All posts by spartanpowerhouse

Wonderful and mysterious yoga and its benefits to climbers and climbing

I love yoga! I started Yoga at a class many years ago but then I stopped and practiced what we were taught at home. For a while I have been doing yoga at home on-and-off but only a few poses that I can remember. So recently I have been adding more and more poses and stances to my everyday Yoga session which I have learned from YouTube tutorials and online resources information. There is a great deal of Yoga tutorials on Youtube from a variety of instructors who have channels, my main instructor is Ester Ekhart at Ekhart Yoga and Yogatic who has another channel called Ekhart Yoga TV. For what each Yoga pose or stance does and its benefits I have found Yoga Journal and About Yoga the most helpful. Yoga has been an important tool for me as a climber and as someone who is trying to overcome a disability. I am using Yoga to work on some of my weaknesses in climbing like tight hips and hamstrings and to get a good balance an coordination as my disability gave me very bad balance and coordination. Yoga benefits a climber in many ways but the most interesting thing that I read recently is that some if not all poses increase the body’s production of two very powerful hormones Human Growth Hormone (HGH, GH) and Thyroxine in several ways Why are these two hormones important to climbers you may ask? I will explain how yoga increases these hormones and why an increase is important to climbers later in the post but first talk about Yoga. I wold not say Yoga is a sport or an art form but a weird mix of the two. Yoga originates from India just like Karate originates from Japan and Kung Fu from China, like the two martial arts above and others – even though not a martial arts itself Yoga has many styles and schools. I will not go into these in great detal but they include but are not limited to Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga and Kundalini. What I found wonderful about Yoga are the asanas – poses-  and that there are variations of many of them. Each pose benefits various parts of the body including the organs and the mind. The asanas are categorized into bends (side, forward and back), hip openers, balances and inversions. It is very hard to explain about the asanas as the categories and how they are done i.e. lying on your stomach on the floor or standing upright as the categories are interlinked.

  1. If a climber has tight hips they are several asanas to remedy this:
  • One of my favorites is the Pigeon Pose which has a few variations. In the clip Ester is demonstrating and giving the viewer instructions on how to Pigeon Pose and its variations.

  • Another pose for tight hips is the Bound Angle Pose. The clip below demonstrates the reclined floor version of the pose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vksA9pqOpVI There are many more asanas to deal with this including bit not limited to the following:

2. To improve balance and increase leg strength there are one legged balances.

  • One of my top ones that also opened the shoulders and acts as back bend is the King Dancer Pose.

3.  One important thing a lot of people forget about about in climbing is core strength, the core keeps us stable and hanging on on steep, overhanging and vertical ground as well as roofs.

One pose that I was recommended for training all the core is the The Yoga version of this – Lying Piriformis Stretch.
To really booster core strength it is wise to add lying upward stretches like Cobra Pose which can be followed by The Fish Pose and The Locust Pose. To counter act this poses as to avoid back problem I usually do pose like the Reverse Table Pose (No good video or how to web page foe this, sorry) or a similar pose. I also do a standing closed leg forward bend to counteract the poses in the list above and the King Dancer Pose. The shoulder stand and half shoulder stand can be used to add variety and challenge to a yoga session – both these poses need a counter pose to stop imbalances and back problems.

A less important part of climbing is arm strength which people think is the most important for steep climbing. In my opinion the two best poses for this are Reverse Table Pose, Downward Dog and Upward Dog Pose.

Coordination wise the best poses improve coordination is the The Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose. There are many other poses but I do not remember what they are called. One is like a urinating dog pose where you stick out one leg  and the opposite arm e.g left arm and right leg and the other is similar but you are lying down on your belly.

For an increased twisting ability there are many poses that help like the Reversed Extended Side Angle Yoga Pose and many twists as seated twists shown in this video.

Here it is where it gets interesting, the hormonal part of yoga benefits to climbers….

Yoga surprisingly helps with weight loss. I found this out during the summer when I sweated a lot while during Yoga sessions at home. I then looked it up and found out why.

