Thursday, 31 January 2008

Thank god for nasal crack, that's all I can say. From when I last wrote, the day just got better and better. We drove to the altirolo end of chironico and met a couple who were there to try electric ant. He might have been fabian cristophe now I think about it. Will have to watch the shark hunt vid when I get home, anyway, they recomended against walking up from there so we headed back up the hill to chironico.

Loads less snow than previous days, far more amenable to get around. Walked to centrale (the warm up area) and did those fun slab things - brilliant. Went and did that thing on the scooped out wall with a couple of crimps in the middle. Then a cool 7a in a corridor behind the slab - hard for the grade I thought. Think it was called papa razza? I left ed with cliques a claques and went to investigate serre moi forte. Padded it out and got involved but the crimp is sharp. I was trying to start with my right foot on first and that was the problem. When I put my left on I could do the move easy. Bailed out of the jump a couple of times, but then nailed it. Topped out then went back and did it again it was so much fun. Started work on the. Sitter but struggled with a bit of foot beta in the middle, plus, could feel skin wearing, and wanted to get involved with le pilier, my supposedly in the bag problem. Ed arrives, ready for a rest from cliques. I explain my intention and we move the pads up to le pilier. There's already a couple there and I don't think they're dead pleased to be interupted. The sun is out. It doesn't look good for me and ed tries to talk me down, but I sort of know that its now or never, if I walk away I probably won't have enough skin. As I'm explaining why I want to stay the sun drops behind the mountain and the temperature drops. I put my boots on and Clean the holds. The germans step aside and I pull on. I'm all over it, climbing really positively and its all on. I get to the top but I haven't taken the top hold right, it feels greasy and I drop it - shit! The split is threatening, it really is next go or not at all. The nerves make me jittery, like caffeine overload. I try to think like freewilly and empty my mind, pull on and move to the sloping dish. Feels fine but after the rock over I feel shaky, manage to focus my thoughts and push through, take the top hold, amd although its not perfect it is enough, breathe, look back at my feet, POP! I'm well over the top and its done! Yes yes fucking yes! Some closure on this sharp skin ruiner of a shit! Fucking brilliant. Feel anti climax pulling over the top, but its just a delayed release. Collect my things and walk away. As soon as I'm out of sight of the germans, I'm grinning like a cheshire cat. Get in!

We go back to les cliques a claques and I join in on the stand. By process of elimination via millions of goes circa hillyard, we find a way and both dispatch the stand. Its a brilliant problem and I want the full tick. Work out a way on the sitter, again through process of elimination, and before too long am trying to put a into b. Ed goes and does norfolk and the other thing I was on about up above and I go to spot. The rest is all that was required, I'd decided on the sequence and was flogging myself on it thinking every go was the one. Spotting gave me enough of a break that I crushed it on the next go. Collected stuff and walked out. Delighted, a brilliant day.

Went to the pizza shop with ed's austrian friend dieter this evening. Now watching stone love and relaxing. Skin quite bad, but going to go for gold now to end of week.

Nasal crack

I feel superstitous that if I write that the weather is bon, a monsoon will drift in and that'll be the end of it. Let's hope not. The weather is bon this morning. Clear skies, 4 or 5 degrees in claro - colder up the hill, all sounds good.

Yesterdays nasal spray seems to have magical snot dissolution properties. I feel stuffy still, but a quick pump from that puppy and I'm clear within minutes. You probably can't get it in the uk. I dread to think what would happen if amy winehouse got her chops around one of these.

I am blogging outside bellendzona police station waiting for the trad hero to get a crime number for his insurance. Then its on to chironico. Going to leave shark hunt and focus on le pilier and serre moi forte I think. Ed to do monolith. You'll notice there's one persons burning ambition conspicuous by its absence - dylan. His ankles swollen up nicely overnight and is all purple - poor bugger. So, we've left him at home.

More as it breaks club kids...

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

An upward turn?

How massively frustrating. I just typed a whole post but then blackberry threw a wobbler and I've had to start again.

When I wrote before I was massively frustrated and at a psyche low point. I'd spent a day of a climbing trip lying on the sofa watching borat ffs! Took the recycling for a walk, got some stuff from the supermarket to make supper for my hungry boys, and stocked up on flu remedies. Got home and texted dylan to see how they were getting on. Ed had dispatched Il partner with foreign beta whilst dylan had managed to fall between the pads and hurt his ankle - thankfully not really badly (lovely purple bruise tonight). Delighted for ed and not the least bit jealous. Its a great line and probably perfectly suited for the member of the team with a penchant for highball trad solos. Glad at least someone is having a good trip (hark; a violin).

The lovely honey monster said she and I could come back if I was completely thwarted this trip. Bless her. Its not over yet though, and On collecting them I started to feel a bit perkier. Hopefully I will wake up tomorrow full of beans and be able to crush!

Got to take ed to the police stazione in bellendzona, then I fancy chironico to look at serre moi forte for me, monolith for ed. I'd love to do shark hunt, but I think it might be too late already. Then there's no mystery - one move to do only. Hmm.

Bedridden in bellinzona

Woke up with almost clear nostrils, but then I sat up and felt my sinuses start to fill. Bugger! Still no better. Ed says these things take 48 hrs, so perhaps tomorrow? Bloody hope so. Discovered the forecast for bellinzona for the rest of the week is not good. Hope this is inaccurate, although the weather today does suggest a change in conditions may be in the post - Its gone from bright sunshine to overcast and cold.

