Wednesday, 6 March 2013

CWIF 2013

Last weekend was the Climbing Works International Festival, the first big comp of the season and a good opportunity to see where you are up to in your training. It is also usually a pretty good comp for me, having had god knows how many 2nd places and finally winning last year.
My build up hadn't been ideal so i was going in a bit unsure having only started my training cycle in January, having had quite a long break from being massively over trained from last season (and probably the previous 3 seasons too!) My left shoulder was also not 100% due to a chronic knot at the base of my neck, causing all sorts of issues. Finally i split a tip the weekend before so didn't get to climb very much the week before, leaving me feeling very "wooden" in the qualifiers making some very basic errors on some really easy moves. In the end i qualified in 12th for Sundays semis, with some very sore feeling skin.
After much application of skin repair balm the night before it felt surprisingly ok warming up as did my movement and muscles. The semi problems suited me well being on volumes and slopers/pinches and i topped all 4 in 9 attempts and the only one to do all 4 putting me in 1st place for the finals, i still felt fairly fresh which felt good as i wasn't sure of my fitness coming into the event.
 Viewing the final problems i thought they all looked well within my capabilities although we weren't quite sure how to do the finish of the first slab!
Being last out i knew all the taller boys had reached the last hold off the foothold and that Jacob hadn't been able to reach it, so i would have to pull something special out the bag or my final would be effectively over! Feeling extremely angry at the route setters (not the best mental state for slab climbing) i pulled on knowing I had to stand on the 1mm edge left at the top of a volume and push up hard into the bottom of the finishing hold. I slipped on my first go not quite on the best bit trying to match the finish. slipped again mantling up then somehow at full stretched managed to match, i hope someone got a picture! Sorry boys but that was a really bad problem, good if everyone had to stand on the edge as set.
Still fuming i flashed problem 2 knowing only Jacob had topped it putting me in 1st place.
Flashing problem 2
The third problem i thought looked like my thing the only move i was concerned about being the move to the bonus slot! It turns out that the 2nd move was just too big and i couldn't drop in from my iron cross position!
Bit stretched! thanks to Mark Bullock for the photo

Jacob had done it quickly too. Leaving us joint on tops but not on bonuses going into the last problem so i needed Jacob to fall off a few times, which he didn't being world champion. I did the last problem 2nd go after just missing a hidden hold on a volume to secure another  CWIF 2nd place.
The final problem

 Not bad and i have a few things to work on before my first world cup of 2013 in April.
Thanks to the climbing Works for putting on another great event.   
Anyone else got any pics?

Friday, 27 July 2012

Briancon LWC

As British leading champion I felt I ought to attend at least one of the rounds of the lead world cup. After a quick scan down the IFSC calendar and a bit of research I plucked for Briancon as it is one of the shorter walls on the tour and therefore must be better for a lost boulderer such as myself!

Post BBC’s I found my finger still sore and just over a week to do some emergency circuits, but also fit in as much route setting/coaching as possible as I was going to Europe for three weeks.

Qualifiers started early, the first climber starting at 8:30, thankfully I was out 24th on the first route giving me a little more time for some more coffee to kick in. The first route was definitely my style on small volumes slopers and pinches and I got pretty high falling of the same move as quite a few others leaving me in 14th on that route. 

The first route slopey pinches in a roof....heaven!
The 2nd route looked like it was going to hurt! A line of crimps up to the overhang then a powerful sequence through it. The crimps were smaller than they looked and I had to enter battle mode from the deck (normally reserved for at least 15 moves in!) I got through the bottom wall just, then could enter a more comfortable area of power moves (well for me anyhow) the pump was setting in and I fought through another 6 moves before failing on a long go again move.

bearing down on the 2nd qualifier
elbows about to go up.

Making semi finals had never even crossed my mind, but I finished in joint 21st and so got to come back the next day for another fight.

In semi finals you have 6 minutes observation time, then back to isolation and come out in reverse order of qualification. The route looked hard which was a good thing since I get pumped at the same height whatever the grade!
The bottom wall was much harder than it looked, as the moves didn’t quite flow, battling between positions. I pulled into the roof pumped out of my mind and thankfully found a knee bar rest where I could take both hands off and try to recover a little. 

After a while I decided I was about as recovered as I was going to get and quested across the powerful sequence across the roof where my pump soon returned with a vengeance I fell moving through the lip too pumped to think clearly and doing the move slightly wrong! I was still pumped an hour later!

A few people fell of just before me and most went only six moves further, which I found really encouraging that I was not too far away from making finals! I finished in 21st, a little disappointing as its always nice to go up a bit.

