Thursday, 31 May 2007

The Fish Works

Just been to the works for a long lunch break. Suprised myself and climbed ok. Often climbing there the day after going to the tor is pretty much pointless but it was ok. Edged a bit further along that brown traverse on the comp wall, but still some distance from success.

Then went to the fishmonger and bought some Hake.


Back at the Tor last night. Loads of people out - I counted 9 or 10 all stood round Powerband at one point, thats not including all the people on ropes in the middle and to the left hand side - bonkers. Why has the slimestone become so popular? in previous years it was scorned and people would roll their eyes when I said I was going to the Tor, but this year its overrun.
Pretty damp unfortunately last night. All pockets and lines of weakness showing signs of wetness. Sardine and co are ever dry. Conditions not good at all. As I arrived Rae had just succeeded on Powerband - which is a great effort. Brother Ross was trying Hot Flushings and there were a couple of guys on Sardine. Put my comfy boots on and did some warming up. Everything a bit claggy, but not horrendous. Did weedkiller trav in the absence of my usual warm up circuit and shuffled down to Powerband. Jon arrives, as does Andy Cave. Shoot the breeze with those two before having an 'English' go on powerband - i.e. complete and total control all the way to the last move and then step off. Rubbish. Clean up Staminaband and get involved. Make it to the pillar but feel good! finger slips on the twisty undercut thing and I'm off - but have hope as must have taken all the holds right or something and it might be on! set the stopwatch and wander off to pester people.
Jon assembles a bunch of pads beneath Pump up the power and is game for the boulder tick. Suprisingly, this seems like a good idea! Rob Napier and Not-Dan-Varian turn up (on UKB I for some reason thought that North-Country-Boy was Dan Varian and awarded wad points for Zeke in an afternoon etc, its not Dan Varian after all, its Dan somethingelse), as does Ben Bransby. A massively strong Aussie crew turn up and are keen to get involved with various Right hand end problems. Scouse D is trying Powerhumps, i have a go and it feels ok. Get all interested in PUTP and have a couple of goes. Can't seat the left hand crimp properly so I dont succeed (neither does anyone else) but at least the fall is ok. My channel surfing onto PUTP affects Jon and he gets all interested in Staminaband. Has a couple of goes before getting that look in his eye and really bloody trying - makes it through the start well, shakes out on the powerband slots, comfortably does the moves up into the middle hard section and manages to get another shake on the crossover to the pinch bit, jumps down to the low hold but looks to be struggling, matches and has a mini shake. He sorts his feet (as only Jon can) and moves into the PUTP start jug, has a bigger shake here before busting out left to the pocket, walks his feet over and HE'S GOT HIS HAND DOWN! EFFORT! Good work Jon.
Robin '20 years of Beta' Barker shows me a new way to do the foot sequence in the undercut section, this saves me three foot moves, but sadly, I have already shot me bolt for the night and its not to be. Go and have a look at Ben's Roof (as a warm down? what?) and get out to the edge of the roof a couple of times but have nothing left and cant continue. Decide to go on Weedkiller (honestly - just go home!) but cant even do that. My ever decreasing rest interval is nothing to do with it at all. Home in the light and nursing a massive split.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Peak limestone drizzle tale

