Well the weather in England has started to warm up, spring definitely appears to be on the way! This renews my psyche for training as it looks like cold gritstone days are a thing of the past for this winter at least! Time to focus on getting strong for Colorado but also time to get rid of an A2 tweak I have on my right index finger. I did it just before Christmas but foolishly did no massaging or icing over the festive period! Since then every time I climb it has swelled up; it doesn’t hurt that much but I can’t try too hard on it either. Last week I decided it wasn’t going away and so something radical had to be done; cue no actual climbing for 6 weeks (apart from warming up and the occasional potter outside). The idea of this doesn’t faze me too much as the strongest I have ever been was after 6 weeks of just finger boarding, campusing and doing one armers. These sessions are much more controllable than actual climbing and by doing most of exercises in a drag grip position I will hopefully limit any further damage to my finger. After only a week it feels much more flexible, so fingers crossed! On Friday I decided to go out for a bit of a potter on the sandstone at Churnet Valley, more specifically Ina’s Rock. I had spoken to Ed Hamer earlier in the week and he had said a team of them were going out to try Thumbelina (highball 7a) and Cornelius (highball 7c). I had done Thumbelina previously but had been too tired and bit scared to commit to Cornelius; the chance to have another go with a lot of pads got me really inspired. Friday also ended up being a really nice spring day after a week of glum, low cloud and drizzle around Sheffield.

After warming up and everyone else doing Thumbelina I was ready to have a go on the intimidating Cornelius. First time I managed to get through the low crux, arriving at a flat in cut ‘jug’ I was totally boxed, not able to recover or even chalk on the hold I put my right foot high and looked upwards, the sloping break looked a country mile away and I was feeling in no state to lock that far! Was I that unfit or was it just flash pump?! The latter I hoped! After 40 minutes of resting and watching the others figure out the moves I was ready for another go. This time I got through the crux and felt much more relaxed, dragging holds instead of boning the hell out of them. Time for the big left arm lock and the point of no return! Reaching up to the break I got the right hand sloper and feeling good came in to match, crossing through to a small but positive chicken head crimp thoughts of falling from here briefly popped into my head! Instant adrenaline started to course through my veins, bringing the ’fear’ pump but I knew I was nearly there. Shutting out the thoughts I reached around the arête to a finger jug and breathed a massive sigh of relief. One more big lock and I was at the top! A very exhilarating experience! Cornelius is one of the best lines in the UK in my opinion-impeccable rock, high but with a perfectly flat landing and a great variety of movement on all manner of holds!

Back to the training for now! Sunday I campussed and then decided to nip out for an hour before work to try Puck (7b); a highball overhung arête of John Welfords with a less than desirable landing! It involves a few easy moves to get you set up for a dynamic throw to a pocket, followed by a few more high but easy moves. After missing the pads and landing on a rock I managed to just catch the sloper on my next go and re-adjust into the safety of the pocket! Another Welford tick and another great problem that doesn’t seem to see much attention! Right I'm off to fingerboard!

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