Jun 30, 2009

National Sovereignty Day

Objective: Climbing Strength

Warm-up: Flash new problems (Int X 4, Adv X7)

Training: System board, 4-6 moves
mono, big
slopers, lower left, wide
crimps, #1

I came back from my roadtrip to find this.
Seriously WHACK!
I'm glad I'm not in a Power Cycle.

Notes: I drove 12+ hours and slept 6- hours yesterday. I was eager to move my body, but wasn't going to crank hard. I opted for simple training. Move from weakest to strongest grip. I realized during my road trip I need to be stronger at full extension. I'm addressing that limiter by skipping one panel laterally as I move up.

During my session, a couple of girls sat under the session board to put on their shoes. I thought no problem. I can wait a minute before continuing to train. They start talking, still not a problem. Then one of the girls starts crying. WTF!!! I can handle Frat boys campusing the Recreation problems. I can handle the posses of Bros and Bras projecting everything to death. I cannot handle a girl crying under the system board. You can only cry under the session board if you pulled a tendon. Maybe.

Jun 29, 2009

New Training Cycle & A Birthday Challenge

I'm back in CO and ready to start to a new training cycle. My previous Power/Strength cycle went well. I sent like a mad man bouldering and could easily pull all the moves during onsights (if I read them correctly). I know I should take some time off, but I'm very psyched. The focus of the new cycle is Power Endurance for some upcoming adventures.

I'm home for week and then off to Lander, WY for the International Climber's Festival. In addition to onsighting some rad limestone, I will be attending Climb Strong!

Then it's Birthday Challenge time. It is my big 3-0. After my CrossFit-centric Challenge last year, it is a climbing only Challenge this year. I'm onsighting 30 routes in a day. There was a suggestion, by Elijah, that I do off-widths only. I know B-day Challenges are about suffering, but I'm sticking to clip-ups. The tentative date is August 6 in Lander, WY. Mark your calenders.

This cycle will last 4 weeks. Given the focus is Power Endurance for onsighting, the session breakdown is: 3 strength (no power), 6 power endurance, 4 endurance, 5 performance, and 13 rest days. This is just guideline. It is usually thrown out the window the first week. The paucity of performance days is due to the following facts: it is hot, I don't want to drive 45+ minutes to climb, and I need to show up to work every once in a while.

One more thing, I'm competing in the State of America Games in Olympic Weightlifting on August 1. I'll be training Oly Lifting 3x a week. It is much easier to program and prepare for Olympic Weightlifting meet than climbing or a Birthday Challenge (That is odd because in the traditional sport conditioning world Oly lifting is one of the most difficult things in training and program design.)

As always, feedback is welcome.

Jun 27, 2009

Tuolumne Meadows, Too Many Mosquitoes and A Fair Share of Egos

Objective: Performance

Day 1

Location: Low Profile Dome & Puppy Dome

Routes: Golfer's Route, 7, onsight (TR)
Darth Varders Revenge, 10a, onsight (TR)
Orange Face (?), 10c, flash (TR)
Memo from Lloyd, 11a/b, flash (TR)

Some bouldering including Bachar Mantle, V3

Day 2

Tenaya Peak

Dan K. attempted a "free ariel" on the Bachar Ladder

Dan and Evan being dumb on a slippery rock in the middle of river.
At least Evan is on YOSAR, he could rescue himself.

Great Granite Bouldering

Tenaya Summit

I was very tired and dehydrated on the descent.
Remember, the summit is only the halfway mark.

Notes: Alex and I joined Dan and Evan for two days in Tuolumne Meadows. I love the high Sierras, a great adult outdoor playground. Two drawbacks, mosquitoes and egos (at least there is bug spray for the mosquitoes). By egos, I mean the people that developed the area decided to make most routes scary. It is just plain stupid to bolt routes that can hurt people. I guess it would ruin the aesthetics to have one more piece of metal in the rock or I'm not really a climber because I don't want to cheese grater for 20+ft. Whatever. I'll enjoy my day by being a Toprope Tough Guy.

While I'm ranting, trad climbers are weak. A crew of us got on "Memo from Lloyd", 11a/b. The two sport climbers, Dan and I, flashed it easily. I jammed my way up it, and Dan pinch/liebacked it. Either way, we sent. The "trad" climbers were strugglin'. If you want to get good at trad, clip some (closely spaced) bolts for a couple of months. Your proj will be easy. Don't just take my advice, ask Ethan Pringle, Sonnie Trotter, or Matt Segal.

