Thursday, 24 July 2014

The stuttering starts of a comeback

Over the last year and a half since the last post I have been a busy little boy, first up we brought and renovated a new house, this was quite a steep learning curve for someone like me, and what I learnt is nothings impossible with a big enough hammer. This involved 7 months with virtually no climbing, which is only my second long lay off  in 18 years.  it turns out I love bouldering even more for not being able to do it, and I started back with a fresh load of motivasation.  Enough that even the 25 plus temperatures in the wall have not been able to break it (yet)

Recently I have been trying to build a bigger bouldering hammer in order to achieve two goals.  The first is to get back to climbing 8B the second is the same as it has been since climbing 8B and that is to get to 8B+.  Progress is slowly being made with the first and I don't need to worry about the second till the first is done.

In 2013 I climbed the grand total of three problems that I hadn't done before the first was Baby Buddha, the second was White ladders at Stoney, (i was on the way to do some problem setting in south England and managed to get a bouldering window but obviously it rained), and the third I don't remember but I am pretty sure there were three.  So far this year I am on one.  Childcare really does limit the possibilities for boring problems into submission, hence the need for a bigger hammer to knock them down faster. Still the one is quite cool its a jump I tried quite a lot a fair few years ago. This year I had a 2 hour window and went to meet CJD at manor crag, I had enough time to do the project and have a tinnie, why cant it always be like this?

ManOrMouse Vid

Yesterday I got really lucky. Having decided the best use of my day out was to go to the cave I arrived to find the road closed, bugger. Next up I went to Tramps Tea Party to find it back to its pre assent state of shit hole double bugger. I looked over the wall and the tide was in so Angel bay was out. Fuck, this was now looking like a shit choice.  I wandered up to Manor Crag and melted a bit, and was amazed the cracks were still seapy, so carried on to be stung by nettles wading into caveman to look at a sheep's corpse.  This left me with Bulging wall to save my rapidly evaporating sanity.  Having spent a couple of sessions up there trying Cheech Marin a few winters ago I was kind of keen, but wouldn't have chosen to go there in a million years. On arrival it was shady and had a much longed for breeze, in fact only a few nettles and a dead magpie to deal with before climbing, hurrah! Having a superstitious Granddad the first thought was there is something unlucky about dead magpies or was it crows. I then remembered my pet Jackdaw (that's right I called him Jack) I found and raised from a chick that mysteriously disappeared while I was on holiday.  Years later my old man admitted the chances were granddad had killed him! By this point I had lost all interest in warming up so got straight to business and tried to pull on until I could. Then I tried various arrangements of sloper, sidepull, crimp, heel hook, high toe till I decided my previous sequence though it felt close wasn't going to get that little bit closer that I needed. I ended up pulling on the sharp crimp with my left and a half crimp with my right and feet high to the right.  Once I was on this turned out to be the right choice as I went to the right of the obvious sloper I had been aiming for and miraculously caught a crimp in the croozzley bit to the right.  Fortunately at this point I fell off so was able to start the camera rolling, a few false starts later I got the jug and quested upwards into the grass and broken shite.  In one half of my mind I was sure I had spoken to Mark and he had told me of a harrowing top out, in the cowardly half I was thinking none of the other problems top out.  After pulling on a large pinch that moved a few inches and looking down to see my 10 year old pad looking a bit shit and battered I bailed, after all I like to climb rock not grass.

Mark on Cheech Marin Photo Si Panton

And the all important video

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Roof of a Baby Budda

Just when you think it will never be sunny again the weather turns and life seems so much better with a bit of sun on your back.  Its been a while since my last post but in short buying a new house and playing Dad have been taking over as number one priority.  On his first walk in August sometime, James spotted a roof in the trees near Betws Y Coed.  He went goo arghhh and pointed into the forest, myself I was doubtful as I had examined the area a few times over the last 10 years but to show faith in the little one I followed where he was pointing and was rewarded with a lovely boulder.  Its a little bit of magic wood in Wales  but not granite obviously   As I walked over to it I repeated again and again please let there be holds in that roof please have a starting jug, pleases have holds, and it did.

