Monday 20 May 2013

Brean Dreaming

Another week of training:
Monday - Bouldering + football
Tuesday - Bouldering
Wednesday - Stamina Routes at Craggy
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Rest

Monday was a super day for doing problems at the school wall, did all the dynos aside from the hardest one and did some on the minute training. I also did some weighted climbing with the 10kg weight vest (first time it has been used in anger, and it was nice to gain an understanding of the problems that some of the kids probably feel when they are struggling with a move.

I rested thu/fri to ensure that I had enough juice for the climbing on Saturday.

Saturday morning rolled around and it was time to go to Brean again.

This time we had a really strong group of climbers to go with:

Nat Tanzer

Be Fuller

And Pete (who has some cool shoes)

We started off by running up some of the easier problems on the wall. I did a 7a, using some horrific tiny holds because I didnt see the large pocket nearby.

I then moved on to a nearby 7b called Clashing socks. Pete had just flashed it and seemed convinced that I would be able to do the same.

After working the bottom out, using some terrible holds to work my way up to the hands off rest at 2/3rds height. After leaning out to look at the moves, and then coming back down to the rest, I made another attempt.

Nat on the upper section of Clashing Socks, 7b

Sadly, I failed to notice a good right hand crimp in the crux section and fell off trying to grab a chalky patch that contained a non existant hold. The next time round, I found some better beta and managed to get to the top.

I didnt bother trying the route from the bottom again, but instead had a go on a nearby 7c+ called Storm Warning.

Nat on the start moves on Storm Warning, 7c+

Storm Warning breaks down into two halves. The first half is certainly the crux, it is perhaps about V5/6 boulder, into a good rest at the break. The next half is the top part of a nearby 7b+ called Chullila, that I had done 3 or so years ago.

The first crux revolves around two undercuts and some really high feet. On my first attempt I really struggled to complete the moves and had to hang for quite a while to get them down. When I eventually reached the top, I was fairly convinced that even if the stamina was not a issue, the start moves would be.

While I was resting, Nat made another attempt on the route and made her way to the top!

 After this, I made a lead attempt on the route. Much to my surprise, I cruised through the bottom section and made it to the first rest point, but didnt find a great position. I shook out a little bit, but as soon as I started moving into the 7b+ section, I knew it was no good. I managed to make it to the next clip, but after that - my arms just gave out.

I came down and went to go and get some food from the local shop. On my way back, I noticed a very comfortable pile of rocks and decided to take a nap.
I have no idea how long I slept for, but it was very refreshing. I cant remember dreaming about anything in particular, but I was woken by the sound of Be shouting 'Nat! Nat! I did it!'

I looked up, and she had made her way to the top of El Chocco, 7c! Holy crap, everyone was on fire and I was in danger of being the only person not to achieve anything!
Brean Down   
Be looked quite happy

I rose from my bed of rock and started to get ready to make another red point attempt.
When I finally got set up on the rock, I slipped on the first move, landing unceremoniously on the ground. I took a minute to get ready again and then got on with it.

I struggled this time on the start, just about making it to the break, my forearms moaning about their remaining energy. This time around, I found a much better rest position and milked it hard till my breathing came back under control.

I figured that since I was there, I might as well give it a go, conscious that the two finger pockets would probably shut me down. 

Somehow, I found myself moving through these holes, locking off high and reaching through to the crimps. After a bunch of moves, I found myself at the jugs...Confused again.

Im sure that the route is soft at 7c+, but I swear this sort of thing should really take me more than 2 redpoint attempts...

Anyways, I will be training Monday, Wednesday this week, and climbing somewhere next week in Half Term!

Photos from the rest of the set can be found at:

Saturday 11 May 2013

Some results from the Lead training

For the last month I have been focussing on the darker art of climbing by spending some time on the craggy lead wall. At the start I was beaten up by every route on the wall. Simple 6a routes would make me pump out and cry like a little girl the second I got above a clip.

Since then, I have improved a lot, but I dont understand why or how.

Pete has had unwavering faith in me this whole time, for which I must thank him. He has been sport climbing for a long time now and, despite doubting him over and over again when he suggests what I am capable of, I am slowly starting to think that he actually knows what he is talking about.

