Climbing Back

I guess one of the reasons I got into coaching climbing was that I wanted to be able to apply it to my own climbing to reach a level I was happy at. I topped out at about E5 with the very occasional route that warranted E6. I never really had a training plan, but I could with a little work get to that level year on year.

Having spent so much time and effort on the North Wales Climbs book, I actually felt a little ‘climbed out’. So I focused my energy this winter elsewhere, trying occasionally to keep ticking over with rock climbing for my work. This work entails me climbing up to E1/2, although generally of routes I know very well. I also have to do them and look vague in control of the situation.

That is the level I have been ticking over at for some time, however know a little about coaching means I can focus my efforts fairly quickly if I want to and try and push myself a little, although I do enjoy repeating the classics up to E2 year on year.

Earlier this week, I went up to the Dervish slab after work and lead it for the first time this year. This is quite shocking for me as usually by now I have lead it 3 times and seconded it as many. My taking it easy meant I avoid it early in the year.

I bought some new 5.10 Anasazi Pinks, the other day and thought I’d break them in on the Dervish. This proved something of an error as they probably needed at least of couple of routes to reach their prime. As it was they suffice, it was however the hardest I have found the Dervish in a couple of years. I was never really close to falling, but there were a couple of ‘moments’. One where I wrong handed myself on the crux and another higher up trying to rock over on to a high hold than I usually use.

It was a pretty steady ascent compared to some, and who can be upset from climbing such a great route. I guess working Cockblock on a rope last week, has helped me to believe in my own ability to climb hard. This ‘head game’ is why I did a master degree in Applied sports science. As I know how to leverage my confidence when needed.

In the last few weeks I have been climbing a lot more and also did a quick circuit of Bella Lugosi Slab after the dervish with friends. I then went and climbed three new routes at Gogarth on Sunday. Llion led two and I led one, they were all HVS and all reasonably good. Maybe even worth a star, although probably only a half a star or maybe a reasonable size moon.

Today I was working. This entailed guiding an American around North Wales. I had a plan in my mind to give him a whistle stop tour of some crags. He wanted to start on easy sport so we went to Bus Stop and climbed a couple of F5 and then I nipped up Gnat Attack because I wanted to show him what ‘real’ slate was like.

We then went to the Crouchan and climbed the classic Nea. Whilst there a young lad was on his MIA assessment. I remember him doing a learn to climb course years ago, and now he’s on his way to being an MIA. It then started raining so I tried to play the Tremadog card, which sadly failed, so I charged him for half a day and dropped him back at his hotel. I then managed a late afternoon surf, just managing to get a good hour when tide and swell played ball.


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