Mar 26, 2009

Las Vegas, Day 4, Cannibal Crag

Objective: Performance

Routes Sent:
Ma and Pa in Kettle, 5.7X, flash (or die)
Mac and Ronnie in Cheese, 10a, flash
Have a Beer with Fear, 11a, flash
Caustic, 11b, 2nd go
Save the heart to eat later, 12a, 2nd go

Total Points: 25

Routes Tried:
Zero. Good roadtripping. I sent everything.

Notes: "Ma and Pa in Kettle" is a classic, 3 bolts in 45ft then no bolts for 45ft to the top. I didn't bring a belay device because I thought all the routes at the crag were sport equipped. I had to belay my second with a Munter. It made my rope super twisty for the rest of the day. The whole deal was lame. It took me 25 minutes to flash "Have a Beer with Fear", 4 bolts!!, because there was epic wind. I was soooo pumped mantling at the end. It was nice ending the Las Vegas lag with a 12a.

Mar 25, 2009

Las Vegas, Day 3, The Gallery & Sweet Pain

Objective: Performance

Routes Sent:
Buck Muscle World, 9, onsight
Gelatin Pooch, 10a, onsight
Pump Now Pay Later, 10b, onsight
Super Guide, 11a, onsight
The Gambler,11b, 2nd go

Points: 19

Routes Tried:
Sweet Pain, 11d, 2 tries
Glitter Gulch, 11a, 1 try

Putting the Sporty back into Sport Climbing
The first bolt was chopped/ripped out of the wall. I sacked up and went for it anyways.

Shirt off means business time

Notes: The crew went to The Gallery because we had a wide spread of abilities. It was a little too warm for me to get on anything hard. The highlight was an onsight of a fun climb called Super Guide. Evan tried it after me and was not pleased with the quality, aka kinda sandy and chossy. I guess I'm a chossmonger. We finished up the Sweet Pain Wall. I tried to send too many climbs to close together at the end and got nothing.

Mar 24, 2009

Las Vegas, Day 2, Learning To Crimp

Objective: Performance

Problems Sent:
Offering Scam, V1, flash
Basketball Diaries, V2, flash
Cherry Garcia, V3, 1st try today
Unknown, V3, flash (stand to the left of The Prayer)
Unnnamed (Unnamed Boulder), V4, 2nd go (listed as V1 in guide)
St. Louis, V4, project from last trip (from the underclings)
Amazing Grace, V4, 3rd go (first try after I remembered how to climb)
Unnamed (Red Spring Boulder), V5, flash
The Prayer, V6, flash (!)

Total Points: 33

Problems Tried:
I looked at a couple of v6 & v7s but didn’t understand them. The body rarely goes where the mind isn’t ready.

The Ripper of the Day Award goes to who ever ticked this hold.
Do you really need a tick mark for each finger?

For $17 a night, you get a view of a wall. However, there is a pigeon that lives outside my window.

Notes: I went to Red Springs today, a small area about 1 mile from Kraft Boulders. Since it away from the main area, the ambience is more peaceful, but the rock is looser. I meet a rad local climber, Brandon. This is his first year of climbing. I showed him how to crimp. He immediately climbed a grade harder. Red Rocks is all about crimping. That is why it is one of my favorite areas. Thanks to his support, spotting, and extra pad I was able to flash of The Prayer, V6. Hell Yeah! One step closer to my 2009 goal of flashing V7. I’m done “practicing.” Bring on the sport climbing.

Mar 23, 2009

Las Vegas, Day 1, Home of the Yuppie Climber

Objective: Performance

Problems Sent:
I Disagree, V1, flash
Unnamed (Bathtub boulder), V2, 2nd go (foot broke on flash)
Charleston Syndrome, V3, flash
The Clam Bumper, V3, flash
Odyssey, V3, flash
Unnamed (Bill’s Boulder), V3, flash
Unnamed (slopey traverse boulder), V4, 3rd go, (good problem, no chalk)
Rub One Off, V4, 2nd go
Bathtub, V5, 2nd go
Classic Monkey, V6, project

Total Points: 28

Problems Tried:
a bunch of contrived turd balls
The Pearl, V4, 3 tries (this problem is epic for me, WTF)
My Tan, V6, 2 tries (hard deadpoint stopper move)
No Top, V6, 2 tries (flashed to deadpoint, couldn’t commit)

Grunting & Punting

Notes: The weather was nearly perfect at Kraft Boulders. I have sent almost all the easy classics, expect The Pearl. The send of the day was Classic Monkey, V6. I have tried it on/off for years. I decided today was the day. It took me 10 minutes to remember my sequence and 1 hour to execute. I don't know if it is the best method since I have never seen anyone else on it. I almost did 3rd try but punted going for the jugs. Trying to send a project is a horrible experience for me. I feel weak, heavy, and old. After I sent, a switch flicked. A wave of joy and adrenaline engulfed me. It made the extended effort worth it.

