Friday, 14 December 2012

Steep learning curve

Andy falling off having made his project harder by throwing the crux hold at my head from 20 m up

Last Tuesday was officially the 2nd day out of the climbing season after last week's outing in Marbella.

The bad news is i didn't do well. The good news is i remembered my camera this time.

I went off to El Chorro with Luis to meet up with Andy Tapper. You can keep up with his adventures here:

and Patrick Pearce ( award winning photographer ):

What we weren't expecting were temperatures probably up into the 30's. I had a fleece, long sleeve thermal, short sleeve top and long trousers on,. Wooly hat in my bag along with gloves and a belay jacket. I also had a pair of shorts tucked away in there. By the time we reached Poema de Roca cave it was roasting. and i was down to t-shirt and shorts. Apologies to everyone who had to witness the legs. It's fair to say the weather has been a bit high or low of late.

The day started well with Tapper throwing a rock down on top of me from his project route, Via de Rudolf ( 8a+). I am guessing he's picked this because it's Christmassy. Quite an interesting discussion ensued where Patrick asked me why i didn't look up to see where the rock was and dodge out of the way. Being an experienced mountaineer i recognised the difference between " below " and " BELOW " screamed like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert. Sorry Andy but it was quite high pitched. Anyway, the scream told me that whatever was coming wasn't your usual " Oops i've kicked a small pebble off the edge of a ledge " and it was heading towards us. I didn't have time to look up without risking a rock into my beautiful face. I put my arms over my head, stood still and stood straight. This minimises the target area for the falling projectile and makes you look cool as if you're all James Dean staring death in the face as you sneer with contempt. The rock smashed down a couple of feet to my left and was pretty big. It was certainly big enough to put a dent in my day and my head.OK in reality it was enough to kill me for sure. Was i wearing a helmet whilst sport climbing in my own time. Of course i....wasn't. Personal decisions, personal acceptable levels of risk. Closest i've come to getting whacked whilst climbing outside the Alps.

Not Andy's fault. It was the one good hold in the crux and was well used/chalked. Maybe all the recent rain had got behind it and weakened it,

Do i always wear a helmet when instructing and tell people that they should too? Yes i do. Time for an attitude adjustment ? I don't know. I doubt i would have been wearing a helmet whilst walking around a long way from the crag bottom anyway so who knows. I may well be more wary of caves from now on though.

On with the climbing though. Luis and i started off with two of the most god awful routes i think i have ever climbed. Don't EVER do the the 6b and 6c to the right of the cave. Mystifyingly flowstone with the consistency of coral or glass depending on what hold you tried. In order to keep things anywhere near the grade massive detours were needed around the bolts leading to potential swings across the razor sharp coral. You can bet your ass you wouldn't land on the polished stuff.

Too steep for me !

By this time the cave was like an oven and we scooted into the back to look for something in the shade. I spied a 7b that was short and powerful. I was feeling OK about it until i saw the last few metres of the powerful included a horizontal roof. Scuttling away from potential failure on a roof that i should have been able to do i randomly ended up on Swimming Through a Shark Attack, a classic 8a+. The attraction was that it had fixed draws in it and is a pretty much horizontal roof route. No problems if we can't do it, just pull the rope and find something to blame apart from yourself. Simples ! The repulsion was that by the time i got to the 4th bolt i was shitting myself due to the very poor state of the bolts. Coke can ring pull thin hangers, old style bolts that you can move around in the drill hole by hand. Brilliant ! It's worth noting that there are now new bolts next to the old ones, but the fixed gear is in the old ones.

Tappa declared himself fearless and decided to give it a go. He soon discovered his fear and we started to look for something else.

Local knowledge prevailed and Luis pointed us in the direction of the un-promising looking cave directly to the left of Poema that was in the shade. Hooray !

Unfortunately the only route in there was a 7b+ roof climb. AAAARGH ! Fortunately even i have to admit it was pretty damn good, though it doesn't look it. Low bolts to protect the belayer ( you have to scramble about 10 metres up into the cave to start ) and no hard moves. However there were a lot of them and they were disturbingly steep. A steady vertical start led to a hands off rest, braced against a massive Kalymnos stylee tufa, and then you're off into overhanging land. Take a look at the draws on Andy's harness to see how steep it was.

