Since my last post in November I have had 3 months of full commitment to training. My injury has completely gone and I am stronger than I’ve ever been. It feels great to finally be performing back near my max. The last few months have involved board sessions, power endurance circuits and the occasional comp.
In December I really started to feel the strength return. Boulder problem projects from the Autumn became problems I could link circuits into and climb statically. This was down to my finger fully healing as well as specific training for my 2015 projects.
At the end of January I took part in the BIFF at the Climbing Works and I managed to hang on a small crimp long to enough to make it into the highball deadhang finals which was an experience.. Basically came down to who could kick the other person off the wall first. I was against Dave Barrans… video below shows the unsurprising result…
Physically I’m weaker than before but I’m climbing a lot harder. I can’t do one arm pull ups any more or campus hard problems. Instead I’ve really put a lot of effort in to finger strength and footwork. I am now trying to climb efficiently as this is really what I need on rock. I haven’t been on the campus board or done any finger boarding but I have just tried hard every session on climbs close to my limit and it seems to have paid off.
Last week I had my first session of the year on my main project for 2015. Evolution is a 12 metre route at Raven Tor put up by Jerry Moffatt in 1995. Since then it has had 4 repeats by Malcolm Smith, Nic Sellars, Steve McClure and Ryan Pasquill. The route is pure power endurance on the smallest crimps at the crag. 23 hand moves with no rests and no real drop in difficulty. Basically V5 into a short V11 into a long V10/f8b route section. When I last tried it in 2013 it took me 3 sessions to do the V11 crux and the top v10 section felt way too hard to realistically climb tired.
Last week I tried it and for me the session couldn’t have gone much better. The hardest part of the route in terms of moves is establishing yourself on the lip. I was happy to make it through this part first go without too much fuss. This was hugely motivating as this move really shut me down last time I was on the route. The upper section felt okay with one move off a 3 finger pinch feeling tricky. Today I went back and tried this move the way Steve McClure does. Rather than going out left into the groove you grab a small crimp higher up and cross over to a good crimp. This worked much better for me and is much more my style.
After obsessing over this route for such a long time I am so happy it feels possible and I plan to dedicate the next 3 months to this project as I want to do it a lot. I love crimps, long boulder problems and trying hard on routes and Evolution ticks all the boxes!