Blokfest Mile End

It’s been a little while since my last post and I’ve been training hard again. As I said last time I have started a new training plan to focus on strength in my shoulders and back as this is currently where I really struggle. Unfortunately after my first week of the new plan I managed to injury my back but luckily a weekend off plus a week of light climbing managed to fix it. Or so I thought………

Unfortunately the niggle is still there though I am finding if I warm up sufficiently it is ok and I can still climb and try hard which is good but it just takes more time! This means training sessions now have a 5:45am start three days a week to ensure that I have enough time to warm up and get the session done properly! Slightly crazy but I’m kind of enjoying it in a slightly sadistic way. Anyway I’ve now managed two weeks of the plan and am feeling good.

On to what else has been going on. This Saturday, 5th November, saw the first round of the Blokfest comp series. This has always been a great event and one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed! This time it didn’t quite go to plan though…… I got there around 10:30 to give enough to chat to sponsors hand out some pip and nut nut butter to the junior competitors and make sure I had sufficient time to warm my back up. I started my 30 minutes warm up well in advance of the start time of 13:30 and felt good when the time came to start but this is where it all went downhill for me. This was the biggest Blokfest ever with the most competitors which meant lots of queues and it was bloody artic inside Mile end. Every time I got to a new problem there was a 10/15 minutes wait before I could get on. This meant that I got cold very quickly possibly not helped by the chilly temps and my lack of insulation. All in all this meant I couldn’t pull hard as my back was hurting. In the end I ran completely out of time and didn’t manage to finish the blocs as I had to keep stopping and going for another 15 minute warm up to get ready for the next problem. Rather frustrating! Not really sure how | can change this next time as it’s always going to be busy but we’ll have to see. Fingers crossed the back is fully better by then and less warming up is needed! I’m looking forward to the next round in December at Boulder Brighton. Here is a few little pics and videos from the event.

What else has been going on? Well i’ve been carrying on with my training plan to work on strength. This has meant getting up at 5:45am every morning to make sure i have enough time at the wall to complete the exercises with sufficient rest in-between. People seem to think this is crazy but i find as long as i am in bed by 10pm each night and get a solid 8 hours of sleep i can manage to sustainably do this. Plus is also means when you get to work you feel like you’ve already done something awesome with your day. Something i absolutely love. Also with the weather getting colder porridge season is upon us!!! YESSS!!! I’ve seriously got back into my porridge recently. Its amazing post training fuel covered in Pip and Nut nut butter, seeds, nuts and honey. I can’t emphasise enough how tasty all the Pip and Nut products are but if you were to pick one definitely try the coconut almond butter. It’s sublime and also amazing on top of avocado!!!!! Go on treat yourself and try it out plus it’s completely natural!!!

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Anyway onwards and strong wards hopefully, just need to get the next outside trip booked in to get some sunshine and warmth in my life. Fingers cross after xmas i can get something in if work allows 🙂

The good, the bad and the mind….

Over the last few weeks since my last post there has been quite a bit of change both good and bad. Simply I’ve competed in a couple of comps and started a new training plan all very exciting!

The indoor comp scene is just starting in the UK and I’m so psyched to be in the U.K. this year and to be able to get a chance to compete in them again. Blokfest in the main series in London with 5 rounds starting in November. It is truly an awesome event! Along with that loads of other walls are holding their annual and winter boulder comps that I love getting involved with. The last two I managed to get involved with were the blocbuster comp at The Depot Nottingham and Vauxwall’s bi-monthly comp Vauxcomp.

