Monday, 26 February 2007

Mini Cod Ring update

Good news! I am not dying after all! Cod finger felt fine after warming up tonight at the board. Didnt progress from warm ups to hard core crankage as was planning a rings session. Vik joined me for the basic workout and we were both beasted by the end. JLS popped his head in for 15 mins during workout. Codfinger is sore if pushed on crimps but fine on campus and on drags. Suspect is some kind of strain and will be fine if properly warmed up.

Rest of week looks like this :

  • Weds - leeds

  • Thurs - wall? foundry?

  • fri - off

  • sat - WALES! come rain or shine I am going to DESTROY lou ferrino!

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Codfinger or hypochondria

Going into the weekend I thought I had a bit of cod finger in up to two fingers on the left hand. Before I am warmed up they feel well tender. Exiting the weekend, I feel as though the left hand is fine, but the right ring finger feels fully painful. Kinda concerned that I have tweaked a pulley, as its even sore to the touch. Shit - hate being injured.

Friday night went to see The last king of scotland. Forest Whittaker is very good as despot Idi Amin - frightening. Late when we came out but glad to have seen it. Saturday we read the papers and Ed Brown and Pip (and baby) were down looking at houses. Showed them round ours whilst sending about a thousand text messages to Jon to find out if it was worth going out. He was headed for Curbar and the text I got suggested that he had walked past curbar and ended up at Froggat, where it was 50% dry. Would have loved to have gone out, but it sounded dicey, and with limited time and new problems to do at the works I figured I would head down there and get some training done. Comp problems at the works are very good. Entertaining, and technical. Two in particular worth trying are a blue thing with massive holds on the barrel that looks like it should be straightforward but is sapping, and a crimpy pink thing on the same bit of wall. Apparently the volumes only madness off to the far right had a £100 bounty on it! Dave Barrans succeeded on the night. Jumping for a small edge seems to have been whats caused right hand cod finger. Didnt go dramatically, or suddenly start feeling really bad or anything, just started being a bit stiff and hurty. Taped it and carried on and it felt ok to be honest, but its sore today.

Saturday night went to Leeds for dinner with Sister and parents. Was a lovely evening in a nice restaurant. Rubbish train home which took ages.

Sunday we went for a walk to retrieve my car (left at her gym near town), had a coffee and did the food shopping. Some house cleaning later we went for a pootle out to Rubicon to assess the state of dryness. Its miles off anything useful! Here is the path :

about three inches deep to get to the bottom of the route rubicon (which is soaked). Carried on round to Kudos wall and found this :

So thats fully useless as well. Sigh. Never mind. River is really fast flowing at the moment :

Friday, 23 February 2007

School Social

Had a good session at the board last night, loads of people in, and I enjoy training up there much more when there's a good crowd. Its amazing what it does for your energy.

Very aware that I feel like I do a lot of moaning about my lack lustre performances on this Blog, but it must be said, I wasn't bearing down last night! Temperature in there was bizarre, it was really warm! Anyway, had a good time and laughed a lot which is definatly a good thing. Man of the match to Ed I think. Looked well strong.

Just had a text from strong but ginger Ed Feehally - he won the foundry comp with 417 pts and I was second with 397. Not bad for a nine to fiver!

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Foundry comp

Bit of a belated update on the Foundry comp from last night - I was rubbish! psychology was all wrong and the energy level bad. Arrived feeling tired and sluggish and never really managed to shake myself out of it. Found that I was quite pleased to blow three goes on a problem from the ground so I could get involved working the moves with Ed.

There were only three problems of notable difficulty and they really weren't that bad. Usually at these comps I can climb everything - eventually, it just takes me more than three goes! Of the three tricky ones, here is the run down :

1 - on the board. Go 1 - rubbish, read it wrong. Go 2, reaching for the top, all looking good - right hand blew off and deposited me on arse on mats. Go 3, felt tired. Rubbish. Somehow managed to hurt thumb and crack a lovely deep split open in the process. Nice one.
2 - Yello tape on the wave. Go 1, 2 and 3 - all rubbish, burly problem all moves ok, but drained by the time you get to the tricky move. Did the move in isolation and it felt about 6a.
3 - Fluoro green on the wave - the crux handholds of the 8a+! Go 1 - being stupid. Go 2 - wrong feet, Go three - tired. Sigh. Nearly got up this one on subsequent goes but chuffin knackered.

