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Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Went out with Danny C today. We headed to the Gop first. Like i've said before Danny has done very little climbing in two years so i was expecting him to get a wooping as the Gop takes no prisoners. Confirming he has a ridiculous base level he crushed his old problem Smoke a Bloke in a few go's. This is only 7b+ but is one brutal move and pretty tricky:

He also looked like Push the Button wouldn't take him too long. He needs to pull his finger out. We then went down to Meliden quarry, this is the first place i ever bouldered. There is a nice little limestone bouldering wall with half a dozen low grade problems. I haven't been back there since the late 90s so it was cool to see it again. Once me and Mule spent half a day trying to shift a burnt out car that someone had dumped under the bouldering. We moved it bit by bit! Such psyche for a small wall. The problems go up to V3 but are a good height and the rock is good. There's also a couple of French 6's there. Worth a look for locals:

I did something to my hamstring jumping off and was pretty concerned it would affect me at Llanddulas heelhooking on my project. We headed there and i had my warm up dog. On the last twisty moves on the end i felt somthing go in my lower side. I was pissed off but it didn't feel too bad so i had a redpoint anyway. Jeez it was very painful but i felt the best yet on the route getting to the end with more in the tank. I went for the penultimate move but it was too painful and i dropped off. I knew it was bad, i could barely get to the chain and stripping it was agony. Now it hurts to bend over and stretch and i just nearly cried after sneezing. I'm trying not to complain too much because i'm lucky with injuries but it's just annoying as i would have done it and i don't want time off!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Riding a Bike

Another climbing stint has passed without me realising how many days on i've had. I only feel like resting when i'm feeling tired but my skins getting pretty thin now. My form has continued to improve. The little jumps in strength coupled with shedding a few pounds have made me much happier. I made some good progress on my hole project making it to the lip with about 4 more moves to go. I've got every move worked out and its pretty short so hopefully i'll do it soon. I went back the next day though and really struggled with the move into the hole. Its a weird one for me, some subtle body position that i can't quite pin down. The sequence is about font 7c and pretty crazy! I returned to Parisellas Cave after not climbing in there regularly for about a year. I was quite good in there considering the lay off. I've spent so many days hanging on all those holds and trying the moves i think i'll always know how to do the problems (if i've got the strength that is). RA went first go and felt easy, fell off the end of LF and Broken Heart both 1st go. I played on Pilgrim a bit struggling with my old heel sequence. The foot swing method is now much easier with the new right foothold but the swing is still pretty draining. I should probably get the heel way sorted again. Anyway its a low priority when it's route season. It felt nice being in there though. I felt really good on TC but didn't have my jeans on so dropped out the kneebars. I was keen to get back on my Dulas proj to see if that felt any easier. I still felt like i didn't have the moves drilled in so spent some time making sure i knew what i was doing before having a few shots from the ground. It went quite well, i got to just before the end sequence but fell. After a short rest i went to the end. The moves are excellent, just as good as Temple though its not quite as pure as on the proj the sidewall comes in so if you were hellbent on it you could escape the finish. I guess that makes it a slight eliminate but the holds and the line are obvious and the moves are damn fine. I need to take a bouldering pad up there to pad out a ledge that i don't want to break my legs on if i run the top out. Potato bulge did Mudjekeewis. Today i went downstairs with Jimmy big guns. It pissed it down in the night and we were not impressed with the conditions to start with as there was actually water on some of the holds. I was keen for Parasite. I got shutdown on this last year but i've realised that if i don't go and re-try routes i get shutdown on then i won't have much to try! First dog i was flummoxed on the last hard move, a rockover just over the lip. I was getting frustrated as it wasn't strength that was failing me, i just wasn't doing it right. Obeying another golden rule (don't give up after one go up!) i linked the crux sequence first go on the next go up. I went for a redpoint and fell off the last hard move, quite close. The next redpoint didn't go as well. The plan now is to try and do the two projects i've made headway on. To keep training (cave/board/start deadhanging), keep doing easier routes and harder redpoints and in mid July start PE training. The upturn in form means that i might be re-visiting a teeny weeny crag on the Little Orme. Oh god!!!