The weather in the Peak district has been clement over the bank holiday. This is something of a tradition for the UK and this bank holiday did not break it. It was also a good five degrees cooler than it has been over the weekend. In fact, it was actually quite reasonable conditions for climbing on Peak lime. I climbed saturday morning at the tor where I made some progress on Staminaband. Have basically decided to go back to the egyptian beta and its working much better. I cant decide whether to rest on the starting powerband slots or not. Chatted with Robin Barker about this and he says if you are fit then rest, if not then push on. But I think I need to have a bit of a shake and some chalk - its just that those slots have a sharp edge on them and they cut you, especially if you are shuffling around in them. Anyway, four goes to the middle of PB which is good. Perhaps the next stage is to climb PB from the undercuts?
Saturday afternoon she and I had a nice walk into town, punctuated by coffee and cakes on the way. Popped back home to collect the car and went to see 'Black snake moan' at the cinema. This is not a great film, dont rush out to see it - the title isnt quite as descriptive of the content as you might think, although Christina Ricci does spend a large amount of the film wearing just her underpants and chained to a radiator. About 6/10.
Sunday morning we were up early to take her to a farmers market in Ashton. She had a stall to man and I was going to head to Longridge, but the constant rain threatened to be seeping through and I headed back into the Peak. On the way I decided not to go to the tor and to head to Rubicon for a change, plus - as mentioned above, it was much cooler. Only takes 40 minutes from Ashton. Arrived at pretty much dead on 10am and set up camp under the three easy traverses. Did obligatory warm up circuit and moved camp to Kudos - what a treat to be back! conditions on the rock quite good, but almost torrential rain in the dale. Did the press, did the kneeling start, had a coffee and then did bigger splash (thats the stand up on Tsunami right?). Cleaned all the holds and started trying from the sloper - had decided that I was going to try to see if this gay heel hook beta could work for me - perhaps I could get an ascent if its easier - its not - again, could be that I needed to get it wired, but it doesnt work for me! Anyway, after some getting it dialled and brushing and so on I am slapping the finishing jug from the sloper. Pleased. Decide to try the start but the sloper seems to get greasy and not take well to my need to adjust on it. Psyched to get back to it, but given that was an unusually cold day and it was still a bit on the warm side then it might not happen until September.
Should have trained in the rings last night but she wasnt Gyming so I had a nice rest! Found ourselves at the cinema to watch 'This is england' which is brilliant. 8.5/10. This week I am going to run tonight, will be at the Tor tomorrow, works thursday and then probably out saturday AM again.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Hot hands

I felt tired after Wednesday nights exertions at the Tor and hadn't really recovered by Thursday lunchtime. I think when its hot you have to try much harder. You feel more tired from doing the same moves and the holds feel worse. Additionally, my skin goes soft when its hot and rolls off small holds. This is what stopped me on Yorkshire 8B at WCJ Cornice last year. My feet were hot and swollen, making my boots hurt (and of course, because its hotter, the shoe is softer and that rolls off a small edge too) and I couldnt make the holds work. I think thats what I shall claim for my inability on SB on Wednesday, its not that I can't do it - honest!!!
So anyway, I rolled up at the works at lunchtime and did some easy problems that felt very hard. Bought some hand ruining superchalk (does anyone else suffer massively if they use superchalk? it absolutely nails my skin. So much that I now make a hybrid supermoonchalkmegamix from moon chalk and superchalk - about 60(moon)% 40(super)%) but the oppressive heat made it hard to operate even with artificial drying aids. Opened all the windows and got the fans on but it was hideous. Felt knackered and rubbish. Did some work and eventually admitted defeat about 1430.
Perc was rambling on about their being some horrific video on UKB that I should moderate. Its a video of someone having the Paul B accident off Helicopter at Font. Its hideous. I felt quite sickened after seeing it and started thinking how grim to be so injured and out for so long. Apparently, the mates of the guy in the video were so shaken that they all froze and left it to this scottish girl to sort. She dealt with it and looked after the dude until the ambulance arrived then promptly fainted and woke up in a pool of sick. Good effort (seriously) to her for keeping it down during the trauma - being sick after the event is fine and completely understandable, being sick with the casualty would be baaaad karma. When I went on a first aid course thats one of the things they tell you - keep the casualty calm - they are going into shock (deep shock with such a horrific break) and they don't need you blethering on about how bad it is/looks. Nasty stuff. Why do people want to watch such filth? had to take my mind off it by watching TC do laps on Superman2. Thats kinda filthy too mind. I like that filth though.
Anyway, out tomorrow, not decided where yet. Depends if Ed will be joining me....