It was summer at this point so it was a midge hell hole, I covered myself in deet and started the process, It was always too hot but the moves got done, and after a midnight session with Jack I was ready to link it.  At this point it was clear I needed it to be colder so I waited for the winter and sure enough then came the rain and a fucked elbow, then more rain.  It takes 3 days to dry out as its so sheltered and has a run off on to the top holds.  So in short I was getting nowhere.

January comes and we find a new house once this goes through there will be no more days off till its been done up.  Loo  king down the barrel of a few months with no outside climbing I set about a quick fix of training in the indy and at the mill.  Confident or at least desperate that the good weather of Febuary would come again this year.  And it did, so I got to climb it.  Brilliant.

Gradewise, I really don't know could be anything from 7b+ to 8a.  I would be surprised if it was either end,  so I will settle for 7c/+.  But I could very easily be wrong.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Up down turn around

This was typed one line at a time over the last month so doesn't make much sense.   But there you go what do you expect polished journalism?

Since the last one...

Well the fat and weak is coming, I have struggling with the motivation and suddenly winter is here.  Now I feel keen.  Really really KEEN.

At the beginning of the month before man flu took hold and Stoptober fucked me over, (off the wagon on the wagon.  Climbing without smoking is HARD!)  I had booked myself a few extra days off as Katz was coming for a visit, the weather long range forecast wise was looking good, I was feeling quite good, but still my projects were eluding me.  Now the weather looks like it will shit out on me again, in fact of the 12 days off it looks likely to rain on 90% of them.  So the cycle begins again up and down round and round no psyche, no training, little climbing.  Last week I pushed and got out 4 times thanks to my understanding girl noticing I was going insane:

1- Attempt to get on project B, wet went looking for more rock, ended up stuck in a thicket of brambles and gorse, only way out was to wade down a ditch for 100 meters up to my thighs in mud and water.  Fail.
2- Jerry's roof, Laps on Bus Stop, Jerry's, and Wurzel Stand.  Fail on Pools.  Success (but not very exciting)    
3- The mill, locked out toys out of pram, Fail.
4- Project B was nearly dry 2 days ago so another look get to ..... and its raining walk in for a look anyway its wetter.  Fail.

So now the days off have passed and after a bit more on the wagon off the wagon, smoking while climbing has to be a first step, right?  Step to what, that is the question full time smoking or full time quitter?  Anyway as the weather was shit I went out with Mr and Mrs Katz to Elephantiasis.  I was shit and it was wet.  Another fail, so what to do?  I constantly find myself thinking I cant do things any more.  I relied very strongly on boring things to death just keep on going till the problem gives up, but at this point I am giving up.  I sit and drink and eat and that is not going to help with nothing.

So its back to the mill.  10 days on fucking ace, so much more productive than outside, no its not as good,  yes the rock is most important thing but in 2 hours a day I can improve, I can get sharper and stronger.  This is what I need this is what makes me tick.  After a month of binges I eventually step back on the scales.  from a low point of 74.2KG I have topped out at 81.3KG.  Fat fuck.  No wonder everything felt hard.  Thankfully since I wrote this its back to a more normal 78.6KG.

So there we go eat less train more and remember to try hard instead of pitying my poor decrepit fingers/elbows.

The past is written and unchangeable but the future is full of wonderful promises... However at the moment every time I speak to Si, him and Pete have found another line that was sat in the background waiting for one day.  Must do project a+b, before either people get bored of waiting for me in the case of a, or people find it in the case of b.

Friday, 24 August 2012

What with shit weather and a unhealthy dose of paranoia that I will become fat and weak now I have a baby, I started to hit the boards quite a lot.  In fact looking back through my book after a shit session I had been hitting the boards every day for some time.  In fact I had 5 rest days in the last 53 days.  And I managed to wonder why I was tired.  What a prick.

