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Over and out

27 Oct 2009

Ok so my siege on Caviar is over.  And I didn't do it.  Some things just aren't meant to happen.  It's a disappointing decision but one I've made.  Last Friday I almost did it again, slapping the final hold.  And then I realised I've been using a duff sequence.  I just knew this sequence was the key.  Yesterday I was so full of energy and promise.  I felt a tingling sensation of lightness and energy.  On my first redpoint I've never felt so strong, got the crucial hold and my foot peeled, something that has never happened before.  I kept my energy for the second go, got the crucial hold again, but not properly and fell. And then I felt my energy and enthusiasm drain away.

After another unsuccessful go I just couldn't summon anything more to return up the route so I stripped the draws and went bouldering.  In the scheme of the redpointing world I haven't even spent much time on the route but it just isn't happening and there is only so much you can give to a route.

This may seem bizarre when so tantilisingly close but I don't seem to be able to get my act together.  Maybe I will have another go in the future, but I can't face it right now.  It's a frustrating realisation that redpointing near my limit is something I am utterly ill equipped to do, not physically, because I'm sure this route isn't anywhere near my physical limit, but it certainly is at my mental limit.  All I can say is huge respect to those who can plod day after day, year after year, stress free and realise their projects.

On Thursday I'm catching a plane out to Turkey for the coaching holidays. But I've got 3 days of personal climbing first.  Looking forward to it!

Form taking shape kind of

20 Oct 2009

When I run these climbing holidays like Chateauvert, it’s actually really great for my climbing too. I do many pitches every day and especially at Chateauvert it’s easy to clock up the metres. This combined with my holiday to the Verdon has meant that my form is finally starting to kick in.

I sadly made a calculation recently that from April till my time at the Verdon (end August) I was only climbing/training 2.3 times a week. Clearly not enough, but there wasn’t much I could do about it at the time. I know this is really sad to work this out but my form has felt a bit of a mystery. At times I felt that all I needed to do was get stronger for my project (and I was strong), but in fact huge volume up to 7a seemed to be the missing link. I just wasn’t well conditioned to say the least.

Last Tuesday I returned to Raven Tor and ticked In Brine 8a. It hadn’t been the bottom bit (i.e. the 8a bit) relying on finger strength and power that eluded me, it was recovering enough to do the top 6c bit. Finally I felt more like a climber.

Afterwards I went for pure self indulgence. Not wanting another project, I didn’t know what to do then the lightbulb flashed. I’ve wanted to dog up Mecca (8b+) for some time. Whenever you visit Raven Tor there is usually someone huffing and puffing up the groove of Mecca and I always wanted to know what it’s like up there. Brilliant is the answer. I surprised myself by doing all the moves apart from the crux slap in the middle and even managed to string a few sections together.

I’m not sure Nic was too impressed with my foray, worried about me getting such a ridiculous project and me becoming a nightmare in the process. Well it’s not going to be my project, it’s one thing doing the moves on something like that, quite another putting them all together. But it’s interesting to find out what the next levels up are like.

On Friday I went back on Caviar, the first time in 3 months. I struggled in the sun, but when it finally disappeared behind the hill at 5pm I really was quite good, just as good as before, perhaps weaker but with more fight and fitness. I had high hopes then for yesterday but no success came. The sun was so bright and glaring I just couldn’t get my head in gear and I fell in my usual place. I’ve got potentially 3 more days on it before I go to Turkey – as ever deadlines and limited time, but who knows, these things are never certain, however close you may be.

Chateauvert coaching holiday success

15 Oct 2009

Corinne joined me in the most beautiful gite I’ve ever seen to welcome Andy, Rachel, Chris, Sarah, Nora, Adam, Jonno, Phil, Louisa and Anu. The gite looks out on endless vineyards, which are probably being harvested as I type. When I booked the gite I knew we were on to a winner but it really did exceed all expectations. Provençal tiles line the floor, beautiful art adorns the walls and ensuite bathrooms are always good.

