Sunday, 25 September 2016

#myopiaproject #reflections #trainingwithoutaproject

It feels a little weird to be retraining without a specific project or goal in mind. But it also feels good for me.

After four weeks I'm finally beginning to enjoy the bouldering sessions for the fun of the movement and not like hauling a bull around. Once you start moving on rock something resembling what you know you can, it motivates me. It feels good as I love that movement.

In Glasgow I was lucky enough to have easy access to world class bouldering centre called The Climbing Academy and this access just motivates you more and more and eventually the training stops being training and becomes fun and a large part of your social life, a climbing lifestyle if you like (be it indoors).

So, it feels like I need to concentrate on gaining more access to bouldering and build that back into my weekly lifestyle.

Been doing more press ups for the elbows and shoulders. Need rock shoes that fit and will improve my heel and toe techniques.

Friday, 23 September 2016

#Week4 #81kg

Week 4:

Weighed in for first time in long time... 81kg

That's heavy. I climbed 8a in 2010 at 77kg and 8a+ at 74kg in 2012. Strength to weight is everything in climbing and at the moment I need to concentrate on developing finger strength and general conditioning for climbing before focusing too much on weight.

Working the fingers this week with weighted finger hangs.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

#myopiaproject #daystoweeks #week3 #strengthtoweight

Week 3:

Moved my diary to weeks so that when I was being lazy I could hide it easier. Always a good tactic to remain strategically motivated :)

A good week with finger strength gains noticeable during my bouldering and systems session. Happy with strength to weight at this stage.

Need to increase antagonistic training for balance and injury avoidance.
Really enjoying the slow paced progression and fitting rock climbing training back into my life. Need a wall closer to home (Suzi!)

Stretching needs more love. Again! Keep saying it..

Monday, 12 September 2016

#myopiaproject #strengthtraining #15kilosdifference #edgehogE4


Weighted finger hangs on front three then back three. Working enslaved fingers for quicker gains. Then some reverse one arm work.

No run today. Feeling a little stronger with this weight. Keep up the same strategy for now.

I was 65 kilos back then...

Sunday, 11 September 2016

#Myopiaproject #Day13 #core #stretching

Day13 :

Feeling motivated after yesterday's session. Morning run, core, stretching and some weights.

Need more stretching.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

#Myopiaproject #Day12 #fingersfirst


Back on it with fingers on systems board with the four move campus sequence sets. Then managed a 6c flash on a rope with Suzi.

A run back at home. Happy with gains.
Keep going at this weight for a bit. Feeling good.

Need new Rock shoes and a sport rope.

Friday, 9 September 2016

#Myopiaproject #RIPcurl #Dogs #Horses #TCA

Day 10 & 11:

Day 10 fell into 11 with only stretching and some walking in flip flops. Day 11 was scheduled for fingers but fell off the horse.

My dog recently ate my gifted Ripcurl flip flops from Zermatt: They cost zillions. But luckily they 
are still usable. 

A package arrived by post but wasn't in so postman left a card. I think I know what it is! It's for my fingers from the The Climbing Academy (TCA)

Weight is coming down...

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

#Myopiaproject #Day9 #core #strawberries

Day 9:
Did core and stretching in evening. Getting bendier.
Fingers and shoulders recovering from last night's session. Had a great night time run. Inspiring. Reminded me of runs from Auzat to Spanish border.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

#MyopiaProject. #Day8 #fingers2

Day 8: Had DOMS in forearms for a few days. Feels good again. Working fingers on systems. Can still smell the cheesecake!

I've know real idea where I'm going with this. But I'm going!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Sunday, 4 September 2016

#MyopiaProject #Day6 #GreenBeans

Day 6:
Had a longer deeper stretch. Forearms feel tight after yesterday. 

All good. Had a run to drive down weight. 

Green beans are growing like mad! Ate some yesterday. Nice ...

Enjoyed my core work yesterday and can feel it today a little. Here's the 2nd clip of the ultimate core cave!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

#Myopiaproject #Day5 #Systems

Day 5:
Did my stretching a short run then down to local wall for boulder and some feet off campus on systems board. Weak as piss but getting lighter...

