Thursday, 29 March 2012

Since I have come back

Since I got back from sapin I have been taking it easy I have been exhausted.
On the monday after getting back I went to millstone area bouldering with a mate Andy which saw a rather productive day. I got a lot of new ticks and my first 6B flash. I also fell off a lot and trashed my fingers on the grit.
I hadd the rest of the week off then I bouldered at burbage south on my own since Nick did not turn up, however I did randomly bump into Nik Jennings while I was falling off of Tiger a lot. I got a few new problems but it was so hot I could not get any friction at all.
Yesterday I headed to holmfirth cliff for a climb and barbeque. I did not climb anything new however I did get a load of the harder problems (for me) on film enjoy.
I have also been recently looking into different different climbing training tactics. Here are a few general musing that I am going to be looking into. This lead to an interesting debate on UKC
A lot of people seem to follow the self coached climbing techniques. However when researching many of the top climbers when they talk about climbing the say they just climb. The general approach for the top sports climbers seems to be they climb. If they are not fit enough they tend to do circuits and laps. I was advised for me the best training would be just climb as much and as often as I possibly can. This worked for me but I am a complete punter (as it says in the title). This go me thinking about how much research as gone into training specifically for climbing. Sports like football have over a hundered years of development and training exercises are still changing yearly. I originally got told to stretch before you start to avoid injury. Recently I have been told not to stretch at all as it puts extra force on muscles.
I wonder how climbing training techniques will change in the next ten years. For example I remember I recently read somewhere that the benefits from campussing were not that great in comparison to the risk it does to the finger tendons. I can't link as I can't remember where.
I also was thinking where most of the climbing training advice came from. I think this will be a combination of personal experiences and I would guess it came from competition climbers as that is where the money is. I guess the PE training techniques are based on having enough endurance for onsight climbing at your abosolute limit.
I am going to spend some more time looking at this over the next few weeks and see what my research shows. Well what else am I going to do at work?
Here are several links I came across:
Paxti training 
Chris sharma – not sure how old this is
Sharma on jumbo love training
James Mchaffie 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Costa Blanca week in review

The week was very much a success from a grade chase point of view I got the 7a even if it was a soft one. I came very close to one in the upper end of the grade. I was done. I was one move from this.

The crags:
Forada - What a place north facing and high up so even in the heat it was still cool enough to pull hard with out being drained. The super heroes wall is majorly impressive and has a awesome view a crag everyone should visit!
Leyva - Again another unbelievable crag the view is awesome. The walk in is long in comparison to most convenience climbing in Spain but not too bad even compare to most of chew valley. The lift on the back of pick up made a great start to the first trip and made the approach easier. The routes are amazing and the position is perfect. I did not climb on the main wall but it is 200m of sheer faces from grade 5+ to 7b and the face looks fantastic climbing. Definitely a place I want to revisit.
The location
we stayed at was a bit different to most peoples costa blanca trips we stayed in the murcia area. This was a very much brits abroad place with a strong golf focus. However this made it easier to visit different venues such as Leyva.

The climbing
I was out of my comfort zone all week. I was getting on steep climbs not sticking to heavily technical footwork climbing. however the routes were so good I just wanted try the routes.

The Coaching
It was a constant psyche and confidence building approach. Little details noticed and advice given to improve movement and technique. It was trying to make you spot your mistakes and work on them. I would definitely go on another trip

The Coach
Nik is relaxed cool and focused. He seems to love climbing and love helping people to climb.
The Routes
Route 11 6a+ - Forada
Panchuflas 5+ - Forada
Cristina 5+ - Forada
No Name 5+ - Leyva
4+ Que Fobia 4+ - Leyva
Son Goku 7a - Forada
Lead Dog:
Subiendo Como La Espuna 7a - Leyva
Camara Alta 6c+ - Forada
Top Rope:
Starman 7a - Forada - Dog
Carne De Psiquatrico 7a - Forada - Dog
Golondrinas 6a - Forada - Onsight

What went well:
I got my 7a even if it was soft I will take it and move on. I have learnt a lot more about my climbing and what I can achieve when I really try.

