Saturday, 26 November 2011

Next Years Plans

Its sometimes said, only half jokingly, that climbing Everest is good preparation for climbing Denali. This may sound extreme but Denali is a very serious mountain, and one of the hardest of all the seven summits, it certainly shouldn't be first on your list, at 6194 metres (20,320 ft) it is only slightly higher than Kilimanjaro, and much lower than Aconcagua, but neither of these mountains demands comparable experience and effort.
From the Moment we arrive on the Kahiltna glacier we will have to melt every drop of water that we will need for drinking and cooking from melting snow.
We will be experiencing temperatures as low as -40 degrees with winds of up to 100mph.
We will need to put up our own tents and the end of each day after many hours of hard climbing.
we will need to build snow walls to prevent the wind from blowing our tents away.
There are many other serious factors in which we will need to consider but the rewards for all of this is to be in one of the most beautiful places on earth,
Denali's latitude, close to the Arctic circle, makes it harder to climb than any other mountains of comparable height, because the earth is not a perfect sphere, the atmosphere is thinner near the poles. At 4000m on Denali, atmospheric pressure and available oxygen is measurable lower than at 4000m on Kilimanjaro, physiologically Denali's 6194m has been found equivalent to about 7000m and with the extra challenges of extreme weather.
In May next year a team of us are heading to Denali for a month, we plan to climb the ordinary west Buttress route then if possible the West Rib or the Cassin ridge, this will be a very challenging and a hard climb and at these altitudes will need good team work,a stable head and a great deal of technical ability. But hopefully we have a team that is good enough to pull this off.
Preparations have started now with team meetings and kit organisation, travel is being looked at and Scott is meeting with equipment providers has I type, things are getting pretty exciting and starting to fall into place.
Ive been training hard with lots of running and upper body training, a few of us are also off to the Ecrins early January for some training and ice climbing.
I will keep you all posted on updated progress and also all the other climbing matters that happen in the mean time.

Denali in all its glory

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Nice Picture

Managed to get this shot of Will on "Motorcade! this weekend... Enjoy!

Motorcade E1 5b

Monday, 21 November 2011

Grit times

This weekend saw my first trip to the peaks and the wonderful eastern grit, Me, most of the Denali 2012 team plus some others headed up for a weekend of fun. We arrived Late Friday night and were greeted by Nick at the hardhurst campsite, after pitching the tents we went straight for the pub for some much needed alcohol and food, we had to order takeaway from the local Chinese due to the pub not serving food at such a late hour but the pub were happy for it to be delivered there, we chatted for a while about routes we would try the next day before our food arrived, after food and a few more drinks we retired for the night. Saturday arrived early with a fog covered campsite, after some cremated sausages from Nick we decided to head to the pool cafe for a few fatty sandwiches, after polishing off these we headed for stanage, I spent most of the day ticking off HVS's with probably the best of the bunch being "Lancashire Wall", the highlight of the day was an impressive ascent of the E3 "Black Hawk Bastion" from Will, who seems to be crushing the routes lately and I'm sure it wont be to long before he is pushing the grade of E4. I really enjoyed Stanage and cant wait to go back, there are so many routes there that all look really good.
Saturday night we headed to the local pub again for some food and a little discussion on nexts years Denali trip, after a bit of chat Paul decided to introduce me to the yaga bomb, a nice little drink he said, I must admit it was nice but after three of them i had lost all feeling in my face and felt like i could take on the world, we had a great laugh and i really enjoyed it, the other guys headed of back to there tents around 22:00 but me and Paul were on it to the end, another few hours and many pints later we were flat out in the tent awaiting a massive hangover come morning.

Sunday arrived and luckily apart from a dry mouth and a smelly tent I didn't feel to bad, after getting our gear sorted and tents packed up we decided to head to Froggatt for the day, This was a pretty cool place with allot of slab climbing and not allot of gear, we climbed a few easy routes which were pretty cool, Phil managed to get himself stuck on the bold "Three pebble slab" which involved us lowering a rope down to him, the poor boy did get the piss ripped out of him but it wasn't long before i was in the same situation...

I also attempted the classic E1 "Strapiombante" but didn't quite manage it failing at the top out, Pretty disappointed with myself but I suppose it is something to go back for. The day did see Scott climb "Ragbag" a poorly protected E2 with a certain hospital ground fall, but with some nice climbing and nervous tugs he managed to scrape his way over the top. also Well done to Paul who also managed his first grit lead.

Overall a great weekend with lots of laughs, piss taking and good climbing, I'm really looking forward to another trip to the peaks.

early morning Peak

Phil on "The Tippler" E1 5b

Phil on "The Tippler" E1 5b

Phil on "The Tippler" E1 5b

Paul on "The Tippler" E1 5b

Paul on "The Tippler" E1 5b

scott on the bold "Ratbag" E2 5b

Will onsighting "Motorcade" E1 5a

Paul on "Heaver Wall"

Scott on "Ratbag"

Paul on "Heather wal

Paul on "Heather wall"

Me on "Strapoiombante" E1 5b

Charlie on the fun line of "Todys wall" HVS 5a

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Training tips for winter from Planet fear

As standards rise, training for winter is certainly increasing in popularity. Whether you are new to ice and aspire to lead your first grade V, or if you are regularly cranking VII's in the Corries in hope of doing M8 abroad, there is much value to be attained from specific winter training. Most will make do with a few sessions at the wall interspersed with the odd run; but winter climbing is an entirely different beast to rock. Forget the conventional forearm pump - 'thumb cramps', 'jelly wrist' and burning calves are the new enemy.
Rob Gibson on the steep classice mixed line "Pink Panther" M10

Specific Strength and Endurance Training
1 Ice axe pull-ups
The first and most basic specific training exercise for ice/mixed climbing. Use a bar or beam and hook your axes over it. Avoid using your leashes for strength work and perform the exercises footless, with a weight belt, or even on 1-arm if you're up to it! For endurance work, keep your leashes and try using a foothold or bungee stirrup for assistance in order to perform more reps. See guidelines for number of repetitions below. Useful variations incolude pull-ups with arms at different height or travelling ice axe pull-ups where you mover from side to side at the top of each pul-up.

