Thursday, 13 September 2012
While I have been waiting for the summer to come to an end and the season for climbing on small holds to begin, I’ve been trying to sort some things out. To be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit fed up with how the summer has gone. Having said that, the battles have been enjoyable. I could so easily have had very different results on a couple of hard projects had conditions been right at the right moment. But it didn’t happen. I particularly thought on quite a few attempts that I was going to get my Steall project. On reflection though, I don’t feel I really did enough to deserve it just yet. Also I went to look at a couple of cliffs I hoped would have another great hard trad new route for me, but they were a bit disappointing. Outside of climbing, I have written a lot of book which is good although much work remains and progress has been rather slow.
I signed another three year contract with Mountain Equipment which is really great and gives me an opportunity to keep pushing myself in my climbing. I have been thinking a lot about my training going into the colder months and what moves to make next. This summer has been the first that I haven’t felt my fingers getting stronger. I know that it’s down to just going climbing on physically ‘easy’ trad routes for a long time and not doing any training since my elbows weren’t up to it. Already I’m noticing some small gains since I’ve been healthy and able to start basic strength work again. But my body is feeling like it will take some time to get used to strength training again.
After speaking at the St Anton festival in Austria last week I had a few days in Magic Wood. The objective was just to pull hard on powerful crimpy moves as much as possible before going back to Scottish projects. It’s just as well, since the conditions were pretty bad. After a few days moping about looking at wet projects and climbing damp boulders, there was one day of decent conditions. I could do Darkness to Sunshine (8A/+) quickly and then worked on some harder things without success. I spent an hour or so trying Remembrance of Things Past (8B+) which is exactly the opposite of my climbing strengths. There’s not a lot of opportunity to lean on technique and get weight on your feet, but raw finger strength is the order of the day. It was still quite wet but I could see I probably would struggle to do it even in good conditions. On the other hand, the moves didn’t feel impossible so I don’t think a huge gain in strength to weight ratio would be needed to manage this level. I’d love to try this again sometime after a winter back on the fingerboard.
I super motivated for this season to get back into basic strength training and see what possibilities it opens up. I’ve also spent a lot of time recently reading to expanding my knowledge of sports nutrition and feel like I’ve learned a lot there with much potential to do the hardest stage - putting new knowledge into practice.