Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ark Royal

Ark Royal, originally uploaded by Beastmaker. inc.

my personal favourite photo of the line (well the original is not this horror) summing up what queens is all about.

Match Day, Dan 1, queens 25+...VICTORY TO DAN!

I sleep much better at home, whether this is due to the lack of builders or pissed housemates i don't know but one thing is for sure, i've been struggleing to drag my head off the pillow in the last few days. Then 2 things dawned on me, one was that Sharik noticed he'd been sleeping like a log just before doing stamina band into PUTP (8c+) the other day, the other is just how much training i've been doing over the past few weeks.
I felt sluggish yesterday, but like a car full of fuel rather than one rapid firing off fumes.
The forecast for today was amazing too, a good breeze but warmer temps, representing open season at Queens (finally managing to climb without freezing your bollocks off when everyone else is getting a tan) I even managed to get down to a t shirt!
So basically the world and his dog knows that i've been trying my project for an age (which became an Epoch today) and there have even been some people vaguely interested in trying it, the trouble being when you've spent sessions, cleaning stuff like this you get attached to it. When you've spent 2 years on something you get quite attached to it too. I probably started trying this line when i was to weak for it (obviously) one thing is for sure though, it has been the sole purpose for me wanting to become a better climber. You can even attribute part of the beastmakers origin to this line. Upon first scoping out queens i noticed 3 lines which i wanted to climb before i got too old. Queen Kong and Red Dragon being my first 2 ports of call, each one pushing me a bit more than the last, 5 sessions, 12 sessions and 25+ sessions represent queen kong, red dragon and this project respectively. Each one is incredibly different and has its own unique style.
Today was set to be a big day basically, the weather was pucker, i was meeting springer my partner in crime for queens. And i had rested up. After warming up i felt strong but a bit gelitinous, this was good, i thought, as usually i feel weak and gelitinous, sure enough after some home baked flapjack and a good lashing of green tea, the big guns were out. I practically locked the crux move from go 1 and go after go i crept further into the crux pocket. 10 minutes later i stuck it and my brain switched off, a deep project psyche switched on and i crushed the top section, including the double dyno to the top, which i only stuck twice on sunday (shit session and too windy). So that was that, done!

Now its funny when you spend so long failing on things like this, and i'm usually a fan of the 3 day rule (extending to 6 days if the stubborn mule is unleashed) because with so much failure, when success finally arrives it takes a while to sink in, it built up gradually today, finally peaking whilst driving home to an amazing sunset which i have so often cursed, i thought what the hell, treat yourself and drive home like a normal mad bugger whilst flying along the military road.

A few names have run through my head over the last 2 years, and unlike a certain peak beast i consider them to be all good, a little part of me dies whenever i hear another amazing line called 'my fudge nugget the tofu based chicken substitute'. I settled on 'Ark Royal' as its one of the biggest aretes i'd imagine i'm ever going to boulder up and it fits the royal theme.

As for the grade i really couldn't give a flying shit, sometimes you climb stuff becuase you want to proove to yourself that you can climb hard even if its a bit shitty (cough 'bigger belly' cough cough) and sometimes you just want to proove to yourself that you can get up something, which looks, even to the general public; Fucking amazing. I'm pretty sure my sequence is whack, crossing round aretes. locking to your waist and manditory double dynos aren't often all one after another on a problem. I also pity anyone who is shorter than me on this line, or who uses my sequence (though it does employ all my weaknesses). I'm sure there is an easier way though, as Ned hasn't fully had his way on it yet by destroying anything vaguely resembling brute power by wrapping his legs all over the place and heel hooking a drop knee above his ear. Basically the lowest i think it is, is 8a+ (suprise suprise) and i'm happy taking that grade, to ground up using my sequence would be an amazing effort too. Chris got the send on film from a few angles, so it should be out by 2015 ;)

