Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Partially Opening the Crazy Box

I haven't trained since 2013. The Beast in Me closed a chapter in my life, I realised that my body couldn't be ignored any more, and if I wanted to continue enjoying climbing I had to ease up and try to get fixed. In truth I've never really embraced training, I'd built up strength and flexibility, but I've never given much time to conditioning or endurance. I just went climbing.

This year I've set out goals; to get fixed, to climb the Tosheroon project, then climb my Marchlyn project.

Getting fixed. I've had my first proper session of one to one pilates with Eirian. Already I'm gaining better control of my core and a better awareness of my musculature ( what is tight and what's not activating etc.) Even on my pessimistic painful days I'm still hopeful.

Tosheroon. The training has tentatively started. My base is not too miserable, and getting fixed is still too early days for much volume. In fact the volume at the moment is taken up with pilates.

Specific training has always been my anvil on which to batter myself. So when the project is 40ft of horizontal grovelfest, its time to crack open the crazy box and build yourself a grinder:

OK its not a slimy squeeze box, its a lot more fun than that, less painful too. I made it for a bouldering comp at the Beacon, it has multiple knee bars, and goes around F7A+. Prior to my last Eirian session, I wheezed and flailed my way to barely kick the sidewall. This version is after a week of focussed pilates. The next step is to go there and reverse back again, and after that is smooth and under control (and I can walk the next day) its off to George's crack for laps. To squeeze the tide window for Tosheroon into my busy schedule is tricky and infrequent, so I need to be battle ready before I rock up there.

Tosheroon is specialist, even in the widefetish world, but it feeds my crazy and I'm properly psyched. Even if I'm getting pain free just to inflict pain on myself.

More soon, once I start more regular conditioning, who knows what normal achievements I may attain...

Enjoy your own crazy...

Thursday, 21 January 2016

I.N.S.P.R.E. Jan '16

First post of the new year, and I seem to have found myself without a monthly feature. All Giveaway projects are, well, given away.. The big tick list is now short mid term and loooonnnggg goals. What can I prattle on about? okay, not a big dilemma.

Talking to fellow pursuers of unclimbed esoterica, we've all got pet rocks we're rather proud of. The fact that other people have never heard of them, let alone climbed them, is a little irksome. However, I do concede that I've climbed some right tat too, so how do we promote the horseshoes and ignore the horseapples. My new monthly feature looks to address this.

I.N.S.P.R.E. stands for "Its Not Shit, Please Repeat Everybody". There are neglected gems out in them thar hills, that may have never been seen by anybody but the FA, let alone had someone else climb on them. I intend to limit my own contributions to 2-3 so as to not be too narcissistic, so expect some beta and history from other fellow esoterrorists.

This months contribution is "It not the Years, its the Mileage" F7A/+ found at Crag y Giat above Nant Peris. 

Here it is. Through the campsite and up the hill, 30 mins if you're unfit like me.

The gate seems to have gone, but the crags still here.

I first stumbled across the crag in 2003, where I cleaned it up and led a couple of lines up the middle (no. 2 cam I seem to recall). The line on the left intrigued me, and over the next 8 years I sporadically humped myself up the hill, trying new sequences, and testing my fitness. My eventual success was down to improved core keeping my feet on.
Almost 5 years later, and still no repeat, the lichen and fluff has grown back a little, and would be repeatists would be wise to take a harness and 15m of rope to give it a good clean.

plenty of bosses to tie off a cleaning rope!

lots of interesting rugosities

slabby to steep..

Myself modelling the crag. The crack I'm under is Chemistry Crack. I chose the name as it was reminiscent of the test piece at my old uni. A join between two high walls outside the chemistry dept at Royal Holloway, young guns would test their jamming/ laybacking skill here on the way back from the pub.

On the left are the starting holds for mileage, and here on the right are the Starting holds for "Desire is Repressed Fire" a F6A+ up the middle into the hanging crack. The cam can go in the dark slot above my head. "Sharks patrol these waters" is another line to the right of this up the margin of the slab, above a nasty block. Sharks and Desire both somehow made it into the Llanberis guide, but Mileage is currently recorded only in this blog, and on North Wales Bouldering.

Its a stiff walk, but for capable types it will certainly be a rewarding one. The slash grade reflects my uncertainty, its certainly the hardest I've climbed of its type, and I still remember the crux sequence; thumb gaston to stacked mono in shallow gouge, into a dynamic rockover for a monocrimp.. all very esoteric.

For your consideration...