Sunday 27 December 2009


Well I think it is time for me to write up my recent trip to Cresciano.

With the thought of perfect mountain boulders to spur us on, we drove down from Bath in one push, catching the ferry at close to midnight and continuing through the night to reach Switzerland by late morning the next day. A long trip, but worth it for the extra day's climbing.

We stayed in a fantastic little 'rustico' which was owned by a lovely family who came and lit a welcoming fire every day while we were out on the rocks.

I had my doubts beforehand, and on the soggy road trip, my fears appeared to be well founded, but the weather in Cresciano was better than I could have hoped for. Every day was excellent; very cold, pretty dry and almost always sunny.

My only possible criticism would be that the cold was perhaps too much for me; at times, touching the rock for more than 20 seconds at a time meant sitting with your hands in various warm places for several minutes.
As if to emphasise the frigid temperatures; we woke to find ice crystals on the inside of the windscreen most mornings. The thermometer taped to the car read down to -10 degrees!

Anyways - onto the climbing...

The first day there I rather foolishly spent most of the day shredding my fingers on the frictiony goodness that is Swiss granite

As introductions go, jumping on a problem that has been polished till the friction consists of a couple of sharp crystals, was perhaps not my best decision of the trip (street parade, 7a). I managed to wear most of the way through the skin on the middle tip of my right hand and then had to tape up for the rest of the holiday.

The other Slopey Traverse of the holiday (Slopey Traverse 7a+/7b) didn't go much better, I think it might go eventually...but for the moment... ...not quite yet.

By this point I was starting to feel like I hadnt really achieved too much from the first few days, fortunately I managed to make a quick ascent of Vol au Vent, 7a with non-dyno beta.
I went back to look at the sit start (7b+) another day but felt too weak and lacking too much in skin to bother trying.
Again-another that might go eventually.

I can truly recommend doing Dr. Med Dent at Chironico, 7b+. I thought the grade was outside my range but I managed to claw my way up it after 2 hours. I have to thank Anthony and Jack for eventually finding the correct beta while I fannied about with my camera getting some footage.

We took a day off after that during which I had my first experience of 'mountaineering'.
We didn't really achieve anything but the climb was good fun, and the view from our high point was excellent.

As rest days go this one was pretty knackering
The next day we headed back to Chironico so Jack could also finish Dr. Med and then we explored a little to find the more extensive areas further up the hill.

I managed to flash Borderline, a 7a dyno slab which was nice.

On our last day I felt that my logbook was looking a little bare for the week so far so I decided to try and pad it with 6c's
After a slow start I onsighted a 6b slab (gay parade) then moved to the left and ticked a nameless 6c+ slab which would probably have been given less in font.
A short time later I climbed Anouk, 6c and followed it up with another nameless 6c.
A late session on Madreperla yeilded another 6c+ which may be my favourite tick from the holiday.

Anyways, this is quite a long post already so I'll sign off with this video made by Jack.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

TCA Circuits

Did sod all at TCA today, tried the circuit again and again but no love.

Persistently falling at move 39-40 kinda got me riled...I haven't come across a route where I have failed at a 'crux' for a while and I appear to have forgotten how damned annoying it is.

I got there about 5/6 times but didn't do anything else all session.
New beta on the last moves might sort me but then again perhaps not.

2 days to Cresciano.

Sunday 6 December 2009

Various Things

Found some time to write on this now (between my heavy schedule of eating, sleeping and watching stuff on iPlayer)

Since the last thrilling installment I have been to TCA, Cheddar and seen Tim Emmett (who completely didn't recognise me)

First off - TCA -
I got the red up the front wall in one or two goes which was neat, I dont seem to remember doing much more except fingerboard shizzle (slopey mono pullups)

Second - Cheddar -
I went out again with Ben Broche and my housemate Jonny, didn't really get much done though right up until the end. I ticked a 4+/5+/6b+ and kinda ticked 'The Minstrel' 7a+ but since the top jugs were soaking I had to settle for going mono to the belay rings. I think the grade was pretty much the same though. Short powerful route on jugs and crimps...nice :-D

As you can see it was spitting pretty hard but the actual route was mostly dry.

