last few weeks have seen me finishing off the Manchester Climbing Centres
winter bouldering league and also take part in another amazing ROCfest at
Rockover Climbing Centre. I was really happy with my performances in these and
both have gotten me super psyched for the year ahead. As well as this I hit a
slight setback in my training picking up a finger strain. Pretty gutting but I
have been able to keep psyched on the bar sessions…
up was the Manchester Climbing Centres (MCC) winter bouldering league. This
consisted of three rounds with the cumulative score of the three ranking the
final positions. The first two rounds were really good for me and I managed to
finish high in the field going in to the final round in a comfy third place
with the top three positions all being fairly tight. Then came the set back. A
week before the final round of the winter league and two weeks before the
ROCfest, my finger went. I was pretty gutted to say the least as I had been
getting really psyched to resume my training after a break and push on in the
comp scene. Still, it shouldn’t be too long off. The final round still went
really well for me considering I was only able to open hand on crimps (My known
weakest position) and I managed to finish only one point behind 2nd
place and six behind 1st place. Overall I finished in 3rd.
was the return of the ROCfest at Rockover climbing centre. I have done this for
the last two years now with this being my third appearance and every year it
fails to disappoint. This year was no exception by fair. They pushed it bigger
and better than ever before. Due to my finger strain I went into the comp with
no expectations and I think this helped me climb better. I didn’t make finals
but I was really happy with my result of 20th in a field of very
strong climbers. The finals were absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to see
what the guys at Rockover have got planned for next year…
thanks to Manchester climbing centre and Rockover climbing centre for
organizing two amazing events. And also a massive thanks to Beyond hope for all
the support they give me…
weekend saw me heading back to a harness and a rope. Since finishing my last
junior lead comp the other month I decided that I would have a new focus in
climbing and change disciplines to bouldering for the coming 2014 comp season. After
not doing any lead training for the last couple of months I was not that
hopeful for stamina but I was feeling as strong as ever. Hopefully that would
arrived on the day and the routes looked pretty spicy. Qualification consisted
of ten routes that ranged from F5+ to F8a. Only your best three scores would
count to your qualification score so tactics were to be used, especially as I would
need some energy if I made finals. I went for the tactic of climbing very fast
and using my strength to my advantage. This worked well and flashed the F6c, F7a
and F7b. I had a quick play on the F8a and then called it a day as I had made the
finals. Wasn’t worth the energy of going for the F7c.
finals looked absolutely brick hard. This for me was exactly what I was hoping
for. I had a good isolation and warmed up well for the route. I came out and
gave it a pretty good go. Every move felt very hard. Felt about V6 into very
poor rest into V7 into very poor rest into V7… The second V7 section was where I
was spat off. But it was enough to take the win.
Effort to the other guys competing,
especially Jake Oughton who was hot on my heals all day… And thanks to the guys
at MCC for putting on an awesome day. Check out the Harrogate and Reading
centres for their dates for the other lead comp rounds.
Following on from my week of climbing in the peak district, last week saw me head of to Fontainebleau. After a week rest I loaded up the car and drove on down to a friends house near London. We arrived after some dire traffic and stayed there for the night. When I say stayed there for the night, I actually mean we got about 2 hours sleep before getting up at 1:30 to drive to the ferry terminal for our early crossing. Everyone was very thankful to me for booking that ferry…
Once we got to the ferry terminal we had our next hurdle. Attaching the headlamp deflectors. Not as a easy as I thought it might be so off we went looking at peoples headlamps to find someone who new what they were doing. Effort to that random guy for shedding some light on the situation and helping us out.
On the ferry everyone was looking pretty shattered so some of us got some sleep and others just chilled out. I couldn’t get to sleep on the ferry so I got some breakfast and chilled. Two hours later and we were in France. My first time driving abroad on the wrong side of the road. As it turned out, it was relatively ok and I had no real problems. The only slightly worrying times were when impatient drivers fly by you at the most inappropriate times. Brilliant. The gite was really nice and as soon as we got checked into it, we headed off straight to the local shop for supplies. After this we were off out to get on some rock.
