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Road to Resurrection?? calling Paul Sagar

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After being inspired by Paul's thread on Resurrection (E4 6a) early this year I decided to steal it as an objective for myself and am currently feeling in a reflective mood as the nights draw in and the rain hammers down calling and end to the trad season...

So did you get on it Paul - how did you do? any joy and any other of the fantastic routes mentioned in that thread? https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/rock_talk/building_up_to_resurrection_route_recommendations-743105?v=1#x9580279

From a personal perspective I ignored most of the good advice and decided I would go old school and just do a whole load of trad and jump on it as my first E4.  I mean how much harder could E4 be?  I had a great time pushing myself on loads of classic E3's, highlights include things like diamond smiles at Sharpnose, the Cull at Bass point which were just such great experiences.  It also made me stop just 'saving things for the on sight' and getting on a few grit classics I had been avoiding (including falling off Boulevard at least 3 times). I also had some absolute shockers including vastly underestimating Cornish granite and trying to use some new mindfulness tips that resulted in me stressing out and totally losing my sh*t on Llwyd lime.  I also made the mistake of convincing myself I had to climb E4 before I was 40 and ended up driving to North Wales the day of my 40th birthday. Despite the pressure the psyche at the crag was great, Jessie Dufton was just abbing down after either Cemetery Gates or Cenotaph corer (or possible booth?) and a few strong teams were lurking about, including a guy physcing himself to get on Lord of the flies.  I mentioned this was my first E4 (and my first route on the Cromlech) and a bit of a hush descended making me question the wisdom of the endeavour.  Anyway the inevitable happened I quested up to the junction of the direct and the LH finish, utterly pumped out and had one of those awful moments when your fingers just peel off good holds as you simply can’t hold on any longer.  Turns out some endurance training may have come in useful and E4 is quite a bit harder than E3.  Either way after dusting myself off back at the junction with left wall, where I rapidly found myself, I cracked on, finding the top crux disgustingly easy after a rest and with the safety of a top rope and struggled on to the top.  

So no green tick and fire emojis for me but a great experience and fantastic motivator for a trad journey of discovery this year so thanks for the inspiration.  Maybe I’ll get it before 50 (although I suppose that should be E5, hmmm).

Anyone else had any trad journeys of discovery this year? 

 Fellover 04 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Nice one for giving it a go! It's just made me realise that I don't I don't think I've fallen off any trad this year, which is unusual, can't remember that ever happening since I started climbing. You're trying harder than me anyway.

E2A: Actually, I remember I did involuntarily sit on a wire I'd placed above my head, was quite pathetic, not sure if it even counted as a fall, but it definitely counted as losing the onsight.

Post edited at 16:20
In reply to ebdon:

Great thread and good work.

I had a pretty good year of convincing myself to suck it up and stop putting off routes I've had my eye on for ages, culminating in a long time looking up from the base of Blood Bank (E4 6a), eventual talking of myself into it (with a little help), pulling on, feeling intensely proud of myself through the first few moves for not wussing out, smashing it, and knowing as soon as I'd topped out that there was no way it was gonna stay E5 :'(

Edit: cruise my logbook if you're after low hanging fruit. There's a few E4 in there and I'm crap at pumpy stuff too so if I've done them clean they're probably up your street.

Post edited at 16:54
 deacondeacon 04 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Good stuff! These are always the best type if threads on UKC 🙂 People getting stuck in and trying hard on routes, and having great experiences. I never climbed Resurrection but have always been keen for it, and don't want to let it slip away. Drop me an email ever want to try it again!

As for the end of trad season, there's no such thing 😉

In reply to Fellover:

oh god - I've fallen off so much this year, no really massive whippers though, Resurrection was possible the biggest, and even that was probably mostly rope stretch.

I think in some ways that's whats made this a good year for me - I've got over my obsession that its either on-sight or utter abject - pit of dispere - failure.   Although trying hard on sight is my favorite thing about trad its easy to get into a mindset that its very binary - successes or failure - whereas in fact it its perfectly acceptable to have a bloody good time by falling off a route and the subsequent journey that takes you on, and whats more nobody cares!

Or maybe that's just an excuse for to blowing all these on sights...

In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

nice one - I've never been to that crag but I was actually reading something about it the other day, (unfortunately about some dodgy sounding retro bolting though)  it sounds right up my street, especially as I'm a miserable b*stard who doesn't like crowds and its out of the big N wales honeypots.

In reply to deacondeacon:

It might be the end for me - I think I've had enough trad for once! (although ask me in a week and it'll be a different story).  I've got a few grit routes that I'd promised myself I'd get on so we shall see.

In reply to ebdon:

Yeah I'd read all that too. All makes sense when you get there. Ticket price is E3 so it's never gonna be overrun, walk in isn't far and the routes are really good, despite being a bit unbalanced. The post-crux romps would still make great E1s. Definitely go there.

