Saturday, February 23, 2013

(Not so) Cold weather and the art of projecting...

So it's a funny time of year here. The end of winter when the weather is usually a bit too cold for my liking for really climbing well (I have soooo much trouble warming up in the cold and always get flash pumped on every burn on my projects all day) and when there's not really so many people in town to climb with. But this year is different. There's still not so many people around yet but the weather has been a lot milder than usual so I have been getting out a reasonable amount. Not as much as I would like, but a few times a week anyway and then training hard in between. Today is one of those perfect days where the sun is coming out, the temps are pretty nice and we actually have people to get to the crag with. Psyched!

A nice warm fire at the crag, at Dragon City

I have been training a lot of finger strength and general strength. I know for me to get to the next level I need to be able to use much smaller holds and to be able to pull a lot harder, so lot's of hangboard time and lots of general strength training, particularly on 'The Bolt' that I have started writing about on  - a simple yet effective home strength training tool for climbers. I also have some pseudo gymnastics rings set up and have some real rings on their way in the mail so will write about using them soon too.

Doing an Iron Cross on 'The Bolt'  (

Lately my attentions on the rock have varied a bit. First I was super excited about a new crag here called 'Dragon City' where I went a bunch of times and did all the moderate routes and a few super classic 5.12's and then worked on a potential 5.13d project for a bit which was super fun. But now I have turned my attention back to an old nemesis; the 'Paper Cut Extension', a route that is a hard 5.13c for me and one that targets my weaknesses - crimp strength and power, while at the same time suits my style in that it's a 35m+ endurance route. This is the route I am psyched to use to get stronger and fitter right now in the hope that when I have what it takes to finally send it I will have what it takes to get my other next projects done a lot quicker as they have similar requirements - long, crimpy endurance routes.

Me on the final crux sequence of the first pitch of my project at Lei Pi Shan. Photo courtesy of Christopher Miller

The whole projecting thing is sort of new to me in the last few years. Before I would never have more than a few tries on a route before getting bored and moving on. I was definitely more about the onsight or fast, couple of shots ascent of a route than projecting. But now I am really enjoying the process of projecting - getting to know a route intimately and working out its subtleties before finally sending the route in such a way that it feels like you really got to know the route, that you know it intimately and can flow and dance your way up it. It's such a great feeling to finally master something that at first felt so impossible and now it's a feeling that I live for. Love it!

For now, it's off to the crag for another projecting session!

Me being all serious in a athlete profile photo for my sponsor, Kailas

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Grandma Moments...

Grandma moments were described to me by my good friend Ania some time ago. She said how her Grandma had told her as a little girl to stop and soak things up and remember all the good things that happen in your life, no matter how small. A good philosophy I think. We all too often dwell on the negatives in life and don't spend enough time appreciating the little things in life.
Even when the chips are down I still stop and appreciate the grandma moments and it really makes a difference to my day. Whether it's enjoying a meal with some good friends, a beautiful sunset, happy children playing my apartment building courtyard, a pretty view out at the crag, anything. It makes me remember just how lucky I really am and how good life is to me. Any of the little negatives seem to become insignificant when you balance them out against all the good in life.

Lately things here in Yangshuo have been all go with me sorting out a new job, working hard on the new 'Athlete By Choice' website ( and training hard for the upcoming spring season. The weather is unseasonably warm here and we are getting out climbing a lot, especially at the new crag 'Dragon City' which is proving to be INCREDIBLE! Super classic routes at all grades on awesome rock. So psyched!

Alrighty, time for a finger board session then off to the crag!
Love it!

Here are a couple of grandma moments I had this week...

A perfect sunset after climbing with a friend = Grandma moment

Perfect blue sky winter days = Grandma moment