The Oracle of the Gitè
We ended up going to a place called Rocher Greau on the first day as it was about the nearest place to where our gite was and we didn’t fancy a long session after we had already been up for about eighteen hours. We arrived, got a bit lost but then stumbled across the boulders. Nothing particularly hard got sent but I did manage to flash a F6b+, ticked a F5+ mantle and had a tickle on a F7a. Once it was dark though we sacked it off, as we didn’t have enough head torches. All in all it was a good, long and tiring day.
First full days climbing saw us heading off to Buthiers. On my agenda was a climb called Magic Bus F7b, which is a very low roof problem. Thought it would suit me perfectly and as soon as I pulled on I felt like it would go very fast. I worked out the beta that was best for me and set about trying to link it. I managed to get it in about twenty minutes from pulling on. First F7b in Font on the first day of the trip. After this we headed onto quite a high F7a. I was getting on ok on this but it was a sequence of finger cracks and they were starting to hurt a bit too much so I called It a day. We then ended up on a bit of a trek around the forest looking for something to do and ended up playing on Lady Big Claque F7a+, a classic slappy prow, before being rained off.
Climb: Magic Bus F7b Photo: Sarah Pashley
Climb: Magic Bus F7b Photo: Sarah Pashley
Climb: Magic Bus F7b Photo: Sarah Pashley
Climb: Magic Bus F7b Photo: Sarah Pashley
On the second full day of climbing we headed off to the classic crag Bas Cuvier. I had a plan of trying to finally get the climb Carnage F7b+ along with some other people. After warming up on a couple of climbs, including the worlds hardest F6a, La Marie Rose, I felt ready to pull on Carnage. The first move is a hideous pull of a slightly uncomfortable pocket to a crimp. A few years ago this move was impossible for me. I couldn’t even jump off the ground to do the move where as now I was able to do the move relatively easy and completely static. However. I was just unable to then do the next move. I don’t know if it was the heat or something but I tried lots of ways and was not able to do it. Maybe just not my style… After having a few goes on some other F7b’s and F7a’s and getting spanked, I decided I needed to do some mileage on easier climbs and get back into the style of font. I had a really nice afternoon doing loads of the blue and red circuits with Jonny, Tash and Gracie. Some really nice highballs, arêtes and slabs. Jonny even snuck in what he likes to think was a first ascent with me taking the second ascent. We came to this conclusion after not finding the climb in the first guidebook we looked in. We could have looked harder in the other books we had but you know... Had an amazing day really. So much fun to be completely relaxed and enjoying my climbing with mates.
Photo: Sarah Pashley
Photo: Sarah Pashley
On the third day we went to Rocher Canon in the morning. I had a problem that I have wanted to get back on ever since I first tried it four and a half years ago. La Levitation F7a+. I got on it and soon got all the moves done wired. It was just linking it. I managed to fall off the very last move after about 15 minutes of attempts and then after that kept falling off the middle section. Once I got some better beta for that section it was on. And soon after I managed to do it. After this a due to temps, I had a big chill out and a walk through the forest with Orrin exploring possible lines. We then decided we were not psyched for anything here and packed up and went over to Franchard Isatis. I had unfinished business at this crag from three and half years ago. This day pretty much turned into tying up loose ends. At Isatis I managed to get the classic La Power-Lolette F6c whilst warming up and then went up to a roof project. I got Lapin Au Canard F7a quite fast and then moved onto the harder variation Ah Plus Facile F7a+. It took me while to work out the best beta for me but once I had, I set about linking it. It took me about an hour of attempts before I managed to get it. Skin was lost on this day…
The next day I planned to have a rest day but it didn’t really turn out that way. I was good in the morning as we went to Cul De Chien and I just stood, watched and spotted. But once we went down to a slab mid afternoon I was too psyched. The slab was Belle Lurette F7a, which the whole group managed to send with many ascents being flashes including a flash from myself. We then decided to head on down to Roche Aux Sabots for the cooler temps. First up we got on Jet set F7a, a really cool problem with a dyno for the top hold. Managed to get this on my sixth attempt. Then moved onto Graviton F7a, a problem with a massive thrutch to get over the top. It took me a couple of goes to figure out where was best to put my heel for the top out and then it clicked and I managed it. Then we bush wacked our way over to a problem called Zen F7a. Before I got on this I managed to get a cheeky flash on Bioethique F7a+. My first F7a+ flash. I then set about working Zen, which turned into a bit of a stamina fest with a slappy top out. With some beta obtained from Jonny I managed to link it and grab the top. Great day.
