Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Joy of Training

It has to be done.

If you want to climb something hard whether it be a DT, mixed or ice route, you have to train. There's not much point turning up at the bottom of an overhanging beast of a bolted mixed route having climbed slabby or vertical trad routes all summer, the only thing you will get out of that is.... your arse handed to you.
Specificity is definitely the key if your keen to improve at a particular element within climbing or have a  certain route that you want to climb.

Theres a huge amount of training info out there on the internet and deciphering what the best way to train for your ultimate goal is always the most difficult bit.

For myself and the chaps I climb and train with were lucky to have some quality training venues and crags all pretty close. The guys at Rock Over let us set our own circuits on the steep boards on offer at the wall.

The 50 deg board @ Rock Over

Most of the training we do consists of laps of steep circuits, either max efforts with long rests to replicate the effort of hard redpoints at the crag or maybe a session aimed at endurance such as a lap of the 45 deg board with 2 mins rest repeated 6 times.
A good session I do occasionally which teaches the body to flush out the lactate and allow it to recover is to complete a max effort on the 50deg board (climb as long as you can) then jump straight onto a vertical traverse wall and aim to complete two laps (about a min per lap). Hopefully you find that despite the max effort on the 50deg wall when you then jump straight onto the vertical wall it suddenly feels pretty easy and you can recover whilst still climbing.
Climbing in rock boots helps with your ability to climb longer simply because you can use heel hooks, keep better body tension and stand on smaller footholds. For the ultimate pump though and to really get the core used, trainers are a good option. Its hard work but stick with it and you will reap the benefits.

Andy & Si Training @ RockOver from Tom B on Vimeo.

Swinging around on axes down the local wall or crag isnt always a practical option for some due to work commitments, a rubbish local wall etc. The best option i've found for when not being able to train on the axes is quite simple......

The Dowls of Pain.

Two wooden dowls with a hole drilled through the top and a piece of rope threaded can then be hooked over a pull up bar or something similar. They work a lot better than doing pull ups on a bar or on ice axes because they work your grip strength which is usually the first thing that fails when climbing steep stuff. You can do various workouts on these from simple pull-ups, lock offs and even just deadhangs. When you start to get real tired just put one foot on a chair in front of you to allow you to carry on for a bit longer.

As Derek would say "He who dares Rodney, he who dares....".

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Gardening @ The Works

In a bid to offer some easier sport at The Works we gave Simon a shovel and saw the other day and left him to have some fun excavating the slab just to the left of the main cave at The Works.
He did a fine job clearing a huge amount of moss, loose rock and small trees and once one of us gets round to bolting it should offer about 3 lines somewhere between M3 and M5.

Garden Wall....soon to be bolted.

Paddy finished bolting his new line recently, just to the left of the start of Guardian it begins up the slab before attacking the crack line through the roof to join into the last few moves of First Blood.
After some fine redpoint attempts Paddy kindly offered a go on the the sharp end to Andy who dispatched it in fine style and confirmed the excellent nature of the climbing. "Quick Release" goes at about M10+ and is a powerful little number with some big moves and slightly disturbing axe releases. Good work Paddy on getting the line bolted and cleaned.

Paddy Cave redpoint attempt on Quick Release.

Winter has certainly arrived now, a lot of snow on the fells as of late and routes getting done on the Ben and in the Corries. Hopefully it will be a good winter and all the training that people have been putting in at the cave will see some hard routes ticked. Winter doesnt really start for me until the new year, axes will be the last thing on my mind whilst in Dubai!

Keep up the training!

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Battles Continue...

Great session down at the cave on Sunday.

There was a huge amount of psyche bouncing off the slate with a big team present from all corners of the country. People were trying personal projects old and new, bolting new lines was taking place and generally it was just a great atmosphere helped along with some good tunes from Mr Boswell's iPod.

As mentioned in an earlier post, Andy has bolted a new line from the very back of the cave to link into Guardian somewhere around its crux (?!), the route is going to be jaw-droppingly long. Andy could be in for a lot of suffering once redpoint attempts begin!

Greg was trying to get the 2nd ascent of Guardian and pay homage at the same time to those euro crazies by doing it in a "sans yaniro" aka no fig4/fig9 fashion. How that affects the grade god only knows.

Got to say thanks again to the guys at Petzl/Lyon for all their help with the draws for the routes, we had 50 full quickdraws/maillons a couple of months ago and now they are all hanging down from new routes at either Masson or The Works. Thats a lot of bolting!

Some great shots of Greg attempting Guardian of the Underworld (M12) courtesy of Andy Rutherford.........

Friday, 16 November 2012

Ongoing Goings On

Just a quick post to keep the topos updated.......

Things are moving at fair old rate of knots it seems just now in terms of route development. So here are a couple of shiny new topos for Masson and The Works.

Main changes, Simon Chevis' Blind Luck at Masson is no longer based on luck and has apparently become Sick Boy (and upgraded) after the route was changed slightly to make it more user friendly. Not been on it but reports sound good.
An extension from the lower off on Sick Boy has also been bolted (again by Mr Chevis...he's on a roll) along the lip of the cave climbing past the Marginal Gains lower off to finish at the red lower off on left side of lip. Still a project at the moment and lacking any in-situ draws on the newly bolted section.

Oop North at The Works, Andy finished off Guardian of the Underworld (then immediately started bolting something even harder and longer) and Simon bolted and ticked the link-up of Bloodline into First Blood creating Let There be Light! M10+, named due to the number of headtorches required to aid the first ascent.

Updated Masson Lees Topo (Main Cave) Nov '12

Updated The Works Topo (Cave Area) Nov '12

In other DT venue related news, if you around on the 24/25th November, you should get yourselves down to White Goods for their new Annual Gathering. Bound to be a cracker.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Between Angels and Insects....

