Tuesday, December 30, 2008

little women

little womn
Originally uploaded by Beastmaker. inc
Another pic of Little Women, cheers to Jon for the pics and a spiffing day out

Little Women

Well if you set em up, you've gotta knock em down. today i resisted the urge to try a big new prow in thumberland, by biting the bullet and knuckling down to one of the investments in the failure bank as i thought i could see a crack of light appearing.

Kentmere was once again pristine at about -3 without a cloud in the sky, as a granny in the Spar in Stavely said "it's an honest morning and you have to work for your warmth". With a rare natural Vitamin D dose i was mentally building up some serious psyche. A thing i do very rarely, if you build it and you don't succeed its really easy to burn out. Its like flooring your car to get to a place on time, if you miss it, its all for nothing and it sucks.

After a slow and careful warm up and enough green tea to fail a drugs test, battle commenced. Excuses were hard to find as i felt light in the core and the fingers, the pipes weren't doing too bad either. Perfect conditions didn't help the moaning either. Warming up in my expedition down jacket kept the dry slips at bay. after cruising it from 2 moves in I started to try the shonky gaston move which is my cop out from manning up for the true crimp way, (i can slap the sidepull using the crimp but its beyond hurrendous to try and stick, unless i've missed something)

After about 10 close but failed attempts and learning crucial micro beta i unleashed both the "emergency crimp" and some serious growl, as crunch time was fast approaching. "Emergency Crimping" is a Varian trademark where upon full rack crimp is used instead of normal and finger injuries queue up by the dozen, extreme overbite is a common side effect as is severe verbal pressure release in the rare event of the failure for it to work. I managed to stick the crux at the deadpoint and it felt piss, using this as fuel i clamped my way to the top despite a foot pop which was hydraulically repositioned onto the 8mm edge. Relief of about 6 sessions over 5 months came to be, thoughts immediately turned to the lower start as the upper one, despite being a logical sitter is still a shallow victory. I'm pretty sure its the hardest boulder i've done but its hard to tell, time will tell i guess, i know the low sitter will be.
To me the crux of this is harder than any move on: Superman, the ace, voyager, bloodsport, a bigger belly, and any foreign problem i've ever done a move on, it probably just doesn't suit me though and i didn't even need to diet or train too specifically. A big thanks to Gaskins for leaving such testing blocs which really make me push myself, and apologies for defiling it with a heel hook (which has nearly destroyed 2 boots!) and wussing out on one of the crimps (which i still use on the move after)

The low sitter (LW-RH) from the sidepulls just to the left of shadowplay is the true logical start for me, coming across from shadowplay for 1 extra move seems forced and hurrendous (I.E. im too weak) , i'd rather get stuck into shadowplay after doing this as i have a feeling it might take me a few years. The moves from here are 3 ok ones and 1 hardish one to get into the other sitter, i also ripped a massive hold off it, which hurt some serious body parts, whilst doing the moves. It was a useless hold anyway and the moves are fine without it. its stowed under the boulder if anyone's bothered but its better that its a tad harder now, the new sequence crimps a large foothold instead.

NOTE: I'm pretty sure the 3rd last hold (incut crimp) has broken backwards and slightly improved (nothing major) since november, if anyone has it i'd like to glue it back on if it can be done tidily as blocs like this shouldn't get easier, if not thats cool.

So now i'm sat at home listening to Jesu explosions in the sky mix, waiting for tomorrow when Ned and Tom arrive for some more trudging about with foam on our backs.

Monday, December 29, 2008

rounding up

Things have been quiet over christmas for obvious reasons, we've been taking a bit o' relaxo time and putting it in the bank as the sawdust should start flying next week. All has arrived and we are just a few microns out from spinning up Dave's ultra machine. Meanwhile i'm building up a quad core PC to edit all my backdated footage, most of which is of us falling off the last moves of problems. I've also just got back from a few days of squatting on planks in snowy switzerland which was much fun. Since i've been back the weathers been optimus prime and i took my fresh upper body and aching thighs straight to Kentmere to remind myself how crap i am...Very... Microns of progress were made on Little Women (which Dave Graham was shown in mistake for Shadowplay) It was still a perfect day despite the shutdown and the problem inspires me to improve as the current start will probably be the hardest single move & problem i've done, in rivalry with another proj, the low start adds 3 more hurrendous moves into 4 already hurrendous moves and John atleast had the decency to give this 8b/+ despite it being easily 2 full grades harder than Zerberus.