Fifth day on and we went back to Franchard Isatis. First boulder we walked past looked really cool so we did some problems on this to warm up. I managed to flash Cannonball F6b, and did SpongeBob F6b+ and Side Show Bob F6b+. I then moved on and after pretty much destroying my middle fingertip on Mur Lombard F7a+, and coming so close to doing it, I decided to leave it for another time and move on. We then ended up on a cool little problem called Panzer F7a. A very low problem with a boulder right in the way for the crux move making it much harder. I managed to get it on my fifth go. Even got a cheeky use of the knee in there. We then moved onto Abdolobotomy F7a, a massive one-move wonder of a problem. Massive gaston to gaston press. Managed it on my fourth go so was psyched with that. Next up was Le Surplomb Feuillete Droite F7a+. Once I had got my head around the committing last move I managed to hold the top. I then pulled on and did Le Surplomb Feuillete Gauche F7a on my first go. Psyched again after this day. And it wasn’t the end of it either.
Climb: Sideshow Bob F6b+ Photo: Sarah Pashley
Later that evening me, Orrin, Jen and Tash went to Drei Zennin to do some night time climbing. I wanted to get on a problem called Diversion F7b, which is a pocket pulling forty-degree overhang. Once I got there I was so psyched for it. After taking some time to warm up and get the moves done, I started the process of trying to link it. I came very close and took a big fall. Very scary falling in the dark, even when there are so many torches on. After this I rested and went again and managed to get it. Sweet. First time night climbing and I had done a F7b.
Climb: Diversion F7b Photo: Orrin Coley
Climb: Diversion F7b Photo: Orrin Coley
Friday was basically the last day climbing we would have as the Saturday was going to be too hectic with moving out the gite and driving up to the ferry. We headed to 95.2 where I ended up not pulling on anything and everyone else also never getting very psyched so we decided to move onto Rocher Des Souris. Walking along the path we saw the boulders and instantly headed over to an amazing looking rock. It turned out to be Vis-à-vis F7a. I tried it for a while and couldn’t do a big move off a crimp, and then when I was on the cusp of giving up, Jonny came up with some amazing beta. It was just what I needed and I managed it straight away after pulling back on. Then moved onto another boulder where I managed to do Yoga F6c+ as the sun was disappearing.
Climb: Vis-a-vis F7a Photo: Sarah Pashley
Climb: Vis-a-vis F7a Photo: Sarah Pashley
Then it was time for another night session. This time everyone was keen. We headed over to Canche Aux Merciers with the plan to get on Le Grande Marche F7a+. It took us a little time to find the problem but once we found it, we lit it up and got going. For me there was a really poor finger jam. Everyone else could get it in very well but I couldn’t. I ended up doing a very burly undercut pulling method, which got me up the problem as soon as I tried it. Slightly frustrating after trying the finger lock so many times. Who knows, maybe the flash would have even happened if I had spotted my better beta…
So that rounds of my trip. Had an amazing time and thanks to everyone who made it so good. Psyched to get back there soon. Couple more weeks and then I am back at uni with some new plans. Will keep you posted on that soon. Please check out http://climbersblogs.blogspot.com for other updates on Evolv, Metolius and prAna athletes. some good reading.
Below is a little description of what I thought of the places we climbed at this trip for those of you who are keen and might be heading over anytime soon. Hope it is useful…
Rocher Greau – A small crag that looks a bit unused and has got quite green. There was some cool things there but also some very high boulders with sketchy top outs. If you’re really keen, maybe take a rope and a few brushes.
Buthiers – A crag with a short walk in with the boulders being spread out in clusters. I would recommend spending a morning or afternoon there and maybe combining with another place if your looking for lots to do in a day. Not a massive location so easy to navigate around without getting lost. Quite a shady place as well if you’re looking for somewhere to go on the hotter days.
Recommended climbs. Magic Bus F7b and Lady Big Claque F7a+. For a bit of fun you can also mantle an obvious problem to the right of magic bus finish.
