Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Xmas loadup

As it's Christmas, I thought I'd philosophically loiter...

I've been thinking a lot about self-deprecation in climbing lately. Initially I had considered it completely detrimental to one's performance and successes but have now started to think about it further. Where does the thin line between self-reflection and constructive criticism meet the point of self-deprecation? Can self deprecation be an invaluable tool in striving for greater things? Should I be belittling my achievements as the standard of the day increases? Is self-deprecation the new trend? Is this even relevant to a climber of my level?

I can think of some immediate examples of individuals who I would deem to subscribe to this notion, all of whom are very strong and talented climbers. So perhaps it's a configuration that spurs those individuals on. I can see how this works; yes you have gotten to the top of a problem that you have invested considerable time and energy into hence it stands to reason that you needn't dwell on that individual experience being the sum pinnacle of your climbing career. Of course you can improve beyond the present.

Consider my recently conceived affair with Rock Attrocity. In this, I can see all that I question; that slap. That one moment has everything I desire and do not desire in climbing. I have weak arms. Are they stopping me from climbing this section smoothly or are my arms not as weak as I think they are and is it my mind forming a self-imposed stopping block? After all, I have done every move and feel good on each in turn, why shouldn't I feel good about the problem as a whole?

I'll try to attempt an answer upon completing the problem no matter how far or how soon that end may come.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Rain, mist drizzle, jerry etc..

Tuesday night headed over to Betwys with Dale and Rich, the idea being to get Dale up 20+ problems in a day. We did exactly that and got him up 21 despite near death experience temps and windchill.

Got a text from Owen yesterday suggesting I accompany him to the Peak. Initially wrote the prospect off but after being encouraged it would be a good social event, I agreed. Told Owen and Mick about my injury to which they both did a 'make a circle' test. The left hand circle folded at first but when Mick tried it again and asked me to actually try, it was established that I hadn't in fact hurt the pulley and was told to climb through the pain. 'Crushed' Banana Finger (in as much as one can flash/crush a 6a) and realised it mightn't be that bad after all. Pottered around on Remergence block in the mist and reassured myself that it wasn't the final curtains and in fact would be around 4 weeks until back to crimp. Good news which means my quest to tick the Orme can continue.

All in all a decent day. Must get back to the drawing board and 'crush' some drawings.

N.B Why has the word 'crush' become engrained in my active vocabulary? Who cares, let's crush everything ever.

Monday, 17 December 2007


Saturday was spent on the Orme. Still felt quite sore in the arms from thursdays weights sessions so didn't loiter for long in the cave. Mike Binks came over for an introductory tour and loved it. Headed up to Pill Box were I felt strong. After the first attempt on Whisky Bitch I knew it was sorted. Cue rest then tearing noise in index finger along with sharp pain. Being the drama queen that I am, I thought the bone had snapped but 2 days later I'm pretty sure it's not that. Going to venture to A&E later for an X-Ray and see Matt for physio advice.

Ordinarily I'd be totally furious about this what with having a considerable portion of last month off with a collateral strain. For some reason I'm more relaxed about it as I'll have to ride it out and am starting to accept that injuries are part and parcel of it all. Also have tons of uni work and revision to do so maybe locking myself in the study for a month will give me some good academic results.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

grease fest

A rare moment of dryness on recent trips. Local fat lad fondles mr whippy

Thursday, 6 December 2007


Got the train to Llandudno yesterday and ventured to the cave and pill box with Crouch. He managed to blast through to the end of Rock Attrocity but miscalculated the slap to the finishing pocket. Total shame as he was in real control and wanted the send badly. However, the magic problem that yields very few attempts before fatigue sets in got the better of him and he'll return next week and no doubt get the send. I had a decent session on it making it through comfortably to the sloper slap setup but being an idiot didn't think I was actually going to get there and hence didn't remember the foot beta. Sometimes I surprise myself and need to prepare for this in future.

Ventured to Pill Box, Rich did Mr Whippy which he'd been wanting to do and I kept greasing off the nubbin on Whisky Bitch to go to the shared crimp towards the end. Must remember to not make the mistake of caning the cave prior to going to what is a total entity in its own right.

Was nicing climbing with Ian and Jamie-(local cave devotees) as everyone was on the same redpoint wavelength on the day going for many of the same problems. Ian had Lou Ferrino dialled for the send but could tell excitement took over when he got his fingers in the good pocket, resulting in a bit of a harsh deckout. He'll clearly get it in a near session.

