Wednesday, 27 October 2010


For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to excel at whatever sport I happened to be psyched on at the time. Inline Skating, Rugby, Skiing – they were all the same... I was fairly good to begin with, and I improved quickly with practice. I loved each of them, and a big part of what I loved was being good!

This may sound a tiny bit arrogant ;) but it is really not meant to. When I say “good”, I dont mean it in an “im better than you” way, but instead to describe feeling like you have a high level of control over your body and mind, and you can make them do what you want. If I saw someone else doing something, I knew it was possible and figured that I should be able to do it too.

Obviously the real world is not quite as simple as that, and there are many things in life you will only achieve through practice, training or good luck – usual it’s a mix of the three. Take football for example. At one point I decided I wanted to play; I tried out and sucked, practiced and sucked, got frustrated and sucked, and finally gave up, still sucking just as much as I do to this very day. When I play, it feels like I have two left feet in boots several sizes too big for me, I hate feeling so out of control and disconnected and thus, I really don’t like football.

Climbing also came naturally, and for the first few years I progressed fast and continuously, which fed me everything I hungered for and kept me a happy little chappy. As more years passed, things slowed down as one would expect, but improvement was still there, walking hand in hand with my motivation.

Eventually however, the world stopped turning and I found myself walking through a very big plateau. I could see mountains all around and wanted to be up there, but just couldn’t quite find the way. Working my strengths got me nowhere, so logic suggested I move on to my weaknesses. The path now seemed so clear, and I began running towards the Peaks with fresh enthusiasm; what I didn’t realise is that this particular path lead right into a deep deep gorge!

Progress was slow and frustrating, which I guess comes from starting to try something your body has never done before, and to make matters worse, my strengths started to become not so strong! I was actually going downhill, getting worse at climbing simply from trying to get better. This really sucked!

Thankfully, one of my other personal traits is being a stubborn bastard, especially when it comes to punishing myself. I tried my best to fight, got knocked down time and time again but somehow kept getting back on my feet to fight some more, spurred on only by a blurred and bloody vision of paradise. Then one day, not too dissimilar from all the rest, I got a visit from an angel...

Everything changed, things became clear and I began to move in the right way. It took time, effort, and a helping hand, but a few weeks ago I made it out of the gorge and am heading towards the foothills. The journey is far from over, in fact, it’s barely just begun. But now I can see the sun, it’s just started to rise and I know its going to be a beautiful day

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

El Forrat!

Today we woke up in Barcelona – thanks to the flights being much cheaper than those to Montpellier, and the hospitality of a good friend, Jaume Oliveras. We were scheduled to take a train at 5pm back to the land of frogs and Foie Gras, leaving us the whole morning for either sightseeing or training...

There are days I like to pretend to be the cultural type, and since this is my third visit to Barcelona without seeing anything arty, today should have been one of those days. But it just wasn’t to be, the second choice won, which should speak highly enough about the quality of the training venue!

I am struggling to find the words to describe both how awesome and unique El Forrat is, you really need to experience it for yourself. Combining simple and effective shapes and structure, with Gaudi-esc sculpted madness; El Forrat is the brain child of an eccentric, obsessive genius - Manolo “El Heavy”, and every square inch has been created with an almost unheard of level of passion and love.

Thanks Manolo for a great session, we’ll visit you again soon J

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Mallorca Sport - Another 8b onsight for Caroline

The psicobloc on the island is good, no scratch that, it is great – in my opinion the best in the world! However, if you feel like a break from the water, then Mallorca has world class bolt clipping that you need to check out.

For the last couple of days we have visited a few of the premiere sport cliffs on the island, including Les Pertxas, Gorg Blau and Fraguels. The limestone is very very good – bright orange walls and caves covered in flowstone and tufa’s, and most of the routes we climbed have been exceptional quality.

Caroline on the top of Commando Madrid, just before the final boulder © Mick Lovatt

As time was short, we have both been onsight/flashing routes rather than working projects, which has allowed us to tick a whole load of super classic routes in all different styles. The highlight ascent of the trip was Caroline’s onsight of Commando Madrid – the most famous 8b on the island. She fought hard, dug deep and stuck it out to the chains, with just a tiny scream or two to help her on her way. Voici quelques photos...

The Commando Madrid Cave at Les Pertxas © Mick Lovatt

Friday, 15 October 2010

Cave Life!


Every now and again you meet someone special... Someone that makes you take a step back to try to look at things from a new perspective.

Usually, our lives make perfect sense to us, or at least we have an idea about the road we are travelling. We become happy in our routines, and content with our comforts; life ticks on by and we smile. Its easy to think that ours is the only way that makes sense... maybe because thinking the contrary would mean we have to accept that our life is ultimately senseless?

A few days ago I met a man who lives in a cave! He has lived there, mostly alone for the last year and a half; and when I say cave, I’m not talking about a little hollow, but a big deep cave, accessed only by a crawl through a long small tunnel, complete with hypnotic underground lake! He would spend days and weeks alone, accompanied only by his guitar – and so you would be forgiven for thinking that he simply enjoys the solitude, or doesn’t like people.

Home Sweet Home!

The reality is actually quite the contrary, and he was one of the most social, warm, and welcoming people I have met. For him, life is simple - he enjoys each moment, it doesn’t need to make any more sense than that.

The Front Garden - Not Too Bad...

Saturday, 9 October 2010


My last trip to the island was with a big group of the friends – Climbers, photographers and Cinematographers. We climbed most days spurred on by each others energy, repeated many of the hard routes on the island, filming them all and releasing the footage as regular Psicoblogs for your viewing pleasure.

This time it is a little different... The island is still beautiful, the routes just as incredible and the sea just as warm, but it is only myself and my girlfriend, with a little help from Mr Psicobloc himself, Miquel.

The conditions were mostly very good, we only had to brave the dreaded sea-grease on a couple of occasions and the temperature of both the air and ocean was close to perfect – I really think it pays to come a little later in the year. This was the first (proper) time for Caroline (after a mini excursion to Lake Annecy earlier in the year) and she turned out to be a complete natural. After following me up a few routes to warm into things, she was soon questing off on her own, psyched for this new style and on sighting most of the hard routes the sea cliffs have to offer.

I can’t give you any video masterpieces, or professional, creative photos to drool over... but I can share a few of our holiday snaps, which look pretty pretty, show a little of the magic, and make me smile if all else fails.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Back in the Balearics

Its THAT time of year again... Mallorca

End of September... the sun is getting lower in the skies... the sea is warm... the air is no longer scorching... time for Psicobloc, Spanish style.

Im back in Mallorca for 10 days, climbing with friends, getting some air time, taking tapas and Cervesa, loving life... Once I get a stable internet connection i will upload some of the lovely piccies from the trip, stay tuned...