Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Back the game!!!

 After having a really wet spring I decided to go back to my other love which is fishing for big carp in lakes and ponds, just to pass the wet weekends but that turned into 5 months solid fishing with no climbing of any sort at all, I really enjoyed it but I have to say it was a big mistake, I started back climbing in the last week of September and was rubbish weighing in at just under 13 stone and very out of shape... I'm now a 6a+/b climber and it's been hard to accept I've fallen so far behind Tommy and Ben. But four or five weeks have past and I'm looking more like a climber again my main issue was and still is stamina in the forearms but it's improving every week now, and to be honest it's given me a chance to clear up some of the routes of lower grades I skipped, it's great to be back climbing and in the company of my climbing Conrad's..
My little sidekick Davina aka "vivi" has got stronger too and this week end my fiancée Lucy came along and manages to top rope onsight a grade 4 having never climbed before and a good day was had at a busy winspit.

Tommy on "I thought you had it"

Ben on "peppercorn rate"

I've ticked a couple of winspit classics such as stonemason (6a+) and unseen ripples (6a+/b) so that was cool and great routes.

Tommy and Ben are doing well ben especially he climbed exuberance (7a) I think 2nd go so that's good going. 
Bens partner Gemma is also making progress she made here 1st lead on "toms patients".

Phil Belcher has also been making his mark with a couple of first accents bolted and kindly given to him by the one and only Pete Oxley, the route I witnessed Phil do Sunday at winspit was a huge link up of the big cave, which involves climbing through the roof then following a slight upwards traverse  rightward, I have to say he made it look easy and named it "new dawn fades" (7c) very inspiring.

 Well I'm training hard and hopefully gonna make gains every week, it's great to be back climbing I'm hopping to be back having a good go at 7a again by Christmas would be great to end the year with a 7a tick which is where I was at in the spring.. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Catching up and new Horizons

Its currently Thursday afternoon I'm sat in my car wind howling again as i write this in my "lunch break" ;) so i had no Internet for a while and lots has happened almost too much to catch up on but ill have a go... sent peppercorn yay.. me and my pal Tommy Harris who also previously failed on it also wanted to send and it went first lead for us both so that was cool.
Had day out with the young and very strong Phil Belcher at blacknor north..I flashed "hysterical solitude" (6c) which is my best to date.. so that was cool.
played on a couple of 7a routes with Ben (10) Jones the following week, but didn't send nothing.

Ive had a bit of a shoulder/neck injury for a while which was work related and I've been getting treatment for that still niggles a bit but not too much hopefully will heal soon, should probably rest it but who does that ?! besides i do monitor it and take care not to pull it too much and its definitely better so fingers crossed there.

This week end just gone a last min decision was made to go to do some traditional climbing something which I've not done yet so was mega psyched to do that, i met Tommy at the Durlston car park and we set off to abseil into cattle troughs a section ideal for beginner's like myself.. i was excited having never having to "ab" into a crag before and of the adventure involved in placing my own piece's for protection from a fall.. the climbing would be much easier than I'm used to so just a head game of placing good gear along the way was all that was needed. I climbed 4 lines in total two on second and two on lead the first was for me to second and was called "chockney" VDiff 4a the next line was my 1st ever lead line called "Resurrection" HS 4b... Tommy then decided he wanted to solo "resurrection" which was pretty cool, while i sat on a ledge taking pics. The 3rd route was "old lags corner" VS 4c which Tommy led, my second lead was "Bunneys wall" at VS 5a which i really enjoyed was great fun and good climbing. so it was a good start to my trad , well i was happy anyway nice easy climbing trying to spot gear placements along the way, something I'm definitely going to do a lot more of as its more adventurous and i got massive satisfaction in actually topping out and standing on top of what id just climbed to then build an anchor system to bring up the second... fantastic, my world has been opened up mahoosivly, another feather in the cap.. would like to thank Tommy for taking me out showing me the ropes and of course keeping me safe...