Pull Up bar with the fusions ready for intence training.

2 Isometric ice axe locks
These exercises are superb for developing static strength for place pro or for locking-off whilst making your next placement. Perform them on their own or in combination with any of the above three exercises. Use three key positions: fully locked, 90 degrees and 130-150 degrees. Experiment with 1-arm work for strength and for maximum specificity, try swinging your free axe above your head 3 or 4 times as if trying to make a placement. 2-arm work, with a possible foot for assistance is best for endurance (no longer than 30 seconds). Time guidelines are given on the table below.

3 Ice/mixed bouldering

The best thing is always the real thing and if you don't happen to live near a field of iced-up leaning boulders above a snowy landing then you'll have to improvise. A convenient man-made stone wall or a specially adapted board is the next best thing. With stone walls you can work on technical hooking and torquing sequences whilst balancing your crampons on small edges. Keep your axes blunt and just use big boots without crampons if you're worried about damage. If you are using a wooden board, 5-20 degrees overhanging is the optimum angle (subject to ability) with screw-in metal 'O' rings for axe placements (available from most hardware stores) or, more crudely, pick sized drilled slots in the plyboard.You can even screw or bolt on some thick blocks of wood for simulated ice placements, or a crack section for torquing. Some bolt-on hold manufacturers offer specialist ice axe placement holds which can be worth experimenting with if you can afford to do so. But whatever happens - stay off the crags. It is also worth wearing a helmet or face guard as well as taping-up hammer, adze and spikes.

Me Training at the pleasure dome Saltdean

4 Shoulder presses / dumbbell raises
Lifting your axes repatedly can cause a chronic shoulder pump to set in and these exercises, performed with very light weight for high reps (30-60) can help you do something about it. Both are performed seated; for the shoulder press simply raise a barbell behind your head and with the dumbells, lift them out to the side or the front with straight arms -as high as you can!

5 Tricep extensions
How fatiguing is hacking out a placement on brittle water ice? To make it all feel easier, this exercise is performed with a dumbell behind the head, one arm at a time, by simply raising the forearm and lowering it, keeping the upper arm still and vertical.

Note: for those who don't have access to weights - press-ups and parallel bar dips are ideal alternatives.

6.Wrist Curls.
The most demoralising thing of all is when your pick fires off sideways because you're too wasted to keep your wrist straight when making a placement. To combat 'jelly wrist', use a dumbbell or barbell either seated with wrists placed on the knee or kneeling with the wrists on a padded bench. Simply roll the bar up and down for as many reps as possible, experimenting with both under and an overhand grips for balanced development.

7. Leg conditioning and aerobic
The following exrcises are essential! Calf raises are performed on a step by simply going up and down on your toes until you can't take the pain any longer - no need to explain why they help. Skipping is perhaps the most specific body conditioning exercise for ice climbing, producing that familiar burm in shoulders and calves simultaneously. For those long walk-ins, needless to say running and cycling are all recommended to help you arrive in a fit state to climb.

8. 'Death sets'
Seeing as winter climbing is such a total body pump, you can combine any of the above exercises into horrendous circuit training style super-sets to produce the ultimate training affect. For example a favourite of mine is to do 10 ice axe pull-ups, 10 press-ups and then skip for a minute to recover. Do this 4 or 5 times consecutively (no cheating rests in between) and then take a full 10 minute breather before doing it again, and again, and again.....!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Autumn has arrived

Blue skies and a cold autumns breeze greeted us today has we headed to guilimot Swanage, It was defiantly a day for the synthetic to come out of the wardrobe but has soon has we got round to the cliff top and out of the brisk wind the weather was perfect. Sunny and cold... There were quite a few of us out today, I was going to climb with Paul and stick to some easy stuff due to my recent injury, Phil was teamed up with Alan and Paul, James and Andre climbed in a three, these guys geared up and headed off to climb the steep corner of Zo Zo, Phil and Alan headed down to climb Mistaken identity and myself and Paul headed down to Ledgend, This was Paul's first time into guilimot so I decided to let him get used to it on something easy. Anyway we climbed on up Ledgend with no problems at all. We then headed on back down to climb tensor II, this is a nice VS5a that I've climbed many times before but thought it would be nice for Paul to have a go, Anyway we climbed on up with no problems, Paul did have a bit of bother trying to remove a cam from under the roof section but with determination and strength he managed to pull on through,although my injury was giving me grief the second pitch went smoothly with some really nice climbing. we both safely arrived at the top just in time for some lunch, Phil and Alan had just got back of yellow wall and the others were making there way up ledgend.

Time was running out so we decided to call it a day and head on home, Overall a really nice days climbing with some nice company.

Pitch 1 of Ledgend

The cake monster!

Abbing into Guilimot Swanage

Paul coming up the second pitch of Tensor II

Sillouitte of a fat man

Phil Finishing of "Vampire Direct" E1

Swanage sunset

The end to a good day

Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are
naught without prudence, and that a momentary negliance may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; Look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end