Wednesday 17 March 2010

Notes from timeout

I’ve been away from home a week and already winter seems a long time in history. Some time out of immediate goals for climbing and working has been great. The never-satisfied obsessive in me is trying not to let me just be chilled and happy with recent superb quality bits of climbing done on the icy Scottish cliffs. Anubis - a big idea in my head, in the bag. Although it was much easier, getting the Tempest nailed before I left was quite satisfying too. More just because everything came together neatly, with the help of my friends.
However, I do have a habit of looking for the problems and holes to fill in the future. And so I’ve had my first few tentative sessions of rock climbing, the first in a couple of months (when you have a winter like we’ve had, one has to feast). I’m in poor shape for it. It’s not all bad. My base level of fitness is high and fingers still have good basic strength.  Plus my head for leading is quite good just now. But I have lost so much of that ‘snap’ - the confidence to grab small holds and pull immediately. A kg of superfluous muscle bulk is only much use for carrying wet ropes and gear through snowdrifts and not for my boulder projects. So that will need to go.
Starting afresh is nice though, many mountain trad routes and boulder projects in the mind for this year and strong motivation to go and climb them well. I want to go to them when the time comes, feeling confident, fit and positive. So the foundations for this have to start now.
Went for a run yesterday, only intending 40 minutes or so but ended up running for a couple of hours and didn’t really want to stop when I got back. Encouraging. I think it’s going to take some time for the rock confidence to show through again. The thought of the moves I was nearly managing in September on my highball boulder project seem a mile away in my imagination. Even if it’s not really like that, it’s good for me to think I’m a mile off that level. It’s energy for the work ahead.


  1. "A kg of superfluous muscle bulk is only much use for carrying wet ropes and gear through snowdrifts and not for my boulder projects. So that will need to go"

    This kind of thing has interested me. I'm an ex-rower who got into climbing about 2 years ago, now sole focus is climbing. I have pretty beefy legs from my rowing days and wondered if there is anything specific i could be doing to lose the extra bulk in my legs, or is the simple practice of doing climbing and not rowing enough to change my body shape?


  2. Nathan Price20 March, 2010

    Hi Dave,

    This doesn't relate to the post I'm commenting on, its more a general request really.
    I'm currently reading 9 out of 10 and it has been a great read so far, but it only focuses on rock climbing, admittedly what it was meant to do. I think a good idea for a book would be a detailed look into the training/tactics etc. for being a great all round climber like yourself, a book relating to people who's aims are to climb hard in varying disciplines, from trad to mixed alpine routes. Maybe the only way to address such a variety is to train specifically for what your aims are for a particular time period. Basically a book aimed at people who wanna climb maybe grade 7/8's or around in all types of climbing, rather than aiming to climb French 9a or Scottish X 10 alone. I don't know how achievable that is, but I think you're opinions and advice would be a good place to start for anyone. There may be something in your blog about this somewhere, I haven't read all of it.