Thursday, 14 November 2013

Manchester Climbing Centre Lead Comp - 1st Place

            Last 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 prevail.
            I 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.
            The 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.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Font Trip August 2013

            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 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.
Recommended climbs. Yoga F6c+ and Vis-à-vis F7a

Cannonball F6b
(unknown) F6b+
SpongeBob F6b+
Sideshow Bob F6b+
La Power Lolette F6c
Yoga F6c+
Lapin Au Canard F7a
Belle Lurette F7a
Jet Set F7a
Graviton F7a
Zen F7a
Panzer F7a
Abdolobotomy F7a
La Surplomb Feuillete Gauche F7a
Vis-à-vis F7a
Levitation F7a+
Ah Plus Facile F7a+
Bioethique F7a+
La Surplomb Feuillete Droite F7a+
Le Grande Marche F7a+
Magic Bus F7b
Diversion F7b

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Peak District August 2013

            This 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.
Day 1
            After 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 2
            Second 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 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 this…
Day 3
            Third 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.
            Everyone 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 classics.
Day 4
            The 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.
Day 5
            The 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.
            The 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.

Rubicon   F7a   Onsight
Tin Of   F7b   Onsight
Sardine   F7b+   2nd Go

Perverse Reverse   V8
Kudos   V8
To Hard For Mark Leach Footless   V8
Early Doors   V7
Rons Reach   V6
Green Slap   V6
A Bigger Splash   V6   Onsight
Not To Be Taken Away   V5
Broken   V5
To Hard For Mark Leach   V5
Crescent Arete   V2/3

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Kilnsey July 2013

            Last week saw me heading back to one of my favourite crags, Kilnsey with Orrin Coley. First on the agenda was to stop off at Manchester so that I could pick the keys up for my house for next year at uni. We arrived at lunchtime picked the keys up, nipped to Tesco’s to get food for the trip and killed some time walking around some park.
            The morning came and we headed off from Manchester towards Kilnsey. Psyched for the days ahead of us. Already deciding what to get on first. I had a nemesis project from last year, which I was determined to get back on and hopefully send. It is called The Bulge F8a and is a line, which has stood out to me ever since the first time I went to Kilnsey four years ago. I got on the start of the route a couple of times which is The Bulgelette F6b+ to warm up and then dogged up The Bulge to put the clips in a re familiarize the moves. I pulled through each of the sections with relative ease and didn’t find any of it too hard. I was psyched and ready for some redpoints. I rested and went for a go, I got right to the top moves which are where I had done before but this time I had better beta. I pulled and just missed the letterbox crimp slot. I was a little disappointed but then I was happy with how I felt on the route, I wasn’t too pumped and I was confident it would go soon. I rested and had another go but fell at the same point as my left arm just gave in. I decided to have a little longer in the rest and then went for the third go of the day. I felt good climbing the bottom took the last good rest and then pressed onto the top. I arrived at the crux and then pulled through that, feeling fresh still I arrived at the final few moves where I had fell before. I was boxed now but managed to latch the hold. I pulled to the next, then the next and then I was clipping the chains. Super. After this route I decided to get on The Thumb F8a, as this has also been an inspiring line for a long time. Being short of draws though I was only able to work half of the route, this was still useful though so I was psyched for the second day.
            We arrived back at the crag on the second day and I decided to sack off climbing until the afternoon. This was for two reasons. The first was that Orrin was working The Bulge and meant I didn’t have the any spare draws. The second was that it was just too hot. So with this in mind I stuck with belaying for a bit and before I knew it, Orrin had ticked The Bulge. Props to the boulderer doing a 26 metre pump fest route. I then got on The Thumb so that I could work the rest of the route. I got all the moves done, sorted the clips out and rested for a redpoint. I pulled on and then climbed it well; I got to a section and just blanked. I had no idea what I was doing and came off. With the section worked and a rest taken, I was back on for another go. I climbed the bottom well again and then reached a crux section and couldn’t clip, I almost got it in and then it slipped. Then with one big effort, I got the clip and was boxed out of my mind. I extended this clip and this made it so much easier. Lesson learnt there… That was me done for the day with pretty bad skin.
            Second day was productive training but not good for ticking. I dropped the last move before the vertical top section that I knew shouldn’t be droppable five times and called it a day. Good endurance training though.
            The last day arrived and was so psyched to get back on the route. The moves were sick and the line still looked so impressive. I warmed up and got onto some redpointing. With some better beta on the last hard move it was on. First go went and I got massive flash pump. I just thought to myself after this that it was a good thing; at least that’s out of the way. Second go went and I got a new highpoint and dropped the very very last hard move. Good. The new beta works a treat. Third go on and I felt good. I got past the hard move and latched a jug, took a rest. Pulling through the top wall I decided to take my time and take every rest going. And with these rests later came the top. Saweet. Second F8a of the trip. After this we went for one last route called Hardy Annual F7b. Orrin went for the onsight and had a sick fight on it to clip the top. I pulled on for a flash and dropped the bouldery start. I pulled back on after chilling on the ground for a minute or two and got past the hard bottom and started the upper wall. This was still really quite tricky and I was getting pumped. Skin hurting I pulled through to the last hold and clipped the chain. Brilliant.
            Really happy with this trip and was so psyched to get two F8a’s which have been on my tick list for a long time. Thanks to Orrin for being patient on the belaying front and making it a sick trip. Check out his blog at

