Sunday, 30 December 2007

Post xmas rehab

Well, it was quite different to that in the end. The weather looked good on boxing day. As I prepared to leave the parents Matt Birch rang to ask if it was dry in the Peak. I wasn't there, so I didn't know, but between us and a few text messages to people who were it sounded like it was worth a try. Arranged to meet at the plantation. As I came off the motorway my intent flitted between going to the board and going outside, which would I get more from? I havent got much time, and there would be noone at the board, so the post turkey flab could be dispatched solo... Made the right decision (hadnt been out for ages) and met Matt in the plantation car park. Quite wet underfoot, but a healthy breeze whipping past, blocs that faced the wind were dry or getting there. The last time I was out with Matt and Tim at the plantation much piss taking took place at my incredible slab climbing skills. I have since attended a showpony masterclass and wanted to set the record straight - but delifrance was wet. Did that lovely arete to its left on both sides, then on to the green traverse. All this as warm up for him to do the ace and for me to try the joker. I would love to do that problem. Have never been out when its been in ok nic and had a good spotter. Sadly ran out of time and had to leave him to it. Presume it didn't happen as I heard nothing else (he could also be dead). He goes back to the states in mid Jan - has an amazing new (hard) project he hopes to do. Legged it home, fed the cat, and then over to Manchester for tea with the outlaws. Was very pleased to receive a belated xmas pressie from them - a powerball. I think its quite a useful warm up tool for the forearm muscles, and as a toy its great, but as a strength training mechanism I'm not convinced. I remember Dave Parry saying that this 30 second stamina thing you can do with them is good for a work out (and Stu Little mentions this on 28th also). Anyway, have nice meal - get drunk. Her mum always has the heating on. Its too hot and I don't sleep good.

Drive home through a soaked peak district on the 27th. Drop off the pressies and head up to the board. Definately no way I could be outside today! Vicky fringe is trying Helen Kean problems. They look fun. I have no will power and find myself having a go. Actually don't feel too shabby - lack a bit of pzzazz on the 50, but thats always the first thing to go when you put on weight or have some time off. Fingers feel ok though and I climb well on the 30 and the moon board. Hopefully the next session will improve again. More beer is consumed this evening - although in smaller measure.

Friday the 28th looks a lovely morning! send out an exploratory text message and snag cheekbones mason. Meet at Burbage west where he wants to try westworld. I think I tried this once about 5 years ago, and I thought I was going to have a hernia. I haven't been back on it. Repeated my Nose experience - for those who have not had the pleasure, this means trying it a really stupid way - fail, watch someone else and then do it really easily. Sigh loudly and exclaim that I am a punter. Remember how lovely climbing on the gritstone is. The moves and the holds are a joy to do/use. Head on round to WSS - say hello to Boggo, Simon Holmes and Sarah. Cannot do WSS at all. Cannot hardly pull on. Phone Adam (laid up on sofa with bad back after an onsight attempt on Parthian Shot). Sequence improves markedly and I finish the day repeatedly getting into the top hand holds, but failing to rearrange the feet to make the last move. Stu Little turns up. Dave and Ben (not me clearly) go to look at Famous Grouse. I tell Stu about Adam's bad back and we coerce to spread rumour that he has been attempting to onsight parthian. Its all lies. I explain the nose experience and Stu allows me the benefit of his insight and points out that I am not a rubbish technical climber, but I am a sequence idiot. I agree.

Am starting to get all excited about Swizzy. There are a lot of things I want to do at Chironico. Theres something called Schule des Lebens that has another 8a to the left of it that sounds up my street, and talking to James Foley I hear that Liam Desroy has done Great Shark hunt and has claimed it at 8a+. OOOOOOh! I am going to keep a training diary this year. I have said it before, but I am and Its gonna be great!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

xmas time, dampness not fine

Wow. Christmas again. I seem to go in cycles of being really psyched and really ambivalent about xmas. Last year, I went to town, bought great presents and was dead dead excited, this year it seems to have crept up on me and I haven't really gotten into the spirit of things. In part I am sure that's because the last few days leading up to christmas I felt like I have been fighting a cold off. Its never fully materialised, save for crushing lethargy (exaggeration) but its taken the wind out of my sails a bit. Now I'm here, its xmas day and I feel a bit regretful that I haven't been more exciteable. I probably sound ungrateful and I'm not, I have had great presents and a nice day, but feel I arrived here unexpectedly or something. Never mind - stop moaning!

Pre Xmas, tried to go out on er, Sunday, and I lined up stanage's chief beta monkey to facilitate pre Xmas gritstone glory, but on heading out of ringinglow I could see a bank of fog at the top of the hill which looked ominous. Burbage was shrouded in fog, the high bit between bbg and stanage was just about poking out, but still very hazy, and down to stanage was like descending into a dickensian pea souper, quite atmospheric but not great for climbing. Parked up at the plantation car park planning to walk up anyway as there might be something dry. Pure people walking back down to the car park with pads. They reckoned it was wet. Called adam - planning to head further south. Headed to the works. Bumped into dribble. He reported Andi Turner sitting under the pebble and that it was wet. As Andi Turner is one of the staffs lads and thats were adam was on about, I felt vindicated going to a climbing wall when the sun was out in sheffield. Couldnt have gone to the board, I could feel this lurgy starting. Climbed like a sac of spuds. Felt rubbish, but still in denial.

Monday I felt worse, Tuesday I have felt better, but feel over worst of it. Planning to pop to the board for an hour on way to monsters on boxing day. Wonder if rubicon is dry. Suspect I will be heavy and weak. At least the chances of anyone being there are slim.

Saturday, 22 December 2007


It's been a slow week in the land of the blog of dob. That's because the blog of dob is about climbing, and I've just been drunk. I did climb on Wednesday at Leeds wall. Turns out Ben Meeks is going to be in Cresciano at the same time we are - the more the merrier from my point of view. Lee texted, annoyed that he hadn't been pestered to come - I didn't even think he was interested. Wednesday night was a work night out. Went to Tam Po Po in Leeds - lovely. Rich Heap had been on in the day to ask me to the pub to celebrate the launch of HXS, but as per the previous, I couldn't make it. Sent him a message on the way home, but glad I didn't meet them, as I was already drunk and more wouldn't have been wise - I am a drinking lightweight.

Felt rubbish all day on thursday, ate at Catch in the evening with the monster - only a glass of wine that night, so relatively tame. Friday - last day of work, didn't have to go in to office, just a morning at home. Guests arrived in the afternoon, all out in the Ball in evening, but, already buoyed by mulled wine I was soon drunk and ready to go home (it was closing time too), got bought another drink, and should have left it, but didn't. That was the straw that broke the camels back. Woke up today feeling like death. Felt like death until managing to eat at 1130. Went for a walk in the icy rain with the monster. Was quite invigorating. Now watching rubbish christmas telly and eating.

Bleugh. Back on it tomorrow (I hope).

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Nibile's guru

Took Dylan and Garry to the board again last night. The few extra degrees of warmth made all the difference. It seems to be colder inside the school than it is outside. If the temperature in the car registers <2.5degrees, and there will be less than 4 people actually climbing - don't go. Nothing hard was climbed, but I ticked my standard problems and felt worthy of trying Amoeba Assasin again (haven't bothered since the lurgy, as haven't been up to it, and I find it very hard). As I drove home I pondered why I had felt so close to doing it before. Didn't reach an answer, but perhaps I was a bit lighter or something. There's a very hard (well, I think so) release which I only just did (with difficulty) last night, and I was doing more comfortably pre lurgy. I also considered that on a monday its just been the weekend, and I am likely a bit heavier (booze, bigger meals etc).
Ages ago Nibs sent me a message in which he offered to introduce me to his training guru. Coming up to christmas I would hope to be winding down at work, but its been mental, so instead of replying I haven't gotten round to it. There's also an issue here. I have (recurring theme alert) very limited time available for climbing - in quite specific slots, so I felt I should do justice to my schedule in any reply I made, and that required consideration which I hadn't got the time to give. But, thinking about this last night, I have loads of ideas and thoughts on training which could do with some structure, add to that the various wisdom from Dylan, Ned, Variable and others and you have a heady brew of torture schemes on rotation in my head. Basically, I could do with some order, and perhaps if I can articulate the restrictions on my time, perhaps the guru could help!
Zippy once said to me "how strict are you with your training?" to which I replied that I 'trained' at the board and climbed and stuff, and he told me that wasn't training. He meant campussing, hanging, weights etc. And I dont do any of that. Climbing is just too much fun! I have absolutely no will power either. If there is someone trying something and I either think it looks good, or that I could do it and showboat, then I am there. Its like quick wins of being able to show off over long term gains of becoming an uber wad and crushing 8b. Or is it? which is better?

Monday, 17 December 2007

Should have gone out...

