By James Squire, 26-Apr-2013 21:16:00
I've had no competitions recently so I've been climbing outdoors a lot more working some cool new lines and projects from left over from the winter. To start off with I headed over to Ladye Bay (again!) to try a direct start to ‘The Darkest Hour’ a problem that I had climbed last summer. I had stopped by at least 6 times over the winter to find it wet every time, but that day it had finally dried out and I was on it! I soon re-learned the beta; found it was easier to campus the last move and the send went down in about an hour. Named ‘The Lightest Hour’ and given font 7c. Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UukMw9uvLGk Cailean Harker repeated soon after.
On another note, Ben West (GB bouldering team member) has done the first ascent of a very nice looking problem in the Cheader Gorge that has already seen a lot of attention. It is called ‘Tombstone’ (font 7c) and climbs a larger overhanging block (hence the name). Check out the video of Ben West and Max Ayton climbing it here: https://vimeo.com/63950503 Hopefully I might head down to try it sometime but I need to go with someone as the walk in is apparently quite bad!
I week or so ago I went back to the sandstone boulders of Huntsham in Gloucester/South Wales to try a boulder project that local Cailean Harker had found and been working. It’s this really cool roof with a techniqual finish that will be well hard when climbed, thought to be at least 8a. I have done it from an undercut rail in the roof to the finish and from the low jug to the undercut but will be a powerful link! (I foolishly claimed the FA on UKClimbing.com from halfway and I apologise for that and anyone who might have been upset by my carelessness). It would be amazing to see Cailean or someone climb it in the future.
On a more successful note I have finally managed to upload The Climbing Academy 2012 Squad Bouldering Video. Which I had made when I injured my finger and had nothing better to do with my life! Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/63347022
I also had a session on a nails project close to my home which is a hard one move wonder, which I may have to save for another time! More details soon (hopefully).
Big thanks to everyone for reading and to my sponsors: La Sportiva, Lyon Outdoor, Tip Juice and Base Cubic! I’ve recently been climbing in the La Sportiva Speedsters (see above!) which are amazing and should clock up some hard sends.
Dispite having a lot of GCSE exams, I'm feeling strong at the moment and got lots of boulders to go climb so watch this space.
James Squire (Beastly Squirrel)
By James Squire, 01-Apr-2013 17:55:00
Just over two weeks ago the main competition season had ended, which gave me a chance to get outdoors to finish off boulder projects and dream ticks over spring, or should I say winter part 2. My instant thought was to go finish off ’Butch Cassidy’ (font 8a+) at Dinas Rock in South Wales. It is a two move sit start to ‘Boy Racer’ (font 7c) a problem that I climbed over a year ago. The only problem is that (apart from being hard) it is a 2 hour drive away and because it is very high quality limestone it tends to seep water and melted snow very unpredictably.
Two weeks ago on the 17th March I got a message from Ben West saying he was at the main crag and that the rock was dry, so very kindly my mum and dad drove me over for an evening session. I didn’t have very long as it was getting dark quite quickly, but soon got to it and was refreshing myself with the standing moves and working the sit start moves for ‘Butch Cassidy’. 15 minutes into the session Eliot Stephens and Liam Fyfe (two of the strongest South Wales boulderers) turned up and gave me some useful beta, only minor changes but helped make the difference.
After a bit of rest I started trying it from the start with Liam filming. I pulled though the first two crux moves but felt something brush my foot, never the less continued and pulled through the crux to the finish and what I thought was a clean ascent. Liam’s phone ironically ran out of battery as I jumped off from the finish. BUT as I was leaving the crag Liam ran over to me and said he had managed to get his phone working again and the film revealed that my foot had clipped the edge of the boulder mat on the second move. I had a long talk with Eliot and other boulderers about “dabbing” and I felt it was best to not claim the ascent. I felt gutted, but it was the right thing to do, still psyched as I knew it was now possible to climb the V12 line. I knew I had to come back…
…A few weeks later, on Easter Sunday, Hamish and John Potokar offered me a lift over to Dinas Rock to climb with them which I immediately accepted! After an early start in Bristol we were on the road and heading across the border into South Wales. It was one of the first sunny days in a long time and actually felt like spring had come. We warmed up then scrambled up the water fall to the main crag. We both soon got climbing; Hamish flashed both ‘Boy Racer’ (font 7c) and ‘Jet Blue’ (font 7c) which was very impressive. We then started working the sitter ‘Butch Cassidy’. I had a few close attempts but needed to rest for a good 5 mins. After about 20mins of trying Hamish got the send!