I bought a pullup bar on saturday and have been playing on that a little so hopefully I'll see some strength gains after a while.

And last of all I saw Tim Emmett's lecture of the various places he has been recently, which was quite interesting but not really relevant to what I want to do in the future.
I got his signature on the shiny white Metolius bag so that makes 3.
Dave Macleod is coming to TCA in January so I'm looking forward to nabbing another for the collection :-)

Monday 30 November 2009

TCA + James Pearson

I went to TCA today for a late session 7-10 and to meet the great James 'E12' Pearson
Climbed pretty well all session ticking many of the red problems.

The one on the front wall should go fresh but the super tiny crimpy one still requires some sequence discovery.

I also met James Pearson today, seems like a nice chap. Spoke to him about Switzerland and got some tips about where to go and what to do conditions wise.

Pearson and Holding

Still super psyched about Cresciano but I do feel like I'm not really crushing hard enough to get a 7a+/7b but you never know.

I'm not sure what to set for a target but a 7a a day sounds like a reasonably tough primary goal.

Saturday 28 November 2009

Homewall Training and TCA yoga

Had a short 3 hour session with Anthony yesterday on the Homewall which culminated in the hardest route so far despite the fact that I could barely do three laps on the green circuit as a warmup.

Went to yoga this morning which felt good - just waiting for the pain to set in now.
Climbed ok afterwards ticking one of my projects and a couple of the '6a' circuit which are not even close to being 6a.
Tried the 7b+ and got rinsed again - perhaps with day or two off it might work better.

Fingers are pretty sore and muscles a touch weak but still feeling ok.

Unfortunately I think I may have to do some work this weekend...Bummer

Wednesday 25 November 2009

TCA climbing and campussing

Went to TCA today - tried a few routes - got one pretty hard one that no one else in the group got which - while obviously a little petty - made me feel like it is all working . Also made an attempt on the 7b+ and managed the route in three sections but the end (surprisingly for TCA) really sticks the dagger in.

Then the campussing started. I tried to do a 1-4-7 but didnt really get anywhere - the extra 10 cm seems to make a huge difference.
I did another 1 - 3.5 - 6 wish ease though and various other sequences.

Little bit of front levering - not very good.

Tried various methods of one armer practice along with single fingers on the beastmaker which is feeling super close.

I think I'm going to order a pullup bar so I can really start making some gains in that department.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Homewall Training

I read Dave Macleod's blog earlier and it really inspired me to try a little harder, and put the extra effort into getting on the wall.

I moved a couple of holds so it would be less of a faff at the top and tried limiting feet to bad holds to make routes harder.

I repeated all the previous routes with relative ease and put a couple of crimpy and slopey things up - some of which I was quite pleased with...

TCA tomorrow - campus training with Anthony.

Saturday 21 November 2009

Craggy Island and Home

I went home this weekend for the first time in a couple of months.
I did plenty today at craggy island - onsighting 6c+ doing a 6c boulder problem and almost getting a tough 7a+ onsight (more like 7b).

I love the onsighting sport game at the moment - so much more interesting when all the glory is there for the taking.

Still feeling a bit weak on the stamina side but then again I think the grades on the lead wall are perhaps a little low for the difficulty. Either way I think I should get back on the 30 degree board at TCA and get to work.

Nothing planned for tomorrow, but need to sort out the trip to Cresciano otherwise it might not go ahead.
Still stronger than monkey but not much in it. Need to keep training!

Thursday 19 November 2009

Cheddar Ticklist.

After a long time sat up last night looking at the Cheddar Guide by Martin Crocker (which I think is an excellent guide) I have decided that for now (because of the slightly easier access) these are the climbs I will attempt to complete before some arbitrary point in time.