I'm psyched for christmas. I love it. (talking of which, I wonder what the film Psyche was like last night...)
Ed did Zoo York! amazing! I felt a mild sense of 'why haven't I done Tsunami' when I got the news, but that lasted for all of about 10 seconds and left in its path a burning desire to go to Caley. This is a dream that might get realised on Wednesday - actually, I don't know what the weather is doing this week, so it may yet be a moot point. I have a works do in Leeds on weds night, which means I shall go straight there from work, so I will be in work later than normal, and can thus afford a longer lunch break.
I have been thinking about some sort of karma voting applet for this blog, based on Adam's comment yesterday - which I have to say, I think is deserved. I don't know why I thought it would be better to go to the school. Actually, I do - the whole point of going there was that I had limited time and wanted to make the best use of it. I should have gone to the plantation and done the storm. Spent all of the rest of the weekend slightly kicking myself that I had misused my ticket. I do definately have/struggle with this mentality that training is of more value than climbing when I have limited time. I think my success criteria for a climbing session is that I should be physically tired, and driving and walking in for 45 minutes with an hour and a half of climbing does not match 2hrs training on the board. In fact, this is something I struggle with a lot throughout the winter grit season. I love the climbing on gritstone - find it really enjoyable, but in my minds eye I think of pleasing climbing as being a steep face with small holds. Which is probably why I so love switzerland - Granite lends itself to my style of climbing. As I get older and slightly less obsessive (!) I think I am starting to see the value in going out enjoying myself even if this reduces how much time I get to actually climb. The point is that the satisfaction from climbing a problem outside is greater than success on something inside. I propose a 2 grade satisfaction offset between inside and outside. I.e. climbing a 7a outside is the same as climbing a 7b inside. Actually, it might be more like three grades. Actually, thats bollocks - it depends on how nice the climbing is. But I still think I would rather do a rubbish 7a outside than a 7b inside. So clearly, its all personal and you should discount the grading satisfaction offset above.
The car conditions indicator (patent pending) suggests conditions at the school may well be better than on Saturday (its 2.5 degrees). Plus, it will be later in the day and therefore likely warmer. I hope.
Last week at the board cheekbones mason warned me off buying a Pod pad based on an assumption that production has been shifted to china (since pod sold co.) and that quality has gone down. I went to Outside and they still had stock of the old made in Sheffield ones, so thats what I have bought - plus - it goes in the car perfectly! Ok, I have to go for now as I need a poo and its breakfast time.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

One man struggles, whilst another relaxes

Its bitterly bitterly cold in Sheffield at the moment. All week it's been super cold, but there's this freezing fog hanging around, and things aren't as mint as you would hope for 'not raining and cold'. The roads are all wet and v.slippery from the frost melt. I actually think it might be too cold for the school at the moment! honestly, that building - too hot, too cold! there's a very small window of optimum condition - and its warmer than it is now...

So, last night I hear from Foley that Ned has done full power! fantastic effort. This guy is going so well and has a very positive energy. I fully expect him to go on to greater things. He is super keen, 15 years old, strong as an ox, but sadly a ginger. I wonder if there is an offset grading scale for giners?

As if that wasn't enough, I missed a call this afternoon from Dr Pinch himself. A very breathless but excited Ed Robinson babbled that he has finally closed his Zoo York account! superb effort from another underachieving super power. In many ways I think it means more to have put in a lot of time and effort when you do something, as all that investment has paid out - and its a great feeling. I would love to be in his shoes tonight!

On the other end of the scale, one cripple and one punter went to the board today. The cripple attempted to see how much weight the ricketty weights bench could support in his campaign to bench a mini metro, and the punter failed on everything, gave up climbing (couldn't feel my feet) and did some hanging, using the new greatest contraption ever - the gymboss. Waddage to Dylan for this hot tip, its a split interval timer which allows you to set a work and rest period. For example, if you wanted to do 10 second hangs with a 30 second rest, it beeps when you should change state - and, increments a rep counter, so you always know where you are. Awesome knowledge - get them off ebay. Mine was £17.99 inc postage.

Anyway, well done to those who did, and must try harder to those who didn't.
Back to the fingerboard for me!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Secret Thursdays

I took Thursday off work. Had holiday that had to be used up by the end of the year, so figured I would put it to good use and go to Rubicon. You'll probably think me insane for trying, but I had to go and look. However, its rained a lot recently and the crag was completely flooded. Dammit.

There's something red (burnt orange) leeching into the water from somewhere. You cant really see it on that picture, but anyway, back to the car and off to Cratcliffe.
Very cold. Try to warm up, but there's verglass on all the tops so no actual topping out. Pretty much sack warming up, figuring that T Crack isnt that physical - I'll go and get stuck in. Fall off slapping for top pocket. Go and look at where it actually is rather than where it looks to be and hold it, it feels scrittly - like the grit has been wet. Risk life and limb teetering round the top to give it a brush. Next couple of goes I am there but am a bit scared. Back off. Decide to stop fannying around and suprisingly its execution is pleasantly easy. I dont know why I have had such a whitey on it. I think i have been physically capable for some time, but just havent done it. Ah well. Its done. The moves are entertaining, and it climbs well, but I dont think it will become a new favorite or anything.

Go and have a flail on Jerry's, but get a cold numb pump. Drive off to Calver crossroads for egg and chips and then finish the day up at Curbar.
Early in the day I was thinking about going to look at brutal arete at Stanton moor, but I had heard it was high and then I remembered walk on by at Curbar, which is a problem I would super like to do. However, I left it too late in the day and just did strawberries and trackside, then gorilla warfare and early doors. Had a lovely day out. Bit frustrated at Tsunami, but I think the water level might recede and it might not be over yet... Am even considering investing in wellies and a tarp, and doing it with some kind of floating start...

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Christmas and the anti training effect

I so hate having to come back from a lay off, so I never stop training. At Christmas every year I tell myself I will have a big rest and that I don't train, but actually I do. I probably over compensate for over eating. No will power, that's what that means. Don't eat so much in the first place. I think I am afraid partly of climbing crap in front of people, and partly because it feels good to climb well. And I don't mean because you look good, I mean because it just feels nice when you are on it.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Blogosphere

I love the term 'blogosphere'. Its straight out of the sunday papers. When I used to be the UK news editor for I used to delight in writing tabloid headlines for climbing news pieces. I would like to have fabricated interviews with the climbers... Perhaps I will do - I have never been demoted, so technically I am still able to edit. Anyway, the blogosphere... Since James has been off work with his fucked paw he has been trawling the blog and texting me highlights, so far the plums seem to come from Scotland. From a manic depressive who has falsely inflated impressions of his abilities, and more amusingly from someone who saw Sharma climbing in total silence... until Josh Lowell turned up, and then the shouting started. If ever I meet Chris and we go climbing and he starts with the yelping, I shall pull from my bag a rounders bat. When I lower him back to the ground I shall sharply smack him in the teeth with it. I hope this is true (that he doesn't yelp when not being filmed), if it is it is genius. Those young punks in the british team have been made (motivation unclear) to create a website, some of which you will find linked here. The latest of these is young cheekbones himself - Masonic Dave. Bless them all. I saw him and Paul at the board on Monday where I had taken Garry and Dylan - who are coming to swiss with me and Ed Brown (crazy solo trad king) in Jan. Hopefully we are on the cusp of booking flughafen.

This time I am going to be focussed. I am going to have clear goals (didnt I last time?) and I am going to get them done. Hopefully I can go this year with hard skin. That was what was wrong last time.

Anyway, Joe and Vik were back. Lovely to see them both. They have the holiday blues. I get this after a chuffing bank holiday, so I cannot begin to imagine how this feels after 3 months off. Rubbish. Joe hasnt lost any of his school psyche but sadly I didnt notice vik go for a single wee during the time they were there. A sorry state of affairs.

Right. Got to go. Me and the monster are going out for a walk. Its minus 25 so I need to get my long johns on. Oh, and I have booked flights to canada to continue my role as the founding member of the Tim Clifford fan club.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Christmas is coming

I last wrote on Thursday, and I so wanted to be better. For the most part I was, but still a bit flakey and weak. Friday came and with it sleety death rain between spells of sunshine. Saturday morning weather was like the end of the world, so I went to the board. First session of feeling human again and although I took rather more goes to do things than I would have liked, I did do my 'mileage' circuit. Hop a long foley joined us to hang like a bat.
Didn't go to the Works party on the Friday. Mainly because I had been ill all week and didn't feel a full shilling, but partly because I wanted to climb on the saturday. As I don't get all weekend to climb, I'm loathe to jeopardise the prebooked session I do have. Spoke to Dylan last night, he and Lu went but there wasnt even a sound system until after midnight! God knows what went on there.
Sunday was still a bad day in weather terms, so I dont reckon anyone will have gotten out in the Peak at all this weekend (save Adam for a walk!). Hopefully his (Adam's) long range weather forecast will hold true and it will be nice this week. Climbing tonight at the board, don't really know then about the rest of the week. Will be quite organic I think. We got our Xmas tree this weekend. It looks fab. I love christmas.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

A solid poo

At last! its been an 'orrible week. Being ill in such a fashion that you cant do anything is deeply unpleasant. Even twisting and turning whilst walking around the house has produced bouts of biliousness, I haven't felt like texting anyone as have had complete sense of humour failure. Rubbish. And, its taken ages to clear. I don't know whether thats because I haven't been rehabilitating myself properly, but only today - Thursday (4 days on), have I started to feel more or less normal.