The Bulge – F8a
The Thumb – F8a
Hardy Annual – F7b

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Raven Tor June 2013

            After moving back home after my first year of university, I am now a little freer from a time perspective and also the fact I have been reunited with my car. Crag sessions here I come. I have wanted to get over to Forest Rock ever since I saw a photo of it a couple of months ago. So me and Orrin Coley headed over to go check it out. We arrived and I was so psyched to get on some stuff but typically, it was wet. We decided to sack it off and go to Raven Tor as this was dry and would remain dry in the forecasted rain.
            We arrived at the crag and the psych was high. I had a couple of projects to finish off from the last visit here so I was keen to get them ticked off. I got warmed up and started re familiarising myself with the moves on Rattle and Humps V7 so that I could tick off Power Humps V8. It took me quite a few goes to repeat Rattle and Humps with my awkward beta but I soon ticked that off. I then pulled on Power Humps and sent it first go in this session. Sweet. Onwards.
            Secondly, I wanted to go and do Bashers Problem V6, as this had been a nemesis problem for me for a while, not my style. I soon worked out some better beta and got that ticked. I then went on and did Weedkiller Start into Bashers Problem V7. This went first go. And then I pulled on and cruised through Weedkiller Traverse V8. Training must be paying off, as it felt a lot easier than before.
            Effort to Orrin as well for finally ticking off his project Bens Roof V10. A long time coming if you ask me, way stronger than he needed to be for it…
            Peace out :)

Tick list for the day
Rattle and Humps V7
Power Humps V8
Bashers Problem V6
Weedkiller into Bashers V7
Weedkiller Traverse V8

Monday, 29 April 2013

Raven Tor April 2013

            As the good weather is arriving I have been looking at opportunities to get outside on some real rock. All this training indoors can send someone crazy if they don’t get outside. Train booked and an early start on Sunday I was off down to chesterfield to meet Gracie Martin and Billy Ridal to head off to Raven Tor.
                                                  Photo - Alex Coley

            Once we arrived at the crag Orrin Coley was already there and on one of his projects, Bens Roof. I soon set to warming up on the little variation boulder halfway down the crag and then came back to Weedkiller V8. I had not been back on this problem since I had a bad fall on it so it was important for me to get back on and do it. I warmed up further by re-familiarizing myself with the moves and then went for it. I pulled on feeling really strong and arrived at the end. Pulled and got the finishing jug easy. Sweet. Finally got the tick.

                                                   Photo - Alex Coley

            Then headed down to Powerband V9 and had little play. Managed to do most of the moves quite easily but there was one move on it that felt desperate and another that felt pretty tweaky so I decided to leave this and move on. I started on Rattle and Hump V7 and found it suited me quite well. I managed to work out some pretty techy beta, which really suited me. Two finger gaston crimp. I soon did this problem and started on Powerhumps V8. I came really close to this but might have left it a bit too near the end of the day as my skin was feeling trashed.

