A weekend away

Last weekend beckoned the arrival of the much anticipated and famed CWIF (climbing works international festival). I have be specifically training my bouldering since the return of our trip. The CWIF was to be a platform for me to test my improvements. Unfortunately one week before the competition Ben West and I travelled down to Ansteys cove for the first route session in a while, (to cut a short story even shorter), we arrived, it was cold, couldn’t warm up and placing the first clip on the first route I tweaked my ring finger A2 pulley. 45 minutes later we were in the car on the way home after a very short and very unsuccessful session.

The CWIF qualifying sessions had an amazing set of problems with many vertical or slabby blocs. This suited my injured finger well and I came away not feeling to bad about my performance. Next year I will be fit for it.


The weather was gorgeous so in the afternoon we headed to Robin Hoods Stride for a relaxing session. Robin Hoods Stride is an amazing place, the rock features are spectacular and fairly unique looking and the whole place has a wonderful feel to it. I managed to haul myself up a few high quality boulders. Jerry’s arete 7a is a great problem on  quality rock.

Well happy after a flash of Jerry’s arete

Next up was Big Al Qaeda, a highball arete with some funky toe hook moves.

Big Al Qaeda 7B Flash

I finished off the day with my hardest flash to date on Ben’s wall 7C. This problem is an undercut slab, with a tricky move of an undercut to the top. After watching Phil on a few goes at the start I had a bash and found the who problem pretty steady with just the one move to the top requiring some effort. Either I had a stellar day or this problem is pretty soft. Happy to flash it non the less.

Sunday was a bit of a rest/not achieving very much day but on the Monday it all went down. I have been wanting to climb Western Eyes 7C+ at Burbage West for a while now, after several working goes it went pretty quickly. I used some beta that  I haven’t seen before, it involved using the right heal and right arete and getting my feet high on smears before going to the first break. Getting to the final break was a really challenge, but once sorted it felt pretty steady.

Western Eyes

Western Eyes

The first break on Western Eyes 

The rest of the day went by in a happy haze. We climbed a few classics including The Terrace 7C, Boyager 7A+ and Velvet Crab 7A+. The conditions on The Terrace were pretty shoddy but after getting the first move the rest followed quickly. Boyager is an amazing problem and world class in my opinion. It is a huge hanging fridge like prow which you horizontally hug to glory and is a must for anyone operating in the grade range and who has plenty of pads. I really struggled with Velvet Crab, which made me laugh as it took more goes and effort than The Terrace.

The Terrace

Gav Symonds Flashing Boyager

Velvet Crab

Overall We had a great weekend and I cannot wait for Fontainebleau next week.

Bring it on (weather permitting)!

Ps on Friday 22nd of March myself and some of the others Mammut team members will be setting a competition For High Sports in Plymouth and on Satureday 23rd we will be around for coaching and advice. If you are in the area please pop by.