Thursday, 18 October 2012

Cast out first the beam out of thine own eye...

I'm going through a bit of an introspective spell at the moment, and one of the questions I've been asking myself is "Are you practicing what you preach?"

One of my favourite recommendations is "You need to train your weaknesses." - Ramon gets it from me regularly for his dislike of going near slabs, and I went as far as abusing him for it in a recent post.

So how about me?

I like to think I've got this one wired - I relish getting on slabs for a change, and have diversified into trad this year with all the new climbing styles that brings.

But on closer inspection I'm going to have to call bullshit on myself.

What's my biggest weakness?

Boulder strength.

What do I never do?


Now, historically there were good reasons for this. When I first started trying to improve my climbing I took to bouldering and injured my fingers a lot. My tendons just weren't ready for the forces my arms were able to provide - at one point I remember training with seven fingers taped at once.

So I resolved to stick with route climbing - it was after all the style that gave me the most enjoyment, so why not go with it rather than hurting myself and taking time out?

But those days are surely behind me. I understand a lot of the mistakes I was making then (insufficient warm-up, training with full crimp, etc.) and I've had time to develop those tendons.

My best redpoint is 7c, yet my best boulder send is just V5... that's out of balance. Surely improving my bouldering to regularly sending V6 would improve my all-round climbing ability way faster than any amount of stamina work on the comp wall will.

Of course bouldering is a slightly higher risk form of training, but that's the same for all of us and with high risk should come high reward for someone in my position.

So, whether it's because I'm sticking to what I'm good at, or scared of an exaggerated risk is largely irrelevant - I've been avoiding what I need to do most. If you're a regular in london's indoor bouldering venues, expect to see a baldy scotsman down there trying to clear a beam from his eye... and if you're heading up to the peak or down to bleau this winter, give me a shout!

Once upon a time in Bleau... with a lot of finger tape.

A couple of weeks later, and four taped fingers had become five... it was getting silly.

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