For a while now I have been training primarily for an upcoming to trip to Rodellar in June where I have some big goals and I want to do all I can in order to achieve them. For around 5 weeks I have been training strength and power and to finish off the 5 weeks I thought I’d take a week’s trip up north to the Peak District for some bouldering and see if I have had made many gains in the bouldering discipline despite climbing purely routes in 2013. I hadn’t been to the Peak District since I first started climbing and I did Zippy’s Traverse at Stanage Plantation back in 2011!
I caught the train up to Sheffield on Friday and met a friend [Adam Brown] who has recently moved up north and has the Peak District on his doorstep. As soon as I arrived I was psyched and eager to get out and do some climbing. We soon ended up at Stanage Plantation where I warmed up by flashing Bullworker (Font 6B)… only just! I felt really weak and I was not used to standing on these poor smears; especially after a year of climbing on limestone. I then did Bullworker Flakes Sit (Font 6B+) which did feel a little easier (luckily). I did a few more problems and then moved up to The Green Traverse and I went for the flash but came off at the end when I crossed over way too far. It went easily on my second go and then I quickly did the 7A+ extension which was pretty cool even though it is a bit low. I tried Jason’s Traverse at the end of the session before quickly doing Rose and the Self Employed Business Man which is a really fun 7A+ and pretty hard for the grade too.
The following day we made plans to head back to the Plantation but rain came and we decided to go to Raven Tor… this was my first trip to the Tor. I had heard both good and bad things about the Tor, some people seem to love it, and some people seem to hate it. Personally when I first saw it I loved it! It looked so cool and I was impressed by the amount of people at the crag! I have never seen so many at a crag at once. I got out the van and was so psyched; I walked over to the cave and was baffled by the amount of problems and routes that were available to do at this once crag! There is just so much to go at and I didn’t know where to begin, so I went for the obvious choice and started on the classic Ben’s Roof (Font 7c+). At first I hated it and thought it was just painfully sharp and not very fun at all. However the more I tried the moves the more I began to enjoy it and then just wanted to be on the problem as much as possible. I was just throwing myself at the problem over and over again barely resting in between and then having another go. I was falling off the easy section at the end a lot, it was pretty damp and conditions weren’t ideal but maybe if I had rested properly then I would’ve done it quicker. I didn’t fall off the section in the roof once but only on the end section about 10 times! I blame the damp…
The following day I was back at the Tor and everything was wet or pretty damp! I warmed up by doing Out of my Tree Start (Font 7B) which I soon found out wasn’t the best warm up with its wet two finger pockets! I soon did it and then moved onto doing Weedkiller Traverse which turned out to be fiercer than I had expected. I then did Perverse Reverse which I flashed. Then I ended up spending the rest of the day doing the variations to Weedkiller including Weedkiller Footless (Font 7C+), Perverse Reverse Footless (Font 7C/+), Weedkiller Extension (Font 7B+) and then I flashed Too Hard for Mark Leech Footless (Font 7B). This was a pretty good days training and I enjoyed some of the filthy (made even filthier by the wet holds) eliminates that Raven Tor has to offer.
For the third day in a row I was back at Raven Tor where everything was wet… again! I had a go on the only dry problem there which was Influx (Font 7C+/8A) but couldn’t really hold on due to the tape which I had to put on my fingers to stop the pain! So I soon got bored of getting nowhere and headed over to Bashers Problem which was wet so I did Weedbasher (Font 7B) and then had a go at drying Ben’s Roof a little… I then had a quick attempt and it went first attempt! It felt so easy this time so I was fairly happy and decided to have a look at the extension which is given Font 8A or a route grade of 8b+ (which it deserves). The extended start was quite wet but a bit of chalk and brushing dried it off a little. I had my first redpoint attempt and fell off at the end of Ben’s Roof (on the Font 6C section again). I had around 20 minutes rest and then went again… this time I topped it fairly easily and was psyched to complete one of my goals for the trip. I was then finished and then headed to fellow Mammut and Five Ten athlete Ethan Walkers where he would be guiding my around for the next few days.
