Hard boulders for Nathan Phillips and Tara Hayes in Magic Wood

© Nathan Phillips Collection

Nathan Phillips and Tara Hayes have had a successful trip to Magic Wood, Switzerland. Nathan managed two classic Font 8B+s and Tara climbed two 8As and two 7C+s. Both were taking a break between the busy competition schedule this year.

Nathan had three previous trips to Magic Wood under his belt and has climbed 'the majority of the good stuff up to 8B.' This time he was keen to get stuck into the harder climbs: 'New Base Line (f8B+) was always something I'd just never got around to trying but I'm glad I did this time. Never Ending Story (f8B+) was a bit different, having previously done part 1 and part 2 and making good links on a previous trip it was a clear choice.'

New Base Line is a basic, strength dependant boulder problem. Nathan started by figuring all the moves out during his first session and started to link longer sections during his next two. Finally, in his first attempt of his fourth session he linked it all together.

Never Ending Story was a different proposition altogether as the water level was too high to attempt the problem for most of the trip. It is a much longer boulder problem at around 30 moves. Part 1 is a compression test piece on slopers at around 8A+ and Part 2 is a short and powerful 8A. Nathan told us: 'No specific move is really hard; you just get so burnt out from Part 1 that climbing part 2 is much harder. I actually fell on the last move in the session before I did it…'

Luckily, the water subsided and Nathan found himself on the finishing jug on his final day of the trip.

In her own words, Tara went to Magic Wood for 'a change of scene and a chance to try hard climbs without any pressure.' She hadn't been training specifically for the trip, but had been training hard for the competition season and felt in good form:

'It was a great confidence boost to come away with some hard climbs, including two 8A's - Foxy Lady (f8A) and Never Ending Story Part 2. The first of these is one of the most well-known climbs in Magic Wood and has been on my list for a while so it was great to get it done!'

The climbing on Foxy Lady is static, involving a great deal of body tension; something Tara has been working hard on over the past couple of years. Never Ending Story Part 2 was 'more of a personal battle' for Tara having come close on her previous trip three years earlier:

'I was slightly apprehensive about trying it this trip in case I couldn't get to my previous high point. After having a session on it I realised it was doable and the moves felt easier than they had done previously. With it being a lot more dynamic than Foxy Lady, I found it harder to link the moves and unfortunately the number of sessions was limited by the river flooding the landing.

'On our last day the river went down and Nathan managed to do the full link (Never Ending Story 8b+), followed shortly by me topping Part 2! It was a really great end to the trip and I was fully satisfied with my climbing, also getting a few slightly easier climbs earlier in the trip such as Rythmo (f7C+) and Du cote de Seshuan (f7C+), both 7c+/V10.'

Both Tara and Nathan have the British Bouldering Championships coming up in a couple of weeks – good luck!

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