Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Falling Up...

It's been an eventful year. A bunch of 'stuff' happened. Nothing felt too crazy at the time, but on reflection, some stuff was in retrospect, amazing.

Meeting Gwyn and Jay and the various climbing and coaching journeys they have taken me on.

Meeting the GB Paraclimbing Team then joining them as their appointed Team coach competing across Europe.

Being part of a filming project by the talented young filmmakers from Final Crux Films.

Belaying Gwyn on his first Trad lead since losing his sight 14 years ago.

Becoming self employed again after 4 years living in fear of business failure having watched my life impload when I ran my last company with around 40 staff and £2M turnover. I used to write cheques for £50k without blinking, and now I still get the sweats when I'm forced to the ATM.

Skipping the flight back from the Gijon World Championships to UK and walking across Northern Spain for three weeks.

Being a small part of a big book with the collection of photos and climbing stories that have become The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland by Guy and Adrian.

Revisiting the Pyrenees and taking John and Jay for a weeks coaching.

It's been a year where things have just happened without much control or specific direction from me. I've just tried to avoid doing stuff I didn't want to do and by default found myself doing stuff I do want to do. A kind of 'falling up' I suppose...

As someone who was in a very competitive business environment, I wanted Reach Climbing Coach to find its success through giving and being uncompetitive in a successful way. This makes sense to me because it stops me getting sucked into the world of high growth business environments where I previously lost myself but stays central to the core of coaching - which is giving.

Coaching within various categories of Paraclimbing has been fascinating and extremely challenging. Various coaching techniques learned, a new language if you like. This year has been about learning by doing and if I was talking in business speak I would describe this years coaching activities as part of an emergent strategy. Next year may be more focused on creating structured methods and a framework that is transferable to other potential Paraclimbing coaches. That way, we can do more.

Spotting Suzi at London Comp
Getting to know Suzi Rees from (an inspiring woman and founder of various social enterprises within my field) is exciting both on a professional level and a personal level as I know someone like Suzi has this talent of spreading her enthusiasm and passion for what she is doing onto those she meets.

A long way to go at my end but the thing I think I've learned more than anything is to experience and respect the 'loss' that some of my clients have sustained, endured and learned to let go of, so they could emotionally commit to risking again for success or happiness through their activities in Paraclimbing.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Pyrenees Paraclimbing at Base Calames...

Jay, John and I returned to the UK after a week living and climbing in the Midi Pyrenees.

Calames crag
The highlights of the trip were seeing John lead his first 6a, his hardest lead outside and watching Jay in his paradise enjoying all things French, enjoying his climbing and independence in another country, another world of mountains and climbing. Witnessing John's commitment on lead as a VI climber was great, great to see and great to be a part of.

Coaching on my own in the mountains with two very different human beings involving visual impairment, deafness, autism, varying personalities with the addition of climbing risk and the main objective of transferring coaching value was extremely intense and in turn extremely satisfying.

Sight guiding with John
Coaching Paraclimbing in the Pyrenees is something special for me as the place has a unique atmosphere untouched by tourism and getting the chance to show these guys this special find was nice. Sight guiding John along the mountainside to the crag with Jay following behind felt quite profound. We must have seemed a little bizarre to our French friends.

Jay leading outdoors

John on a 6a+ 
A big thanks from Jay to DMM and V12
 for sponsoring his trip with much needed gear
It's not just the climbing environment that is challenging to manage but the hours before and after where you are depended upon for physical support and guidance and mentaly restructuring explanations to make them more understandable but at the same time legitimate. Worth it to see their smiling faces on top of a mountainside with great landscapes falling behind them.

Revisiting the Pyrenees was a personal journey that worked out well for me as I hoped it would.

Base Calames
Thanks to Jon Stoelker and family for looking after us at their Gite : Base Calames.

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)