In reply to ebdon:

I embodied the Sagar psych in the first half of the year smashing out Black Death (E4 6a) early on and a few other E4s through the rest of the year. Also had a few nearly onsights of some hard E3s and got spat off my first E5 attempt. But I think I neglected mileage, the further into the season the less psych and confidence I had after several failures and I was not really flowing well on the rock. So despite some big numbers it wasn't the "best" year. That said I did get the opportunity to spend three weeks in Canada in September which got me that all important mileage... A bit too late though. 

That said, I've had some amazing days this year, out and about in the Lake District, getting up to cloggy, visiting the Swiss Alps for the first time and abbing into the Ruckle on a crisp blue sky day! I wouldn't change it at all

In reply to ebdon:

I’ve been trying to avoid the forums most of the year due to some unpleasantness earlier on and am currently in Chulilla for a quick hit weekend but will give you my own lowdown later. But basically: it’s taken my a lot longer to recover from my accident two years ago than I expected. I am pleased to where I have gotten to with my trad this year but E4 has not been on the cards. Next year, however…

(cheers to Dino for the heads up…)

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In reply to Paul Sagar:

Sorry to here that, and I dont want to drag you back to the murky depths of UKC against your will! I appreciate I can all get a bit negative at times.

In reply to dinodinosaur:

Interesting... I had always written Chudleigh off as an example of everything that is crap about UK inland limestone, after a vist as a student probably 20 years ago. Maybe I should get over myself and take a second look. E4 is still a grade that's utterly desperate for me though.

 Cusco 04 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Great post and thread. And great effort on everything this year and Resurrection. 

It seems ages since there’s been a decent thread about rock climbing on Rock Talk!

My climbing year has been dire. I bought a road bike a year ago and started road cycling as a total newbie with the stick of a Grande sportive to train for.  I had to withdraw from the event due to a mechanical but did the route on my own in August. Since then the siren call of climbing has thankfully drawn me back but I’m weak as houses. 

Keep inspired and getting out on the rock.

In reply to ebdon:

The good routes are good, the crap ones are crap. 

Black Death (E4 6a) 

Inkerman Groove (VS 4c)

Machete Wall (E2 5c)

Combined Ops (E2 5b)

Are definitely worth doing.

On the way down a hidden gem worth a visit is  Goblin Combe

The VS's there are great, Smaug The Dragon (E2 5c), The Goblin King (E2 5c)Disaster Area (HVS 5a), gollum, Mithril (E4 6a) are all brilliant too

In reply to ebdon:

> I ignored most of the good advice and decided I would go old school and just do a whole load of trad and jump on it as my first E4.  I mean how much harder could E4 be?  I had a great time pushing myself on loads of classic E3's

Looking at your ticklish it’d be hard to argue with this approach, there may be a few routes you dropped but I bet you wouldn’t have done half as much with a more a cautious approach. Looks like you’ve had a great year, I’m jealous!

 climbingpixie 04 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

>Anyway the inevitable happened I quested up to the junction of the direct and the LH finish, utterly pumped out and had one of those awful moments when your fingers just peel off good holds as you simply can’t hold on any longer.

Ha! I seconded Resurrection earlier this year and fell off, ludicrously pumped, at exactly the same place! Amazing route though and it had all felt fairly steady up to there, no really hard moves but just an increasing sense of urgency. TBH I was a tiny bit glad to fall off it as I was already kicking myself for getting on it on second and not making my partner ab for the gear - this way I have a good reason to get back on it and lead it myself!

This year's best trad adventure was definitely Prozac Link on Lewis, which I wittered on about at length here - https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/rock_talk/must_do_hvs-e2_on_lewis-747457?v=1#x9641825

The latter half of the year has ended up being a bit disappointing. I took an absolutely massive whipper at Cloggy in the summer and it's really knocked my trad head. I'd have been ok if I'd been trying something hard and screwed it up but it was a result of a couple of stupid errors of judgement and route reading/remembering on the easy 5a slab pitch, which left me committed way above my gear on a pretty blank arete (instead of scuttling off left around the corner, which is what the guide VERY CLEARLY tells you to do...). I fell about 50ft and ended up dangling a few metres above a pair of surprised climbers at the belay of the adjacent route. I was totally unharmed (apart from a couple of blood blisters on one pad) but since then I've been really struggling to commit to routes because I don't feel confident that I won't make another stupid error.

In reply to dinodinosaur:

I’m surprised to see Smaug has been upgraded. With the old peg, which I remember treating with suspicion (I see it was replaced all of a month after I led it) I remember it feeling like a hard E1 but that was only because I doubted whether the peg would hold a fall. Shouldn’t complain though - loved it and I’ll take the E2 tick knowing I wouldn’t have got on it at the time if the old guide had given it that. 

In reply to climbingpixie:

These things happen, but they are rare.  You are not likely to make that mistake again.  That said, confidence is a strange thing!  Keep at it.

In reply to climbingpixie:

Oh god, that sounds like the absolute stuff of nightmares. I'm always surprised how nasty incidents like that affect me even though I think they dont at the time. I always manage to forget after a while though. 