Yoga increases the production of Human Growth Hormone either by stimulating the pituitary gland directly to release Human Growth Hormone or by increasing HGH stimulators like and Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA). Human Growth Hormone (HGH) also stimulates the Thyroid Gland which is responsible for metabolism.  It is said that certain asanas stimulate The Thyroid Gland. This hormonal increases will help climbers keep slim or become slim, help strengthen their tendons and aide in recovery aswell as the added benefit of making them feel and look younger – it is even said that some asanas can give you an extra inch or two in height if you are young still.

I am including many links on this to give a better understanding of basic endocrinology.

Sources:

References: http://www.yogajournal.com/, http://yoga.about.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/yogatic, https://www.youtube.com/user/EkhartYoga

I would like to say thank you to all mu sources even the ones that I hardly used.

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A short post about what I have been doing, last month’s The Outdoors Show and this months Crack Climbing Masterclass

At the end of January half of February I took a few weeks off from climbing indoors because I had a cold after the last week of January I planned to go to Birchen Edge with Nathan for some climbing on gritstone – sadly the trip did not materialize due to my cold getting worse. During those three weeks I visited the gym to stay active and keep in shape.

On February 17th I attended two the AMI (the Association of Mountain Instructors) technical practical tutorials at The Outdoors Show which was held at Excel London. The first of the tutorials was called Now Get Out Of That which was all about self rescue, problem solving and escaping the system. I was in a group of three with two quite experienced climbers and there was one instructor for the three of us. Our instructor called to one of his colleagues to help out the experienced climbers so he could team up with me. Since I was a complete beginner to outdoor climbing the instructor started from scratch by telling me how to belay my second. We then moved onto the first thing to do when something goes wrong – which is to secure your second and then un-clip yourself from the belay point/anchor so you can help your partner. Here I learned how to tie a clove hitch knot and use my belay plate to secure my second/partner – I struggled with these two things at first but eventually got the hung of them. After I had lunch I attended the second of the two tutorials called Trust your Anchors which was as all about placing trad climbing gear well and build anchors/belay stations using trad gear and your rope – I attended this tutorial last year so it was more like a refresher to me. I was in a small group again with one instructor. There was several plastic/resin artificial places to put a place trad gear in and what we had to do was place the gear in the most secure and tight way we could. First we were told about nuts and wires and then each of us were given a variety of them in a the artificial places the best we could – like last year, where I got an 8/10 for a placement, I did very well in placing the nuts and wires. We then got got about cams which have several moving parts and repeated the same process with them – I found placing the cams a bit hard but I did better than last year where I needed a bit of help placing them. The final part of the session was on using trad gear, ropes and karabiners to build anchors/belay stations. The first thing was how to equalize an anchor consisting of two gear placements attached to quickdraws and a rope using either two snap gate karabiners or a large screw gate karabiner then we were taught how to attach the anchor to our harness using a clove hitch knot – like in the first session I found the clove hitch knot hard – but with a but of practice I managed to do it. Last year we used a different knot and a sling for the anchors. I still practice the clove hitch at home with a bit of rope The Castle Climbing Centre gave me a few years ago.

On Saturday I attended The Wideboyz Crack Climbing Masterclass at The Castle Climbing Centre in Manor House – I had already attended this class two years ago. The class was a split into two large large groups – one was taught by Tom Randall and the other by Pete Whittaker, I was in Tom’s group. The first thing that were were taught to do was to make a tape gloves using fingertape so we could protect our hands when we crack climb – the gloves resemble the cloth gloves boxers were under their boxing gloves. We then headed to the Pen where Tom taught us how to climb hand cracks using the correct jam called a hand jam. He first demonstrated the technique to us using the artificial cracks that were made for his and Pete’s masterclass then each of us had a few goes on the hand crack using the hand jam technique – I volunteered first and managed to do it correctly on my third go. Next up it was the turn of the finger crack using finger jams  – I enjoyed the finger crack the most and I think I did very well on the finger crack. We then headed to the quarries/slab are where we learned and practiced chimneying technique for chimneys which are very wide very wide cracks that resemble chimneys – I found this technique the hardest. Finally, at the end of the class we had a go on the offwidth crack machine which is very hard – it involves getting your feet in the crack whilst upside down then trying to get your hand inside the crack or on the outside edge. After the class was over the artificial cracks were left in place for a short while so we could practice the various techniques some more and get in some mileage – not only it was these cracks to practice on but the cracks from Pete’s group too including another finger crack that narrowed at the top and a harder hand crack. During this time my finger and hand crack technique improved quite a lot. forgot to say that at the end of the session each of us got a free goody bag which consisted of a poster, a Wild Country t-shirt, a Wideboyz II – Slender Gentlemen DVD and Wild Country stickers.

