Movement Works – James Hale

Movement Works – James Hale

Movement Works

Ever increasing climbing aspirations and working full time in the industry takes its toll on my body. Long days on the hill tax my ankles and knees. Long days in a harness affect my hips and lower back. Route-setting kills my wrists. Climbing itself makes me hurt all over.

movement works

I know I am not doing all I could to take care of myself. I regularly ignore the advice I give others, on how to warm up properly and be careful of injuries.

Its easy to consider lower grade bouldering or routes as a good warm up. Its easy to ignore antagonistic exercises. Its easy not to do some simple stretching every day. But its time for me to put in more effort, to start looking after my body before the niggles and aches turn into large scale problems.

With this in mind, I booked a session with James Hale of The brief I gave James is that I want to (a) increase flexibility and mobility (b) learn time efficient and appropriate warm up exercises and (c) build up ankle strength, to counteract recurring sprains on both ankles.

First and foremost, James is a climber himself, as well as a climbing coach, so naturally he gets it straight away that I dont want to be told to stop what im doing and rest. No active person wants to hear this. Furthermore, having trained in strength and conditioning, pilates and physiotherapy he has a wealth of knowledge and it would be quite easy to spend a day picking his brains on so many topics.

We didnt have a day however, our session lasted 90 minutes and for this James charged 50 euro. Which, considering how much I learned and how good I felt after just one session, is possibly one of the most important 50 euros Ive spent of late.

James fulfilled the brief on all accounts and more. He takes his years of learning and training and distils it down perfectly and concisely.

I have an array of stretching exercises to do and most importantly he was on hand to offer corrections and input on the correct body positions to maintain through each move. You can find all theses exercises on line if you look, but it takes a trained professional to analyse and point out the nuances of how to complete each one effectively.

I’ve been armed with a host of movements to build supporting strength around the ankle and a massive choice of warm ups that were both challenging and importantly werent boring. I was worried that Id struggle to remember all id learned over the hour and a half, but James followed up by email with a PDF booklet detailing all we’d covered and some additional info.

He even found time to teach me a different  and seemingly less injurious way of using a hang-board.

Do you have to be a climber/hillwalker/instructor to visit James? No. Should you visit James at Movement Works? Yes.

Whether you have injuries already or not, are looking for prehab or rehab, do a session with him and find out for yourself.

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Climbing Howling Ridge, Carrauntoohill

Climbing Howling Ridge

Climbing Howling Ridge

Last Wednesday I climbed Howling Ridge again. I’ve been very lucky with weather on the occasions I’ve climbed it before and this was no different. While there were some very short downpours of rain and the occasional bit of mist, we spent a lot of the day in the sun. As always we were treated to amazing vistas and absorbing climbing.

howling ridge 2

Howling Ridge is a multi pitch climbing route on Irelands highest mountain, Carrauntoohill. Its a classic Irish mountaineering day out and while its graded at v. diff and full of adventure and exposure, the real test of nerve on this climb is trusting your hands and feet on less than solid rock. A lot of the hand holds and foot holds are loose and friable and a good sense of judgement is needed.

Climbing alongside my friend and regular climbing partner Vicki, we parked at Lisleibane car park and made the considerable hike in to the Heavenly gates in good time. From there we roped up and Vicki led off on the first of the pitches.

With over 400 metres of pitches to climb and even with us both moving fast through them, time can seem to evaporate on Howling Ridge. But who’s in a hurry. With views like this and good weather, where would you rather be?


howling ridge


The pitches finish with a beautiful airy traverse on a knife-edge section of the ridge. After that if you are comfortable and experienced on steep mountainous ground, you can dispense with the ropes and harnesses and ascend to the summit. I find this final 15 minutes or so strangely relaxing, as you pump the legs for a final hard section before the summit.

Obligatory touching of the cross ticked. Two hours or so back to the car from here. More great memories banked. The epitome of why I do all this: Adventure with friends in the outdoors. I would’nt change if for the world.


Climbing Howling Ridge mountain training logo leave no trace ireland Climbing Howling Ridge