I remember the prozac link thread, I was very jealous, it's a route I always told myself it's too hard and far away but after reading the comments its definitely on my list, my occasional partner is also keen (who is better then me and can drag my ass through the crux) so thanks for the inspiration there.

I've even borrowed a copy of the SMC Hebrides guide.

In reply to ebdon:

Great write-up. I had a similarly involved breakthrough into solid E4s at around the same age, and wrote up the experience for The Rucksack Club Journal:

https://doughton.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/secret-words-getting-psyched-for-uk-trad.pdf

One of my motivational "reinforcement" techniques was to use "Hit List" routes as my log-in password (in the days before Google remembered them for you). I had to get Resurrection done as I was always misspelling it and getting bailed out by the IT team! The Axe (E4 6a) was next (easier to spell!) and would be my recommendation for an inspirational focus for 2023.

Cheers, Dom 

 jon_gill1 05 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Yes a great thread indeed. Interestingly I too set myself some goals before turning 40. I gave myself 10 years though!😂 I somewhat stupidly set them at E4 and sport 8a. Somehow ended up getting on The Brush off within months having not really done any E3s at this point! 
 

The night before I’d been sat reading the guide for Rivelin and thinking how good TBO looked but that I wasn’t good enough, however my mate John was txting me that night and joked about doing TBO. So the next day came soon enough and after climbing some easier classics I found myself stood looking up at the slabby arete. Minutes later I was tied in and told my friend I was just having a look and I’d down climb most likely…..before I knew it I had climbed what felt like the crux and felt the moves irreversible! I became aware there was now a small crowd of people watching including John and his partner. My head went to that place of imagining falling off and really hurting myself. I gave myself a good talking to and pulled myself together, climbing the rest of the route with no more gear to the top. I was absolutely buzzing and wandered what had just happened. The feeling of relief from others watching in silence was palpable.

some years later I’ve never repeated the act of leading an E4 and certainly nowhere near climbing 8a! I’ve just over a year left for that goal but in reality I think I’ll just enjoy climbing for what it is! 
 

This year has been an interesting one which started with an injury and had further injury occur, work related for both!🙄 My climbing has improved a lot in the sense I feel it easier to climb E1’s and E2’s and i seem more efficient at them. Sport seems to top out at 7a+ with the odd attempt at 7b.

I’ve mostly enjoyed working my way through Paul’s tick list of stared HVS’s and E1’s at Shorncliff in the summer evenings and many glorious golden hours as the sun sets. 

In reply to jon_gill1:

Good effort, The brush off is a funny one for me, it's a route I've walked under many times  and wondered, its such a compelling line. The last time I had a good look at the (lack of) gear and terrible landing and decided I was too old for some routes. That kind of bold grit has lost its appeal to some extent, or at least that's the excuse I give myself.

My first E4 was similar to some extent (whitch I managed a few days after my 40th birthday) I realised after my struggles on Resurrection I was clearly to crap for tough pumpy routes so I was going to have to go for a scary route instead. Weasels Rip My Flesh (E4 6a) fitted the bill fitted and I found myself at the top on a beautiful sunday evening. My wife asked if I had enjoyed it when I got down (she had probably put as much effort into belaying as I had into climbing that weekend) and I honestly dont know. Enjoy is the wrong word, it was probably one of the most intense experiences of my life, my brain was totally fried, not through fear just the sensory overload of it all! Still the grade barrier had been breached and like you say if nothing else it makes those E1s and E2s seem so much more fun.

 Offwidth 05 Nov 2022
In reply to jon_gill1:

TBO is an unusual E4.... scary for many but great for those who are very experienced and steady on runout slabs and much safer than it looks if you get it right as there is bomber pro halfway and lots of micro gear if you have good placement experience. It needs a careful inspection from the ground (ie maybe E3 with beta, if someone tells you exactly where a key placement is). It used to have a big tree stump in the fall line ...I've not been up there for nearly a decade...has it gone now?

9
 jon_gill1 05 Nov 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

I’m not sure to be honest, not been there in years myself! I got 3 pieces of gear low down then nothing! I’ve heard there’s a piece around the arete higher up but I just ran it out! A friend of a friend fell off it two weeks later breaking both legs! Very sobering for me!

 jon_gill1 05 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

I know what you mean over knowing if something is enjoyment or brain frying fear! I’ve experienced both many times, I think it’s a very thin line and when it’s crossed many questions are asked but if you stay on the right side of it, it’s the best thing you’ve ever done!

 Misha 05 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Good to give things a go, as long as it’s safe. Sometimes you wait a long time to be fairly sure you can onsight something and as a result miss out on a trad onsight fight experience. It’s nice when something feels steady but it’s those edge of the seat efforts that really stay with you.

It’s also nice to come back a few years later and retro flash something you’ve previously struggled on and think, yeah, I can see why I found that hard last time. I managed to close out some unfinished business this year - as well as failing again on a couple of things and adding new ones to the list!