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Traverse the tor

Spent last night shuffling sideways at the tor. Almost no going up took place from me at all. Arrived at 1700 to find an empty crag. The car had been reporting temps of up to 22.5degrees on the way out (but they are always optimistic those car thermometer things, too cold in winter, too hot in summer - usually by about 2 degrees) and it felt sweltering at the crag. Bit of a breeze intermittently made an effort to cool things down, but really, it wasnt until later when the conditions got better. Warmed up with some bimbling under Sardine et al and then shuffled my shanty town of possesions down to Powerband. Did the last move on its own, climbed into it from a few moves back, then had a go from the start, from the position it felt like it was going to be allright, but when I took my right hand off to go down I sagged off the hold and that was that. I dont think I am trying very hard, I am trying to do it all perfectly, reading too much in to my feelings on the moves - just bloody well go for it!
Anyway, I have done the powerband, and the only reason I want to get it wired and be able to do it on every visit is for Staminaband and so I can get another step on the ladder to being a Tor wad! Sadly, I think theres quite a long way to go. So, Stamina band. Pulled on, down to the pocket, sort the feet, bump the sloper, then the jug thing, undercut, stuff the feet and I am off. Realise I havent mentally reconciled my foot sequence and am climbing it like a gibbon. Decide what I am doing and get back on, get into the start of PB but it feels much harder than it did last week - this is a cause for concern. Rupert turns up. He has a different foot sequence, avoiding the egyptian. Now, I can pretty much always do the start with the egyptian but it feels like a lot of work, and when I am falling off in PB I feel as if I have nothing left, so any beta that straightens out the sequence has to be a good thing. Thing is, that whilst you dont have to put the egyptian in with Ru's foot beta, it makes the transition to Powerband move harder. But, perhaps I just need to get it wired. If I learn a more efficient sequence then I will have more in the tank at the end. Anyway, next liason with the problem is going to be Saturday AM.
James turns up and bares the 8b physique (to be honest, I think he might need an upgrade. I have seen some 8b climbers and he is more buff - 8c Foley), and we clip up Rooster Booster. I went on this about 12 years ago and thought it was desperate, but I was crap and it was too hard for me. James went first, spending quite a lot of time working a sequence and getting all the moves dialled. He makes it look hard, but he covers the ground and looks as if with a bit of refinement he could get it done. I feel tired, and a bit scared. He comes down, I tie on and wobble up sardine missing out all the good holds and getting a flash pump. I clip three bolts and have a rest. Strangely, dont feel in the least bit scared. Spend about 10 mins making a meal of the middle section and ultimately have quite a lot of fun getting to the end. Not too hard, but theres a pocket I can only use as a mono! everyone else can get two fingers in, so I need to work something out for that bit. But, the best news is that I didnt get the fear. I was fully happy to go out on the end of a rope and wasnt crippled by worrying about falling off. Perhaps this will be a better year than it has been already!
All in, a good night - didnt climb great but good to see people and put in a bit of work on something new. Talking of something new, I read with interest that my coach and mentor has succeeded on the Room project at Squamish. When they were going he had said there was something he wanted to do and that it was an amazing line. Then when they were there he said that he was getting really close but seemed to have a bit of a cold which he needed to shake. Anyway, I read (on the moonblog - sniff) that he has succeeded. Good work TC, a great effort. Sure theres plenty more for him to do and clean up for when I go!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Fatty Ned - the great white hope of British Rock Climbing

