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BRYCS, Chateauvert, Janus and being busy!!

24 Mar 2009

Since my last post I've been flat out.  March was always going to be busy, but the light at the end of the tunnel is glowing bright and Spring is here.  The weekend following SHAFF led me to the dizzy heights of Leeds, Huddersfield and London.  Ellie, who I've been coaching for a year now, entered a new age category at the BRYCS (thats the BMC Youth Climbing Series) and won in Huddersfield!!  She's worked hard and looked really confident in her journey to success.  That's the first of the three regional rounds... two more to go. Come on Ellie!

A train ride to London took me to Louisa's (who came to Turkey last year) wedding (congratulations!!) and a day's coaching at the Castle.  All this led to a severe drop in climbing performance that week but a hair cut and a 5 day trip to France seems to have sorted me out.  Nic and I seem to be sleep sponges and literally half the time out in France was spent sleeping (12 hours every night).

Chateauvert  Chateauvert in the beautiful Vallon Sourn

We flew to Nice to find beaming rays of sun.  I wanted to visit Chateauvert again to 'check it out' for our holiday this October.  Nic is wondering when lovetoclimb is going to pay his wages for 'checking crags out'??  Sorry Nic, my company will have to be enough for now. We found that it was almost too hot to climb in the sun - of course we coped and climbed lots of wonderful lines.  90% of the routes are over 30 metres long and on the easier 5s you certainly clock up some metres and value for money.  This crag just can't be beaten for milage at 4s, 5s and easy 6s.  Here's a link to some photos>> from Chateauvert and I'll be putting together a video really soon. Finally on my last day I felt human again after catching up on sleep and tarte au citron (by the way I am an expert on this subject, and pain au chocolat too - we might well have found the best TAC in France - here it is - if you come later this year this boulangerie is on the itinerary).

Tarte au citron

This small injection of sun, rest and fitness did me the world of good.  Whilst I've been trying hard, balancing with work and climbing/training has been a struggle - but I've done just enough.  We arrived back to find 'ultimate' grit route climbing weather - warm, dry and sunny (its a myth you need balti conditions on the grit as far as I'm concerned). After a lovely day climbing with Ali and Carla at Frogatt last Friday (they wanted an early season coaching boost) Nic and I went to Curbar on Saturday.

Ali and Carla Frogatt

Ali and Carla at the top of Sunset Slab, Frogatt

Two years ago I tried Janus (E7), the beautiful, steep, double groove between Profit of Doom and Elder Crack.  I fell out of the top groove twice. My head wasn't quite operating properly.  Its a skeleton which has been sitting in my cupboard a bit too long - I just never got a chance last year. I had a go on it just after Font and after no little effort I managed to headpoint it on Saturday. Really pleased, of course.  Sitting on that ledge pictured below is a great place to be.  You can stare out across the sunny view and up at the soaring groove. I could see the crystals sparking either side of the crack and blue sky above.  I fell off it on my first attempt and had to remember how to focus my head on lead whilst being totally pumped - not easy when my only other trad lead this year was a VD at Frogatt on Friday.

Janus E7 Curbar

Resting before the hard bit on Janus

There's a great sense of optimism when Spring finally arrives - let's hope it stays like this!

PS Caroline, who came to Turkey with me and Steve last year, has written an account of her perspective of the holiday.  You can read it in the articles section here>>

Introducing Ron

05 Mar 2009

Last Friday night I found myself stood on the stage in the main cinema of the Showroom at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival. Had my life led up to this? I was about to introduce Ron Fawcett, real life climbing legend. The following night I introduced the awards ceremony and Chris Sharma, but my nerves weren’t nearly as on edge.

My voice wobbled, but I got through it and Ron did a great interview. I hadn’t realised that when Ron did Lord of the Flies (E6) – first ascent on the Cromlech - for the Rock Athlete film he had to do it 15 or 16 times because they only had one camera and they needed more angles!

I say I wasn’t nervous introducing Chris Sharma but I was somewhat star struck – but only for a moment. Actually this was overshadowed by the awards ceremony which was described by Dave from Hotaches as the most laidback ceremony he’d ever seen. I really hope no one was offended but Grimer certainly added a bit of spice mentioning my new £7.99 H&M top to the audience half way through and getting random people to collect the prizes. One of those moments when things are on the edge of acceptable.

Fairy Steps VS Stanage










All in one day, me soloing Fairy Steps VS. One minute the sun...  

Anyway Chris Sharma did an inspirational talk; it’s got me psyched. I’ve been out and about on the grit, trying a few things, racking up even more projects. Yesterday was a magical day and we visited Stanage with our American friend Jeff, happy to be out of the wet vortex of the Scottish International meet. Conditions were unbeatable and despite snowstorms we stormed all the classics: Not to be taken away, Crescent Arete, the Breadline etc etc. One of those days when we just didn’t seem to fall off that much.

Jeff starting Breadline in the snow 

... next minute the snow.  Here's Jeff starting up Breadline (highball font 6c).  Conditions were actually perfect!!