Happy climbing…

In reply to deacondeacon:

> Good stuff! These are always the best type if threads on UKC 🙂 People getting stuck in and trying hard on routes, and having great experiences. I never climbed Resurrection but have always been keen for it, and don't want to let it slip away. Drop me an email ever want to try it again!

> As for the end of trad season, there's no such thing 😉

What about a similar thread for Gecko Assis (f8B+)?

Sav

Post edited at 00:09
22
In reply to ebdon:

So for me the year started pretty well - I trained super hard all winter and early spring, finally getting my chaotic eating habits under control with the absolutely phenomenal Tom Herbert (aka the Useful Coach) as my guide. (Dropped from 80.7kg in January to around 74kg in April. Have subsequently stayed at a steady 72.5-73.5kg ever since.)

An Easter holidays trip to Leonidio 'to get rock fit' went really well - managed to onsight 7a+ for the first time, and was able to give 100% above the bolt for the first time since I smashed my leg up in May 2020. All looked set for a glorious return to trad.

Returning to the UK I met up with a mate in the Wye Valley. First day at Shorn Cliff was great; ambled up E1s like they had guardrails. Second day at Wintour's, I was climbing Papillon (E2 5b), cruising, but a foothold broke (in fact, collapsed and nearly killed my belayer) and I took a big old whip. I'd built a bomb shelter below so was totally safe but this completely knocked my head.

After that, a combination of unfortunately wet weekends, living in London, and my partner (who is also my partner, if you get what I mean) suffering a series of unfortunate injuries, put a further break on progress. Also, of my former regular former climbing partners (who aren't also my partner, if you get what I mean): 1 had a baby, 1 moved to Scotland during covid, and 1 has been going through some very difficult family stuff. So I consistently struggled to get out climbing regular trad. What I learned this year, though, is that regularity is absolutely crucial if I want to push trad grades. It's no good only managing to get on the sharp end at best once every two weeks, because I feel I have to spend a day and a half rebuilding my confidence of climbing above gear, and by the second half of the second day (i.e. Sunday) I'm getting tired and so reluctant to push it physically. Having said that, after the rain cancelled a trip to Scotland in late May, we spent a week on Anglesey and climbing both pitches of Park Lane/Doomsville (E2 5c) onsight was very satisfying.

Anyway, by about mid August I did feel like my head was back in it. Managed oThe Beast from the Undergrowth (E2 5b) and Deranged (E2 5b) onsight on the same day, which I was very pleased with, the latter done as I didn't quite feel up to The Butcher (E3 5c) as I know so many people who have fallen off it! Also did Brazen Buttress (E2 5b) on the same trip. August Bank Holiday I ticked Left Wall Direct Finish (E3 5c), which was satisfying as I finally led an E3 this year, albeit having led the original version in 2019, and seconded the direct in an approach shoe after my accident in 2020. 

I then caught covid (for the third time), and my partner broke her finger really badly, and despite a good trip to Swanage with my club in October (including the rather scary, because utterly filthy, Sapphire (E2 5b), stuff has sadly ground to a bit of a halt in terms of pushing myself on trad. Not the end of the world as I've used the period to make a serious dent in the Classic Rock long term project, which is ideal as my partner can second those routes even with her finger in a splint.

What has been good, however, is that I've kept up consistent training throughout the year. I'm now the strongest I've ever been (bouldering V6 indoors, onsighting 7a in my antistyle in Chulilla last weekend and a hard 7b felt very possible if I'd wanted to project it). This makes me really positive about where I can hope to be next year if I train consistently all winter. But the big take home from last season is: if you want to be a good trad climber, you have to climb a lot of trad, a lot of the time. Or at least, that's the case for me. The other big take home is: I need to move out of London ASAP, as that is now perhaps my biggest limiting factor. Despite my early year optimism, having a van to sleep in is not enough.

Post edited at 09:47
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In reply to ebdon:

Cheers by the way for your own summary - jives with my own sense of how I need to get out on a lot more E3s as early as possible next year! Ocean Boulevard (E3 5b) is the current motivating route for early season progress.

I've also been getting all stress-y about 'getting old'. Turned 36 this year and have convinced myself that means I only have 4 years left to climb well. Which is obviously daft, not least that I was in Chulilla for my mate's (the one who had a baby) 40th this weekend and he can still climb hard 7b second go (after having had a baby) so that little voice in my head whispering 'time is running out' really needs to shut up.

Post edited at 11:21
 AJM 08 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

40 is definitely not old!

If you need a partner for OB then give me a shout. I agree entirely with consistency being key on trad, for me more so than any other aspect of the sport.

In reply to AJM:

As it happens I was planning on asking you if you’d be game for some more regular climbing when spring rolls around…I’ll be in touch!

 Iamgregp 08 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Nah you’re all good. I turned 41 this year and I’m climbing better than I ever have, and hope to keep doing so for some time yet!

