Thursday, 28 August 2014

L'argentiere European bouldering cup

Topping my first problem
The first bouldering cup was held just a couple hours from Ceuse in a small town called L'argentiere. We travelled down to the town near, Briancon to try to watch the world cup. Unfortunately there was a storm and the water started to drip through the walls, with the setters desperately trying to dry it out. It was eventually cancelled when a lightning bolt struck the courtyard and struck a tree sending two people to hospital. Seeing this close up was one of the most scary experiences I've ever been in.

We took a rest day which involve playing lots of darts and watching films. We also checked out the wall, to me it looked really good lots of overhanging panels which look like they'll yield some powerful problems.

Competition day arrived and I hoped I could put in a good performance, because I was really struggling to compete in youth A everything was just harder, moves bigger, holds smaller. I saw our problems and sure enough we did have lots of powerful ones. I started on a yellow problem, it was made for me just small holds and gymnastic moves. I flashed it and missed the bonus on it! Oops. Next was a green problem which was just a massive swing move and was really easy. My third top was a slippy white problem, and I pulled on and my foot popped straight off. I was so annoyed, I looked at my foot thinking how could a possibly do that! Fortunately I got another go straight away and sent it. The rest of the problems where completely desperate and I was working to try to get bonuses which was really demoralising. After the competition I finished with three tops and three bonuses which ended me in 32nd place. So frustrating!
Will getting stuck into the desperate blue

Ed going for the green dyno
Super slippy on the white
Although I soon forgot about my bad result because Hamish had crushed and made final. We watched him and he managed to pull it out of the bag in the final with two tops this place him in third!

It was a really good competition because it was chilled out with nice weather but it was a shame I couldn't match it with a good performance. Still I had a great time!

Thanks to my sponsors:
Sports Aid
North Devon Sports Foundation


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Crowds, hills and the best climbing in the world

I start by saying this, Ceuse is without a doubt the best crag in the world for climbing, there is route after route of immaculate rock with well chalked holds and good bolts. This summer I spent two weeks there soaking up the sun and also climbing so stuff.

The lifestyle of Ceuse is so chilled out everyone is just chatting, pushing themselves and it was brilliant to partake in this vibe, I mean where else would you see Anna Stohr doing the dishes! This enjoyment of the basic pleasures of life was what Ceuse is all about. Like the hour walk up leaves you so tired you need to spend half an hour just chilling beneath the crag before you start to warm up. Leaving you to marvel at the stunning view.

We drove all the way from home and arrived at about 4, there was a bit of 'arrive at a crag psyched out your mind' feeling so we went straight up and I expect we did the hill in our quickest time. Luke had a long project he had been trying called L'ami de Tout le Monde 8b which you could tell he was desperate to send, so we warmed up and tried that in the evening. It was the most popular 8b on Ceuse and we tried it with a girl who I met in Siurana earlier this year, small world! I worked the moves and found it ok, this was followed by the a big fight to send the route second go! I was surprised to say the least.

Another benefit of Ceuse is all the routes are close to get to and with easy access which can lead to amazing days of mileage. This happened the second day, and it was just a day where everything went my way, these days are like gold dust and you have to realise when you are in the middle of one so you can grab the opportunity with both hands, it was days like these where the standards have been pushed. However I didn't focus on pushing my standard, instead I went for the classics, by 4 I had done Suedes Froides and Carte Blanche and by the evening I had ticked L'ami Caouette followed by Petit Tom, afterward I was so tired but completely thrilled about getting so many amazing routes done.

Luke on Radote Joli Prepare
I'd really come here to climb hard and ticking low 8's wasn't what I really wanted to do. So after another day where I started by trying Radote Joli Prepare 8b but then gave up because I couldn't work out the crux, I tried Slow Food 8b+. On my first go I could do every move on the route but could barely link two of those moves together and still at the top there was another hard section, so to break it down I would say it was 7C through a roof with physical moves then a hold you can shake on before a 7B with a slap move to a crimp. Finally it finished with maybe another 7A+ after an ok rest. On my second go, I could barely even do the moves so I decided to leave it. After a rest day I returned, I knew every move so I just warmed up then started having redpoint goes. First go I got through the bottom crux, just! Went for the crimp and wasn't even close. Next go the crux felt harder but on the slap I actually felt the hold! Now it was a balance between having the raw power to do the bottom efficiently and having the luck to stick the crimp. Third go, I knew this was hard for me and hard as in I'd have to try harder than I have had before. This time, I gave everything I had, and stuck it! Just. I climbed to the rest, now for the top. I only just caught every move but manage to pull it out the bag! Looking back the whole crag must have heard me screaming.

Walking up the hill soon gets tiring and after sending Radote Joli Prepare 8b I was in need of a rest. This came as the L'argentiere comp which I'll write a separate blog on. Once I had returned I was burnt out, I tried Le Chirurgien du crepuscule 8b and fell at the last hard move 30m up. This killed me I just wasn't motivated to put the effort in each day but I had a good trip.

One thing is for sure that I will return. I had one go on Dure Limites 8c and actually found it pretty steady with some intense training I'm 100% sure that I can do that route in near future.

Thanks To My Sponsors
Sports Aid
North Devon Sports Foundation