For the second half of the year I focussed a lot on training after all the big progress and gains that I saw in the first 6 months…
July was a big month for my climbing with many upper 7’s and low 8’s ticked; this month I really started to feel the flow of harder climbing and I felt really fit and ready to get ticking! The first week of the month was one of my favourite weeks in 2013- Climbing this month started at Cheddar where I did lots of low 7’s and many laps on each route. The following day I headed to my local crag and managed an ascent of a cool endurance 8a called Leather Whip Mick on my second go and then straight after I did another classic 7b+ Empire Direct. The day after this I headed to Berry Head with Tom Newberry where I did some easier routes (but felt pretty scared) and then belayed Tom top-roping Cutlass 8a+ twice before going for the solo and getting the 3rd ascent effortlessly. We then went to Ash Hole, a small cave near Berry Head, I decided to try and flash Wayne E6 6b and pulled it off (just about). After this we moved round to Churston Quarries and I flashed Born Toulouse E4 6a and then established a cool V6 whilst trying a pretty hard project there, we then finished the day off with some easy sport climbs Supercalorific, 6b+ and New Link, 6b. The following day we went to Anstey’s and had a couple of goes on A Fishermans Tale, 8b but the sharp crimps soon destroyed my skin!
The next day was my birthday and I decided to go back to Anstey’s Cove with Charlotte and have fun on some easier routes which I had wanted to try for a while. First up was a quick warm-up on Empire of the Sun, 7b, I then put the draws in Just Revenge, 7c+ which felt surprisingly easy after doing Leather Whip Mick a few days prior. Somehow I managed to fall off the big pocket move twice before finishing the route. Feeling pleased after ticking this classic I moves on to Avenged (the leftwards extension to Just Revenge), 7c+. I had a short rest and then jumped on this and got it first attempt! To finish this day off I did Might and Main, 6c+. This was one of my greatest climbing days of 2013 and was very pleased to feel so strong after 6 days on!
7th day on and I was still feeling great so me and Tom Newberry decided to check out a project that I had been told about at Torbryan Quarry which was a huge rising traverse of the whole crag and rumoured to be graded at around 8a+ or 8b. The project could be broken down into two sections with the second of the two sections being a new route in itself. So we started by putting the draws in and sorting out what needs to be extended and exactly where the line should go. We both did the second section of the route (Vicious White Lie, 7c) on our first redpoint attempts and then we got onto figuring a sequence on the first section which is pretty bouldery and could be around 8a. After figuring the sequence we had a redpoint attempt each but both fell coming out of the first section which is very sustained hard climbing over 20 moves. It soon got way too hot so we called it a day there with all the moves sorted and ready for us to tick in our next session, although I didn’t know if I’d get back for another month as in a week’s time I was flying out to the Pyrenees for a couple of weeks.
The next day I went to Anstey’s to try a new route (Triple Crown,8a) that Tom had put up a couple of years ago and was still unrepeated so thought it might be worth having a couple of goes on. I put the draws in and figured out the crux which involves a very shallow mono and then a big throw to a good break! I managed to do the move once in around five tries but thought I may aswell go for a redpoint anyway and see what happened. Somehow I pulled through and did the route on my first go. Very pleased with this I put the draws in Avenged Direct, 8a and did this on my first redpoint too! I then did Heathen Man, 7b. The next day I went to Brean Down for a short session where I got an onsight of El Chocco, 7c.
After a day’s rest I managed to get back to Torbryan Quarry and get back on the project where I did it on my 3rd redpoint in extremely bad conditions on my last session before going out to Ariege! Tom named it Bob and we gave it 8a+ (meaning that it was my first of the grade). This was a very successful couple of weeks climbing with many cool routes ticked.
On my trip to Ariege with Tom Wright I tried several tough routes but got completely thrown around and the routes got the better of me. A very fun trip was had, a lot was learnt (especially from the legend who is Stevie Haston), but not much hard climbing went down with my hardest tick of the trip being a 7b+ onsight.
After quite a lot of rest at the start of the month, the climbing got started with a first ascent which was an extension to Triple Crown and I gave this 8a too, I then flashed Helium, 7c, and then did some laps on Leather Whip Mick and Just Revenge. A couple of days later I went back to Torbryan Quarry where I got the second ascent of Red Thunder, 8a and then added a harder finish to that which I gave 8a although it may be a little harder. I then did Threadbare 7c+ first redpoint and then a few other routes 7b+ and below.
Shortly after this I had my second bouldering session of the year when I went on a two day trip to Lynmouth with Tom Wright and Ed Gow-Smith. Over the two days I managed to do many cool problems and also learn a lot about what I need to train… I also realised that despite all the long routes I have been doing my bouldering strength hasn’t suffered at all. I did Whomping, 7C+, Wimping, 7C+ (First Ascent), Twister Sit, 7C, Cake Vs Pie, 7B+, Slopey Traverse Extension, 7B, Coriolious Effect, 7B, Face Off, 7A+ (Flash), Cyclone, 7A and many other problems aswell as some scary highballs.
Most of September was spent indoors at The Quay Climbing Centre just training waiting for the weather to get better. I did have one session in this month where I did Woody’s Traverse, 7B and Follow the Slick Red Road, 7c. I then tried the link which is Straw Dogs, 8a+ but somehow managed to fall off of the easier moves towards the top.
During October I had a couple of sessions outdoors and both were very successful… The first was a session at Brean which I spent on Brean Topping, 8b which I has to use harder and different beta but managed to do it on my 8th attempt overall. The second was also spent at Brean and I did a variation to Brean Topping, graded 8b too but maybe slightly harder. The route was Snakes ‘n’ Wankers and I did this on my 2nd redpoint but after doing Brean Topping so it felt pretty smooth and not too bad once I finised it. Two 8b’s in a week left me very pleased and I psyched to train to do more in the new year!
All of November was spent indoors at the Boulder Bunker and The Quay! I didn’t do any routes outdoors but did get lots of training done and felt much stronger by the end of the month.
This month was all about training again. At the beginning of the month I travelled up to Sheffield with Charlotte where we attended the British Open Youth Event. The event went very well and I ended in 3rd/4th (it’s all very complicated…). I did get out for a bouldering session where I did a couple of first ascents which I graded around 7B and did lots of other problems; I felt really good and can’t wait to get out on some hard routes and problems in the New Year… For now it’s all about training though.
Overall it has been a great year and I completed my goal of 15 8’s and also managed to go from 7b to 8b. I am looking forward to next year and for my upcoming trip to El Chorro with Charlotte in February.
Media Appearances in 2013:
- http://www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk/College-climber-s-career/story-19132751-detail/story.html#axzz2eWtCzM5i (
Thank you for reading.
Happy New Year!