In reply to Paul Saga

> I've also been getting all stress-y about 'getting old'. Turned 36 this year and have convinced myself that means I only have 4 years left to climb well. Which is obviously daft......

Yes, obviously. I had my best trad year at 42 and my best sport year at 48 (so far!). You are in your prime. If you stay motivated and look after yourself sensibly there is no reason why your best years shouldn't still be ahead of you.

 AJM 08 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Sounds good!

 Tom Ripley 08 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

>  finally getting my chaotic eating habits under control with the absolutely phenomenal Tom Herbert (aka the Useful Coach) as my guide. (Dropped from 80.7kg in January to around 74kg in April. Have subsequently stayed at a steady 72.5-73.5kg ever since.)

Hey Paul, 

Would you be able to share some info about how you achieved this? I fluctuate between 82kg and 84kg and would be keen to drop down to 76kg... I suspect much of this is to do with the amount of bad food I eat, rather than the amount of exercise I do. 

Thank you,

Tom 

 Misha 08 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

It’s not age as such, it’s just that you’re more prone to getting injured and it takes longer to recover. So that’s definitely something to watch out for.

Re trad mileage, yes if you’re after the onsights. The other option is redpointing, which is more about getting routes dialled and being able to do hard (for you) moves on trad, often but not always in a spicy situation. Sport redpointing translates well to this. 

In reply to Paul Sagar:

I had a similar stress a few years ago, I ended up not really enjoying climbing as I constantly thought I should be climbing harder than I was and I only had a few years do do everything I wanted. It just made me a right grumpy sod and I ended up taking a step back for a bit. I've realised now I've got at least 15-20 years of low to mid E grade puntering ahead of me which has made me much more relaxed and enjoy getting out so much more. I definitely feel old at 40 mind and throughly hate it. My recovery after a big session is shite and I'm amassing a fair few injuries and expensive physio bills which I didnt have in my 30s. However, I climbed my hardest boulder grade this year, which allthough is relatively modest (Andle Stone Wall (f7B) shows I can still get stronger. 

 seankenny 08 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> I've also been getting all stress-y about 'getting old'. Turned 36 this year and have convinced myself that means I only have 4 years left to climb well.

As everyone else says, you’ll be fine. I’ve had some of my best climbing experiences in my 40s so improvement is perfectly possible.

As for living in London, it’s always going to be a limiting factor, but there are people in the capital who climb harder than those in northern cities so it’s clearly not impossible to overcome. Some ideas I’ve either done or will do in the future to get around this…

Never go to southern sandstone unless you really need what it can give you in terms of technical practice. It’s quite a drive unless you’re in SW London, save the driving energy for when you’ve time for proper crags and go to the wall instead.

Move to West London, where you can be close to the M4, M3, M40 and close-ish to the M1. 

Trad holidays rather than sport holidays. Just go to California for three weeks, you’ll place a lot of gear. Similarly Cadarese, Yosesigo, Bohusalan, Fair Head, etc.

Primarily target the “trad climbs for sport climbers” type routes (tick lists here and elsewhere) or harder cracks. Much less psychologically demanding. 

Lashings of aerocap, nothing builds confidence like being over-fit for the route. 

Long weekends where possible and either go pretty easy on day 2, or take a full rest day ( the later idea from the Anderson brothers, I’d struggle with this!).

Join the Climbers’ Club because camping is awful. 
 

Apologies if I’m teaching grandma to suck eggs…

Post edited at 21:36
1
In reply to Tom Ripley:

If you're serious about losing weight, maintaining performance and keeping your weight down at a performance level, then I strongly suggest hiring Tom Herbert. He may seem expensive at first - I think it was £300 for my 6 weeks coaching package. But I now rate that as the single most important investment I've made in my climbing, in terms of value for money and what improvements it has made to my climbing. (The second best may by the Lattice flexibility plan I'm currently on, but that's another story for another day.) More than that, Tom changed my life by changing my relationship to food and basically teaching me how to eat properly, which the truth is I did not know how to do before I worked with him.

Key things he helped me learn:

- You need way more protein than you think, but the timing matters

- Raw calorie count is much less important than the quality of calories you are eating, and crucially, when you are eating them (especially relative to training)

- Habits are everything, getting into good ones is crucial

- One of those habits is weighing myself every day. Initially I HATED this, but now it just keeps me honest about what's going on and allows me to not stress what I now understand to be normal day-to-day fluctuations (as much as 1.5kg!), whilst paying attention to overall trends, not random snapshots

I don't want to get more specific than that, because diet is personal and so a diet plan needs to be personalised. That's why Tom works as a coach, on an individual basis. But don't take my word for it: Aidan Roberts and Hazel Findlay (amongst many other pros) work with him and swear by him. 

Check him out:
https://useful.coach

Also, if you want a sense of what he's about (and proof that the guy really, really knows his shit) check out the interviews with him on various podcasts, e.g. The Nugget and Careless Talk (the latter went up quite recently so should be easy to find).

