2014 Injury’s, Brass monkey’s Font 7c video and new route’s.

Ok so this being my first blog of the year is a bit lame, a poor effort. However I haven’t been very psyched until quite recently.

This was all down to my season/way of life (if you will) coming to an abrupt halt at the end of Jan with an injury along with trying to move house at the same time.
Let’s just say it was a stressful combination of events.

The year started with a new training plan given to me by David Mason, A good coach and appeared to know what I could do better than I did after only about 20 mins of the session. Proving this by getting me to do moves and problems that I previously tied and failed on.
The first few weeks went really well. I even got really close to flashing a few Font 7b’s on the grit, doing them on my second attempt with ease.

On the note of bouldering here is the video of me climbing ‘Brass monkeys’ Font 7c just before Christmas.

Anyway two weeks into training and I’m in the climbing works, surprise surprise. This session is going really well, I have some good friends up for the weekend, Dave Bone and Ginge.
Feeling really strong and I’m on my flash attempt of a relatively hard problem. I’m looking at the last hold, I slap, I slip and I fall ….
No biggie this happens almost every session however … I hit a big hold on the way down, am put out of control and land with my left ankle rolling out from under me accompanied by a very loud snap crack sound …. Shit … that hurts.
The staff where very good bringing ice out and attending to me immediately. I even managed to get a free drink and snack, not all bad then πŸ™‚

Of to the hospital barely able to walk, found out there was no break but I had badly ruptured the ligaments and tendons along with the horrible statment of ‘it will be at least 6 weeks before you will recover’
Nando’s and beer was the agenda that night πŸ˜›

Well … a week in and I was bored to death. I couldn’t work for that first week, I couldn’t really walk and I was supposed to be moving house.
You don’t really realise how much of your life is dedicated to pulling yourself up bits of plastic and rock until this sort of thing happens.
NIGHTMARE!!!!!

Luckily I was able to hobble by the end of the week and along with my mum staying for the weekend we just about moved me out on time. Though it was stressful to say the least.

Anyway 6 weeks of going to the gym with the last 1 – 2 weeks on low level traverses kept me at a base level of fitness.
I’ve still lost a lot of power and strength but nothing compared to what I could have lost.

Being back on the climbing scene … ish saw me and Joe Heeley get out looking at unclimbed rock again.
Was just nice first off being able to climb again on rock though I feel big falls are still a way off.
The fist thing I did was put up an E3 at Gardom’s south ish near the Moorside boulders. Head left towards the woods on your walk in, find the fence, as it goes down in the woods, go over it and you will see it.
Thanks for this route go to Jon Fullwood who tipped me off about this little unclimbed crag he found. He has already done the only other significant line.
I did the far left arΓͺte and Jon has done the arΓͺte on the right hand prow.
A little video will be up of me and Joe on the first and second ascent.

The next this was a boulder problem that Joe had found. A little roof cave thing just up from Suavito.
I was dubious at first as it didn’t look like much but however I was hugely surprised. You eliminate the side walls and climb the roof on its own.
I haven’t laughed so much on a route in quite a while. Was super fun.
He beat me to the first ascent and named it Crap’alackin with a grade of Font 7a+. Here is a pic of the man in action:
Crap'alackin

And a pic of me on the second ascent:
Kyle on Crap'alackin

Well that is pretty much it for now, A few things in the pipeline but I will talk about them when there is some news to report.

Of to the climbing works for me.

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End of 2013

What a year and what a great start to the season for grit stone, last great lines having been completed and various climbers hitting as high as the E9 range.