Only completing one of my projects. Failing on my last climb of my holiday on the last move.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Day 6 - Last day Leyva

I woke up felling tired and low psyche due to exhaustion. The plan got finalised at the last minute and we confirmed we were heading to Leyva. So after an hours drive and a 40-50 minute up hill walk in we arrived at the las cuevas area. Feeling tired I decided to take it easy until the sun come off of my route.
My project was a 7a climb called subiendo como la espuma. The route is a technical slab, to steep technical wall climbing on small holds (crux), overhanging laybacks ending in a big reach to a good jug and rest. The route then joins a 6b+ with som nice tufa pulling to an awkward chain requiring a deep eygptian with air below your feel. Truely awesome! Rockfax 1 star (3 star classic imo).
A few days before I had tried the route. and repeatedly fallen off at the crux move on redpoint. My tactics had been bad. My skin was thin and the crux holds are sharp I had been working the route in the sun so I dead. Yesterday I had a lazy day and just fired off a 5+ to warm up then I did rested again belaying and taking photo's. The sun does not get onto it until about 3-4pm. So around 2 I got the bottom clips in until the good jugs rest. I did some of the moves to remind my self and just checked the crux move. I found I could reach the hold from a sat on my foot rather than rocking into it with is a much more stable position. Just checked the hold on the laybacks gave them a quick brush and came down to rest.
In the backing heat the holds were sharp and poor. So I left it for a hour or so and contiuned to belay. Simon and james then went off to try and do one of the big routes on the massive wall around the corner. What an impressive piece of rock around 200m of bolted routes from 5 to 7b.
My route finally got into the shade I gave it time to cool a little and went for a redpoint. Again I came off at the crux but I was much closer with the better foot position. Another good rest but same move. Another long rest and hit the got the crux hold but did a couple of moves and messed my sequence. Hauled back up and climbed to the next clip to remind my self of the sequence. Came down to rest. I realised I had two goes left in me abosolutely exhausted. Rested for about 30 mins and had a burn came off the move after the crux again. came down and rested it was about 5 to 6 and the light was going the temperature was perfect.  I had a long rest.
I felt tired but thought of something I heard a spanish bloke shout at the crag the day before to his partner who was pumped out of his mind strugg;ing on a hard move .. a la muerte. It means to the death. So I thought fuck it this is my last climb of the holiday. I was tired but I knew the sequence I was good enough I just needed to go for it!!!
The time came, every thing was right but me I was tired a week of climbing at my limit every single day has broken my body but that did not matter I wanted this route!
I started up the pleasant difficult padding up the slab. Got to the hands off rest. Trapped in my head I was exhausted I waited there for what felt like ages may have been minutes or seconds I have no idea. I just kept thinking to my self a la muerte. I started the crux sequence and every felt right. I did the crux got the next hold then the big slap to the good hold clipped. Took the poor rest got a little bit of recovery and went for it. comitting laybacks to a good pinch got the next clip exhausted and fighting two moves to a rest and easy terrain. big reach with my left to the poor side pull, high feet right to the better side pull got the wrong bit of the hold so crimped the fuck out of it. High foot on a lump feeling my grip failing I was gonna go for the jug last hard move. My right had greased off causing my foot to pop. Failling backwards it was over I had nothing left.
I hauled back up to the just below the layback and rested on the rope for ages and then went for it this time getting the good right hand properly doing the big reach to the jug. Breathing out my arse I rested on the good jug then climbed up to the next clip and an almost hands off rest. I then finished off the route clean. Got it in two big links, Absolutely gutted with nothing left. I stripped the route. I had given everything left on the last go but I was broken. I could not of given any more.
We waited for simon and james to come back from the crag and my body felt weak. I could barely move. Thankfully they were a while before they came back. The long walk back down the hill began. We got to the car pretty quickly all greatfull it was down hill to the car not up hill. I made sure I got the front seat. I wanted the extra space. I was done.
Drowsily we drove back to the villa and grabbed some clean clothes and had a nice meal. I barely talked I done. So close yet so far I am happy with my perforance espcially as Nik said he thought the route was 7a+ ...

