Monday, 31 December 2012

its over - 52 weeks in review

Since my last blog I got outside once I ended up at almscliff finding a small window between rain to climb. I fell off the top out of flying arĂȘte repeatedly so no new tick.
So what have in done this year?
My UKC score card reads:
39 routes (not including repeats)
Max grade E1
36 routes
Max grade: 7a
111 problems (plus many from font not recorded)
Max grade: 6C
So that's nice numbers but what does it actually mean .. well
What have I achieved this year?
I have pushed my maximum sport grade from 6b+ to 7a.
I pushed my sport grade from 6B to 6C
Trad I have stagnated at E1 onsight
What has been a disappointment?
The main thing has been the weather. This year has been appauling. I am sat hear staring at another wet day. Really wet. Its hammering it down.
I am slightly disappointed I did not push my trad grade but it has not been my focus this year.
I was disappointed not to climb a 6 in font, but I had a great week. Anyway.
Generally it has been a fantastic year.
Where have I been?
This year I have been all over the world. My work has taken me to china and to Abu Dhabi, but more importantly I have been on a few climbing trips.
Pembroke - birthday trip long week climbing trad in south wales.
Lakes - I finally lead a route in the lakes which was great.
North Wales - Llanberis slate, Tremadog, A55, Orme Love it all. Wish I had gone to gogarth
A panorama from Miners Track
Peak - obviously more than a couple of trips
Dan Lane on Trackside
Yorkshire - loads grit and lime
Me on Demon Wall Almscliff
Chew - Less than other years
Fontainebleau - Wow!!!! what a place.
Me climbing in Font
Costa Blanca - Sports climbing
Simon on Muscleman
El Chorro - wash out :(
Best part of the year?
Hard to say font was great fun.
Ticking my first 7a in costa blanca.
7a in a day at Malham
So What has changed?
I have been happier to do what I want to do not just going along with mates. I have used this year to get stronger change focus and look at my weakness'. I was also pretty drawn to bold and dangerous trad so this year I climbed on safer routes bouldered a lot to strength and I have been really enjoying it.
Trying hard at sport has opened my eye to the pleasure of working something rather than the onsight being everything.
I have explored different rock types. This opened my eyes further. Grit is good and all but there is some great rock out there. I have not even tried granite yet.
Anything else new?
I have recently started doing some cooking here is some of the meals I have made recently

I have many goals for next year some are very ambitious but I will go through them in another blog.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

its not over yet

The year is almost over, but not yet.
I still have goals I have not given up no time to slack off!
Inspiration for anyone reading this:
So what have I got left to achieve in a year when I have achieved so much?
I want to lead a route harder than E1. I have lead a couple of E1's this year and I am approaching them without fear. So I guess E2 is the obvious goal. I have one trad trip planned before the year ends to the slate with my goals being on the rainbow ...
This year has been pretty bad weather wise and I have been focussing on sport. This has resulted in less time and interest in trad but never say never.
Bouldering I would love another 6C or to at least finish a few 6B projects. I have been having brief sessions on pebble wall but not got close. I managed a new 6A at almscliff satuday so I might give the 6C version a blast next visit.
Sport I have written this off for the year I think But then again if my trad trips a wash out I might try and grab some sport mileage as I have not climbed routes in a while.
Looking forward.
I am trying to avoid looking at next year yet as I have not given up on this year. I have goals I want to achieve next year but looking from the outside these seem pretty over optimistic. I am not going to list them out till next year. As I need to focus on making the most of this year all 9 days left.

