Sunday 22 December 2013

Merry Christmas and a MASSIVE THANK YOU

Christmas is finally up on us us once more and I’d like to take the chance to thank my sponsors who’ve supported me and kept me alive over the last year. (That’s Lyon Equipment with Petzl, Beal, La Sportiva and Julbo and Marmot clothing a recent  exciting transfer - so a thank you to Mountain Equipment too for their support over the last few years)

The Ice World Cup events and the chance to go to the Olympics in Sochi have been a major goal for me over the last 8 months. It’s a totally new challenge for me to compete with some of the best competition climbers in the world. A totally different experience to suffering for hours on end in Scotland.
To help me get my aging body into shape and keep it that way I’ve had to enlist several amazing friends who’ve given their time to help me with my dream.
In no particular order they are....

Tim Budd: who’s put me through my paces to build my strength and fitness up and has refrained from laughing too much when I’m struggling swinging kettle bells and the like around.
Matt Pigden: The whole of last year and the start of this one ive struggled with neck and shoulder problems with my climbing often resulting in many days off with bad headaches. I was referred to Matt by Becca Dent who I’ll mention in a minute. He’s dealt with several of the GB bouldering team over the last few years with massive results, Shauna Coxsey being one of them. After having dental treatment the problems eased and finally allowed me to train to my full potential.
Rebecca Dent, when I first started seeing Becca a few years ago I’d just come out of a winter season where I felt wasted. I was just on my knees walking in to climb. Since then using a controlled diet and careful monitoring I’ve put weight on which has enabled me to recover way better and faster than before and so has helped me train more.

I’d also like to thank the BMC who have recognised Ice Climbing as being an official GB Team alongside the bouldering and lead teams - a big step forward and one that has really helped to get some momentum behind us - there are 10 members of the team including 2 youth climbers and we are all going to attend at least one round of the World Cups - amazing.

Leading up to this season it became apparent that it was going to cost me a fair amount to do all the World Cup events plus the Olympics. Way more than I could ever afford. I decided I needed help. I reached out for corporate sponsorship with some success - a big thank you to DryICE Tools, Jagged Globe but after a little bit of nudging from various friends I then started up a donations page on the web which had great success. It started off pretty slowly but once people were aware of the page the donations flooded in. An incredible response from friends new and old, total strangers and extended family too.
There are way too many of you to thank individually on here but a massive THANK YOU from me as you’ve help me realise my dream.

The season starts in South Korea and I'll be flying out on the 8th January ( well so long as my passport reappears by then) - then it's going to be an action packed 8 weeks with hardly time to draw breath - so wish me luck folks and I'll try and keep you updated as I go along - you can follow me on twitter @andyturnerclimb

Final Preparations

Training at Rope Race

As competition season get’s rapidly closer its time to put the finishing touches to my preparation. All summer I’ve been looking for a venue to add the comp style prep I desperately need. We tried Blackpool, which was amazing for the length of routes and angle but the holds kept coming loose. The wall really needed to be ply clad and with t-nuts to make it work. That way we could kick in as well. Lots of sessions at the Works and White Goods followed just trying to get the mileage in. I was still seeking a venue close by though that I could use anytime of the day so once the dark nights started creeping in I could step up the pace. Stand up Alan and Sharon at Rope Race in Marple, Stockport. The wall where I first started climbing 15+ years ago. They had a downstairs bouldering room which wasn’t getting used that much and were happy to hand it over for us to dry tool in. The added bonus for them was it was something else for their customers to use.
A few furious hours of setting and the wall was ready to go. 