Just been to make a cup of tea and for some reason started thinking about comments that someone (Ben Moon?) made years ago about young guns - to the effect that there was noone coming up, no younger generation of climbers pushing it - just him and Jerry on their ivory tower at the cream of the crop. If I was Ben Moon (I am in my dreams) I reckon I would probably have thought this was true, although after that statement, the likes of Cameron and Smith, Sellars et al all started doing rather well. Anyway, going off on a tangent again - my thoughts at the tea machine were that perhaps we are about to enter a golden age of British rock climbing? There are loads of young guns about at the moment, some of them with great potential - young Feehally (19) is certainly one of them, he is well strong, keen and dead dead young. My point being, if he is this good now, he will be unstoppable in years to come!
So, here it is then, the point of this post - a list of young guns coming through...
Paul B - when fixed, but only 24 and already done 8b!
Ryan Pasquill - waddage.
Tyler Landman - a right tool when I met him, but am assured he isn't now. About 12 but has climbed 8b(+?)
Ned "14st of shoulder" Feehally - 8a+ at 19, 8a and 18, grade extrapolation = 8c @ 22 and Font 9A by 24!!!!!
James Pearsons - loads of stuff, still under 25
Keith "Arms like a shirehorse" Bradbury - 24 (?) 8a+ already and if he stops training and goes climbing potential for so much more.
Dan Varian - North country waddage. Zeke in an afternoon. Nice guy too.
This is by no means definitive. There's loads of people I dont know who would make it on from Wales probably, but anyway - its good that these young punks are going to do some hard stuff (hopefully).
Anyway, following this mornings post, Ned texted and said that he isnt 12st after all, he is 11.5. Such a fat knacker. I honestly dont know why I associate with these fat laden amateurs.
Phwoaaarrrg! am listening to Richie on John Peel from god knows when and its all just got militant!

The lord of the rings

Man, I love training in the rings! its the knowledge! a lot of the time with climbing you stop because you cant technically do a move or you get a power fade on, its not often that you work a muscle group so hard that you ache from the effort. Its the endorphins apparently that make you buzz off hard physical effort, and its a good feeling!
I suppose though, that this means that you dont need to work those muscles so hard to climb well? if they dont ache as result of doing what it is you are training for, then they aren't needed and you dont need to make them ache through training? Typing and reading that sentence back I think I just missed the point. The idea of training is isolation - of working one group of muscles to failure so that they supercompensate and other stimulus that uses that group finds them stronger when they need to recruit.
On a lesser note, when its hot and sweaty, training in the rings gives you a good work out when it would be too hot to pull hard on small holds.
Beefcake doctor Rick Moranis lookalike Follicle was off tending the incontinent and couldnt make it last night, so young gun Feehally was recruited. He is STRONG! and another beefcake! I weighed myself and was suprised following a weekend of eating rubbish, to find that I was light - 10.5st. Ned is 12st! its all those massive shoulders though as theres no fat on him. This got me thinking about the age old dilemma of light vs heavy but energy. I'll not spell it out, as anyone with half a brain and a desire to hang off small holds will have thought about it themselves. Concluded that there is no rule of thumb. You must find for yourself a weight that you feel spritely at and yet have enough beans to crank without a massive power fade. Anyway, waif or beefcake aside - we both climbed like un sac de merde. Roll on Wednesday.

Monday, 21 May 2007

There was much sighing in the car on the way home last night. Thankfully these sighs were not born out of frustration or as result of a wet weekend in the lakes, they were sighs of satisfaction from three tired but happy bodies on the way home following a good weekend.

After work on thursday I collected Chris from the official chairmans residence and we filled the car with camping paraphernalia. Blazed a trail to Stockport where we met with Eastern European wrestling champ Ianovitch Culstar who had arranged a gourmet meal of sauteed pommes de terre and poisson. Following a tour of the Culshaw residence we left Manchester at 1900. It only took 1hr45 to get to the campsite, so the tents were pitched in the last vestiges of light before sacking it to the pub.

Friday morning we woke to horizontal death rain and there were no signs of improvement from the sky above. Drove to Ambleside for a mooch around, and almost as soon as we arrived the sun came out.

