Boven with the Hamer Bros and Jose!

So I’ve spent the last couple of weekends hanging out in Boven with Wild Country UK athletes Sam and Ed Hamer along with their strong Spanish buddy Jose! They went on a rampage in Boven and pretty much did everything there that was 8a+ or less in just a few tries (if not flash or onsight).

Ed, Sam and Jose!

Ed, Sam and Jose!

Some highlights of the tick list are:

flash of Hypertension 8a by Sam and Ed

Jose flashed Jack of All Trades 8a

Ed did Welcome to Ovamboland 8a+ second try

Jose did Godzilla and Rolihlahla 8b

Sam onsighted Snapdragon 7c+, then Ed and Jose flashed it.

Monster was flashed by most of them too.

Ed flashed Beast 8a+

Sam ticked Tokolosie 8a

Ed did Vorpal Sword 8a+ in two or three tries.

 

Overall, they did the majority of routes in the God No and Superbowl areas. Can we say hardcore? I think so!

Perfectly normal winter behaviour

Perfectly normal winter behaviour

Ed pulling hard

Ed pulling hard

A highlight from the past few weeks was meeting up with Zele Angelides. Zele was kind enough to dangle off of a rope and take some pics of Andrew Pedley and myself on Shear Force (8c). Shear Force is the newest line in Boven and was opened by Kilian Fischuber. The route starts off with a very hard first move off the deck off of a very small and sharp left hand. From there you get a bit of a rest before pushing on into some fun climbing. Eventually you work your way into a sharp corner and into a hands free kneebar (pictured below).

 

Resting up before the crux of Shear Force (8c)

Resting up before the crux of Shear Force (8c)

This is the last rest before you move into the crux, a 15 move boulder problem that culminates in a really tough deadpoint to a tiny edge.

An amazing move on Shear Force (8c)

An amazing move on Shear Force (8c) in the middle of the crux.

Andrew Pedley on Shear Force (8c)

Andrew Pedley on Shear Force (8c) setting up for the crux moves.

Andrew setting up for the last move in the crux

Andrew setting up for the last move in the crux, he has his right hand on the crux crimp that is the end of the deadpoint move

 

Overlord (8b/+)

I’ve also been putting in some effort on Overlord / Rolihlahla (8b/+). It was definitely 8b but then Greg broke off a crucial hold at the start of the crux. It makes it a bit tougher for sure and has a knock on effect for the rest of the climbing. I stuck the crux move on my highpoint before the hold broke but haven’t been able to link it from the ground since. Definitely pisses me off! Temps have gotten a bit warmer recently so last trip I gave it a miss to let my skin recover.

Setting up for the crux move

Setting up for the crux move on Overlord (8b/+)

HARD STUFF!

HARD STUFF at the end of the crux

Negotiating the last moves on the face..

Negotiating the last moves on the face..

Training Hard…

 

I’ve been training very hard recently, spending a lot of time focusing on crimp strength and hangboard programs. One of the programs that I’ve been using quite a bit has been a FINGER PYRAMIDS PROGRAM.

Start off on a 35′ sloper,

5,7,9,11,9,7,5

Rest for 10 seconds between each attempt and rest two minutes at the end of the set.

Next middle two, then front 2, then back 2 then crimp.

Rest 10 minutes when the set is complete and repeat two more times.

 

Another really good program is an ENCORE PROGRAM:

Use the same order of holds as above but this time you are hanging for 7 seconds and then resting for 3.

Start the first hang at 45′, then 90′, then full lock, then 90′, then 45′ and finish on straight arms. Rest two minutes.

Again, the order is Slopers, Middle 2, Front 2, Back 2 and then Crimp. Then Rest 10 minutes. Do 3 sets total.

 

I’ve also been bouldering a bit indoors. Mixing up my sessions with some 4x4s and weight vest climbing.

For 4x4s, set a problem 2 or 3 grades beneath your onsight limit. Climb it continuously (to the top, then drop down) for 4 minutes. Rest 4 minutes and set another problem. Climb it for 4 minutes.

4 problems x 4 minutes each. Comprehend? Not rocket science, but you will feel like you got hit by a bus! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If this isn’t tough enough you can do 4x5s. But it’s also a balance as you rest longer so it’s up to you.

Personally, I like 4x4s, with a 10kg vest on a 45′ wall. It kills me, just a little.

