Thursday, January 27, 2011

a pocket of perfect weather?

I didn't photoshop this and we're in Font on the days with the big yellow dot beside them which is hopefully an accurate representation of the big bright sun that will grace the skies during our trip...

Really hoping Accu weather have got this one right!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Damn Ice!!

My enthusiasm and psyche was rewarded yesterday by a thick layer of frosty ice covering Glendalough. I was not a happy camper! There were probably more boulderers down there yesterday than I'd seen in a long time, and everyone seemed a bit shell shocked that the perfect weather forecast had led us all to probably the most popular bouldering location in ireland, only to be shut down by ice.

The river was calm, the sun was out and the air temperature wasn't too cold (though my toes were blocks of ice, as usual!) It couldn't have been more perfect for good friction and loads of sends... Which is why the ice was all the more frustrating!!!

With the river being so calm, it was straight over to Big Jim, and I realised that indoor bouldering is one thing... but outdoors I wanna top out! It's not the same to reach the top of a problem and have to jump off cause the top is covered in ice. It's real king of the castle stuff, but I found myself a bit uninspired to attempt anything I knew I could send, cause I didn't care about it unless I could sit at the top!

So it was off to try something I didn't think I'd get close to! There was a bunch of climbers over at Rhythm and Stealth and I thought, 'perfect! loads of spotters for this highball problem!' Even better than that, Steve McGowan was there, and with his 9 foot of reach, how could you not feel safe!

With good beta and loads of spotters, the first moves on the problem were quickly figured out, though I know that's the easy bit! Over hanging and with cool hand swaps, knee bars and heel hooks, it's a problem I can't wait to try and try again! I love that feeling of finding a problem that I'm excited to do! The initial reach out to the arete (after the first couple of moves that saw me established on the problem) is great. From the climbers angle, the arete on the left looks pretty similar all the way, but there's this perfect handhold low down and when you hit it, you can really relax a bit and take a breath before swapping your right hand from the jug to the adjacent sidepull...

That's as far as I got and I was happy with that - I wouldn't say I tried my heart out on it, but the first moves are dialled for me now and I feel like the next time I get to it, I need only worry about the top (which is the second half of it, it's definitely the highest boulder I've ever tried) and I reckon my reach will help me there - all I need to do is bring along the courage to commit to it!!

Headed off after that for a bit of a wander and found ourselves at 'Jiggery' I believe it's called! I've been on it a few times before, but it's very very dynamic and I struggled on it yesterday... so did everyone though, well except Leo who sent it first try (aside from jumping off the last handhold cause top outs were out of the question). Impressive stuff!

I did find the toe hook though which enabled me to free my right hand completely and statically reach towards the jug, only to realise that my reach isn't long enough to grab it statically and so I'm just going to have to throw for it (Damn!)

I was full sure heel hooking was the way to go too, and there was a heated debate around it, but in the end and rather unusually... I was wrong ;) Leo was right... It was a toe hook and I don't have any photos of him heel hooking as I said I did!!

below is the only image I have of Leo on Jiggery!

I was pretty frustrated yesterday because it could have been a really great days bouldering and for me it turned into a day of trying the starts of things, but as was once said to me, 'it's all money in the bank' and it was great fun to be out with everyone, as usual!!

In a disastrous turn of events though, having been dropped off outside my house and with my boulder mat, rucksack and grocery shopping in hand, I tripped up and SPLAT! hit my knee, squashed my groceries, lay under my pad in a heap - I literally thought I'd broken I knee, but it turns out it's just very badly bruised and I'm missing a good chunk of skin I think I'll need to grow back... pretty damn sore this morning and I'm stuck at home today because of it :(

Note to self: Lift your feet when you're walking!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Can't move... it must have been a good day!

Arriving at Glendalough car park today (Thanks so much for the lift Mark!), it didn't look too promising for mint conditions... but everyone that came, and who had kept the faith and believed in the weatherman was rewarded.

The conditions weren't mint when we arrived at the boulders but got better and better as the day went on. Unfortunately the river was really rough, so Andy's Arete was kind of out of the question (I don't really think I'm in shape for it at the moment anyway) Warmed up on the usual path side stuff and spent a good while on the egg boulder and made major progress on the traverse. I had tried it a few months back with Eamon O Riain and had been spat off the start of it - today with the help of Dec's move by move beta I made it almost over to 'The Egg' finish, but not quite (2 or 3 moves off!)

Thanks for the beta Dec! I was really chuffed with that!

We moved on up to another problem that I hadn't been to before - really REALLY awkward start, with all my limbs trying their hardest to lift off the ground... nothing was happening!!

That's something I love about bouldering, you can be trying as hard as you can, and not moving off the ground!!! The guys made progress but it didn't seem like the problem was inspiring anyone, so we moved on.

Up to Chillax we went and after 4 or 5 attempts, I sent it, again!!, Chuffed... again! :) The guys did so many variations of it including a new sit start than I had seen before, which adds 2 or 3 more moves onto that awesome problem.

