Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Fontainehelm - Font in a ball bag

In February 2014 7 of us headed out to Font for a week to stay at The House for Andy's stag do.
We had such a laugh, pretty poor conditions as it was humid but we still climbed a few problems.
I apologise for the poor selection of problems but for some reason these were the only clips i was left with.
I would say heres font in a nut sack but that's been said loads already and more along in keeping with the crude nature of the week i think 'Here's Font in a Ball Bag' suits more.


Fontainehelm from Mark Young on Vimeo.

Injury Blues

I've often posted on here complaining of a tweaky finger or a pulley injury but I thought I will combat this issue by training them in an isolated controlled way, fingerboard. Spoke to a few different wads about what is the best way to go about training fingers considering I've never done it before and came up with a decent plan to do two sessions a week on max hang. This consisted of:

3 x 8 sec straight arm 30 degree sloper (1.10 min rest between each)
3 x 8 sec 90 lock 30 degree sloper (1.10 min rest between each)
3 x 8 sec full lock 30 degree sloper (1.10 min rest between each)

2.30 rest

3 x 8 sec straight arm crimp on small edge (1.10 min rest between each)
3 x 8 sec 90 lock crimp on small edge (1.10 min rest between each)
3 x 8 sec full lock crimp on small edge (1.10 min rest between each)

2.30 rest

3 x 8 sec straight arm front three drag medium edge (1.10 min rest between each)
3 x 8 sec 90 lock front three drag medium edge (1.10 min rest between each)
3 x 8 sec full lock front three drag medium edge (1.10 min rest between each)

3 min rest

10 x 90 degree locks of 5 sec (assisted) alternate arms 30 sec rest between each

Great combination, short in time so can be done before a session. Training was going really well, managed to enter the Hangar comp and come in a reasonable position.

People I know in the past have had a bad lower back and sometimes if training core I have had the odd ache every now and again but nothing major. Until Sunday! I was out mountain biking with Reynolds and Lunt and about 3 km into the ride I jumped back onto my bike and felt a sharp pain in my lower back. Thinking it was just a trapped nerve I carried on with the ride, another 30 km later back at the van I'm in agony! Can barely stand up straight, and I'm supposed to be on a MTB leader assessment the next day! After the journey home it just gets worse and Helen makes me go the walk in centre, the place I hate the most full of disease and generally strange people. So after waiting to see a nurse who confirms it is a pulled muscle I return home to ice it and rest it, deciding not to go on the assessment.
I remember laughing at Richy Crouch doing his back at Warton a few years ago and his tales of dragging pads back to his van and then being bed bound for a few days, well Karma came back and booted me in the nuts! With this knowledge though I knew he would be best person to contact, he gave me a load of good advice and put me onto Joe Le Sage's blog where he talks specifically about lower back injuries and exercises to strengthen them. I'm also seeking the advice of the Grand Master Donnelly tonight who hopefully will shed some light onto the dark feelings I have at this moment in time.
The hope I do have is that today after a full day of rest I do feel considerably better and there is less pain so fingers crossed I can get back to some light exercises as soon as possible.

That 7C goal still eludes me!!

For any advice on shoulder injuries or back injuries check out Joe's blog it's a really good read and it comes from a climbers point of view.

Monday, 1 September 2014

On the blog again

So seems like reading my last post when I promised I would be posting more i must have been lying.
What have a been doing? Well, turns out to be an awful lot.
After successfully getting the job I posted about last time, I moved back to Liverpool. I was keen for a settled winter with some training, lots of climbing and socialising with friends in the climbing scene again. After two outdoor sessions the second being in the cave I had managed to pick up a finger injury which would stay with me all winter! I tried resting, icing, climbing, taping but nothing would get rid of this shitty injury. Seems that i didn't actually miss too much with it being a mild and wet winter peoples psyche at the wall was low, i still managed to spend some time in the outdoors in the form of white water kayaking again. Successfully passing another coaching award in the form of Moderate Water Endorsement.
After the winter and getting to this level i knew that the focus would have to shift this year and more time spent in the hills on big mountain crags and sea cliffs getting some finalising routes in before i went for MIA training which i finally completed in July. So what goes into a nine day training course of a Mountaineering instructor? ALOT!! I couldn't believe how much information and skills there was to take on board, at the end my brain was frazzled and full of new stuff to take away and put into practice. I got good feedback and told the obvious of "you need to pull your finger out and climb some harder trad", i was also quite pleased when Dave said he would climb with me on a personal level and that one day i will make a great mountaineering instructor.
So whats next in the life of young? Well i've just been accepted into the Climbers Club so i'm looking forward to meeting some like minded people and regaining my psyche on trad for next season, I aim to do more winter stuff and more scrambling. I've also just been accepted to study for my Cert Ed (post 16) teaching qualification which means i am guaranteed a job for the next two years.

