Friday, 26 September 2014

A great summer

Since I last posted back in April, Laura and myself were fortunate enough to move into the house we were waiting on and have been doing little bits and pieces to it since to try and make it feel like our own home.

The never ending summer of June/July meant lots of time spent in the garden and sneaky sessions down the Orme and occasionally into the hills. A lot of ice cream has been eaten and the only time I had to go indoors was to pop back over to Liverpool for the BOSS comps which went ok considering I'm old and decrepit. I was very grateful to Pete staying in South Africa long enough for me to turn up and look strong in a weakened field! ;)

Commuting to Llanberis from Glan Conwy isn't as bad as I expected (due to zero traffic and motorways, it is a nice chilled start to the day), and I got in a few decent after work sessions which culminated in finally clawing my way up Diesel Power. I thought Corridors of power, the most in vogue 8A in N Wales would go down in similar fashion but it merely resulted in split tips and holes in my palms! I'm hoping to finish it off this weekend as the weather has picked up over the last 2 days and the temps are slowly dropping.

I've had a dabble on Louis a few times but need to get on it when it's colder to stand a chance as I tend to slide around on the undercuts too much at the moment, making the setup not ideal for the crux. Oh to be strong!

I'd like to put some great pics of the house/views/Easter egg crushing/pebble wrestling but it doesn't seem to want to let me link photos in without installing loads of  google plug in crap... Apologies!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

North Wales boyo

There has been a fair bit of upheaval since my last post in early January.

I've moved over to North Wales with Laura as we were both offered full time work and thought it would be a good change of scene, being closer to the sea, hills and fresh air!

We are currently living above the veterinary surgery awaiting a completion date on a house we made an offer for way back in early Feb. Sadly, the finishing line still isn't in sight due to the chain of pensioners not being in any hurry to move or respond to their solicitors information requests.

Fingers crossed that it won't be too much longer as there is only so long that you can function with the use of a microwave and takeaways alone!

In other news, my left knee is healing up really well. Thanks to Laura pushing me a bit; A combination of ignoring the tame physio rehab and doing more intensive exercise (more advanced than the pensioners handout I was given) as well as cycling on the turbo trainer has seen it strengthen well and regain a good range of motion.

I've been back on rock several times over the last week in the pass, maes Newyddion, Craig y llyn and of course the hallowed cave.

I was still a bit wary of cranking hard on the left knee during the first few sessions back on rock... but after doing the finish section of Louis last Week, I gave the heel move at the start a go and to my utter relief everything was perfectly fine. If anything, it felt easier than before the injury and I'll hopefully be able to make use of the marginal strength gains from the couple of months deadhanging, pull-ups and campussing.

Aside from the climbing goal for this year being back on track, it has been an amazing season to be a Liverpool fan and I pray that we can finish it off with a long awaited premiership title!

A Liverpool title and a 3rd victory for Woolton wanderers in the UKB fantasy football league would put the icing on the cake after a successful knee rehab and relocation to N Wales :D

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


I'm currently sat on the couch after a gourmet meal at the ivory, enjoying a rather delectable 04 Rioja that Laura's parents got me for Christmas. I was saving bottles such as this for performance related prizes in 2014 but seeing as I currently have no idea whether I will be able to function near to 100% in the next few months, I thought what the hell!

I have spannered my left knee and to cut a long story short, the x-ray was clear and it is still swelled and not functioning 3 weeks later. The MRI I got a referral for today won't be until 25th Feb (the week after fish heads stag do in Font).

I had a look at going private today and got the eye watering quote of 3.2 grand. Not the kind of money I can fritter away on bionic knee operations!

Rather than becoming demotivated I have found being crocked a great motivator for getting down to the wall 4-5 times a week and doing intensive amounts of pull-ups, chin-ups, weighted hangs, 1 arm hangs, pressups..etc and I'm starting to see some gains already: I.e. Getting bigger if not necessarily better at climbing! The new goal by Font is to tip the scales at 73kg+ and not have the appearance of a skinny fingered, malnourished, hollow eyed aspirational crusher!

Watching World's strongest man always gets me more motivated than watching most climbing media and I have had a few sessions back down the gym too, obviously having to steer well clear of the deadlift and squat but getting back into the pressing exercises and the lat pull downs.

