Thursday, October 14, 2010


 Desperado (8a+) Gimmerknowe; Photo-Adam Watson

Been a quiet month for me, just at the end of my yearly month off from climbing. Feel as though most of the tweaks from the season have healed so it's finally time to get back on some rock.

Just before my little holiday I managed to sneak a repeat of Earl's 8a+ up at Gimmerknowe, well pleased as it went down in about half an hour or so. Crazy body tension and real touch and go cut loose! 'Think' this was probably the 3rd ascent?

The next evening Andy P and I headed out to Bowden to have a play on The Crack - perfect conditions meant I was scared and backing off the 5a topout before I knew it. Video below for your entertainment. I need to grow some balls....

Nige Callender Loving The Craic from Andrew Porter on Vimeo.

Loser! :o)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Why bother?

Innsbruck: The bathroom door said it all....

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Big One

You will fall off. Chalk up, get back on, and this time - no mistakes.

European Championships 2010, Innsbruck, Thursday September 16th.

Live TV coverage at:

I should be out after 11am local time

Last session done, I'm tired and sore. Starting to focus now...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Thirty Three

The 3rd problem. Thanks to Diane Merrick for the photo!!

Sitting in Ireland at the moment staring out my parents kitchen window at the drizzle. I remember why I don't live here now :o) Have been resting the last two weeks following the Munich comp just trying to sort out my elbow and a few tweaked fingers, all pretty minor. The comp in Munich was actually one of the best experiences of my life and a total contrast to Sheffield. This time I came out psyched, pulled hard topping 2 of the 5 qualifiers and powering out on a 'reasonably' straightforward final move on a 3rd problem. Little did I know that that one move was my ticket to the semi's and a minimum top 20 finish in that round. Apparent reason for failure - overgripping, as usual. Didn't matter though, I was happy with how it went and on any other day it may have been different. There's plenty more in the tank and I learned a lot from that one.

Ned powered his way into the semi's finally finishing in 15th, ahead of some real wads and Stew W. was somewhere ahead again so all was not lost for Team GB and their adoptive token Irishman. The real highlight of the weekend however was the party... Having not drank for a few months, I'd managed to acquire what I believe is what's referred to as a hangover. The train journey to the airport with Jon the next morning was a somewhat quiet affair for some reason.

Eventually I managed to land in Bristol having not chundered over anyone and spent the next week at Ali's. It's not every day your girlfriend's mum asks you to build a climbing wall. So I bashed away in the barn for the next few days and came up with this:

This little beauty is free standing, benefits from, um, holds, of which there are 9 in a variety of colours, all along with a non-stick emergency escape slide out the back. Guaranteed to have you climbing 9a next week. I train on one myself in fact. I'll be taking orders next week...

Actually this was the end product, significantly steeper than it looks, 30 degree prow especially:

Shame I never got to set any routes, Entre-prises next-day delivery arrived four days later - Thanks for that one...

Finally wound up back in Ireland where some friends have made an unbelieveable effort bolting a crag a few hours away with some real quality lines. Just spent the evening there but along with a few other routes did one of the best 6a's I've done anywhere - well worth the effort. If anyone would like to give generously (in the form of cash, bolts or epoxy) I can pass on their details.

May possibly be off to the European Champs in Innsbruck in 4 weeks pending me finding someone willing to pay for it - as being a student at the moment, I can't. Any ideas?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Auf Weidersehen

Off to Munich in the morning for the last round of this years Bouldering World Cup (roll on the afterparty...) which is being held in the 1972 Olympic Stadium. It should be really amazing competing in such a special venue, I'd imagine there isn't a single person on the circuit at the moment who wouldn't give everything for a shot at an Olympic medal. With each year, and the work of the IFSC this is looking like more and more of a possibility. Fingers crossed, though I'll probably be too old by the time it matters!

In other news, got my Uni results yesterday and don't have to repeat the year unbelievably. Far more unbelievably, I actually did well. I guess that competing this year was a good idea and settles any doubts I had surrounding the next two. As for next year, anyone know a Sports Med clinic in Austria that speaks English, possibly who'd like to take on a student that will be out cimbing all the time instead of at work?

Finally, above is the logo from a new and up and coming clothing brand that two friends have established. I've seen some of the designs they have in the pipeline as well as their first batch, needless to say, it's well worth a look -

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A tear in the performance surface

It hurts right now, so much more than just aching muscles, deep seated psychological hurt that's there every moment I'm not distracted by something else. It was even there in my dreams last night. Months, or you may even say a lifetime of preparation have been met with total failure to perform on the day.