Ate and caned it back to Langdale to get out on the hills. The weather remained clear so we headed out up stickle ghyll. Steep, steep, steep - top! takes about an hour to complete what is ultimately a two mile stairmaster. At the apparent top lies Stickle tarn, a glacial corrie flanked on either side by hills and walled at the back by an 800 foot grey green cliff known as Pavey Ark. The crag rises out the back of the tarn like a foreboding grey presence and is slashed from right to left by a ramp which is called Jakes Rake. On clapping eyes on the feature the other two elected to take the footpath up the side. I couldnt miss the opportunity and with a bit of trepidation jogged off round the lake on my own. A bit of scrambling leads to the base of a deep groove which runs up the middle of the cliff, its more a very extreme walk than a climb but the exposure in the middle is considerable! This is a picture from Jacks rake next to a rowan tree which clings to the cliffside at about half way up (stickle tarn in the background) :

Anyway, met the others at the top and pressed on to the Pike of Stickle and ultimately home down the Mickleden Valley. Total time about 4.5 hours. Brilliant day out, walked straight back to the old dungeon ghyll hotel (ODG) which is 5 mins walk from our campsite. Couple of pints then back to camp for beautiful curry prepared by the marvellous miss barber, then back to the ODG for beer.

Saturday it was changeable weather again. Soon as we got in the car it cleared up but we'd decided to go to Keswick. I went to the climbing wall whilst those two ended up watching the football in Keswick labour club with a man dressed as Borat! Back home to Langdale for tea and beer in the ODG - very drunk.

Finally, Sunday packed up camp and headed to grizedale forest center where we hired bikes and set out on the 'deadly' North face trail.

Far from being deadly it was pretty good fun and we blazed round in an hour and half without incident. Quality entertainment. Finished the weekend in a pub in Hawkshead for a sunday lunch and then a quick trot back to Manchester/Sheffield. Funny how a weekend away exponentially extends the length of your weekend...

Plans for this week - Tonight, board - campus, rings, Wednesday - tor/staminaband. Ned isnt about so no Zeke yet, Think follicle said he was keen mind, so that might mean rooster booster... Then Thursday back to the works and Friday off ready for sat Tor again... Hopefully!

Thursday, 17 May 2007


Wednesday night is the new thursday if you are me. The reason for this is that the Honey monster has nothing at the gym on thursday, so basically, if I go out then theres nothing for her to do. Also, the reason most climbers climb on thursday is that they do both days at the weekend and then climb tuesday and thursday in the week. I only get to climb on Saturday which means I climb again on MOnday then do consecutive days on wednesday and thursday. I care more about acheiving outside than I do in, and acheiving is more likely to happen when you are rested, hence Wednesday is now the best night to get things done in the week.

This afternoon (thursday) I am going to the Lakes. As I will be leaving straight after work so I probably wont see her. We agreed to cut short our normal wednesday exercise to spend some time together. I left work in leeds at 1500 and was heading to the board. As I thought about it on the way home I could be at the tor for 1630 which would give me 2 hrs. Thought about it more and more and have no clear goal at the board at the moment (need to set one but thats for another time) and am really concerned that the lime will start seeping thanks to the rain we have had for days. So, figured that a shorter session of real climbing would make me happier than a longer one of training, and headed to the tor intent on climbing Staminaband.

