Words, words, words
13 09

The boring path: training and paragliding

I’m in Chamonix and the most adventurous thing I’ve done all summer is Paraglide down La Vallée Blanche. I know that for some people this would be an experience of a life time; running down a snow slope at full commitment, hoping your boots don’t slide and at the brow of the hill you feel that glorious feeling of lift and you’re up in the ...

05 07

Gwen Lancashire interview

I first met Gwen in Ceuse in 2011. With socks pulled up to her knees and sporting ginger pigtails under a big half dome helmet she was easy to pick out from all the moody skinny French wads. Due to my (mostly) subconscious elitism I assumed she’d be walking to the next sector for some 5+ action. Then I saw her climb. She started cruising up a...

28 06

A year later

I’m sat in the desert sun on a slightly melting yoga mat stretching my shoulder. I’m ill, and my body feels stiff and angry. I look up at Air Swedin, and my headachy mind wanders back to where it all started six years ago, spring 2010. Completely in love with this route and a strange lanky kid from Canada, it was one of the best trips ...

14 06

Why I like no-hold climbing

I like no-hold climbing because you can’t fake it. You get forced in to flow because the climbing requires it. No amount of training, crimp-pulling, thrutching or power screaming will get you up a no-hold climb. What is no-hold climbing? Climbing without holds of course! Ill-defined categories include bridging (stemming), palming, chimneying...

31 05

Philosophy of Fear by Theo Moore

Here is a guest entry from Sheffield-based philosopher and climber Theo Moore. Thanks Theo! —————- It’s hot. Unseasonably hot for Easter in Northumberland. The sky’s clear blue and the pale sandstone feels warm to the touch. I’m slapping up again and again trying to get some purchase on the greasy slopers, lur...

28 02

Irrational fear?

It makes sense to be scared. We are hard-wired to be scared of heights, exposed places and falling through the air. Why? You’re body and mind are trying to protect you from injury and death. This is likely so obvious you missed it. Our ancestors who weren’t scared of heights will have perished in a nasty up-a-tree-in-the-jungle incident and nev...

03 02

Coaching Karin

  Climbing Coaching   1 Comments

Karin on Showtime 8b. Photo: Steve Crowe One of my highlights from last year was coaching Karin Magog. Karin was one of my all-time heroes growing up. She was silently onsighting hard trad routes back when women didn’t do such things. Along side Lucy Creamer, Karin represented all I wanted out of climbing; if I could ever be that good I̵...

31 12

2015: a year of scalpels and life mastery

  Climbing Coaching Expression   7 Comments

2015 is no more. In a lot of ways it's probably been the most interesting year of my life. Even so, I really want 2016 to be different, with more climbing. I'll try to some it up with a low point and a high point. Low point: Australia, March Australia was my final climbing trip before the big slice and dice (labrum tear operation). You’d t...

30 12

8 months post op shoulder update

I’ll make this short and mostly directed at people who are interested in injuries and perhaps have a shoulder injury themselves. In October I started climbing again. I was loving it and rapidly went from 5b to 7b+. However I think my psyche for climbing was clouding my judgement and lowering my pain threshold. My shoulder wasn’t actua...

21 12

Why do we always climb upwards?

UK climbing is famous for the ‘girdle traverse’. For those of you who have enough rock in your country not to be cursed by such things, a ‘girdle’ is a giant traverse, usually of the whole crag or at least a part of it and it’s usually the last ‘route’ to go after all the ‘normal’ up routes have been bagged. Interestingly if y...

12 12

Beers at the crag in the South East

Unfortunately I always feel like I should write a blog. It feels like a chore even though I actually enjoy writing and think it’s a very worthwhile thing to do. I’m in this bad territory of being OK at it: good enough to string together some meaningful sentences but not good enough to do it particularly well. Anyway, I’ve had a growing (albei...

28 10

An interview with Arno Ilgner author of Rock Warrior’s Way

Arno first inspired me to start thinking about mental training for climbing as something of value beyond how it could help my own climbing. Reading his book also planted a seed in my head that would take a few years to grow; this idea that mental training could be something I’d like to teach. During my injury I’ve had a lot of time to t...

08 10

Five months post op - leaving my ego on the ground

A week a go I went climbing at a crag called Afrique in Gietroz, Switzerland. It was amazing! I did 4 routes, a 6a, a 6b+, a 6c+ and a 7a. Each route felt like actual magic. Like I was Harry Potter. Every time I crossed through and placed my toe on a little foot hold I felt a little bit of joy. I was constantly surprised that my arms, those same ar...

13 09

Finally I climbed a real mountain

  Climbing   1 Comments

One of the first public talks I gave was at my Mum’s school. The talk I gave was predominantly about climbing El Cap, and afterwards I asked if anyone had any questions. One kid asked how high I’d been. I said that El Cap was 1000 meters. He then proceeded to tell me that that wasn’t even very high, and that he’d been higher because he’s ...

28 08

Talking with Mina Leslie-Wujastyk about fear of falling

  Climbing Coaching   2 Comments

I’ve noticed throughout my twenty years of climbing, that it’s mostly people’s heads that stop them from achieving what they want to in climbing, not their bodies. I’ve also noticed that a lot of people aren’t having as much fun as they could be at the crag because their minds get in the way. During the last few months...