Sadly I am never going to be 6"8 and 180kg, so I'll have to stick with the climbing for now.

You can keep Sharma and Ondra and marvel at Brian Shaw crushing a 442.5kg deadlift:

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Testing the waters

With the dreaded feeling of Sunday's Louis session being a big fluke, I returned to the cave via new Bizzle picking up Monsieur psyche and Hatch of Hatchatrocity fame up along the way.

We got there for a casual 2.15pm and warmed up feeling a bit shoddy whilst Hatch went in search of some big game hunting atop of the Orme.

I did the post crux to finish feeling sketchy as anything but it took only a mere 3 attempts to stick the crux again and climb to the finish.

I then set about just going for the redpoints but something would always go a tiny bit wrong, mostly matching the left undercut poorly, which meant a lot of energy sapping adjustments before I could position the feet and make an attempt at the crux slap to the lip.

I had 5 tries always hitting the lip but not having the beans to keep my right foot on. A brief rest and then the litmus test of seeing if the crux still felt possible with some fatigue. To my relief, I managed to catch it 2nd go and get to the finish yet again.

I went for a final attempt to see if I could go one better than last time, but I had ran out of steam and had to concede defeat for the day. It felt hard on the back and arms and I clearly could have done with more than 1 day of rest since my last session on it.

Mike managed to look really weak on hatchatrocity and ferrino, then with a bit of goading, he joined me on Louis and absolutely rinsed the start getting a French blow in on the 2nd move before getting confused with the crux, which he realised would involve some dynamic effort on his part.

We left just as the light faded and went back to the Hangar to join Matty D, Youngy and Laura in trying the black comp set from Friday. I was completely spent after managing 28.5 of them.

Looking forwards...

I had a brief chat with Dan and he agreed it would be a good tactic to try and link matching in to the undercuts, through the crux and to the finish, rather going for the redpoint every time, as I can do it fine in separate halves but have yet to stick the crux from the start.

Regardless of if I succeed or not this year, I am feeling a massive surge of motivation just at the right time and I know for sure, that I am capable of climbing something difficult at long last. Time to knuckle down and put the effort in and not accept underachievement... aka climbing for joy! In the words of a wise man, "success is temporary, failure is forever".

Monday, 16 December 2013

Lack of structure can lead to surprising results

No signs of improvement...

Since my last semi depressed blog entry there has been no real structure to my climbing or training and I have mainly just pottered at the hangar for the last few months after getting a years pass. There have been a few days out in Wales with little achieved bar a good session at tremeirchion with Alec getting 36 chambers and 22 chambers done. It took a return visit to the GOP to finish off a mere 7B+ called Smoke a bloke and I figured it was best to write off this year early having ticked a meagre 2 new 8th grade problems (both in the cave and long, so they don't really count for much).

A chilled end to 2013

I took last week off from climbing and had a lovely trip to Shropshire to visit Laura's parents and go to the German night market in Birmingham which featured great food, ale and live music. Me and Laura then went on to Carden park Spa in Cheshire for a decadent overnight stay of spa treatments, sauna, jacuzzi, fine dining, luxurious accommodation and a nice walk in the woods near to Beeston and bulkley.

We popped to Cheshire oaks to make inroads into the Christmas shopping when I received a somber text from Ian that the shop had been broken into and lots of gear had been taken. Gaz cleared the rest out back to beris and I popped over the next day to help take a new stock take and get some web based work for the meantime.

So after 7 rest days I arrived at Fatnecks ysgo bash. It was treacherous reaching the boulders and surprisingly dry for the first 2 hours or so before the squall came and engulfed us. We beat a retreat and went the pub. Day 2 was a write off with regular blasts of rain coming from sea mist/wind/the heavens.

Parisellas saves the day

Determined to climb on some dry rock, Mark and myself shunned the beacon and headed to Parisellas to find it in mint condition! After a brief warmup I thought it would be fun to see how much harder Louis Armstrong felt after basically no effort to get stronger in the last 9 months.

It took only 3 attempts on the crux move to stick on to it and breeze to the finish. I was rather surprised and decided the start will feel brutal still surely...

First go on the start and I got into the crux and hit the lip. I had another go on the start and got to the crux again only to mess around with the left undercut and tire myself out so holding the lip felt hard again.

