Janathon Day 3: Bouldering at the Climbing Works

I was still feeling pretty tired. My insomnia is coming back again and as a result, I’m going through the days in a bit of a zombie state, so I was not expecting much at the Works. I went more to show willing rather than for any other reason – well that and also I had to drive the OH there.

I warmed up quite slowly – my back is stiff at the moment and I wasn’t sure how I was going to climb. After doing a number of different easy problems on the vertical wall opposite the campus wall, I started to try some problems on the comp wall. I’ve only had one proper session on the comp wall, and so I wanted to see what I could achieve before they take the problems down. As it turns out – not very much! I was not feeling particularly strong, in balance or psyched. I tried a yellow balancy problem on the corner between the slab and the beginning of the overhang. It requires good balance and quite subtle movements to get from the first wavy hand hold to the next one. I found the move quite far, and I could only catch it with my right hand one go in four. I managed to get to the next hold twice and throwing to the next hold was off balance and a bit tenuous. I couldn’t get my feet in the right position and when I felt in balance (just the once!) I tried to go for the next hold and my foot pinged and I was off. I never got back to that point after that. Annoying!!

The next problem I tried on the comp wall was a blue. This one was more my style. It was quite small, on fairly positive holds and I got much farther up it. However, the crux was still a bit beyond me. My foot popped once, and I collapsed in an ungainly heap on the mat. The next attempt I was much more settled on my feet and got in better balance. However, I still had to reach out with my right hand and then turn it into a press and go up with my left to another fairly good crimp. My shoulder didn’t feel that great in that move and after trying a couple of times I stopped.

After that I was feeling quite tired and a bit low. I started to work on some wasps, yellows and murples. I warmed down and got ready for curry. It really wasn’t a great session but at the same time, I feel like I’m able to progress further on the wasps and that means that I must be getting better. I am much better on slabs and actually able to use my legs and bum to get up climbs. I guess I might  be plateauing and I will improve again soon. I just hope that my back gets better soon!


Pottering around the Climbing Works

I did more talking than climbing at the Works on Friday. We got there much earlier than normal, and it was fairly busy. I warmed up with a friend, and mainly gossiped about her holiday, Christmas, and various presents received and given. We focused on pinkles, blacks and some of the murples from the Youth Selection set. After I felt like I had warmed up enough, I played on some of the yellows and wasps. However, my heart wasn’t really in it. I was still tired from my run the day before and weighed down by Christmas indulgences.

I don’t actually think I got up anything of note!


A strong but sore session at the Climbing Works

I was feeling the 8-9 hours walking in my back, knees and hips on Sunday morning. Everything felt creaky – including my fingers (which is weird as I hadn’t climbed since Friday). However, it was Sunday and to the Works we went. 

The prerequisite to any climbing session. Photo: CanadianKate


I really, really hurt warming up to the point that I stopped climbing for a while and used the largest rungs on the campus board to slowly wake my shoulders and hands up. My finger was feeling tweaky so I kept my feet on when campusing and taped up once I felt like I had enough heat in my hands.

When hiking yesterday, the OH and I had been chatting about how I could break into the higher grades. While I definitely have the strength, what generally holds me back is popping and being able to stretch to get a hold, and then pull on it. Once I get to a certain level of ‘stretch’, I don’t feel like I can pull on it, and generally jump off. I thought I would start addressing these things in my climbing on Sunday.

Instead of simply focusing on them and excluding all else, I decided to keep the two key approaches (popping/stretching) in the forefront of my mind, and see if I could incorporate them into my general bouldering. I know that I don’t react or train well by simply focusing on my weakness – I lose my psych and generally feel like a failure. So, I started popping between big holds when warming up and then chose some yellows and wasps that I hadn’t tried previously that looked a bit poppy.

I flashed a yellow which I hadn’t climbed before – simply by popping between some relatively big holds. I did feel like I worked for it though! And it was a roof (my favourite form of climbing for some reason).

After trying a couple more warm-up style problems, I wandered into another room, and started to work a Wasp which is the total opposite of my style of climbing. It requires reach, balance, the ability to foot swap on small holds and bravery. But, as I want to improve on all of these things, I persevered for about 10 minutes, trying all different ways of making the move that continues to shut me down.

I managed to get into a position so that I can reach out and grab the really useful crimp/undercut from the starting hold, but then I couldn’t move from it. I was too stretched out. I tried swapping feet, smearing, hopping and all sorts, but the foothold that I need was around my belly button, and I was pretty much face-pressed into the wall. I’m pleased that I managed to find a position to ‘stretch’ to the next hold on the problem, and I think I’ll be able to figure out a sequence that works for me before the set gets taken down. However, I’m also a bit disappointed that I didn’t get the move, and hold the stretched out crucifix move, but I’ll keep trying.

The next problem that I tried was a yellow on a slab/overhang. It was quite straightforward to start: a rockover to a bobbly hold, skip the sloper and then match on a smallish, but good crimp. The crux move was going out to the final hold. There was an intermediate hold, but it was crap and after a couple of attempts, I tried eliminating it and going to the final hold. I just missed it on my 2nd go. After a rest, I tried again and latched it. Matching was a bit of an issue, and I did ‘latch’ for about 1/2 second. I will try again next session.