Saturday plan to crag y it if the wind isn't too bad.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

I'm going to start putting up more images and video. Will write something later, but in the meantime, enjoy this foolish image of yourself Crouch.

Free Image Hosting at

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Good vibes

Feeling really good about my climbing for the first time in ages. Finally all those long days spent at the crags and on the board feel like they're heading towards the realisation of some long term goals. Despite the general state of injury and illness over the last few months, I've managed to surmount that niggling plateau I was sitting on for much of the summer.

MUST DO's: Rock Attrocity, The Malteser, Fallen Idol and I'd love to do The Fool (admittedly 7c+ but probably more like 7c I'm told and should suit me down to the ground.) Also should get back to the pass and send Sleep Light. If I can suss some crimp beta and/or get my heel in that damn slot, Bus Stop would also be a good send.

Report back after saturday....

Monday, 19 November 2007

Iced crush

Saturday went to crag y with the usual suspects. Fallen Idol has finally opened up as a realistic prospect. Had an awesome session on it and had my hand round the back of the slopey jug several times. Don't want to dwell on Tight Hole but I've now done it from standing and can easily crush it next time out.

In conclusion and it'll have to be quick...

Feeling much lighter, stronger and psyched.

Sunday, 11 November 2007


Isn't it amazing what a little fever can do for you. 3 days in bed = overall weight loss. Woke up this morning after sleeping it off and feel totally back to normal. Walked up to the fingerboard and one arm deadhanged a small pocket. This sounds completely unexciting but for me, it came as a total shock. Pretty sure if I had the mandatory jug to hand I could one arm right now - damn! Guess I'll have to get ill more often...

The A2 injury's slowly getting better but I reckon its still around 3-4 weeks before getting back to full crimp. I'm fine with it I think as I totally need to do more weights. That and running. I can put up with no to little climbing for 3-4 weeks sure....

Monday, 5 November 2007

mr inconsistency

Took it easy on friday night expecting to cave it on saturday. Due to wack conditions, the D master decided (wisely) we should hold out til sunday. Ended up in the cave dogging rock attrocity again and felt pretty shit on it although I did manage to get some beta for the finish which when I can crimp shouldn't be a problem. Holding out for the a2 to completely recover before boning good style.

Had a pretty inconsistent time on the box managing to do the cross-through on the malteser without any worries yet for the life of me couldn't do the first move on whisky bitch. Thanks to monsieur doyle, he pointed the way on some rather obscure pockety beta on whiskey bitch in getting set for the cross through. Worked unbelievably well and I realised the man could probably do every problem on that wall blindfolded. Might be interesting to set that challenge for next weeks edition of le orme.

Fireworkey stuff tonight as one might expect. Had intended to run through the park although established that will be nigh on impossible given the size of the crowds.

Attributing total lack of power due to my inability to campus at present ( a crucial exercise for lanks!)

Going to lay off the finger until next weekend and intend to do weights for both midweek training sessions.


Tuesday, 30 October 2007

An attrocious idea

For some reason, after only 2 weeks of recovery from an A2 tear I decided it would be a good time to try Rock Attrocity in the cave today. Unbelievably, my attempt to commit climbing career suicide failed and I had an ok session on it. Managed most of it in pieces but could never fully commit to boning down on the left hand. A lack of climbing and general exercise over the last fortnight due to uni work made me feel heavy as could be. Relatively pleased with my progress on it though think I will have to dog it to death (naturally). Looking forward to gaining some serious redpoint strength...

Tomorrow see's a likely chaotic day trying to finish my axonometric drawing of Rogers House ready for Thursdays day workshop (which I'm dreading!).

After trying to withdraw from studies last week, the head of year effectively refused my wish and said to at least give it until Christmas. I'm following his sagely advice and hoping that once this current project ends, we'll actually get to do some designing.

We'll see how that pans out...

Thursday intending to do weights and go for a run to shed some ounces. Saturday may well train it back to the cave.

The story continues..

Friday, 26 October 2007


It's been around a week and a half now since I stopped 'serious' climbing. Despite never getting injury's, it had to come as I was on the cusp of something good. Old problem's I'd wanted to come back to as fast gains were finally being made were starting to reopen at a more feasible level.

After speaking to Matt Donnelly (physio and crimpeur par excellence) he reassured me that it's now time to reintroduce climbing and strapped my finger up good style. His diagnosis - partially torn A2 pulley and some collateral damage ( I think?) Tuesday, I headed down to the board to try some of these recently fathomed easy circuits. A full circular tour of the board on decent holds turned out to be just the ticket. On Matt's suggestion, I also worked some pocket problems and problems where my left hand was on jugs/pinches/slopes and the right hand on poor holds. It was actually pretty good and something I might not have considered doing had injury not come about.