Right folks too much rambling, i will leave you with some photos of my adventures from the last 12 months.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

New Location, New Psyche

Well then....... It's been over a year since i updated this thing! To say things have a changed a little would be an understatement. Where to Start:

Scotland in February is always a must, time to play in the snow with some friends and possibly get some decent winter routes done. As you know i was always looking for a progression in the career front and this was met whilst on this trip. I knew of a full time position at a centre in the Lakes and thought i would do my best to apply and hopefully get an interview. Well, fatal error i missed the deadline for the application and nothing came of it, but all was not lost the same centre had a seasonal position which i was going to apply for. I was in time for the deadline for this but yet i did not receive and invite for interview, gutted! When i called to ask for some specific feedback i was met with the response of 'you lack local knowledge and experience but your qualifications are good'.
Which poses the question i keep asking myself. How do i get more experience if nobody will give me a job!!!! ARGH....
So after a long phone call to my cousin Craig who lives in the lakes i was left with an option to rent a room in his house for a short term basis and just freelance this summer to get more experience. I can tell you one thing though handing my notice in at the wall and move up to a place were i knew very few people and had no work was probably one of the scariest things i've ever done in my life.
So in April i relocated to just outside Penrith in a nice little village called Lazonby and things could not have gone better. I've been working solidly for the last 3 months with a huge range of clients in some very different locations and boy i don't half feel like i have learnt loads and matured in myself. I recently went up to Scotland for a job interview and was successful with the position, again though another tough decision and i turned it down, i wasn't ready to move again.
As i'm sat here now i'm deep in preparation for another interview this time back in Liverpool but working at a local college as a full time outdoor education instructor. (will let you know how it goes)

Well down to some actual climbing.

I've done LOADS that massive dry spell in July was met with me and Helen being able to get ourselves out to more new venues ticking off the classics and just generally having a good time. Recently though i have been hit with a few days off and nobody to climb with so i've been getting the psyche to boulder again, suppose this is spurred on by the new local wall being Eden Rock and Dan and Mickey being the setters.

Time to dash and more updates will be done in future i promise!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Northumberland Joy

After a cracking session at Longridge last week the psyche had returned to boulder. Finding myself with some time off me and Helen decided on a four day trip up to Northumberland, I'd always heard good reports about the place but just never found myself the time or the weather to get up there. This was to be the weekend though!
A week spent watching the weather hoping and praying that we had at least two dry days, Thursday night came and the forecast was set to be good Friday evening right through to Monday morning. I can deal with the cold just as long as it's not wet, too many times do you find yourself huddled under a steep roof with what seems to be every man and his dog trying your best to climb on some real rock, when in fact the time would have been better spent training indoors. There was a few main places on my hit list; Bowden, Back Bowden and Kyloe In The Woods.
A quick chat to Hession on the Tuesday and we found ourselves assembling a small crew of four of us heading up. Going anywhere with Rich is brilliant he's like taking a walking talking guidebook who has either been and done a problem or if not more than likely watched a video of it in the shop. After some miscommunication it ended up just being Me, Helen and Rich in the van, this is sometimes better as there isn't pressure to climb at a certain place which can happen when there is a few people in a group.
Friday comes and the weather isn't looking great for that day, but I was busy with work in the morning so we couldn't leave until midday anyway, then we hoped for an evening session somewhere but the weather had other plans. Even with the rain Rich being like a child in a sweet shop still manages to find some dry bits of rock and climbs two easy problems at Bowden then got a nice 7a second go. Back to the campsite for tea and a few beers.....
Saturday 12th May
Waking up Saturday to glorious sunshine and clear blue skies, psyched!! The plan was to head back to Bowden then hopefully go round to Back Bowden in the afternoon, double session and checking two venues. We headed down the far end and towards a classic problem called Lightbulb (6a) and wow what a problem, nice little short prow followed by a high right foot to mantle on to the top of this boulder that looks like a lightbulb. As we headed back we picked out the classics and even scared ourselves with a few highballs, unfortunately the roof section i had a list of problems i wanted to try was in the middle of a lake, a large deep puddle had formed at the bottom which wrote all them problems off.
I have a personal goal of trying to climb a new 7a every time i go out. So time to try one, the one i had in mind was Transformer Direct (7a) a variation on a classic 6a+, which involved a long reach from a good hold with a solid right toe hook to drop into an undercut, slap round to a sloper then big move to a break, match the break and rock over to a slopey crimp match a break and finish. Class problem and really psyched to get it third go!
We decided to finish off at Bowden and move round to Back Bowden where there was a huge film crew with some of The North Face athletes, this was a bit of a pain but i got to see Hazel Findlay! Deffo one for the DFBWGC!!!!
Arriving here i was made up to see that the majority of problems where situated in a very steep roof, now i know why Steve built the triple roof in the crypt! Felt like perfect training for this venue. Rich pointed me towards Low and Hard (7b) this started on two incut undercuts and a goos foot rail, pulling on i quickly realised my biceps would be getting a work out as the first move felt desperate. Luckily i was pleased to pull on after this hard move and do the top section first go, this meant i had one move and i could do the whole problem, i pulled on again and felt a lot stronger. I was probably just warming into the move, as the next go i nailed the intermediate hold and slapped again to the right hand edge, kept my feet on, pulled around and i was at the boss, matching this i felt i can't blow it now sorted my feet out and rocked around up to the top hold and wooped with joy!
Not only had a done a 7b in very quick succession but it was also my first for over a year!!!

