Wednesday 22 February 2012

The AceEebie way of life

So...Snowboarding is frickin awesome...

From learning on nursery slopes on Monday, to attempting black moguls and off piste powder on Friday I don't think I have had quite so much fun on any other holiday.
I simply cannot wait to go back.

Since I returned on Saturday it seems to have been a bit of a whirlwind in my life.

I went to Portland on Saturday with Ed, and tried my hand at some of the longer routes there, which ended badly for the most part.
It appears that trying to do stamina routes after a week of snowboarding, and a day of being cramped up in a car is not the best way forward. Especially if you miss breakfast and fuel yourself with service station food.

Nevertheless, I tried to climb and did a 6a onsight lead, and tried a 6b but got rained and hailed upon before running out of ideas and steam. I then did a 6c on toprope after Ed tried his hardest to convince me it was a good idea, and I will confess, the route was excellent.
After that, we left and headed to cuttings so that I could give Liquid Sunshine a blast.

I sent a V6 in about 3/4 attempts using utterly broken and lanksome beta, and then got down to the business of being completely shut down by my intended target. I think being tired was a large factor in the failure, but I just felt completely clueless about the moves and not even close to putting it together. I shall have to get down there again for a decent session sometime in the near future.

After accepting failure we trekked back up to the new cuttings, and I sent Ed up my first ever 6c route outdoors. The Unworthy is a short route, with potential for a tasty lob from the last move due to a hidden final hold. Ed flashed it of course, and when I went up to clean the gear, it certainly felt a lot easier than it did when I first climbed it. Of course, that was about 3 years ago now, but it is still nice to see that sort of improvement in solid terms.

Monday was first day back at work, and by the afternoon I felt like curling up and dying from fun withdrawal symptoms. Instead, I got dragged into a squash match against a few of the teachers. Despite not having played for a good few years, I eked out a clean sweep of victories against all challengers. Unfortunately I am now a bit of a broken man from all that running and whatnot.

Tuesday was another fives session and a long day of preparing and cleaning practicals, before helping to adjudicate in the house climbing competition
Wednesday has been a long one too. I finished working at 3:15, then went down to the school wall.
I started by climbing all the problems in the competition and then working some of the new hard ones.
Sadly though, I was climbing awfully and didnt feel good at all.
I eventually left at about 7:30/8:00 after setting and testing a few new problems.

Basically, I need a rest if I am to have any intentions of putting in a showing at the Reach on Sunday.
However, even if I don't climb there, I am going to go to my first 'Barcraft' with a couple of friends in the afternoon! If you don't know what one is, Google it, repress your first thoughts (which are just close minded), and come experience it with me!

Gnight all.

Saturday 11 February 2012


Holy shinkleficks everyone!

I am back and with a vengeance,
Since November - the last time that I wrote on this blog, I have been doing a shed load of exciting and awe inspiring things.


Unfortunately, this means that this post may end up being quite long and backwardly relevant. Indeed, those of you that have actually spoken to me in any time in the last few months will probably know all about my exploits already.


I proceed forthwith!

1st of all.


I went to my first senior tournament!

I was paired up witha  fine young player called Tony Baxter from St. Olaves School, we played pretty well and won a couple of games in our group. Unfortunately, we also came up against the eventual winning pair...and the outcome was not pretty.

Despite thinking that I was playing quite well, and believing that my partner was playing slightly better than myself, we succumbed to a 12-1 12-2 loss...We weren't even remotely close to having any impact on the game. I mean, our opponents didnt even take off their tracksuits...yeah....

This colourful gentleman was a member of the Eton fives club.

Basically, it seems that there are a few levels of Eton fives ability.

1 - BEGINNER - utterly useless, hides from the ball and loses with aplomb
2 - NOT SO BAD BEGINNER - Can actually hit the ball consistently with both hands, but doesnt have a clue what they are doing
3 - INTERMEDIATE - Capable of hitting the ball with conviction, can return the ball from the buttress with some skill, but for the most part loses because of poor shots selection
4 - DECENT PLAYER - Can cut well, hit some good shots and win points against better opponents, but the odd weak shot will leave him at a disadvantage as the rallies get longer and the game drags on
5 - GOOD PLAYER - Cuts well, good shot selection, plays with some guile and deception, targets holes in opponent pairs and will win most matches against similar opponents
6 - OBSCENELY GOOD - These are a rare brand of player, and no one knows where they come from or train, but they must have their own private training camps, where they congregate and become ridiculous volley machines, with reflexes like those of that annoying fly that has been buzzing around your room for the last 20 minutes, that you just cant hit with your rolled up copy of the tv guide. These pairings are largely unbeatable, and rare errors will be the main cause of defeat when they meet. For all other standards, damage limitation is the word of the day when coming into contact on court.