I had my first solid poo for days yesterday, so I rewarded myself by arranging a trip to the Works to meet friends. There's a new blue circuit which I delighted in doing all of. Didn't fall off once, which is a good thing, because I think they were supposed to be max font 5. I have never completed a full circuit of problems at that wall before, and it was fun. I enjoyed the climbing and it was probably all that I could have managed to be honest. I had to rein in my enthusiasm towards the end as the harder problems looked more inviting, and I wanted to rush off and get stuck in. I don't think it will replace trying as a training strategy, but under the circumstances it was just the ticket.

Pretty much back to normal this morning. Bit more gaseous than usual, so be thankful you are not confined in the school with me. Planning to avoid the works comp. Don't know about the evening do - depends how I feel. The monster says Club Sssh is a full dive. I am keen to climb on saturday, but I don't know whether this will be allowed. Doyle has been on and might be about.

Wonder if kudos is dry...

Tuesday, 4 December 2007


Climbed on Wednesday night at the climbing works - circuits on the training board. Tuesdays, Thursdays and the weekends are busy times at climbing walls, I suppose because most people climb Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Sunday. I dont climb Sunday so I'll usually do Monday, weds, thurs and Sat.

Anyway, I was all excited on Wednesday as it was the start of a mini break to Edinburgh with the monster. We had taken Thursday and Friday off work, booked a flash hotel and organised train tickets. It had been a particularly unpleasant busy week at work last week too, so the prospect of doing anything else was welcome. The train was busy, and our booked seats were together, but across an aisle. She was next to a very talkative man who clearly thought of himself as a genius. Thankfully, he was only on until Leeds. It takes just shy of 4hrs to get to Edin, but there are nice views out when you get to the county.

Arrived at about 1400, shouldered our bags and tromped off to the hotel. It was a great day to be in Edin – really crisp, clear and cold. Hotel was lovely, checked in and dumped the bags and pretty much went straight back out, first stop – the castle. Its £11 to get in, but is pretty cool. Meandered around there as the sun was setting – and the temperature droppingthen wandered back down the royal mile to town, to buy hats from the xmas market and drink mulled wine. Walked to the Mussel inn on rose street for tea, then a bit more moseying, final wine bar stop and home to bed – v.tired. Time about 2000.

It rained on friday. Enjoyed full scottish breakfast and hit the shops. Bought loads of xmas stuff and walked down to about half way down leith walk. Got the bus the rest of the way to the foot of the walk, where we found the flash restaurants the guide recommended – Martin Wishart ('Edin's #1 foody experience', v.exp), the Shore (gastropub, exp) and Fishers (fish, exp). We werent very hungry so we went to a cheap pub between, which was nice anyway. Leith a bit grim in the rain. Bus back to town, bit more noseying around and then home to hotel for a rest and shower. 30th November is St.Andrews day so there was loads of stuff happening in Princes st gardens, which we missed due to being in bed. Headed back out at 2030 for tea. Intention was to go to the living room, george st, but when we got there it looked a bit like a posh yates. The woman in Space.NK had recommended the italian next door, so we tried there but they had an hour wait for food. Just as we were getting despondent we noticed a thai rest. called Time 4 Thai, which was recommended in the book – and was lovely. Big feed. Very nice. We always share what we get and half way through we swapped plates. She enjoyed two thirds of mine and then chomped into a chilli. A really hot chilli! que lots of water drinking and fanning face. Bless. Only by the time we left could we laugh about it!

Saturday was a better day in weather terms, and our last day in Edin. Still felt full, but pushed on and had the full breakfast in the hotel (well, you have paid for it!) then out into town to drop the bags in left luggage at the station. Continued to the royal mile where instead of going up to the castle we walked down to holyrood park – the home of arthurs seat, which is best described as an urban hill walking experience – v.bizarre. Climbed Arthurs seat – her in heeled town shoes! and returned via salisbury crags. Took about an hour and a half. Very pleasant. Shops and town horrendous on a Saturday, so glad to be out of the mix. Spot of lunch and a bit more noseying around then to the station to get the train home.

Sunday was a catching up day. Went to the works for a couple of hours, and got involved with a pink harder circuit. Surprised myself by finding it quite easy, but a link problem. Sometimes I assess things as being too hard for me without actually trying them. I think in my head I think I wont be able to do it, then when I get through the bit I thought I wouldn't do I am left flummoxed. What I am capable of and what I think I am capable of are two quite different things. Perhaps it all relates to this idea of not thinking about things as you climb – empty your mind and focus on the moves (man). Popped to Waitrose on the way to pick up the monster (yet more xmas shopping!) and bumped into first Adam, who was buying assorted bread rolls, and then Char whose deer stalker jacket so stunned me I forgot to look at his shopping. Made tea, everything fine, and then the world ended.

Well, not quite. But I woke on Monday feeling fucked. Dizzy, sick and generally horrible. Phoned in to work. The Monster was fine, so I dont know where it came from to get me, but it did. Basically couldnt do anything all day yesterday. Horrible. Still feel shaky today, but am delighted to report have had a solid poo at last.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Foundry R2

I had totally forgotten that it was round 2 of the foundry comp until I recieved Alain's text. Checked with Ned (not that I didn't believe Alain, but people are occasionally wrong) and sure enough it was on. I was in two minds about going as I wanted to go back on the board. I reminded myself that the board would still be there tomorrow and I really should go to the comp. Caned it home, had a coffee and some food and headed down to the wall.
Mondays are a funny night to climb on. Although you should be all full of beans following the weekend rest its as if the shock of getting up to go to work makes you more tired than you should be. Anyway, I felt off the pace. I think I should have cut my fingernails. They weren't really long enough to warrant cutting them (or so I thought), but pulling on small holds made the ends of them hurt.
There were only three problems that required serious application, and two of those should have been steady. Ned and Tony Mussels were in attendance and despite sporting some form of lurgy, Ned was unflappable and ever strong whilst Tony just didn't fall off. A paltry 126 was my final score. Of the three I didn't flash I should really have done 2. I ought to have flashed the one on the board - but was trying to be Ned, and the other I could have done had I had about a million goes, but I knew I was capable, which is frustrating. The one problem I don't think I would have done wasn't the hardest one there - I just couldn't do it. It involved bridging into the bomb bay and a teetering match on a slippery sloper. Both unpleasant and terrifying - left it. Think Ned will have submitted at least 132? Tony did the one I couldn't do in a million years, but didn't do the one on the board which I did (in two goes), so I would have thought he will be 130-something too.

Monday, 26 November 2007

The great weekend of lard

Its not been a great weekend in health terms. Friday we were tired, so we went to the chippy for the first time in years. It was nice. Drank beer, went to sleep. Saturday started with a lard based cooked breakfast, then down through the Peak to Congleton for a wedding. Next feed was at about 1600 - full wedding scran. Nice but had direct result of giving me toxic pumps (at one point I farted on the dancefloor and cleared quite a large area), then a bacon butty at about 10pm. Much alcohol consumed, and attractive red wine teeth to boot. At least the new suit was good. Slow day yesterday culminating in kids tea in the evening. This week I shall redress the balance.

Friday, 23 November 2007

11000000 10101000

Thursday is my work from home day. Its a good day to work from home as by that point in the week I start to tire and need a lie in. I still get up at 8 but when you regularly get up at 0550 even that feels like a lie in. Went to see James at lunchtime to deliver sandwiches and captains of crush #1. Was delighted that I could easily close it still. Its been ages since I have even been near them, so that was a pleasant suprise. Rich the Mad Hatter turned up in head to toe lycra and a flash Omega Seamaster watch.
I felt like I was going to tear the board down when I arrived. It was cold, I was psyched - had great energy and was full of beans. James and I had discussed that my 'warm up circuit' was perhaps a bit long and might be impacting my actual delivery. Cut it in half but felt unprepared and started falling off. Actually, I dont think it was just that - I was typing on my laptop between goes and I think I was getting pumped from that! Once the rot had set in and I thought I was rubbish I lived up to my expectations and acheived nothing. Bumped into Alain and the Mosenator. Roy has super fly mountain bike - I cant wait until I get one (January). Still cant run because of this wierd achilles tendon injury, so biking will be my CV exercise...
Paul has done a new iteration of the book, which looks ace. A nice new feature is an extract of all that is new pinned to the board. Am pleased that the book is in safe hands. He is in font and wants to know whereabouts at Buthiers Atomic Playboy is. I dont know (having only been twice), but I will endeavour to find out.
Finally. Keith issued a challenge to Paul. He said that he had a blog but that noone would find it. I took an educated guess and found it. I linked it here, and now everyone is taking the piss on UKB. I should have kept it under my hat. Sorry Keith. There is another argument, which is that if you post piffle then you can expect piss taking. You could also say that none of us understand as it was too high brow for us. Ah well. Sorry Keith.
Finally, big wedding this weekend, so no climbing for me.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Florence Nightingale

I went to see James last night. He has been potted yesterday and is now sporting a natty hot pink (non weight bearing) cast on his foot. We discussed many pressing issues of the day, including the price of fish, james Pearsons flashing 8a+, what a nice chap ed robinson is and the machiavellan training he can perform during his enforced lay off. 6-8 weeks off work, the cast is on until Jan the 8th. The baron instructed me to deliver a kiss between the bum cheeks, but Lauren came back. Anyway, its just occured to me that I could take that old weight bench from the school round and we could turn him into a lou ferrino lookalike!

