Saturday 30 October 2010


Portland today,
Great time.

I went down with Si Brice, Ben Dickinson and Dan something or other.
An early start to get to Bristol then Si kindly drove the rest of the way in super quick time.
We warmed up quickly on 'The Tank' with a V2 and a V4, before heading to a secluded 3* boulder called Collo Della Terra.

Ben on Collo Della Terra 3* V7

CDT is a really nice problem possibly a little soft at V7 maybe more like V6 but if you are down on Cuttings boulder field I would definitely recommend spending some time on it.
I also managed to open my ankle on this problem which left me with red shoes. :-(

Despite this we moved onto Lightning Strike - 3* which came with strong endorsement from Dr. T.
I grabbed the beta from the relevant ukb article and we worked out some moves.
I eventually sent the problem and once again - very much recommend it to anyone going to the island.
Take some spotters though.

After a quick lunch break I also sent Split Lip V7 and Petty Thief V6 which share the same start through a roof but different finishes. Both alright problems but I imagine there are better ones in the area.

Assuming the grades are somewhat relative to font, I am clearly a little stronger than I was in the last font trip.
And I can also without a doubt say that the last few weeks of training have definitely had an impact on my climbing ability.
I have been doing a lot of core, pullups and fingerboarding as well as climbing on hard problems at TCA.
On Lightning Strike this all came together with a roof section and a long, long lockoff on a small crimp to an equally poor two finger crimp. Two weeks ago I dont think I would have been able to do it based purely on the strength requirements but right now it was perfect. for me.

Well up for finishing off the two whites in the academy now and final training for next SIBL :-D

Cheers for reading.

Friday 29 October 2010

Some Advice.

I wrote this today after I was inspired by a UKC post.
Hopefully it can help you as much as it has helped me.

How to Boulder Harder.

1 -
Remove any tops before starting.

2 -
Find a Beanie, the more ridiculous the better. (see 'Nalle Huckataivalle')
The grade you can climb has been proven relative to the size of the pom pom on top.

Nalle followed the rules and he does alright on the rock.
Unfortunately he is breaking rule 5...

3 -
Only ever use loose chalk, balled chalk is too slow for projects. If you have time to sqeeze you are not climbing hard enough.

4 -
You want to have a roughly 10:90 split between actaully climbing the problem and brushing the holds. The more horse hair bristles the harder you climb.

5 -
Any time not used climbing should be spent in a down jacket.

6 -
The more mats the better, if you are at your limit you should be falling lots, the more mats you have the longer you can spend projecting.

7 -
If you are failing on something, find something harder of another style (or the same style - the holds on the current one are greasy anyway)

8 -
Group size must never be less than 3 for hard sends, beta, pad moving and the more brushes available all contribute to success.

9 -
Your group should contain as many nationalities as possible. And at least one American, Spanish or french person so you can be shouted at in as many languages as possible. VENGA!

10 -
Your chances of success on a problem are more than doubled if a weak punter has just fallen off it, make sure you have one as an essential part of your climbing gear...(oh...hi Tombi, didnt see you there... :-P)

I had another day off today, early start tomorrow then a day trip to Portland, Lightning Strike sounds like it is an awesome 3* problem and I shall be getting on that for the day.

Also Miso soup is taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasty.

Little confused as to why the 'next blog' link leads on to 5 pages of fishing blogs....

Thursday 28 October 2010

A Peace Offering.

So here goes,

In a vain attempt to regain the trust of my alienated readership - I visited a health store today.

A neat meal ensued.

Breaded Tofu in paprika, parsley, chilli flakes, salt, pepper, a dash of soy and lemon juice.
Unfortunately I did use eggs for the breading process and for that I apologise...

I served this over a bowl of Sweet Potato and Buckwheat noodles.

I'm not overly convinced I would go to all that effort again, but I might mix up some miso soup to get rid of the huge block of tasteless squidgy (<---cool word that) tofu I am now left with...

Rest day today really, did a few hamstring curls for my right leg after orders from the physio.
I sense this might actually make a difference to my climbing because my heel hooking is really rather poor and who knows? this might just make it better all round.


I just looked up tofu and I bought the silken variety, regular tofu is easier to handle it seems and would have probably made the whole experience a fair bit better.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

TCA again

I wasnt really feeling the trip over today,
but then Geoff offered to drive and I couldn't really say no.

