Thursday, 31 December 2015

Another year throttled

So while the kids are in bed, and less exhausted people are out befuddling their brains in celebration of another year survived, I thought I'd take a look back on 2015 and try to work out what the heck happened.


Kicked this off with a proud tick up at Marchlyn, not without some significant tumbling. It wasn't until much later in the year that this was viable as a one pad venue, so a few scrapes had to be taken on the chin..

Also around here was a trip to the lleyn with new mate Fatneck, where I learn't my grading wasn't too far out, and many people are better than me.


Snow meant snowballing! The cube became a more viable proposition for 5 days of the year, and we found out that child number four was on her way unaccompanied by another twin, and arriving slap bang in sendtember.

Oh yes and my patio efforts in Neverneverland finally bore fruit.


Patio number two was underway, and much other assorted and unproductive faffing.


A proper month this. Cae Dafydd, a sortie to Tosheroon, and some serious scooter exploration at Llugwy reservoir.


May brought a peak of sorts. I was still too unfit to take any serious scalps, however, enthusiasm and trying hard won out. The Baron was realised, abet in a sanitised form. I gave the Tosheroon a proper go, and was probably only a metre off success (a couple of miles in offwidth terms), making a year highlight, in retrospect.

I also found my happy place once more in Dyffryn Mymbyr, this disparate collection of stones have given me pleasure for 8 years or more, and I hope to meet more of you there in the future.

June, July & August

With the summer holidays descending and Sam now rather full of baby, opportunities started to dry up. However, Mymbyr continued to make me happy on the odd solitary day. Also, I started my quixotic quest to scare the poo clear out my bowels with some Lleyn DWS action.
July also allowed me to stop getting cross with the state of ethics in Twll Mawr, and  help in a small way to usher in the back walls hardest route.



The Rest

Family and a little exploring, but generally getting happy, but out of shape, content with my awesome family, but aware of my bodies deep failings.

Next year

Get my body sorted, get Tosheroon done, have some happiness up at Marchlyn and Mymbyr, and enjoy the Family.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Brewing next year's psyche 2015

Christmas eve,

The rain stopped once again, and it was time to be proactive in achieving my goals. Last time I brewed up, it was my highest viewed post. It was also the build up to The Beast in Me, and at the time I had 6 month old twins and was plagued by a list of niggles and injuries. Well, 2015 and the monkeys of chaos are 5, I have a 3 month old girl, and I'm plagued by a list of niggles and injuries. Certainly seems like its time to brew up again....

Where have I grown?
My understanding of my injuries firstly, The meeting with Eirian was extremely helpful. It has helped me understand how my past adventures in poor training and hitting the ground, coupled with my slight hyper-mobility has knocked every thing out of place. The links up the chain of balance from my feet upwards, even to my elbows(damn gravity), has given me fresh perspective, and hope that it can be corrected.

Where have I regressed?
Quite simply motivation. If ever there was a need for a montage, its now.

In an effort to kick start this years brew, I  had started watching old fail tapes of myself up at Marchlyn. Although my body definitely felt too creaky to climb, I was keen to get back up there so that I didn't build up any blockage about the walk in. I thought I could get some new shots, look at some new positions, and celebrate the patio I built up there.

Made it up here in under 40 mins, its going to be a while before I start threatening the 30 minute mark again. From here you can see the tide line cutting across the midline of the main boulder. Fortunately the water is so eutrophic the grot build up is very low.

The steepness. Exhibiting the starting flake hold, my 10" brush, and an overly scrubbed patch of starting "non" footholds (still clean Owen).

The main boulder with its glorious patio. This means its a one pad venue, two at the most. It also has made the few addition holds in the steepness accessible from a sit.This means more things to work on, rather than banging my head against the same problem.