We finished the day with some "bouldering." I flashed "Machine World" V3, "Puppy Crack" 5.7, and bunch of other problems (I don't know the names). The highlight was Bachar Mantle, 3rd try. It is a jump start to mantle over talus, then 20+ft of slab. I was glad to have pads, spotters, and Alex yelling, "You have strong legs". I may not be the strongest monkey in the jungle, but I feel like my strength, technique, and mental game are well balanced.

The next day Alex and I climbed Tenaya Peak. It was my second time, but Alex's first. Alex stepped up her game by leading the bottom 2/3s. I simo-climbed behind her. We pitched out the end. Fun day but the heat and mosquitoes sucked. Any form of alpinism is suffering.

Jun 25, 2009

Lake Tahoe, Day 8, Gettin' Some

Objective: Performance

Routes Sent:Warpath, 9, onsight (super super rad, long, steep, great warm-up)
Mohawk, 10a/b, onsight
Undercooked, 11b, onsight (rad, big move crux, didn't get pumped)
Eat the worm, 11c, redpoint (4th try, should've been 2nd)

Total Points: 18.5

Routes Tried: Overcooked, 11d, 1 try (extension to Undercooked)
Raindance, 12a, 4 tries (still suck at redpointing)

Freaky space alien plant near Big Chief

I was a little afraid of this plant, also.

Alex flashing one of the best 5.9s in the world

Goodbye to Great Cragging Views

Notes: Spent the last climbing day in Lake Tahoe at Big Chief. Played the game right by getting the crag early before it went into the sun. Warpath is so goooood. Undercooked went so well, I tried to onsight the Overcooked extension. It is harder and lower quality. I fell between the last bolt and the chains, AGAIN. NEGATIVE!!!

I tried to flash Raindance but didn't receive the best beta. I couldn't get the suboptimal beta out of my head on subsequent attempts. By the time I figured out my way, I was too tired to send. I tried to onsight Eat the Worm but it was in the sun. Then I didn't rest long enough between the next couple of tries. I need to settle down and get things done.

Jun 22, 2009

Lake Tahoe, Day 5-7, Slip Slidin' Away

Day 5

Location: Grouse Slab

Rocco's Demise, 10b, 2nd go (soloed a gully to set TR, short, hard, pure friction slab)
Insidious Crack 6, follow (fun, kinda hard)
Cream Puff, 10b, 1st try (TR, friction slab)
Caifura, 9+, onsight, trad (like the The Grack, fun, forget small nuts and didn't place gear until 30ft)

Day 6

Location: Big Chief

War Paint, 9, onsight (long and rad)
Witch Doctor, 10c/d, onsight (short, steep, and burly)
Pow Wow, 11a, onsight (the steepest 11a I've been on, super rad)
Peace Pipe, 11d, 1 try (fell between last bolt and chains, NEGATIVE)

Cliff went into the sun.

Random Bouldering in Tahoe Donner (pretty rad, but semi-Private Property)

Day 7

Location: Black Wall, aka the hell approach

Cannibal Gully, 7, follow (would be a little scary to lead)
Primer, 9+, onsight, trad (super rad)
Lubrication, 9, onsight, trad (a little wide, but I like that)
Rhythm Killer, 12a/b, epic fail (I was not warm and was shredding)

Alex getttin' some steep goodness at Big Chief

Drop it like it's hot

Big Chief and Little Princess

Bouldering 5 minutes from the cabin

Looking in vain for a topout jug

Distractions from climbing

Notes: Falling into the road trip trap with a series of mediocre days. Medium amount of climbing at medium levels.

Big Chief is a super rad crag. It is steep, well-featured volcanic rock, very much my style. It is disappointing to find out about the cliff near the end of the trip.

I'm taking a rest day and will rage against the dying of the light.

Jun 21, 2009

Video Evidence

Lake Tahoe, Day 4, Bouldering is Easy

Objective: Performance

Boulders Flashed: V2 X 6
V3 X 3
V4 X 2
V5 X 1
(Most problems in Tahoe don't have names.)