Tried to do all the comp problems at the works. Felt wrecked before starting, but hoped that I would loosen off. I didnt, just got pumped. Chatted to Travs who has hurt his back just before a trip away. Rubbish.

So want to go to Switzerland. Mentioned it to the monster and she says to go if I want... Am thinking of end Jan. Roy, Rob and Andy are going on the 5th of Jan, but thats just too early for me. Ed Brown is keen, Lee Anderson and Ned are interested too. Will be cheap as chips. Anyway, day off today, then back to the board with fresh skin and psyche tomorrow...

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Project initiation

Amoeba assassin is well hard. There's a move in the middle that involves pinching a screw on foothold with the left hand and making a hard stab up to a reasonable DR hold. Its a 1 in 3 or 4 move (i.e. success is as frequent as once in 3 goes), so I reminded myself how to do it, then I went back to the start. Thankfully, the start is steady, but taking the pinch and moving off it is different to setting it up perfectly and then moving off it, not massively - like on some problems, but enough that it adds something. I have also learnt to hold the swing off the DR hold and again, thankfully, its mercifully easy from there to the top. It remains a project.

Started seriously looking at Stuey 5 bellies last night (a problem Jerry does on the real thing), and for the first time did it from green pinch c12 to the top (I know this isnt the crux), but more interestingly, dont think I am that far from being able to take C12. Its going to be all about the left foot paste I think. That too remains a project.

Poor James Foley. He is going to be out for ages. He reckons between 6-8 weeks off work! has all manner of scans and stuff booked in, so his rehab could not be better assisted. I intend to pop round on Thursday. He has started a flickR stream, which has a massive 8 pictures on : Better go, I need a poo.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Bad Karma

It kind of worked - the not over analysing thing I mean. I say kind of, because although i didn't succeed I got really close, and it really should have happened. I don't expect to see anyone else at Rubicon at this time of year, but there was a familiar face warming up. Familiar enough to say I recognised him but didn't actually know his name, anyway, he was out to do low left. The sun was fully on the Kudos wall but for once there was a light breeze which made all the difference. Mystery man did low left on his first proper try which was a good effort. He was doing it the go again off the sloper way, which I briefly tried but found hard. When you have invested a lot in a sequence and you know you can do it your way, its nearly impossible to change late in the day as you won't try the new way properly (unless its loads easier). Had a ranging go, felt ok. Ned, Dan Variable and Kev from Leeds turn up with a small dog in a tartan coat. I have an amazing rinse out selecta go, having first emptied my mind and I climb positively to the top position, my left foot stabs to the smear but I scuffle off it and weakly slap at the jug but its not even a serious go and I am off. Have a rest, the others get involved with various bits and pieces and I have another amazing go, getting a finger over the finishing jug but not holding it... the disappointment from Dan Ned and Kev is palpable. Dan or Ned suggests God is punishing me for something (perhaps its all the bitching?). Having come so close I know I can do it. I've not tired by this point so it could still be in the can later on. I take my shoes off and have a rest. Two other guys who Ned knows turn up, one of them to try Tsunami. I roll my eyes subconciously, as I know the sloper doesnt cope well with traffic. This guy is dead keen but miles off, and he has greasy tips. The sloper becomes unusable - I give up and go do Caviar instead.

Cafe favorites tip of the week - Cafe Ceres on Sharrowvale road. Dont go if you are in a rush, as the service is leisurely, but the food is ace, and if you have time its a nice relaxed pace. Out to a lesbian dance club in town for someones birthday in the evening, back at 0330 - drunk. Sunday did bimbling jobs. Today is a board day, tomorrow possibly the works with Ned - or maybe even their board... weds dont know, thurs and fri doing something, as we have a big wedding next weekend, so I wont be out.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Zen and the art of crimping

I reckon the answer could be to totally empty your mind before making an attempt. I shall try to be zen today, not to notice anything other than what I am doing. I'm not going to think about the what I am doing later, what I will do if I do it questions, just the doing it.

Watch this space

Friday, 16 November 2007


So. In all the excitement of James and his dildocation I haven't written anything else this week, but to be honest, thats because nothing much has happened. Wednesday night I went to the school all psyched to do the Amoeba Assassin. Have gone backwards. What is it with me and hard problems I really want to do? I have a session where I streak to within a gnats ass of success and then I don't get back there for months... Perhaps I get myself worked up when I think I am going to do something that I care about doing, and I dont do so well. When I suprise myself by not thinking I will do something, I do better. That I get to the end on an early go and then dont get back there at least supports that theory, but perhaps I am just cossetting my ego? perhaps I just had a lucky go and wasnt really up to the job after all. Honestly though, I think its more to do with headstress (but then I would say that).

Its the same with comps. In the foundry comp, where I dont really care, I am having fun and there is no pressure, I do well. I dont mean I would usually win in a BBC or anything, I mean that I feel I realise my potential better. When I climb in 'important' comps, I am shitting myself and I dont do well. Feel a weight was lifted when I stopped comping seriously. Will still do odd one, but not going to be as focussed as I was. My neuroses are all consuming!

So, tomorrow morning I shall drive the familiar drive to Rubicon, where I shall once again hope to end my obsession with the kudos wall. I find myself sat at the bottom of the wall looking at the holds, cleaning them (almost obsessively) and mentally thinking about what I will do when I have done it. Which is, I think, part of the problem. I dont want to do it any more, I want to have done it. Which is probably why I haven't done it. This autumn has made up for the summer in my opinion. Its been mint. I'm looking forwards to going back to the plantation, I'm psyched for west side story, brad pitt and so on, but whilst Rubicon is still climbable and I have things to do, I will feel like I have unfinished business.

So, other news from Swiss : Char has done Franks wild years. Is this 8a or 8a+now? Its a fucking good effort whatever it is. I thought it was desperate, but it was tshirt weather when James and I tried in January. The team who carried James down from Chironico included Chris Davies who had done le Prou earlier in the week. Apparently they were all heroes. Of course, had I been there I would have caught him (and then done dreamtime, kirk windtain and la boule) and none of it would have been necessary. Poor bugger estimates a lengthy recovery which is fucking shit being completely honest. James, you are a rubbish climbing partner - firstly you go and become a doctor and have mad hours, then you go and do this. Honestly, you are holding me back. Actually, thinking about it, perhaps routes is the answer for you during rehab? maybe I will get to do some routes after all!

Tonight is the works comp. I popped in to do some computer work for them and had a scout of the problems, as well as an introduction to Jacky Godoffe thanks to Perc. Seems like a lovely chap (jacky, not percy - he's a right cnut;-)) problems look good, but its saturday tomorrow, and it will be clear and cold, and I am going to get some success on the rocks. Yeah...

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Foleys Foot

Got a text from Ed Robinson last night :

an interesting development today with foley dislocating his ankle...been to hospital, all sorted now, but I think he is out for a while. Grim!

Shit! poor James. Turns out he fell off something near freak brothers. Dont know whether he will stay for duration, he seems to be in good spirits at least. He then sent through this picture...

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Dr Pinch does Dr Pinch

I have just had a text from James Foley, who is in Switzerland (I am so jealous), it reads :

"So beast. Currently weather is good. I did a 7b, 7b + and a few 7as. Ed did dr pinch and did really well on franks. Keith flashed cliques! Nearly did monolith which is mega classic, raped my skin though! Very atypical chironico, well good."

Damn it! cant remember whether Dr Pinch is 8a or 8a+. Good effort Ed 'the human pinching machine' robinson. I am so jealous. Have I said that already? Wonder what sort of temps they are getting? Oh god, I wish I was there. Never mind. Keith flashing cliques is notable too. He must be going well. Ed should be able to do Franks, as it involves pinching. Cant think why he hasnt tried it before.