Monday, 20 June 2011

A Stiff Up Her Mawsons

Neil Inspector Mawson joined me this weekend, this year he has mainly been climbing trad routes and homming around. He was whinging that he hasn't done anything hard yet. I guess 8b+ and 8a+ on gear is a bit shit in this day and age. We headed down Pigeon's. I was keen to try a few existing routes so left the project this time. Last year i tried Stiff Upper Lip and it felt pretty hard, certainly solid 8a. I had been told recently about a backhand pocket on the crux which means you don't have to do it the burly undercut way. Also everyone seemed to be doing the move to the last hold with their left so i was keen to try these different methods. Sure enough it was easier with the new beta. The crux is now the move after the backhand pocket, a slap to a decent pocket. The last move going up with your lefthand is pretty easy. First go i dropped the crux but i managed it next redpoint. Neil blew the flash on the crux but got it next go. We had a do on the new extension. Straight after Stiff Upper Lip original is a amazing font 7a boulder problem on sloping pinches that lead to some crimps and the top of the crag. Neil had a redpoint but fell on the boulder. We both thought Stiff Upper Lip was more like 7c+ than 8a but the extension still 8b. Amazing fun climbing anyway.
On redpoint:

Pain to strip!

Will definitely lay down a seige on this one day when i've got less on my plate. I fell off Follow the Prof 7c+ somehow with my fingers on the top of the crag. A true climber i ended up dissapointed that i hadn't done this route rather than enjoying the tick that i did get. Neil tried Stark but was out of beans. You can climb down there at high tide at the moment so its a useful place. If anyone goes down for Follow the Prof take some bogroll to dry the hold by the 2nd bolt before your redpoint. Next day we went and did some routes on Mayfair wall. I re-aquainted myself with Julio, Axle Attack, Mayfair and The Bloods. Only the 2nd time i'd done Mayfair, the first being ten years ago! Its easy to forget what a great wall this is, the routes are fantastic. I felt good on the rock, i definitely feel the benefit of having done a lot of routes this year. For quite a few years now i have mainly just hung on bolts and this has actually made me quite shit at climbing. I even found myself getting intimidated on the easier numbers. Not scared of falling just worried about climbing shit on them. I can see now that this is a bad strategy and there is a lot to be said for mileage and succeeding on routes regularly. Starting at the bottom and getting to the top without falling, its a great feeling! Hopefully this will stand me in good stead now the strength and fitness is returning. I'm as psyched as a ex nun in a cucumber field now. After thinking this was going to be a nothing year there is finally light at the end of the tunnel and the only way is up. Must train harder too!
Some footage of Ioan Doyle on one of the best LPT 8a's, Battle of the Little Big orme. Don't copy the top beta however as he's doing it the hard way!

Thursday, 16 June 2011


I cracked another new route yesterday. I bolted this one back in winter, it was out of my league to start with and it got gradually better as i improved. I was looking forward to the day it would go down as i had a soft spot for this route. It is a boulder problem route but the holds are lovely, the kind of holds i'd have on my board. It is a very cool sequence. The crux involves squeezing a undercut pinch above your head and fighting your feet up on smears. I had always struggled with this move. Yesterday i turned up hoping that a bit of extra strength would make the move feel easy but that wasn't the case. Halfway through the session it still wasn't looking good. I managed the move once or twice but the redpoints weren't going well. I kept perservering though and by the skin of my teeth finally made it to the top. A bit of a theme has been developing with the last three routes i've done. All three have been colossal efforts and i should have fallen on the successful redpoint of all three. I have managed to summon up something extra when the chips were down and this is a habit i hope to keep up. The best climbers always fight don't give up until they're in the air. I let Pete Robins have a go months ago before i'd even tried it and he said 7c+ so i'll go with that. Felt flippin hard though!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Madness Reigns

