July clinics

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Hello there

Don’t be shy. If your interested in joining me in either a one off 3 hour clinic OR in progressive training sessions running over 4 weeks then read on.

Coming soon I am hosting the following coaching sessions. Please choose the level and experience that most suits your climbing ability and the format that best fits your schedule.

Look forward to seeing you soon…

My Train Smart clinic is targeted at climbers who want to learn how to train smart. The goal is to turn your time in the gym into meaningful training, not just climbing. I will unravel the secrets of training and empower you with the tools to utilise your time in the gym to its full potential. Bring climbing shoes, harness, chalk bag and lots of psyche! Spaces are limited to 10 participants per clinic. Contact the gyms to book your spot.

TRAIN SMART CLINICS – 3 hours

Canberra Indoor Climbing Gym – Mitchell

Sunday 26th June 10-1pm

38-40 Essington St, Mitchell ACT 2911
Phone: 02 6262 4863

Hangdog Climbing Gym

Sunday 31st July 9-12pm
130 Auburn St, Coniston NSW 2500
Phone: 02 4225 8369

BOULDERING PROGRESSIVE SERIES – 4 weeks

Do you want to crank the next grade but don’t know how?
Are you willing to confront your weaknesses?
Are you prepared to put in some hard work?

If your answer is “YES!” then let me help get you on track. Coming soon I am hosting a 4 week progressive training series targeted towards intermediate climbers (V3­ – V6).

Over the 4 week program I will introduce climbing and training technique, tips and tactics. And on a weekly basis I will have the opportunity to analyse your climbing, assess your strengths and weaknesses, pull it all apart, put it all back together again, and coach you to the next level!

9 degrees Boulder Gym

Sundays  17, 24, 31st July & 14 Aug  5-7pm
3, Sydney Corporate Park, 85 O’Riordan St, Sydney NSW 2015
Phone: 02 8970 8567

LEAD CLIMBING PROGRESSIVE SERIES – 4 weeks

Coming soon I am very excited to be hosting a 4 week progressive training series targeted towards intermediate and advanced climbers (gym 20 climbs and harder).

Over the 4 week program I will work with you to consolidate your technique, cover lead-climbing and red-pointing tips and tactics, and equip you with a range of training methods to improve your climbing into the future.

Each week I will have the opportunity to coach you through any difficulties that you may have.

Villawood Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym

Wednesdays  20, 27th July & 3, 10th August  6:30-8:30pm
5/850 Woodville Rd, Villawood NSW 2163
Phone: 02 9728 2825

Monique Forestier, Mind Control (8c+, 34), Oliana, Spain.

Mind Control

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Here’s what happened the day I sent Mind Control (8c+, 34) at Oliana in Spain.

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Before I started up the route I questioned why I was even having another attempt, my first attempt was average to say the least and I felt embarrassed, I felt “so not in the league” to be even trying something so hard. “Open your eyes Monique”, I thought, “look around you, climbers are crushing hard routes without much ado and you’re faffing around on the start of something beyond your ability”. Oliana has become somewhat of a testing ground where climbers come to pitch themselves on hard routes, a place of high hopes, where dreams are made or broken. Oliana makes me feel humble, sometimes too humble and I stop believing in myself. This self-dialogue has got to stop and I’ve got to be positive. I change my mindset and as soon as I tie into the sharp end I am focussed, not for a send, for a training burn just to see just how far I can get. This would at least give me a marker for which to improve on with future attempts. My goal was to make it through the lower crux and make it to the hole, the halfway point of the hard climbing.

My rationale for having another attempt that day was quite simple. The route was free, it usually has a line up at least three people deep, this time however there was no one waiting = no pressure = I could work it as much as I liked. I had no skin but tomorrow was a rest day so there was no point saving it for later, saving it for what? There was no later. The weather forecast said it all, over 30mm of rain was due on the following Tuesday, it was Thursday and this would give me three days of attempts. From previous trips I knew that once the tufa on Mind Control gets wet it stays wet for a very long time. Even on this trip I’ve waited two weeks for it to dry out, so that I could try the route, and today it was totally dry, it wont get any dryer than that. So what are you waiting for Monique? Stop your whining and get on with it.

I picked my way through the lower 7c (27) section and made it to the first rest without problem. I rested for a bit, probably not as long as I would if I were really having a red point attempt. I was grateful that I hadn’t abandoned my t-shirt on the ledge lower down, the breeze had picked up but I was not cold.