As if by magic an old friend of mine Scott Muir got in touch shortly after. He’d just designed a set of wooden holds for his climbing company ‘Dream Climbing Walls’ and wanted someone to test them and give some feedback. I’ve known Scott for getting on ten years I’ve never seen anyone like him for the psyche to train, he developed prototypes for what became these holds when he was training to compete.
The holds came through the post in 3 big boxes a couple of days later. Unwrapping them I was gobsmacked at the amount of time and detail  he’d put into making these holds. They were things of beauty which is hard to believe for something made out of ply. I was scared to use them they look so nice. I must say I was a little reserved at first how well they’d sell, as surely it can’t be that hard to make wooden holds at home yourself? But after 5 weeks of using them there my favourite holds on the wall. They give you so many options with stein pulls, side pulls, slots etc and the beauty is if you really want to get worked these things are what you need. The placements in the holds are so positive the first thing to go is always your arms. Why is that any good? Well if your trying to get really pumped the last thing you want to do is fall of a marginal hold a few minutes into your circuit and loose all the pump you’ve built up.

The holds are now starting to look a bit less shiny and perfect, they’ve shed their  sharp edges - now there bedded in you can really go for those big moves with confidence and get pumped out of your tiny mind. I can’t wait for the World Cups now!

Monday 25 November 2013


andy t marmot (3 of 20)
On Powerdab - photo Andy Rutherford

 After climbing my own Guardian of the Underworld last year at The Works  I was keen to try and go one harder. I decided to try and extend Guardian by coming out from the very depths of the cave to join the existing route half way through the roof. This job was postponed when the roof just became too wet to hang under. As much as its amazing to create new routes to climb its bloody hard work hanging upside down for hours on end drilling and bolting the things. At the same time I was drilling the extension Greg and Paddy were creating what was to become Powerdab.
This was right before the winter came good so I gave up on the extension choosing to wait for sunnier days whilst Greg managed to squeeze in a few sessions on Powerdab before he too concentrated on icer things.
Next came the Bolting scandal that saw most of the works stripped, with all except my extension and Guardian being vandalised. Must have been too hard for the perpetrators to get to???? Powerdab got all its draws stolen and unlike the rest of the gear they were never returned. This did not deter Greg who kindly donated more of his draws to the cause.
On the weekend of the meet I'd organised to get folk psyched to compete in World cup events the whole of the Works was a flurry of activity with routes getting sent, left, right and centre. Greg was keen to get back on Powerdab and disappeared with the Scottish contingent. Coming back a couple of hours later with the route in the bag but non commital on the grade.
Having recently joined the Marmot team they were keen for some photos for some posters they were doing for Kendal film festival so I agreed to meet Andy Rutherford down at the works a few days later. Whilst waiting for him to turn up myself and Pete Holder thought we'd have a quick explore of the holds on Powerdab. After a quick bolt to bolt lead I was surprised to climb the route in 2 halves on only my 2nd go. Walking away that day I was keen to get the route done on my 3rd redpoint attempt. Coming back a week later this wasn't to happen, for some reason I was in a really shitty mood and totally wasted 3 goes getting no where. Not happy.
Around came the film festival weekend. I'd arranged to meet up with Pete and Harry Holmes again just to see if I could work the crux before disappearing for duties at the festival that night. Having had a massive week of training and feeling totally wasted I warmed up then managed to fire the crux long reach first go so that only left one thing, I had to keep climbing and finish it. Shortly afterwards saw me shouting a girlie scream at the lower off. Really pleased to get the route in the bag as its now a Marmot poster. Always bad karma I feel to be photographed on a route before you do it.
To get the route so quickly came as a complete surprise, maybe its more my style than long enduro routes?? Time now to get on a euro route and see how the fitness fairs and then the World Cups.

Sunday 17 November 2013

DryICE Tools

My latest blog is actually as a guest on the DryICE website blog. These guys make some brilliant training tools - you know the kind with ice-axe style handles and loops of rubber to hook over holds a the wall.
They are also one of my new sponsors - so I'd like to say a big thank you to them for their support and go check out my blog about the Ice Factor comp and my profile on their page.

Enjoy and I'll be back soon with more tales.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Ice Factor Video

Just a quick post today, I'll writing more about the weekend and the comp soon but thought people might like to see this film that Dean Dalton has put together, more to come from the other Dalton, Ed soon!

This was the first competition of the season, off to a good start I think.

