I left Innsbruck for a hectic week of sponsor related activities, but not before having one final day trying my project in the Zillertal. Armed with a hand-warmer in my chalkbag, I hoped that I might be able to find just enough to get me through the top crux. Unfortunately the rock was colder than I had ever felt before, and even the comforting heat from my chalk bag failed to hold off the unbeatable numbness. 2 moves from the top, with all feeling lost, I barn-doored off the technical crux and once again found myself dangling in space.
Dundee was the first place on my tour, for the 2nd stop of the North Face Speaker Series in the UK. The talk seemed to go down pretty well, and I got a lot of questions/autograph requests at the end, which tends to be a positive sign.
With spirits high, I headed down to the opposite end of the country for my 2nd North Face event, an open Coaching clinic at The Climbing Academy in Bristol. The climbing academy is a great venue and one I would certainly be more than happy to have as my local venue. Set out in a similar way to the Climbing Works in Sheffield, TCA has various colour coded problems, well set and suitable for all levels of climbers, as well as a dedicated circuit board, campus board, fingerboards, stretching area, cafe, treatment room etc etc! The Open Coaching clinics they hold run from around 2pm until 9pm and are a very informal affair where users of the wall can come and ask the coach of the day for advice on any aspect of their climbing. The atmosphere on the day was great, and I particularly enjoyed helping out with the youth squad who had a couple of very talented young members. Keep up the good work guys.
After a few days hanging out in Bristol, It was time to head off into the sunset again for the annual North Face Athlete Summit in San Francisco. The Athlete Summit is a chance for all of TNF's athletes to get together, talk about the past year and future plans, as well as learning what’s going on behind closed doors. The highlight of the trip for me was the final party, which took place on what looked like an old Mississippi river steamer (just obviously without the steam) which sailed around the San Francisco Bay, pumping out quality dubby-breaky-electropop thanks to Ana Sia.
The party finished way too early, but for the 4 or so hours it did go on for I had great fun dancing with the usual suspects with one important addition to the team - Yuji Hirayama. Before this trip I had loads of respect for Yuji, based solely on his climbing achievements, but after meeting him that respect has gone through the roof. Not only is he a genuinely lovely guy, he dresses fly and can dance like a daemon. Yuji is my new hero and when I grow up I want to be just like him ;)
The Legend That Is...
Right now I’m in Fontainebleau, France where life is good. When I have a little more time, I’ll let you know what’s been going down...