Monday, 26 November 2012

One mans tale of a weekend at home that wasn’t

HUMS were heading to Tremadog for there annual winter wash out trip (I mean climbing trip). The usual plan involves the Lincoln mountaineering hut with its amazing wood burning stove and great location in the middle of know where. However as HUMS were going two weeks later into the trip they chose to head to the micro climate of Tremadog for hopefully some climbing/walking.
I had some things on at the weekend so I had not planned to go. The main thing got cancelled a couple of days before. So I text vix saying I would come if they needed another person to spread the cost.
The cars were looking full so I just wrote the weekend off as me staying in Huddersfield. I get a phone call off of vix at about 6.45 saying uni gave us the wrong size bus and I was going. I through a load of stuff in my bag and got picked up by the bus. Then onto wales we went.
I had my iPod with me so I spent most of the coach on the back of the bus drowning out the sounds of Queen with Deftones new album Koi No Yokan which is brilliant! I also rocked a bit of White pony which I have not heard in ages so my next video may contain some heavier music … be warned.
The bus got to the hut 10mins after Haydn arrived in his car. Shockingly he got stuck in traffic and was almost beaten to the hut by a minibus.
The night went how all these trips go booze and sitting around making plans which will never come into action the next day due to the level of drinking.
I woke early as always. JP, Jonny, Haydn and Jess were banging about in the kitchen getting ready for there epic day in the hills. A little bit after 7am I set off walking into Tremadog to buy essentials missing from the hut toilet paper, soap and more beer for me. I got there in the freezing temperatures to find it not open. The shop opened about 8 so after watching the sun rise over the village, or shop I say watch the sky brighten through the clouds. I got the stuff and walked back.
Back at the hut I was disappointed to find my partner was already part way up a route with two other partners. So I sat around for the next 2 and a half hours for Vix to do Christmas Curry with the micah finish. She eventually got back and we headed straight to my first goal of the day. The Fang (HVS 5a, 5a) the original plan was for vix to lead the hard well protected first pitch and me to lead the bold second pitch (play to our strengths). However Vix was not psyched for the first pitch. So I got on with it and lead the pitch.
First move really gets you going felt soft 5a pull on to a good hold. Then some okay climbing on small feet to a hand’s off rest by a giant spike. From here the crux comes an over hanging groove to a stance. The groove is not long but steep and awkward. Once committed it’s fine but you need to keep moving especially if you do it as a lay back as I did. I placed a cam mid crux which felt pretty pumpy but once I pulled past the move I was on easy ground again. A couple of simple moves right then into a crack with some bomber finger locks and slightly smeary feet. What a pitch. Varied sustained and tough but with good gear. Only thing is lacks is exposure.
Vix followed up with some coaxing and a couple of suggestions for a short persons method to some of the moves then came the awkward sorting out of ropes on a small stance for the belay. As quick as possible we swapped over the gear and I got ready to go.
The second pitch is much more intense. None of the moves felt like nothing moves. The pull off the belay ledge is hard and feels very exposed as there is basically no gear for the move. I fumbled in a micro wire in on the stance away from the anchor in a hope to avoid a factor two definitely psychological gear (it pulled out after I climbed a couple of moves).
Big moves on small holds leads to some better holds and some good gear. There is an insitu nut I clipped with out testing. It looked well and truly stuck. For me the crux was the next few moves. You traverse round the corner on edges and smears it took me a few goes to commit to the move trying different things to avoid losing my centre of gravity. You get round the corner and mantle a ledge. It feels so exposed and it’s a hard move after this you get a sling over a spike and you can relax.
The next section suited me perfectly. It was a bold slab that had been rain washed. No chalk just thin technical moves. Lovely! I moved slowly and carefully up and right as I had read in the route description before setting off. I placed some poor runners a micro wire in a flake and a very shallow nut.
10m above the good sling, 4m above the micro wire and a bout 1-2m above the poor nut I came to tough move on the top slab in an exposed position. No sight of vix as she was currently hidden under an overhang. The move was obvious but the holds were poor. I quickly worked out I needed to do high step rock over on a good foot hold and reach for a positive looking edge. The hand holds I was on were poor a small crimp for my left hand and a slopey edge for my right. I eventually committed to this move which was probably 5a in a situation I would not want to fall in. Definitely felt hard for HVS but then again it was my sort of move. After this move it was a romp to the top on good holds. Another fantastic pitch The route definitely deserves its three stars.
The head wall was what I love in my climbing a no fall moment in a lonely place on a head wall with no one around; all you can do is focus on the next move. The hidden belayer makes it so much better.
After this it was vix lead the plan was for here to fire out Oberon (S) then I would try the plum (E1 5b). Unfortunately it started to rain lightly as vix headed off on pitch one and was raining properly when I started to follow. We sacked it off after the pitch and head back to the hut for drinking and cheese board.
Another night of booze followed.
I woke up early again (just like always) and made myself some breakfast. It had rained pretty heavy the night before. So I went for a walk a long the crag the top was drying out nicely in the sun but the bottom of the crag was wet. I decided to sack off the idea of leading the plum and instead we all planned to head to the slate quarries. Me and H headed off early to try get some extra routes (and avoid the usual faff of leaving the hut). We had breakfast at erics then set off down the road.
Haydn was a bit tired from the night before and his long walk the day before so I got to choose the first route. I have had my eye on looning the tube (HVS 5b) in Australia section so it seemed an obvious choice. I walked up there but it was the only damp route. Gutted!! I tried some crappy looking corner and I fell off after slipping off a wet smear. So I sacked the route off.
Haydn suggested trying seamstress or/and Seams the Same.
Everyone else turned up and we all headed to Serengeti as vix wanted to lead seamstress (VS 4c) this meant the route left for me was Seams the Same (E1 5b). I got on the route it was great. Perfect slab climbing on a thin seam with enough gear and little edges. I got a major calf pump on the route from pushing hard on small edges all the way up.
Vix in light blue on Seamstress and me on Seams the same.
Photo courtesy of James Pawson
The route had one hard move right at the start that felt just 5b ish and the rest of the route felt sustained 5a. For me it felt HVS I thought one of the moves was a little reachy I guess that would be hard for a shorter person. The route felt great to climb and so much fun. I really enjoyed standing on some tiny polish smears and feeling great on the frictionless edges. I would love to return to try the harder routes to the right.
While H and Rowan followed me up the route the temperature dropped rapidly and it started to rain lightly so me and H headed off back home.
For me this has been one of the best trips climbing wise in a long time even though the quantity of routes was not there both routes were hard sustained and completely amazing. It reminds me of why I spent so many days doing trad routes at the start of my climbing.
I have spent a lot of time sports climbing and bouldering lately. This has all been to develop my ability as a climber and it seems to of worked. I was comfortable on all those routes I could definitely climb harder and I will!

