Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Since coming back from the peak district I've been feeling a bit under the weather which you could say is good timing as the heavens opened the other night and it hasn't stopped since. This has kind of throw my climbing off a bit, with the cave now completely inaccessible and the gorge constantly wet I have found myself wasting away at the hands of Uni work and my laptop.

The other things is the fear of hurting my thumb any more. Over the last couple of weeks I've felt a slight tweek in my right thumb and haven't been hurling myself at those hideous pinches and in fact anything long. This has influenced an extended rest this week which I think is for the best.

For me resting is a huge battle as I cant sit still for more than 5 minutes (unless I have my laptop) so I decided that I need something else to do to fill the time. Now seeing as I have been focusing on raw power and burlyness I was pretty keen to get back into stamina mode. But without gully wall what was I to do!! So It was about time to take a completely different tac altogether and out came the road bike.

Through the summer I had started cycling quite a lot and had felt it make a bit of a difference towards my climbing. As a few of you know I cycle to Uni most mornings which is a 10 mile round trip but I was hungry to sink my teeth into a absolute mission ride. Friday was the day to start and test myself so out I went out and without any real idea of where I was going and kept going. I was out for over 4 hours and played the game whenever I saw a sign for Bristol I went the opposite way. This was all very well and good until I found myself nakered and belting it along the A38 to get back before it got too dark!! All in all it was a great ride with some beautiful scenery and the added spice of a couple of cows crossing! But my god tiring!

With this added theme I headed on back to the shire to stay with my grandparents for a couple of days. The only problem here in East Devon is that the only rock availible is chossy sandstone cliffs, great if your a budding drytooler with not enough dollar to climb something somewhere cold, so it looks like I'm going to be running until I'm back in the safe arms of Gully wall and Pixies hole!

Whats nice is that after a tiring 6 and a half mile run I can relax without any hassle being brought mince pies and a sneaky G and T before dinner so I think I'll make the most of the next couple of days!

Cheers All

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Wet Peak Trip

Well I got back safe and sound from the North (just about) with sore fingers and a nice set of wet and muddy clothes to wash.

As many of you know I was extremely excited about missioning it into the peak district and slaying some "ard" problems which I have read and drooled about all these years. However the weather had a different interest should we say. As I got out of the bus with what seemed like 15 zombies from the uni climbing club we weren't greeted with the friendliest of welcomes to say the least. It was gloomy and dark with a horrible bit of that climbing repellent otherwise known as rain. This was a massive disappointment but I wasn't going to give in that easily! So we embarked on the march up to Stanage Plantation. Home of some narley ass problems and super cool arĂȘtes. As I wondered around the crag by myself I stood in awe under a perfectly formed arĂȘte. I knew instantly what is was without without looking in the guide book. Ulysses' bow. Last year I got Jerry Moffatt's biography for my birthday and apart from the being the first book I had read and really enjoyed it had inspired me so much it had changed the way I thought about climbing and my motivation! If you've read it, I'm not talking about being the best in the world (although it does cross my mind sometimes) but the times had when you're out with friends enjoying the scenery and the route, topped with obvious climbing banter. 

As I stood for a good couple of minutes recalling epics at Cornwall and the moors and indeed some not to be mentioned moments at Chudleigh it suddenly hit me. I am not going to be doing this today. It was wet and cold so I turned around and went in search of some other high prized routes and problems still with a big smile on my face. 

I searched high and low for various things and made a pretty impressive morning of route finding. Sounds strange really that climbing the routes wasn't the only part of it. For me, seeing as it was piss wet, just finding them and looking at it was enough. And some people wonder why I want to go into geology. Before my search ended I went and looked at Brad Pit, a famous V10/font 7c. An iconic problem with hundreds of different videos on the net. The one in which stuck out is the one with Ben Moon doing it. His exact words are "Brad Pit, well is hard but its not that hard". Well I can tell you now it is. Even though I didn't try it, it felt hard by just looking at it! 

