As usual it was the turn of The Mile End Wall to host me. After stretches and traversing I headed to the main room to try and to commit to moves and trust my feet more. The slab was busy and there was a class in the room so I headed for the overhang with the blind move on the problem I mentioned last time as classes don’t usually start of on the overhangs. The first problem I attempted was a V1-V3 black and yellow circuit problem where the first hand holds were opposite sides of the arete of the wall and the only foot hold was a tiny little peanut shaped hold. The two holds were large slopers – one being a pinchy sloper and the other one being a sloper with a pinch but – but that is not how I held the hold. Instead of holding it in an insecure pinch I held it in an open hand position – as you would hold a basketball – using identations/ weaknesses in the hold. To get to the next hold which is on the opposite side of the arete where the mentioned hold lies I thought I would use a heel hook on the pinchy sloper but I got two high up when I tried to reach for the hold. So what I did next – and it worked – was to flag with the free foot, but my problem was that even though I got to the hold I could not hold onto it and this was the problem every time I tried this problem.
The next problem that I tried was the V4-V6 black and pink circuit problem with the crazy blind move in it. As you can see on the first and third photographs and the photo you make a brave move to the first crimp on the volume. I managed to do this move and hold onto the crimp with the aid of flagging and a quick back look – I was so happy to do this move and I did it because I was psyched, happy and confident. But I did not know what the next move was – I think I have to get my flagging foot on the arete or maybe much hands and try to move the other first hand onto the upper crimp.
After the overhang problem I headed to the slabs in The Secret Garden to try the crimp fest V4-V6 problem on the slab from last time. I know how to do the next move and tried to commit but I got bit scared – what I needed to do was flag with left leg. I kept going back to the problem but each time I chickened out of doing the move.
Last but not least I tried a slab problem on the adjacent slab that was completely different to this one. Not only it was a blue V3-V5 circuit problem but instead of crimps it was huge volumes and instead of pulling it was pushing involved. I could get a heel hook on the big volume but it was insecure – I later saw other climbers do the problem and what they did was layback on the very big volume then get the foot high up basically on top of the volume then as far as I can remember they reached for the next hand hold which was another volume – I think they matched feet next on the volume that had a foot on it already.
I decided to head to The Reach wall – a wall I became a new member of just last week – to continue my training on committing and controlling my fears. When I was there last week I spotted a unique circuit and had a brief look at some of the problems it contained, unique in the fact that only as far as I know this wall had it – it was graded V6-V10. So I decided to attempt a problem or two in this super-hard circuit. The first problem I liked the look of and was on a very crimpy slab problem in the above mentioned circuit. This problem was a bit hard for me to read and I tried to get to the hold I wanted to get to in as many ways possible – the hold in question was a pinch-crimp undercut on a large volume. My favorite technique that I found very useful and really works well when you have a foot on a small hold is flagging – and it did work as I managed to get to the hold every time. I was not sure what was the best way and best hand sequence to get to the hold and if I could palm and smear on the adjacent wall. My problem was not getting to the hold but hanging on to it – I think it was a luck of grip strength and or core strength as I did not train my core much when I was not climbing.
The next problem after spending a lot of time on this crimp fest was a blue V1-V3 circuit problem that the holds were of a completely different nature – in fact you can see them in the photo above. The first holds are juggy slopers that are positive but a bit smooth – and a bit hard to find the right way to hold them. What I did to get to the jug on the pyramid volume was to flag with the free leg – I do not remember what flag I used. However getting to them jug was not my first move. To get to the position of the flag I matched hands on the lower blue hold and with my right hand reached for a big volume sloper that you will see in the next set of photos. I am not not sure if flagging is the best thing to do to get to the hold on the volume as at a few attempts I tried pushing down on the lower hold and the big volume sloper. It is easy to hold on to the big
My last problem of the day was another black V6-V10 circuit problem but this one was going from slightly steep to a quite overhanging roof. I was not sure how you started the problem foot hold wise – as you can see on the first photo below there is a foot hold on either side on of the arete. The first hand holds are a crimp on a volume which is on the lip of the volume and another hold on the arete. I do not remember much about this problem apart from the next hand hold being a sharp and shallow pocket on that volume.
Friday I was back at The Castle – my usual Friday wall – to train for committing and controlling my fear. As I will be doing some slab climbing with a mate of mine from UK Climbing in Birchen Edge this winter I decided to spend a lot of the time in the slab area. I found a volume V6 problem that has foot holds and a volume for a first hand hold. I tried this problem over and over again but is very hard to read mainly due to the next hand what I think was a strange very flat crimp or the volume to the left of the first one. I tried to do it both ways and with the strange flat crimp I did not know how to hang onto it or hold it correctly. With the way with the hand going to the volume my problem was that the hand on the first volume kept slipping of the hold.
I headed to The Mez next (verticals and overhangs) to attempt the problems I attempted the week before and see if I could complete them. I first headed to the V0-V1 problem with the roof and the arete and something strange happened…. Instead of climbing the problem as I usually do it I was climbing it with good technique – I was flagging and smearing and I even did a smear flag combo which is where you flag with one foot and then that foot becomes a smear then with the other foot you flag again till you reach your destination foothold. This was weird as I had a bit of a cold and was sneezing quite a bit as usual I got to the first hold on the roof.
After the V0-V1 circuit problem I had a few goes on the grey V1-V3 circuit problem to the left of it but each time I chickened out when it came to reaching for the big slopers on the roof volume – the ones shown above.
My final problem of the day was the purple V6 problem that again involved a roof and bridging but was located opposite the previous problems. I had one go on this problem and I did the long brave reach/blind-ish move that I mentioned last time. What I need to next time if it still there is do another long brave reach/blind-ish move to the crimp on the other side of the volume whilst still holding on to the first crimp.