First up was blocbuster in Nottingham. The event started at 10am, not to bad if you live near but traveling up from London meant a 5:30am start from my house. I drove up with a friend for the beginning of the comp and excitement was high! We arrived in good time and started to get psyched up for the comp by the time it started I was raring to go. I’d looked around the problems and they all look great and doable! Energy levels were great surprisingly considering the early start though this could have been the couple of double espressos I had on the way up and upon reaching Nottingham!!! #coffeelife The comp started bang on 10 and I immediately threw myself into the problems. Starting off with a couple of easy problems to settle the mind after warming up and then cracking straight on with some of the harder problems. Annoyingly I think I jumped on one of the harder ones a little too early dropping the first attempt where I really shouldn’t have. I felt like I competed well but came unstuck on the problems that involved dynamic movement or particularly strengthy moves. Unfortunately I didn’t qualify for finals but excited to stick about to watch some seriously strong climbers battle it out! Then I crashed, energy that is. I felt awful and no matter what I did I could get my body to feel better. Really really annoying, maybe it was the early start lack of extra energy or caffeine wearing off I’m not sure but it wasn’t good. This is something I need to work on to keep better consistent energy levels. The finals were a good watch though and I was super pleased to see Orrin take the win with an epic performance. Super strong!

Next up just a couple of days later was Vauxcomp! This was in the evening so after a long day at work. I was initially worried about how I was going to get enough energy to compete well here as after a days work I usually feel very drained even if it is only mentally. I finished work a little early a 6pm and headed straight to the wall with a glass of milk and banana in hand! Scoffing them down on the tube on the way I was ready to get started and climb. The blocs were cool but all on the comp wall so mostly overhanging which means powerful. Uh oh!!!!! Happily though I managed to get through lots of the problems flashing some of the ones I didn’t think I would even touch. On the other hand I came unstuck yet again on the dynamic problems most notably the jump start were I couldn’t jump high enough for the start holds. Gutted! I did manage it in the end but by doing it by sticking the start hold with one hand instead of the intended two. Crazy but it worked, just…… I finish 5 overall which I am damn happy with. Something to improve upon but encouraging considering we’re I am at the moment!

So that’s the good but unfortunately there is some bad….. I’ve just started a new training plan, as I said in my last post, to work on strength mainly in the shoulders. The first week went really well, it was hard but I felt good! I had a good rest weekend and went out for a nice rest day cycle to box hill on the Sunday. Getting up Monday morning expecting to feel fresh and ready to smash the next weeks training was something that sadly didn’t happen. As I jumped out of bed at 6am to head to the wall I felt a niggle in my back. Ahhh just morning niggles I thought, it is early! I headed to the wall but it got no better and over the course of the week the pain between my shoulder blades got even worse. Gutted I’d somehow picked up an injury. I visited an osteopath on Friday morning to get it checked out. She informed me that she thought it was just muscular and not a trapped nerve or slipped disc in my spine where the sharp stabby pain was. Rest and self massage is what was prescribed. Rest, rest, what rest you say…. Oh god this is going to be hard. Anyone who know me knows I find it really hard to rest and not do anything so I can see the next few weeks being challenging but it is something I have to do if I want to compete in any of the upcoming comps I have planed. Maybe I can still go to the wall without my shoes and stretch, what do you think? How to you keep you mind happy while injured but still wanting to be active?

Anyway enough from me for now, fingers crossed this weekend and next week of rest will cure my back and then I can start back with the training and focus back on the winter comps coming up. I know dealing with a psyched mind but broken body is going to be something I will struggle with but something I have to learn to do!!!

Oh and one silly thing to leave you with, here is a silly campus challenge I managed on the fingerboard. Check it! Just gotta do it from the 6mm now!

Fontainebleau and BLCC’s

Fontainebleau & BLCC’s

So it has been a while since my last update and a lot has happened. As said in my previous post i’ve recently moved back to London to pursue my career in UX design, now as a freelancer. This has meant that work has been busy, hectic and fun but training for climbing has had to change some what. I find it really important to mind sanity to climb most days even if it is an easy session. It lets my mind relax after a stressful day at work and wind down. Due to the nature of freelance work i had to move my training sessions to mornings for a week during a deadline. This is something i have actually thoroughly enjoyed and am keeping on with as it gives me more time in the evening for me time and to do other things! Anyway enough with training what else have i been up to and what is coming up? Lots of fun climbing things!!!

