As an avid climber, I find it frustrating that there are hardly any decent climbing related greeting cards in the world, so I’m here to try and fill that niche in the market.
Mostly they’re bad puns from climber friends who have very kindly let me pinch their words and force them into drawings. I hand draw each design before adding colour digitally, printing, trimming down, and mounting by hand. A lot of love goes into each one and I’m hoping they will brighten another climber’s day.
I took my little ISAW camera with me to BeBoulder the other week and did some filming. It resulted in this short video with some fun, POV climbing. The idea was to show what it’s actually like to climb as most of the time whenever you post a video of yourself or someone else climbing, it doesn’t look as far, hard, or impressive as it really is!
Let me know what you think in comments as I’m planning on doing some more 🙂
To me the phrase ‘New Year, New Me’ always seems like it’s going too far, as if you’ve got to purge yourself and start from nothing because last year’s you is just so, well, last year. I think it should be more like ‘New Year, New Opportunities to Improve on my Current Self’, but I guess that just isn’t as catchy or maybe I’m reading too much into it.
Anyway, after hearing and reading that phrase endlessly for the last week it got me to thinking. I have probably missed plenty of opportunities to improve myself because I was too worried about the outcome. This applies to everything from choosing to ignore a phone call to not participating in climbing events, so I’m trying a new train of thought for 2017:
If it scares you, do it.
I don’t mean any crazy life threatening situations or doing something that could cause the outcome to hurt others. What I mean is to push yourself and try saying yes. Any little thing that pops up in everyday life that I would usually avoid or run away from, I’m going to try to embrace and enjoy it.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and great start to 2017!
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is so much beauty and nature readily available on your doorstep. I’ve been away exploring the countryside, which is why it has been quiet on the blog and social media side of things lately.
I headed off to the Lake District with A Boy Who Climbs for a few days, and stayed in a lovely guest house in Bowness. We ate like champions whilst admiring the lake and forest views. It was nice just being somewhere different and much more green than our home town, plus having the option to walk everywhere was great too. However, getting carried away and accidentally completing a 10 mile walk, and then realising we had to do the same back was not ideal, but the beer certainly helped.
So now I’m back home, feeling refreshed and ready to get back to the walls. I’ve been having a rough time with bouldering lately. Between having my elbow flare up and hitting a plateau it has not felt great. So whilst we were away I was trying to figure out what to do to fix the funk. I’m debating on trying some roped climbing, as I think it will be good to learn something new in the same field. The height it definitely what’s putting me off though! As soon as I get my mind around being up that high on a piece of rope, it will all be okay…
So watch this space, rope climbing may be happening soon!
You’ve probably seen climbers in the gym with their fingers battered and covered in tape. Taping your fingers can help you to still climb even when they’re a bit achy, or prevent a tweak from becoming an injury. Taping holds the tendon against the bone, and stops the already sore pulley from being over stressed. Learning how to tape is a useful skill, so I figured it would be good to write a post on it. I’ve only taped my finger a few times when I had a small pulley injury, which you can read about here. I used the technique shown below, which is variation of the figure of 8 method. I found this the easiest and most supportive taping method, as it’s fairly easy to do yourself.
1. Relax the finger that needs taping and make a fist to tuck the other digits out of the way.
Starting at the bottom pad of finger/proximal phalanx, wrap the tape around 3 times towards yourself, keeping the finger relaxed.
2. After 3 turns, cross the tape diagonally along the side of the knuckle ensuring knuckle is not covered.
3. Wrap the tape 3 times around the middle pad of finger/middle phalanx, and diagonally along the other side of the knuckle, ending back where the tape started.
Hopefully that makes sense, and the pictures are helpful! Ultimately if your tendons or pulleys are hurting you probably shouldn’t climb, as sad as that seems, but I hope this helps you prevent an injury.
Please feel free to leave any thoughts or tips in the comments on taping fingers 🙂
Here’s another crag snack recipe and what’s even better about this one is, it doesn’t require an oven. These little bites of energy are quick and easy to make, but also customisable depending on your diet and taste preferences. You can make them as healthy or unhealthy as you like! Swap out chocolate chips for cacao nibs, use maple syrup instead of honey, add in mini marshmallows or include dried fruit.
I converted the ingredients from cups to grams, and then used my judgment to get the mixture how I wanted it! You can find the original recipe here.