Post edited at 09:20
In reply to seankenny:

Some good advice there! Some of it I'd gotten to myself, but the idea of going on trad holidays is one I hadn't taken seriously before (holidays are for Alpine peaks or bolt clipping in the sun, right?!). Nice shout also about the tick lists - I'll get a-subscribing. 

Likewise, I've never been able to adhere to that particular bit of Anderson Brothers advice. I do enjoy lashings of AeroCap though. (Well, perhaps 'enjoy' is the wrong word).

As for London, I hate it so I'd rather get out full stop! Bristol or York currently looking possible, but all depends on partner's career development in next few years.

Post edited at 09:23
In reply to Paul Sagar:

I think it's one thing covid has taught me us that UK trad holidays are actually tonnes of fun (although being old now I stay in nice Airbnb's rather than camp which makes it feel more like a holiday). if you get the weather that is... a few years ago my wife and trusty belayer had to have some sturn words with me after I pretty much had a  mental breakdown in a drizzly glen nevis proclaiming I was wasting my life. Which apparently is very rude and not at all appropriate whilst on a lovely holiday with your partner.

 seankenny 09 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> Some good advice there! Some of it I'd gotten to myself, but the idea of going on trad holidays is one I hadn't taken seriously before (holidays are for Alpine peaks or bolt clipping in the sun, right?!). Nice shout also about the tick lists - I'll get a-subscribing. 

 

Thanks! Clearly bolt clipping is good for trad, as long as it looks roughly the same (more crimpy walls, fewer steep tufas), but Alpine peaks?! Shocking behaviour.

As ebdon says above, holidays in the U.K. can also be nice, in fact my resolution for the future is spending a little more holiday time here precisely for accumulating that trad mileage. 

> As for London, I hate it so I'd rather get out full stop! Bristol or York currently looking possible, but all depends on partner's career development in next few years.

I really like London apart from the climbing aspect, which is annoying but there you go.  

Post edited at 11:21
 AJM 09 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> The second best may by the Lattice flexibility plan I'm currently on, but that's another story for another day

Intriguing. The impact of losing weight in the right way (excess weight, and in a way which is sustainable and supports continued training demands, and that sort of thing) is fairly obvious, but I would never have put flexibility as being second to that in impact!

@Tom Ripley - at a cheaper price point I got good results from reading and following the two Racing Weight books that were briefly in vogue a few years back. None of it was rocket science but as Paul says getting into the routine and having good habits was/is important. 

 PaulJepson 09 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> normal day-to-day fluctuations (as much as 1.5kg!), 

That's quite the turd!

In reply to ebdon:

Yeah we have booked an air bnb in Pembroke for 4 weeks next August. “Working from home”…!

In reply to PaulJepson:

Haha yes it is partly that, partly also just how much water retention your muscles exhibit if you have a) worked hard and they are in inflammatory recovery and b) have eaten a lot of carbs. Tom’s latest pod with Careless Talk goes into this - you can lose and gain astonishing amounts of weight just through diet manipulation without losing (or gaining) an ounce of body fat. 

 Exile 09 Nov 2022
In reply to AJM:

To second that I had really good results with racing weight too. 

In reply to AJM:

I’m absolutely blown away by what a difference it is making. Ok I started from a very low baseline (one of the least flexible and mobile people you will ever meet, or at least I was!), but the improvement in performance has been huge. The strength and stability through my hips translates directly into better route climbing, not least as high steps are so much easier now, whilst I reckon in 6 weeks it’s already bought me a V grade in bouldering. I never really used to believe people when they said flexibility was crucial to improvement - well I do now. (I’ve worked hard for it mind: daily exercises plus 3 hours of additional training each week on top of “regular” training. No short cuts, as you’d expect…)

Post edited at 13:40
 seankenny 09 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

That sounds like amazing results with the stretching. Is it mostly passive stretching or is there a lot of weighted stretching and work strengthening the end ranges of motion?

 AJM 09 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Having suffered a tweaked hamstring for most of the year, which probably has some parallels with very inflexible hamstrings, I can easily imagine that bouldering, indoor in particular, might be a place where you could see some improvements. Mostly this is because I don't seem to be able to go near an indoor wall without making my hamstring hurt!

By contrast standing on my feet doing vertical-ish sport or trad hasn't really given me very many issues at all, although the limiting factor for that sort of thing is probably open hips and high steps, which are not as big a shortcoming for me as tight hamstrings and calves are.

In reply to seankenny:

A lot of active stretching, included weighted stretches and ramping contractions, as well as end of motion range stuff, yes. In fact there is very little passive stretching. It's intense, and I get DOMS from it, as Lattice say I ought to expect to. The results are great though - for example I've gone from barely being to get my fingers half way down my shins to being able to touch my toes easily. The other week I was bouldering outdoors and got to a top out and without thinking threw a heel hook up there, and just yarded on it. It felt like climbing in a new body. 10/10, would recommend!