Just a quick reminder too - I am currently trying to raise funds for the competition season for both the ICe World Cup's and the Winter Olympics in Sochi - if anyone has even a small amount of cash they would like to contribute then I'm be really grateful. I've set up an Indiegogo page:

Thursday 24 October 2013

White Goods return.......Stumpman

Dave Garry at the end of the Stumpman traverse - avoiding the tree.

In a search for new routes to have a go at I've been revisiting White Goods in North Wales the last few weeks. I've been there on numerous occasions in the past and climbed everything I thought I could do, without getting into the realms of upside down antics.
With the World cup season rapidly approaching I was keen to try and hone my skills on routes that used natural placements rather than the drilled pockets of Hodge or Masson. So now having spent the last couple of years sport mixed climbing I thought it was time for a visit to put a few more routes to rest.
The crag has seen a lot of action the last few years with lots of new routes going up particularly in the easier grades and all the steeper routes now have in situ quick draws which makes the whole experience a lot more pleasant.  Ready Steady Hook springs to mind as one of those routes and definitely worth more than one star. The route that had been on my radar for a while though was a line Rob Gibson had bolted a number of years ago down at the Power Pact area which was to become Stumpman after the 1st ascent by Tim Emmett (he gave it M11). I'd been in this cave before with the man himself Mr Emmett on my last visit a couple of years earlier and was faintly terrified, not by the steepness of the place but by the looseness. The place is literally waiting to fall down, you're constantly looking above your head checking there's no hanging death waiting to detach itself on your head. I swore never to go back.
Anyway with the desire to do Stumpman I convinced myself it would all be fine. So last weekend myself, Dave Garry and Matt Pritchard headed in there, and surprisingly the place was still standing! With a little persuading Dave agreed to put the clips in and work out the moves, I watched from the safety of the tree canopy. When it was my turn to climb even the entry section of climbing scared me, lots of big blocks perched on ledges and the customary White goods shale on every ledge. Committing to the roof traverse saw me stopped in my tracks after just one clip convinced the whole roof was about to collapse. I asked to be lowered to the ground.

Both Matt and Dave had their goes whilst I was feeling pretty ashamed of my performance. It was time to man up and get on with it. With my skirt firmly tucked into my harness I tied in once more. Quickly coming to terms with the looseness I found myself at the end of the traverse looking up the final finishing groove only to kick myself for asking Dave to strip the route of it's final few draws. Not wanting to risk falling and caning myself in the tree stumps below I annoyingly ask to be lowered off.
Both myself and Dave were keen to get back on the route as soon as, so early wednesday morning we found ourselves back at the crag this time armed with a bow saw to try and cut down the tree that Tim had stood in to give the route its name. We were keen to try and repeat the route without standing on the tree. 3hrs later feeling like what was supposed to be our warm up had now become our nightmare - the tree just wouldn't go down. And before anyone complains the tree is well and truly dead.

Essential crag supplies

Having given up all hope and rapidly running out of time we decided to do the route anyway. Dave's first ago saw him tied in knots with fig 4's and 9's but gave me a reminder of where the holds were.
Feeling well and truly warmed up from all the sawing I managed to cruise out along the traverse to where I'd got to the previous attempt this time clipping a long draw from above and avoiding the tree. A few shaky moves later saw me clipping the chains. Dave took a couple more attempts to bag the route before we both ran away as Dave had to shoot off to work to go and save lives.
As for the grade without the tree??? Keeping in line with all the routes I've been doing at hodge and trying to compare I'd give it M10+, so with the tree a touch easier and M10? A brilliant line once you get your head around the looseness of the place. Nice one Rob for bolting it.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Team training.

Last weekend I organised a get together at The Works in the Lake District. The idea being to get folk that were interested in dry tooling and potentially competition climbing. Although this wasn't publicised widely (we all know what happened last time!) the network of Facebook etc saw an amazing turnout.
Saturday saw around 20 people at the crag, some having a go for the first time and with, the usual suspects who train there a lot and a strong contingent from north of the border too.

Photo Andrew Rutherford
Addressing the team!

