Friday, 21 October 2011

FULL OF MYSELF... Johnny Dawes book Launch


"Written with devoted passion and brutal honesty, Full of Myself  lays bare Johnny's bipolar mix of privilege and pain, wizardry and dysfunction. Master of friction and momentum, the living embodiment of poetry in motion turns his hand to pen with great effect."
Leo Houlding
"It's brilliant - frank, funny, telling his full life story, not just the climbing.  And the climbing accounts are riveting as well. A great read from cover to cover."
Sir Chris Bonington
"Much like his climbing, his imagination leaps.  This is a beautiful book about an extraordinary person.  William Blake with sticky boots."
Simon Beaufoy (Academy Award Winning Screen Writer - Slum Dog Millionaire, Full Monty, 127 Hours)
"I don't climb, I ride bikes, but this book got me by the balls!!!"
Steve Peat (World Downhill Mountainbike champion)
"Johnny always seemed some kind of freak from the very first picture of him I ever saw. I could see positive freakiness that made him go out of the ordinary, to climb those things that must be admired and that should inspire many to come."
Adam Ondra

To buy a hot off the press signed hardback copy, click on the Buy Now button.


Monday, 17 October 2011

British Lead Climbing Championships 2011

The competition wall at EICA Ratho

The Junior, Youth and Veterans categories were held on Saturday 15th.  On the second day, Sunday 16th, the senior BLCCs, and the British Speed Climbing Championships, were held.
The BMC British Lead Climbing Championships (BLCCs) were held at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, Ratho, on Saturday and Sunday 15th & 16th October 2011.
Junior  & Youth Results
Female Juniors1. Lucy Mitchell
2. Jessica MCCaskey
Male Juniors1. Ed Hamer
2. Luke Tilley
3. Jonathan Field
Female Youth A1. Charlotte Garden
2. Sarah Pashley
3. Jennifer Wood
Male Youth A1. Jonny White
2. Tom Bonnert
3. Andrew Colligan
Female Youth B1. Molly Thompson-Smith
2. Rachel Carr
3. Tara Hayes
Male Youth B1. Connor Byrne
2. Dominic Burns
3. Brendan Gallagher
Female Youth C1. Ellisa Bryant
2. Carmel Moran
3. Hannah Slaney
Male Youth C1. Angus Davidson
2. William Bosi
3. James Pope
The male veterans competition also took place on Saturday 15th. No female veterans entered hence there was no competition.

Male Veterans 
1. Eddie Cooper
2. Mark Richardson
3. Nick Colton
Click here for full results of the junior BLCC

Senior Results
The senior BLCCs were held on the Sunday, 16th November.
In two really exciting finals, boulderer Dave Barrans pipped Ed Hamer. In the female final, last woman out, Shauna Coxsey, moved one hold past Nat Berry's high point to clip the lower-off to loud cheers. Totally absorbing!
Female Senior
1. Shauna Coxsey
2. Natalie Berry
3. Michaela Tracy
Male Senior
1. Dave Barrans
2. Ed Hamer
3. Luke Tilley
Click here for full results of the senior BLCC

Speed Climbing results
More information about the BLCCs and the BSCCs here
BMC thanks supporters
The BMC would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of the event. This includes the vast number of enthusiatic volunteers who do such a fantastic job. They judge, chaperone, belay, score the event, register competitors, allocate T-shirts, warm up competitors, run errands, and so on, the list is virtually endless. The event really couldn't take place without their outstanding and unstinting support. And, also, let's not forget the competitors themselves and all their numerous supporters!
Thanks also go to all the professionals who work at the event. This includes the owners and staff at EICA Ratho for making us feel so welcome and putting in a huge effort to make the final a success, the commentator Ian Smith, the route-setters for great routes, BMC staff both present at the event and those in the office who work behind the scenes.
And finally, thanks to all the sponsors who supported both the BMC in putting on this event. These include EICA, Mammut, and Entre-prises.

By Nick Colton

Friday, 16 September 2011

Pushing through a plateau in your climbing via systems training

Increasing strength is a great way to crack the concrete of a climbing plateau and systems training seems to be the best way that I have found to increase my finger strength...not bouldering. Bouldering is not as deep and is great for honing power but I have always found that structured systems training the most effective then followed by bouldering. To pull powerfully from one hold to another on a boulder problem, you must first be able to hold and pull on the hold first! This is finger 'strength' not power...

