Tag Archives: coaching

About to Pop

The storm that grabbed the headlines at the back end of last week certainly affected us here in North Wales. Friday night saw a landslide in the Ogwen valley just below Bochlwyd Buttress, what must’ve been shortly before i drove past en route to the Indy. Standing water aplenty and flooding, it was a grim night and the chaos got worse when a tree came down in Nant Peris, closing the pass. For anyone that knows the area, you’ll understand quite how difficult that makes it to get anywhere around here!

With the Brittania bridge likely closed, i inadvertently joined the traffic in Bangor and soon decided by the time i got to the Indy, it would time to go home so sacked it off instead.

So last night’s Mill session was my first in nearly a week and truth be told, i couldn’t get going. I am finding it hard to dig up that usual enthusiasm lately, especially as the Indy seems to have at least delayed the start of the annual Aggregate competition or at worst, decided to take a year off.

If they have opted for a break, i can certainly empathise. Two-and-a-half years ago, i hit my peak (to date at least) by climbing Jerry’s Problem 7c+ at Sheep Pen and my grade has slowly dropped ever since. My focus has simply shifted and my dedication waned.

It is nigh on impossible to keep up that motivation year after year. I’ve had lulls in the past and always come back stronger. Perhaps it is the same for the Indy, who have got plenty going on. One of their full time members of staff is off for a prolonged climbing tour around the States, they’ve only just finished remodelling a large section of the wall. It is totally understandable.

And it is much the same for me. There is plenty going on for me at the moment.

In Other News

I am now officially a small business owner! After finally completing a group-management style Instructor Award with Mountain Training UK, i can now officially start up my own coaching business proper.

It took quite a lot of thought to come up with a name but eventually i took inspiration from my landmark first ascent, Prowess and called the business Prowess Climbing Coaching. Certificates and insurance and in the pipeline and then i’ll be on the lookout for clients.

It is a dream job for me; a combination of the best of my skills and abilities (including tea drinking) and a natural extension of my Masters. I have had a lot of positive feedback in the few years i’ve been coaching and thoroughly enjoy it like no other job i’ve ever had.

Progress will likely be slow going to begin with, so i ask any reader: if you know anyone who would be interested in rock climbing coaching, please pass them my details. All sessions are currently bespoke to the requirements of the client and while i’m based in North Wales, i am happy to travel (subject to conditions, obviously).

About to Pop

If all that wasn’t enough, our second child is expected any day now. Literally every phone call and every text message when we’re apart widens my eyes that this might be it. Mornings and evenings are spent wondering whether this will be the day and the last thought that goes through my head before i sleep every night is whether i’ll be woken before morning.

People have asked me whether i’m excited and i reply: i switch between utterly terrified and mildly nervous. It’s a weird paradox too, between wanting to have the baby soon and wanting to eek out the last little bit of “normal” time we have before true chaos ensues. I’m pretty sure that goes for both of us.

For me, the worry comes when thinking about Rosie. Our first daughter has, so far, been tantamount to the perfect child – or as close as i could reasonably hope to get – and remains utterly wonderful. She’s happy, bubbly, playful and friendly, sleeps and eats well, everything you could hope for as a parent. The idea of throwing a newborn into that mix is more nerving than attempting a trad climb; and it’s not as if i can take off the harness and walk away this time.

Last time i could hide behind the countless people telling us we had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for. Now, i have no such refuge; i know exactly how harrowing childbirth is (again, for both of us) and know exactly what it’s like once mother and baby are home.

I make this sound a lot worse than it is. Having Rosie is undoubtedly one of the best things that has ever happened to me, infinitely more important than any rock climb. Having a second was something we both always wanted and i know, in my head and in my heart, that in a few years time, once the initial insanity of babies has settled, we will have a gorgeous little family. After all, give it a while and Rosie will need a spotter…

View this post on Instagram

I came across this picture from many moons back, taken by good friend Mike Pinches on our way to #fontainebleau on the French motorways. It seemed the perfect #metaphor for our lives at the moment: the #anticipation of something utterly #beautiful and amazing, with such beauty in of itself, about to spark into such #life and #promise. You #marvel in the moment, #eager to see what is about to become but nervous it might not turn out as expected or hoped. Our second child is due any day now and much like a sunrise on a beautiful day, anything could happen. This #sunrise began a spectacular trip that would change my life forever. The sunrise we're about to #experience will be much the same.