I will definitely be doing the lead at the world championships in Paris and maybe Kranj at the end of the year. I may even squeeze some proper training in before hand! 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

British Bouldering Champion

Well it finally happened! I am the 2012 British Bouldering Champion, after three years of being so close I was convinced that this one was my nemesis. This year seemed like no exception as I did my middle finger pulley three weeks before! I could climb on it but it would then swell lots and be useless the day after. So three weeks of antag work and occasional pull-ups would be my training for the BBC's.....I wasn't hopeful!
Qualifiers went ok considering the boards we covered in lines of crimps, thankfully nothing you had to really pull of though. And I qualified in joint 2nd for the finals, hoping for some more volumes and slopers.
 here is me on one of the qualifiers. photo Alex Messenger

I was happy to see that it mostly was during our observation period (you get 2minutes to look at each problem before the final starts) and although it took lots of goes, I managed to top all 4 problems (the only person to do the 2nd problem). Relief is most definitely the word!
Me celebrating topping out the 2nd boulder in the final. Photo Alex Messenger

More of Alex's photos here.

Ellie and I are now in Briancon, after having driving for what seemed like an age to get here. First stop is the Lead World Cup which is being held here on Friday and Saturday, followed by 2 weeks of climbing on the real stuff. Watch live at

Thursday, 3 May 2012


So its been far too long since i last blogged, guess i just got out of the habit over the long winter of not really doing anything interesting (apart from the third ascent of Brownian motion) and started using twitter too. I just had my head down training hard and bolting holds to various different walls.
My pre season training went well, even managed to stay injury free, something i haven't managed to do for a long time. This meant by the time the first international came round, the CWIF (climbing works international festival) i was feel strong fit and ready to compete. It seems my feelings were correct as i finally won it (having been 2nd in this comp at least 3 times before).

My bubble burst slightly as a head cold decided it wanted to go onto my chest, making training and sleeping very difficult for two weeks, leaving me feeling a little under prepared for my first world cup of the season in Slovenia, but i managed to squeeze a few good sessions in before heading out but still unsure of how i would fare.
Thankfully i made it through the lottery of qualifiers and into the semifinals topping 3 boulders out of the 5 but should have been 4 really! The semi finals were a similar story really topping 2 boulders out of the 4, one of which was one of the harder ones, but failed to stick the horizontal roof dyno that quite a few others did, leaving me in a slightly disappointing 17th ( 2 flashes was enough to be in the final). It definitely felt like a top ten climb to me but in a field where every man in the semi finals had previously been in a final before it was always going to be a tight one.

The following weekend was Vienna, somewhere that has treated me quite well in the past so i was hopeful for a strong performance. I felt good and relaxed warming up perhaps a bit too relaxed in hindsight as i missed the easy dyno on the first problem thinking how warm the holds were! I slightly misread the third problem topping that 2nd go too! The 4th problem was infuriatingly close as i slipped off the final hold, turns out no one else got close! The 5th problem was easy, leaving me with 3 tops in 5, but should have been 3 in 3 really! even 3 in 4 would have put me into the semis...just. instead i landed up 27th kicking myself over two stupid mistakes and wondering what if over the 4th problem! At least i got some points! The semis and finals looked like my style too!
We have three weeks off now before Innsbruck, giving me a few weeks to work on a few things, and try to get things a bit more hooked up.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Eindhoven, Barcelona and Sheffield

First up I qualified for the final in 4th place at Eindhoven and slipped to 6th place. In the final i had nothing left even though i felt like i was capable of doing all four, i only topped the first problem. This photo sums up my final quite well.The following weekend was Barcelona, where i qualified for the semi finals and finished 11th but should have been in the final really after i missed a foothold on one problem doing it 2nd go and fell victim to a stupid out of bounds tape on an other. I was pleased to perform well in such horrendously hot conditions, i don't know who's idea it was to hold a competition in a non air conditioned building in the middle of summer but they should be shot as the are so many cool places in Barcelona it could have been attracting a large audience too, but it wasn't so no one really saw it!
Finally It was the home event in Sheffield at cliffhanger, where i hoped to climb well......unfortunately i climbed well and felt strong but only topped three problems falling off the top of the other 2 leaving me 16th in a very strong group. I guess that's the way it goes sometimes in such a strong field 7 of this years finalists did not qualify! The semi final problems also look like they would have suited me too, a very frustrating weekend.

Ohh well a weekend off this week(well lots of work) before heading out to Arco for the World championships where I'm also going to do the lead, which should be fun.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Font Videos

Below are two videos from my trip to Font, Karma and Gecko (assis) which is apparently 8b+ my first of the grade :-)


Gecko assis

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Karma and Gecko (assis)

I've just got back from 2 weeks in Font, where i did the mega classic Karma (8a+) and the sit start to Gecko (8b) my first 8b in the forest. I also did Rubis Sur L'Ongle, La Gaule a reach dependent prow that i didn't think i had the span for. I was also getting close to Satan i Helvete but ran out of dry weather and skin!
Here is a pic of La Gaule, i am currently editing together some video footage so watch this space.