Training, finger boards and a flying visit up to the Peak

Now that eating, drinking and Christmas is all out the way life can start to get back to some normality. Normality for me at the moment is training! Since being reselected for the British Bouldering team all my attention has been focused on training. It’s kinda fortunate really as this poor British climate isn’t so good for sport climbing outside at the moment. That aside my training has been going pretty well at the moment. One thing that being reselected for the team has done has made me focus on structuring my training. The last couple of years I have spent a lot of time coaching, especially working with youth. The work I have been doing has been predominantly performance based, structuring sessions and training phases for the keen, young climbers that want to compete and¬†peak for the BMC Youth Climbing Series. I have even delved deep into the world of periodisation for one of my regular kids who had made the junior British team, and was heading out to Imst (Austria) for her first international competition. But yet structuring my own training is something I have never really done before.

My secrete to getting the kids strong... Doughuts! ;)

My secrete to getting the kids strong… Doughuts! ūüėČ

I¬†haven’t¬†ever felt the need to use a finger board or campus before but now they both play a big part in day to day life. There has always been a bit bad press when it comes to finger boarding and campusing. ¬†But I think when used right, and at the¬†appropriate¬†time they are both very powerful tools. A few years ago it was only your hardcore legends like moon, moffatt who knew and used these things. Now theres so much¬†information¬†and literature¬†out there these training aids are¬†accessible to anyone.

Another thing that is “in” at the moment are core sessions. A lot of climbers are¬†supplementing¬†their training with one or two core workouts a week. These sessions are mainly floor or bar bassed exercises that help¬†strengthen¬†and increase core muscle fitness. On one of our recent team trainings I was introduce to the TRX. (Thanks Rich “Tricky” Hudson).



The TRX was designed by a Navy Seal so that he could stay mission fit where ever they might end up. It’s a form of¬†suspension¬†training whereby the user works¬†against¬†their own body weight to perform different exercises. The great thing about this bit of kit is that it’s so¬†versatile. You can practically sling it up anywhere and there endless amounts of exercises you can do with it. As soon as I used it I had to get one. The workout this thing gives you is insane. As it’s suspended from the floor your body is constantly¬†trying¬†to¬†stabilise hence the “beasting” your core takes. So if you see me about the wall with my feet stuck in some straps and making some interesting shapes, don’t be alarmed, it’s all in the name of training.

It’s not all been hard training. This weekend just gone we¬†finally got a break in the weather, even if it was only for one day. Before competing in TCA’s flash comp on the Saturday I checked the weather forecast for the Peak. 1-2 degrees and clear blue skys for Sunday. Perfect! After sending a couple of texts It wasn’t long before all the seats in ¬†the van were taken. The Comp went well I won the Flash comp only dropping 12 points.¬†Unfortunately luck of the draw wasn’t with me for the head to head. But all in all a good set of blocs.

Thanks Tris for the photo

Thanks Tris for the photo

My alarm sounding at 06:30am on a Sunday morning isn’t a pleasant sound, but when you realise why it’s going off it makes getting up at this ungodly hour worthwhile. We were on the road by 8am and arrived at Gardoms 10:45am. ¬†A while back a friend posted a video where he climbed this amazing looking arete called Suavito 7B. From then it went on the list, and thats what was on the agenda today. For once the forecasters were correct. It was a cold crisp morning. We headed to Gardoms south to warm up. After a few blocs, ticking off the classic G-thang sit start it was time for the main event. ¬†We padded out the landing and¬†prepped the holds we could reach. Like an excited little child that couldn’t wait to get to the play ground I jumped on. It all went pretty¬†smoothly until I got to the last move when a bit of¬†realisation¬†set in. I was pretty high above a poor’ish landing about to make a bit of a¬†committing¬†slap to the top of the bloc. It might of been a good idea to scope out the top to see which was the best bit.¬†Fortunately the bit I hit was pretty good, I pulled round and top out. The problem climbs just as good as it looks and is a must do of the Peak.

Sauvito 7b. Photo Gav Symonds

Sauvito 7b. Photo Gav Symonds

Following that we moved along to the business as usual boulder. Theres a good little jump start if your feeling springy (Business As Usual 6c+) and a lower start for the strong. Which pulls on from some undercuts and goes at 7b+. I ticked off the low start first go followed by  the jump. I tried the 7c arete to the left but its was pretty green so gave up on that one.


Al latching the jump start on Business As Usual

Later we moved on to Moyer’s¬†buttress. We laid the pads out under a¬†diamond¬†shaped hanging bloc called “The Gritstone Treaty” 7b. I was slightly¬†apprehensive¬†about this one as the landing wasn’t great.¬†Fortunately¬†I sent it first go, I didn’t fancy falling off and I¬†definitely didn’t want to get back on for pics. I sold it so well, Gav had already put his trainers back on by the time I got down. The light was starting to fade. We made a quick stop at Pogles Wood, doing both the sitter and the stander, then started to make our way back to the van, stopping one last time. ¬†On the way up to the boulders this morning one line stood out in the moorside boulders. Superbloc! A stunning high ball blunt arete, rolling in at 8a+. It would have been rude not to try it. We had a few goes but fatigue got the best of us.

Superbloc 8a+

Superbloc 8a+. Photo Steve Winslow

As the light had almost gone and as Bristol wasn’t getting any closer we decided to call it a day.