 

I’ve been trying to mix in yoga sessions twice a week in between training sessions. I’ve noticed big gains in core strength, as well as massive gains in flexibility. I can definitely suggest that this be used to complement your climbing!!

 

New Toys

Wild Country UK was kind enough to send out some of their clothing range for me, two pairs of pants Balance Pants, a pair of Motion Jeans, an Enduro hoody, and a Team Tank. Thanks so much for sending this gear out to me with the Hamers! I’m extremely grateful!

Outward Ventures sent me some new toys from DMM Climbing! The new Vector Trad pack, a classic rope bag and  Trad Chalkbag. Great stuff! Very psyched!

New Gear! I love my new gear! The jeans are AMAZING!

New Gear! I love my new gear! The jeans are AMAZING! I’ve got quite a beard going on!

I love the new pack and rope bag! They are fantastic. The rope bag is HUGE! You can fit an 80m in there with shoes and harness and draws! No shit! The 45L pack is big enough for the rope bag holding an 80m, two pairs of shoes, 30 draws, a down jacket, lunch and a bit more space. The pack comes with a really convenient carry bag that fits perfectly inside, which is large enough for a trad rack! WIN WIN WIN!

It’s worth the investment. It’s also really comfortable and fits brilliantly.

Well! That’s all for now! Off to Chosspile in the morning to try to wrap up Violent Streak (8b).

It’s All Uphill…

Last time I was punching my keyboard for this site I was really upset because of my A2 pulley rupture… Well, it’s been 12 weeks since then and the finger is recovered. A lot has happened since then. The worst part of the time involved a 5 week break doing NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING. No running, no gym; just computer games and parties. It was a really weird break from climbing. In the last 12 years, I have not had this much time off. So, the result: I gained 4 kgs and went through a considerable number of hang overs XD

BUT at the end of that all, I started working out again. I started coaching a little and I getting back in the swing of things. It all started off in Durban with a day at Kirk Falls with Illona and Candice. Was a lot of fun For my first day back I didn’t do so bad: 6c+, 7a and 7a+ all onsight. That was great fun!!! By the way, Kirk Falls is a gem! Get down there and climb!

The week following this I found myself climbing in Waterval Boven trying hard to regain some of my form. I had some fun in the process. I climbed a few lines and tried to climb Big Butterfly (7c) only to be foiled by wet cracks in the crux. I did have a lot of fun climbing some lines in Super Bowl that I haven’t been on in quite a while, like Karfoefeling (7b).

Climbing Karfoefeling in Boven. Photo by Gustav!

Climbing Karfoefeling in Boven. Photo by Gustav!

I received quite a big box of gear from Outward Ventures  which included my new Roca Dominator 9.2mm 80m rope and La Sportiva Solutions!!! Amongst gear were a couple dinner packs from Back Country Cuisine! I can tell you right now, the Cottage Pie is amazing! If you need something that is light weight and quick to prepare while you’re on a camping trip you can’t possibly go wrong. Most of the packs involve adding about a cup of water (more or less depending on the meal) and waiting 10 minutes until you have a fantastic meal. They also have some new dehydrated fruit snacks that are FANTASTIC. Make sure you grab some for your hikes or climbs.

The view from Arjan's place! Breath taking!!!

The view from Arjan’s place! Breath taking!!! He was kind enough to give me a place to stay on the way into and out of Cape Town.

Making the trip possible

Making the trip possible

Good stuff!!!

Good stuff!!!

The climbing I had been doing was all preparation for my trip to the Western Cape to climb sport lines in a place that everyone knows about but no one may write about (no comment). Really cool climbing in this place but unfortunately I can’t post any pics for anyone else to look at except maybe the hike in.

Hiking into you know where to do you know what

Hiking into you know where, to do you know what…

By the time I actually got to Cape Town I was ready to do some bouldering, but not before going for Sushi with Beth, JT, Sean, Colin, Jen and Jono at Harry’s! Unbelievable sushi! The Yellow Tail Sashimi was so fresh it was fantastic. It was Beth’s birthday so we had to celebrate.

Yellow Fin Tuna Sashimi at Harry's! Best Ever!

Yellow Fin Tuna Sashimi at Harry’s! Best Ever!