The following day it was back to Raven Tor where I didn’t really have anything in mind so I had a quick play on Keen Roof Font 8B and Ben’s Traverse Font 8A but I felt a bit tired and didn’t get much done but after all it was a fun day and I got a bit of training in doing Ben’s Roof again.
Next day we visited a cool little crag near to Ethan’s called Eastwood Rocks where I planned to do try and do The Eastwood Traverse; a classic 7B+/C which traverses from right to left across the main sector of the crag. I jumped on and fell off at one of the first moves… I had a quick go going across and sorting a good sequence and then had my first redpoint… on my first go I fell off at the end when I couldn’t find the right heel placement, second go and I fell at the same section, third go and it was done. I was really pleased with this one, a really good quality problem and really good power endurance training (which was what I need)! I then moved onto doing some desperate Font 7A+’s and some cool 7B’s.
Back to the Tor and I was keen to try and get Chimes. I spent the morning running around and trying some other cool problems and managed a quick flash of Sardine 7b+ to warm up. Chimes didn’t go but I did get to witness Ethan finish Belly of the Beast Font 8B+ which was so inspiring and got me psyched for a bit of hard bouldering.
It was then time to leave the Peak District and I headed back home with a lot of psyche and I couldn’t wait to get back out on rock as soon as possible. After a couple of days training indoors I went to Anstey’s Cove with Charlotte where I tested out my new Mammut Realization Shorts which have a built in harness and a new slick rope which I had just received. I decided I would have a play on Postman Pat which is an amazing route which was easily one of the best routes I’ve ever tried. It’s only graded 8a+ but this hadn’t stopped me falling off it over and over again last year. At no point to the moves feel desperate and at no point when having redpoint attempts did I get pumped but for some reason I just couldn’t do it. It felt easy but I spent around 5 sessions falling off the thing. Anyway I warmed up on Empire Direct 7b+ and then went and put the draws in Postman whilst trying and remembering the moves along the way. I couldn’t believe how easy the moves felt, I must have got much stronger over the past few months because it just felt so easy! On my first go I got to the last couple of moves but panicked as I wasn’t expecting it and was not ready at all. Second go I missed the undercut and then after an hour rest I jumped back on and finished it off easily, it felt fine and I’m not sure how I’ve spent so much time on this route. It was a route which was great fun anyway and defiantly worth spending so much time on as it’s just so much fun, I’d defiantly recommend it to anybody keen to try some routes on Ferocity Wall!
After a week of climbing indoors I decided to get back to my local crag Churston Cove which I hadn’t visited for over a year. A while ago I did a really cool Font 8A there and was keen to try and repeat it and try the extension which I always thought would be around Font 8A/+. I quickly did the problem on the left called Indecisive Nature which I originally gave Font 7C+ but after a hold break it is a bit a bit easier now and maybe around 7B+/C. I then moved onto Creatures of Habit which again was Font 8A-ish but after the hold break on Indecisive Nature it felt more like Font 7C+. Next I tried the Creatures of Habit Extension which I couldn’t touch last time I tried but after sorting out the moves again I did fairly quickly. I’m not sure on the grade; I’m guessing between 7C+ and 8A after the hold break but I can’t be sure as I’ve spent so much time lapping this wall so the majority of the climbing feels fairly easy now. Then I moved onto trying the Triple Trouble Project which is basically three hard but quality eliminates put together with little rest and I’m guessing it’ll be pretty hard when it goes. I sorted out the three sections and had a quick go but I was too tired after all the climbing today and not having a rest day for a while.
It’s so nice to see some progression from over the past 6 months and I’m very pleased to see that the training has been paying off and is worth it. For now I have a couple of projects which I have started redpointing and I’m looking forward to continue working them alongside all the training which is preparation for Rodellar in June. So for now my main focus is on training but I hope to get a few hard ticks along the way.