Sunday 27 May 2012

Fluid Plans

Sometimes I sense that I’m a bit too keen just to take climbing as it comes. I must admit that when not tied to any particular objective which is forming my focus, I tend to lose my focus a bit. Not in an apathetic way - quite the opposite. I headless chicken. My mind fills with so many possibilities that it does become rather paralysing. Not a bad problem to have.
I’ve just come out of a long period in my climbing where I was quite restricted. 2 years of no proper training due to injury, and a lot of time training my legs and seabird fighting skills on Orkney. With those behind me, I’m keen to step up a gear. To move to another level takes a fair bit of time. I’ve put in a good base over winter with an increasing amount of bouldering indoors and then a good trip bouldering in Switzerland. But it’s really just a foundation block. I’ve still been very careful not to build up too fast. I think now I’m feeling safe to step up another notch to more intense strength and fitness work. 
It’s an odd feeling to have that sense of resistance to training after so long feeling fragile. So what to train for? Hard multipitch new routes on big mountain cliffs in Scotland and abroad. Some more repeats of others hard trad routes and my super hard project at Steall. All of the above. The bouldering is always there, building a foundation of strength to take to the big routes.
I do know about a few boulder projects around Scotland that will demand another level than I’m climbing right now. Some local and some further afield. I must take a look at the line left of Seven of Nine in Glen Nevis. Sky Pilot is after all one of the nicest places to hang out I can think of. As for my sport project, progress on that depends a little on the summer weather, but there is always enough good days to get at least some time on it. I’m quite into the idea of training away from it too. I think a routine of trad climbing 2 or 3 days a week over summer and evening board sessions of anaerobic circuits will work well. I do miss the feeling of being stamina fit. It’s been a while!
Bizarrely enough, one of the main issues with using a board to clock up large amounts of daily circuit time comes down to skin rather than motivation. My hands just get so trashed I do struggle to keep going despite telling myself to ‘man up’ constantly. I need to experiment a bit to build up and take care of my fingers better, or get better at ‘detachment’.

In in Wales right now, en route to my lecture in Chester on Monday night. Last night I had a good session at Dinas Rock. I did the second ascent of Liam Fyfe’s monster roof link ‘Wife of Fyfe’ 8A/ F8b+ which I headed for since it was tagged as the hardest line in South Wales (hasty video above). It’s 25 metres long and not having climbed anything longer than about 5 moves in 2 months, I expected to just work on it to get my endurance off the starting rung. But it was interesting to note that the individual moves felt easy enough to get through despite forearms like balloons. So maybe I do have a good base to start from. So now for the next stage of hard work to start. It was nice to run into Liam himself at the crag while I was repeating his line. I'd witnessed his strength on the rock before and despite several months of recent layoff was still looking like a machine on the rock. Thanks for the inspiration Liam!

PS After my lecture in Chester Cotswolds tomorrow night (7.30pm), I'm speaking at the Plymouth store on Tues, Bournemouth on Weds and Islington on Thurs. See you there.. details here.


  1. Great post Dave, liked video - watching your technique never fails to get me motivated!

  2. Nice one Dave! When are you going to visit The Cave? There's In Hell into Clyde to link! You're the perfect man for the job!

  3. amazing stuff - just starting out with the climbing and your stuff is amazing. please keep videoing away! :D