What a week will give a break down and pictures in another blog. This one is long enough and I am still feeling tired.

Hope you enjoyed my updates.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Day 4 Rest day and Day 5 back on it

Day 4
The rest day was hard work. It was badly needed but I just wanted to climb. We spent the morning lounging around the villa then headed for the beach for a bit of bird watching and an ice cream. The beach was a little grim, brits abroad etc but there was some nice views to be had.
We headed back to the villa via a supermarket and picked up stuff for a barbeque. An epic barbeque was cooked and enjoyed by all on the terrace in the evening sun. Nice day but was desperate to get back on my projects.

Day 5
Yesterday we headed back to Forada for our final day there. I had two 7a projects I wanted to do. One was a soft touch rising traverse with a crux section about as steep as the circuit board at rokt. The other was a lot harder. A hanging slab with a dynamic move to reach it.
I decided to dispatch the soft one first and got on it as a warm up. I blew the lower section which I did not have any issue with on my first try at the route. I had a rest on the rope and worked the moves up to a big as rock over round a corner.
Second go had the bottom section sorted and got to the steeper crux which I got through but came off half way through the rock over. I was two moves from doing it.
Third go of the day (forth go total). I set of did the awkward but easy start. I got to the steeper section and blasted through it slightly blowing my sequence with one wrong foot hold but the one I found was good enough. On two side pulls I found played around with my feet finding my centre of gravity and did the awkward balancy clip the had a shake out as the pump was kicking in. RH to a sloper couple of little foot moves and cross through for the pinch. Drop my righ onto a shallow pocket and got my right foot on the huge foothold. Rock for miles and get the good pocket. Swap feet and pasted my foot on a noble and trust it and go. I was round on the slab pumped and exhausted. One last hard move and I was done. Rested for about 5 mins on the slab and then went for it. Smearing and balancing with poor hands and awkward feet and another big rock over to a side pull. Adjust my feet and grab the undercut jug done!!! YYFY 7a in the bag!!!

I had a good rest and went after my other project I did all the moves individually on top rope on first attempt with a couple of decent links. I had another go on top rope and blasted though the dyno and got to the mantel with nothing left. I got back on got the mantel and linked it to the top. However by this point I had tried the dyno 6/7 time and done the move 4 or 5 times. I had nothing left so decided to strip it and have a rest not wanting to hurt myself with a day left.

I tried to flash a 6c but failed badly for just went to the sunny for some easy milage.

The day ended with a trip a restaurant with some nice chicken and veg soup and a big ass plate of spag bol and a trip to another shocking bar.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Day3 (on) Walk away

Yesterday I got straight on my project Starman warming up on the easy start. It was a lot warmer than the last visit so I just wanted to get a sequence worked. I gave the route another go on top rope hoping to like the whole route. I failed badly. The start section I had wired went awfully my foot work was worse than sloppy my focus was just gone. I got to the knee bar and came back down.
Pissed off with my self I had five minutes and watched simon have a go at the 7c he was working. He came close last hard move.
I got back on top rope and got up to the knee bar with one mistake. I then tried the next section which is the crux for me. I had no idea how to do I spent what felt like 30 mins (probably 5 or 10) sat on the rope working the single move. I realised that I would not get this route this trip so decided to walk away and find something else.
After speaking with Nik he showed me two route both that more suited me. I diagonal Vague grove line that was only slightly steep and hanging slab with a steep curved roof.

I chose to give the hanging slab (called Carne de psiquatrico) a burn thinking it would be obvious if I could get it or not quickly.
Nik climbed it with surprising difficultly setting the draws where he found out the easy looking slab was the crux and the roof was not as bad as it looked and even had a big deadpoint in it.
I gave it a burn on top rope and the roof was a killer but I did just about manage the moves in isolation. Then the rock over came. From overhanging ground you get two good hold on the hanging lip and rock over to all glory with your foot on a small spike and balance into a steep slab to an awkward hands off rest and clip. It is an awesome move and very doable. Then the beautiful balancy slab comes smearing on little nubbings of limestone with a little bit of polish. I don't think many of the moves are easier than english 5a and sustained at around 5b. Using sharp positive side pulls move slowly focusing on keeping your rubber on the rock with a ridiculously smeary move from a really thin chipped hold to a jug out left (english 5c probs). I got all the moves first go up the roof needed to be refined but it felt much more doable than Starman.
The second go went much better and I refined the moves in the roof finding a better foot hold. It will definitely go but with my skin feeling pretty thin I decided to call it a day on the sharp slab and pockets. Simon then did the route first red point and stripped the draws.

