Feb 28, 2009

Hard Plastic

Objective : Performance

Problems Sent : Advanced Problem #4 (flash), #5 (flash), #6 (2nd go), #7 (flash), #9 (4 tries), Open Problem #2 (flash)

Place : Unknown (but I guess top 3 in Advanced)

Problems Tried : Advanced Problem #8 (1 try, not my style), #10 (3 tries, not my style)

Here is my girlfriend's highlight reel:

She is entering Advanced Category next time.

Here is my highlight reel :

The first 2 problems were very lowball (the crux was not dabbing). I was the first competitor to use the "natural" hold on the third problem (which started the send train). The fourth problem was completely my style (combination of two-finger pockets and crimps). The flash felt easy.

Advanced Problem #9 in the Cave of Doom
Many people kept falling on the move pictured above. I knew there was a "trick." It took me 3 tries to figure out the kneebar beta. It transformed the crux move into just another move. I still punted on the finishing jugs. I realized the problem was in the bag. I did a bunch of other problems and waited to send it at the buzzer.

Notes : It was too windy to climb outside so my girlfriend and I opted for an indoor comp. I climbed much better in this comp. You get better at the things you do (Crazy idea). I was much more relaxed. It could have been the familiar holds, terrain, setters, or hanging out with my girl. Despite the lowball nature of the some of the problems, the comp was great. It was very professional for a local comp. The setters stepped-up their game. There was also free pizza, free beer, and a DJ!!

There are many different types of climbers. For example, Ninjas can send V12 or 14a, Monkeys climb a lot but don't like to fall, and Samurais free solo hard, long climbs. I'm definitely a Wizard. Wizards find the secret beta for problems. I was first climber to find the "natural" hold on Advanced Problem #7 and the kneebar on Advanced Problem #10. I kinda like hard cranking, but I get more out of the game of climbing. I really enjoy figuring problems out. That is why I focus on developing new climbs or flashing/onsighting established climbs.

I have some mental roadblocks between me and hard cranking. I focus on my weaknesses during training, but I'm not giving myself enough credit for improving. Advanced Problem #10 required jumps between large slopers. I didn't think I could flash it (self-defeating thought) so I avoided it until the end. It wasn't that hard and trying it didn't take that much energy from me. I ran out of time before I could send it (They cut the competition 15 minutes short. LAME!!). A similar thing happened on Advanced Problem #9 in the steep cave, my other nemesis. I figured out the Wizard kneebar beta but punted on the finishing jugs. I did send, thanks to a little angry onion.

Feb 25, 2009

Do not scorn a weak cub. He may become a brutal tiger.

Objective : Climbing Power

Warm-up : Traverse 30 minutes (Yeap, it sucked)

Training : (1) Big Rung, Ladders,

(2) Medium Rung, Ladders
1-7 (fail)

(3) Small Rung, Ladders
1-5 (PR!!)

(4) Big Rung, Two fingers, Ladders
1-2-3 (PR!!)

(5) 4 rounds
30s, campus, big rungs, 1-2
60s rest

Campus Session, 2/25/09

Notes : The gym was resetting for a comp so I was forced to campus. I decided to go big today. I got two personal records. The first PR was 1-5 on the small rungs. It was a little while coming. I'm extra proud because it was open hand. I usually crimp the small rungs but decided that it wasn't a good idea because I'm still getting over my finger injury. The second PR was two finger, 1-2-3 ladder on the big rungs. Next time, two finger campusing on the medium rungs. I'm thinking about mono campusing. I didn't post video of the power endurance campusing because it would suck more watching it than doing it. That says a lot.

Bonus : There is a rumor of changing the campus board rung spacing to the standard. I'm trying not to get too excited.

Feb 24, 2009


Objective : Performance (but quickly became screwing around)

Problems Sent : 0

Problems Tried : Punk Rock Traverse, V5(?), 2 tries
Mammen Traverse, V9(?), a bunch of tries

My second try on Punk Rock Traverse. I think I used a bunch of holds that aren't "on".
Who cares? I don't.