I had great fun and learned a lot on all the above and I would like to thank Tom Randall, Pete Whittaker, WIld Country, the AMI and DMM for a great time.

As far as my own climbing goes I think my main physical weakness is my core strength which I think is improving. Why I think core strength? The reason is my feet seem to pop of when I rainbow climb on overhangs and verticals using very small foot holds.

Psyched to get on problems and psyched for Birchen Edge trip

On Wednesday I continued with rainbowing and I got so confident that at the end of the day I headed to the shortest wall in the Mile End Wall top attempt a vertical juggy VB problem after a few attempts, even though I was tired, I managed to get to the second hold from the top but I scared to go for the last hold because I thought my left foot would slip of the smooth edge-like hold. To end the day I did a very short session on a finger board in the training room. During the day I talked to one of the instructors there about climbing in The Peak and in Fontainebleau – a bouldering paradise near Paris – I also mentioned my trip with Nathan to Birchen Edge that might be happening on the 25th.

On Friday it was back to the Mile End Wall to try and complete that problem but my mistake was that I did a session on the finger boards first instead of doing the fingerboards half way through the session – as a fellow climber pointed out to me. I attempted the problem in the usual way till that fellow climber pointed out to me different ways of doing it – every time and every way I got to that the hold before last. I then decoded to give up n VB and started to look at the V0-V1 circuit and the problem on that wall where the VB problem is/was. I think what I am lacking is core strength and I discussed this amongst other climbing topics including climbing destinations and rock boots with the fellow climber.

I am really psyched about the possible up-and-coming Birchen Edge trip. If all goes to plan – weather permitting – it will be my first climbing trip of the year and my first time on the legendary grit(stone). I plan to second, toprope and boulder with Nathan and his instructor friend at Birchen. I have been looking at train times and accommodation and with the advice and help from fellow UK Climbing users I have found three descent hotels to stay at near my pick-up point of Chesterfield Station,  these are Ibis Chesterfield City Centre, Premier Inn Chesterfield North and a Travelodge hotel.

New Year, New bloggiong style

Hello and a Happy New Year!

After a Christmas and New Years break from climbing I was back at the walls. Instead of going to problems I took some advice from my fellow UKC users and rainbowed up the walls instead which I found most pleasurable and enjoyable. Rainbowing is climbing on the wall using any holds for feet and hands. I first tried this at the Mile End Wall on Monday and it feel really good, I started on a wall that was not so high and after two attempts to get to the top, on the third I reached a top hand hold. Filled with confidence and happiness I went to another wall for a same but did not reach the top on any of the attempts what I did gain was confidence on crimps as a lot of the holds on that wall were crimps and there were not many jugs on that wall. At the end of the day I headed for one of the tallest walls there to see how high I could get up and discovered I could get almost three quarters of the up to the top. I enjoyed this so much that I did the same thing on the Wednesday of the past week.

Even though I enjoy being at many London walls I really want to climb outdoors especially on the gritstone where many great climbers and alpinists started off, even more so more now thanks to the marvelous work of art that is Peak Rock. I would love to spend a lot of time this winter and spring on the grit to get a good foundation on it and then head to further other places in the UK. I think all forms of climbing appeal to me but I like the whole gear aspect of trad and the purism and simplicity of bouldering.

Thanks to rainbowing I am becoming more and more confident on different holds.

Slabs, slabs and even more slabs!