We headed back to super heroes wall and Simon onsighted the over 7a that nick suggested setting the draws. He then convinced me to try the route on lead as a flash attempt. I got to the top third and dropped it due to panicking and over gripping. I then continued on more slowly working the moves and body positions and got through the steep bit. I then managed to link the last section fist time up. I think it will go next time but after a full day climbing at what felt my limit I decided to call it a day and lower off. I got linked 90% of the route on lead my first attempt off the ground on a 7a.

Psyched is an understatement!!!
Rest day today and back on it Thursday to get it done the get the hanging slab done and maybe have a look at something harder?

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Day 2 frustration

Yesterday was a long day but an awesome one.
Again all up at the crack of dawn keen and eager to get climbing. The plan was to head to leyva a crag in the murcia area of costa blanca. I had eyed up a line before the trip that I was keen for. Its a 7a slab to a steep juggy section and a hands off rest before joing the top of a 6b+ next to it. 
Leyva has a bit of a walk in and a aweful map of how to get there in the guide book. Yuou have to pack up at a locked gate which only the locals can use. How every the guide book does suggest that you might be able to thumb a lift off a local to the bottom of the crag. Turns out this is true. We had walked for about 5 mins up the road when a guy was driving past in his pick up. So after some trying to converse with us having minimum spanish and him having no English piled into the back of his pick up. Was quite fun and really useful. From the road you can't quite see the crag but there was a cairn to point out the path. We followed this steeply up hill for probably about 400m and came to a awesome crag of hard single pitch climbing with some polished easy problems on the right.
I warmed up on some nothing 4+ easy just get the fingers going. The crag faces south so I was pretty warm to begin with. After this I got straigh on my project.
I got the bottom half in a quick go and had a rest so someone else could finish the route and set me a top rope.
On the next go I refined some of the moves on the crux and finished the route through the steep laybacking. and awkward top clip. Tired I had a long rest and thought the moves through.
Next go I got on lead. I dispatched the lower section to the crux no problem. Then I blew the crux. This became the story of the day. I would climb smoother and smoother up this one move and then fall. I would normally then get straight back on and do the move lower rest and repeat.
The crux is from two small slopey crimps rock up and balance on a small crozzle and the rock slightly to get a good flat hold in a slot. The hold is a slot so you can't just throw for it and need to grab it pretty static. I was getting tired and frustrated and closer and closer. The light had just about gone I was really tired wanting to save something for the walk back and the next day so I called it a day. Feeling gutted I just went a bit quiet and thought.
It was pretty late by the time we got back to the car so we decided to eat out again. We did not have much choice the supermarket was shut and we had no food in.
We ordered a feast. We started with tapas for 5, bread for 5 and paella for the other four, but due to my dislike of fish I a mixed meat skewer with veg. We were completely stuffed by the end of it. We got back to the villa at about 10.30 after leaving at 8-30 to 9 am ish.

Still got the psyche just really want to get one of these done.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Day 1 (of climbing)

Good first day of frustration. Warmed up on a 6a+ and a 6a then got spanked by the first move of a 6b+.
I next up I dogged my way up a 6c+ on lead it toook me a while but not really inspired by the route so sacked it off and cleaned the route.
The main event today was trying starman a 7a on top rope. I did the first half pretty quick. I managed to link from the start to the knee bar rest. Next up I did the second half this was a killer for me as it was really overhanging. I got the moves reasonably quickly and the top slab was fine. I can get this route done pretty quick.

The day ended with a trip to a restaurant where I got myself a fillet steak and ate it rare. It was awesome also came with an epic pile of carrots and some chips.  It was a epic meal and the steak was amazing.
Good for psyche!! bring it on