered up the easy stuff at the bottom and had to rest for longer than i anticipated. Happily I got up the rest of it no problems though.

I then lowered back down to the 2nd bolt and did the whole thing again on top rope. Now surely if i am fit enough to climb it 1 1/2 times i can do it next go, can't I ?

I waited too long though and got cold. The next 2 goes saw me flailing, failing and falling attempting to get over the bulge. I forced myself to rest a decent amount of time and gave it another go. It was all groovy right up until getting to the hold for the 4th clip. That move, which had felt hard, now felt impossible. Another fall taken and major disappointment.

Some extra beta later ( from watching Simon lap it 5 times ) and i could see a much easier way to do the move with a sneaky left foot placement.

Away we went again. I got to the same point and couldn't for the life of me find where Simon was putting his foot. He was sticking it like it was a jug but where the f*&k was it ? I climbed up, down, around and everywhere before reverting to plan A and trying it the hard way. Not a chance. This time the fall was made a bit more spicy as i had let the rope go round the back of my leg. School boy error and i really should know better. A decent fall ended up with me inverting and hitting the wall with my hip. Once the adrenalin wore off it really hurt. The journey home was agony.

I tried pretending to my wife i hadn't hurt myself but fell over trying to get into bed and cried on the floor like a baby. Did i get sympathy ? Did i chuff.

Anyway enjoy the vid. It has some bad editing where i rested, and some bad climbing. I'm going to take the positives; I am in a much better position than i was last year, my fear of falling seems to have been ground down and I only failed due to beta/tactics not fitness. That's a bonus as i haven't done any fitness work for a couple of months.

Next week sees the start of getting strong. My rough weekly plan is:

  • Performance pyramid boulder session - preferably outdoors. To top out at 7a+ (V7)
  • 2 sessions on a board - got 2 to visit. One set by a 6ft+ friend and one set by a 5ft4in friend so should provide variety
  • Roped fitness session to keep that ticking over and lead head intact
  • Fingerboard session(s) once i am into the swing of it
  • Campus boarding ? Not sure yet.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

7a + dans le sac

Been trying a 7a+ at Penrith for the last couple of sessions. 1st bolt to bolt felt way out of my league. One hold i couldn't even grip and the sequence seemed way too hard. I had another look and got the sequence for the 1st crux in my head - though it still felt hard. I had a burn on it aiming to get through the first sequence and surprised myself by sticking the hold i couldn't use and getting through to the 2nd crux. The added performance benefits of being on the sharp end i guess.

The 2nd crux ( getting over a small lip using 2 poor undercits to a shockingly insecure slopey crimp and going again to a jug ) seemed even harder but once i got to the jug it'd be all over so surely i could push through ? I got to the jug next go. After that it seemed quite simple to the top, if i hadn't been boxed out of my mind. AARRGH ! So that's what a redpoint crux is :0) Fairly easy moves but so tired by the time you get to them you can't pull them off. 10 o clock came and we got chucked out so it'd have to be next time.

It was definitely getting in the way of my 'training' as all i wanted to do was get it done so throwing volume to the wind i warmed up and had one more bolt to bolt to refresh the moves. Properly psyched up now i powered through the 1st and second crux and found myself at the redpoint crux. Panic set in and i changed the sequence, going for a foot hold i'd tried on the bolt to bolt but discounted. I wanted to put my foot on a nice big plastic blob instead of the smear on the opposite wall i knew was required. I made the move, which was sooo much harder than it should have been, JUST clipped ( there was a really decent fall waiting if i didn't ) but couldn't get any further.

STUPID ! Stick to the plan FFS.

To add insult to injury Johnny jumped on it after watching me and got it 3rd go. He's not climbed for 6 weeks and had a raging hangover. The difference is as a boulderer he's strong and powerful, focusses really well and gives it 100% to the plan without getting distracted. He never pauses or rests just goes one move after the other, and keeps going until he gets to the top. By his own admission i am a 'better' climber, better technique and fitness, but his extra strength and commitment are his winning cards on short routes like this. It's what i need to get better at. Zeroing in on the target and going for it.

The good news is that due to feeling so annoyed at Johnny doing it i cracked it off next go. One of those nice redpoints where i got to the top and didn't even feel pumped - though i was tired.

Another grade done and with 2 bolt to bolts, 2 links and 2 'proper' goes at it it went fairly quickly.

Hoping for Malham next weekend. A nice confidence booster.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Self coaching - decisions decisions

Decided not to do a weekly report as it will just be repeating what i put on UKC.

Things have been going well with another couple of 6c+'s done ( one flashed ) and 2 7a's ticked off - one second go after a bolt to bolt. The volume i'm putting in really seems to be working. Good long warm up, starting around f5 for routes and V0 for bouldering, and not too much performance. Tom Randall had been dropping big hints to me about this over the last year. What can i say, he was right and i wish i'd listened a long time ago.

Separating sessions into 'training' and 'performance' helps keep the discipline and is something i can recommend.

This has been a quiet couple of weeks due to Xmas but i managed 2 trips to Kendal this week and a couple to Penrith the previous week. Roped laps on 6c felt fine ( though i think one of the routes was more a hard 6b+ than solid 6c ) and 4x4's at Kendal was polished off at V2,2,2,2. I took 5 mins rest between sets and it was much more of a workout than at Keswick. I was unsure as to the grading at Keswick, and the problems are so short, so Kendal was much more of a realistic test.

It's all pointing towards me being ready for 7b ( when i finally get out again that is ) but i have doubts. When i have tried to boulder hard there doesn't seem to be much there. I haven't done any strength work for a while and i have found myself wanting to slip into old habits and get back to it. However i am climbing better than ever so should i keep going and scrape every bit out of the volume phase or have i already peaked ? How do you know when to stop and change ? I have been very guilty in the past of chopping and changing so much i didn't give things a chance to work.

I need some thinking time.