First was the Nihil / Madrock meet in Fontainebleau. This was amazing and a thoroughly great week meeting awesome new people, old friends and climbing some great boulders. I drove out on my own for the week and arrived at the gite to meet the other athletes around mid day. Irene and Rene turned up shortly after myself. Many of the other athletes were competing in the Paris world championships and so were turning up the next day. I attended the same meet last year and the people who came this year were completely different to last which was super cool. It was awesome to meet loads of new super strong and psyched climbers and expand my climbing network. I went out to Font this time with little expectation and desires on what to do. I wanted a chilled out week to let my body and mind relax from the hecticness of work and get it ready for the BLCC’s (British lead climbing championships) the following weekend. To my amazement though i felt pretty good and strong and throughout the week i managed to send some of my outstanding projects from previous trips. Most notably Carnage stand start 7b+ at Bas Cuiver and on the last day i managed four 7a graded boulders. An achievement i felt pretty happy with. Overall though an amazing week with lots of climbing, coffee, BBQing and chilling out in a great place.

After Font was the BLCC’s, unfortunately this landed the day after the Font trip. Not ideal but i just had to deal with it. I had planned the trip back to get an early ferry to allow myself to chill out at home for a few hours and grab lunch before heading up to Sheffield to stay at a friends the night before. Unfortunately this didn’t happen. The traffic the whole way through France was terrible and it stayed the same if not worse in the UK. This meant i ended up driving 14 hours with only pee beaks to break up the journey. Not ideal preparation for the BLCC’s indeed! This coupled with the tragic state my skin was in from the previous days bouldering was going to make for an interesting competition!!!

I woke up on the morning of the BLCC’s feeling surprising good to my surprise! First on the agenda? COFFEE….. I cracked out the moka pot and got a good brew on to get my ready and psyched for the comp!!! I arrived at the wall at just past 8am to register and once signed in i sat down and grabbed a hearty breakfast of porridge with banana and pip and nut almond and coconut butter while watching the demo videos of the routes. I was feeling nervous, more nervous than i thought i would and the demo video of route one didn’t help one bit. Yann the setter of the route fell on what looked like a super bouldery route about 5 times. This certainly did not put my mind at ease as bouldery routes are not my strong point at all…… To be frank i was s**ting myself about it. I was worried i wouldn’t even make it past the first clip! I also couldn’t believe how much more nervous i was than in bouldering comps. I guess it’s down to all the pressure being on two routes with only one go on each. Anyway how did routes one go then? Well much better than expected. I made it to around half way where i had identified a particularly tricky shoulder move (the kind of move that makes me slightly sick in my mouth) where unfortunately i fell. This was down to my lack of shoulder strength and also messing up the foot beta (i missed a key higher foot hold that might have helped) but not because I was pumped at all. That said not to bad…..

On to route two!!! Now this looked much more like my style. Long, good holds and basically just endurance! I had high expectations of myself on this route. This probably didn’t help the nerves, piling extra pressure on myself…… Unfortunately this time i hadn’t seem the strengthy move slap bag in the middle. A lovely shouldery slap out to a slippy volume! I hit the volume, my whole body tensed and i couldn’t grip it. Damn i was off again! So two routes two shoulder moves and two falls. Well at least i know what i need to improve!!!! I ended 19th in the end, not to bad for my first ever lead comp but definitely something to improve upon.

Going forwards what do i need to do? Well one thing certainly is improve my overall strength. My endurance is good, i can climb on crimps for many many meters but as soon as a move requires physical strength i come unstuck. This is going to require some serious training and fuelling to build muscle and get strong. Watching the final on the Sunday gave me even more motivation to do this. The final climbers crushed it! I’m super lucky that Ollie Torr is going to be helping me out with the strength part of my training to ensure i am focusing on the correct elements to make improvements.