Strange blog title i'm sure you'll agree. Its in homage to Andy's latest creation at The Works, 'Guardian of the Underworld', as surely if your in the underworld your somewhere between the angels and the insects??? No? Just me then.

Anyways, i've had no time at all to get out recently and the guns are rapidly developing into water pistols. All i've been listening too is reports of projects being sent and new lines being bolted. Its no fun working too much.

Andy posted the original footage of a redpoint attempt on his blog the other day and i've gone and edited a little vid out of it. I'm still new too all this editing stuff so its a bit rough around the edges but then again it was filmed on an iPhone.


Guardian of The Underworld Redpoint Attempt from Tom B on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Quiteness and stuff....

Its all been a bit quite of late.

Well, it has for me anyway, the boys have been training hard and getting to the crag when they can but for me its been, stag do.....recover....work....recover....more work. The training has been a bit haphazard and the visits to the crag no existent. Unfortunately its set to stay that way up to Christmas now with one weekend pencilled in for a trip to Scotland (please bless me with some good conditions) and bugger all else other than work and other commitments. Its a good job i'm one of those climbers that can enjoy and focus on training otherwise I would have gone mental by now.

Its all been happening over at White Goods of late. Mr Garry, Mr Frost and co have been putting up some new lines which I should probably get round to visiting sometime (though not by headtorch after work Mr Pritchard........silly boy) and equipping the place with in-situ draws. Bravo. They are also planning a DT gathering/weekender around the 24th/25th November I believe. Needless to say i'm busy that weekend. Gutted. Stay tuned to their blog for all the info soon no doubt.

After the success(?) of the article UKC posted about Masson Lees recently I thought it was about time I got an updated topo of the The Works cave out there for people to see. There is still tons of new route space to be going at in both the main cave and the lower cave but obviously this is going to remain a work in progress for the next few years and due to the upside down nature of the climbing is a tough job to complete.

The Works Main Cave.
Ian Parnell had an interesting article on the Climb Magazine website recently talking about all these new goings on in UK drytooling. Is it becoming mainstream?! Ha. But aside from all the politics he did create rather fine ticklist at the bottom of the article for all you DT wads out there. Get training and get 'em ticked.

Back to the wall tomorrow for more endless circuits on the tools followed by some strength work.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Yoof of Today...

A good trip upto The Works on Sunday saw yet more efforts on various projects from Andy, Matt and myself. Nothing special achieved but good progress by all.

What happens when a steinpull fails.

I think we were all a little tired to be honest for any success. Matt had been at Masson Lees the day before and myself & Andy were reliving our yoof(!) at the BMX centre in Manchester. Brilliant to get back on a BMX after so many years and hilarious & slightly scary when the coach says, "the big drop in ramp is for elite riders only and is the biggest in the UK. So we'll use the other ramp...which is the 2nd biggest in the UK!"

Turner lining up against Cainey. Riders ready!

Dropping in about to get beat by a 12 year old.

I've also been getting some pretty good training sessions in on the tools at the moment thanks to the guys at Rock Over Climbing. We stripped and set some new circuits last week, consisting of a tenuous circuit around one of the pillars, a loop around the 50deg wall (shown in video clip below) and a longer route coming out from the 50 wall. At the moment there are no plans for public drytooling sessions but if enough people show an interest than something can definitely be set up now that winter is getting closer.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Masson Lees DT

I've been visiting this place with a few different climbers on and off for the last few years, doing a bit of bolting and trundling some dodgy looking blocks off the top of the cliff (surprisingly good fun) and its all been very much under the radar drytooling except for a post on Ramon's Blog a year or so ago.

A couple of new lines have been completed recently, Andy Turners Marginal Gains (M11) is a mega pump fest and must be at least 22m long, a line bolted a few years ago by Rob Gibson. Whilst Simon Chevis got the FA of Blind Luck (M8+), a line originally bolted by Matt Pritchard.

Andy finishing Sub Rosa before continuing into Marginal Gains with a long way still to go.
Simon Chevis on Blind Luck.

With the help of the guys at Lyon Equipment & Petzl we have been able to place in-situ draws on the major lines in the cave which will hopefully add to the locations popularity amongst those keen to get involved in some drytooling.

So without further ado, I shall reveal the dirty secret that is Masson Lees........

Cave Left-Hand Side
Cave Centre and Right-Hand Side
Please take care when climbing at Masson Lees, it is a quarry after all and there is no shortage of loose rock around. Keep your helmet on when around the cave area as rock does sometime fall down from the gullys above especially after rain. Oh, and please, dont even think about drytooling any of the sport routes in the quarry! Info on getting to the quarry, access etc can be found on UKC's Masson Lees page.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Beginning....

It seems like winter is on the way.....

The nights are drawing in, leaves falling from the trees and the rain is hammering down (like it has been all summer) add this to the fact that their was snow on the Ben a week or so ago and it seems people have turned their thoughts to ice and mixed climbing. So the axes have been brought out from under the bed (dont tell the missus I keep them there) and the training for what we hope to be a long and productive winter begins!

Myself, Andy Turner and Simon Chevis seem to have been getting out quite a bit of late and boys have slowly been getting the projects ticked at Masson Lees and The Works. Andy nailed a particularly hard project today at Masson, good work that man, you'll find all the info on his Blog.

We've put in a bit of work at these venues of late and need to say a massive thanks to the guys at Lyon Equipment for the donation of kit which we can leave in-situ. Taking the draws out on a huge horizontal roof is not a task you need at the end of a hard redpoint session!

Thanks Petzl!
And so now its back to the hard training sessions at Rock Over Climbing if i'm going to have any chance of getting some decent ticks this winter, i'll keep you updated with the progress!