Friday, 31 August 2007

Out of Stagnation

I keep whinging on about it being too hot or too humid at the moment, but I really think it affects me. When its warm my hands go soft and it hurts to pull soft skin across sharp edges. Wednesday was noticeably a few degrees cooler than it has been - the car was reporting 16degrees. As is the fashion on Wednesdays, I went to the tor. Felt good though, like something might happen - I might achieve something.
Basically, I blew the warm up I was so excited.
I was pretty much on my own (usual punters on sardine) and my psyche level was high - so high I couldnt contain it and I ran about resting insufficiently. When it came time to try stamina band/humps I was probably already beaten. Subsequently, nothing went down. Frustrating, as it was down jacket weather in between attempts on things, so ideal really. I feel I might be stagnating a bit.
Never having tried Out of my boots I go and had a look at that. Didn't look that high I thought, so went and had a feel of the crux hold - possible. Backed off. Rae and Tom turned up and I borrow an extra pad from them to have a proper go, and as soon as its started, its over. The sense of satisfaction from actually doing something is palpable, this cements my view that I am stagnating on Staminaband. I want to do something! However, this could all be result of under-resting on the warm up and too much caffeine.
The Honey Monster was working late on Thursday, so I went out again. This time it was to Rubicon for a change. I had arranged to go and try Zeke with Andy Hutchinson, but the lure of bouldering somewhere that wasnt the Tor was too great. Had a nice evening however and started getting reaquainted with Tsunami (too greasy on the sloper), and showing him the way on Caviar. Ever since TC and Birch unlocked the sequence for me on that I can lap it. What a great problem. Nearly did low right press again, failing slapping the jug. Quite pleased with that, as it was warmer again, so if its feasible then, perhaps I can get Tsunami done quicker when it cools off (if it doesnt get wet).

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Big arms not the path to big grades

I love bank holidays. And flying. its still quite a treat to go on a plane, and this mornings post was composed somewhere over the lake district (probably) on the way to edinburgh. I'm there and back in a day which is even better because it won't affect climbing time.

Saturday morning was spent as ever, at the tor. The robinsonator bailed but I was treated to a sighting of big h and the ever strong shiv. Perhaps the crimping title should move to shiv? Think andy has outgrown it. There was a north eastern guy there with the biggest guns I have seen on a climber since the hig. Sam whitaker used to have guns like small coconuts, but this guys were like thighs. Like so many brainwashed by the cult of power, he wasn't quite as good when required to use his feet. He claimed to have flashed weedkiller footless but taken rather more goes to do it with feet. He was having a full whitey on powerband too.

I don't think it was good nic. The footholds on powerband were green on arrival, getting better by the minute, but I didn't have long and had to slither to the end before failing once more to do the move. This is going to be an issue for me. James flailed along blueband and agreed. The fate of the right hand side was sealed when big h actually had to try on powerband. All moved to ben's and weedkiller. Man with big arms got all excited at the opportunity to impress with his footless prowess and managed to dispatch weedkiller footless. Undoubtedly a good effort, but for a man who had previously flashed it he must have lost his edge.

So in short, damp and a bit warm.

Afternoon went to a barbecue, then the pub, v.drunk. Sunday felt rubbish, but dragged monster to horseshoe. Certainly removed hangover. Sunday night curry, monday bimbling and sorting house out. That's it. Back to the tor weds. Hope it cools down a bit.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Redpoint anxiety

Ed 'Boom Boom' Robinson and I were minded to discuss the question of psyche, and of going backwards on problems you're working on:

I find myself contemplating the value in going out climbing at all at this peak time of summer. Basically - its too hot for pulling on small holds. Zippy once told me that through July and August he sacks off actual climbing and goes indoors to train for when its worthwhile. I know this makes sense, but I love to be out. A battle between heart and head. My head says, 'stay in - train, get strong - bide your time', but my heart says 'go out - hang out, do easier problems, have fun'. A trainer or a climber?

