Since returning from France I've engaged bouldering mode. If I want to stand a chance on routes like Abyss next year then I need to get a whole lot stronger (and better at kneebaring, more on that later). Ropes were put away for the winter, power endurance training thrown out the window and - with a little help from an elbow injury which doesn't like high volume - my diet of aerobic capacity and capillarising has been stripped down to a minimum in favour of bouldering, bouldering, more bouldering and some hardcore anaerobic capacity work.
Over the last few weeks I've started to feel the effects of all this come through on rock. Problems which have previously kicked my ass were efficiently dispatched - Tsunami, Dancing Fish and Press Low Right (all at Rubicon, all around 7C+/8A) along with Andronicus (an 8A near Stoney) made a good start to bouldering season. (Andronicus, whilst in a pretty minging venue, has some really cool climbing on it, especially if you like knees - don't be put off by the location, it's well worth a visit.)
So, onto the knees... In Loup this summer I realised that (1) I want to try to climb 9a next year, (2) If I'm going to do that it's going to be on steep tufas since these suit me and (3) Steep tufas = knee central. Conclusion: I need to do some training on steepness and kneebar trickery this winter. With that in mind I made a list of suitable problems to try. You know what they say, work your strengths. I think that's what they say anyway. I wasn't listening, I was trying to cheat my way past another crux, probably by lanking, kneebaring or toehooking (or occasionally all 3 at the same time).
With that in mind the last two weekends I've headed over to Wales to climb in Parisella's cave. I had it in the back of my mind that at some point in the distant future I'd like to try Director's Cut, the classic 8B linking Lou Ferrino into Trigger cut. I knew that my use of knee bars on TC would bring the difficulty down but it would still be hard. Fortunately I managed to 'ruin' the problem by finding a double kneebar no hander on Ferrino, bringing the difficulty down to something I could do reasonably quickly, and on Saturday I managed not to punt the end and grabbed the finishing jug a happy man. It's pretty cool to have got up this bit of rock - something I thought would be way out of league for the moment. OK, so it's not 8B any more (soft 8A+ or hard 8A?) but it's still the same bit of rock and I'm psyched to have done it. I did a few other problems and links too - Daisy from Concrete (8A?), Greenheart (formerly supposed to be solid 8A+, now 8A with all my cheating?), Broken Heart and Broken Trigger (7C+ and 8A?), and a bunch of cool easier things.
Rumour has it some people are upset that I ruined the cave with all these knees. Oh well.
I didn't get any footage of the send due to rain and the cave being crowded. I also couldn't get footage to stich together as I ran out of battery. I've put together some footage of attempts the weekend before though for anyone who wants beta, to be horrified at my sacreligous behaviour towards this hallowed piece of rock, or simply to tell me that it must be 7B with all those "shenanigans":
Some attempts on Director's Cut (8a+?) in Parisella's, also footage of Broken Heart (7c+) from Alex Barrows on Vimeo.