So last night in the Indy after greasing off and having quite a lot of pain running through my shoulders and neck, I had a little rant and was given a crash course in finding trigger/ pressure points, and low and behold for the first time in 2 weeks I can move my head without it hurting!   Its a miracle Hallelujah etc.  So that's good and I will call the unplanned time on 'Conditioning' have a week of de loading before ramping up the intensity for a month, badabing, I am in a training cycle without the shit bit of building your base.  Its that simple right?

After a few years of reading books, printing articles and stuff I am starting to think it might be.  The thing about training is a lot of people talk about it, a few people plan it and hardly anyone sticks to a plan.  You can search around and find people telling you front leavers wont give you tension, pull ups are a waste of time running is too catabolic, lock off training is inefficient, bachar ladders hurt you, weights make you too big,  campusing is for fools, basically everything is shit.  I am starting to think that this is because climbers are a negative bunch, who all want to spend their time hanging out on huge blocs in the desert and instead end up at Ravens Tor or Parisellas dodging the drips doing eliminates, and populating the internet.  So what should punters like me do?  Well "everything works but nothing works for long" is possibly the best bit of advice I have been given I think.  So mix and match, try hard, keep making it harder and cross your fingers you don't get hurt is about as scientific as I am going to attempt this time.

I keep looking back at my yearly aims and I hate the fact that they are basically the same as they were at the end of 2010.  So something isn't working.  In fact the best season I had involved not going to sleep much and a lot of sniffing.  I cant see that this is how Olympians train, so I guess there must be another reason.  Maybe I was too fucked to get hung up about it, "don't think, feel" all that shit.  You can tell you have lost your way when 1-5-8 becomes the highlight of your year I mean its not even 1-5-9 for fucks sakes.

Anyway I think I am going to have a rest try to train, and crush the shit out of 3 projects in the next couple of
months.  Then the weather will turn it will be cold and crisp, and I can start to work the next ones like a rat on a wheel...    

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Life changing!

Well I guess I have some news.  Not that it will be of any interest to most of you but the future wad James arrived 3 weeks ago.  He is ace and did 1-5-9 yesterday.  Not really, I waved him at a beastmaker but he showed less than no interest.  However I am convinced that anyone who can vomit their own body length must have a strong core.  Plus the fact that on his first walk he found a 3 star Project for me, hopefully he can keep that up.

Recent trips out were First to Angel bay, where we did Muscle bound, a much better than it looks problem.  
We also did the little roof immediately at the bottom of the approach path.  I am sure this will have been done before as its the first thing to dry when you get the tides wrong like we (I) did.  Although the Photo should show my intentions clearly enough.  Chris suggested the name Abu Dabby, as the crux is not dabbing.  The link across from the starting hold of Manchester dogs would go to someone I am sure.

Photo: Jack Rat - Athlete.  Abu Dabby, 7a. Angel Bay.
Abu Dabby 7a.  Photo Chris Davies

Apart from that I have been going to the Mill, and have started to create a structure to my home training.  I have never really done much at home before tending to be out and about whenever I am off work, but given the fact that my 2 projects at the moment would be fine if I could hold the swings, and Core is probably the easiest thing to train at home it could all work out marvellously.  

The strangeness continues with a session in the mill last night that was shockingly good, so good in fact that I wish the weather was better then I could do something.  Then I heard that Pete had done the Ogwen Project at 8b in the rain.  Fucker, guess even weather is not a good enough excuse anymore.  Must try harder!
Isles of Wonder Font 8b
Shit weather and a good effort
Photo Ray Wood

So there we are, for some strange reason I actually appear to be climbing OK ish.  Hopefully I can get the big aim of last year done soon.  I feel unusually positive about it at present, then well then I don't know. I guess we shall see.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Onwards and Upwards