Friday, 2 September 2016

#MyopiaProject #Day4.5 #8aForTCA!

This is a section of one of the great 8a's in the Grotte De Sabart which eventually,after many repeats, I could use to warm up. It was an amazing feeling to get your core to that level and I learned a lot from this style after being shown the technical beta by Stevie.

I'm really looking forward to having a strong enough core to hang upside down like this again.

Went for a run after some core work, conscious of my body wanting to run more (after the alpine trip) but aware that this is not about running, it's about getting rock climbing fit. Run for a burn and that's it...

#MyopiaProject #Day4 #Fingers #Dog

Weighted Finger hangs
Day 4: Less sunshine, chased the escaped dog for 20 mins until captured and jailed accordingly!

Finally got down to some training with a short weighted finger hanging session to get the fingers in the loop. Stretching, some core and probably a run later to keep driving the weight down slowly. Good to train heavy but need to get lighter to avoid injury for when the campus rungs arrive.

I reckon I am onsighting about 6b+ at moment and red pointing about 7a! It's been a long time since fingers have seen any structured training! I love that feeling you get when your finger strength begins to develop. Should come back quickly if I am consistent in training. Just got to get that fire burning...


Thursday, 1 September 2016

#MyopiaProject #Day3

Another shiny morning! Did more stretching and a short run before work. Feels good but long way to go with flexibility!

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

#MyopiaProject #Day2 #ALittleRealization #6times

A sunset from the White Spider

I awoke around 6am this morning and decided to try and begin the process by making a strong coffee, two slices of chunky toast with Marmite (love it!) and unrolled the yoga mat out the back under the sky with a lovely rising sun shining across the garden.

Stuck on the headphones playing Castaway and began some light stretching. Someone once said to me on an island "do something six times and it becomes habit". I love listening to music when staring up at the sky, past your washing on the line, into the first layer of clouds and watching a jet force it's path across the view out of sync with the rest of nature. It reminds me of a bad red point! Unlike the glider which reminds me of a perfect solo, on a perfect day, high up, in a perfect place.

I was thinking about what areas of my body that I should begin to focus on first and I have come up with these elements based on my experience of self and climbing:
  • general flexibility
  • static finger strength
  • core 
  • and eventually campus strength
So my first 6 week block will be lightly focused on these four elements until I feel ready to drill down further.

I also realized this morning that it is all about something more for me. Getting in touch with your body is one of the most strengthening things for the mind, for my well being anyway. No great news to most, but actually living it takes commitment. But I want balance this time. I want it all to fuel my happiness.

A sunrise in the Pyrenees

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

#MyopiaProject #Day1

I've spent the first day thinking about the potential climbing projects and an associated plan that includes:
* An outcome
* Resources Required
* A Timeline
* Partnerships 

The outcome is more about a climbing lifestyle than a particular climb.

The resources are shaped around the training, the traveling and the best possible equipment that meets my needs. 

The timeline seems to be  around six months to be doing what I'd like to be doing with the people I'd like to be doing it with in the places I'd like to be sharing.

The partnerships are personal. Some equipment needed and something given back in return

The first action is to prepare a real and fully accessible training environment at my fingertips.
Off to a great start with support from my friends at The Climbing Academy (TCA) with some training aids on their way!

I love this!

Monday, 29 August 2016


It's been two years since I bust my shoulder hitting a fence post on my bicycle and concussing myself along the bank of the Llyn Padarn near Llanberis in North Wales. It hurt!

And two years out of hard training for rock climbing felt hard but also lead to some great adventures and developments less selfish had I not hit the fence post so selfishly at speed!

I always struggle when my body cannot deliver the level I want in climbing and I usually find myself straying off track towards some other things that holds my attention. But I have always found that a break has this great capacity of regenerating one's motivation to a newer, higher level than before. Some people never slumber with their motivation and just keep trucking along, but that's just me, I enjoy the break and variety of other things.

Right now I want a project. I want something that will hold my mind, require a trained body and be worth a six month journey back to what I was physically and beyond. It would be nice to record the journey in some way, wither on the internet or through film.

