Thursday 25 February 2010

TCA again

Getting a little dull typing that into the Title box but TCA is where I like to hang out now,

I have been doing a little thinking about improvement and whatnot and have come to the conclusion that not having grades at TCA is hampering me...
I dont know what to try and I dont know how hard to try and I think it is stopping me climbing at my maximum level.

I love beating people with grades and what I can climb compared to them, so having no system means it is quite difficult to do.

I climbed one of the new whites yesterday too which was cool, very happy with that and it is a great problem too.

There is a SW unis competition on Sunday that I am hoping should go quite well, potentially top 3 finish if I climb well.

My tips are awful at the moment so I am hoping that a few proper days off can sort that out.

Monday 22 February 2010

Trad Grades - just a thought

I just looked at someone elses profile on ukc and a thought occured.

I am always impressed by a decent trad grade E4/5/6 and I was wondering why...

Perhaps it could be said that bouldering is a scale of strength and power.
Sport is a scale of stamina and due to the increased length (which means technique has a greater impact upon performance) the overall ability of a climber at the hardest climb they can do.

Trad however, is a combination of sport climbing and something else, something more intangible and to do with the comfort at a certain grade. If you are climbing at a certain Traditional level, with moves similar to the hardest moves you can do on sport, then it suggests to me that you are confident in your abilities and not only climb 'hard' but climb 'well'.

This opinion is based upon the percieved danger aspect of climbing above what may be marginal gear. If you intend to climb into an injury or death zone then in my opinion you should be confident that you are not going to fall, and if you are you must be reconciled with the potential consequences.

I don't think this makes traditional climbing any 'better' or 'worse' than sport or bouldering but it certainly seems to be a guide towards someone's ease within a certain level of climbing and I think this is what attracts me towards performing at the higher end of the grade range.

Saturday 20 February 2010

Mr. Steve McClure and TCA

Well I must say I am impressed.

There have been a lot of climbers at TCA, some real world class athletes.
Houlding, Emmett, Parry, Macleod and various others but Steve McClure has been the most impressive that I have seen so far.
Never unnecessarily dynamic and seemingly always in control, he seemed magically able to cling and move from holds I couldn't even contemplate using.
And to match that ability on the wall he was pleasant and helpful off it. He even put up with me asking questions.

Will changed the problem I was planning on working so now I cant latch the first hold - helpful...

Instead I am going to focus my efforts onto a new white set by Steve, with an unusually nice ending and a funky roof/traverse to begin. Quite excited to get on that fresh and hopefully with some skin on my fingertips.

Also Kudos to Ben who managed to do Chulilla at Brean Down today on his first lead attempt of the day.

I do appear to have taken a shower before most of these bag pictures...

Wednesday 17 February 2010


Just got back from a session at TCA,

Felt tired and not very strong, with sore tips.
perfect for climbing!

Spent a long time warming up then had a pretty hodgepodge session, almost onsighted the new 7a? circuit which is perhaps a little easy for the grade but I only tried it once and fell on the last move.

I tried some of the moves on a few of the whites but to be honest I was feeling too crappy to try that hard.
Perhaps on Saturday Mr. Mclure can help me out on them.

Knackered now - time to chill out and lie in till tomorrow's lectures.

Few more days of climbing

Not much happening really,

Training on my board was good on Monday with a group of friends, although 5 people under the tarp didn't fit too well.
Did a couple of hard problems and made a funky 15 odd move route which is neat.

On Tuesday I finally did the TCA route setting course which was really good fun and very helpful, hopefully now I will be able to set some tough problems for myself - even though my favoured style doesn't really lend itself to indoors setting...
Giffer seemed mildly impressed with the routes I made and I am also quite happy with how they turned out, one of them is not great though and may require a little tweaking.

The new white circuit looks good so I will try out a few of the problems this afternoon and see how they are in reality.


Friday 12 February 2010

Good and Bad

Good day today, for the most part...

I woke up at the unearthly hour of 6am to get ready for another day at the brilliant Brean, sorted my lunch (soup in a thermos and bread loaves), and got off towards Ben in Bristol.

We arrived at the rocks around 8ish and got warmed up.
The target for the day was Chulilla - a mighty fine 7b+ with a funky no hands rest in the middle of the wall.
Unfortunately half the holds were wet in some way so on the first attempt I dogged up and dried them off with my shirt.
To cut a long story short I had about 4/5 attempts overall and fell every time at the crux move. Eventually I realised my beta was wrong, corrected it, and cruised the route.

Overall very happy with that achievement. Not only my first 7b+ but also my first grade of 7b and over (discounting the roof of inequity which I think is probably 7a+)
I seem to be making a business of this, with Dr Med and Chulilla both skipping out 7b and going straight through.

On the way back however I managed to run out of diesel and was forced to pull my car over on top of a hill and phone for rescue from my housemate, who very kindly took me to a pump to fill up and get going again.

I am crazy psyched to get back to Brean now- there are a few 7a's left to mop up and a few 7b's that I would love to get.
I wouldn't be averse to going somewhere closer to hand though since travel is starting to cost me a fair bit...

Thursday 11 February 2010

Brean ad TCA

Dedication is a pain.

We went out yesterday as a group of three to try and get in a bit more outdoors climbing but due to sunlight and whatnot we only got 3 climbs in.

I tried working Chullila (7b+) and loved all the moves. With any luck it might go the next time I go down. However I imagine the linkup will be harder than I think though.

Anyways - with such a short day outdoors we decided to head back to Bristol and go to TCA, there was a really good crowd down by the circuit board including Hazel Findlay who had a nice chat about California with Ben.
Anyways - I worked the Red Circuit (7b - ha) and got it in 3 overlapping bits, but I think if I am feeling fresh I could possibly do it in 2 or maybe go straight through.
I also tried some more of the moves on the 8b and got a few of them now I can do 1-2-3 :-P

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Brean Down is brilliant

It has been a while since my last update but I have been doing plenty of hardcore exercise and whatnot.

I went to Cheddar Gorge on the 28th and it was absolutely frigid but I still managed to tick off a few of the routes on Arch Rock, including my first Trad climb ever.
All pretty easy grades around 6a or so but the E1 somewhat brightened my day (only 3 grades left to E4) :-P

And yesterday I went out with Ben to Brean Down.
The guidebook absolutely slams the area but I feel it makes a favourable comparison to Portland on the south coast. It is well sheltered from the wind and some of the climbs are pretty darn good.
It definitely isn't an area for the beginner though- only one climb below 6b but many quality lines above this grade and up to 8b.
I managed to tick quite a lot during the hours we were there, including:

Coral Sea F6c
Chepito F7a

and a flash of
The Root of Inequity

Overall pretty good going I think.
I might be going back on Wednesday if the weather cheers up and possibly getting on El Choco (7c) as a challenge.
Apparently 7a+ climbing up to a roof then a tough mantle thing off the left hand.
Should be interesting.