UKC FitClub 2021 Round-up

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 Tom Green 30 Dec 2021

The 'Year of Climbing News' article, reminded me we are about ready for our annual review. Given that I'm effectively housebound at the moment, rather than sit sulking, I thought I'd get us started...

What were everyone's best routes/problems/mountains/runs/comps?

Were the climbing/running/swimming goals from the beginning of the year achieved?

Did you manage to stick to training plans and tick off training goals?

How was motivation and general mind-set through another challenging year?

What were your best fails? (a very British concept!)

What lessons were learnt to carry forward to 2022?

Don't feel that you have to answer all (or any) of these questions... it's equally interesting seeing a list of successes/favourite days out as it is hearing a bit more about the processes that people have gone through.

Last year's round-up: 

So get stuck in... (unless you are waiting for a final mega-day of goal ticking tomorrow!)

 Tom Green 30 Dec 2021
In reply to Tom Green:

At the start of 2021 I set my year goals as:

LTG (End Q3):

Max Hang total 88kg - Fail (85.2kg).

Weighted Pull-up total 92 - Yes (94.6kg).

Mug circuit 10-on, 10-off - Yes.

Board Problem 'Mission Improbable' - Yes.

Yates' Layaway (f6B+) - Fail.

Jack the Smuggler (7a) - YES!

Black Wall Direct (E2 5c) - Didn't get on it.

Run average 40km/week, Cairngorm Classic Rock IAD and Welsh 3000s -Fail, Fail (didn't try) and Fail (didn't try).

2020 Goals:

35 E-points - Massive Fail, just a fairly pathetic 17.

Run 30km vertical (and >1000km) - Massive Fail, 16.8km vert and 611km total.

El Cap nose-day (880m climbing) - Fail. Didn't actually get round to trying this, for the second year running.

So a pretty awful year in terms of sticking to my training plans and ticking off my over-arching year goals. In trying to work out why I think it comes down to a variety of factors...

Started the year with a badly sprained ankle (didn't do Jan/Feb's running any favours) and finished it with a broken leg (wrote off December).

Had various life chaos (heinously busy with work in the middle of the year, then moved house in autumn).

Perhaps wasn't psyched enough by my local goals? -I could have made them happen, but tended to deprioritise them for other climbing.

Wasn't consistent enough with training (partly due to disruptions from life chaos, partly due to lack of psyche -maybe due to not having chosen goals that I was 100% motivated for?)

Lack of focus in training and climbing goals -rather than focussing on bouldering or trad or sport or winter, I try and keep dabbling in it all and work to improve all. I know that this is possible, there are loads of people who are great all-rounders, but maybe it would be easier to tick goals in just one area.

Having said all that, it wasn't a bad year in terms of enjoying my climbing -I had some amazing days out...

Trips away:

Orkney/Sheigra/NW; North Wales; Anglesey; Pembroke; Cornwall.

Best Boulder:

Nothing too exciting this year but enjoyed Backhander (f6A) with honourable mention to Pocket Wall (V3)

Best Trad:

92 routes done this year, most of which were total bangers, so it's a bit like choosing your favourite album!

The week when I did the big three Scottish stacks (Old Man of Hoy, Old Man of Stoer and Am Buachaille) was obviously amazing. Leading the 2nd pitch on East Face Route (Original Route) (E1 5b) was amazingly intense (technical wet sand -what's not to love!); Original Route (VS 5a) was pure type one fun; and the climbing on Atlantic Wall (E1 5b) was brilliant, not to mention the swim, the sunset, and the whole wildness of the place.

Best outcrop route was probably Tower Chimney (E1 5b) -just for the sheer masochism of it. Still have the scars on my knees and elbows.

Best mountain route was The Boulder (E1 5a) -easy moves, but soooo much air and soooo little gear!

Best Sport:

Jack the Smuggler (7a) -first route properly redpointed, first 7a, but also first time in a while I'd been so absorbed in the moves of a route. Mega!

Best Dry Tooling:

Delighted (and shocked!) to get Heavens Above (D7+) done on my first day of the season! But probably the best tooling route was flashing Chelly Express (D7) -a real Scottish style torque-fest.

Best Scottish Winter:

Hahaha. See best spanking.

Best Winter Alpine:

Didn't happen.

