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- Climbing - Ned Feehally
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Since returning from Africa I have been as busy as a honey bee on a summer’s day. Juggling work, weekends away, time for training and lucking out on good weather has been difficult and for this reason my mind and overall climbing ability seems to have been in a dark place!! I knew however this would change; climbing (or my climbing at least) is always going through peaks and troughs and it’s just about getting through the low times. The way I climb really does affect my mood and this vicious circle tends to continue with poor training sessions or wasted time on rock.
Enough of the misery, I think I can see the light and there have been some fun days and even the odd successful day amidst the gloom. This blog will aim to be short; an instalment of my activities over the past few months!
Not having a trip to train for makes pulling your finger out, in terms of training, difficult in my opinion. Hats off to everyone who manages this! Feeling weak after my trip to Africa meant that something had to be done. So I went back to basics; fingerboarding. I hung some pieces of wood (thanks Ned and Leo for their kind donations) up in the cellar and so, during this rainy and humid time, I can put on some music and retreat down into the darkness, to sooth my inner training demon!
As well as the fingerboarding I have had a few good days out; in September I repeated Vanilla Sky, a Mike Adams 8a+ at Anston Stones. Over the past few years Mike has been developing the magnesium limestone areas to be found near Rotherham, resulting in some good and VERY hard little problems!! Vanilla Skies is one of his most recent, but in terms of moves I think one of his best. Being at the problem took me back to the Frankenjura... a small but very compact limestone buttress, hidden deep within the woods. For limestone it really does have a little of everything- an ‘eggy’ sloper that the crux revolves around, a heel hook that is very tricky to place and a few moves that require a lot of body tension plus the obligatory small, sharp holds and a nice mono side pull! I got close on my first session, sticking the crux slap to the sloper but unable to bring my heel out from under the roof. On my second session I felt awful and nearly returned home with my tail between my legs but then out of nowhere I had a good go and the send felt on. I realised that I just hadn’t warmed up properly! After a good 20 minutes rest, which is always difficult when you are on your own, I felt ready to go again. Squirreling my fingers into the first left hand slot takes time; it is always damp and is very small and narrow. Pulling on, I moved into the right hand undercut, adjusted my feet and slapped for the ‘egg’, it always feels as if I will come up short. Hitting the slope I adjusted my feet and ninja kicked my left heel out onto the hold, now it was just a case of praying it stayed put long enough for me to get through the top bit. Lots of re-adjusting later I reach the side pull mono and stood up to the finishing jugs! Very exhilarating as my climbing has been poor lately and the send was very unexpected after feeling sloth like for the majority of the session.
I am now trying Serenity another problem of Mike’s near Roche Abbey; I have had two sessions on it and am slowly piecing it all together with just the crux move still to go. For a limestone crag it requires amazingly cold conditions- talking to Mike the other day he said he didn’t go there unless there was frost on the ground!! I am hoping cooler temperatures come and allow me to put the few more sessions I think I need to do it. It’s the hardest thing I ever tried and I am really excited for the process of figuring everything out so that I can get to the top. As I said in a previous blog I don’t think I have ever really pushed myself to see what I am capable of, hopefully this will be the first of many...
Other days out include a very, very hot and humid day out to Churnet. I managed a few problems I hadn’t tried before but the real purpose of the day was just to have fun and test out the new boom that the Outcrop boys have got; needless to say this will definitely add to the quality of their capturing the moment, especially on highballs!!
This brings us nicely to yesterday and a fun day out at Stanage. A friend, Calle has been over from Copenhagen for a week and this was his last day. He had tried Brad Pitt earlier in the week and got close before fatigue set in. So after a rest day hopefully it would be his! To cut the story short it was and he managed it in very fine style indeed, after a 9 month finger injury and very little outdoor climbing his elation was obvious. We then put the pads under Big Air and after a few minutes plucked up the courage to jump the gap, hold the pocket and continue to the top. Moving leftwards we joined Rob Smith and co on Beneath the Breadline (another classic that I had never tried). After figuring out the beta to transition from the left side of the arête to the right, we both managed to scoot up to the top. A brilliant example of gritstone climbing; smeary arête climbing with subtle body positions and a bit of spice to make sure you get a flutter of the heart or two.