Chateauvert gite

It gave more than enough space for everyone to settle in and enjoy our first meal together outside on the long, ornate, metal table. From here we spent most nights discussing the day’s activities and considering the life of Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie. Less than a couple of kilometres away is their château and the constant whirring of helicopters (no joke) was of some interest to our group.

Aside from all this, the climbing was a real hit. Initially everyone felt quite shocked by the length of the routes (30 metres) and stiff grades but in the end people fell in love with the striking lines and the high quality rock. There were many firsts: first outdoor leads, first sport belays threaded, first 6as and first redpoints.  The holiday was aimed at climbers in the 4s and 5s but due to Corinne and I whizzing around the crag, different abilities and aspirations didn't matter; Louisa and Phil redpointed a 7a so everyone got something out of the trip.

Chateauvert Adam 

Adam on Haltes Passageres 5b+

Next to the gite is the vineyard headquarters and the group enjoyed a tasting of the wonderful organic wines. We took a visit out to beautiful Contignac where we enjoyed lunch in the square. And on the last night we tucked into a meal at a local restaurant which was finished off with a delicious chocolate pudding.

To view photos of the trip click here. I’ll be adding more photos in due course.  To find out more about the course click here.

It was great to spend time with Corinne again and we worked really well together. We are now hoping to work on more projects together.  So watch this space.  In addition she is in the process of setting up a business making training plans (probably worth listening to someone who has won at Arco and World Cups).  I’m also in the process of booking the same gite again for next year’s holiday…

Since getting back I’ve managed to get on top of work and I was actually successful at the crag on Tuesday. I’m not getting too over excited about it, but finally I can feel my form coming together. More on that in a couple of days.

Denmark and off again

02 Oct 2009

It’s no surprise I don’t know whether I’m coming or going half the time. Straight after our holiday in France (we’ve already set dates to go again next year!) I shot off for an interestingly named event called Dolls on Walls. This was the first ever all women’s event in Denmark. It’s an unusual climbing scene in that they have no rock at all. Everything happens at the wall and it’s easy for your climbing to become uninspired. That’s where Angelica Lind and I stepped in.

Dolls on Walls

Many workshops were held on training plans, strength etc but Angelica and I ran a bouldering and routes workshop. It was an interesting challenge for me as I had two routes workshops to run, each with 32 participants!!! Somehow, with the assistance of Anis (spelling probably wrong), it all worked out ok. Normally I would put a limit on about 10!

I was really inspired myself to meet Angelica. She is Swedish and currently in the world top 10 in the boulder world cups. Her background is as a competitive gymnast, which you can see in her build, but also in her incredible attitude to training and competition. Basically if you combine all three you get a real athlete.

Everyone had a super weekend and everyone seemed to leave with a new energy and buzz.

In the meantime, my climbing has hit a standstill but in a rather strange way. On the one hand I’m climbing brilliantly and other terribly. Last weekend I fell again from the top 6c bit of In Brine. This may be a local record to fall from up there twice. People are even commenting on how they might just give me the route because it all seems so ridiculous, cruising an 8a to fall from something so relatively easy. Obviously it’s not ticked till I reach the chains in one piece.

I couldn’t face the route again this week so I settled for an esoteric day down at Nettle Buttress with Zippy. Zippy mentioned that this doesn’t even come close on the esoteria scale, but climbing up a wet 6b+ for a warm up does in my book (admittedly it was raining). Hidden away in Cheedale, this crag isn’t so popular and the trees ensure the routes maintain a degree of dampness. After the ‘warm up’ I did an ok 6c+ and a surprisingly ok 7b+ (Stung). I had a go at a 7c, but then my arms failed me on the RP. Nothing gets a good in my book, as it’s all relative to the Verdon, but fun was nevertheless had.

I’m packing now for another visit abroad, this time for my Chateauvert holiday with Corinne. All go… as usual.