Improvement but alas still no 8a….

For the last week I have been in Costa Blanca, Spain, climbing. I have been training really hard over the past few months for this trip to see if I could make some visible improvements from my trip in summer. I am glad to report that there were clear improvements but disappointingly my target of 8a still hasn’t yet been met though this could be for other reasons that I shed light on later in this post.

I was staying with a group of mates in a house near Benissa. The house was amazing and even had a pool though it wasn’t heated, so absolutely freezing at this time of year. It was certainly the perfect place to relax after a hard days climbing. This definitely made recovery easier. It was amazing to come back and just chill out in the house and cook some super tasty Spanish food.

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As said before my main aim for this trip was to climb my first 8a route. I decided to start off the first few days getting back used to the outdoor style of climbing and work on some easier routes. I was feeling pretty good over the first couple of days clearly seeing that my training had worked well and I felt fit and strong. I managed to onsight a load of 7a routes and climb a couple of 7c routes in no more than 3 attempts. Psych was high to get on with the 8a and this is what I tried for the next 3 days, but this is where the problem lied. On all of these three days I tried a different 8a routes Slabazonic at Alta, Ergometría at Wildside and La culture del miedo at L’Ocaive with no more than 5 attempts on each route. Thinking this grade of route would go this easily may have been a slight oversight on my part but at the time I felt like it should considering 7c’s were going in 2/3 attempts. I also found that you only really had 4/5 good attempts on each route each day before your performance declined significantly. In hindsight I should have spent a couple of days on one of the routes. All the moves on all the routes didn’t feel hard it was just a matter of getting more efficient at them and then linking them together. At least I know this for next time!!!

Even though I didn’t achieve my target I am still overly pleased with the trip and the progress that I have made. I did three amazing 7c routes on my “rest”/warm up days where 2 took 2 attempts and the other 3. I was also consistently onsighting 7a/7a+ with the occasional 7b/b+ thrown in for good measure. It’s now time for Christmas and to let me body rest up for a week or two. I more than excited to have a little break and get out on the mountain bike / walking in the hills in Yorkshire near my parents house, let my body recharge and indulge in some festive treats. Ticks from the trip are shown below with a few photos from the route Arcadia at Gandia Bovedón.

7a Akram the Terrible (onsight)
7a Stolen Fruit (onsight)
7a Heaven Can’t Wait (onsight)
7a Espresso (onsight)
7a Strom in a Team Cup (onsight)
7a+ Sulacco (onsight)
7a+ Stormbringer (onsight)
7b La Bella (onsight)
7c Maradga (Second go)
7c Arcadia (Second go)
7c Batacazo (Third go)

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So what is next? Well I would really like to get back to Costa Blanca in the new year but more widely focus on keeping on getting strong and fitter whether that be for route climbing, bouldering or competition climbing. After the Christmas break I will get back to some serious training and try to book in the next trip away where ever that may be! I’d like to take this point to thank my sponsors for supporting me this year. Mad Rock for providing me with shoes, Nihil for making awesome clothing that is so comfy and great to climb in, Climb Skin for maintaining the quality of what little skin I have left after 7 days on in a row and also Serious Climbing and Dark Ventures! I am looking forward to keep working with these guys in the new year and keep on improving!

Have a great Christmas and New Year and I’ll update this with my goings on in the new year.

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