Monday, 19 November 2012


So if you have read my previous blogs you will know I was not happy with my chorro trip.
My last day involved a good weather day but the crags were still soaked.
We headed up to arabe I decided to try a 6c to warm up. I went awfully. I dogged the hell out of it. When I got back to half height I realised that I was on the next route over .. it was a 7a+. I was happy with my working of the route all the moves felt do able but I would not be able to complete it in a day so I stripped it.
Next I tried the bottom half of the 6c I really didn't enjoy it so I binned it and stripped it.
I soloed a 3+ pillar in my trainers and enjoyed the view. I fired out a 6a to get my hardest tick of the holiday (depressing) then got on another 7a. It felt very doable but it was wet so I binned after working the moves.
Psyche was really low so I fired out another 6a and sat around in the sun.
The most annoying thing is if the weather had been good the 7a+ and the 7a were very doable and could easily be ticked with a bit of work.
Psyche is low but I put a video of the trip together.

Chorro 2012 from Luke Donaldson on Vimeo.

Since I got back I decided to try and get psyche. So far I have been to depot twice and been to Holmfirth these have not worked.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Day 7 We actually climbed yesterday not today though

So after my depressing blog yesterday, I actually got out climbing yesterday.
Me and JP went for a walk for an inspection of the area. so if we could find any dry rock.
Encantadas looked wet so we walked on to the end of the road to look at Frontales.
As you can see lots of wet patches but faint hopes of dry rock in between. Poema de roca was still seeping badly so we gave that a miss.
However Castoroja area of frontales was looking relatively dry so we decided to head there (bottom right of the photo below).
We headed to castoroja I warmed up firing off a wet 5+ with ben. As I was just setting off on the route a large party of people turned up from Essex and it got stupidly busy as other groups turned up as well. So I decided I could not deal with the combination wet routes that don't inspire me and loads of people. So I headed off to Los Albercrones.
When we got there only one other group was there. There was also a stream running out of the crag of water runnning through the crag.
I jumped on the 7a El Truco Del Almendruco. I decided to give it an onsight go and I managed to get to about half heigh settting the draws before a rest. I then climbed bolt to bolt until the third to last bolt. I gave the next go a blast but I was stumped. vicky then dogged her way up to the top with a clip stick.
I went to belay JP on a 6a at the bottom of the stream where he did really well on a tough section but  unfortunately completely pumped out. Alex gave the route a blast and flashed up to where I got to and was completely stumped on the move.
Next was my go again. I got to the same point but climbing better I had no idea. Vicky went up and after a paddy got to the same point as me and alex.
All stumped we all had one more go up and then called it a day as we couold not work out the move. I hauled my way past that move and climbed to the top with no issue. So I was just one move from doing the route.
Anyway after this spanking I headed back to the olive branch to rest.
Last night we headed out for a meal to the rocabella basically it was crap and not even cheap never going there again!
Just as we got back from the restaurant the heavens opened and then a thunder storm came.
This morning the weather is shite! Here are a few view from the olive branch where it is raining ... again.
Just another day without climbing :(

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Day whatever I don't care anymore!!