I also managed to link the sit start into the crux of this today after watching chris get close to red dragon for an hour or so, i am amazingly psyched on this as its the full line really, i always thought the sit would be 8b to get into the stand but its probably just soft 8a with some ironed out beta, it is stupidly morpho though, and i'm tipped out to the max. this can be linked off round the corner ('the mediocre escape') into a 7b+ (my warm up) which i have stupidly wired. guess this'd be 8aish too? god knows, who cares anyway?, it'll probably be dirty again soon, and its not like anything else at the crag has been bustling with repeats. queen kong has still got to be done in a session and that's the piss one that i did 3 years ago whilst recovering from pneumonia, and chris did with an asthma attack (healthy arent we?).
Upon leaving the crag i gave the farmer £10 for being one of the nicest guys around and for letting me park on his land. Obviously i don't expect everone to stump up notes for parking at the crag but the odd parking donation will help the farm, and keep up the good relationship/ upkeep of the road.
Cheers, to Fiveten and arcteryx too for geniunely helping me get up this thing, the crux smear on the double dyno tends to blow off using anything but onyx.

Oh and i saw a badger in the flesh for the first time ever today!!, this had me in hysterics (in joke) As that was indeed THE BADGER

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

home again

I returned home last night to find a few things immediately clear.
1 The pace of life in my village is much slower than Sheffield, stuff lies about for months without moving, it seems happy to gradually amble its way along.
Another was that it is absolutely baltic! and i was freezing my cobs off as soon as i stepped out the car, joyous temps indeed.
The worst thing was my dog not being there to tackle me to the ground, he died of lung cancer a few months ago. (I always said he should quit the fags, but the chicks dug it). It does suck though, he was an 8 stone bernese mountain dog so it feels like a big bit of the house is missing at the moment.
Nevertheless, life in the cold hard melancholic north goes on. Luckily there is some reet good bloccin' a be 'ad up eeeya like. And i was straight on it today like a sailor back from sea. Its been somewhere between 20-30 sessions on my project now so its becoming a bit of a home from home for me, i have my warm up ritual down to a tee, i know every bloody grain of that arete, and it knows me all to well as i heave my weight about on it. I'm gradually taming it, by doing things like calling it names in my head. i've also begun to learn to only fall off 2 moves. These moves are utterly brilliant and unique, part of the reason for the large amount of sessions has been me trying other sequences. Like a mathematician going through his working after finding a brilliant solution, incase there is a more simple one available. What i have found is my perfect boulder, which plays to non of my real strengths except tenacity.
Today was all about settling back in, i thought i'd quickly reacquaint myself with the top section. WRONG. It was pretty windy today (as ever) and the wind was was biting through any exposed flesh with a chill designed to preserve dead meat. Cacaphony can often be a reality at this crag. Mamma varian had been enlisted to belay, but was swiftly demoted to snoozing. Thank god for grigris. Basically i got slapped about on the top section AGAIN whilst remembering that mm count, eventually i'd fine tuned proceedings enough to be satisfied, after sticking the top double dyno twice in an hour, each FAIL being reinforced by a good old fashioned static load of the rope (which has been chewed by mice in my absence, ala Dan Osman!).
A brief dabble on the bottom lead me to summise that all the training has been worth it, but that today was not the day for turning the guns up, as mum had a roast in the oven so we needed to get back.
It's nice to be back in the quiet county, where thoughts provide the only noise to one's day. No worries about finding a parking space or whether you've disabled the car enough so that if some pikeys break in it won't be worth their while.
I did some other interesting moves today too, something for the future anyway.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

one for the music lovers

This has got to be one of the funniest and greatest pages i've come across in years.


It pretty much breaks down all the pretentions you think you had about music and sets the records straight. If you already knew then its a funny read, if you don't know much about music genres or their differences then you really should check this out. The tracks are just 10 second samples, except for minimal techno, where if you leave it on long enough it serves the same purpose ;)


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The week that is.