After a first go on lead the old enemy of shitting myself came racing back. I was fine last week but the feeling of falling backwards onto a load of slack just makes my tummy go all rollercoaster. This meant i was hesitant and slow. Not what you need when the endurance clock is ticking. 2/3rds of the way up i flopped on a bolt rather than plough on and see what may be possible.I did pluck up the courage to make the moves that were scaring me though. A reach up to 2 tufa 'stubs' and undercut them to make the clip.

Luis showed the way and got the draws in. Tappa had another go but still peeled off after an amazing display of grit and tenacity just before the finish. I retreated to top rope ( I know, I know ) and was hopeful of blasting through to the finish with this crutch. This time i got through the crux and then failed again just after taking a whopping swing. I pulled/cheated my way up and lowered off with my tail between my legs.

I'm fit enough, i'm strong enough but i'm not brave enough.

Well the fear has come back, but only on really steep routes. That's half good and half bad. I love the look of these routes but they intimidate the shit out of me.

Next time out, fall practice.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Lifestyles of the rich and the famous - climbing in Marbella.

Night time training - board faces South and it can get too hot during the day
 After nearly 2 months of seriously crap weather it looks like we're in for a prolonged dry spell. It's been freezing with Northerly winds driven in by two weather systems sat to the West and East of Spain sucking the cold, wet winds down onto us here in the South. Although it wasn't as bad as in the USA there was severe flash flooding with the dead totalling 16. Villanuevas del Rosario and Trabuco, just 20 mins from our house, were totally devastated but fortunately for us our village didn't flood:

A few weeks later it was the turn of the centre of Malaga to get it. Despite purpose built flash flood channels for the river there was just too much water falling onto already sodden ground. That along with 3 water spouts meant the centre flooded. Most of the parking in Malaga is underground and over 300 cars were trashed when they flooded under department stores.

On with better news though. Finally getting back out again has been great. After a long stint at work i met up with Silvi to go to a new climbing area situated just outside the millionaire's playground of Marbella. I had been togged up in Winter salopettes and my biggest duvet jacket for the last week at work - it had been freezing - but Silvi promised me sun and warmth and it was a lovely day in the low 20's. Perfect for climbing. I want to get on with some 7b's and 7b+'s but with a new crag to play at i wasn't going to hang around on one route all day.

Most of the development has taken place in the last 3 yrs and a guidebook has been produced a few months ago. It's always a great feeling to go to a new area, see new crags and get some totally new routes under your belt. The guidebook is one of the best i've seen for a local effort. Very clear access info, excellent full colour photo topos, graded well on the whole and in Spanish and ( well translated ) English.

We went to the El Grito and El Gato Negro areas, which are really just a single buttress shaped around a corner. The crag can be seen from the parking and looks quite striking with a beautiful vivid orange colour. It soon transpired that the routes were about 20m long but the first 5 metres were very slabby and the top 5 metres were very sharp and slabby/vertical. This still left 10m of beautiful flowing climbing in the middle. We didn't do a bad route all day. It did however highlight a weakness ( literally ) i've been ignoring for a while. I am quite weak. I've not done any strength training in a year. So a 6c+ was effectively a 10 metre 6c+ due to the easy ground around the middle section. Some bouldery moves for sure, but they were nice moves not just thuggy or boning down on next to nothing. Steep but you had to be good with feet too. However they felt much harder than they used to. Time to get some bouldering in i think.

I got a 6c+ on-sight, 2 6c+ flashes ( one on a top rope )  and a few other 6b+'s and 6b's. A good work out.

I'd definitely go back with over 360 routes, 320 days of sunshine, views over the sea and the odd Ferrari to spot on the way there it's a nice place to be.

Unfortunately i forgot to take my camera, which is why you get a picture of me on my training board instead - doh !

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Costa Blanca

Nik was so lost in the hardcore techno on his I pod he momentarily forgot where he was and started dancing

A week or so after my big breakthrough i was lucky enough to meet up with Nik Jennings. He had been running a coaching course in the Costa Blanca and had a few days after to climb. A 6.30 am start saw me arrive in Alicante about 12, I keep forgetting how big Spain is. I was knackered after driving through thick fog, rain and even hail at one point. Not just now and then but pretty much for 300kms of the journey.

It was wet there too so the planned trip to Forada was not on. The only dry place we could find was Ibi. It looked OK and was in a very nice setting tucked away behind an old water mill.

