Friday, 30 September 2011

Finishing up...

My last week is upon me and today is likely to be the last warm day of the year, fall is here the tree's are looking awesome and a dusting of snow on the peaks is only making the whole idea of leaving seem even worse.   Don't get me wrong I'm excited to see family and friends but feel like this past year has had a big effect on me and has opened my eyes up to the possibility of wanting to live somewhere other than the UK at least for the near future... I'm sure after a week or two of being back I'll have more of an idea.  We shall see! I've not climbed as much this past 2/3 weeks, and only been out a handful of times but each time was really good and on Tuesday I got on a final project.  I've looked at this route a lot when climbing in Cougar but didn't really think it would happen before I left, but now I've climbed everything else I wanted to do.  It will be my hardest red point to date if I manage it before I leave on Friday.  It was originally graded 7c+ but is now  generally regarded 7c.  Much to my surprise I climbed it in two overlapping halves, two times in  the session.  I actually think there's a good chance that I could do it and I'd be frickin stoked to pull it off, so fingers crossed that I can muster the guster and find people willing to belay before Friday!  

Project goes up the furthest left line of bolts

Mid crux on Chandelle 7a+

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

a month on...

So since my last ramblings, I have secured a full time job (painting exteriors) and continued to climb as much as I can.  It's amazing how optimistic I was about the recovery after two very brief sessions in July, however I intend to remain optimistic otherwise I'll become one of those FML people and that is not what I want.  

So yes,  a month on and I'd say I'm almost back to where I was during the summer.  I spent the first 3 weeks just getting mileage in, and did about 35 routes between 6a and 6c nothing mega but it was surprisingly refreshing.  I learnt a lot, and really began to enjoy the climbing for what it was...a chance to be outside and enjoy and enjoy myself with no red point pressures or in fact any pressure at all, as I never knew when the old pop eye's would bail on me.  Continually being out on the sharp end made me realise that during the past 4 years I've spent very little time o/s routes.  I guess through having such strong friends and being part of a group that progressed so rapidly I ended up skipping grades and just red pointing harder ones.  But I now know that I was missing out on not only great routes, that yes may be easy but get stars for a reason but invaluable skills about o/s route reading, resting opportunities and just pure mileage!!  So now that things are getting better, ive boshed a few 7a's and 7a+s out im excited to return to the UK with less strength but a stronger desire to be on the sharp end and really work on footwork and efficiency.  I'm not as strong as I was during my time at Uni but I reckon I can potentially climb harder.  

So here's to my recovery and last 5 weeks in a place that's become special to me (barf now) and to seeing my friends again.  I've never been excited to see people as much as I am right now.  So another quiet few weeks then back to the old red point pressures.... c'mon as if I still don't want the grades :)

Monday, 25 July 2011

Back in Canmore..

So it's been just over a month since my forearms decided to play silly buggers and I'm now back in Canada.  Friends have graciously put me up until I find work and it's been great to see them again.  My first night back and Todd had me on the rye and coke from the get go!  Needless to say I was hammered by the end of the night and stumbled all the way back to my new abode.  After a summer of diet and no real drinking I suffered terribly the following day and was glad to get into my bed and sleep it off.  Since then I have turned 24 (Happy birthday to me) and had a couple of crag sessions.

First evening session took me to Grassi Lakes, a crazy venue with steep pocketed rock (old coral reef) but i've not seen anything like it before...very cool.  After 3 routes my forearms were shot, I still don't know what happened in Squamish but I can only guess that the severe swelling caused some tissue damage as I've been left a lot weaker.  Despite this though, it was great to get out and actually climb here, as during the winter it was out of the question.

Next day I was out again with snoop but this time we headed to 'Black feather canyon'.  A 40 minute hike from Lake Minniwanka's carpark (I think the name is lost on the locals, makes me chuckle though) and this small canyon no more than a few metres wide begins to grow and as you follow the canyon tall limestone wall appear at either side with surprisingly good rock!  At both ends of the canyon mountains hold the last of the snow from the winter making this one of the cooler venues I have seen, totally hidden amongst the forest.Ace.  The forearms were better this time and allowed me to get 6 routes before any discomfort, so I'm hoping that this is it, a slow start but a definite mark of recovery!  Fingers crossed each session will get progressively better!

Sunday, 10 July 2011


I've been avoiding this post for some time now, mainly because it frustrates the chuff out of me.  I was uber rested after time in Seattle, in good shape and full of psyche.  Squamish was supposed to be THE PLACE.  I was going to boulder harder, clip bolts harder and most importantly scare myself on the grand wall getting some big climbs in...  