The whites I set yesterday were playing on my mind and I really, really wanted to tweak them to be the right grade.
I think I have gotten it right now, but it is probably too late to change them again if they aren't
I was alright today because they were set last thing at night and no one good enough to climb them is ever in before the evening on weekdays.
Hopefully they will have stumped a few tonight...probably a fair few ascents though.

Made a bunch of attempts on the new problems to check they are ok,
Did a beastmaker session with Anthony afterwards and I really think it was quite valuable.
We grabbed the suggested training from the web and tried it out.
The two finger pocket hangs are rough, what worries me is that the workout they suggest for 'intermediates' (6c+ - 7c boulderers) contains a bunch of hangs that I find both painful and really damn hard. However, if I do them enough that it no longer feels too hard I should be proper strong.
My biceps hurt from the high lockoffs on slopers now and that can only be good.

Just watching the second episode of 5 climbs, 5 islands now to chill out, be nice to have a rest day tomorrow and just chill out for a bit.

I've been a little unlucky this week in terms of climbing offers, Rich Emerson from work offered a trip to font yesterday but I have a management presentation that I have to be do on friday so that was off. Then I just received an offer to go climbing tomorrow earlier this evening, but I am too wrecked right now to make it worth while.

Hopefully I will get out on Saturday to Dinas Rock and maybe even try my first outdoor bouldering since Font in June...
Time to wind down now though.

Tuesday 26 October 2010


Right now it seems like my rest days just involve taking other people to TCA and doing some setting instead of proper climbing.

Half my life is in there right now.
Unbelievable how hard it is to find people committed enough to get out into the gorge or elsewhere.

Climbing a lot with Omar now, not sure where that leaves me but I definitely feel psyched to get stronger.

Today I tried to set two white problems at TCA (supposed to be >7b) I dont think they really hit the grade...but they are good problems to climb so I dont know really where that leaves them...If I get in quickly I might find time to tweak them for some crappier holds.
Painfully slow setting again today, but I have never tried setting a problem that is too hard for me before...I dont think I have ever set a problem that I couldnt do by the end of the session,
Maybe something to work on for the next setting spree to come.

Fingerboarding to finish.
Many offset pullups and lockoffs.
Definitely feeling stronger, and today was a good long session.
I need to be putting more of these in if I hope to have the stamina to do well in the next SIBL round.

81.7 is today's blog update weight.
Peanuts for breakfast, vegan panini for lupper, carrots and humous for late dinner
tasty tasty :-)

Sunday 24 October 2010

Cheddar today

Well yes,

Cheddar today.

I attempted a 7c on the Tsunami called 'Hard Bass Religion' only it was a little more than Hard.
I did all the moves but one of them, which seemed to be a four points off dyno to a sloping crimp hold with the right hand...Now - I could have been doing it wrong, but I sure as hell didnt see any other holds up there, and the one that looked vaguely chalky seemed like it might have broken.

I shall investigate further and report back to you - my adoring fans.

I also flashed the most wishy washy 7a in the gorge 'Joyride', never that grade in a billion years.
Far, Far easier than Raw Deal and if I had tried it a year ago I would have had my first 7a onsight with ease...

anyway...we then got on a 7a+ 'Dope on a Slope' described in the guide as an exercise in slopers...
It is a complete 1 move problem and personally I wouldnt bother with it if you had other options...I eventually sent the move and finished the 3 moves to the top. Unfortunately it took it's toll on my skin and now my finger feels a little sore.

I am hoping to go to TCA tomorrow and just do some finger training instead of proper problem climbing.
Nice to do it in a cheery atmosphere and all that.

Might spend some more time this week trying to lose some weight in prep for the next SIBL round, instead of just getting stronger...Time to eat like a rabbit.

Saturday 23 October 2010

I wouldn't normally write this

But my meal tonight was awesome.

Thin beef slices with a little soy sauce, honey, pepper and Chinese five spice.

Caramelised onion slices, mushroom, sweet peppers and some tomato puree.

Lovingly combined in a crusty white baguette.
This isn't just freaking awesomely tasty food, this is Archie's freaking awesomely tasting food.