It's been a busy week this week, as myself and Ned have fallen victim to the dreaded word count, we have become slaves to the keyboard, so much so that plans of an electronic fingerboard/keyboard have been hatched, consisting of a qwerty board of monos for each letter, with space bar being the 1 arm dead hang rest and enter being a 2 finger pocket, esc would be a large jug, no one uses esc nowadays do they? try pressing it now? pretty useless isn't it.
Aside from that I have been training for a rather important project, as 'seiging' is carved into my easter itinerary like a name on a tombstone, A Trip to Torridon is also on the cards from the 13th to the 16th of April. Few people will know about Torridon, and from anywhere south of Kendal, Font is actually nearer, but then again I did just dangerously compare the two! Torridon also only has around 50 developed problems at the moment so you can't compare them on scale. On rock quality they are easily equal.
Seeing as though i've been so busy, but have been wanting to train close to my hardest ever, i have come up with a few time saving training techniques. To acheive a stable fighting weight i have completely done away with walking. Running is now my only mode of transport and i just run everywhere, on average i noticed i was walking close to 3 miles a day, so by running this amount i've managed to get pretty Rakey and cut down on travelling time. On an aside, running whilst reading the morning paper is not a good plan! especially near steps...
The second is the old Soup and protein diet.
Logistics and some guys off warp records are playing at tuesday club tonight (best consistent night in sheff) so i'll dance around like a loon for 5 hours there,
Towards the end of the week i'll take it easy and rest more to get ready for pulling hard. Hopefully all this will actually work.
I've also been pretty lazy on specific training lately, something which i aim to address from easter until may. This has mostly been due to me pottering about outdoors and sorting out goals etc.

On the business side we'd like to introduce the 9a discount, you can have free postage on international orders if you climb 9a. We like to make discounts something of a prize to work towards here at beastmaker, who says we aren't generous?
The mighty Gianluca Daniele is our first elligable customer to receive this.
So get to it Euro wads! unfortunately there seems to be a shortage of English applicants at present, but the illustrious Mcclure has been spotted on our foundry board.

As for board freebies these are pretty hard to blag. Myself and Ned each have a Waddage allowance, whereby we each choose about 4 or 5 names who we'd like to give boards to out of sheer respect for the climbers involved.

Currently Jerome Meyer has been a recipient of this, although he is pretty psyched on our boards. We are proud to be supplying one of the worlds greatest boulderers in the competition arena (if not the greatest) with a facility to train on!

Mike Adams was on our list too, he was pretty stubborn though and gave us a 5er for the wood. Mike has the most prolific bouldering ticklist in the UK and he has been responsible for repeating and putting up some of the country's best problems. This also helped to soften the blow of stealing mike's project which he spent a good 2 hours reinforcing a hold on for us. We also spent a good hour or so sanding down his board with wet and dry so that he couldn't demolish all our records in his first session.

There will likely be some changes to the site over easter as it gets a make over, and an online ordering facility will become available once we have a stock surplus, the back order has shrunk considerably now and we're up to february. If you've emailed us before then and i haven't replied please contact us again, there certainly was a Zac from the states whose email kept rejecting me more than cheryl cole's!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Climbing and climate change

A touchy subject which people need to start phasing into. And one that i'll probably start writing more on as i read more into it. I've just finished George Monbiots excellent book 'Heat' if you don't want to shell out a whopping £4 to future proof your intelligence then his website is also a good place to start http://www.monbiot.com/.

We're taking steps at beastmaker to try and stay 'green' from our initial set up stage. Currently we are failing in 2 areas. We haven't been able to reliable assertain the source of our wood as the woodyard owners struggle with adding up our orders consistently. This is something we will be changing ASAP, as well as trialling different woods such as lime (common in the UK), along with 1 off woods from tree surgeon fellings. we also aim to use no plastic in our packaging. SO this will see a return to the 90's when chip butties came in newspaper, not polystyrene. The packaging won't comprimise the product in any way and you may even be able to read an article or two. we'll be using the guardian i imagine as the independent is a bit small for our boards.