First up is a continuation of the last blog,  Last Rites was despatched standard slow style.  Leaving me with only Mr Whippy and Pete s new problem Screwball.  After these its Traverses and Sit starts. Think I am done with it for a while.  I would like to do Mr Whippy, Millenium Drive and Chris's Link as these were the three I went there for in the first place to continue my guide ticking mission.  Guess we shall see what the weather brings.  Which brings me neatly on to the present project,  after hitting the top for the last 4 sessions, landing all round the block and risking my legs a bit, I finally got CJD to come up and spot, sods law the clouds cleared and wind stopped instantly I failed to get anywhere near it.  So in an effort to do it (very) soon I have analysed all the footage and worked out what is missing.  Its because I am only going for the move once a session I think, having landed sideways with both feet on a block, landed on my knees between 2 blocks and just generally missing the 4 pads from a quite unpredictable fall.  I have to really build up to a big effort, and given it wears out my skin quickly as its summer and I shouldn't really be trying it now if I had any sense, it a tricky balance to get up there feeling good before I hurt my skin, (or what I thought was a big ball of scar tissue on my finger till I felt Sam's the other night when I realised it was tiny and I should man the fuck up).  But I don't have any sense other than the sense that I am a tiny % away from doing it any session.  Hmm,  reminds me a bit of Clyde but we wont go there, that would be negative.  Anyway the up shot of it all is that I found the best goes and looked back in my book to see what I was doing at the time, and quel surprise I was campusing a bit at the time.  Which makes me laugh, given the fact that in November when I first taped the top hold I said to Chris that if I was still campusing lots the move would have been easy.  Genius it only takes 7 mouths to implement what I know is a good idea.. So its back to the Mill and the Indy and swinging round on strips of wood, hanging on the Beastmaker with weights attatched and hopeing for a window before the baby comes. 

Next up its my most/least favourite thing GRADES,  ugh.  Feel free to ignore everything from here on in if I was wise I would.  When I wrote this last year  I thought yes I am going to leave it alone stop using 8A nu as I think it did encourage me to be optimistic sometimes.  I also said I was going to Font as that's where they came from, well the upshot is I must be better at climbing in Font than I am in Wales.  I failed to stop using it so this time I have obliterated it, it took a while as the only way I could find to do it properly was to delete each ascent individually.  This turned out to be quite a cathartic experience, it feels like I am no longer a slave to what I did and the need to prop up my ego on the fact that I did  X 5 years ago, instead I can move forward get better and hopefully climb harder, not necessarily as in  a harder grade, just as  in harder to do for me.  These are 2 very different things I am learning.  And that's the point as long as I am learning I am progressing, and as long as I am progressing then this silly little game of bouldering makes me very happy.  And when I am happy I climb better.  Look out boulders of Wales, I am going to get you, definitely not today definitely not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pill box

Well the quest continues, except I have lost a bit of steam with the ticking and am in danger of developing a new obsession.  The venue of hatred has ensnared me, forcing me to accept some things.  Crimping hard on edges and shuffling sideways is hard, hard is good so the Pill Box is good.  

Once I found my stepladder and got over myself I am starting to get into it.  It has also reminded me of one thing, I love climbing things that I cant!  For a little while I think I got carried off into a distant confusion of trying to climb harder grades, now I realise a 7b you really struggle with is better than an 8a you find easy. Well in every way except for talking shit, but maybe I can get over that too.  I forced Jack to come with me at the weekend and CJD was keen too, so we went down and continued to attack the up lines, we did Pill thrill awesome jump to the pinch (if you avoid the 'orrible mono)  Jack Daniels, and I got the Original Party link.  Unfortunately this seems to be a little blinkered climbing it from the right, but fuck them I am still doing it my way.  (See you can tell I am getting into it starting to develop opinions on how other people should do sequences!)

No photos this week so lets see what Google can find.  Pre-emptive guess, thank you Si Panton and

This leaves:
Last Rites, (next session) 

Doylo on Last Rites
Si Panton

Mr Whippy (any time soon) 
Old favourite,   Mark on Mr Whippy  
Si Panton
Gaskins Problem (hmmm, Would happily settle for hanging the positions).
CJD on Gaskins Wall
Si Panton

Then its either traversing or sit downs, unsure which yet probably back to the cave.  But I do need to do Millennium Drive for my ticking.  New computer is on the way so soon I will have Pill box the Movie.  Oh I bet you can't wait!