Didnt fall off owt else. Young Feehally dropped a warm up problem, both the hard ones on the wave and the one on the barrel also. He got up the barrel one on his 2nd go and the same for the warm up prob. I got 123, I think he will have got 126. I dont know what overall looked like to be honest, think it will be quite close.

Went home all disappointed that I had climbed rubbish and watched Apocalypto - great stuff! terrifying!

Monday, 19 February 2007

Lakeland Lovelies

Morning! had a great weekend in the Lakes, albeit a bit on the short side. Picked up the monster in Manchester at about 11 and stopped in at Stalyvegas Tescos for breakfast. By 1130 we were on the way, and by 1330 we were in the Lakes!

Went straight over to the Grizedale forest, but were too late to hire bikes (1400) so headed up Langdale. Parked at the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel and walked up Stickle Ghyll.

Amazing weather, beautiful sunshine and great visibility...

Got to the top in good time and considered our options. The time was knockin on (about 1600), giving us about an hour and a half of light. It didnt look to be far to whip up the top and then head down langdale pikes, but it did look steep. Everyone else was walking the other direction which didnt help our confidence. Decided to sack it down and on the way were glad we did. We had no provisions and only about a litre of water, started to run out of energy. Quickly recharged in the pub and then drove back to the hotel.

Room was fairly rubbish, but the food was nice and the service was great. Lovely meal and a bottle of wine and we retired early.

Up early on Sunday to frost, but again, totally blue sky! brilliant! Breakfasted and got to Grizedale for 0945. Hired bikes and set off on a mountain bike trail. We covered 17.5km in 2.5 hrs. Had a couple of stops, and bear in mind that one of us hadnt sat on a push bike for 10 years, let alone a mountain bike! Learning curve was steep but successful and noone came a cropper! had a lovely lovely morning, saw some great views and worked off at least half of previous nights tea!

After we returned the bikes we headed to Ambleside for a mooch around and a sandwich (in the Giggling goose). Managed to extract myself from the outdoor shops empty handed and then to Grasmere to buy Gingerbread and have a little walk. Set off home at about 1500. A lovely weekend.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Foundry or the Works

Couple of days climbing to report on. None of them outside, and none of them tales of big numbers, but as a diary of a climber, I have musings to air. Have just had three consecutive days on (havent done that for ages) and am delighted that felt good on all three. Wednesday I climbed at the Leeds wall. TC had lurgy so I went on my own. Did some good problems and then got stuck into failing on some volume jamming wierdness. Fun, but wierd. Ben Meeks at Leeds has (like a butterfly) turned into a hard climbing machine and loves all this 3D madness, I've always dismissed it as a distraction from real climbing (at the board;-)), and I have always thought that I could have him on the crimps - not sure this is the case anymore. The fucker is strong all round these days. Am beginning to think the only way to greatness is to (like Tonya Harding) wait outside with an iron bar! And that was Wednesday.

Thursday I made a long overdue return to the Foundry. What a fantastic wall! had a great session with people vying for position on the wave! Sharples, Stu Littlefair, Jon Fullwood, Ed 'the human pinching machine' Robinson, James Foley, Rob Napier, Neil Bentley, Paul Reeves, Jules Littlefair nee Copnall (congrats to those two) and even Ed Brown from Leeds (down for a job interview). Loads of good problems. Basicness, Napier deviousity (is that a word?) and some classic moves the cheeky bugger has recycled. It felt good to be back on the wave. Typically, Ed's burl and 'ooh, I'm not strong' was evident and there were gasps as he caned past others high points, Stu was just steely, Jon was ever devious (one thing I envy and must suck out of jon is his ability to dig that bit deeper. When I am on a hard move, if I think I have fluffed it I will drop off, whilst he will grunt and do it anyway - thats how he gets things done. When in Chironico I got to the top of Le Pilier and tried to static the move, then kinda dropped off when Jon would have made a noise and flung himself at the top. Got to learn how to do that), but for me I thought young Rob Napier was climbing really well. He looked awesome on the wave! there was some other youth there who was going really well too. I think the last time I saw him he was a youth and now he is a youth to be contended with. Remains to be seen how he does outside his home turf. Anyway, a good night and great banter.