Flash Points: 34

Boulders Sent: V4 X 1 (2nd go)
V6 X 1
V7 X 3 (2nd go, 3rd go, < hour)

Redpoint Points: 31

Total Points: 65

Boulders Tried: V5 (did all the moves, couldn't put it together)

Zero Approach - Check
Flat landing - Check
Staircase descent - Check
Grades from VB-V11 - Check

In bodybuilding, they call this "back double biceps pose".
In bouldering, they call this "wedge yourself in the dihedral

Big Move


Beta = Sending

Notes: Went a minor bouldering rampage today. Thanks to my record keeping I'm able to see progress from a similar trip to Lake Tahoe last fall. L
ast fall, it took me 7-10 tries to send a V7. Today, I was able to send in 2-5 tries. Very close to my 2009 goal of flashing V7. I didn't feel very tired at the end of the day and my skin was still in reasonable shape. All the training helps.

Jun 18, 2009

Lake Tahoe, Day 3, Operation Old School

Objective: Climbing Technique

Routes Sent: Eyes of Silver, 10b/c, 3rd go (1st try today)
Easy Street, 10c, 2nd go (drilled slab, WTF?)

Routes Tried: Crack a No Go, 10a, bail (trad)
The Heckler, 11a, 1 try (slab)
Bolt Run, 10d, 1 try (slab)

Bonus: Mountain Athlete's current view on training for climbing - here

Photo Evidence:
Me on a trad climb

Notes: Today was a training day at the crags. I suck at slab climbing. I swallowed a small part of my pride and thrutched up some slab. The first stop was "Road Cut" Crag. The entire cliff is a drilled chossy POS. I started up "Easy Street", a drilled slab. One word - TWEAKY. I've trouble onsighting drilled routes. They frequently required full extension moves which are hard to commit to the first time up a route. I foolishly thought the trad line at the cliff would be higher quality. It was for the first 20ft before it turned into kitty litter granite. I tucked my tail between my legs and left the cliff.

The rest of day was spent on the immaculate low-angle granite of "Peanut Gallery." I practiced my slab skills until my feet ached and I crimped a bruise into my finger. The physical aspects are progressing but the mental game is still weak.

Jun 17, 2009

Lake Tahoe, Day 2, Granite Legs

Objective: Performance

Routes Sent: Moon Shadow, 10d, onsight (good route, pumped & desperate at end)
Kwijiwabo, 11a, onsight (varied and full value, pumped, legs shaking, and scared)
Short Subject, 11d, onsight (completely my style, felt EASY)

Total Points: 20

Routes Tried: Brain Child, 12b, 3 tries (brilliant route, scary mantle 10ft above last bolt)

Bonus: Interview I agree with Mark Twight/Gym Jones. Too bad he doesn't train climbers anymore.

Alex becoming more confident but not complacent.

The After Work Crowd

Notes: I'm settling into the Self Coached Climber's suggested performance guidelines, a series of progressively harder (but doable) onsights and then work on a redpoint project. I want to kept the volume of climbing at this minimum. This type of granite requires precise feet and extreme flexibility. I doubling down on the static stretching in the evenings to speed up the transition from gym to crag.

One of my primary goals for this trip was an onsight of "Short Subject." It is 3 bolt steep sport climb. Lots of hype in my head for 90 seconds of climbing. It was awesome to get it done on the first full day.

If I want a redpoint project "Brain Child" is rad one. It starts with V5 move right off the ground and stays in your face for 50ft until a boulder problem exit.

Jun 16, 2009

Lake Tahoe, Day 1, The Accidental Soloist

Objective: Performance

Routes: Kindergarten Crack, 5.5, 2 pitches (followed first pitch, soloed second pitch)
Eyes of Silver/Middle Age, 10c/8 (climbed 1/2 of EOS, then escaped to MA and soloed it)

Alex on her journey towards becoming a trad leader.

Notes: I escaped the heat and chaos of Las Vegas to cool granite of Lake Tahoe. 3 different types of rock in 3 days of climbing. Hopefully, this variety will supercharge my climbing ability.

I got reacquainted with the golden granite of the high Sierras. I feel very comfortable on this type of rock. You can climb anywhere and feel solid. "Eyes of Sliver" is a contrived bolted slab line. I got frustrated pawing up the slab and escaped to the nearby fun crack. The day was cut short when it started to rained. We left to drink coffee and play on the internet.

Jun 14, 2009

Red Rocks, The Hotness

Objective: Climbing Performance

Routes Sent: The Runaway, 10a/b, onsight (good climb, in the sun)
Range of Motion, 10d, onsight (fun, usually it is a ripper magnet)
Basement, 11b/c, flash (brilliant route, yes - I kneebarred)

Total Points: 15

Routes Tried: Social Disorder, 11d, 3 tries (in the sun, redpoint falls at big awkward move)

Future - Crag Dog
Currently - Mogwai

Notes: The next day Phil, Elijah, and I cranked at Red Rocks. It was unseasonably cool, low 80s. I typically wilt like a flower in the sun and heat, but I climbed surprisingly well today.