Post edited at 15:26
In reply to AJM:

Yeah I did something really nasty to my left hamstring back in July on one of my rare outdoor bouldering forays, and that was surely connected to having chronically tight hamstrings (not helped by years of cycling and football). Definitely bouldering is where the most obvious and immediate pay off is in terms of flexibility, but last weekend in Chulilla I could really feel the difference in my route climbing.

A caveat here being that when I did a regular lattice assessment in early 2020 my flexibility scores were some of the very worst in their entire database, and I also have congenital hip impingements that required surgery in my early 20s (but which I've always used as an excuse to avoid training flexibility), so the flip side is I'm going to experience outsize gains compared to the average person because I am starting from such a hopelessly bad baseline!

Post edited at 15:26
 wbo2 09 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon: Super thread - plenty of positives to learn from here.

Is the Lattice flexibility plan a paid for one? Mine is a lot better than it was , but could be better, and better core would help

 JimR 09 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

As a 66 yo i opened this thread in the glorious expectation of finding the solution to an aging body expecting to arise phoenix like from the ashes of my working life  Hopes dashed when I found it was a blinking route! However after a decade of climbing inactivity with running and cycling distractions I’m hoping to get back to a decent grade although I suspect the main issue will be avoiding injury. 40, pah, your a mere stripling, best years are ahead!

 seankenny 09 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> A lot of active stretching, included weighted stretches and ramping contractions, as well as end of motion range stuff, yes. In fact there is very little passive stretching. It's intense, and I get DOMS from it, as Lattice say I ought to expect to. The results are great though - for example I've gone from barely being to get my fingers half way down my shins to being able to touch my toes easily. The other week I was bouldering outdoors and got to a top out and without thinking threw a heel hook up there, and just yarded on it. It felt like climbing in a new body. 10/10, would recommend!

Thanks Paul, I'll check it out, although atm I can't do anything that will be really intense or give me DOMS unfortunately. I can also touch my toes quite easily but high steps have always been a weakness of mine...

In reply to wbo2:

Yeah and it isn’t cheap. £80 a month, 3 month minimum. But they do tailor it to your personal needs following a video and photo self analysis you send in to them. It’s pricey but to be honest I think it is worth it. I just finished a two hour bouldering session and the flow I can now get on slab routes is incredible and it’s all down to improvements in my hip mobility and strength. 

In reply to seankenny:

Yeah the good thing is they tailor it to what you need personally, or at least they seem to have with me. My upper body is remarkably mobile whereas my hips and lower body were appalling. As a result I only have minimal upper body work to do and most effort is concentrated on my lower body - and my word are there a lot of weird things they have me doing but hey, it seems to work!

im sure if you tell them you can’t get DOMS at the moment they could write you a plan that is less intense than mine but still gets you improvement 

 Iamgregp 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

I reckon if they measured my hip inflexibility they’d give your initial figures a run for their money…  Never met anyone less flexible than me!

In reply to Iamgregp:

Haha I dunno about that. But take it from one immobile creaky ageing male to another: I'd really recommend looking into doing some kind of flexibility training. It's not just the improvements in climbing that it provides, I genuinely feel much better in my own body as a result of doing it. After all, being inflexible is just unpleasant in and of itself. It's nice to be a bit bendier. 

 Iamgregp 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Yeah I really ought to do something about it, and the Lattice programme you're on sounds brilliant and would no doubt do me wonders but I'm really struggling for time at the minute what with work, parenting and everything else I've got on my plate...   Don't think I'd be able to commit to, or more likely stick to a formal programme.

Finding it pretty tough to be honest - still managing to get to the gym and go to the wall once a week or so, and am climbing better than ever once I get there, but I've got a never ending to do list that just seems to get longer and longer!

 seankenny 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Yeah I really ought to do something about it, and the Lattice programme you're on sounds brilliant and would no doubt do me wonders but I'm really struggling for time at the minute what with work, parenting and everything else I've got on my plate...   Don't think I'd be able to commit to, or more likely stick to a formal programme.

I’m sick at the moment which means I can’t do very much at all, but I can stretch. Five minutes a day is the minimum time I give myself for the tick, but most of the time I do much more. I have a very basic routine cobbled together from books and videos, I do occasionally add bits to it but mostly I do very similar exercises. I started off trying to do a week of daily stretching and I’m now up to over 220 days continuous stretching, despite some days feeling really unwell. I am considerably more flexible than I was at the beginning and after a while it just becomes a habit. It is possible!

 pencilled in 10 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Hugely inspirational reading this, thank you. 
After a break from serious climbing for kids I’ve managed to get my weight back down and focused on bouldering for about a year. 
I never managed Left Wall clean after 2 attempts so that was my goal and unfinished business. Reading through this though, I’m re-thinking things a little. I must test my head on a few big climbs too fairly soon. 
Protein for breakfast - who knew? 
Good luck all. 

In reply to ebdon:

In the interests off full disclosure and all this talk of training, somthing else I did this year was pay for 2 days of professional coaching.  Coming from a rather traditional viewpoint when it comes to ethics I had always, rather stupidly, considered such things as cheating but was worth it.