Other areas are the power it takes to manufacture the boards, (nothing extraordinary) and how many brews we require whilst doing all this (we are brew monsters)

Online shopping is currently the most environmentally friendly means of shopping in the UK so you can breathe easy there (read Monbiot's chapter on retail). The benefits of wood over Resin should be incredibly obvious. Nevertheless you can atleast train with less of a guilty conscience on one of our boards.
Flying to spain for a weekends bolt clipping is harder to justify. As is driving 3 hours on your own just to try a boulder problem. Most people's initial reaction is 'screw you i'll do what i like with my own time and my own money'

Some reactions of mine would be to prioritise St bees projects over the next decade or so, before they are lost. To make the most of the Gulf stream weakening before it slows down massively by getting lots of grit projects done. And to treat the worlds LEDC's with utter contempt so that the deaths of millions of the worlds poorest people don't get in the way of me wanting to climb 1 grade harder by flying to some soft touch crag in spain for 3 days and heating my house upto 20 degrees in the winter so i don't have to put a jumper on.

That said climbers are often more environmentally aware than the masses as we (as a whole) experience the Natural environment in its greatest form, and thus notice it changing. Many of the worlds cliffs are in the remotest places. Boulderers especially seem to be aware of 0.2 degrees change from, 'amazing' to 'greasy'

The reason for this post is just to keep people thinking about their actions. We have all been part of a Faustian bargain (James Hansen and Monbiot stress this undoubtable fact especially) since the industrial revolution, people need to gradually adjust thier expectations of what is acceptable and what is excessive.

Climbing is a fairly green 'sport' anyway but reductions are possible.
Car sharing is common in climbers but we should still aim to fill our cars with both pads and people, (i can't remember the last time i could see out my rear view mirror when driving to the crag)
Train as close to home as possible.
Be aware of the brands you are buying from and their environmental record, also the distance that the product has travelled.
E.G Core holds are made and manufactured in the UK, therefore if you buy a set of them for your wall rather than HRT etc they are travelling less distance, and thus produce less carbon.

Flying is a tough one... more on this later i guess.

But for now just remember that it is happening, in the same way that connecting a hosepipe into your car from your exhaust will kill you in minutes. Connecting an exhaust into a sealed stratosphere won't kill you, as its volume is infintitely larger. However connect billions of them everday....

Oh and i did my project, its 25minutes drive away, i can do the 50mile round trip on 3-4 litres of petrol in a 1.2 vauxhall corsa (45-58mpg).
My record to Raven tor and back (again a 50 mile round trip) is 3 litres of petrol.
Its taken me 6 sessions so that's around 20 litres of petrol. My car has always had atleast 2 people in, and i am bad ass at hypermiling

Its called Serendipity, it adds a 1 move font 8a into Serenity ( already font 8a+/8b) and i ripped a flapper out my thumb after sticking the 8a move for the 6th time (over 3 sessions), so i had to push on and make sure i didn't fall off. Luckily i've got Serenity fairly wired now so i just managed to bust it out. There is another way of doing the start if your span is >184cm (6 foot 1) but it's still hard.

we've also tinkered with the motherboard at the works, its better now, much better. just 1 more job and it'll be perfecto

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A tribute to Benji

Ben_Adieu4, originally uploaded by gomezthecosmonaut.