Best Grudge Match:

Safety Net (E1 5b) -hadn't realised on the day that I climbed it that I'd tried this way back in 2003 and fell off, giving myself mega rope burn! Much more uneventful this year!

Best Enchainment:

A superb, life-affirming day running from Trevor Quarry to World's End, soloing a route on each crag that I passed on the way (except Craig Arthur!) then running back again in glorious sunshine.

'Best' Spanking:

Breaking my leg right at the beginning of the winter season has been a little irritating...

Lessons to take in to 2022:

However helpful training is, for my current situation, it does not give as big an improvement in climbing as climbing a lot. However, my climbing days can be more productive for training if I drink less tea between routes and always aim to fit one more route in, even if I'm ready for a beer and a bag of chips.

'Quite wanting to do a route/problem' is not the same as being 'obsessively psyched out of my mind' about it, and this translates to very different levels of motivation for projects.

Trying to do a bit of everything is going to make improving a bit more challenging, and I need to be pragmatic about how training looks in that context.

Being a little cleverer at balancing work and life will help me to maintain consistency.

 Si dH 30 Dec 2021
In reply to Tom Green:

Thanks Tom, good idea!

In last year's thread I said my goals for 2021 were "Get my family through the pandemic, fix my finger injury and don't collect another, climb with some new people, do more in Wales and the Lakes, do five 7Bs including at least one traverse that requires some power endurance." Apart from the 5 7Bs I managed all of these, although it would have been nice to fix the finger earlier and then climb with more people in more places!

Fixing my finger injury took a long time but it's now pretty much there. I've mostly stuck pretty well to rehab routines and I've been good at sticking to various training regimes for a month or two, and seen progress (eg fingerboarding and flexibility training in recent months) but then slacked a bit. I could do with getting back on the wagon in that respect.

The injury, combined with an unusually high number of illnesses and expanding our family in September has meant I haven't done as much outside as I'd hoped. I've been on shared parental leave recently, which has helped loads with finding a couple of hours here and there for training, but hasn't created any opportunities to get outside in the week. However I've managed some fast 7A ticks this year and done a small number of harder things. Ned's Problem (f7B) was the hardest by grade and Strong Arete (f7A+) went down in a single short session after work - I was really pleased with both of these. I was pleased to finally do Pill Box Original (V6) too - 'only' 7A but felt really hard and took me 4 sessions. I also had a couple of days seeing old friends in the Peak, which included doing a couple of 'old favourites' on a rope in Cheedale - I got a bit spanked but it was good fun and I really enjoyed catching up with them. And I've also felt close to being at full strength on my board recently, for the first time this year.

For 2022, I don't really have any idea how much time I'm going to get outside yet. It's tough to find opportunities with two young kids, I'll be back at work full time and I may be limited to indoors most weeks of the year - I suspect that even finding free evenings to get to the wall will be hard. I'm hoping to have a decent holiday in Font at Easter (fingers crossed we can go!) and to get out enough in the UK to keep me motivated. It would be great to find more opportunities to meet up with people on here. Training wise, I think my focus should really be on trying to recover my finger strength more without causing any injuries, while doing enough bouldering at the wall to maintain other aspects. I've been trying to combine quite a few different things but will probably need to focus more now.

At some point I might also try and lose some weight. I lost all motivation for maintaining a healthy diet in the spring lockdown and am currently over 80kg, which is 10kg more than 5 years ago when I did my hardest routes, and 5kg more than when I did my hardest boulders.

Really, I have to see 2022 as a year just to rebuild a bit more finger strength, maintain motivation for climbing when life feels tough, and have some fun. That's the plan. Long term I still want to get back to 7C/8a level and be able to climb outside every week again, but it isn't going to happen this year!

 AJM 30 Dec 2021
In reply to Tom Green:

Thanks Tom for starting!

A reasonable year. Pleased with the bouldering, a little frustrated I didn’t manage to line things up better for DWS, and a bit of a disappointment not to get a bit more route climbing done. I trained quite hard over lockdown and then mostly just climbed in the summer - I struggle to make space to climb outdoors, especially if I get out midweek, and then also train.

