Friday, 21 December 2012

The 25th of August! That was when we last spoke, which is in stark contrast to the daily updates of old. And its not that I dont love you anymore, nor have I lost the appetite to poke fun, just a question of priorities. Also, I've actually been working rather than giving voice to my existential debates on the internet. Anyway, enough about that. What's happened since August? Well, firstly, a girl did Mecca. Admittedly one who climbs 8B (yeah yeah, she will soon ok - think of it as future proofing), which prompted me to crank up my trusty ginger sidekick and head to the tor. As is commonly the case these days, he did it and I didnt. Nick took some nice pictures.

The rest of limestone season was driven largely by the prospect of going to Stoney chippy on the way home. Ned tried the Bastard, Jon Welford's visionary testpiece from the mid nineties but only managed one and a half moves, Nick took more pictures, and I did the Sissy again. A far cry from the blissful evenings idling away at the Cornice last year. Anyway, Stoney chippy is indeed a good chippy.

I was glad of the shift of focus to the brown rocks, and unsuprised to discover I was even less competent than before. There were little forays of success, tales of skin mismanagement and more stories of failure. I failed on the art of white hat wearing and great white, but did (and recommend) the Hippo.

I learnt that the weather is so consistently bad, that if you have chance, even if it is for just an hour - you should go out, and to that end I have been collecting projects close to home - i.e. accessible in a couple of hours quick raid. These so far include The art of white hat wearing, great white, monochrome, boyager, Walk on by, full power, western eyes and musee imaginaire (which was the scene of a hideous failure with Bransby the other day).

In child news - he has his first tooth, so although he's been a bit grumpy he's still really good. Nearly nine months old now, and although its all anyone says - it goes so fast. To which end although the first three months are hard work and you do wish the time away a bit, it gets loads better and now he is really fun to play with. Still hard work mind. (ours in nearest the camera in this pic)

Anyway, happy xmas! hope you have a good festive yuletide and that you consume a river of port and a mountain of mince pies (i.e. so I can burn you off when I see you at the wall).

Saturday, 25 August 2012

What doctors do when they don't have jobs

Here's Rupert and Dylan making the best out of the bad weather, me enjoying a little saucisson on one of my regular big wall missions and finally some insight into my secret training scheme, just before an intense wedge workout.

All work credit the twisted mind of Dr folie

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Friday, 20 July 2012

Direct Action

I have actually managed to climb outside in the last two weeks. Admittedly, it involved being rained on, but I did actually manage to climb something. Which was nice. 

On the 12th Nick and I went to the Tor and did Wild in Me. This involved stuffing rags into holes and pulling them out before climbing. I.e. pretty desperate. We also went round to Rubicon which was totally (and some would point out) predictably, flooded. The evening finished at Stoney's Minus ten wall, which means I don't have to go there for another five years. 

Yesterday I returned to Kilnsey with Britain's preeminent bum doctor and Keighley's second favourite ginger primary school teacher (about to loose his title). This was a high risk strategy based entirely on the strength of text messages from the dangerous subversive Aaron Deakin. However, when we arrived it was actually good. There were dry holds, and a fresh breeze. I however, had forgotten my harness. Kilnsey is an impressive crag of some rather significant girth, not one which the prospect of climbing with a sling harness appeals particularly. We set about the mandela training traverse - A sideways shuffle the crux of which involves avoiding nettles. Although you wouldn't travel to Kilnsey to go bouldering, this actually turned out to be quite fun. Whilst James and I engrossed ourselves in the real line of the crag, such fanciful creatures as Awesome Mawson and strong blonde lady set about flashing everyone else's route projects, but I could see them jealously eyeing our traverse, wondering how two such fat men could lift such weight, and how we hadn't pulled the crag over. 

Thankfully our Keighley cousin arrived just in time for us to finally exhaust ourselves and for him to be best. Which indeed he was. Delighted to be at a damp midge infested hell hole, he rattled off the Directissima. I also took a turn on the lead, whilst the lilly livered bum doctor shaked and grumbled his way up on a topper. As the medical miracle swore and trembled, Kev and I dreamt up a challenge. Would the Directissima be possible in trainers? well, yes it would. A fun exercise that made you think more about your feet and work a bit harder. Lowering back to the ground, we all had a quick go on Face Value. Kev again in trainers, us two now totally boxed - having a whitey in climbing shoes. Quick pint at the Old Hall and then home. 