  • All Hands to the Pump - Arch Rock
  • Postcard from Titan - Castle Rocks (Scary Monsters)
  • Thermopylae - Castle Rocks (Madruga)
  • Still Waters Run Deep - High Rock
  • Fool's Bolt - Acid Rock
  • Sherry Land - High Rock
  • The Minstrel - The Wave
  • Islands in the City - The Wave
  • Get That Man - Ginsberg
  • Shakin' Like a Leaf - High Rock
  • Ritual Slaughter - The Wave
  • Crystal Gale - The Wave

Wednesday 18 November 2009


Long lie in then TCA this afternoon, I did a few orange problems - somewhere around 6c I reckon.

New 7b+ circuit has just gone up which might be interesting given time.

Did a campus and repeaters session afterwards which seemed very worthwhile.
I managed a 1-3-5-7-7-5-3-1 set which I was pretty happy with
also did a 1-3.5-6 which ain't that far from a 1-4-7

Anyways - I'm going to take a couple of days off now and perhaps go to cheddar on Friday morning if it looks dryish and I can get a partner.
If not then going home for the first time in a while - climb on Ben's wall and have a play in Craggy.

Tuesday 17 November 2009


I went to Cheddar today - my first serious session down there - my second trip.

I went with a charming bloke from California called Ben who was also a pretty good climber.
The 6 am start was not the most friendly of wake ups but necessary for time, after picking up Ben in Bristol we made our way to a dry, but slightly seepy Cheddar Gorge.

After receiving advice on some good lines from the ever sensible Simon I decided to try out two routes at 7a.

Raw Deal and
Who's Line Is It Anyway?

Both went pretty easily which is nice to see.
I'm always critical of my climbing and assume that the grades must be wrong if I can do them but I seem to have been climbing 7a pretty consistently now so perhaps something is happening.

I'm super excited to go back again, I got the new guide and it looks like there is loads at the level I am operating.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Yoga, Weather and aches

Title pretty much says it all,

Still achey, tired and weak from all that stretching malarkey.
The weather is looking mediocre right now - but predictably no one wants to go to cheddar.
Might do a wall session tomorrow, UCR on Tuesday and possibly TCA on wednesday.

tum te tum

Saturday 14 November 2009

30 more pins

I came downstairs this morning to find that my tarps had all blown off my wall again, so instead of eating breakfast - I made a quick botch job to make it through the day.
It worked and I managed a much better one this evening. With about 20 odd pins in it so, hopefully, it will not fall again.

Just realised how achey my core is now, this yoga stuff has something to it methinks.

Off to make sandwiches etc now for breakfast tomorrow - I'm not going hungry again!

Yoga + Circuits

Well, I had my first taste of yoga this morning at the unearthly hour of 8:30.

I'm not the stretchiest person you will ever meet, but this really seemed to hit the spot. I think next time I go, I will stretch out first so I can gain the full benefit of the exercise.
Pretty tired now - and a bit achey.

After work I did a super short 20 minute session,
6b+ circuit to warm up and then some of the oranges after the flashpump went.

Not bad, but still feel tired.
Time for some food and probably a shake.


Friday 13 November 2009


It appears my first blogging attempt succeeded, so onto more important matters.

I shifted my wall back to 30 degrees yesterday evening and now I cant hold much, so instead I drew out a topo so that I could write out some routes, but I only managed 6 in the session.

None of them are disgustingly hard but enough to keep me occupied for now.

I went out on the wall this afternoon, but as everyone in England will know - the weather is a tad sucky at the moment. Even though the wall is covered it worries me that the water is still somehow getting onto it.
The holds were ever-so-slightly damp and I wasn't feeling too strong, so I did a couple of circuits and some easy moves but went back inside before long.

Bi/triceps and pullups this evening.

Probably time for bed now - early morning start tomorrow and perhaps my first yoga session.

Opening Blog

First Blog ever.
I don't normally stick stuff on the internet like this but I thought that if I had something a bit more 'formal' I might stick with a training regime.
Anyway, this will probably just document where I climb, when I climb, when I train, how I train, and my mental state throughout.

Aim: Well I climbed a 7b at UCR the other day but I reckon it was soft. So the primary aim is to get at least 3 7a's done by christmas and at least get myself a respectable way up another 7b.
regarding bouldering - I dont really care about the indoor grades since they seem so variable.
outdoors though? - another few 7a would be nice and another V7.