Things i've learnt this year
One thing was for sure in my mind coming into this year, which is that i didn't want a repeat of last years bi polar year of injuries and sporadic ascents. Consistency was something i wanted from this year, it's no use getting stronger from hours of droll hangtime and not using it outdoors. This year has succeeded by being very different to last year, after a brief but effective (for my fingers atleast) training spell at the start of the year which ended with a shoulder niggle i chilled out, cashed my training cheques in the problem bank and sought about spending them in good fashion on nice lines. On the whole i've had the funnest and most consistent years climbing of my life. However i caught a glimpse off what success would feel like on a few harder projects this year whilst whistling through the days. Things which, had i gotten more deeply involved in them, would have drastically changed the way my year panned out. Instead i just bobbed along going for quick ticks, avoiding delving into the depths of top end problems and the potential injuries which come with it. This was a much needed change from last year and as a result i'm now content that the knawing rat of success is fat enough to tackle some meatier game. In terms of training the weak scraggly bits in my body which have failed me, and the harder lines which exposed them.
So basically i've learnt that every socko problem is fun when pursued with the premise of it in mind, but change is key (especially after a year), wow thats a new epiphany to the world.
I know i had the most fun on Ivan Dobsky, It climbs like a dream and out of the 30ish 8's from the UK this year it stands out as a cherished favourite.
The county remains one of my favourite places to climb in the world, but this is only after spending years getting to know it. Like the fact that, regardless of the time of year, if i leave any crag just before sunset i will spend part of my journey home along the military road chasing my favourite view in glorious technicolour
I also learnt that my average time for doing 8's dropped dramatically as soon as i got off the ferry and it went from zero in cornwall despite good conditions and attempts on projects to 1-5trys in brittany to 20mins in font, then upto nearly 1 session in germany, then back to 1 session if very lucky (or if they're not 8n) in the UK but usually 2(as it should be without being handed all the beta on a plate). I also believe that we have had the best weather out of most of europe in the UK this year. This doesn't necessarily say anything of course but it should say something. I think it's partly due to the massive variation in styles of uk hard problems, so you can't just cruise a bunch of things which suit you, you have to change tack and even strengths forced by different rock types in low quantities.
Some UK venues are definitely reaching the end of their potential in the high 7s-mid 8s, even st bees (the predominent lakesbloc news fodder of the year) is beginning to loose the secrecy of its deepest nooks and crannies. Whilst whole crags remain relatively undeveloped in other parts of the country
Peak Grit problems definitely get shitter in overall quality above 8a except for the odd exception.
Peak limestone problems get infinitely better 7c and above, except for bigger belly, which is shit (but even this has more character than work hard).
Fiveten Anasazi velcros can literally climb anything, especially on grit, the rubber on top of teams is wank for toehooking, baggy mocassyms are worlds better. But teams are great for footlocks, heeltoes and crawing (the art of scumming your feet round aretes). jet 7's got made completely redundant by teams IMO.
Dry bags by far make the best bouldering chalkbags (i knew this last year too but my drybag is now so manky it wont get confused with others if there is a buying flurry after i write this)