And this brings us to this morning; it’s raining, I am going to leave the cellar session for today and probably climb on the board at the Works, another part of getting myself back in shape. I want to work on my shoulder and deep lock strength so think I will be using the big footholds for some time to come!!
Climbing seems to be improving and with this so is the mind; fingers crossed for some cold, dry autumnal days so that projects can be sent and new ones started and of course I will continue to dangle from small pieces of wood in a damp, dark Victorian cellar!
Sorry it didn’t end up short at all, maybe I should I start a journal in order to cut these ramblings down!
Contributed by: David Mason
I haven’t written a blog entry for sometime now. This is partly due to being busy and partly due to not quite knowing where to start!
I guess I will begin at Cressbrook in May this year. Cressbrook is a small limestone crag in the peak district, a stone’s throw from Rubicon. The crag has no topo and is fairly quiet because, similar to areas such as Brione in Switzerland, it is only found through word of mouth. The weather was pretty warm in May and so I started going in the evening and climbing by lamplight to get good conditions. My project was The Hulk, a very basic 7C+ boulder problem. I don’t know if this is just the difference between UK grades and European grades or a style that doesn’t suit me, but this was by far the hardest 7C+ I have ever done! Climbing by lamplight is great; very eerie, quiet and of course cooler temperatures. As my sessions went on I made progress bit by bit and, not having been able to do all the moves on my first session, I gradually pieced it together. The send came as a bit of a surprise, earlier than anticipated! I got a lot of satisfaction from this problem, a real example of how something that feels super hard at the start can in fact be achievable.
So, the next chapter of this blog takes place in South Africa. This is the most remote place that I have been to go climbing and it felt like a complete adventure from the start. We flew into Capetown and then got the bus out to Clanwilliam (the nearest town to the climbing). Here we were picked up by friends and we drove out to Traveller’s rest where we were staying. This drive we did in the dark so it was only in the morning that we woke up to experience the amazing views, the vast landscape absolutely littered with reddy-orange rock. The place I can liken it to is Hampi; in terms of the vast expanse of rock (I cannot compare the climbing as I only passed through Hampi when travelling and have not climbed there). We had seven weeks and it was like being a kid in a sweet shop. I could talk forever about this trip but I guess the most important point is to say that it is worth it!! Go there if you get the chance, especially if you like steep climbing and enjoy friendly temperatures! While we were there one of my aims was to step up my climbing achievements and climb V12, a grade that has thus far eluded me. I put a lot of time into one bloc in particular: Black Shadow. This climb is brilliant fun, steep and gymnastic. I really enjoyed trying it and could manage it in two sections but alas I was not quite strong enough to pull it out of the bag. It did however give me the confidence that with a little work this grade of climbing was achievable for me, just not quite yet...Whilst working away at Black Shadow in vein I also had some successes completing Nutsa (8A), a few 7C+s and 7Cs (including my first 7C flash – Last Day in Paradise).So all in all a happy successful holiday, I’m already trying to plan a return trip!
Now I’m back in Sheffield and the hours and days are whizzing past at an alarming rate. I am training as much as I can, trying to up my game for the World Cup circuit next year. I have always entered the international events off the back of outdoor trips, which isn’t bad preparation but certainly isn’t ideal. Now that I am studying for an MSc, it seems the perfect opportunity to train in a more structured way....hopefully I will see some changes!
Below: Pinotage, 7B+.
Photo: Jon Butters
Below: Creaky Heights, 6C+.
Photo: Jon Butters
Contributed by: Mina Leslie-Wujastyk
With snow falling around the alps in sporadic showers; resulting in fresh lines and winter clothing, our favourite season is coming and is so close we can feel it!
This brings us to our favourite month- October is here! The eagerly awaited ski competitions, Jams, The Ride Film Festival, The Ski & Snowboard Show, The Freeze Festival and of course our very own FREESKI FILM FESTIVAL 2011!