It’s been a few weeks since I have blogged, mainly due to being away for Christmas. I had a lovely time as it is not often that I get to see all members of my family under one roof.
The usual merriment took place, wine, feast, mince pies, Christmas pudding …. the lot and oh how fat I felt after it was all over. But it was well worth it πŸ™‚

Pre Christmas saw me top out on a boulder called ‘Brass monkeys’ a Font 7c at the Plantation part of Stanage edge.
This was a relief as it had taken me 3/4 sessions to do the thing …. ‘frustrating’ as I was falling of the same move and being able to climb the move in isolation from the first session.
Conditions played their part on the day, cool but not freezing with a nice breeze.
The actual day felt odd as me and my friend Joe Heeley turned up to see some friends on it. First up when we arrived was Drew who successfully climbed it, then Joe decided to give it a go (no warm up) and walked up the thing, this left me thinking ‘crap, he just did it easy with no warm up today’ (he had done a session on it with me before where we both floundered and couldn’t touch the crux swing out move)
Reluctantly I gave it a go to, having also done no warm up.
Surprisingly I did the swing and found it easy to hold, clamped the feet up and did the move to the lip of the overhang with ease ‘what a shock’ I even paused at this point expecting something to pop (which you will see in the video) but it didn’t and there I was on the finishing slab. Project in the bag πŸ™‚
I’ll post a video of it up soon.

This year was a successful one as it saw put up 5 first ascents on Trad which are:
‘The Kraken’ E6 6c / Font 7b+ – Birchen edge
‘Geckomania’ E6 6b / Font 7a/+ – Curbar edge
‘A Clash of Kings’ E6 6a/b – Turning stone edge
‘Credit crunch’ E5 6b – Upper Matlock quarries – Credit quarry
‘General Lee’ E5 6b – Chatsworth – Dukes seat buttress

I also managed a long term goal of mine which was to onsight an E5 which I managed to do in September.
The route was ‘Ai no corrida’ E5 6b at Burbage North.
This turned out to be a matter of confidence as I had tried a few different routes before, ended up top roping them and finding them easy.
It was just a matter of ‘man up and give it a go’
A highlight in my climbing career and not a day I will forget. Especially as the day before I had tried to high ball ‘Nefertiti’ an E6 at Burbage north the day before, being unsuccessful and limping away.

I have a few aims and projects for the 2014, one which I am close to but need to latch one move then can try for a link up. I shan’t be divulging any info about what or where it is but ill post up any success should I have any.
The others would be to get Font 8a, French 8a and E7/8. A big aim but I like to aim big as it gives me motivation to train hard.

Anyway hope everyone has a good new years eve and your hangovers tomorrow are not too bad.

E6 6c/Font 7b First Ascent ‘The Kraken’ Video and write up

Wow what a weekend πŸ™‚

I had been searching for my next new line and found the perfect candidate at Birchen edge.
Unlikely I know but here is where I found one. A nice overhanging prow/arete.
After seeing this I had wondered if it was possible for a while but weather had kept me away and annoyingly when there was good weather I was working.

On Tuesday the 12th I ended up with the day off. Not for climbing but it allowed me time to finally get out and play on this line.
Having invited my friend Joe Heeley out we headed to the crag and got on abseil, cleaned the route and got ready to play.

It took us a while to work out a sequence up the thing and surprisingly a different sequence for both of us.
Funnily enough we both tried each others way of climbing and didn’t like the feel of it so stuck to our individual ways.

So Sat 16th was the day for the go.
Both feeling pretty nervous about it as we knew the consequence of a fall would not be pretty.
Luckily I felt strong on the day and did not have any problems but Joe had some issues to begin with πŸ˜› nothing to do with ability but all down to head space as he has not done hard trad before.
In the end we knew the moves, we knew we could do it, it was just down to ‘man up’ and give it a go.

We managed to fit a nut in on the back of the overhang which gave us confidence to go for the lead. It was not a good placement but we hoped it would hold in the event of a fall.
Either way we did not end up testing the gear until … my friend Danny Coleman gave the route a go. He fell from the penultimate move going up to the break.
Luckily he had decided to put all the mats we had with us (8 ish) down and this ended up saving his legs/pelvis.
When he fell the nut didn’t even hold for a split second and he was on his back on the pads with my arms under his armpits lol what a fall πŸ™‚

Made us think what could have happened if we had fallen with the few pads we had down. “Not worth thinking about” we decided as success was there and the pub was calling.

