Friday, 27 May 2016


Practice of the Wild from MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT on Vimeo.

Above is the film of me climbing Practice of the Wild 8C in Switzerland the other week. The whole experience of that trip went pretty well. I had a good focus, good training and ended up doing not just the big goal, but almost everything else on my wishlist as well. I normally make pretty ambitious wish lists for trips and so if I manage even one of them I’m doing well. So I came home quite inspired to try and repeat the process.

However, your focus has to fall into line with what the conditions of the moment dictate. I wanted to climb one more boulder problem project back in Scotland, before the summer heat arrived. With many things to catch up on since I arrived home, I only got two chances to get on it. Last week I went up in not great conditions and almost did it. Yesterday I had another chance but couldn’t get away till late in the evening. My plan was to drive up, walk in and have a night session on it with the lights. But when I arrived in the car park at 10pm I felt too tired and decided just to sleep and go up early in the morning. 

Next morning I walked in to find the project roasting hot, in full sun with no wind. No chance. I deluded myself for ten minutes and tried to warm up for it but quickly confirmed that bouldering season, at least for something as hard as this project, is now over.

So I packed up, turned around, and walked out, cursing myself for not managing to make this project happen while I had the form to actually climb it. I’ll just have to hope I still feel strong in the autumn, although by then I’ll be preparing for a 9a endurance route. I drove home rather frustrated, behind caravans.

Much as the failure is unpleasant in the short term, a kick in the ass is what I need now, to force me to move on, re-focus and prepare for what I want to climb next. One of the many lessons I learn about my climbing over and over again is that I do best with a clear focus rather than trying whatever. For the summer trad season, I have various ideas for hard projects to look at, but nothing I’ve actually been on yet. Next week I should have a chance to go and look at the first one or two of these potential new routes. 

So for now I can only have a very short term focus - to start to claw back some endurance. I've been on the circuits, to try and turn myself into a route climber again. 3 sessions in, I already feel some progress and it’s actually really nice to climb more than 10 moves in a row.


  1. Nice reading as always and big congratulations on the recent success! I am a boulderer that rarely climb routes but have some planned for the summer. Could you share some information about your endurance training routine? Number of moves, sets, rest time and most importantly, intensity.

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  3. Great vid, congrats man! Looking forward to hearing about potential diet shifts going to sport climbing.