Mallorca DWS Climbing Guide for Newbies

All the deep water soloing questions you have, but can’t find answers for. Climbing level, safety, chalk, wet shoes, and more. Read on! Every year, Rockbusters organise a DWS trip to Mallora. Book yours here.  Deep water soloing has a long tradition not only in Mallorca, but all over the world. It’s always been a very niche activity, but as pointed out by the father of Mallorcan DWS, Miquel Riera, people have been climbing sea cliffs for as long as […]

Flow, climbing, and optimal human performance

Imagine it’s last day of your climbing trip. You’ve managed a few good sends, but there’s still one unclimbed project remaining. You’re trying your best, but you can’t put the moves together. You should have sent in your previous session. The frustration builds up, and a sense of disappointment creeps in despite your best intentions not to be childish. The boulder is some ten moves long and you’ve fallen off every single one, even the easy finish. The crux is […]

The Rocklands fever: How not to climb V10

Rocklands in South Africa. A bouldering paradise discovered in 1996, which in the last decade has quickly become one of the world’s hotspots for hard rock climbing. Elaborate shapes of orange sandstone litter the nearly deserted, rugged landscape. As the South African winter brings cold temps, low humidity and blue skies, boulderers from all over the globe flock towards Cederberg, the official geographical name of the region. Most of them are not your average climber and it almost feels like […]

Trail running and finding the right shoe

Running has never appealed to me. Living in London I saw countless runners every day and I simultaneously envied and pitied them. Their motivation was admirable but the city backdrop somehow sad. I remember one Saturday, when I still lived in Hackney, I went out to see if I could run 10k along the canal in under one hour. Turned out I could. It wasn’t even that bad but two days later my calves were so sore that I never […]

Bouldering in Prilep, Macedonia

We travelled to Macedonia exactly a year ago and I regret not noting the details of our trip as many have fled my memory since. It was definitely a fun microadventure and one I wholeheartedly recommend if you find yourself roaming around the Balkans. Expect being ridiculously hot and most of the time lost. __________ On the border between Bulgaria and Macedonia the queue of trucks stretched for a good kilometre or two. There were only a few passenger cars crossing […]

The Fontainebleau Pillow Book

It’s been so long since I wrote my last post and there so much going through my head that I don’t really know where to start. Instead, I’ll start in the very middle of all the ideas that I had, just note down the most important points for you to consider. I call it the Fontainebleau Pillow Book because it all relates to the six weeks we spent in France and because I’ll follow the literary example of Sei Shōnagon, […]

#OWA: Why Female Focused Adventure Still Matters

❄A guest post by Olivia Kefauver, Outdoor Women’s Alliance New England Grassroots Team Leader❄ At thirteen, I was standing in the stern of a canoe wielding my plastic paddle at a cargo ship slowly passing across the St. Lawrence River with five other girls screaming into the wind. As pirates we were (naturally) threatening to commandeer it, but after five days canoeing through the rivers of New York State, powered by nothing more than our own bodies, we had bigger […]

Getting Stuck on “Zippatrocity”

I was first introduced to the most esoteric of grit classics by my friend Martin during a brief time when I lived in Sheffield. Martin had been projecting “Zippatrocity” for a few years already, and convinced me to go out with him to the Cowperstone. After a quick lesson in taping I begun to rather ineffectively wedge my body parts into the crack. The first part of the traverse was seeping, but the second, easier half seemed quite inviting. I enjoyed […]

Total Campusing Blast at BIFF 2017

It’s 10am and I’m on the bus from Sheffield back to London, still super hyper from last night’s BIFF at The Climbing Works, so forgive me if this post is just a stream of rambling. What can I say though, the psych is high! 😀 After attending the Beastmaker International Footless Festival for the first time last year, I promised myself to return stronger in 2017. Even though I came last at 2016’s event, the atmosphere was great and you […]

Everything wrong with “When Feminism Goes Too Far”

The original article, “When Feminism Goes Too Far” by Davita Gurian, can be read here.  1) The “there are weekly events for women (so we don’t need feminism)” argument   There are weekly events for women because most climbing events are by default for men. We don’t blame men for it, that’s just a fact. Look at numbers. 2) The “media produces multiple accounts of women climbing (so we don’t need feminism) argument Without being picky, the author writes from the […]