Every time I have been to The Gallery there has been a line of rippers on "Range of Motion." Today I got lucky and was able to onsight it without the crowds. Judging by amount of chalk, "Social Disorder" might be the least popular route at The Gallery. Despite the relative lack of traffic, it has fun moves. One big move shut me down during my redpoint attempts. I have difficulties with big moves between medium-sized holds. This shutdown move was similar to my nemesis move on "Short Dog." I'll attack this weakness when I start my next training cycle.

The highlight of the day was Elijah on Sunsplash, which he thought was Monster Skank. Both are proud, classic 13b routes. However, I think Monster Skank proper is more Crankenstein style.

I ended the day with a flash of Basement, via heel hooks and a kneebar. I don't to hear anything about my style since I sent.

Jun 13, 2009

Mt. Charleston, Maximal Shredding

Objective: Performance

Routes Sent: Just Another Warm-up, 9, onsight (really fun, it has actual holds)
Unknown, 11a, redpoint (easy variation of a previous sent 11b, i onsighted the "11a" section)
Heating up the Hood, 11c, onsight (proud send, didn't feel too hard)

Total Points: 17

Routes Tried: Short Dog, 12a, 3 or 5 tries (I completely suck at redpointing)

Photo Evidence:
Phil not at Owl Tor

I'm weak.
I kneebar everything (even before the 2nd bolt).

Enjoying the 2 finger pockets

Elijah climbing strong between the widely-spaced holds

Notes: Since I have started my 2 week road trip, I'm in the pinball machine of life. I was car camping in the desert, right off the I-15, when a couple of buddies (Elijah and Phil) invited me to join them at the Wynn in Las Vegas!!! Screw dirt bagging, it is time for Gimlets.

Later that night, I woke up and misread the clock. I thought it read 7:30 a.m, in reality it was 1:30 a.m. After I woke up a sound asleep Elijah, he gently corrected my error. Strike 1 for shredding. After a world-class omelet at the Wynn, we decided on world class climbing at Mt. Charleston. While driving up to 8,000 ft, my car over-heated. Strike 2. When we got to crag, I got confused and started up the wrong warm-up. Strike 3. I was maximally shredding at this point.

I settled down and onsighted "Heating up the Hood." It felt easy except for a short section with really SLICK limestone feet. I moved over to my project, "Short Dog", which should have been quick and easy redpoint. It was not happening with my current level of shredding. At the lowest point, I forget the location of critical hand holds.

One of biggest lessons I have learned from this blog is "You get better at what you do." For the last 6 months, I have focused onsighting. I can climb very close to my personal limit while onsighting. However, that doesn't translate directly to redpointing. I have onsight plans for the rest of summer (including a Birthday Challenge). In the fall, I'm going to settle down and work on my redpoint skills.

Jun 10, 2009

Sweet Sticky Thing

Objective: Climbing Endurance

Training: 2 rounds
Continuous climbing, 20 minutes

Notes: I'm beat up from that last week of hard training. It was difficult to get motivated to do that much traversing. I still did it. A couple days of well earned rest until Mt. Charleston and Eastside granite.

Jun 8, 2009

Your Project is on My Circuit

Objective: Climbing Stamina

Training: 4 rounds
Repeat 12 Advanced Problems
rest 5-10 minutes between rounds

Notes: I want to be strong, but I also want to be strong all day long. This workout is targeted towards those goals. In the recent past, I have done similar hard circuits with a 10lb weight vest. That additional weight was highly correlated with finger injuries. For this session, I dropped the weight vest and doubled the volume. My fingers feel fine, but I'm tired and SORE.

Jun 7, 2009

Going Multiball

Objective: Climbing Strength

Warm-up: Flash new boulder problems, including some Opens!!

Training: (1) Threshold bouldering on the System Board, 45 minutes
- Monos, Middle, Matching
- Monos, Outside, Matching
- Slopers, Top Right, Pull Through
- Slopers, Bottom Left, Pull Through
- Slopers, Top Left, Pull Through to easier sloper
- Two finger pockets, Middle, Pull Through
- Crimps, Zero setting, matching

(2) Advanced problems, 20 minutes, up and down

June in CO means a couple of inches of hail.
I'm climbing inside today.

