French trip - June/July 2006.

21st Aug 2007

Summer had arrived, so where was the best place to head to for quality sport climbing?


It’s hard to top.

A great long walk in which gets you fit pretty quickly and then awesome routes to throw yourself at, my idea of heaven.

The plan was to spend 3-4 weeks climbing outside, part onsighting and part red pointing and then finish up fit and ready for the Chamonix world cup on 12th July.

The second part to gaining loads of fitness, was to then head back to the UK (with hopefully a good comp result under my belt) and try and headpoint some of Britain’s hardest trad routes.

Something I’ve never done and was quite excited and psyched for.

Things started great.

Climbing at a totally awesome (secret crag) in France, I came within millimetres of Onsighting 7c+ and 8a, so I knew my fitness was starting to make a comeback, which was good news for Ceuse.

Having already onsighted 5 7c+’s at Ceuse in the past (mostly the classics) I was going to have to delve a bit deeper into the delights of Ceuse and not just go for the classics.

Speaking to a local hotshot, who happened to be only a couple of inches taller than I was, he recommended some good routes to go for.

So after a few days of acclimatising to Ceuse and getting used to the climbing again, my plan was to warm up in the am, then climb a few low-mid 7’s, then try to onsight a 7c+, then put the clips in an 8a+. Then the next day, try to redpoint the 8a+.

Well this actually worked very well and for 2 cycles of climbing days, I onsighted 2 7c+’s and redpointed 2 8a+’s 1st or 2nd go.

(At this point if I had been at another crag, I think I would’ve been Onsighting 8a’s but Ceuse is the 7c+ crag and seems to have a dearth of 8a’s to try and onsight.)

With 2-3 climbing days left before resting up for the Cham comp, I wanted to drop down the intensity a bit and not get involved in anything too hard.

So I didn’t try to onsight anything harder than 7c and wasn’t really trying to redpoint anything.

But there was an 8a that was bugging me at Cascade area and I thought I might as well try and redpoint it, as I was going up to cascade every morning and didn’t really have much else to do there.

This proved to be my downfall.

The route ‘Rosanna’ has a tricky crux with big moves on poor holds.

I tried to redpoint it a couple of times and was getting to the crux easily then falling.

I got quite angry and started to work the move quite a number of times with not much rest in between goes.

As it turned out, not a good idea!

After falling off the move again (I had said to myself it would be my last go- how right I was), my finger felt very painful.

So I sat on the rope mulling it over for about five mins and then tentatively tried to pull on. OUCH!

It was not going to happen.

Dejected, I was lowered down.

Not being knowledgeable about pulled fingers (it rarely happens to me), I decided to go to Cham anyway, thinking with 3 days rest my finger might have calmed down and there might be a chance of competing.

This turned out to be pie in the sky and my hopes for doing well at the Chamonix comp were dashed.

This also means my plan for the uk tradding have had to go on hold, which I’m really disappointed about, as I was climbing very well and think I could’ve got some hard routes done.

So with 8 weeks out, I’m trying to maintain what I’ve gained but it’s quite hard because my normal methods of training are out as it is too painful at the moment, so I am just trying to modify things.

Oh well, c’est la vie. I hope the time goes quickly (I’ll try to get lots of mountain biking done) and come back to climbing psyched!