Arrived and there was noone there - hardly suprising, the weather was foul. Raining constantly all the way there. Warmed up and got straight on the powerband. Did the last move - feet low. No problems. Climbed into the last move from a few back - no problems. Happy with that. Richie Patter, Basher and some other dude turn up and get on Sardine. Good to see Richie, he looks brown. Not really climbing, just going on about surfing! Scouse D turns up. Have a good try at Power band from the start. Dropping it at the last move. Have 5 and do exactly the same again. Clean Stamina band and get involved. Hash the foot traverse in the undercuts on my first go and have another rest. Next go sees me into the pocket on pb but I fall off getting established. Rest again. Now I know what to do, I have a seqence and I know where to stand. Clean the handholds and blob a bit of chalk on the foot holds, making sure to be using the best bit. The stopwatch beeps and I'm off again, quickly making it to the undercuts, somehow the load on my fingers and arms doesnt seem that heavy and I set my feet, taking a bit more time to get everything right seems to make the difference and I am in the powerband start pocket in control. Roll over into the good pockets at the start of PB and attempt to get a rest. Shaking seems to help but these pockets drag your skin and it hurts so you dont want to stay for too long. Press on into the power band and it feels loads harder when you've climbed into it! Left hand reaches down to the locky undercutty pocket thing and my right comes over to the cross over edge, I feel pumped out of my mind! try to get right to the pinch but its not to be and I am off. Dead pleased with progress, but need to get a lot fitter if this is to happen. After the pinch theres a hard step down where a bit of respite is to be had before the final furlong. Gonna be very hard to do the whole thing.

ANyway, have another three goes to the same point and feel completely destroyed. Psyched to get back to it but away for the weekend now. It will have to be Wednesday.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Actione Ecole!

Tonight's post bears witness to the creation of a community action group! a group with morals of steel and loin of cloth! This group shall fight the effort to undermine the School and persuade that most feared of adversaries - Sheffield City council, to relent its campaign to sell the School building from under its loyal tenants. Emotive rhetoric aside, will it work? Dunno, but its worth a try.

What am I rambling on about? well. The council have given notice to the tenants of the Heeley community centre building which is home to the School board. Originally we understood that we would be evicted by May 08, but we've all had letters to tell us to be out by the end of November. The building is home to a number of artists, 30 odd climbers and a number of community groups who use the downstairs bit. These include scout groups, sugar artists, womens writing groups, lesbians, martial arts clubs and a mystical group called the herbalists. They (the council) claim to loose £36000 a year on the building, and to be fair we don't pay much rent. There's something about a change in the management of the councils asset portfolio moving the management over to a group who have basically been tasked with cashing in some of these assets. So, this is how we get to the present. The building has been nominated as one of those that will be sold, and letters of intent issued. Thus far, there has been no formulated response as it wasnt known whether people wanted to fight for the building, but as of this evening, it seems people do.

Of the people at the meeting, Keith Hayman did a good job of chairing the meeting but the most useful input was from a dude from Heeley community trust called Andy. He had fought and lost a battle to keep St Annes grove (similar building, different area). His steer was that although St Annes had been fought and lost, there were less groups and users of the building in that case, and it was wilfully mismanaged into ruin. There was much more procrastination but ultimately Seb, Nic and Roy are our elected nominaries and we should feed our inputs to them for submission to the group. I plan to write a paragraph about what the school is, where it comes from and what it means. This is intended for inclusion any media coverage of whats going on. There was some discussion of involving a reporter from the star who is a climber apparently.

But will it do any good? well, I feel quite encouraged! I entered the meeting feeling rather that it was a done deal and that there would be no way we could change the councils mind. I still dont think we have a great case and that there is much chance to save the building, and to be honest, I have pretty much no spare time now, so worry about what I can contribute. But I do think there is a good chance we can at least extend the time before it comes to an end. I just don't think we will find anywhere else.

Anyway, climbing - was rubbish tonight. Felt good warming up but then tired fast when I started campussing. You need to be so on it to get anything out of Campussing. Nige looked amazing on the campus board, and Keith (arms like Legs) was doing one armers on the campus board! hellfire! got to get stronger! I want to be able to do one armers on the campus board rungs too! Think I need to take some weight off and train specifically for it! but then that makes me think - why do I want to do that? cos its cool! yes, but it doesnt translate into hard redpoints outside does it? or does it???? Anyway, got dead psyched for power endurance campus work and now think thats the way forward. Target is to get up 1-3-5-7-9 back down 9-7-5-3-1 then up and down again. Waddage!

