Sunday, 31 October 2010

Wierd and Waffle

Friday i fell ill. Sat i was sick, bedbound. Food poisoning we think. Today i woke up feeling shakey but generally better bar a lingering headache. We took a spin to a local crag called Los Pinos and after working a route i redpointed it. Having not really worked all the moves i was throwing, cutting loose, matching hands and feet, heelhooking, toehooking... anything to try and get the load off my arms so that i could get something back and clip the chains. It was another 8a! The Destroyer. In the guide it's 8a and the font of all knowledge ( shows a mixed bag of opinions. It seems in vouge to downgrade things so it could be 7c+ although apparently according to the local beta I used the harder direct sequence (Haa! I must of missed that bit in between chucking for the best looking hold within reach!). All good in the hood. that was arguably my 9th route in the 8th grade. Personally being a climber more at home on a techy face i felt it was hard enough to warrent 8a but only just. If you're a boulderer then the 6m roof wouldn't pose much of a problem i suppose. Either way, numbers are numbers and will always be used argued over. Today was a fun surprise and the crag deffinately warrents another visit soon. Gaz Parry has put up an 8a, 8a+ and 8b there recently and Jordon Buys an 8a. they are all in a similar style so i've plenty to get on!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Keeping it Fresh!

Well Caroline did say she wanted to try something harder! Good to watch... this one might make her work for a while at least (although she has gotten all the moves already!)

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Being wrong and totally psyched

Er... so you know all that excited rant about having a anti-style project 8a that would work me for a long time but ultimately make me a stronger climber? Well i sent it first go this evening after warming up on a 6c+. It was probably the single piece of climbing that i´m most proud of to date. It was like climbing in a trance. Everything made sence. I had unlocked and pieced together countless subtlities under the surface of my rest day conscious thought and they all played out today perfectly. Cutting loose in the roof after latching the crux deadpoint i swung my feet back on, twisted my hips in and continued past my previous highpoint, skipping a clip. Now, having achieved the sessions target point on the route i had nothing to loose. Shaking out between holds i hiked my feet and threw into the big crossover move. It was hit or miss... i felt my tips skim over a few cm of useless smoth limestone before they found the edge and locked. This is it, my chance to take it unawares... twisting into another egyption i match the intermediate and throw for the good sidepull marking the end of the crux section. After that to the chain was just plain fun! So there it is, 8a, 3rd redpoint, eye-openeing! Happy out!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Doing battle and routes of anti-style

Today was a good day. We got out to two local crags and have both made what feels like progress in the right direction. So far since moving to Spain i feel like we´ve not really began to get our teeth into the climbing. Partly due to temps and conditions, partly due to having guests and partly due to work pressures. This weekend marked the beginning of something different... i can feel it. To date i´ve managed to pick off a few choice routes here and there... always going for ones that play to my strengths (even the 8a+ a few weeks ago was right up my street). Today i began work on what could become a nemisis. Although it´s only 8a, it´s in no way technical and in a very real way feckin steep and powerful! It crosses a 6m roof and then blasts up a beautiful barreling head wall via dynamic climbing on sloping holds and pinches. Absoloutly fantastic!
Cova Fuma

Me taking in what i know will be an ass kicking - Gran Fuma, 8a

Today i gave it two full on redpoints. The first one i was placing the draw but still fought through the crux move, only to fall off above the next bolt. Eager to punish my body into getting fit i tied in quickly with little rest to try again, A Muerte! This time i made it one foot move higher but was soo pumped once i fell off that i couldn´t even pull back on to top out. After a few minutes on the rope i hiked to the chains. Deciding that it would be easier to top rope it to remove the draws in the roof section i got another good workout! but this time came off directly above the crux. Brilliant! This thing will make me strong - i love it!

Even better this evening was Caroline´s performance on her 7b+ project in Echo Valley. During the past few years Caroline has developed a healthy bias towards climbing routes on positive edges. Standing or God forbid pulling on sloping holds was a definate no no and hence avoided. Climbing at Ceuse this summer helped Caroline to get to grips with this style and after ticking a couple of lower grade 7´s near by in Spain she began working a extremely thin and technical 7b+. This was equal in grade to her previous best route but completely against her style. To make things more difficult the meager holds on offer were always just out of her reach. From my perspective Caroline couldn´t have chosen a better route to push herself on. As i keep reminding Caroline, if she wants to climb harder routes she must learn her own techniques for dealing with reach. In this case it involved Caroline literally dancing up the vertical face, coiling, springing and standing full stretch on one tippey-toe to reach a mono edge while the other leg kicks back. A brilliant lead and a flying pass on her "leading thin, technical limestone" lesson. Now... time to find her something that will work her hard...

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Life.... but not as we knew it!

Just a quick flash of whats been happening outside of climbing in our lives... Caroline´s sister Joanne has been to visit and is now on her way to London and my parents have had their first trip to Spain to visit us and celebrate my Dad´s 50th. A few brilliant Nights out in the lovely old town of Altea.

Dave and Caroline

Dave and Caroline

Altea at night
The view from our house!

Oh, and my brother Rob made this comic short clip.... has us doubled up laughing!!


Monday, 18 October 2010

Steady as she goes...

I´m still trying to get a grip on things but managed to get out to the Cova Fuma for an hour on Sat in between planning and running etc... First i warmed up on a nice steep 6c+ and then turned my attention to the next easiest route at the crag. A steep and powerful 7c. It looked nails and the guide warned of an "extremely difficult" crux. After going up the route bolt to bolt and kind of half figuring out a sequence that didn´t quite work i lowered off and did something i hadn´t done before... i untied, pulled the rope and tied straight back in a fought to the chains! Chuffed with this as on a personal scale this felt harder to me than some 7c+´s i had been on in the past. The steep nature of the rock and small edgey handholds meant that there was no magic foot faggotry to get the weight onto the feet... it was a case of beasting it and snatching upwards. I definately felt the few sessions on the bachar ladder are helping my locking on this style of terrain, class!
It´s monday now and we´re just in after stealing a few hours of fading evening light at the crag after work. we managed to knock out 6 leads each before dark from 6b+ to 7b+... great mileage! On that note, anyone out there know where i could order some kind of LED floodlight? Night time climbing is deffo on the cards if i can manage it! All the best and well done to everyone who competed at Dingle at the weekend... was psyched to read about Neal and Sean getting into the finals and NEal finishing 2nd! Good job!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Finding my level

Chaos! Spanish weddings, 3 day maths courses, water companies, telefonica, upcomming school inspections, 3 new schemes of work for A-level, a guest from Oz, two visiting Swizz and my Dad's 50th birthday party! Jaysus wept i've been busy!!! I think things are about to find their level now... fingers crossed.

In the mean time we've managed to squeeze in some climbing. I ticked a 8a+ in under 5 redpoints and managed a possible first ascent in similar time. It could be anything between 7c and 8a and suited my style and reach. Fiercly fingery stuff! I'm still on the lookout for any information of it so i'll confirm what it is when i find out. Caroline managed a few 7b's redpoints after work and we've installed a Bachar ladder and pull-up bar in the garden. Apparently i'm gonna need biceps for this steep stuff so i better start working on them... haa! Next paycheque the campus board is going up too :o)

Also... was beginning to believe that our local crag may run out of 8's for me to play on and then i came across a PDF topo online for a steeper cave EVEN CLOSER to home! Two 8a's, and 8a+ and two open projects.... drool!! The Sleeping Lion. Grrrrrrrr :o)