Tag Archives: llanberis

Coping Around Covid: How I’m Trying To Make the Best of It

We all know the current global situation and it is not worth me even offering a summary; this has affected you, me and everyone around us. Despite it all, though, i’m actually feeling fairly optimistic and am definitely having a damn good stab of making this work for me. I thought i’d share how.

How the situation has affected me

As a professional climbing coach, once the walls shut, i effectively had no clients. I don’t currently offer outdoor work as part of my courses and while exceptions can – and indeed were – made, we all know this didn’t last long; the hordes coming to my local area not exactly helping the situation.

In an attempt to keep going, i have and continue to to offer online consultations (click here for more information), but this has had very little take up. It seems there is currently next to no work for a climbing coach in the early stages of building a business.

Those early stages have also negated any government help in terms of self-employed schemes. I’ll be honest and say i have been very impressed with the various methods the government has tried to protect it’s citizens incomes and there are so many different types of earner out there, it was always going to be an impossible task to cover EVERYONE. I’m just one of those that has fallen through the cracks.

Still, as above, time at home to work on the business is certainly a good thing, if done the right way and as long as i don’t make a substantial loss, i should be in a good position to come back pretty much where i left off – hopefully even stronger – once life returns to normal.

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I finally dug out the gymnastics rings that have been kicking around the house (two houses, they moved with us nearly three years ago) asking with some coach bolts, some hangers and a couple of old karabiners and put them up in our unusually (he suddenly very useful) very tall kitchen today; new additions to the home training facilities. Only taken a global pandemic and nationwide lock down to get around to it… If this is what it takes to stop the urge to go out, to not socialise for a short while and to remind me of the sacrifices made by so many wonderful people around the country working tirelessly to fight this virus then so be it. Not that we should need reminding: these people have always been there and deserve a round of applause such as they received this week every week of the year. Perhaps some of the good of this difficult situation is that we start appreciating people more and stop taking our lives for granted. Wishing the best of health to all. Thanks to @emks93 for taking the pictures and apologies for the starter of our kitchen. . . . #northwales #worldclasswales #northwalesbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #grimpeur #escalada #escalade #Climbing #climbing_photos_of_instagram #climbing_is_my_passion #climbinglife #athometraining #hometraining #gymrings

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Caring About My Clients

This is based on a core client base who are all great people and will likely come back when they can. They have all worked with me for a while and all deserve some attention right now. Looking after my regular clients as best i can isn’t just good business sense, it’s the decent thing to do and something i didn’t think twice about.

It needn’t be much and i’m cautious of badgering people; more just to inform them i’m around if they need me. Occasional check ins and some snippets of useful information, such as the New Years concept, are all that’s needed. For small businesses, this really is the bread and butter of customer service and one of the big advantages. It should not be overlooked

Building Online Presence

While my core clients are highly valued, the fact is i need more in the future to sustain the business. This downtime, with most people trawling the internet, is a great time to reach out to new climbers.

My business mainly relies on two things: a website (click here) and a Facebook page (click here). I’ve also utilised my own personal Vimeo page but am considering changing to YouTube for more traffic, opinions welcome on this. So as long as i’ve got good and useful things to say, this is a great opportunity to plug my services far and wide.

Cue the At Home Exercises series of videos, dotted up and down the page. These have been shared pretty much everywhere that is appropriate and the Facebook likes have leapt up with 44 new likes in the last 28 days, a 4300% rise. Turning this into actual paid work will have to wait – obviously – but for now, the more i can build this, the better i’ll be using my time. Please do help and share videos and posts as much as possible.

27 Crags

One job i have that i’ve put on the back burner has been creating online topos for 27 crags; the Finnish website that covers crags all over the world who got in touch with me to work on the North Wales section of their site.

In the last few days before total lockdown was announced, i quickly went out and got some photos of one of the local crags in Beddgelert on a walk with the kids, ready to spend time working on this once we were locked in. Annoyingly, i didn’t work hard enough at this and wish now that i’d gone out to every crag i could and got as many photos as possible. Alas, this can’t be helped and i’ve had to make do trawling the archives for suitable images.

It’s worked though, including my forethought way back in 2011 when i was at Cwm Dyli and got photos ready to do just this. There are now 11 Premium crags maintained by my group with more to come in the next few days.