I finished one of my projects yesterday. I bolted the line in April and have been on it a few times trying to suss the sequence (mainly struggling!). It takes a traverse line on good holds under a roof then tackles the roof at its smallest point via some very tenuous moves, a few terrible holds and then a nice headwall finish. It took a while to figure out but it only needed a few redpoints. It felt hard but is probably 7c+ as the hard bit quite short lived really. It's called The Madness Reigns after the chaos a few months back when all the kids were in the river. Definitely the route of the crag and of course like i always say, it's one of the best new routes i've done! If you don't big your own routes up no one else will. This crag is nearing completion. I have one more project which is also fantastic but harder and bouldery. Norm also has a project to finish there. Despite having a rest day the day before i still felt knackered yesterday so am resting today. Going to head down LPT to film the bumpy boys though. I'm making a film about the new routes and projects, i want to make it as good as i possibly can with my limited abilities. I've already got some good footage but need some hard FAs on camera.

The Madness Reigns:


Sunday, 12 June 2011

New Hold in Cave

The big news this end is that there is a new hold in the Cave, this cheeky little blighter has appeared under the Rockatrocity jug. It is a positive handhold when moving up off the wobbly block. Better than the shit intermediates that people used to use so that moves easier. The wobbly block is apparently harder to use since i glued it back on so maybe that will address the balance. The hold is also a pretty handy foothold for Cave Life and also for Pilgrim the swing across way. Time will tell how much it affect's their difficulty:

I just checked my diary and saw i have done some form of climbing every day for the last 10 days. It's no wonder i'm boxed! My form has stayed pretty good, i made progress on my project down Pigeon's doing all the moves but one and in Llanddulas i finally worked out some decent beta on the end and manged to link all the finish. It will be hard work from the start though. I had a good time ticking some of Tony and Norm's new routes. The new guides will tell all!

Pic of Sam Whittaker on Walking Mussel 8b+:

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Climbing Gods or Coincedence?

Last year i blogged about how i had some personal stresses and suddenly found myself climbing much better on the Diamond. Climbing really gave me a lift just when i needed it. Well its happened again. Its been a really grim time this week. I've kept getting out and hanging with my pals. One evening i went training with Gorgy on his board. I felt pretty bouncy on the warm ups but was shocked with how the session ended up. A few days previous i had been really struggling in there barely able to do 7a. This sesh i knocked out 5 7a's, 5 7a+'s and a 7b that i've only done once 4 years ago. In the context of my current form it was my best board session ever! I've had a few extremely surprising moments in my climbing life but this was right up there with them. To feel strong was so good, i crushed every hold i grabbed, it felt so simple. I went home worried it would be a one off as has happened before. The next day i headed to Dinbren with Mule and Danny. Mule has a hard project there and i've been filming it. I did a 7b+ there a few days ago but thought i should get on something hard after the board session i'd had. Gwennan seemed the perfect candidate, i had one go last year but couldn't really do the move. It was put up by Rob Mirfin who reckoned it was a font 7c boulder problem with a French 7b+ route on top (8a+ route grade). Judging from the guidebook description i think Rob did the move quite statically. Mule did it last year and he just jumped to the jug which was a bit easier and less powerful. I did the move on the dog quickly and worked the top out. I knew i had a chance to get to the jug, it is only one move really. I managed to sketch through the start on my first RP, leaping when it felt like i wasn't going to make it. I pulled tape off my fingers with my teeth and composed myself for the top. It turned out to be the biggest effort i've probably ever put in on redpoint. I was shouting down for beta i'd forgotten and almost off every move. I slapped a small pocket but only latched it with two fingers right on the edge, i was powering out quickly but in the beast mantra "if you don't let go you can't fall off" i somehow managed to get the next hold. Probably 99 times out of a hundred i would have fallen there but i somehow found some inner reserve. The top is easier and i finished the route and lowered off in shock. Last week i could only climb 7c and now i'd done my quickest ascent of an 8 ever. Its bizarre really. The route is hard 8a with the dyno method, not hard enough for 8a+. I warmed down on the brilliant Dyperspace, a 7c that i should have flashed last year. So once again i shall be sacrificing a new born goat to appease the climbing gods. They always seem to sort me out when the chips are down!

