Safety when sport climbing

Here are a couple of useful posts on UKC to think about.

The first one is a video of a nasty fall where the leader had his foot behind the rope, causing him to invert when falling and a fairly harsh belay causing him to slam into the wall upside down.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=69790

A chap at the cuttings in Portland decked out the other day, when his belayer gave him to much slack. He’d leant back to be lowered off and his belayer thought he’d said slack and given him slack and let go of the rope.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=619337

There’s lots of good sensible comments on both, but to roughly sum up (and yes, I know we all know this and I’m teaching lots of folk to suck eggs here, but still):

– Where possible make sure the rope doesn’t run behind your legs
– Wear a helmet!
– If belaying, try and give a ‘soft’ catch (obvious caveat, if a soft catch means they slam into a ledge, feel free to be harsh), i.e. don’t have a very taut rope and go with the momentum of the fall. If you’re not sure how to give a ‘soft’ catch, practise in a safe environment.
– When at the top of a route, make sure you know what your belayer is doing (for leaders)
– When the leader is at the top of a route, make sure you keep them on belay all the time, especially when they’re threading a route. If they ask for slack, give them a bit and then lock off the plate.

Finally, the following article is also worth a read – http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4727

June 2015 Climbing Stats

Year start grades:

  • Bouldering – V3 (Sent)
  • Sport – 6b+ (RP) 6a+ (OS)
  • Trad – HVS (OS)

Month start grades:

  • Bouldering – V3 (Sent)
  • Sport – 6b+ (RP) 6a+ (OS)
  • Trad – HVS (OS

Month end grades:

  • Bouldering – V3 (Sent)
  • Sport – 6b+ (RP) 6a+ (OS)
  • Trad – HVS (OS)

 

Bouldering grade the same.  Sport grade up to 6b (red point).  Trad grade the same.

Weight start – 12st 5lbs

Weight end – 12st

Core sessions – 11

Indoor Climbing sessions – 3

Outdoor climbing sessions – 8

Month Average – 80%

Year Average – 69%

Starting this back up again.  A weight increase after christmas meant that I was backup to around 12 and a half stone.  I am beginning to push that back down.  I have done a lot more wall sessions this year, to try and keep that level of ‘wall’ fitness up, which will help through out the year and hopefully mean I’ll hit the wall in the winter able to push through and up my grade over the winter.

Physically, 6b is about right for me at the moment.  I’m at about VS for trad routes, but my confidence can be quite poor and variable.

June 2014

Year start grades:

  • Bouldering – V2
  • Sport – 6a
  • Trad – HVS

Month start grades:

  • Bouldering – V3 (Sent)
  • Sport – 6b+ (RP) 6a+ (OS)
  • Trad – HVS (OS)

Month end grades:

  • Bouldering – V3 (Sent)
  • Sport – 6b+ (RP) 6a+ (OS)
  • Trad – HVS (OS)

Weight end – 11st 9lbs

Core sessions – 0

Fingerboard sessions – 1

Indoor Climbing sessions – 0

Outdoor climbing sessions – 6

Bouldering grade the same.  Sport grade the same.  Trad grade the same.

Weight start – 11st 9lbs

As you can kinda see it was June when I sort of gave up on this.  I had managed to get my weight down to quite a nice low point.  However once I got it there (briefly) I slacked off on the diet front, so it was only ever 11st 10lbs for a few weeks, before bouncing back up to 12st very quickly.  Since then I would say that my grades have not changed over the last year.  However I’d quite like to restart this as I was finding it useful.  After a fashion.  I could also backfill most of the entries from UKC Fitclub if I felt like it.

 

April 2014

Year start grades:

  • Bouldering – V2
  • Sport – 6a
  • Trad – HVS

Month start grades:

  • Bouldering – V3
  • Sport – 6a+
  • Trad – HVS

Month end grades:

  • Bouldering – V3
  • Sport – 6a+
  • Trad – HVS

Bouldering grade the same.  Sport grade the same.  Trad grade the same.

Weight start – 12st 1lbs

Weight end – 11st 12lbs

Core sessions – 9

Fingerboard sessions – 4

Indoor Climbing sessions – 1

Outdoor climbing sessions – 3

Crap month really.  Need to get the weight loss going properly.  Also need to actually get two climbing sessions per week.  It’ll come, just got to focus.

March 2014 Stats

Year start grades:

  • Bouldering – V2
  • Sport – 6a
  • Trad – HVS

Month start grades:

  • Bouldering – V3
  • Sport – 6a+
  • Trad – HVS

Month end grades:

  • Bouldering – V3
  • Sport – 6a+
  • Trad – HVS

Bouldering grade the same.  Sport grade the same.  Trad grade the same.

Weight start – 12st 2lbs

Weight end – 12st 1lbs

Core sessions – 8

Fingerboard sessions – 0

Indoor Climbing sessions – 4

Outdoor climbing sessions – 2

Elbows are still pretty iffy.  Weight has fluctuated quite a bit, so overall it’s not down by much.  Which is frustrating.  Need to nail the weight and get the sessions in.  Haven’t been climbing enough.  Haven’t been loosing enough weight.  However I have a new kitchen, so that’s a plus point.