It was a great event and gave everyone the chance to catch up, meet keen like minded people and to get some more information on the competition climbing scene. Judging by the reaction it's looking like Team GB Ice Climbing could have a bright future. Great to see some of the youth climbers getting involved with Emma Powell and Tim Miller looking like strong contenders for a trip to the Youth World Championship in Champagny.

Big thank you to everyone for turning up and supporting the event and hope it's got some of you fired up for having a go.

More photos on Andy Rutherfords flickr account here.

Also in attendance was Steve Ashworth from MOViE iT who has put together this film which tells you a bit about the weekend and the competitions generally - thanks Steve and enjoy!

Dry Tooling with Andy Turner. from MOViE iT on Vimeo.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Olympic Dream

Anyone that's been on Facebook may have noticed that I have been selected to go to the Winter Olympics in Sochi in Feb 2014 - which is pretty amazing and super cool.
The slight spanner in the works is that these things cost a whole heap of cash, and anyone that knows me at all also knows that's not something I have! (Yes, alright I could do more work, but that would mean less training, smaller guns and no place at the Olympics.)
So, I'm currently in the process of trying to drum up some sponsorship from any and all available sources. Ramon and Ruth have put together this to help the cause along, so feel free to share as much as you can and recommend me to any of your rich friends! Massive thanks to Lukasz, Andy, Ian, Tony, Sam and Ray for the photos too.

If anyone would like the file sending over then please get in touch here, via Facebook or e-mail me at

Cheers folks :)


Saturday 20 July 2013

Just in case you've been wondering.......

Hello all, it's been a while since I sneaked in to write on Andy's blog. He's up at The Works today hiding in a shady (probably midge infested) cave, so I thought I'd just share some things with you all.
He's mentioned that he's been training with Tim Budd - in the torture chamber/garage but he hasn't really explained what that means so here's a few snaps's probably a good job we aren't married or divorce might be on the cards!! ;-)

And as you can see at the moment not much of it actually taking place in the chamber - enjoying the sunshine.

I'd like to thank Lynne for these pictures - don't even need to take them myself anymore - result!

Awww bless - bit tired Andy?

Fatty ;-)

Sunday 23 June 2013

Blackpool Tower....and ice axes!

It's been quite  while since I wrote on this blog, sorry!
The events at The Works in the Lakes have pretty much left me speechless and I don't feel like I want to get involved in commenting on them. I'll restrict my comments to being disappointed and angered by what happened but strangely buoyed by the response and the speed with which everything was repaired and put back into action.
Since finishing the World Cup circuit my focus has been on getting better for next season, I know it may seem like a long way away, but it's never too early to start. My training has been a long-term focus, so rather than just climbing I've been doing other sessions. At the gym, on my bike, down the local park and in the 'torture chamber' that is the garage of friend and massage therapist Tim Budd. Tim has written me a plan for sessions that involve kettle bells, a slosh pipe, pull-ups, planks, squats, name it, he seems to have it in there. He was caught researching on the internet whilst chuckling and saying things like.."Oooo, Andy's going to kill me.."
So far he's still breathing, but I can't guarantee that'll last forever!
However, the biggest obstacle to training for the Ice World Cup is having a suitable structure to train on. there are a few climbing walls who have trialled a dry-tooling area in the past, sometimes as a permanent area, sometimes as a time restricted area, which is great. But usually the sort of routes set or terrain used is not very similar to what happens at the World Cup - so it's a great facility for people wanting to try the sport but not much good for training for the events.
So, I decided that I needed to make it my mission to try and rectify the situation. There were several ideas buzzing round my head, the smallest of which was to try and persuade a local wall to give up and area that was more suitable, right through to trying to get funding to build a purpose built structure to my own specification. After some research and asking some questions a potential option came up.....The Blackpool Tower!