Anways, after we fell out of the group stages, we entered the 'A' Plate, which is really code for the grade 5 players and below. Fortunately, we kept our game together and won that competition, another victory to put under my belt, but sadly there was no trophy to take home.

Here is the short and shabby video that I made of the tournament.


We went to Switzerland in December and I crushed hard, that's right. I crushed like a fridge which not only produces ice cubes, but will also make those same cubes into smaller versions that melt quicker and therefore cool your drink more effectively! I was on fire! not literally of course, because then I would have been warm, and that - I was not.

Although the temperatures were slightly warmer than they were on our previous trip they were still not toasty. Indeed, we were beset upon by great clouds of snowy precipitation, that sought to waylay our advances from high on one side of the valley to high on the other side to Chironico.

Fortunately, we managed to get out and keep up a vague schedule of two days on and one day off.
Despite still carrying my gammy A4 pulley injury from the trip to font earlier in March, I was able to tape up and send most of the problems I attempted. Come to think of it, I dont think there was actually very much that I failed to succeed upon.

My ticklist for the trip ran to: -

Erm... I cant remember, and I dont think I really wrote it down anywhere.
I know I did a 7B and perhaps a 7B+ (that one is in dispute)
I did  bunch of 7A problems too.

Anyways, without further ado
I proudly present, my two hardest climbs from the holiday

After I got home, it was time to have a little rest and a series of food filled parties around the country.
Boxing day,
Jonny's wedding (crazy christian heebiejeebies but lots of wine)
New Years party (G&T all evening till it turned messy and we went to bed)

I think there was some climbing in there somewhere as well, but my memory fails me.

Oh yes, I went to TCA for a climb, and then afterwards I went out to try my first 8a sport route with Tris and G. Parry.

I managed to do the bottom crux, but the top was too hard for me in my fatigued state and I settled for taking some photos of Gaz.

After all this, I eventually went back to work, and have started climbing a lot at the school wall, setting all sorts of mean and evil problems for the kiddies and myself.
They must have been having some sort of effect, as I have been placing noticeably higher in all the competitions I have started to attend in the start of this year.

I placed 6th in the Reading round of SIBL (However, I am first to admit that the usual crowd of ultra strong wads was not there to show me up for once, but I drew with a chap who has climbed 8a+ before, and for me that is a great achievement in itself.)

Pfft, Reading boulders? Easy.
Credit to Mateuz (sp?) for the great pics.

I placed 1st at a local Craggy2 competition and won some vouchers for free climbing along with the other two winners of the easier categories who were both Cranleigh school kids!
(Again, there were stronger climbers present, who didnt hand in their cards... but you cant win if you dont put in your card, and I certainly beat them at doing that.)

Crushing the Craggy boulders

I then came 6th at the TCA competition, which was a decent showing since it was the 3rd competition in 6 days and the standard of climbing at those competitions is always high.
Unfortunately, I looked at the results and found that I had infact been beaten by the little scroat Laurie SE who mere months ago was certainly not capable of competing with me.
Of course, the fact that he is on the TCA boulder squad with Hamish Potokar and James Squire, and that his father owns the centre may have something to do with the whole thing.

So, I suppose that brings us up to about now.
And right now I am in


Only this time I am going to attempt to stand on a slidey sideways deathboard of terror.

I understand that those in the know also call this  a'snowboard', but I think they are really just showing off.
Since I have managed to stand on a slackline, and walk backwards and forwards and twist around, I have faith in my ability to eventually grasp the damned concept of moving sideways , but if my last attempt aobut 3 years ago is anything to go by, I shouldn't hold out much hope.

Deathboarding lessons start on Monday, but that still leaves a whole day tomorrow for me to get to grips with learning to stand up after I fall over. I hope I wont be too bruised to learn form the teacher :-/

I have my camera with me, and we are right under the Eiger, so I shall attempt to take a moody black and white shot extolling the power of nature and the feebleness of man. In all likelihood, I expect this to look like a distinctly average black and white picture of the Eiger with some clouds, the caption will attempt to add the dark brooding sense of foreboding.

Anyways, staying true to form, it is now 10 to 1 in the mornings here, so I had best be off to bed, lest I fail to rise in the morning.

Wish me luck!