My Pals:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Sunday, 5 June 2011

West Shore

Went down to check out Mules bouldering down on the beach at West Shore on Saturday. The strategy wasn't good. The marine drive was shut for a car rally so we parked on the summit of the Orme and walked down from there. Dyer didn't get very far as his poor dog Smudge had a fit so he had to turn back. It was boiling and the tide was in so we just took it easy. We ended up lazing around and couldn't get to a lot of the boulders because of the sea but we still saw some cool stuff. Into the Sun is a ace 7a with nice moves out of a cave:

I felt the holds on Mules 8a The Spray. Its an impressive problem and it looks ridiculously burly. Its such a steep overhang and the feet for the crux are tiny smears. The strong boys need to get down on this. I agree with Mr P that its a better harder version of Manchester Dogs. Some of Mule's grades need to be taken with a pinch of salt. I had to seige a 6c+ at the end.

On the way back up to the road from the opposite end of the boulders to the Red Wall is a sweet high arete thats a nice V2. Mule has christened it Learning to Fly but i expect it has been done before:

The Future:

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Conflict Continues

Well the need to train/wanting to go outside every day and have a nice time conflict continues. I think i'm finally waking up and smelling the coffee though. It took another new project to bring it home. The situation is that i have 5 projects, all of them i cannot climb in my current state. 3 of them are probably 8a+. I would love to do them all this year but if i carry on like i am this is very doubtful. I can keep going out and hanging on the bolts and hoping for a miracle or i can get on the board and get big gains very quickly. Two of my routes are quite bouldery so i need to be pretty strong. Its hard when its nice outside, after hibernating all winter i really want to be outside enjoying the weather but it's not going to get me where i want to be. Training hard doesn't mean climbing outside is off bounds. I can still go and get some ticks but the main focus needs to be strength improvements. My new project came out of the blue. Down Pigeon's is a old project that is always wet. Nodder tried it a bit last year. Me and Dyer noticed a crimp in the wall which looked like it would allow access to a nice visual line up and left. We put a bolt in off a ladder and i tried the move. It was really cool so i came back the next day from the top and finished bolting the line. Next day i tried it with Pete H. It's really good, there were 3 or 4 moves i couldn't do but i could see how they worked. I did the top finishing moves which were ace. So out of the blue i have a very sexy new project on the Orme to get my juices flowing.

We finished re-equipping Fellatio Nelson and Cat Amongst the Pidgeons but i was left wondering if we should have bothered.

The shared finishing moves involve a shoulder popping jump to a rusty old chain. Fellatio has some big holds that are slimey and filthy and Cat doesn't look that good either. Dyer rebolted the short but sweet looking African Headcharge 7a+. Lovely tufas, shame it doesn't go on for 30 metres:

I went to Dulas with Mule yesterday. Some prick has stolen the two draws i left on temple and my project to aid stripping them. It dismays me that there's climbers out there who are happy enough to nick gear. I hope they snap and they break their legs. I worked out some good beta on the proj, the first 2/3 are great and i've got it worked out. Like Temple the important thing with this route is to get the end dialled so it feels piss. Mule flashed Sticky Fingers and had a go on Temple but it didn't really fit him and he found it hard. I went to the Mill after to kick things off again. There is some nice wood in there now, tasty!

Finally in what must be the greatest week ever for women's performances on the Orme Shauna Coxsey completed Pilgrim 8a+ in the Cave. This is a brilliant effort and all the more impressive considering she hadn't climb 8a before. So this makes Shauna the first women to do 8a on British soil and maybe the first to climb 8a+ full stop. Claire Murphy did some hard problems in Hueco but Chablanke is not 8a+ and Sarah gets V11/12 which suggests 8a (some Hueco V12's would be worth 8a in Europe). Pilgrim is undoubtedly 8a+, the first section is hard 7c+ then it finshes up Rockatrocity which is probably hard 7c. Mega!