Eventually I got back with the group and headed of with Hutch in a search of any dry line possible. We eventually found a dry ish Hvs up "some" crack line...I cant for the life of me remember what it was called but basically it's a big crack line which meanders left to the top of the crag at about 16 meters. Hutch said he would go first romped his way but the first 10 foot and placed some gear. This is where I knew it was going to get interesting when he turned around and looked slightly confused at me. When people do this it generally means the gear isn't that good, but with a hitch he carried on across the break to another placement at about 20 foot. His head turned and I was greeted by the same face as I had seen from the first piece. Surely he wouldn't carry on if the gear was "that" bad I thought to myself as he stood up and began to lay back the last part. Either that or he doesn't think he's going to fall! Oh god spoke to soon. As I jumped backwards re enacting the belay used to stop someone hitting the floor from the top more on the Indian Face all I heard was 

"Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit"! 

Then silence for a second


"Well the gear held" 

I looked at Hutch hanging there laughed and lowered him off and had a good old laugh about what had happened. I went up the route afterwards and examined him gear and could really see what the problem was when he placed it! (Thinking back to clipping old rusty seapegs)

After that we decided to call it a day as the weather got worse and I swear at one point looking into the wind was like looking into a burst from a machine gun! So indoors called and the edge got a pretty good seeing to! 

Just before we left Stanage I had a quick probe of Deliverance which was mainly dry ish and cant wait to get back to try it in better conditions along with all the other beauties in which the peak has to offer.

Cheers All


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Pre Peak Adventure

As I sat yesterday in a three hour lecture wondering if the day might improve in the slightest, when the text came in. "Cheddar after lectures, Keen?" KEEENNN I was mustard for it. It had been ages since I had led anything outdoors so I was buzzing for the last part of the lecture!!! Myself and Cameron got out the car and was greeting with a standard Cheddar hello of an icy wind and freezing rock, but this wasn't going to knock my pysche! We quickly warmed up on some easier things and set off looking for harder lines. After putting the draws in a 6b+ for Cam he went for it and onsighted it! That was he hardest grade outside to date showing that all the trips indoors have paid off for him!

We then moved on to the objective of the outing, a 25 meter route on the Ginsberg wall called Get That Man. Its apparently a super classic for the wall and the area and seeing as Cam was keen to have a go I agreed to put the draws in. Not thinking much of it as I'd probably fall as I hadn't been out for a while I left the sanctuary of the ledge and moved into the crux section. I saw straight away a projecting block up high with a hugely chalked underside knowing that it was going to be an evil Cheddar undercut. For me this is worrying as I find undercuting from low down difficult but as I grasped it I completely forgot about the whole "You're not any good at these moves" and carried on. Once past this I finally realised that the thing that puts me off routes is the fact that I think to much into it. As soon as I hear the words "Side pull" or "Undercut" im immediately put off, which is why I don't really enjoy my Cheddar trips. But this time I put it to the back of my head and got on with it!

Clipping the chains was pretty sweet as the route had taught me a fair amount and was brilliant throughout with the fact that I onsighted it was great and I would highly recommend it to anyone! Hopefully this has set me up for this weekends Peak District trip! Cheers to Cameron for the belay!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Exciting times!

So far this last week has been a massive disappointment with the amount of work that I now have which looks like my Christmas will be filled less eating and gain weight and more studying! Or knowing me it will be the other way around!

After a whirlwind trip to the crack den that is Dave's house for a birthday weekend I came home to the flat battered, bruised and T-shirtless thanks to a very long bloke by the name of Ben (Steve) Chantrell. If you ever meet this horrible little man you are well in for a decent night! Coupled with Hallet (a man of mysteries and black magic) I can Assure your night will take an unexpected turn for the better! All in all it was a quality weekend and was brilliant to be reunited with my wingman and wife and the family from the shire!!