Super inspired by what he had just done it was my turn to get it done, but disaster struck as I had cut a nasty flapper on my left hand on the crux pinch. It bleed a lot but soon got it taped up and I was back at it, I had one close attempt and then the next go I did it! A clean ascent, finally after so long I had done it. So satisfying. My first font 8a+ as well. As for the grade I’m not really sure but it felt harder than all the 8a’s I’ve climbed so felt about right, maybe hard 8a/soft 8a+? Video of Eliot Stephens doing it a few months ago here: http://vimeo.com/52480509. Some photos from the session are below:
We then went down to the bottom of the waterfall, on the way down the water fall I tried ‘Evolution’ (font 7b) but was too tiered so moved on, a cool boulder never the less, never been bouldering on a waterfall. We then warmed down on the Kennelgarth wall and I quickly got an ascent of the crag classic ‘Fat Cat Roof’ (font 7c). Tiered and psyched, we then headed home back to Bristol. Good day had.
Thanks to everyone for reading and big thanks to my sponsors: La Sportiva, Tip Juice and Base Cubic!
Got lots of great looking outdoor boulder projects at the moment so watch this space,
James Squire (Beastly Squirrel)
By James Squire, 16-Mar-2013 17:11:00
Last weekend was the much a waited for Climbing Works International Festival! Being one of the biggest competitions of the year with hundreds of people turning up to watch and compete from all around Europe. Me and the rest of The Climbing Academy youth squad left Bristol on Friday night and headed up to a bunkhouse in Sheffield. Ate, met up with some guys from TCA Glasgow, got some sleep and got psyched for the comp the next day.
The next day we headed over to the wall for the qualifiers. The 30 qualifier blocs are notorious for being hard and techniqual with many drop-able problems which left me feeling a bit nervous, especially as so many good people were here!
Never the less, I soon got going despite us turning up an hour late. The problems were set really well, with loads of interesting moves, volumes and dynos. I soon started on some of the few easy blocs and surprisingly started flashing some of the harder problems with a few mistakes here and there. At the end I was feeling happy about how I had done and finished with 229 points. When we got back to the bunkhouse that night I found out that I had come 2nd in the U18’s and 21st overall, meaning that I was one place from being in the semi-final! Oh well, still very pleased, later on I found out that I had beaten Ben Moon and Steve McClure – two of my climbing heroes that I have grew up reading about, amazing. Enjoy a few photos from the comp below:
But the day wasn’t over. So that evening all the TCA crew headed up to the Stanage Plantation for an evening’s bouldering. It was a bit warm and everyone was a bit tired but some cool stuff went down, including Fraser Mcllwraith doing ‘Brass Monkeys’ (font 7c) and Hamish Potokar doing ‘Deliverance’ (font 7b+). I had a brief attempt on Snatch, a font 8a dyno; I got my fingers over the finish but couldn’t quite stick it.
The next day (still feeling tired) we all headed out to the Peak again, this time The Roaches for the day. I and Hamish started trying a Ben Moon classic called ‘Mushin’ (font 7c+) and we both got to the last hard move but moved on, one to come back for. Then right at the end of the session I started trying a really nice looking problem called ‘Thud’ (font 7b/+). It involved pulling out of a small overhand via double up-side-down toe hooks and traversing along a slopey rail to a jump last move to victory. With no skin and no energy I somehow just managed it at the last minute, by no means the hardest problem I have done, but by far one of the most fun! We then had a long journey back home to Bristol.
A week later was the very last round of The Climbing Academy south west schools bouldering competition. It was a flash comp with 15 blocs per round. I had previously won the last three rounds but came 2nd this round due to a small slip on the final bloc. Despite this I had overall come 1st in the championship for the first time ever and won a rope bag… anyone know what I would use that for? ;-)
Thanks everyone for reading and a big thanks to my sponsors – Tip Juice, La Sportiva and Base Cubic! All comps are over for a while now - dying to get out on some projects!
Enjoy your Easter,
James Squire (Beastly Squirrel)
P.S Check out a photo of me in the BlocFest final that made it onto an UKClimbing.com news item: http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67891
By James Squire, 20-Feb-2013 14:40:00
A lot has been happening in the last month so it’s going to be a big blog post!
Last weekend Gaz Parry and his BlocFest crew came to The Climbing Academy Bristol for what would be an amazing event! A big all day competition with new custom volumes, their own holds, a DJ, a ton of prizes and lots of free stuff, as well as meeting up with many old friends, sponsors and famous climbers from around the UK.
