Friday, November 27, 2009

Winter finally shaping up??

It sounds like winter is close, if not quite there yet in Scotland. I'm still fully booked up with work and family things for a couple of weeks. So it's going to be a bit of a late start for me. Early season (i.e. anything before the new year) always seems to be a lottery, Ive been lucky and had a few isolated memorable days. Thought I'd post this pic as a reminder, to myself if anything, that magic can happen overnight and you can almost out of the blue get conditions and partners to click into place and come away with a start to propel you through the season.This pic was taken by Guy Robertson on the top pitch of The Secret I think just after New Years Day?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sheffield Show

Tomorrow night at the Sheffield Foundry (The University not the wall) Andy Kirkpatrick and I are doing a one off double header. Andy is very good at making people laugh. This pic shows us with Rich Cross sitting out a storm beneath the Gabarrou Silvy. There's also quite a good view up my blood spattered nose although Ive forgotten the story behind that.

Anyway should be a good night. More info here

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A little push

The work front has been exceptionally busy of late. With several imminent lectures; Kendal, London, Sheffield and Abergavenny, plus big writing pieces for Climb, Alpinist and the Taxman! my vague training efforts have got even more lax. I've found myself on a few nights looking up from the computer, realising the evening has sailed by and sacking off any grand plans of getting fitter.

But I got a good kick up the posterior yesterday. Andy Kirkpatrick mentioned that some of the Inverness boys had noticed my pull up post and had been training hard. Andy reckoned that Pete MacPherson was doing 270 in half an hour. Which would match Guy but in half the time. Now numbers aren't Andy's strength it could easily be 27 or 2700 but exactly how many isn't that important. What was important was to know that there were others training hard with the hope of big things this winter. I'd also seen in some of Dave MacLeod's recent blog posts that he'd been having to get his training in at around midnight after 12 hours of writing his book.

So last night I had no excuse and was down in my cellar at 10pm. It was incredibly hard work to be honest and I struggled to get through, sometimes yawning, sometimes feeling faint. But with the extra motivation I managed 100 ice axe pullups. For me it's not a competition thing really but more a desire to be part of this wave of enthusiasm. If we actually get any conditions this could be a pretty impressive season. Last year I think about 5 people climbed grade IX (Dave was too busy attempting grade XIIs!), but this season there are at least 20 folk with the potential to get up that grade.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Keeping the dream alive

This month is a real nose to the grindstone one for me in terms of work. At times it's hard to see the light ahead, but it actually doesn't need much. Today I escaped the computer for an evening run along the top of Stanage. I've been battling with a piece for Alpinist Magazine. It's a publication you don't get that many opportunities with, so when they come around you really want to raise your game and create something a little special. So not only have I been feeling this pressure but trying to capture some deep but elusive personal thoughts on our strange game we play in the mountains. This was particularly brought home with the death of Tomaz Humar. So it was a great relief to get out the house. Within minutes my spirits were lifted soaking up the magical light and enjoying my body blowing away the cobwebs. Even just this short hour or so moving over the landscape was enough to reconnect. Another 3 or 4 weeks and then I can get to grips with whatever Scotland's got to offer. I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Winter training part 2

Check these out, they're called Figfours. Designed by Pete Dollman, they're in prototype stage at the moment but Alpkit are doing a series of demos at UK climbing walls see here I've been lucky enough to have a couple of sessions with them at The Edge in Sheffield and I think they are going to transform my winter training. They manage to hit the parts (particularly your hands and forearms) that standard climbing misses. It's also surprising what relatively marginal holds you can use them on. Ive sticking with top roping with them as you need lanyards for public safety reasons and any falls are likely to leave you dangling by these tools and risk damaging the rubber band. Nevertheless Ive made it up all of the steepest walls at the Edge, so it might be time to get a weight belt out.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Winter Training and UKC Gallery

A few posts back a friend of mine, lets call him the Aberdonian Adonis, posted about a winter training session he'd tried influenced by the winter training beast Stevie Haston. Adonis had managed 267 ice axe pull ups in an hour chasing a rumoured 2000 by Stevie. Inspired I tried a little session last night which I think is perfect for those like myself at the moment with very little spare time and adaptable for many levels of fitness.

Rather than an hour I went for 30mins (I didn't want to write off my season before its even started yet). Every minute, "on the hour", do a set amount of pull ups (between 2 and 6). This first session I did 3. Now doing 3 ice axe pull ups seems pathetic on its own right but by the end of the 30 minutes I'd done 90 pull ups, and if you can build up to doing 6 pull ups on the minute that's going to be 180 in 30 mins - a respectable tally for even grade IX monsters. If you find yourself doing more than 6 then you'd probably want to add a weight belt/vest. I think this session works well in that it replicates what you might expect in Scotland where you'll often get a tough physical section for maybe 10ft, followed by a decent rest. Having to do each set on the minute gets surprisingly tough with the last 10 minutes seemingly like a battle against a racing clock.

Also added yesterday is a gallery of winter shots on UKC