Tonight I have been to the works. The intention was for an easy session. Perhaps bimbling around the non comp wall and getting stuck into the yellow circuit. I arrived and ran into Si Clarke, jokingly I explained my intentions and then said that I always got sidetracked into the comp wall. At least I must have lasted 40 minutes this time. I blame Harris. Not having seen the wild haired pocket rocket for a couple of weeks I was keen to catch up and before long we were getting involved with some green filth on the steep bit. Andi_E kept following me round and I wished he wouldnt. I dont know what it is about him that grates on me, its like he is too desperate or something? He's just young and keen and I was probably like that, but there's something about him sort of loitering around when I am chatting to my friends that perhaps suggests he lacks social skills or something. Anyway, did some scary foot-jamming spotty thing which felt steady, a man with the biggest muscles I have ever seen climbed badly (but kept his shirt off), R-Man climbed using his arms whilst windmilling his legs and Broken Paul B turned up with GF Nat. Bloody hell Paul. The leg looks bad. Was good to see him and he was in good spirits although it will be some time before he is back on the right side of the mats. Thankfully he is fully psyched to keep up with the finger boards and if he does he will be fully unstoppable. Harsh to see one of your friends smashed up. Que me and Harris having deeply inappropriate discussion about injuries and people with metal in them.

Paul went off and did pull ups! I suggested Nat carry a spanner in her pocket in case he gets out of hand again, then she can give him a swift clout on the ilzarov.

Having been to both walls on consecutive evenings I feel I should make a comparison. The works is much bigger (more to do to get to the top), and the style of climbing is more about climbing and less about pulling. The foundry bouldering wall is still, in my opinion, the best moulded resin bouldering wall in the country. The wave feels like a crag - the smearing on the smears, the shape of the wall - its just a brilliant design! not to say that the Works isnt, its like a supersized Edge in terms of the climbing on offer - and thats different. You will always have devotees of either, but I am a simple boy with simple needs, and I will always stay loyal to the foundry. That said, strength isnt everything and you would emerge a better climber after a series at the works. Off to the Lakes tomorrow. Better go to bed.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

The cost of work?

Andy Earl has just done Careless Torque ground up. This is a good effort but totally what I would expect from someone of his calibre. Suprised it hasnt had more ascents to be honest, its only highball 8a after all, and such a proud line. I've climbed with the Earl a couple of times at Leeds recently and was pleased to see that he was climbing really well. Its got me thinking though, whats the difference? between me and him? why is he so much better than I am? what does he have that I dont?

There's talent and there's application. Reading his blog he climbs a lot, as does Gaz, so mileage seems to count. I climb as much as I think my body can take (in a week) so how do they do more? I reckon its sleep. I have to get up at 0600 to get to work each morning and that coupled with hard physical training drains you, you aren't going to recover enough to go again the same day.

There are loads of reasons why the Earl is a better climber than me. Diet, training, sleep, talent. Jon Fullwood went away to Australia a good climber, and came back a great one. TC reckons his big trips have been the key to his breakthroughs too. Clearly, this is the answer. Somehow, I need to get the honey monster into climbing.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Workin the works

Been a slow week in climbing terms. Had monday off with HM and had a nice day, back to work on the Tuesday, first climbing day Wednesday at Leeds. Felt like un sac de merde and it was all hard work. Did a couple of things I thought was climbing ok, but skin still poor and not really on it.

