I apologise for bombarding you with stuff about my recent ascent of Rainshadow but I promise this will be the last post. I still find it hard to believe that I managed to redpoint this route and that today I am
Yesterday I realized the dream I had of climbing Steve McClure’s classic 9a route Rainshadow. The dream began whilst walking in the Yorkshire Dales with my wife in 2012. Our route took us under the amazing limestone cove of Malham, it wasn’t a great day for climbing and most of the cove was wet but there was one lone climber working a route up the center of the cove. It turned out to be Jordan Buys and the route was Rainshadow. At the time I knew little or nothing about the route other than it was one of the hardest in the UK and graded 9a. Adam Ondra repeated it in 2011 in just 2 days and afterwards he said it was one of the best 9a routes he had climbed. Later in 2012 Jordan made the 3rd ascent.
Since that day I’ve learnt a lot more about this route and what makes it so special. It takes a stunning line up the centre of the cove on bullet hard limestone and requires that special combination of strength and endurance. It’s not enough to be strong or fit, you needRead More...
North East climber and photographer Mark Savage recently sent me a photo of the damage done to the classic Bowden problem Vienna. The damage is obviously due to its popularity and Vienna is certainly not unique in this respect. There will be classic problems all over the country which are sadly changing for the worst.
One of the causes of this damage is from excessive brushing to remove excess chalk so as to improve the grip between fingers and rock. We all do it and it’s almost become a ritual, part of the mental process of preparing for a hard send. However it’s worth questioning how effective this process is, is it worth the damage it causes and are there better alternatives for improving the friction and therefore your chances of success?
I have done plenty of brushing in my time and my company even sells brushes but in most cases I don’t actually believe it does help to improve the friction. The only cases where it might help are where the hold obviously hasn’t beeRead More...
Last few months my climbing was mixture of everything. I was not focused on any particular project or strict training plan because I felt tired of the intense rhythm I held for months. This time I decided to follow my instinct and keep things as simple as possible - even if it meant climbing just once or twice per week.
This relaxed approach taught me about less is more philosophy which I have heard about but never really tried it. Of course, you cant expect to improve this way but surely you will have more energy and this is what I wanted.
At first it was kind of surprising how your climbing can stay on rather high level despite few sessions per week less than usually. I climbed less but quality of the sessions raised.
The other good thing which came with this energy boom was strong idea to change regular routines and spice things up a bit. So, beside running a lot I did some training sessions at home, got our crashpads out from the basement , visRead More...
It seems hard to believe but it was 30 years ago back in 1984, aged just 18 that I made the first ascent of the UK?s 2nd 8a Statement of Youth. At the time it caused quite a stir in the climbing world not because of it?s difficulty but because I had used 7 bolts to climb it. To those not familiar with climbing in the 1980s this might seem pretty strange but back then sport climbing in the UK didn?t exist. Although it would take a few years this was all going to change and Statement played a big part in this change. During the past 30 years I have made several 1st ascents around the world but there are none that I am more proud of than Statement of Youth. Located at Lower Pen-Trwyn (LPT to most people) on the Great Orme in North Wales the route takes a line up the right-hand side of the steep left hand section of the cliff. With no particular crux section but very sustained at the grade it?s a right of passage for the sport climber aspiring to the magical 8th grade.
To celebrate its Read More...
This summer I started to work on Vukowar project, the one of The Big Four, while the half of the line was still wet. I worked the route in a very structured sessions, usually doing laps on critical parts and climbing them in very precise style and slow pace, almost like doing french blow on every single move in a row. I know it is modern to go fast like Ondra these days but I still like to work on moves in a slow style and than just add some extra speed when I go for real.
Anyway, I knew there will be just a small time window when the route will be completly dry and I worked like a maniac to get fit and confident for that moment. It was true. Vukowar got dry and it lasted for just around 2 weeks, but it was enough. I was totally prepaired and I did FA in literally first real try. It is always a great feeling and privilege to climb such a special lines but since I often emotionaly connect with them I cant escape some sorrow oncRead More...
Last weeks I have been enjoying ideal climbing combination - good form and nice weather. Since the last blog I have continued with slow and steady progression. In rainy periods I did lots of indoor climbing where I got a bit stronger, luckily without any injury.
The rest of the time I was out
on the rock as much as possible and on the mission to chase the lines from my ticklist, manily composed of numerous old debtors. To climb these lines that I already failed is usually pain in the ass. I bet it is allways much easyer to do the new „hard“ route than „easy“ old one which doesnt fit your style.