With no expectation I set off, it was 30 moves up the ‘runway’ with only two quick shakes to make it to my goal of the day. If I could do that I would be ecstatic, I’ve only made it past the hole one other time. Two days ago I’d reworked my sequence up the second part of the ‘runway’, more moves but higher percentage. I hadn’t linked it yet but I knew it was better than before because I could at least repeat it consistently. In the flow of the moment I somehow managed to make it through the first section up the ‘runway’ and then power screamed my way through to the hole. Yahoooooo! I was so ridiculously pumped and graciously happy at the same time. I’d achieved my goal. I was completely thrilled. Some people had been yelling encouragement to me as I was climbing the last hard section and while I was resting at the hole I remember thinking, “don’t bother watching anymore, I’ll be here for a long time and I’ll most likely fall off the next move”.

I kept going and going and going, I wont bore you with a blow-by-blow detail, even though I’ve already taken enough liberties with that. I never once thought that I would make it to the top, remember this was a training burn and I was pumped beyond belief. I don’t know why I was still “on” the climb. I stuck the upper drive-by move, clawed my way to the next hold, power screamed every time I changed my grip in order to shake, got a little something back, set off again completely pumped, remembered my sequence to stick my left hand on nothing and bunny hop my left foot up, got to the next hold, thought OMGness I am still “on”, just keep climbing, remembered that my right foot goes on that downward sloping piece of rubbish but just go with it anyway, got to the top of the tufa completely blasted, still not entertaining any thought of getting to the top, I was just wondering where I would fall off.

My last draw was meters below me and I only had four more moves to go. With blurred vision and pumped out of my mind and body – I never believed I could feel so blasted and still be climbing, well not climbing actually only just hanging on like velcro to the rock. What happened next was automatic, left hand side pull, left foot back step on tiny tufa thingy, right hand switch to thumb crimp on top of tufa, left hand launch to high pocket, think OMGness I’m still “on”, right foot on tufa, push hard to high right undercling, foot swap through to gain left clipping hold. Clip draw, blink, realise that rope has dropped out of the undersized quickdraw (obviously not BD) because my finger stopped the gate from shutting. Think, “oh shit what do I do now?” Move position. Move position again. Whatever you do don’t panic but go back to original position because the other position isn’t doing it for me. Think, “can I clip it again or do I grab the anchor?” Clip draw again, move finger out of the way so that rope does not get pushed out this time. Scream. Scream. Scream again. Punch the air. Scream. Wahooooooo!

I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Days later… I am still on a high.

Thanks so very much to everyone who has supported and believed in me!

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Sicily ‘On the Rocks’ with World Expeditions

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Happy New Year everyone! Hope 2016 is amazing…

I’m delighted to announce that Simon Carter (hubby) and I have teamed up with World Expeditions to host a climbing trip to Sicily this October. Yes THIS October so make plans now. This fun and interactive climbing trip is set in the idyllic seaside climbing destination of San Vito Lo Capo, which is home to over 1000 routes (mostly sport climbing) covering a wide range of grades. Over the course of this trip, Simon, myself and two local guides will facilitate up to seven days of fun-filled climbing along with personal and group coaching to help you take your climbing to the next level. Rest days will be spent exploring this wonderful Mediterranean destination and doing other activities (paddle boarding, kayaking and cooking classes). You will have ample opportunity to practice your climbing skills and attempt any routes that inspire you. In addition, for those interested, Simon will be eager to discuss techniques of climbing photography and work with anyone interested in improving their photography skills. For further information about this trip click here.

To promote our ‘Sicily on the Rocks’ tour, Simon and I are presenting a National speaking tour in February to Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. It should be a fun evening so come along and have some laughs, bookings essential.

Recently World Expeditions wanted to get to know me so they asked me a few questions. You can read their ‘On the Couch’ interview with me here and they also did one with Simon, which you can see here.

Happy climbing!

Monique

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Limestone is such great rock for climbing! Here I’m climbing Daniboy (8a) a few years back, it’s at Kalymnos, Greece. But the rock in Sicily is just as sweet.

 

 

New Climbing Clinics – Sydney

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Brrr the chill is in the air so what better time to hit the gym for some serious winter training. If you are interested in gaining some training insights and fully utilising your time in the gym then perhaps consider participating in one of my training clinics. I promise you they are heaps of fun and very interactive. I provide full course notes so you’re not spending time writing you’ll be doing loads of climbing.