Nothing really to report from the weekend except the excitement of finding a new finish to Ben's roof! dead exciting! after the hard cross to the good hueco, still move the left to the edge of the roof, only now bring right hand into undercut above the head, tension tension tension! and work those feet up before left go and go again to the penultimate hold, then finish with the right hand. Apparently this is how Ben Moon first did the problem. Ed 'I'm shit and weak' Robinson blazed through it nonchalantly. Rupert was on Evolution, Rich heap was filming, STONE IS ON MECCA!!! loads of people out. Not sure I like this populist revival of limestone. It was better when I had the crags to myself ;-)

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Tortuga del Aqua

I'm psyched again! Went to the tor in torrential rain and feeling pretty tired, but it was really good conditions - much cooler than it has been and I felt ok! At the end of my last visit I struggled alone weedkiller in the full sun and found it really hard, last night it was on the end of the warm up circuit and felt steady - have a new easier sequence that takes less out of you - this will become useful for weedkiller chimes. Did Ben's roof first go at the end of the warm up too. Coached Ned through it for him to fall off the top on his first go but get it on subsequent try. Pretty pleased, felt like I was climbing well. Headed on down to the powerband and continued my tempestuous relationship with it, climbing from the start to the end 6 or 7 times but never doing the drop down on the link! Did the drop move a few times on its own but find it so hard at the end - just cant decide what to do with my feet. When I did it the other week I stayed low, but that feels way hard, and the egyptian way is definately easier, but you cant get your right foot out very easily, which ends attempts with me stabbing my foot into the ground. Need to work the move.

Had a couple of goes on the Staminaband start and reaquainted myself with the moves. Need to sort a sequence for the undercuts to pocket bit. Basically, I can pretty much always get here but struggle with the transition to the powerband. Meanwhile self confessed scaredy cat Ned started trying PUTP as a bloc. Having had a few spectacular dismounts on a rope I cant get psyched for this above pads to be honest, but that didnt stop Ned (who had held all my facing the wrong way falls) and after a few hilarious going for the wrong bit goes he nailed the nobble but fell going for the bity crimp.

So that was it. Ned climbed Ben's roof, Rae nearly did the power band, Tom put in some good links on Staminaband, and I puntered around. A good evening. Returned to sheffield full of beans and happy.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Weekend briefs

Not much to report in climbing terms from the weekend past. Saturday went to Rubicon and That-place-of-which-we-must-not-speak and didn't climb well. Just didn't feel very on it - wonder if this is because of having completed all the summers goals already!?! not sure this is the case as I still have Tsunami, the Hulk, Zeke and The free monster to do. Certainly feels like I have been really pushing for the last two weeks or so, and almost think I perhaps feel a bit deflated in their wake.

Writing the above I dont think thats the case - its not like I've climbed 9a or something! I was focussed on the goals I had set and now I have acheived them. I just need to get psyched for something else - thats all. Think that thing could be the Hulk, but I kinda feel like I should be shifting my focus to routes now.

Sometimes, in a session if you have a shit go on something you can mentally write off the rest of the session, thinking yourself to be shit and that you aren't pulling on that day, when that may not be the case. The air temps at Rubicon were warm so the moves on the low left start were hard and I made a meal of it, leading me to thinking I must be having a bad day and not to bother. Additionally, you cant always be at your best, but its hard not to compare with previous performances. I think that comes from the school mentality - you do the same problems as a warm up on each visit and those problems gauge how well you are climbing on that day.

Anyway, went to Leeds on the Saturday night to see my sister and Fiance, back home via harrogate on Sunday and then bimbled around the house until Monday evening when I went to the Works for a bit of volume.

