It’s the last weekend in March again and in time honoured tradition that stretches back to this time last year, it’s a goal-setting, New Years Post.
If we go right back twelve months, it’s been an up-and-down year. On the one hand, 7c+ fell, there was another fantsastic Font trip and the trip of a lifetime to Sweden to keep the birthday tradition alive. Meanwhile, there’s been a major drop in standards through a major drop in psyche and big gaps in between sessions.
Through all of this, it’s hard to look past the fact i’ve had a baby. On the 10th February, myself and my amazing, wonderful partner – who had accompanied me on the return leg of the Sweden trip no less – had our equally wonderful baby girl, Rosie. While that’s pretty late in the year to exaplain a drop in standards and psyche, any parent will tell you how trying pregnancy can be on your social life and spare time and there’s no way i’d trade Em and Rosie for any climb.
It has meant that expectations have needed to be tempered. It turns out Em was pregnant as far back as mid-May so even in Goteborg and Gavle, she was carrying our child. No wonder she wasn’t feeling well! And of course, once your ability wanes, it affects your psyche too. A list that was formerly inspiring became quickly deflating.
This hasn’t stopped me from hitting some high points and most notable of all have been my results in the indoor competition scene this winter. Whichever way you look at it, second in the Indy Aggregate is nothing to be sniffed at and second in their Massive Monday Series too is no weak achievement.
Those two trips really were two of the best as well. Font in April yielded the sit start to Carnage 7c and Divine Decadence 7b+ both of which old projects that i’m super stoked to get finished, especially on another great week with Simon. I love travelling with him and moving through Sweden with one of my best friends before meeting another of my best friends, Fredrik, then being united with my girlfriend was surely one of the best adventures i’ve ever had. Both will live long in the memory.
So before i’m too hard on myself, let’s have a look at how we’ve actually fared.
Final edition of the #massivemonday series at the #indyclimbingwall and it's volumes. And it's brutal. No one finished the full 20 problems, I did particularly badly but a lot of the strong #climbers didn't show so I may not have done that badly. If they had, I'd be screwed: the #northwalesbouldering scene isn't exactly short of beasts… #bouldering #Climbing #indoorclimbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram thanks to dave noden for snapping the picture of me not looking too bad on a hard problem
Last Season’s Goals:
- SPA Assessment
- Top Five in the Indy Aggregate
- At least one 8a climb
- Create a coaching philosophy
And how did it go?
We’ve already touched on a lot of these and the second goal was absolutely smashed – more through luck than judgment but nevertheless. That one is a huge big tick well done.
That pesky SPA Assessment continues to linger on but steps have been taken towards it and with the prospect of some paid coaching work, is now much more pressing. While i try and figure out the new direction my life is about to take, this is about to become much more urgent. I just need to continue onwards.
That 8a actually looks further away now than at the start of the season but again, we’ve mitigated that slightly in the opening paragraphs. As we’ve seen in recent years most notably with the economies of the world’s leading nations, growth and progress will not continue exponentially forever, there will always be a crash eventually and in a weird parallel metaphor, i think that’s what i’ve experienced. While i’m not worried, now it’s time to rebuild and come back even stronger. The goals below will hopefully reflect this.
Another one from the other day in #Beddgelert #forest at #bosscuvier trying to figure out the beta – and the line, come to think of it! Couldn't quite fathom out the guide… #northwales #northwalesbouldering #worldclasswales #Wales #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram
As for the coaching philosophy, that has not quite materialised; largely as i’ve completely forgotten about it! I have, however, become heavily engaged in weekly coaching with a great group of kids and consolidated my teaching methods nicely. Perhaps that should’ve read “Coach regularly” as i feel in a much better place now to write such a philosophy.
So one outstanding win, one abject fail and two somewhere in between. To be honest, that’s a pretty good result, considering and shows some real intelligence when it comes to actually setting these goals. I’d forgotten until now the goals i’d actually set (maybe something to address there) and was fully expecting to flop. That is definitely not the case.
Complete them all with ease and they’re too easy. Fail absolutely and the whole thing becomes equally pointless. The point of this is to push the limits and in that, last season’s objectives seem pretty good.
It's a funny thing, ethics in #bouldering. Does a dab void an #ascent if it doesn't help you? Or in this case, can you say you've done a #climb if you don't top it out? This is me on Full Contact 7b in #vastervik where the crux is definitely the first two moves. I nailed these pretty quick and got as high as i was happy to go. But I didn't top it out. Easy moves, just a little high for me. So you decide. But whether i did it or not, it was a stunning line. #sweden #swedenbouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbingrocks #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_photos_of_instagram
2017 Spring/Summer Goals – short term
While i’d love to say get out there and start using this newly regained strength, the fact is my life is different and i need to adjust to it first. My first priority from now forever more is going to be to Rosie. Climbing is going to have to come further down the list.
That doesn’t mean i don’t want to still get out and achieve, just that i need to find out how to do that.