Let’s get personal

2016 wasn’t a good year for me. Life just can’t be perfect, and complaining about the past 12 month seems almost ungrateful for all the good things that happened. In many respects, I made heaps of progress, yet somehow I was constantly discontent. You see, In 2016 I turned 30. I was so wrong to think that I wouldn’t care. As long as I could define myself as a twenty-something-year-old, I felt as if with one leg I still belonged […]

Climbing: Managing A Finger Injury

The internet is full of advice on what to do when a finger injury happens, but most of it seems incomplete, conflicting, and really darn confusing. So, I decided to put together this step by step guide based on my own experience. Please note I’m not a medical specialist, and the list below only sums up what I got to know through reading and asking around. It worked for me, it might work for you, but possibly something else would […]

5 Epic Winter Vacation Spots for Climbers

❄Guest post by Rachel O’Conner❄ I feel like I blinked and this year was over. Did we really get 365 days? I demand a recount. But as I convince myself to come to grips with the fact that this year is ending, it’s also time for me to make my annual bucket list. It’s not your typical bucket list, as you might have guessed, but it’s one that I check off before the year ends. Hey, who knows how long we […]

My Life After The World Has Turned Right

I come from a country deeply affected by racial and religious hatred, violence, and poverty. Although I have been lucky not to experience war firsthand, the same cannot be said for the generation of my parents, and grandparents.I don’t remember the aftermath of the tragic events that shook my country. I remember that the ration stamps were taken out of circulation when I was three, and that a few years later my mother and I were able to obtain passports.

The Zen Art of Climbing Projects

Let’s get this one out of the way: I don’t know much about long term projects. The most sessions I spent on a boulder problem is six*, both on ‘Papa Jango’ (7B/C), which I managed to top out, and on ‘The Green Traverse’ (7A), which still eludes me (I even managed to fall from the easy finishing mantle). But what I know very well is the intense, internal battle that happens when you can’t make it happen despite feeling like […]

When a Pulley Snaps: The Honest Account

It’s a tale we’ve all heard before. The dreaded sound of a popping tendon, hollow and sharp as a snapping twig, that puts you out of the game for weeks, months, and sometimes even longer. It can happen to beginners insisting on playing on the fingerboard too early, intermediates overzealous on the campus board, and even to pros projecting away on their super futuristic lines. It’s almost inevitable, a normal part of our sport, but we fear it like nothing […]

How To Climb Better Than You

So many climbers wish they were better, but they don’t actually act on it. Our culture reinforces the notion that it’s talent and some mysterious predispositions that get people up the ranks in whatever they do. We celebrate outcomes, yet we don’t celebrate the process. The work that is put in remains hidden, creating an illusion that champions are born. However, research actually proves that it’s consistency and repetition that breed success. Not everyone can be Shauna Coxsey, but everyone can […]

We Got BIFFed

(a bit late but I was busy moving from Chamonix to Bulgaria…) As January was coming to a close, I planned to visit Alice for some action on the Peak District grit. Our excitement was quickly curbed by a catastrophic weather forecast and I said, half jokingly, it was a pity that BIFF registration was closed. I arrived the following day and Alice casually announced that she bumped into Shauna Coxsey and signed us up for the comp. Despite all […]

The 3 Most Interesting Climbing Start Ups

HEARTBEAT Heartbeat is an active lifestyle and climbing clothing brand created by a visionary young entrepreneur from Poland, Ania Pipinska. Her clothing is simple, durable and ethically made in her home country. What’s special about Ania is that she decided to run her business from a country where the outdoor industry is nowhere near as developed as in other parts of Europe, making her one of the driving forces for the development of the sector in her region. Bringing the […]

Reviewing The First Year Of Training

A year ago I realised I was stuck. After three years of pottering around the climbing wall and occasionally hitting the rock at the weekend, I could barely climb V5. My goals were a couple of 7A classics in the Peak District and I was determined to figure out how to work my way through the plateau. It dawned on me that I could get a coach and online coaching seemed like the most sensible way to go about it. […]

Born to be a Nomad

Today again all of my possessions, including two bouldering mats and four summer tyres, have to fit in my car. It’s a very small car. That’s the third time this year that I’m moving everything. My flatmate left some two hours ago aeady for the first day of ski touring this winter. Newly covered in snow, Chamonix looks amazing. I wish I could stay. Yesterday was my last day in the office. For six months I worked for EpicTV. I […]