The first climbing day was awesome.  Vanessa (an awesome chic we made friends with in Smith) was in Squamish too and offered us a ride to the Cheakamus.  I felt really good, confident on the sharp end, fitter and stronger..the rest had worked!! We all had lot's of fun and got some awesome climbing in, great day all-round.  At the end of the day leaving with excitement for the days to come, excited to utilise my fitness I spent the evening looking through the guidebook at things to get done.  Then something happened over night, that left me swollen and stiff... and im not talking about a dirty dream!  When I awoke my forearms were massive!  Just big blobs of swell and I could't straighten my fingers, they we so stiff.  This wasn't the usual post exercise stiffness or tightness of DOM'S I've experienced before it felt different and just frickin weird!  No one knew what it was and fearful of huge medical expense's I opted for the mature 'I'll just inhale ibuprofen and hope for the best approach'.  So there I am unable to climb, it's wanking down with rain as well and I'm trying to be positive and remain calm.  After 5 or so days or no real improvement I was done.  Pissed off, frustrated, worried and worst of all surrounded by amazing granite and people doing nothing but climb and talk about it.  I had to get out.  Steve was tired and out of a partner so between us it wasn't the icing on the cake we'd been hoping for.  I decided I was going to go back to Seattle and ride it out and Steve managed to get an advance on his flight date.  So that was it....FUCK!!

....over a week in and my arms appear to be normal again.  The swelling's gone and I have full movement and range back to my fingers.  I'm feeling good again and after lots of yoga, running and training...(I've been doing more  push ups than Mr Fawcett) and taking advantage of the fresh salad and fruit, I'm ready to get back on it!    I've really enjoyed being around my family, and I'm pleased I got more time with them.  I'm not going to climb until I fly back to Canmore (21st). So until then I shall continue to eat well, keep training and fingers crossed...crush the hell out of the rockies.

Vanessa, showing us what she's got 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

SleepMORE in Seattle...

The mother of all loads
49 days into the trip, 2 nights on a mattress, 2 on a sofa, the rest on the floor with no roll mat and I'm tired, correction we're both tired. I'm sure we smell, we have no clean clothes and wouldn't mind a bit of variety in our diet.  Luckily I have family in Seattle and there willing to put us up :).  

We arrived Wednesday evening after Matt dropped us in Portland and we took the train in Seattle.  Beds, daily showers, great company and big city culture have already provided welcome respite.  Tomorrow were going to watch the Mariners play Philli and yesterday we spent the day down town.  We went to the EMP (Experience Music Project) and rocked out in the 'jam' rooms.  We hung out in the sun, ate cakes, drank coffee and watched as fish and crabs were flung across Pike Place.

The original Starbucks

Awesome guitar sculpture at the EMP

I'm nothing but content right now, and excited for Squamish and seeing Sammy J.  But for now I shall continue to indulge until we get a ride north.

The monkey face highline...

Me 'walking the line'
After meeting Jessie last week, we learnt that he was into or at least getting into high lining.  He told us about how he'd just put an order in for some kit from Europe and proposed that we head up to the Monkey face when it arrives and have a go at the high line. Obviously we both thought it was an awesome idea and an opportunity not to be missed.  However, when you get up there and your trying to will your leg to move and commit to walking, it's whole different game.  So the day arrives, the kit's all there and we hike up to rig the line.  Steve and I climbed the bolt ladder on the monkey face and rigged the line on that side and Jessie stayed on the land side.  We got it all rigged and traversed back across the line and tied in!

and he's on

It's so hard to get going, you stand there with the wind blowing, you know your safe but your keep looking at the knot, the anchors and the drop beneath you.  I couldn't make it the whole way across, I took lots of falls and kept going but just couldn't relax enough to make the distance.  Steve had the same problem but  Jessie was the hero of the day making it both ways and giving the crowds something to cheer about.  I think I enjoyed the whole experienced, it was a mixture of fear and excitement and I certainly felt drained by the end of the day.  I now have a new respect for the guys that do it higher, longer and even free!

and he's off

Jessie going for gold!
One day I will walk a complete highline!

Smith cont....

Smith so far has been amazing, every venue we've been too so far on this trip has been amazing and I'm sure I keep repeating myself, but after the delights of the Buttermilks, the quality of the granite in Yosemite, Smith Rock had a lot to live up to. It's delivered.  We've met some great people, the local scene and wad's are uber friendly and there are more female climbers here than we've seen anywhere else and there all strong! So we've had a lot of fun on and off the rock.  A few trips to the local micro-brewery for 'locals night' and an unexpected trip to a strip joint courtesy of said locals have provided us with the opportunity to drink some great beer and suffer some hangovers.  Oregon knows how to make beer!
Matt on Aggro Monkey
As for the climbing... It' been nice to climb in the comfort of bolts after bishop highballs and yosemite trad and using our select guide we've been making our way through the classics.  Steve recently had a stellar redpoint of Rude boys and kept his cool on the run out slab above, it was an exciting belay and Steve's first Fr 8a+ so congrats! 
The rose move on Rude Boys

The bolt ladder up the Monkey