The start of Mammen Traverse.
I fall at the crux. That holds are small, I'm off-balance, and the move is big. FUN!

After the crux to the end of Mammen Traverse

Notes : Went back to Horsetooth Reservoir. I decided to check out/wam-up on Punk Rock Traverse. It is very contrived. In turn, my motivation dropped to zero. I almost flashed it but didn't know what holds were on/off. I went over to a better, harder, but still contrived traverse, Mammen Traverse. I like this climb and am developing a relationship with it. Most climbs are 1 nighters for me : Find 'em, Send 'em, and Forget 'em. I'm only begining to appreciate this climb, the subtleties of its holds and the beauty of its curves.

I have nothing against the rocks. They are gorgeous and 5 minutes from house. I have something against the "problems." There is a another problem called Powerglide, which is an elimante of an elimante! WTF! I went to the gym after, at least there I know which holds are on.

Bonus : I saw the movie Pure on Friday night. RAD. I upgraded to iLife 09. RAD.

Feb 23, 2009

Mittens And Zip Ties

Objective : Strength

Warm-up : Snatch Practice

Training (1) singles, front squat, 225, 245, 265(f), 255

(2) 5 rounds
doubles, front squat, 215
10, shoulder press, 35X2

(3) row 500m
50 dips
row 500m
50 push-ups
row 500m
time : 10:03

Notes : I did this workout because I felt like moving my body. I also wanted to see how much strength I have lost since switching my focus to climbing. It turns out not much. Mountain Athlete is finding a similar result. Interesting.

At some point, my Olympic Weightlifting class will start to clean and jerk. I love cleaning (I could live without jerking. Scary!). There is no messing around with a clean. You have to commit. My current PR for the clean is 205. I have the potential for a big PR. Hopefully, I can actualize my potential.

The circuit, #3, was a smoker. I couldn't see for the first 30s after and couldn't talk for 5 minutes. If I threw in 50 handstand push-ups, my power output would have precipitously dropped. Think about it.

Feb 22, 2009

Would Jesus Kneebar?

Objective : Performance

Routes Sent : Cheerleaders Gone Hippie, 9+, Onsight (Nice to be in the sun, "fun" offwidth crux)
Crossbow, 10b, Flash (misread the guidebook, thought it was an 11a)
Check Your Six, 11b, 2nd go (flashed through crux then had a mental breakdown, sucked it up and sent)
Armor Plated, 11a, Flash (avoided the contrived dyno)
Monstrosity, 10c/d, 2nd go (1st try today, hard fucker, nearly fell 3 times!!!)

Total Points : 21.5

Number of Kneebars : 5 (Maybe a 1 point penalty for each kneebar?)

Routes Tried : Small Fry, 12b, 2 tries, (BTB, 1 hang)

Notes : A little warmer at The Palace, Spring is in the air. Also, it helped to put handwarmers in my chalkbag! My general performance plan for this area : warm up by flashing 2-3 routes, get on an easy project 2-3 goes, and finish the day by cleaning up old easy projects. I got on 7 climbs, and it was only a 3/4 day. I can't wait for full days!!

I have been strugglin' with a small finger injury. My right ring finger hurt after cranking on the small crimps of Rapid Fire. I was dumb and didn't take the appropriate rest (Actually, I climbed the next day in the gym with a weight vest!!). Lately, I have been doing the right things, i.e. not crimp, soaking it in cold water, lower the intensity, and increase the volume. It is healing nicely.

However during my flash attempt on Check Your Six, it was a problem. In order to make the clip on the third bolt (after the crux), you have lock-off a medium-sized right hand crimp. If you blow the clip, you will deck. It was mentally too much for me. I had a vision of the tendon in my finger snapping and me hitting ground. I made the clip, took, and lowered to the ground. I was able to gather myself and send the route 2nd try.