I guess the beauty in that form of training is that by hanging poor holds with your right and making big moves to good holds with your left, you're effectively dead-hanging on a steep board.

Matt tells me it'll be about 6 weeks of graduated climbing before getting back to closed crimping but I figure this is a good thing. I remember Jerry saying something on Pro Tips or something that he likes to climb on the barrel at the foundry using big open slopes when recovering from finger injurys. I think I could take a lot from this as that style of climbing is a prominent weakpoint of mine.

I think the adapted maxim of "what would Jerry do?" is a seminal one. Well done to bad boy bradbury if that was your contribution!

Tomorrow - climbing where it isn't raining.

Sunday, 14 October 2007


I made a vow with myself to keep this form of diary going. I've been slacking with it the last fortnight since uni work set in (which incidentally is hardcore and I'm running a bit behind with it to be honest with myself).

Anyway, last saturday I trained it over to Flint to meet Doylo for a session at the mwyn and the den. Had a decent day and finally locked horns with what I now like to profess as the best board in the world. Managed to squeeze Snatch out (Den 7a) and sadly didn't complete Ballsack although did every move in turn. I can see how the den could do so so much for my climbing. It's all well and good locking bum crimps on merseyside sandstone, but I'd say exposure to this rocktype has had a negative effect on any dynamism that I might possess. Rediscovering Frodsham of late will no doubt do me the world of good if I take myself through O, Ben's and Mick's catalogue of local climbing testpieces.

My point being from all of this that the problems in the den all involve key elements of what I need to work - big moves on small and poor holds. I really can't enthuse enough about its usefulness as a training facility but until I get off my arse and find the money/time to continue with driving lessons, it doesn't look like I'm going to get to pay it many visits. Hoping to find a way around this, but for now I'll keep up the campus and dispensary sessions.

Talking of the dispensary, I'm convinced its messing with my chest and I feel like my asthma has come back. Obviously the guys will rip all hell out of me for going on about this, but having 2 chest infections in a month isn't right. Maybe I'll take a hoover down or something.

Tuesday, I headed over to Andy Popp's board with Pete. Although I was climbing like a donkey, it was an awesome session and good to meet Andy at last and some other new faces. Will Simm is a total beast and I defy any man aged 61 to try to compete with his physique.

If for nothing else, I'd recommend joining as many different people's board sessions as one can. Social anthropologists would have a field day in them. Let's just briefly draw up a chart of the main bulk of conversation at the different boards I've been to:

The Dispensary: Mostly hustling with a strong scent of ladyboy interest.

Andy Popp's: Women and piles occupied a fair percentage with some references to quality ales. Awesome.

Denbigh Den: Penis size and sack volume with a decent smattering of references to one's mother or father.

I've got some other boards on my hitlist I'll be travelling to over the coming months but you get my drift.

Reckon I'm about to be shat on from a great height workload-wise this week but will pull all the stops out.

Monday, 1 October 2007


With week one over, it's been straight in at the deep end of my architectural education. I'm told 23 is still 'youth' yet everyone seems to be 12 or 13 on the course. With degree one under my belt, the lecturers seem to think I must be the shit and I really don't feel it. A total rollercoaster of a week but learning to use the RIBA online catalogue today gave me more satisfaction than you could possibly imagine.

So far, training and saturday climbing action hasn't been affected and I hope this pattern continues. Saturday just past was spent in the pass for Double D's birthday and was a quality day. Despite having a crippled lower back, still managed to flash some decent problems and linked much of Bus Stop. Given optimum physical fitness, pretty sure this will be dispatched.

May head dispensary way tomorrow or hit the campus board. Nothing significant to report as of recent times - I hope this changes as temps continue to drop. At least I've rediscovered my foot beta for Bangkok Chickboys. Here's to Rotherham linkup.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Last day

Tomorrow see's the end of my role within the NHS' Commissioning and Contracts department and how glad I am. The NHS is disgustingly bureaucratic and everything that happens is documented in some form of innane spreadsheet. Total waste of money and time. Less bitterness anyway..

Tonight saw a pretty mediocre dispensary session. Felt pretty good warming up then after necking a Red Bull, felt bullshit. Moved homewards halfway through for campus session which felt far more productive. Watched Liverpool put in a satisfactory performance, then to bed.

