Sunday, 8 February 2015

Angel Bay Re-Visted

Well, its been a huge amount of time since my last blog.  With regards to my bouldering, stuff has been moving extremely slowly.  As always, its been real easy to train; working on the roads allows access to many a wall, all of which seems to come equipped with decent wood to pull on (we love the wood!).

The Climbing Hanger is my latest squeeze, as I've just taken over an expedition launch patch covering Liverpool and the rest of the North West.  It's not difficult to see why Dan Knight is so strong - awesome set up Dan!

Due to the new role (being pretty busy), I decided just before Christmas do operate closer to home, and with this in mind wanting to move away from a couple of pretty frustrating projects Angel Bay seemed like the obvious option.

Etheral Walk In
Over the years, the area has had both good and bad press.  If you go down when the conditions are bad and if you have not been acquainted with the place before, then you can come away feeling less than inspired by the place.  However, if the conditions are good, then this is a different kettle of fish altogether.  Its mind-blowing, and I love it.

Salty Seals

There is stuff over to the left of the bay, but due to about 20 or so seals nesting, this is no longer possible.  The real interest for me now, is over to the right; This cluster is pretty magical really, with a real feel that something amazing is lying in wait, still undiscovered.  Looking at to sea is leveling, and inspires relentlessly.

My free time over the last few weeks (maybe 5/6 sessions) has been spent cleaning and trying my new line; Cerulean Salt.  I first looked at this with Dave Noden years ago, and it was quickly referred to as the Dave Graham wall.  Pretty blank, asides form a poor sideways undercut, and a large rounded pocket toward the top of the wall.  We decided to head back down on the 23rd December and I was amazed to find myself with a workable sequence!  A few tweaks and a few weeks later, the line was sent, and the movement on this is stunning.  Five moves to the top, with the third being a HUGE sideways launch to the pocket.  This is just nuts.  The video doesn't really do this thing justice.  It's BIG, the holds are poor, and the landing is whack.  I even pulled my dad in for a spot, who did seem slightly concerned at the time - great stuff.

Cerulean Salt Font 8a+/b from Chris Davies on Vimeo.

It's definitely worth getting down there at the moment.  The line needs a repeat, and there are other things to do.  I've re-cleaned Surfa Rosa (7b+/c), Spectrum (7a+), Sonic Boom (7b+/7c) and also another mega-8;  Serpentine Pad.

Serpentine is a line that I first got a few years ago.  Nobody seemed to get where it was exactly, which is odd, as its really easy to find.  Its a cracker of a line, and if dynamic 8a is your thing, then get on it.  Arm your self with a towel, butter knife (to get off any new, pesky limpets) and chalk. That's all you need.  Oh - asides from good fingers.  the holds are lush and very different but the move is crimpy, and again - this one is tough!

Setting up on Serpentine Pad

Serpentine Pad 8a

On a final word, and very important; mind the seals.  The locals love 'em, and are very protective.  If asked, explain politely where you are going (i.e. into the cluster) and they should be alright. I've had no issues.  Bear down and to the left; silence is golden. Enter straight into the rocks.  Don't do huge teams - just two, three max.  If you can keep to this, access should be fine and ongoing.  Don't blow it- I haven't finished stuff yet.  Derw Fineron is making a film of 'New Wales' which should be mint, so I guess watch this space.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Psyche is High

So, its been a huge amount of time since I last posted - I guess there hasn't been much to tell.  I've pretty much been training since last March; juggling a handful of projects, and handful of children, and a huge amount of work along with a huge amount of doubt.

To add to this, I bought a house and turned 40 (!), so seemed to lose a couple of months of activity from June through to September.  Oh - lets not forget the weather.  Oh my god - what is happening?  To get a dry day without an early morning downpour to scupper the conditions would be just heavenly.  Seepage is rife in Wales. 

Believe it or not, these are not complaints, I prefer to think of it as a test - a battle of wills if you will.  I've had a great time over the last two months trying a couple of sweet lines, and am very close now - such a relief!  I feel as though my old chain of thought and drive is back - probably even more so than ever before.  I also feel as though I am now stronger than ever - its nice to be feeling that again, its been to long.

Its been a roller-coaster emotionally, this last year or so;  I've lost friends, and gained new ones.  Old friends have returned, and some - well, maybe the relationships where not what I thought they where from the outset.  Its funny what some people can forget if they truly put their minds to it - that's not my loss, but still, I would have expected a lot more from some people.  It's taken me a huge amount of effort, sleepless nights and questioning to be able to move on in the correct direction, and personally, from the doubts suggested by some, to make the correct personal decision - to push even harder.

Project No. 1 - So Cool!

With above in mind, its been a real breath of fresh air, to return back to my routes of real bloc bouldering.  To operating in my bubble, to enjoying the spaces that I visit; and most importantly to really enjoying my climbing again with the people that count.  Currently, I am really fucking psyched - the lines are sweet and life is good (asides from the dampness) and I did feel compelled to write something, if only brief.  Also, I wanted to thank the people that stuck with me and that inspired me to push back, and to carry on doing my thing.

I hope that my next post might be slightly more inspirational, and that you enjoy reading and watching the results as much as I'll enjoy topping out - its been a while and my hands are sweating.  I'm off out. 

Monday, 27 August 2012

That Pesky Cave

Its been some time, due to this and that, since my last post.  Last season was mostly spent training and falling off my project line, and off the back of this I decided that enough was enough - time to change the mind set.

I had a random session a few weeks back with Dave (aka Polish Dave), and it really changed my focus and the way I have been applying myself both physically and mentally for a fair while now.  I was massively impressed by the sheer will and determination on show (how strong can fingers on a 13.5 stone guy be?!), and also mainly the positive aspects and attitude towards the sport and trying hard.  On returning back to Wales, I kinda put everything into perspective and changed my entire view and approach to how I was operating, and guess what - it worked.