Went to the board on Monday with Paul, Masonic Dave and James Pearsons. Paul did stuey, James tried it with a weight belt on and I felt like I might have moved an infinitesimal amount closer to amoeba assasin. All the hand moves are ok, theres just a hideous release to contend with. Anyway, rematch tomorrow. Damn those swiss chimps.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Necrotic Neuroses

Think I am trying to fight off some sort of hideous illness. I dont feel bad per se, but I dont feel a full shilling either. Weather over Sheffield was pretty clement all weekend, so it probably would have been rubbish in the peak anyway. This is where Jon would have gone out questing around grit edges and perhaps struck lucky and where I wouldnt have bothered and gone training. Trainer or a climber? Trainer when its raining!
Finished work at 1500 on friday and drove to manchester to collect the honey monster. Went to see Groove Armada at the Apollo. Queue at bar prohibitive and therefore fairly undrunk. However, before setting out had a blast on a jingo that our hosts produced and it nearly sent me over the edge! This happened in Ibiza when I had a jingo between coastline and cafe mambo, a bit like a whitey but without sickness - more of a panic attack or something. Horrible. Anyway, we got into the Apollo and I went all hot and claustrophobic, one of those situations when you cant say anything to anyone cos thats like admitting that there's something wrong and makes it worse in your head, so I took myself off to the doorway and fought the neuroses. Pretty convinced that this is all completely in my head. When I force my mind off it and think about something happy I can lift myself back from the edge - but as soon as I think about it again, I am back in! Whats happened to me? I used to be such a westie! Anyway, got it together and had a good night, even managed to be back on form before Groove Armada came on, so n'obbut a fleetin thing.
I had to go suit shopping on saturday. Feel a bit resentful about spending a lot of money on smart clothes. Am not a smart suit sort of person. Have three weddings in the next six months, but at £550 thats £183 a wear! assuming it gets no other outings. Actually, there is a man who climbs in a suit at the Leeds wall, perhaps its the future?
Sunday went to the board for an hour. Climbed like a donkey. Tonight board, Wednesday perhaps board, thursday works in day, friday nowt, saturday morning board, sunday depends - will have been out on saturday night, have to see what state am in...

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Hot hands disease

I think I have a rare and debilitating condition which I have identified as 'Hot Hands Disease'. I need it to be really chuffing cold for my hands to be anything other than soft and warm. Perhaps I have really poor skin which wears really fast or something, but unless its properly cold my hands get really hot, and hot means soft. Trying to use small holds with hot soft skin is not a happy combination. When you have soft skin it rolls on small holds and they dig in - hurting the flesh, causing a lack of conviction. Basically, you give half hearted attempts because it hurts.

Its clear overhead in Sheffield tonight, which means the suns heat has radiated back out to space and the ambient temperature is c.o.l.d. The school board was 'in nic' this evening. It was so cold in that little room that application of a coat between attempts was acceptable practice. Compadres for this evening were Mr Paul 'laps on stuey' Bennet, Natalie 'fred nicole' notbennetdontknowhersirname_sorry and Ultra G Dave Parry.

Lets talk about Pork and Beans. My good friend Mr Bradbury will no doubt assert that it is 7c+. Its in the book at 7c+/8a. I think its 8a. Its harder than the 7c+'s I have done. I repeated two fluffy after climbing Pork and Beans (for reference) and I think its easier. Perhaps I have a wack sequence, or there is a weakness there or something, but I think its hard. Had a good session tonight. Pretty 'syked' to do amoeba assasin too.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

The blog of dob hits the big time

You know you have made it when your readers phone you up to get you to update your blog! sadly, thats just my perception of the call I just had, the reality is that my friends want to laugh at my top tips (or my tip, or something). So, tightwads, here it is, that GQ article :

click on either page to make it bigger. If you read any of it, read the top tips - very funny indeed. The wrist is not mine, apparently I'm too scrawny.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Bits and bobs

Monday nights at the School are a funny thing. After a sunday off where I have usually enjoyed a lie in, i should be full of beans, but going back to work after a weekend seems a shock to the system and I always strong but tire fast. It will be an interesting winter up there this year, since we weeded out the dead wood and took on new keen members I think it may well be busy this year. Which reminds me, I need to check the finances and see whether our newest members have paid (manana, manana!). Nice note on the wall from Keith, who I think is in Belgium? Paul's Bennet and Smitton, the good doctor, vicky hurley and Helen. Notables - Bennet did Stuey. It looks fab, got all keen, but think its a hard. Bennet nearly did snot - looks amazing too. Need to open an account - am saving it for the flash! Did Smitton do Turd Reich? cant actually remember, he is more than capable mind. Good to see James, who goes to Swizzy at the weekend. I am insanely jealous, but not only do i have no holiday left, I am skintito, so theres no way in this earth it could have happened!

**the above was written in the airport on the way back from Edinburger, then they did a final call and I had to run for the plane, hence its late**

I have actually got some pictures to show you, but cant upload them until lunchtime. Ah well, sure you will cope.

Monday, 5 November 2007

El Roacho

I have had a lovely weekend. Ex housemate Liza was over on Friday night with the intention of inspecting Baby Morrison-Clark on Saturday. Went to the cinema to see Stardust, an uplifting easy watching happy experience - just the ticket to put the lid on a working week. 
Obviously, it must have rained in the Peak on Friday night, as whilst Saturday morning was dry, there was lots of moisture about  the roads were wet and Mr Bennett reported hanging fog over burbage way. Pushed on to rubicon and warmed up - ok in the shade, but the sun was beating down on the Kudos wall and I didn't even try. Wasn't bothered being completely honest, the meat of the day was at the Roaches, it was there I was excited about going. Stopped in Buxton Morrisons to collect supplies. Buxton is a  spa town in the middle of the Peak district with some regal buildings, nice parks, old people and chavs. I once spent a night on a park bench in Buxton, having hitched there before getting stranded. Great road out of Buxton to the Roaches, good surface, sweeping bends etc etc. If ever I get a fast car I will detour on the way home from the garage. Had spotted in the guide a pub called the winking man, which is a great name for a pub, so earmarked it for a way home pint. It looked thoroughly shit. Turned right past the Rock pub (which looks much better) and up the road to the rocks. Is the first thing you see on the right Hen Cloud? is very impressive. The rocks were very dark, as though they were still wet - which indeed, they were. Parked up beneath the Whillans hut (what is the score with this? presumably you have to be attached to a climbers club or something) which was festooned with a Brixton Climbers flag. The flag contained a skull and crossbones, which made me think the Brixton climbers were probably pissed up city boys. There were certainly lots of people out, striding about in head to toe gore tex proclaiming at the top of their voices in southern accents how extreme they were.
On the recommendation of Dr Pinch himself (ed robinson), we missed out the spring boulders and headed to the lower tier. Unfortunately there was quite a lot of wetness about. Did some fun stuff including 'Staffordshires best easy problem' - three pockets diagonally crossing an off vertical wall. Awesome. Had to have about a million goes (3) - such a technique donkey! where I was reaching the top pockets, running my feet up the wall beneath me and reaching onto the slab and trying to palm it, I should have high stepped to the dish on the right and rocked over. I didnt figure this out by myself, had to wait for someone else to point the way. I think perhaps thats why I get on so well with boards, limestone and bearing down, I must lack imagination - the "Adam Long (patent pending) movement laboratory" brain hemisphere is underdeveloped. If you show me how to climb something, I will be able to do it, but if you leave me to work it out, chances are I wont. I need to surround myself with brilliant climbers who can show me how to do things. Its another reason, that if ever I did a new problem I would be troubled grading it - probably I would have a wack sequence. Apparently Ben Moon had the same problem. 
The next problem was a fun dyno round the other side of the same bloc, then something called the gutter. Rounded off the lower tier on Inertia Reel. Oh My God. Given I had failed to see the sequence on a 6a the chances of my thrutching up this beastly contortion were slim. The guide off puttingly states that many a finger pulley has been ruptured by that undercut, which immeadiately put me on the defensive. I don't know what you have to do to succeed on that problem, but it seems desparate. I managed to pull on and hold the position undercutting fiercely with my left and palming with my right, but I couldnt move and didn't do any of the rest of it.
Finished the day off on top where I just did some fun bimbling problems. The light was absolutely amazing. Just a lovely red orange sunset - Beautiful. Headed back down to Helen's car and drove to the Rock - shut til 6. Pushed on to the red lion in litton (been taken over, serves farmers blonde) for a quick pint before home. All in, a lovely day out, not massively overwhelmed by the roaches, but didnt see it all. Mushin looks fab but was soaked, no idea about inertia reel and the traverse looks dead hard. Props to Helen for driving.
Sunday, went for a walk. Today board, tomorrow in Edinburgh all day, Wednesday maybe the works? Thursday will be works or board, Friday going to see Groove Armada in Manchester, then suit shopping on saturday, sunday dont know. Sigh.

Friday, 2 November 2007

British team secrets...

