January 2022

Trying a Newsletter style blog as really sucked at posting for past two years!

This month Max and I have mainly been on a munro bagging binge. If you have not come across the term, there are series of 282 mountains in Scotland known as Munros all that are above 914m high. There is a sort of sport with its own club for ‘bagging’ all of them. There was a blog I read a while ago explaining internally vs externally motivated people, turns out Max is internally and I am def externally motivated. Back in October on a mountain rescue callout in Glencoe I found myself struggling to keep up with the team up a hill having spent most of the summer sat down writing a guide book (btw the book went to print last week!!!). So, with the knowledge for my need for external motivation I set a challenge to try bag my 50th munro by Christmas and get hill fit. Max kindly joined me.

Well by Christmas I had bagged 48 Munros and decided to keep going to 70. Currently, at the end of January I sit at 69 Munros and now really need my weekends back.

What I am listening to…

This episode of the The Conversation on BBC interviewing two volunteer rescuers, one of which is fellow Oban MRT member Kirsty Pallas https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3ct1p9r

What I am watching…

The Rescue on Disney+, a documentary of the rescue of the 12 boys and their football coach who where stranded in a cave rapidly filling with water in Thailand. A seat of your pants and emotionally intense documentary of one of the worlds most technical rescues, and essentially achieved by a bunch of British IT workers and accountants with an obsession for cave diving and an anesthetist. Trailer here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZnMKLxcKD0

What I am reading..

The Climbing Bible Practical Exercises written by Martin Mobråten & Stian Christophersen. Translated by Bjorn Saetnan. Published by Vertebrate Publishing. Pre-order now and on sale from 3rd Feb 2022

ABOUT

This book contains a bespoke collection of over 200 exercises picked specifically by the authors who are experienced climbers and coaches. The exercises are well illustrated and designed to help you train technique and strength to improve and develop as a climber.

NOTES

I was sent a pre-publication copy of this book by the publisher to review. My views are my own. It should be noted that before reading this book I had never climbed before, and to adequately review it my husband and I took the book along to our local bouldering wall each Friday evening for a couple of weeks and got stuck in.

Please note, if you are purchasing this book as a novice or complete beginner that this is a supplement text to read alongside The Climbing Bible. Full descriptions of the components of climbing, which this text will refer, are in The Climbing Bible, along with information on flexibility, mindset, endurance, and a full explanation of the jargon you will encounter in the world of climbing. After enjoying this book and the bouldering wall so much, my husband has indeed just purchased The Climbing Bible.

STACEY’S REVIEW

First impression is a beautifully laid out book of textbook size with professional photography of both the exercises, and of climbers in outdoor and indoor climbing environments. The foreword is wonderfully written by Cecile Skog and is aptly titled ‘Hooked’, as that is what it did for me, hooked me into the idea of climbing from the start. It is an aesthetically pleasing book to own and really easy to flick through and find something of interest to read.

The content of the book is split into 3 main components. 1) Technique exercises, 2) Strength and power exercises and most unique and impressive of all 3) Children and youth exercises. This book has been created by people who love climbing and climb as a family. 

The aspect of the book I enjoyed the most as a new climber is that it gave me a starting point. I have wanted to try climbing for a while but been too shy to go to a wall and not knowing what to do and felt too weak physically to get the most from booking a beginner lesson. The authors write that they hope ‘this book will end up with its pages filled with chalk marks’ as it is written with the intention that you take it with you to the wall. We have done just that and used this book part as a pre-written workout of exercises for us to follow and part technical guide for grips and foot placement. We keep returning to its pages at the wall side to try a new exercise or technique and an hour at the wall passes quickly and we are left with aching hands and backs.

The section of the book is wonderful and inspired, to include children in this text allowing the sport to be for the whole family. More and more of my friends have started to take their children (of all ages) to the climbing wall and this will allow parents an extra set of ideas for games, but also how to help coach their children in strength as well as technique. 

As beginners my husband and I have gained a lot, though I have struggle to read the entire book as my husband seems to always be reading it! So, I will let him add his reviews too below.

MAX’S REVIEW

I am also a complete climbing beginner, but, like Stacey, have wanted to give it a go for a long while. This book gave me the impetus to get on the wall! Reading the book prior to our first bouldering session provided useful information on warm up exercises and injury prevention, which as a beginner were well headed, as well as many ideas on how to structure our sessions on the wall. The book covers the key components and skills required for enjoyable climbing and ideas for progression, providing ways to objectively measure improvements.

As a beginner I felt there were a too many gaps in my knowledge to fully understand parts of the book and I was initially left frustrated when new lingo was introduced, and reference made to the Climbing Bible. I eventually purchased a copy of the Climbing Bible and the Practical Exercises became an essential supplement; the former filling my knowledge gaps while the latter gave me examples to put the skills into practice and measure my progress on the wall.

The Climbing Bible Practical Exercises is the perfect accompaniment at the wall; after catching the climbing bug, the The Climbing Bible has become my regular bedtime reading, while the Practical Exercises is the book I will take with me to the wall to plan and inform my climbing sessions. The personal stories found within the pages also inspired me to look further, beyond our local bouldering wall, and I firmly intend to try some outdoor trad climbing this summer – once the crags have dried out a little!

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