Oats – 140g
Ground flaxseed – 20g
Chia seeds – 15g
Milk chocolate chips -40g
Honey – 2 tbsp
Smooth peanut butter – 120g / 1/3 of the jar
1. In one large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together
2. Add in the honey and peanut butter
4. Stir and mix together until the oats are completely covered. I found it easy to press down with the spatula, this spreads the peanut butter
5. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge
6. Once chilled, spoon out small amounts and press/roll into small balls with you hands
7. Roll each ball in some more oats and you’re done!
If you prefer you can make a ‘tray no-bake’ instead of the balls. Follow the same method up to and including step 4, then squash a thick layer of the mixture down into a cling film lined tray, and sprinkle the top with some more oats before chilling. Once chilled slice into squares and you’re good to go.
I’d love you hear how they turn out if you make them 🙂
After watching ‘Whip It’ a few years ago I became pretty interested in roller derby. So last month when I discovered there was a local team taking on fresh meat new skaters, I signed up. It was a brave moment that quickly dissolved into panic when the first day of training came around! But like most things in an anxious mind, the situation is never as bad as you imagine it to be.
Skating is tricky and the training has been very challenging, I was not prepared! Yet I love it as much as climbing. Since skating is all about your leg and core strength, it’s easy to see how working these skills can benefit bouldering, and I have definitely seen some positive changes. I feel much more confident in my foot placement, especially with high feet. Plus I notice I can tense and steady myself if I pop off the wall on an overhang/roof problem, and bring my feet back up to carry on. Small things, but they have made some big differences. Also, I’m not familiar with having set times and days for a hobby, as with bouldering I just turn up and climb some stuff whenever I feel like, but I’m enjoying having a schedule. Once I get sorted I think I’ll plan fixed bouldering sessions too, as this has given me the motivation to start taking things a little more seriously.
I think joining roller derby has been a big confidence boost overall. I realise that this post is slightly off topic, but since it has had an impact on my climbing I figured I would share.
Feel free to leave any questions in the comments 🙂
A couple of weeks ago I posted about trying to make better snack choices when climbing, and it has all been going pretty well! Less fizzy sweets and more banana loaf has really made a positive impact on my sessions, you can catch that post here if you’re interested.
Now I’m always looking for different foods to take to the wall or crag with me, so when I saw this recipe I gathered all 3 ingredients and made these muffins right away. They turned out as great little crag cakes which are super tasty, plus so quick and easy to make!
Banana & Raspberry Crag Cakes
All you need is 2 eggs, 2 small bananas and some raspberries
2. Mash up the bananas in a bowl
3. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until it’s as smooth as you can get it
4. Rub some butter on your cupcake tray
5. Add 3-4 raspberries to the bottom of each cake divot
6. Spoon equal amount of the banana and egg mixture over the raspberries until they’re covered
7. Put in a pre-heated oven at 200° for 12 minutes
Sunday it finally happened, I got to climb outside on real rock for the very first time, and it was awesome. After watching the weather all week I was so excited to be able to head down to Pex Hill, which is the local crag I previously wrote a little post about which you can read that here.
Late morning we headed down to meet up with some friends. Having no idea what to expect I was scared at first because it was all outdoorsy and there was a much smaller crash mat under me than I was accustomed to. It took me a few tries to get use to holding rock instead of plastic, but I started to settle in and understand why there is so much love for climbing outside.
There was something so lovely about being surrounded by trees, the fresh air (or as fresh as Widnes gets) and having such a good bunch of people to share it with. As more people started to arrive the atmosphere became exciting but calm in the perfect balance. Maybe it’s because the quarry is sandstone but it was so much gentler on my skin, there’s just something better about climbing on real rock.
Other climbers were also at the quarry, and rightly or wrongly I was shocked to find our groups fusing as we climbed problems near one another. Crash pads and chalk was shared, along with beta and support. It was an experience I didn’t expect, but one I’m glad I was part of.
I only played on bouldering eliminates on Pisa Wall, and had a crack at Poor Leno, Trad Sit Down and Gorilla. After a while I just joined in with whatever was being climbed as the grade didn’t matter to me, which is probably a good thing as the problems don’t seem to correlate with the guide book.
The element I struggled with was foot placement, mostly because 99% of the handholds at Pex Hill are old bullet holes. It was tricky remembering to work my feet up, as I’m used to whacking it on a coloured piece of plastic. At the same time it was easier because I could find a small pebble to step on that others wouldn’t deem useful.
Hands down that was the best climbing experience I’ve had to date, and has made me love the sport even more. I can’t wait to get back out there, hopefully with my camera to grab some footage.
Any questions or advice on where a newbie should climb next within the north west is very welcome!