 The only dry route in the village

Unfortunately there were only 2 dry routes on the whole crag in the central section. We got there just in time to see a group lowering off La Chica yeye. When i say lowering off they were lowering off a maillon from the bolt below the chains. Not always a good sign. Nik reckoned that 7a+ that people have bailed from is a great warm up grade and told me to go for it, thanks Nik. I fell at the 2nd bolt on a dynamic lunge for a pocket. I hit it, but didn't hold it as it was blind, i got it on a bad part and i have a saggy arse. My words not Niks.I am not holding my tension when i hit a hold and as a result i may touch the hold but often fall away from it meaning failure. I managed the rest of it up to the final bolt.

It's worth mentioning here that the route was about 10 moves long and all of them were strong, reachy and most were using bolt on bits of rock filed down.Very bizarre, even for Spain.

 Spot the bolt ons. There are 3 in this picture alone.

The last section had a yellow resin mono hold and a small blue crimper up and right. It appeared you had to somehow reach the miles away mono and then yard up on it. Nik mentioned something about using my feet and pushing up but i went for the yard up on one finger tactic, and failed. Cut a long story short i had 3 rp goes and everytime got to the mono and fell. Even Nik didn't manage to get it in one. He was finding the reachy move low down really hard but eventually cheated on the mono move by using technique and going again for the crimp.

The finishing holds. You can see the massive holes in the roof above and a breeze block nailed on for good measure. Subtle !

My mono finger was feeling tweaky so after another attempt failing at the mono we quickly decided to move on to the other dry route hoping it would be just as good. At least this one had no holds bolted on it. Shame really as a couple of them could have really improved it and would have meant we didn't need to use the razor blades disguised as holds. Imaginatively named Route 10 it wasn't what we'd come to climb on really. I didn't get it in the end but with comments about the crag saying it's sandbag heaven i wasn't too upset. It salvaged something out of a very wet day and i still wasn't scared of falling. I took more falls that day than in the whole of last year.

The view from the crag - not bad i guess
Next day we were going to Forada. Nik had told me it's the best crag in the Costa Blanca with no bad routes on it. The weather decided otherwise again, and as we couldn't even see the crag due to the cloud we diverted again. Heading North until we could see the sun meant we ended up in the Xalo valley at Las Pinturas in the Los Pinos area. It was a cool looking place. A long, short, open cave of orange rock with some cave paintings and some climbs with very steep starts before rounding the lip to what looked easy slabby ground above.

Las Pinturas
Starting off with a bang i went for Route 5 and found wet pockets followed by bloody sharp holds on the slab above the bulge. Failed again ! I got a good pump on though so it did it's job as a warm up. Next up was Paprika. As Nik won't allow people to take it easy he made me have a bash at on-sighting it. This quickly turned into a bolt to bolt to work the moves out. It was fierce steep to start. Having rested a while i thought about having another go to get it wired. I was quickly dispossessed of that idea by Nik who told me to get on it and crush it. 1st bolt clipped, sneaky foot faggotry to get through the hard bit foot popped off. Lack of concentration. Bugger ! The good news is it went next go and felt easy. I wasn't even pumped. How does that happen ? Once through the crux there was a shake point and i had to stop myself leaving too early as i felt like i was flying. Normally you can't get me away from rests.

Even better news is that it's thought to be a hard 7b :0)

So what to do for the rest of the day, apart from belaying Nik trying 8a on-sights of course ? Well i could go for a 7b+, a 7c or a 7c+. Of course i went for the 7c+.

7c+ mentalness.
 It actually looked the most do-able option with a fairly obvious sequence.It is called The Reaper and is described as having a hard start leading to a very hard move. I should say. Using my new found extra appendages ( my feet ) i surprised myself by making fairly decent progress. I ended the day one move off from the easy ground. After only a couple of hours on it i was pretty happy with that. If it was local i'd have it as a project and i don't think it would take too long. I've never pulled off moves that hard before, not even when bouldering, and the amount of  weight i could get through my feet was wicked,

Next day saw us a bit battered but finally at Forada. I summoned up all my psyche and warmed up on something sensible this time - a nice steady away 6b+. Target for the day was a 7a on-sight and a 7b RP.

I ended up with a 7a flash of Starman and a pretty miserable fail on Muscleman. It's a great route but i just didn't have anything left in the tank after 2 hard days. It was pretty frustrating as i felt if i was fresh it'd go down quite easy. I was faffiing about at the steep bit and had no energy left for subsequent goes.

So it was off for another 6 hr drive back home. I'd got some successes, some failures but most importantly i'd learned a hell of a lot.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The comeback kid !

