Monday, 28 February 2011

Orchestral Crack

I pull on. It’s a lay back start sustained committing hard. Its 4 or 5 moves later I manage to pull on the ledge I am now sweating the start was harder than I was expecting I am on a ledge now its big enough to be comfortable not too big to make me feel set. I place two runners one on each of my ropes. The rest of the route looks steep and awkward. I grab a good hold place my foot on a small edge and jam my other foot in the crack I feel around and I can’t work out the move. I reverse to the ledge.
Slight nervous I give my runners a tug. They seem solid. I try and relax. I am now sweating more profusely. I wipe the sweat from my forehead with the back of my arm. Feeling slightly nervous I dip my hands in my chalk bag. I grab the big hold again. I step on the small edge and get the foot jam again. Pressing down on the hold I stand on the foot jam. Feeling solid I search for a good hold. I find a little edge good enough to pull on I lower my weight onto it and then place my left foot on the big hold where my hand was. I ease my right foot out of the jam and rock on to my left foot now feeling committed even though my gear is just below my feet I search for gear. I place a cam feels okay but the crack is slightly flared. I find a little a slopey spike. I have fully stood on my left I feel the steepness of the route in my arms. The pump is building. I decide I need to keep moving and manage to move a few feet higher easily. I have a good hold for my right hand a solid foot jam. I have two good points of contact. Feeling slightly bewildered I place a poor nut and clip my right rope.
The sweat is now pouring from my head and running into my eyes. My eyes are stinging from the salty sweat. I am feeling tired and pumped. I see a good hold but it is out of reach. I am nervous my leg is feeling the strain its only 12 metres of grit but it feels like I have been climbing for hundreds of metres. I am tired the heat is getting to me. I am pushing myself to what feels my limit. It’s not the hardest route I had ever done but it was not my style, I fumble in a cam and clip my left rope. I commit thinking this mus be the last hard move I manage to find another foot jam I weight it and manage to get my right foot high. The gear is now in sight. The cam is poor the nut is not bomber it my hold. I commit. I stretch at full reach I get it I feels solid. I pull on it. Its solid I work my feet up and grab a good hold I am now set. I find a good piece of gear and clip my might rope.
My eyes are burning I cant think. I see where I need to go. But I can’t workout how to get there. I am moving from an overhanging wall onto a long angle slab. My arms aching with pump. I see a crack about 3mm wide I try to dig my fingers in and crimp but the angle is all wrong. I look for foot holds I cant see anything. I then see a possible edge but again it is out of reach. Again I look for a foot hold my arms now feel ready to give up. Again I can’t see anything. Suddenly I remember a ledge which is now out of site about knee height. I guess where the edge is I feel my toe pressing on something but the position feels wrong and smaller that what I was expecting. I try pressing on the foothold. I think its moving. Not able to see what I am stood on I move my foot around desperate to find some thing bigger. Now starting to panic and breath heavy I find the previous edge. Psyched out I think its smaller this time but knowing I need to move I press hard on my foot and reach up for the previously out of reach hold. My fingers get over the lip of the hold at full extension. I strain and pull on the edge begging my foot to stay put. I pull hard on the hold and bring my right foot high and place it on another out of sight foot hold. I put my weight on the foothold. I match the hold now leaning over the slab the hold feels bigger but unable to see my feet I pull with my belly on the slab. I just need to get my feet on my previous hand hold I will of completed the route. I bring my left foot up feeling round for an edge.
Desperate for any edge I feel panicked again. I find something I stand on it I think I have done it its over. I get my right foot on the slab. I stand up. I see the fixed hanger I grab a screw gate and clip my self in with a sling. I let out a joyous shout of ‘SAFE’. My belayer reply’s off belay. I am relieved I am excited I forget the tired I forget the pump. I forget that my eyes are stinging. The ecstasy and relief leaves my with a massive smile on my face. I feel even better when my belayer tops out on the route and says great route glad I dint lead it.

Friday, 25 February 2011

El chorro

I am back from Spain I am not enjoying not being able to climb every day.
So what I did:

I set off on wednesday at 3.50am and picked chris and chess up at 4am. 1 hour ish later I parked up at liverpool airport. Shortly afterwards I was checked in and sat having a full english and a beer in the waiting area.
We landed in malaga grabbed are bags and waited for gary to pick us up. Chris got down to what he is good at.

A german lad called Joesph came over at got chatting. He was on a long term trip traveling around spain. He was killing time waiting for his lift. After a short while Gary turned up and we got on our way to El Chorro and the olive branch. Sadly it was raining when wee got to the airport but thankfully it brightened up as we got closer to the olive branch (http://www.olivebranchelchorro.co.uk/). Excited and keen we chucked our bags in our room and we ran up to the nearest crag thankfully it was a 5 min walk.