We head down to bellinzona for ed to report his camera but they need an interpreter and there isn't one until 1400 (time was 11), so we arrange to pop back tomorrow morning. I drop them off at cresciano where they are to try 'Il partner'. I am gutted. It looks a great problem and I really want to do it, but its got to be the sensible option for me to stay warm and rest today. So frustrating. I'd prepared really well for this trip, I felt strong, my head was in a good space - this should have been the one when I tore it up and came home with some good ticks. Perhaps it still will be! Finger skin is obviously healing fast, so by the time I am able to climb again maybe this lurgy will prove a blessing...

And, as james says - at least I'm not at work!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Lost cameras, lacklustre sends and lurgy

Woke up this morning absolutely full of snot. Overnight a filthy head cold has taken hold. I can't hear properly, my eyes are streaming and my nose is pouring snot. Felt like it was just a head cold whilst at the house and decided to come out anyway. Figured we'd go to chironico to look at shark hunt. I drove on the way out, thinking it'd give me something to focus on, which it did, but I couldn't see properly and my driving was probably terrible. Anyway, we got to chironico and I felt terrible.

Ed found shark hunt and shouted us. it looks great, and doable. The bit to the first undercut looks hard, but I'm sure kb said that it wasn't and that the hardness comes from the second undercut upwards.

still a lot of snow about and getting around in it is v.wearing. Found a cool problem that was very long called the lonliness of the long distance runner. Had a go and got into the scary top bit but felt pumped so dropped off. Ed and I did something called arabald, which was fun. Nice big holds, which was all I could have possibly managed today anyway. Dammit. This trip is not working out how I intended. Didn't bank on getting lurgy just before heading out. Perhaps with rest I might claw something back by the end of the week? There's much derision from the other two about this arabald wall, and its not the most beautiful of spots, but it does climb well.

We walk back out and find dr meddent. I feel so terrible by now that I just want to go and sit in the car, but dr meddent looks ace. pad it out and ed the trad king has a go. He gets further than I expected he would, and for a minute I think he is on for the flash. He drops off just before the top and I have a go getting to the same place but making all the same mistakes. Dylan does the same. I see a way and do it to the top from stand, ed follows and then dylan. Wish I had started from sit as am fully knackered now - my enthusiasm has waned and I just want to go to bed. Manage to dispatch it after a styleless struggle and we head back out to the car, which dylan gentlemanly runs ahead to retrieve.

Drive to altirolo and I am going to go to sleep in the car while they check out some nearby blocs but then ed has a heartstopping moment as he realises he's left his brand new canon eos 400d at dr meddent. We race back round, but there's no sign of it anywhere. We drive down to biasca to report it to the police, but they're the wrong police (!) And aren't interested. We have to go to bellinzona tomorrow to find the real ones. Bugger. Poor ed.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Too hot to trot

Its boiling here today. Woke up early, checked outside - another perfect day, not a cloud in the sky (and none forecast until thurs), but the temperature is high. Car reckons 25 degrees! Ed's never been to cresciano so we're letting him burn off some skin in the sun whilst I read dickie dawkins and dylan takes pictures. This was written from the warm warm up area at cresc.

Dylan has hurt his shoulder. He did it on tomahawk, and although it didn't stop him from doing vitruvian man, he has sat with ice on it all night. I've let my enthusiasm get the better of me and am letting my skin recover today. Only one hole (and that's small), but the rest are thin, and I would rather take days off and do less climbing that's harder rather than more easier stuff. At current rate of success perhaps there won't be anything done at all!

Sunday, 27 January 2008


So. Its kinda warm here. The wind when it blows is the temperature of bath water - tepid. I would prefer it a bit cooler to be honest, but you can't have everything. I wonder as we walk in how cold or warm it was for ed and james when they came? Perhaps this week in the year is now too warm? By rights it should be colder now than it was in december, or whenever it was, perhaps its a sign of climate change. Anyway. Woke up well early. Went back to sleep. The next time I woke up there was noise from the other two, and inspite of trying, I was roused from my slumber.

The problem with blogging from my blackberry is that I just can't bear to read it back. Which means it will probably read badly. Sorry.

We got up. I made omelettes, we drank coffee. Was a bit careful on this front as last year I felt close to the edge after far too much caffeine. Anyway, we head out at a reasonable time and drive to chironico. Its deserted, no sign of any other climbers anywhere. Strange. There's lots of snow about, and, walking in its evident why noone else is there. Walking about is epic. The snow is knee deep and within minutes my feet are soaked. We've chosen to start the day at the freak brothers bit of the crag, and after depositing the stuff at tomahawk I quest off after schule des lebens. I spend about 45 minutes slogging thru the snow only to have to admit am massively lost and sack it back to tomahawk. We do a warm up problem called die roboter, and then look at something behind it called holborn something. Its quite a rubbish problem but involves quite a desperate match and rock over on a sharp sloper. I get there but I don't want to commit to something that's not on my agenda so I drop off. Ed does the deed shortly after and dylan sees the light and sacks it too. We return to tomahawk. Remembering the video with nige's beta we try to put it in practice but it all feels wierd, I need to watch it demonstrated. Work it out after a couple of goes and I'm soon teetering up the slab above. It feels quite scary as you end up bouling (thanks adam) the arete and facing down as you scooch a foot onto nowt to get in balance. Dylan and ed both crush it too. Its a great feature, but I don't think its 7b+. We quest on for schule des lebens. This time we find it and I get really excited - it looks allright! The top of no mystery is wet, but there's an alternative hold. I manage to work an alternative sequence and it all looks like its on! However....