System Board Panel

Notes: I love the system board in the gym, steep with great panel holds. Monos are freaky. I'm okay at them, but I maintain a healthy respect. However, I'm not very strong on slopers. It is 50% physical and 50% technical. I need to believe I'll stay, even when they feel horrible. I'm adding weight to the two finger pockets next time. The crimp panels panels have 4 settings, 0-4. Zero is a smallest setting, deliciously tiny. I finished with some hardish bouldering. Last power/strength session before my 3 week road trip. I feel good and healthy.

Jun 5, 2009

"Humbing Mathew"

Objective: Climbing Power Endurance

"I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice."
Notice the 5 was changed to a 3 on #2.

Notes: Went down to Mountain Athlete with Doug and a couple of random people. I was the only person not mummified, i.e. tape covered hands.

The "warm-up" took 20 minutes, and I was "completely maxed" at the end. I'm not a fan of pairing rope climbs and hangboards. It saps contact strength from your hands. You don't get it back during the ball slams. It was first time ever in my life that I had to use my feet on a rope climb!

We started the get ups with 80lb sandbags but quickly dropped down to 60. They were still the hardest part. I rested during the HIT strip laps. I think Rob sneaked some weight into the tire after we sprinted through the first round of #2.

Some clicked at the 40 minute mark, either I woke up or I turned off my conscious brain. The workout still sucked and was hard, but it didn't matter. I moved my body, but there were no thoughts. It was a nice feeling. The entire session took 75 minutes with no breaks. It was great training with Doug. We are at the same level and create a healthy competitive atmosphere.

Jun 4, 2009

LOTD, Farmhouse Sector

Objective: New Routing

"The Barn" boulder, frontside
Left to Right
Invisible Invaders, V? - Very doable if it wasn't slippery as snot
Flesheater, V1 - sds, big pull to big jug
Womaneater, V1 - right arete, kinda contrived, harder sds

"The Barn" boulder, backside
It's Great to be Alive in Colma, V3 - sds, crimps on the face

"Hell Down in the Cellar" project and "The Farmhouse" boulder

"Hell Down in the Cellar" project

Notes: It has been raining off and on for last couple of days, but I tried to squeeze in a quick outdoor session. I went to "The Farmhouse" sector, named after a very large low-angled boulder. Everything was wet and slippery. As a result, my grades could be softer than they normally are. I did not get on "The Farmhouse" proper, Wet + Slab = DEATH.

I spent most of my time on "Hell Down in the Cellar" Project. It is very steep blocky granite, but losses a couple of stars because the landing is poor. It makes me want to a better climber, like all good projects.

Jun 2, 2009

"Over The Hil"

Objective: Climbing Stamina
As It Was Written So It Shall Be Done

Another Mountain Athlete Session, Another Blister

Notes: As a reward for a hectic, stressful, productive day of work in Denver, I went to Mountain Athlete in Boulder (I know I'm weird). I would call this a Stamina workout, repeated medium length submaximal efforts, not Power, short maximal effort.

I used the jugs for the first couple of minutes to warm-up and then stuck to the pockets/smaller holds on the system board for the remaining time. The HIT laps were hard but doable until Mr. Shaul switched things up. I had been not matching each rung, reducing the time under tension thus making the exercise easier. He suggested matching every other rung. I was barely able to finish and could not down climb the last couple of sets. Good stuff. That is why I need a coach.

The typical order of HIT strip lap is jug - mini-jug - pockets - pinches, strongest-to-weakest for me. In my own training, I train weakest to strongest grip. Rob reversed the order when he saw me struggling on the pinches. Hopefully that improvement becomes a permanent change in Mountain Athlete programming. After the session, I got to geek out about training with Rob. It was awesome.

I received another blister. I don't notice it until I was driving home. MA workouts are the best workouts I have found for power endurance or stamina. However, I can't commit to it because it destroys my skin.

Essential Carbohydrates

Objective: Climbing Power

Training: (1) Medium Rungs, 1-2-4
Medium Rungs, 1-2-5
Medium Rungs, 1-3-5
Medium Rungs, 1-3-6 (f)

(2) Small Rungs, 1-2-4

(3) Big Rungs, 1-4-6

Notes: This session was harder. Still getting PRs. I had a couple more fails but didn't mark them down. The next session I'll re-introduce two finger campusing and throws. I flashed all the new problems in gym to warm-up/cool-down. I'm not engaged by the gym's bouldering.