Dec 31, 2008

Looking Backward

Flashing another problem in paradise.
For me, Paradise Lost.
I left CA for CO.

Looking back on the year is slightly odd feeling. I don't get too nostalgic and didn't have specific goals for this year.

Here are some highlights :

- Climbed a shit-load, locally and road tripping. I climbed as much as I could considering I had a salaried job and finished a Ph.D. I took many weekend trips to Bishop. How fucking cool is that!

- No injuries. I don't handle injuries very well and actually take the steps avoid to them, e.g. take days off, no high-balls on bad rock, and lots of sport climbing.

- Successful Birthday Challenge. Did I complete my challenge? No, I tried the "impossible" and failed. RAD!

- Learned a lot about training. I read, thought, discussed, and attended seminars. I'm still processing information. I have a good handle on general conditioning and starting to understand training for climbing.

I hope the next year is very similar.

(After I finished the post, I realized that I didn't mention grades once. I did climb harder this year, first V8, but ticking a particular grade wasn't as important as the complete experience).

Dec 29, 2008

Video Evidence

Here is the highlight reel from yesterday's session:

Get Psyched! Get Strong!

Dec 28, 2008

Urban Hippies Are Still Stinky

Objective : Climbing Strength

Warmup : (1) Pullups, lots
2 sets

(2) easy campusing
2 sets

Training: (1) dead hang
7s on / 3s rest
6 reps
rest 2 minutes between sets
3 sets per grip

grips : sloper, 0, +20, +25
open crimp, +20, +20, +20
two finger, +10, +10, +10
closed crimp, +20, +25, +25
pinch, 0, +10, +15

(2) easy campusing
1 minute on
2 minute rest
3 sets

(3) 1 arm pull up, each arm
3 sets

(4) front lever
3 sets
ab wheel roll out
3 sets

Notes : Great session. Loosely based on RockProdigy’s Hangboard Workout : reference. Baseline numbers for dead hangs. Need to refine. #2 kicks my ass. Need to work on my power endurance.

Dec 27, 2008

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Objective : Climbing Power Endurance

Training: Campus lap, i.e. Beer & Cheese Traverse
7 tuck jump burpees
3 rounds

Notes: I got poison oak developing climbing in Santa Barbara a while ago. It is still making life miserable, see Vegas's performance. Today I wanted to get hot and sweaty. The second I got bothered, I felt fire ants eating my skin. End of session. There is a reason why workouts are written on whiteboards. I'm going back to standard climbing workouts for a while. If you every get poison oak, here is ninja beta: frequent scalding hot showers. The showers release the histimine and stops the itching.

Dec 26, 2008

Eggnog Slurpee

Objective : Climbing Strength

Warm up : Campus Lap X 3

Training : (1) Hang 4-8s
Rest as need (approx. 2-3 minutes)
6 rounds per grip

Mono, 1 1/4'' edge
Two finger, 1/2'' edge
Open hand, 1 arm , large campus rung
Full crimp, 1/2'' edge + 63lbs

(2) 1 arm pull up (each arm) X 3

(3) Front lever X 3

My good friend for the next week. This hangboard is too fancy, lots of wasted space and extra features. I added the hooks for a pulley system to take weight off.

I asked my sister for weight and got this stuff. It ranges from 1/2lb to a 10lb kettlebell! I will be able to accommodate small linear progress, a "secret" to weight training, but might not be able to train maximal strength.

Notes: Weak on pinches. Strong on crimp. Standard climbing workout: reference. Good enough for Ben Moon. Good enough for me.

Dec 23, 2008

Las Vegas, Day 3 - Pebble Wrestling

Objective : Performance

Boulder Sent: Unnamed V1 (flash)
Spring Break V2 (2nd go)
High Noon V1 (2nd go)
Concession Obsession V5 (5 tries)
Spring Board V3 (flash)

Total Points: 12

Boulders tried : Cherry Garcia V3 (flashed bottom, got spooked on top w/o spotters)
Boulders Tried: It's On V4 (fucking dyno)
St. Louis V4 (went over 5 try rule for roadtrips)

Props to Seth for making a great guide to Las Vegas Bouldering.
Check out his adventures: here.