How much it helped at all its hard to say, but it certainly made me think about a few bad habits with both technique and basic stuff, like racking and gear placement which goes to show even after 20 years of climbing it's worth reassessing sometimes. One thing the coaching definitely helped with was giving me some early season confidence. I always find trad a funny one in that after a few months off in the winter I always feel like I'm starting from scratch in the spring.

In reply to ebdon:

I think it's a frame of mind, you're not old. I've got a good decade on you and older partners (climbing you sniggering lot!) who climb hard.

What put into perspective for me was when my dad passed. He was 96, I was 46. That means my whole life, baby, child, teen, adult, work/travel/relationships etc had happened and I wasnt half his age when he died! 

You're young.

In reply to cwarby:

Tell that to my knackered shoulders!

In all seriousness though, I know I'm not old but I'm also slowly having to come to terms with the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be.

 Iamgregp 10 Nov 2022
In reply to seankenny:

Hmmm, that does sound like something which may be achievable, 5 minutes in the evening is totally doable. Might be nice for my mind as well as my body and help relax me at the end of a day?

Do you have any suggestions for where I might look for a pretty basic beginner stretching routine?

 Iamgregp 10 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

I'm a big advocate of formal coaching - have done some days and weekends away with an MIA I know very well who is excellent, falls/mind coaching with Hazel Findlay and a 12 week lockdown coaching plan from Neil Gresham all of which have made real, tangible improvements to my climbing...

 seankenny 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Hmmm, that does sound like something which may be achievable, 5 minutes in the evening is totally doable. Might be nice for my mind as well as my body and help relax me at the end of a day?

Yes it’s very beneficial and small chunks are doable. 

> Do you have any suggestions for where I might look for a pretty basic beginner stretching routine?

I use the stretches in the Beastmaking book but there are thousand of articles and videos all over the internet on stretching generally and for climbing specifically.

This is longer than you are looking for but you could just do a bit of it:

https://www.reddit.com/r/flexibility/wiki/starting_to_stretch/

 Iamgregp 10 Nov 2022
In reply to seankenny:

Thanks!

I'll have a look at the Beastmaking book, I've got that somewhere...  Clearly I've not read it much!

 climbingpixie 10 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

I went on a women's coaching holiday to Kalymnos a few years back. One of the days we ended up with me and another women having 2:1 coaching with Lucy Creamer. Having a good coach watch you closely and point out your biggest weaknesses (in my case, that I route climbed like a boulderer and spend way too much energy pulling) can be absolutely transformative! I went from barely scraping my way up my first 7a onsight at the start of the week to having a day where I onsighted Ixion, Nickel and Sickle, followed by flashing KalyNickhla Extension the next day - all because it turns out that I get way less pumped if I don't pull as hard!

In reply to climbingpixie:

Yep, I'm also a huge proponent of professional coaching. I've worked with Jon Redshaw at Onsight coaching for a couple of years now and he's transformed my climbing completely. I did sent Natalie Berry a short piece for potential UKC use on the benefits of coaching and why everyone should consider hiring one, but she said the benefits are already widely known and appreciated. I'm not sure that's actually true, but she's the editor so that's that!

In reply to Iamgregp:

Greg, you could do a lot worse than do this 6 minute Lattice follow along every day (or what you can manage). I do this plus my specific training and I’m sure it helps a lot

youtube.com/watch?v=FIXJZhQz4V8&

In reply to climbingpixie:

Ooh, that's interesting, can I ask what you did to solve that?  I do something similar in that I basically climb everything like it's my hardest ever lead (my wife always says I'm shit at easy climbing). Its somthing the coach identified (John Kettle) and I've been making a conscious effort to try to relax on big holds but its easier said than done and of course you forget in the heat if the moment.

Edit to add: as I mentioned John I should also mention Andi Turner, who I had a great day out with.

Post edited at 20:20
In reply to Iamgregp:

It was basically your comments on here that made me think about coaching, only 2 days and a short chat with a sports psychologist mind!

 Iamgregp 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Thanks! Will give it a whirl!

 Iamgregp 10 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Oh that’s great! Really glad you went for it and got something out of it!

 climbingpixie 10 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Just tried to concentrate a lot more on keeping my arms straight, twisting in and pushing with my legs on steep terrain. Pretty obvious stuff but it was a bit of a blind spot for me - I'd thought I had decent footwork and climbed with straight arms but it turned out that, though I was resting straight armed, I always initiated movement by pulling. I'd got away with it for a long time because I've always been quite a strong climber (for my size/weight) but obviously it was more important when I started trying harder stuff. I might have picked up on it earlier if I climbed that style of route more frequently - I guess it's less relevant to the sort of UK sport I was doing at the time (Malham/Kilnsey redpointing) where it's often quite bouldery moves/sequences between decent shakes instead of steady enduro routes.

Post edited at 22:47

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