I don't know if this is right, but what I think I have to do is start on the crimps, left heel on, left hand up to edge that's far away. Right toe to left heel, left foot on edge, rh reaches through to good edge, left out to pinchy hold, right to sloper, left way out to finishing jug - done. But, I can't do the first move. I keep getting my left hand to the hold but never in enough control to hold it. Very frustrating. I do it from there to the top a couple of times but I have to admit defeat as I start getting a hole in my finger (on the first day! Jerry has taught me nothing). Trek off and find those two and we walk to soucoupe. Dylan wants to do vitruvian man, I show him the beta and ed and I push on to the main area. Rah plats plats is soaked with melt water. Le pilier is dry. I do it from stand. Ed does it from stand, I try from sit, get to half way and can't remember what to do. Remember and get to the top, jump for it but fall short, miss the pad and land on arse. A bit shaken, but fine. Rest up. Have another go and really throw for the top but my confidence is dented and I hadn't got the crimp right so I try, and its good, I'm really close, get my hand over but slip back off it. Admit defeat and after ed does lemon tree we walk back out again. A long day.

Back at the ranch I make tea and we are relaxing to the most ridiculous soft porn channel when the woman who runs the house pops in to check our passports! 'Ah yes' she exclaims, I see! Very very funny. I look good as I'm in the kitchen cooking. Ed tries to turn the telly off without her noticing but it doesn't work. Anyway I'm going. Dylan is electrocuting me with his tens machine. Jesus. Its only on 12 and my arm is fully spazzing out.

I called dylan at 1030 (we were supposed to meet at 10) as he hadn't arrived. He thought it was supposed to be 11. Added to the snake being shut things hadn't started as well they might. However, that was pretty much all that went wrong, we made time on the journey, plane was perfectly on time, hire car fine, only took an hour and 45 minutes to get here, and our house is amazing!

Anyway, going out now, will report often.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

aging Wad tick

It stopped raining on Tuesday. I finished work early and went to Burbage North for half an hour. It was still quite wet, but I hadn't gone to try anything hard, just to get some skin burnt off before Swiss. It didn't work. As I only climbed on the polished bit I might as well have sanded - except it was more fun than sanding.
Last night I went to the works. I had to meet Roy to talk training, and to sort out some IT stuff for the works. IT stuff for them never takes as long as it should - it always takes about three times longer. Anyway, its all good, the infrastructure is a changing. Set out to climb some easy stuff and discovered Lucy Atkinson who announced that she is pregnant! Congratulations to them. Did some bimbling and sort of accidentally set off following Scouse on a green and pink circuit which traverses the entire building. Theres nothing hard but its quite tiring, and you do get in everyones way. Made it to the end, but it just oddly finishes in the middle of nowhere. It should push on back to the top of the back wall. Was then flash pumped and unable to recover. Note to self - warm up properly.
The comp wall has been painted blue. Looks nice. Could see three guys on the training wall, one had boreal logos stitched onto his pants, one had saggy brown pants with holes in the knees (who could this be) and the other had the same hairstyle he has always had, but I had only ever seen it before in the power of climbing - wowzers! its jasper sharpe! I trot over, hoping I can live up to the white pants (which I have now managed to rip the fly zip nearly completely off) and get involved with some of the easier problems - feel ok climbing, but am still pumped out of my mind. Take the piss out of Justin for wearing the same brown pants for the last 15 years and he explains that they are lucky. Seems lucky pants are not a new invention. Percy joins in the Justin baiting and the focus moves to his facial hair. Get talking to Jasper who nearly does a crimpy red thing thats supposed to be 8a. EuroWad with Boreal pants has a go and looks like he could do it comfortably. The Plumtree steps up, but his lucky pants must be wearing out as he doesn't stick the move. Now, i know I have tried this once before and couldnt do any of it, so I fully expect to get shut down but I suprise myself and do the first move easily, brilliant! nearly do the second move but have hit the hold wrong, not to worry, I know its feasible. Jasper has fingers of steel. He claims not to be very strong in the arms, but quite clearly it doesn't matter!
Roy arrives and we talk about training. Feel sure that he could really help me reach the next level. After discussion he suggests that I have short circuited my way to where I am, and that the short circuit will become obvious - basically, he is talking about mileage. The benefit of building up skills as opposed to strength. I know (and have known for ages) that I have misconceptions about training, that I want to feel like I have had a workout, which means I will choose to go to the board when its not perfect conditions thinking I will get more out of my limited time. He suggests that ultimately, I will get more out of the board if I take a step back and put in the ground work at actually climbing, because I will be able to use strength more efficiently and climb better. I know really that he is right, but for me to really embrace this I will have to put away years of laboring under the training misaprehension and its quite terrifying to be honest! Clifford always said much the same too. Well, it might be the gateway to the next level!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Amoeba Assasinated!