I graded the route E6 as the nut placement we used could have a micro cam put in its place. It felt serious as dropping any of the initial moves is likely to do your back some damage and a fall from higher up on the insecure slopers would be easy and end up ruining your day.
For those of you so inclined it would be possible to put down lots of pads as my friend did and do it as a scary highball and would go at about Font 7b, though this is not the style it was done in.
Therefore this route has both a Trad and a bouldering grade as follows: E6 6c/Font 7b

First ascent of 'The Kraken' E7 6c

First ascent of ‘The Kraken’ E6 6c/Font 7b

Happy at success on 'The Kraken' E7 6c

Happy at success on ‘The Kraken’ E6 6c/Font 7b

Guiding my sister and her friends in Snowdonia to send children to school in India

The last couple of weeks have been ok. More training and competing than outdoor climbing due to the weather and work.

The first thing was guiding my sister and some of her friends on the 28/29th Oct in the Snowdonia region. In total I had 7 14 year old’s and two parents.
Their initial plan was to get to the top of Snowdown.

This was for a charity ‘Wings of hope’ that they have been involved in and just a small part of the overall thing.
I believe they managed to raise Β£800 ish pounds to send children to school in India. Because of this one trip 5 children will now be schooled for a year. Unfortunately through sheer bad luck they ended up in Snowdonia on the two days where the worst storm since the 80’s was around. What timing!!!
With a forecast of 50/60 mph winds at valley level and over 100 mph at the top I was left with the only option of aborting the initial plan.
I hated telling them that they were not going up there as their faces and group moral dropped.

My back up plan was to take them on a low level walk the opposite valley (Ogwen valley) where I felt it would be a bit more sheltered, it turned out I had made the right decision.
We walked from Ogwen cottage up the Llyn Idwal. Got a bit of height whilst walking around the lake.
It was lovely to see the whole group have a unanimous ‘wooow’ as they got their first glimpse of the lake and again when they hit their high point for the day.

My favourite comment from them while at dinner was ‘Kyle … can we do it again?’ Nice to know that they weren’t put off by the initial bad weather.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The second day was due to be the same weather so we had a late start and a plan to go to Llyn Bochlwyd. A little bit higher for them in the same valley.
After a good breakfast and a lay in we head off from the same car park with no wind …. not what was forecast.
As we got higher and higher the wind never hit more than maybe 25mph.

As they where resting at the lake I gave them the option ‘Right, I’m happy to try get you on a summit if you want?’
‘What actually get to the top of a mountain??’
‘Yes, that one there’ I point ‘the only mountain in Snowdonia you have to use your hands as well to get up, its called ‘Tryfan”
They all jump up exited at the prospect and so we head off.

P1000065
(almost but not quite there)

The trip went well, slow and steady. Everybody got to the top, and for 4 of them it was the first mountain they had ever been to the top of.
A nice achievement for them and although it was not Snowdon it was nice that they all walked away having summited something.

Something however tells me that they were rather tired by the end of it all:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And a happy bunch at having done somthing:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

14th place at Blokfest round 1

I had not planned to go to Blokfest, to be honest I had forgot it was on.

However I was asked by my mate Archie if I was going … ‘when is it?’ ‘tomorrow mate’ … ah right, its already about 11:45pm and I’m half way through a movie with one of my best friends I haven’t seen for a long time.
But I thought ‘hey, why not. I’m already down this way’ so even though I got home at about 1am I decided to go.
At the least it would be a fun day out and I would get to see some friends who I haven’t seen much or competed against since I moved to Sheffield.

The whole day was really really fun, I hadn’t competed since SIBL (southern indoor bouldering league) 2011/12. So almost two years.
Because of this I didn’t have any expectations of performance and in light of this there was no pressure.
Questions in my head started to arise however: Am I as strong or stronger than I used to be? Will all my friends be better than me now?
But in the end I thought ‘does it really matter?’ the only person who is going to care about it is me so I focused on having fun.

