Monday, April 30, 2012


The view from the top of 3Rock last Weekend

Truth be told, I'm pissed off that I missed the Bouldering Meet in Kerry - but that's in hindsight. At the time, I was tired and felt out of shape... The point is, I'm psyched to get to Kerry again, or to Wicklow or to Fairhead or somewhere - but just not indoors... I don't want to train at the moment...

I don't want to train to climb anyway.

I've discovered the misery of pointing my bike at a big steep hill and cracking on up it quite appeals to me - Going until I feel like I can't breath anymore and my legs won't go and everything is telling me to stop and rest except my head!! I try to rest only when I feel like I'm going to fall over or that I might start going backwards if I cycle any slower...

There's progress being made too - I've never in my life before trained endurance and I've been heading for a steep hill cycle/week now for the last 4 weeks. It's been epic and largely unpleasant in the moment, but I absolutely love it.

My favorite cycle so far has been up 3Rock last weekend - I could barely see or walk properly by the time we got to the boulders at the top - but the view out over dublin with the sky above on fire as the sun set was remedy enough to allow me to forget my spent muscles and light head. The cold on the way home as we raced down the hill at what felt like lightening speed nearly broke my spirit, but in the end, only served to make dinner seem all the tastier!!!

I'm starting from zero with this new found addiction and progress is good and hugely satisfying, but hard earned.

Went for a run tonight, and it was really tough. All my body wanted to do was stop - but at this point I think it's just a mind game. My prescription is 3 x 20 mins of running each week.

I have no idea why, but it seems right to pause bouldering for now.

Michael Duffy

A video of Ireland's strongest boulderer, sending Ireland's hardest problems:

Michael Duffy

Shot by: Ricky Bell and Michael Duffy (I think!)
Edited by: Ricky Bell

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Foot contortion

I just read this article about Sasha Deguilian climbing another 9a, and that's pretty cool - in fact it's very cool indeed.

Aside from the cool send, I was looking at the photo that accompanied the article (above) and I was drawn to look at her right foot!

The foot does not fit the face of this girl!!

Now one can say the colour is obviously the dye from the Dragons, but it lead me to ask, WHAT are we doing to our feet as climbers - my feet look the same as Sasha's (minus the red dye) my toes are contorted and a few of my toenails blackened - I hate my feet and a couple of years ago, I'd have said I had pretty well formed attractive feet for sandal wearing and barefoot strolling and so on... I'd never wear sandals now - my feet are a mess!!

This image of a model-like girl who's just come off a send of this savage route - Era Bella (9a) has me wondering what the implications might be from wearing the tight boots we use to send our own hardest lines.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Scalp - Had enough...

Hmmm - Although I stuck the first move of 'Dark Angle' today for the first time (using the feet beta learned in the last session) and am pretty excited to have done so, I've had enough of the Scalp.

Drove there with Claire... I drove, not Claire - and we made it there and back safe and sound and that was a big boost to my driving confidence. It was pretty cool to have someone brave enough to accompany me while I found my bouldering driving feet!

I like Dark Angle, it's a cool problem and a cool block - but the rest of The Scalp leaves me a little feckless, topped off with a good dose of 'couldn't care less'.

It was a fun morning and we met up with Dave and then hours later, Matt and Darragh, but by the time my energy was spent on Dark Angle at about lunchtime - I was ready to hit the road.

I must be tired after the week in work cause I had a nap when I got in.

I need a good classic Wicklow location to get my psyche back.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lessons from Trampolines.

When I was learning to perform double back somersaults on the trampoline I came in short a good few times and landed on my hands a knees... Scary at first and I began to anticipate it - as I'd come into land, my hands would already be out ready to come in short.

I was preparing to fail through fear of hurting myself, when - if I'd just put enough juice into the move in the first place I'd have been far safer.

There was three choices -

keep opening out of my somersault preparing to fail and ultimately go nowhere,
Put enough juice into the move and be confident of landing it on my feet or

Stay home.