There once was a boy called Cossey
Cossey was psyched for cushing everything everywhere.
So he proclaimed himself the annihilator of gaps.
And from that day forth he set out to annihilate every gap in rock, no matter how tough. His quest has swiftly lead him to the top end of climbing.
He annihilated the true line to Parthian Shot long before any loud mouth yanks ever arrived.
He annihilated Nicoles Eve rave, whilst easily weighing as much as him.
And he Annihilated fantastic mr fox, at a tender bairns age.
Here's to you Benji king of gaps. May you and team tiger monkey go forth and beast more hard lines.
Ben is a Beastmade, he doth not need 'maked'

Monday, March 16, 2009

a series of fortunate and unfortunate events

The last week was spent trying silly moves on projects outdoors, a move which i've stuck 4 times now, but unfortunately its followed by a rather spicy boulder problem. Ned is super close to said spicy boulder too, so that's our main focus at the moment. For me its like a stop cap on spring. I want to get it done so i can try all the other things i want to try. That and the fact i'm overlaying all my training at the moment with specific training for easter means that i am catching my body out quite a bit. Which makes things a bit ouchy...

BUCS (the national uni comp) was a good laugh, and the comp wall was really well set. Ned was kicking my arse, which took the pressure off me so i relaxed and stopped over gripping everything. Ned then fell alseep on the roof problem whilst cruising it, conveniently placing me into the lead, but we hadn't worked this out (as score cards were arbitrary at this point) so i was still pretty chilled. Ned then dropped the last move of the hardest problem in true English style. the wide pinch on this was shutting me down so i nipped over to try the power problem up the 50 which was actually getting me psyched as i got to pull hard. after fumbling the flash i then managed to hack out a sequence to the finish. I'm pretty sure all the other Uni's hate us now after winning the team comp for 3 years in a row. But hey ho, like i said if anyone needs anymore persuading that our fingerboards work then check the BUCS results. That'll probably be my last comp for the forseeable future so it was nice of Ned to let me win (there really was bugger all between us) Rae also came in 3rd in the ridiculously tight women's event (3 points for 3 places)

For anyone there competing on a sports bursary you'll be glad to know that we recieve absolutely NO support off Sheffield University, Ned gets shouted at when he has to leave to compete in world cups and we can't even get into the Uni wall for free. Cheers Sheffield! its amazing city to climb in and a really active scene but the Uni is being farely falsely represented as one that cares about sport, quite clearly it doesn't. Which goes head on with my belief that we are educated to become intellectual geniuses but physical retards (watch this to hear Ken Robinson's opinion) leaving people to develop their bodies in their own time.
As far as i am aware Newcastle, Durham, Loughborough, Nottingham and Bangor all seem to be the places to go if you want to progress physically as well as academically.

Or you could just whack a beastmaker up in your doorframe in first year and dangle like there's no tomorrow. Then build a board in your room in second year and train on that 4 times a week. but for that you need an abnormal level of psyche.

A big shout out to The Works for hosting a really fun comp, its a pretty good bastion of what bouldering is all about, both indoors and out.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Well The CWIF was a great event to watch, and Team Beastmaker just got pipped by Team WAD and Leah Crane's team as they were a little too casual in qualifying. No Worries mate... as more was being saved for later. Ned and Gaz just missed the finals placing 7th and 6th respectively, there really wasn't much in it though. Mina and Jerome cruised through. Jerome qualified in 2nd behind Dave (this is what psyched looks like) Barrans, who demolished every semi final problem in a world class display of crushing, no falls! Jerome decided to let loose a bit in the final and showed what world champion style looks like. power with serious control; that'll be first place then. He also took his new Beastmaker board into the final with him to keep it safe and to taunt the other competitors with (Nice one Jerome, much approved!). Barrans put in a brilliant but slightly more fatigued display to come second. Tyler XXL Landman straight up jived his way into a comfy third, whilst looking a lot more relaxed than some of the other competitors.

Mina came out crushing in the finals and after problem 1 looked like the one to beat. Maud recovered on problem 2, being the only one to top it despite some quality Gunnage from Leah and Mina. The last problem sorted the girls from the women, combining horizontal dynos and on off climbing. Fore-armed and Dangerous turned into Forearm flameout for Mina as the tank ran empty half way up the problem. Maud topped it with french professionalism, even waving to the crowd. Leah topped it in true english style, fully battling her way to the last hold putting in an amazing effort, then throwing it all away at the last minute by being to buggered to match. Now there's a true English winner.