So since my last blog I have climbed one route ... well waterfall would be a better description.
Rain has come in and seems set to stay. Yesterday we forced ourselves to check out Poema de Roca cave even though we had been told it was seeping.
This was the sky we were greeted to when we set off to the crag:
Beautiful no?
We got to the end of the track out of the olive branch turned the corner and saw frontales it was a massive black mess! the whole thing completely soaked. Anyway we continued on to the cave in hope of dry rock. The view from the path was not promising.
We walked through the woods and passed the tiny stream that goes across the path this I have only ever seen a small trickle running down the hill after a day of rain.
We continued on .. The cave is an amazing hole in the hill side with blobby tufas and amazing limestone. We got to the cave and it had just started to rain again. The cave was a mess. Completely soaked. Dripping, seeping, socked everywhere.
So we were in the cave and ready to sack the day off again but then I thought I want to climb. So I geared up and lead a 5+ waterfall route. It was actually on really nice rock (or it I have not touched rock in three days?). I lead the route with out too many difficulties over than going through two days worth of chalk on one route. I clipped the chains and asked if anyone else wanted to give it a go they all declined ...
In the time it took me to climb the route two other parties turned up. We all left and went away with out a hope of climbing :(
The route I lead took the nice looking black waterfall streak behind James (guy in the blue) up to the tufas near the top.
So the last few days have consisted of scrabble, shit head, booze, eating like your on a climbing holiday but without the climbing, boredom, pool, music and lots of sitting down. I am going to be so unfit when I return from here it will be ridiculous.
Oh well a few days left hopefully the weather will stay away.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Frustration Day 1 to 3!!!!

So I set off at 4.20am on saturday morning. I picked up ben then vicky and drove to the airport.
We met up with the rest of team Hudds at the airport (JP, Alex, Nick and Rowan). The flight was fine but as we landed it was clear the weather forecast was correct and not what we wanted! It was looking very wet. After missing a train by 10 mins we sat on a platform for about another 50 mins.
We arrived at a damp Alora frustrated where we met team bristol (Tom, Brian and Mark). The day involved shopping, drinking and eating. It was too damp to climb :(
Day 2 the forecast was rain. Most people went off to do the camino, I wanted to climb so I sacked it off and waited for a mate in hope of finding dry rock. I eventually headed up to encontadas where I got back on project genecide again. I had fallen off this loads last year. I got up to the crux again climbing in fine just the humidity was extremly high and I was a sweatymess. Also the pockets were soaked I greasy out of a moist pocket. I got back on and did the move. I then fired out the crux no problem till I encountered another damp pocket and got spat out. I did the move againbut using a worse hold to avoid the damp pocket. then clipped the chains. I lowered off Alex top roped it and stripped the route.
Next up we ate some lunch. I was at a psyche low then it stareted to rain. We sacked it off and went back to the olive branch. Frustrated!
Day 3  another bad forcast day ...
The weather held off all day thank fully. I met up with Andy and we headed up to Desplo
I had been recommended Manzanilla Madness (7a) as a route to try before I went out to chorro.
So me and Andy headed up there. We warmed up on a nice 5 called Ostras Pedrin It flowed and climbed surprisingly well to say it looked crap. Next up we wanted another warm up so we went for Maritobi a 6a+. This looked wet be we thought sod it its only a 6a+ ... The route looked wet and it really was. It was drenched. The route was a shower leading up to a crux at the top involving a sloper and some side pulls on overhanging rock. I did the route no problem untill the last move committing to a soaking sidepull. I slapped to what looked like a good hold it wasn't. It was a poor flake and I was off. I got back up there and got the move I did it more direct off of side pulls and gastons.
Here is a picture that does not show how wet it actually was:
The oute follows the lime of dampness on the right then cuts across the face to the damp hole at the top middle of the picture and ends in the grey wet patch at the top of the picture.
Yes it was as pleasent as it sounds. Actually the moves were quite nice if it wasn't so wet.
Anyway Andy went up this next and did it with some faff on the wet crux.
Next up was Manzanilla Madness I decided to have a flash go. I tried the start abit too direct and flew off. I then clipped the second bolt with a clip stick and gave the start a go. The start is the physical crux.
You pull onto a steep wall in a postive pocket stretch your rf into another pocket. Lf onto a edge lf into a poor pocket. Reach rh to another good pocket. bring lf high to a diaganol edge. Now Rh mono time lock the good mono then slap to a good side pull adjust weight and slap rh again onto a really good hold. feet really high into a pocket and a edge lh onto a pinch.
So that's the psyical crux done you then get a easyish section with good rests. The next section is the redpoint crux. You have a steep pumpy section on some poorer holds ending in a stiff pull get onto a head wall which is a heavily technical slab ... Lovely!!
The route goes direct up the centre of the above picture then cuts out right on the upper slab.
First time from the ground I got my way to just before the head wall dogging it on lead.
I then had a go on top rope and made it to the top in bits. So whats next .. red point time. If I can do the moves on a top rope I can work it on lead.
First RP attempt I blasted through the physical crux then I got to the end of the redpoint crux but I came off pulling onto the head wall as I messed up my feet. Gutted!! That should of been it! I then worked my way to the top on lead. working the moves.
Next RP attempt I was even smoother then as I was doing the last move of the red point crux before the shake out I elbowed the wall and came off. FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had another RP attempt and messed up my feet mid RP crux and then came off on the last move of the RP crux again. I was knackered and I then worked my way to the top of the route. I did the slab with complete ease while completely done meaning if I can get through the RP crux I will do the route.
I was so close.
Here is a quick breakdown of the route
Bottom half physical crux
Top half of the route
 It's currently raining on day four and has been since last night ... :(