I suppose the problem is that by nature when you go out you will get sucked into trying something that you want to do that's hard. If you keep trying something when conditions are bad you wont make progress - or will you? Ed wrote :

"Whilst I have really been enjoying my time at the Tor, it certainly isnt a
workout, its a session where I typically warm up then have a few quality
goes at something then sack it off. Good for improvements on the particular
problem perhpas (but even then there is the threat of pleatau) but I do
think my overall basic strength, intensity is dropping."

This is the problem with repeatedly trying something in bad nic when you aren't getting any closer to success. But is it, or is it that these problems are at our limit and we need to go away and train to be able to do them - there's only limited gains to be had from training on the actual problem? I don't think the best training for doing a problem is necessarily trying it.

Writing this I realise that even going indoors, its all too easy to get sucked into climbing rather than training. Climbing is much more fun than training, and when you are there with someone and they are climbing, its likely I will end up doing so.

Climbing hard problems makes demands on emotional and mental states. If you batter your psyche by repeatedly failing on problems (perhaps as result of attempting them in bad conditions) then mentally you convince yourself you will fail. I often wonder how I would get on if I could separate my 'redpoint anxiety' from physical movement - i.e. climb turning my brain onto motor mode only. Climbing is also a social activity, and to hide away indoors boning down might make you stronger, it might also further dent that already beleaguered soul.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007


Very quickly (cos the rice is on), went to the tor tonight. Although a fresh breeze is blowing, its wasnt in the wye valley and it was still not amazing at the tor. Nothing went down, and the only thing of note was the appearance of team adventure climbing. pickles, houlding, cavey, briggs, and other swarthy types with less than 10 toes. Probably. Good return to tor fitness. Hoping somehting might go on the weekend. More as it breaks.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Normal service resumed...

Not a great deal of climbing has gone on in Dobland in the last few days, so theres not a great deal of stuff to write about. Today is my first day back at work after a week and a day off - see prv post. Had a good break, been busy but have had a good time. Shed loads of emails to wade through this morning.

Briefly went to the Tor yesterday - with the Honey monster! It was fairly rubbish conditions. Humid and wet. Although the car read only 15degrees there was no breeze and pockets were damp. As usual with such a popular crag, people have been trying to climb when its wet and packing wet holds with chalk, which serves to create a toothpaste patina of slippyness on the surface of the holds. Left after about 30 minutes. Weather forecast for this week is not good, so I dont hold out too much hope of Wednesday being better, and with that in mind I am thinking of having a board session. There hasn't been much movement on the future of the school, although there was a mail from Nic from which the following is quoted :

"the outcome of the meeting ... on the 9th. It was generally thought that the idea of taking the whole place on wasn't really going to work. The plan is to encourage the council to do more in the short term, such as ongoing repairs, whilst we slowly look into the possibilities and try and get more tenants for the unused studios. Generally playing for time at this stage really.

We're meeting up with the council in early September and asking that they bring all the available info they have such as repair costs for work needed, total rents and running costs etc. I'll keep you updated as we go."

I am reading that if we are to fill the other spaces then the future of the building must run into the medium to long term? surely noone's going to rent a space which is only going to be usable for 6 months? we wait and see.

On the email that was going round I wrote that we should review the membership. I think there are people who are members who either haven't been for a long time and have even moved away from sheffield/given up climbing. I understand that once you have obtained coveted school membership you're not going to want to give it up, as its difficult to get in, and part of the issue is the price, its so cheap that non local people, or people who havent been for ages probably think they will keep membership on as its only £80 a year. £80 a year for access to the best board in the country? bargain. However, there's a shortfall between running the building and the rental income. Basically, I suggested increasing school subs. Proportionally, there are more people using the board than use the artists studios, so maybe we should contribute more (but then again, we could keep the money within the collective and invest it in board upgrades). Increasing the rent might discourage 'sleeping members'. I know of some people who are no longer Sheff-resident, but who retain a place on the list as its cheap, and once you have forfeited, you cant easily get back on. That's not to say that a non sheff resident who is still regular (someone from derby par example) should be excluded...

