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A Girl Who Climbs

A blog of bouldering

Craig y Longridge

Late January I headed out to Craig y Longridge with some friends for the first outdoor adventure of the year. Known as the stomping ground of Ian Vickers and Gaz Parry, Longridge is 100m of 20-degree overhanging quarried grit which makes it the place to get strong.

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Lovely Longridge

The Longridge crag backs on to Green Bank Park which was once all owned by the same landowner. However, after some resident complaints about climbers, liability worries and threats of filling in the crag, local climbers and the BMC stepped in. After a few long years they managed to settle a deal meaning Craig y Longridge is owned by climbers and the BMC. Yet since the homes are so close to the rock there are a few rules to keep the peace: no music, no dogs, and no climbing before 10am or after sunset. You can read more about the history here.

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The famous wooden ladder

It was easy to drive and parking was no problem, in fact you can park right outside the venue in the laybys. As you can imagine January in the UK is bitterly cold and this Sunday was no exception. Due to the nature of the rock it’s perfect for traversing and of course there are loads of problems from low to high grades there too, making it a great venue for different climbing abilities. We didn’t stay too long and I didn’t climb anything as it was just far too cold for me, but it was still nice being there as I could help with spotting people as they tried a few climbs.

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I’m really excited to head back in the warmer months, especially as I feel like I’m starting to grind through the plateau now which has given me some more confidence in my abilities.

Expect another Craig y Longridge post (with climbing) soon!

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Writers Block

I’m having a bad/long stint of writer’s block. I don’t want to just put up a post because it’s due, I want the post to be informative, useful and thought out. I would love to say it’s because I’ve been climbing so much I just haven’t had time, but sadly it’s the opposite!

I’m still about and posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and as soon as I have something worthwhile to share, the blog will be back to normal.

 

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All The Training, All The Gains

Ignore what I said last week, I’m all about the training now.

I re-joined the gym at the start of January (with the rest of the world) and I’m happy to report I’m still going twice a week and surprisingly really enjoying it. Why did I join the gym after giving it up for bouldering? In all honesty it’s to help me improve at roller derby, and subsequently bouldering. Plus I’ve discovered that I’m the type of person that needs to be in the right environment to be productive, whether that’s in an office to do work or in the gym to work out. I can do it if I have a reason and I’m in the right place.

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Having a goal to aim towards also helps to keep me focused, so when I saw this video for a beginner oriented campusboard drill, I knew this is what I needed in my climbing life. This is perfect to help with dynamic power and contact strength, and I really like how informative the video is, plus it’s genuinely one of the best campusboard training videos for beginners that I’ve watched.

http://www.epictv.com/media/podcast/campusboard-session-for-softies–a-beginner-oriented-campusboard-drill/605684

Naturally there will be pictures and videos over on my Twitter, Facebook & Instagram account to do with all of the above, because if you don’t document it for the world to see did it even happen?

I would love to know  your training goals for the year, leave them in the comment!

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Improving By Accident

 

Everyone wants to get better and climb harder, and unexpectedly I’ve started to notice small improvements in my climbing. It feels like I’m nailing moves that I have been struggling with for a few months, and this in turn has started to unlock parts of bouldering problems for me which were previously unattainable.  

 

I’m not really one to stick to a training schedule, as much as I wish I could, so these improvements are not from following a well-crafted programme, plus I enjoyed ‘off-season’ to the max over the festive period! All I can put it down to is visiting different bouldering gyms, I think the variety of angles, holds and problems has had a positive impact on my climbing.

 

Maybe try hitting a different climbing gym if you feel like you have hit a plateau. Either way it was a nice surprise to acknowledge, and I think it’s important to recognise the small improvements as these are the steps up to the bigger event, like pushing through a grade boundary.

 

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New Year New Rules

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!

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It’s Christmasssssss

Well, very nearly! I hope you are all having a nice festive break or on your way to one if you’re still working. Here are few of my favourite climbing related people, websites, blogs and shops I enjoy virtually hanging out at when I’m after a climbing fix or relaxing.

Grab a brandy and mince pie!

 

HoldBreakerwww.holdbreaker.com

Amazing customer service and their website is packed with so much climbing information and I love their ethos: “We believe everyone’s struggle is the same, irrespective of level” #NoBetaNeeded

 

Beatmonkeyswww.betamonkeys.co.uk

I’m sure you’ve seen these cartoons already as they are always flying around the climbing community. The truth behind them is what makes them so funny and relatable, and sometimes just the thing you need to get you through the week

 

Rock Ragswww.rockrags.co.uk

For climbers by climbers. This site houses independent business’ and their clothing, all of which is climbing related and awesome

 

Fernwehwww.fernwehuk.com

Beautiful handmade knits and chalk bags that are so cute yet sturdy!

 

Eric Karlsson Bouldering –  www.youtube.com/user/opuz1337

Great videos that range from techniques to general wall fun, I always feel inspired after watching these

 

Girl On Rockwww.girlonrock.co

Great blog on all things climbing, a nice way to spend 10 minutes with a cup of coffee

 

Wishing you a very merry climbing Christmas!