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Another good weekend

Saturday I went to hobson moor and fired out a load of trad routes nothing new.
I also managed to tick a 6A called Percy 97.
Sunday I went to buckstones and fired out several new problems. Even getting a font 6B very quickly which I was happy about.
I through a video together of sunday and uploaded it. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Randomly in a good mood! Wonder why

So following my last blog I just posted a blog on tick lists. As I said I wrote that a few weeks ago but I did not post it online for a couple of reasons that I won’t go into.

Since writing that blog I have been back to Malham. My goal there was to climb a 7a and try another 7a+.

So how did it got (if you know me you will know already was a lil excited)?

Well I woke up a bit worse for wear. I set off to the crag a little early to take it easy. When I got to the crag I had a full blown hangover. I was not that psyched so I let my mate climb first and set the draws for me.

Still feeling grim I belayed my mate clip stick his way up raindogs. Still feeling grim I eventually thought I would give it a go. I have done all but one move on the route (rose coronary) so time to get on lead I thought.

I got to the second bolt no problem. Then I was half way through the traverse and blew my sequence. I then rested on the second bolt and refreshed my mind of the moves. Remembering my sequence I linked to the next bolt on lead and rested on the bolt.

The one move I had not done was the crux move it’s a little awkward to work on toprope or on bolt to bolt. The move is far left from the lower off. The bolt is also a bit right of the move. You struggle to get set to be able to get slack from the belayer.
I hauled past the move as I was just warming up and got to the big under cut then dogged my way past to the top on lead to refine my sequence and work the position to clip the anchor.
After this I belayed a mate on raindogs and rested up.
Second RP attempt got to the end of traverse messed my feet and went for a bit of a ride. Since I fell low and took the swing I had a 5 min rest then had another go this time went better nailed the traverse with a whimper on the move I fell off on clipped the third bolt and reached for the good under cut hit the hold. Got confused I had done the move I had not before. Tried to work out what to do and gave up too early getting lower off felt shit!! I was not happy I had hit the hold and not completed.
After another long belay session and rest I went for it. 
The moves to the second bolt are easy each time I did it slightly different this time I did it what I found the easiest way. Got to the jugs at the second bolt had a quick shake out on the jugs traversed left clipped bolt two reversed and had another quick shake. Then I went for it
LH into the jug shuffle feet left LF on the spike rf on the good feet move rh to crimp turn in reach for the sidepull steady myself and then lh again in the gaston. High rf onto the jug and body tension to bring rh to the side pull a foot above the gaston. Rf into the high foot hold. Then shuffle lf high into the pocket. Front on I reach up to the side pull. Hit it with two fingers in the metal symbol instead of my whole hand. Refusing to give up I pulled hard and got my rh in the undercut and sorted lh to turn it in the good side pull pinch that it is.
Brought my rf high to get in balance clip the third bolt then straight into the crux sequence. Big reach with left to the good crimp. Right straight to the side pull pinch intermediate. Sorted my feet and reached to the good undercut. I brought my left high to the good foot and moved up to the massive jug. As I went up foot slipped and I had a complete superman moment only point of contact was the undercut. Still going for the jug time seemed to slow I was off for all purposes but I kept going just as I came off the under cut my left hit the jug. I grunted with rage and Swore. I pulled as hard as I could and go my hands back on. My feet at this point felt like they were four foot behind me. Engage core. Sucked in and high heel clip fourth bolt. At the rest shook out for a little while but I wasn’t recovering.
I took in a deep breath. Rh to crimp at bottom of the tufa on the right. Pulled on the crimp lh to the big undercut at the bottom of the left tufa and then matched moved feet up ant clipped fifth bolt. Then the final sequence.
RH into the right tufa good side pull RF next to forth bolt. Lh to high pinch on the middle tufa. LF high out left Right foot outside edge to the notch near the bottom of the left tufa. Lock off and clip the chain. YES!!! Take! Sag on the rope and breath. I am drained.
The complete lack of style at the crux completely took it out of me, eventually I come round enough to strip the route.
I then sat down for what felt like ages. I was truly knackered. It felt awesome I got the tick. Style does not matter. I did it! I tried Frankenstein but I was tired so I called it a day and belayed for a while. Great day out
Sunday was a nice steady return to trad. It was a freshers trip from uni which means I normally fire off a load of routes up to VS and then solo about a bit and get stick.
I ended up with Tes the southerner (we won’t hold that against her .. maybe) who is a good laughand seems extremely keen.
I did alpha crack first S. She did the route with a little encouragement. To be honest she pissed it! Ben turned up as we were decending to the start of the route. I then lead Alpha (diff), well I say lead I did not place any gear just ran up it. Tes again followed with no problems.
I then convinced ben to Lead Great buttress (VS 4c) with a bit of pushing I seemed to reduce his usual faffage. He lead the route with ease. Tes Followed with no real issue it doing her hardest outdoor route to date.
I then soloed a VDiff I think is was on black slab.
Me, Ben and Tes moved on to the hell gate area. I lead Tower face (HS 4b) and Tes followed. Ben then lead Tower face and I followed. Next up I lead Himmelvillen (VS 4c) It was surprisingly pumpy for VS but no real issues.
Nick turned up as I was leading the route.
Tes put in a real effort trying to second the route but she was tired and the laybacking was too much for her arms. It’s always great watching some one trying hard. It reminds me why I love climbing at my limit.
I went off to meet nick at which point Ian turned up. He had left some quick draws at malham the day before so he came to retrieve them and also to try autumn wall E4 6a. compared to the guide. I was gonna try a E1 but got psyched out so lead a VS jamming crack. It was a nice route with a hard feeling crux for VS 4c but then again I can’t jam.
The day ended with me trying tensile test (e1 5c) again. Did not get it again. Spotter and beta required I think.
I have had an awesome weekend and past few days . I ended up going out Friday night, night in Saturday, pub Sunday, Monday I went to foundry with Tes, James and Ben, Last night I met mates for a pizza and a catch up then tonight had a good wall session. Tomorrow I am having a couple of people round for dvd’s and it looks like I might be out Friday night.
I am a quite quiet, shy person especially around new people but its been nice to socialise so much recently. I do come out my shell the more I am around people. More than a few people can testify to this! I think it helps build psyche which I am all about. So cheers everyone for the recent awesome times.