Well it's been nearly 6 mths to the day without a blog. Basically it's gone like this:
  • Lack of psyche following breaking through into a new grade
  • elbow tendonitis = 6 weeks off any hard climbing
  • Summer = 6 weeks of too hot to climb anything hard
  • Broken ribs = 6 weeks of no hard climbing
Taking these one at a time.

Lack of psyche was confusing to me, until recently. I'd just broken a new grade and physically it didn't feel that hard. Mentally however was another story. Being scared to death of falling and trying to climb as hard as i thought i could meant i was likely to fall. I just wasn't enjoying the process. It was only recently that i acknowledged that this happened when chatting to Steve at Loja. We talked about how he is scared of falling on on-sight and i am scared of falling on red-point. Steve is a red-point machine and brilliant to watch. He sorts out sequences very quickly, focuses and goes 100% on his attempts. This often gets results. I get more scared on red-point because i am much more likely to fall. I then hesitate, get tired and fail. The whole build up to it and mental pressure was just not floating my boat at the time.

I took the chance to go to physio for my elbows and whilst she didn't say stop climbing i was told to keep it at a low level for a while or she might have to repeat the really painful massage she had done on me. 'Nuff said and i was a good boy. What i found helped a lot were all the little things you do that aggravate it. I changed how i belayed in particular ( straight brake arm and no tension in it ), how i drove, how i carried my rucksack and loads of other little things that were stopping it recovering fully. It hasn't come back so fingers crossed.

Summer was just hot and everyone went away on road trips and left me partner less and sweaty, so not much done there.

The broken ribs was one of those things i couldn't do much about. A bit silly really but i got involved in a bar fight in a friend's bar. I grabbed the big fat fella who was causing all the grief and took him down to the ground from behind in true ex policeman style. Unfortunately i was a slightly drunk ex policeman and got it a bit wrong and he ended up falling on top of me and we hit the corner of a table on the way down. To add insult to injury i got whacked around the head with an ashtray that someone was trying to hit someone else with. Owch ! It wasn't all that bad after. I am sure i cracked a couple of ribs under my right armpit and did something round the back near my shoulder blade but it could have been worse. You should have seen the other guy :0) After a month i was able to pull hard again, but it still hurts when i sneeze.

After all this i was ready for trying again. Steve and his friend Paul were coming over for a week and Steve wanted to try Hasta Luego Luca again. It's an amazing twin tufa pipe climb with consecutive knee bars, and Steve had bought a 5.10 knee pad. Despite the fact that it has been universally agreed that this bit of kit takes off half a grade i still failed on it due, yes you guessed it, being scared of falling. I was too hesitant and slow. Steve cracked it off in good style.

Me really dancing while Steve basks like a lizard

We met up again a couple of days later at Cauche where a weird thing happened. Paul was trying Tomohawk, the very same 7b i climbed 6 mths ago that put me off. I got back on and sorted the low down boulder problem ( ish there was still 2 possible sequences for the boulder problem ) and flashed the rest. After a short break i tied on, climbed it decisively ( using the new sequence but going at it 100% ) and cruised it. I had not done anything different in my approach, i had no 'pre-flight' nerves, no fear of falling, just a feeling that it was going to be OK. I have absolutely no idea what happened. All i can say is that if that is how it feels for everyone else then i want more. I have started to worry though as i had not done anything to lose the fear, it could easily come back.

Getting to the steep bit

The crux is slapping for a blind edge over your head from the slopey undercut.

Crux done, just the easy ground to mess up on now

Victory swing

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Real progress at last !

Well i finally climbed a 7b. Tomohawk at my local crag, Villanueva De Cauche, which was nice. I'd been on it on a top rope once before following Ale, a very tall, very dynamic, climbers beta and buggered up my right elbow. I then watched Silvi climb it with technique and vowed to remember the beta.

Steve ( Eagle River from UKC ) has recently got married. What's that got to do with me climbing 7b you may ask ? Well his in laws live less than 1 hr from my house here in Spain. Why couldn't i find a woman like that ? Weirder coincidences are to follow as it turns out he lives about 10 minutes from my Mum's back in Manchester. Anyway i digress, get back to the exciting stuff i hear you cry. He came over for a visit and was allowed out for a few days climbing. I surprised him with freezing cold weather and torrential rain just to prove to all the UKC'ers that it's not always sunny in Spain. We spent a chilly, but mostly dry, day in Archidona cave. I told him not to believe the hype that it's one of the world's premier climbing venues. Yes the routes at 7c and above are awesome ( so i've been told ) but the whole floor - and many holds - are covered in a lovely mixture of bird and goat shit. Anyway we made the best of a bad day and i failed on a 7a on-sight again. Steve got introduced to the world of steep European limestone on Danza Agressiva and then we retreated due to the cold.