As for competitions and trips what’s around the corner? Well i am psyched to get back on the comp scene as they motivate you to try really hard and make the training count for something, luckily there are loads to choose from! This weekend i am heading up to Nottingham to compete in the Blocbuster event and then on 15/16th October I’m going to the Big Flash comp at Highball in Norwich with Louis Parkinson and Henry Heismann. Blokfest is also starting soon which i am monumentally psyched for. They were epic when i did them a year ago!!! As for trips i need to get one booked isn soon, hopefully some winter sun somewhere nice like Costa Blanca.

Anyway thats enough for now, time to get back to training and focus on getting stronger!

A Year In Chamonix

Wow what a year…..

Last May I was fortunate enough to land a freelance contract working in Chamonix, France and what a year it turned out to be. In brief I have never climbed outside so much in my life, met so many psyched people and I even managed to climb my hardest grade yet!

I headed out there in May keen to get involved with every single part of the outdoor mountain life style but especially the climbing. That said I was slightly mindful as I hadn’t heard too much about the single pitch sport climbing and bouldering around Chamonix, more about the high alpine mountain routes that it is known for. Though my thoughts were where there is rock there must be sport climbing and bouldering, it might just be less well known. How right I was was untrue…..

Chamonix as you probably well know is a magical and beautiful place but also horrendously touristy at times. Certain routes and spots get overloaded with people and at times it can almost be as busy as parts of central London (haha no not really that busy…), but if you meet the right people and know where to look there is some beautiful climbing which very few people ever do. I was fortunate to meet a dude, Jonny Baker, who lived out there while climbing with Emma Twyford at LPT in North Wales just before I left. This was my in!!!! Once out in Chamonix I managed to meet up with him and the undercover world of Chamonix’s bouldering and sport scene was revealed. I found some truly amazing local spots and help develop some new boulder problems up and down the Chamonix valley. It was a full on summer with 2 evenings a week bouldering and sport climbing pretty much every weekend up and down the valley and even in Italy.

Sport climbing in the Chamonix valley is typically down the mountain in the Arve Valley. There is a lot of large long multi pitch climbing but unfortunately this didn’t really interest me. That said there was more than enough hard single pitch sport to keep me busy. Destinations like Bionassay and Cascades De Doran are amazing overhanging limestone with grades up to 8b. Further down into the next valley near Morzine there was the awesome destination of Foron an amazing overhanging limestone crag full of beautiful pockets. Here I managed to insight my hardest ever sport climb, a beautiful 30m 7c! Take a look at some of the pictures below from these epic destinations. Pictures captured by Final Crux Films (www.finalcruxfilms.com) and Roeland Van Oss.

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After hammering the destinations down the valley at weekend I was keen to find a local spot for after work sessions. I was in luck, just past Le Buet there is a small hidden crag called Couteray. Not known by many but also infamous, it contains Europe’s hardest off width (Thai Boxing). I wasn’t here for that I was here for the 4 amazing lines to the right. There was a 7a+, 7b+, 7c and an 8a+. All about 15m long on amazing crimps and wow did they pack a punch! There was a certain style to this place for sure. In general it was an easy section of climbing into a hard crux sequence with a puppy but not so hard top. Initially I really struggled with getting through the crux’s on all 7b+ upwards routes, it was just a completely different style to what I was used to. Though after a couple of sessions my body clicked with the style and the routes started falling!!! In one evening session I managed to warm up on the 7a+ and then tick the 7b+, 7c and come close to the 8a+. An amazing evening!!! Unfortunately I never managed to completely finish off the 8a+ but I’ll be back for it for sure at some point. See the awesome picture below taken on the 7b+ by Tom Humpage (www.numero97.com).