So we finished with Chillax (the guys having tried every variation possible) and despite being tired, we made our way up to an Arete I think was called Blind Stick and it was very tricky, and a little daunting in that the landing wasn't too even. We all had trouble on it until Kev stepped forward and just sent it out of nowhere!! Tim got damn close, but the blind throw at the end is a desperate move and spat him off onto the boulder mats which all collapsed down a hole as Tim disappeared up to his waste... No harm done!

Finished the day on Black Art, but I was wasted tired by the time we got there and said I'd sit it out, but it just looked too cool and I had to give it a go. Tough start, but it's definitely not beyond me I don't think. It's on my tick list, but I hadn't been to it before. I'm impressed and have to go back and try again... if I can find it!!

Great day out!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

what I did about my core today!

2 sets of 20 tuck ins
2 sets of 20 crunches
2 sets of 10 twisting crunches

2 sets of 30 dorsal (back) raises

2 sets of 20 side leg raises right side
2 sets of 20 side leg raises left side

3 minutes of front support (1 minute at a time)

3 minutes of free standing handstands (no wall support) 45 seconds at a time

1 minute of face to the wall handstand

1 minute of dish hold

1 minute of dorsal hold

...tired now

off to meet some climbers at the cinema to watch 127 Hours :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

core... ugh...

Anyone else's core a bit weak after Christmas?!...

I know what my focus is going to be for the next few weeks!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

No way back...

Went to Glenmacnass today with Tim and Juan, met up with Barry and good lord it was cold!

The walk in lured me into a false sense of warmth and when we arrived at the Solidarity boulder I was toasty - blood was pumping and I was good to go! Started well on the right arete of Solidarity and made some good progress but no matter how much I wrapped up and moved about, the cold soon took hold and just stopped me in my tracks... Tim, Juan and Barry did some brilliant work on the arete and before long Barry topped out, which was just cool to see!

It was time to pack up and move on to the rasher boulder. When we got there I was warm again, but as soon as we stopped and set up the pads and I got my shoes on, I got too cold... It just stopped me being able to climb. Again Barry and Tim were on form on a problem I had watched John Howard make short work of just a few weeks before. Juan did the second half and made the tricky top out look easy!!

Moving on to the 'Full Irish' problem to the right of that, once again Juan made the top out look easy... the next time I'm on that problem I'm doing it his way!! I tried the traverse but my fingers were so cold I couldn't feel the rock.

Tim said he had got that cold before in Glendalough and there was no way back! That was exactly how I felt. I was so cold (despite having on thermal vest, leggings, long sleeve tshirt, jeans, fleece, softshell jacket, and my lovely down jacket as well as hat and gloves and scarf!) the only thing that was going to make me warm was being indoors.

Away we went, and despite being cold, I really enjoyed the day - I always think I learn so much from climbing with the likes of Barry and Tim. It was cool to meet Juan too, super speedy climber and the way he climbs just makes perfect sense!

Another cool day's bouldering, but I can't lie - it's nice to be toasty at home with a cup of tea!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


So I woke up this morning to a text message from Claire and jumped at the chance to go with her to Glendalough bouldering for the day. I then sent out a text to everyone I thought was in Dublin and might like to come along... A lot of the responses I received tended to contain the words 'too hungover' ... understandable considering the night before!!

I did get a very unexpected text back from Dec saying he was bouldering in Hong Kong, but that he hoped I'd enjoy the day in Glendalough... Cool!

Turned out to be a very overcast day and as we arrived at the boulders it was spitting rain. We ran into Tim and James and headed over to Big Jim to warm up with them... There's always lots to do on that boulder and sometimes I don't even go near it on days out in Glendo.

Tim had his usual abundance of energy and we got lots and lots of problems done - but as the day went on - I began to realise that over 2 months away from real rock has left me out of touch with how to move and trust my feet and I just lacked a general sensitivity to the rock.

Couldn't even latch the first hold on the Nu Rails...

Tim... Latching the first hold on the Nu Rails...

Had so much fun out, but it was a slow day for me bouldering wise...

Found a new problem, (Thanks Tim!) again as always I'm not sure what it was called but it was really close by the Nu Rails etc and it was just lovely and balancey and short. The other thing about it was it had a big massive hole to the left of it... excellent motivation to keep climbing upwards!!

James on the new Boulder Problem

Headed then to meet up with Chris Rooney and Michael Duffy and Ron and a guy called Andy, who I've since been told put up 'Andy's Arete' ... my next project. We were headed up the side of the valley to an area I've never been to before - I was intrigued!

We hiked up what can only be described as about 15 minutes of vertical scrambling and my legs were like jelly by the top!! But the bouldering looks fantastic up there and I even had a few goes on a traverse which was really great fun, but I was too tired to get the most out of it.

There's lots and LOTS to do up there though, so I'll definitely be back again!

Always lovely to find new places to explore :)

The rain then got a bit heavier and it was getting pretty dark, so we started back down the hill, James strolled with his hands in his pockets... Tim just seemed to bound down the way, I attempted to keep my cool as I slid and fell and did everything but walk, Claire was right behind me and I'm sure my efforts made for good entertainment!!

Thanks a mil to Claire for a great day out... 2011 has started well!!!