Sunday, 4 October 2015

" autumn and winter, they gradually pass away" By Jen Wilby

We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away. Zhuangzi

A view from one of the crags this Summer
If this sentence was the only one in this blog, and this blog was the same one for three months running, would you bother to read it any more? No! That's why there have been no blogs for the last few months. Who wants to read about nothing? Is it even possible to read about nothing? I digress.

2015 has gone so quickly, if I think about it too much it's terrifying. May was the last time I touched grit stone and ended the season with Sweet Dreams (stand start) and it marked the end of the Grit season. Although one can argument this, it is never truly the end of the Grit season, you just have to go looking for the conditions. So, I shall rephrase the start of this paragraph...I ended my season. 

Catching the last of the cooler condition up at Ilkley
The last blog mentioned how, following the marked end of my season I was going to sit back, chill and not train. Sitting here, thinking back, I honestly cannot remember doing that! Although I must have done, as the summer was filled with so many weddings leaving little time to do anything else other than work, travel to the weddings (all in the South!) and then recover before the next one. It was fantastic fun and it was ace catching up with distant friends, however, it was soon time to knuckle down. 

Normally, my summers are all about getting out to the Lakes and North Wales, exploring new crags and training. It's always been hard in the summers as training has always taken priority over resting for the weekend. So most of the time, I would turn up to the Lakes or Wales and be far from optimal. The mental battle during this time is huge! After all the partying it was time to make a plan for the remainder of the Summer. The last few years I've experimented with my training, and made some epics mistakes along the way. It's all about trial and error! I've under trained, over trained, been plain lazy and trained the wrong things. The hardest part of this, is that the trial and errors takes time, three summers in, that's a whole three years, I feel like I have finally cracked it. SHOULDERS!!! It's not rocket science, the shoulders are the Achilles heel of the torso. Screwed shoulders means screwed mobility and injury. This is something I've battled with for years. 

This year I promised myself I would learn from the mistakes and work on the shoulders, their mobility, flexibility and strength, no matter how long it took. I swapped my training around and reduced the intensity and did a lot more yoga. So far ... (touches wood) I've been injury free, shoulder wise :D this is a HUGE improvement and feels ace! 

2015 has also been a year of changing the mental aspect of climbing. Climbing is not just physical, it's a mental battle and sometimes, most of the time, its the head which is the limiting factor when it comes to trying to do something. I worked hard last year but still didn't quite have that belief of myself. This year, I've managed to crack that also :D I've learnt how to empty the mind, let go, and figure stuff out. I go to a bloc or into training with no intentions, to just climb each move the best I can. It's a very liberating experience and makes climbing so much more fun and free! 

So in a nutshell, this summer has been about working hard, mentally and physically. I'm not where I aim to be...yet...but I am on the way and enjoying the ride. 

Up in Yorkshire we've had a few cold spells, I was so excited, I thought Summer had finally left us and the "season" had started. However, it's been coming in waves! It's been so hard to prepare for the week ahead when everything has been changing so much. So we've been spending more time in the Lakes and Wales and tried some awesome lines. 

I did have a video of some good blocs at Woodwell, however, and I am sure many of you read the UKB thread, it has been removed, for the right reasons. Woodwell is an ace little crag to go to and worth a look if you are across that way.

Then I ventured out on Grit for the first time and went back to Widdop. I forgot how stunning that place is...I also forgot how different and special gritstone is. Que the foot popping, barn dooring (<- not sure that's even a word!) and general hilarity that is Grit Stone. I had to go back during the week to get up Fight On Black at Widdop and brave the midges! Its a quality line and worth trying if you are across that way:

Then the temps started to drop again and we went to check out what can only by described as one of the best lines on Gritstone....
Heaven in Your Hands
You cannot miss this arete as you walk across the moor and up to the crag. It shoots up out of the ground with the white specks of chalk showing you there is a way. When we went to this, I had no intention of getting on it. However, Marco sent it quickly that evening

So I decided to see if I could at least get off the floor - I knew I would not be able to get it that session, this style of climbing is not my forte, however I really want to climb this line, it is stunning. So I'll keep going back, when the wind is blowing, and just keep trying, it's so enjoyable.

Starting Heaven in Your Hands

Beautiful Line
Then the wind did change direction, so it was time to head back to something which I knew I could do, Road House at Nettle Crag. At first glance, the crag does not look like much, but when you get up there and start climbing, it has some cool moves, you won't see another climber up there and the views are stunning. I was very pleased to do this, as it shows the focus on the shoulders and mindset is paying off ... just got to keep going. The guidebook states 7c+ without the bloc. On the first visit to this, I tried, alot to use the bloc and found it way harder! Either way, doing this, lets me know I am on the right track and the moves were ace! 

Just passing the crux on Road House

Last tricky move

So the start of Autumn has been a good one and a fun one, with this weather, its about taking each day as it comes...until our next adventure...

If you've made it this far, fear not this is the end and you can go back to doing something productive...and thanks. 

Happy Climbing!

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