Rotherham Chickboys felt literally undoable tonight despite the board yielding relatively non-damp, cool conditions. That place is more conditions dependant than the bloody Tor!

Weights Thursday although may revamp the campus routine to do some much needed eccentric work.

Sent two awesome 7bs at crag y on saturday and added some new lines on sunday with Mickael including a hideous quarter pocket mono/thin gaston big move type dealio. Seriously decent weekend all in all.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

half way!!

After setting myself the innane task of doing a one armer and not really feeling any progress to speak of, it started to happen on sunday. At the end of an intense weekend's bouldering I jokingly tried to crank one on a jug at Frodsham only to get half way through from long arm (definitely NOT flicked). Quite sure this was a culmination of a relatively high volume of climbing recently coupled with the inclusion of campus board workouts at home. Either way, it was pretty satisfying.

Saturday was an awesome day out with Mike, Tom, Rich, Ben et al for O's birthday. Everyone came home happy and Kimo's saw half their food supplies depleted by one Richard Hession - Fat Bastard supremo.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Magique c'est chic

Ill with Chest cold thing again for the second time this month. Think overtraining and inadequate rest is the most likely culprit although I sense the lack of ventilation in work has something to do with it.

Fly on friday so power resting until then. Bring the noise boyyyyyyyyyy!

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Time warp

Tonight was spent at the board. Was going to head over to Pill Box with Matt but after a text from Keith, decided to stay local. Think we must have been in some weird time vacuum tonight as one minute it was 8.10, the next it was 10.10. Far from my best board session, it was good to catch up with Keith. Good to see he's getting psyched for crimping hard too. Think I saw him touch one sloper all night which was most bizarre. Keeping his eye in for Magic Wood no doubt like the rest of us.

Have to sort out these lower back pains and pulley problem before departure for Magic Wood. Dat shit aint right.

Widdop this weekend though not sure how much cranking will go down. May cram in some weights tomorrow after only having a short board session tonight.

Must write an extended meditation on some facet or other of climbing soon. Something on motivation I feel.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

It's just a little crush

Saturday started off well at Woodwell and then it rained. Enough said.

Ended up in Ogwen on Sunday with Mick. I did Oswald from standing to prepare for the sitter but my left knee was in pain when doing the footlock. Mick sent the sitter second go and did Pit Traverse within a short space of time. Moved over to Ogof with Mick wanting to try Sway On. Was disgustingly hot there so moved over to a similarly hot Caseg Fraith. Mick had attempts on Repeat After Me and was latching the pinch no worries. The sheer heat and inevitable grease put paid to any ascent with the best part of the day being spent in the pit which was in remarkable condition with the good breeze keeping things as cool as you'll get this time of year.

Had a really decent weights session on Monday night with Rich. Resting Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bring on Magic Wood.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Stay calm and pass me the lip balm

For a complete change of scenery, went to Awful Walls for a session. Felt nice crusing some sections of my old project on the resin wall but was humid to fuck in there.

Not much worthy of note as one would expect from a session in that place.

Over a certain road and trowbarrow tomorrow. We'll see eh..

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

All psyched out

After over a week of being ill and even longer to lose a minging chesty cough, the weekend was spent in Ogwen and on the Orme. I felt piss weak on Saturday due to the remnants of the virus. Nevertheless, I rocked up to Harvey Oswald SS as regular as clockwork and proceeded to feel terrible. None of the moves felt a million miles off but there was the inescapable fact that I'd been knocked out by a virus for a week. Think I'm going to put it on the backburner for now as I don't want to lose my psyche for what is an incredible problem that I'm very close to doing.

Towards then end of the day, we headed over to the Ogwen lakeside boulder for an attempt on Rennaissance of the Small Hold. I'd wanted to try it for a while and felt good on the starting moves but split my tip after only 3 attempts. That was the end of that and I went home feeling thoroughly disenchanted with climbing.

For the first time ever, I've been experiencing a total downturn in psyche and I'm not too sure how to account for this. I suppose it's only natural given the recent weather. How many more board sessions can a man take before physically breaking down?

Sunday was spent spotting Andy after I woke up feeling exhausted.

Tuesday spent on the fingerboard and weights.

Tomorrow I'm going to crush the best project I've ever had on the board.