Monday 08/12/2014:

As a continuation of my climbing theme of and focus of slabs today I headed to The Mile End Wall to climb on slab problems and to work on my slab technique. I first headed to The Secret Garden to climb on the slab problems I mentioned before and to see if I could get higher on them but not to my surprise the slab area of the Secret Garden was closed due to a Roped Access course being taught there so instead I headed for the false rock slab in The Playground. I eyed up a very crimpy V3-V5 circuit problem where the first move that I almost managed to do was a push and pull rockover. The first hand hold for the right hand  was a sharp oval crimp and the second hand hold for the left hand was a crimpy undercut as for foot holds the girst foothold for the left foot was a triangular marrow hold that I could get my foot on. I nearly done as the move on my final try as I was not far from reaching the target which is a pyramidal crimp. It is a strange very subtle rockover that involves pushing with one hand on the oval crimp and left foot along with pulling on the undercut with the left hand – I know because I asked opne of the staff members who route sets there and who is a very good climber for help and he showed me how to do the move.

The holds for the crimpy pull-push rockover on the  blue V3-V5 circuit problem.
The holds for the crimpy pull-push rockover on the blue V3-V5 circuit problem.
More crimpy holds on that problem including a peanut/pebble one.
More crimpy holds on that problem including a peanut/pebble one.

The same p[roblem but showing  the final hold - I think.
The same problem but showing the final hold – I think.
After the slab problem in The Playground I headed to the main climbing area to see if I had enough psyche and commitment to do the blind moves again from last week and to see if I could go any further on those problems – I did manage to do the moves again and even hold onto the hold of the one round the arete for a second or two longer.

Friday 12/12/2014:

For a change I headed to the Mile End Wall instead of The Castle. After warm up and stretches I headed to The Secret Garden for slab work but not to my surprise another Roped Access course was being held there so I went to the main room and attempted a V1-V3 black and yellow circuit problem where it started on a large juggy side pull and rough-ish sloper on one side of the arete and the next hold was a flat crimp on the other side of the arete. What I did was pull the side pull and push the sloper and flag with the foot that is not on a hold then reach either hand – I tried with the one on the sloper, I was not sure if the move was subtle or a powerful move and when I did it I managed to touch the crimp for a few seconds. I kept doing the move but did not manage to reach the crimp.

V1-V3 black and yellow circuit problem start showing holds around the arete.
V1-V3 black and yellow circuit problem start showing holds around the arete.
The start but showing the crimp - it is just below the mini-roof section of the slab.
The start but showing the crimp – it is just below the mini-roof section of the slab.
Mini-roof section showing next holds and the final hold.
Mini-roof section showing next holds and the final hold.

The next problem I tried was the dark blue V3-V5 circuit problem that you can see most of the holds in the photos above and the same problem I tried a while back as per usual I did not manage to stand up on my foot and reach for the big sloper on the mini-roof that you can see on the photo above. There are many other interest slab problems on that slab including the pink V3 one where as far as I know a lot of pushing down is involved at the start. I then headed to The Playground to work on the blue V3-V5 crimp problem with the very subtle rockover from last time but still did not manage to get to the next hold.

I headed back to the main climbing are and found a new very interesting black and pink V4-V6 circuit problem on the arete of one of he overhangs. I think the problem has a sit start but I decided not do the sit start. The first hand hold is a small juggy side pull that lies on the side of the arete with the least amount of holds the second hold is a an oval crimp that is used as a sidepull on a triangular volume attached to the other side of the arete where most of the problem was. As for the foot hold it was a tiny peanut hold. With one hand – the one on the side pull – I made reach for the large slightly rough sloper with one positive part, held onto it, flagged out with the free foot and made a reach for a small crimp with the hand was on the other crimp (a crimp-to-crimp reach) but I could not hold onto the crimp for a long time – perhaps I should have matched hands on the sloper. What I needed to do next is get my free foot on the side pull with heel hook and rock up on it a crimp on another volume.

Pink and black V4-V6 circuit problem showing first volume, crimp, large sloper and juggy side pull - slightly overhanging.
Pink and black V4-V6 circuit problem showing first volume, crimp, large sloper and juggy side pull – slightly overhanging.
V4-V6 circuit problem showing second volume with two crimps on it: upper - mid section
V4-V6 circuit problem showing second volume with two crimps on it: upper – mid section
V4-V6 circuit problem: overhanging final section.
V4-V6 circuit problem: overhanging final section.
The same section but from a different view point.
The same section but from a different view point and showing final hold better.