On the other hand, if you weed out the non visiting members then the board will get busier. This has a positive slant, and thats that there will be atmosphere, people will push each other - we might even see an increase in some climbers standards! but it will be busier, and it doesn't take much for it to be too busy to use. For those new-non-members, there'd be more people going up regularly to buddy up with so they should still be able to get in?

Sigh. Better do some work.

Friday, 17 August 2007

from paris to berlin....

Having a week off and not going away allows you to do stuff that you meant to do and get jobs done that have been hanging over you for ages. Having only recently become a homeowner (homo) it lets you appreciate your home, which is precious. So, from last saturday, having a great morning at the tor, we ended up at the vine, which was bizarre. Well, bizarre but quite cool. Buzby rang me whilst on the terrace at the Vine and asked if I wanted to be in a photoshoot for GQ magazine! I was very suprised. Apparently, they'd contacted him to ask if they could have some samples for a climbing piece, and he had asked what sizes to send. The stylist woman said she hadnt booked any models, and that they would probably be fine in mediums. He suggests he sends a team of climbers so that the photo's dont look staged, and thats where I come in! So, I thought it would be quite funny, as Roy, Bentley and Alain were all in the frame too. Resolved to send him a picture or two and fully expected them to reject me/us out of hand on sight!

Sunday I was hung over. Sent Buzby a couple of pictures (Dave and Cofe - sent yours off!). Fully felt shite all day long. Still, hadnt got to go to work for a week, so not too bad. Feeling a bit unsettled about this GQ thing, but pretty confident it wouldnt come off, so not too worried. Monday we were off to see my parents in the midlands. They took us for lunch at amazing gastro pub. V.posh, nice food - expensive. I wasnt paying though, so thats ok. Whilst there I missed a call from Buz, which basically said - its on! they want you! Phoned him back. Shitting myself now. He forwards on the mail trail and I cannot believe it, its for Thursday - my birthday!

In a nutshell, it appears they are doing some kind of climbing article and as mentioned above, Buz has managed to get someone ingratiated into the 5.10 shoe web to do the photoshoot. I am shitting my pants. But, i persuade myself it will be funny and that if its about climbing I will be able to make it less of a Daily mail galling article about 'extreme sports' and perhaps a bit about climbing... Anyway, I go to the bigstone office and get fitted out in head to toe Arcteryx, and my pockets are filled with stickers! I get briefed on what he knows and we exchange a knowing look, before its one last school session for me.

I am so nervous, I dont sleep good the night before we are due to go. I wake up twice through the night, shitting myself about what it will be like. Get up at 5:45 and bundle the honey monster in the car. Blaze a trail to the Westway climbing wall in West London and meet a media lovvie type in reception. I say 'Hi, Its Ben from 5.10, I'm here for the shoot...' and she is like 'oh, brilliant, are you looking for Rupi?' and I am confused! the contact I have is for a Jodie. So she tells me to phone rupi and then chases off after a toilet. Rupi arrives and collects the three of us and we head round the back of the building, where 'the team' are... the team? fucking hell. Get round the back of the building and there are two full on camera vans, and a catering truck. I nearly faint. Hold it together and figure I might as well get some breakfast out of them, and am just about to load my plate when Rupi comes back and asks what I am doing for them, I explain I am a climber and she tells me there are two shoots! we have been hijacked by the wrong one and have nearly gotten on a nike advert! Phone jodie again and head back to reception where she is waiting for us. She looks like she has been in the gym, as is wearing hotpants and a vest. Tres confused. Get bustled into the wall and first thing they say is 'you'll have to wash your hair!' so I do, then I get hairsprayed, and dressed in head to toe high fashion! I look hilarious! then its over to the wall where photographer man is fully lovvied up and ok, thats beautiful baby, work it, oh yeah! and so on! I feel like a twat. Its quite funny though. Literally, I hold a few positions at the first bolt and am snapped for a few minutes then its back off to be redressed. Amazing. A real model turns up. I feel a complete fraud. This amazing looking waif like dude is just sat around for ages whilst I am camping it up on the wall. I pull on a mono and the GQ team are totally unimpressed, but I bridge into a corner (stem the dihedral) and they go wild! its a totally bizarre experience. As we are finishing, she fits me up with a set of wires attached to my jeans. Its fully genius. Three hours later, its finished and I am back in normal clothes. There was a nice belt she let me keep which is probably really expensive and I get to take all the Arcteryx stuff home (ultimately to give back). A strange morning. The relief I feel is amazing. I feel like a weight has been lifted. Whilst its been an amazing experience and very funny, I have been fully papping my pants all the last couple of days. Wierd.