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A little further afield but definitely worth the drive was where I ticked my first ever 8a! A truly awe- inspiring crag called Balme De Yenne. This place is down near Chambery and looked very much like it has been picked out of Spain and dropped into France. Routes range form 6a to 9a with an epic cave half way along where can really climb upside down. I wasn’t here for the cave routes though the 20 degree overhanging tuffa 40m endurance pump fests were what I wanted. The 8a I climbed here was a great 7b+ tuffa route with a 15m extension of crimp on a 15 degree over hanging wall. A truly lovely climb. Even though this route was great, the line that really inspired me was an 8a+ further along. It consisted on 20m of crispy climbing into a 10m blank wall with one tufa running up and then a small roof to a 10m top out over a slap on small mono pockets. B-E-A-Utiful! I spent a good few days projecting this route and even spent a weekend down there with top Scottish Climber Robbie Phillips and local London WAD V-Mann. I was psyched to see Robbie send it and that made me want to do it even more. Unfortunately luck was not on my side, or most probably strength and endurance. I didn’t manage to complete it but I’ll be back one day, plus it’s a good excuse to get back out to France.

Worth mentioning is also the climbing in the Aosta Vally just through the Mont Blanc Tunnel in Italy. Here you can find pretty much any style you want on great rock. If it’s raining in the Chamonix valley this is definitely a destination worth looking at as we all know the sun always shines in Italy. Plus the coffee, gelato and pizza are amazing too. Some argue worth the trip alone!!! Notable destination are Gar Est and if you want to crazy overhanging chipped routes but excellent for training check out Sarr Roof.
So what next? My time in France has come to an end and I am now back in the UK. Chamonix was great but I did miss the indoor social and comp scene and the great climbing walls we have. This experience has opened my eyes to climbing and personally I see climbing as two separate sports, inside an outside. I missed the competition element of the climbing while in France and this is something I am keen to get back involved with in the UK now that I am back. The Blokfest series in London is an amazing event and something that I am definitely going to be aiming to train for and compete in next year. My indoor strength is definitely not there right now but time and dedicated training will fix that and I’m psyched to see the improvements!!! Bring on the next chapter!!!!!!

Finally 8a…… and Beta-men!

It’s been a long time coming I feel but finally a couple of weeks ago I managed to send my first 8a…… or did I? The crag is a place called Balme de Yenne and it is near Chambery in France. It is a truly amazing place with some seriously hard climbing. There are 9a’s through a massive cave. The crag has amazing limestone with tufas all over it. It almost looks like it could have been plucked out of Spain!!!

The route I managed to climb was the extension to an amazing 7b called Wall of Confusion. The guide that i had found on the internet claimed this route was 8a but upon looking again I managed to find another guide stating the grade at only 7c+. Speaking to the locals at the crag they did say that the original grade was 7c+ and the top had crumbled away slightly hence the 8a grade now. Still it has put doubt in my mind, I still need to send a genuine real 8a I feel. I am more than happy to have done this route anyway as it is a mega line and so much fun to be on!

The weekend just gone Robbie Phillips, V Man and I were at a place called Foron. This is another amazing place with steep overhanging pockety walls. On a few pervious visits i had a play on a line called A maman ça 7c+/8a, but hadn’t managed to link it all yet. This time i warmed up on a 7a i’d previously done and jumped straight on it. To my surprise i sent it easily, still feeling family fresh at the top. This was amazing and a greta feeling to show that i am clearly doing something right and improving!!! Though still the search for that genuine 8a continues!!!!!!!

After sending A maman ça i didn’t really know what to get on for the rest of the day but then i saw a classic Pourquoi 8b line to the left which Robbie was also psyched for. It was great to get on something a lot harder and feel what the moves were like. They were considerably harder but all felt doable the only thing that put me off were the two crazy beta munchkins sat behind. I don’t mind people giving me a bit of beta on a route just to help out but the general consensus is that if people want beta for something they’ll ask. While I was on Pourquoi the two munchkins behind were constants shouting their beta at me. Left here, right and there, use this crimp, no not that one. Half of the fun of climbing a new hard route is working out the beta and the sequence for yourself. In the end I just got pissed off with them and came down from half way up the route and waited until they had left to try it again. So beta-men to there maybe ask if they would like beta before shouting every single move at a person on the wall!!!

