/ A new climbing blog - some feedback please.

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Joughton on 02 Sep 2012
Hi all, just to let you know I've started a new blog which basically just gives an insight into my climbing, and I'd appreciate any feedback from the people of UKC.

The main focus of my blog is on my preferred discipline, which is trad climbing, where I am pushing into E5 onsight territory. I have also onsighted 7b+ and redpointed 7c on bolts, as well as bouldering and competing occasionally.

My recent exploits include a day at High Tor, where I onsighted Supersonic - the classic E5 of the crag, a three day trip to Pembroke during which I clocked up 30 E-points leading onsight, a three week trip climbing in Canada, ticking off classic destinations such as Squamish, Lake Louise and Skaha, and numerous trips into the Peak District where I am based, and love to climb.

If anyone is interested in reading more, please go to:

http://jakeoughtonclimbing.blogspot.co.uk

Any readers, as well as feedback, would be appreciated.
Jonny2vests - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

I read your Canada / States stuff, nice, sounds like you could go harder trad wise if you can RP 7c. I was on the Grand Wall yesterday actually, managed to get an epic shot looking down the Sword, should appear on UKC tomorrow.
Franco Cookson on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton: Nice. A lot better written than my blog at your age. My only comment would be to talk about grades less. Everyone's interested in them, but people will pigeon-hole you if you mention them too much. And keep doing it regularly- the worst blogs are those where the writer blatantly loses interest every now and again.
Wee Davie - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

Great blog!
Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

Really good, impressive, inspiring. Hard to believe you're only sixteen.
Joughton on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Franco Cookson: Cheers for the advice Franco, looking over it I do talk about grades a lot but I guess that's just the way I'm motivated, and I'll try to make it seem less grade-orientated.

And thanks for all the other comments!
ericinbristol - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

As mentioned, you have to really keep posting regularly to build a following.

Try to avoid the descriptive I did this, then I did this, then I did this, then I did this. If you look at other blogs that are really successful, what marks them out is a sense of a distinctive personality and insight. Humour is good. Read David Roberts' essay 'Patey Agonistes: A Look at Climbing Autobiographies' in his book 'Moments of Doubt'. If you Google 'Patey Agonistes' you will see almost the entire essay online in Google Books. Here's a quote from it, criticising ones which are a mere litany of climbs and route descriptions:

"Such writing represents self-observation at its feeblest, equivalent, really, to the diarist who records: 'Got up at 8.00. Brushed my teeth in the bathroom, then had breakfast downstairs ..." What's missing then? Virtually everything that signals that climbers are real people as well as climbers."

snoop6060 - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

You defo want to avoid it being a diary of what you did each time you went out. Although I'm jelous you get to spend your family holidays climbing in canada and not in skegness like me. No doubt a good blog will include bits and pieces of this, but it needs interesting stuff about climbing. Stevie Hastons blog always is a good read, although not to everyones tastes.
Joughton on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to ericinbristol and snoop6060: so are you suggesting I write about more than just what climbing I did that day? For example including things like my ideas and opinions about climbing or training? Or do you just mean write what climbing I did that day, but just not in a robotic diary style by adding a bit more personality and (probably rubbish) attempts at humour?

Cheers for the advice anyway.
Anna G - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton: great blog made me want to go to squamish!
Anna G - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton: im following it now too
sarahjk - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

Nice writing. Definately keep it going. Would also be interested in your 'other' life; how climbing fits in, what your mates think/say, any effects on studies, what else you like etc.

Good luck.
Fraser on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

It's well written and interesting - a winning combination. Nice succinct work, keep it up.
Joughton on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to annna g: Thanks! I've just started following yours too - you've done some really cool stuff. Really jealous you get to take a year off to climb too!
Franco Cookson on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to annna g: like your blog as well. Lots of strong youngsters about- Get Gwen to start a blog too. She's a beast- if it's the same Gwen...
Dan Lane - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to Franco Cookson:

it is the same Gwen...
In reply to Joughton: Keep focusing on writing nice clear and correct English, and you'll do fine. You develop your own style as you write more, but the fact that you clearly proof read what you have written before publishing so that there are virtually no typos or spelling mistakes is a really great start! It makes your writing swift and clear to read - you're far more likely to get people dipping in that way I suspect. Good effort on the writing and the climbing.
PebblePusher - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

I now follow this on my phone, a good read. Would also be interested to here snippets of how climbing fits in to everyday life for you. For me life gets in the way and I pine to be out climbing most of the time, only tend to get weekend action of late which hinders progress for me. Would like to know how you have progressed so far whilst juggling school and everything else.

