Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Coaching Para climbers was never something I thought I could handle. Why, because I was scared...

Scared of letting them down, letting myself down, scared of failing... Being close to other people who have suffered huge difficulty and trauma on a sometimes unimaginable scale and have risen to meet their challenges seemed initially too scary for me. Why, I didn't really know? Why was I doing this as I never saw myself as a particularly giving person with the strengthn of personality required to work in such an environment.

But today in a coaching session with an amazing woman para climber who has MS I realized a connection with all this. It was about dealing with real loss, you know a BIG loss and the avoidance of letting yourself believe in something again, so you don't have to lose it all over again...

When I began my own journey of trying to recover from my personal losses I just focused on me. Trying to have as good and adventurous a time as possible to help me repair my loss, but it seems a little empty and lacking real depth now. Giving feels hard, especially at an honest and emotional level but when you give, you get to share in the brilliance and bravery of others and that is beginning to feel great.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Imst with Paraclimbing Team GB

It was great being in Austria with the team and experiencing my first international competition as a 'sight caller' at Imst. I worked mainly with Gwyn Roberts, John Churcher and young Reanne Racatoo, all in the VI catergories (Visually Impaired).

France and GB taking the VI medals (Male b2)
Gwyn and John won silver and bronze and Reanne narrowly missed a medal with an excellent effort achieving 4th place in her category. I have coached a few VI's now and have a strategy that seems to work but I was really proud to work closely with Reanne in Austria with the addition of her cerebral palsy. Her courage was dumbfounding and really struck me.

Reanne preparing for our warm up
Reanne competing on the 7a
John about to go on 7a route
Spain, France & Germany taking their medals
I was also sight guiding in the day with the VI team members and only managed to bump John's head once! It was a fantastic and intense experieince and have made some great new friends within the GB Team and other nations. Italy next...

Full GB Paraclimbing Team on their rest day

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)