My finger wasn't the real issue. The real issue is my fear of missing clips and decking. About 4 years ago, I missed clipping the 4th bolt of climb and hit the deck. The climb was so steep I fell flat on my back! I was unhurt, other than getting the wind knocked out of me. (I would like to thank weight training for making me impact resistant.) I think my belayer was partly responsible for me hitting the ground. It was my first time climbing with him. I thought he was safe since he was the head instructor of the local university's climbing program. It says something about the quality of my previous university's climbing program. I still have residual fear of missing clips. It definitely holds me back, especially during onsights. I'm working on changing my mindset and only climb with people I trust.

The remainder of the day was very pleasant. I got on Small Fry, and it was warm enough to actually feel the holds! It is a hard climb to flash because the crux is very technical. It should go quickly. I got revenge on Monstrosity. That climb is full value. However, the value is low because it is overpolished blocky choss.

Bonus :
A great method for treating finger injuries

I did this exactly, and it worked. I was able to climb through my injury. RAD.

Feb 21, 2009

Action Potential

I used my rest day to look for potential new routes near The Palace. I saw a couple of places for independent lines within the established areas, but I was more interested in new sectors.

I found this group of formations about 30 minutes past the Palace :
(I didn't see any evidence of development. Who knows?) This is the biggest formation in the group :
The front side of the formation:
(There at least two possible lines, one line up the arete and another line to the right on the face. I'm super siked about the face line!)
Backside of the formation:The only downside is the death-scree approach :

These formations are on the other side of canyon :As I got closer, I was drawn to the "blank" lichen wall :
Here is the wall close up:
(I see at least 7 independent lines. How many do you see?)

I didn't even bother to hike to these formations :

Feb 19, 2009

Feb 18, 2009

Eric Horst Makes Me Want To Smoke Crack

Objective : Climbing Power Endurance

Warm-up : (1) Circuit #1
(2) Mobility Drills
(3) Circuit #2

Training (1) Fail on new Open problems, 30 minutes

(2) 7 rounds
Climb Advanced Problem, 11 moves
rest 2 minutes between rounds

(3) 4X4 (Advanced, Advanced, Intermediate, Intermediate)
rest 2 minutes between sets

Notes : I got powned by the 5 new Open problems. 3 are in the cave/roof, and the other 2 are wide pinches. Sending them will be a learning experience.

The absurd repeats for #2 are a sick version of Continuous Intensity Repetitions, CIR. CIR builds strength and stamina. The more conventional version is repeating many different problems of the same grade with medium rest length. That particular problem is a good trainer : quality movement, each move is equally difficult, and many wide pinches (my indoor nemesis).

4X4 is possibly the best climbing activity for low-end power endurance. My eyes are always bigger than my forearms when picking problems for a 4X4. I'm a bit disappointed with the current baseline. My goal is Open, Open, Advanced, Advanced by the end of the cycle.

Feb 15, 2009

You ain’t much of a muse, I ain’t much of a poet.

Objective : Climbing Technique/ Climbing Power Endurance

Warm-up : (1) Circuit #1
(2) Mobility Drills
(3) Circuit #2

Training : (1) 5 rounds
Climb Advanced/Open problem, 3 times in a row, complete rest between climbs

(2) Climb routes, 45 minutes, easy onsights

(3) 3 rounds
30s campusing
60s rest

Notes : Today was an easy day since I was a little tired from yesterday. Repeating the same problem back-to-back with complete rest provided me with an opportunity to refine my technique. I focused on subtle changes in timing and hip position. The easy onsights allowed me to focus on using the best technique I currently possess. I capped it off with PE campusing. I went up and down the big rungs, 1-2. This is a baseline workout for the current low-end power endurance cycle.

I climbed with several CrossFitters, including a trainer. It is odd because they don't apply the same CrossFit prinicples to climbing. There is very little intensity. They basically hang out for a couple of hours and climb a couple of problems. There is very little technique work, which is a hallmark of CrossFit. They focus on getting to the top, not the process. There is very little variety. They typically climb random problems, 4-10 moves, or random routes, 15-20 moves. They miss many time and modal domains. These people know a different way to train, but don't apply it to climbing. I know the climbing gym is a social scene, but I much rather hangout outside or in a bar.