Notes: Went to Red Spring for the first time. Weather was good, cold and sticky with a little snow for ambience. Only 1/2 day because I had to home for Christmas. It is hard to flash by yourself. No one to encourage you or betawhore. Still sucking on dynos. I love bouldering by myself. I spent the day hanging out in nature spiked with hard physical activity. Perfect.

Dec 22, 2008

Las Vegas, Day 2 - Wool Panty Day

Objective : Performance

Routes Sent : Buck's Muscle World 5.9 (flash)
A Day in the Life 5.11b/c (2nd go)

Total Points : 7.5

Routes Tried : Yaak Crack 5.11 c/d (2 tries)

Climbing is a friendly world. Here is Bill and Jason (not the same one as yesterday) at The Gallery. I meet Jason in the parking of my hotel the night before, and he invited me to go climbing the next day. Rad!
"A Day in the Life" - A day in the life of someone on the road means try to crank in horrible weather.

My 2nd go on Yaak Crack. I was trying very hard but the extreme cold was creating issues with clipping. I whipped on the last move. Ugh!

Notes : Windy, cold, and raining. Still climbing. I rather sport climb than boulder. I prefer continuous movement over pure difficulty. Bouldering has less continuous movement and sometimes has difficulty for the sake of difficulty (and greater chance of injury). But today, I should have went bouldering. I would only have touch the rock for a couple of seconds instead of minutes. Resting on the routes was a balancing act between depumping and hypothemia. It was that cold.

Dec 21, 2008

Las Vegas, Day 1

Objective : Performance

Boulders sent : Arete V1 (flash)
Unnamed V2 (flash)
Unnamed V3 (flash)
Best V3 at Kraft V3 (3 tries)
Monkey Left V2 (repeat)
Bread Box V4 (flash)
Unnamed V5 (3 tries)
Jenna Jewelry V4 (flash, static, suppose to be a contrived dyno)

Total Points : 24

Boulders tried :
Jones'n V4 (flashed bottom, freaked out on top out, no spotters!)
Toadstool V4 (fucking dyno)
Queen's Bishop V4 (fucking dyno)
Spook Eyes V5 (fucking dyno)
Classic Monkey v6 (did most of it quickly, couldn't figure out one "big" move)
Caliman V7 (did most of it quickly, couldn't figure out one "big" move)
Monkey Bar Traverse V7 (loss psych because it is contrived)

Climbing is a small world. Here is Jason cranking at Kraft Boulders. I know him from Vertical Heaven.

Notes : I had a great day sending problems quickly. Somewhat unexpected since I had a case of poison oak from exploring on Friday! My big weakness today was dynos. There are quite a few straight up dynos at Kraft Boulders. I sucked on all of them.

Dec 19, 2008

Real-life Step-ups

Objective: Active Recovery

Training : (1) Hike up-hill with light pack, 30 minutes

(2) Boulder, 4 hours

Impeccable Rock, Impeccable Location

Cranking outside in December!!

Notes: Spent the day climbing on some of the best quality rock in Santa Barbara. Brand new problems? Maybe. At least, the problems are new to me. Despite spending 4 hours bouldering, I did very little climbing. I spent most of the day brushing and thinking about sequences. Very fun!

Dec 18, 2008

Strong Like Bull

Objective : Technique

Training : Up and down climb as many routes as possible in 2 hours

Leading a 5.10 and attempting to down climb it.

Up and down climbing the hardest route on the slab wall.
Weight Vest next time!

Notes: Thanks Mountain Athlete! Despite only a few sessions on their program, I feel the strongest I have even been. Every hold I grabbed today I felt like I "owned" it. I am almost afraid of my new strength. 3/4 of the way through the session I decided to try one of the hardest routes in gym. Before, I was able to redpoint it 50% of the time and never that late in a session. I was able to crush it today. Crazy.

