Sunday, October 29, 2006

Was a bit disapointed by siurana. Routes tended to be either cryptic crimp fests or 6 move long boulder problems which were desperate to onsight and painful on the skin to try and redpoint.
One day it was raining so we headed to a crag called teradettes. It was awesome. Lots of 35m routes with the crux in the last five. Unfortunately the warm ups were soaking when i went and i forgot water so felt a tad parched. still managed to onsight a 7b+ and got to see the most ripped man in the world walk up practically everything which was quite inspiring.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Off to spain tomorrow, probably siurana. Bit miffed that my skin is still buggered as I was hoping to try some hard projects. Ive quit college to be a bum for the year so i'll maybe stick clip up something hard with a view to returning next spring having trained specifically for it. Bit sad but then thats me.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Managed to do pongo last thursday. Went back yesterday with my mate allen whos a photography student so I could get it on video. Nearly did it twice in a row and was confident of repeating it but then i ripped open three flappers on my left hand! I'm off to spain on thursday so i decided it was best to try and let them heal. I had enough footage to edit together the video below, hence the dodgy close up of the hands in the middle of the sequence.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pongo SS


Was down the wall the other day and couldn’t help but notice climbers obsession with categorising peoples performance. E.g. “he has terrible technique” or pity “he’s so weak”. I am all in favour of bitching about people I just think people give others a blanket category, like strong with no technique, and then see this as the reason for their every failure. This isn’t really important except that I think it can slow the categorised’s improvement.
For instance Malcolm has been classed as being weak but with awesome technique. I think this can lead to one of three scenarios. Scenario A: Malcolm wants to be seen as good when down the wall so spends his whole time doing problems which require very little strength and so doesn’t get stronger, instead he becomes weaker. Scenario B: he feels less of a man for what he sees as people picking on him for not being butch. He spends his whole time playing on the campus board and lifting weights which alter his technique adversely. Scenario C: Malcolm is unaffected by the bully’s comments and continues to work on a whole range of styles.
Furthermore being strong or technical implies a climber with no obvious weaknesses in that area which is very rare. There are many facets to technique for climbing. A typically technical problem might be a crimpy slab. But burly roofs require a different technique altogether. Basic dynos between edges up the 45 require coordination and precision. Even when going footless a lot of strength can be saved with the right technique and swing of the hips. Some people are good with sequences while others can get a lot of weight on to their feet. Having one does not mean you have the other. Malcolm A, who spends his whole time on slabs, is skinny but can still do 10 pull ups yet he doesn’t get up easy roof problems because he doesn’t know how to move on steepness.
Similarly butch Bob is a thug. But he crimps everything and is struggling with a problem on two finger pockets. Surely it’s his technique? Quite possibly he isn’t moving right but if he was strong open handed he’d cruise the problem.
An article by Jerry Moffatt about perfomance profiling can be found at

Friday, October 06, 2006

Young Sam looked up at the route. A sustained ten metres of slopey blob pulling. “Looks tricky” Sam thought out loud. Of course, he was fibbing. It looked impossible to his weak, overweight body. He was trying out the use of understatement in a feeble effort to appear good. He glanced down at the white plaque and gulped. BLOBS-6b+. Crikey! Well he is only fourteen. Don’t see anyone else stepping up to bat… oh except, there’s that guy. But he’s all skin and bones, no muscle and he looks like Harry Potter. Nothing to worry about. Young Sam will have another muffin before attempting route-X and let this young calamity test his metal. On returning from the Cafeteria of Alien Rock Sam was horrified to see the lad cruising to the top…. On lead!!!! Damn it!!! Incidentally the Potter look alike was called Mike. He hung on to his nerdyness just long enough that he achieved at school before making the fastest transition from square to stallion the world has ever seen. Soon Mike had the girls, the muscles and the talent.
The young Sam found it hard to accept that he might not be the best climber in the world. His first thought was to get bold. He had heard a rumour that on outdoor climbs the scarier the route was the higher the grade it got. Perfect-life wasn’t worth living if he wasn’t the best so off he headed to the mountains in search of danger. He got as far as Blackford quarry where he and his mate, Ali, decided to tackle a difficult climb. They looked in their guidebook and saw just what they wanted, a diff. Sam took the lead placing the only piece of useful gear they had at about one third height before gnarling it up to the top. That day Ali didn’t get his chance to shine as minutes later they were attacked by drug dealers. The next time they headed out Sam got to see what a pussy he was compared with Ali. More annoyingly Ali seemed to be quite good, had a body mass index under 40 and could pull girls much older than himself.
Sam was distraught. He was never going to be particularly bold or good.
Then he had a brainwave. Sam took up a Machiavellian approach. He decided to cheat and lie his way to the top- infallible. It was meant to be. Northumberland with its many hard eliminates (ideal for cheating on) was only a stone throw away. All was well… for a while. Eventually some one caught on to what Sam was doing. Actually lots of people probably did, but one decided to say something. It was very embarrassing and worse still, meant young Sam would have to find a new way of getting good.
Disheartened Sam went to the wall. Over a six month(or so) period he watched another young pretender by the name of Conan mutate in to a very strong young man. When asked about this, Conan seemed to suggest it was down to this fingerboard training he’d been doing a lot of. But training… well it’s not what real climbers do. Besides how a few pull ups and hangs were going to transform Sam into a rock god Sam could not understand. The way Conan put it, it sounded as if anyone could get strong if they put in the hard work. Conan obviously had the genetics and he soon grew a moustache. It was unfair how Conan had facial hair and strength.