To start off there was a qualification round with 25 boulders to try, all of which were set really well with a whole variety of moves, difficulties and styles. Despite a few stupid mistakes I had finished the qualifiers with flashing 22 problems, 2 second go and 1 I didn’t finish which I was pleased with but due to the amount of strong people here I was almost certain I wasn’t going to make the final.
So afterwards I moved on to the ‘La Sportiva’ dyno competition consisting of 5 dynos increasing with difficultly each time. The first 3 were done easily on my first attempt. The 4th dyno took about 10 minutes but I finally stuck it, and the 5th dyno described as the ‘world cup dyno’ took a bit longer jumping to these two slopey pinches but managed it in the end. Feeling happy I warmed down, rested, spoke to some people and ate some food.
However a bit later on fellow competitors Hamish and Duma said that I was currently in 5th and that if I’m lucky I will make the final! I had never made a TCA final before so I was feeling a bit pessimistic.
After everyone had handed in there score cards the overhead speaker enounced the final competitors were as follows:
and… James Squire.
I had only just made the final by the skin of my teeth and now had to wait in the ‘isolation’ zone whilst they set the boulders for the final on the main competition wall.
The final had all the lights turned off and instead there were spotlights set up to give a really cool effect.
The first problem was probably the hardest, involving big moves between pinches and volumes, but I couldn’t quite get the bonus. Jon Partridge got very close dropping the finish.
The second problem wasn’t the hardest but was defiantly the most fun. It started by crouching on a volume facing towards the crowd and making a big jump to a hanging box, then a bit of swinging around into a techniqual finish. I got past the dyno but fell just before the bonus.
The third and last problem involved starting under the roof with double toe hooks on the lip, but being short I couldn’t quite get my feet to stay. But in the last 30 seconds I span around and placed a heel by my hands and made the move out of the roof but was too tired to finish it off.
John Partridge did both problem 2 and 3, very impressive.
Overall a really great competition and good fun, glad I had made a final for once! ;-)
The results were:
1st John Partridge
2nd Ben West
3rd Duma Brickhill
4th Hamish Potokar
5th James Squire (me)
Thanks to all the BlocFest crew and the TCA for hosting, also thanks to Adam Gasson for taking some truly amazing photos, check out his website below:
Check out my video page for Tris West’s video of the finals or see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gHOG-8gwsg
A few days before hand I went over for a short session at Sand Point again, this time hoping to find a prow that I had heard rumours of. This time I found the right beach and started working the amazing prow obviously not using the side and back walls. After about 45 mins I had all the beta and the send went down! As for the grade, I thought about font 7c. Later on I spoke to Martin Crocker and other Bristol locals and it turns out that the prow has been climbed many times before by Ian Hill, Luc Percival and Pete Sharp.
Meanwhile I’ve had a few local competitions going on recently. Highlights include 1st place at the TCA school comp, 2nd place at the Under Cover Rock bouldering comp, 1st place in the UCR schools bouldering comp, joint 1st in leading with Max Ayton and Hamish Potokar, Bristol Grammar School winning senior and junior cups and a good evening session fore-running some of the boulders at The Warehouse for their climbing festival which I heard was a great success.
To finish things off I had a sweet session with David Cross from Base Cubic and his mate Kev at Ladye Bay yesterday in the (almost) spring sunshine!
Thanks everyone for reading and to my sponsors: Tip Juice, La Sportiva and Base Cubic!
Got some good stuff planned for the next few weeks including the Climbing Works International Festival and hopefully a trip to Portland.
James Squire (Beastly Squirrel)
By James Squire, 04-Feb-2013 21:59:00
Just a quick blog post this. A mini review on the Base Cubic Velocity 5 boulder mat and a photo of the pad is action on a cool new roof off the coast of Bristol:
"I first used this pad before I was sponsored by Base Cubic, and I was absolutly amazed! The brilliant foam and huge size of the pad is way above any other pad on the market and having been bouldering outside for 4 years I've fallen onto almost every pad out there.
I took the pad out for a long day of brutal testing at a rocky beach on a variety of landings, hights and angle of falls. Not once could I find a flaw in landing on the pad, easy to carry between climbs, large landing area and is hand made locally in the UK. Just perfect.
I never knew falling off could feel so good"
Thanks for reading, and a big thanks to all my sponsors: Tip Juice, La Sportiva (Lyon) and Base Cubic!
James Squire (Beastly Squirrel)
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