There is old adage: "The best program is the one you are not on. " Switching to the Mountain Athlete program is the best thing I have done for my climbing in a long time. I'm not sure what the exact cause because many variables were changed. My best guess is switching ab training from purely resisting movement, L-sits & front levers, to initiating movement, weighted situps & weighted twists. Increaseing my functional ab strength enables me to better apply my already present strength. Another guess is pure climbing power endurance work. In the past, I have trained power endurance by doing laps on routes. I fail because of a combination of technique and getting pumped. Mountain Athlete suggests using hangboards to train power endurance because you only fail from the pump. No place to hide!! I take a black box approach to fitness, i.e. look only at inputs and outputs. In this case, the new input, Mountain Athlete training, has an unbelievable output, a rapid increase in climbing strength.

Dec 17, 2008

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Objective: Climbing Strength

Warm up : up and down climb jugs for 5 minutes


(1) 6X6 (6 sets X 6 moves/reps) up climb pinch, down climb jugs, 20lb vest
rest 30s between sets

(2) 6X4 two finger pocket, up and down, 20lb vest
rest 30s between sets

(3) 6X4 open hand, up and down, 20lb vest
rest 30s between sets

Simple and Hard

Notes: It is raining so it time for some serious gym work. This work out focuses on my weaknesses: pinch and open hand strength, down climbing.

Objective: Climbing Stamina

Training: Up and down continuously for 40 minutes

Notes: I did this workout at a local climbing gym using the autobelays. To train Climbing Stamina in the past, I have up climbed something hard, 5.10a/b, and down climbed something easier, 5.7/5.8. Dan Corn suggests I up and down climbing the same level. During this session, all I could manage was 5.9. It was harder consistently downclimbing 5.9 but overall, it felt easier than previous Climbing Stamina workouts. It included onsighting a new route, per routesetter request. I skipped about 1/2 the holds and several contrived sequences. He did not look psyched!

Objective: Strength

Warm up: Barbell complex, 65, 85, 95, 105


(1) 1 RM, Front Squat, 245

(2) 3 Front Squat, 195
10 pull ups
5 Rounds

(3) 10 Corkscrews, 35
10 burpees
10 weighted sit ups, 35
10 burpees
3 Rounds

(4) 30/30 row
5 Rounds

Heavy but doable

Notes: I hit it hard because this is the last gym session for 2-4 weeks. I need to improve on my "Working Strength", #2, relative to Maximal Strength, #1. My friend Brandon joined me for the workout, his first Mountain Athlete style sufferfest. He is now mental tougher.

Dec 16, 2008

Utah Is Trying To Kill Me

Objective : Climbing Stamina

Training : 1 boulder problem every minute for 40 minutes

Notes: After a long, death-defying drive from Utah, all I could manage was a stamina workout. One cave of the bouldering area at Vertical Heaven was reset so most of the problems were onsight, V0-V3. I tried to down-climb the same problem which left me laying on the ground panting a lot. Breathing heavy never hurt anyone. Problems were less "jumpy", which is good, but still ripperville, which is less good.

Objective : Strength

Warm up : 2 muscle ups
1 trip arm "walking" down the parallel bars
10 wall ball, 20lbs
5 rounds

Training: (1) 1 RM, Clean & Press, 185

(2) 5X2, Clean & Press, 155

(3) "Annie"
box jump, 20''
sit ups, ab mat
Time : 7:21

(4) Handstand practice

(5) 5 Shoulder Scarecrows
5 ice cream makers
10 dips
3 rounds

Notes: There were a lot of other athletes standing around at the local Crossfit Afflilate. I wasn't one of them, I was there to work hard for the hour.

Dec 15, 2008

Sick of Sucking

I am tired of sucking at climbing. This is my effort at improving at climbing through hard work. Please offer encouragement and constructive criticism.

Enjoying sucking: Way Lake, Summer 2008