Bonus :
The Boulder Rock Club's campus board. The best campus board I have ever seen (The Shed moves to 2nd place). Notice : proper height off the ground and away from the wall, correct angle, properly spaced rungs, and 4 sizes : big, medium, small, and small upsidedown.

Feb 14, 2009

Punched In The Face With Awesomeness

Objective : Performance

Problems Sent(falls) : Advanced 3(flash), 4(2), 5(1), 6(flash), 7(flash)

Place : Somewhere in the middle of the Advance Pack

Problems Tried(falls): Advanced 8(3) ,9(3)
Open 1 (4), 2(3), 3(3), 4(3), 5(1)

One of the many quality problems in the comp.

Chalking up at the 3rd bolt!
Going into "route" mode on a "boulder" problem.

This problem was long and tall. It starts in lower right of the frame and finishes in the red taped box. For a quick approximation of the height, mentally stack sample climbers to reach the finish box.

BRC must have a different definition of 12 feet.

Notes : What is that taste in the back of my throat? It is puke. "Brian, why are you puking at a indoor comp?" Boulder Rock Club (BRC) decided to go really, really highball with their comp. RAD!! It was a blustery winter day, perfect for a indoor comp. Unlike CA, where winter is the crankin' season. BRC did a perfect job with the comp. The music was great (better than the National Qualifiers, during which they played techno muzak). The setting was top-notch (no gimmes and nice variety).

I warm up by flashing a bunch of problems, up to Advanced 3. I hopped on the Open problems and got shut down. I was very close put couldn't send any of them. I dropped down to Advanced to fill out my scorecard. It turns out the Open Category was heavily sandbagged. The person who finished 4th only climbed Open problems 1, 2, 3, & 4.

In the end, I could not send very hard but could climb for 3 hours. I'm definitely not a great boulderer. I kept falling on the crux moves, regardless of the length of the problem. Boy were the problems long, many problems finished between the 3rd and 4th bolt!!! Despite the height, I did not see any injuries. Overall, I had a great time and won a pair of climbing shoes at the raffle.

Bonus : I bought a new camera so expect a lot of new media. The first three pictures are actually video stills. I will post some edited video soon.

Feb 11, 2009

Thinking Ahead - Short-term

Objective : Planning

Notes : I just finished a Power/Bouldering Stamina cycle. I'm as ready as possible for the comp and sick of hard, long bouldering sessions in the climbing gym. My next cycle is Strength/Low-end Power Endurance. This cycle is specific to The Palace. I have been there enough times to get a feel for the type of routes. The routes are long but most of the climbing is relatively easy (for the grade) with a short crux sections (4-15 moves). If you can do the crux, you can send the route. Last weekend, I hatched a plan to send every route at The Palace before the end of the season (?). That would make for a very nice route pyramid topping out at 13a (?). It would keep me motivated with a series of short-term goals and carry me into the "real" sport climbing season.

Feb 10, 2009

Busy Dying

Objective : Strength

Warmup : Snatch Practice

Training : (1) triples, Clean, 95, 135, 155

(2) doubles, deadlift high-pull, 215, 245

(3) singles, deadlift, 315, 355, 375

(4) 5 rounds
triples, deadlift, 315
15 perfect pushups

(5) 10 rounds
4 strict pullups every 30s

(6) 3 rounds
10 corkscrews, 45
6 TGU, medium weight

Notes : I'm gym rat. I have three rest days before the comp, I can sneak in a workout. Putting Cleans before deadlifts tricks your body into pulling fast and lifting heavier weights. My 1 RM is much higher than those singles, but I don't think pulling more than 2x bodyweight is going to help my climbing. I'm happier about the working sets (triples, deadlift, 315). Another chink in my fitness armor is being able to move moderatly heavy weights with little rest. Number 5 is a "test" posted by Mountain Athlete. 75% of the the pullups were chest-to-bar (CTB). Next time all of them will be CTB. I finished with a little rotational ab work. I haven't done TGU in a long time. It is a great exercise for climbers: mobility, shoulder stability, core, and little heavy breathing.