No, not that one not sure getting permission to swing around on axes would be easy to come by! But there are some free standing tower structures that were built by BNFL as some kind of art to welcome people to Blackpool and later were acquired by the council and the leisure centre to turn into a climbing wall. I knew that dry-tooling had previously happened there and with a bit of help from the BMC I went along to meet the managers of the facility to put an idea to them.
Access for dry-toolers at specified times......but rather than the usual first thing on a weekday morning slot, how about a weekend day and an evening.
The folk at the Towers were brilliant - and were super keen to get involved. The towers are outdoors and with the British summer being what it is they don't get all that much use, so for them to get some traffic and activity was something they were really excited about.
This was the initial meeting and sounding really positive - the second trip I had up to talk was even better. I talked about setting routes and the possibility of having plywood pieces fixed onto the structure to get people used to kicking into it......."No problem" they said. How about getting to use  the wall on a Saturday? "OK" they said.
I couldn't believe it! OK it's not exactly in my back yard, but it is closer than driving to The Works, and it's more like the actual competition routes - 22m long and 30 degrees overhanging. This could be the perfect training venue to get in the zone for World Cup climbing.
I headed up at the weekend and got started on some routes, 2 up so far but plenty of space to set some more - the only limit is the enthusiasm and commitment of myself and other climbers.
What needs to happen is that people make use of the facility now that it's available and repay the trust that has been extended by the people at Blackpool Council. I'd like to say a MASSIVE thank you to them, to James Mitchell who has donated a big pile of holds (more are welcome...), to Matt Pritchard who came up to help the setting begin and the BMC for getting me in to see the Council people in the first place.

So people - please make use of this facility - on Saturday's from 10:30-4:30pm and Wednesday evenings 6-9pm.
It's 10 minutes from the M55 and easily accessible.
Other times may be available but we need to get enough people together to make it worth while them opening up for us.
Information and directions are on this website

Saturday 13 April 2013

Starting again


The World Cup season is over and winter is surely on it's way out for this year. Easter weekend brought a rare opportunity for ice climbing in N.Wales, so I took advantage of the Oracle's advice (thanks Tim) and nipped over for the day with Ruth, Matt and Lukasz to climb Cascade - Tim had promised that it looked climbable although he didn't think anyone had climbed it. There were reports all over the internet about conditions in Cwm Idwal and it was Good Friday so we took the chance and were rewarded with not only a route in condition but only 1 other team at the crag. Admitedly they were in front of us but then we had hardly made a lightning start, meeting Matt at Frodsham at 8:30am.
So a bit of a wait followed with the team in front having a bit of leader swop on pitch 2, which was their pitch 3, and then as we were climbing as a 3 it was a lengthy process. Not least due to none of us being the swiftest of climber - particularly Ruth - the bike rider who hasn't pulled on an ice axe at all this winter and not been rock climbing either - to say she was pumped would be an understatement and there was a full range of squeaking and grunting going on!
It was great to get the Cascade climbed having previoulsy done Central Icefall and Chequered Wall - crag ticked!
Unfortunately it did seem to have the effect of doing something strange to my forearm which I am now nursing and treating with the old hot and cold treatment! Typical!

After a couple of weeks to reflect and recharge from the World Cup season I've decided to dedicate my efforts to doing better next year. I've had some help putting together a general training plan from Tim Budd at Global Therapies who is more used to putting me back together after I've been training - that man has evil elbows! I'm trying to go in with a more scientific approach and work on everything rather than just the usual climbing type training - so it's
gym rings, kettle bells, running and swinging around on the kids playgroud monkey bars or the rash of outdoor gyms that councils have put in to encourage people to get active. The one closest to home mostly seems to be ignored or the local youth have been trying to set fire to it - which I suppose does involve some kind of exercise so maybe it's working for them?!

I'm going to try and keep some kind of record of what I get up too so check back for more updates once I've fixed my forearm, currently being quite gentle with myself and "Coach Budd" is going easy!

Friday 22 March 2013

From Russia with Love.

The final round of the Ice World Cup took place in Kirov, Russia. Where is Kirov? A flipping long way away. The competition organisers had it all sorted, the competitors arrive into Moscow and then hop on the trans-siberian express train overnight and arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed in Kirov to compete that day....which all seemed a bit rushed to myself and Lukasz and Si, so we arranged to go a day earlier.
Arriving in Moscow is like arriving on another planet - we couldn't understand anything, not a signpost, not a word of what people were saying - nothing! By some fluke we managed to negotiate our way to meet up with Pavel - our man in Moscow who took us to the right train, got our tickets and set us off on a  long journey. Now, I had all kinds of romantic ideas about the train journey, no doubt fuelled by old films and James Bond. You can imagine my disappointment when Lukasz and I slid open the door to our sleeping carriage to find two large old russian blokes in their underpants! Illusions well and truly shattered, I then realised I was going to spend a night in a rabbit hutch with 2 fat blokes and Lukasz!