I would try list everyone but the list is too long.

Chorro only a couple of weeks away, Bring it on!

Chorro and tick Lists in general

So this is a blog I wrote a few weeks ago but never got round to posting.
Enjoy as much as you can with this rubbish
So I was asked what my goals for chorro were and if I would be interested in investing time into a hard redpoint. Some targets were suggested. I already had a few hard routes on my “to try” list.
When building a list of climbs that I want to get out of the trip. Last trip I put a list together of loads of routes I wanted to do that was stupidly long. It had loads well within my ability and many outside it.
So what do I want out of this trip?
I want to climb as hard as possible until I am truly broken. I want to be in such a state that when I head to the airport on the way home I can barely stand up. I want to push myself as hard as I can. As I said in a recent blog I don’t know what my limit is. I want to find out.
I am meeting a mate who is keen to get on 7b and harder. I have climbed soft 7a and 7a in a day. I have done all the moves on a 7a+ and a 7a when tired. If I can do the moves I can do the route it’s just a matter of determination and breaking the route down.
So what do I want to climb?
Arabesque 7a – It’s a heavily technical climb, not pumpy. This is not a fitness route. This is just linking the moves. I have done every move on the route. I just need to put them together.
I would like to try and onsight another 6c. I can onsight 6c but this feels like my onsight limit. I have come very close. On a couple of occasions (falling on the last move) and I have done it once.
I would love to try a proper flash attempt on a 7a. Draws in and being talked through the route move by move. Is that achievable? I do not know. This will be a fitness and execution test. I will need to be able to climb efficiently and have the fitness to do this. I have route fitness. I have been climbing sport all summer to try and keep this up.
I think I am a better climber than I was this time last year. I am a steadier climber than I was this time last year. I am more aware of my centre of gravity, I use rests better. I am reading rock better, but am I able to 7a flash? If I was more confident and not grade chasing could I of flashed consenting? I don’t think so.
With more confidence could I do it maybe.
So the list?
Well here are my key targets and style I would like:
Gros Rouge 7b
Sara 7a+
La Ley del cateto 6c+
Arabesque 7a – A pre trip must!
Sheik tu dinero 6c+
Amor Sandunguero 6c
Diedre Torpedol 6c
Amtrax 6a
The gorge
Tipo Sueca 7a
Cosas Caseras 7a+ (ish)
Manzilla madness 7a
Loads of mid six mileage generally onsight or bust unless the line is really inspiring.