The starting position. Left hand on flake. The premise of the project was to go from here into the finish of Tumbleweed. Previously I'd tried to link through with the beautiful blunt arete. However my thoughts from this visit were that this was just way too hard if not impossible, and also eliminate...
Full stretch off the starting flake gains a rail on Erodeo/Tumbleweed(face squashed into the rock). Any moves from this position wrap you around the arete until you gain the Tumbleweed  standing start.
A cool toe hook makes the transitions possible. I think this project is now a little less perfect, but a lot more attainable. I have T-rex arms, so its going to be the most obvious sequence for normal people. All in all, this brings this goal more in reach, somewhere between long and short term...

All things are possible, given the right amount of work

back on the scooter too! much fear and braking until i get used to it again. new rear wheel too I think.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Coming Up For Air

I haven't posted for what seems like ages. I've missed it, but life and meteorology have got in the way.

So Friday was the first dry moment without work, family or husbandly commitments since the last post. November was pretty much a write off, the only point of note was visiting Dangleberries with pads to find it wet, hardish, and needing a spotter to prevent headplanting. Friday, however, I went for a quick walk above our house to walk round a scree cone I hadn't navigated before.

Ponds! must remember these come the frogspawn season (for the kids obviously)

Cool Junk. The cone is pretty old so the composition is a little unstable and exciting with some cool lichens and plants.

random pretty rock, nothing to boot up for though.

Damn good wall.

Although Seren continues to be a fairly easy going baby, Ethan and Dylan are getting into their stride as 5yr old twin boys, hereby known as the Chaos Munkeys. The Chaos Munkeys have stopped destroying their school, and started to slow down on the destruction of the family home, but they're not going to bed like little darlings at the moment. Ho Hum.

Last week I also visited Sunny Carlisle. This was for a NIBAS course for the delivery of the meaty stuff; levels 4&5. Good coaching content, with a chance to practice on ourselves. With all the upheaval in my life at the moment it was good to set some Goals:

Short Term
Get myself back into regular training with good form and all niggles managed

I have been increasingly frustrated with my bodies failures of late. a lack of regular climbing combined with some long term injuries / sources of pain have made it a bit of a dark time (fortunately lit up by Seren). Borrowed this book for the Train Journey to Carlisle

The opportunities of delayed trains meant it all got read. The gist of it is that this is complicated; find the best people to advise you, work hard and adapt to keep enjoying it, eccentrics are good, sort technique and bio mechanics. So this week I have a date with a Dance, Pilates, and Fitness instructor Eirian Roberts for a full MOT, and I'll try to fit some (very) light conditioning in too, rather than be a boy and jump on the pretty hard things.

Medium Goal
Need to be fit, aerobically and core, for this, and for it to be warm. one for the spring.

Long Term Goal
Climb this:

By Next Winter I need to be solid of core, injury free, in full four wheel drive, and have muscles on my muscles.

The first step is to lap a few 5b's

Sunday, 25 October 2015

I Ate'nt Dead

So little (well, not so little) Seren Zoe, has landed in our lives, and to be truthful, she isn't a difficult baby. However, the dynamics of three older brothers eager for attention has meant life has been a bit busy, and the few bits of child free time have mainly been slept, enjoyed as a couple, or rainy.
I have been enjoying some adventures with the boys, giving them some attention. Here's some photos:
Post Jumping up near pig pen boulders on Clegir

The Fishskin explorers

Who needs boulders when you have tunnels?

Responsible parenting. An Oil drum glacier inspection

The big bits move less...

The Pretty bits of Braichmelyn

Bunker Boyz. A cool bit of Clegir playground

Coach, attempt, inspect dirt.


One of the more harrowing adventures was taking a "Lively" Ethan up Lion Rock....

Logan at RAC.

Okay I have got out twice since bogtrotting along Mymbyr. Firstly, I wanted to experience a F7A+, so I returned to Fishskin, eschewed the more interesting tunnel, and did some video analysis on my poor performance (I'm a bit short to keep my right foot on).

Following this, and keeping to my current wheeze of pushing the Fist list, I went in search of Dangleberries. This was an A Frame offwidth shuffle FA'ed by Patch Hammond I think, which I dabbled on briefly on a UKB meet some 7-9 years ago (Hocking was still in Llanberis I remember that). Anyhoo, I had free time to stomp in the drizzle, and Dammit, I only found it again... Anyone familiar with the Milestone boulders will understand my amazement at this feat.