Arbitrary training goals:

> - 1.5-x-5 solidly on the campus board, then 1-x-5

During the winter training block I was doing pretty well here, 1.5-3-5 and 1.5-4-5 going ok and hit 1-4-5 a couple of times too. Haven’t done it for a while though so probably need a bit of work to get back there

> - L sit to Tuck Planche on the paralettes as a marker point for having worked on a weakness

I think this one got there, although possibly the slightly scrappy end. Again, lack of practice over the summer means I’m probably a way back from that now, so points dedicated for lack of consistency

> - pull-ups 5x5 @95kg, and actually do some stuff on offsets

92kg I think

> - some progress on a front lever

Didn’t really try

Climbing goals:

> - make use of continued working from home and hopefully greater tolerance of more remote working in future to do some longer hybrid climb/work trips (not ridiculously long, but extending beyond the usual 2 week mark)

When I wrote this I had in mind a month or so in June, maybe Frankenjura - instead 3 weeks in the dales/Lakes which was still pretty good

> - make the June-June 12 months my best period of bouldering yet

Lockdown running all the way to end March threw roadblocks in the way of this. In terms of points (I know, I know - but I find they correlate reasonably well to good/bad years) I nearly got there. I think I equalled, perhaps, but then as I spent much of the summer chasing difficulty rather than volume I didn’t replace last years ticks as they fell away. 

By another metric, it’s actually been pretty solid, in that since the end of the first lockdown I’ve done 4 7A+s in different areas, three of which are fairly well established and not esoteric (Picnic Sarcastic, Monty Pythons Direct sitter, Drifter sitter, Liquid Sun), come fairly close on another (Hyperspace at Virtual Crag) and had solid goes on a 7B (Picnic Sarcastic sitter). Also had a few promising sessions on another local 7B, and doing Liquid Sun opens the door to working the extension, adding in a sitter I’ve already done, to get a looong 7B+ tick.

> - climb route 7c/+ again

With the demise of the hypothetical routes trip in June, this one just never happened

> - work on my “why haven’t I already” and “harder local things to try” tick lists

Nice non specific goal, so an easy one.

0%-10%-13% on Why and 13%-17%-20% on Harder

> - nail at least one of my Portland dws projects, try mark of the beast, and do some more stuff at Swanage and in south Devon.

Meh. Didn’t do anything in Swanage or south Devon, didn’t tick any of the Portland projects, although I did infill a few missing cv gaps, and my try at MotB was pretty token and a bit disappointing.

 AJM 30 Dec 2021
In reply to Tom Green:

Thanks for starting the tread Tom, I'd forgotten all about this one!

This year I had the initial aims of doing 5 8a sport routes.  I didn't manage this (in fact I only did one) but this was mostly because I got stuck into an 8a+ (see best spankings!) instead so I still feel like I tried hard.  Last year I aimed to 'tick 7C like I tick 7B' which I regressed on this year but only because of the time spent sport climbing instead which i don't regret.

Best Sport:

My one and only 8a was Dark Energy (8a) but i think my best day was ticking The Squealer (7c) and Big Spider, Small Bath (7c) on the same day.  I was pleased to do Little Plum (pitch 1) (7c+) in a session and put in a good fight when outrageously pumped on Stone the Loach (7c),. The main thing I've got out of sport this year is feeling much more confident on 7c ground now.  Before this year I'd go into a 7c thinking it might take me 3 sessions, now I feel confident enough to go for the redpoint in a session even if I've not got it totally wired yet.

Best Bouldering:

No 8As this year but I've put to bed some previous nemesis problems(most notably T Crack (f7B) and Fine Beta (f7C)) The thing I enjoyed the most was Zippy's into Pink Indians (f7B+) which I thought was worth 7C and I've enjoyed exploring some easy ground in Cornwall while on holiday.  One of the highlights of the year was ticking my way through the 7A-7B classics at  Roche Abbey and a quick tick of Enity (f7B+) thanks to some beta/pads/spot from others at the crag.  Rational Thinking (f7B+) was good too.

Best trad:

I've not really done any harder onsight trad this year, you need to have the time to do lots of this to keep your head in the game.  Had a great day climbing the roaches classic rock I'd not already done with a friend I'd not climbed with in ages.  Also had an equally good day but in a very different way climbing Napes Needle and the ridge behind it in the rain and also a few good evenings soloing on my own on the grit.  Did a couple of satisfying headpoints earlier in the winter, it was nice to still be able keep my head together in a position of danger on Desolation Angel (E6 6b) and just plain good fun was Genocide (E6 6c).