A post shared by Chez de la Bloc (@edwards.pete) on


Finding Shelter

I took no photos this week, despite dragging my camera with me everywhere i went, so in the interests of making this a little nicer on the reader, i’ve included some old ones that you may have seen and that are relevant. 


Okay so the last post ended with me sat contented under The Witch enjoying a smoke and a biscuit. So what happened next?

In my previous post, i’d been a little higher and found a small cluster of problems not previously explored, near Lotus. As it turns out, Lotus is an extension to another problem, Meadow Roof 6c+ and there are a few other excellent options there, so i trotted up the hill to see if i can get a few more ticks in my guidebook.

After deciphering the problems of Meadow Crack 6c and Killer Weed 6c+, they were quickly dispatched, sadly not as a flash but done nonetheless. Meadow Crack was actually one of the problems i’d completed last time, albeit adjusting the finish slightly to avoid foliage and dampness.

Then it was up to Meadow Roof and a bit of an ethical conundrum: i’d done the first move already while trying Lotus so was the flash still on? I reasoned that as it wasn’t hard, it probably was and i had flashed that move the previous time. The point became moot very quickly though when i bottled it, the pad being behind me, and fluffed said move on the first go… Second go and despite a mildly sketchy topout, the problem was done and i was back down on the pad, enjoying a drink and eating biscuits.

It did cross my mind to spend some time getting on something else but i felt done to be honest; a convenient time to call it a day as it were. While not as successful as i’d hoped after ticking off The Witches Knickers, it was a good session regardless and i walked down smiling at my own good fortune.

Once down in the valley floor, i quickly checked out two potential projects: Jerry’s Wall 7a (7b sit start) and Twilight of the Idols 7c+. The former required a spotter, the latter more pads so i quickly had a look at the holds and called it a day, heading back for a bit of a rest before that evenings coaching session at the Beacon.

I’ve suddenly been coaching quite a lot, after completing the Foundation Coach Training at the back end of last year. There was nothing for about two months and then i seem to be doing at least two sessions a week! This particular one was with a Rock Chicks group at the Beacon, helping out a friend of mine and was the second session with the same group. It did not go well…

I’m learning as i go along with coaching, refining my skills and learning the best teaching methods for each type of student. With this group, as i’d already met them, i wanted to try putting some structure in place. The problem was that i hadn’t met them before – only some of them – and the ability level ranged from someone with fantastic technique and great ability to some who were just learning to belay…

I won’t go into a big analysis here, i’ve done that elsewhere but leave it to say my mind was on something else, and it just didn’t work. And it was coming: a first bad session will always come eventually. The group didn’t seem phased and thanked me greatly for my help, Clare (who runs the group) was very pleased and i left to think through how to move forward from it. And you get your biggest lessons from the sessions that didn’t work!

It’s led to me coining the phrase Snippet Coaching – a type of coaching where you allow the group to climb as they normally would, maybe choosing the discipline, and dip in and out with tips, tricks and refinements to improve small aspects of technique. [There is probably already a term for this but i like my own one if i’m honest.] For a large or varied group, it seems to be the most effective way to coach, albeit with a large potential to lead people down the wrong path. i’ll sit down soon and write down some guiding principles to keep things on track.

It works as well, as Wednesday i did my first dedicated Snippet Coaching session with Gerwyn and his social group. It was spot on and i climbed with a youngster called Cian, tweaking and suggesting as we both went along. It allowed for a much more flowing session, allowing us to just take the path that seemed most natural at the time. It also means there’s much less prep involved…

So you throw all these things into the mix – a successful outdoor session, a great learning experience from a shit coaching session and a great coaching session to show me i’m on the right idea – and then include a fantastic indoor session at the climbing wall at Plas y Brenin, where i ticked two long standing projects, and a happy personal life as well, and right now, there’s not really much else you could add into the mix to make me much happier. I seem to be on a roll and long may it continue!