The next morning I drove through to Outward Ventures to see where I was going to be staying. I was sleeping in the store room on the floor and it was great 🙂 I was really happy to be there and nothing would make me unhappy at this point. After a short greeting session with Rob and Geoff, Jono and I departed for Echo Valley so that we could meet up with Steve Bradshaw to get in some bouldering. I didn’t realize how tired my body was from the weekend until we started the walk up to Echo…

Initially when we got to the boulders Steve and I were really disappointed because of the weather and the fact that they were actually dripping wet. Surprisingly enough, the wind changed and in less that an hour Steve was trying Skobbejak (8B) and having fun. When his skin was done we headed down to Mintberry Crunch (8A) for me to figure out what I needed to do.

Arriving in Echo Valley. Photo by Jono Joseph

Arriving in Echo Valley. Photo by Jono Joseph

It was not easy for an out of shape Brian. The crux for me is getting my right heel locked into place. I tried it for three sessions and on the final session fell dabbed the rock underneath my ass. I also slipped out of the heel at least 6 times. So the final result was a lot of fun but not success!!! Damn.

Working Mintberry Crunch (8A) in Echo Valley. Photo by Jono Joseph

Working Mintberry Crunch (8A) in Echo Valley. Photo by Jono Joseph

Trying to hit the crux hold / finish hold on Mintberry. Photo by Jono Joseph.

Trying to hit the crux hold / finish hold on Mintberry. Photo by Jono Joseph.

I met up with Marijus, Rowan and Maciek while I was in Cape Town. Maciek and Rowan were working the stand of Cthulhu when I got there. Rowan walked all over it and started working on the 8A+ sit. On our last day when the weather set in, Arjan was doing laps on Mintberry Crunch, which he flashed when he first tried it.

Cthulhu (8A+)

Cthulhu (8A+)

When Squeaky and Sheldon arrived we tried a 7B+ called Lonely Boy. It is a really cool problem though conditions were inhibiting me from topping out due to the wet / damp undercling slots at the top of Los Muisenbergers (8A).

Working my way up Lonely Boy (7B+) with the spotting arms of Sheldon and Sqeaky. Photo by Jono Joseph.

Working my way up Lonely Boy (7B+) with the spotting arms of Sheldon and Sqeaky. Photo by Jono Joseph.

The next day we headed up to TM where we had a really cool day at the JIMBO WALL! I’ll be honest, I was scared shitless trying to work out Tripple Jeopardy (8a+ trad) ground up. My skin was slippery and I hadn’t climbed trad in quite a while, maybe 5 months or so, and climbing that sketchy 7a+ start was a bit more than scary, particularly when I had to take the wingers off of tiny Wild Country Z3 and Z4 cams. SMALL anyone?

This trip was really amazing for me. I just wish that I hadn’t just recovered from a 5 week break. I felt like I was weak for a lot of it. But that’s alright, I’m more psyched than ever. Since I’ve been back in JHB I haven’t had a rest day. So that is somewhere along the lines of 15 days, sometimes with two training sessions a day.

I’ve also been coaching Tristan and Alistair in their preparations for the U13 Comp at the Rory Lowther Memorial Competition. I was going to compete when I heard about the difficulty competition which was 4 routes, however, upon discovering that the difficulty was linked to the Saturday’s proceedings I couldn’t participate. I don’t mind. It’s going to be a great weekend.

My next installment happen much sooner as I discuss the Rory as well as the training program that I’ve set out for myself. Till then, here are some pics from Table Mountain.

Lunch on TM after a hard morning on Triple Jeopardy (8a+ trad). Photo by Jono Joseph.

Lunch on TM after a hard morning on Triple Jeopardy (8a+ trad). Photo by Jono Joseph.

Squeaky getting bendy on Jeopardy (7c+ trad)! Photo by Jono Joseph

Squeaky getting bendy on Jeopardy (7c+ trad)! Photo by Jono Joseph

The view from TM with Jono in the corner :)

The view from TM with Jono in the corner 🙂

Jono offering the dassie a cigarette... That little guy had not fear (I'm talking about the dassie, the rest of us were a bit worried).

Jono offering the dassie a cigarette… That little guy had not fear (I’m talking about the dassie, the rest of us were a bit worried it would eat our food).

The Jimbo Wall on TM with the Jeopardy routes!

The Jimbo Wall on TM with the Jeopardy routes!

Looking out at Lion's Head

Looking out at Lion’s Head