This brought me to a reflection on my best bouldering moments of the year, I'd love Little Women to be one of them but with only 2 days left its going to be tight.

so the others are.
0 The mission 7b+. in Torridon, I arrived just before sunset after 2 days hard training as it was forecast to rain, the sun was chucking out red light whilly nilly and it was just me and a really nice bit of engaging climbing which took a while to figure out, worth the 13 hour round trip on its own i'd say and a big thanks to Mr Betts for the vision. An inspiring venue which may represent the future for the UK

0 Mutton Busting 8A+. Blackwell Dale. (AKA lime season) Ned got psyched for something outdoors and promptly burned me off, my broken pinky whinge was becoming weaker by the day and i was left with slapping up the second ascent of a stella problem. A nice bit of climbing with good mates really made it good, leo getting fed up with technique and 1 armering most of the holds also made for good times. Doing Bigger Belly (easier moves than little women) with a totally buggered left pinky after a week of getting light enough to crush off the floor rather than slap, developing candy buttress on Neds birthday was also cool, as was a 2nd RP send of Kali Yuga (nice one Ru)

0The Shrubbery 7C+ish Simonside area. going from looking at an amazing line to climbing it, decking out after my rope flicked off the prow, dealing with midges and moss, and ending up with a heel dyno off an index mono followed by voyageresque clamping and a wild cut loose, plenty more to do here too. Pebble Patrol, the Magician, Reiver and CHeck out me Tyres also made for good times, especially Reiver which is one of the best blocs i've ever done

0 Champ Ramp (probably really 7C+ but hard to tell as we were goosed) Howlerhirst. Daves' vision and my brushes created a brutally slopey rising traverse which both of us had to fully dig deep on to get along it, Dave's ass rocket and my appaling ability to walk normally also made it a special day

0 Zerberus (much easier than little women) going from doing all the moves in a session and linking it roughly in 2 after a play with Sharik and declaring it piss to falling off the last moves about 6 times due to bloody Euro endurance stlye not agreeing with my biceps, The Stubborn mule was unleashed and heels were dug in the next time, first Erberus and Zerberu were done as warmups then Zerberus was wobbled up, good to have Scoots and Matt keeping my mood upbeat so i didnt go into an pommie grumble and playing aussie rules in the road in high vis jackets. Classic bloc and really nice climbing. And a strange tick for a sport climbing trip.

telling every strong German that i met that they were bang out of order with Gaskins was also necessary and that time will show that you shouldn't go poking the biggest juggernaught of a bull in the field with your horns if your only a little Steinbock.

Nice little ones:
0Font in Feb for 4 1/2 days, simply awesome.
0Discovering Mike Adams's secret world of hard blocs and doing nick Drake's classic Riverman and Riverdance with Ned and Dave.
0 Getting back on the board after Germany and finding everything utterly piss and promptly regrading stuff and sanding footholds down.
0 Constantly bumping into Nacho (the spanish leo) at sheffield's Drum and Bass nights
0 Failing on Little women for 4 days and my queens project for another 4 (added to the 20+) so far, driving me to become more resilient, as resilience is the weapon of the weak and i am constantly finding ways to feel it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Firstly: The machine is now built and is recieving finishing touches and the wood has been ordered to make all you people kindly waiting for a board hopefully very happy.

there will likely be a bit of a delay for 1000s as we're going to make all the 2000's then all the 1000's as its more efficent this way.

Whilst your waiting i thought i'd explain some of the concepts of our boards further and why they should work so well.

Basically your hand is a series of pulleys that can counter weight (your body) These pulleys can take different stresses depending on training. most people only train full hand grips or at best 3 finger drags. (i myself used to be one of them) the problem with this is that your hand develops pulleys it prefers and pulleys it doesnt, unbeknownst to yee, your hand now has imbalances in. I.E. serial crimpers will likely develop strong index and middle fingers but neglect their ring and little fingers, hence they are more commonly injured in these digits.

This is early days with this work so i will mostly be using myself an Ned as examples, but we really do think we're onto something (apart from RSI)
Basically when i started climbing i dragged alot and 3 finger crimped alot, these are by far my strongest grips, from pocket and back 2 training i now seem to have disproportionally strong middle 2 fingers, my index is lagging significantly behind for my board grade and thanks to back 2 work over the past 2 years my pinky is acceptable.
The diagram shows a very rough analysis of my hand weighing in this position.

I'm now tackling my index finger weakness over the next 4 week block and hope to return to projects on my big board which helped identify this. I am aiming for a 10-15kg strength gain in my index finger over this time frame by doing index finger Encores with less and less weight being taken off.

Ned is doing the same with his pinkies as a main target, as our hands seem weighted to opposite sides, its also worth noting that i totally buggered my pinky (by being silly) this year in march and its back to 95% strength with correct Rehab.

So start thinking about your hands and hunting out your lazy digits so that all your fingers can crush, reductionism is the best way to find this out effectively, a good place to start is to stand on some scales and see how much weight you can take off on the different grips from the 321 article the ones where you under perform in relation to the others are your main focal points, but dont forget to train them all at some point.

start slowly, and dont jump into the deep end. Get rid of any stigma about 1 and 2 finger holds aswell, especially if your youger than 30 as your hand will love a change.
I reckon i can milk a grade of crush juice out my index finger in 3 months

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