We arrived in Kirov and despite reports of minus 30 degree temperatures it was a positively balmy -8 although the biting siberian wind wasn't helping as the days progressed. We hadn't had chance to see a lot from the train as it had been dark almost the whole journey, but we now had the opportunity to do a bit of sight-seeing - if you can call it that! Russia mostly seems to be made up of power stations, grey buildings, snow and be populated by Lada's. This may be a sweeping generalisation, but around Kirov there didn't seem to be a whole lot else! Kirov itself is dominated by an ENORMOUS ski-jump! We walked around to the landing area - they must be completely bonkers to throw themselves off it. Alongside is a series of smaller and smaller jumps and the stars of the future were already there learning at about 8 years old, they must look up at that big jump and be terrified of what awaits them!

The world cup structure is built underneath the ski jump so it's quite  cool and dramatic setting. The competition was also run on a slightly different format too. This time there were 2 routes for the qualifiers and no isolation. Some poor chap had to come along a demonstrate the routes - which was hilarious on one of them it took him about 15 minutes to climb the route with a rest approximately every clip and the second route he had to lower off half way and go back up half an hour later due to being so pumped!! The routes were long, but the time allowed was only 4 minutes which meant that it became a bit more of a speed climbing experience. Even the big guns like the Tomilovs and Heeyong Park didn't top out.
I did OK in the qualifiers, I climbed much better on the second route I did, and got to the same hold as many of the climbers that went through to the semi-finals - but having not done so well on the first route it meant I ended up in 26th place. Once again a few more holds and I'd have managed to qualify. The qualification went on late into the night, poor old Si was climbing his second route at 11:45pm by which time it was absolutely baltic!!
The other change to the competition was that it didn't cost extra to enter the speed competition - so we all decided we might as well give it a go for a giggle. Hmmmm, well I'm sure it was a giggle for anyone watching my attempt! I'd like to think it was my massive power that ripped the tools out of the ice - but frankly I think my speed climbing technique is a bit shoddy - or it was for the approximately 2 metres of climbing I managed before falling off - ooops!
 The atmosphere at this final round was great - everyone has become a bit of a family and the fact that we then all travelled back on the overnight train together rounded it all off brilliantly. As we were leaving Kirov the organisers appeared in the hotel with boxes of who knows what Russian alcohol - vodka, champagne (or whatever the russian name is), something that looks like the troops were well provisioned for the ride home. I have to say I was a little worried that it might get out of hand and that this grumpy old man wouldn't have anywhere quiet to sleep - luckily everyone is like a proper athlete, so after a couple of hours they'd all gone to bed!! Not exactly hardcore partying!

So that was the end of the World Cup series for 2013 - and I can honestly say that I've enjoyed being involved, I feel like I've learned a massive amount and despite having been ill for all except the final round I don't feel like I've made a complete fool of myself. So, now it's time to get thinking about the next season which rumour has it may well start in December and in a new venue.

Better get training!

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Competition Climbing....

Retiring Legend Markus Bendler

The last few months has been quite an eye opener, I've become increasingly focused on competition climbing. A bit of a departure from my usual Scottish winter fare, but in some ways quite a welcome one.
Training for Scottish winter has always been a bit of a dark art, it's very difficult to taper your training to an completely unspecified date. Conditions being what they are, my dream route options are rarely in condition and never when you want them to be which often leaves frustration. Being based down near Manchester compounds the problem as it's not as if I can just nip out on the off chance, and with petrol prices being so high it's almost cheaper to fly out to the Alps than it is to drive to Scotland!

