Monday, 2 April 2018

Try Hards and Pebble Helms

I had one more attempt at trying hard since last time down at Skadoosh.  I'm discovering it takes a while to warm into the brutality,  I think when it's actually seeming feasible I'll have to give it more than an hour and a half. Nevertheless,  come the 80 minute Mark, I'd held two new positions and identified a significant limiting factor; namely hamstrings.

My foot is supposed to end up next to my left hand...

In other news,  a minor Pebble Helm reunion was organised at Porth Ysgo. #theonlydryplaceinwales.  AndyF and I and an army of Lancs descended on Saturday,  and we had fun.
This pic typifies the day's events,  where pistaking overshadowed the actual climbing.  Fun times.

Last time I was at Ysgowas at the NWBG Book Launch last November,  where I managed to lose a toenail establishing a new stander called Squishy.  This time I bruised my bum endeavouring to repeat it ( here's the successful video)

I then tricked the assembled wads into giving it a sit start so it wouldn't get ignored.  It was dispatched by keen and strong youth Callum Hamilton, but I was on Brian Spray at the time, so here's AndyF on it instead. 

Starts with left hand on a sidepull,  and right just above where Andy has his right heel. Barry Kershaw managed the second acsent ( despite being somewhat shorter than Callum)  and 7B was the hives concensus on the grade.
Good Times.
Keep Flailing! 

Friday, 16 March 2018

Quickish Hit

Unfortunately the one morning I had off this week was all wet and drippy. However,  my beloved wife got fed up with my moping and kicked me out at 5 O'clock for an hour or so of power.  Only one venue is fit for times like these..
Dry and pretty.  Skadoosh is fast becoming my current Shed. Quick to get to, as comfortable on the psyche as some old tatty pompom slippers.  Everything from the chalking up to the warm ups are familiar friends, happy patterns repeated ad infinitum. The sharp eyed of you will have spotted the mismatch shoe combo. This can mean only one thing.. Projects are Afoot.  Basically I have to get from the chalk on the left to the chalk on the right. James' Sit down into skadoosh.  It's far to early in the process to actually try the crux,  so here's the bit after the crux into holds on skadoosh :
Fairly sure I can hold that swing, then it's the final bopp of Skadoosh.  Hence the left foot solution ( I nailed it earlier obvs).
My next challenge to solve is how to isolate some bits of the crux so I can build some belief.  This may involve using footholds I can't use on the actual sequence, but it'll give me something to flail at.

Keep flailing y'all!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Baby steps

Training is continuing. I've been mixing it up a bit as my body is protesting a bit. This has included a power endurance auto belay blitz and some of my old skool exercises from Liquid Armbar days. This basically consisted of 2 pull ups with legs raised swiftly followed by 4 press ups,  and the whole lot repeated 10 times. 20 pull ups, 40 press ups. In the old days the idea was to complete this in under 2 minutes.  Currently I've managed 3 minutes 10 seconds so it's a work in progress.
The battle against the cold is being won. I'm particularly smug about my crag hot water bottle.  It's basically a normal hotty stuffed in a £3 bottle cool bag off eBay. Field trials have it still effective 2.5 hours after Filling   ( 1hr walk in, 1.5 hrs use).

The field study in question was back up to Marchlyn.  This time the nexus of conditions and free time did not coincide with a knackered core from pilates. I got a whole 2 finger pads to the hold! It's progress folks,  but baby steps... 

Also whilst up there I knocked off the latest stander from my landscaping efforts :

Pebble Helm is about 6A and will have a very tasty sitter. 

In other news, I have a new brake on the boulder scooter,  as the old one wore through.  Initial impressions are it runs a little hot, and I don't seem to be able to go that slow... Could be exciting. 

Stay psyched 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Its Been Cold

Happy new year and all that! Bit late I know,  however, a lot of not climbing type activity has been occurring, without much blog worthy action.

January was mainly about training and trying to climb in nipply conditions.  Significant attempt one was to the Skadoosh boulder :
Too cold to put shoes on, but ok to put shoes in cracks. 
I then spent a while formulating beta and science to gain success.  This will be when it's warmer, and I'm much stronger.  Continuing the science bit, I built a replica section on the Beacon training wooden, and put some wads on it. The ones who failed to get the move, will get to work it with me...

Other training news it I'm embracing modern training methods like repeaters for the first time. Smallest rung of the Beastmaker 2000, 6 seconds on, 4 seconds off for a minute,  two minutes rest, repeat another 4 times then off to pilates...
So far so good.

One trip to Marchlyn,  and the patio is finished. All existing problems have a bo landing.  Seamus low start still evades me but here is my best effort :

Once I can make this move, I can send the project.  This gap in wrong conditions happened to be the day after pilates so my core was tired. This makes me doubly hopeful it will go soon. Once the wrong conditions stop again.
Heat packs are useful but I'm not cut out for polar bouldering,  may invent a thermos hot water bottle combo.

Stay psyched! 

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Brewing Next Years Psyche 2017

Things have come to a head.  I realise now that for the foreseeable future I'm primarily a blochead,  a pebble helm,  a kieselspanker. Sure I might tie on occasionally,  but this is my lot. I'm alright with this:
This was a key moment.  I'd snatched some free time and thought I'd test my fingers over on the Skadoosh boulder. This is the first independent move on the hard project I've held, and my face says it all really.  Baby steps,  but I'm keen to keep going with this one. 
Another big mass drawing me in is the Marchlyn boulder.  I'm really driven to get the Seamus low start in the bag before the fictious hoards descend. So I decided to try today:
Bit snowy, which meant no scooter,  but I was having to drag an extra pad up, so at least the weights exchanged well.
Ok not been up here when it's this wintery...
Bum. Connies stopped play, much of the rock was mint, but the freeze thaw of the last days wasn't the right kind, and soggy snow sat on the ledges above equalled yucky seepage.
However,  psyche brewed, I carried on completing the patio. Once this wing is raised level with the rest, it will be mega friendly.  
Job done. I'm psyched to train, pick off some treasure,  and enjoy all the fruits of North Wales Bouldering.

