Saturday, 15 August 2015

Photographic catch-up

I’m currently broken; the left-side of my body seems to have given up the ghost.

Ankle, knee, ring finger, wrist & shoulder are all at some level injured. Most of these were just minor tweaks or reoccurance of tweaks, but the shoulder is the latest and most significant injury after making a horrid tearing/crunching sound last weekend.

Fingers crossed the noise originated from the belly of one of my shoulder muscles and wasn’t a proper rotator cuff or SLAP tear? Only time will tell…

To pass the time I’ve collated some photos from the last 8 months;

Simon half-way up the French Pillar, Jebel Mischt, Oman - scorchio!

New Years Eve 2014/15 - Me and Simon on the summit of Jebel Mischt, Oman, having climbed the 1100m high French Pillar, f6b+/E3 5c.

In the Summit shelter of Ben Nevis having climbed the "most famous ice gully in the world" - a 0430 wake-up call meant we got first dibs on the route :-)  


Oliana – less said the better - Fisheye handed me my arse on a plate for the second year running. John had a stonking trip though, climbing Fisheye, 8c, Humildes Pas Casa, 8b+ and Gorilla’s en la Nuebla, 8b/+ during our 2 week trip. He’s John enjoying his first glass of wine since Christmas to celebrate his ascent of Fisheye (on the right).


Old and new cars: i then proceeded to fill the boot of the new car with bouldering mats for multiple lamplight sessions in Parisellas cave; a highlight of which was getting up Trigger Cut (avec la knee).


I supplemented a work trip to Detroit and Houston with a long weekend in the Red River Gorge. The climbing highlights were doing Angry Birds, 13c 2nd go and getting spanked by the brilliant Paradise Lost, 13a on a warm day (below). The bourbon is pretty good too!

I really want to go back to the RRG this Autumn, but manky shoulder might have different ideas?

Upon returning from the USA I took a nasty tumble off my mountain bike whilst in a jet lagged fugue, and this was the start of a month off any serious climbing; first from the resulting 2 week concussion, and then another fortnight of chest infection and anti-biotics.

I injured my fingerwhilst trying the crux of Mecca when it was a bit damp, so had to resort to other forms of climbing, including limestone roof crack masochism
The dodgy gaffer tape jamming glove I improvised to get up Licking tarmac (AKA Fisting Katy) f8a at Cheddar.

Much of the month was spent hanging off bits of wood with varying weight dangling off my waist whilst rehab’ing my finger; i.e. avoiding all crimping what so ever.

I made some great progress upping my max hang from 27 to 43 kg over a 6 week training cycle and deployed this new finger strength back at the Tor on the only route that doesn’t have a crimp in sight.

However, after succeeding on Mecca Traverse and Mandela at Kilnsey, I set to working Guns in the Sky, 8b+ at Kilnsey and started to experience some knee pain from repeated heel/toe cams with my left foot, so it was a refreshing break to go down to Dorset for some time off from projects.

 Something completely different! (Indoor rifle range in an old road tunnel at Lyme Regis).

Crazy Notion, f7b DWS at a sunkissed Lulworth Cove. 24 hours before my shoulder self-imploded.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Catch Up blog 2: Costa Blanca weekend jolly

I'm currently enjoying a rest-day in our little apartment in Organya; a break from the stress of trying to redpoint Fisheye, 8c at Oliana - more on this later...

After returning from the sunny Greek island of Kalymnos in early November, normal service was resumed with steep indoor bouldering being the favoured medium of training this winter. However, barely seeing daylight from one week to the next was failing to keep the training psyche up, so a last minute trip was booked to the Orange House in Costa Blanca.

Day 1: Arrived in Alicante at midday and collected our hire car and drove straight to The Peñón de Ifach, where we kicked off proceedings with a quick ascent of "Costa Blanca" - a classic 6c+ multi-pitch sport route. This was a route I'd aspired to climb when I first visited the Costa Blanca in 2000 and had never gotten round to doing - suffice to say, it was great fun and the mega up-draft on the headwall made for some exciting climbing!****

Day 2: The next day we went back to the Peñón to attempt our main objective - New Dimensions, a 7b multi-pitch. The day didn't start well when we tried following the "black bolts" as indicated in the guidebook and quested off up some distinctly serious terrain. Back on the floor after some nervous down-climbing, we found the right line 40ft to our left and set off again. However, the combination of sea grease and direct sun made for some super slippery conditions and after 10 metres or so I slumped on the rope. Dogging my way to the belay it became apparent I wouldn't have gotten much further as conditions deteriorated to the point I had to chalk up just to pull on a quick-draw!

We bailed! Reconsidered our options, and settled for sector Wildside where the earlier frustrations boiled over. Throwing myself at La Putita de Millau, 7c+/8a, on-sight. The initial tufa groove was awkward and slowed progress somewhat, but then I flowed up the headwall, reading the rock really well and having a thoroughly rewarding experience - a great compensation for the earlier disappointment. 

Ken got his bouldery 7c done second go; setting a new personal best, so we headed to "WOK" and stuffed ourselves on the all you can eat Chinese buffet. There was some weird clientele; the fat white man with young Asian “companion”, the bi-lingual couple arguing loudly in both English and Dutch and of course, the bodybuilders there for a cheap protein hit!

Day 3; Back to Wildside for another 8a OS attempt - this time coming up short one bolt short of the chains on Mediterrano. I dispatched this quickly and Ken got hideously pumped on the 7b+ start.

Before too long it was time to rush to the airport, sink a quick beer and fly home; rock starvation sated, and ready to face some more indoor training.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Catch-up blog 1 - Kalymnos, Nov '14

Hi internet, it's been a while!

I'd hoped to have written a blog celebrating my success on a gnarly sport route over the Autumn, but a finger injury put paid to that. My first trip to the Greek island of Kalymnos was fine compensation though; with steep juggy tufas replacing massively outnumbering any finger stressing, single joint holds.

The logistics of getting to Kalymnos had been booked by friends on a budget, and entailed Ryanair flights departing Stanstead (3 hours drive from home), 9 hours attempting to sleep in Athens airport before a seat of the pants, thunderstorm enhanced turbo-prop flight to arrive on Kalymnos.

The Team:
Will - prawn star
Ken - looking quite chuffed with his final day 7b+ flash 
Another Ali

Ali K flashing a steep 7b+ "The beginning at the end"

Early on in the trip I got stupidly pumped, barely on-sighting Paleolithic Line at Jurassic Park, and it took my battered left forearm a couple of easy days to recover. After that, it was full guns blazing, with the highlights being:

- Grande Grotte double; Priapos and Aegealis on-sight double - doing Aegialis in the direct sun was particularly memorable!

Ken taking the ride off of Priapos

- On-sighting my fiorst 8a - Super Lolita in the Sikati Cave - some very well timed shouts of encouragement got me though the crux when I started to flounder, but the vertical headwall was much less difficult than I expected, and before I knew it, was lowering off with a stupidly large grin on my face!

Ken's photo of me on the top bulge of Super Lolita - I'm the tiny red spec, top centre - 45m route!

- Finally, dining like kings for pittance every night!

Mythos - beer of champions

Kalymnos is great - go there - you won't regret it!