Monday, 4 July 2016

Visit to Slovenia, followed by some blood poisoning!

I've just returned from a fantastic trip to Slovenia, where I stayed with my girlfriend Ajda. During my stay I was able to train really well at some amazing walls, which are set up incredibly well for hard training. I was blown away by the high standards of all the Slovenian walls I visited. I also enjoyed some outdoor climbing, paddle boarding and hiking at some beautiful locations. The weather was very hot, so climbing outdoors was hard work. However, the crags I visited were amazing and the routes I climbed really enjoyable.

I climbed at Osp and at Misja Pec. I concentrated on trying many routes and practising my onsighting. The routes are long and many are overhanging, as parts of the crags are caves. One of the classic routes I onsighted was Active Discharge 8a, which goes through the steepest part of Osp's huge cave on tufas and cool features. However, I was robbed of a 40m 8a+ flash of Samsara Extension, at Misja Pec, when I was forced to jump off the route at the last move, as the finishing jug had a wasp nest in it and a lot of angry wasps buzzing around! Between the birds at Malham and the wasps in Slovenia I am getting fed up of wildlife!
I am definitely psyched to return to these crags to try some of the harder routes.

The cave at Osp

I returned to Scotland last week. On Friday evening I became aware of a strange, hot and painful red streak spreading up my left arm from a very angry, red spot on my elbow. After phoning NHS 24, I ended up at our local hospital where I was prescribed antibiotics. Since then my arm has been very painful, and the Doctor recommended not doing anything too strenuous, so I have been forced to have some rest days from climbing and training. My arm is on the mend so hopefully, I will be able to compete at the British Bouldering Championship this weekend, in Sheffield.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Update - 14th June 2016

Life has been very busy. This year I have been sitting my Higher exams and I have now left school :) I have a conditional offer for Edinburgh college to study HND Civil Engineering, so fingers crossed for good exam results. I am also learning to drive and have just passed my Theory test, so there has been lots going on. I am really looking forward to being able to drive as I will be able to get to my training and to crags without relying on anyone else.

I have also been very busy with my climbing. This year I wanted to climb Rainshadow, 9a at Malham, and so I had been training very hard for this over the winter. I am psyched that I was able to achieve this goal on the 2nd May.

UKClimbing report

Climbing this route has been the biggest buzz of my climbing so far, as this route has been a dream of mine since my first visit to Malham aged 12. Also, I feel that this is a major stepping stone in my climbing and I am psyched for the future.

I have also still been competing, over the winter at the Youth Opens, CWIF, local bouldering comps and more recently at a Lead EYC in Imst, Austria and at the Junior British Bouldering Championship. These competitions have been successful for me and I am pleased with how I have performed.

At the EYC in Imst, I was very tired as I had my Computing exam the day before the competition and had, therefore, arrived at the hotel at 2am. Despite this I managed to climb well enough to make the final, in a large and strong field. The final route was tricky for me as it was set in very much a World Cup Boulder style using very few holds and lots of volumes, which is not a style I am used to. I fought my way up the route and finished the comp in 10th. I was happy with how I climbed, given the poor preparation due to exams.

This past week, to celebrate leaving school, I headed down to Malham with fellow climbers Ajda Remskar and Jim Pope. We spent a really fun few days camping and climbing. Unfortunately, conditions were not good as birds were nesting on some routes and the sun was out. However, Jim and I managed to send some classic routes, including Unjustified 8b+ and Austrian Oak 8b. I also did a little work on Total Eclipse and I am psyched to return to this route when conditions improve.

Austrian Oak 8b

After our week in Malham we headed to Manchester for the JBBCs. I was happy to climb well at this comp and finish in 1st place :)

Junior Boys Podium JBBC 2016

I am now psyched to visit Ajda in Slovenia, for a few weeks, where I plan to train really hard at their brilliant training walls. Not having to return to school is great!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Monk Life (Font 8B+ / V14) Kyloe-in-the-Wood, Northumberland

I first visited Kyloe-in-the-Wood in August 2015. As it was my first visit to the crag, I was keen to try many of the problems and especially, Monk Life. I had heard lots about Monk Life, from climbers at my local bouldering wall, Alien Rock 2, and had read all about it in the guide book. Also, as I am Scottish and the problem was first climbed by one of Scotland’s best, Malcolm Smith, in 2003, this is a problem I was really keen to try. On that first visit I had only a few attempts and didn’t even reach the crux! However, I was instantly blown away by the problem and the moves. I knew, straightaway, that I wanted to come back to complete this.   

On my second visit, on Tuesday 13th October, I was lucky to be able to work with another climber sharing both beta and boulder mats (as the problem, in my opinion, is quite high!) Using this new beta, I was able to reach the crux on my first attempt of the day and suddenly the problem seemed possible. Throughout the day I got very close but didn’t manage to stick the dyno to the break.

I returned again to Kyloe-in on Monday 19th October for another session, where I hoped to make progress but had no real expectations of climbing it. I did a couple of problems to warm up, and then decided to give Monk Life a warm up go, just to get back into the flow of it. However, before I got on my mum insisted we put the camera on, just in case. At the time this seemed a bit far fetched, but I'm very grateful we did, as on that go I managed to climb it perfectly, caught the dyno move and did it! At the time I couldn’t quite believe it, and I haven’t stopped smiling since! 

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