Sunday, 5 January 2014

Cuatro Dias

I realised this evening that every day this year has been amazing. I know that we are only 4 days in but it is a hell of a good start. The big news for me is my new role working for one of the most respected outdoor distributors in the UK, the Mountain Boot Company. My remit covers many different areas including sponsered hero or brand ambasador for three of the best brands in the business Scarpa, Edelweiss and Grivel. I have also taken on the role of team captain for these brands meaning i get to work with some of the best climbers around, with the likes of Dave McCloed, Tim Emmett and the newest Scarpa and Edelweiss Athlete, the uber strong Ed Hamer. In the words of Tim, it looks like there are some spicy times ahead. My final role with MBC will be retailer support via boots demos, staff training and hopefully some interesting events. Infact the first demo of the year will be at the 4th Blokfest event on the January 19th at The Depot in Nottingham. Check out some more Boot Demo dates and venues below.

Scarpa Boot Demos
Blokfest Jan 19th Depot Nottingham
The Arch Jan 20th London
The White Spider Jan 25th London
The Castle Jan 29th London
The Crag Feb 9th Stowmarket

On new years day I headed over to Sella to check out Sam and Rich Oranges new house. They never cease to amaze me with the drive and passion for all things fun. Sams latest pass time is collecting horses, already she is on 4 and quickly catching up to my 6. We left Sam to her ponies and with Rich we headed up to the less frequented wall of Elefante. Three 60 meter routes later we left happy and looking forward to a return visit to give some of the harder Mark Edwards routes a go.

Day 2 was a visit my favourite crag on the Costa Blanca...sadly I can't say where it is but if you are in the know then you will know. I came away with my hardest os for a while, the amazing and recently rebolted 7c+ Con Licencia Para Volar.

Day 3 turned into a rest day and some van work was in order. A full day painting and insulating the bedroom area of the van was a nice and relaxed way to spend it and although single handedly carrying my generator and lifting an 8x4 out of the van was by no means light work I was pleased with the results.

Day 4 I headed out with my good friend Bill for a fun day multi pitching on the Penon D'Ifac. Mare Nostrum was only put up a couple of years ago but represents one of the best outings on the Penon. 9 pitches starting with a 7a and culminating with another rather out there 7a Mare covers some amazing ground with some really great pitches. It is really well bolted so if 7a is not your grade it probably only has an obligatory grade on 6b. Obligatory means the lowest grade you need to be able to climb to get from bolt to bolt. This was my 4th route on the Penon and all have been great fun, on my way back down I wondered if Adam Ondra ever has days like this. Just fun to be out and moving on rock no matter what the grade, watching seagulls catch an up draft, sharing belays with a friendly Spanish couple and finishing the day off with a Canya in the local bar surround by the Calpe expats version of the Jeremy Kyle show kicking off at the table
next door.

Money can't buy you days like these and long may they continue. Int climbing great.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Now't like a comfy sofa

Well it has pretty much been a year now that I have been back in the UK. Not so much has happened in my world, not much I can remember anyway. This last few weeks things have really started to settle down for me, more of a routine. The horses are happy in their field, living like a herd and loving the better weather. We have a nice place, only a few minutes walk from Wharncliffe Woods perfect for the dogs.

This evening I am off to Holland. First on business and then to catch up with my good friend Wouter, World Cup competitor and Dutch Team Manager. I am really looking forward to this as firstly as it will be the beginning of some big changes in the coming months and secondly it will be great to chat and train with Wally. He has been lacking motivation, as have I but he is back in the game, just like I am trying to do at the moment.

Wouter back in the day of old school World Cups...Russian style.

I am also looking forward to sitting down and chatting about how he manages and works with the Dutch team. How he deals with his team living in various countries as Jorg has been in Austria for years now. Why is this of interest to me? Well I am stepping into some big shoes. I am taking over the role of GB Bouldering Team Manager. I must admit it is a daunting prospect but I cant wait to start the plan for next year 2014. We have such a great team at the moment. Strength and depth in both the Womens and Mens. When I chatted with them about my decision I was totally made up how pleased they were that I would be taking on this roll, at least that will make my life a little easier. The future for the team is very bright.

Over the last few weeks I have been enjoying new places and old. Anston Stones, Forest Rock, The Works, The Foundry, Badger Cove and Rubicon. The dry rock has been fun and with a visit to Chee Tor to tick the excellent Ogre it has felt like I am finally home. Home at the end of a long day, when you sit down to relax with a cup of tea and think there is now't like a comfy sofa.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Blocfest 2012/2013

So finally the word is out. There is a new bouldering festival coming to town, well to a few towns really.

After much beavering away and work behind the scenes we think we have a concept that will please all, from the youngest little tweak who has just started to dream about the imposssible to the well honed rockstar and competition aficionado. Something for every one :-)

We have some great sponsors and partners signed up so expect some mega prizes and loads of giveaways. We have Holdz as our official hold suppliers. Boreal and Mountain Hardwear as our Series Partners and Domonic from Rock On has stepped up to the mark to be our Spot Prize Provider.

We also have Nourish Me Now providing some mega refreshments and New Heights Fitness on hand to answer all you training and nutrition questions.

The dates we have planned and round sponsors for the 2012/13 season are as follows:-

20th October 2012 - Mile End, London Wild Country

8th December 2012 - The Castle, London Beal

19th January 2013 - Reading Climbing Centre, Reading Prana, Metolius, Evolve

16th February 2013 - The Climbing Academy, Bristol La Sportiva

9th March 2013 - The Biscuit Factory, London DMM

Just to wet your palate we have produced this little teaser video. Hope you like it.

