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Ticking at last

31 May 2012

Bloody hell, it’s been almost 2 months since I last ticked a route.  For 3.5 weeks I didn’t even climb outside because of the weather.  It then seemed like everything was stacked against me, more showers, extreme difficulty finding anyone free when I was, and finally the Peak District turned into a humid tropical rain forest.  Fortunately the one thing that remained constant was my climbing level.

I had a general re-organisation of my life.  Firstly I decided I needed to commit to a set day to climb, making the possibility of finding a climbing partner a reality.  So Tuesdays it is.  The second stage was getting over my guilt complex about climbing with Vanessa in nursery.  Up until last week I hadn’t done this.  Thursday is supposed to be a work day.  However my mental state was becoming more and more fragile as I barely clung on to being an outdoor rock climber.  And being a sane parent is just as important.  I finally decided it was virtually impossible to climb anything of note when everything is stacked on one day a week, especially with weather seesawing.  At least for me it is.

So the third and final chapter of life re-organisation was addressing my ‘hopeless under redpoint pressure’ head.  If you’ve barely got any time to perform, you need to make it count, something I’ve never been very good at.  It was time to get a grip on all this.  This led to the purchase of “With winning in mind” by Lanny Bassham.  Jerry Moffat references this book in his autobiography.

So by now do you think I’ve gone totally mad?  Some people would say I was already, so there isn’t actually any difference although I have the undertones of an anxious/desperate non/barely climbing parent.

Tor life

Climbing at Raven Tor today with Rab and Andy in the drizzle

So what has been the result of all these changes?  Well the logistical changes mean that I’ve actually climbed 2 days for the last 2 weeks, which has been brilliant and the mental changes meant that I have a way of tackling my racing and doubtful mind... more on that later.  On Tuesday I managed to climb Celebration, a 7c at Two Tier and today I got that 7c+ at Raven Tor that I couldn’t move on before, Ring of Fire.  Both redpoints went smoothly and without hiccups.  It rained constantly all day today and as I hit the belay I was soaked, luckily none of the rock was. 

Normally I would have been freaking out about the weather today but now this book is helping me approach things differently.  One interesting point is that previously when I was trying to get into a focussed state I was recollecting the wrong climb.  I always tried to remember me climbing The Ashes (7c+ Kilnsey).  On this climb I remember starting out completely unfocussed and somehow turning it around.  The problem is I have no idea how I did this.  However my memory of my ascent of Brad Pit (font 7c/+ Stanage) is quite different.  Here I had a total belief I could climb it if I could just get through the first move.  I was right and I only did that move once.  That's the way you need to be.  Total belief and your body and mind working together.

With winning in mind

There are many other techniques I’m quietly experimenting with.  The book does actually suggest sticking up post it notes around the house saying things like “I’m amazing at redpointing”.  But Nic would despair if he saw that attached to the bathroom mirror and Vanessa would just tear it down from the fridge.  I have my limits.  But the book is really interesting.  I recommend it!  At least it finally seems like I might have got into my stride a bit again.

BMC FUNdamentals at the Climbing Works, Sheffield

20 May 2012

Here's a link to a video I made of the BMC FUNdamentals course I ran at the Climbing Works last weekend.  I've been running these courses for about 5 years now.  They are for instructors and coaches who want to improve their coaching movement skills.

The video is not very slick, but it gives you an idea of some of the games you can do with kids to help improve their balance, agility and coordination.  Saying that, it's fun for adults as you can see from the vid.  Between the coaches at the Works there are some good climbers with some big numbers but no one found this easy!!  It was a great day.

Crushing at Broomgrove

12 May 2012

The fact is, I am crushing at Broomgrove Road.  The reality is this is a brick wall attached to a university hall of residence and not a crag.  The recent rain has sent my lack of outdoor climbing into overdrive.  Among other things... it's too boring to go into the details.


Here's Mia on the classic left to right trav

In the meantime I've been trying to train and sneaking sessions into the best 'artificial' training venue for vertical outdoor climbing probably anywhere in the UK.  I'm probably wrong and I'd be quite keen actually to find out if there is anywhere better.  Let me know if there is.

I'm not the only person to climb there although I never see anyone else there.  In fact I'd like to uncover who else goes there.  Someone else goes as I notice different specks of chalk here and there, dust in different variation patterns on the floor, the odd brush gets left behind but then picked up in the future.

It used to be 'the place' for Moffat, Moon and many others, when they didn't have the cash for the bigger indoor walls. My old housemate Sean Myles put me onto it 15 years ago.  Jerry Moffat trained here for the leading world cups!!

Broomgrove 2

What it is, is about a 10 metre traverse of tiny tiny crimps.  To the right of Mia is a door and to the right of that is another shorter wall with windows on it.  You tend to warm up on the windows and if you're feeling particuarly fierce you might trav under the windows.

I'm all about the main traverse and have been going there regularly for a year.  It's about french 7b one way.  I can go there and back now left to right and right to left (the classic way).  But last night I hit new levels.  I was 1 move off going right to left and back.  This means you do the crux right at the end, so much harder.

I could go into even more details but I realise unless you are a Broomgove fan this blog could get even more boring than it already is.  If you are interested though, seriously, come along!!

However I'm hoping to climb outside for the first time in 3.5 weeks next Tuesday. Finally, maybe, I'm hoping all this secret training will pay off??