Committed to Slabs

Wednesday 03/12/2012:

I headed to The Arch @ The Biscuit Factory to work on slab problems for my trip to Birchen Edge and to be a like Johnny Dawes who I think is the kind of difficult slab trad routes. It turned out to be not a very productive day their although I did attempt three boulder problem that were completely different from each other. The first one that attempted was one in The New Scarpa Circuit that was set by Scarpa Team member Yann Genoux  and other route setters. These problems varied from V0 (the easiest) to I think V10 (the hardest). I did not know what the grade of the problem I chose was but what I saw from previous climbers it looked very interesting and challenging. The first hold is a huge circular volume/sloper  that is very smooth and hard to grip and the first foot hold was a very small hardly visible flat crimp but I did not have enough flexibility to get my goot on the hold, after many attempts I decided to move onto an easier problem in the blue V2-V3 circuit.

Scarpa circuit problem showing the large volume/sloper hold.
Scarpa circuit problem showing the large volume/sloper hold.
IMG_1343
The same problem but in close up.
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Another view of the problem.

The problem is the light blue one you can see most of it in the above photo. The first hold is a large side pull where I matched both hand on and the first foot hold is a large but round-ish foot hold. The next move I kept doing it wrong – instead of getting the foot onto the big foothold to the left side pull then going for the weird sloper adjacent to the big circular hold  I went straight for the hand hold. I only saw my mistake when I observed another climber do the problem. When I tried it again and did the sequence correctly I needed to match feet on the large foothold  then try and reach for the big hold at the top of the photo, but I could not match my feet.

Light V2-V3 circuit problem with large holds.
Light  blue V2-V3 circuit problem with large holds.
Same problem but from a different angle and view.
Same problem but from a different angle and view.

The last problem I tried to do was a green V6-V9 circuit problem that the first two holds were extremely tiny crimps that you could only get the tips of two fingers on. I could get hold on the tiny holds and get my foot onto the very small circular flat foothold which is the first foothold with the help of some laybacking and turning using the one of the tiny holds as a sidepull but I could not shift all my weight on the foot standing on the hold.

 Green V6-V9 circuit problem.
Green V6-V9 circuit problem bottom half
IMG_1351
Green V6-V9 circuit problem top half.

 Friday 05/12/2014:

Today as usual it was the turn The Castle to host my training. After the usual warm up of stretches and traversing I headed straight to the slabs – which was very busy. The first problem that I attempted was a V3 problem that involved me bridging, palming and smearing. I first tried the problem wrongly but then I remembered the similar V4-V6 problem that I named Dawesee’s Revenge and a couple of climbers doing the problem correctly last week so I did that sequence correctly and I controlled my fear until my hip joint started to hurt me so I came down. I tried the problem again but one of my knees started to hurt. The sequence is very similar to the one at the start of Dawesee’s revenge with the main difference being that the first foot hold is a huge black sloper  that you put the front part of the foot on instead of a yellow long smooth sloper and the volume being triangular/pyramidal and being on the adjacent wall along with these difference the sequence was shorter. I do not remember the exact order but in the first photo below you can see the foothold and the volume and I remember you had to bridge out to the adjacent wall with a smear.

The V3 bridging problem - you can see the volume and the foothold.
The V3 bridging problem – you can see the volume and the foothold.
The same problem but showing the next volume.
The same problem but showing the next volume.
The top half of the problem showing the final hold.
The top half of the problem showing the final hold.

The next and final problem I tried was pink V4-V6 circuit problem where the only hand holds were at the start and being two crimps that you held with one hand and the other hand being a big sloper with a positive grip. Since there was no foot holds I had to smear with both feet to get my feet up – so my feet would not slip of the slab I held my head down someone from The Mile End Wall told me to do when doing difficult smearing. After a few tries on this problem and not getting very far I decided to call it a day but I did see another climber almost complete the problem and from what I saw it is a complete smear fest – meaning smearing all the time – with no hand holds apart from a volume near the top as far as I can remember. At the start the three hand holds do become footholds.

 PinkV4-V6 smear fest circuit problem start - showing crimps and sloper hand holds and no foot holds.
PinkV4-V6 smear fest circuit problem start – showing crimps and sloper hand holds and no foot holds.
Mid/upper section of the same circuit problem  - what a smear fest?!
Mid/upper section of the same circuit problem
– what a smear fest?!
The last  part of the problem - showing the volume.
The last part of the problem – showing the volume.