Very jealous of the Canada trip, beats a family beach holiday on so many levels!!
Frank the Husky - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton: Good stuff, youth, but I'd agree with others who say "less of the grades" and "less of the move by move" reportage. talking about grades over and over alienates a lot of people, whatever grade you're going on about, and watching climbing is only marginally more interesting than reading about it move by move. That being said, you're only 16 so don't be too hard on yourself; you will become a better writer the more you write and the more you do...and you're off to a good start.

the stuff i enjoy reading is more experiential...check out kirkpatrick and bullock...great climbers but their writing is not really about the grades.

anyways, nice to see you've comprehensively burnt your old dad off, but that's what happens if he spends all his time down at broady quarry.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

Jake, your blog is a very good start. One suggestion, to add to the advice from others, is to make an effort to get photos that aren't belayer-looking-up sorts of shots. Obviously this is tricky if there are only two of you, and it's hard to both focus on climbing the route, and on getting good photos, but good photos will add a lot to good writing on this sort of blog. There isn't a photo on your blog that shows your face -- are you shy? ;-)

As others have said, good writing about climbing is about the experience and emotion and the overall situation, and about you and your climbing partners, as much as about the route. That said, your writing is of a good quality for someone your age who is (presumably) relatively inexperienced at it.
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Joughton on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton: Thanks to everyone who replied,

Taking into account some of your very helpful advice, I tried to apply it to my next post which is up now, about another day on grit. Let me know if you think it's any improvement, or if I've just completely ignored everything you said! I've tried to describe more how I felt whilst climbing as well as just what I'm doing - and apologies for yet another belayer-taken picture!

http://jakeoughtonclimbing.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/maybe-this-grit-stuff-aint-so-bad-after.html
Anna G - on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to Franco Cookson: gwen wouldn't have time to blog she's to busy climbing hard all the time!
Franco Cookson on 04 Sep 2012
In reply to annna g: fair point. Probably too modest as well. Proper legend that Gwen.
Coel Hellier - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

Hi Jake, good blog and good effort on London Wall. However, since you ask for feedback: paragraphs! 33 lines of unbroken text is way too much, aim for 7 or 8 lines at most (4 to 6 lines is fine) for easier readability.
Nick Russell on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

Nice blog, well written and interesting. I don't climb as hard as you, but there's plenty of inspiration in there! My take on the grades thing that a lot of people have been mentioning: keep the grades in (when you describe a route, I want to know if it's something I could attempt without looking it up), but maybe make the references more subtle. Put the grade in the caption of a photo, or instead of "An E5 called xxxxx", "A route called xxxxx (E5)".

Just keep it up and you'll find your own style. Reports of last weekend's climbing trip are a good way of keeping regular content, but more musings about your motivations and your training, as well as your life outside of climbing would help paint a more complete picture. Finally (and others have mentioned this too), make sure you continue to proof-read posts - what I've read has been a lot better for typos and grammatical errors than a lot of other blogs I've read (and while I don't mind the odd mistake, having to re-read every other sentence gets a bit tiring)

Bear in mind, these are just my opinions, interpret them as you wish
Pyreneenemec - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:

I can't say that climbing-blogs really do it for me, but I had a look and what I saw came over as being a competent effort as far as climbing blogs go ! I'd already seen Franco Cookson's blog, but it's not something I'd follow; improving grades etc is a personal objective that means little to anyone who hasn't the same goal in sight ! Your blog needs more 'life' if you want people to follow your progress !
strudles - on 27 Sep 2012
I enjoyed the post on london wall, a nice insight into the difficulty of that climb !
Joughton on 29 Sep 2012
In reply to Nick Russell: Thanks very much for the advice, I've tried to follow what people are saying but I have no idea if it's reading any differently... also I've tried to write about general training, motivation and musings as well as my recent climbing, but it always seems too boring to warrant someone else reading it, so I suppose I have to work on making it more interesting, but I've only got so much to work with!

Cheers, Jake
Joughton on 29 Sep 2012
In reply to strudles:
> I enjoyed the post on london wall, a nice insight into the difficulty of that climb !

Glad you enjoyed it, but it probably isn't really that difficult, I'm just rubbish at the sort of climbing style. Admittedly if you'd read someone's blog who had just cruised it, it wouldn't sound nearly as hard - I was just making it sound hard as an excise for falling off!

In reply to Joughton: I enjoyed reading it )))
Mr-Cowdrey on 29 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton: Nice blog :) I've only just started a blog myself, http://chriscowdreyclimbing.blogspot.co.uk/ Kind of jealous of your ability though, well done.
pog100 - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Joughton:
What time did you do that? We were there on Sunday and saw a lot of chalk on it.
pog100 - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to pog100:
Oops sorry, see it was Saturday in your log book
Franco Cookson on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Pyreneenemec:
> (In reply to Joughton)
>
> I'd already seen Franco Cookson's blog, but it's not something I'd follow; improving grades etc is a personal objective that means little to anyone who hasn't the same goal in sight ! Your blog needs more 'life' if you want people to follow your progress !


Errr... Are you sure you've read my blog? It has very little to do with 'improving grades etc'...
Wee Davie - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Franco Cookson:

Climbing blogs are always about grades!
Lukem6 - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Wee Davie: ours is not, were not good enough !

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