Waiting it out in Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau weather is known for being capricious. Early spring and late autumn are your best bets for cold, dry days when the friction borders on magic. Equally so, these are the times when conditions can be really miserable. This winter has been particularity bad. In fact, so bad that Paris got flooded. Then came the snow. Beautiful, but pretty useless for climbing. All in all, none of my projects have been dry since November. Waiting it out in Fontainebleau isn’t […]

A climber’s guide to handstands

Climbing and handstands don’t seem to have much in common, but if the likes or Shauna Coxsey and Alex Megos do them, it’s a clear sign you should do them too. Arm balances are indeed a great Instagram pleaser and a stellar party trick in one and there’s even more to them than that.   Why do handstands? Some 16 months ago I visited my physiotherapist with yet another shoulder niggle. I got an hour of very expensive torture followed […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]