Monday, 21 April 2014

A Muerte

Flash Over
Wow Spain is defiantly the best place in the world for sport climbing, in my opinion, I'm not sure what could top it. This year just like last year we headed out in our Easter holidays after a winter of intensive training. I was really excited and spent hours memorising all the information in the guide books and researching loads of climbs I wanted to do on Their was one main goal though Rollito Sharma Extension 8c, I'd trained towards this route and this fed my motivation to get stronger.

Flash Over
So we travelled out and my brother and I were like little kids in a candy shop! Maybe a bit too enthusiastic going to Santa Linya straight away, we met Anak Verhoven there who we have competed with and first met at Saint Leger, once again a marvel of the climbing network! Bit over keen we warmed up and got straight on the 8c, yeah surprise we got really shut down. I also worked an 8b called Niu de Chut which I got all the moves on and thought it was soft.

So day two we started, got up early and headed to Terradets, the sterotype of a sport cliff with 30m endurance tests all the way along the wall. Turned out I was feeling fit and I fired off Golpe de Gas 8b second go and as I was getting tired screamed and fought my way up Non Stop 8b. This was an amazing day and was when I realised that I could push it this trip.

Climbing at El Falco

The next day brought me back to earth as I dropped a 7a warming up. Next I tried an 8a+ which I backed off and I wasn't feeling that good. I was worried maybe I had burnt out already, but things started to get better and I onsighted a 7c which I really enjoyed and was a bit of a hidden gem. We then moved to a crag called Camarsa which was one of the oldest crags in that area, some of the climbing was bit too roadside for my liking but we did some routes their before heading to sector La Font which held the amazing orange wall of Font Picant 8a. I decided to go for the onsight not really expecting much, the moves through the crux flowed really well and I found myself above it. I dug deep and for the first time was positively talking myself through the top section in my head and it worked my first 8a onsight, although gutted for Luke who dropped the last hard move on the flash.

  After a rest day it was time to try to have a proper redpoint go at Rollito Sharma, it wasn't to be though and I couldn't get through the desperate crux on the 8b+ section which was a bit rubbish but felt better when I saw some Belgian wad falling there as well. That day I finished of Nuit de Chut extension 8b which turned out to be hard and I almost dropped clipping the chains that would have been a heart breaker! I finished the day with an 8a and tried an 8a+. The Austrian Youth team showed up which was fun because I knew most of them and they are always a good laugh, although we did feel a bit outnumbered. Final day in Santa Linya and I tried the 8a+ again but couldn't do maybe next time! Gaz Parry turned up which was cool because he was like a beta god and with his and Anaks help I sent Koala 8b second go. Then I did an 8a and two 7c+ to finish off but really I know I'm not finished and will hopefully be returning there soon to finish off Rollito Sharma!

Non Stop 8b
No rest and we went straight to meet 'the Northern Lot' to climb in Suirana and Margalef. Previously I didn't have the best experience with Suirana finding it too vertical and fingery but this time it blew me away. Classics like La Cara que no miente 8a+ and Ramadan 8b went on the first day. Good job to Alex also sending them. Another good send that day was getting a lift offered from the first guy I tried to hitch! The following day we went to the same place and I tried Kale Borroka 8b+. Let me describe it a 38m orange wall at an outrageous angle for most of its length split by one crack system covered in chalk. It was a line and I didn't find it that bad. On my first redpoint I fell on the top crux. Michaela Tracy told us the day before that the 8a+ next to Ramadan was actually harder so always keen for a sandbag set off to try it. Alex was getting bored by the time I'd figured out all the moves and they were hard, I don't think I'll ever crimp so hard. I got on a redpoint and was fresh through it but just lost crimp strength towards the end and ended up holding a hideous deadpoint to a mono. Hardest move I've ever done? Felt like it! Of course I made it look harder than it was and Alex went to cruise it.

Non stop
Next day was the first day in Margalef and there was one route I wanted to do, Flash Over 8b+. I just wasn't focused that day and fluffed it too many times and eventually ran out of energy, I'd failed. I wasn't down for long though because watching Billy send Dando Brea 8a was pretty inspirational good effort!