Couldn't sleep on Sunday night - hence feeling walloped all day on Monday. So much rain fell during the day that by 1500 the main routes out of Leeds were flooded and I had to find an alternative way home. I'd talked myself out of going to the board, thinking that I had been rubbish the day before, and was super tired today, therefore there would be no point. Rang Dylan to suggest the works but he talked me into the board. Loads of cars outside again - the Le Sage/Barrett love wagon, the Harris Mobile and the Bradbury shirehorse transporter. Noone seems to be even slightly concerned about getting turfed out by the caretaker. Vicky suggested that this is because the sign on the door is a disclaimer, and as long as they warned us before we burn to death then they are absolved from blame. She's probably right, after all, there has been no heating for ages. Nic said exactly the same thing later on.
Anyway. Warmed up. Didn't feel great at first, but better as the session got established. Two of three warm up probs went down with a bit of fight but on the first go, the third needed a couple of goes, but went, and then I got involved with my pre trip project/goal - Amoeba Assasin. It's a problem that I hope will stand me in good stead for Switz, as its on incut little holds and requires good deadpointing and contact strength. I had set it as my pre trip goal but I thought I felt it slipping away on Sunday - I didn't think I would do it before we went - felt like a big ask. On the Thursday before I had managed a new link from the crux move to the top - which was a first, and all part of refining the crux ready for the link. There's quite a difference between pulling on at the crux and climbing into it. Found two key subtleties that made all the difference last night. The first is a sort of sag to the left on the crux move, perhaps because it moves your centre of gravity underneath the resultant position or something - it makes the hard deadpoint more ameanable. The second is to lift the flagging leg up before taking the swing, which deadens the swing just enough to make the move possible. After a couple of fanny snatches at the deadpoint I did the move and continued to the top. It could be on! rested and started from the bottom. Few more fanny goes, but with each it was getting slightly more polished, I was climbing better and better. I was making mistakes, but I had the measure of them. With each go the last mistake got eliminated but a new one became obvious. Three goes in I hold the deadpoint move, blimey! compose yourself, remember the right leg gravity trick, hold the swing - blimey again! I hold it, hear Dylan and Nic encouraging, cram my left foot on - its not perfect but I know its enough, and I move through to 40a - a small hold, but comparitively it feels massive! I sort myself out and push on to the top - yes, yes fucking yes! its done!
Feel psyched about this one, its really hard and I've really had to try. Mentally its a great boost pre swiss. Still nervy about what to do, but have high hopes. Fabulous. In the past when I had done something I cared about I might as well have sacked the rest of the session, but I'm getting better at keeping going these days - perhaps because I am getting stuff done at last. Manage some new links on Stuey - have now done all the moves. That one will be hard to link! have learnt not to impose mental boundaries on myself - it may be hard, but its worth pushing on, as you never know what you might pull out if you really try! Realise I am fading and have a quick redpoint attempt on that green resin problem, getting to the top but failing the jump. Reckon I could do that one quite quickly too.

Monday, 21 January 2008

I am nervous...

The people of Sheffield all go to cineworld at 20:30 on Fridays. It's a good night to go to be honest - you're tired and non communicative after the working week, so staring at a cinema screen is probably the best use of time. We were on the way out of 'I am Leg End' at 2030 so were fortunate only to note that it was busy rather than having to wait for ages to get in. This is one thing that's rubbish about having an unlimited pass - you can't pre book. If you are buying your tickets online you can, which means you dont have to wait in a massive queue when you get there. Therefore, all these people in the queue must just turn on on spec and take their chances. Perhaps this means the people in the queue are rubbish at conversation. They must go out for a drink at 1900, get bored by 2000, wind up at the cinema at 2030.
I would give 'I am Legend' 65%. The book was written in the 50's and has quite a different plot. In the book, Scientist Robert Neville thinks he is the last survivor of this rampant infection, but he hunts and kills the infected. A group of infected develop the cure, but they still appear the same as the uncured ones, and he keeps killing them, as a result of which, they demonise him, hence the title - the cured infected end up killing him in the book. In the film he finds the cure but dies protecting it. I have heard other people warbling on about the end being rubbish, but I didn't think it was too bad. Paul mentioned the Ford GT scene at the start being over done - I just thought it was ridiculous. Imagine going hunting in a motor car along narrow streets! bonkers. Anyway, worth a watch, although perhaps not given that I've just told you what happens.
Forecast for the weekend was filth, filth and more filth. We went to inspect her sisters new baby on saturday, and had a nice lunch with the outlaws. Very tranquil. Drove back admidst thick fog and heavy rain, and then bimbled about for the remainder of the evening. Went to the board on Sunday. 11 degrees in the car, I was rubbish as a consequence. Actually sticking to my guns on that excuse for once. Because its been so cold someone had shut the window and it was slippy in there. I felt like I was climbing ok, but just kept slipping off the holds... (better remember this get out clause). Went out on my bike for half an hour in the afternoon. Biking is desperate. Finished the day watching Cookalong with Gordon repeat. He is well on drugs. Can't believe they let him loose in front of the camera riddled with stimulants like that. Jamie still my fave TV chef, with Gordon fast becoming a parody of himself. Yes?
Final week at work before the big swiss showdown. Am quite nervous, and it affected my sleep last night - worrying about what to get on first... On one hand I think maybe I will go and try Serre Moi Forte - the holds are a bit kinder, I have all the beta in the world, and you can do the top bit on its own to get your confidence up. Plus, its a problem with prestige (KB trademark). When I went this time last year I was underwhelmed by it a bit, but I think I had put a tip through on Le Pilier and was at a psyche low point, plus there was loads of wet slush at the bottom of it. On the other hand there's shark hunt. Keith said the holds are good but that they are sharp, so perhaps I should try for a Serre Moi Forte in a day, then come back to that one. Reading this back, it seems the sensible option. Ideally, I would do that on the first day there, then finish Le Pilier in the same day. Then have a day off, then perhaps Shark Hunt. Even if I didnt succeed on Shark Hunt that would be a great trip in itself. Need to investigate the other possibles too.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Das BoardenFuhrer