The weather on the drive over was less than inspiring
Today for example, we went to Brean Down (just along the coast from Bristol) and Pete convinced me to attempt a 7c that I had looked at about 3/4 years ago as a potential project. However, at the time I was much more interested in bouldering and struggled to find partners to get out during the week. 
Fortunately, Pete is super keen and super strong. After onsighting the route, he gave me all the beta and insisted that I was capable of flashing the route.

As routes go, El Chocco is piss easy for the first 75%, followed by a great rest and a toughish boulder problem to finish up.
On my first attempt I reached the rest and got halfway through the crux. Literally two moves from flashing the route. Unfortunately, I had misunderstood the beta (and perhaps, as Pete said, not tried hard enough when I got there) and wasn't able to make the top work out for me. After a quick rest on the rope, I worked out some nice beta that I thought might work. 

Aware that the beta I had come up with was pretty strong for the end of the route I set off for round two with no small amount of trepidation. This trepidation manifested itself at the top as I was completely unable to move off of the crux holds.

This continued on the next two attempts, each failing on the last two moves of the route. I was starting to feel a little like coming back on another day would be the optimal approach, but Pete thought otherwise.
I took a really nice rest, walking over to the cafe and buying a Snickers and Sprite to refuel and generally wake me up.

By the time I was back at the crag, tied in and ready to go, the sugar had started to kick in and I was feeling a little better than I was on the previous two attempts. I set off again with no particular hopes, aiming mainly to try my best and see how far I could go.

Pete Onsighted El Chocco. E.Z.P.Z

I cruised up the first bit, finding a slightly better sequence than any of my other attempts and milked the rest for a good few minutes. I gave the nod to my belayer and started to work my way through the crux sequence. I reached the poor crimp on the lip with a mild pump going, not the type where your forearms are solid and cant hold on any more, but more like they were about to start protesting any further duress.

I dont know what was different about this attempt, but I went for the first hold over the lip - a weird sloper-crimp-sidepull-crozzle thing that I hadn't felt comfortable with on any prior redpoint. I knew I had to get it in the right place to stand any chance of continuing upwards, and this time I somehow managed to catch it just well enough.

I stopped for a second, surprised that I was still on, and aware that I still had enough power to continue. I looked up at the next hold and took a breath, adjusted my feet and powered upwards. A couple more foot movements to gain balance for the remaining hand flick. Two moves later, I let out a surprised 'oh...' and clipped the chains. The route that I was ready to bail off of and come back to, was unexpectedly completed on my last attempt of the day.

I have learnt to quit while ahead when climbing, and after stripping the route, I stuck everything in my bag and we walked out with the wind to our backs.

Pete reckons that I stand a chance on the 8a to the left, and while I am fairly certain he is wrong...he was pretty much right on the money today...

Turns out that everyone was wrong about the weather today,
we ended up climbing with some of the best conditions that I have had on the brean!

Thursday 2 May 2013

Oh, nothing much

I wanted to brag about my new Ducky keyboard, but I think I literally know one person that would be remotely interested in the acquisition.

So instead of doing that I think I will just write a new post while using it.

Last weekend was very lazy:

I spent Saturday morning watching the Climbing world cup and otherwise being lazy.
While on Sunday I took some pictures of my brother competing in a kayak race.

However, on Tuesday of this week I dashed off from work to head back up to Forest rock again to try that 8a, The Enchantress.

Sadly I was not able to complete the climb, but I did manage to utterly piss the crux moves. Unfortunately the challenge of the move comes in trying to complete it after doing the first part of the problem.

2 days after my ill advised 5 hour round trip, I am still feeling sore and tired. For this reason I am not going to  climb today, instead saving my strength for the coming long weekend. Since the weather is pretty much going to be great all over the climbing areas of the UK, this puts me in a dilemma.

Do I go back up to the problem in Leicester and then spend some time in the peak, perhaps going to Rubicon or somewhere similar? Or do I follow the craggyites on their Saturday trip to Brean Down, where I could make some initial attempts on what may be an initial 8a?

Tough questions, but probably answerable if I spend some time thinking about them...

I spent yesterday evening playing golf and colouring in some pictures on photoshop.

They can be seen below: