Thursday, 30 April 2015

Route Setting for Para - Climbing in Europe

Gijon World Championships 2014
I will be specialising in route setting for Paraclimbing from May onwards in UK then available in Europe after August 2015.

I have been working specifically in Paraclimbing for a while now as a coach and have decided to combine my route setting experience with Paraclimbing coaching to hopefully provide a service based around excellence  supported by a depth of knowledge in movement in climbing that has led me to this point.

Please contact me at for rates if you are a climbing centre or event organiser looking for Paraclimbing specific route setting.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Online 6 Week Training Programme for May- Recruiting for 5 clients

We are recruiting for 5 clients for our online training programme beggining May. 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 detail. The cost is £100 or 100 euros (English & Spanish)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Dave Bowes thinks he's so pretty! But is he pretty enough for 8a?

Dave in competition (Pretty good!)
Dave Bowes thinks he's so pretty! But man... I think he's ugly, cause me and Ali are much prettier!

Much Prettier!
'... Even the sweat on his own head runs backwards from his face... He's so ugly... My crocs are even prettier than he is, and they are ugly man...'

A little prettier?
Finding your climbing style takes time, like learning to box well, I expect, never done it! It's hard trying to look so pretty when your body is being busted with explosive movements or drowning in lactic acid, but me and Ali do our best!

Dave is asking me why I don't send the 8a (I demonstrated it for Finalcrux Films last year with one slip... Woopsie!) But I keep telling him that until I get my tooth fixed, then I'm just not pretty enough to send the route...

Dave has a great climbing style, but he is gonna have to get much prettier!

OK, maybe he is pretty?

Pretty good?
... But we are much prettier!!!

Dave's chosen charity that inspires him to fight the demons of living with a hidden brain injury is pretty good...
Tougher days
                                            headway Logo


Friday, 10 April 2015

Fingers: Training them in three phases - Strength > Power > Power Endurance...

There's obviously a few ways to strengthen your fingers for rock climbing. At Reach, we break it down into three phases:
  • Strength
  • Dynamic Power
  • Power Endurance
The main focus is to wait until you have an appropriate level of static finger strength before converting it to dynamic power and finally power endurance. 

Ruth Jenkins (Stunt Woman &
first UK female to climb 8b),
pulling on tiny holds, Pyrenees, 2011
Ruth's partner told me a few weeks ago that Ruth went out and worked the moves on an 8c in the first session having not climbed for a long time. Some people (like Ruth, and her son!) have an amazing strength to weight ratio and some people (like me!) have to work harder at it.

Bouldering in Spanish Pyrenees
pulling on bigger holds than Mrs J!
We are running a 3 week online training programme in English and Spanish beginning Monday the 27th of April for £35.

If you want to join and see a marked improvement in finger strength gains using our framework then please contact before the 25th of April.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

"What?" (Mark), "Nothing..." (Dave), "Good!" (Mark)...

After Leaving the Google+ popper in Birmingham, I managed to hook up with GB Paraclimber Dave Bowes near Liverpool. I drank all his wine then we headed into Wales the following day to get Dave on his 8a Project.

Dave's brain injury is very complex for me to understand but we are getting to know each other better and building trust in our climber coach relationship.

I think as a  better coach you have to be in the persons life a little more than you might expect and that is very satisfying as a human being. I didn't feel very human being this morning after drinking Dave's house out of vino tinto, pero ahora, yo bien :)

Developing mutual respectio takes time, building trustio takes time and maybe its about time Paraclimbing in the UK chewed on some 8's. Ocho a para Dave Bowes pronto yo creo.

A bit rough on the communication at the start of the day, but we got there and Dave is getting ever closer to climbing 8a.

A good day...

Monday, 6 April 2015

Becoming A Birmingham Google+ Millionaire!

Contemplating my millions in my house
 in Auzat, Pyrenees
 (or hiding from my hangover!)

John pointed out to me that I was a google+ millionaire when we were discussing how to bring more awareness to Paraclimbing on an international platform. It turns out my Google+ hits are above the million. If it helps us attract more people to support the Eiger Paraclimb then that's great.

It feels a lot easier hitting my first google+ million than it was hitting my first £1,000,000 in business sales in my previous life! Funny...

A great week with John. Competitions, training, systems development for Eiger, running with John for first time and eating shit loads of his food. All good. Snowdonia ahora por favour...

Don't know why I added this,
but it still gives me a giggle. Not a google...

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Visual Impairment Coaching - Transitions

John at TCA Bristol Competition for
Eiger Paraclimb 2015
I have coached directly three VI's over the last year. All different:
  • Peripheral Vision only
  • Bind from birth (100%)
  • Tunnel Vision (3%)
Gwyn and John have probably taught me the most about VI coaching but in very different ways. Gwyn lead his first trad route with me after losing his sight 14 years ago in Wales and also introduced me to Paraclimbing.

John employed me for coaching and subsequently sight calling for him in the World Championships.

Gwyn (Perif VI)
John and I have been working harder at preparing our partnership for this years International Competition Circuit beginning in June at Imst in Autsria, then Chamonix in France in July, then Eiger Paraclimb, then back to UK for Sheffield Worlds again.

John  (Tunnel VI) on a V4 at
Birmingham Bouldering Centre
Our biggest task is to leverage John's strength gains with more fluid body positioning as he climbs. The 'transitions'...

As someone who hadn't witnessed climbing movement, John has no concept of what position the body should be in or undertake to set up for the best possible chance of catching or reaching the next hold. We use various methods but we are exploring some new stuff now that will hopefully give him a climbing style that is less mechanical and more intuitive through more and more experiential exposure to harder moves through bouldering. I am an advocate of improving peoples climbing technique through increasing the difficulty, because when working harder moves, there is no where to hide and you are forced to adopt the correct body position or your off, off off... Until you climb it like it needs to be climbed.

Changes to our calling strategy is also under review to allow more time for processing a call to a body position then to a move...

Hard moves need hard work. Hard work needs time. We have 3 months to make the transition before Austria.

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)