So what’s next? Well I have a little 8a+ project up at a local crag called Le Couteray which I want to get back on soon and i’m also keen to try some other hard routes. Though the search still carries on for the genuine 8a……

CHAMONIX!!!

So it’s been a fair old while since i last posted anything and wow so much has changed in life!! As you know from my previous posts i’ve just recently moved out to Chamonix in France for a new job. What an amazing few weeks i’ve had getting involved in the local scene.

I have managed to get out every weekend so far and visit new local and exiting crags and get suitably psyched. There are so many strong local climbers who want to get out on the rock it’s awesome. Just talking to them about the areas around Chamonix in the Vallée de L’Arve, Giffrw Rise Foron and the Aosta in Italy makes me excited to get out and climb. In the last few weeks i haven’t managed to get any photos due to only going out with one or two people and concentrating on the climbing but this past weekend a crew of us went out to some local boulders, on Saturday, just up the valley which are being developed and i managed to grab a few pics. There is so much potential for new problems it’s amazing and i am super excited to get into developing and finding new problems. A new experience that i haven’t had the chance to get involved with yet. Anyway check out the pics below from the day.

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On the Sunday another crew of us set off through the Mont Blanc tunnel to the Aosta in Italy. What greeted me was amazing. Great coffee (and only €1), amazing gelato, epic calzones and fantastic climbing. We went to a crag called Gare Est. It was a lovely 20m very slightly overhanging wall with crimpy crack climbing. The weather was tres bon maybe a little warm at mid day but a lovely place to climb. The crag only had one route above 7b, an 8a jamming crack that i wasn’t psyched for, but all the 7a’s and the 7b were very very good. A good milage day. I am super psyched to get back across the border and visit some of the Aosta’s more overhanging and technical crags and find a good project to work on. It’s a great option when the weather in the Chamonix valley is bad as it appears to have a completely different climate which is usually good if it’s raining in Chamonix. Ideal really!!! Apart from that now that i’ve settled into work i’m going to try and get out in the evenings to some local sectors and boulders and hopefully start developing some new boulder problems. Check back soon for updates and stay psyched!!!

Reflection and looking forward

It has been a pretty crazy last few months what with job changes and moving back to my parents to get stuff ready for the big move to Chamonix France. Training has definitely taken a back seat a little as it’s hard to find huge motivation when you have no projects on the go, trips coming up and lots of other stuff to sort out! Added to this bring the nearest climbing gym to my parents house being a 45 minutes drive away. I feel it has been a good break though but it has shown me some very important things and let me get back in touch with other things I used to enjoy!

Number one London broke me, well mainly my legs and waist line! Being super busy working two jobs and climbing the amount I did appeared to have burnt off all my leg muscle. When at my parents I was keen to get back out trail running and wow was it hard. My legs just had no power or fitness, I think all the weight I lost living in London must have come from my legs! Luckily 3 weeks of running is starting to sort it out and I can now enjoy a morning 4 mile run before breakfast again which is awesome. The couple of times I have visited the climbing gym I haven’t found that the extra leg muscle has affected my climbing at all. The time off has also given me a chance to regain psych for my move to France and get excited about the climbing out there. It is going to be amazing living so close to many amazing routes on real rock with loads of super psyched people! That said I’m also super excited to keep up the running and maintain a more even level of general body fitness.

Number two. You need food and I like food a lot! In London I had very little space and time to cook so often I just would forego meals. Living back in a proper house I’ve remembered how much I love cooking and making tasty food. I now have so much more energy than I did in London, something I didn’t really notice while I was there. Not eating good meals must have limited the gains I got from my training significantly. From this point on maintaining a good balanced diet in line with my training is a must if I going to make gain / survive ;). Having my own apartment in Chamonix and the plethora of tasty produce on offer in the French super magnets should definitely help with this!

Anyway just a little update but I’m excited to see how life is going to change over the next month or two moving to France and excited to get out to the mountains and onto some real rock! Keep a look out on Instagram @duncanbottrill for updates. Warning they may make you jealous!!!