Meanwhile, I have an email from our old friend Dick Splinters. Dick's planning to launch a top secret training app on the appstore. I've seen a prototype, and it seems to involve a lot of videos of Dick, wearing brightly coloured Y Fronts, doing implausible things with a campus rung. In one video he appears to nearly get his dog to talk - nearly. Unbelievable. Not sure what Dave Macleod would think about some of his training ideas mind. One of them seems to involve using the campus rung in an altogether different fashion where ones arms come into play only to hold onto the pillow.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


I haven't had any revelations recently, and i haven't been actual rock climbing either - so there's been scant little to reveal to you. Well, there are a couple of things :

Joe le Sage has a blog. Far from the usual droning on about rock climbing tosh, its a cooking blog. Read his musings here :

We took the boy on his first holiday. We went to Pembrokeshire, and stayed in a beautiful cottage. Here's some pictures : 

this was our house
The bedroom
bath in the bedroom
whitesands bay. nice and clean, but only small

three musketeers at Barafundle bay
throwing some fins

cool things we found whilst we were there :
Pant Mawr - amazing local cheese shop
UltraComida - spanish tapas serving deli in Narberth
Melin Trgwynt - welsh woollen blankets
Surf forecast for whitesands on Ma Simes

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Three months old

It's not been a bad time to have had a baby and be out of the running to be honest. Since he arrived, don't think I haven't been climbing - i have, just only for short spells, and indoors. Which sounds like its been ok because it's been tipping it down or boiling hot anyway. The opportunities missed have been scarce, and whilst I don't like to be a miserable choad and wish that whilst I can't, neither can you - it's easier to bear than hearing about loads of stuff getting done when you can't go. Which is a point I would like to make - when you're expecting a baby, people are such doom chimps - 'oooh, you'll not be doing this and that when the baby comes' and so on. You will, you can do anything you want - just for less time and whilst tired! Why do people take such delight in doing this? wierdos. 

I described fatherhood to Adam as being exactly the same, but without the whimsy. By which I meant you still get to go climbing, and do what you want to do, but the whimsical flights of fancy of before have to be shelved. I reckon even they will come back, but not perhaps for a little while.  Mind you, being the first father's day this last weekend, I did get to indulge myself and take the boy for a walk down Cheedale. Not since the bad old days have i seen a crag that wet (remember, the years when the cornice didnt dry out?). I had heard that people had been on martial music and unleashing, but both of these were nearly waterfalls, and the nemesis start was so soaked i struggled to make out the holds (I was actually looking for the one which had broken, and am now concerned its the crimp jug you bone with your right hand to go back left. Is it? 

So, three months old and already been dragged to the wet crag. What hope for the minibeast? He's also been to the Climbing Works. Slept through the first hour, and then had a bit of feed and a kick on the mats by the board. Which, according to Helen - is very like her sessions (this made us laugh). Unfortunately, he also had to suffer the endless tirade which is Alex Barrows. One can only wonder as to the damage which must surely have been done to his little mind as the gangly grade bagger slopped his floppy clown shoes onto the enormous bivi ledge footholds which exist for weak people and warm ups. To compensate, I sellotaped a picture of malc to the inside of his basket, and he fell asleep with a kettlebell in his paw. Hopefully this is enough to reverse the damage.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A new start

"Halleluia" they thought - he's stopped blighting us with his vitriolic rants about weight vests, showing off and how good Ned is. No more the pointless gossip about who linked which hold to which on the beastmaker board, the self obsessed drivel about endless failure, or random musings on the perils of filling your splits with anti hydral. The Maclellan witch hunter, cast from the blogosphere, has finally hung up his boots? They wrung their hands in anticipation. Well no, sorry. He is/I am back. Once again. With the ill behaviour. 

The building work dragged on into an eighth week. It felt like longer that men wielding power tools had been creating plumes of dust in the house. It feels now like that was all of a different world - one where she was still pregnant, and everything was as normal - just that she didn't walk far or drink gin. We were driving down Carterknowle road that evening, and as we crashed over a speedbump, her waters broke. 10 days earlier than the due date, a week away from the end of the building and everything was covered in dust and in boxes! We just wanted to collect up the waters, push them back up and seal the baby in for a few weeks. 