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Review | Scarpa Vapour V Womens Climbing Shoe

I bought the Scarpa Vapour V way back in August when I was looking a comfortable, downturned boot. The price of the older style dropped considerably when the new model arrived, so  I managed to pick them up cheaply. I was still trying to break in my second pair of Five Ten Anazasi LV boots at the time so the Vapours unintentionally took a back seat for a little while, until more recently!

 

vap-1Fit –For someone with wide feet these are a great fit. I wanted a more comfortable shoe so I didn’t go with bouldering fit when sizing. Instead I went to a store and tried a few different sizes on around my normal size, which resulted in me going up half a size from my street shoe (UK 3). There is still good toe pressure and heel fit with this sizing but much less pain! They don’t seem to have stretched noticably but that could be because they are still breaking in. I have read some reviews that say the Vapours are particularly painful on the Achilles tendon. The only time I experienced this was when the small, blue leather tag inbetween the pull tabs was rolled down into the shoe, but as soon as I flattened it out it was fine.

 

Specifications – The Vapour boots have an asymmetric toe box, a full boarvap-2d sole and are moderately downturned. I can really feel the benefit of these features when I’m climbing on a steep angle or on a roof. The downturn makes it feel like the toe ‘clips’ onto the holds, and the full board gives my feet solid support. One of the main things I really like about the fit of this shoe is the half sock/mesh tongue. It’s really comfortable on the top of my foot and makes getting the boot on and off particularly easy. The Vibram XS Edge rubber is a decent all-rounder but not as sensitive as other brands that I have tried, however I think the overall shoe build compensates for this.

 

Performance – The Scarvap-3pa Vapour shoes are great on all types of climbs, but I find that they perform particularly well on roof/cave and angled walls due to the downturn and solid toe box. They edge well and have a decent amount of sensitivity, I never really worry about standing on small holds when I wear these shoes. They seem to be breaking in nicely and I’m happy to report that downturn is still there and they have not flatten out. I would like to try these outside though, as I have only climbing plastic in them so far.

 

Aesthetic – I’m a big fan of the blue and grey colour pallet as it’s gender neutral and understated. Even the new version which have yellow piping detail are easy on the eyes.

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Conclusion

After bouldering in these boots for about a month I am really impressed with how they fit, feel and perform, and I can see myself sticking with the Scarpa brand for future shoes. They are a versatile shoe for a beginner or advanced climber as they perform great in every department. Personally, I’m happy to have found a comfortable fitting shoe which is easy to get hold of and I feel has helped me improve my climbing skills.

I don’t think you can ask for much more from a boot!

 

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Climbing Out of a Bad Situation

A few posts back I wrote about how I’ve been having a hard time with climbing, as I’ve not had very good sessions lately and it was starting to get me down. It even made me question if I should take a break. However, I stuck with it and climbed once a week even if I really wasn’t feeling it, and I am so happy I did. I wish I could pinpoint the moment or cause for the sad plateau, but I guess that would make life far too easy. So even though at the time it sucked to not be feeling as strong as I knew I could be, simply persevering with the circumstances appears to have paid off. That and the fact that A Boy Who Climbs was very kind and patient with me, and gave me the much needed push to continue.

 

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Bouldering last night was great and it was so lovely to be back in a good place with it. I enjoyed trying to grip the awful holds, attempting moves I found scary and over all just throwing myself up the walls with gusto. I’m so excited to climb again at the weekend!

 Sometimes turning up for training when you really, really don’t want to is half the battle for any sport. Don’t let yourself feel defeated if you’re having a rough time. If you put in the time then you will feel the rewards in the end despite it feeling like you won’t – promise!

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The Fear | Getting Out Of Your Head

Holding yourself back is the worst because you know you’re doing it, and you also know it’s down to you to stop it. Staying in your comfort zone is something I think we are all familiar with, but it’s an aspect I really need to push out of with my climbing.

 

I recently read this post by Iron Octopus Fitness, which was about fearing how much you could achieve if you were not too scared to do so. This kind of struck a chord with me on a climbing level, as much of my climbing and bouldering experience has consisted of trying to conquer fears. Whether it’s anxiety or confidence, it has been a long journey but I’m glad to still be on it! I think the most confusing thing is that I have no issues trying hard and being sure of myself when skating or playing roller derby. So why do I struggle so much with bouldering? Well, firstly I would never have been brave enough to sign up to roller derby if I hadn’t built up some confidence from bouldering. I think a lot of the newness I experience in roller derby didn’t feel so bad because I had already done it all with climbing, e.g new place, new people, new skills etc. The second time around it wasn’t so scary. So, I think it all boils down to confidence, climbing has given me the confidence in other aspects of my life, so now it’s time to believe in my climbing abilities.

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Ultimately, when I don’t try a move or problem, I know it is down to me and my fear/lack of self-assurance holding me back. Too many times have I fell off a climb and proceeded to undo my shoes for a shoe break, or gone and got a never-ending cup of tea. Putting off and delaying things is just a waste of time. Really, I should just get over myself and enjoy the climb, because if you aren’t enjoying something you don’t have to do, then why bother doing it?

 

Try hard for yourself, be confident and embrace the fear!

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