When it Rains, It Pours!

December hasn’t been the best of months, not only have I been working every hour god sends covering my supposedly best mate while he’s away jet setting all over the word. “Why didn’t I think about that for my honeymoon”. On the few days that I have had off it has been rather wet. So it had left me no other choice than to turn my attention indoors for a little winter training, I suppose you have to start it some time. As I have mainly been focusing on routes this past year I thought it would be a good idea to start in the boulder wall. After my first proper session back I was pleasantly surprised, I hadn’t seemed to have lost much of my strength. I guess hard British lime stone tends to be pretty bouldery.

Throughout the month I managed to fit in 2 – 3 sessions a week, they weren’t long sessions maybe 2-2.5 hours but they were packed with quality. As I was trying to focus on bouldering I tried to have one hard bouldering session followed by a not so hard session, but including core and campus-ing and the last session would be spent on 3, 50-60 move circuits ranging from F7a+ to F8a+ I had set in the cave, this was just to maintain a bit of fitness but still focusing on strength and power.

It soon came apparent that I was lacking a little power. I really noticed this as soon as I pulled on to the campus board. Hence one of my sessions being a campus one. Over the years I can honestly say I have never really trained, I have dabbled here and there but have never done any specific training. I always saw it as if you want to get fit and strong for climbing then climbing is the best sort of training for that, which in most cases is true. But when your trying to hold down a full time job and you can’t always get out to the crag for one reason or another, a little bit structure and specific training can be very useful. I guess what I’m trying to get across here is that if you want to go that extra mile but dont quite know how to get there, just take a step back and have a look at what your doing and maybe try and structure your sessions a little better.

After a couple of weeks on the plastic I finally got a dry day on my day off. I was keen to get down to Anstey’s Cove. As there had been no rain down there for a couple of days I thought it would have been a safe bet for a dry crag. I couldn’t of been more wrong! I headed down with Dan Jenkins who was pretty psyched as he had only been to Anstey’s once. He was keen to get on “Just Revenge” F7c+. I was quite keen to get back on “Poppy” F8b+. I had one session on it a month or so ago managing to do it in two sections bar one move in the middle. As we walked in the seepage on Empire wall came in to view, “oh dear”. After dropping the kit off, I walked around to Ferocity Wall, which unfortunately wasn’t much better. The only route dry on the entire crag was La Creme, a F7c+ I had done 5 or 6 years ago. As we had driven for two hours to get there it would have been a waste just to drive back again, so I racked up and set off up the F6c arĂȘte of Might and Main. This was also wet which made the crux quite interesting. After Dan had stripped the draws out, we walked round to Ferocity Wall. As the majority of Poppy was wet I decided to have a look at Fisherman’s Tail F8b. I knew I could do the second half as Poppy joins it half way and the start looked fairly dry. It wasn’t long before I could see the outcome of this, I managed a few moves but it was wetter than it looked so I ended up threading the third bolt. As it was the only dry looking route Dan got on La Creme. After getting stuck at the crux for a while he lowered down. Unfortunately for him I didn’t really remember much of the route so I tied in and set off. I dropped the crux. After figuring out the best way to hold the slopey lip, I pushed on to the amazing stuck on block and then on to the lower off. Dan went up to try the crux again this time with my beta. After a little bit of work he managed the move then carried on to the top. I tied in for my second go and fortunately sent it. The crux felt pretty greasy, but I managed to just keep it together. Dan had a few more red-points but didn’t get it.

It was a shame it was a bit of a wash out, but all-in-all it was nice to be out at the crag again.

It has been a pretty good year for me not only getting married I managed to get 20 F8a’s and above, with the majority of them being in the UK. I’ve decided to take a couple of weeks off over Christmas both work and climbing, looking forward to enjoying a bit of a rest.

I hope you all enjoy the festive season. I will try and add on a new section for the blog over this period, which will be focusing on coaching and will also include ideas for session plans.

Bring on 2012…


A wet looking crag, at least the pups had fun.


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