To shift into a new level of climbing requires change to what you are doing and for that I find you also need a commitment to the process of what you are trying to achieve...

I have always found that a particular focus on one strategy for a time period of just two weeks with total consistency in the training and recovery provides noticeable results. I have recently been focused on trying to establish a new level of Power Endurance and to do that I have been using a mix of plyometrics and absolute strength tactics to try and lift my capacity for singular power to a higher level before attempting to convert to power endurance.

This style of training (plyometrics), tends to require not only a higher level of strength to control the shock loading as it penetrates the nervous system, but also longer recovery on particular exercises is required.

For our Advanced Plyo-Systems Training Program then contact 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Lead and Speed Climbing Coaching Sessions for Kids at EICA: Ratho

Friday 9th September 2011

Scottish Youth Event 
Lead & SPEED Climbing Coaching Prep
Date: 1st October 2011
Venue: EICA: Ratho

Each year MCofS has organised a prep weekend for children who wish to enter the British Championships. This year, for the first time, a Speed Climbing Championship will also be held and the MCofS prep event will this year include advice, information and coaching in speed climbing from MCofS coach Neil McGeachy (ReAch Coaching) and EICA Instructor Callum Forsyth, ably assistend by Scott Forsyth and Sandy Carr from the Quickdraw Club who helped organise the speed discipline for the recent IFSC European Youth Cup.
With the British Championships being held at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena this year, the MCofS prep event is being organised in association with EICA: Ratho and is open to all children who competed in the Youth Climbing Series in Scotland, members of the GB Team and any other children resident in Scotland between 13yr and 19yrs old who may wish to have a go.
Nic Crawshaw, EICA Climbing Instructor Team Leader said,
"We are delighted to be hosting the first ever British Speed Climbing Championship at the EICA. We have the only IFSC world record format speed wall in the UK and have athletes from as far afield as the USA coming to train on the facility. Speed climbing is shortlisted as a future Olympic sport and with support from the MCofS this facility will allow us to train the champions of tommorrow."
Full details and an application form can be downloaded from the 'Kids Events' page. Non Members of MCofS can attend: they must join the MCofS (in order to ensure liability insurance) as Youth Members which is being offered at the reduced rate of £10.

The BLCC 2011 will be held at EICA: Ratho on the weekend of October 15th - 16th. For the first time it will include a Speed Climbing Championship on the purpose built speed wall in the Arena. The competition is open to anyone resident in the UK. There are 11 categories of Youth, Junior, Senior and Veteran for climbers born between 1967 and 1992.
Children born between 1992 and 1998 are eligible to compete in the BLCC. They MUST be capable of climbing on lead.Competing in the Speed competition involves top-rope climbing belayed from below. Climbers can compete in both disciplines.
More details of the British Championships can be found HERE

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Johnny Dawes’ Essentials of Elegant Motion

Johnny Dawes’ essentials of elegant motion

“There are so many rock types, so many different climbers it seems improbable there exists a coaching method that could account for all circumstances. The foundation for such a method would have to be a hard and fast rule and there is just such a rule  – the equivalent in climbing of the racing line on a racetrack – an easiest, fastest way…”

[Each hold has a particular direction in which it works best. Place your elbow or knee in line with that direction and more purchase from the hold results and progress is easier]

Commonly climbers do two moves every time they make a move to a new hold; one to get the hold and then one to settle onto it in the direction it works best.  Start from a very slightly different position, go straight to the sweet spot on the next hold and you do half the moves!

I split my explanation into the What, How and When to move.

What to use:
Select holds furthest away from the plane of the face; sometimes a lesser hold in an outer position makes a move less strenuous.

Spot oppositions; when clamping or bridging becomes involved the stocks, bonds and dividends of legs, back and waist can be used rather than always dipping into the crucial current account of the forearm.

Solve sequence; look at what could be used as a hold, noting which hand it works with, and whether you can use both hands or feet on it.