Busy Being Born

Objective : Climbing Power

Warm-up :(1) Circuit #1
(2) Mobility Drills
(3) Circuit # 2
(4) A bunch of Advanced problems

Training (1) Big Rungs, ladders

(2) Medium Rungs, drops
6-1 (f)

(3) Big Rungs, matching
two fingers

(4) Big Rungs, laddering
two fingers
1-2 (PR!!!)

(5) Small Rungs, ladders
1-4-6 X 2

(6) Medium Rungs, drops
5-1-5 X 2

(7) Random bouldering

(8) 10 rounds
1 system board lap, pinches +10 lbs
10s rest

(9) 10 rounds
1 system board lap, slopers
10s rest

Notes : First wood. My old bones take a little while to warm-up in the morning (45+ minutes). I realized my mind state is critical for campusing. I must be syked but not too jacked up. Music is key, Hold Steady were on the playlist today.

I also found the setup is the difference in making 6-1 drops. The gym's campus board is a little off (I still pine for competition spec spacing). If I setup on the 4th rung with my bottom hand, I have to stretch/hop to the 9th rung and sometimes I don't set up properly. If I setup on the 3rd rung with my bottom hand, I have to suck my legs up the bottom of the drop (or I dab). I'm leaving 6-1 alone and focus on adding weight to 5-1-5. For the record, my girlfriend doesn't think that is a good idea.

I hit a nice PR on two finger laddering. I learned from my time "under the bar", stop after a PR (even if you have more in the tank). I was very happy after the campus session and did some random bouldering (which was a mistake).

I still need to add more weight to the pinches. I didn't change the slopers because I convinced a routersetter to make all the feet on the system board horrible. They are rotated to the slopest setting. I have to try very hard to keep my feet on (training body tension) and slows me down (increase time under tension).

Feb 8, 2009

Train (Post) Long to Go Long

Objective : Climbing Strength

Warm-up : (1) Circuit #1
(2) Mobility Drills
(3) Circuit #2
(4) Dyno Practice, 10 minutes

Training : (1) Threshold Bouldering, 1 hour (stick to cave and pinch problems)
rest 10 min

(2) Climb Advance/Open problems, 1 hour (stick to 7-10 move problems)
rest 10 min

(3) 10 rounds
1 lap on system board, pinches
10 second rest

(4) 10 rounds
1 lap on system board, slopers
10 second rest

(5) Dynamic effort, 1 arm pull-ups

(6) 3 rounds
5 front lever bicycles
5 shoulder scarecrows, 5lbs X 2

(7) 3 rounds
90s ab bridge complex
10 reverse wrist curls, 10lbs

Notes : It is weird to train long for a indoor comp, but it is 3 hours of hard bouldering. I have seen other competitors not even complete the maximum 5 problems. You can't get points for the problems you don't complete. At least, I'm setting myself up for a full scorecard. The overall diffuculity of my climbing is up in the air.

This my custom hybrid of Self-Coached Climber (SCC) and Mountain Athlete (MA). SCC focus is routes, movement, and endurance. MA focus is strength and conditioning. I'm trying blend the best of both and focus on my current goals and weaknesses.

I feel like I am peaking for the contest. I surprised myself a couple of times during the threshold bouldering. The contest is suppose to be "highball", hence the focus on longer problems during the second hour. This was the first system board session. Next time I need to add weight to the pinches and move to worse slopers. The dynamic effort for 1 arms is adapted from Westside Barbell : 3 reps, as fast as possible, 40s rest. I need to add weight to the ab bridge complex.