End of message.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Ho hum

Had a surprisingly good board session tonight despite having a bad throat and feeling generally off sorts. In the scheme of things, I probably shouldn't have trained as it goes against the golden rules of training when tired/ill but had to keep my commitment to show young James Gray the board. Think he seemed to enjoy himself and got some good advice from various people. He seems quick to assimilate techniques and training methods so I'm sure the boy will go far(albeit with my advice of 'just bone it', Hess' of 'just lank it' and O's of 'just jump it'. There again, perhaps he will turn into some hideous training monster with knackered tendons aged 14. I hope he sticks with it as he had an impressive first session.

Despite not managing to even pull off the ground on project y tonight, I moved on to another line I had been formulating and stuck some good moves on it. Combined with the sitter, it will go but probably not until the winter months now given the immense relative humidity of late. We shall see.

Rich was looking in good shape for Magic next week as was O and Si. Hopefully conditions will hold out for them to yield a good trip.

Enough for now, there's bursary forms to be written!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Surprise surprise

After Saturday's woeful session, the finger felt better so it was off to the Orme. The cave had wet streaks in a few places but as Split Infinity was in decent nick, I decided to have a pop at something I'd been meaning to for a while. I've always looked at Flip Flop extension as something I could nail so got on it. Surprised myself by pissing many of the moves and felt really good on all sections into Lickety Spit. In the back of your mind is that if you were to get this dialled, you could eventually carry on into Incomplete Youth - the ultimate line.

Rest of the day was spent up at Dumbell Flyer. At end of session, located Texas Karaoke Massacre and psyched to get on it next trip out. Great to be out with Polish Mike for the day as he's been out in pursuit of some lucrative sponsorship program in Poland for the last few weeks.

Been good to feel the effects of a sustained weight training program and plenty of volume on the lime throughout summer. Also nice, is a slight rise over the seemingly unending plateau of late.

Board session tomorrow night.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Let's get serious

I really haven't yet utilised this as a proper means of documenting my climbing and training regime. I've been keeping a training diary but it doesn't seem to allow the degree of flexibility to ramble on as this blog does. Rambling on is good and it lets others see what you're thinking and acts as a good means to get good feedback from them.

Thursday's board session started brilliantly. I'd been psyched out of my mind all day for it and was feeling a good turn of power as a culmination of the previous weeks weight training (at last!). Dropped off a bit for some reason but then turned it on and sent mine and O's project with ease which felt good. Levers on the new house fingerboard have aided body tension no end and I'm really going to focus on doing regular sets each week.

Yesterday was spent in the Pass on a bit of new area tour. I'd wanted to go to work the Harvey Oswald sitter as I've now done all the moves and just need that tiny extra bit of micro endurance. Perhaps thankfully, we didn't end up in the pit as I was climbing horrendously. I'd sliced my finger on some stupid new knife from Ikea on Friday night which meant I was crimping/open handing everything with two fingers. I'd also done something weird to my right index finger on the board on thursday which didn't help.

I came home thinking how it was a pleasant day irrespective but I think really I was dissapointed to have not been in tip-top condition. In the scheme of things, I deal well with off-days compared to many others I know but I have to stop putting pressure on myself to perform well every Saturday.

Donnelly and Deery rocked up at 4 as Ben and I were departing which was a shame. Dave was looking as composed and in control as ever (an element of his climbing I'm very much in awe of) and Matt seemed as optomistic as ever. Hopefully they knocked some good stuff off.

Enough for now. Tomorrow is devoted to finishing the decoration of my new room and other boring shit. Probably cram some fingerboard time in before work at the wall. Roll on Tuesday - Ormes day!

Friday, 26 January 2007

"Not everyone in Liverpool is a car stereo thief you know!"

Said I to the Southerner some months ago.

Upon my return from Leeds to Liverpool, I discover that Jess' mum's car was broken into and the stereo gone. 'Fuck!' I thought to myself, "why do I bother?". Of course, I got over that temporary self-inflamed state and eventually 'calmed down'. Ahem..

But seriously people of Liverpool, stop doing things like this when I'm trying to act as your goodwill ambassador.


So far, I haven't really indicated what this blog is about. I'd like to share with you, some of the insane and frankly idiotic events I encounter on a daily basis. Somewhere between all this inane piffle, I hope to utilise the blog as a means of documenting my progress in the coming climbing year; undoubtedly this will be of little consequence to most of you, and I'd ask you in advance to pay little attention to any of this unless you happen to be part of my motivational 'team'.

In summary, I hope that your visits to the blog are frequent and that your travels in cyberspace remain fruitful.

Monday, 22 January 2007

You know things are bad when...

You have attained the highest possible classification in your university degree, only to find yourself applying for a job as an egg collector.

Thursday, 18 January 2007