I can't stand it when I pre-empt failure, so I started standing up out of my skills on trampoline. No matter how scary it was, the feeling of accomplishment on the successful completion of the skill was far more preferable to the feeling of disappointment within myself on knowing that before I'd taken off in the air, I was preparing to land on my hands and knees.

The safety that comes with bailing from committing moves carries a heavy price.

I've got the skills to complete the moves I'm after, which makes it all the more disappointing when I don't even attempt to harness them in order to break through and complete what I set out to achieve.

After being out bouldering today, despite spending most of the time laughing due to banter and wonderful company, I'm left with a heavy feeling of disappointment that I prepared myself to come in short when I could have succeeded.

I didn't even give myself a chance when everything around me was perfect.
Lesson learned... again.

Google Bouldering.

James on the 'Twin Aretes'

Today I went to the Scalp with Shane, We quickly met up with Dave, John and Kev but I couldn't climb properly! My arms didn't pull, my core rendered me a rag doll and my head was so far out of the game, that before I got to the scary part of one of the problems, i was too scared to get to it.

So I dropped off.

I got scared, with 4 pads on the ground and 4 lads standing under me spotting before I got to the potentially scary part of the climb.

That's never really happened before - usually I'm pretty good at dismissing the near misses and wobbles of others and keeping in mind that I might have my own way and it might not be scary at all... But today I looked at the lads as they topped out on the Twin Arete boulder (which Dave has converted into the single right arete) and saw them all waver slightly and imagined myself peeling off the top of it and got too scarred to even try.

I couldn't even try.

We arrived and started on LDF and John and Kev made it look simple. Their technique on the line was so clean, it was invisible and watching them made me think I'd easily put it away. But I just couldn't and didn't get near it. Dave caught it from the second move in and Shane had an all or nothing 'one last go' and sent the line from start to finish.

We rocked up to Ahabs and aside from John, none of us really got near it. Dave did a radical throw in an attempt to lank the problem, but out-spanned himself and had to step off, Kev tried too and had the same result.

Tom arrived mid session as did James. James came to climb, and poor Tom came to get a slagging and pick up some draws off Dave for his trip to Margalef this evening. Very jealous.

We moved on over towards 'Primer' afterwards and stopped at the 'Twin Aretes'. Again, Kev and John sent the problem to the left with relative ease.

John attempting the crack climb (not in the guide - dunno the name)

My body totally let me down though as there was little or no umph in my 'dynamic' throw from the crack to the arete that runs up the top of the boulder.

James and Dave were both giving it socks when out of nowhere, Dave employed the use of a trad right hand jam and a font-esque left drop knee and did the move statically. Completely radical and the idea of it left the rest of us a little uninspired... John suggested Dave needed to google 'bouldering'!!! ;)

Dave's hand jam/drop knee technique left us all a bit shaken after he fell from it and his hand stuck in the crack -
we were all glad he's about 8ft tall - a shorter man would have snapped his wrist.

James tried Dave's technique but it didn't work and in the end everyone's attention was diverted to the 'Twin Aretes' problem. The lads all sent it using only the right arete and I was left a little disgusted at the fact that I'd wussed out entirely.


I was psyched to have a look at Primer and didn't know what to expect. It looks cool, but the landing drops away in a pretty unforgiving manner and the problem was drowned in sunlight, added to which it's out of my difficulty range (even on a good day) and so I said I'd head down and try 'Dark Angle'. Shane came down with me and we were soon joined by Dave and James.

There was much fun had trying to work out the beta but in the end, despite my best efforts at trying to be graceful and climb the line... the best method seemed to be humping it and we all sent the stand start that way.

John and Kev arrived down from trying Primer and John gave a demonstration of how to climb Dark Angle. Shane was inspired to have another all or nothing blast at it and suddenly caught the opening move and got to the top before falling short on the humping technique we'd all used to top the thing out.

He tried again and fell,

One last try.


Shane sending Dark Angle

Shane and I hit the road and the lads headed back up the valley to find some crack that James had spotted earlier.

Great morning hanging out with the lads.
I've gotta get back into climbing.