So those all important details again:
Where : The Walkabout (Next to O2 empire), Shepherds Bush, London, W12 8QE
When: 27th October 2011 (Night before Relentless Freeze), 6pm – close
Who: 16+ (Under 18’s must be accompanied by someone 18+ who is willing to sign as responsible)
What: A film screening and premiere of the latest International, European and UK freeski films! An amazing social for all with 8 films over 6 hours!! A raffle and loads of free giveaways!!
We have been amazed once again by our supporters this year and their donations to the raffle and our box of free give-aways - which is ever growing! We have skull candy headphones, t-shirts, beanies, hoodies, dvd’s, signed goods, outerwear jackets and so many pairs of ski’s!! Every entry ticket purchased puts you into the raffle for a chance to win one of our amazing prizes and we will be throwing out freebies all night
So a huge thanks to Monster Energy, Atomic, Ski Bartlett, Salomon, Arc’teryx, Huck Cancer Foundation, Fork Tree Ski’s, Big Boy Bean Bags, Ski Film Review, NewSchoolers, Ski Club GB, Fall Line, Soul Sports, Natives and AMC Development.Photo Courtesy of Scott Kells 2010
In fact one our sponsors is doing an amazing 10% discount prior to the event kicking off! For all the latest film titles and the classics too go to www.skifilmreview.com and at the checkout quote AMCSKIFESTIVAL
Photo courtesy of Stuart Mathews 2010
We have stands exhibiting on the night too with many offering 20% off on items, 2 for 1 on 2010/11 hoodies and much more!
So for the films, this year we are proud to present the following line up:
Poor Boyz Productions – The Grand Bizarre
Level 1 – After Dark
Sherpas Cinema – All I Can
Legs of Steel – Nothing Else Matters
Headbud Productions & Monster Energy – Whatever!
Awone and CrewStacez – OMG
Voleurz – That’s Fine
Unity Productions – Strictly Business
And what are you going to sit on whilst watching these incredible films?! Well bar stools, sofa’s and courtesy of our sponsors Fat Boy Bean Bags there will be ample amounts of oversized beanbags dotted around the venue too so grab a beer and get comfy!
. . . Speaking of beer all tickets purchased in advance will not only be purchasing for £12 instead of the door price of £15 but will also receive a 20% off drinks card thanks to The Walkabout for use on the night and in the future, that’s 20% off any drink! Beer, wine, coke, spirits etc! Monster will also be on hand to keep your energy levels high and the first 100 tickets purchased in advance will also receive their first drink FREE thanks to Monster!!
Tickets are selling really well so to get yours now for only £12 head over to www.amc-development.co.uk
For any queries regarding the event please get in touch at email@example.com and we will endeavour to get back to you within 48 hours!!
Mike Adams recently put up a new problem at Anston Stones. Vanilla Sky (http://vimeo.com/23700953) is small (like Tom Cruise) and ugly (unlike Penelope Cruz) but also pretty hard. I spent a day at Anston with Mike tidying up some stuff I’d not done as he wanted to get a consensus on the grades. Obviously I was as helpful as ever providing input like “erm I dunno” and “yeh, maybe”.
First up was quarantine, a staminaband-esque crimpy traverse, similar in difficulty and length but with the crux at the start rather than the end. After a few goes I was at the easier finishing section, pumped out of my mind and suddenly realized that if I didn’t do it that go I would have to climb through the start again. Being lazy, I quested on to the end.
Next was Dark Reservation (8a+?) which extends the original roof of Dark Art, adding a pumpy finish. I’ve got Dark Art pretty wired in the past so after figuring out the sequence for the end I got it linked.
Finally we got to vanilla sky. Mike ran me through the moves and after a few goes I had stuck the crux but peeled off the top through surprise. Punter. After a few more goes and some tactical stripping off I had it done. It’s not the best quality problem but it’s great to have something hard to go at in the summer heat when most other stuff is unclimbable. Mike gave this 8a+/8b. For him the first move was very hard as his sausage fingers wouldn’t fit behind the flake. The flake felt ok for my small stubby fingers but the crux move is the same regardless. 8a+ feels about right…
Contributed by: Ned Feehally