Honey monster and I hot foot it into town and hang out for a couple of hours before coming home to Sheffield. Feels so good to be home and off the hook as it where. Cant wait to see what they do with it, and quite convinced it will be ridiculous. Ah well. You have to do these things!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Saturday morning notshop

It may be a sporadically updated week in Blog of Dob world. Its my birthday on thursday (the 16th) and she and I have the week off. Basically, I wont be regularly in front of my computer. I shall try to ensure anything noteworthy gets added.

Saturday morning club at the tor is proving to be popular. A good team out, Dave Mason, SFG (Strong French Guy), Keith, Ed Robinson, james foley, rae, Nige. Mark Katz even put in an appearance towards the end. Not great nic. Lots of people still going the wrong way on Powerband. Have to say, the moves on Blueband look fantasic. Its just a shame I cant do about three of them! Still, I remain focussed on my primary objective and shall do so until it is despatched. Quite positive that progress is being made in detiorating conditions and that when the temperature drops it could come together quickly.

Saturday night was spent in Panahar and the Vine. Panahar is a curry shop, and the Vine a pub. Nige has started calling Adam - Cadfael. This amused me greatly, so here is a picture:

They had a barbecue. Feel bad to have missed it, but we'd already made plans. Got drunk. Felt rubbish all day sunday. Drinking = great fun but a waste of time recovering. Danger of getting fat comes from requirement to stuff face when hung over.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Repeater death hangs...

Worked at the works yesterday afternoon. Usually for me, 'working' from the works has to be cut short as I basically dont do anything. Yesterday was different, I actually got quite a lot of work done. Strongly expect this had much to do with Sam and Percy being out and it just being me and Graeme in the office. Anyway, took 15-20 minute rests between laps on the comp wall traverses which I hope will fill me with steely stamina.
James texted yesterday to say he had been doing the repeater hangs of despair. There are now two schools of thought on repeater hangs: The Zippy old school forearm destructicon - 10 sets of 30 seconds with 30 seconds between reps, and the Variable Varian Velocitisation Verkout - 7 seconds on 3 seconds off. Dont know how many reps mind. Anyway, the point being, both of these guys have climbed hard stuff, so its got to be worthwhile. Hasn't it?

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Ketamine Foley

Was a lovely evening yesterday, if anything a bit on the warm side. When we arrived at the tor it seemed as though in an hour or so conditions would be really good, but I could tell it was a degree or so cooler than Saturday already - fingers seem to fit in the pockets better. Bimbled about, chatting to Rae and drinking coffee before getting started.

Masonic Dave taking it real easy and just mooching around waiting for it to cool down. Its practically impossible for me to contain my enthusiasm and theres no way I can be there and not climb. So I did, and he saved himself, which is almost certainly "the way".

Moved down to Staminahumps and fluffed first go. Third go was good but it was downhill from there. Progress is progress and it should be on for saturday. Dave did Strict Blueband on his first try (has done before) in good style. He looks very strong, and should have a good trip in switzerland. Ed looks amazingly strong but is thwarted by being a dwarf. James regains his inspiration and looks really quite like he might be able to do Blueband! I struggle.