BlocFest 2012 - 2013 Promo from Ben Grubb on Vimeo.

Come and join in the fun and adventure by following us on the Blocfest website. Or follow Blocfest on Twitter or Facebook

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Anston, BBC, ISPO and Magic

Well it really has been ages since I last blogged. So here is a whistle stop tour of all that has happened in between route setting and coaching.

Towards the end of June I began to explore Anston stones. This was great fun as for me it was somewhere totally new and is was crimpy limestone, a style I had not really climbed on for years. Initially it was pretty intense put after a few sessions my fingers were getting back into the crimping game. My trips here culminated in climbing the cool Black Crow 7c+ and on my last visit there I flashed Quarantine, given 8a but on what grading scale I dont know. Grades here are pretty varied, in the 7a/+ region they seem soft and in the 7c region seem hard, but that is just grades I suppose like everywhere else. Quality venue though and good effort to Mick Adams and Lee Robinson for producing the guide. I am looking forward to the colder temps for the harder boulders here.

July began with more work but now I was managing to squeeze in some rest days and some sessions at The Works getting spanked by Ned, Chris Webb and Alex. I wasnt training for the BBC but I was aiming to up my game a little. Sadly Cliffhanger was rained off but the BBC went ahead. I managed to scrape into the final in 8th place and with only one way to go I finished in 5th. To be honest I was totally made up wih this and am sure with some effort I will be back on the podium next year. Awesome to see Barrans take this year and the Shauna v's Alex battle was fantastic.

After a week setting for the Reach and the amazing new Beacon Climbing Wall, I did my first mega drive of the last few weeks out to Freidrichshafen to catch up with my sponsors, DMM, Boreal and Sterling. I was also there with two other hats on, firstly I was a stand in Dave Simmonite (climb magazine editor) though not as wide, and had to call on a few brands for him. Secondly I was there to talk Blocfest. Blocfest is a new series of comps with a festival feeling to be held in the South kicking off in October they will run over the winter to Febuary. Check out for more info.

Next up was Magic Wood, a quick hit trip and althought completely destroyed from a hard week and loads of driving I managed a couple of 7c+'s. From Darkness to Sunshine was great and the new (dont know the name) 7c+ on the Bruno Bloc was mega.

With only 4 days in the Wood it was time to leave......more driving to the Costa Blanca. Time to bring Joe and Oliana (and her unborn foal) back to the UK.

A quick stop in the Ariege allowed me to tick the super hard Reine De Sabart and a hot day on the blocs in font landed me back in the UK for a 10 day coaching and setting stint!!

Today is my rest and packing day. Tonight I am off to Stuttgart to climb at the Adidas Rockstars event. After that it is off to the Alps!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Euro Cheese and Grit Video

Its been a busy few weeks since I arrived back in the UK. We have officially moved here!! I went to Malham a few weeks ago and everyone one was like WTF are you doing. It was freezing, windy and generally miserable, soon I was beginning to wonder the same thing. Finally I bit the bullet and got on a route. The route of the moment for Malham is Bat Route and I can assure you it did not let me down. Very euro in nature with a number of shakes, the climbing is truly amazing and one of the best sport routes in the UK, tough right to the end, just ask Sam Whittaker who knows the ride well. Something I need to get back soon. Congrats to Ben Bransby who recently got the tick. I also paid a visit to the southern cheese that is Cheddar. A refined delicacy that is not to all tastes but there are certainley some gems. One of the best buttresses is Lion Rock. Recently updraded with a costa coffee facing the crag and free parking directly below it it has a few quality lines on good rock.

Taming Of The Lion was the aim. I was totally destroyed from a mamouth 9.30am to 6.30pm climbing session at The Climbing Academy the day before mainly revolving around coaching their youth team and an open to all coaching session. I over did it a bit and the next day I was destroyed. I still managed an ascent of Taming The Lion via a sneaky leftwards follow the easiest line method which in french grades is around 7c. The direct semi eliminate version which is 7c+/8a is great climbing but as I said a little eliminate. Maybe I will go back for this sometime. In the afternoon I met up with Dave Pickford, by now I was just a belay bitch, I snoozed as he attempted and dirty looking and loose E5 and snoozed again as he threw some laps on House Burning Down to finish off. Dave has always had a penchant for intereting cars and his newest jam is a beast. A BMW M3 2002, Black with Red Leather Seats. Never having been a fan of BMW's I am now, ohhhh BMW's and cider :-)

This is a pic of the worst that Cheddar can offer. Apparently the reason why bolting is currently banned there. Well worth it for some 2 bolt piles of shit Gordan.

Over the last few weeks we have been living with friends in Cubley near Ashbourne and I have been legging it around the UK setting and coaching and basically just cramming the work in. Finally we have found a house and some land to rent. The 5 acre field is now home to our two horses Elsa and Arco and joined by Dooley (Kates sisters horse), as soon as we get Oliana and Joe from Spain there will be 5......or maybe 6 if Oliana is in foal. Next week we move into our house, a mint little cottage in Letwell. A village so small there are no shops and no pub but walking distance from the field and perfect for the dogs. Infact I cant believe how nice this area is. The best part about being based here is that I will be near Sheffield, I have ever really spent time here but I am pretty psyched to now as there is plenty for me to do. Apart from that my house is only 4 miles from Anston Stones.

This bank holiday weekend has turned into a double rest day, so I dug out this clip from Posing Productions. It was taken from the DVD "On Sight". Enjoy.