We'd been whispering to it that it wasnt to come until the 16th - a week after its due date, but it wouldn't listen. It (cos he was still an it at this point) had been wrestling and kicking away at his mother, desperate to get out, but we weren't ready. There's a risk of infection from having your waters gone but not being in labour, so we ended up getting induced in jessops on wednesday the 28th. We had wanted to have a water birth, for her to be active during labour, and to stay at home as long as possible, but all this goes out the window when being induced, because you're hooked up to a drip and can't move about. Plus, as labour is being brought on by a synthetic version of the hormone, it suddenly comes on at full tilt, so you don't get chance to build up to it. We were warned to expect it to be hard, and consider all the pain relief options. It's not a competition, so we took them. And things went from being fraught and her suffering to her chatting with her dad about colour schemes for the house! 

After a pretty chilled labour, we started pushing at about 11pm. They ended up suckering him and giving him a little pull to get him the last bit out, and at 12:46am on Thursday the 29th Harry Jack Morton hatched. As he was pulled clear of his mum, my eyes caught sight of a little red ball bag - a boy! get in! I couldn't believe it. So many people seem to have been having girls, that whilst I wanted a boy, I didn't expect to actually get one. They put him straight on his mum's chest and he squealed and squealed whilst two new parents looked at him and at each other and felt relief and awe and mild terror! It was like we hadn't realised there was going to be a baby at the end of it all. The world started to spin faster, and it hasn't slowed down since!  

All through pregnancy and labour, the support is brilliant. The staff of Jessops are amazing. They do an incredible job, but at the end of it you are presented with your child and it feels like you've jumped off the cliff - all these people helped you get there, then pushed you off! It's then that the realisation dawns on you that you're gonna have to look after this totally dependant thing from hereafter, that your self indulgent lifestyle of old has gone forever - and we weren't unhappy! People do warn you that things change when you have a child but you just think 'yeah, yeah - whatever, we'll still do stuff' and I have no doubt that we will, but for the first few months its all about them. 

The tide brings a ceaseless stream of visitors, then slowly the frequency abates, and you start to get back to normal. Only its not the old normal, its a new 'dictated-by-child' normal. One of the things people have said which most resonated was that the first couple of weeks were more about coping than anything else, and now six weeks on we're already getting better at it, and I have come to realising that something else a friend said is also true - the days may seem to drag on, but the weeks and months fly past. Six weeks old already. Six weeks, and much chunkier, more alert and almost having a smile baby exists, and its parents whilst not fully competent, can make at least a reasonable show of knowing what they are doing. 

So then, what you really want to know, is during this paradigm shift in my life - how much have I been climbing? well, I figured I wouldnt be going out much, so i bought a kettlebell, and did a few sessions of hanging, but have actually been popping to the wall a couple of times a week, certainly after the first three weeks, and in the day rather than of an evening. But you know what? in the daytime the wall is full of other dads on stealth missions, and the weather's been shit anyway. 

So it's ok fatherhood. At least so far. The feelings of this child has taken over my life and I dont get to choose what i do have been replaced by ones of 'but he is cute though', and dreams of his future and wondering what he'll be into. I chatted to Gill Whittaker last night (Katy and PWhiddy's mum) about how she got them into it, and know the secrets. Nick Brown seems keen to make him the next Adam Ondra, Foley's had a go, and he even did a poo on Ned. 'Doin' allright, getting good grades, future's so bright - i gotta wear shades'...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

weighed down

Right. This has been brewing for some time, but I haven't had time to spout it. Weight Vests. Ever since there was that damned video about Patxi Usobiaga circling his board with one on, thats all you see young hopefuls wearing. Me and Foley even bought them, and I'm not saying there's something wrong with using them, or that they couldn't lead to results, but that these days they are more often being misused for the purposes of showboating. 

Training with weight on has been around for years. It's led to some great injuries and to some strong people. Undoubtedly it could work, but it's a high risk strategy. Yes, if you don't break then you could get strong - nay, very strong - but unless you progressively build up the weight and do it properly having identified that really is your weakness, you're at risk of breaking yourself. That's not actually the point here. Since that bloody video I see two things at our walls - people climbing short problems on JUGS with weight vests on, and people who have no jobs coming down at the busiest time of day and sharking on the comp wall - i.e. watching people, waiting for them to fail on something, and then mincing up it in a weight vest. If this describes you - you are a CUNT. 

Patxi was using weight, and climbing on jugs - but doing a lot of moves. He was training endurance. Doing 5 or 6 moves to get to the top of the comp wall on a problem you have done 100 times, with a weight vest on is training your ego. Stop show boating and do harder problems. Are you seriously saying that you cannot do hard enough moves withough having to add weight? You're not trying the right problems. Use smaller holds. Worse feet. 