I think i need a dictaphone. I keep thinking of things to write about but by the time I get to do anything about them I have forgotten what it was I wanted to say. I'm reading Paul Pritchard's 'Totem Pole' at the moment - his story of rehabilitation following a serious head injury, he says that forgetting stuff like that is a sign of some sort of brain trauma! hopefully I am just stupid.
Anyway, ages ago the nice people at 5.10 sent me to London to be photographed by GQ magazine, and finally it has come out. Mainly, I am pleased as I'm sick of people asking when it is out, and of buying it - I am not a fan. Whatever, its got Daniel Craig on the front and I am on page 366. Its actually very funny. I have shrunk (5ft8), and have regressed (only 30) - but my favorite bit is 'my' top tips - dynamite. I will take a picture and blog it, but haven't had time - so if you are keen to see my modelling debut you will have to go and buy it!
Went to the works yesterday for a 'working' lunch. Was actually quite good for once and did do some work. The British Team were in getting a beasting from Gaz. They had exercise stations dotted around the campus board, had grouped into pairs who did 30 seconds each on each station. E.g. there was a pull up station. Ned would have to do as many pull ups as he could in 30 seconds, then Katy tried. Then they changed station, army PT style. Wonder where this has come from? well, they all looked exhausted at the end, so we shall wait and see whether they all turn into super wads. Three circuits with about 10 minutes between.
Its Friday and that means the weekend is looming. I am dead keen. Have all day saturday for climbing, and am currently on me lonesome. Thinking about an early start at Rubicon, then having a pootle along the roaches. Never been, would be nice.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The boys board

Last night I went to Dan Varian and Ned's new uber board. I was well impressed. The first time I saw a bedroom board it was on Lydgate lane and belonged to Myles Gibson. His bed was the mat underneath, and he shared the room with his girlfriend. It wasn't a happy arrangement - she would have to turf the climbers out to get to bed, and the bedclothes would be covered in chalk! This board is a masterpiece of board construction. Imagine a giant (absolutely gargantuan) bed base. Atop that is his mattress and bedclothes. It pivots at one end and the whole thing lifts up and is supported by two beams - so thats basically holds on the underside of his bed base, bedclothes etc all atop the board. Three sheets of 8x4ft ply - 12 feet of climbing length from the bottom to the top - fifty three degrees - genius. No positive holds, pure tension and vice like grip strength required in order to succeed.

All boards have rules, and rules maketh the board. TC and Birch's board had rules that you were not allowed to cut loose, and feet were only permitted on the tiny wooden nubbins. Dan and Ned's board is symettrical, which means that if you do a problem you have to complete the inverse before you can take the tick. Apparently, this came from Malc - whatever, its a great idea. They too have nubbins for feet - no feet on handholds etc etc. Its very good.

My split got worse by pulling on small holds which ultimately frustrated my efforts. Had a good time though and am keen.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Foundry #1 report

When you know you can do something, and you know that climbing it is within your ability, its gutting when you recognise that you didnt do it before tiring.

Last night was round 1 of the Foundry comp. It was quiet. Nicely set problems - 15 in total, three tricky and one hard. Flashed 13, dropped one easy one (twice!) and had about 150 goes on the hard one. I must have tried about 10 times to stick the first hold - supposedly the hardest problem Rob had ever set in competition (which, like most sensationalist statements, sounds more exciting than it actually is). Justin Bumtree changed the foot sequence and unlocked the move, and it was on... Writing about climbing problems in a comp on a climbing wall is pretty dull, so lets leave out the hundred and thirty nine goes it took to attain my high point, but suffice to say, everyones shouting, I'm wobbling - eyeballing the finishing jug, throwing for it - oh god - I got it, SCHLIPP! woops! back on the mats. The effort (both mental and physical) required to get to the top but not do the problem was the final straw. I gave up and went home. Score - 135 pts. Think that means I won that round.

Having retired from international competition glory I feel the pressure to perform is off. Its great. I had a lovely time last night - yapping to people, doing some fun problems etc etc. Crimping caused the split, which would now be more accurately described as a finger canyon, to open more - which is bad. I thought it looked quite healed, so I tried to climb without tape, which was almost certainly a mistake.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Split rehab

I would have climbed on Saturday, and indeed, I was up in time and raring for action. Really though, I had the mother of all splits to rehabilitate and plenty of other things to be getting on with, so of weekends to have off, this was a good one. As I might have mentioned, we have been selling the Honey Monsters car on eBay, so that needed a clean and general attention before it could be passed on. She was to take on her mum's car as a replacement - it'd only done 10000 miles and was in mint condition. On saturday morning when we were due to drive to Manchester to collect it her mum phoned to say it had been pinched on Friday night! gutted. We went anyway and went for some food with the outlaws. Home and to the ball in crookes. Drunk. Fitful sleep. Sunday, general bimbling - went for a run. Thats it. Foundry comp today, full day ticket next Saturday....

Friday, 26 October 2007

The training works

The Climbing works training wall is good. There are some good hard problems there. I went last night and had a good time climbing with Andy Harris, Neil Travers and Stu Littlefair.

Travs has started training again - which means double sessions three days on, two days off. He seems to be tres strong. Tres Strong Travs. Tres Strong Trev would be a better name.

The training wall is nice and short too. You could clip three bolts in bits of the comp wall and still get the fear. I would guess that climbing on the training wall at the works would stand you in better stead of getting up something outside. Crimps. Andy was tearing down, he offered that success on that wall requires different strengths to the school and the foundry. Whatever it is, he seems to have it.

I opened the mother of all splits even more. Its not sore under pressure, so probably ok to climb with tape.

I shall finish by saying how nice it was to see Mr Littlefair, a desperately underrated climber. Perhaps we should have a fanfare when he enters a room? I want to climb 8c route. But not enough to actually put the work in to do so.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Oh for a bit of breeze...

I am sick of writing to say that I have failed. More than the trying and not doing the problem, writing to tell you that I haven't done it is becoming a chore! Its crossed my mind to lie and not tell anyone I have been out trying - so as to avoid admitting my continued failure. I have just returned from Rubicon, where I have once again failed to do Tsunami. Whereas on Saturday I was shite and not up to the job, today I was but the hold was greasy. I climbed well, I was positive – strong even, but the sloper felt greasy. Frustrating. I dont know when I will get back there either. We are selling her car on eBay at the moment, and that will finish on Friday night, which will probably mean I will need to clean it on Saturday for someone to collect. It was completely still at the foot of the wall, I do reckon that a tiny bit of breeze could be the difference between success and failure. Light drizzle on the way home.

Went to the works on Tuesday evening. Bumped into Shiv on the way in and whilst chatting away she mentioned that Big H has popped the question! Congrats to those two! About time – 7 years. Nothing terribly exciting to report from the Works on Tuesday, except a horizontal dismount from the top of the comp wall – jarring. You have to fight your instincts to put your hands out if this happens – easy to break something.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Set in Stone

Imagine if you were the Zutons... you'd be gutted that you brought out 'Valerie' and within months steaming crack whore Amy Winehouse releases a much better version and noone even remembers it was yours in the first place. I wonder if the Zutons get any money off Winehouse/Mark Ronson when it gets airplay? Probably not. Some record company dude with a pony tail and blazer probably creams it all off.

James Foley wasnt sulking that I pulled him over, he was being sick, so thats ok. He was still being sick at Monday night - heroes night (time) so I headed up on my own. Thankfully, the lure of the Monday night wrecking session pulled in new member Helen Kean, Paul Smitton, Vicky Hurley and the wise old sensei, wisdom beyond sight - Nige. Oh, and buck-toothed-steely-fingered-crimp-fiend Paul Bennett. Only realised after half an hour in there I had not done my hair! was strutting around looking like a human microphone! Warmed up well and felt steely, but quickly began failing. Insert here some limp wristed excuse about conditions not being ideal.

The Byron house' most famous regular (beating even Birtles) was on telly when I got home. I am fully mesmerised by the mountains. When I go to Chironico you can see an arete high above on the skyline, its fully stunning, and I cant help but think I might be missing the point scuttling around underneath bits that have fallen from it. But I am scared. I remember chatting to TC about mountaineering and the inherent danger of just being there - as ably demonstrated last night - avalanche, rock fall etc can sweep you to your death whilst you were minding your own business. I feel like Joe Simpson says he feels now - acutely aware of his own mortality, too scared to push it. Perhaps I am scared because I have never done it and not built up a thick skin of anti fear. Anyway, soon as it finished, I got a text :

"Fuck mountaineering!" - James Foley

The phenomenon that is this blog has been immortalised at Dobb edge. Celebrity reader Adam Long added a new problem which he has named Dobbin's Blog. I am delighted. Although, an independant line doesnt represent the core values of this blog. Surely a contrived elimanate link up with a highly conditions dependant sloper and a mental block right at the end would be more appropriate? Thankfully it uses something called a Micro-Hyphen, which I can only hope is some sort of misspelt virgin reference.

Monday, 22 October 2007

v10 Rubber removal HowTO:

I love FiveTEN v10 shoes. I think they are fantastic. However, the last two incarnations have had the top of the toe box covered in rubber. Its not very thick rubber, and its a definate advantage where a toe hook is concerned, but it means your toes are crushed in another dimension, where usually they would bag out over the rand.

Lots of people have picked the rubber off, and I hear varing tales of nightmarish devotion to this task. Anyway, I spoke to UK fiveten man and he suggested the following, which enabled me to de rubber mine in about 5 minutes (for both shoes) :

Using a pair of long nose pliers, pinch the edge of the rubber at the pointyest bit. Pull at it until there is enough to get a grip on. using the very end of the pliers roll the rubber on itself and you can easily peel it away in a oner.

Now you can use the rubber as a handy stick on stealth sideburn :
What a dashing edwardian chap. Once you have extracted the rubber from both shoes, why not make a handy stealth moustache?