My Climbing Fundamentals clinic is targeted towards beginners and intermediate climbers who wish to unravel some of the complexities of climbing. If you’ve ever wondered how some people can simply breeze up climbs then wonder no more…Through a fun and interactive program we explore; precise footwork, balance & body positioning, hand holds and how to use them, breathing, resting & recovering, mixing it up on wall angles and route reading. This clinic will see you well on your way to mastering the key fundamentals of climbing technique.

My Train Smart clinic is targeted at climbers who want to learn how to train smart. If you spend a lot of time in the gym and aren’t getting results then learn how to “train”, not just go climbing. I will unravel the secrets of climbing technique and provide a training structure for you to maximise your time in the gym (and outside the gym) to its full potential.

My Breaking Climbing Plateaus clinic is targeted at intermediate and advanced climbers who wish to learn ways in which to push through mental and physical barriers. Have you been climbing for a while and have hit a wall? Don’t know how to progress to the next level? Well during this hands on clinic we discuss possible reasons for reaching a climbing plateau and learn strategies to push through these plateaus. The clinic explores; technique, fear of failure (numbers), mental game, falling, creating a tick list, mixing it up, building a pyramid, expanding your comfort zone and route selection.

Spaces are limited to 10 participants per clinic. Contact the gyms to book your spot.

 

CLIMBING FUNDAMENTALS CLINICS – 2 hours

The Climbing Centre
Thursday 11th June 6-8pm
3/16 Borec Road, Penrith
Phone: 4731 1130

The Edge Rock Climbing Centre
Tuesday 9th June 6-8pm
9/10 Hudson Ave, Castle Hill
Phone: 9899 8228

TRAIN SMART CLINICS – 3 hours

Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym – Villawood
Saturday 30th May 3-6pm
850 Villawood Road, Villawood
Phone: 9728 2825

Northern Beaches Rockhouse
Saturday 6th June 4-7pm
Unit 4E “Winbourne Estate” 9 – 13 Winbourne Road, Brookvale
Phone: 9905 6202

BREAKING CLIMBING PLATEAUS CLINICS – 3 hours

Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym – Villawood
Saturday 23rd May 3-6pm
850 Villawood Road, Villawood
Phone: 9728 2825

Climb-Fit
Saturday 30th May 8-11am
Unit 4/12 Frederick St, St Leonards
Phone: 9436 4600

Hope to see you there brown bear!

 

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Train Smart clinics – QLD

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Following on from the positive energy and feedback from the training clinics that I have been running in Sydney over the past month I am now very excited to announce a flying visit to Brisbane and the Gold Coast where I will be presenting more clinics.

My Competition Tactics clinic focuses on the mental and physical preparation for climbing your best on comp day. You’ve done the hard work and training leading up to the competition now lets look at how to get a great performance on the day. We will practice onsighting two routes in the clinic and discuss the tactics involved before climbing, what happens during the climb and then analyse how you did.

My Train Smart clinic is targeted at climbers who want to learn how to train smart. The goal is to turn your time in the gym into meaningful training, not just climbing. I will unravel the secrets of training and empower you with the tools to utilise your time in the gym to its full potential. Bring climbing shoes, harness, chalk bag and lots of psyche!

Spaces are limited to 10 participants per clinic. Contact the gyms to book your spot.

COMPETITION TACTICS CLINIC – 2 hours

Urban Climb
Friday 27th March 6-8pm
Unit 2, 220 Montague Road, West End
Phone: 07 3844 2544

 

TRAIN SMART CLINICS – 3 hours

Rocksports Indoor Climbing
Saturday 28th March 9-12pm
224 Barry Parade, Fortitude Valley
Phone: 07 3216 0462

Urban ClimbFULL
Saturday 28th March 3-6pm
Unit 2, 220 Montague Road, West End
Phone: 07 3844 2544

Paramount Adventure CentreFULL
Sunday 29th March 8-11am
38 Hutchinson Street, Burleigh Heads
Phone: 07 5593 6919

Crank Indoor Climbing – FULL
Sunday 29th March 1.30-4.30pm
2/537 Kessels Road, Macgregor
Phone: 0421 994 216

Hope to see you there!

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Tickling the top of Tiger Cat.

Tiger Cat tamed

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If you have read my last blog Taming a tiger then you would know that I have spent some time trying a route called Tiger Cat graded 33 (8c, 5.14b). It is located here in the Blue Mountains, so I did have an advantage of the route being close to home at least.