You can train power with added weight, but climbing problems you have wired isn't doing that - it's showing off. Analyse your weakness, is ability to swing between jugs carrying a rucsac really it? If you want to get strong - hang from a fingerboard with weight on. If you want more power - do powerful moves - get on the Beastmaker board - you don't need to add weight to make that hard, so why aren't you there? oh I see - because you cant get to the top, and you want to look good!

Ultimately, you can do whatever you want of course, but don't let's lie about it.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Walk in the Dark

A scraping noise from above alerted me to the sinewy form of Chris Nicholas Webb Parsons opening his bedroom window - 'ah mate, ya flaming galaaa - aaaahm just on the skype to me shiela, mate. Ripper', and with that a key hurtled towards me. Let yourself in I thought - nice. You dont get a chance like this too often... 

I creep stealthily through Ned's darkened bedroom doorway, hearing only light snuffling noises from within.  I inch forward. The ginger love god faces into the opposite corner, surrounded by strange roped contraptions and pictures of malcolm smith, and appears to be examining his tail. Perhaps its itchy I think, as I leap forward and capture him in my net. A quick squirt of cat nip and his yelps are subdued. I bundle him into the car, but as I am loading him, the chiseled cheeks of one time hippy Ben Thompson make an appearance. Thinking quickly I whip out a cream horn and whilst he's dazzled, he too is swept into the back of the car. 

It's not actually raining at Curbar gap, although the wind feels like its scouring our very souls for weakness. I frog march them to 'Walk on By' and force Ned to work out a sequence. Ben huddles in a cleft weeping quietly. Soon Ned and I are scratching our way upwards on rat crimps and dirty grifters. Neither of us do it, but he gets to holding the top pinch. It was only because of Ben's tears wetting the holds that we have to give up. That was Monday. 

Last night on the way home from work I went back to Anston Stones. I have been trying to do that Dark Art problem for what feels like ages, but is actually about four visits. It's one of those problems which I think I was quite close to when I first went on it, but then seemed to keep not doing. Anyway, it was good nic, and I felt good. I knew I was going to do it when I started warming up. Things felt good, i knew what to do, i had the errors dialled but i wasn't going to make them. Two redpoints later it still wasn't in the bag. I was getting closer though. 

There's a danger of putting your heel on the floor during the first move, and sometimes as you move upwards there's a doubt in the back of your mind whether you weighted it, but not this time. This time i must have been in a slightly different position and the holds just felt better! Everything happened right. All the holds caught perfect, adjusted to get the best out of them and moved past. As I matched up on the good dishes over the roof the thought 'dont blow it now' kept coming back, and I pictured myself crumpled on the pads having fallen from here. Engaged maximum safety slow motion climbing mode, and thankfully, this bit was both easy and well rehearsed. I scuttled to the jugs, panting like a cornered nun. YYFY!

Friday, 17 February 2012

rock climbing

Since we've been back, I just wanted to go climbing. I have suspended any aspirations and have just gone out and done stuff (as opposed to projecting things, or getting sucked into any sieges). When we got back from Swizzers I was a bit down on my climbing, and this is what I needed to give me my mojo back. It's all well and good coming home with some big numbers in the bank, but climbing is more than just occasionally doing hard stuff, it should also be fun. Years ago Roy told me to stop training and go climbing - sage advice, and something which really helped me as a climber.

I love training, and I love doing hard moves on the board (ok, ok - hard moves for me - yeah, they might be jugs to you), but I also love getting to the top of actual rock climbs, and going to new places. So, since we have been back I have been on a bit of mopping up mission. Getting some stuff I have meant to do for ages done, and boshing out some new steady ones as well. Here's a list of the scuffles of the last few weeks :

