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.