The rest day was full of sun tanning and swimming although I'm not sure swimming across the lake at Margalef was the greatest idea maybe a bit reckless. After this I was refreshed for a siege on Kale Borroka. Two other people where trying it so there was a good buzz and I went up on my first attempt and got to the final crux again but couldn't stick it. One of the guys suggested a change of foot beta at the top and I decided I'd use this. I sent it next go and it was weird I wasn't that over the moon to send it but I just felt fulfilled because I'd climbed it perfectly and to be honest it didn't feel hard. I think I'm not going to get that very often it was really special.

Last day with the Northern lot was at El Falco Arboli and I spent it climbing low 7's and just really enjoyed it. The last night was interesting and just to say the following morning I wasn't feeling my best but it was my last chance on Flash Over 8b+. I only did one warm up and decided to get straight on it. Without expectation I climbed, I felt crap but kept going move after move. At the top I was boxed but clipped the chains in a daze. That was unexpected. Luke sent El Fustigador 8a+ and made it look easy so a good day all around. Luke and I finished on a ledge at Suirana climbing beautiful routes and finished just as the rain came in. Wow, I have to say it was fun.

Thanks everyone that made it an amazing trip, thanks to Mike for getting me in shape and thanks to Dewerstone for the support!

The crew!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Building it all up

Chimes of Freedom 8a+
Although not going on any trips for this first part of the year I've been super busy, with basically training. I'm conscience of the standard rising all around me in competitions and I feel like I'm at the age that I really start pushing myself for example, I've started fingerboarding regularly, which paid off this week were I sent Tuppence Ha'penny 8b+ and managed to do the uber-crimpy start of Fisherman's Tail another instance was sending Chimes Of Freedom 8a+ at Raven Tor which was my first hard route on Peak limestone and I hope there will be many more to come!

Zaff Skoczylas 7C
Also when I'm up in Sheffield I get out on the gritsone. It truly is a great rock and I've found it really hard to adjust my typical powerful limestone style to the intricate nature of grit. It was hard and some days I'd just go away feeling really demoralised especially when I ended up making my finger bleed and freezing cold after failing on Electrical Storm 7B, although that is one I'm going to have to get back to. However I had done some really memorable problems for example doing this high arĂȘte when Dad wasn't looking!
Training at the Works
Life in a Radioactive Dustbin
I got four days in the couple months and finally in the fourth day at Stanage it all clicked. It was with the GB bouldering team and we where given a Hueco rock rodeo format to try to send as many problems as possible, warming up on pebble arĂȘte one of the most beautiful climbs on grit. The business boulder was next and I tried Jerry's Traverse 7C which was a power-endurance traverse done by the famous Jerry Moffat. Sam Whittaker was there to give me beta so that really helped and I soon figured out the easiest sequence, not long later I sent it but had to dig really hard to get it and it felt right at my limit. I then got Green Slap 7A which I couldn't touch last time I tried it. Their was one problem that I wanted to do that day and it was Brad Pitt 7C, I'd tried it last year and got close falling on the final move. This year though one of the holds was damp and everyone was saying it would be impossible! I was psyched though and the main holds where dry so I gave it a shot, first go I got to the last move, that was when I realise it would go. With some great encouragement from the rest of the team I managed to stick it on my fifth go!

Boulder Training at the Works
Brad Pitt
I've also had lots of training days with the various teams. Everyone I've come back refreshed with new motivation and new ideas on how to train. I've met some great people during these and its been really fun training with some of the best climbers in the world. Another reason for going up to Sheffield was the CWIF which was a great competition and team psych( James, Ed, Alexia and myself) where in high spirits!

So its the Easter holidays are here what I've been working towards. I think I've trained well, first with lots of volume now recently getting in lots of hard redpoints and bouldering however I'm still nervous to see if it pays off. Lets hope it does!

Also thanks to Dewerstone Lifestyle for supplying me and Luke with some great clothes.

Over the Moon!