Crack School

Just before Pete and I went over to the USA for our offwidth tour, we teamed up with Wild Country and Hotaches to film a 6 part set of webisodes, called “Crack School.”

I all seemed like a really good idea at the start, but I have to confess on the first day when I realised I had absolutely no idea of how to present to camera, I had second thoughts. The process of learning a brand new skill on the job was actually quite stressful and I was somewhat relieved to see that the videos that came out of it didn’t show my worries too much!

It was pretty funny seeing Pete out of his depth as well for once. Most of the time I’m left floundering in his wake, but for once he had a few mumbles of “oh God, I’m not doing this right…” Unfortunately you don’t get to see the amount of times we ended up in fits of laughter as neither of us could keep a straight face whilst saying “Using fists, is something most people find quite painful….”

Below are the first 5 episodes of Crack School – for every person that emails me saying they’re just been out on The File and had an amazing time getting totally thrashed – it’s all well worth it!

A fresh start – from wide to thin

Last year was an amazing year for me. I had a brand new Randall arrive in my family in the form of my daughter Hannah, and I also achieved a huge goal in my climbing.

Myself and Pete Whittaker headed off to the big ol’ USA to try and crush (squeeze??) a load of nasty wide cracks and perhaps even put up a few new routes. Unknown to many, we’d locked ourselves down in my cellar for 2 years doing endless laps on wooden offwidths and it all paid off – more that I could really imagine! The culmination of it all was the first free ascent of Century Crack by us both – pure lines don’t get much better than that.

The Big Daddy
Copywrite Alex Ekins Photography

Since coming back from America, Pete and I have been doing a bit of a lecture tour, which has been great. It’s been nice to tell our side of the story a little better, to show off some of the training footage from the cellar and also to see if anyone out there is actually inspired to climb these ‘orrible looking wide cracks. Generally…. it’s been promising, much to my suprise!

Pete getting a little too close for comfort…

One of the main things I’ve been asked is, “what’s next….?”

Well, all I can say is that it probably won’t involve offwidths! Mostly, I feel like I’ve had my fill on that side of climbing for a while and until some other mega project arises, then it’s time for thin, thin, thin.

Yup, I’m going back to what I’m terrible at. Face climbing, crimping and pockets. It’s ok though, I can deal with it all, because it’s all part of The Plan. I remember reading about an Olympic Gold Medalist a few years back and he was asked what he attributed his successes to? His answer…..?

“Working on my weaknesses.”

For that reason I’ve tried over the last 3 years to have two main weaknesses that I will work on during a 12 month period. It’s utterly demolarising at the start to be so embarrassingly weak at something, but without a doubt, it’s been the key to progress for me. When I’ve combined this with a structured training programme, I’ve been really happy with the results, if I can somehow stay uninjured.

One armer? Er…. no, not quite.