Posts in vlogs
Paradise Lost 8B/8B+, Sustenpass, CH

Here is a short clip of me climbing Paradise Lost 8B/+ in Switzerland. I’m a real fan of this type of boulder - long, intricate roofs with some opportunities to find good rests and gymnastic movement generally. I spotted a Marmot dotting about in the talus around the boulder when I was there. So a few days later I came back with my daughter (we were staying down in the valley for a month last summer) and bivvied under the boulder to see if we could spot it. When we woke up in the morning, it was sitting right beside the boulder. Too easy!

This boulder was put up by Japanese climber Dai Koyamada, a climber I have always admired for his technique and focus. It was on one of his videos that I first saw it. I have a couple of things to go back for in Sustenpass, but not this autumn. So many other, harder things to do in Scotland right now.

AC Joint grade 3 separation - successful rehab protocol
I had a severe (grade 3) AC joint separation in 2017. I followed a careful rehab programme and was back to reasonably hard climbing (8b) in six weeks and normal climbing (V14) in 12 weeks, well ahead of schedule. In this episode, I share what I did, when and why.
Vlog #20 How to train for bouldering

I thought it would be nice to take an overview of the priorities and common mistakes for training for bouldering generally. I’ve pitched this video at climbers who’ve been climbing from a few months to a few years. But I also think it may an idea for much more experienced boulderers to watch it, since the challenge for this group tends to be spotting and unlearning bad habits they’ve developed over time. I go through how to use a bouldering facility to train strength and technique, how to choose good goals and manage your resources to train well.

Paleo Canteen Podcast

A few weeks ago, Ally Houston of the Paleo Canteen Podcast interviewed me. The podcast focuses on guest’s attitudes to food and diet. I spoke about my experiments with various diets and their effects on my climbing and various aspects of my health. Given that Paleo Canteen is based in Glasgow, the city in which both myself and the hosts grew up, we also talked about what it’s like to grow up in Glasgow’s food environment. If you like the podcast you’ll find all the episodes here. I also mentioned the study I published in the Journal of Sport Sciences several years ago. You’ll find that paper here.

If you listen right through, you’ll see that we go into some themes around carbohydrate dosing/restriction in sport training and performance. I give a casual discussion of some of the scientific evidence in this area of physiology research. I get a lot of questions about this. I will soon (I’m not sure exactly when I’ll get it finished) post up a long vlog + blog going into some detail about the evidence along with some speculation on how it may be applied to climbing.

Vlog #15 20 years of depression resolved.

Vlog #15 I had mild/moderate depression for over 20 years. I tried many (non-drug) treatments but was unable to make any impact on it beyond managing the symptoms. Three years ago I made some dramatic changes to my diet for completely different reasons. An unexpected event that followed four weeks afterwards was that my depression completely resolved and has not returned. I will never know if the change caused the resolution. But as I discuss in this post, with reference to the evidence, it is at least plausible that it may have been causative. Nothing in this post is advice. I just want to share what I did. I should also urge anyone considering changes to their treatment regime for mental health issues, pharmacological or otherwise, to do so in consultation with their doctor.

The scientific references that accompany this post can be found below. I encourage interested viewers to read them in full rather than take them at face value.


1. LaChance, L. R. and D. Ramsey (2018). "Antidepressant foods: An evidence-based nutrient profiling system for depression." World journal of psychiatry 8(3): 97-104.

2. Mattson, M. P., K. Moehl, N. Ghena, M. Schmaedick and A. Cheng (2018). "Intermittent metabolic switching, neuroplasticity and brain health." Nat Rev Neurosci 19(2): 63-80.

3. Brietzke, E., R. B. Mansur, M. Subramaniapillai, V. Balanza-Martinez, M. Vinberg, A. Gonzalez-Pinto, J. D. Rosenblat, R. Ho and R. S. McIntyre (2018). "Ketogenic diet as a metabolic therapy for mood disorders: Evidence and developments." Neurosci Biobehav Rev 94: 11-16.

4. Pinto, A., A. Bonucci, E. Maggi, M. Corsi and R. Businaro (2018). "Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Ketogenic Diet: New Perspectives for Neuroprotection in Alzheimer's Disease." Antioxidants (Basel) 7(5).

5. Gao, Y., M. Bielohuby, T. Fleming, G. F. Grabner, E. Foppen, W. Bernhard, M. Guzman-Ruiz, C. Layritz, B. Legutko, E. Zinser, C. Garcia-Caceres, R. M. Buijs, S. C. Woods, A. Kalsbeek, R. J. Seeley, P. P. Nawroth, M. Bidlingmaier, M. H. Tschop and C. X. Yi (2017). "Dietary sugars, not lipids, drive hypothalamic inflammation." Mol Metab 6(8): 897-908.

6. Akhtar, S., A. Ahmed, M. A. Randhawa, S. Atukorala, N. Arlappa, T. Ismail and Z. Ali (2013). "Prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in South Asia: causes, outcomes, and possible remedies." Journal of health, population, and nutrition 31(4): 413-423. 

7. Spiteller, G. and M. Afzal (2014). "The action of peroxyl radicals, powerful deleterious reagents, explains why neither cholesterol nor saturated fatty acids cause atherogenesis and age-related diseases." Chemistry 20(46): 14928-14945.

8. Pepe, S., N. Tsuchiya, E. G. Lakatta and R. G. Hansford (1999). "PUFA and aging modulate cardiac mitochondrial membrane lipid composition and Ca2+ activation of PDH." Am J Physiol 276(1): H149-158.

9. Treadway, M. T., J. A. Cooper and A. H. Miller (2019). “Can't or Won’t? Immunometabolic Constraints on Dopaminergic Drive." Trends in Cognitive Sciences 23(5): 435-448.

10. Gerster, H. (1998). "Can adults adequately convert alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)?" Int J Vitam Nutr Res 68(3): 159-173.

11. Hibbeln, J. R., K. Northstone, J. Evans and J. Golding (2018). "Vegetarian diets and depressive symptoms among men." J Affect Disord 225: 13-17. 

Further notes

In the video I discuss differences in plant/animal forms of vitamins and their precursors. This relates to the concept of bioavailability. For a discussion on this, see this paper:

Gregory, J. F., 3rd (2012). "Accounting for differences in the bioactivity and bioavailability of vitamers." Food & nutrition research 56:

Vlog #12 Physical vs desk jobs
A comment after Vlog #11 prompted me to do a whole episode exploring the pros and cons of physical versus sedentary jobs and their interaction with your training for climbing. Folk in physically demanding jobs are often strong and resilient, but can be overtired if they don't stay on top of their routine.
Vlog #7 The most scared I've ever been
In climbing or in life in general, I discovered the hard way that its possible to be way more scared for someone else than it is for yourself. It's kind of weird going over climbing accidents I've had. I certainly hope it's a long, long time before I'm as scared as the night I describe in this vlog.