I still had to kick myself out of the gym before I did any met-con. Met-con is not going to help me send my projects or win the competition.

Bonus : Malcolm Smith Training Video

I climbed the systems board how he suggests. It is great advice to get strong, not the best technique advice for less experienced climbers.

Additional Bonus: My self-perceived list of climbing competition strengths and weaknesses. I hope to rely on my strengths and avoid my weaknesses.

Strengths :
crimps, pockets, long pulls, body tension, vertical/slightly overhanging, reading problems, technique, climbing endurance, and eye of the tiger

Weaknesses :
slopers, pinches, matching, dynos, roofs, finding heelhooks on flash attempts, climbing strength, and confidence

Feb 7, 2009

Pourdre? Hell, I Didn’t Even Know Her!

Objective : Performance

Routes Sent : Churchull Rejects,9+, onsight (cold fingers, a little funky at the chains)
Route with a view, 10c, onsight (sun=warmth, hard crux)
Uneedaluebben, 11a, onsight (varied climbing, i'm bad at turning roofs)

Total Points : 11

Routes Tried : Small Fry, 12b, epic fail on flash (bailed at 3rd bolt due to lack of sensation in fingertips)

Notes : Kinda disappointing. I was a good boy and took 3 rest days to send my proj - Rapid Fire, 12b/13a. Only to be rewarded with too-cold-to-crank conditions at The Palace. I bailed and went to the gym for fun. I flashed a bunch of new problems and refined my beta on some diffucult moves. I'm ready to go, but it is still the "pre-season" for CO sport climbing.

Feb 3, 2009

When You Are A Self-Coached Climber, You Have A Dumb Coach

Objective : Power

Warm-up : (1) Circuit #1
(2) Mobility Drills
(3) Climb new Intermediate problems (flash, up and down)
(4) Climb new Advanced and Open Problem (2nd go and fail, respectively)

Training : (1) Big Rungs, ladders
1-3-5-7-8 (fail)

(2) Medium Rungs, drops

Notes : Before work session with just me and the routesetters. Nice. I was struggling on my warm-up Circuit #1. (Silly Rationalization #1 : It is early, and my body takes a little while to warm-up.) I didn't flash the Advanced problem. (Silly Rationalization #2 : I missed a poorly taped foot.) I fail on the big rungs ladders. (Silly Rationalization #3 : It takes a long time for me to warm-up.) I had no juice to go back up on the drops. I ended the training session. If I had a real coach, he would have sent me home during the warm-ups. I'm taking several days of rest.

Feb 1, 2009

Who Doesn't Lip-Sync Their Performance Anymore?

Objective : Climbing Stamina, Work Capacity

Warm-up: (1) Circuit #1
(2) Mobility Drills
(3) Climb new Advance and Intermediate problems (flash, up and down)

Training : (1) Climb Advance/Open problem
rest 2-5 minutes
Climb same problem +10lbs
rest 2-5 minutes
repeat for 2 hours

(2) 4 rounds
1 arm pull-up
mini leg-blaster

(3) 4 rounds
front lever
10, reverse wrist curls, 10 lbs

(4) 5 rounds
triples, strict press, 115
5, pistols

(5) 5 rounds
15, weighted situps, 45 lbs
10, KB floor press, 35 lbs

Notes : Trying to build stamina for the contest while keeping things interesting. The weight vest is new and very interesting. Repeating the problem without weight helps to refine my technique. I have to be on point, which is an essential element of technique, because when I add the weight vest there will be less room for error or hesitation. During the process, I'm tricking myself into high volume. The "suck factor" is an exponential function of the length the boulder problem. I was able to repeat almost all the Advanced problems and several of the Open problems with 10lbs. Next session, I going up to +15.

There are only 2 problems in the gym I haven't done. One is V12/13, a little outside my current abilities, and the other is all wide pinches, one of major weaknesses. I generally ignore wide pinches because they are not common outside. Right now, I plan on hitting them hard until the comp. That undone problem will be a good benchmark.