I thought it would be good to see if the crux was still super low percentage, so pulled on again... And crushed the move, carrying on to the finish again.

It makes little sense to me, that I have my best ever session on Louis after no real training effort or progression in my outdoor climbing for what seems like a long time. Maybe there was something magical in that performance enhancing pre massage salt & oil scrub at Carden Park, or it could have been my body reacting to a punishing few sets of bicep busting preacher curls in the gym last week with some kind of super hypertrophy as the undercut moves felt piss compared to last time in the cave.

To see if it was some strange fluke, I'll be popping back down tomorrow to do battle once again and see if I can force this gangly, weak carcass into achieving what I was beginning to feel way beyond it.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Going backwards and Knowing when to train

Due to the weather sucking and having not climbed since my last session on Diesel Power, I decided to try another early session, this time at the cave.

I got there for 9.15am and managed to climb until 12 before shooting back to work.

I think I can safely say it will be the last time I'll bother trying to climb at/past my limits in the morning. It took at least 2 hours for my body to wake up as I was getting shut down on the start of Louis hard. My left heel would keep popping off the R.A. Flake and when I did get the undercut, it felt desperate getting the right hand one.

The end felt shaky but I could still do that bit ok. It was however, slightly depressing that I could no longer stick the crux slap in isolation. It felt like a big step back from last time. Despondent, I sat outside in the sun and read for a bit. This seemed to help, as slightly rejuvenated, I managed to finally climb through the start again, get set up on the undercuts and slapped the lip. Sticking the crux from the start still feels really hard, so I don't know how enthusiastic to get just yet!

I'd love to climb this problem so much and scream the cave down but I don't know if I am over reaching myself and would be better off training indoors for a period of time. I dont even know what to train as its hard to create a replica problem. If I manage to climb it, it will be down to luck and persistence as opposed to any ability/strength. I see so many videos of others making things look piss and always executing and imagine they have put a lot more effort in to getting strong and capable of crushing the big numbers. I would be by far the weakest person to climb 8B if I ever manage to get Louis done.

I guess it's hard to find motivation sometimes when you feel like you are going backwards and forever plateaud but I'll keep plugging away at it and quit the whining for now.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Forever Punting, Never Executing.

Since August I have been on a trip to Magic Wood and out in N Wales a few times.

Magic Wood

The trip to Switzerland was fun in terms of gorging on pastries, refreshing dips in the river, reading and sunbathing but the climbing was frustrating with high temps and humidity. I basically did nothing other than a couple of 7Cs which i got on as consolation ticks after getting Dark Sakai in overlapping halves in the first 2 days and thinking it was on... only to have a combination of poor temps and thin/split skin for the whole week.


Back in the UK the weather had cooled slightly and I had a great session on Louis Armstrong managing the crux slap twice in a row and keeping my feet on both times. I could climb into the slap and hit the lip every go from the start and just required a bit more power to stick the move on link. It's wired from here to the finish, so maybe it could be achievable by the end of the year?

In order to build some momentum towards the goal of Louis, I was keen to try and tick off some shorter problems in the hills. The obvious one to start with was Diesel Power as it has a great walk in, similar to that of Sellas.  I had tried the first move briefly a year or so ago with some weird heel/toe beta and found it hard. After watching a couple of videos, I went with the left foot, face on method and managed to stick it this way. I managed all the moves in the first session back on it, including a rather fun jump move to the lip as opposed to the walking your feet leftwards to the lip method.

Here is the method:

I returned 3 weeks later and climbed into falling off the match move again and again, until I changed from dragging to crimping on my right hand and locking as hard as possible. I managed to drop the last move a couple of times and my skin was about to split, so decided to come back in better conditions. They arrived a week later (last Tuesday) as I could pull on and do the last move with ease every time but on the link I dropped it 6-7 times until I split my left middle on the horrid crimp.

I returned 3 days later (last Friday) with a gaskins o clock start due to it looking like the only good weather window for a while and had 1 good go before splitting the left index and middle wide open. Frustrated, I packed up and got off annoyed at how my shit skin had been the limiting factor as temps were perfect on Friday morning at 9-11am. I wish for once I could learn the art of executing and stop being a total fucking punter on a problem that doesn't feel that hard anymore and was meant to be a quick tick to build some momentum for the autumn/winter!

Here is a video of Friday's effort just before the bloodshed: