Return to Ton Sai: personal update

The local kitten that has been surviving off tins of tuna courtesy of my room :)

So, first 17 days completed in Ton Sai of this trip and I thought it was worth putting it all out there for all to read. Honestly, it's been a tough return to climbing and one that while I expected, was a bit more of a psychological shock than I expected - probably due to the fact that my first trip to here was so successful in early 2007.
In short, bar a brief sojurn to check out Hampi and Badami, I've had little or no climbing in the past 2-3 months. Prior to that, it wasn't the greatest of years for climbing anyway. I wasn't motivated due to the situation in Ireland (even with access to the amazing new Co-Op facility) - a lack of sports routes (emmm.....), and a lack of motivation through work/etc.
Basically, as Naomi also describes on her own blog here (excellent post BTW, for anyone looking to give themselves to focus on some goals and enjoying it along the way, check it out!), the first few days were a serious shock to the system! Heavily reduced stamina, mainly overhanging routes, it was a serious battle. Honestly, it's the first time in a long while were I feel like I've dropped a long way off my top level and it's pretty humbling to experience. But it's not a negative one by any means. If anything it proves everything I've preached in the past years - that training and goal-setting pays off. Just like Dave McLeod says "&(&(*&&(" - the belief and confidence you'll personally gain will transfer to all aspects of your life.

A French climber's shoes - no, no-one has any idea how he climbed in them!

so, for now, I'm just enjoying my climbing. I've a couple of routes I might try (a 7c+ I had a quick go on last week, and the classic 8b 'Jai Dum' on the beach) but I've no real expectations of getting them clean and it's all just for fun. Life's too short to get stressed now. Having said that, 2009 is a new year and with my imminent arrival in New Zealand, I'll be resetting some goals. It's interesting to note that at the same time that I'd big goals in my climbing, my big goals in other parts of my life were being actively pursued with similar positive gains. Time to take that into my thinking when I start my new goal list. Have you set goals? What are you focusing on? I know some of you have.... comments welcome below....

Most definitely not me! A Japanese climber running across one of the 8a+'s on Ton Sai wall. He reversed the route from the chains to about half-way also....

Cool climbing DVD to inspire for the New Year