The crag is called Las Encantadas I quickly onsighted a 5+ and then repointed a 6a+ after I failed the flash attempt.

I then got back to the olive branch and started drinking. After a few drinks I crawled into bed without eating much food. The room was spinning and I was feeling in a great mood. (drunk).

The next day I enjoyed a full day out in the sun. We started at Frontales and then worked our way to the gorge where we walked the Camino del rey. This is the kings walkway built for the king of Spain in 1903. Sadly the walk way has fallen into disrepair and is now slightly more dangerous.


The walkway is great fun with a hint of excitment and danger. The walkway provides a great view of the gorge at a fantastic position. Once I walked through camino del rey we walked through the valley and through a river. We eventually got to a crag called Los Cotos. This is an area of slabs which is my type of climbing. We did a route here and then decided to walk back. We walked through the train tunnels on the way back and then walked into the village of el chorro.

We ended the day at Las encantadas again where we top roped a 6c sadly I could not work out how to get through the bulge. So I will save this for the next trip. Again I ended the day with drinking and not eating much. Howeve I did play alot of pool and had a great laugh in the process.

The next day I went to Arabe and I started the day nailing out a 20m 4+ onsight. This was a nice relaxing warm up. I then did regilio a 250m 6a/+ we did the whole route except the top pitch. We then spent the best part of an hour abbing back off the route. The route is a great adventure and a great day out. We did the first 150m of the route in about 30 minutes climbing fast. The first 50m are about 4/+ then it suddnely gets harder. The upper pitches are solid and sustained 6a/+. The route is great fun well worth the time. After which I was absolutely knackered and I just nailed out a couple of 3+'s.

The day ended with a thai night at the olive branch. Gary cooked for everyone and there was a great atmosphere in the olive branch that night. Every one mixed together on the terrace had a laugh had several drinks ate awesome food. chatted about life climbing and all the usual shit you talk about in the pub. The night ended late I was the last one up (go me) the only reason the night ended was I told people what time it was. (stupid me)

I decided I needed a rest day the nixt day so I just spent all day relaxing playing pool and chatting with some of the other guests in the house. I also made an effort to take photos of some on the people staying at the olive branch on a route called Amtrak. It is a route which is the full length of Frontales (about 250-300m). I took the pictures from a long way away. so they look like tiny blobs. (I will link to my flickr once they are up.) It was good to get in a rest day. I needed it!!!

Sunday was my last full day climbing we went to Frontales then Las encantadas. I managed to push my sports climbing grade by climbing a 6b. This was done bolt to bolt to get the draws in then I got it second redpoint (should of been first). I celebrated with a few beers and a nice meal.

The next morning I set off back home feeling sad to be leaving but happy to be going home.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

2 days left

Just two days left until chorro excited is an understatement.
excellent session at rock over but it took a while to get into it. I am not sure I will hurry back there but I had a good time once I got into it. I ended up on the beast makers and campus board. All I can say is I still suck at campusing but I can pull a set of repeaters on the 25's. :)
For those that don't know what a beast maker is see: www.beastmaker.co.uk the beasts made them and use them and the beasts get stronger! They are just that damn good. I will install a beastmaker when I can afford one!
What first when I get there amtrak simo-climbing a 4+. Working my redpoint project what to do what to do!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Its Feb the battle is me on me

So I was ill the whole of the first week in Feb. This has meat I have lost weight (almost 2kg) Just need to avoid putting it back on now :)

I am off to El Chorro next week for the first time. I am desperately looking forward to it however I am worried about my fitness levels. I have not climbed routes outside other than the odd solo since October last year. One of my aims next week is to conquer the mighty Amtrak. It is only a 6a however it is BIG and I am desperately lacking in fitness.
I have been trying to build stamina by extending my climbing sessions and when I am starting to feel knackered I am keeping on going for 45mins to an hour longer. I am also doing some other exercise such as running and playing football. This is a more sustained exercise as you are forced to keep going by your team mates. However with football there is more of a team spirit and you don't want to let anyone down.
Climbing the battle is me on me. If I fail i fail me and only me. I can take that!
Football its a team sport. If I fail the team suffer. I can't take that.

I feel when I play football I have a role I have a standard. I have to keep up that standard I have to work hard to make sure it is not my fault if it goes wrong. If it is my fault. I have to work harder to sort it out.
When I climb I feel I can fail my self. You don't have the support or help you get in foot ball no one is there to cover for you. You fail its your fault. You did not try hard enough. You did not train enough. You did not make the effort. You are the reason you fail. In climbing you fail on your own!

This is a stress I have been putting on myself lately. My diet has been killing me. I am pushing with every thing I have to improve. I feel I have hit a wall. I need to push through. I need to be stronger. I need to be better. I need to be lighter. I need to push.

With one week left is there enough time to break through the barrier and get ready? I don't know but I have to try.