Feb 2014 stats

Year start grades:

  • Bouldering – V2
  • Sport – 6a
  • Trad – HVS

Month start grades:

  • Bouldering – V2
  • Sport – 6a
  • Trad – HVS

Month end grades:

  • Bouldering – V3
  • Sport – 6a+
  • Trad – HVS

Bouldering grade the same.  Sport grade the slight increase.  6b/+ is very close.  Trad grade the same.

Weight start – 12st 5lbs

Weight end – 12st 2lbs

Core sessions – 11

Yoga sessions – 0

Fingerboard sessions – 2

Climbing sessions – 4

Shoulders are now fine.  It was just a heavy few yoga sessions.  Elbows aren’t great.

January 2014 – Month stats

Year start grades:

  • Bouldering – V2
  • Sport – 6a
  • Trad – HVS

Month start grades:

  • Bouldering – V2
  • Sport – 6a
  • Trad – HVS

Month end grades:

  • Bouldering – V3
  • Sport – 6a
  • Trad – HVS

Bouldering grade increase from V2 to V3.  Wooo.  Sport grade the same.  Trad grade the same.

Weight start – 12st 8lbs

Weight end – 12st 5lbs

Core sessions – 11

Yoga sessions – 8

Fingerboard sessions – 2

Climbing sessions – 3 (plus two days winter climbing)

Injury wise, elbows are slightly painful and shoulder is a little stiff.  Need to start doing a elbow and shoulder ‘pre-hab’ workout.  Otherwise a good month.

Cairngorms Jan 2014 Lessons learned

Cairngorms in a weekend?  Totally possible.  We left Bridgend at 4pm on Friday and arrived in the ski car park at about 1am.  Sleep for 5 hours and then up at 6am, starting the walk in at 7am.  Up the Fiacaill Ridge, back down the goat track and then a bit more crampon work on the goat track.  We also had a good look at the Goat Track Gully.  The following day we got up at 6am, were at the car park by 7am, then up the route by 12:30, in the corrie by 1pm, at the car by 2pm and home by 11pm or so.

Generally both days went really well.  The avalanche forecast was good.  The weather, while it was a bit windy was reasonable.  Conditions were good, the snow was solid and the gullies were full.  We got up there safely, did two routes and got back home in time.  We definitely could have been faster on the second route.  Which was Goat Track gully.  We did it in two 40 or so meter pitches and one short 15 meter pitch.  All things considered we could have been a lot quicker on that route, but most of that was due to my descision to trail the ropes up the slope to the bottom of the route.

On the first day we went up the Fiacaill ridge.  Joe got pretty cold on the belay.  It was quite exposed to the wind and he got rather cold.  This meant that he struggled with seconding the route.

Lessons learned:

1 – Don’t trail ropes up snow slopes.  It doesn’t work.  The ropes are to heavy and prone to getting tangled.

2 – Belay jackets aren’t optional.

Now for a few photos from the weekend.

Joe at the start of the Fiacaill Ridge:

Blurry selfie for the win:

Joe standing under Aladdins butress.

What a daft idea (aka 8a in a year?)

So last year I thought I really ought to get off my arse and try to do something hard.  I sorta did I guess.  I got a bit better at trad and finally got up into HVS, just about.  But there wasn’t much effort there really.  I didn’t focus much on any specific improvement.  I did a load more core exercises and started fingerboarding.  Also I spent quite a bit of time on my running doing a couple of ultras and I did up my house.  The ultras ate into valuable climbing time, so they’re out.  The fingerboarding was a start, but it’s not really very planned out, it’s pretty random.  So that’ll change.  The core exercises simply aren’t enough, I need to put more effort in there.  A couple of years ago I read an article in a mag which had a quote from Stevie Haston, which was:

“Train hard, rest, don’t eat. It’s a power to weight thing. In fact it’s a weight to powerful fingers thing. It’s not rocket science. Laurence went from F6a to F8a+. Any man or woman can climb F8a within a year in my opinion. All they have to do is everything in their power to do that and not get injured.” Stevie Haston on climber.co.uk

Obviously to plenty of climbers, 8a is a fairy tale grade, something that most people will never actually climb.  Being of a rather stupid disposition, this has stuck in my mind.  Now I don’t seriously think that I’ll get to 8a in a year.  However what I do plan to do is focus on improving my climbing as much as possible.

Over the next few more posts I’m going to lay out a slightly more detailed plan, but here’s it in a few simple steps:

  • (re)Start and continue weekly (and daily) yoga
  • Maximise power to weight ratio (i.e. loose a bit of weight)
  • Get technique training and improve technique as I feel it’s a weak spot
  • Improve finger strength with a proper fingerboarding training program
  • Rest (i.e. spend more time chilling with the wife) properly