Magic Wood Guide For Newbies

With Font being all slopey and Albarracin all reachy, crimpy and overhanging Magic Wood sounded like the promised land.  (Scroll halfway down the post to get to the meaty ‘how to get there’ and ‘when to go’ part.) All my essentials (including camping gear and some food to avoid paying through the nose in Switzerland) got stuffed into my bouldering mat, which then got wrapped in cling film and gaffer, with only shoulder straps sticking out. With this well formed […]

Why I don’t get blown away by #ThisGirlCan

In principle, the Sports England campaign is a great idea. Increasing female participation in sports is an important initiative in the society plagued by obesity, osteoporosis, and, perhaps even more harmful than civilisation diseases, the gender gap. But to be my usual, full of spite and criticism self, I need to list the downsides. 1. The girl grew up some time ago Using the word ‘girl’ in the campaign’s title suggests that sports are for kids only. If you happen to be […]

The Vertical Kilometre

I’m not a runner. Actually, I really dislike running. Jogging in a city is almost as bad as on a treadmill, and I despise both. But going up a hill or a mountain, now that’s a different thing! Le Brevent can be seen  from my balcony in Cham, but the 2525m summit is too ambitious a goal for a quick, after work hike. Its ‘Vertical Kilometre’ is, as it turns out, is just perfect.   To classify as a ‘Vertical Kilometre’ […]

A hectic & worthless moving post

I’ve been trying to write something sensible for quite a while. Can’t come up with anything, so instead I’ll just post what I’ve got… A pile of neatly folded clothing is covering most of my bed. In the last seven years I’ve seen this sight way too many times. Each time I’m trying to give away more stuff. For years I haven’t been buying anything, maybe with the exception of my beloved, super warm downie. This time I promised myself […]

Spring bouldering in France

We drove from London and through the Eurotunnel, arriving in Fontainebleau in the early morning hours. It was grey and wet, and felt icy. Brown leaves gave the forest an autumnal look. Putting our tent up we were shivering with cold. We had a nap, and when I woke up first, I walked from the still empty campsite to the town. It’s a short walk over the river and by a ruined castle. In the boulangerie they refuse to speak […]

Thoughts on climbing ‘babes’

Some time ago I wrote an article about the issues associated with media representation of female athletes. It was based on my MA research, and the positive response was overwhelming. Many agreed that women, especially in free-spirit, lifestyle sports such as climbing, MTB, or surfing, are hungry for content that will not represent them as sexual objects, or mere side-kicks to men. It also seemed obvious that that female athletes and participants want to be recognised for their achievements, not […]

Is climbing a sport?

A journalist asked this question on social media lately, and it was passed on to me, in an apparent hope that I would provide suitable support for a positive answer. I think I only said something like, is he for real? And now I’m quite pleased with the ambiguity of my reaction. The whole hullabaloo with The Dawn Wall didn’t stir any deeper thoughts in me either, maybe apart from great appreciation for this little article: Two idiots climb big thing […]

Getting serious about training

There are two types of climbers The first type is the people who just love what they do. They love socialising at the gym and drinking wine in Font. They enjoy themselves. And over the years of enjoyment they casually get really good at climbing. Or, they don’t. It doesn’t really matter; they will have fun anyway. The second type of climbers are the poor lot who might lack in social graces, but are well acquainted with the campus board. […]

Snakes and Ladders and Tunnels

The first time I heard about Snakes and Ladders was about two years ago. All of my male friends went for a stag do to Wales, and I wasn’t allowed to join for the fear that my idea of fun would be different to theirs. (They ended up cycling in the rain naked, with an inflatable sheep gaffer taped to the groom’s back, so maybe they were right…) The weather for their trip was bad, and they ended up doing […]

The Scotland road-trip

The road through Glen Clova is rather narrow and grouse are dodging the car’s wheels every five minutes. Andy’s driving slowly but it’s still pure luck that we missed a fat, suicidal bunny. On my first trip to Scotland I was expecting some weather but the skies are blue and it feels like the height of summer. Or at least it looks it through the car’s windows. We will have about three hours for bouldering before we have to head […]

The new blogging resolution

It’s good to take a break sometimes.   Like a long break from blogging. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with this website and writing for work was sucking out all my energy. Too much time in the office and not enough time for dreaming left me grumpy and uninspired. A trip to Rodellar was a nice holiday but I disappointed myself with some really poor climbing. I think I was expecting too much. Time off was what I […]