I’d been meaning on writing a moaning piece; a wingeing, complaining feel-sorry-for-me diatribe on roasting heat, failing standards and an inability to do what i wanted.
Then i finished work on Tuesday night and left for home. Not thirty seconds out of the drive, i took in the view – one i see daily but rarely stop to appreciate. I saw the green of the grass, the still water of the lake, the crags on the hill above me, even the rust on the barbed wire of the fence that often fails to pen the sheep successfully and thought next week, this will be Sweden. Then just as suddenly, and? What’s wrong with this?
I'm certain this will forever go down as one of my favourite #pictures of me and @emks93 Yesterday we were walking back on a #stunning day, fresh from our #bouldering exploits, a pad each and I took a leaf from her book and took a #selfie which captured the mood perfectly. Less than a week and I'll be on my way to Sweden, where Em will come meet me a week later for the road trip back. Can't wait now! #girlfriend #worldclasswales #Wales #cymru #snowdonia #northwales #northwalesbouldering #mygirlfriendclimbs #rockclimbing #climbing #thisgirlcan #meclimbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_photos_of_instagram
Now Thursday, and i’m a bit lost as to what to write about!
I can’t deny that my standards have dropped significantly recently – not three months ago, i ticked my first V10 and now struggle on 7b+ – and, with climbing being my underlying reason for being, have been a little down of late. The problem with all your eggs in one basket is when that basket gets a whole, you’ve lost all your eggs.
Part of the issue is evidently in my head. I’m lacking psyche and commitment; something i alluded to in my last post. This hasn’t changed since then, although i am now a lot more aware of it.
And while i’m not normally one for blaming conditions for poor performance, it has been so ludicrously hot lately that even sitting around at work means bathing in clothes soaked with your own sweat! When even walking in to the crag is a feat of human endeavour, it’s not really a surprise i’m not climbing at my peak lately!
This has also led to a drop in strength and if i’m honest, the idea of mid-summer training in the wall is almost soul destroying. I don’t remember the last time it rained, i should be outside! Making the most of it! Which then leads to feelings of guilt. And this has led me on to a mild epiphany.
After a brief hiatus, I was finally back on it last night, at last doing something fitting to share! Here, Glyn #gurnforglory on #corridorsofpower 7c+ in the #llanberispass – a #bouldering problem now on the list without having been scouted out previously… With a lack of rules yet for said list, I can't decide whether I can remove something without having done it. Thankfully, this looks #sweet and I'm #psyched to get back up there! #worldclasswales #snowdonia #northwales #northwalesbouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_photos_of_instagram #meclimbing
Truth be told, i took a few weeks off climbing. At first, this was due to a weird niggle in my right arm but then developed into not particularly wanting to go out! And do you know what? The world didn’t end, i didn’t spontaneously combust, nothing happened! In fact, i just found myself enjoying being alive in weather that wasn’t soaking me from above on a daily basis.
I spent more time with Emily, just living (and moving her into the house, progressively) and walking the dog, teaching her to swim. I’ve detached myself so much from climbing these past few weeks, i voluntarily gave up a spare evening alone to faff around the house and take Tess down to the lagoons for some swimming. And it felt great!
Not that i’ve stopped entirely, with two notable sessions. An old friend, Glyn, got in touch to see if i was keen for a blast on Corridors of Power 7c+/8a. With it now being on the list, i thought i’d give it a blast, scout it out, see what it’s like. It was also nice to support a friend on a project.
It went well, although i’m still not strong or confident. Maybe that’s the key for now – find out the beta on climbs while i’m struggling? Or perhaps sticking to focusing on a few is a better idea? Not sure. I do know we had a great evening before being chased away by midge – another issue with summer bouldering in North Wales.
The other excellent session was with Emily. We’d talked about doing more with ourselves and it occurred that a prolonged dry spell like this opens up the mountain crag, Cwm Dyli. It’s not so much the rock that needs to dry out, it’s the approach and as we romped across the hillside, I reveled in the fact the ground was bone dry.
Super #proud of my super cool #girlfriend today who not only made the half an hour romp across the barren tussocks on #snowdon to come with me to #cwmdyli but also donned #rock boots and nailed her first #outdoor V1 today! Flash with ease as well. Nice one @emks93! #snowdonia #worldclasswales #northwales #northwalesbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_photos_of_instagram #thisgirlcan #meclimbing
I didn’t actually get much done, and nothing new – the intended V8 being a lot harder to fathom than i’d expected. Far more importantly though was the success Em enjoyed! She flashed her first V1 with relative ease, after some demo and beta from me and then, just as importantly, tried something harder and experimented with different positions and grips. What’s crucial is after failing, she got back up and tried it again.
If you asked her, Emily would say she’s not much of a climber but she does get out there and try things, and is willing to give it a blast every now and again. We’ve only climbed a couple of times together a couple of times but i have been taken by how technically good she is – honestly. I’ve seen much more dedicated climbers struggle to grasp concepts she just does naturally. On our little session, I was very impressed and proud of her and thrilled she’s coming out and joining me at the crag. Even more importantly, she wants to join in and that makes all the difference.
Most importantly of all, i’ve learned over the last few weeks that when the weather is nice, it’s good to be alive. It doesn’t matter that i’m not climbing hard things, it’s just pleasant being here. This is why we live here after all! So that when the weather is nice like this, we’re already here. Going back to our opening sentence, why would you want to be anywhere else?
Less than a week to go before the Great Swedish Tour of 2016 begins and being as I'm not doing much between now and then, I thought I'd build some #psyche with some #photos of old. This is one of the oldest ones, from the island of #hönö of me on a climb called Den Gamle Och Havet 7b+ (roughly translated as the old man and the sea, if I remember rightly) Note the distinct lack of guns – I'm hoping to get back on it this time around, now it's a more amenable grade for me! #throwback #sweden #göteborg #swedishbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_photos_of_instagram
Not that any of this recent zest for life in North Wales has quelled any of my longstanding wanderlust. My ferry is now booked for Monday morning, 00:50 and from there the adventure begins. It’s a tale of foreign friends and familiar faces, of miles of driving and bouldering all over Southern Sweden.
I’m past the point of nervousness now and am itching to get going. Granted, i have a long and lonesome first stage – driving to Kobnhavn alone to meet Simon – but from there, i shouldn’t be alone much.
There’s a host of venues i’m hoping to hit, for at least a day or two: Kjugekull, Vastervik, Gavle, Stockholm, Hono, it’s gonna be a proper little road trip! But with standards being what they are, and my annual goal of a foreign 7c being done and dusted, i’m going to put a cap on projects for this one at 7b+ to try and stop me wasting time on things i’m unlikely to succeed on. If i can get a brace of 7b, it’ll push my annual average up as it is, and a few 7b+ will push that still further.
But that isn’t the goal for this one. It’s a fact finding tour, a chance to experience some new and cool places, to see some old friends and to generally chill out, recover a bit and have a good time. That starts Sunday night. In the meantime, just rest it out i guess. Oh and pack at some point…
#Contemplating. This shot continues the build up to The Great Swedish Tour of 2016 and is from back in September 2011. It says it all about the swedes that this is Jonas and we met earlier that same day at a tram stop! To be true, I've never spoken to him since but we had a great day in #Utby and he is yet another testament to the open and friendly nature of this great country #Sweden #swedishbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_photos_of_instagram #climbing_pictures_of_instagram