Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Signs you’re a sports climber

  • You regularly fall off while leading

  • Finding a rock shoe with an aggressive last was a revelation of mind blowing proportions

  • You wear through more than two single ropes a year

  • Your redpoint rope is between 8 and 9mm in diameter

  • You know what a redpoint is!

  • You’ve dug out your trad rack only to strip the 16 or so camming devices of their karabiners so you can make 8 more quickdraws

  • Your harness only has one buckle and weights less than one rockshoe

  • When you boulder you say things like “Wow, that would be a class move 50m up a route!”

  • You convert the grades of any trad routes you do into French grades

  • Slabs hurt your calves

  • You own a clipstick

  • Good heelhooks and dropknees make you all warm and tingly inside

  • You can give and understand beta in 7 different languages

Anything else? :o)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


So I've been climbing a bit lately. It's not enough. Really! I have this constant urge, constant pressure to climb more but things just keep stopping me from doing it. Weather, work, life in general - excuses could be found everywhere but at the end of the day that’s all they are, excuses. I've found my self in a strange place. A kind of limbo. I'm climbing more on harder lines than I’ve ever done in the past and yet I feel more weak and unfit than I have felt in the last 4 years or so. How can this be? Can being in the right frame of mind account for such a difference? Climbing once or twice a week on rock and never on plastic is just not enough. I miss the power. I miss being able to pull harder on holds and forget about feet for a while. That’s the dark side. Now the bright side. I'm climbing with more confidence. I'm using and finding new techniques, new footwork and adapting to this style of long steep limestone. I’m loving falling. What’s the point of this waffle? I'm climbing away at Sella like I said, once or twice a week. I'm warming up on the 7c's and I’ve tried a few 8's. The 8b I've tried is hard but I know I can do it - problem is it's always busy at the weekends with other locals projecting it. The 8as feel almost onsightable or at least like they'll go in a redpoint or two and that makes them less appealing to me in some way. I feel like a cheat if i'm not working something thats too hard for me. Conscious of the fact that my power levels are at an all time low I want to beast myself on the days I’m on rock. Soooo... do I climb a load of easier stuff and hope the power returns or do I thrash out a path up something fierce and way beyond my limit and shock my system into adapting and powering up? The latter option carries the risk of tweaking a finger or worse...hmmmm... decisions, decisions. I lowered down an 8c on Sat and put some draws in it to allow a quick top rope. All I can say is WOW! A grand total of six mono pockets (mostly drilled and chipped) taken in an assorted array of wide spanning throws or undercuts make up the bulk of the difficulty. The line is completely fabricated. Sculpted by the first ascentionist. Like an indoor climb but on a grand scale. The ethics that allowed such a line to be created and the visual impact of the work deter me from trying it but the movement, now the movement had me keen from the first step off the ground. Now I know how hard something like that is I know what I need to work on. After checking that line out I cooled down by giving an 8a with the draws in a quick go. One fall at the crux then a quick shake out and on to the chains. I should get on it again but do I really want to? No real point to all this - I know that in a few weeks the clocks change and I can climb everyday into the evening. I know that I just need to pick something that I enjoy working and get into battle mode. Once that happens I'll be full steam ahead. For now I'm just waffling because it's raining outside and I’ve work to do. Such is life.