Mountain Trainin Picture

Mountain Trainin Picture

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Train, Bike, Swim...

Its been almost 2 weeks now since I returned from my last climbing trip to Portland, time flies eh..?

Training on the college bouldering wall...
Since I have been back I have kept myself busy in preparation for my next climbing trip to the Gower peninsula, which will be going ahead next month.

In order to avoid the same disappointment I had in Portland of climbing very few routes and very easy grades, I have made a conscious effort to get as much time on the bouldering and climbing wall as possible in the last few weeks. I have been training solo on the college bouldering wall as often as possible working on strength endurance by doing circuits on the vertical and overhanging sections of the wall. I have managed to fit in 4 sessions at the college wall lasting roughly an hour and a half each time. As with training on the boulder wall myself and Sean managed to make it to Exeter for a day where we had a full session bouldering and leading at the Quay climbing centre. Whilst there myself and Sean managed to get a good 15 leads in each on the leading routes climbing grades up to 6b+ and roughly V3 - V4ish in the boulder rooms...still have some strength work to do!! Alongside the climbing training I have been on the exercise bike during the days where I have not been on the wall, which has been quite a lot considering I have massed around 60km this week alone!

Quay Climbing Centre...

Myself mid air down at Anstey's...
Alongside the training, I have managed to get out and do some coasteering sessions with some friends. Myself, Adam and Stan enjoyed a good 3 hour session on the weekend down at Anstey's cove with perfect blue skies and a warm air temperature, bliss. Today also marked a long awaited occasion...the last day of Uni for the year!! I handed in my last piece of work this morning and enjoyed another coasteering session at Anstey's with a handful of the 1st and 2nd degree guys. Perfect way to end the academic year!

One more coasteering session on Thursday before I head off to Hoy on Friday for a week of freelancing work. Until then, Adios...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Sportland Climbing Weekend...

Now that University lectures and assignments are tapering to an end for the year, thankfully, I managed to squeeze a weekend of sport climbing in on a recent trip to Portland.

By the time we arrived in Teignmouth on Sunday morning, to pick Briony up, the car and roof box was already packed with climbing kit, food, cider and a tent big enough for the entire camp site. So it was less than comical when we had to attach Briony's boulder mats to the top of the roof box in order for us all to get a comfy enough seat in the car!

Joel and Sean (Notice boulder mats on roof box)

After a fairly short drive we arrived in Dorset and pitched the tent just as the sky was clearing and the sun was shining down on the Isle of Portland, beautiful. After a quick game of ultimate frisbee Myself, Briony, Joel and Sean headed to the West side of the island to ensure that we were climbing in the sun from midday through to the late evening.

The first crag we visited was Blacknor North. A popular crag which has some very interesting climbs on flowstone formations, intricate arêtes and classic crack climbs. As Briony cruised up Slings Shot followed by myself, Joel and Sean were nearby attempting another route named Apfel Strudel. Once we had ticked these routes and a few others we moved further South to the crag of Blacknor Central where my self and Briony had a quick attempt at Monsoon Malabar, a very intricate and photogenic arête climb.

Briony and myself on 'Monsoon Malabar'

Once we had climbed at this crag we noticed that the tide was now going out so we all headed even further South to Blacknor Beach where Joel, Briony and myself quickly ticked off another photogenic climb named Fallen Slab Arête.

Briony cruising 'fallen Slab Arête'

Once we had ticked this route off we picked up another friend, Stan, headed back towards the camp site where we had a quick shower and another game of frisbee before we headed to the pub for our meal reservation and a deserved pint.

The next morning we awoke at the agreed 6am to find that outside the visibility was less than 15 metres in any direction, great! However, after we all crawled out of our pits, sorted equipment and dropped the tent the sun was beginning to shine through and reveal yet another beautiful sunny day, perfect climbing conditions. Once we had a quick bite to eat in the camp site restaurant the 5 of us headed to the East side of the island to grab the morning sun.

Upon arrival at Beeston Cliff we spotted that the abseil ledge was less than 2 metres above the sea which gave the climbs we were intending on doing a very atmospheric feeling. Myself, Briony, Sean and Stan all abseiled down to the ledge and quickly ticked off Etna and Krakatoa before having a quick bite to eat and a discussion about the next route. 

Briony belaying myself on the atmospheric 'Etna' at Beeston Cliff

Next up was Stan's route. A left to right traverse under a huge roof just 2 metres above the sea. Myself and Briony watched on as Stan cruised along Belly Button Traverse and arrived at the belay with little difficulty. Next up was Briony who dropped down from the ledge and got midway along the traverse before peeling off the route and narrowly avoided taking a plunge in to the sea. When Briony got the guns back she made her way along to the belay for a well deserves rest. I then followed the line towards Briony and Stan and managed to reach the belay with only a pumped left arm.

Briony starting the traverse with Stan at the belay in the background

Once we had finished at Beeston Cliff we headed North towards the The Cuttings in order to get some more routes ticked off whilst the sun was still shining.
Between us we managed to tick off Two FingersThree fingers and Opus before I had a very interesting time falling off The Sod before I read that it was 'a little tougher for the short' (Rockfax).

Briony eyeing up the last mantel move on 'The Sod'

Now that it was getting late we decided that we would head round to the West side of the island in order to bag a few more routes in the dark with head torches on. When we arrived we descended in to the quarry where Briony unfortunately twisted her ankle and had to be carried back to the car by myself and Joel. A visit to Weymouth A & E ensued where 2 Dr's agreed that Briony had broken her fibula and required an X-Ray at Exeter hospital for confirmation.  A quick drive to Exeter where the X-Ray showed no break but more of a badly twisted ankle, thank god. 6 hours later and we finally arrived back in Torbay in one piece.

Don't worry Briony, you'll be back climbing in no time.

Off to Hoy working at the end of the month and away to South Wales for another climbing eXped so I'm sure there will be more blog posts in the coming weeks,