Stump creme

I feel like I have missed a few blog posts as I hadn't written anything from Tuesday onwards. Been busy with the members list, which is now honed to perfection. On the subject of which - Jon, I thought you were letting your membership lapse when you went away... Sorry if I mistook this. I will check and see if your money is still hitting the account - I dont think it is, but will need to check. I'll comment here if it is.

Wednedsay was dull. Nothing to report. Thursday I got up and got to rubicon at 0730. It was too cold to be honest = -1 in the car. Beautiful sunrise. Warmed up and felt ok, but was turd when I got to kudos wall. Wasnt the conditions I dont think, my fingers hurt (perhaps still from MOnday?) and I didnt even do the last move on its own. Back home again by 0930. Worked from home all day, and headed to the Works in the evening to meet Ed. Hung out for a bit and lurched around footlessly - which, even if it doesnt prove to be the next training sensation is fun. Home - tea, bed. Friday - hooray for Friday! Out to the Scotsmans pack for tea - faded glory but food is still nice. Many reserved tables which is a good sign. Saturday was a mint climbing day. Perfectly cold, clear and dry. Lovely - wasted it by going back to Rubicon and failing again. This time it really should have been ok - had one good go where I got to the top but something felt odd with my index finger on my left hand. Inspection on stepping off revealed a big deep split. Bollocks. That will be the stump creme. Because of the mid week failure due to skin conditions I made an executive decision to apply stump creme on friday night. I have learnt that stump creme is to absolutely, under no circumstances, be applied near to or on a recent cut or wound.

The peril of having hard dry skin, which sounds great, is that it cracks with deep painful fissures. When you get these theres no choice but to tape, and that stops the use of marginal holds. Very frustrating. Went to the tor. Failed to do pretty much anything, started driving back, but was early so was thinking where could I go to get a grit fix? somewhere close to the road - burbage west! bumped into rob napier, kerry cooper (now an item) and someone called Massa? went and did the nose. I fully couldnt remember how to climb it for ages, then did so and it felt very steady, although the toe hook really hurt my poor damaged feet. Massa flashed it. Nice work. Back home, into town to pick the monster up for a bimble along Sharrow vale road. The lescar is all boarded up ready to be transformed into either a wine bar, a wacky warehouse or a gastro pub - depending which rumour you believe. What a shame. I loved the lescar in its previous incarnation. Many a tangled sunday afternoon spent in there having no sleep and assorted chemicals. Still, times move on.

Sunday was another day of general bimbling, with a small exception to say that I saw James Foley racing down fulwood road in the evening - I flashed and flashed him and he pulled over - thinking we were a police car! pulled up alongside and said hello, but then the lights changed and we sped off, hoping he isnt sulking. Board tonight, wall tomorrow, poss out thurs then into the weekend again. Split healing nicely.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Foundry School update

I feel a bit disloyal to the Foundry. The problem is that i have to pay to get in, and it costs £6.50. I do still maintain my belief that the wave is the best moulded resin wall in the country. When resin walls became in vogue, most wall makers shaped them to include massive bucket like features - which are rubbish. The foundry has wonderful technical smears. Climbing the wall on features by any given line should be at the easiest - a challenge. I haven't been for ages, so all the problems were pretty new. Ed sent me a mail yesterday which said :

"By no means did I attempt every problem there, but I did a heck of a lot of the ones that looked interesting/challenging and I have to say that I really didn't think there was anything more than about 7B. There was one harder thing up the middle of the steep section that starts from standingon a fat sloping rail then campuses up small slopers that I didnt do, but I only gave this one go as it was hot and minging.So, in summary, fun and a good workout, but dont expect to fully challenged.... Also of note is the fact they have finished the frame for the new woodie in the furnace. Looks like a basic board at around 40-45 degrees. Good size. Assuming they get the holds right (ie: make use of woodas well as resin) then it should be good."

Which is pretty much exactly my experience. I think I did pretty much everything on the steep side of the wave with three exceptions, and all without having to try too hard. It wasn't cold last night either. I think I have hot hands disease. Basically, bad skin that feels a bit hurty - plastic rash I used to call it. Of the three exceptions, the stand start slopey rail thing he mentions was hard - left it too late, and it was too warm, there was a long orange and black spots problem which I thought I was going to flash and then fell off the top, but didnt have the beans to get back there, and finally a yellow long problem that I didnt even try.

Al Williams was in. Good to see him, its been a while. Also Kristian CLemmow.

Managed to prune the school members list by four which means four new members. These are Lucinda Hughes, Helen Keene, Vicky Barrett and J-J-J-J-J-J-J-JAMES FOLEY! Someone was very pleased with the news. In fact they all were. So, like an old masonic golf club the school has had to change with the times and welcome its first lady members. Regards our future, there was a meeting on the 4th amongst the existing tenants; as you know - we didnt think anyone wanted to take on the management of the building, but I spoke to Nic on sunday and it all seemed quite positive. We spoke again last night after agreeing on the newbies, and Nic has sent the following :

1) The folk who managed the Burton Street project (a similar sized school in Hillsbrough which is now a model for council buildings that have been handed over to the community) were met by Kieth and Izzy (other school users) and the guy there was very encouraging.
2) It was identified that there are a number of substantial funding sources available one of which has placed the school as 1st on it's reserve list. This is more promising than it may at 1st seem for reasons I can't be arsed to type at length.
3) Andy Jackson from the Heeley Development trust is keen to get involved.
4) Sheffield Art space is very interested in the devopment of the school to provide space for art (somewhat predictably)
4) There was a general motivation to make an effort to develop the school by about 15 different school users.

(point 4 is obviously significant) Clearly, the school is the best place for the school.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Committed to resting

Given that the honey monster has been away at least part of the last two weekends I was quite happy not to climb this weekend. Also, as she has been working late a couple of nights in the week (and I have therefore been climbing), I felt like I needed a rest. So, nothing of a climbing nature to report from this weekend. Well, not much. Didnt look like I missed much in weather terms, a low cloud high moisture wetness hung over the Peak district. Apparently even Raven Tor was rubbish. Bumped into Andy Banks and Dave Parry in Tescos on the Sunday, they made it to Rubicon in the end I think they said it was ok. Nic rang whilst in Tescos and explained that at the meeting with the other First circle users apparently there is some appetite to take on the management of the building, so it looks like we might be staying put after all. Nige, Rob Smith - those who have paid their £150 - I will pay that back this week. I plan to chase the other non-payers with my new found access to the bank account. Most amusingly, militant 'kick the non-payers out' supporter Keith has actually yet to pay his normal subs, let alone anything else!

Dylan sent me a message on sunday asking if I was going to this film thing. I had completely forgotten. He was referring to the Committed film premiere. To be honest, I wasnt that bothered and had no intention of going. I was quite keen to go to the rising sun for one, but the usual crowd were heading to this premiere thing (seems a bit false to refer to it as a premiere - although thats what it was, the image the term suggests is rather different), then Lee turned up and I sort of ended up going. Shiv couldnt make it, so Andy persuaded me to be her for the night. My goodness - what stamina he has. Anyway, back to the film - quite a few in, three screens up by the comp wall, and either mats or hard wooden chairs to sit upon. You know what time I get up to get to work, so I was counting the seconds until it started, trying to guess when I could be tucked up in bed, and although a bit of dilly dallying took place, the production team were soon in front delivering their pitch. Bless them - they were nervous, and the pitch was stilted. Climbing films sell themselves, which is a good job! Should really have written this yesterday, as I cant actually remember how it started. A pleasant animation to begin then er... some climbing.

So, impressions? Well filmed - Nice camerawork. Editing not as tight as Set in Stone, not as polished either - they seem to have released a bunch of films very quickly, so perhaps they aren't spending as long on them as they did Set in stone. Seems to have a strong Dave Macleod focus (who doesnt speak how I imagined he would), but I suppose thats because he is one of the people getting 'committed' on hard trad routes. The requiem thing in dumbarton looks dead hard. He certainly seems to be having to try on the top section. Adam thought that James trounced him on Trauma - which looks amazing too. A statement from the dawes - 'I'm not sure its sensible for people to be trying these routes', which will be interpreted by some as meaning Johnny thinks they are scary, when I think he means in the style they are achieved. I liked the footage of some guys forging a new route on a loose cliff, the belay wont hold a fall and the holds are loose - gripping stuff. Film finishes with Katherine dispatching 'Balance it is' at BBG. Shiv is out of sight on belay but is very happy when Katherine tops out - its funny. Quite enjoyed it, not amazing - but thats only my opinion and I'm not into hard trad. Andy explains he has never had the urge due to an overwhelming sense of his own mortality - I agree wholeheartedly.
Having had two days off I have a good time at the board yesterday, but its warm. Perhaps theres something in this resting lark?

Friday, 12 October 2007

8A - The Trophy Grade....

Well it is isnt it? Went to the works yesterday and bumped into a friend from leeds who suggested I might be grade obsessed. I'm a product of my environment - influenced (perhaps overly) by my peers, some of whom are also grade obsessed. I feel like I massively underachieve at climbing, attaching a number to something makes it tangible - it gives me something to aim for. I think I was more grade obsessed before actually acheiving something I thought worthy. Feel like I need something to show for my training efforts, and thats why I've got this (perhaps) slightly unhealthy obsession.