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One of the best bouldering venues in North Wales, Sheep Pen, is published in Premium! 💎 Even though Sheep Pen has a bit of an heavy approach, it's a must even for passing tourists. Once at the boulders, you will be rewarded with excellent quality rock and routes. 💪 Download the app from link in bio and check full info! 🙌 #27crags #rockfirstplasticsecond . . These great topos are made by @edwards.pete 💪 📸: Charlotte Evans . . [NOTE 17/03/2020: Please respect the official guidances regarding hygiene, traveling, social gatherings and climbing due to the COVID-19.] . . . #northwales #sheeppen #boulderinguk #ukbouldering #ukclimbing #climbinguk #bouldering #bouldern #arrampicata #escalada #escalade #klättra #klettern #klatring #rockclimbing #climbing #bouldering_pictures_of_instagram #climbingapp #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #iloveclimbing #bouldering_came_first #climbingpics #onbouldering

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Writing More

Despite my lack of posts on here, i have been writing feverishly whenever there is a lull in the crying around the house (more on that in a minute). So far, i have articles queued up with Chalkbloc, the Professional Mountaineer and possibly ukclimbing, with more still to come.

There will be more on the Prowess website too, assuming i get the chance. Weirdly, articles for the website have taken a back seat in favour of spreading the word elsewhere and desperately trying to find some paid articles. Still, anything published is a good thing for sure and it’s great to develop these channels further. Publishers welcome for my upcoming pieces.

Time With the Kids and Job on the House

In a normal week, there’s only so much time i get to spend with the kids, especially with tying this in with work and jobs on the house. This is a golden opportunity to make the most of this time to do both.

Almost immediately, i got to work: i cut and split to massive pile of wood in the garden that’s been there for months; i emptied, organised and lined the walls of the shed, that’s again been waiting for weeks for some free time; and i painted the outside of the kitchen, recruiting Rosie to help me out along the way.

We are allowed one GADE (Government Approved Daily Exercise) per day and spending that exploring different parts of the village with Rosie and Hannah has actually been really nice. Granted, it would be nice to be able to travel a little further but actually, given where we live, it’s been nice to stay local and remove the stresses and logistics that come with packing everything into the car that every parent will know only too well.

Finishing Study

This hasn’t really taken off yet but it will very soon i’m sure. My masters degree was due to finish in June and being forced back inside has removed the temptation to go climbing instead of studying. I’m on the final module now, the thesis, and it will be crucial to now crack on and get this done and finished.

I still can’t quite believe that i’m so close to achieving this and whatever happens with graduation, will be thrilled when it is done. Anyone who knows my past will know i did not do well with my undergrad degree, failing the finals, and this Professional degree has offered me a chance of redemption. Granted, trying to do this while having a young family and starting my own business has not been ideal but i’ve passed every hurdle along the way with aplomb and am so close to finally having letters after my name.

As time ticks along, this will become a greater priority and in a funny sort of way, i could do with the lockdown actually lasting longer to get this done. Not that i’m wishing for that in any possible way; i’d rather rely on self-control than curfew to get my thesis finished.

Learning More About My Weak Points

As much as i am a movement specialist and professional climbing coach, my knowledge in the strength and conditioning side of coaching isn’t as good as it could – or possibly should – be. That is until now.

I’ve got the books, just haven’t had the time or the inclination to read them, digest them and learn what i need to know. Now, i have no excuses and have been using this time to learn about agonists, ATP, fast twitch muscle fibres, disinhibition and so much more.

What’s more, with my academic connections, i have the unusual ability to be able to really dig deep into the science of training and develop a much deeper understanding of principles. Watch this space.

Getting Strong and Working Antagonists

Of course, i’m working on my own weaknesses too, having found and installed the gym rings i’ve owned for years in the kitchen ceiling. Today, i’m still aching from the Covid 100 challenge (100 press ups, pull ups, sit ups and squats) two days ago. The plan is to build muscle mass not only where i need it but also the antagonists to prevent further injury.

I’m also hoping this extended break will calm the tendon injury in my elbow that has plagued me all year. More research will be needed and more exercises completed as it is not improving (and not helped by the aforementioned work on the house) but hopefully, i can get it nice and strong again ready for the open door later in the year.