The simplicity of it all after self analyzing?  I wasn't trying hard enough, had radically changed the way in which I train and what has worked for me for the last 10 years or so, and had convinced myself that maybe I didn't have the strength that I thought I had - indeed, the complete opposite.  The good news is that I am now on fire, and have a plan.  This began on Monday with my first new Cave ascent for some time - The Last Stand.

The Last Stand 8a+

I dabbled with this new line some time ago, and last week after having sent pretty much all of the hardest moves in the cave i.e. Undercut Move, Louis Armstrong Crux, Crucial Times etc (which all felt great!), I turned my attention back to this.  The moves itself is pure:  pull on, stabalise, and flick.  Power and precision just as it should be.  Once matched (which felt hard to me!), I dropped off having achieved my goal.

Its a funny one for me, the cave, as its all about the link-ups these days as opposed to test of strength as ti was back in the late 90's.  So with this is mind, I camer back on the Monday to repeat the feat and link it into the Left Wall Traverse to give the full Last Stand at 8a+.  Good Job, and much more to come very soon!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A Touch to Much.

So, it's been a while.  My writing hand has been quite busy recently, mostly having been put to use pulling on small holds which it may have recently transpired, are potentially too small for me.

I say potentially, because in the optimistic bubble (within which I exist), they never stay too small for too long.   I'll ignore the last hours worth of trashing the hotel rooms' door frames (which I have yet to maintain for another couple of weeks), and do my usual; which is to pretend that all good things come easy.  Wow - Rock 'n' Roll.  Trashing the door frames.  Obviously, this was after I threw the TV out of the window.

My main objective this year still hasn't come about.  It's difficult this particular line.  I wasn't sure at first, and so played the whole thing down in my head.  After continued and protracted efforts, it has become apparent that indeed the holds are utterly rubbish, the rock is steep and the last move is a long way - a 6 ft move off a less than 1/4 inch pad with minimal in-cut, to a very large swing.

I am now hanging off a slightly loose, although highly glossed door frame in Towcester.  If it pulls off, I have some blue tack.  That should be enough to adhere the wood back onto the plaster until the cleaning lady has been in, assessed the room to ensure that it is damage free and has left again.  I'm guessing that either a roofer on contract or a travelling PC salesman will get the shit tomorrow, just before checking out.  At least my fingers will get closer to the 10% they need.

I'm still enjoying the process though, as ever.  Although I do wish that I was slightly more progressive on this one, as opposed to doing a 'Michael Jackson' on it.  I've always been a bit crap at moon-walking, but it does feel a like I'm quite an authority at the minute. It would be nice to get this done before the conditions come and go, and according to Bubbles, its forecast to be the coldest May EVER!  It would be good and I do feel as though, having been so close only three weeks ago, that I may have earned the privilege of topping out this side of my 39th birthday.

The last couple of months haven't been a complete loss however, and a couple of bits came and went whilst still fun. I think that these last two are very worthwhile, so if your waiting for new Welsh difficulties, maybe go and try these for a bit.  Don't rush and get them done to quickly though, the pressure might just get to much to bare.

                                        Terror Twilight 7c+, Nant Peris, North Wales

New Noise 8a+, Tan y Grisiau, North Wales

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

And so... Deadhangs and Fingers

Example No. 1:  Dead-hang the 'Unbreakable'.  A one arm pull up would be nice at some point.
Well, the weather didn't really do what it should have done, but did do what I expected it to. Optimism does not work every time, but I'm still hoping that things will change pretty soon - I'm pretty excited about rocks at the moment, and am still managing to move towards my target weight to maximise efficiency this season (if it ever arrives!).

I was on the road yesterday, and still am. I ended up having to stay in Harrogate due to a meeting over running and low and behold - it was pretty damn wet. I was supposed to session with Posh Dave [Jones], but due to travel time had to blow this off. I don't think young Master Jones was to impressed. I'm guessing he was looking forward to kicking my butt all over the place in his local - Durham Wall. I'm pretty sure I could have held my own, after all, he is only about 16 or something (sorry Dave - ha!!). This does mean I'm a session down now this week, so I'll have to hit The Mill to train tomorrow to make up for it.

Bringing me on to The Mill - its a Love/Hate relationship at the minute, as I really do have an overwhelming desire to pull hard on the blocs right now, but the British weather is not helping me to achieve here. Indoors is soooo not where I want to be right now! So, you have to make the most of what you do have. So - I've decided to get a bit more inventive/proactive on the finger front. Before travelling to Austria, I thought I was doing the right thing by my digits, but it transpired that although they there doing quite well, they needed way more working out.

Extreme dead hangs are now the way forward in my mind. I feel that I can get power, loose weight and rely on wizardry quite easily but to get the fingers up - I think they are pretty good right now, so improvements will not come quickly, thus the new siege of 'Extreme Finger Training'. I think I'm looking at a month of this for good gains, over two sessions a week. The exercises are all pretty static, which should ensure (touch wood (ahem...)) minimal risk of injury and hopefully a distinct rise in finger prowess. There is always the power that comes alongside this inadvertently: you can't hang off your tips to the max without using your arms, lats and obliques to stabilise, so the whole thing should lead to a vast improvement of standard stability. I think this comes into play when you need to feel solid and fresh in a mid problem, otherwise strenuous position (I always chant 'you've just pulled on, your fresh, you've just pulled on, you're fresh...').

Anyhow, another wood based ramble - hopefully this will trancend into ascent style news pretty soon as I am slowley loosing the plot here.
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