Here's a few pics from the trips..

A glorious wallsend

swanage trad
me and Tommy

Blacknor North sunset

War wounds...


Thursday, 6 February 2014

After having a rest week, this weekend I was raring to go and super psyched, the venue was to be Dorset's winspit again and with heavy rain dying out just after midnight Saturday and fairly high winds, I was hopeful of getting on my target route.. "peppercorn rate" which goes at F7a and is a really awesome line.
This week my bud Ben Jones who i spent most of last year climbing with was back out again and also raring to go, we arranged for him to pick me up at 6:30 ish and in perfect Ben style turned up at quarter past 7 thats a bit of a running joke..haha.. so we greeted each other and set off, quick coffee in Rownhams services and we were off.
We were also meeting my mate Tommy Harris , who Ive been climbing with of late at the winspit car park.. on arrival Tommy was there and waiting Ben and Tommy got acquainted and we were off.
The weather was as forecast dry sunny with some scattered cloud, it was breezy but I didn't find it cold.

We chatted all sorts of climbing as we walked in and as we reached the crag I couldn't help but run on to see if "peppercorn" was dry and yes it sure was, well the driest I've seen it in weeks with just two seepy patches, obviously we didn't know if the crack was to be dry at the top but it looked it..

me enjoying a warm up
We headed to south face to see if any warm ups were dry and settled for "mackerel" a grade 5 I've never climbed so I took the lead it was a nice route and definitely deserves a star although the top was soaked and using a soaking wet sloper to clip the chains was a bit spicy but it all held fine.. Tommy and Ben both followed the Route and we were off we re climbed the 6a on the corner of "pump me tenderly" and Ben and Tommy also climbed the 5+ but having warmed up I opted out to get ready to put the draws in "peppercorn rate"with some chalk, the main crack was dry... the route was in pretty good shape certainly good enough for a send.. I worked the moves on the crux and was very pumped but had the sequence. .
we walked down and got set I climbed the 1st section to the crux which felt harder today but got through OK I climbed to the bottom of the crack then we used the beta stick to put the rest in I dried a few spots with a towel and dried some holds
Tommy then had a go top rope and beasted his was through the crux, only to run out of steam at the cracks top where a mantle was needed he had a breather then finished the moves..
Ben also had a great attempt but also run out of steam at the top crack he also come off the low crux once, he looked strong and a bit more stamina and it would be in the bag.

We had a bit of a breather and some lunch and we bantered each other into who was gonna lead it, i actually felt tired and wasnt going to get on it but when tommy and ben both said they were keen to lead i felt it would be rude not too..

Tommy was first up and looked strong he breezed to crux and moved up and into the restricted rest he had a quick shake out and moved into the crux dropped into the layback position, it looked good but as he moved into the rock up moved something come un-done and he was off.. awesome effort.

Bens attemp on the lead was similar breezed the crux but hesitated on the the sequence of the crack he moved up into it but come off after moveing up into the crack also a great effort and a marked improvement in stamina since our last climb together..

Next was my lead I felt tired from the other attempts as my fitness isn't what it was back in the summer but I was psyched to have a go on lead, I set off relaxed until I jammed my finger on the first hard move which must have trapped a nerve sending a lighting like sensation through my finger,a bit beweildered I shook it off and moved into the crux which went better this time than any other I was psyched... I could hear Tommy and Ben willing me on to do the rest of the route, I moved up into a restricted rest and shook out relaxed myself and prepared for the dreaded pumpy top section I then moved into the crack found my feet and fell into the layback the pump was creeping in but I stayed calm got to the top of the crack to the rock over move stabbed two fingers from my left hand into the small triangle shaped crack, I felt like I was gonna fall but I held it rocked up and the hardest moves were all done , I was pumped silly but stayed calm hands up to the flat ledge.. feet sorted the lower off is in reach now just one more hand movement so I can clip and f**********ck I'm off.... so destroyed 

battled so hard and whooosh I'm off didn't even see it coming....

moving into the crack
I lowered off and felt surprisingly psyched though a bit gutted Tommy couldn't believe it nor could Ben we just laughed ... that's climbing for ya :)

Ben retrieved the gear and we packed up and set off, another day done and the route should fall next go for sure...

