23 Aug 2018

Go big or go drone

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I’m on a little-forced hiatus for a few weeks from climbing or any training for that matter as I recover from some cortisone injections to two fingers and an elbow.

You’ve probably read a number of other athletes getting in on this action recently so it seemed like the en vogue thing to do. I’m joking, it was a huge decision and not one that I took lightly, apart from surgery to my knee i’ve been super lucky with injuries over the years and always managed to work through them.

There are definite risks associated with the treatment but they were affecting my day to day life let alone climbing and after prolonged physio treatments and looking after myself things were showing no sign of improvement.

Anyway, the break has given me time to edit some footage from DWS a few weeks ago which has been fun. I think it’s fair to say that drones are a real game changer now, particularly for sports like climbing where access can be so difficult.

I’m not sure how the idea came about but I guess it was in true spirit of the route that an obligatory velociraptor face mask was worn and always ensuring a safety-first approach the HMS Karabiner bouyancy aid was also in play due to low tide.

Due to some tiny and misplaced eye holes in the mask I was unable to use central vision and had to rely on my knowledge of the route and peripheral, in addition, it seemed to restrict my oxygen supply so by the top I was definitely hyperventilating.

I’ve said it before but I think Animal Magnetism is one of the best routes I’ve ever done in the UK and in its position with the sun, warm waters and good company it was a fantastic experience.

Looking forward to more this winter although hopefully not deep water.


07 Aug 2018

Always maintain three points of contact.

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Note to self – Always maintain three points of contact.

Like any sport there are a number of facets to climbing that I enjoy; social, mental, environmental, technical and physical being some that spring to mind.

Naturally, the technical and physical aspects have always been the ones that give me the greatest satisfaction but over 20 years of climbing I’ve developed a dependency on them and I feel like they’ve narrowed my vision and defined me as a climber.

In 2015-17 I took a long break from climbing and coming back from this period of abstinence has been hard. I’m simply not the same person and the realisation that I’m nowhere near the same level I was (and in reality might never be) is difficult and I feel like I’m having to completely recalibrate my association with the sport. As a result, I’m on a bit of a journey to see what it is that I enjoy the most about climbing now and what I will focus on in the future.

I’m trying to get out as much as I can to re-experience all that climbing has to offer and this weekend it was DWS. It’s always a discipline that my brain has found incredibly hard to compute. It’s a complete sensory overload and my irrational fears always take over when climbing outside of my comfort zone.

This trip I was determined to try and overcome the fear so I spent time working on the basics doing lots of practice jumps into the water from increasing height to gradually acclimatise with the height of the walls.

This teaser clip is the result of me, post-practice jumps trying to flash the iconic route Adrenochrome. It perfectly sums up the experience – literally all over the place, still scared out of my mind but having sooooo much fun, I think. And, no, I didn’t top it this time but I was pleased to go out fighting. Sound on for full experience!

Thanks to the team for the support on another epic day.

09 Jul 2018

100 Days

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Since 2015 I have pretty much been out of the climbing game but for the past 100 days I have been training hard trying to get back into shape.

I set myself the goal of entering the #bbcs2018 as it was and is one of the highlights of my year whether it be spectating or competing.

100 days doesn’t sound like much but it has taken pretty much everything I have mentally and physically. Fingers, elbows, back, shoulders I’ve hammered them all and whilst my prep was far from ideal, I made it.

The result was never important (unlike the Don @davebarrans I’m too old for that), it was a somewhat cliche journey of self re-discovery and in the end, out on the mats I actually had fun and it feels great to be back amongst the climbing community.

Thank you @bbcsport for creating the absolute highlight of this process possible and giving my niece the opportunity to see me ‘doing climbing’ for the first time.

Huge thanks also to everyone who’s got me back enjoying climbing again but specifically these legends that somehow got me to the start line in pretty much in one piece @robinoleary @tricky_newheightsfitnesspt @dcpetts @davidmason85 @minaclimbing @cristianocosta11 you are all hero’s.

Finally, a huge congratulations to all the finalists and winners @nathanphillipsclimbing & @hannahslaneythat was some inspirational schizzle.

Now to eat ALL the food, recover, regroup and set the next goal.

27 Mar 2018

Blokfest 2018 Final

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Well, it doesn’t happen often but today felt like a good day! I managed to flash all the qualification boulders qualifying in joint 1st with the legend that is Louie Parkinson (Captain Cutloose!).