Bar the work, on the climbing front its looking a bit dismal. For a couple of weeks my shoulder has been giving me some jip and has been an on and off problem for about 3 weeks. Because of this my psyche has been a bit low in fear of doing further damage which has meant I haven't been firing all cylinders on the training front! However this all changed when a ridiculous tick list started to fall into place for the Peak District trip next weekend! Psyche now is at an all time high as I have yet to experience the grit which could be considered a sin?? But hopefully during the weekend I will be able to make up for that....Or never write on here again after being "Beaten thoroughly". Either way I'm going with an open mind and will testing the water with tip toes, or a smear :)!

My ever long tick list is looking more and more silly by the minute so if you have any "sensible" ideas post them on here! And don't forget to follow me!!

Cheers all


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

New Beginnings

Welcome to everyone and anyone to my new Blog!

As for many of you these last couple of months have been a new chapter in the big book that is life with moving away from home and entering the world in many different entries!

For me it was the step into University and am currently now in the BIG city of Brizzle! As I have thought back across the past few weeks through the friends and the drinks that have been made and can say I am thoroughly enjoying myself!

As for many of you that know me, you all know that this blog will not be about my course through "Further Education", but in fact on the recent antics that have been had out on the rock and since my departure from the shire! Believe me in this short time there has been a fair amount!

Since living in Bristol the weather has been on an off which has made things a little difficult to get around and of course a bit slippery on the crag. But on the days that it has been nice, things have got quite interesting and some decent routes have been had. Especially through our delayed "British summer" in where 24 degrees made some interesting sweaty climbing! But none the less a good outing.

This was my first trip into Avon Gorge home of what I think as good quality poor limestone with the addition of shouting belays. The reason for this view is that generally the area is lovely and the rock is generally sound through most of the more popular areas (Sea walls) but especially polished to a high degree, some might say its actually marble in places. Also some bright spark but a waking great road through the middle of it which made communication slightly difficult but humorous and although It does ruin the area slightly I can Imagen getting to the crag and in fact Bristol would be a dam sight hard if it wasn't there!

During the course of the day a few good quality route were had but the one in particular stands out is a lovely little route called Rancho cucamonga. Its  about 50 foot pitch of sustained E3 5c on a gently overhanging wall of the upper wall area (or the ramp as some know it). Its starts with a some really nice crimpy pockets and some good gear at around about 15 foot with a decent peg (thats right DECENT!!!) about 5 foot after this. Once you've got yourself sorted with gear and recovered on the positive edges its time to set off through the crux. This was a long reach with the wrong hand to a poor slopey crimp at full stretch for myself, but then again im not the tallest of people. Once you've pulled through there it leads to positive jugs and the safety of bomber gear in the break at head heigh before setting yourself up for the final hard top out. Basically on the lower end of the face most of the route top out through numerous mantles with relatively run out section, so not the most desirable situation to be in!

As I groped the final ledge readying myself for the sketchy top out I started to remember what that burning sensation in my forearms felt like again. It had been a little while since I had done any sort of endurance climbing so the little bloke in the back of my head was definitely not helping to stay on the route! With the extremely sweaty condition due to brilliant sunshine i found myself stalling on the ledge bringing back the old habit of not getting on with it and chalking as if my hand was made of water!!

But that was the least of my worries. Before I had set of a couple of guys next to us had been doing some route and we had got chatting at what was going to be sent next. As the conversation continued I learned that the bloke was a Mr Tony Penning. I suddenly dove back into the guide book only to find out that he was one of the first accentionist of the route!

Thankfully I manned up and mantled the last move and kicked myself for getting a bit scared! However I then thought to myself that actually being slightly scared is a good thing. Its that sense that your in the moment and its only YOU that can help yourself. It gave me that good feeling of control knowing that I can overcome my own weaknesses and trust myself. Sounds like no I'll have to apply it something a bit more bold next time perhaps!!!

Many thanks to Tony for the picture he caught of me and kindly popped it on his blog