I’m enjoying my Zone meal at Whole Foods. I will crank soon, then enjoy the hot tub at the hotel.

Mar 22, 2009

Joe's Valley, So Good You Wouldn't Think It Was Sandstone

Objective: Performance

Problems Sent:
Unamed, V1, flash
The Face Left, V1, flash
High Ride, V2, flash
Dustbuster, V2, flash
Small One, V2, flash
Midget, V3, flash
Pint Size, V3, flash
Skins Game, V3/4, flash
Pee Wee, V4, 2nd go
Slap Me Silly, V4, flash
Chit, V4, flash
Rug Rat, V5, 4/5 tries (I kept epicing on the top out arete)
Black & Blue, V6, <1 hour (tricky long crux move, sent 2nd try after doing crux)

Total Points: 40.5

Problems Tried:
Walrus, V5, 3 tries (I was shredding at this point)
Mr Mephosropholies, V6, 3 tries (dirty and contrived)
Moby Dick, V6, 4 tries (there must be trick beta)
Team Effort, V6/8, 2 tries (not that great, funky heelhook)
Hooters, V9, 2 tries (Need more crimp power!!!)

A great climbing area with horrible weather
Every trip to Joe's ends the same way, driven out by snow and wind.

Notes: I rolled up to Joe's with just enough time to flash to 2 V4s (with no warm-up) before darkness. I spent the next day at the Right Fork, which I have never been to before. I tried to send as many new problems before the storm. I cranked hard but climbed poorly, lots of foot cutting and thrutching. Not my best day, but still a day of climbing. I'm looking forward to old friends, sport climbing, and better weather in Sin City.

Mar 17, 2009

Don't You Ever Wash That Thing

Objective: Climbing Stamina

Training: Continuous Intensity Repetition (CIR) with an evil twist, 2+ hours

Notes: I did the CIR with Advanced problems I have already done. I switched it up to make it more interesting. I would climb a problem once. Then I would repeat the same problem with an additional 10lb weight vest. I did this for 8 problems. There were 4 additional problems I couldn't repeat with the weight vest because they contained very dynamic moves. That made for a total of 20 problems for each round. I completed 3 rounds for a total of 60 problems.

A training guru said, "You can train climbing endurance every day." Ain't that the truth, given you have a little caffeine and an ipod. I want to climb hard everyday on my spring break so I better train for it. Training every other day is great way to get strong, stress then recovery, but endurance/stamina is different animal.

Mar 16, 2009

Tequila Lesbian

Objective : Cross-training

Warm up: 3 rounds
row 500m (1:47, 1:47, 1:47)
rest as needed

Training: (1) Back Squat
275 X5

(2) "Cindy Light"
As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) in 10 minutes (11 rounds)
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 squats


My first 2 rounds of "Cindy"

Notes: Since I'm only training climbing endurance, a little extra cross-training won't screw with it. I think CrossFit is the best cross-training program out there. I cheated and looked at the affiliate's website to make sure the WOD wasn't wacky. This is my favorite flavor of the Koolaid, a high volume session with a strength component. I haven't back squatted heavy fives in a long time. I blew my load on the second set (it happens with random training). My diet was very bad (for me) last three days because I had guests visiting. I could feel it on "Cindy Light". I got "gassed." I usually never get "gassed." It is good motivation to rebuild my foundation.

Intensity Without Obsession

Objective : Climbing Stamina

Training : Variable Intensity Repetitions (VIR), 3 hours

Disneyland for indoor climbers.

75 new problems in 4 days.
How many new problems did your gym set in the last 4 days?

A quality systems board

And a quality campus board

And a freaking tread wall!!