We tried a couple more yellows, blacks and murples. By this point my back was very sore, so I decided to stretch out my hips and cool down. The OH was pretty much done as well.

I felt like I had a really positive session, even through it didn’t start that way. However, I really need to sort my back out before starting to train in earnest again.

Some stats:

  • Topped 3 new yellows
  • Topped 2 new blacks
  • Worked 3 wasps
  • Topped a ‘pinkle’ with a scary move


Trying the new wasp circuit at the Climbing Works

Friday came around quickly and I was starting to feel a bit better. Recently, I have felt like my body really needed a rest and so last week was not as full as the week before. I didn’t go to Yoga on Thursday and tried to have a restful day on Friday. By the time climbing came around, I was well psyched!

I knew that the Wasps would be at the top end of my grade, and was prepared for getting shut down on them, or trying a couple of moves and not linking them together. That happened quite a lot, but I was pleased with the amount that I did achieve.

I was still feeling pretty tired – my heart rate was racing after each problem – and I was feeling heavy. That said, I did manage to top 4 of the circa 10/11 that I actually tried. The first problem was difficult, and technical. I’m not a technical climber so I wasn’t surprised that I couldn’t do the rather balancy and technical crux. This required holding two crimps above my head, stepping through with my left leg to a high (but good) foot hold and then going for the top. The OH had pinged off the crimps in a spectacular fashion just before I tried, so that may have put me off!

I was very pleased that I topped problem #1 which was a scary (for me) arête top out. The starting moves were fun, and required heel hooks, slapping up an arête and using pockets. The final moves were a ‘balancy’ move up to two holds on either side of an arête. The right-hand hold was easy to get, but then I had to change a heel to a toe and drop in with my left. It’s quite committing because it feels like if I miss or drop the catch, I’d fly off and land on a wall next to me. I caught it, and did the top move.

The rest of the problems took a fair amount of work – and one which I say that I ‘topped’ was distinctly height-ist. I did all the moves, and could place two fingers on the final hold, but in trying to match it, a large volume kept getting in the way and pushing me off. I touched the top hold with both hands on the way down.

I definitely think this circuit is a worker and more of the problems will go in the next couple of sessions.

Some stats:

  • Worked about 10-12 problems
  • Topped 4

A Friday session at the Foundry – almost like old times

It used to be a weekly tradition to go to the Foundry on a Friday and then have curry afterwards. Now, it’s more likely that we’ll end up at the Climbing Works because its closer to the curry place, and there’s usually a bit more to do. However, because the Foundry’s bouldering wall had been completely reset, we decided to go on a Friday so that one of our friends could try some of the problems as he couldn’t make it on the Wednesday.

I was feeling a bit battered by this point on Friday. After yoga on Thursday evening, a full-day of wrestling with a 500cc, and not much sustenance, I wasn’t sure how well I was going to climb. However, after the difficult session on Wednesday, I wanted to try some of the problems. Both Karl and Diane came up to me and said that I shouldn’t use the grades at any climbing wall as a benchmark as the problems were always being reset. That made me feel a bit better – and I was in a better frame of mind anyway.

I decided to not look at the L2s at all on Friday, and try some of the L3s as they had different holds and different movements. I knew I wasn’t going to top any of them (well, it was pretty unlikely) but Karl suggested that I should try some of the harder moves, know that I was going to fall off, but get reward through linking individual moves.

I tried 3 L3s and managed to link the bottom part of one of them on the Wave. The other two were a bit too hard – I think I’ll get one of them, but the other one is very core-y. The L3 with the most potential had fairly good holds on it, and it was a case of figuring out the best foot sequence for getting the height and movement that I needed to progress. I was pretty happy that a move I couldn’t do the first time, I managed after 3 goes. The next move, which was a throw off of a very high Egyptian didn’t go.

After bouldering for about an hour or so, I decided to do some routes. Me and a friend went into the furnace and I led a couple of 6as and a 6b. I put a rope for her to try a 6b+ in the middle of the wall, which she had never linked over the lip of the roof. She managed to do the link move, but then fell off the next move.

2013-11-22 19.54.15

I looked at the 6c+ on the far right-hand side of the wall, and wanted to try it on top rope. I was very tired/pumped by this stage, but I figured if I could do it on TR without a rest that would be amazing. If I did it with one rest, but did all the moves, then I would be happy. I had one rest. By that point the OH came in and said it was curry time.
2013-11-22 19.54.27

Some stats:

  • Warmed up on L1s in the corridor and in the main room
  • Worked the moves on 3 L3s. Managed to link 3 moves in one of the problems. Linked 2 moves in the other.
  • Led 2 6as, 1 6b (to the penultimate clip and then got scared)
  • Top-roped 1 6c+ with one rest

November Challenge Day 17

Breakfast (08:15):

Breakfast: yoghurt; sultanas; mixed seeds Continue reading

November Challenge Day 16

Breakfast (09:00):

Breakfast: yoghurt; sultanas; mixed seeds Continue reading