Tuesday 24 March 2009

Busy times again

Climbing Batuka Extention 8b+, Freyr, Belgium. Photos: Jonas Haspeslagh

When I’m working these days it involves a lot of travelling. I’ve never been good with feeling at home wherever I am in the world. I tend to feel at home only at home. I guess thats my personality, but it’s annoying sometimes because my trips are always really interesting for seeing places and meeting people.

Last week among other places I’ve been in Slovenia and Belgium doing lectures to climbers. One of our goals with making Echo Wall together was for Claire and I to be able to travel to some of these nice events like Silvo’s festival together, instead of me disappearing on a bit of a lonely travel for work. We enjoyed seeing Llubljana and it’s people. Echo Wall won a prize at the festival too. It’s only the third year Silvo has run the mountain film festival there and it’s already a pretty big festival.

After a blur of Ryanair flights, working hard on my laptop and a squeezed visit to Dumbarton Rock I found myself in Belgium, climbing at Freyr the day after my talk. It was the first time I’d been out climbing in warm sunshine for several months, and it was making me impressively lethargic. In fact I reckon could have slept for the entire day. The Scots are so useless when we see a glimpse of decent weather. 

But it was a valuable chance to get some routes in, so I blasted off up a long 8b+, without really remembering the moves from my warmup bolt-to-bolt. I flailed impressively at the end, but bicycled my feet on the polished footholds through to the summit moments before forearm meltdown. All I could manage after that was a sleepy flash of the 8a next door. Although my head was still asleep, I did notice that I wasn’t really that pumped. Strange because I haven’t had time for endurance training with all this work. The reason, I found on returning home was that I’ve got back down to my fighting weight for the first time since I did Echo Wall. Feeling light on the rock is something I love but don’t get the chance often.

The grabbed climbing sessions in between work and travel have been really worth it, it seems. A friend showed me a prospective eliminate on Totality at Dumbarton. I made the mistake of trying it after I’d just spent a couple of hours pounding my forearms on my endurance circuit and failed from the crux several times. So it was nice to go back on the way home from Belgium and nail it quickly between showers. Before I left I also managed a quick hour in the glen and finally destroyed the roof project on Heather Hat I was talking about before. It goes at about V12 for me, but possibly a tad easier for giants. I’m not sure. I’ll try and get some video of it if the rain stops. 

Tomorrow, I am getting a new house which is very exciting. Comparatively little climbing has been done in order to make this happen, but naturally now I’m just starting to think of the coming months and churning around plans in my head. 

Thankyou for all your comments about Claire’s recent BAFTA award. There’s an video interview from Scottish TV about it here

Claire enjoying a ‘Coke Float’ a little too much on the way home from lecturing in Leeds.


  1. hey dave,

    it's good to hear you were still able to climb hard the day after freyr. good thing you didn't try our skinshredding slabs then. The 8b+ is called "bansai XXL" btw and the 8a is "johny b delight watch". good luck with the real projects.


  2. Thanks Bart, I don't know where I got Batuka from - I think it's a route in Spain??

  3. it's an 8b in margalef apparently. I'll consider the mistake as a compliment toward belgian weather although it's raining here again (as usual).
    c u


  4. link to interview here


    (I couldn't get the one above to work)

  5. Hi Dave,
    Nice one.
    As I told u at the crag. Bansai xxl is also the 3rd ascent -recently topped 1st and 2nd by our locals Olivier Coenen and Peter Taeymans


  6. Hi dave,

    I'm not sure if it has changed but grades in Freyr use to be notoriously low compared with France, partly because of these polished footholds you are describing, but also because the Belgian love to sandbag their neighbours (they're not the only ones, are they?)

    Good job!

  7. Hey, Dave!

    I just wanted to say I enjoyed seing your mouvie (congratulations for the Echo Wall, that was incredible!) as well as your lecture in Ljubljana.

    Thanks for coming, hope to have the opportunity to see you again.

    And congratulations to Claire for the award too, great mouvie!


  8. Anonymous01 May, 2009

    Where has Dave gone...?? My lunchtime entertainment has vanished...missing the interesting reads!

    Come back to us!!...Please.....

  9. Anonymous01 May, 2009

    next blog post please.....surely something interesting has happened!

  10. Anonymous06 May, 2009

    I agree....you're blogging is inspiratonal, it gets me motivated to get out there and get on stuff! Don't give it up!