Monday, 28 February 2011

Viva le Fontaineberry

I'm going to font on Friday, super psyche. Its was all a bit last minute to do anything much about my strength or lack of it, but it should be good. My normal holiday routine is to go to somewhere with Chris and roll in the siege engines and not really try anything apart from the project till its done. These trips normally involve a couple of days in a gutter in some small alpine town making friends (and occasionally enemies) with strange people. This time however I am going with Jack Rat and Joe Sterling who seem to think that you go to whole different areas on each day never mind different problems!

My last trip to font was in 2005, so its been a while. Previous best efforts were things like Controle Technique 7c+, Koala 7c+ and Halle Bop dammit 7c+. So that leaves an obvious challenge really doesn't it. Been watching the classics, Real Thing and HTTP bloc as well as the more recent Between the trees. Hopefully my preparations will turn out to be enough but even if they don't I am keen as, its been over 2 years since I climbed outside the UK. And I haven't really left Wales much during that time, so I may not have power to waste but definitely have psyche to spare.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

move along

So then lets try and move that grading shit down quite quickly then. In order to facilitate this I need to write some shissle shit about what I have been doing. Last few weeks have been all about the Mill for me. First I was driven in by the weather, now its got me all keen, and it costs a lot less in petrol.

There is a grade barrier in the den grades, I like to think of it as a Doylo barrier, and I think to me the 7b+ means being OK on a board. So far I have only reached mill 7b, roughly the same as den 7b, and what with 7c being a classic grade in every scale this is my aim for the year. As it clearly should be an established problem, I have a choice of 2 by Sam. First is the one I don't remember right now, and second is the magnificent Slap on the Strap on . Obviously as i remember it, I should try this one. To reach this goal I will need lots of mill sessions because I fail in the strong on the board category, still should be easier for me to progress then.

As I am trying to form the habit of always having my camera with me and trying to use it what I am finding is that I have a lot of warm ups and mill bull on video. Unfortunately I haven't done anything awesome to show off with. But in the interest of using it for something and clearing the hard drive I have put it on here anyway. However if you have anything important to do i recommend doing that instead of watching these, or indeed instead of reading this.

First up easy good problems at Angel Bay and Porth Ysgo.

Second Some 7s at the Mill.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lies dammed lies and statistics, I mean grades

If you are a regular visitor you may have noticed that its not very often I mention a grade on here, this is because they drive me fucking insane. I am not sure what it is. I do try to get around a bit and make sure I go on problems I haven't done for a long time, or even repeat other peoples shit occasionally. Maybe I have some weird morphology that means I just learnt the system wrong. Perhaps I have too many late nights and early mornings arriving at crags fucked on a Wednesday the problem seems hard week on Thursday maybe its piss. I do know that I climb a lot on my nerves and emotions and when life is tricky it does have a big effect on what I can pull on. Or it could just be the rarity of going further out of the village than Llandudno. None of this should be a problem I know, but it is because I probably spend longer worrying about the grade than I spend working most of the problems I do.

You see I do care and treated them as a little yardstick to measure my little progression, with this never ending goal of improving. I am not as bad as some when I topped out Wrestling it wasn't the fact that it was 8b or even that it was my first 8b (I had already had 2 other first 8bs one I started a move in and one was swiftly downed to 8a/+) it was the fact that it was Wrestling and something I had aspired to try. Now truthfully I would perhaps be a little bit gutted if it came down but with the my big problems the experience for me would still be massive. Nothing could top that trip for me, it was perfect on and off the rocks.

This year I have had a lot of problems downgraded. Previously my worst effort had been Cosmic Wheels at the Mallory boulder taken down from a tentative 8a to 7c, others had floated up or down as times changed but that was the worst, it rankled and rotted a bit in the back of my brain but a few others thought 7c+ so you know not too far out. Recently Junkyards of my life was repeated by Pete from 7c to a suggested 7b, last year word came back across the jungle drums that Cruiser Weight (a 7c+ I did at Moel Y Gest) was well over soft 7c at most, and now Special K at Crafnant has taken a tumble. None of this affects the quality of my experience or the quality of these problems I personally think they are all brilliant (well maybe not Junkyards but its OK if your passing!), they are also all my problems, and whatever happens with their numbers they always will be.

Now I am not compleatly stupid and generally manage to take peoples comments and hopefully adjust my framework to help it all make sense. But with so many in such a short time its got to call for a grade recalibration scheme, so in order:
-Stop using 8a so I don't have to think about it with every little thing I do.
-Go to font because that's where the little bastard things come from.
-Think what I would like it to be then -1 or 2 for what I give it.
-If all else fails just stop, and leave the job for someone else.

I can't help thinking that the last one on the list is the right one, its kind of what works with the very hardest stuff I have done, I thought the Tracks

was nails and perhaps an 8b. Gave it hard 8a+, and it got confirmed, so far anyway. Top tip by the way, there is an unreapeted 8a of mine in the pass from the same week as Special K, Corridors of Power,

felt a tiny bit harder to me, could be a good one to try. Also Dolly Rocker is probably more 8a than +, just make sure you start right, left hand in the slot right hand on the arete. See what I mean, still wasting my brain power a year later, I could be gathering beta for Font.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Recentlly I have been struggleing to make things happen. Structure doesn't come easily to me, I find it difficult to stick to the plan, but I have also learnt that towards the upper end of my grade I need to have a plan in order to keep making progress. Last year I hit the ground running with the Tracks and the Sit start to the Crest, I felt really good and some bonus ticks like Dolly Rocker came along. What had I done differently to normal? Basicly I made sure that I was climbing well when the weather came good, I had been working hard problems and every session finished in the mill so that I could get the volume in and target specific weak areas. It sounds pretty dull but to be honest I loved it, because I love getting better, and getting better has got harder and when I find something harder its more worthwhile to me.

Another thing I got right last year was being straight, after all there is nothing worse than sleeping away the perfect day with a hangover. This is exactly what I did this weekend, one of the days of the year and you don't tend to get a lot of them in Wales. Meanwhile CJD my greatest friend and rival, was completing his project at Crafnant, to give Wales a contender for hardest 'real' boulder problem. Once again he has got out of his car put in a few months effort and kicked my arse. Fair play I guess I am wasting my time competing really, he has 3 kids and a pretty full on job, I work in a climbing wall and have 4 days a week to train or work projects, still I guess knowing when to run back to the shelter of "I only compete with myself and the rock, man" is a skill in itself. The fact is I ain't a big enough hippy and I compete with everyone all of the time, I hate getting beaten but hopefully I can get beaten by the better man at least a little gracefully.

Joe also got the 3rd ascent of Special K my lovely soft 8a traverse up there, apparently the conditions were so good everything was a jug. Yeah thanks for that boys.

This year being the tool I am, (I have on and off as settings and struggle with anything in between) pushed too hard too early on the campus board, trying to make the gains come too soon. When I had plateaued after a couple of months instead of letting it be, I decided to have an extra session, a couple of months into a painful shoulder I really regret that. Its getting better and the thousands of light weights I have lifted and theraband stretches would have been needed sooner or later anyway. And once its better I will bury him not just beat him but fucking destroy him. Mwhhahahah.

Disclaimer - All of the competitive stuff above should be taken slightly tongue in cheek. Its basically true but only sometimes.