Enjoy your climbing and keep safe...

Ben on "makeral"

Tommy on "peppercorn rate"crux

Monday, 20 January 2014

After our last attempts at winspit Tommy and myself was keen to get back and try and tick our routes, but on arrival they were very wet.. the sun was in the sky but with a band of cloud on the horizon which kept coming between the sun and the crag it looked unlikely to dry.. the routes on the adjoining corner of south face was Dry as usual, so we warmed up on the same rotes as before then moving round too a route called "nine years absence" which was a fairly tecnical F6a and good fun..

We then decided to get on something harder and so we chose to look at a route called "agonies of a dying mind" (F7a)  this route starts under a roof and is very bouldery you have to pull up on a crimp and a pinch with very bad feet.. i had a try then pulled over the lip to clip the 2nd bolt, as i did the heavens opened up, so i quickly stripped the route and we sat under the lip for some lunch.
the route didnt get wet and it soon passed over and cleared up with blue skys once again, so Tommy said he was keen to try it and after a few false starts was over the lip and on his way to the lower off once over the lip the climbing is pretty easy and he took the tick.. Pretty Awesome.. and i was psyched to have a go which i did 4 times before pulling myself over the lip and dogging the rest of the route taking a bit of a detour and falling at cutting my hand in the process.. not sure what i was playing at haha.

I think im close to nailing these F7a routes and shouldnt take londg to be as fit or fitter than i was in the summer my sport climbing is consisting of trying to climb at my limit now and im aiming to tick F7a again before the months out weather permitting...

Was a good day and was interesting to meet Scot Tit who is president of the BMC he had lots to say and was very interesting knowligable and also quite humerous..

Friday, 17 January 2014

Sport climbing at winspit...Peppercorn Rate.

Today is the 11th January 2014 and Tommy Harris and myself had arranged to take advantage of the good weather forecast and mild temperatures and go hit some sport climbing, we both have routes at winspit to get done so there was to be our destination.
The one and a half hours drive from Portsmouth to Dorset really made apparent the flooding that has occurred lately with so many field's full of water its really bad at the moment down south compared to what normal lets hope it dryes out soon.
I met Tommy in the winspit car park as usual at 9am and we walked in it was a cool day with a light breeze clear sky and the sun was shining, lovely i thought, now gotta hope the crag is dry after the days of rain we have had..
25 Min's we arrived down at the crag much of the Quarrymans wall was wet and dripping but the far Right of the crag and some parts of the south face was dry so we had a start. We started out on a route called "Pump my Daisy" which is a F5+ route and a nice gentle warm up..

Blue skys...
We then climbed a route called "Tend my Daisy" (F6a) which was also a nice warm up Tommy suggested we headed round onto the south face to another warm up route and to see what routes was dry.. We end then climbed a route called "plaice a bolt"  (F5) which was a fun route with a really cool initial move over a cave.
by now it seemed like a spring day it was very warm and a really pleasant day so far, we had now decided we were warmed up enough to try something in the 7th Grade.. and with the left hand end of the Quarrymans wall now mostly dry we decided to look at some routes there, Tommy wanted to try a Tough looking steep line called "solstice" (F7a+) and i really wanted to try  line called "Peppercorn Rate" (F7a) both of which were dried out well mostly..  Tommy had 1st go and put the clips in as he went working the route bolt to bolt he nailed the initial moves but then had to work a sequence for a harder section which he did and in style with a dynamic move, he worked each section until tired then i had a go on my route i worked the moves as i went and found the initial moves not too bad and the crux also seemed ok but stamina let me down when i arrived at the crack on the head wall, a really awkward blind crack and bitch to climb i spent a lot of energy try to work a sequence and got very pumped i set the top on the route and would have another go on top rope to try and suss the moves on the crack and make sure the 1st section flows ok..
Tommy had another go and lead the route right up to the crux where he had to rest a few times he did manage to do the moves and move up and do the rest of the moves tired he decided to leave it for next time, but having seen him do all the moves I'm sure he is very close to getting it. i also had another go on top rope and this time made it right to the bottom of the crack again which then again gave me problems, my stamina defiantly needs working on but this route foe me is do-able and I'm pretty confident that now have a sequence for the crack, and a little longer at the rest the route will fall, its a very good route and cant wait to get back on it, this year is my year for grade 7's so lets hope this is the start to my sport season..