It’s been a long journey but I am very pleased to say that two days after Christmas I finally tamed that tiger. Either I did or didn’t eat enough xmas pud, either way, I’m psyched to have done Tiger Cat.

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The difference between sending Tiger Cat that day, as opposed to any of the other days that I made it to the final rest at the last draw, was, I don’t know. Puzzling, I think? I can say, that on that day I was fresh when I reached the last rest, this time I had got to there on my first burn of the day, and that certainly helps. But I know that other times I have reached the same point being even fresher. So what was it that made the difference that day?

I have been trying the route on and off for a few stints getting incredibly close each time before walking away from it. Be it because of injury, one of numerous trips away, or simply the six-month break over the winter. I had the route dialed but did I really want it? Perhaps I had already sent the route in my mind and I was just putting my body through the physical steps, I wasn’t hungry for the send. It’s possible that Tiger Cat had simply become a training route, and it’s true as I actually used it to train for Spain. Just recently I wondered if I wasn’t trying hard enough and so I made a conscious effort to really focus and switch my mind to send mode, not plod mode.

Had I become complacent? No, I don’t think so. It’s a bit of a juggling act between being fit, peaking, being rested enough, having familiarity of the route, remembering intricate sequences and body positions, being warmed-up enough but not blasted. Performing at your physical and mental limit is a hard thing to achieve, throw in other factors like weather, conditions, skin, school time limit and it is a hard balancing act indeed. But before I could strike that balance I needed to re-set several things:

Firstly, my training wasn’t translating to performance on rock. Training isn’t all about numbers, mileage nor performance outcomes, its about quality not quantity, it’s also about peaking and resting, patience. Previously I had been doing training in the gym. Be it bouldering, 4 x 4’s, building power or climbing continuously on the auto-belay at Villawood, where I was doing up to 40 routes in a 90-minute session. I could climb non-stop at a 90-95% pump threshold for a long time, awesome, but this approach didn’t exactly work for me on Tiger Cat. So I re-set and fine-tuned my training gains to realign with the climbing requirements for Tiger Cat.

Next, I had to be peaking but also be rested enough. Resting between climbing days is something that I am not good at, for me resting is boring. I knew that I had to be fresh to send Tiger Cat, meaning two days rest. But my brain says when you are idle for two days your fitness must be going backwards. This time round however I wasn’t going to listen to such nonsense and I didn’t bother trying the route unless I was fit, well rested and the conditions were at least half good. Re-set, I learnt again to settle the mind, to be patient when patience was required, and to convince myself that the hard work had already been done.

Further, I had to learn how to climb again in my own style. I realised that some of the training I had been doing had turned my climbing into a chug, chug, chug machine-like methodology where continuously climbing pumped was the goal. But this doesn’t work on redpoint. So I re-set and tuned in to my body to get my natural climbing tempo back to where it used to be. I practiced resting at crucial spots along the way and learned the pace required for this climb.

Finally, I realised that I needed to re-set my mind and concentrate on the task at hand. I found my mind wandering on several occasions, Tiger Cat is a long route (35m) and being present only half of the time wasn’t good enough. I needed to concentrate on every single move, climb in the moment, not thinking ahead of myself. Many times I had fallen because I thought I’d nailed the move, and I had, but my mind was racing ahead not where my body was, physically, at the time. The result was hanging on the end of the rope thinking, “what had just happened?”

You can say that being too critical and over analysing things can be destructive but at the same time I needed to consider what I did wrong and what I could improve on. Without this I was wasting my time and my belayer’s time. Lessons are learned from making mistakes if you care to try, care to fail and care to listen and learn.

So by addressing these points perhaps that is why I sent Tiger Cat that day?

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It was a quiet day at the crag, there was a gentle breeze and I had my personal head space, no one screaming at me just genuine encouragement from Simon. Almost silence, just me and the route. I listened to my body, rested when I needed to stay and went when I needed to go. When I got to the last rest I was pumped, but I tuned into where I was, and what I needed to do next. When I got the next left crimp I was strong, when I did the cross–over to the slot I was fresh, really fresh, not melting, this was a surprise I thought to myself. I launched for the throw and stuck it, still I wasn’t thinking that I had done the route, my mental alertness was thinking in the now, that was good. It wasn’t until I clipped the anchors that I felt it. Relief, freedom, excitement. “Waaahoooooo!” I’m sure all of Katoomba heard it.

