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I have decided that although I love DPM blogs, there is too much spam and I have my own domain name at my other blog, so from now on, for all climbing related stuffs go to:

A FAIL and a WIN

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So, I failed my belay test last night. I was a bit ashamed of that, but I came to realise it wasn’t because I am rubbish, because I can belay. But what I wasn’t aware of was that the belay test wasn’t a case of ‘oh let’s see how you belay under NORMAL circumstances’, it was more like ‘oh let’s see how you belay under SPEED CLIMBING circumstances’, and I was totally unprepared for it. See, the instructor said if a climber went too fast, I could shout up to slow down, but I also knew that this wasn’t the point here. I was mean’t to keep up, and I didn’t.

The instructor had a bit of a… negative tone to her (don’t get me wrong, lovely woman – I’m strictly talking about teaching technique here). Like I know it was ME that failed, and MY faults, but rather than ‘okay why don’t you try this to do it correctly,’ she just had an I-feel-sorry-for-you look on her face and focused on the ‘look at this, you’re doing it all wrong’ kind of attitude. Not her fault I failed at all, but that didn’t help my feeling of uselessness after that.

Not the end of the world; now I know what I need to do, I’ll work on it and book up another one at the end of March.


And here’s the part where I redeem myself and give my ego and little cookie. I had a great climb last night. I managed walls I’d only one week ago failed on, and I learned a couple of new techniques. Still got a long way to go, but last night I really felt as though I climbed as hard and as good as I was able, and that it paid off. I really feel like I actually improved and climbed BETTER rather than climbing in my comfort zone.

That’s Grade 3 done with. There’s a 4 I’ve got my eye on that I’ll climb if it kills me!


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Screw it, just throw some Cavonia into my face, I’m going climbing.


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I was meant to be going climbing today, but I’ve developed a bad cough and sniffle and I think it would be the worst idea ever to subject my body to such a tough time until I’m better. I’m a wheezebox as it is. Annoying, since I really wanted to go today (it is Saturday after all, less of a time limit and I haven’t got 7 hours of work behind me) but it wouldn’t be wise.

I have my belay test Tuesday. After that I do believe I am going to start getting some videos of me attempting to climb. They are going to be awful and I am going to hate them, but I want to see what I look like – sometimes just physically seeing what you’re doing can help you improve.

Now cough, go away!


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This isn’t about rock climbing, but I thought I’d be cheeky and ask you all to visit my new video blog over at ZippCast. I won’t be using YouTube any more.

Please comment, rate, subscribe and click the ‘feature’ button on the individual videos page, recommending the video to be featured on the main site. Thanks!


Bad Arms!

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Went climbing last night, had a poor session all round. Whilst we were waiting for one other person to show, we went bouldering. It was my first time properly trying it and since Redpoint’s grades are purposely harder than most gyms (they do it more to match the outdoors, making it more challenging and so not to ego stroke), even the V3 was way out of my league. I even tried using any and all holds, but my strength and technique is so undertrained right now it was hopeless.

Due to this, and the fact my arms hadn’t yet properly recovered from Tuesday’s session, I had to end my climbing after just an hour (I only managed one top rope climb, a 4+ which I climbed again two thirds of the way) but I didn’t want to injure myself. Once I got home I blasted my forearms with piping hot then freezing cold water and the pain instantly went away. They feel fine now, so perhaps I just need to rest until Tuesday and I can get going properly again.

My New Rock Shoes

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Apologies for the bad lighting, hopefully it’s clear enough. Well, these are my new climbing shoes. I had to try on about seven pairs before I found these – they are a size 5, but in a women’s pair (which were horrendously narrow) I couldn’t even fit my feet into a size 6. Crazy, since I am only a 4 in a street shoe.

Last night’s climbing was good. I went to Redpoint, met a bunch of new people and had a fantastic time. I got taught a whole bunch of new techniques too – the one chap (I forget his name, but he’d been climbing 29 years so he knew his stuff) literally walked me hold-through-hold on a Grade 4 that I couldn’t quite do (it’s only been a week, so I’m still learning to actually climb let alone try a 6c+ or whatever), and alot of the tips I got took the pressure off my arms and allowed me to climb better, further and for longer.

I’m certainly going to put some of those tips into practice on Thursday.

My Gear

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I’ve so much more to get (next stop is my own harness, rentals are just gross) but I thought I’d share some pictures of the few items I already possess.

Nailed It

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So off I went to Redpoint yesterday… as good, clean and efficient as the place is? I don’t think I’ll be spending too much of my time there. The reason was, not only were we forced to wear helmets (in a way I get it, but we were the only ones it was like we were the Special Parade being marched through the room), but even though she said everything she taught me I either a) already knew from my Tuesday session or b) I got spot on first time, I had to have TWO more sessions (£32 a pop I might add) before the centre would label me ‘competent’ and allow me to do it on my own.

Creation, however, do one session for £20 and, providing you’re not a total moron and can’t learn anything, will let you get on after just one if they think you’re all set. I think that’s my next plan because at the most I need one more tiny refresher, and then it’s just a case of practice. Chris can teach me how to fall properly and whatnot, so that’s cool.

Tried bouldering afterwards (nope, still not allowed to take those pesky helmets off, much to the amusement of the helmetless people around us I am sure) but I think for the moment that was just a smidgen too hard. Need to get my strength up.

Oh what else? I tried to climb a Grade 4 and got two-thirds of the way up the wall before I got to an impasse where my skill level wasn’t quite up to reaching the top. The holds got further apart after that point and being a) a noob and b) short, it was quite difficult, but I’ll get there! Nice to know that a Grade 3 is far too easy for me already.

The one criticism Chris had for me was something I’m writing here so I can remember it, cos it’s true: I give in too easily when my arms get tired. I forget that me dangling like a piece of prime beef on my harness won’t tire Chris’s arms out, and won’t break anything, so I don’t give myself time to rest, I just come straight down. Need to stop this. Yes.

Great news for my arms – they’re not aching! Huzzah! My left bum cheek woke up with a crick in it, though. Lovely, that.

Rock Climbing, Will You Marry Me?

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My fingers are sore, my forearms are wibbly and my whole body feels like it’s been pushed to its physical limits. But my god do I feel good. My climbing cherry is officially popped! I am looking forward to getting my climb on at Redpoint (tonight was at Creation, which is alot more awesome than I thought it would be, they had some good degrees of easy – v – mindblowingly difficult).

I even managed to top out! Well I tapped the board at the top of the route anyway. My climbing buddy/instructor said that I did good and looked good. Apparently I don’t scrabble like Bambi on ice when I climb, who’d have thought?

All those nerves I felt beforehand were for nothing. The heights? Pfft, no problem. Pulling my 176lb frame up a wall? Hey, light as a feather. The shoes? Not a problem, easy to get used to. Of course I don’t consider myself as ‘good’ at this time, but all these little worries and fears I had were totally non existent. People weren’t standing pointing and laughing, I didn’t fall, I didn’t feel ashamed when I said I had to come back down, I learned to descend almost straight away with no problems, or getting frozen at the top… loved it.

I went into this similarly to how I went into my Lymphoma treatment in 2010: I grabbed the bull by the horns and… well, you get the idea.

Next stop, Redpoint on Thursday. Bring it!