Monday, 10 September 2012

First E1 onsight of the year, well sort of

Its strange how things change.
When I first started climbing outdoors I was convinced to solo a VD and S as my first climbs. That feeling of freedom was amazing I was in perfect control. I nailed the VD with no problem and whimpered my way up the S.
Next up I tried to lead a HS. I fell above gear and came very close to decking out (about a foot off the ground). I then nailed the route straight away getting back on.
Back then I looked at people climbing VS like they were nothing with awe. I quickly progressed and worked my way through the grades and soloing as I went. It just seemed natural to solo routes it was amazing.
I had a few falls where I hit the ground.
September 2009 was my first proper climbing trip. I spent a few days in very hot weather climbing sport and pushing my grade that trip I lead a 5+ it felt about 6a. I was ecstatic. I remember the first day I saw a guy fire out a 6c roof like it was nothing. Again I was in awe.
I was shocked how people could climb so well.
I was still under the impression it was only absolute beasts who climbed these huge grades like E1 and 7a. I will never get to be able to climb grades like that.
As time went on I met new mates. Two stick out more than others. Haydn and nick (Timmy). These were regular guys who hardly ever turn up at the wall and just burn me off when they do.
I started going out to the crags with these guys and watch them comfortably climb HVS even as a warm up. These were regular guys they did not train they were climbing hard with out any effort.
It got me psyched. Time went on I progressed further I then went to frogatt. Those who have read my blogs no I love the place and slabs. Friction, smears no gear boldness. It all came from that first solo.
I followed nick up an E1 in motorcade, later that same day I lead Todys and followed nick up an E3. I finished the day leading TPS my first E1/(HVS not getting into that). I was ecstatic. The next visit to froggatt I soloed Sunset slab (HVS) lead motorcade and four pebble slab the E3 I had followed nick on. I had pushed my grade so far.
I could not believe I an overweight punter had lead E3. This was summer 2010. Early 2011 I was back with one thing on my mind The amazing looking route Browns Eliminate (E2) bold, beautiful and climbs better than it looks. I got the route no problem. 
I had my first proper deck out last year and I decided to take a step back from bold routes and took up doing more sports climbing.
I choose to have a session with Nik Jennings this was a triple 8 wad who was down to earth and just seemed like another normal guy.
How could that work? A normal bloke able to climb such high grades.
Nik gave me a confidence I did not know I had and I came so close to red pointing a 7a on my first ever day of trying it.
I have not climbed much trad this year but saturday I climbed 2 E1s (soft and very soft ones) onsight and tried another and they all felt very climbable.
So what am I capable of? To be honest I do not know and that excites me. It makes me want to train. Pull hard, work hard.
My joke of a goal was to climb 7b by summer next year. I know do not think I am very far away from this. Well not as far as I thought.
Psyche is an amazing thing. Take what you can where you can.
So that was some random musings.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

