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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

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Gaia (E8 6c)


I have somewhat stopped actively blogging mostly because the number of people that read the posts were not as high as say an Instagram or Facebook post. Those updates are short and to the point, but lack an intimate story; in the end, I think most people just didn’t have the time to read a long story. This story is different. This story is about a climb that I saw in the first couple of years that I started climbing; this climb is called “Gaia”. To give what limited background knowledge I have on this climb, here goes:
  • gritstone route at Blackrocks, near Matlock, UK
  • FA by Johnny Dawes in 1986
  • E8, 6c
  • height is about 8 meters
I first saw a video of Gaia in the movie “Hard Grit”. For those who haven’t seen the video, the climber falls in the crux of the route, comes within a few feet of the ground and absolutely hammers the corner, spinning a few times. It looks as though he breaks his ankle but I’m told that he was actually ok. Never-the-less, the falls looks absolutely terrifying, hence the E-grade.

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Arco Rockmaster

This past weekend I attended the Arco Rockmaster Festival which is a Masters competition with a qualifying Open round. I decided to only do lead this year as well as the Speed Climbing World Cup. In the Speed World Cup, I almost beat my Personal Best (8.83) with a final time of 8.91. Full results HERE. This was very good preparation for the upcoming Lead and Speed World Championships in Spain. In Lead, I cruised through the semi finals route by placing second. In the Final round, which is after work, I placed 3rd after narrowly beating Jakob Schubert from Austria. The winner for the first time was Sachi Amma from Japan and second place went to Francesco Vettorata from Italy. On the final day of the event was the highly anticipated “Duel”. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is Speed Lead climbing. This was the final Duel from 2013. The route is easier than in qualifications but the goal is to go fast. I qualified in third place and slowly made my way up the ranks. Here is the final race for 1st and 2nd with good friend Jakob Schubert.

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Although I haven’t had time to write a fully detailed recap of Psicocomp at OR this year, I think that between the videos, my posts and this final clip the message is clear, Psicocomp was awesome. It is a unique event that has latched onto the spirit of so many climbers. It’s a mix of bouldering, lead and speed. To throw in a curve ball, there is also a fear aspect which usually doesn’t come into play in competition climbing, at least not at the World Cup level. Here is the final video of Psicocomp, brought to us by Louder Than 11. This video was very well put together and shows a lot of emotion from the climbers. Hats off to LT11. On this LINK, you can have access to every one of the races at Psicocomp and I’m sure most of you know that I set the record somewhere at around 42 seconds in the quarter finals against last year’s winner Jimmy Webb. For me, I’m off to Munich for the Boulder World Championships. Slightly different than Psicobloc, but not easier in any way. Different… let’s leave it at that.

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