I'm not totally sure why this happened even, which frustrates me further. If I knew where the weaknesses lay, I'd just eliminate them. Possibly it was folding under the expectations of both myself and others, possibly it was the strange calm I was feeling instead of trying to reach a more aroused state? Maybe it was just the 'flash pump' I got on the first problem - most likely it was all of the above plus other factors I haven't identified yet.

Gaz was amazing. There are very few occasions where I'm genuinely impressed and inspired by other climbers, but seeing him yesterday was one of them. A perfect round in the qualifiers having only done a few other minor comps this year. The difference isn't strength, it's technique and masses of experience topped with determination that you rarely see. I have three of those, just not always on every day (even technique when I need to, believe it or not). The fourth is I guess what will be taken from this disaster - I really felt that in most comps a major strength was my experience, I'd made so many mistakes in the past, I'd got most of them out of the system. But this is a new level and so I guess the process starts all over again.

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.                  -Michael Jordan- 

This quote says it all for me, it's a snapshot of what it takes to be the best. I believe in it and have done for many years, it's got me past a lot of poor performances. It will take time probably measured in years, and many more painful analyses of what went wrong, but I will stand on that podium.

Munich in 4 weeks.

Monday, June 28, 2010

More Psyched Than a Badger on Crack

 Image: (C) Matt Pycroft Media - All Rights Reserved. For more great shots from the comp, check out or Matt's facebook page

Today I feel a bit numb (a bit beaten up actually). Following a few weeks of trying to train with a duff elbow and after an abysmal result at the City Bloc comp. This weekend brought me to Sheff and the British Bouldering Championships, along with it came some luck.

What a wall! Built for the World Cup next weekend, it's basically in a big circus marquee and is so high I actually thought twice about making one or two moves during the day - certainly added that 4th dimension to problems!

After qualifying with a bit of leeway in 1st place, the finals were a fight. Problem 1 went down with a flash, however problem 2 was a different story. Every time I went to use the crucial toehook, my hand would start to slime off. I didn't even manage to get the bonus. By this stage, Gaz and Jon P. (possibly the nicest man in climbing) were ahead and I thought it was all over. I'd been preparing for just this situation though following the demoralising semi's at CWIF. I'd been spending time visualising problems going horribly wrong and then having to regain composure whilst back in Isolation. It really paid off so I managed to come out for number 3 psyched again.

This was one of the defining moments of competing for me so far, pulling through the start, I reached the pinch above the volume and the crowd suddenly seemed to go mad. It then dawned on me that possibly no-one had done the problem - there was only one way I was going to let this end. Another flash in the bag. Funniest comment I've ever heard from a commentator, apparently inspired by my face at the time (first time anyone's been inspired by that) - it forms the title of this post.... Number four, tagged the bonus hold 2nd attempt and it was in the bag. Very close - but threw up a few weaknesses I can work on over the next while.

No idea what to make of things really, feel a bit gutted for Ned as having competed in Eindhoven on Friday and driven back from Holland, he was on less than top form and was hurting. Now, rest and try to sort out a new team strip for next weekend as I may or may not have accidentally burnt a hole in the one I had (and the kitchen table) trying to iron on a logo... oops!

Once again, living for the weekend.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My body broken

Had the ultrasound scan on my elbow this morning after suspecting torn ligaments from a bit of a crash landing at the comp on Saturday. Thankfully nothing obviously torn, just a bit bruised most likely. Was well worried though - thought it was the end of the grand-plan for this year.

Will train tonight and see how it is before deciding on whether or not to go to the City Bloc comp this weekend. Fingers crossed....

Meanwhile, news item on UKC -

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Manchester City - Nil, Pikey - Won

Quiet few weeks for me bar the odd day at Kilnsey as I've been trying to shake a finger injury - properly beasted it this weekend and it held out though, so think I'm outta the woods.

Saturday was a 6am start from home to get to Manchester for the opening of the new Rockover climbing centre and their inaugural comp.  Cool wall, like a bigger version of ClimbNewcastle in an  equally dodgy neighbourhood.

The big battle of the day was with the temps, must have been 35 degrees in there - absolutely draining! Qualifiers went pretty poorly, dropping a few things I just shouldn't have so was pretty disappointed with it. Thankfully, I got into the final in 3rd place and by the time the finals had come round a small amount of energy had returned. Strategy for the final: "Flash everything chum, 'cos you don't have enough in you for any more go's!!"

