Thursday, 29 January 2015

Looking to improve your sport grade, then join our February Online Training Programme.

El Camino
Climbing between 6a to 7c and looking to improve? Take the first step! (Sorry!!!)

We are looking for 5 clients keen to train for 6 weeks using our online Dual Factor Training Programme. Begins mid February and costs £100 or 100 Euros. Also available in Spanish. Contact: for details...

Pyrenees with friends

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Piano lessons versus economic lessons...

I was thinking about this as I stupidly tortured myself by watching an economics/ politics documentary on the box. What I should have done was continued learning my piano...

Mainly because I always thought of myself as non political and of the view that our system was estupido and not worth another brain fart from me.

I try to charge a low rate that is affordable in coaching so that people can work longer and build a real, sustainable coaching relationship, because I believe that coaching needs that time to create the knowledge, trust and ultimately a friendship between us.

So, more creative piano with more committed creative coaching to improving an individuals life (perhaps like young Jay's) although a little more demanding on the brain ( like the piano) the results are maybe similar where his life is improving through the practice and study of matching climbing movement to the wonderful, creative and colourful world of Jay's mind. Its not economics man, its just learning to play the piano...

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Eiger, women and BSL...

North Wales
It was nice to enjoy a winter's walk round the lake contemplating some of 2014 and a little of what is coming in 2015.

The Eiger Paraclimb looks like it will take the most effort (to prepare for) but maybe return the most satisfaction.

Returning to a place like the Eiger feels a little spooky, because after my epic on the North Face all those years ago, I remember thinking I had pushed too close to my limits to top out the climb.

Neil on the White Spider

I had just split with a long term girl friend who couldn't make her mind up about me and her ex, so I made the decision for her and took off for the Eiger  and dutifully engaged in what the mountain could throw at me.  This years project will obviously be very different requiring less madness, a bit more celibacy for focus and much more care for others. Although the chosen route is far easier, as a Paraclimb it will hold some big challenges, which will feel as equally intense as climbing the North Face... I think.

What else for Reach in 2015? Expand my Paraclimbing capacity through learning BSL to communicate better in the coaching environment.

Continue to focus on the psychology of climbing as the main driver for climbing and training improvements.

.. Come off the Eiger with the team safely plonked on terra firma, find myself a nice woman, with a sharp mind, a kind personality, reasonable definition across her lats and shoulders and a nice bum! Not too much to ask for 2015?

Friday, 16 January 2015

Face Off...

It's a funny thing watching others remove their mask and just being their open honest selves.

It's actually a wonderful thing, because its reality.

I set myself a 3 year period to learn coaching, a bit like doing a degree! I knew that if I came out the gates too early thinking I knew stuff about coaching people when really, I knew shit about shit, then it would just end up as a big pile of coaching poo!

Just before I had a shit on the exit cracks
 near top of Eiger North Face

Coaching someone to achieve something exceptional is frightening ... For me and for them.  So we had to learn to know some shit. And that is what is happening in Paraclimbing for me. The complexity is intense yet simple and real. No masks just raw challenges, courage and humour!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Better Coaching...


I've started learning a new language for Paraclimbing coaching and it is great to be doing this again. I have been learning Spanish for two years now and enjoyed the fact that it is fonetic. I'm in the very early stages of learning BSL (British Sign Language) with the alphabet cracked, some emotional word groups and colours (for climbing holds). I'm loving this and it has reminded me why I love the work I am trying to do with climbing.

Coaching is communication and not to be able to communicate and motivate a climber who is deaf would be like trying to coach a Spanish climber in Glaswegian! I used to work alongside a chap who was deaf when I was younger. He taught me a few signs but I used to watch how he watched others around us in the work place. This was interesting to me because I used to watch people closely (due to trust issues) trying to read their personality, their integrity, by how they were visually, not from what came out their gob. Actual words are just metaphorical anyway! Anyway... Long way to go and loving it...



Friday, 2 January 2015

Eiger Sanction for mental health!

I've managed to persuade myself into going back on the Eiger but this time with John Churcher (visually impaired with 3% tunnel vision) and my best mate Colin Gourley.

It will be challenging but that was the point. It was born from a challenge supporting mental health

The Eiger can be dangerous as I know from personal experience and our plan is to climb the West Flank Route to the summit. Although the route is of moderate difficulty, climbing as part of a VI team will prove challenging and I expect the descent will prove the most difficult element when abseiling etc but I trust John has the resilience to deal with whatever we encounter. He's a tough person.

John and I at World Championships in Gijon

It's fantastic that my old mate Colin is joining us to assist. I've known and climbed with Colin since we were 13 years of age and trust him emphatically.

Although my last adventure was an amazing epic that involved helicopter rescues and an unplanned change of partners high on the wall to allow me to summit it ended sadly with Roger losing his sight in one eye with a detached retina from falling ice near the Traverse of the Gods on the North Face. So it seems there is a link to what we are doing and to have Colin on this journey with me is just great as he missed out on the last Eiger sanction!

Summit icefield on Nordwand. 
Bringing the injured Roger up to my belay.

Neil Boyd preparing to tackle the Spider on the North Face

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Climb between 6a and 7c and are looking for improvement? Then join the Reach January Online DF Training Programme...

FA Super Furry Animals with Stevie Haston (7c), Gozo Island
 We are looking for 5 clients keen to train for 6 weeks using our online Dual Factor Training Programme. Begins mid January and costs £100 or 100 Euros. Also available in Spanish. Contact: for details...

FA Spunky ArĂȘte, Gozo Island

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)