Notes : When I went to the Stone Alliance Film premier last week, I got a free day pass to the Spot Gym in Boulder, CO. I rolled down for a mid-day session. VIR is a gigantic problem/route pyramid. It builds work capacity because by the time you get the top/hardest problems you have already completed many easier problems. Then you have to go back down. I made it a little harder by trying to flash everything. I worked my way up and down through the comp problems, e.g. 1-3-5-7-9-10-8-7-6-4-2. Maxing out on Open #6. There was a stopper move which involved two pinches on a roof to all points off dyno. HARD!!!

It was fun session. I feel very fit for my roadtrip. Frequently, intensity in climbing is equated with obsession. "That guy is intense, he spent 8 years on his project." "She is intense, she sent that climb on her 20th try of the day." I'm not that kind of person. I try really hard while I'm on the climb, but after I just let it go. There are just too many great climbs to focus on just one.

Mar 15, 2009

Honey, pay the insurance premiums. We’re going sport climbing!

Objective : Performance (and not getting injured)

Routes sent : 5.9+, onsight
5.9-, onsight

Routes tried : 5.7+, 3 tries
5.10d or 5.9-, A0
Mentally preparing to go to the anchor

Notes : My girlfriend and I went to Colorado Springs to meet up with her old friend and have a nice day at a local crag. I went to the gear shop to ask about a steep limestone crag I heard about on Mountain Project. The ripper behind the counter made a disparaging comment about limestone and directed me towards Red Rock Canyon Open Space (RRCOS). It is featureless sandstone slabville. It is all the epic parts of Yosemite and Joshua Tree, i.e. sandbagged runout slab, only with more tourons, no vistas, and really crappy rock. It is some type of super soft sandstone, which is permanently sandy. Whereas most holds in Red Rocks (in Vegas) are crimps, the few holds in RRCOS are all rounded. I’m glad I didn’t climb at Garden of the Gods. Apparently Garden of the Gods has all the goodness of RRCOS with older bolts. Remember to bring your own EMT (I did).

The first route I tried was 5.7+. The first bolt was at 25ft. No problem (it is only 5.7). I kept getting spooked at 15ft on the permanently sandy smears. I would turn around and run down the slab. I repeated this process three times before I called it quits. I onsighted the 5.9+ next door. I clipped all 4 bolts. The route was a little less than 30m. Do the math. I top roped the 5.9- because whoever bolted it decided to force the leader to climb an adjacent slab instead of bolting one of the few rad features.

While we were walking around, I saw a leaver biner on the fourth bolt of a "5.10d". I was curious because it looked like the route eased up after 4th bolt. I couldn’t figure out first 20 feet. It is dead vertical with only two holds. I aided up the first two bolts. My girlfriend, who has more patience than me, solved part of the riddle with a sequence that involved crunching down on a one-footed smear, with no hands, and dynoing to a crimp. The rest of the climb was moderate, run-out slab. I don’t know how someone could get to the fourth bolt and not finish the climb. Did they pull a calf muscle? At least I got a biner out of the deal. Towards the end of the day, I started to mutate and climb much better. I even enjoyed the end of this climb.

The Ripper Of The Day Award goes to whoever bolted the place. I know you’re bitter and pissed that you missed the Golden Area of Yos and J-tree, but don’t take it out on your local crag. Get over yourself. Your crag doesn’t have a proud traditional history. It 100% bolted, and the first routes were put up in 2004. 50% of your area is an abandoned quarry!! Chip some fun, overhanging, well-equipped routes. I want to go cragging with my girlfriend, not have a vision quest on a run-out slab.

Mar 12, 2009

I try to piss excellence, but it burns when I pee

Objective : Climbing Strength, Climbing Power Endurance

Warm-up : Flash, 5.10, 5.10 (I got on a rope at the gym!)

Training : (1) Flash, 5.12- *

(2) Hard bouldering, 45 minutes

(3) 3 rounds (+10, +20, +20)
10 system board laps (4 moves), smallest crimps
rest 10s between laps
rest 5 minutes between rounds

(4) 4X4 (A,A,A,I)
rest 2:00 between sets

(5) 3 rounds
10 L-sit scissors

(5) 3 rounds
15 weighted sit-ups, 45
15 pushups

(6) 3 rounds
5 shoulder scarecrow, 5X2
10 reverse wrist curls, 10

* I didn’t completely flash the route because I weighted the rope when my foot skated on a dual texture hold. I immediately pulled back on and finished the climb.

