Hi all, I am well overdue an update of my blog so here’s a summary of what’s been going on over the last 12 months, why I've disappeared off the comp scene and what else I've been up to in the world of climbing!
Although after having some great results from 2013 comps, I decided to knock it on the head and focus on sport climbing. I was getting pretty fed up of just bouldering all the time and then going on a sports climbing trip and feeling really unfit and not been able to push the grade. I also missed the luxury of waking up in the morning and just been able to 'go climbing' without worrying that I needed to pull on plastic and remain strong for the comps.
So in January 2014, I sat down and wrote down some goals for the year and now as we start a brand new year, I am feeling proud as punch as I can say I have achieved almost all of them!
Goal 1- Go abroad sport climbing! TICK
After bagging off my job as Climbing Development Officer at Preston wall to join Ian at Boulder UK and establish my coaching academy, I have more freedom to just hit the road and go climbing abroad and we have been lucky enough to get away to Spain 7 times this year and kalymnos once. Jammy I know! This has helped me see a massive improvement in my sport climbing abilities and climbing on rock has reminded me why I love climbing.
Goal 2 - Flash 7c sport climbing! TICK
I'm not a big lover of red pointing as I prefer to onsight and flash what I climb as I feel this is more rewarding knowing I tried my hardest with little knowledge of the route. Up to now, I've never even attempted to lead 7c, only the odd top rope of one Ian had lead and so with my new goal in my head I decided to embrace my first 7c lead in Chulilla, Spain. I remember laughing to myself nervously thinking as if I'm even going to flash my first ever 7c lead and then blow me down, there I was at the top of my first 7c lead.
Goal 3 - Red point an 8a. TICK
OK so I've just said I'm not in to red pointing but I'm going to be honest, I felt like I was missing out on being able to say 'I've climbed 8a' which I know is a pretty poor reason to set a goal but my friends told me that if I want to push my onsight/flash abilities I need to know just how hard 7c+ and above is. So, on a cold May morning we headed over to Malham to pick a random 8a which was Toadall Recall as it was short and bouldery which I was hoping may suit me. After Ian ran up it and shouting down beta at me, I top roped the moves and managed a quick top rope ascent. Blimey! I thought, this isn't too bad, however I crap myself when Ian suggested I should now lead it. So, off I went feeling positive, but then there was an awkward step through move on a steep section making the rope balloon which I had to step around so the rope was on the right side of me, but could I get the rope out of my way?, could I eck! I'd blown it. I was gutted as I knew I could lead it, but we decided to leave it and come back 2 days later and once I'd quickly learnt how to step round the damn rope, I'd lead my first 8a within the hour. Woop!
Goal 4 - Boulder x5 7c. ALMOST
I'd done a couple of 7c's at my local crag in Longridge but felt I wanted to get more consistent at this grade before I even attempted anything harder. So far I have managed 4 and I am pretty hopeful on securing the last one. First up was Weird Science at the beautiful setting of Dow crag at Coniston which was a quick ascent in the warm June temps. Next was Bone Machine at Fairy steps in South Lakes, a fingery little number which tested my skin. The 3rd & 4th problems were two little numbers from the NEW Lancashire Bouldering guide, Starship at Wilton 3 and The Noisy Cricket at Stronstrey Bank. Myself and Ian have been dabbling on these new hidden gems in the Lancashire bouldering guide and we've been really impressed (Get your copy at Boulder UK).
|A thumbs up after sending Starship|
Goal 5 – Get further on the Longridge Traverse. TICK
I’m lucky to have the amazing Longridge crag not far from where I live which is fantastic for training stamina. Each year I like to try and get further and further and who knows one day I may do the whole thing! I already knew I could get to the wobble bloc (7c+) but my new goal was to get to the high break (8a+). I am useless and remembering beta so there was many attempts where I messed it up and kept falling off on the same move pumped out of my brains wondering why, despite the training I had been doing. Then on a summer evening when the rock was cool I managed to blast my way right the way to the high break. I was well chuffed, I couldn’t believe the difference the cool rock made to my ability to hang on.
As you can see, I've found goal setting really useful and I recommend it to any climber wishing to push yourself. I know it’s an obvious one, but be realistic with what you set yourself and stick to them. Although it has been hard for me to step away from the comp scene, it has made me realise that achieving my own personal goals is much more rewarding at this stage in my life. Right, now I am off to set some 2015 goals.
|Training at home for my next goals!|
Thanks as always to Evolv, Metolius, PrAna, Beyond Hope, Boulder UK & Ian for your support!