I am in the Costa Blanca this year, living in a town called Finestrat. If you have not visited the Blanca yet then I will recommend you to stop hesitating and get there! The climate throughout winter is close to perfection for sport climbing, hot days with sunny and shady options, crags with all sorts of styles of climbing and a climbing lodge called the Orange House situated right in the middle of it. The Orange House
So this year I set myself the aim of climbing another 8b. In El Chorro last year I managed "Brandy - 8b", a
40+ overhanging wall of limestone, it was an endurance pitch with the hardest move saved for near the top.
In my effort to climb it I made the decision to skip the last two quickdraws and go full gas to the chains. I nearly dropped the final hold, I dug in and stabbed my fingers for it, I was so gripped that the prospect of the big fall was only tickling my thoughts. I managed to latch it and only then did the reality of it take hold as I desperately pulled up rope to clip the chains. I had reached a new pinnacle in my climbing my first proper 8b, the next test was whether I could repeat it in the UK.
That plan did not work out so well. I struggled my way up a series of 8a's but even many of those stopped me. Routes need to be worked on for long periods, unfortunately it is hard to find partners who want to visit the same route over and over. I instead focused on a large variety of climbing styles to try and broaden myself as an all rounder.
I have put myself through a new training program to improve my performance. To anyone struggling with their grade I would recommend looking into this. I wrote for myself a 6 week program that consists of 3 weeks power, 2 weeks endurance and 1 week rest. If you have only been climbing a few years then I would advise that you add to the start of this program 4 weeks of skills training. Skills training should, as obvious as it sounds, be focused on climbing. It is important that you recognise what discipline of climbing you wish to improve in and what your weakness is within that area. If it is Sport or Trad and you are struggling with fears of falling into the abyss then it does not matter how strong you are, you will always hold your breath, over grip and make the chance of that fall ever more likely. Focus on the skills you need for your discipline and work on them.
here's a short list of ideas-
Breath control = controlled steady breathing
Fear above a bolt or gear = safe practised falls
Proper gear selection = trad climb! Or practice on the base of the crag
Memorising sequeneces = visualise, write them down, say them out loud, break down the route into sections
Keep your feet on = overhanging walls with bad feet, you do not need to even climbing between holds, just move your feet and press
With the other sections of training consider that strength and power should be treated like a weight lifter,
you should only be able to just do the move, or to only hold on for 3-5 seconds. If you can hold on for more
then you are not properly accessing strength from within your muscles, so your improvement will be slow.
With endurance it is quite the opposite, the moves should be easier, but you should hold on until you can't
hold on any more. At this point find a better hold to rest and recover on before you start increasing the difficulty again.
I will expand on these ideas in future blogs, however if you want to research yourself I would advise buying "Eric Horsts - Training for Climbing". This book is a perfect tool for assessing and improving all areas of your
So on to Spain - here is the list so far
Ergometria - 8a
Mediterrano - 8a
Desert Storm - 8a
Supersensasion De Pinca - 8a
Tirade - 7c+
Final destination - 7c
The path of excess power - 7c
Hola De Millau - 7c
Pan y Circo - 7c
|Crux of Kimni - 8a+/8b|
|On the crux of - Final Destination|