The finals crowd were amazing and the Blokfest and Castle teams put on a fantastic show, I felt like I climbed ‘ok’ in the finals topping one and getting close to the other two. Turns out it was enough and I managed to top the podium and take the round win!

I’m still blown away and in slight disbelief about the whole thing. I’m not sure what the future holds competition wise, I still feel like I’m on a precarious edge trying to balance the increase in training and my injuries.

I know what I need to do to get back to the level I want, I just don’t know if I can. That said I know I want to try. Don’t call it a comeback.

26 Jan 2018

Oakwood Blokfest 2018

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15 Dec 2017

Blokfest @ Stronghold 2017

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Fresh off the back of my confidence-boosting return comp at the Oakwood boulder battle, I returned to my old friend Blokfest.

Somehow I managed to qualify in 1st place for the finals before getting a proper schooling from the all-around strongman and legend, Jim Pope.

I can feel my comp addiction returning….

Epic TV was there to report on the day and made a lovely summary video.

03 Dec 2017

Oakwood Boulder Battle

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Well, it had been a few years since I last competed so I decided it was time to try my hand and my new local wall was hosting it’s first major competition so I felt duty bound to attend!

I managed to navigate the qualification course OK qualifying well with some of the other big guns and surprised myself in the semi-finals doing 3/4 of the boulders and qualifying for the finals, far exceeding my expectations.

However, this is where all my current injuries/weaknesses and lack of practice were fully exposed. I still had great fun and the crowd were great. It really reminded me that I still love comps and had been missing them.

21 Nov 2017

Buttermilks, Bishop, CA

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So I guess you could say I have been off the circuit for a while… It’s a very long story but I guess the brief synopsis would be as follows.

I had some phenomenal times with climbing and was lucky enough to compete and climb all over the world, something I am hugely grateful and proud of, but in all honesty back in the summer of 2015 I had a few injuries causing me some grief and for the first time in almost 20 years, I fell out of love with it.

I went cold turkey and didn’t go to a climbing wall or put on a pair of climbing shoes for over 12 months. I lost my passion and focus and needed time away.

Towards the end of 2016, I started feeling like my mind and body was ready and I wanted to re-engage with it and since then have been slowly starting up again. Naturally, I have have had to review my expectations and association with the sport and what I want from it but I am finally enjoying climbing again and being part of the wider community.

My body also changed in the time away and I’ve had some new injuries to contend with but back in November, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and go on a trip. I decided I would go to a new location to keep expectations to a minimum so headed off on a solo pilgrimage to the ultra classic Buttermilks in Bishop, California.

I’ve wanted to go for as long as I can remember and it did not disappoint, it is by far one of the best places I have ever been. It has some of the most incredible climbs out there for pretty much every grade and all set in a perfect picturesque location.

I would encourage anyone to go, climbers or not. It feels so peaceful and serene and I definitely think it’s where I would want my ashes scattered…If not just as a way to get my nearest and dearest to see it.

I always think a picture tells a thousand words so here is a little highlights video of some of the climbs I managed to get footage of.

Anyway, on to the next adventure, I know there will be plenty more.

01 Mar 2015

Blokfest Round 5 – Mile End

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Another Blokfest season has now been and gone in what seems like the blink of an eye. Each event seems to get better and this final round in Mile End was no exception.

The standard of the blocs and people competing was extremely high and after being thoroughly tested in the qualification round I made it through to finals and was super psyched.

I was out first which is always a mixed blessing and fell of the last move of bloc 1 twice, a few of the others topped it so I knew it was going to be a real battle from then on out.

Bloc two was a techy mess which suited me well and I managed to flash it and put myself back into contention. Unfortunately Bloc 3 was my anti style involving a sideways run dyno thing and it took me a number of attempts to figure out how to do it. After that I missed a crucial hold twice on the head wall and failed to top.

Matt C crushed everything in the final and took top place on the podium, a huge congrats to him :-) Louise P came also cam a very close second by one attempt.

As this was the last event there was also the overall championship to be decided and after a very close call I managed to swoop in for my third consecutive series win ahead of Aiden ‘The future’ Roberts.

Full series results can be found here.

I can’t wait to see what the Blokfest crew have planned for next year :-)

17 Jan 2015

Blokfest Round 4 – TCA bristol

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A good qualifying round then nightmare of a final for me. Awesome effort from Hamish and Tom who smashed the second bloc and topped the podium.