I was happily surprised to end up flashing (climbing first attempt) 20 out of the 25 problems and doing one of the harder ones third go.
Unfortunately I was not able to top out the other 4, though I got so annoyingly close on one of them. I fell of from the top with my hand literally an inch away from matching the last hold.

I ended up with a score of 203/250, which from the preliminary results has placed me 14th on round 1.

Having enjoyed myself so much I am now looking at doing the rest of the Blokfest events and finish off a season of competitive bouldering.

This event may have re ignited the competitive side of me πŸ˜›

Wet Wet Wet

Wow, talk about a damp weekend … what happened to the nice cold dry one that we where forecast.

Either way I went out for a walk to check out some possible lines and well … they look possible. Just need to abseil down them to have a better look and make sure they don’t encroach on the neighbouring routes but I think at first glance it should be ok, I’ll keep you posted.

With the weather having bummed out I decided to hit the Climbing Works, had some really good sessions ticking off some of the routes I have been working on so was left very happy.

Hoping for a break in the weather I have checked the forecast but have had the depressing sight of the rain symbol all week so looks like this week is going to be a training one after all.
Not such a bad thing as I need to train for the comp next month down south, the craggy island boulder bash. Should be good fun, plus its a good excuse to go and see my friends and family.

I’m feeling pretty strong at the moment. I think due to A: Playing with the weight vest and B: Working on the opposing muscles in the gym. ie pecs, triceps and more core.
It seems to be working as I feel that I’m climbing better for it. My theory behind this is that I’m no longer using a few select muscles when I climb, I’ve got all my muscles working together.

Well anyway it seems to working and I’ll get a better sense of how its really going in another month.

E6 First ascent ‘Geckomania’ at Curbar. Video and write up :)

Last weekend I was keen to get out to Curbar edge, there where a few things here that I wanted to look at. A couple of head-point possibilities and a potential new route.

The head-points went well but I’m not going to talk about these ones until I decide to go for the lead on them … sorry 😦

My main objective was to look at an unclimbed line behind ‘The End of the Affair’ the classic E8 6c Dawes masterpiece.
The unclimbed section is mentioned in the BMC Froggatt to Black Rocks guide book on page 131, ‘the rounded arΓͺte has been cleaned but remains unclimbed’. It’s to the left of a route called ‘Dirty Sanchez’.

It proved a little tricky finding a sequence up the thing, mainly due to wanting to go up the left side. This did not give me any joy at all, no sequence.
Now you see, I wanted to do it this side because the landing is ok. The other side however … is not.
I decide to look at the right side and found a way up the thing, standing up on the ledge is easy, the climbing off the ledge to the top is not. you rely on slopey crimps and slopers … lovely secure climbing πŸ˜› ahaa.

Having linked the moves on a shunt and feeling good I look down and see how much I really would not like to fall from this point.
A fall from would mean hitting the ledge first, probably crumple and go off it backwards where there are more boulders to welcome you at a downward angle (this is the decent to ‘The End of the Affair’) hmmm. I go home and organise to come back on Sunday with Joe Heeley.

Sunday was the day, Joe had the cameras set up, I knew the moves.
I had spotters as we met a few guys from the climbing works, we put a few pads down (though the fall was still worrying) and I had no excuses not to go.
Man up time πŸ™‚ … I stand on the ledge, psyche up and start the moves. Now it’s only about 7 metres high so there are (for me) only about 5 or so moves from the ledge but they are about Font 6c/7a for my height.
The climb is over before I’ve had time to think about it, short but sweet, but with a bad fall if you where to come off. There is no way of protecting this problem.

It was a toss up weather or not I gave it a high ball Font grade or a Traditional one.
I went for the traditional grade as to me it felt like a solo mindset not a ‘if I don’t like it I can jump off and be ok’ due to the nature of the fall that you would take.
Therefore E6 6b was what I graded it.

Thanks to Joe Heeley for spending the time to come and video me and edit it, I think he did a good job.