I'd post a picture.
But I ate it all.

Cheddar tomorrow.
7b+ in a session?
That would be cool.

(I realise I just alienated about half my readership with that post)


Friday 22 October 2010

Short update

Had a really good productive session at TCA,
After warming up Anthony and I spent most of the session pissing about on the woody and I managed to send the moves I was trying last time, so that was nice.

I always find the difference in ability amazing after a while working on a certain angle or trying a certain move.
I certainly feel more competent on that angle now...hardly an expert though...

We eventually moved on and tried to onsight as many greens as possible (didnt get very far though)


time for tomorrow and a chance to find someone to climb with on Sunday.

Aaaaaaaand the results finally go up...

They took their time about it (apparently the person in charge was moving house............)

but the first round of SIBL results are up now,

I accrued a mighty 160 points to tie with such masters of the sport as Henry Forrester in 28th position (Joint 21st) out of 81 competitors.
I shoulda, coulda, woulda done better on at least 2 of the problems which I failed to even complete in the comp. Both of which I could have onsighted if fresher and slightly stronger.

As such I have been training for the past week with a combination of power and endurance on the hard circuits at TCA.
Unfortunately I tweaked something in my left arm a couple of days ago, so nowt been doing for the last few days. Instead I have been doing a few short core sessions a day to try and make something happen with my upside down climbing.

I am about to scoot out to TCA again (becoming a bit of a fixture there tbh, was in there monday and Tuesday after SIBL and about three times the week before) the woody got me inspired last time, I want finger strength like Omar (dont tell him, his ego is big enough already) and he seemed to go from little to lots quite quickly climbing on that board, even now he can move off stuff I have troubles getting off the ground on.

I'll probably come back and tweak this when I return home.
Skin feels really good so if my arm holds up this could be a good session.

Sunday 17 October 2010


Back in Bath,


I'll update about SIBL once I know the results and perhaps receive some pictures from Jack.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

"Project" = Sent

So I went back to Cheddar with Geoff today like I said I would,

I put the clips in with a clip stick, climbed the start and checked out a couple of the moves.

My first attempt was similar to my previous attempts, wherein I reached the 4th bolt and the hold afterwards, but I couldn't hold it and completely bailed on the final move.

I then took a few minutes break while Geoff cruised his way up a 6b and stripped it.

My second attempt was much, much better than the first, I reached the fourth bolt feeling I had plenty in the bank. Unfortunately I missed the final sloper by about an inch and fell off with one easy move to go.
On the way down I gave the crux holds a brush and checked the sequence at the top.

Third attempt went like a dream, held static on every practically every move but the top throw and cruised to the belay.

Very, very happy overall. 3 trips attempting the project and success this time feels like a nice reward for the effort.

I'm well up for attempting a 7c now, but only after the first SIBL round this weekend. Sometime this week I might find time for a last session on plastic, some more core and maybe some repeaters. Might even do them now...who knows what might happen?!

I just found this (rather poor) video of someone on Insatiable.
Assume my attempt was a lot cleaner, less pissing about at the top.
"Know the moves - Do the moves" is my mindset, don't be wasting energy on the wall.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Well Well Well, Many news items for you today

1st - The TCA Comp

On Saturday we had the opening competition of the TCA Winter Series.
I did respectably well, I flashed 16 of the 20 problems and put in mediocre efforts on the remaining 4, but it was good enough to come joint 10th.

One of my targets for the year is to get a top ten finish in a TCA comp, unfortunately I find it hard to accept joint 10th as it seems far too much like 10.5th for it to count.
I am however feeling a lot lot stronger on the mothership angle, I need to do more pullups and lockoffs to really be where I want to be in terms of static moves, but I am moving fairly well compared to my previous thrutching attempts.

2nd - Cheddar!

On Sunday Tombi and I made the trip down to Cheddar for the day. I wanted to have a look at a couple of 7c's but after a poor start, where I was spanked by a 7a+ followed by a schooling on a 6b problem (which I sent out of sheer bloody mindedness - hardest 6b in the gorge?), I decided that today was not a day for pulling hard. So instead I fooled myself into believing I could make a decent effort on 'Insatiable' (7b+) on the Wave. As it was I made all the moves many times, but just kept running out of gas on the top moves. The bottom of the problem is a semi pumpy flat jug fest, then a long reach out to a vertical finger pocket and a battle against a combination of polish, barn dooring and stamina to the top. Unfortunately I lost the latter fight about 4 times before I called it a day.