All the days when I left the crag and had not sent the route, were all of those days worth it? You bet. Sitting back now, a week after the send, I am not thinking how great it was to tick another 33, rather, I’m thinking about how great it was to have completed a journey, overcome personal hurdles and to have maintained a strong belief in myself. It’s very satisfying to have seen this through to the end. To have closed that chapter in my life, it’s a nice feeling.

Thank you my friends at the cliff for the catches, laughs and great memories.


 

Monique Forestier attempting pitch 3 of Make it Snappy (6c, 7b+, 7c, ?, ?) on Berhala Island, off the coast of Borneo, Malaysia.

Wild Borneo

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Berhala!

Berhala!

I first visited the island of Borneo in 1999 with a group of Aussies who were developing a new climbing area called Batman Wall just outside of Kuching (Sarawak). Garth Miller and Simon Wilson were among the climbers and Simon Carter had been commissioned to take the photos. Just by chance we bought a memento of our trip, a book of Borneo, Wild Borneo it was called. And in that book we found a mesmerising picture of a massive sweeping orange cliff, on an island, sitting idyllically above rainforest and a beach. We hadn’t told a sole about our discovery until recently, as we vowed, that one day we would find this island and explore it’s climbing potential. So the story begins…

We did some research to discover that the slash of rock is located on Berhala Island, just off the coast of Sandakan on Malaysian Borneo. The potential for climbing there has been described as huge and the cliff is said to be between 150 to 200-metres high.

After fifteen years we are finally here. We being, Simon Carter, Simon Wilson, our good friend from Adelaide who comes armed with a power drill, and myself. To reach the island we hire a local fishing boat for a hefty price (later we negotiate more appropriate rates). As the boat skims over the net barrier, intended to keep the rubbish from washing up on the beach, we come up underneath the monolith and are completely dwarfed by its enormity.

Wow. What a rock. We have finally arrived.

Wow. What a rock. We have finally arrived.

We gaze and stare in wonder and it doesn’t take us long to spot a line, potentially a new route taking an arête to the top. We discuss our options and hiking in to the top and rapping the line would be impossible. There are not many crack features, it’s a fused face, so doing a new route would mean bolting it. And so to access the top of our new line we plan to first climb an existing five-pitch route. We start the following day.

Hot work on pitch 2 of Make it Snappy.

Hot work on pitch 2 of Make it Snappy.

Progress up the route is slow and our feelings of awe are soon squashed as we realise the reason for there being limited development of this place. The rock quality is poor, friable edges, and the sun beats relentlessly on the wall until late afternoon, which we didn’t realise the day before because we got there very late. Even ferrying packs and supplies to the base of the cliff in 30 C, 85 F with 80% humidity is enervating. We persist and make it three pitches up the route, mostly stick clipping our way due to the fragile rock and difficulty in route finding, well I mean ‘hold’ finding. From the anchor of the third pitch Simon (Wilson) begins his mission of tensioning across to gain the arête to bolt the new route that we had spied. After hours of work he concludes that this idea is not a viable one, again due to the soft nature of the rock, with many sections of un-climbable rock penetrating the okay rock.

All is not lost. We spend a rest day visiting several animal sanctuaries around Sandakan.

All is not lost. We spend a rest day visiting several animal sanctuaries around Sandakan.

We return to Berhala to attempt to free climb the existing route. Even with a pre-dawn start our fingers and minds are destroyed after three pitches. We strip our gear and head to the beach to play on the single pitch routes down there.

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Make it Snappy pitch 3.

Surprisingly these are good, and fun. Simon (Wilson) decides that there is no point taking his bolts home with him, and so goes on a rebolting mission to replace the eroded bolts.

Simon heading up on his rebolting mission.

Simon heading up on his rebolting mission.

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Simon on a 7b+ or thereabouts with a super bouldery start.

Monique, testing a newly rebolted route (7b).

Monique, testing a newly rebolted route (7b).

It may not have been a successful climbing trip in terms of establishing a new route or getting up an existing one but it was a true adventure and a long awaited dream come true. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.


 

Daila Ojeda, Mind Control (8c/+), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila Ojeda interview

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Daila Ojeda is a well accomplished sport climber best known for her hard ascents at Oliana, which include Fish Eye (8c), Mind Control (8c+), El Gran Blau (8b+/c), and many more hard ascents scattered throughout Catalunya and further afield. I had the chance to catch up with Daila earlier this year and asked her a few questions about her climbing and her future.

Please check out my interview with her here.

Daila Ojeda, Mind Control (8c+), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.