Grotte de Sabart

I have really enjoyed working with filmmakers,  both the in my earlier climbing career with the BBC back in the day and more recently with the Alpine Adventures featuring the Eiger and the Matterhorn.  It would be nice to combine all the skills and disciplines that are required over a six month period to see what it takes to change one's body and overall approach to improve an ability or achieve a personal climbing goal.

I've climbed and trained with some world class climbers from all the different disciplines in climbing from trad climbing, bouldering, sport climbing, competition climbing and alpine climbing with climbers like Johnny Dawes, Malcolm Smith, Stevie Haston and more.

I have learned when I could and tried to focus where I should and always tried to move my climbing forward. But the most stimulating climbing experience I have had in terms of training was with Stevie in the Grotte de Sabart cave in the Pyrenees where he introduced me to the amazing world of three dimensional climbing on one of the world's most amazing roof climbs that I had seen.

Metis (8b+) Photo: Alan James/UKC

But there is also this amazing bulging wall with tiny crimps that I worked a few years ago on a crag further up the valley in the Pyrenees. Very different style bit equally satisfying a project. So no definitive project yet, but it feels like a new journey in climbing for me.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

We are recruiting for 5 clients looking to train using our online Dual Factor Training Programme beginning early next month

 We are recruiting for 5 clients looking to train using our online Dual Factor Training programme beginning early next month. The programme will consist of online access to a selection of relevant training documents from Reach, alongside a programme scheduled around a training cycle of Strength > Power > Power Endurance against a back drop of Aerobic uploading to fatigue then downloading to a performance Taper.

The programme costs £50 payable via paypal. Please contact to join the  Team.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

1 to 1 coaching and training sessions for 2016

Contact for 1 to 1 coaching and training sessions for 2016. Focusing on increasing your bouldering and sport grades through a proven strength/Power/Power Endurance cycle...

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Recruiting for November Team - 6 Week Dual Factor Online Training Programme

 We are recruiting for 10 clients looking to train using our online Dual Factor Training programme beginning early November. The programme will consist of online access to a selection of relevant training documents from Reach, alongside a programme scheduled around a training cycle of Strength > Power > Power Endurance against a back drop of Aerobic uploading to fatigue then downloading to a performance Taper.

The programme costs £50 payable via paypal. Please contact to join the November Team.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

El mundo de familia... El nuevo proyecto.

Urko Carmona Barandiaran en 8a+

Recientemente, en la competencia por la IFSC Escalada Copa del Mundo de 2015 en Sheffield , Gran Bretaña. España e Italia amigos me inspiraron a echar otro vistazo a los métodos nacionales España y Italia. Para entrar en la competición que siempre aprendí de otros escaladores fuera de mi país

Otros Los países son la gran familia...

Como con mi español , quiero aprender más técnicas y movimientos para los escaladores con una pierna. Con mi conexion a España es fuerte, ya que es donde yo elegí para ir a construir una mejor conexión y la comprensión de lo que quería para mi país natal , Escocia , el británico

Phill Mitchell & Mark McGowan at Sheffield IFSC 2015 World Cup
¿por qué el proyecto?

"I was inspired by Urko's effect on our GB climbers and the positive effect that he was having on us and the outcome was one of Phil's most inspired competitive performance. For me, this is what makes Paraclimbing competition great. The family it has created internationally and the support and mutual inspiration we share."

Martin Heald

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Jocks & Geordies... "Am Gonnae flunk it Will!"

This video from a great day with two mates from Glasgow when I began back into climbing around 2010 reminds me of the great period in climbing when you are beginning or beginning again, as i was, where you are not tied up in all the egotistical shit of trying to look better than you currently are for the sake of others and just enjoying the rock, nature and the great company of friends in this most special of environments.

It's important to be reminded of this, especially when things become confusing as to why you sometimes train so hard in climbing and sometimes not... Either way, it seems the best moments in climbing are because of friends not solo, alone on a big wall, that is something else.

 I am so looking forward to Rocklands in South Africa with Suzi, not because I expect to boulder at my hardest, but because I will be with my best friend in a most wonderful of places. Can't wait, keep training, keep enjoying and keep catching that hold when you really need to.