Bas Cuvier – Another crag with parking just beside the boulders so very quick walk in. Can easily spend multiple days here without getting bored of things to do and could venture up to the other Cuvier sectors. Even though it is a big sector, because the boulders are quite close together, navigating between problems is still relatively easy. Some of the boulders are on the higher end of the spectrum but there is a mix of sizes to suit everyone. Shady and sunny depending on which boulders you are on so good for many weathers.
Recommended climbs. La Dalle aux Deux Aretes F5, La Marie Rose F6a, Le Trou du Simon F6a, La Joker F7a and Carnage F7b+.
Rocher Canon – Little bit more walking to do at this crag as the boulders are spread out around a small hill. You reach the first cluster of boulders quite fast and then they are a little spread out to the other clusters. Navigating is slightly trickier because of this but with a guidebook it is fine. Boulder problems are not as high here and the tress are quite spread out so is not that shady.
Recommended climbs. La Levitation F7a+.
Franchard Isatis – Yet another roadside parking venue with loads of shade. If it is hot then this is a really good place to go to. Climbing is very extensive at Isatis and will keep you occupied for multiple days. Boulders are spread out into clusters and without a book it is quite hard to locate the problems further away from the middle. However with a book it is quite easy to navigate due to good paths. Boulders are not too high with a few highballs.
Recommended climbs. Cannonball F6b, Sideshow Bob F6b+, La Power Lolette F6c, Mur Lombard F7a+, Ah Plus Facile F7a+ and La Surplomb Feuillete Droite F7a+.
Cul De Chien – Not a roadside parking venue and has a walk in of about ten to fifteen minutes. Park at the car park for Roche Aux Sabots, walk past this such that it is on your right and then turn right onto a sandy path at an obvious right turn. Follow this across a sandy clearing and you will be at Cul de Chien. Really hot venue if it’s sunny due to there being no trees. Will dry reasonably fast if it has rained but does suffer from grease. Really nice place to go if you’re climbing on a family holiday or with some non-climbers as the sand offers some good sitting and picnic spots. There are one or two high lines but mainly low bouldering.
Recommended climbs. Le Toit du Cul de Chien F7a, Belle Lurette F7a and Arabesque F7b+.
Roche Aux Sabots – Short walk in, as the boulders are visible from the car park. There is also lots of shade due to the many trees so a good hot weather venue. Very easy to find the problems you are looking for as everything is in one place and close together. Loads to go at as well so a good full days climbing here is amazing.
Recommended climbs. Jet Set F7a, Graviton F7a and Zen F7a
95.2 – Another venue with a long walk in. This takes about fifteen minutes to walk in to. However it is a really good venue to go to if it has rained the night before as it is situated on top of a hill and dries nice and fast. The walk goes along an obvious path until a clearing, skirt around the clearing anti-clockwise and then take another obvious path through the forest up a hill. This path leads straight to the boulders. It has sunny spots and drier spots due to clearings in the forest. Boulders are not too high and navigating is nice and easy. If you end up down the hill by L’Ange Naif then there is a big path that you can follow opposite the problem to take you to a big T-junction. Turn right here and then left at the next available turning and you end up back at the car park without having to walk all the way back up the hill.
Recommended climbs. Retour Aux Sources F7a
Rocher De Souris – A bit off the beaten track and is one of the boulder fields that you pass on your right as your walking into 95.2. The problems are a bit lichened, high and not that good quality (in my opinion) if you go to far up the hill.
last week I have spent a week climbing in the peak district. As it was Orrin Coley's
Birthday he decided to have his party at a cottage with a group of friends and
go climbing for the week.
