Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Redpointing to the seventh degree

A bit of news- I managed to redpoint my first Fr7a recently- a crimpy yellow at Ibrox. Yaasss!

It feels weird to be blogging about an indoor climb- but 7a is a bit of a landmark for me. I'd definitely prefer to have done a classic crag route at the grade, but there's no way I'd have got it done outdoors with the p*sh summer we've just endured. My only recent real rock activity has been a day at Limekilns and an (unexpectedly dripping wet) ascent of North Face Route (S) on the Buachaille.

As a redpointing newbie, doing the 7a was very much a learning experience. Once I'd managed to work out the individual moves and started to link them, the main things stopping me were loads of tactical mistakes. Basically, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Clipping errors, footwork errors, over- chalking- you name it. Fortunately I was able to get some advice (and constructive p*sh- taking) from redpoint ninjas Burnsie and JLS.  The actual ascent felt similar in a lot of ways to my ascent of Night Dive 5.11c/ Fr6c+ in Bermuda. It went relatively smoothly but at the same time it required quite a lot of controlled effort.

Back at the end of August I was climbing a lot by my standards (3 or 4 times a week), trying hard but seemingly without much improvement. I was getting frustrated, so I posted a topic on UK Climbing asking how fast folk had progressed their onsighting. The universal answer to my question was that it was a slow process, and required hard work. Doh!

During that thread I said my initial aim was to redpoint 7a by Christmas- so I'm chuffed to get it done in October. The only downside to it is that it's coincided with my worst flare- up of Golfer's Elbow yet. I've had this injury a few times in the last few years doing DWS stuff. I'm kicking myself because despite all that climbing, I neglected to do any rehab or antagonistic exercises for a few months. Lazy, lazy lazy! Overtraining + rehab laziness= injury. The Golfer's has caused moderate pain to both inner elbows and some pretty worrying numbness to both hands for a month or so...

It's just starting to improve a bit now after a couple weeks of limited climbing and the exercises mentioned above. Hopefully I can get the Golfer's settled down and get back to training. I've redpointed a Fr7a but I know I have a lot of work ahead. 7a onsight is the next target, along with more weight loss (I'm down 10lb or so from May this year, but plenty pies to shift yet). It's going to take a lot more effort to get the 'guns' loaded for onsighting 7a, but I'm very motivated to get there.

Yesterday there was snow on Ben Lomond down to 500m. Here's hoping for a good Winter season. Got some classics to tick!

For any fellow sufferers, here's a link to a good article about elbow rehab-
Rock and Ice elbow article


  1. Hi Davie, think I did that yellow a couple of weeks ago - try the yellow 7b a few lines right, few move needs thinking about, but really do-able. Get straight back on the route while the moves are still fresh in your mind, don't leave it 'until the next session'!

  2. Hi Sam- congratulations on being my first commenter on my blog! I think it's just you & Burnsie who've read it! Cheers