Monday, 28 September 2009

Burning Man Festival

After getting very scared crack-climbing in the Needles for a week, we hooked up with a group of friends from London.

We somehow managed to fit 4 couples into this . . . of our home in the Nevada desert for a week.

Our first night at the festival was incredible - we were constantly confronted with the most mind-blowing sculptures . . .

We partied quite hard that night and were a little worse for wear the next day . . . but what's better than watching the sun go down the next day on top of your RV . . .

Our next fews days were filled with more amazement as we wandered round the playa looking at art installations. I'll shut up and let the art do the talking . . .

More Bielsa Photos

A photo of a 7c+ i on-sighted at Bielsa 2 weeks ago courtesy of Ramon.

An awesome line with 5 parallel tufas in a row that had to be traversed across leading to a huge flake undercut coming up out of shot . . . the line was brand new and may have even been a first ascent . . .

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Maximuscle Filming

I have recently done some filming and a photo shoot for Maximuscle.

The finished edit that was produced shows a little look into the kind of training that i do. It was all filmed at my local training venue at the Westway Sports Centre in London. I also did a short interview that looked into how Maximuscle products help me train for competitions and completing routes outside. . . .

Rodellar & Bielsa 2009

I am currently out in Northern Spain training prior to the World Cup in Puurs in 2 weeks.

It's great to be out here training on rock as opposed to pulling indoors on plastic on the same routes and boulder problems.

It has been a blinder of a training trip already as I completed my two main goals for the trip within the first two days - Botanics, 8b+. I did this first go last Sunday! I did try the route last year though and i tore my Collaterol Ligament on it and had to stop climbing for 5 months . . .

I also climbed one of the maddest looking lines in Rodellar; El enano de la chepa del Seta, 8a+, again first try. It has a double dyno practically as the last move whilst in a 8m near horizontal roof while you are 25m high!

We also decided to check out Bielsa, a mountain crag in the Pyrenees very close to France. It's a beautiful area spread across 3 very different sectors with incredible views and practically unclimbed on rock!

La Foz was the most impressive area, containing many mid-8 grades through a barrel roof.

Here's a shot of me failing to onsight an 8a+ . . .

With training going so well i am going to be jumping on something that pushes my limits a little further . . . i will keep you updated.

The Needles

What a place.

Possibly the most beautiful climbing area i have ever been to - perfect granite crack-climbing with amazing features and lines.

A magical but quite spooky place - names for sectors like the: Wizard, Magician, Sorcerer, Warlock etc only add to this.

This trip really was an education for me - 2 hour walk-ins, followed by long intimidating crack climbs where my typically English rack - containing double pieces of gear (max) simply was not enough for 40m pitches of cracks of only one size! Also jamming was a new experience for me - i spent most of my time looking for razor edges around the cracks for light relief!

The highlight was working Pyromania - the classic Yaniro, upside down flake climbing 8a+ - i didn't have enough time to head-point it but when i return it will be the first thing that i jump on.

The above photo of Pyromania was taken from Urban Climber's site.

My photos to come . . . (my friend dropped my D90 off a boulder!)

World Champs China

Some photos in the few days run-up to the competition . . .

The training venue where we housed in the run up to the competition.

This is where the Chinese Olympic football, athletics and swimming teams train full time.

The quite unsatisfactory 'training facility' for all of the international competitors (Lead, Boulder and Speed) to stay in shape on prior to the World Championships. As you can see - it got a bit crowded!

Some interesting local behaviour . . .

It's been a while . . .

. . . since i last posted something on my blog.

In fact it was just before i was due to visit China for the World Champs. (See next post for some photos)

But it all went a bit wrong - i was meant to do the competition and then head to Yangshuo for some sport-climbing but the night before the Lead discipline qualification i received a phone call from England to say that my father had a severe heart-attack.

I flew home, missing the qualification round and not being able to put the 9 months of specific training to practice. Obviously my father's health and getting back to see him was my priority - climbing ranked very far behind that. And i spent the next 3 weeks looking after my Dad getting him out of hospital and back to normal home life - this was also right at the time of the British Championships too.

The whole incident had a massive impact on me, my training and my motivation. I didn't get the top 25 World Ranking i had been aiming and training for a year, i didn't get 1st at the British Championships (i got 3rd) and it took a while for me to get back training like i was.

Anyway, things have picked up again and i am training and climbing really, really well - (more to come in next post!)

I also have 3 World Cups to focus on:

- Puurs (25th/26th September)
- Brno (6th & 7th November)
- Kranj (14th & 15th November)

So here's to climbing in the remaining 4 months of 2009 and many more blog posts!