                                                  Photo - Alex Coley

                                                    Photo - Alex Coley

With a hole in my pinky I called it a day and was pretty pleased with what I had done. Effort to Orrin for getting Powerband V9 in about 15 minutes and Gracie Martin for cruising Weedkiller V8. Psyched for more outdoor escapades soon. Kilnsey in June hopefully. Peace.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Gorges du Loup 2013

            For the past few years I have gone on an annual climbing trip with a group of friends. Usually this has been in February time but because of university I was unable to do this trip. Never the less, I was invited on a trip with a group of climbers from the south. This was to Gorges du Loup where we stayed in a friend’s house near Nice. It was really cool staying in a big house with a big group of friends and the psyche was high despite the weather looking dodgy.
            Flying out consisted of a very early start and a short drive to the airport for out 6:00 AM flight. Once we landed in Nice we sorted out the hire cars and drove on to the house. A quick bite to eat and we were off to the crag for our first days climbing. Deverse was the first crag on the agenda even though there were lots of rumours that it was seeping. It was. There were three dry lines on the whole crag. One of the dry routes was “Mechanik Destruktiv F7c”. I was psyched to get on this and got it sent 3rd redpoint. I was happy with this on the first day at a crag that was limited by wetness. One of the other routes was “New Power Generation F8b” which would really not have suited me so I decided to leave that for another time. I had a quick play on “Super Mechanik F8a” and got all of the moves sorted pretty fast and had one redpoint attempt. It wasn’t to be today but will be back to get this route another time.

            Second day saw us at a crag called La Turbie. It was situated just above Monaco and overlooked the whole city. A pretty incredible view. The climbing at this crag was very limited due to the seeping of the rock so I didn’t really get much done on this day. “No Place For Geckos F6c+” was the first route I did. An amazing route which was really exposed and about 37 metres long. The first time up this route we managed to get off route and do some variation of the ending which was about F7a+. I then did a few more F6’s in the afternoon before we got rained off. Not the hardest days climbing but was still a pretty good day. Not every day you get to climb straight above Monaco.

            Third day on and we were off to Mesa Verde. Once we arrived this crag looked like it would really suit me. I eyed up a few routes at the start and began warming up. First up I got the onsight on “Willy Wanca F6c+” which was a really good route. Good holds but quite big moves. Next up was “De La Terre au Ciel F7b”. I have never really done that much onsighting outside so I thought this would be a good route to go for. Sweet. My first on sight of F7b. It was now time for today’s project, “Petit Poucet F7c+” I pulled on with nothing to loose and went for an onsight. I dropped it pretty high up but was happy with what I did. As it turned out I was only six moves from the easier finishing terrain. With the moves worked. I went for a redpoint and came off two moves from the easier ending. 3rd redpoint and I latched the jug rest before the last few hard moves. After a brief rest, I pulled through and got the chain. Good route that one.
            Fourth day on and I was back at Mesa Verde. “Castle Rock F7a+” was first up and is one of the most popular lines at Mesa Verde. I dropped this onsight but pulled back on and got it second go. After this I wanted to get on “Same Player Shoot Again F7c”. It was quite my anti style as it was powerful and not very sustained but this is what drew me to it. It took me a while to work out the top section, which was really pretty hard but got the moves done and it was just a case of the link up. On my 1st redpoint I came off the hardest move on the route, which was a big move to a crimp. 2nd go I dropped the same move but it was foot pop. 3rd redpoint was closest to the move but dropped it again. 4th redpoint I latched the hold and managed to keep it together and finish the route to end the day.