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Te tengo bajo mi piel...

Nunca he creído en este tipo de productos similares . Probablemente porque creo que el cuerpo tiene la capacidad para cuidar de sí mismo en tales áreas. Pero , estoy viendo un beneficio para la comodidad de mi piel después de la formación de las sesiones con la aplicación de Climbskin . El problema es que estoy usando un montón de él! ¿Necesita más por favor!

... Te tengo bajo mi piel...

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

We are recruiting for 10 clients for our online training programme beginning October

New routing on Gozo Island
We are recruiting for 10 clients for our online training programme beginning October . If you climb between 6a to 7c.

The plan will  work around the cycle of Strength > Power> Power Endurance against a back drop of a Fatigue cycle to induce an extended climbing peak.

 If you are keen to train for 6 weeks using our online Dual Factor Programme then please contact for details. The cost for the October Team is £50 or 50 euros (English & Spanish)

Systems Training

Wednesday, 26 August 2015



A story of 3 days on the infamous Eiger sight guiding a world's first, with blind climber John Churcher along with two other British Paraclimbers, Jamie Owen (Autistic), Alex Taylor (MS) and Scottish climber Colin Gourlay.

(Photo: Finalcrux Films)

"Abseiling down from the Eiger summit in a storm in the dark with a blind climber, an Autistic climber and a climber with MS wasn't terrifying, it just felt meaningful..."

(Photo: Finalcrux Films)

If you are an organisation looking to book the lecture then please contact for details or enquire on form below:

Monday, 24 August 2015

Reach Coaching at Big Rock Milton Keynes...

Filming new routes on Gozo island

 Big Rock Climbing Centre in MK are teaming up to provide regular coaching sessions from Mark McGowan from Reach Climbing Coach.

If you live in the area and are looking to improve your climbing with structured sessions from a GB Team coach then get in touch to arrange a 2hr session at Big Rock with Mark for £30.

8a+ Grotte de Sabart

Contact or call Chris on  Tel: 01908 583 128 to arrange your session.

Big Rock Climbing Centre
Mandeville Drive
Milton Keynes
MK10 0AG

Monday, 10 August 2015

Autism At Height

Don't just hope and pray for the best in your climbing, take action based on experience with our climbers on the rainbow project: Autism At Height.

Jamie Owen (Autistic) & his friend
John Churcher (World's first blind
Paraclimbers to summit the Eiger)
If you, a friend or family member are Autistic and want to begin or improve your climbing skills with Reach Climbing Coach, then contact for cost of a 1:1 coaching programme built around a quality experience of working with Autism At Height.

Jay on the Eiger
Mark has worked and help develop young Jamie Owen's climbing skills, self confidence and other life skills, which eventually lead to Jamie's successful ascent of the Eiger in Switzerland in July.

"Working every week with Jamie in North Wales, around UK competitions, climbing in the Pyrenees and finally sharing the summit of the notorious Eiger, has been life changing for both of us. I understand Jamie and his perspective, sometimes more than I understand the 'neurotically' shaped ideas of what is 'normal' in life and society. First we built mutual trust, then friendship, then we focused on driving his performance in climbing.

Jamie has won every competition he has entered and now climbed the Eiger and that is why he is a key part of our project. Autism at Height has and is learning so much from Jamie and his perseverance, kindness and basic will to improve his own and others lives like his, is what makes my work so meaningful and worthwhile..."  (Mark McGowan)

Now based in Northamptonshire, we are hoping to develop the project in England as well as planned trips further afield. Please get in touch if the Autism At Height project is of interest to you or someone you know.

Referrals from clients:

"...This training season I decided to get all the help I can to speed up my improvement. I needed guidance to work towards my goals in long term. I also needed more vision and opinions about my exercises and weak links. I am glad I can share my training with Mark..." (Ville Mustonen, Finland)

" I met Mark in Glen Nevis on his return to climbing to check out some lines he had in mind for me, I wasn't really training at this point but after a day or two talking and training with him I had a much more structured idea of what to do to improve and I did" (Kev Shields)