Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Devon Youth Open Bouldering Series and The Cider Soak

Sunday 24th February and the final of the Devon Youth Open Bouldering Series 2012/13 was underway; I began as soon as possible but by doing so I was trying all of the problems first... It was good onsight practice to be fair. I quickly got stuck into the problems, onsighted the V9, got V10 second go due to getting the beta completely wrong managed to drop a V5 but still managed to take the win and get the top spot. The series has been running at Dartrock for around 3 months now and has been a great training tool for practicing onsighting over the winter and I look forward to another series at Dartrock starting in May.

Friday came and I met Buster Martin at the train station ready for a weekend at Anstey’s, after a late night and fairly little sleep we woke up ready to get out there and send some Ferocity classics. Arriving there we did a F6a to warm up which wasn’t much as a warm up as I felt colder once I got back down! I belayed Buster while he started to put the draws in and figure out the moves on Tuppence (F8b), standing around for a couple of hours I was absolutely freeing and lost all motivation to try a single route but after a walk down to the Cocytus slabs and a run back up I felt much warmer and was psyched to try a route which I tried a long time ago- The Cider Soak (F8a); a classic Anstey’s 3 star route which is pumpy, powerful and steep. I went up the route to place the draws and did most of the moves first go, came back down and had a good rest while belaying Buster who reached a high point on Tuppence. Soon after I was back on TCS where I was going for my first redpoint attempt in around 6 months since I last pulled on (this is mainly due to it being soaking for the last 5 (-ish) months!) I moved through the crux at the third bolt, and then soon threw to the good rest jugs before the final upper wall (probably the crux for me). I hung around on the jugs but felt like I wasn’t getting much back and decided to go for the finish. Next thing I knew I was faced with the final move and hesitated and then locked off on the sloper and hit the finishing jug, shouted a little and clipped the chains on my first F8a not feeling too pumped or tired! Pleased that I had ticked this route I jumped on Tuppence and figured out most of the moves ready to put some links in on it sometime soon. I have attached a video of Alex Waterhouse sending the route at the age of 14!

The next day we headed down earlier and at first it felt quite a lot warmer but as soon as we turned the corner to Ferocity Wall we felt the wind and the temperatures we were going to be experiencing for the rest of the day. Well this day didn’t go to well due to the painfully cold winds. I had a quick go on Pet Cemetery (F8a+) and I am looking forward to putting some attempts in on that when the weather is a little warmer!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

This Winter...

This winter has been all about training for me with a few 'firsts' along the way. Training wise I have been very successful; 1-5-9 on small rungs is feeling easier each session, my endurance feels a lot better and I just feel a lot stronger in general, so now all I have to do now is get outdoors to complete some goals and enter some comps to see if I notice a difference under pressure.

Earlier this year I spent a day at Anstey's Cove trying 'La Crème Direct' ("hard F8a") and left having done my first trad route which was 'Cream Topping' (E6 6a). Then I came very close (probably too close too get and not do) to 'Bristol Weeds' (F8a+) at Cheddar Gorge and now I'm trying to do 'Ken's Problem' (V12).

Entering the roof
Photo by Hannah Clay
On Saturday 16th February was the first round of the BMC Youth Climbing Series at The Quay Climbing Centre in Exeter. Everybody did the first route with ease which was around F5+/6a, most did the second at around F7a+ and then we moved onto the boulders. Several people managed to flash the first problem which was graded V5, 4 people flashed the second at V6 and nobody managed the final problem which was supposed to be V8! On equal points with three other competitors it was all down to the last route... not sure what grade this got but I think it was ~F8a.
I was the first of the equal three to go first, feeling rather tired and hungry I started up the route and before I knew it I was midway up the route and at an okay two finger pocket rest. Feeling super pumped I entered the roof section and managed to pull through to a big hold where I wasn't able to get anything back to go for the final section so I just went for it with a bit of grunting, I dropped the knee, hit the sloper, got a really high heel, hit the crimp then another poor sloper, pulled back to go again for the final hold and then by pulling back I didn't have enough to go again for the final jug! I went for it and I was out of there! Feeling very annoyed with myself I anxiously waited for the next competitors to get on route. Around 20/30 minutes later I found out that I reached the furthest point on the route and I had won. The Dartrock Team members climbed really well and fellow team member Tom Wright won second place.

Sunday 17th I had a few attempts on 'Bristol Weeds' (F8a+) where I came very close but as we arrived at the Remnant quite late so I ran out of time and it got dark. Monday 18th and I had a rest day where I played on some slabs at Anstey's Cove where I did an awesome groove into overhang called 'Cocytus more Steam Connection' (F7a).

Tuesday 19th and I was back at Anstey's to try 'Ken's Problem' (V12). I arrived at the problem not knowing what to really expect and at the start of the session I couldn't manage one move, then slowly I learnt more and more moves and now I am falling from what I believe is the last hard move. I am returning tomorrow (Thursday 21st) to have try and finish it off.

Thank you for reading,
Ellis :)

Friday, 1 February 2013

The Training Plan (Video)


Ellis Butler-Barker on a training link-up at Dartrock Climbing Centre. Grades are: ~Font 7c+/V10, F7c, F6b+ (Reverse), F7c, F6b+ (Re...), F8a, F6a+ (Re...).

This was going to be used in Ellis's South West Film Festival Movie but was a bit too long so decided it upload as a throw-away clip.

**No resting in the groove just before the 8a for training purposes**

Big thanks to Jack for the 12 minute belay!