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Christmas period 2013

Psyched from my last trip on the tools i was looking forward to Christmas with my Girlfriend and the kids.. all went well had a great time time but then on the 26th my attention turned back to climbing i actually turned down a days bouldering on what was to be the only good day over Christmas, instead i took the kids to winspit put up a rope for them on a Grade 4 and let them take turns... was good fun but missed the opportunity to climb myself on the only good day weather wise but hey... the kids enjoyed themselves
The 27th came and it was decided and the other half gave me permission haha to turn the loft into a training room so i set about decking the floor and preparing for what i wanted to do. The following day i set about building a 4ft box coming down from the ridge and returning back into the roof i made it of solid wood then cased it in 4mm mdf just to make it smooth and tidy, i put my metelious hangboard one end and some other small hold around the box and some on the rafters as feet pegs so i could make foot movements and hand movements consecutively, i also bolted into the rafter opposite the box and one on the same rafter a bit lower to make a pulley system or just to sit in my harness on a fixed rope which can be set at different lengths, this also helps take a bit of the load when a swing pull up is done mainly for the smaller hold such as last two and monos, i also left the top of the box open on the other end from the hangboard.. for bathangs and hanging crunches.. its all good and works well providing a multitude of exercises and work outs...
time to get really strong..

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A Day On The Tools....

OK its 23rd of December the weathers been all over the place even more so than usual, were currently experiencing mega high winds and loads of rain.. today was a bit of a break in the weather, id already organised a day out with a friend called Tommy Harris a big guy with a span of a gorilla.. he is a Strong boulderer, sport and traditional climber but his favourite game is alpinismn.. he loves being on the tools and is pretty good at it too.. and is also a dab hand behind the lens..

We met at 9am in the winspit car park, worth matravers, Dorset.. this crag is predominantly sport and trad but there are a few caves which have been used for dry tooling..
we arrived at the crag after a nice 25 min downhill walk the sun was shining and after recent storms and bad weather felt amazing to be out in, the crag was fairly dry due to the high winds but the caves were we planned to dwell was seeping a little but Tommy assured me it was OK so we started warming up on a easy'ish traverse this was the 1st time for me on the tools and i loved it i found it pumpy and before too long i ended up on my behind, ouch haha.. awesome

Pure focus..
so after a bit of playing around Tommy suggested wanting to repeat his almost footless traverse he put up called "Smackdown" (M7) apparently named after how many time he ended up on his bum from placements popping, so we had a go Tommy went 1st and managed i think the 1st 5 moves this route is pretty much footless and very power full there are places to just get the feet up but by no means good more like smears.. I had a go and think i made to the 4th move which i was quite surprised at, we both chipped away my self falling off the ridiculous crux move which entails you dropping down on one tool while cutting looses its crazy hard but i did eventually manage it.. Tommy had another go and he went all the way this time move perfect, the last move is a soul destroyer after doing all the powerful moves there is a blind reach around a corner and in the distance a small chip of rock to make placement on and that being the one move i ended up not being able to link... i was so close but that's gonna have to be one to go back on but very good fun line if you have power in abundance..

both tired we headed back up hill all the way back to the cars a very enjoyable day and really enjoyed getting on the tools so a special thanks to Tommy for showing me what its all about..