I have to resort to drugging James with Ketamine, such is his enthusiasm.

On the way home there is an amazing dark cloud of death, although it seems to bear no fruit.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Gorgeous day

Primo conditions out there this morning. 10/11degrees, not a cloud in the sky. Mmmm. Lovely.

The pic is of our car park. Its 20 minutes drive from Caley. But for my Tor aspirations this evening, I was tempted to drive straight past work and head out for a couple of hours. Actually, havent got my pad. Reckon I could be there by 0800 and then set off back here at 0930. Hmm.

Notice from the moonblog that Ty failed to do the singularity. He then did do Daniel Woods Jade a little later. This surely means that the Singularity is V19.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Red hot board action

Although only days ago I was whinging on about it constantly raining, its now too hot for serious rock climbing. To be honest though, the it being too hot thing is something I would expect and even hope for at this time of year. I've felt a bit cheated by the weather so far. Although not great for climbing, I love the sunshine. It makes me feel happy that the weather is nice, and for a couple of months, I can cope with having to change my climbing diet to fit the hot humid weather. However, it was HOT at the board last night. HOT HOT HOT. The problem with having a rubbish desk fan for cooling a room, is that its ineffective when the air is warm outside. Granted, if you have one of those super fans like the 'works, then you can take a couple of degrees out, but we haven't, and our fan is rubbish. Can you imagine one of the works fans at the school? waddage. We'd all probably get crippling bronchitis in minutes. A magnesium based dust storm!

Anyway, no point trying hard in these conditions, or at least, no point pulling on small holds. Availed myself of the Sausage's weight belt and did some easier problems. This could be the way forward when its hot. Yesterday I felt like turd anyway, so wasnt wanting to be really trying dead hard or anything, but suprised myself and felt ok. Sometimes if you feel a bit under the weather doing something you love can take your mind off it. Very quiet. Aaron came up for the first time in ages. Drove past Nige on the way out. Went for a pint in the Sheaf. Mmm. Something about beer in the sunshine. Am light this morning, 11st1lb. Suspect dehydration!

James and Dylan went to Rubicon and the 'Dale. Apparently poor Dylan has bust a tendon. I hope this diagnosis is incorrect, as he is about to go to Rocklands. Getting injured is bad any time, but getting injured just before a trip has to be the most heart breaking time for it to happen.

Wednesday Tor.

Monday, 6 August 2007


Remember I had to go to Kent last Friday? (well, I did), this Friday work had agreed to pick up the tab for a Honey monster and me tea. We went to Thyme cafe. By far my favourite not-too-expensive restaurant in Sheffield. Got home and watched 28 weeks later. Not a patch on 28 days.
Saturdays means Raven Tor. Whilst there was a fresh breeze it was only any use when it was blowing, and it was by no means constant. When it wasn't blowing it was massively humid. I'm sticking to this as both Steve Mac and Andy Harris proclaimed 'not great' conditions. Shot through the start of Staminaband two or three times but the powerband pockets felt soapy. Good crowd out - Ed Robinson, Dan Knight (driven from magic wood to dorset, stopped overnight and then up at 5 to drive to the tor - now that's keen), Andy Harris, Rae and Scut, Steve Mac, Keith Bradbury (yay) and the ubiquitous Stone. Ed looked beefy, and Keif was strong. Left the crag at 1300. Nothing went down. A bit disgruntled as I had thought (hoped) that something would. More interest in Blueband now. Never really spent too long looking at it, but figured that the last move looks pretty hard and dismissed it as being too much so. Might want to revisit this on Wednesday.
Went to watch the Transformers film in the evening. Absolute tripe. Pocket predator had prepared the house for our return with a fresh (i.e. alive) mouse. Cue 2 hour mouse standoff in our bedroom. Drove to Manchester on Sunday for a christening. Found the ceremony, and specifically the assertion that to be christened is to be 'given over to jesus' rather troubling. Wonder what to do if we have kidlets, i.e. I fundamentally disagree with the content, but our parents will want us to go, and its just words, there's no harm in it? is there? Anyway, stopped in Outside on the way back and bought Alpinist. Its £10. Nice pictures and good writing though. Had a barbecue, Lee came round. I drank wine. Feel a bit ropey today. Hopefully the fog will lift by this afternoon, or else the board session will be nearly pointless. Although in this heat it will probably be pointless anyway.
All on a bit of a downer today. That's thanks to a lack of sleep (too hot)/a mild hangover/protracted lack of success rock climbing/being indoors when the sun is out/the sun being out and making it all too hot.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Ross cowie

