Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Back in the Game

With an abysmal forecast for the weekend and temperatures on the up there was only one option for outdoor climbing this week: an early morning session. My alarm went off at 6.45, but unlike when it goes off an hour or two later for me to head into uni, this time there was no snooze button. I had unfinished business with Ebola, and short and basic 7C at Anston Stones. In theory this problem should suit me - big moves between good holds on slightly overhanging ground, just my sort of thing. For some reason, however, it doesn't. I find it nails. If you gave it hard 7C+ I wouldn't feel guilty taking the tick. The problem revolves around a hard move off a 2 or 3 finger pockets to a sharp edge and holding a tricky swing, and it's a move that never feels easy for me, even in isolation.

After a slightly slower than expected journey (since I'd forgotten about morning traffic), I arrived at the crag to thankfully find reasonably cool rock and quickly got warmed up before it got too hot. Trying out the moves again I felt good, and with a slight tweak in grip position on the pocket giving me a much needed boost on the crux move I managed to dispatch the problem unexpectedly quickly.

Next up was Quarantine, a crimpy traverse of the buttress given 8A. Given that my finger has only just recovered from its pulley injury I was just intending to try a few of the moves to work back into crimping again (I'd worked out a sequence during a session on it in winter and tried briefly again on the weekend). The sequences went easier than expected and - as ever - psyche soon forced prudence out of my mind leaving me chalking up for a go at the link. Fortunately I got away with it and the finger held firm, allowing me to scuttle my way across to the finishing holds.

All that was left to do was to down a celebratory protein shake before rushing back to uni to get some work done, followed by the obligatory evening training session on the new Foundry campus board.

I've made a little video of these problems, hope you like it:

A Good Morning at Anston Stones from Alex Barrows on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Nearly There...

It's been a while since I last posted anything, largely since due to the injured finger's slow (but steady) progress back to health. A quick multimedia round-up of the last month or so, in rough chronological order:

Grit with Guy and Chris:

curbar heat from Guy Van Greuning on Vimeo.

More gritstone pulley rehab on The Buckstone Dyno:

A few weeks ago Mark 'Danger' Tomlinson and I hit Dorset for 5 days of sun (and toproping 6cs in my case). Through judicious use of sending Mark up things first, I managed to flash a couple of 7cs which avoided left hand crimps and did a 7c+ 2nd go. Despite the lack of hard climbing it was nice to hang out by the sea and potter on easy things for a few days.

Mark abbing into Promenade

DWS active rest

My finger now seems to be improving a lot, and through sticking to pockets and fat pinches indoors I'm back to training properly. I think I've learnt a lot from this injury, and hopefully this will mean I don't make the same mistakes next time:
- The motherboard at the climbing works should be the venue of choice if you have pulley injury due to the amount of pockets and wide pinches on offer
- Despite being easier climbing, circuits are more dangerous than bouldering as far as aggravating a tweaky finger goes: you use the same holds repeatedly, you use more holds (so it's harder to come up with a whole circuit which doesn't tweak at all), and most of all you get pumped and try hard thus torquing into holds and putting a lot of strange forces through your fingers
- There are actually quite a lot of good problems out there than don't involves crimps for one of your hands. Put the work into thinking of these and try to channel your psyche appropriately, rather than endlessly wondering when you'll be able to get back to your previous objectives. This mindset is much easier mentally and less risky for the injury as you wont be tempted back to what hurt it in the first place so soon.
- Ice, ice baby. Plus stretching the fingers.

This last weekend saw my return to (pockety) limestone bouldering, with an unsuccessful hungover day with Toby at Anston on Saturday and a more successful day with Guy at Nuda's on the Sunday:

Nudas Barrows from Guy Van Greuning on Vimeo.
This is actually a really good problem, especially if - like me - you're a fan of funky toe hook sequences. Nicely different from the usual peak lime too. Yesterday a few of us headed over to Churnet to check out somewhere different, with the highlight of the session being burning Bob 'tactics' Hickish off on a campus move on a rather tough 7B. Lordy that '8c' of his in Dorset must be easy.