1) Small is beautiful, burbizzle. Always quite fancied this for some reason. John Allen classic. Dispatched in a lunchtime raid the week after Swizzers.
2) Velvet Crab, burbage again. Me and Ed went out that saturday it was freezing cold and finally went and closed this one down. There's some fat guy on it in the guide, so it cant be that hard... ;-P
3) Blind Date, Burbage. Done on the same day as above, as the snow started. pretty log, but for completeness sake.
RingPiece, Ilkley. Can this really be 7b+? Went after work, thinking it didnt look that far (from Pudsey), it is, and the roads are busy. Meant to do Superset as well, but it went dark and I went for chips. Is the Pub nice? it looks it.
4) Jess Roof, Almscliff. Hooray! I have had odd goes on this here and there over the years, but I am always on my own, and its a bit scary. This one was this Tuesday. Lovely day - incredible condition at the cliff, just got on and rinsed it. Very pleased.
5) Streaky's Traverse, Almscliff - a bit shit, but another one done.
6) Buffy wants daddy, Almscliff. See above really. Quite interested in the link ups.
7) Jerry's Traverse, Stanage. This Wednesday - now I know this is a bum drag and possibly the least most inspiring problem at one of the best crags in the Peak, but its a good one to do on your own (although I wasnt), and once I got started on it i wanted it done.

Its been fun, actually doing things.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Swizzers 2012

Switzerland. The land of soft grades and the easy 8a? I don't think so. Things get done in switzerland not because they're soft, but because they're basic, and because basic climbing you can replicate indoors. And the weather is better. It doesn't mean the grades are soft, just that you're successfully able to precondition yourself to be able to do the climbs there. Of course, as with any area there are sandbags, and there are soft touches. Could this be the set up for me justifying a big holiday trophy I've bought back? I wish! more like it's I want to feel better about not doing anything! 

You watch the videos on the internet of people doing hard things, and they make them look so easy. You forget that the people in these videos are the international wads, they are eight stone, 6ft4 and have practically unlimited time reserves. Expecting yourself to pull out similar performances on a week long trip is expecting a lot. I was laboring under the pressure of matching the last trip. Two 8a's, each in a session - surely 8a+ would be possible with a bit of grit (and cherry picking) and determination?

Me, Ben Pritchard, James Foley. Switzerland. One week, a whole host of hard things to do. I'd been dedicated, made sacrifices and felt strong on the board. My pre trip board project had gone down, the signs were good. We get up ludicrously early to catch a plane. Spend that afternoon having a potter around to get moving and shake off the fog of travel. 

Next day we go up to Cresciano again to meet the other team (Sam, Lu, Rubber Chicken and the illegal immigrant). The first sign of a problem is that my wood soft skin feels sore on the warm ups. Bendy gets on La Pelle and does a couple of really good links. It looks like he could do this classic problem. We have a go on Franks, and I quickly realise its not something I could easily do ever. James looks really good on it, getting his heel in and coming off matching. Then we go up to Stinky Pete, which is one of the lines of Cresciano. Its high and with a bad landing, so you need a team to do it, and finally I'm in one. Three of us keep getting up there, but bailing out before the top. It takes a 14 yr old tree frog to show us the way, but noone else summits. An italian midget in a muscle vest turns up and I get told off for grooming him. We go to la proue and I make a try. These holds are jugs. Honestly - they are. But that foothold is shit. Its like a quarter of a marble. I manage to take my weight for a millisecond but cannot move. We go to La Boule and those two do la boulette, Foley with an alarming flourish on the rounded top out, uttering the immortal words 'I'm sketching' as he scrabbles for purchase. 

The top thing on my list was the Freak Brothers. And on paper this one should have suited. I reached into the crimp and it felt good, I was suprised. The problems I had been setting on the boards had smaller holds than this, but it wasnt linear, it wasnt a simple function of finger strength, it was a wierd body position thing. I experimented about with it for a bit but my skin hurt and I didn't really get very far. Shit. I really wanted to do this one. I think its a great looking problem and it should have been up my street. Hmm. Talking of good looking problems - boogalagga! wow. 

Next day we go to Brione. James is to get on Fake Pamplemousse, I want to try ganymede takeover, and then we plan to explore some of the bits we havent been to before. I feel whalloped. Ganymede feels more basic than Freak Brothers but everything hurts and I dont get too far. James makes progress on the pamplemousse. Bendy and I rest. We go to Molunk, past the cellar door. Molunk looks brilliant. I'd deliberately left my boots in the car, but it looks so good I run down to get them. Leaving James to work out the sequence. I end up doing it in the dark illuminated by my friends headtorches, and with a madmans 8b sequence. 

Bendy had rested completely at Brione. And I needed to rest today (wednesday). He had looked so good on La Pelle, that was what he wanted to do. A lazy start to let it get out of the sun, then we started him off at Hannibal Lecter. Very quickly he was getting to the lip, but didnt feel it was coming quick enough but that he was warm, so we went over to the main event. He seemed to struggle to get going, but eventually put in some really good links - I know he still felt there was quite a lot to do. We head over to la nave va to finish. 