How to move
It is understandable technique goes wrong so regularly. Already in a position you’re comfortable in, why move anywhere but directly to the next hold. But how you do that makes all the difference. Imagine the easiest shape of your whole body on the next hold and hit that rather than go directly to the hold the easiest way and a host of benefits become clear:
  • The move is more likely to be successful.
  • To be less injurious.
  • To be less wearing.
  • To be felt before it happens allowing confidence to

opens up the possibility to feel the fall the move threatens to make, move your body in that very direction first, before moving and the secondary move, complete with it’s skin tearing, tendon straining jolt can be easily avoided. Your body weight will do something, you’d best work out how to move it to your advantage. Imagining the fall that a move unleashes countering it precisely, aiming for best shape on hold rather than just grabbing the hold renders the move less powerful, saving your strength, countering the fear of falling because you can feel how you are controlling it physically. Feeling holds within whole easier shapes the possibility to feel the shape after that quickly means how to build a weight reducing rhythm can
Climb less strenuously – get body weight to move to your advantage rather than just drag you off.

Protect one’s body from injury – by making the moves more gradually impact forces are reduced.

Work out how to do moves you can’t do by hanging on and memorising the feel of being in the position, or using the fall to point out the vectors that are missing from your movement. You can even use this to mentally practise moves you or anyone may never climb, learning their technical lessons.

Dealing with the fear of falling – knowing how you will fall off a move you inject the exactly opposite movement to counter that fall, and too, the fear of it.
Some simplified abridged versions of the dynamic approach.

Sideways weight transferal – swinging weight over a foot to move up the other.

Inward waist thrusts – to stop you peeling back as a hand lets go to reach the other up.

Diagonal rock-over – from out and to the side, to up and over and in, onto the foothold.  

Strategy, planning, purchases and research.

Whatever branch of our neurotic little activity tickles your fancy, coalescing what you want to accomplish, how you intend to do it will make adapting to inevitable changing circumstances more successful.

During my new route campaign on the Eastern front of the Peak District I kept a regularly updated list of what I wished to climb. When weather, partner slippage, gear foibles or some other unpredictable might otherwise have frustrated my efforts a clear plan made adapting easy.

Research and buy the best stuff you can afford, borrow it, swap it, use your noodle to get the kit together. Replace before you have to, keeping a lower performance alternative with which to practise handicapped or in the case of boots, which was what was on my mind, more comfortably.

Develop good practises. Clean boots, trim weight away from gear, organise so you can leave the house in a minute, pay bills, pack lunch, stretch to rest etc. Be sensitive to what things power you up and what drags you down. In Kinaesthesiology changing muscle resistance gives away what helps and hinders. Even holding a diet Coke in your other hand reduces the strength of the other so don’t be so sure you already know how everything is. Keep awake to what might help, it might even be a session on the Campus board if you don’t get injured.  

All these train spotty details make a difference but more than anything being creative and dogged will out. Turn up and turn out more. Become faster, more precise, stronger with a greater variety of skills, keep note of partners with motors and gites or clever ways to move.

Johnny Dawes

I will be at Edinburgh film festival 7th October. Please contact me on the following email for any course inquiries: or visit

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Amanda Did it ...'Dinnet Do It' (7c)

Amanda working her 7c project
Amanda sent her target project today 'Dinnet Do It' (7c), which is great news for her and for ReAch. I have been reducing my 1 to 1 coaching days over the last month or so as I begin to understand what I want from my coaching and helping Amanda unlock her true potential in climbing has been a huge pleasure for me. I love to see someone get something tangible back from a coaching session that is real and not just an organised exchange of information of skills or technique drills.

She has a strong commitment to her climbing and to see her get her target 3 months before her expectations is just bloody marvelous! Well done you Amanda!

I love working with people like you and continue to be inspired by your love for your climbing and your special training psyche... :-) happy days dude...


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Scottish Youth Climbing Championships 2011