After nearly making a balls of the 1st problem and narrowly getting the flash, numbers 2, 3 and 4 went down ok. The pressure was really on for number 5 as I knew that if I flashed it, top spot was probably mine....
The flash was not to be however and after missing a sequence, a few attempts led to touching the final hold. The ensuing fall however, left me wondering had I broken my arm - lovely crack as I landed, probably the worst fall I've had indoors. All I could do now was sit and wait for Gaz to finish.

Gaz flashed to the same point as me but didn't manage to latch the top hold either and with his slip on an earlier problem, 1st place and the massive cheque was mine! Still can't believe it. Being unable to move my head this morning due to the whiplash I gave myself is making it a bit more real however.

All in all, really class day - the British team are a properly sound bunch and am really looking forward to doing a bit more with them. Thanks also to Tom/Rockover climbing wall for a really good comp - brave people hosting that on your very first day open.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

If in doubt - campus!!

Photo: Adam Watson using his albatross reach on the alternative finish to Bloodsports (Font. 8a+/8b)

Not a bad week for getting outside, had two really good sessions at Shaftoe, just pottering about but after pretty full-on days at uni. it's been needed.  Tuesday evening, headed out with Ged for a couple of hours and met up with James and Watson. Just spent the session playing on some easy stuff and shocking myself by latching the big move on Bloodsports - was told I was too short to do it, apparently not. Finished the evening off with Power is Nothing Without Control, a pretty long 7c - really nice moves along a lip to a hideous mantle.

Photo: Andy Porter on Vorsprung Durch Technik (Font. 8a)

Friday's session looked in jeopardy right from the moment we left the ClimbNewcastle carpark. Massive black thunderclouds were rolling in from the south (feckin southerners) and dumping their load on us, Shaftoe and pretty much everywhere else.  So with the optimism that only a man desperate to avoid having to do some work can rally, we floored our ark in the direction of the crag, just for a 'look'.

Was still a bit wet when we got there, but what we were otherwise left with were pristine conditions following the cooling from the rain and awesome evening sunshine - and the crag to ourselves. After we couldn't be arsed to walk any further we set up under Vorsprung Durch Technik and with Andy giving me the beta, it was in the bag in a few goes. Probably quite soft touch at 8a. Later we just ticked off Main Wall sitter (7b+) to the right. New Chili's arrived that morning and were surprisingly good straight out of the box.

Got home to the bottle of beer I'd had to stop myself drinking on about 6 of the 7 evenings in the last week and scrapped the training session I had in mind. Woke up today with feelings of guilt...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fail, fail and fail again

Couple of frustrating days out over the last few weeks. Been repeatedly falling off the last move of The Bitch for 3 sessions. Trouble is, I've been falling off there since my 4th attempt on the problem. Pretty much every time I can just pull back on and do the move - not hard, just a case of hitting it lucky as the foot is tricky to see. Unfortunately the warmer it gets, the less lucky I think I may be feeling!

After the sun came round onto the bloc we just bailed to Kyloe In. Pretty unproductive day, though Mark G. and I did do Crouching Tiger (Sitter probably warrants 7b+ rather than 7c) which was a cool problem so sortof made up for the days failings. Came home and put in a good training session too so not a waste by any means.

Photo: Came back from a rest between goes to find this little guy showing a particular interest in my shoes and in the process scared the $%@! out of me. Thought it was a snake at first - terrified of the things!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

First Blog

Jumping on the blogging bandwagon again, most likely to serve as another distraction from doing any meaningful work.

Had an eventful month or so, somehow blagged my way into the Semi finals at CWIF masqerading as Earl who was busy trying not to chunder over anyone he met. And so Token the Irishman was left to face off the worlds skinniest people, only managing to drop from qualifying in 12th to a pitiful 16th. Had nothing left to give by the Semi's. Actually, I was made up....

Saturday then saw me roaming the streets of Blackburn at 8.30 am looking for BoulderUK, home of the Plywood Masters. Unfortunately, the half glass of wine I had (with a not unsubstantial dinner) the night before had left me feeling somewhere less than on top form. Guess thats what training and not drinking for months at a time does to you - duly noted for the future.

The comp was ace (I got a free t-shirt!!) but really I just wanted to see if CWIF was a fluke or not. A final basically consisting of Token and the British Squad eventually led to a 3rd place finish just behind Dave and Ned. Time to get training....

Otherwise, started my Paediatrics rotation yesterday and off to Wales for Wednesday for a meeting about a new study that's in the pipeline - the juggling act continues.