The ever fading light. Photo Steve Winslow

The ever fading light. Photo Steve Winslow

A good day was had by all, even if it was an early start.


Bristol Climbing SCENE! Christmas Party

A good friend of mine, Steve has come up with the idea of organising a get together for all  Bristol based Climbers Рyoung, old, static, dynamic, new to the scene and hardcore vets  and even those who have hung up the boots.

“I feel we need a party to bring us all together. A fantastic new wall that was built a few years ago has brought more people into climbing than ever before and really pushed forwards bristol climbing scene, but it has also thinned many old groups who have chosen their favorite place to crank. So lets take this chance to meet back up and share some stories of life, epics trips and new borns ( I know there’s a lot out there ) over a beer.”

With another wall on the horizon and potentially more climbers on the way , I think this could the perfect year to start the now annual Bristol Climbing SCENE Party.The Miners Arms, St Werburghs  Friday the 21st 20:30 onwards

Heres the like to the Facebook group
Spread the word and come and get involved!
It will be fun, honest! ūüėČ

“Shoot” timer-remote/ Roast dinner time lapse

I just got my “Shoot” timer-remote today. This is a cable remote that you can set to control your camera to take picture every second for 10 minutes, for example.

"Shoot" timer-remote

As it was a cloudy dark night I decided to shoot my first time-lapse of cooking my roast dinner. As you can see It came out ok. ūüėÄ

Music:  Far Too Loud РReady For The Stomping


Taming the Lion “E6 6c”

With the south side of Cheddar still closed and having done most of the sport routes that I want to do on the north side I felt it was time for a little change. I have always vowed never to do trad in Cheddar just because I know how many holds come off on any one route but I thought I would make an exception this time. ¬†On Wednesday 10th I headed out to Cheddar after work with Al. We abseiled down the line checked the gear then set up a top rope. I worked out the bottom section really quick but it took a couple tries on the crux section to work that out. After both of us had had a go Al went back to try and figure out the crux. 20 minutes later he still hadn’t really worked out a sequence that worked for him so he lowered off declaring him self too short. I tied in with the intention of doing it clean. I climbed the start well and arrived the crux feeling pretty fresh, as I started through the crux my foot popped at that was me off. I lowered down, had a bit of a rest, and tried again. This time I got to the crux feeling tired and dropped it part the way through. As I hadn’t done it clean and I was feeling pretty tired I didn’t go for the lead and excepted¬†defeat. So we pack up and headed to the Crown.

Al top roping "Taming the Lion"

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“Summer Sessions”

With Alan not working at the moment he always seems to be badgering me to go climbing during the week. So Thursday night we made a plan to climb on Friday. with both of us wanting to sport climb and the hot weather making it rather¬†difficult¬†to climb hard, we had to make some¬†sacrifices. Like getting out early and arriving at the crag before 9am. The plan was to climb a route called¬†Academic F8a. It’s a short bolted route tucked away in the Sea Walls section of the Avon Gorge. Due to it’s short, bouldery nature you need quite good conditions to climb it, hence getting on it early before the sun comes onto it. I had one go on the route about a month ago. I was working down the gorge one evening and I had ask my wife Heather to come and meet after work so I could try it, hoping for good conditions. It showered a couple of times during work but it didn’t really come to anything. At 8:30pm when the session had finished I was talking down the top ropes and it started to rain again. By the time I got down to the car it was still raining, I¬†grabbed¬†my stuff and proceeded to drag Heather up the wet grassy slope to the Academic. Most of the route is fairly overhanging and stays dry in the wet. I racked up and pulled on. I got through the start ok but fell off towards the end of the crux sequence. I pulled back on did one move then attempted to pull round the lip. This was incredibly¬†difficult as the hold on the lip was soaked and it was still raining. So I threaded the bolt just below the lip and stripped my gear out and packed up and went home.

We arrived at Avon at 8:45am and the conditions seemed good. I remembered most of the moves so dogged up putting the draws in, checked a couple of moves, brushed a few of the holds¬†then climbed to the peg just over the lip and lowered off. I asked Al if it was ok to go for a burn while I was half warmed up, he said go for it. Theres a tricky¬†traverse¬†just after the start, that seemed to go ok. I pulled onto the steep and started through the crux, this felt a little tricky mainly due to the fact I wasn’t really warmed up. I got through the crux and pulled the lip. Brilliant now all I’ve got to do is to finish up an E2. This in true Avon style is about double the height of what I have just climbed with no gear. The climbing was fairly easy but just a tad run out. After getting down I talked Al through the sequence so he could go for the flash. Unfortunately¬† he dropped it on the tricky traverse near the start. He carried on and got to the crux. He had a little trouble¬†figuring¬†out the moves and ended up using a slightly different sequence to me through the crux but didn’t quite get one of the moves so he lowered off at the peg and had a bit of a rest. While he was resting I noticed the reason why he was having a bit of¬†difficulty pulling through the crux. He had no skin, his finger tips were just¬†weeping¬†sweat. No¬†wonder¬†he was struggling. After a bit of a rest he pulled back up the rope to crux, applied some liquid chalk and waited for that to dry. Once it had dried he pulled on and did the move first go. After playing around on some of the other moves he concluded that it was starting to get warm and he didn’t have enough skin. So he sacked it off and pushed on up the E2 to finish and stripped the gear out.

Al Stripping the draws out of Academic

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