Thursday went to the Works in the evening. Good crowd down there, but rather nervous about going for it at the top of the wall since Paul's accident. Jon and I started spotting each other! Put in some good links on a hard yellow problem and felt a bit more like normal. Hard work climbing on a climbing wall when you have become accustomed to outside basic-ness. Ideal training for the Peak I suspect (if it ever stops raining).

Friday went for a run. A week and a bit off running is evident too. 5.4km in 30 mins. Friday night loads of snow landed in Sheffield and we went night sledging! fantastic! found a good long run in bingham park and burnt off the goth teens who had only sheets of plastic! They were all desperate for a go in our sub £5 plastic sledge. Saturday had a headache all day, and did some DIY.

Sunday went to the climbing works and had a good session. Got to go to Leeds now to sisters for tea. More later. Or perhaps when something happens!

Monday, 5 February 2007

Cresciano 2007 closed...

Well, thats it for another year. Cresciano completed. Had a great trip and throughly enjoyed myself, and came close but didnt succeed on Le Pilier, it was good to know that I could have done and that it wasnt out of my league. With more time and better skin I feel certain it would have gone down. As James pointed out in the car on the way home last night, there is a difference between 'should have done it' and 'nearly did it' - nearly did it is what people say when they have reduced a problem to sections and thought they were close, whilst should have means it was on but something prevented sendage. I hope that makes sense - I know what I mean!

Have finished uploading the pics which are online at

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Good to be back

Arrived back to Blighty and eventually to sheffield this evening. Been a great trip, have had a good time and all is well. Will elaborate further when have got back into the swing of things (and gotten clean!). BA lost James' pad, the flights were fine but no delay on the last day. Ok, uploading the pics now and will post a link tomorrow.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Incompetent and sore

Last climbing day in Switzerland today. Another scorcher, 14 degrees when we got to the car. Found a cool website at which works on a mobile phone (or blackberry) and managed to write down the German for : our flight is tomorrow, and can we stay another night. All worrying was unnecessary and it was fine for us to stay.

Drove up to cresciano and found a parking space (only one or two cars all week, then today about 50!), left down jacket and all that in the car, it was boiling and I couldn't see myself needing it. Wish I could say I was freezing later on but I wasn't. Walked to hannibal lecter and did some warm up bimbling. Chucked the pads in to the nice cold cave and sat in there to get my body to cool down. Put the cheating hook shoes on and after a bit of reacquaintence got to the last holds... Man these are sharp! When your fingers are wet to the touch as they're weeping there really is no point trying friction problems! Neither of us could really summon up the energy to have a serious go, although I steeled myself and thought like sharma and got to the top, but felt like I was slipping on the holds all the time. When in a cave with a dodgy landing, its doesn't inspire confidence, especially with a broken body! So, sat in the sun for a bit and took james to see dreamtime. Well hot on the holds. Wandered back to stinky Pete, so scary! So high! Did some fun easy problems and a cool slab thing and then just sat in the sun until it went behind the mountains. In previous years this meant jumper, long johns and down jacket we're all deployed, only removed to attempt something. Had only t shirt on up till now and still only had to put my thermal on now. Did a bit more, until it became painful to even pull on a hold, and then walked down to the car. Tail between legs a bit, but know that if it had been cooler and I had better skin then it could all have been so different.

I've had a good trip, I have climbed ok, my body feels like its worked hard, but could give more. I feel like I have been frustrated by bad skin rather than weakness this time, and whilst frustrating, its good to know that at least the training seems to be working. It would have been really nice to come home having done something new that I was proud of, but as tc says :

"Don't get disillusioned, this is what bouldering is about - the mental and physical battle. Sounds like this problem is perfect for you as you're now getting into the realms of the mental but you're so close. That's what makes bouldering so special - the whole rollercoaster thing of one minute thinking your on, the next thinking it's not going to happen. Enjoy the process and enjoy the moment. "

(makes me think of him as John Allen at millstone in stone monkey) and I have enjoyed the process, I've certainly learnt from it and resolve to come back and get it finished.