Somewhat rejuvenated, i return to Freak brothers on Thursday. I feel good and immeadiately the difference is obvious. I get closer, but am some way off the pace still, and eventually realise am going backwards and stop. Dammit! We go to find Dr Crimps and Bendy and I manage to scratch our way up razor blades. Hideous. Now we drive back to Cresc, and this time me and James go to Hannibal Lecter. I manage to session flash it, and James gets really close. Bendy makes another try on La Pelle, but is more tired than he realised, and despite eventually battling through to put in some good links, it doesnt come together. I had a half baked idea about trying the direct, but its fully 8a+ in a move, so I stop. 

We spend the final day up at Brione again. I get closer to Ganymede, but skin is really hurty, and despite doing some more moves, I cant bear the pain and give up. Bendy suddenly has a Pamplemousse epiphany and works out how to do the first move. He's getting up there on every go, and even gets his left over the top at one point. Sadly he doesnt finish it and comes away empty handed. James makes good progress, has more goes than jim, but misses out as well. We go to find General Disarray and marilyn Monroe. That hold on Disarray is brilliant. What a nice piece of rock. The spoog is out in full force and we cant remember what Sam said to do. Make progress, but a confusing sequence and bad conditions stop play. Finish the day, and the trip up at Molunk where I realise my sequence from the other day is a very hard way of doing it, and manage to find an easier method. James and Bendy get close but dont do. We walk out broken and ready to be going home the next day. 

So, lessons learnt : Its good to be feeling strong on the board, but you also need to be outdoors rock climbing to toughen your skin and deaden your finger nerves. Pick your battles - get on them early in a trip. If you can't at first then either use will power and don't do anything, or pick something else you can get on. Know when to stop and when not to try. 

Be realistic about what you can honestly expect to achieve in a weeks holiday. Remember you're not an 8st professional climber and set your goals appropriately. Or, set stretching ones, but dont get down about it when you dont achieve them. Most of all, remember that its just climbing and that you are on holiday. Have fun with your mates. Take the piss, get drunk, eat party food - life's too short!

Monday, 16 January 2012

90's computer games

I remember when I first met him. It was at the Edge comp, and he was 16. I burnt him off. I managed to keep doing so for perhaps as much as a year after that. But he pushed me. I had to try really hard to keep in front, and then suddenly, he was ahead. We were friends by then though, and I considered him my protege. I was pleased, and I bathed in the reflected glory that he brought back. All he had to do was accompany me to the nineties hotspots which I remained obsessed with, and try to stay awake on belay duty. 

I am of course talking about Leicester's answer to Fred Dibnah - the three times British Champ Nedwin Van Der Freewilly. The point of this misty eyed reverie was that he seems to have made another leap forwards of late. He's gone from being good to in another ballpark good. I'm psyched for him. He flashed who needs ready brek on Saturday, and Tetris, then took a few goes to do Columns. I was impressed. Then he nearly did that thing of Dan's round the corner. All this whilst injured! 

Ned's always maintained that he is a behemoth in the weight stakes, and he certainly is heavier than some of the stick thin teenagers we see flinging themselves between crimps, but that's because he's a solid clod of milky white muscle. I've gone really hefty since xmas, and seemingly no amount of being good is helping. That said, I am being good, but I could be better. Life's too short to deny yourself everything, but with Switzerland at the end of the week, I could just do with dropping a few pounds. Wonder how heavy i was last year? it doesn't say on the blog either. 

Anyway, this all struck me after meeting Ned and Ben Thompson (ripped face) at Tetris along with just about everyone else in the western world. With Mushin wet it was a bit mobbed. Although a cold day, the sun was out and it felt greasy. Didn't stop Ned flashing it though, and Ben doing it and Columns too. Watching Neddy on Columns made me appreciate how good he's gone. I don't think he comprehends the many ways you can fail which I can think of. I mean, I look at something and think that looks hard, I can't comprehend of how to do this bit or that bit or whatever, whereas I think he looks at things and thinks - that looks ok, and can just do it. Little shit. This was how it was with me and the alphane moon last year - I'd watched the videos, knew I could pull on those holds, and so I approached it thinking I could do it. And do it i did. Self Belief is an under rated component in success. I'm not saying that if you believe you can do anything you can do it, just that approach things with winning in mind, and if they are realistic you WILL succeed. 

