Monday, 31 January 2011

Another good weekend

Two days on rock working hard. Bliss! I just realised what i like... i like doing hard movement. It's all about the moving between piss poor holds for me... getting pumped and falling off easy moves never really did it for me (although i'm planning on doing plenty of that in the coming weeks).

I have a route that i'm trying. Last week i got psyched because i managed to to the top section. This weekend i gave it 10 goes in total. Each go failing right at the top. With every go i figured out something more. a foot movement, a twist, and clip, refining that poor heel hook etc.. but with each fall my skin and arms were taking a punishing they couldn't recover from. The top couple of bolts worth of climbing are on holds like the namesake pocket on the Gnasher problem up at the Sheep Pen boulders in Ogwen valley. Like a tight three finger pocket full of sharp teeth - ouch! Anyway, i loved trying hard and falling from the top over and over again. It'll go next day out. Chuffed to be climbing through the lower section every time to be honest as it's 8a in it's own right.

Caroline must be building the required stamina for her project because this weekend saw her climb past her previous highpoint and stick the crux dyno and swing. after that she made it a further clip and came off on the final move to easier ground. Brilliant!!! She fell off looking at the chains above her due to the tiredness of two day on and 8 redpoint attempts. Soon now, very soon

This evening theres a light dusting of snow on the mountains around us... didn't expect that!

Keep cranking!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Sat morning Psyche

I came across this clip this morning over coffee - now i'm off to try and try hard on something - I know Caroline will do the same

Happy climbing!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Into the Swing Thing...

Keeping true to my word from the previous post I’ve been keeping it honest on the rock lately. Saturday was spent clocking onsights and ticking routes that I had never tried before. I had been so preoccupied with working projects that I had neglected loads of quality routes. Warming up with a 7b onsight up a powerful bulge I went on to onsight a 7a+, 6c+ and a 7b+ before finishing with a lap of an 8a that I have wired from previously working it. Caroline returned to work on her project and managed to make instant progress on her previous highpoint – result! Sunday I decided to take a break from trying Bloque as I felt I was getting limited returns from it. The lower half isn’t hard enough to get a pump going anymore and the crux is just so damn fingery and specific. With the cold wind biting I was hesitant to go snatching from crimp to crimp on the crux so instead revisited a neighbouring route that I had a quick play on before – Ex-Pat, 8a+. The top of this wee beasty is what put me off working it. The route starts up a couple of small tufas which steepen rather quickly to about a 45/50 degree angle and lead to a crux snatch to a crimp from some poor footers. Once you stick that and paste your feet back on it’s a match and snatch again; this time with the left. From here it’s just very sustained pocket pulling and the angle remains constant. Just below the lip of the overhang there are two decent four finger 1.5 pad jugs to clip from and maybe chalk up off before the final big move to the lip and a combination of slopey and sharp holds and a poor heel hook get you established on the upper wall. Toping out you feel like you’ve been climbing, put it that way (well I do at least). I gave this thing one quick working to the chains and one redpoint and managed to string the whole thing together very quickly, falling off the last hard move on the lip – mega psyched to do this and then return to playing on Bloque. Tuesday evening after work we when out again – this time all the keenness in the world couldn’t help the tiredness. I don’t know why but since Christmas we’ve both been exhausted. We tried to pick up our usual running and climbing routine but we just keep having relapses of this feckin lurgy or whatever. Energy levels seem low and it’s the classic catch 22 – I know I should rest but I hate resting and want to be doing something (preferably something that improves my fitness and climbing!). Ahh well…

Rest day today and shopping needs to be done. The tooth is better – no pain at all and I’m loving it! At some point the beastmaking will have to be up’ed a notch and the laddering too. I must drink more water and do more pushups. I see on the net that Neal is training hard for Siurana, Sharma is blogging, Paul Robinson continues to crush, Ondra working a new 9b in Siurana, Tom Bolger has sent 9a+ and onsighted 8b+, Doylo is developing new crags in North Wales and in lovely Wicklow boulderers are bouldering. 2011 seems to be in good order so far… nice!