All change…

Over the past six months life has be rather hectic. I’ve been completing an internship in London as a start to my professional career. Internships are notoriously under paid and this isn’t helped by the outrageous expense of living in London. I was fortunate that mine was actually paid as a lot are not. This has meant that I have had to work two jobs and be super careful with my money just to get by. Admittedly the second job was at VauxWall climbing centre. It is awesome and provided a nice change to being in the office all day, but this combined with training on the days when not working in the evenings will eventually wear any person out and that is how I feel right now. Burnt out!!!

At the back of my mind for the last few months has been the niggling issue of what I am going to do after my internship ends. It is just not financially viable to live in London without a consistent wage and I was mindful that I would just burn through a lot of my spare cash renting in London hoping a job would turn up. The decision to leave or stay was a tricky one. Luckily I have managed get a new job in the area I want to work and in an amazing place in the world. London is fun and I’ve met so many awesome people here, there is so much going on you can find something new and exciting to do everyday of the week, but it’s just too expensive and the lack of the country side / mountains just means it really isn’t the place for me! It has shown me how much a love climbing an being in the outdoors and how much I miss it living here something I was keen to get back when starting a new job. The new job means another HUGE change in life again but these are super exciting along with me super scary! I am going to be moving out to Chamonix in France towards the end of May to start my new job and new life. I feel super fortunate that I have managed to find a job doing what I want to do in a place in the world that I want to live and am so excited for it to start along with being pretty scared as it’s a huge change. In the mean time I have a rather large list of things that need sorting out before the big move. It almost seems endless but I’m sure I’ve given myself enough time to sort it all out…… hopefully!

So what do the next few months hold? Well there is going to be a lot of sorting out of stuff ready for the big move but I also hope that I can managed to get a trip away somewhere for a week or two. Maybe Fontainebleau or Spain I’m not sure yet. Some sunshine and a break would be nice. Guess I better dig out those skis and learn how to wield and ice axe as well, but most of all i am super excited about going!!!

Blokfest, CWIF & Injuries

It has been a very busy last few weeks for me. Not only has there been a load of competitions going but it has also been the last few of my internship in London and I have been busy trying to decide what I am going to do next. All very hectic times. Unfortunately this level of busyness has not really had a positive influence on my climbing and or training. I have managed to keep up with my training schedule but have seemed to have just lost motivation and my diet has definitely suffered mainly down to the pure lack of time. Anyway back to the comps and more on that later.

The final round of the Blokfest series was the weekend before last at Mile End climbing wall in east London. I felt excited to compete and try and maintain my overall position in the series. Having never been to Mile End before I made sure I got there early to have a good look around, check out the walls and have a good look at the problems. After looking around I felt psyched to get on with the comp and as the clock struck 1pm the comp started. I felt like I started well flashing some of the harder slab problems that were really easily droppable, but then I dropped a couple of problems that I felt I shouldn’t have. I carried on doing some of the problems before it hit me that I’d completely run out of energy and just had nothing left! Annoying as once I munched down a banana I flew up the problems I’d just dropped. Very irritating but something to learn from for next time!

For the finals I was taking photos. I got an awesome view from on top of one of the boulder which I think helped create the amazing angles and photos that I managed to capture. I am really pleased with them I feel like my photography skills are progressing which is awesome. This was added to by fellow Mad Rock team mate Louis Parkinson doing really well in the final. Louis finished up in 2nd place on the podium after an awesome effort on the last problem that started with a massive campus move. I finished 12th overall in the Blokfest series which I am really happy with especially as this was my first season doing lots of competitions. Time to look forward to next year get strong and improve on this result. Check some of the photos below and the full photoset using the link.