Finally friday! hooray! Its been a long week. Vodafone were in all day yesterday, but it felt like a productive day, fostering a good mood, making a suprising contribution to a good session on the board. If I've had a bad day I don't climb so good (probably because of tiredness), but if things have gone well it can transfer. In spite of the building being closed I arrived and saw a wealth of cars outside. The old Harris mobile, the new Harris mobile, Keith's SportAutoWagen and there must have been other cars unless Paul walked, but I wasn't paying too much attention, focus was on A) sneaking into the building undetected, and B) getting started. Opened the door to our room and there were 6 people bearing down - haven't seen it that busy for ages. I think its a good thing its popular - to a point. I mean, any more than that and its not workable, but that number seems to work as it keeps you from doing too much too soon (you have to wait for space) and it pushes you on (ego). Good to see the Mighty Goose Lord and his Goosiness wife too, as I haven't had the pleasure since their return from their trip. Keith rubbed the magic up on me, so I am now officially ready for Switzerland. Harris showed the way on some good looking 30 and 15 degree problems which I shall resolve to try the next time I am up there.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

psychosomatic board sneak

I had a bout of psychosomatic lurgy yesterday. The honey monster is full of snot at the moment (poor lamb) and remarked that I looked like I was getting it (in my eyes), so I immeadiately convinced myself that it was on the way. Went to sleep that night and woke feeling a bit achey, with a minutely sore throat so became even more convinced that I was ill. Through the day I did feel better, although I had made some concerted effort to steel myself against my self inflicted ailments, and by today am delighted to report am pretty much fine again. Honestly, the power of the mind!

Anyway, she and I went for a walk last night. I love going for a walk together. Even if its just around the block, its a nice chance to talk with no distractions, and the fresh air helps me sleep better (I think). We talked about climbing. Its annoying her again. Its often a challenge having an obsessive pastime and a non participating significant other. We have refined how we communicate over the years and so for the most part we are able to talk about things before they develop into a bigger issue, but its often difficult. I think this discussion comes from it being January and other social distractions being thin on the ground, and my trying to prepare for the big swiss trip.

The school is temporarily closed. There's a sign on the door saying to not go in, and I received a mail from Nic explaining that the building is closed for the heating to be mended. Its expected that it will be closed for 3-4 weeks. Apparently, the gas fires that heat the building are a fire risk, and as the council has to provide heating so the building must be closed. That the climbers dont want or need the heating is unfortunately irrelevant - the council have rules to adhere to. Keith and I are going to flout said rules and train tonight anyway. He's just climbed 8b in swiss, and I am going imminently, so am massively psyched to hang out with him. Perhaps some of the magic will rub off!
Anyway, here is a pic of Char on Serre Moi Forte. He has very kindly given Dylan a CD with a sequence pics on. We're taking Dylans lappy with a view to it not being possible to fail with this much beta!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Flash Harry buries the hatchet

Last night was r4 of the Foundry bouldering league. Its always a treat to go to the Foundry. I used to work there when I first moved to sheffield, and still feel a certain affinity. Yes, the works has become a good ally since it opened, but the Foundry will always have a special place in my heart. Anyway, problems set by Dan and by Zippy, the wall had been stripped which was great, and they climbed well - only two tricky ones, but thanks to the mystical jazz pants I managed not to fall off. Very pleased - haven't ever clean sheeted before. Have come close but always made silly mistakes. No Ginger Ned or Flamboyant Tony to push me, just one bear of a Polish dude...
I am delighted to report that Polish Dave and I have cleared the air. Being completely honest, I didn't think there was anything to clear in the first place, but Dave wasn't happy that I wrote I didn't want to take him to the board. I explained that it wasn't that I didn't want to take him, or that I had anything against him personally, but that I had only limited guest spaces and a queue of closer friends. Also, I knew he had been letting himself in. We talked about this too - way back in 2000 Jerry told him this was ok. I explained it wasn't and we ended happy little bunnies, even arranging to crush the joker.
Hurrah for mid comp reconciliation talks!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Dr and Mrs Pinch...

Well, the weekend was largely about Ed and Collette who got married on Saturday. Before we get there - theres a big sign on the front door of the school saying that the building is temporarily closed due to fire risk. It then says you can go in, but you do so at your own risk. I did and am still here.

Whilst I was grinding my little fingers off at the board, these two were tying the knot :
Bless. The honey monster and I had an evening do invite, and spent the rest of the day mooching before turning up at the workstation at 2000. What a great venue. Met Aaron and Jen and Andy and Shiv. Andy recommended the cheese (what else would you expect) and I wished I hadn't had tea first. Unusually for wedding reception grub this was all really nice, and with a definate Tapas flavour. Ace cheese. Got stuck in a bit too excitedly and probably ended the weekend heavy.

