What's been happening in the world of Wiz you ask? Well all the days are merging together and I have been climbing a lot of rocks. Traveling, climbing, eating.... Sounds pretty good to me. One thing is for sure though. I am living my dream and having a lot of fun doing so. A few things have changed with me recently, and I am very excited to have joined both Rab and DMM as part of their teams. I am really looking forward to working with them.
The last six weeks or so has been pretty exciting actually. Climbing in the UK, to bouldering in Ticino, to climbing in the Frankenjura, then Bouldering in Magic Wood, then back to the sunny Frankenjura. Now I am back in North Wales with the aim of hopefully climbing lots outside and when it rains, training time!!!
So where do I start....
Ten days in Ticino.
Again I teamed up with the German power house Alexander Megos and together we decided to head down to the famous bouldering area of Ticino (Cresiano and Chironico) to have a go at this thing called bouldering that everyone is talking about. I hear its meant to be pretty good there...
We quickly realised that bouldering wasnt easy... I spent a lot of my days falling and sitting on the pads staring at the wall. What the hell am I meant to do? Bouldering is all about finding the 'trick' but unfortunately for me a lot of the time I didnt, leaving me puzzled and empty handed. I found this quite hard to deal with because for me I like to move on the rock pulling through one nice move after the next but with hard bouldering this doesn't happen very often. I found this very frustrating to begin with as I would look back at how my day went and I may have only pulled a few moves in the entire day and the rest of the time spent was trying and falling. Something had to change. There has to be a secret to this.
|Bouldering in the woods. Photo: Wiz Fineron|
|Not a bad view from the balcony in Ticino. Photo: Wiz Fineron|
|Victory over Alex. He may be good at climbing but definitely needs to practice his fighting :) Photo: Alex Megos|
On the second to last day I found the courage to finally try a really cool looking problem called Delusions Of Grandeur. A problem that I had wanted to try since early on in the trip but due to how I was climbing, the number '8b' seemed way out of reach. Anyway I thought I should get on it just to see how it was with the thought 'There is always next time...' in mind. But surprisingly it went really well. After a few tries of working out the right beta etc, I began having tries from the start and surprised my self by climbing to the end of the slopey rail on the first go. I knew it was possible now so it was just a patience game from there. I fell off towards the end a few more times before I realised that I that was too tired to do it this session. We still had time in the morning to come back before we drove off so that was the plan. Rest up and get it done quickly the next day.
|Having fun on ????? 8a. Photo: Alex Megos.|
|Wiz Fineron on Delusions Of Grandeur 8a+/V12 Photo: Alex Megos|
1 week in the Frankenjura:
It was the first time that I had been in the Frankenjura and it hadnt been raining. I have been there twice before and and it seemed like the rainiest place on earth. So to finally to be there when the weather was good I was so excited to get out and try some of the classics. I just wanted to climb everything and anything. Alex is a bit of a local I hear so a guide book was definitely not needed.
Having only about a week we decided that only one rest day would be more than enough. Climb climb climb!! The psyche was high.
|Too strong. Training at the crag. Photo:Wiz Fineron|
That was the end to a great days climbing in the Frankenjura all with the excitement of spending the next 12 days bouldering in a Magical Woodland.
12 days in Magic Wood:
|Psyched!!! Photo:Alex Megos|
I came up with a goal of wanting to do the same amount of boulders 8a or harder than the amount of days that we were there. So the attack plan was to climb hard all day everyday no matter what. Climbing with Alex really helped with this. Seeing him just walk up problems that I would normally perceive as being hard made me realise that actually there is no reason why I cant do that. Giving me a really good head space for hard bouldering meaning no matter what the number was, I got on it and gave it a go. Day after day, some cold, some hot and some wet we were out there climbing and having a lot of fun and that is what its about.
|Not a bad place to climb. Photo:Alex Megos|
Another goal of mine was to climb my first 8b/v13 boulder problem. A goal that I have had in my mind for a while now so after having done a fair bit of bouldering recently and liking the style here in Magic Wood, I was feeling strong. Time to try hard. First I tried a problem called Steppen Wolf. A short but hard problem with each move being just as hard as the last leading to a tricky mantle. It was definitely tricky. To cut a long story short, I was pretty much to weak to do it so I had to start looking for another one otherwise it would drive me mad trying the same move over and over. I like to at least pull a few moves in a row before falling off. Next up was a climb called One Summer In Paradise. A really cool looking bloc with small in cut edges leading to the top. I first tried the Pura Vida section as it is meant to be a grade easier but still climbs through all the hard bit of OSIP. It didnt feel to bad, and after a bit of working out I just had to stick the first move. This was definitely the hardest move so once I got it I climbed to the top. OSIP is pretty much just an extended start from the left so after a bit of a rest I decided to give it a go. Coming in from the left meant that you skip the first move of Pura Vida (for me the hardest) so my theory was as long as you have a little bit of endurance it shouldn't be to much harder. After a few tries all falling off on the last few hard moves I realised that it wasnt going to be that easy... The extra few moves at the beginning meant that I was that little bit more pumped on the final moves making them seem much harder. After a rest day I returned super psyched to get it done. I knew it was possible now so I just had to wait for the right moment.
|Perfect weather... Photo: Alex Megos|
Here is our video that myself and Alex made of a few problems we did in Magic Wood including:
Sofasurfer, Jacks Broken Heart, One Summer In Paradise, Steppenwolf, Riverbed and The Never Ending Sorry.
Towards the end of our time in Magic Wood the weather gods had decided that it was time for us to leave. The weather was looking really bad for the following week so unfortunatly we had to leave a few days earlier than expected. Being the only ones left in the campground we figured it was most likely not going to be sunny tomorrow. This was a little disappointing but after being there for twelve days and having done twelve 8a's or harder (including my first 8b) I was pretty happy with how it went and was ready for the next stage.
|Not a bad view here in Magic Wood Photo:Wiz Fineron|
Next we headed back to the sunny Frankenjura for a few more days before I went back to the UK. We had a few really great days in the Frankenjura but one stands out among the rest. It was my second to last day and it was a chilly one at that. A few days earlier the idea of going to try Action Directe came in to Alex's mind and he could not get rid of it so he just had to go give it a go. After a chilled out morning trying to warm up we found our selves standing beneath it. It was a cold windy day making it very hard to keep the fingers warm especially on pockets. There were a few others hanging around and you could tell Alex was nervous. After a bit of umming and arring he finally decided to get on it and I was lucky enough to be the one belaying him. I didnt really have much to do of course because after only a few tries he climbed and screamed his way to the top. It was one of the most inspirational pieces of climbing I have ever seen. Hopefully one day soon I will be back there ready to climb it myself.
Here is a video of the ascent here:
For the past few weeks I have been back in North Wales doing a bit of everything really. Trad climbing, Sport climbing, Bouldering and just having fun. It is a great place for me to use as a base over here in Europe as it still has a bit of a homey feel to it. Lots of nice people to hang out with and when the weather is good there is some great climbing to be done right on the door step.
|Llanberis pass. Photo:Wiz Fineron|
|The end of a great days climbing. Photo:Wiz Fineron|
Whats next you ask?
I am going to be spending the following three weeks out in the Alps doing some big multi pitch routes. A completely new form of climbing to me so I am very excited to learn a lot and hopefully climb some impressive looking walls. Psyched.
Living the life!!
Thanks to my sponsors FiveTen, DMM, and Rab for the ongoing support.