Best drytool:

Like Tom I was very pleased to get up Chelly Express (D7) first go.  I also enjoyed being chilled and being able to shake out in places i used to get pumped.

Best Winter:

Considering I never left the Peak, winter really excelled this year!  Two days stand out.  Climbing Right Wall (V) at the crack of dawn before work and then secondingIcicle Repair Man (also known as COVID Wall) (IV 4) straight after work the same day was brilliant.  Got some strange looks drying gear out in the staff changing rooms! The other was climbing East Berlin (III 3) which I've wanted to do for ages and it didn't disappoint.

Missed opportunities

There were a number of winter lines I'd like to have done but felt were too far away to justify during the 'no unnecessary travel' restrictions.  This things I did do were all on my commute to work and felt reasonable.  I've climbed the downfall several times in the past but never seen the corner on the right in good conditions which I'd like to have done.  Blue Moon in Matlock would have been fantastic and there were a couple of others I chose not to do.

Best Spankings

Where do i start!  Probably with Confidence Trick (8a+) which I sank many sessions into and never got.  I'm not quite tall enough for the lanky way and not quite good/strong/flexible enough for the short man method.  Maybe I'll try again as its only one move I can't do.  Fallen Slab (No ArĂȘte) (f7B) I might try again but only in good conditions when I've climbed the whole of the rest of the Peak and my fingerboard is broken and all the road to the wall are shut!  Cherokee Lane (f7A+) I just can't quite work out how to do even after watching lots of videos, I'll try this one again though.  Submergence (f7C) continues to evade me, 'just put your right heel on and roll over' (f**k off!).  Breakfast (no Foot-block) (f7B) slipped through the net too.  Oh and I nearly forgot O'Neal's Ledge (II) which I backed off for the second (possibly third?) season!  I didn't want to be that guy who fell down Mam Tor in the middle of a pandemic so chose not to commit, again.  

Post edited at 09:02
 Ally Smith 31 Dec 2021
In reply to Tom Green:

Thanks Tom. Rest up and come back strong soon.

I don't remember sharing my '21 goals, but I did write them down in a word doc, so here's the low down...

1) Stay happily married and be the best dad I can

TICK Shared Parental Leave was brilliant - I couldn't recommend it more.

2) Have a whole year of healthy elbows, shoulders, knees and fingers (i.e. keep up plenty of (p)rehab)

Half-ticked: My hip can still grumble a bit and I had some new shoulder problems, but pretty much stayed on top of it (thanks Biscuit).

3) Climb 3x new sport routes of 7a or harder


Thumbsucker (7c)

Daddy Falsetto (8a+)

Along with The Smoking Gnu (6c) and another 7a+ and 6c+ (I'll share details of when development is complete).

4)    >bodyweight 1-handed deadhang on the BM2K lower middle rung (Good all-round aim as it will need; good shoulder strength, some weight loss and of course, increased finger strength)


Inched closer though. Shoulder stability certainly contributing to the difficulty of this. I did however manage a solid 1-arm hang on my campus rung with >BW, so it's getting closer.

5)    8a redpoint


Victorious (8a) doesn't really count (steady 7c+?) but was happy to do it 2nd go.  Daddy Falsetto (8a+) was definitely in the f8's though.

6)    8A

TICK and a newbie too

Start the Week (f8A)

Honourable mention must go to:

  • Brilliant day out DWS with AJM and Tyler, where I actually managed to not over-grip (too much) and do some brilliant f7's
  • Day release from family holiday to go to the Bowderstone and do Impropa Opera despite the heavy rain!
Post edited at 10:17
 Ross Barker 31 Dec 2021
In reply to Tom Green:

Cheers for the thread Tom, bet its good for keeping the psyche up while the leg heals!

> What were everyone's best routes/problems/mountains/runs/comps?

Safe Bet (f6C) - Fab bit of grit climbing. Really satisfying to whale over the top.

Wherever I Lay My Hat (f7B+) - Amazingly weird gaston and kneebar move, felt desperate but scraped my way up in a session. The hardest thing I've ever done on paper.

Reckless (f7B) - Wicked moves on the crux, calling this my "First 7B" as I don't think Slow Worm (f7B) really counts at my height.