Tetris is a good looking rock climb. Would benefit from being overcast though. I do it in the full sun, but compared to going back on it to showboat later on - it feels a different kettle of fish when the sun has set. And what a sunset! I have no concept of how to do Columns. I just can't compute the motion required.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Dick Splinters emails - episode 2

Dick Splinters sent me another one of his long ranty emails. I thought you might like to read it, so here's the best bits : 

"I fucking love it when it rains. It means I can go on my board and PULL DOWN! Its always in condition my board. When the weather's fine, I feel obliged to go out with my 'friends' and lurch between gritstone breaks whilst my feet scrabble uselessly behind me. They're not real friends, if they were they would come and sit in the sofa behind the board and coo as I flick effortlessly between glued on matchsticks - 'oooh Dick you're the best' they'd say, as my legs scorpion kick behind me, 'gosh Dick, it looks really hard, you should be able to climb 9a now', and then I show them the first hour of my fingerboarding DVD - including the bit where I do three back two one armers holding mum's Metro Vanden Plas with my free hand...." 

I've seen it - this is impressive. I haven't seen a vanden plas in that condition for some time. 

"I went to that 'Climbing Works' place again. It's ok like - i mean, the two corners are, but there's this whole punter section in the middle which is baffling. What training benefit is there from slabs? who climbs slabs? Yeah, Adam Long - and look what became of him. Anyway, I saw that Chris Webb-Parsons guy there. I think he works on the desk or something - he had that vacant stare only reception will give you. I think he's got a tattoo of a manatee on his paunch or something? I'm going to get one this lunchtime. Man, that guy has a hunchback almost as pronounced as mine. I went up to him, and I said - 'Hey Parsnip - how many tens have you done?' he didn't know what I was talking about, so i said 'You know, v10's - bet you've done at least three haven't you? which ones? is it the terrace? I've done the Terrace. Have you seen my video??, is it true you had to have four goes on Deliverance?', he started trying to walk away, but I rugby tackled him and tried to pull his trousers off to see if it was true that he had bulging muscular thighs and a tattoo of Pat Butcher on his thigh. It wasn't."

I think he must have been thrown out after that, as there was some sort of commotion there the other day. Anyway, he's got community service to do, so he had to cut it off after that. And anyway, those were the good bits. The rest was just agonising about wooden crimps. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Sparkly Duds

I got this message down my internet pipe yesterday. It's from my old mate Dick Splinters : "Yesterday I went on the board. I felt pretty strong really. I think I was probably the strongest man in a vest since Keith Bradbury did Il Partner on that telly video of Creschironico. I've got massive guns. Then I didn't acheive my potential at some esoterica outdoors and finally I went rowing. It was brilliant." Great update there from Dick. Think he is bound to have a good year. 

Once was the time when there would be almost daily updates on this blogroll. But then again once was the time when it didn't rain every day. There've been opportunities of course, dalliances and odd scuffles but nothing worth writing about. Then came Xmas, and with it annual leave, everyone off together and more time for everything. I managed to get out once. Once throughout the whole break! It wasn't lack of chance, it was just wet everywhere. 

On that day I had heard that the great Jon Barton was going to be at Rivelin, and I thought if I could just get to meet the great technician, maybe I could push into the upper 5's. Ed and I cracked open our autograph pads and set off. Extreme mud scene on the approach. Cheeks and beaks wet, as was the thing to the left. Nik's wall also wet (i think this looks doable! that so many capable people have failed suggests it must be harder than it looks), then we went up to Faze action which is good (didn't do it). It's all a a bit wet really. The wall won't be a bit wet. The wall will be dry - and we can have a coffee. Only got a short time - want to make the most of it. But the sky is clear, and it feels like copping out going to the wall. Perhaps we should stay? yeah, but this is the last chance before xmas, and we both want it to count. If only Jon Barton was here - he'd know what to do. 

Master Kush was wet when we got there, but drying out and probably climbable if you are really good at rock climbing. If only Jon Barton were here. We mince around dancing to Shakira's She Wolf (aroooo!) before heading off on a recommendation to look at Sparks. And there he is, the technical master - poised on the mats beside a complaining Dolly. In a mere hundred and fifty goes he has dispatched the complex and brilliant Sparks with an implausible 3D sequence straight out of the climbing works (literally). The day ends and we head off on our respective christmas holidays.