VIDEO PROFILE: Paul Robinson bouldering in Switzerland from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

ADAM ONDRA - Working Golpe de Estado in Siurana from BERNARTWOOD on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Cheaper by the dozen, demon toothache and excuses for being shit

I like Reading Pierre’s blog.
It’s interesting and well written and he always manages to highlight something, some aspect of moving over Stone, that gets me thinking. Recently he wrote about excuses, youth and training. I can usually identify elements of myself in his writing and this post was no exception. I know what it’s like to want to climb at your best with your friends, especially when you don’t get to crag with them that often. And when the combination of head games, motivation and physical factors don’t make that magic mix I can recall numerous times when the excuses start to flow. Conditions, tired, sick, skin… all because despite acknowledging to ourselves that there will always be good mix days and bad mix days, we assume others don’t experience this. They crush at their level every day, always progressing, at every discipline – bullshit! Fear is definitely the limiting factor in most people’s climbing. At it’s most basic and tangible, fear of heights or fear of falling. They’re obvious and can be dealt with in an equally obvious manner. Also they don’t seem to affect anything else other than your climbing. But it’s the nasty, insidious other fears that creep in andseep out across lots of other aspects of your life. Fear of failing, fear of looking stupid in front of your peers, fear of creating or damaging any reputation. Ego. Expectations. Its quite common for climbers who push into a new grade to be expected to subsequently float up any route of a lower grade with ease despite style or discipline. It can get to the point where a climber would rather not try a route for fear of failing on it or if they do try a route they opt to hang instead of really going for the move.

Anyway I suppose the point of the ramble is that I’m going to aim to try whatever routes appeal to me regardless of who’s watching or how I’m feeling – no excuses. I simply enjoy working a way through a path of holds that seems impossible for me at first and this will involve a fair ammount of time hanging, falling and figuring out beta – is it being a grade whore? Is it punching above my weight? It’s just what I seem to enjoy most at this minute in my climbing.
Last week I went climbing and I didn’t climb anything. I got to the top of a route 3 times in a session after work but with one fall near the top each time. I know that would be classed by many as a shit day out but I was and am happy with it. I felt I climbed well for my standards and I fell off genuinely fighting, I came home with a slight pump and I got to play on rock. To be honest I like falling on lead so I was happy on all counts.

Good luck and happy failing :o)

Edit: I typed the above in school last Wednesday. Since then my resolve to stay positive has been tested. I think I had the worst crag day (performance wise) in the last few years – it was a shocker of a day when nothing clicked. But I suppose those days only act to make the perfect days seem even more amazing. Tomorrow I’m finished my antibiotics and am having my demon tooth pulled at last! Last week was a weird and brilliant mix of entertaining guests and meeting new people. I just regret having to work during their visit.
Anywho, best of luck and ride that psyche
… I hate dentists…

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Happy New Year

We spent two weeks back in Ireland over the christmas period. Lots of family days and meetings with people, zero outdoor climbing, three indoor sessions in Dublin's co-op caves, a trip to the dental hospital, two doses of Christmas flu and a few extra pounds. Thanks to everyone to texted about lifts to wicklow and got us into the co-ops! Really appreciate it!

Back in Spain now the psyche is strong - yesterday despite the lingering flu we took our guests to Forada and i jumped on an 8a+ cold. It went well and i'll be back for the redpoint soon. The attempt took it's toll though - i felt it in my shoulders, no power, no umph! After that i clipped up a 7c+ and Caroline worked the moves bolt to bolt. Again, flu symptoms, headaches and lack of energy made everything feel that bit harder but the moves were all done and it's one for her to come back to. By the time Caroline had finished and i went up again to strip the draws i couldn't even pull through the crux without first falling off - completely wasted. after that and with no arms left i had to go up the 8a+ again to strip the draws before packing up. Chuffed that i made it into the crux before draining my fuel reserves.

Today the guests (all 7 of them Irish, Cork, Aussie, Hungarian and American) went climbing and i drove them to the crag but decided a rest day was needed - hard to do when theres a group psyche but i came home to try and do some school work and gobble some more drugs.

2011 is gonna be great! Keep cranking and stay psyched!