Finger Swinger (f7A+) - Hardest FA. Felt nails when I did it and instinctively gave it 7B at first, as at the time my efforts on Rigpa were getting close. Only one repeat since.

> Were the climbing/running/swimming goals from the beginning of the year achieved?

Don't remember setting any specific goals, but it was probably something like this:

Don't get injured

Fail! Bad A2 strain in March, and more recently some weird finger niggles.

Climb Rigpa (V9)

The early injury meant this couldn't happen at the start of the year, and recent finger niggles, poor conditions and general lack of psyche towards it has meant I've not really been on it loads later in the year.

Climb some more 7Bs

Success! Somewhere between 5 and 6 depending on grade opinions. All in the latter third of the year as well.

Do some DWS

Oops. Never made it down South this year, my summer trip was Northumberland. There's always next year!

> Did you manage to stick to training plans and tick off training goals?

Can't remember setting any, but it was probably the following:

Do a One-Armer

Close! Not been training specifically for it though so I'm happy.

Do a 1-4-7

Tick! Only on the big rungs though...

> How was motivation and general mind-set through another challenging year?

Challenging. The year began in lockdown, where all I could try was Rigpa. This was fine until I got injured, then I remained injured for ages before admitting to myself that I needed to sort it out. Idiot! Then there was a tough time leading up to a job change in September, which has left me a bit tired at times as I acclimate to the change.

> What were your best fails? (a very British concept!)

A2 strain in March.

Not bothering to sort it out until May.

Severus Snape (f7B+) - Massive flapper on a hail Mary effort. So close!

> What lessons were learnt to carry forward to 2022?

Take injuries seriously, sort them out, don't be in denial. Sometimes they happen even if you're fully warmed up and well rested.

Kneebar good.

Post edited at 10:56
 AlanLittle 31 Dec 2021
In reply to Tom Green:

Gonna sound a bit less positive & chirpy here I'm afraid. Almost half the year in lockdown for me, and the rest struggling to get back to just about my pre-pandemic climbing level. And, having had my 60th birthday in the middle of the second lockdown, am confronting the idea that the effects of two lost years might be permanent and irreversible. We shall see - still plenty of raging against the dying of the light left in me if I can get the motivation together for it.

Highpoint One of the climbing year, just after lockdown ended, was redpointing my winter lockdown project. This was a short PE challenge with a non-obvious sequence that took time to work out (mostly by copying my partners' beta), no rests until after the crux, and a very conditions-dependent sloper crux. Definitely the most time I've ever had to put into a project.

Highpoint Two was a three week trip to Greece - one week Kalymnos with my son, two weeks Leonidio with friends. Kaly was great - delighted that my 18 yo son can still enjoy spending time with his dad. He's said he want to go back next year when he finishes his exams - excellent. Leonidio I thought was ok but climbing wise not in the same league as Kalymnos. Would go again though. Also very much enjoyed a few days of archaelogy tourism in Athens & Mycenae as an educational adjunct to the climbing.

General goal for 2022: try harder. Seriously attempt some big, steep anti-style classic 7a's.

 Ross Barker 31 Dec 2021
In reply to AJM:

If/when I make it down South this year I'd be really keen to get on Water Wings (E4 6b), I'll drop you a message and hopefully we can figure something out!

 Tom Green 31 Dec 2021
In reply to AlanLittle:

Yep, sometimes reviewing the year highlights just how challenging or crappy it has been! 

It was a bit depressing for me to have to write 'fail' next to so many goals! I actually thought your year write up was more positive and chirpy!

For what it's worth, I thought there were loads of positives to draw from your year... managing to get some hard redpoints in (including some quick ones on trips) despite the disruption of the last 12-24 months is pretty good going. And, with your pretty rigorous training schedule from the last year, I don't think you can start using aging as a proper excuse just yet -sorry!

 Tom Green 31 Dec 2021
In reply to all:

Some great posts! I love this annual round-up thread -it's really inspiring seeing everyone's highlights of the year put together in one place.

And, in some ways, just as inspiring to see people's struggles, near misses and out-right fails... good for moral support as well as for learning from other experiences!

 AJM 31 Dec 2021
In reply to Ross Barker:

Yeah, that'd be great.