So this winter has so far been a mixture of the World Cup events in Saas Fee, Rabenstein (Italy) and Busteni (Romania) and sneaking routes in between. Unfortunately this winter has also seen me come down with a proper good dose of not being able to breathe and mostly coughing my lungs out! So far the coughing has gone on for nearly 4 weeks, I'm on my second set of antibiotics (stronger ones this time apparently!) and the training regime has gone to pot! It's difficult to try hard when breathing is an effort. I'm also taking my own advice from past experience, training with a chest infection is only going to make it worse.

I've learned heaps over the last 3 rounds. I've learned about how to look after myself - Travel Kettle essential! I've learned about route reading.....the main problem being that I've almost always fallen off at the point where I stopped trying to work it out in the preview time. I think this is mostly due to my own lack of belief about how far I'm going to get, and maybe a little bit to do with my drawing skills not being quick enough! So on the shopping list is also some better binoculars to get a better view. (And no before anyone suggests a camera, they aren't allowed!)
Rabenstein Structure

Lucie Hrozova winning her first World Cup
It's been really inspiring to see the top competitors climb and again has given me a chance to pick up tips and techniques. Sadly Markus Bendler has called time on his competition career, but it was a real privilege to be there at his last event in Rabenstein - what a legend. Wonder if he wants a job as a coach??? Feel free to get in touch Markus....

Busteni last weekend was a real step forward in terms of performance, I actually felt like I climbed somewhere near my ability. The final round is in 3 weeks in Russia and I'm determined to have full lung capacity and do myself proud. 
Bring on Kirov and 2014.

Fingers crossed I'll get something done before Russia, come on drugs do your stuff!

Thursday 24 January 2013

Tour de Suisse.......

I'm currently at home in the Peak sat in front of the fire feeling slightly less than on tip top form. I'm supposed to be back out in the alps already and cranking some more routes before heading down to Rabenstein in northern Itlay for the next round of the Ice World Cup, but unable to move from my bed for the last 3 days meant a change in flights and heading straight out to Italy tomorrow. They are pretty impressive those Swiss germs - Ruth is less than impressed as I've obviously managed to pass them onto her.

Matt getting ready to crank.
So how was my little tour of Switzerland? Well the journey out was long and exhausting and I wasn't even driving - thanks Matt! We stopped at Eptingen  ( but everything was soaking wet and dripping so we kept heading on and got to Usechinen. I visited Usechinen a few years ago and climbed Pink Panther which at the time I was really pleased with, so I had a good idea what the crag was like and what to expect. Quite a lot of walking and some chilly temperatures!

Day 1 After travelling down, I jumped straight onto Twin Towers (M10) after a bit of warming up, I was keen to give it my best shot, but I soon found that there was a whole lot of ice choking the cracks and holds which needed a bit of gentle persuasion to move. Once that was cleared I managed to get it first red point - happy with that. I then spent a little bit of time looking at Matador (M11).

Day 2 Back on Matador and managed to send - psyched!

Day 3 Rest Day

Day 4 Onsighting mission - getting some competition psyche. Managed a rack of M7, M8 and M9's so felt more confident heading down to Saas Fee

Si, finally making it to the ice curtain of Pink Panther

We arrived in Saas Fee and checked into our hotel in Saas Grund - all was looking good. Arrived at the competition venue to register only to find out our licences hadn't been sorted out, a few frantic phone calls later and with some help from the lovely people at the competition we were in, numbers issued and able to enjoy the free feed!

Oh dear, the beginning of the end!