By no means was the cheese the best bit of the do. Oh no. I suppose if you have muso types in your family, they will always be up for some sort of shenighans and as a result the quality of the music was high. There was a full on band set up in one corner, with attendees invited to join in and jam at will. James and I were going to do Vanilla Ice, but he didnt think he would be able to get back up again with his dodgy ankle. Probably a good thing. Collette did a song for Ed, which was very touching, but then.... then the dark horse showed us all how it goes down with a rendition of Dean Martin's 'Aint that a kick in the head'!!! amazing. He can sing good too. Granted, its probably not the most vocally taxing song in the world, but Ed - singing. Fully 8b I reckon. Wad points awarded. I did actually get some of it on phone video but its rubbish, so I shall spare ed the embarrasment. Until he burns me off next time.

Finally, a word on the 50's gangsta pimp daddy shoes Dr Pinch was wearing on the night... Check these bad boys out :

Friday, 11 January 2008

The power of the jazz pants

Popped up to the board at lunchtime yesterday. The heating is broken in the building at the moment, which is sort of a good thing. The temperature in our room follows the outside temperature by a couple of days. When its been cold outside, and then warmed up, its the colder temp in the school. It can of course be too cold. Then it goes glassy and isn't good. The tor-conditions-indicator in the car suggested 9 degrees on the way up, but it must have been colder the day before as it was v.cold in there. I took Dylan with me, and we opened the door to find Zippy and Al Williams chatting beneath the moon board. Al had popped in to collect the book for some TShirt ideas. Warmed up. Felt quite sparky. Did my three semi hard problems on the first go of each. Psyched. Tried too fluffy, climbed past the hard bit and hands slipped off dramatically depositing me on my arse. Try again, get to the wooden pinch but this time its my feet that blow off and again I'm on my arse. Have a quick gander at Amoeba Assasin. This is a dirty little problem that involves pinching a screw on foot hold and moving off it. It's hard. Make the move off the screw on but fail to hold the resulting cut loose. This is the crux for me. Move the magic on to Smoores - a Si problem that James opened. It's hard, but at first glance it appears theres just one move thats tricky. I had never done said move, and it didn't feel any closer at first. Then I nailed it, deadpointing the destination hold but sagging out, having not properly set the hold up. Blimey. That's not happened before. Climb from there to the top again to make sure I could do it if I get there. Feels over the horizon, but you never know. Rest up. Have another go on 'the move' and again, nail it! awesome, perhaps it is on. Fall off trying to move out of it again. Rest up, try from the ground, nail the move on the link from the ground but again, fail to move out of the resulting position. Shit. Perhaps its not on after all. Rest up again, have a really good go, where I get to the hold, start trying to move up and think I'm going to do it, but my foot pops! aaargh! Have a bit more rest and pull on again. If nothing else the last few idiot goes have served to refine the steady first moves. I take the holds right, I know i have done, and this time when I manage this hard move in the middle, there's something different about how I've managed to hold it, it's more secure, and I'm not letting go for anyone! cram my foot on, get to the pinch, take the time to adjust on the holds and make sure I am going nowhere but up. Its over, a wave of excitement ripples past. Brilliant. Its great to do a problem you've not done before, but I don't feel as elated as when I have done other stuff. Think this comes from how much work you have had to put in. Except if you flash something, then you get an extra buzz, but it's shorter lived. If you put the time in on something then it feels really special when you finally succeed. Amoeba Assasin is next. I hope that the pushing through a move I didn't think I could do will give me the confidence boost perhaps I need to sort that one out too.
Can't remember if I mentioned these dubious white pants I've been pimping? think I might have done. Anyway, I found these old white pants that were clubbing pants in the back of my wardrobe. Rather than throw them out, I have put them to good use at the board, and now they have gotten me up something worthwhile. James texts : "There's a theme here. Jazz pants. Jerry, Bernd. Now you. I felt on fire in mine before I went to swiss, and I wasn't wearing them when I fell off... think on.". I dont consider myself a superstitious chap, but whenever I have climbed something in a certain pair of pants I consider that they might be special lucky pants. When I did my first route 8a it was in a pair of flashed pants I got from TC. Those became the 8a pants, and all subsequent ones were completed in them. Until I got a better newer pair of magic pants. Its not clear how the magic moves, but you know when it does. And I don't mean you climb like a flid in your old lucky pants all of a sudden, its just time to move the magic, and you just know in your heart. Man.  
Zippy made an interesting comment, about people over analysing everything. It's all bollocks he said. Just work hard. Noone has gotten good without hard work. He said that all he does with people is impose discipline. I have tentatively arranged with Roy 'The terminator' Mosely to feel the discipline when he and I are back from der Schweiz. Watch this space club kids, it could be the gateway to the next level!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008