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Blokfest Mile End full image set

Next up was the CWIF (climbing works international festival) event. I was so excited for this as it was amazing fun last year and a great weekend. This year we had organised a Mad Rock team to go and compete that included myself, Louis Parkinson, Michelle Wardle and Dougie Swanson-Low. I booked on for the PM session and got the train with Louis up to Sheffield from London on the morning. We arrived around 11am which gave us time to have a bit of breakfast and coffee and thoroughly check out the problems. Our session was due to start at 2pm which meant that there was quite a bit of time to kill. I really wanted to just get started!!!!! When 2pm hit I was eager to get started, maybe to eager! I jumped on the first few problems and then promptly feel off a couple of them. I just felt like I had no strength and couldn’t pull. It was really weird though looking back on it this was probably due to the lack of food I’d eaten on the day, the past weeks fail at eating a proper diet and the stressful week I had before. I love cooking and making tasty food but it is something that I just seem to forget about when life gets hectic. This is something I really need to focus on when life gets hectic again! The comp went from bad to worse and I am really not happy with my performance, I feel like I’ve let myself down but I guess you have days like this. I think I put to much pressure on myself and was expecting a much better performance. My best performances have been going into comps with no expectations and just having fun. This is something that I am going to look to take forwards to future events. Annoyingly to make it slightly worse I managed to injure my flexor on my ring finger as well just pinching two holds of one of the problems so all the psych to get back to full strength will have to wait until the injury fixes. Rather irritating!!! I’m going to be delving into the finger injures section of Dave Macleod’s new book for sure!!!

The rest of the event was awesome and it was inspiring to see just how strong Alex Megos is. Some superhuman gravity defying feats of strength in the finals. Motivation is high to get back to training again and get over this injury. I seem to be quite susceptible to finger injuries so working out a plan to minimise this and maintain an overall balance in my body is going to be the aim looking forwards. I know I am very one sided in my climbing and need to make myself more rounded to improve. I’m glad I have recognised this now and am excited to start working on different aspects and hopefully see improvements! Anyway enough on that I’ll leave you with a photo of fellow Mad Rock athlete Louis Parkings crushing mens problems 1 in the CWIF semi finals.

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So what is next? Well I was planning on going on a trip somewhere over the next month or so possibly Font or Spain but I guess that will just have to wait until I see how my injury progresses. Finger crossed it isn’t that bad and heals up reasonably quickly!

Rab Superbloc Competition

The weekend just past was the Rab Superbloc Competition at the Telegraph Outdoor show. The competition saw the top UK competitions boulders battling it out over semi’s in the morning and finals in the afternoon. The second day was filled with the Arch Superbloc Open competition which was open to all the public to enter. I was lucky enough to be able to get down to this event and photograph the whole thing.

The semi finals saw 20 men and 20 women compete over 4 blocs in a world cup style format to decide who would make it through to the finals in the afternoon. Myself and Liam Lonsdale split the photographing to ensure that we captured all competitors. I stuck to the mens side of the comp. Their problems were extremely tough only seeing 3 tops in total. This may have been down to the super warm conditions which certainly made holding those slopers much harder. That said it did split the field and separate out 6 men to take through to the finals.

The finals were an awesome spectacle. Super exciting problems with lots of tops and all of the competitors getting close. This was added to by the crowd that really got behind all of the athletes. Watching the action through the lens did mean that I missed out on certain things that were happening on the problem I wasn’t focusing on but this didn’t really matter. I could tell what was happening from the crowds reactions!! Shauna Coxsey and Dave Barrens took home to title in fantastic style, a super impressive display getting me super psyched to compete in more competitions!!! Below are a couple of shots from the finals and a link to the full set of finals images. Watch this space for the semi final set!

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Rab Superbloc Finals Photo Set

Lastly on the Sunday the Arch Superbloc open competition took place. This was open to the general public and was held all day. It was great to see the wall busy all day with people trying out new and existing problems from the finals the pervious day. Jack Beanland took home the win flashing all of the problems. An amazing effort. Keep you eyes peeled for the album for this appearing very soon.

Anyway what’s next? Well in a couple of weekends time there is the final round of the Blokfest series and then the CWIF the weekend after which I am super psyched to compete and and photograph. Bring it on!!!