Sunday, 3 May 2015

It’s on…It’s off…It’s on…. By Jen Wilby

The stunning Lake District

Blah Blah Blah. So the last blog was about how the Grit season was not over. We spent a long weekend in the Lakes and came back to what felt like summer. Spending evening’s lazing on the pads in between training sets. Then I declared the Grit season, was indeed over.
So time was spent coming up with a training plan to take me up until the end of January 2016, which is mental as normally thinking 24 hours ahead is too much hassle. Last year, there was a rigid plan which saw me fall off the rails and fall out of love with climbing. (Nice read from Leah here: Looking back, I think part of that was due to moving up North. Living down South means you only head to the rock when you know the weather is going to be good, and its all planned. You have no rock to head to after work, its all about the weekends.  Therefore you know when you can train, as its most of the time. Heading North for 3 hours each weekend takes its toll, it’s easier to train when you live South. Living here, in the stunning Ilkley means you are no more than 30 mins away from all of the good Yorkshire Gritstone crags, there is the opportunity to head out for a couple of hours each night, heck, when it’s dry you can go out every day of the week. There is an abundance of different crags which offer shade, sun, shelter, exposure, the lot! Trying to train and continue to project outside can take its toll; mentally and physically. In order to focus on training, something has to be sacrificed and living up here, it has to be the time out of the rock. Well, it depends on your goals of course.

So I sat down and thought about what I was committed to for the rest of the year, how much rest I needed and what needed to be trained. The plan I have come up with is not rigid in terms of time, sets etc, its flexible and the one thing which will determine what I do and when, will be my mind and body. Let’s see how that works out this year.
It’s started well by managing my time, due to a stressful and demanding job, I can work 12 hours a day if I let myself. However, the balance has to be found. So I now work to enable training to take place at lunch times. Only ever an hour long, whether it be finger boarding, flexibility, strength. Then sometimes with another two sessions in the evening, obviously targeting totally different muscle groups.
It’s great to be focused but not under pressure and it’s really enjoyable.

Getting to grips with the 30d board @The Depot
Then the temps dropped! Arrrgggh! Get out, get out, go go go! That’s what it’s been like up here this month. It’s been relatively dry but there has been a real mix of it being really hot, or really cold! Sometimes, it’s a punt going to the crag. I’ve been to Caley when folk have thought it was too hot, we’ve been to Earl Crag, when admittedly it has to have been the coldest place on earth at the time! Then this weekend, with the rain radar looking like something out of Independence Day, we shot over to Earl Crag early on Saturday morning. The crag was empty and we got an amazing two hours of climbing in before the heavens opened. The time will come where it will be back to full blown training and sacrificing the outside time.

This month has also been a month of adventures in the Lake District. The Lakes is a stunning place and we’ve taken some time to get out to new crags when its been raining rather than just sitting in a café somewhere. The first, Nettle Crag on the way to Dow Crag. It’s a sweet little crag with a couple of good lines on it which we will go back to.

Dow Crag, “why would you want to go there to boulder when the amazing routes are  there”, this is what we always heard when we mentioned Dow Crag. My response to this, because it is a stunning place and it does not matter if you do trad, boulder or simply sit by the Tarn, its an amazing spot and everyone has a right to experience it. As for the 50 minute walk in, that is a total lie. However, do not let that put you off, it is worth the walk.
The view from high up at Dow Crag 
The other one we went to was Gillercombe in near the Hamlet of Seathwaite. The first spot is where Cloud Chamber is. This is an awesome, large bit of rock with an awesome climb on it. Now, the question once you have done this is whether you hike up to the top of the hill to the main crag, or drive over the back to Honister Pass?

If you know the way, go over Honister Pass, it’s a lovely walk. If you don’t know the way, go straight up the hill from Cloud Chamber else you’ll end up in a world of pain dragging your mat’s over walls and fences and generally having no idea where anything is. You’’ll get to the boulders very late and be too tired to climb anything. Speaking from experience! Ha! 
View from Gillercombe

Hamlet of Seathwaite

Not another climber or walker in sight. 
Gillercombe is absolutely stunning and worth a visit whichever way you go in.

I did a short video of the two crags which shows the locations and hopefully will make you want to visit.

Lake District Video:

The main thing I took away from this month was a boost to the confidence on the sit start to Titfield. I had my eye on it for a while and thought it would suit me and I was right. I know it’s a soft one, but everyone has to start somewhere.

Titfield Thunderbolt Sit Start:

I also managed to get this vexing problem done up at Carrock. It really is frustrating until you do it!

There has been quite a lot of development going on in the Lakes, including the unearthing of this bloc, once called the disappointing bloc.

Toe Jam and Earl:

This month has also meant a new delivery of some goodies in preparation for the Summer season. Thanks to Beyond Hope. The biggest surprise was the Nexxo. I know they have been out for ages, but I’ve always considered them too aggressive for me. However, they are fantastic. Yes they are toe down, but they are so comfortable and quick to wear in, they are now on par with the Shamans for me!

Testing out the Nexxo on the small holds

That’s the end of another month, and the next few months are going to be manic with  my birthday, another year younger, weddings and stag do’s. So it could be some time until the next blog, you’ll have to find something else to send you to sleep.

Happy Climbing.

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