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For those living far away from the mountains of North Wales, rest assured they're still here and still the same. For those of us right on the doorstep, they are similarly off limits and today's GADE (Government Approved Daily Exercise) was pretty much down the main road, one short footpath aside. Many of the locals' signs discouraging anyone from from venturing into the hills remain, and clearly they are being strictly followed by all. It seems that even for those of us within walking distance of the pass are staying home, just as requested. Just in case you wondered if we were making hay while the crowds are away. #stayhome . . . #GADE #worldclasswales #NorthWales #snowdonia #snowdon #snowdonianationalpark #ilivehere #lifeinlockdown

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Summary: Making the Most Of This Time

I have certainly had itchy feet and a bit of cabin fever over the past week or so but writing this post has helped to make me realise quite how much i’ve actually done, less than two weeks into lockdown. I keep being told to pace myself and not go too mad but this pace is working, and working incredibly well.

We never know what is around the corner, what might happen with life in the next phase. The old TV show Stingray was actually remarkably on point: anything can happen in the next half hour.

We have a choice: mope or adapt. We could sit here and lament what is missing in our lives or we can make an assessment and see how we can use this situation to our advantage. This isn’t house arrest, this is an opportunity and only the strongest of us will use the next few months and weeks to put ourselves in a better position than we were before. The question now is which choice will you make.


Please remember to follow government advice/requests to help combat the coronavirus and save lives. The hills will still be there when all this is done. Stay home and stay safe. 


Summer Indecision

The summer holidays have begun nationwide and that, as usual, brings with it both English people and poor weather to the mountains of North Wales. It’s on and off, the typical relentless drizzle that does give cause for hope that by the time you’ve finished work, it will be dry. For me, that causes massive indecision and generally amounts to not getting a lot done.

Going indoors seems a bit of a crime, considering it’s light out and if you can, you should be working on the latest project but quite often, that approach leads to achieving nothing more than a lot of walk ins and deteriorating strength levels.

Nevertheless, outside i head, continually, in hope of getting one or two things done. As much as i try never to use it as an excuse, summer bouldering in North Wales also means that conditions are generally poor. When on the grit the other week, i herd someone suggesting to work your projects in the summer and find them easier in the winter. While tempting, i seem to be just going for whichever crag is likely to have dodged the last shower or dried out quickest, or shaded from sun and midge, or whatever.

So off i trudged to go and try Shocker 7b+ down at Beddgelert forest. Turns out i judged it all wrong, being eaten alive, forgetting my tobacco and needing a second pad. Frustrating though the short session was, i was glad i went and the flash on Shocker remained on, even if the adjacent crimp-fest Houdini 7a had spat me off once or twice.

It did lead to a touch of innovation though. Determined to return and thinking Shocker might go first go, being a carbon copy of Dinos Don’t Dyno in Magic Wood, i had to figure out a way of getting two pads up there. Beddgelert Forest is mainly served by well maintained gravel tracks so, from work, i borrowed a couple of canoe trolleys and some large straps and managed to fashion my most ingenious creation.

The bouldering mat trolley of genius
The bouldering mat trolley of genius


Despite my ingenuity and a rather smug feeling, i couldn’t get any power out of my feet, suffering from exactly the same problem as Simon did on Dinos. In fairness, the feet are a lot harder to figure out in Switzerland and the hands not quite as good but even so, i did find it a bit ironic i was coaching Simon a fortnight ago and was now in need of his advice…

On the bright side, Houdini went and a strong wind (that felt like a mild breeze in the trees) kept away any midge. That and a return will just mean i can show off my bouldering mat trailer once again.

Other than that, other non-climbing commitments have stopped me getting out. Sunday was spent sailing with my dad on his little boat and Monday was house-cleaning day. I had plans to climb in the evening but suddenly realised that it was much later than i realised. Instead, with a dog giving me constant dodgy looks at being cooped up all day, i opted to walk to check out a project not far from the house.

I’d looked at Fish Skin Wall 7a+ years ago but didn’t remember much about it. What i did remember told me it was tall, or the landing poor, and there is a large iron spike sticking out half way up. That beta was really old though, and there it was, on the list so i ought to check it out at least. And it would make the looks subside from my bored collie.


I dug out an old magazine with an article about the boulders at the head of Llyn Peris and wandered down. It wasn’t as i remembered at all, the iron spike being in the middle of the neighbouring V2 instead, the problem not tall and astoundingly, given the amount of rain during the day, it was dry and good nick. And me there without pads and shoes.

I did contemplate the five-minute drive when i got home but felt too sapped and instead opted to cook a nice dinner instead. I now have multiple projects on the go and have a funny feeling that once a suitable week arrives, the list will take a beating. Just got to wait for the right conditions.