Anyway, the friend from Leeds (well, ex from Leeds) is a bold soloist. He climbs things because they make him happy rather than to achieve a defined standard, and I think I do too - to an extent! I love to climb easier things, but I wouldnt change my focus to be completely easy things rather than trying hard.

The works now has its new steelwork in place behind the comp wall, and its been completely reset (the comp wall has). I love the style of climbing - find it really enjoyable, BUT - I find it hard. I'm a basic boy, with basic climbing skills. I love climbing, so I like trying the tech wierdness at the works but am not in my element - which is no bad thing - work your weaknesses and all that.

Its positively balmy in Sheffield at the moment. 15 degrees at 0630 this morning. When will it cool down!?! Not climbing this weekend.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

last after work session of year?

Since sunday's hardcore ring training action I ached. Sacked monday-night-board off as felt too sore to make it count. Went to watch Atonement instead (good, but bleak). Tuesday - had to be up early to go to London. Did what I had to do (smash and grab) and high tailed it back north - horrible day in the capital. Got back to sheffield, got in the car and shot to Rubicon. The warm up wall was in the shade and was quite good. Not much breeze, but not bad temps. Kudos was in the direct sun and unclimbable. Went to Cressbrook - fully sacked. Anything useful (the holds) were wet, with irritating streaks of dry blankness between. Perhaps we need to stop looking to climb on the lines of weakness and start using the blankness? (that's a fully johnny dawes comment). Didn't even pull on - why would I? it was rubbish. Went to the tor - absolutely mint. Cold, windy, out of the sun - brilliant. Discovered that Tor Fitness depletes quickly if left unmaintained. My last few weeks of trying Tsunami have negatively affected my power endurance. Had a good 'calm' attempt on the Staminahumps where I took everything in my stride and really it should have come off - matched the double crimpers but bailed there. Felt good to be back again - its been a few weeks. Now dark at 1830! was home just after 1900.

Re Keif's comments about never climbing 8b - I don't have the ability and talent to do one quickly, and I dont have the time to dedicate to doing one through hard work. I would love to do an 8b, of course I would, but I reasonably expect that unless I find something that really suits me and is close enough to home to make the necessary amount of visits feasible then it likely wont happen. But do you know what? I'm not that bothered! I love going climbing - I am sometimes happiest when I am bimbling up VS routes - its the moves that make me happy. I realised this last night when I soloed SHIBB at the end of the evening - I thought - I just like climbing, I like solving new moves etc. Rupert and I were once discussing climbing 8c route on the way to (or from Cheedale), he proposes that although he could climb more 8c routes, to do so requires such a lot of effort expenditure that it detracts from the enjoyment of climbing. I.e. unless you can get these things done quickly, sieging them stops you getting as much from your climbing as you might. I suppose if you were full time then you can put in the time on something hard and still climb fun stuff too. I am a 7c climber who has climbed 8a+. Most 7c's I will be able to do fairly comfortably, anything else requires effort. Maybe I wont ever climb 8b - oh well!

Musically - Underworld have a new album out - Oblivion with bells. Its good. Also theres a good richie mix on UKB.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Not trying hard enough?

I can't take a full weekend of cranking anymore. Perhaps I am trying harder, or perhaps I am trying to do too much with insufficient recovery, but two consecutive days is hard work (actually, thinking about it - its that I usually never climb for more than 2 or at most 3 hours). Stopped in on Friday night and went to bed early. Picked up Ned at 0745 and met Helen (old friend, new to climbing) back at our house at 0800. Headed to Rubicon. Warmed up. Felt ok, not amazing, but ok. Drank too much coffee. The mood in the group was subdued - quiet, people were only just waking after all. Not me, I was doing my best to be as hyped as I could be - with a view to getting the send. Pulled on, climbed confidently, took the sidepull but there was something wrong with the flag and I was off. Felt like I was climbing well, executing the moves with grace, but on each attempt there was something wrong. The others could see I was climbing to my high point with ease and encouraged me to push on with redpoint attempts - I started to become convinced that I needed to do the problem to the top from the sloper. Did this. Easily. So, its reduced to massively overlapping sections both of which can be climbed comfortably - whats the problem?

Its much easier to rest with other people at the crag - much easier. I am comfortably taking 8 minutes, and it helps. As soon as I feel my efforts start to go backwards we sack it to grindleford station for breakfast. Mmm. Lard. My caffeine levels are way high - I feel jittery, the quietness of the other two magnifies. We drive back to sheffield (its about 11am) and swap cars. By 1230 we are arriving at Caley and it looks pretty dry from the car at least... The ferns and grass are all wet underfoot, and there is absolutely no wind. Find Chris and Burney and exchange pleasantries. They are stood beneath Blockbuster, and they tell us its rubbish. I continue showing Ned and Helen around and we wind up back down at Otley wall to warm up. Helen climbs straight up from the start of Otley wall and passes all the difficulty with ease, but gets sewing machine leg trying to finish the problem - its quite high and the first climb of the day for her. She has a moment to herself and sorts it out. Ned flashes otley wall - what an ace problem. I do it every time I come. Seem to find it much easier today than on previous visits. There are two problems on a block just right of Otley wall that I have never done - pulling on chicken heads and one that starts in the middle of the wall. They are both fun. Ned and I leave Helen padding up the slab and crack behind otley wall and head off to do finger knacker crack - its lovely. I climb the rabbits paw walll which is throughly enjoyable. All head down to New Jerusalem. Theres a couple already there so I ask if they mind if we join them - they seem very nice, but I do the problem on my first try, which makes me feel a bit of a twat. Not only have I pushed in front of you, now I'm gonna burn you off. Ned makes it worse by locking all the moves so we skulk off round the corner to pocket wall (is it called that?). Its all in rubbish nic, rumble off up it anyway. After this, we look at the crystal method but it feels about 9a, even after I have remembered what to do. Finish our caley session on Blockbuster, but again - its really bad conditions. Sack it to Almscliff.

From a dank, slightly oppressive day at caley, our spirits are lifted when we arrive at Almscliff. Theres no sign of a Harris/Coughlan mobile in the layby but it is late (1630) and they might have already gone. Walk up and the crag is bathed in autumnal afternoon sunlight. Its beautiful. Theres still not too much wind, but its a more cheery place to finish the day. I am delighted we have come. Do some more soloing and Helen pushes it out on a scary old route. She has a mini moment, but pushes through (showing remarkable tenacity) and relishes the experience - always so much richer when you were genuinely scared. I am beaten - cant be bothered trying anything hard, so I do some fun bimbling and harangue Ned. Tom Peckitt turns up, he's been to a dubstep night at the West Indian centre and has only surfaced at 1630! We exchange notes on bogling. A thought crosses my mind that whenever I see tom Its the end of the day for me and I walloped - he must think I am a complete punter! I will have to sleep at the crag in an oxygen tent before emerging just as he arrives. Or not be such an ego driven tart. Wonder if Shiv did Jess' roof? I dont even go and look, but someone tells us theres been a chalk explosion up there. Ned does demon wall roof. Far more impressive - I do the crucifix in bare feet. Perhaps this is 8c? I like to think of myself as visionary.

Huffy sends me a text - he has just closed a number 3 Captains of crush! We think this means he can get a certificate. Nige later tells me he thought his wrist was going to snap when he did it. Earth shattering news...

Drive home, have a curry and a couple of beers and fall into bed. I am destroyed. Its 2300.

Sunday I can feel saturday in my bones. Helen is going guidebook testing with Simon Jacques. I would love to have gone and done some new problems at Froggatt, but I have housework to do. The Honey Monster has been away all weekend and I have hardly been in. The house is filthy. Get cracking about 0930 but arrange to meet Ned at the board for ring training(!) as a compromise. The house gets scrubbed to within an inch of its life - am pleased, it looks great. Head to the board and Lee and Nige are already beasting it, I am incapable of climbing, but when warmed up I feel ok on the rings. Have a shortish session but remember why I like them so much. I always neglect the rings, thinking they arent doing anything for me, but then when I train in them again I get psyched out of my mind. Having just read the john gill book, I think I might try to build a rings session in to my training again. Or do I? I'm not sure its my weak link. My shoulders ache today.

The monster arrives home just before three and its great to see her and to catch up. Roast lamb for tea. Try to persuade her to go to the pub but she is tired and will not be moved. Having not seen her all weekend I am not going out again now. Go to bed early.
Mildly disappointed about saturday. It wasnt the best ever conditions. I feel like I have been going ten to the dozen lately and am perhaps overdoing it? I dont think quantity of training is the answer to anything other than a question of how to hurt yourself. Quality is worth far more than quantity. I rest a day between intense training these days, and intense training means 3 hours max. I am never out all day. Is it the case that you can climb all day, everyday if you are fitter - but not trying anything at your limit, or that you aren't giving your best because there is residual tiredness?