The training starts here

By Kenny Stocker

It was something like 18 years ago when I was first drawn into the giddy world of climbing. Early trips to the Peak District with Andy Simpson and Long Road Sixth Form College were followed by expeditions with my folks to North Wales and Scotland. Hours were lost in long sweaty sessions at Kelsey Kerridge sports centre or crimping small edges at Long Road bridge. Rather disappointingly I did not fulfil my destiny and become world champion.. in fact what happened was that my level plateaued out and I was climbing HVS / E1 with modest regularity after a couple of years.

Then, inspired by posters of Catherine Destivelle and Isabelle Pattisier, came a few trips to France and Spain. Fr 6a / 6b with the occasional lucky break on a 7a. At this time there was no great enthusiasm to get a tick, I either flashed the route or frigged my way up and moved on to something else. It wasn’t until I moved to Italy, and one of my friends David suggest we try actually working some routes that my attitude changed.

I was living in Lecco at the time and it gets awfully hot in the summer so the season was spent at the shady Campelli crag. We worked through the grades; 7a, 7a+, 7b, 7c. One route at each of the grades, no time to mess around since I didn’t know how much longer I would be there.

It had gone well, and with no specific training other than normal bouldering sessions at the local Gamma ‘bulder’ wall, lots of long walk-ins and lots of time spent on the routes my eyes were opened to what my body could climb if only my mind was switched off.

Back in the UK and the sport climbing kind of came to a halt. Work commitments had increased, the weather wasn’t so easy, the trad climbing wasn’t really keeping me fit but I still wanted to get myself up an 8a.

So along comes Danfrom Up to Summit with some big ideas. Since injury he has been working on some training plans and suggested I try one out. First of all I needed a gladiators name.. mine was to be Guinea Pig..

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