I got spoon fed loads of good blog titles, headings, sub-headings, amusements and so on from Paul, Dave and Lee up at the school on monday, but as soon as I left the building I forgot them all. Either I need a dictaphone or a pad and pen everywhere I go, in case I think of something interesting to write (perish the thought) or I need to be less stupid - stop gazing wistfully out the window and daydreaming.
Anyway, its Wednesday morning. I went to the board on Monday. Felt a bit sore after the boxercise thing, but not in climbing muscles - I do find that you can train antagonistic muscles so you ache, but still climb more or less unaffected. Don't do loads of dips or chest compression things though, as the pec does get used climbing. Or, in my more simplified terms - if it hurts before you start, it will hurt more when you have finished (specifically the pec). There's a point of low level ache that will disappear once you loosen up, but you probably know if you can be honest whether its too far advanced. And besides, should you really be doing anything if you ache? probably not. If thats true though theres just not enough time. Anyway, Monday board - it was cold, and super grippy as a result. Felt pretty much back on it and did some fun problem testing with Zippy.
Her sister Wendy delivered a baby girl - who will be called Jessica, yesterday morning. Mother and baby are fine. She went to inspect the baby (check it is a baby and so on) last night, and I went to the climbing works - doing more of the reds with Westie. The soon to be wed Robsonator made an unexpected appearance which was a pleasure. We flailed like floundering sea bass but had a nice time. Saw Jim on his way out with the new Font guide, he promised to smite me for wearing crocs. Honestly, I dont know what it is people dont get about them - they are the knowledge! Loads in by the time I left, including someone who started saying hello as I was leaving, but I fully didnt recognise whomever it was and was a bit standoffish. Sorry whomever you were, I dont know who you are. I think.
Finally, Foley is on the mend. Apparently he can weight bear again, and has even conquered the stairs. Back to work for him on Monday...

Monday, 7 January 2008

Careless Voyeur

Saturday morning club is all well and good, but over winter its almost certainly damp in the morning, therefore its worth waiting for the sun and wind to dry things out - suggesting a nice lazy start to be the way forward. I need a full day out soon. I would broach the subject with the honey monster, but realistically - the coming weekend is Ed's wedding,  and the weekend after that is the last weekend before Cresc. I wouldn't dream of being out all day and then leaving her for a week. Other people look on and think I'm under the thumb, but I love her and want to spend my time off with her. Its difficult, but at the moment I do feel there's a nice balance.
I might take a day or a half day in the week. Looking at the weather this week, I might leave it until next week. It's a shame to miss everyone else though. Climbing is so much about banter. It contributes to the psyche. Sometimes I work well alone, but not always.
Anyway, Saturday morning followed friday night (!), which was wet. I went to the board on Friday night and did some steady problems with Joe's weight belt on. Saturday morning I went to the works to do circuits. Dave Mason went to Curbar and apparently it was good.
Went to see Hilary Swank in 'P.S. I love you' in the evening, which promised to be a soppy rom-com-chick-flick affair. It was. The opening scene was dreadful. The irish accent of the male lead was appalling. It did pick up, but there were some odd continuity issues. I would say about 54%.
Sunday - she and I went to Greens Gym. She got these free passes, which I used to join her for a change. It was fun - we did boxercise. There are lots of unfit people in the world. There was one girl who, after each request to run across the room (10metres max) would have to sit down looking quite unwell. Did housey stuff for a bit after that, read the papers, looked wistfully at the beautiful day outside, etc etc. Wanted to go for a walk but settled for a recce at Rubicon. Its not as horrendous as you might think (!) - the floor is sticky but not fully flooded (it is at Caviar), but more importantly - Kudos wall is dry. The start hold is a bit claggy at the back, but the rest of it is fine. You would have to warm up somewhere else though. Drove back up through bradwell and stopped on cloggers lane to gaze across at what looked like a perfect day at Stanage. Got the binoculars out and looked over at the plantation, settling on Careless Torque which had a few people milling around. I was too far away to see whom, but someone in a red shirt was getting up high on the arete. Got all excited and sent out a few text messages but the red shirt didn't get back there, and we went home. On getting home I got a message from Ed to say that Ryan had done it! A great effort. CT has to be the best looking gritstone line there is? Its always captivated my attention. Is it 8a or + these days? possibly even more interesting (to me at least) is that Ned was apparently doing well on it too - thats well exciting - what has happened to the ginger pipsqueak? I can only assume that since I have donated him to Varian he has come on leaps and bounds. Perhaps theres something in this climbing outside thing after all. Anyway, Ed has some footage, so I am eagerly awaiting a YouTube link....

Friday, 4 January 2008

Plans for der schweiz...

Here is my work in progress tick list for switzerland :
** at chironico **
Great shark hunt - never looked at it. apparently a lot of climbing, but all on good crimps (sounds like a gift to me!), plus, people keep flashing it, so it must be basic!
Dr Pinch - this guy I know did it, and he's rubbish, so it must be easy ;-)
Dr Crimp - simply because its called Dr Crimp.
No Mistery - Chatted with dave mason about this and apparently should be ok for me... kiss of death. Plus its the start to...
Schule des lebens - crimping up a steep face - brilliant!
le pilier. The one that got away. Idiot.
Serre Moi Forte. Char describes this as playing to his strengths, he likes crimping, and so do I. Perhaps I could do it?
Plus, I was thinking about looking at that deliverance thing that Chris Davis has done - he flashed it. There you go.
** at cresciano **
Dreamtime stand
le boule
Kirk Windtain - super highball and the Harris failed, ergo it must be hard.
In an ideal world, it would go like this :
Arrive late on saturday, eat, sleep well.
Sunday up and off to chironico - crush le pilier. Investigate serre moi forte. Quest for other things.
Monday - cresciano. Climb some easy things, tentatively look into either DT stand or Franks.
Tuesday - rest. Either spend day spotting or look at castles.
Wednesday - things I looked at at Chironico - succeed on one of them... get drunk, eat pizza.
Thursday - climb classic problems, take pictures, get drunk, eat pizza.
Friday - climb classic and rubbish problems, try an 8b, get shut down, eat pizza, drunk again.
Saturday - bimble about climbing slabs and being unable to touch anything due to lack of skin, fly home. Make love to beautiful girlfriend.

