Sunday 2 January 2011

Evidence of improvement

With the crags looking drier I went out rock climbing for the first time in several weeks today, to my project next to Sky Pliot, Glen Nevis. I’ve totally enjoyed the past three weeks of focused training and writing. I feel like I already have a good base of strength for the coming year.

That project was ideal as a wee tester of how I was getting on after this little spell of uninterrupted training. At my strongest ever, in October 2009, I was getting up to the crux with difficulty, and could do the crux move in isolation a few times in a session. I had just done an intense month of training on my board then as well. But right as I was going my best I made a couple of training errors and got injured. I never went back to Sky Pilot, not feeling strong enough really.

I’m pretty sure the project is at least V14 and I know I need to be a few percentage points above that 2009 strength highpoint to be in with a chance. Most of 2010 was taken up with trad, partly because that just what I fancied doing, and partly because I was still struggling a bit with one or two injuries. I normally spent the whole autumn, winter and spring bouldering, but I only started in December this year.

But armed with the knowledge I’ve gained about elbow injuries from the past year of study and all the physio work I’ve done, I’m feeling able to train at full pace for the first time in over two years. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be limited by full body tiredness from training instead of going at the pace of injured tendons. It’s also great to be able to move with confidence too.

So today it was great to feel as strong as I’ve ever felt on the rock. On a few of the moves I maybe felt a little stronger than before. But nothing dramatic. I feel like I’ve just caught up my bouldering strength to where it was. More weeks on the board are needed. Days where you realise some real progress has been made are still the best.

Well excited.


  1. Im constantly limited by my elbows haveing to stop for nearly 6-8 weeks every 18 months. It hurts doing differrent things in different ways each time. Every physio plays a different tune after 180 euros and 6 weeks its the same as it was. Please hurry with the book could save me a fortune.

  2. Like wise having probs with tennis elbow for the last 10 months so get that book out. Cheers

  3. Tennis elbow here too Dave:
    Elbows hurting again - yes.
    Different advice from different specialists - yes.
    All say stop climbing for weeks on end - yes.
    Made any difference? - no
    Need that book - definitely!

    Thanks, Mark

  4. Hi Dave

    First of all thanks for all the continued effort with the blog, it's very helpful for all us (hopefully) improving climbers!

    Secondly, echoing the comments above re elbow pain - would be very keen to hear what you have to say on the subject.

    Really don't want to have to take weeks off from climbing, but even more don't want to give myself an acute injury.

    Cheers, Jules

  5. No elbow pain here but I am typing with one hand and the other is in a pot of cold water. I did in a finger bouldering/training at the gym last week. Anyway, I find your blog motivating during this recovery time so keep up the good work.