Just heard on the grapevine that ross cowie has had a fall out at wimberry today. I don't know any more, and hope its not too serious. He's bold as brass but I can't think he'd be doing anything mega hard in this weather. Mind you, what do I know?

Get well soon ross.

Waning popularity of the Tor

Marvellous! at peak of business last night there were only two teams at the Tor. Ross Cowie and Scut, and Dave Parry and me. Nothing went down, so I'm claiming it wasnt the best conditions I have ever known, but at least the old girl is pretty much totally dry.

Been making GIFs again :

Got pretty close to Staminahumps. This really should have gone last night, and I have learnt that 6 (or 8) minutes is not enough rest. Set it for 10 and thats still cutting it fine. However, am psyched that I should be able to climb this on Saturday. Can't wait! I feel like I haven't done anything new for some time, and it would be nice to feel some success for once.

Dave climbed like a sac de merde on Staminaband but managed to bust his way out to the end of Ben's roof (on his first and only go). I was unprepared for the Creatine fuelled explosion of power and could only look on aghast as he nailed to the top. There was no need for a waist belay.

Weedkiller is dry again. Did this for the first time in weeks. Dave did the reverse, which looks really fun. If it warms up significantly this could be an entertaining pasttime for a few weeks.

The tor is starting to look like a French sport crag. Theres loads of in situ runners appearing from Reeves 2 yr old draws in Mecca, and now someone else has clipped up Sardine and left all their draws in. Theres also the odd one in something left of crumblefish. Whats going on? are people too lazy to take their draws home? I am of a mind to go and nick them to be honest. Only in the spirit of teaching them a lesson of course ;-P

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Tuition fees

Further to my previous post on the subject, I have just received the following from Nic:

"Howdy Power Rangers,

Good effort all those who cleaned the room up. The deputy City Council leasder, Steve Jones and Mohammed Mahroof from Corporate Property both looked round the room and It felt a lot easier bigging up the school in it's cleaned state than otherwise.

The council has decided:
To take the building of the market.
They are sympathetic to the users needs in the building and would like to
consult with us more, but they want us to decide what we want to do with the
building. (They are looking for something along the lines of what happened
to Burton Street where the users formed a management committee and bought
the building for half price and now manage the building as a community

They will give us quite a bit of time to do this in. Beyond Christmas 2007
at least was the best I could get from Steve Jones.

They are prepared to give us help in coming to a decision of what we want to
do with the building and has asked Anne Allen head of property services to
get in touch with us to help us with the process.

What they are offering is that we, 'the steering group' take on the running of the school. It costs about £50'000 every year to run, they get about £15'000 in rent a year from the school tenants. In addition we would have to fix the school up (Millions of £) and they may then sell it to us at perhaps 1/2 price (Millions of £). This is what has happened at the Burton St. project. It's all a bit full on (+ ? unlikely) We'll discuss it all at the next steering group meeting and get back to you.


There's no way the current tenants can afford to buy a multi million pound building, mortgaged or otherwise. I suspect this is all part of a council strategy to be seen to be giving us a chance and of being fair but ultimately acheiving their goals. Which are to ditch the building from their portfolio. I understand that as it does nothing other than cost them money.

At least I have a bit more time to get amoeba assasin done!