I’m coming up to my first year as a rock climber; it feel I’ve been on a bit of a roller-coaster ride. My initial plan 11 months ago was to go and meet Ollie out in El Chorro for a spot of sport climbing and I felt a couple of weeks at the Arch climbing wall in London would be sufficient. Having never climbed before I underestimated the difficulty of the sport.
However 12 months later and I’m ready to go. I’ve booked my trip for December and putting in the hours down the gym to make the most of my time out there.
When I briefly moved back to my parents house this summer, whilst waiting to move in with my girlfriend, I did a fairly large amount of bouldering outdoors at a crag near my house outside Bath. I felt I lost a lot of my strength over that time period; there were no climbing walls near me and the local rock was so rough and undeveloped that you couldn’t get much done in a session. But now I think I’m getting back to where I was and I feel my technique has significantly improved. Watch this space.
I am on to my third pair of climbing shoes now, and I think there the best yet. I was surprised at how quickly they have all worn out. The toe went on both pairs, preventing a resole. I imagine its all part of the climbing shoe manufacturers evil plan.
I got a bit carried away when I got my second pair (Scarpa Instinct Slipper) believing the hype that tighter is better and that all shoes stretch. I squeezed my size 12’s into an 8 1/2. They hurt a lot. Whilst I was more confident on slabs the pain was simply not worth it. They were just too aggressive for my level of climbing. Lesson learnt.
I didn’t know what I was going to get this time round. Maybe it was fate that the pair the shop assistant guided me towards, La Sportiva Miura (the most expensive pair in the shop), fit me perfectly. . After squeezing into a pair, I was informed that I should go one size smaller as ’Sportiva’s stretch a lot’. I had flashbacks of the dammed Scarpa Slippers. I tried the smaller size and found myself back in a world of pain. Fast forward two weeks and there the easily the best shoes I’ve had. Looks like he knew what he was talking about. I’m now set with a new pair of shoes, one month to train, and a climbing holiday booked in December.
A lots happened since I started climbing a year ago. I found a new sport, my bodies changed, my priorities have changed, I started a company based around climbing. It’s definitely a lifestyle sport. Here’s to the next year!