Notes : The 5.12- is currently the hardest route in the gym. It would be tricky to get a workout if I roped up in the gym. I would have to climb with a weight pack or do lots of laps. I don’t know any like-minded training partners for those types of shenanigans.

I have been “chipping” the hard Open problems down to my level by adding extra feet. It is working very well. The ultimate goal is to send them with tracking feet. I miss my old training walls that had open/any feet. It allows you to climb with the best technique you possess. Taped/marked feet forces you to climb the “best” technique the setter possesses.

The holds in my gym are so old they were made before crimping was invented. 80% are open hand, and 19% are jugs. The remaining 1% you can crimp, but none of them are on hard problems. All my outside projects have crimps on them so I figure I should train them, wacky SAID idea. The system board laps got ridiculous. I was climbing on the smallest/slopest feet, completely open and with only one foot on. Currently, my weight vest only goes up to +20lbs. I have to replace the sand pellets with lead!

My performance on the 4X4s is still improving. I maintained the same difficulty but dropped the rest time by 30s per set.

This is the end of my power endurance cycle. I will do a couple of stamina sessions before I leave for a 3 week climbing trip. Joe's Valley, Red Rocks, and Yosemite!!

Mar 10, 2009

Pit Picking

Objective : Climbing Strength, Climbing Technique,

Warm-up : 5 problems (up & down)

Training : Work tricky moves, 30 minutes

Notes : A quick after work session. "Pit Picking" is the opposite of cherry picking. I cherry picked during the comp by choosing problems that were my style or soft. During this session, I worked on moves or sections that are tricky for me. This was hard but not at my physical limits like threshold bouldering. I spent most of the time on difficult matches.

Comfort Porn

Objective : Power

Warm-up : (1) Circuit #2 (8 Intermediate problems, Up & Down)
(2) Mobility Drills
(3) Circuit #3 (8 Advanced problems, Up only)

Training : (1) Big rungs, ladders

(2) Big rungs, staggered mono hangs
3 rounds

(3) Medium rungs, ladders
1-5-9 (fail)

Notes : Fresh snow means time to train without temptation/regret for outside climbing. I'm stepping my game up by skipping Circuit #1 and adding Circuit #3. Today was a ladder or pull through day. I realized I had some mental blocks, e.g. "That move is too far. You are not strong enough." I started breaking through those barriers. My skin starting giving in at the end (my elbows weren't far behind). When I climb a lot I will apply lotion to my hands 5X a day. You would think that would make skin softer. It doesn't. It is nitrous for the healing process.

Bonus : Sonnie Trotter's Tip. Sonnie's right on. I have been neglecting my hangboard, recently. (Sorry baby, I'm coming back to you.) I still think the Pusher Power Junkie Board is the best hangboard ever made. Only the main jugs are angled, but I don't touch them. You won't get stronger on big holds. I doubt a lack of pull-up strength is stopping me (or anyone else) from sending projects. If I do pull-ups, it is on my gymnastic rings (one handed or with mierda loads of weight).

Mar 8, 2009

Forecast - Heavy Choss Showers

Objective : New routes

Number of new routes completed: 2

Number of new routes started but not completed : 3

Checking out the goods

Notes : Bolted new routes on Saturday and Sunday at The Palace. Saturday was a solo mission. I put in 2 top-rope anchors at the "Mountain Athlete Wall", aka the wall of 1000 step-ups , before the snow drove me home. Jason joined me on Sunday. I meet a couple of nice local developers in the parking lot for the first time. It was a little awkward for me because I had no pants on (I had taken them off to wade across the Poudre). I was glad to know I was on the right track and not stepping on anyone’s toes.

We completed a 3 bolt 5.6 "Cherry Daiquiri", at "The Barkeep Wall". It is a short, fun, jug haul. It might be the Palace’s first 5.6. Then, Jason sacked up and onsighted a 5.9 trad route (probably a FA) to get to the top of the formation! When it came time to do my thing, I ran out of juice. Apparently, I only get 10 bolts per charge and left the other battery at home FML!!! We could only toprope the second line, "DOUBLEWHISKEYCOKENOICE". It is about 90ft long, steep, all jugs, and enough choss to keep you engaged. It still needs a lot of cleaning, but I’m guessing it is 10a/b. There are many kinds of choss. There is choss that is always choss. There is choss that cleans up nice. I hope the climb is the later kind of choss. My kind of choss.

