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

My secrete to getting the kids strong

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.


TCA Final bloc 3, Thanks Tris West for the photo

TCA Final bloc 3, Thanks Tris West 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.

The classic line of Suavito 7b. A must do of the Peak District. Photo Gav Symonds

The classic line of Suavito 7b. A must do of the Peak District. 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 Sarhan sticking the jump start on "Business as Usual" 6c+ Gardoms

Al Sarhan sticking the jump start on “Business as Usual” 6c+ Gardoms

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.

"Super Bloc" 8a+. Unfortunately didn't get the tick, I didn't have enough left in the tank. Photo Steve Winslow

“Super Bloc” 8a+. Unfortunately didn’t get the tick, I didn’t have enough left in the tank. Photo Steve Winslow

As the light had almost gone and as Bristol wasn’t getting any closer we decided to call it a day. A good day was had by all, even if it was an early start.








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