Sunday 13th May
We awoke again to dry weather but also with a hallowing gale that was bitter, after a bacon butty to start the day the plans came to head up to Hepburn, up to the classic that was The Northern Soul (7a+). Upon arrival we were all a bit dubious about whether we would actually be out of the wind, after wrestling some pads onto our back we headed up and to our surprise even the boulders quite high were slightly out of the wind. A few easy problems nailed and we were slightly warmed up so headed over to find the main reason we went. I'll be totally honest when saying after arriving at the Northern Soul boulder i was intimidated, but damn it looks like someone paid to have Cuvier moved over to the North. As goes to show though Rich pulled some fantastic climbing out the bag and after a few goes walked up the problem and to be perfectly honest it looks amazing and will be one to go back for!
With our move came the bitterly cold wind so we decided to move on to Kyloe In The Woods, I had a couple of things i had looked at in the guide i had my eye on so was keen for this change, only thing was there wasn't much easy stuff for Helen to try. After a sketchy walk in through a pine forest with high winds and very very creeky trees we arrived at the crag and i was pretty surprised i thought it would a bit more aesthetic. But one major thing the quality of the problems did not disappoint , we started off on a couple of the easier 6a's down the left hand end, i've had to try hard on 6a before but this is a new level!!
All feeling pretty tired and cold we jumped on the harder things, Rich being the nice guy he is trying to show me the beta for Monty Python's but with him struggling i decided to give it a miss and try the classic Jocks and Geordies (6c) getting into the last move on the flash and flapping it i was a bit frustrated, got on and jumped to the final sloper and i had done it! Walking down t discover the rest of the crag we found it was greener than Kermit the frog!! But we found on slightly dry problem called Flying Scotsman (7a) through a huge roof it looked amazing and Rich destroyed in a few goes. On the walk back i decided i would try the sitter to Jocks and Geordies which goes at 7a i know it easy to add an extension to a problem to grab the grade but after watching the Ginger struggle then actually finding a completely different sequence I decide it would go and it did second go!! BOOM 3 sevens in 2 days!! Best trip ever!

So far!

Monday 14th May

With the wind we were all a bit dubious on where to head today so after some deliberation we ended up coming up with a slight plan of heading to Shaftoe so even with the bad forecast if we got rained off we could head down to either Climb Newcastle or The Depot. Arriving in dry weather we walked up to the spread out problems which in fact where on a lot more course grain sandstone than we expected, so with 2 day old skin we felt it it pretty hard pretty quick. We decided with the forecasta quick hit up of Slapper (7a) and for Rich a look at Purely Belter (8a) *Strokes chin* and a flash of Surprising Solution we were done and headed home!

All in all a very good weekend and in all honesty probably my best short trip within the UK.
Keep peeled for a video.

