Sunday, 6 November 2011

65 days until I leave the UK to live in a van and climb some rocks...65 days to get rid of the jam and creme egg... By Jen Wilby

Jam and creme egg I hear you cry, what on earth is this girl talking about? This is a climbing blog! Well fellow climbers, it's been discovered that I have in fact, got jam in my biceps and my core is like a creme egg - not a fibre of useful muscle in sight. This discovery has been a frustrating one for me, yet it's been the basis of many jokes for my mates.

A plan was thus formed...pack my house, leave my job and go back to basics.

Packing my life up to live in a van has been and still is very stressful. Living the dream take a lot of planning and hard work. However I shall not bore you with the details.

Leaving my job was a little simpler, I'm lucky enough to have an employer who understands climbing and who is giving me a sabbatical. I have a job to return to.

Going back to basics - not as easy as one might think. What are the basics? Pull up's, push up's and core work. I've been climbing for 6 years and never focussed on any of these so I thought it was about time.

It began with a session with my climbing partner who advised me it was key to warm up. Everyone knows this is important to help prevent injury. So, I prepare, focussed, psyched and ready...I pull up...1 pull up...I felt good, I prepare for the 2nd pull up...I appeared to be going now where, after alot of puffing and panting...I still went no where, I drop off confused and powered which point my climbing partner turned around and said " come on, you need to do more than that to warm up"...I bowed my head in shame, that was my max. Hence the discovery of the jam in my biceps. Therefore this month I've been focussing on being able to pull up my own body weight, with a goal of 10 before the end of the year. I'm up to 4...progress!

I've had many comments that pull up's won't help me, however I have already felt a significant difference!

The next stept was to look at my core to eliminate aimless swinging around trying to locate a foothold. Once again I prepare myself on the bar for leg ja vous...I try hard with little result. I have a creme egg for a core...useless. Back to leg lifts on the floor!

I look forward to the day I'm confident and comfortable in the Santa Linya cave with no jam or creme egg in sight.

As well as the life change and training, this month saw the weather change for some grit sessions - something which will be missed next year. The first weekend out I prepared to do some mileage to get the grit flow back following a summer of limestone routes. We headed to Cratcliffe, did a few easy warm up's then somehow got sucked into trying very hard for the rest of the day - the total opposite to the plan. I got psyched. The eye opener for me was at Rowtor, and amazingly odd place of caves and rooms in the rocks. We looked at Yogurt Hypnotist, an over hanging 7b arete type climb. Very huggy and crimpy - not my style. Figured I should have go - much to my suprise. I loved it. I had a few goes, each go shaving more and more skin off the fingertips, so I got my beta and left - totally psyched to get back.

The following weekend was a return to North Yorkshire, the place I love the most. I love the grit, the people and the problems. The first crag was Slipstones, very unlike any crag in the Peak. It's a lovely quiet crag on the moors with lots of vertical technical climbs along with a lot of aretes. Beautiful.

The next two days were spent at Almscliff - my favourite gritstone crag. Each problem is engaging and interesting. You'll never get bored.

After doing some fantastic warm ups such as Morrell's Wall - I headed to the amazing Flying Arete - awesome problem on a stand alone block.

We spent all day dragging the mat and going from block to block, loving each problem. The next striking block that has to be one of the best problems I've done is the Matterhorn Arete - I enjoyed doing laps and laps of this - something which is rare for my attention span.

After more bloulder hopping we ended up at Demon Wall Roof - something which I have always aspired to do but never got on. I managed to get to the thin holds on the roof but am too small to use the toe hook and not flexible enough or small enough to use the heel hook. I'm psyched to get back and try out more beta or just pull harder!!!
I managed to get my climbing partner, who has hands the size of an ape and a love of over hanging "huggy" problems onto Pebble Wall, I convinced him it was amazing (which to me it was - my first ever V5!)...what followed was an amusing time of cursing and numerous "one last go" ...revenge for the jam!

Since then the weather turned so its been back to training with weekends at The Castle Climbing Centre - amazing - the quality of the problems there is amazing and certainly worth a trip.

Its back to more packing, moving and jam removing - roll on 2012.

Happy Climbing!

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