            Fifth day and as the weather was shocking I decided to have a rest day. A few of us headed into town for a wander, and then headed back to the house and drank a lot of tea…
            Sixth day saw me back at Deverse to try and link “Super Mechanik F8a”. I had got the moves worked out so it was just a case of warming up and going for it. The route was really powerful and was basically a F7b+ into a V6. 1st redpoint of the day and I came off the boulder problem. 2nd redpoint saw me falling one move further but still mid boulder problem. 3rd redpoint was the same again. And once I had done the 4th and 5th attempt I was shattered. It was obviously not meant to be this trip. I wasn’t too bothered by it though as it must have been good training having this many goes on something so hard for me.
            The last day I decided to go back to Mesa Verde as the weather was nice and I fancied a really big mileage day of sendage. The “advanced team” (as we were known) got up early and headed off to the crag whilst everyone else was still sleeping. We arrived and went for speed. First up was “Pas de Bras, Pas de Chocolat F7a” which I got the onsight on. Second up was “Contrat Premier Envol F6c” I got the onsight on this and then went for the onsight on the extension graded F7b+. I got past the hard move only to be spat off the easier top section due to wetness. I dogged it to the top and retrieved my draws. I didn’t fancy getting back on a wet route. Third up was “Ma vie en l'air F7a+”, I had to grovel a bit on this but again, managed to get the onsight on this. Fourth route was “Hopi Birthday F7a”. This route was a bit wet in the middle but I managed to pull past this missing a couple of holds. Got the onsight on a pretty sick route. The fifth and final route was “Plat de Resistance F7b+” I went for the onsight but came of a move in the middle. After this the route was done so I came down and got back on to send it second go. Really happy with the last day of routes with some good onsights.

Petit Poucet   F7c+   3rd redpoint
Same Player Shoot Again   F7c   4th redpoint
Mechanik Destruktiv   F7c   3rd redpoint
Plat de Resistance   F7b+   2nd redpoint
De La Terre au Ciel   F7b   onsight
Ma vie en l'air   F7a+   onsight
Castle Rock   F7a+   2nd redpoint
Pas de Bras, Pas de Chocolat   F7a   onsight
Hopi Birthday   F7a   onsight
Willy Wanca   F6c+   onsight
No Place for Geckos   F6c+   onsight
Contrat Premier Envol   F6c   onsight

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Hardcore Route Setting

Two days ago on Friday down at Rockover, I was setting some hard routes. 6x V8+/9’s to be exact. After setting these problems in the morning I had the strenuous job of testing these beasts. I felt super strong on and them, which was a surprise. Training must be paying off… With the problems tested move-by-move it was time to try a few of them to get the full link up. Sweet. I had managed to link two of the problems. Psyched.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

CWIF 2013

           Last year I decided to do the CWIF for the first time and I thought it was a really good comp. It is a really laid back competition but at the same time, has super hard problems, big cash prizes and international beasts crushing the hard problems. I decided I was going to do the comp once again and try and better my performance last year. I was also asked by one of my sponsors if I would be on the PrAna/Metolius team. Still unsure how we got on…

           As I was competing in the afternoon time slot I didn’t have to get up really early. Psyched. I hopped in the Rockover Climbing Centre mini bus and we headed down to Sheffield. Traffic was a nightmare but we got there in the end. Effort Brett. Once I got there I started to warm up and get ready to start the comp. I had a look round some of the problems and was feeling good. Once I got on a few of the easy problems, the initial nerves disappear and I was just having a laugh with my friends. I started to move onto the harder problems and found them pretty tricky. A lot of the problems were really technical and sketchy and really easy to fluff. I did mess a few up on my first go, and even a few on second go. But I did manage to get a lot of these problems in the end even though I didn’t flash them.

After a long three and a half hours I was nearing the end. I was pretty shattered and beat up after all of the problems I had done or tried. With a quick scout round at the end to double check I hadn’t missed anything I was finished. I was really happy with how I had done. I had managed to do quite a few of the problems (even if some of them were 2nd or 3rd go…), which showed me I have the ability to pull pretty hard at the moment.

I finished with a score of 156, which was just over half way. A way off the semi final qualification score but I wasn’t expecting to be near that so I was happy with what I had done. Onwards with the training and will hopefully be crushing on routes soon. Gorge du Loup in three weeks time now so I am getting really psyched for that.
Good effort to the rest of Team PrAna/Metolius
Nathan Phillips finishing in 10th
Dave Barrans finishing in 2nd
Rachel Carr finishing in 8th