I haven't looked at when they are, but I suspect I will try to target some family camping weekends (there was, hopefully will be, a campsite basically atop the dws over the summer) for the best couple of really good tide time weekends of the year.

Once I work them out (I probably need to buy some updated tide times at some point) I'll let FC know.

 AJM 31 Dec 2021
In reply to Ally Smith:

> Brilliant day out DWS with AJM and Tyler, where I actually managed to not over-grip (too much) and do some brilliant f7's

Always keen for more next year, although I guess you've more or less ticked Portland now so probably have to be somewhere else!

 Liam P 31 Dec 2021
In reply to Tom Green:

Cheers Tom. I didn’t post in FitClub 2020 Round Up as I’d only recently joined so making sure I get my 2022 Goals posted this year!

The baby arrived in June and I shattered my heel in September so climbing achievements have been pretty sparse. Still had some enjoyable days out and trained hard.

> What were everyone's best routes/problems/mountains/runs/comps?

Has to be A Dream of White Horses (HVS 4c). I bottled it the year before after having a look from the promontory. This made me realise I’d better start doing some organised training, joined FitClub, and went back 6 months later. Awesome.

Another highlight was faffing around with rope soloing and aiding. Mostly around chossy caves at Swanage but The Bat (A1) was good fun. I had a Big Wall Course booked in Sardinia which would hopefully open some doors to Big Walling but the shattered heel ended those plans. 

> Were the climbing/running/swimming goals from the beginning of the year achieved?

The two routes above were, but Covid Lockdowns/Baby/Fracture left quite a few on my wish list.

> Did you manage to stick to training plans and tick off training goals?

Yes. Great gains here.

  • 2RM Weighted Pull-up 151%
  • Max Hang 20mm Half Crimp 5x 12s 123%
  • Bent Arm Straddle Planche
  • 15deg VSits
  • One Leg Front Levers
  • various campus benchmarks
  • Woody 6c+ after finding it impossible for months

> How was motivation and general mind-set through another challenging year?

Struggled mentally with not being able to get out as much, and feeling like my dreams of big routes and big walls are slipping away with age and more responsibilities. That being said, breaking my heel provided a good exercise in motivation and I made good gains in upper body strength.

> What were your best fails? (a very British concept!)

Didn’t get out enough to fail! Ha.

> What lessons were learnt to carry forward to 2022?

Finger strength needs to be constantly worked. You can’t get strong then sack it off for 6months and think you’ll keep the gains!

2022 Goals

Have a good year FitClub!

In reply to Tom Green:

I wasn't going to respond as I have only been fit clubbing since late October I think, but thought I'd join the party.

A year of steady progress really - consolidation I suppose.  I should say it comes on the back of several years not really climbing very much, so at my age (64) it takes a bit to get back to anything like fitness!  Did quite a bit of sport mileage early season including a fantastic 16 route day on Attermire early on - have subsequently been back and had another day of fourteen routes so clearly enjoy the place.  I mainly think of sport as early season fitness - getting some endurance going, so spend my time onsighting, but I am determined to switch my mindset and take on some projects this year (which I have never done).  

Mainly enjoyed trad as the Spring developed into Summer and did plenty of decent stuff in Pembroke, The Lakes, Yorkshire and the Peak.  Work got very busy and slowed me up - I am a person who needs to be climbing regularly to keep progressing, but I did enjoy sticking to trad wherever I could.  No particular highlights, but my first visit to Pembroke since the early 1990s has to be up there as it reminded me why I love the climbing there.  

Training went well early in the year, but I stopped when I started climbing regularly.  As Liam says, this is a mistake and strength definitely tailed off, so working out a way of keeping both going is critical.

I still haven't thought much about goals.  Training wise the aim is to top my recent personal bests across the things I train at home.  Bodyweight plus 35% max hangs would be stretching, but god to attain.  Pull ups twice a week at 100 plus and weighted pull ups at 130% would also be good standards to hit.  I also want to force myself to the wall more and make use of the campus board - so far an exercise I have missed out.

On sight 7a.  Despite climbing E5 in the past, I have never onsighted a 7a - probably a reflection of my lack of interest in sport, but now a real thing to target.  I'd also like to project a 7b.