Hanging just below the crux on Insatiable - Beautiful weather

Just after I stopped a couple of strong locals came and flashed it. One with my clips (then stripped it for me) and the other went up putting the clips in...Kinda inspiring and a little deflating in equal measure.

I am hoping to go back tomorrow to finish it off...but...

3rd - TCA today (trying some of the comp problems again)

So I got bored today and decided that instead of sitting around doing nothing I should go and do some sort of training. I headed off to TCA, stripped a trio of problems as a light warmup, then got on a couple of circuits, day flashing the two two 6b+ circuits. I then attempted the supposed 7a+/(7c) circuit and pumped out hard.

I thought my session was going to be over quickly after that but I tried some of the problems I had decided to project and, after many attempts, achieved both. The first was a crimpy, dynamic problem up the front of the mothership (really happy to have managed this problem - it was later sent first attempt by some strong locals - b@stards, I spoke to one later and it turns out he almost did a V13 up in Parisella's cave, so I don't feel too bad about it :-P)

I then managed to send the 18th comp problem which I was really happy about, it involves a tough dynamic span between the two highest volumes you can see in the picture below then a bit of grovelling afterwards. Unfortunately I fell off this move in the comp leading to the annoying position in the rankings
Great volumes, with any luck Will (who makes them for his company Climbing Wall Solutions) will have uploaded the video of my repeat attempt to facebook or the like sometime in the near future and I can link it to here)

The cool new volumes that I climbed on :-) That is Will in the photo though. And a different problem.

Friday 8 October 2010

TCA Comp Tomorrow

Really psyched for the comp tomorrow,

I was having a chat with Mr. Emmett about the problems today and watched him attempt them, they look really good so I can't wait to give them a shot.
I think I mayt also get there a bit early so I can go grab a new pair of shoes from Dick's Climbing before I start competing.

Both my other pair of miuras have a nice hole on the toe of the right foot, which is a bit shit really...Apparently hasnt stopped me climbing hardish, but what could I do with a new pair?

Trying to find some people to partner me outdoors in cheddar on sunday too, not being very lucky finding some commitment, but you never know, someone might take a punt.


Tuesday 5 October 2010

A couple of climbs

So after my last post on Monday I went to TCA and had a proper go at the Mothership, I hate that angle and I cant climb for shit on it. As such I was chewed up and spat off the holds. Inspiring me to get stronger fingers though.

I think I have an imbalance between my first two fingers and the ring fingers on both hands, which leads to injuries to those fingers and overloading on the first two. Hopefully if I keep training on three finger open handed holds then they will toughen up and I'll be a pro...

Today I took an hour or so and went to Bathford to try out this climb.

And it is certainly as hard as he makes it sound.
I made the first few moves (which he makes look easy-they really arent) but didn't manage to get the crux move (the move through with the right hand followed by throw to the jug.

The last left hand hold is alright but very hard to get your hand into with the crossthrough, coupled with that is the way it is held puts a lot of pressure down the ring finger...which didn't fill me with chuckles. I'm sure I can do it at some point but it is hard and not often in condition (surprised it was alright today actually, maybe it could be a wet weather keeper)
Anyways, I gave up after a wasp flew out of the crux left hand pocket. We went up there last year and they swarmed when Jonny accidentally bothered them, so I wasn't too interested in exploring their potential nest...

I'm going to go to TCA tomorrow it seems, hopefully I'll manage to put in a decent performance and maybe tick a couple more reds.

Next aim is to get on The Slick Red Road to G'dansk in Cheddar when I can and finish up on the year's target.

Monday 4 October 2010

thuper thyched!

First lecture of the Uni season today, next one is on timetable rocks.

Worked on Sat/Sun, had a great day on sunday listening to Led Zep all day which made a change.

Climbed last friday, went ok, didnt set the world on fire or anything like that.

I set up my fingerboard now, two holds screwed on to a plank, starting to do repeaters and many more pullups.

to be honest I'm not really feeling this blog update, I'm going climbing later and there isnt really much to put in here...

Going to SIBL.