#startemyoung little rosie at the crag for the first time! Shame it was #parisellascave on a grim and wet day but you know, it's a start! And at five weeks old, a nice early start at that #northwales #northwalesbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #baby
Meanwhile, the List needs revision; although not actually as much as i’d initially thought. Nevertheless, removing some of the lines that don’t actually suit me or inspire will help bring it back on task and adding some slightly easier stuff will give me something more realistic to go at. Most importantly of all, finding baby-friendly venues is going to be key; especially as she’s so small!
Then it’s just a case of ticking stuff off. I’m still keen to get hard ticks in but setting the bar too high will lead to failure of the not-so-good kind. 7c seems a realistic short term goal.
- Find out how to climb with Rosie around
- Go climbing and make the most of the chances
- Reset the list and get rid of the dross
- 7c outside – most likely Nazgul’s Traverse
I'm starting to think about outdoor #bouldering again, for the first time in a while, and this is definitely one of the lines that springs to mind: #nazgulstraverse at #rhiwgoch I've certainly suffered a dip in form after a summer hiatus but it's coming back, slowly but shortly. If I can sneak a dry day or two, might have to go test myself and see just how much more training is needed to finally get this little 7c tick finally done #snowdonia #worldclasswales #northwales #northwalesbouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #meclimbing
2017 Spring/Summer goals – season long
If I’ve not at least had an SPA Assessment by the end of the summer, there needs to be a good explanation. This could be my future and continually putting it off simply isn’t good enough any more.
Meanwhile, it would be really nice to get another 7c+ done this season. My solitary climb at that grade to date is oft noted as hard for the grade so perhaps being a bit more savvy about what to go at may be key but certainly getting something new done will be a good achievement. More would obviously be better.
This will undoubtedly be best achieved by going climbing. Once i’ve sussed out the baby friendly crags, The List will be re-written and the ticks should hopefully begin to fall. Aiming for a top ten yearly average of around the 7b/+ mark would be a fair goal and would hopefully tempt me back outside. The new guide will help if it’s out before the season ends!
So proud of my wonderful girlfriend @emks93 for her first foreign boulder problem in #troje today! With some help from @fredrikfa88 as our local your guide in #Gävle. It's been a fabulous week here but tomorrow, time to start heading home, to whatever mess we'll find there. The #greatswedishboulderingtour hits the road once more. #Sweden #sverige #Swedishbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_photos_of_instagram #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_is_my_passion #meclimbing #thisgirlcan #mygirlfriendclimbs
Meanwhile, the Birthday Tradition has become very dear to me. Seven years old now, i would be thrilled to be able to carry this on and to take my family would top it off beautifully. With Ireland on the cards and Rosie’s passport in the works, it seems a likely success but important enough to warrant inclusion.
I’d always said i’d never marry anyone who’d never been to Font (or watched the Italian Job) and while we called in on the way home from Sweden after a bit of a dog related epic, taking my daughter would make my year. It also serves nicely as an introduction to camping on the continent with the family: somewhere i know well, incredibly family friendly, it doesn’t really need much explanation. A trip is penned for September, it’s just a case of making it happen.
Well I didn't see this coming! After a small administrative problem at the port yesterday, involving the dog's passport (she's absolutely fine), we weren't allowed to take her back across the channel for another 8 days… With huge help from my folks, yet again, we're now sailing home tomorrow night, but with nothing better to do until then, the #greatswedishboulderingtour has ended up being concluded in #fontainebleau… On the bright side a) I got to show @emks93 the #forest for the first time! b) she got her first #font problem done! c) I got another day of #bouldering in, at one of my favourite venues anywhere #rocherauxsabots d) we're in fontainebleau… Lacking a guidebook, we struggled to get anything done really but I did have a good blast at this: #smash 7b. More importantly, Emily is quite taken with here so we'll soon be back. Silver linings to a complicated end to a stunning trip! #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_photos_of_instagram #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_is_my_passion
Away from the personal focus, my coaching seems to be developing nicely and keeping this going and growing could even lead to something really big. With options awaiting us regarding work and childcare, coaching could be a nice little addition so developing this is a must over the next six months ready for the winter season.
But most importantly of all is Em. It is critical to keep her in mind through all of this and not put other priorities ahead of her. Going climbing is hugely important to me but nowhere near as much as she is. Remembering that and not risking the relationship for any climb matters more than anything. Thankfully, she’s wonderful, understanding and keen to get out too. Between us, i think we’ll be okay.
- SPA Assessment
- Another 7c+
- Top ten yearly average around 7b/+
- Continue the birthday tradition
- Get to Font
- Start to develop the coaching into something more
- Don’t jeopardise your relationship for climbing…
All of this needs to be put into context but i honestly think that this has been taken into account when setting these goals. They’re all realistic and if something crazy does happen (like simply not getting onto an SPA course or Rosie not allowing me out to play) then that will be understood in October.
Now all is left is to get out and get it done! Things only happen if you make them happen, even more so with a child in tow. The plan is set, next comes the action.
Happy New Year!