During lunch I was speaking to Rich ‘Tricky’ Hudson who is a route setter at The Castle about how would Adam Ondra do on hard grit routes such as The Angel’s Share (E8 7a) and Braille Trail (E7 6c) that are not all strength as Rich was talking to a friend about some La Sportiva bouldering competition and 5that Adam Ondra had one it because he had so much strength and power.

Committing, focused, happy and confident

Monday 24/11/2014:

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.

Move round the arete
Move round the arete on black and yellow V1-V3 circuit problem.
V1-V3 Black and Yellow circuit problem upper section.
V1-V3 black and yellow circuit problem upper section (it may look like a slab but it is not, I took the photo from that angle.
V1-V3 Black and Yellow circuit problem.
V1-V3 black and yellow circuit 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.

IMG_1303
Upper part of the V4-V6 problem, here you move onto the adjacent wall.
IMG_1302
Upper part of the V4-V6 problem, here you move onto the adjacent wall.

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.

Yes, it is a slab. The problem is a V4-V6 circuit problem that is very crimpy.
Yes, it is a slab. The problem is a V4-V6 circuit problem that is very crimpy – you can see most of the problem here.
The same problem but the upper section.
The same problem but the upper section.
IMG_1304
The same problem but from a different view point.

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.

IMG_1311
V3-V5 blue circuit blue circuit problem: slab and volumes. You can not see the first foot holds in this photo but you can see the volumes.
V3-V5 blue circuit blue circuit problem: slab and volumes. You can not see the first foot holds in this photo but you can see the volumes.
V3-V5 blue circuit blue circuit problem: slab and volumes. You can not see the first foot holds in this photo but you can see the volumes close up.

 Wednesday 26/11/2014:

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 V6-V10 circuit problem showing  the holds on the volume.
The V6-V10 circuit problem showing the holds on the volume. The problem is the black one.
This is where I got to on the V6-V10. You can see it is a very crimpy affair up to the volume.
This is where I got to on the V6-V10. You can see it is a very crimpy affair up to the volume.

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

The blue V1-V3 circuit problem showing the holds leading up to the volume.
The blue V1-V3 circuit problem showing the holds leading up to the volume.
IMG_1318
The same problem but showing the jug on the volume and not any foot holds – not sure if the blue crimp under the volume is used as a hand hold.
IMG_1320
The same problem but the upper section.

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.

The first part of the black V6-V10 circuit problem. You can see the weird hold clearly here.
The first part of the black V6-V10 circuit problem. You can see the weird hold clearly here.
This photo shows the next part of this volumous yet crimpy problem. You can see the next volume here and where the problem becomes overhanging.
This photo shows the next part of this volumous yet crimpy problem. You can see the next volume here and where the problem becomes overhanging.
The roof of the problem showing the final holds. It supposed to be a steep roof.
The roof of the problem showing the final holds. It supposed to be a steep roof.

FRIDAY 28/11/2014:

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.

You can the first part of the black V6 problem.
You can the first part of the black V6 problem.
The same problem but from a different distance - you can see more holds were but in less detail.
The same problem but from a different distance – you can see more holds were but in less detail.
The rest of the problem from a good angle and distance.
The rest of the problem from a good angle and distance.

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.

The bottom half of the V0-V1 problem showing some of the roof- it is the light green one by the way.
The bottom half of the V0-V1 problem showing some of the roof- it is the light green one by the way.
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The top half of the light green V0-V1 circuit problem. Here you can see the roof and the arete.

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.

The V1-V3 grey circuit problem - below the roof.
The V1-V3 grey circuit problem – below the roof.
V1-V3 problem showing the big grey slopers on the volume.
V1-V3 problem showing the big grey slopers on the volume.
A closer view of the roof part of the problem.
A closer view of the roof part of the problem.

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.

The purple V6 problem up to the crimps on the volume.
The purple V6 problem up to the crimps on the volume. I think it is the volume closest to the huge black volume.
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The roof section of the V6 problem.
The roof section of the purple V6 problem showing final hold.
The roof section of the purple V6 problem showing final hold.