Bouldering Soundtrack

I love Spotify, when I want to disappear into my own world and boulder with some music or train hard this is my playlist!!

(Yes its a bit long but I do a lot of training!!)

Bouldering

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Trust your belayer… a whole new bond

The last day of Spain was just me and Chris, Gunny was dropped off in the morning at the airport and we headed out to Reconco on our own. After scrambling around on the wrong path we made our way up the hill. Perfect weather, perfect temperature, warm but not too hot, no wind fresh rock. Chris had looked up a few climbs with a steady 5+ planned as my first lead.

Hitting the first few bolts fine I tried to clip the 5th, quickdraw in, reached for the rope and my left foot blew, I still don’t know the reason, it had held perfectly for the draw. Worst time to fall, the maximum rope out at the bolt, unexpected, belayer giving more rope out, everyone’s nightmare . Chris caught me perfectly, textbook belaying, the fall was bad with burns across three fingers and my arm along with a few knocks and cut knuckles but nothing serious.

It’s made me think more and more though how much trust we put in our belayers, I climb with a group and will often climb with new climbers who haven’t belayed before. I’m trusting these people with my life. I find with Chris I can climb harder, faster more difficult, I trust him spotting me and his judgement when he says I need to change something or watch my gear placement. It leads me to consider…. how many other people in life do we have this relationship or bond with. Maybe our parents or partner but we never put them in a situation holding our life on the end of a rope.

Why I climb……?

I feel rather like I am copying a post from Senna’s climbing blog as he followed me today before I  could publish this post. His blog is amazing and here : http://thelifestyledirtbag.wordpress.com/

However since I came back from Spain so many people have asked why I risk life and injury for sport. Beyond the physical aspect and the adrenaline I think the following photos sum up why I do it. I get to see the world at it’s most beautiful, I spend my free time in the remote countryside with friends to whom I trust my health and life, and have an existence away from the turbulence and stress that most people live in.

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It’s been a while…

Sorry for the radio silence much has happened, in training for Spain I picked up a shoulder injury trapping a nerve in my back and losing feeling in two fingers, not great!

However still made it to Spain and discovered the delights of the Costa Blanca- Sierra des Toix, Guadalest, Sella and Reconco were all climbed in amazing weather. Learnt how to build anchors, multipitch and clean routes safely which is handy and has opened up a vast range of routes in the UK. I also got some great lead climbs in and top roped a few of the harder climbs the other guys did.

So back home for Christmas, 21 degrees sun to -5 and snow. It has come as a bit of a culture shock. Even more of a shock was how much weight and muscle I’ve lost in Spain and over Christmas. This was shown in the Depot last night and in the gym this evening. Much work to be done.

I need some goals. And my trad gear is itching!

Psychology of climbing

So something I plan to read into more in the next few weeks but a topic I seem to have discussed a lot in the last week or so.

Every climber has had it, the thoughts before you even pull on to a climb…’I can’t do this’ indoors ‘it’s above my usual grade’ halfway up a climb… ‘I can’t make this TAKE’

None of this is entirely true, how do we know we cannot complete a climb, what do grades really mean if you haven’t tried them, do we always yell take when we at our physical limit or is it our mental limit. I just finished reading a book by Alain Robert, you may know him as Spiderman, amazing guy but there is a section in his book where he discusses failing on a climb he should do easily. What is amazing is not that he failed but that he was thinking exactly the same on a solo 7c+ as I think on a highball 5+ and it is what links all climbers intrinsically, us average climbers can feel EXACTLY what the top guys feel just at our own grade.

At the end of last week I had my worst session for a long time, in The Works in Sheffield, I couldn’t complete problems I’d done a few days before,I couldn’t move anything above a 6a yet what was different? I was as fresh as ever, feeling strong, was in the right mental frame when I arrived….. I was climbing with someone different. Someone who didn’t push me, asked me why I was trying things I clearly could not finish, why not just climb the grades I could do….? The change in my ability was vast.

the following day I took another climber to The Depot, someone just pushing into the black grades, by the end of the session she had completed most of the black circuit, afterwards she thanked me for pushing her, not just helping her route read but yelling at her to get on the next hold, telling her to try things…. she improved a grade in a single session, not because physically she was stronger but mentally she believed she could do it.

Psychology…… I need to know more.

Stronger…..and Spain booked

Another week of good health and good climbing, bouldering rules the plans right now, after an amazing session at The Depot where my grades flew I had a less than average session in the works although I was tired.

I approached a session back on sports routes with trepidation on Thursday then spent the night bouldering, Crimping through a V5 that noone else could touch was a huge deal not to show off but to get a benchmark of where I’d improved against people I regularly climb with. I’ve also noticed a vast improvement in my route reading.

Spain booked, 4 weeks until multi pitch / sport routes in Costa Blanca, I need to learn to climb for more than 5m!!!

Strong

Amazing how quickly the body changes and adapts.

A great week, trad on Burbage and two good sessions in the works, pushing into the 6b 6c territory which is totally unexplored for myself. I do admit that the climbs I’m pushing tend to be strength, burly style problems but even so it’s good to see the grades becoming more attainable.

In other news I reengaged with an old favourite band. Out Damned Spot, you can find them here and listen to all their music (and buy it for seriously cheap!!)

http://outdamnedspot.net/

Peace out.

No E11's, no Yosemite, no hair-rasing solos, just the beautiful art from an average climber