Generally speaking, I think closed projects and secret areas don’t help the sport of climbing. I plan to publish these climbs on Mountain once they are done. It will be a little while since I don’t want anyone to get hurt or epic on half-assed lines. If you can’t wait (or want to help), let me know.

Mar 7, 2009

Video Evidence

I bolted routes in the snow today so I can crank in the sun tomorrow.

Mar 6, 2009

Simmering In Weak Sauce

Objective : Strength

Warm-up : 5 problems (up only)

Training : (1) Work Open problems, 30 minutes

(2) 3 rounds
mono hangs from large rungs
increase time each round
rest as needed

(3) Work Open problems, 30 minutes

Notes : Felt good despite only one rest day. There were more people at the gym tonight than during the comp. FML!!! My extended warm-ups provide plenty of movement practice and increase my climbing capacity. However, they are not helping my quest to be stronger. Today I got right to the meat. I sent the easiest Open problem 1st go (3 days, 8 tries). I made progress on the all the rest of Open problems. I learned a lot about movement and my ability to crank. The most important lesson learned is I always get shut down on the crux, it could the first move or the last move. I’m coming for mono campusing.

Video Evidence

Mar 5, 2009

Coming Soon : Passion of Christ II, staring Dean Potter

Objective: Climbing Power Endurance

Warm-up : (1) Flash 12 Recreation problems (Up and down)
(2) Mobility Drills
(3) Flash 12 Intermediate problems (Up and down)

Training : (1) Dyno Practice, 10 minutes, 2 and 1 arm

(2) Flash 6 Advanced problems (Up only)

(3) Work Open problems, 30 minutes

(4) 4X4 (Advanced, Advanced, Advanced, Intermediate)
rest 2:30 between sets

1-arm dyno practice:

Despite the less-than-serious nature of the activity, there are important lessons to be learned. I don't know of a climb that requires a 1-arm dyno, but it does teach your body a new way to move. Climbers tend to have lots of movement baggage, e.g. "I don't dyno" or "I always stay open". I'm no different. It is good to break out of the self-made mold. The Self-Coached Climber discusses transferring momentum from the lower leg to the upper leg to upper body. The difference between the last two dynos is the transfer of momentum. In the second to last dyno, I successfully shift momentum throughout my body which enables me to generate plenty of power. However, my timing is not as precise in the last dyno, and I'm unable to generate as much power. The contact strength to latch the hold is whole other topic.

Notes : There were plenty of new problems from the competition to flash. I have done every Recreation, Intermediate, and Advanced problem in the gym (flashing 99%). Then I get shut down on the Open problems. I don't think I have sent one (the Open problem in the comp I flashed got downgraded). I don't understand. My only option is to get stronger. I'm still seeing linear progress with power endurance training.

Mar 4, 2009

Monos & Rattlesnakes

Objective : Performance

Problems Sent : Sometimes Wet, V2, flash
Phil's Folly, V3, flash
The Buddha, V4, flash
Unknown, V4, 2nd go (loose rock fell in my mouth on the flash)
Ned's Corner, V5, flash
Berthoud, V5, 2nd go
Phillip's Problem, V5, redpoint (1st go with better sequence)

Total Points : 28

Problems Tried : After Berthoud, V6, did all the moves but wanted more pads to send

A tree growing out of sandstone conglomerate in the river.

Delicious two-finger pocket

Slippery, slopey embedded rock jug

Notes : I was forced to go to Denver for work. I tried to make the best of the situation by climbing at Castlewood Canyon. I spent most of my time lost (Thanks Bob Horan!!). I was able to find two caves, Buddha Belly and Berthoud. It was fun, steep, thug climbing on sandstone conglomerate. I'm no stranger to that type of climbing and rock. While sandstone conglomerate lends itself to a vast variety of shapes, it is inherently unstable. Poison ivy and ticks were no extra charge. The only things missing from the complete central coast of California experience were monos and rattlesnakes.

Mar 3, 2009

Believe The Hype

It was still too cold and windy to climb in the days after the comp. My girlfriend and I decided to check out Rock Mountain National Park. It was my first trip, and I was simply blown away. Perfect steep boulders everywhere with superb rock quality.
A lifetime of rock

Once the snow melts it's ON!

Bonus :
My new Bolt Gun It ain't no Hilti, but it'll work.