WOO HOO!! Bagged it

The forecast for the weekend was pretty grim for the weekend. Yesterday I wrote off climbing.  Then I had a change of heart ... I managed to convince a belayer to head to Malham.
I woke up early again.
the clock reads 6.48 I grumble. I am feeling tired and grumpy.
I roll out of bed and get dressed.
Breakfast is needed psyche is needed more I look outside and it raining.
I grown.
I make a piece of toast and a bacon sandwich. No cereal.
I make a sandwich for the crag.
Bags packed ready. Psyche is building slowly.
Watching tv it gets to 8.30 I set off.
I drive on my own through rain, fog, clag, grimness. Psyche is no being helped.
I turn up the CD player and blast Bloc party, Offspring, RATM. Psyche is building.
I park up and walk to the crag. Its hot humid and spitting slightly.
I walk a long the catwalk. My target is rose coronary its wet, like really wet.
Instead I turn my attention to Consenting adults another 7a. The day starts now.
Moose leads the routes to warm up setting the draws for me. I was quite excited to get on route it looked like my sort of route. I wanted to get on it last time I was there but it had pretty heavy traffic so I got on rose coronary.
The route is fairly direct up a just overhanging vertical wall. I planned to work the route to get a sequence so I got on it on a top rope. Instead of my usual situation of throwing my self up things climbing like a dog in heat I took my time and figured how to do the route. Martin was there a friend of the Stallions. He had warmed up on the route so he gave me some beta as I was climbing.
I got all the moves with some dogging on my first time off the ground. I rested up and belayed moose on a route. I gave it another burn on top rope refining moves slightly and making links but dogging it save energy. I now had a sequence and I knew the moves. It was time for the lead.
I wanted a long rest before getting on the red point so I belayed Moose on Raindogs. He worked it for a while but felt nails so he just lowered off. Fortunately travelling wonder kid Enzo Oddo was there with a fellow french strong kid for raindogs 9a. A route that has only had two ascents 1 by British strongman Steve McClure the other by a future legend and complete beast Adam Ondra. Steve put the first ascent up in 2003 saw its second ascent in 2011 by adam (what took so long, oh yea its Britain and the weather is shit!).
Anyway back to my day. Psyche was ridiculously high watching a kid get really close to 9a so I went for the lead. I had not linked it but I had a sequence and that is all you need imo.
I pulled on the route felt foreign I climbed badly friggin the feet and making it up. I got to the crux but it just did not feel right. I said take like a pussy! The second to third bolt is the crux and is the move to the third bolt. I rested then had another burn. I climbed smoothly to the crux it all felt in place but I bottled the move gain. I stick clipped up to the third bolt and did the move on top rope. I just needed to man up.
I rested up and went for it I knew the move I just needed to commit.
It was time and I felt good. I pulled on and did the first hard move to two greasy jugs. I shook out and chalked up. I then started to move left. Left on the big flatty. Right in the side pull jug. I turned in big span to the small flatty. high rf and sit on it. Right had to a nobble as an intermediate lf to a polished hold and right on a big flatty. RH comes over the top to a small hold. Big reach left to a side pull.
The bolt is now below waist height and off to the right by two foot.
The crux bring right foot far over to a big smear, feeling bunched, I press my lf high on a polished smear. Then a big move right to a good bold by the right bolt.
This attempt I hit the hold got the draw clipped. Now to focus. I was feeling the route in my fingers. Big move to some nice jugs. This is a reasonable rest. Next up I move to a good gaston and side pull high feet. cross through to a good flatty and rock up match. I clip the last bolt feeling tired. I force myself to a poor rest. one last move two rh moves to pinches. First a small as intermediate. High right foot rock into it and reach up for a big pinch I am now set move lf up and step up into the high undercut I am there I clip the chain I am done! Get in! 7a in half a session. Three RPs and two quick top ropes. Proper 7a!
It is graded as Mid grade to hard 7a on UKC so I take it.
I am so happy and I have all weekend to climb (even if the weather is crap).
Anyway I spent the rest of the day belaying and I tried to repeat consenting to get the draws back but the sun came out and I could not repeat the crux. I eventually hauled past it and then repeated the rest of the route. So I climbed all but one move when tired. I would of taken that as an achievement before the day started.
Trying hard is something I think I am good at. I always try to climb at my limit when sports climbing. However with a quick 7a tick I am questioning if I am trying hard enough. I guess my goal should be 7a+? .. I have still not climbed a 6c or 6c+.
Anyway spirits are high. Lets see what the rest of the weekend brings.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

7a the goal, The target

So the goal for Costa Blanca was 7a I got one and got stupidly close to a another. The thing that is in the back of my mind is it was a soft 7a. I want a proper one. My E1's, my E2 and E3 are all soft. I can accept that I have climbed E one as I have climbed harder. I want to be able to say I climbed a 7a a proper one not a soft one.
Since coming back from spain I have not ticked another 7 I have not properly put the work in though weather training and injury has got in the way. In the last few weeks I picked a project that works for me its my anti style. Its steep jug hauling while managing the pump on the route avoiding it getting terminal.
Working the route is great fun. Its amazing moves and so much fun to climb.

I had some burns on this last saturday and I blow my lead on 4 occassions at the same move. I was pretty gutted as I was sure I would get it. According to the yorkshire limestone guide it is near the top of the graded list. So it is a proper 7a. Thanks to Paul Bennett for taking the photos (check out his site).

Sunday I went to Shooters and seconded a load of routes up to HVS and tried to lead an E1 but it rained as I got to the crux. I escaped off up a HS. I am confident in my ability to lead E1 I just need to get on more trad.

I have managed to finish a few projects in the last few weeks too. I got a new problem at Holmfirth that I have tried off and on for a about a year never really working it. I also got a problem at almslciff I had tried over 4 visits.
It's always good physce to tick projects.

The injury has been holing me back and I have completely stopped crimping. It has been a good excuse to work my weakness. I have been getting on longer steeper climbing. Its been great and I am noticing better technique coming through.
So overall that was a random post but I am happy with my progress in general.