Ending off the Year with a Bang

So! 2013 is almost finished and it’s been a very strange year for the most part. It’s been a year of change: new job, new sponsors, new projects and new friends. At my last count I spent 112 days on rock so far this year. The year came to an end for me on the 27th when I heard a pretty loud pop and my A2 pulley on my right ring finger popped. I’m hoping it’s a partial tear and not a complete rupture.

The year started off with a stage of (f)unemployment with about a month of solid climbing. I used the time to work out how to climb Boa Rodeo in Boven which has remained elusive for the remainder of the year. It’s been a tough one because it is very seasonal and is wet in summer for 5 days after rain but in winter it is in the sun by 8 and goes out of the sun at 5 as the sun is setting. Note to self and anyone else who wants to work the line — either climb this in April or in October so that you can optimize conditions.

Exiting the rest on Boa Rodeo (8a trad)

Exiting the rest on Boa Rodeo (8a trad)

Then I started my new job on 18 February and that was great. I started earning more money than last year and was able to do more with my time. Work has been great this whole year, even when I’ve been really busy I’ve been happy to work rather than feeling like it’s been a drain for me. I feel as though I’m able to work hard, give a great deal of my time to my job and still have enough time to climb and train. It is a bit of a balancing act and occasionally I have been going through periods of “forced rest” when I have deadlines but it’s probably the only way that I would ever rest voluntarily. It’s all been a bit of a balancing act at times, kinda like walking the line…

Slack lining in Boven -- Photo by James Barnes

Slack lining in Boven — Photo by James Barnes

The biggest change that happened for me this year (in my climbing life) was in May this year when I  made the transition from Edelrid and Vaude over to La Sportiva, DMM, Wild Country and Roca. It was not an easy decision to make but the time had come when it was necessary.

My Bling

My Bling (not Roca ropes though)

I had some fun in the Black Diamond Tradathon earlier this year where I climbed Twilight Floozie and a few other cool lines. Was a great day and Brendon Salzer was there to snap some pics.

In Bed with Madonna - Photo by Brendon Salzer

In Bed with Madonna – Photo by Brendon Salzer

This year has been a year of power gains. I wrapped up the majority of the lines in Wigwam this year (most of them on the same day actually). I’ve been focusing on shorter lines that have required a great deal of effort and less endurance. I think that the main reason for this is that I’ve always been weak with a lot of endurance 🙂 As a result I’ve taken this year to build my power with ascents like Frazzle (8b+) which was a second ascent, Axewound (8b), Death by Chocolate (8a+ in a day), Pit Fighter (8a+), Betamax (8a/+) and Twighlight Floozy (8a). I spent a lot of time projecting Shadowfax and Frack It at Chosspile but ran out of time as the summer conditions arrived. I have a feeling both of them will go down quickly next Autumn. I met this really cool photographer who has tonnes of talent! She made a plan to join me for the day at Chosspile and took some sick photos of my on Shadowfax. Zelé Angelides. She is fantastic and psyched.

Setting up for the crux of Shadowfax - Photo by Zele Angelides

Setting up for the crux of Shadowfax – Photo by Zele Angelides

Composing myself before the crux on Shadowfax -Photo by Zele Angelides

Composing myself before the crux on Shadowfax -Photo by Zele Angelides

The crux move on Shadowfax -- Photo by Zele Angelides

The crux move on Shadowfax — Photo by Zele Angelides

My major project at the moment has been Aqualung. Aqualung was opened by Paul Brouard at 8b in 2000 and it is currently unrepeated. I have been working this few a few sessions (3-4) and I’ve been psyched for the pure power of the line. Andrew Pedley got on the line with me on Saturday and eliminated 4 moves off of my beta resulting in me linking all the sections and doing the route in two parts!!! Very psyched to get back there when it is not dripping wet and my finger has healed. Below is video of me attempting Aqualung.

Working session on Aqualung

Training this year has been going through an evolution. At the beginning of the year things started off being really structured and I put in a lot of time into planning my periodicity; but as the year progressed I found that I was putting in less “training” and more “climbing”. I think it was in August when I had enough of it and realized that I needed to make a change and I joined the Virgin Active. Since then I’ve been splitting my time more wisely and I’ve been feeling some serious gains. I feel that the complementary training that I have been doing at the gym allows me to punish my body a little bit (yeah yeah masochist). I bought a heart rate monitor so that I could track my fitness levels and see exactly what impact climbing and training have on my heart rate. I’ve had some really interesting training sessions where I’ve been able to track my calorie consumption vs my  calorie burns and it’s been really good for understanding my energy levels and also where my weaknesses lie.

I’ve been using a High Intensity Interval Training program recently (for about the last month) which has been fantastic! Basically it is doing 800 reps in about 35 minutes with a total of 6 minutes rest in 45 second periods. I’ve noticed a remarkable improvement in my general fitness, my recovery times, my core strength and my burl. I have been able to execute far more hard moves in sequence than I was able to in the past. This coupled with with some maximum power bouldering has been part of my ongoing 8 weeks of power training.

Till I’m recovered from my finger injury I’ll keep myself nice and fit at the gym and slowly get myself back into climbing for my trip to Milner at the end of February (I hope). Oh well. Out with the old and in with the new.

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