Scottish Youth Climbing Championships 2011

Brief Report and pics by Kevin Howett

The SYCC was held at the EICA: Ratho on Saturday 28th May to find the Scottish Youth Champions. With a continuing bad weather forecast for strong winds and rain, there was nowhere else better to be! As a result the arena was full to brimming all day with climbers escaping the remnants of the bad storm on the Monday before. Indeed it was filled with a lot of children! A good sign for Scottish climbing!
69 children attended the competition this year with the top 5 kids from the YCS categories being invited to fight it out, current GB Team menbers, and the additional 17-19yr category. Scott Forsyth took charge on the day as Area Youth Cordinator as Simon was unable to make it due to work commitments. Avril Gall organised the day's activities and made sure the scoring went smoothly. The routes were set by Neil McGeachy and Mark McGowan, and numerous parents played an instrumental role as judges or belayers.
It proved to be a long day, with registration starting at 9am and the day finishing at 8.30pm. A warm up session led by ex-GB Team member Robert Mackenzie, ably assisted by Calum Forsyth and GB Senior Team member Natalie Berry, saw the kids running and jumping around the arena. The routes were set on the Speed Wall, the old Competition Wall and The Hanger Wall and were all demonstrated at the start of the procedings - and there were a fair number of demonstrators caught out, much to the crowd's amusement! After the qualifying rounds, and whilst waiting for the Finals Routes to be prepared, presentations were made for the winners of the Youth Climbing Series (YCS) which had concluded a few weeks before. They all recieved their winners' plaques and their Team Hoodies. IdesignI have proudly sponsored the two Scottish Teams this year.
Then the SYCC Finals were held with all the kids competing from isolation in the bouldering room so all routes were attempted on-sight. There were some superb performances from the kids with on-sights of routes judged to be F7c+, especially from those in the 11-13yr & 14-16yr categories. There was a good turn-out for the 17-19yr category with 7 boys batteling for the title of champion's position, but only Ellen Macaskill competed for the girls. Tiso sponsored the SYCC prizes this year and the original 'sport lower-off' trophies made up by Scott Muir who held the inaugural youth championship were presented to the Champions.
A full report will be available soon, but the winners are listed below:

SYCC 2011

8yr-10yr Category
Rhys Langlands
Rhiannon Freireich
Rory White
Keri Maclennan
Thomas Ryan
Holly Davis
11yr-13yr Category
William Bosi
Kirsten Gray
Angus Davidson
Gabriella Stewart
Rory Cargill
Keira Farmer
14yr-16yr Category
Stephen Addison
Rachel Carr
Dylan Mackenzie
Nikki Addison
Willis Morris
Rebekah Drummond
17yr-19yr Category
Ross Kirkland
Ellen Macaskill
Alasdair Johnstone

Calum Forsyth

Monday, 30 May 2011

Sport Climbing: Fall Training or Risk, Value & Commitment?

A lot of coaching focuses on this as it is obviously a big part of climbing because one falls when pushing to the limit.

However, I would suggest that the standard practice of throwing oneself off the local indoor climbing wall on a regular basis, is only a very small part of truly dealing with the fear of falling. I don't think one can eradicate it completely, and that would be destructive as one taps into that adrenaline anyway for that little bit extra. Fear can be used to drive more effort and focus but will obviously have a negative effect if it is all consuming.

So, I feel that the main thing to focus on is the psychological aspect of managing the fear of falling in a way that meets the real issue head on: RISK!

Risk Versus Value:

This is really where I think the biggest scope for improvement is. How much value that is placed on the project by the individual, whether its an on sight attempt with an unsavory run out between bolts or a project red point that is plagued with a bad clip.

If the value is low then the level of risk that one is prepared to invest is low, if the value of success is high then the level of risk that one is prepared to take is higher.

Obviously a tactic for Risk Management (assessment of risks) should be employed to mitigate the risk and also clarify what the risks and implications really are. But once sorted, then one should then be focusing on the level of value that one places on getting the route done or the style of approach required to maximize the opportunity...This level of value that you associate with it is what delivers the level of commitment in your actions.


(Risk + Assessment) versus Value = Commitment

And so, if one assumes that the level of commitment is really what is the issue in respect of fall training, and that Value is really the main individual variable as most can assess risks and implement mitigating tactics etc...

So by focusing on the very personal the level of value you place on the project or on sight attempt then hopefully that will deliver a better understanding and allow you to place the 'fall' into a secondary place when focusing on the climb. 

Monday, 23 May 2011

Interés está solicitando "REACH Escalada entrenador" con experiencia de los entrenadores de escalada que son nativos de español o catalán y desea unirse a nosotros en la zona de Cataluña.

Interés está solicitando "REACH Escalada entrenador" con experiencia de los entrenadores de escalada que son nativos de español o catalán y desea unirse a nosotros en la zona de Cataluña.

Buscamos experimentados entrenadores de escalada que se basan en la región deCataluña.

Reach es una selección única de los entrenadores originario de Escocia, ahoratambién operan en Cataluña.

Si está interesado, por favor contacto con tu CV ydatos de su escalada y experiencia como entrenador.

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)