Great white weight week

Been a great week for commuting. My god, the roads are dead. Its taking a mere 50 minutes to get to work - which is fantastic. Anyway, reckon loads of people will still be off this week, and it will probably be much worse on monday.
I am totally confused as to which day of the week it is. Wednesday night I went to the board, pimping my new old white trews. I found a pair of pants I bought years ago for clubbing (think it was a white party at Amnesia) and was going to throw them out. Then I remembered that Jerry wore white pants so perhaps they would make me awesome. I did my three reference problems ok, and progressed to trying my token hard problem as a guage. Waned quickly, but thats probably down to the shock of being back at work after the hols - and perhaps the brightness of my legwear. Joe and Vik turned up, followed by Nige. All very impressed by my natty white attire. Added Joe's weight belt for the last 45 minutes and started trying to do the warm ups with 4kilos. I am convinced this is the way. I am going to try to do it again today. Once I can do everything with 4k on, I shall bump it to 6. And then 8, and then I shall either be very strong or very injured.
Some snow in Leeds yesterday, pretty dank today. Planning to climb at the board this afternoon for a short session, then if I can (and its not raining), get back on west side story tomorrow am.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Excess XS

I wonder how many blogger's first blog contains the text 'probably wont keep this up to date'. I think mine did. It's partly a self importance complex that you think you'll be too busy, partly a defence in case noone reads it or you sound like an idiot. Anyway, its almost a year of the blog of dob. In fact, it might already be but such statistical reverie ranks so highly - I haven't actually checked. My down jacket smells. She says it smells of sweaty climbing shoes, and its worse when its wet (raining in Leeds this morning).
So. New years eve. It was brilliant. Started the day at the school where I met Zippy who was setting problems for Ben. Climbed like a donkey on the main board (think I'm heavy), although did manage my 'warm-up' three. I put a lot of store in my success on these three 'reference' problems. If I can climb them straight away, on my first go of the day, then my psyche is buoyed by the assumption that I am climbing well. If (as NYE) I have to have a couple of goes on each, and feel like I am having to try when I climb them, I have a tendency to write off the rest of the session, thinking I am climbing badly. Of course, this massively depends on who is there. Anyway, try some of Zippy's problems on the moon board. They are v.tweaky on small finger holds, but they climb well. Or perhaps its just the kid in sweet shop joy of having new problems to do. Left the board and took the Monster out to that Mish Mash place on Ecclesall road. Now I love their ethos - local food, well prepared and local pictures, influence, tables - blah, blah, blah, but... it is expensive. Its one of those joints where you order a main (about £15) and then have to order side dishes - all of which are about £3 each. The food is lovely and beautifully presented, but your sides should be included. Or your mains should be cheaper. Oh, and get more staff! I would guess they havent run a restaurant before. Lovely people when you do get hold of them, but all running about flapping rather than knowing what they are doing. The monster and I discussed this at length and she suggested (not to them!) that they should have one person behind the bar doing drinks and you go up and order at the bar, then two waiting on tables. This seems to work well in other places. After that we headed up to Alan Cotton's house to deliver the decks ready for the evening frivolities. When we bought our house (end august '06) I put the decks in the eaves of the attic, and they havent been out since. Save an hour for Sam at the works one friday night when they opened I havent been near them since. Was therefore delighted to discover that mixing is like riding a bike. I hadnt forgotten how to do it. Later, when drunker, I found that the skill that had been lost (perhaps mislaid is a better description) wasn't the mixing of beats, but the recovery of a wayward mix. In the old days a sort of cognitive sixth sense allowed me to correct something before any punter noticed - not now, I tried but it got worse and I just had to cut the outgoing record and admit defeat. Being completely honest I dont think anyone else cared. In a nutshell, drinking G&T all night, home at 5am, slept until 11, consumed three alka seltzer (one XS) and made amazing first breakfast of new year. Delivered our friends to the station and drove to foot of limb valley. Had a nice little walk for 45 minutes and then back home to watch Tarantino's Jackie Brown (must have been caned the last time I saw it, as can only remember the first ten minutes).
Back in work this morning, which is good if you are a reader of this drivel, as thats me back in my routine (rut?) of regular postage. Its probably traditional to launch into an analysis of the year thats gone, but I should really do some work (plus, people start arriving about now) so I wont bother. If you are that interested in my year thats gone have a look back through the blog. Rather than looking back I shall focus on what I am going to do this year. Sort of resolutions but not really, as theres a tradition of breaking those. I am not going to drink alcohol all January. I am going to try to keep a training diary. I am going to crush Tsunami.
Tim and I used to do a things you should have done, things you are going to do and things you would like to do list. Should have done is without a doubt Tsunami. Going to do is going to be the Hulk, West side Story and the storm, and things I would like to do can be Zoo York. Onwards and upwards club kids, onwards and upwards...

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy new year!

I feel sick. Can't write more now as having to focus on the keyboard is making head spin. Return to dj'ing went well although I was drunk so that might just be what I heard rather than what other people could hear. New years resolutions to follow when I can see properly again.