So 1st, 3rd, 6th,7th. Not a bad wrap from a company with an office in a garden shed run by students. A massive thanks to all our team (except Ned who was contracted on as the token ginger)

We are now supplying boards to the Dutch and French National Teams. And they are all super psyched to be getting them off us (we're also super psyched to help them out too)

So basically if a bunch of world/european/national champions can't persuade you that these boards have been designed and thought out with the utmost care. And that they are designed to really help finger strength progression quicker and safer than in the past. Then we'll have to try harder to hammer the message home i guess...

As it happens is another Comp this weekend, This time its the British Uni climbing champs at the climbing works. Ned is representing again as token ginger/ guaranteed crush factor placing (cough winner cough cough). Rae Cowie is our girl member, font7c+ darkhorse and PHD crusher she's been at Sheff uni long enough to be insulted that she's never been asked to compete before. Bringing up the rear, limping and whinging into the Team is Me, Mr Varian, this is the only comp i do as i quite like attending the best Uni in England for climbing, and I intend to keep it that way, my little finger had snapped last year so i had to settle for 2nd behind some 12 stone muscle bag who climbed way better than me. It'll probably be the same this year, except i can go on the board afterwards to make myself feel better (which got its first grade 3 last night... just)
I generally prefer to tussle little bits of rock not volumes, but am not adverse to the odd triangle

New batch of 40 boards arriving on friday

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

serenity vid

Serenity from beastmaker.co.uk on Vimeo.

also featuring a bit of board production at the start, to give you an idea of what goes into creating them

Friday, March 6, 2009

Valle de las rocas, Uyuni, Bolivia

might start posting a few off the beaten track venues, just to get people thinking. That said it isn't good for your carbon footprint. (so i'd get planting trees)

This particular puppy is about 7x the size of hueco and had a brief visit from bouldering legend Tony Lamiche a few years ago.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Serenity, originally uploaded by Beastmaker. inc.

esoterica at its most impressive

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An entertraining week

This last week has seen us ship boards worldwide, something we have been overwhelmed by is the international interest in our boards. Speaking of international interest, the Climbing Works is having a little competition this weekend and is busy throwing money at international stars to try and bribe there way to victory.

Luckily TEAM BEASTMAKER has no such worries at present, we will be entering the comp with a team of Champs.
Ned will be representing obviously and will be throwing legs in all manner of directions as well as getting some comp psyche on board (he's been training harder than Rocky by going to 65 days of Static gigs in sheffield with his trainer and working his compression muscles by pushing upto 10 fat indy fans around at once in the mosh pit, no joke). we're also proud to have Gaz Parry representing us, who despite mainly pumping up spanish 8c tufas in the last month can always be counted on when there're screw ons, resin and trickery involved.
We've got a nice little blond piece for our girl beast and she can even do the odd pull up too! fresh off her European crush trip is Mina Leslie-Wujastyk who apart from wandering up the odd 8a in the last month or so has found her true calling of Chinese Chequers. Our fourth and final member is some random frenchman whom we saw at a comp once and thought he looked worth making the numbers up, Jerome something.... Meyer thats it. Jerome Meyer. Jerome F**kin Meyer BOOYAA. (whom the Works have been trying to steal with a bribe) We're massively proud to have Jerome over and we intend to look after him well (as we will all team members) As we intend to unleash a proud team on a very well put together comp. Other teams to look out for are climb Newcastle, who have stretch armstrong, a jumping badger, a dutch terrorist and diet cokes best customer.

As for me, well i'll be spectating, i lost my wallet at the crag this week just after making the second ascent of Mike Adams's brilliant roof; Serenity. The crag is in a sensitive area so only those keen enough to appreciate it can, we did a litter pick on the way out, as it seems the local public aren't so keen on leaving their woodlands untouched.