Friday, 4 May 2007

It apparently took Paul Reeve 7 years to climb Mecca (the mid life crisis). Mecca is 8b+ and no matter how long it took him to do it, he did it and its a great effort. When I was 15 (or 16) I first visited Raven Tor and the climbing scene was very centered around sport climbing. It was massively in vogue to go bolt clipping and pulling on small holds and Raven tor was the place to be, although perhaps not as an incompetent (but keen 15 year old) whose ticklist thus far was well, er nothing. Anyway, in my logic as Pump up the power was short it would be allright. Obviously, the reason you fall off routes is because you are pumped - that I might not be able to do the moves didnt even enter into it. Anyway, I couldnt do any of the moves (as far as I remember) but the seed was sewn and I was keen. A couple of years later at 18 I was back at the Tor with Ian Fitzpatrick once more trying and failing to do any of the route. Ian did do it that time and I was hugely impressed. More years passed but I now had a grasp on reality and didnt really try it again, not until last November at least. Then I worked a sequence and thought it could go but the rain started and once more, that was that...

Pump up is a very short, sharp route climbed first by Ben Moon in the 80's. Starting in a massive slot thats also on the powerband you make a lurching move to another big slot - these are both massive, but theres something unpleasant about your body position through this move that makes it sort of wierd - not hard really, just wierd. Having gained this second bomber slot you stick your foot on the corner of the first one and roll round to a left hand sidepull 'ear'. Smear the left foot under the roof and right hand bumps to an intemediate then again a pinchy hold - pause here, then look past your hand to the infamous nobble hold (kind of a splayed finger hold where the thumb comes up between the fingers), set your gaze on where you must deadpoint and quickly make the move! its all either on or off at this point - you cant effectively adjust and really if its not right you should save yourself the effort of trying to pull it out if you havent held the nobble right. Adjust the feet, match, another foot move and the left hand moves to a rubbish sharp tiny, slight adjustment of body position before making the crux move to a right hand gaston. Assuming you've held this right - and I did fall with my hand on here a few times, a not too bad move to a good edge brings the hard climbing to an end - phew! Yesterday when I reached this point I knew I was in and that I had done it and that I wouldnt fall from there, so I clipped off this edge thing - theres a jug off left! why I didnt move I dont know, just wanted to get it done I suppose. Anyway, having gained the good rail you rumble off to the top and thats it - 8a+ archetypal power climbing ticked!

Here is a picture of Zippy on it from The power of climbing :

Technically thats taken 15 years to do! Quite pleased but not as ecstatic as when I did low left press. Anyway, I was going to wax on about the time to do it and the levels then and now and so on, but theres a really good thread on UKB that says it all.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

First Falling

Went to the tor last night. Its so hot at the moment that when the crag is in the sun its almost unclimbable! bit worried as its only May and I cant remember the last time it rained. Hopefully it wont get to being a water shortage and stand pipes and all that. Better wash the car!

Anyway, PUTP was fully in the sun but I clipped it up and had a go anyway. Amazed myself by falling of the last hard move. A big change from 15 years ago when I came and sat on a bolt being massively outclassed by it all. Back then I knew that it was a Ben Moon route and he was my hero and I wanted to do it. To cap all that, it was in the power of climbing. Anyway, I was hopeless and didnt do any of it. Then last november I had a go, sorted a sequence and it looked like it was on, but then the rain started. This year I have had two sessions trying, the first one saw a couple of attempts (more by the skin of my teeth than by skill and strength) get to the top, and yesterdays saw one in the full sun falling off with hand on the jug, and another two where slight adjustments seemed to mean it was on, but it wasnt on enough and I didnt get it finished.

Heading out this afternoon pretty psyched to wrap it up. Also going to have a look at Seans roof, and get NedVegas to flash Beginners wall. Kinda keen to get to two tier but might not have time.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

1-4-7 Rings glory

Monday night is a night for training (because I dont climb both weekend days). Ned, Follicle and I met at the board for a ring training session. I was an hour earlier than them so I did some campussing, and I am pleased to say - finally managed 1-4-7. Although, this was only leading with my right, I havent done left arm leading yet. Feel worked from the rings this morning.