How to Improve 2 Grades in 1 Week With Rock & Sun

Rock & Sun trip #5 I believe

This time was slightly different. A structured weeklong course purely on performance coaching. Working on choosing a route, analysing from the ground and then actually climbing it as efficiently as possible.

I initially contacted Trev for help on a trip to Thailand. We worked out a package that suited my non comital climb when I want dip in and out tendencies. Every trip I’d glean a little more on becoming a better climber. Trev would always offer advice and on one occasion, exasperated at seeing me brutalising my way up a route he quietly drops it to me that I should visit him in April in the Costa Blanca on one his performance coaching courses.

I was deliberating when he dropped the bomb. “I’ll guarantee you 2 grades in a week”.

Now that’s a big deal for me. For anyone  I suppose…To be climbing at a level I was a decade ago. I’ve been plagued with injuries, which I’m 100% would have never have experienced had I done this course 14 years ago when I first began climbing.

My injuries are self inflicted and pretty dumb really. Overdoing it. Overtraining. Not listening to my body. Not knowing how to climb properly and simply muscling my way up everything.

Many years on now with lots of interventions such as yoga, physio and chiropractic treatments my elbows, neck and shoulders ailments are manageable. Climbing as ‘hard’ as I ever have done in the past without the subsequent horror show pains.

Here’s a brief overview of the course…

You’re collected from Alicante airport and taken to a beautiful villa, settle down meet any other R&S attendees and chill out.

Given a brief of the course which consists of 3 days on breaking it right down to basics. And I mean right down. The deal was for me to red point 7b by the end of the week and we were beginning on top roping 3+ / 4s

These first three days we talk equipment; what type of shoes, the use of chalk or not and the alternatives, which make a huge difference that I’d never before experien=ced or even thought about.

Still in these first three days, dissecting a route. Really studying it, it’s features, lines of weakness, crux(es) rest(s).  All of this is vital in developing a red point strategy. We talked about climatic conditions that vastly affect the outcome.

Now we’ve got an idea of how the route climbs, it’s time to move. Here we received instruction in real simple terms. A bit like being taught how to walk, except I was being taught how to climb.

You see, I’d developed a highly inefficient style of climbing which is obvious to me now, and so many people do it. We climb as though walking… one foot moving up and the trailing leg being dragged behind. Because on a 3+ climbing like this seems easy for someone that can nick a 7a after a couple of visits. But, it’s highly inefficient and worse, these patterns a merely ingrained and transferred up the grades. You can only go so far like this. In truth, you can only go so far with good technique. But good technique gets you a lot further for a lot less effort and lot less pain or risk of pain!

Three days out and we have a rest to day to chill out in the sun.

Days 4 and 5. The juicy part of the course.

Choosing a route and sending it.

We discussed the route, which in my case, La Bella, at Pena Roja crag in Lliber

Trev put the quick draws in for me and we discussed the route.

My turn.

I (we) got the route done after about 5 hours on the third red point. Nice. Really nice.

The last time I climbed 7b I was 10 years younger and fitter. But dumber and it took 2 weeks; the last climb of the last day of the trip!

By the way, I’m 45 and I’m looking to get 8a by around 50.

I’m so stoked with everything and the thing I love about being able to climb harder grades is that it opens up a whole new world of amazing adventures with great people in stunning locations.


Solly x

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