Some Welsh classics as I sort of missed out on Wales in the past.  I haven't been to the Cromlech since I was at school, so like Liam, Cemetery Gates is on my list.  The Cromlech should suit me, so I must get there this year.  However, I love the Lakes and have loads to do there still, so it is less about routes and more about getting back to a decent standard for me.  I'm targeting E1 in March, E2 in April and E3 by Mid-Summer's Day.  

Get back to falling off.  I didn't fall off at all last year, which tells a story.

In reply to Tom Green:

One of my worst years for climbing but better than last year and some fantastic days out nonetheless. Highlights in chronological order (but, coincidentally, first on the list is definitely the best!):

An Teallach Ridge (Summer) (Grade-3),  Traverse of Summit Ridge from East to West (Grade-2) and Stac Pollaidh summit (summit) - The NW of Scotland, especially so when you do all your objectives for the week in the first four days

Ixtlan (E2 5b) - The most gentle of DWS introductions with AJM and Ally kindly providing the encouragement and beta. If I go again I'll spend some time in the water acclimatising.

Witches Brew (7b) - Didn't think I'd get anything at Kilnsey ticked this year, nice to be back in project mode.

Shelter Crags great crag and routes. I also coped ok with the walk in, enthused for more mountain days.

Cave Route Right (7b+) - Took longer than I would have wanted but the slow improvement, the drive from the crag after a good evening, having a world class crag to ourselves when everyone else has gone home and the final success. Everything I enjoy about repointing on a super classic route to boot

Week in Portland when I managed a clutch of Top 50 routes and set post operations PBs in OS and Flash but, surprisingly, the highlight was The Maypole (HVS 5b)

Moonchild (Sport) (6c+) proper struggle up a route that's been on the list since 1989!

Finally finished my attic DIY project

Moved house to Wales

Good day out running on the Carneddau vindicated the house move

Less  good stuff

Never managed a work life balance

Moved house before I managed to use my DIY attic once!

The Carneddau run made be think there might be something up with my new hip.

Both knees keep "collapsing", fortunately this has not happened when outdoors or climbing so all a bit weird.

Never got below 11 stone, now piled a load more back on.

Last couple of months I've reversed any gains I managed through the year.

Post edited at 00:09
 AJM 01 Jan 2022
In reply to Tyler:

> Ixtlan (E2 5b) - The most gentle of DWS introductions with AJM and Ally kindly providing the encouragement and beta. If I go again I'll spend some time in the water acclimatising.

Portland itself is fairly friendly, but within that sphere I wouldn't have said Ixtlan was "the most gentle", with its crux topout - that was a sterling effort given you weren't exactly super relaxed on Spittle and Spume!

> Cave Route Right (7b+) - Took longer than I would have wanted but the slow improvement, the drive from the crag after a good evening, having a world class crag to ourselves when everyone else has gone home and the final success. Everything I enjoy about repointing on a super classic route to boot

Brilliant isn't it

> Week in Portland when I managed a clutch of Top 50 routes and set post operations PBs in OS and Flash but, surprisingly, the highlight was The Maypole (HVS 5b)

Brilliant little trip isn't it...

In reply to Tom Green:

Thanks Tom.

I've been posting for 6 months, so don't have a year to compare to.

However on my first post I said I wanted to be steady at E4 and 7b. I would say I'm close on both, as completed a few E4's ok, but need to do more. I can now normally RP 7b or 7b+ (occasionally 7c) in a session.

Training wise, although I'm improving, each time I push hard my body bites back with a niggle/strain.  However, I have had success with the Woody board, and can complete a range of problems, when previously I could not keep my feet on anything.

Best experience was Eroica (E4 6a) when damp followed by Crow (WW) (E3 5c). Both mega adventures. Highest grade was Crimson Dynamo (E6 6b) which was done almost ground-up.  However, ascents of Suicide Wall (E1 5c) and Delilah (E2 5b) are up there as the most enjoyable, along with taking my boys up their first proper trad climb in Avon.

Training wise, I've learnt more about my body and how it doesn't like rapid increases in intensity. I need to ramp up training very slowly. However success for me seems to lie with mileage on rock, as I can perform reasonably well grade wise with comparatively low strength stats.

I'm going to think of some 2022 goals and put them in the main post tomorrow.

Post edited at 10:48
In reply to Tom Green:

Been a spotty year training-wise but have made progress by just getting out and climbing more.