Steve had a goal of getting a 7b in a session. He likes bouldery routes and came armed with a clip stick. Tomohawk ( yes i'm back on the story now ) seemed to fit the bill. A couple of metres of easy climbing, a V4 section involving a gaston, guppy, double undercut sidepull off a massive ( but strangely insecure ) tufa with really high feet to dyno for an OK'ish hold. I had 2 more top ropes on it but wasn't feeling like i had the firepower to do the crux slappy move.

Steve showed me how with a very well executed redpoint. As someone who redpoints a lot his experience with that really showed. He figured out, and remembered, sequences much quicker then i can. Most importantly once he knew the moves he climbed them with a lot of confidence and just the right amount of aggression. He cruised the crux, rested and then blasted his way up the 6b+ ish climbing above.

I had half decided ( well more 80% if i am honest ) to just have another top rope but found myself pulling the rope through unexpectedly. Peer pressure kicked in. I reckon if he'd offered me a ciggy i'd have said yes. I quickly found myself entering the crux having scorned princess clipping the 1st 2 bolts ;0) Totally nervous, totally expecting to fail until something clicked and i just thought " Fuck it, i'm here now i may as well just see what happens." There was a pause of about 2 or 3 seconds as i latched the crux move while it sank in that i'd got it. I remember inwardly shouting at myself. " Stop staring at that shit hold you're on and move to the jug next to it." I eventually did and just had the easy climbing ahead after a rest point. Feeling rested, and on a real positive high, i set off into the much easier crux above, totally bolloxed it up, got wrong handed and ended up pulling out some weird, high footed, undercut, gaston thing. I've got to stop trying to mess things up for myself.

Silvi said it'd go next time and it did. She also said i wouldn't be far off Rasca y Pica ( Itchy and Scratchy ) a 7b+ round the corner. So that's my next target.

I've finally updated my goals on here as they were from December so just got to stick to them now.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Things are slowly coming together

Another 7a on-sight failed. I still smiled when i got it 2nd go though.

Well it's been another 2 months since my last post. I can't follow blogs where people waffle on about every time they go out or what they had for lunch. I haven't made any massive leaps in progress, no eart shattering news, but i thought that what has been happening was worth a summary post.

I have spent the last couple of months climbing with people from the Olive Branch in El Chorro which has been great. Strangely i have ended up climbing with lots of people from Cumbria who i didn't know before. The climbing world is a small one, but only in El Chorro it would seem.

I kept on trying for the 7a onsight and so far have kept on failing. Everytime i am so close. I am into double figures now. It has either been just one mistake or my head that has been stopping me. How i react to that mistake, and deal with the subsequent fear of falling, is what is stopping me.

I am now resolved to take some falls every routes session and if i don't then you can call me soft ! It's still a massive issue i need to overcome. Because it's a massive issue i am hoping to make some big gains in performance.

This has come to a head due to my new climbing partner(s). As the season is coming to an end a lot of people have left the Olive Branch and i have also started the search for work. I know it's tough but i haven't done a days work since July 2011 so i need to get back to it.

Silvi cruising

This led me to get in touch with the rockclimbingcompany and Silvi Fitzpatrick. Not only did she think that we could work together she also wanted to climb together. Feeling nervous i went out with her for the first time climbing at the Chilam Balam cave. I was bricking myself but ended up pleasantly surprised at the amenable grades that were there as well as 9a+(b) madness.

I ended up getting a real introduction into what it takes to climb hard grades. A never ending passion for giving it 100% seems to be what it takes. You can't fail to be carried along by Silvi's enthusiasm for climbing. One second she is laughing, the next deadly serious. It's obvious climbing is what makes her tick, a real obsession. She enjoys it, but it's not to be taken lightly. If it's worth doing then it's worth devoting your entire life to see where it takes you seems to be her motto.

The new love of my life, Ciara the worlds greatest crag dog

Due to some old injuries she has had to change her climbing style and is now a bit of a technical master ( mistress ?). Climbing with her is like having your own personal coach. She's great to watch and also knows when to chip in with advice when i am struggling. She has a massive amount of experience and i am going to learn everything i can from her. On top of all that she's really nice too.