Have an awesome 2018!

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Mates Matter

Monday saw blue skies and cool temps. It was also a day I wasn't working,  I hadn't family ties, and a friend was available.

Get in!
Ben has been my partner in crime for many years now. He's been adventuring without me for the past year or so,  off in foreign climes. So it was ace to step out once more. Even though we had played in mymbyr before,  he'd never been to The Cube before.  Also with it making it into NWB2 I was keen to observe the crowds. 

The weeks previous rain, coupled with low winds meant today was going to be tough to get good connies.  However, the mymbyr boulders on this side have the altitude and the sunny aspect from early doors so I was pretty optimistic. 
Ben actually took some waterproof footwear this time so we could take a fairly direct approach.  I selected the groove for a warm up, and the 6A! Soon had me testing the least comfortable crash out, clipping my knee in the process. Clearly some more drastic crag dressing was required,  especially as Ben was raising an eyebrow by this point.  Out came my micro abb rope and the bloc was well brushed and chalked. 
This time the groove went smoothly and Ben soon followed wondering what all the fuss was about.  Next onto Bertlemans slide, and in the intervening years I'd forgotten the sequence.  Back on the rope, and I thought I I'd found all the holds, and also got distracted by the remaining project up the middle ("Gleaming the Cube "); slopers won't go in these connies,  that and I'm too weak to pull on the stacked mono. 
I decided to give Bertleman's a tickle. Hi on the lip the wheels came off as I seemed to lack the flexibility to hoik my foot up. I threw into lambasting the upper arete, and Ben uttered "Oh God..." 
It was one of those moments, as Ben later commented,  like when Ghandi realised he was shot.  I realised that I needed to climb less like a spanner and more like someone who intends to walk away afterwards. A bit of body tension and a better stab at being flexible, coupled with an iron will not to fall off saw me through. Ben however chose to forego his attempt as I'd provided enough adrenaline for both of us. Maybe I can see why Richie Crouch recommended the guide bumps it to 6C!.
Next was a go at Frontside arete, which Richie walked away from, and gave 6C+/7A! A quick brush,  and my initial tickle saw my hands on the slab with numpty footwork skating my hooves here and there.  A bit of self talk saw me pull together some better coordination and I made my way more respectably to the top.Ben saw my less shambolic ascent as a good sign that this was more for him. A few strong pulls and he was holding the jug on the slab. Unfortunately, at this point the fickle foothold he had chosen parted company and he span towards me from height.  Fortunately although he partially missed the mats, it wasn't a crucial part. 
Still regardless of our efforts,  we both had our adventure fix, and more importantly got to climb in company. I'm realising more and more nowadays that mates are more important than I give credit or time to. I'm certainly going to try to remedy this in the new year.  
Merry Christmas xxx

The key crimps chalked on Frontside Arete. 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Its Been Wet...

So its been well over a month since my last post. The rain has only stopped while I've been at work it seems, that and family life is as busy as ever. Having challenged myself to give more attention to the classics, Small windows of opportunity in October led to a visit to Pacman and Harris' Arete. I will admit this action was prompted by the rather wonderful brick that is NWB2. That and being rather jded with my own projects at the moment. Pacman was fun, and I managed a good tour of the ticks, with quick ascents of Pacman Arete and Karma Sutra, I found it too hot for G Spotting though. My other window in October, led me back to Harris' Arete. Last visit I'd failed to get the regular ascent, confusing it with the right hand version which requires more flexibility than I have (Still). Armed with all the Gen from NWB2, I Got it this Time! This month I've also discovered Windows Movie Maker:

The last day of October was the final window, and that was spent with the tribe. We headed off for a proper stomp round Nant Gwrtheyrn.
Seren loved collecting rocks..

Whereas Logan used them to squash his brother..

At the end of the beach we forged up a path of sorts, and quested through the fields to regain the big loop path..

The Tribe at the viewing bench

In an effort not to waste all the height gained,we cut through the quarries for the last bit

Different scree, same treasures

November saw the start of more promising weather, getting colder and drier.  Work has got more physical, with route and boulder setting for the winter aggregates, and I was keen to test my progress. Another funny thing about the arrival of NWB2 was that you found out about what all the other esoteric boulderists have been up to. Turns out a lot of my cwmfynnon exploits had been visited, and my work mate Max had a pad party at the Shard Project, not knowing about my previous efforts. The boys did good too, making it to the big ledge, choking only on the committing top out. I felt obligated to have another go at getting the FA, and quizzed max about the difficulties to the ledge. Reassured it was only about 6C to there with a dynamic approach, I packed two pads and my abb kit, and stomped back into the bowl.

Needless to say the Shard project won't be a 6C... after some despondent thrashing around on a grigri, I decided to cut my losses and visit pacman instead for another go at G spotting. Packing up the ropes on top, I observed a promising rock further up the slope. Convinced it would turn out to be disappointing, I trudged up to confirm this. It was, and rather than trashing back the way I came, I sought a different struggle back. Promptly staggering into a hidden pit.

...And in the pit was this beauty:

Just goes to show there's treasure everywhere; perfect dragon hide dolerite, suitably steep, suitably high. I left the block more content than I've felt in a long time. I'm still intending to lay siege to some classics this winter, but its good to know there's still a few FA's left in me yet. Not the shard though, I've given that to Max.

Good Hunting.