Best Boulder

Probably The Groove (f6A) on a first trip to The Wavelength Boulders (and first bouldering in Wales). Has reminded me to get some more bouldering goals for 2022 and include some local (Peak) classics

Best Trad

Red Wall (E2 5b). Bit of an impromptu addition as had no intention of doing this at the beginning of the year. Intimidating but not difficult, which I think suits me.

Honourable mentions to Central buttress (Original) (E3 5c) and Freddie's Finale (HVS 5b).

Best Sport

Apollo Creed (6b)

Best Fail

Sergeyenna (E1 5b) Really should have got this - too much hanging around and maybe not enough experience with Peak Lime.

No Winter routes, which I will hopefully rectify this year.

In reply to AlanLittle:

Hi Alan

As I'm 64 I hope the comments are helpful!  

I've always had time away from climbing ever since I started University.  If I can't climb regularly - twice a week for example - then I end up preferring not to climb at all and just focus on work or family or whatever pressures are getting in the way.  Sometimes these breaks have gone on for years, with only a bit of classic rock stuff thrown in.  At fifty, I got back into it after several years of dabbling and got back to E3 and on-sight 6c+, before changing job, moving area and going back to soloing for exercise.  

At 60+ I've gone back to it more seriously again, though had ten months off only four years ago.  I immediately noticed that my strength was down significantly, but training is gradually getting that back.  I think it probably needs to be taken slowly as I suspect recovery times are slower.  I'm not back to my old base level yet, but it feels like it is attainable - just a slower road perhaps?  I think this year will show me whether my optimism is justified or not, as my core strength is good enough, so I should be able to do routes at the old standard if I get out enough.  Climbing more is the thing that makes most difference for me - as my time on rock increases, I notice subtle changes in the way I move that create much more flow which I struggle to reproduce deliberately - I guess it is related to confidence somehow.

Interestingly, I tend to climb faster now and don't find myself working out a move through several attempts nowadays.  Usually I am through the crux first time - that alone could explain the reduced standard.

Hang in there - it does come back!

 AlanLittle 02 Jan 2022
In reply to Derek Furze:

Thanks for the words of encouragement Derek.

I'd be up for a Fit Club Cromlech meet in the summer if the covid situation makes travel a reasonable proposition.

In reply to Tom Green:

Been an up and down year for me but moving in the right direction now. 

Started the year off with an ACL Reconstruction & Medial Meniscus repair - 6 weeks non-weight bearing in a brace resulted in an amazing amount of muscle atrophy. I wasn't cleared to climb until 7 months post-op so spent most of the year focusing on my cycling with a view to climbing as much as possible once cleared to.

A few highlights from the year:

  • Doing my first 100 mile bike ride
  • 4 sunny days in Pembroke with a route in The Leap on my first day there
  • Scaring myself silly on some classic Gogarth frighteners
  • Catching the bouldering bug and flashing font 6C 

Some goals for 2022:

  • Stay injury free for once!
  • Flash an E4
  • Tick more classic winter routes on The Ben 
  • Do a first ascent on Lewis & Harris 
  • 200 trad routes in the year 
In reply to Liam P:

Your Dream of White Horses comment reminds me of an entertaining day on Wen Slab a year or two ago.  My mate (aged 70) and myself went to do Concrete Chimney as I had somehow missed this out in the past.  When we abbed down, two younger lads were on the ledges about to do Dream, but they explained it was their second trad route ever! (the first was the previous day and was a route in the slate quarries).  I found this quite surprising (imagine falling off the last pitch), so gave them plenty of encouragement and told them to give us a shout if they needed help at any point.

We did Concrete Chimney, Wen (by which time we crossed them at the stance) and Zeus before packing up.  By then they had decided to do the Concrete Chimney exit as the last pitch did frighten them a bit.  They made it to the top as we headed off.  They had been pretty slow of course and very careful setting up belays and following the line, but I remain impressed that they had got on it at all!

Post edited at 18:13
 Liam P 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Derek Furze:

Derek, the most impressive part is your 70 year old mate doing three big Gogarth routes in a day!

Thats a good effort though. Just checked and my second trad lead was the single pitch Hollybush Crack at Stanage - think I was a gibbering wreck all the way up that.

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