The amazing line of Chilam Balam

One thing i've noticed, other than how strong her fingers are, is how much she moves her body position about. I tend to grab a hold, stay static and try to figure then next move out. I just about always start the next move from the position i am in. Silvi is never still. She milks every position for what she can get out of it and will get a hold in one position, move into a restful position, figure the next move out and then move to the optimum position to execute the next move. It's not done as statically as i describe it. It flows beautifully from one move to the next.

She also climbs much more side on. I remember AJM from fit club saying he had had a coaching session with Adrian Berry who pointed out that he didn't climb as side on as he should. I always thought that was a bit odd as it's obvious that when it's steep you turn side on. However watching Silvi she is rarely front on to anything. She sits on her feet when outside edging keeping her arms dead straight and pushes her way up routes with her legs.

I should now get the opportunity to get back on harder routes. I've been on a handful of 7a+'s and 7b's but never had chance to go back after an initial feel of the moves. I've now got a couple of projects, including a 7c monster that i will be able to get back on and give them a real go. It'll be good to see where my limit is. Silvi reckons a 7b will go next time for me ( now she has shown me how to clinb it with technique ) and with a bit of work there is a 7b+ waiting for me. I just have to believe her.

Me climbing face on - again

The project ! Cenizo 7c
It's a bit steep.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Time flies !

Andy T on Rock the Kasbah 7b

Shocked to see it's been nearly 2 mths since i last posted. Xmas seems to have got in the way as has life in general. I don't seem to have the time to sit and type of an evening. Mrs Biscuit has flown back to the UK for a week so i have now got the time for an update. It does mean she has the Mac with all the piccies on it though so i've not much to brighten this blog up.

Mario did come over and we were cut off in our prime after a quick RP of Diedro Candela, a stamina 7a+. The idea then was to tick off another 2 or 3 in the last few days he was here. Instead we got the virulent shits ( think going to the loo 40+ times a day and not eating for 3 days ) and i wasn't even well enough to drive him to the airport. Respect due to the Maz with his kill or cure approach using a Whopper meal to kill the bugs. Braver than i am to do that 1 hr before getting on a Ryanair with only 1 toilet.

In my last post i said i had learned a lot about redpointing and onsighting. This seems to be true and i am forming a definite routine in how i approach both. So far my redpointing has only been up to 7a+ and haven't been sieges. It's been more looking at the moves i don't have the fitness to hang around and execute onsight and then the route goes next go.

I blogged a while ago about trying Arabesque, an 3 star 7a, and how it was all technical and balancy and not my thing, along with various other crap excuses. I got back on it yesterday, had a bolt to bolt to remember it and figure it out, and then did it next go. It felt pretty standard to be honest and i was certainly no where near my limit physically. I'd been having a chat with someone earlier in the day about the mental side of things. Andy climbs 'a muerte' every time and is super psyched. He's great to climb with because of that and it rubs off on you. I think i've only just started to realise how much the mental side has been holding me back.

I've always known that i don't like falling but since moving here i've gone from abject panic at the thought of falling above a bolt to a kind of ' I really don't want to fall but the desire for the route outweighs the fear.' This is a massive improvement but it's still there, especially on onsights and it needs to be squashed down further until it warns me of danger but otherwise shuts up.

Seeing Andy take more falls in a session than i do in a year shows me what i need to do and i have now started climbing with the knowledge i may fall and i have fallen. Guess what ? Nothing really happened.

Although i am going to really work on the mental game i have also started a 16 week periodised training schedule. Lots of reading has been done and it's a full on aero cap, an cap, aero pow, an pow thing. After week 1 i am tired. Not great as it's supposed to be a very easy breaking in week. Oops ! I will post full details of it soon so you can get an idea of what i've done. So far i've only planned the first 8 weeks, which is my base. I have the next 8 weeks ( peak ) rough planned but no detail yet. It'll be really interesting to see what effect it has.

My goals are now different - again. They have been chaning as logistics change and as i come across more appealing routes. No bad thing and they will all stretch me. I want 7b by the end of this 16 weeks. I have been really impressed by routes like Anack Sunamun at sector La Momia in Chorro. Next to it is this years big challenge: Honk Down ! a looong 7c. Think long 7b to a jug rest and a few moves into a V4 that's easier for the tall. It's a gut wrencher as if you fluff the crux you've got to climb another 30 metres to get to the crux again. I am actually looking forward to it.

As for the 7a onsight goal. That's still very much there and a word from the wise ( John Kettle climbing coach ) means i can fit both in by trying 7a onsights as part of a warm up for routes in the 7b region.

Bring it on ! I'm going to put a stamp on the pea and crush it. Sorry private joke.