Keen to play on this in drier times, its even close enough to the road to drag ALL the pads..

Sussing jams in less than perfect conditions...

So there it is. not doing much, feeling a bit weak, but plans are afoot, and Adventure definitely Awaits...

Although my boys (and Girl) might beat me to it.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A Visit to the Dark Side

So it turns out baby number four is not quite as nails as a simultaneous arrival of babies 2 and 3. This coupled with some autumn sun has meant I've been chomping to get out and about. While I'm currently suffering from general weakness, I've realised that throwing myself at the long term goals (LTG's) is not going to help. I've been mulling on what I have done in the past when in this situation, and dredged up this old List. Thinking back, Jamming has got me well strong, especially the steep stuff, and the worthwhile bouldering specimens tend to be beautifully technical too. Life is busy, so I've trimmed the list to now only contain suitably steep mountain Jamming boulder problems, I'll return to the coastal stuff later.
Ladies, and Gentlemen, the new and improved...
Fist List
(Welsh Inland)
1.Georges Crack 7A
2. Big bad Bari 6C
3. Crack House G2
4. Dangleberries 6B+
5. Happy Feet 6B+
 6. Quack Crack 6B+
7. Teyrn Roof Crack 6B

So no. 1. 3. and 4. were still to be done (2. 5, and 6 were my own anyhoo). George had been subtly encouraging me to visit his Crack House, so that became the next mission. I've always been intrigued by the Dark side of Dyffryn Mymbyr, the boggy flanks of Moel Siabod always just out of strolling distance. To make a swift first reccy I enquired at Garth farm, if I could cross his land. He's a nice chap and said yes.

The view from Garth. this point is as far as you want to go without wellies.

Creig'ir Garth, home to some pegged E6's that look fairly savage.

The location of the Crack House, my map reading meant that I first had to reconnoiter all the top ridge first...

Inside the crack house.

My first visit was like Georges, solo, and without mat, I had a good go , but was afraid of braining myself on the ledge that guards the exit. 

Following a quixotic urge, my next visit started at my usual parking spot for Mymbyr, much further up the valley. My reasoning was that as long as I was exploring, I'd better leave no stone unfondled. I'd also heard this idyllic grassy valley was a boggy nightmare, and was keen to wet my wellies.

hidden blocs in the bog

almost out the bog

Looking down on the Crack house cluster

This time I had a mat! (just the one mind) and this reassurance that I wasn't going to fracture my cranium while committing to the baggy jams was all I needed.
The grade (G2) refers to the number of goes George took to complete it. My previous session doubled this number, but this time I cruised it, twice so I could film a couple of angles..

Come and do it, its ace (maybe 6B+), also the hills have many opportunities for the explorer:

I'll poke around a bit more in the future, and I'll knock those last two off the list, then the enchainments can start....

Watch this space

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Normal Service will Resume Shortly...

She's Here!
D.A.D and Seren

Seren arrived on Saturday at the very considerate time of 5pm, weighing a dainty 11 pounds and 5 Ounces. She's feeding, sleeping and pooing like a professional.

In other news, two days later I passed my Development Coach assessment, So its been a busy week, Time for sleep, slouching, and some hard work.

See you all soon.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Baby's still in, Scooter's out

With life a little on pause as we eagerly await the arrival of child number four, adventures have tended to be swift and erratic. As such, I reckon I'll be bunching a few together to be worth an actual post.

First mini adventure was an evenings boulder at the Quack block, where I bent my jack trying to move a rock (ain't happening folks) and managed to repeat Fat Duck Arete F6B, whose sit boils down to a rather stiff dead point:

Next trip was up to Marchlyn:
Scooters are the future!