Ok, going to sleep now. Travel home tomorrow.

Cliques a claques

Still this strange mist in the bottom of the valley when we got up this morning. Temp outside was cool but still no need for a jumper or jacket or anything. Decided we'd go to chironico as it would be cooler. Walked a long way down the path past the areas I have climbed in before to find something of Dave g's called electric ant. Quested off down a steep talus field covered in leaves, and found another problem which we found in the guide, and looked ok but it was much further to electric ant according to the guide. Sacked it off and walked back up to centrale. Did some really cool slab problems and then had a few goes on a fun 7a arete around the corner. Felt like it would go, but was both scary and tearing a hole in my fingers. Didn't want to waste already thin skin on something I didn't care about as I still thought I was in with a chance on le Pilier. James tried a 7a+ called Norfolk and then repeated a 6c crimpy wall to the right. I tried, but again, it was bity on my fingers and I was trying to conserve energy. Then we started looking at a fred Nicole problem that climbs an arete from sitting in the center area called cliques a claques. A really involving problem that was very entertaining to climb. Reminded me why I like boulderinh so much - the team mentality of working out how to climb something, everyone having a go and feeling as if it were possible but noone being vastly more able than anyone else. Great stuff. Neither of us got up it, but the holds were all big so I wasn't wasting skin.

Walked back to le Pilier and intended to try the top move, set up the pads and Freshly taped the bad fingers, even sank a can of red bull ready for the ascent! Had decided to do the last sequence a few times to get it wired and pulled on to do the last rock and jump but felt rubbish and like an old man! Battered and body tired. Knew it wasn't going to happen so took shoes off straight away, and announced the temporary end of my relationship with that problem (until next visit). A bit of a shit as it should have been done on day 1 but that's how it goes I suppose. If I had more time it would have happened, of that I am sure. Skant comfort.

James and I walked back out to the soucoupe roof in good spirits for him to finish vitruvian man. Decided I was going to climb it too as have nothing to hold back for now. Pulled on and climbed through to the jump, held but right hand dynamically gave way cos of the tape - really hurty! Sacked it and cleaned the holds for james. After a few abortive attempts, he went for a shit and that was the catalyst for success! Sent it on his next go. Walked back to the car in good spirits.

When we arrived back at the car it was for once, still light! Used this to our advantage to suss out a tresch brothers problem away from the main area called Freak brothers. This looks fab! Start on sloper, left hand out to ok sloping edger, right to jug undercut, build feet, left hand big span to edge and then lob for top. Looks amazing. Also found an amazing feature called tomahawk. If its hot down here tomorrow we will go back up there and try that. Now dark. Walk back to car and feel like body crashing. Drive back to biasca and attempt to buy mince. Migros is out and they don't sell beer!

Still have to tell the family we need another night (when Vik booked I told her sat to sat, its actually sat to sun. Sure this will be ok...) but was noone in when we got back. Went out for tea again.

Tomorrow, depends on weather, but maybe cresc to get hannibal lecter done, then perhaps to chironico if its warm.... Last day!

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Basking in sunshine

14 degrees today! In January, in the alps! What is going on? T shirt weather all day! So warm. Walked up to cresciano and it felt cold so packed the thermals and walked in, that warmed us up and we never cooled down! Did some bimbling and had a quick look at Franks wild years, but the pinch was greasy and I couldn't make the right heel stick to match. Went and sought out Kirk windfarm (v.funny ed!) which looks well feasible. Had a bit of a pootle and did first couple of moves but had really got hands so sacked it. Walked on to la boule but again, the hands were so hot there was just no point. Did some easy slab stuff and spotted james valiantly trying la boulette. Walked down in darkness without a coat on. Cannot believe temp. Its still t shirt weather and its January! Mental.

Hope it cools down tomorrow! There were a few clouds about today for the first time all week, so I wonder if there's some kind of weather front incoming... Ulp!