Maxim Tomilov  wish I was as strong as him!
Last time I competed at Saas Fee in 2008 it was nothing short of a disaster! I was rubbish, I got totally stressed out and nervous and didn't perform to anything like the best of my ability. This year I was determined to do better. Unfortunately the gods were rather against me, after hardly any sleep (some nerves some snoring roommates) I was feeling a bit dizzy. I put it down to the lack of sleep. I got myself warmed up but could feel the lack of power in the arms, even doing pull ups felt like hard work. Hmmmm, well all I could do was give it a go. I eventually got called to climb and set off, definitely feeling more relaxed than last time I'd been there and more confident. I made pretty good progress but just felt really pumped way too early. I battled with what I had but eventually popped off. What I hadn't realised was that I'd also been judged to have used an out of bounds heel hook a couple of clips lower down from where I'd fallen off and that was my official high point.
As soon as I finished climbing it was like I had permission to pass out and had a few moments over the next couple of hours where I had to sit down before I fell down.
The next couple of days with the journey home were absolute torture, and I apologise to Matt and Si for being a less than fun travelling companion! Not only was I feeling awful but we then drove into loads of snow, took hours, snapped the snow chains,  missed our ferry, got on another one (thank you P&O), drove through more snow to get home - epic by anyones standards!
I finally arrived home, fell through the front door and went to bed where I stayed for the next 3 days.

Looking back I am pretty happy with how I climbed and where I got too, I was not far from qualification to the semi finals which before I went I'd assumed was impossible.  So despite the setback of illness this week I'm hoping that by Saturday I'll be back firing on all cylinders and ready to give it my best in Rabenstien.......

Saturday 19 January 2013

New Petzl Harnesses Film featuring....

Just a quick one here, Andy is currently on his way back from his trip out to Switzerland. The Saas Fee Ice World Cup competition was yesterday and I missed him on the live stream TV that the UIAA have on their website - boo!
Managed to get home in time to catch Si Chevis who looked to be making progress but popped a tool. Andy was 19th in his group, but more importantly had he not been knocked back down by a couple of clips for an illegal heel hook he'd probably have made it into the Semi-finals so from the little I've heard from him he was both pleased and fed up!

I'll let him tell you about the rest of the trip and big sends at Ueschenin - I think he's pleased with his week. Although not too psyched for the snoring of his companions .......welcome to my world Andy Turner - king snorer!!

Anyway, Petzl have released a little film about their new harnesses - and Andy is in it, not as much as some of the other Petzl team, but check out the credits at the end - second on the bill to Chris Sharma - nice work!!

Sunday 13 January 2013

Little bit of Norway...

Thank you Ruth for your contribution!

Conditions were not ideal as you know out in Norway and so despite a visit to the base of The Big Drip, we didn't get to climb it - very disappointing.
But we did climb some nice ice and some not so nice ice as things warmed up.
The place is AMAZING and I'm keen to go back sometime soon.
The last day was sooo warm that we spent the day  hanging out at our little chalet and enjoying some sunshine.
Oh and got some training in too.......

Steepest thing we climbed all week!

Brian showing the youth how to do it!

Come on Rudders - 1 More!
Off in Kandersteg now to pull on the arms properly.
Twin Towers (M10) 1st Redpoint already gone down........good conditions, feeling psyched.

Friday 4 January 2013

Setesdal latest.

Hello all,

I've been getting some information back from the team out in Setesdal. The first report was that it's been  a bit too cold for fat ice has turned to it's now quite warm and things are a bit drippy!
Day 1 did see Andy and Brian doing a new 300m WI3+ route - no idea of any other details - sorry.
Then they went to have a look at the "Big Drip" - unclimbed, featured in the new guidebook and has been on Brian's list for years. Getting to the bottom they found the first long pitch of ice detached from the crag - the retreat was sounded! Bugger.

They have moved somewhere else in the valley and are now staying in a little chalet in the woods, sounds idyllic if a little rustic! Woodburning stove, outside toilet........

Not much detail I'm afraid, texts are rarely big on information!

No photos either so here's a link to the guidebook....

Oh, look I seem to have found something!! Home training folks it's what it's all about!
Hmmm, I think it's probably good I'm going away as soon as Andy gets back........

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Happy New Year ...

So Andy is away in Norway leaving me not just in charge of the blog etc. but also having left me all alone for New Year - OK not all alone I've got Mac, which in some ways is actually worse than being all alone! ......time for some revenge I think!

Reports so far from Setesdal are that conditions are not as fat as they'd hoped because it's been too cold to form loads of ice. But it's currently hovering around zero so things should be building pretty fast.
I'll report more when I've got the next instalment.

Isn't he handsome?!