And well done to Shauna Coxsey in Innsbruck.... BEASTIO!!!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Taking the chance

So unless you have been hiding in a cave you will be aware of the shocking weather that has been her in the UK for the past two months. Opportunities to get out have been limited and the temps still relativelycold for the time of year. After six days out in North Wales with Helen i came to the conclusion i'm going to give the trad a break until it gets warmer, it's just not fun sat on a ledge freezing your nads off! This led to focusing on bouldering again and setting a few goals and hopeully with the prospect of a trip to Hueco in the pipeline i realised it's time to get strong. I've been enjoying working at the wall the past few months and having the chance to set 25 problems for the summer bouldering league i could use it as an opportunity to set some training style problems and that i did. Out of the 25 problems there is still 9 i can't do, some of which are miles away others are in overlapping halves and will be done soon.
A couple of weeks ago i was on a our day kayaking course up in Clitheroe which i realised wasn't far away from Craig-Y-Longridge. After a visit a couple of years ago i had good memories of the place and knew i wanted to go back stronger, i headed there one evening for a short session. Conditions weren't brilliant and things felt quite greasy but i tried a few classics but all without success, one problem i really wanted to try was Big Marine the super classic 7a+, being like a child in a sweet shop i think i tried about 50 problems in an hour so very little rest and little skin. "Oh won't be a good idea to try Big Marine" now i was tired, i pulled on and could barely do the first move. I left feeling disapointed and weak.
Having spent the majority of time indoors still and not really touching real rock i was keen to get back out and the forecast for the bank holiday weekend was good but there was me on another kayaking course! Always the way. Luckily though the course had finished by 4 on Sunday and i didn't feel too tired so thought i would head back via Longridge again. After arriving i had to dig deep to find some psyche to actually go and climb, always find this hard when climbing alone. Pads on my back, bag packed with boots and water i was good to go, as i walks through the gate i seen a regular face of Ian Vickers. But he and Gill were packing up to leave, never a good sign knowing the amount of time he has spent their!! As suspected he said it's a bit greasy and thinks its only just dried out.

I thought to myself well i'm never going to get any stronger if i just drive home so put my boots on and warmed up. Climbing alone is really hard because you have to be very disiplined with resting otherwise you just power out. I was looking for something around the 7a mark to try so got on the sitter to Muscles In Their Imagination which i came close to but just couldn't stick one move! I then jumped on Fertile Delta but got scared near the top so jibbed it off. Time now to jump on Big Marine again with some skin and energy and wow i surprised myself by getting up to the gaston of the last move, getting a bit scared again i jumped off and grabbed the ladder to inspect the top holds and give them a brush. A few more goes and i keep wimping out of the last move again and again! A quick MTFU self talk and i find myself in the same situation but this time a slight alteration of the body and BOOM! i'm hanging off the final jug cheering to myself. I jump down with a massive grin on my face to see a guy in his back garden laughing at me, well at least i had one witness.
Great session with a great tick and i find myself psyched to go forth and crush!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sun = Fun

There is something strangely satisfying about visiting a new crag, sometimes these end up being world class and you wonder how you had never been there before, others you can't wait to leave and never return. Each year i try and set myself a goal to visit 20 new crags in the UK, so far this year i have managed to go to 6 already! Two of which are local sandstone venues, the other week on a sunny afternoon i paid a visit to the recently developed and cleaned up Harmers Wood and this afternoon i also visited The Breck. Ok so i won't be rushing back to their in a hurry but it has reignited a sense of psyche for the local venues, i don't know what it is about them whether it is the fact i go and ALWAYS get spanked, i leave and have rarely climbed harder than 6b but feel battered. Hoping the next time i return  things will feel easier but they never do!
With the weather being as good as its has it means the local venues are now dry, albeit they are slightly too hot in the direct sunlight, the backside of Granny Rock at the Breck was in the shade and had some sweet little link ups and eliminates and was a pleasant way to burn off a hangover.
Saturday was never going to be a long day out due to a stag do i was attending in the afternoon i managed to convince Helen in getting up super early and having a morning at Dyserth Waterfall which was definitely worth getting up for. Nice venue with some easy climbing well bolted in and absolutely beautiful location. Although i did receive a major shutdown on a 7a i couldn't get near. it was desperate and felt more Font 7a than French 7a, but the 7c's that go through the roof look so good and i visit with senior Psyche will be in order soon.
Just a quick update and hopefully a visit to Pex Hill this week will give me another spanking so keep peeled.