everyone arrived we decided where we would go and decided on Odin’s Cave to get
on The Dark Room. We loaded up the cars and headed off only to arrive and find
the place soaked. The route looked amazing though so would be really psyched to
get back there again soon. We decided after this that we would head off to
Raven Tor and do some bouldering there. Once we arrived I got going on warming
up. First up I did “To Hard For Mark Leach” V5, which I managed to do quite
fast. Then I wanted to get on “Perverse Reverse” V8, which is the reverse of
Weedkiller. I soon got all the moves sorted on it and then started to try and
get it done in one go. I had a few goes where I wasn’t getting very far and had
to get some better beta on it. With that done I had a really good burn on it
and got right to the last few moves on it. Rested up I went for it and managed
to stick the crux move and got the final jug. Sick. We then got news of a
footless version of To Hard for Mark Leach graded V8. Good training route. I
almost managed to flash it but pulled to hard and overshot a hold by about
three inches. I managed to get it on my third go, which I was pretty psyched
with. I then did some laps on it for training. Good day
day saw us heading off to Stanage Plantation. Once we walked in I realised it
was going to be very hot for hard grit. I warmed up and then had a quick go on
“Zippys Traverse” V8 but I was greasing off so many of the holds. I left it
after a few goes as it was going to destroy my skin. I then had a play on “Rose
and the Self-Employed Businessmen” V7 and decided the same. To Hot. I then walked
up and re flashed “The Green Traverse” V6, then did “Ron’s Reach” V6 on my
third go and then “Green Slap” V6 on my fourth go. After these quick ascents,
we went over to do some of the highball boulders, seemed like a reasonable idea
as we had so many mats with us. I got on “Crescent Arete” and sent that. Then
went and did “Not To Be Taken Away” V5. It took me a couple of goes to get the
first move done but once I had managed it, I managed to get the rest of the route
done. Flippin’ scary route this one… After a little break I then got on
“Broken” V5 and sent it on my fourth go. Bit of a dodgy fall to get my head
around but once I had taken it a couple of times I managed to pluck up the
courage and did it. After this, Orrin wanted to get on “Big Air” which is a bit
of a strange route (watch the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU5EgqRsUnw). Because of the dodgy fall we built a landing zone for it. It had
a really good landing once we had finished with it. Props to Orrin for flashing
day saw us at Rubicon so that some of us could go for sport climbing and others
could do some bouldering. Me and some of the others wanted to go and check out
the cornice at Water-Cum Jolly so we walked round there only to find it
dripping wet. Still got really psyched for this place and really want to get
back there at some point. Once we walked back to Rubicon I got on a route
called “Rubicon” F7a and got the onsight on it. Amazing route. I then went on a
boulder called “Kudos” V8 that is the start of a route that I want to get on.
The boulder felt hard and it took me quite a few goes to get. I was psyched to
get this though so that next time I can get on the route for the full tick.
then lost psyche for Rubicon, as it was pretty sharp so we grabbed an ice cream
and headed off to Curbar for some late afternoon grit. On my ticklist for this
crag was “Trackside” V6. It has been one of my nemesis problems for such a long
time. I warmed up and got on it and felt quite good on it. I kept tickling just
below the top hold and falling. I had a quite a few goes where I kept doing
this, before leaving it for another time when it is colder. I headed up to the
gorilla warfare boulder where I re did “Gorilla Warfare” V6 and started working
“Early Doors” V7. I got all the moves done on it quite fast and started to try
and link it from the ground. It took me quite a few goes and I kept dropping
the very last few moves. On what I thought would be my last go of the day I
managed to link it and get the problem done. Good day this one. Lots of
fourth day saw us going back to Raven Tor where I planned on getting on some
more routes this time. I was still yet to do a route at the tor. I warmed up
going for an on sight on a route called “Sardine” F7b+ but I dropped the crux
move. I rested, got on and managed the route second go. The next route I wanted
to get on was “Tin Of” F7b. I managed to get the on sight on this route after a
very big fight. Psyched to have finally done some routes at Raven Tor and will
hopefully get some more done there soon.
last day was a bit of mission as we had lost one of the cars. This meant that I
had to do two trips to the crag. And to add to this was that we had to move out
of the cottage. This meant taking our entire luggage to the crag with us. This
saw us heading back to Raven Tor for the short walk in and because it was
raining. I was absolutely shattered so had a quick play on “Chimes” F8a and
called it a day.
trip was really good and has got me really psyched for some more outdoor
climbing. Thanks again to Jonny White, Billy Ridal, Orrin Coley, Sarah Pashley,
Tash Allcock, Gracie Martin, Naomi Tilley, Flo Tilley and Tara Hayes for sick
trip. Pictures of the trip will be up soon...
I am heading
back to Rubicon next week and then at the end of the week is a trip to Fontainebleau.
Look out for a blog about these up and coming trips. Peace out peeps.