Note the improved patio, now a one pad venue! (two would still be nice if you've dragged a spotter)

This became Seamus F6A+ a stand off the low ledge. (the mats on a cage full of rocks) It was also one of the more amusingly poor FA video's I made, as the sun was too bright for a sensible angle, and instead I wedged it in the wire cages for a rather close up view, some good fear shots though.

As well as this I applied some science to the issue of the direct into Tumbleweed. This consisted of sticking the phone on record, while I flailed at a series of improbable sequences. the 26 minutes of footage yielded 55 seconds of semi useful stuff, which i shoved through Coaches Eye. Basically I'm too weak, and my core is stopping me even tickle the slaps into slopers properly. Here's another crappy topo

The only other proper thing I've done up here is Livesey's Love Child round the back, a slopey top out grovel that starts under the lip on a big flake on the right, and is about F6B.

Gate to boulder took 53 minutes today (38 to the Dam). Boulder to gate was 22 minutes (10 from Dam). Useful knowledge if I want to revisit before the baby arrives.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Tick Report - August

Well August has brought the realisation that having a new baby is adventure enough.
I've had a couple of trips to try to establish some deep water soloing this month, but they're going to have to wait until next year I think. The only big ticks I'm properly psyched for are tosheroon, and the Marchlyn grit. Saying that, I have fallen back in love with Dyffryn Mymbyr, so I think I'll be up there quite a lot when I get a moment.
Other things this month; Bought myself a pair of Solutions for my birthday. I guess having two different pairs of unholey shoes makes me now officially a boulderer.
I was also able this month to have another visit to Joe Brown's house to talk Twll Mawr. This time for an article that will grace the climbing press in the near future. I recorded two hours of conversation, about 30 minutes was Twll Mawr,the rest was an enjoyable romp through adventure climbing, bolts, corrections to the current slate guide, Morocco, and getting old.
And finally, I installed my first conventional training aid to my house:

So far, I have done a pyramid up to 5 of pull ups and press ups, as well as a quick 10 pull ups on the slopers. I'm keen to do something to make trips to Marchlyn worthwhile. As for Tosheroon, its now scheduled for the spring, but if I can get Georges crack done by Christmas, I'll be a happy man.

Having taken Fiend to Mymbyr, I realised that more folks might like to come visit. so as well as the instructions here, I've included a pic from just after the 2nd bridge you cross if you are aiming for the Quack bloc and surrounds:

A= Bari Island, B = Quack Bloc, C = The Mighty 'Tashe

The Quack Bloc looming just above the wall

in all its glory

So I got up to here today to try the last line currently feasible to me. This is the big lip traverse, starting up Minnesota Loon, and finishing up Ball's Groove. Bill Travers is somewhere in the F6C+ region and after I practiced the various sections, surprisingly it went down first go. I only had two mats with me so I put them under the two spots I might get a foot/heel stuck, and started a bit crouched, as I had no mat to sit on:

So to further encourage you guys to visit and correct my grades for me, here's a crappy topo: 

1.Ball's Groove. 6A+ Standing start, hands on the left arete, can stand on the block.
2. Love Battery. 6C Standing start, hanging on the crimps on the right arete, feet on and boof up to the crack, then through the roof
3. Quack crack. 6B+ Sit start at the lowest jam. the stand is about 6A
4. Fist Full of Teal. 6B+ Sit start, Quack Crack start into Teal Appeal
5. Teal Appeal. 6B Sit start, LH undercut jam, RH undercut the fang
6. Minnesota Loon. 6C+ Sit start, LH undercut fist jam, RH side pull, slopes and a leap, monkey up to the horn. rock out right for a thoughtful top out.
7. Fat Duck Arete. 6B Sit start LH pinch, RH side pull as for ML. big move to gain horn then up the arete with occasional face holds. Stand(or sitting on the right hand block) is about 6A
8. Duck Life. 6A+ sit start, LH pocket RH rail,blast up the slightly overhanging face
9. Bill Travers. 6C+ sit start on Minnesota Loon, cross into Quack Crack without recourse to the jug rail, reverse love battery, and finish up Ball's Groove