Dec 31, 2009

The Year in Review: 2009

Climb in Forein Country
Status - EPIC FAIL

This fell off the radar and never comeback. Damn, I should have looked at my goals at some point during the year. I have already booked tickets for a 2010 trip to Costa Rica (sadly, no climbing).

Birthday Challenge
Status - Complete

It was rad.

Complete a Route Pyramid
Status - Epic Fail

I didn't devote enough Performance days to this goal. I continued to travel and onsight. I rarely climbed at the same crag twice. When I did, it was separated by months. I was bite by the developing bug this year, which does not help this goal or my scorecard.

Complete a Boulder Pyramid
Status - Partial Fail

I sent a V10, but the goal was to do the whole pyramid to become a better climber. The same reasons/excuses as above.

Flash V7
Status - Fail

I should've done it, lame on my part.

Onsight 12
Status - Fail

I really should've done it, really lame on my part.

Best of 2009

Mid-Summer, Las Vegas, NV & Tahoe, CA
(Hard picking just one)


The Palace, CO
It was long, very different from most CA routes. Engaging the whole way and tops out the cliff. I realized I could climb during the CO winter.

C3P0, V10
Taos, NM
My first V10, a 4 star problem.

Pinch Overhang, V5
Horsetooth, CO
Flash attempt on a classic

(A close second was falling on a new trad route, ripping out a micro nut and hitting my belayer)

Dec 30, 2009

Sweet Sticky Thing

Training: 1) Flash, New Problems

2) Work, New Problems

3) Open Hand, System Board
Lower Left
1 lap on the minute for 10 minutes

rest 10 minutes

4) 1/2 Crimp, System Board
1 lap on the minute for 10 minutes

5) Wide Moves, System Board
Skip 1 Up & 1 Over

6) 1-Arm, Dynamic Effort

7) L-sit scissors
20s X 3

8) Sited Russian Twist w/ Heavish Kettlebell
3 sets

Unedited Poor Quality Footage of the "Easy Project"
Still Fires My Ass Up!

Notes: I got outside today and cleaned up a bunch of lines on the boulder I found yesterday. Several of them are hard. One is futurist, it follows the black streak on the right side of the video. The futurist line got me syked to push it hard in the gym. I had to work a couple of new problems in the gym because they exposed a continuing limiter, fat pinches. I have a three-try "rule" for gym problems. If I fall on the same move three times, without improvement, I move on. Otherwise, I'm training strugglin' and falling.

The rest of the session focused on building capacity (something I don't do enough). #3 and #4 were simple density training. Next time I do the laps every 50s. I need to add weight to #5. #6 training to be fast. Finished the session with one stabilization and one rotational/nonlinear ab exercise. I superset those with prehab work.

Dec 29, 2009

Inter Alia

Training: 1) Campus, Throws, Medium Rungs
1-4-1 X 3

2) Campus, Throws, Small Rungs
1-4-1 X 2
1-4-1 X 2

3) Campus, Throws, Medium Rungs
1-4-1 X 3
1-4-1 X 3

4) Technique, Perfect Climbing, Adv Problems, 30 minutes

Notes: I'm trying to campus 2 x week, 72 hours between sessions. I'll back off at the first signs of injury. Switched it up again with Throws. I increased the volume of #4 by 10 minutes this session.

I abandoned my most recent training plan, focusing on Technique/Long Power Endurance. Training Long Power Endurance was awkward because of my current facilities. I'm rectifying that by building a home wall. It is slow going because I want it to be good. I was hoping for upcoming sport climbing trips to keep me syked. Those fell through. They are turning into bouldering trips. I'm in limbo right now. I'll continue to focus on technique and getting stronger. I'm trying to align my training with my goals, my limiters, current outside conditions, and training facilities.

"Endurance routes get easier.
Hard moves are always hard moves."

Jerry Moffat

HGT Boulders, Winter Projects

All of my projects are out of season. I can't get to the parking areas, they are covered in snow, or in the shade (or some combination of all three). I spent the day exploring and quickly found something.

A Nice Chunk of Rock

It is the size of a house. There is low easy stuff, high easy stuff, low hard stuff, and high hard stuff. Something for everyone. It is embedded in hillside which makes the descent a mellow walk-off. Finding this came just in time, I was getting a little case of Seasonal Affective Disorder and losing some training syke. Now I have a excuse to play outside and train hard.

I plan to publish (in some form) all my climbs when they are finished (I need to buckle down and finish areas). In the meantime, I'm keeping my nicknames private. I climbed two lines above, both warm-ups. I worked a project on the left hand side.

Dec 27, 2009

Operation Flea Collar

Training: 1) Flash, All new problems

2) Open Hand, Systemboard
Upper Left, Pull Through (with regular feet)

3) Open Hand, Hangboard
Large Edge, 1-arm

3) 1/2 Crimp, Systemboard

4) Wide Moves, Systemboard
Lower Right, Skip 1 Up & 1 Over

5) Front Lever, Straddle
3 sets

6) Corkscrew, 45 lbs
to failure

Notes: My Open Hand performance surprised me considering I campused hard yesterday. Getting stronger every session. Faded quickly during #3 and #4. I rarely train to failure, but it has value.

I have enough General Physical Preparation, GPP, to do my daily activities and recovery from my training. In the last week, I moved my stuff easily, pushed a car up a snowy driveway, and did basic construction building my woody. I don't need anymore. For a while, I was going to let my GPP slip down to Level 3. The more I let it slip, the less I realize I need. The plan is to let it slip to Level 2 and reassess.

Dec 26, 2009

Running The Rack

Training: 1) Campus, Large Rungs, Doubles
1-5 (fail X 3)

2) Campus, Medium Rungs, Doubles

3) Campus, Large Rungs, Ladder

4) Campus, Medium Rungs, Ladder
1-5-6 (f)

5) Technique, Perfect Climbing, Adv. Problems, 20 minutes

6) Prehab, Elbows & Shoulders

Winter in the Front Range

Notes: I tried to leave for Texas, to get my outdoor fix, but less 1 hour into the drive it became unappealing. I'm settling into a training cocoon and will emerge a beautiful strong butterfly.

Max effort day, time to break PRs. I use the conjunctive system, thanks Louie. I constantly rotate exercises. This session I used doubles up and down. I could make the distance on the 1-5 double but I couldn't latch it. It appears to be a mental/coordination issue. I was hitting the middle of the rung during 1-5-6.

I'm not sure about accessory work for climbing. The goal of accessory work is add muscle mass. Actually, I'm trying to lose muscle mass to improve my climbing. I give due diligence to prehab. Prehab takes on some of the characteristics of accessory work but is relatively low intensity. The most prominent candidate for accessory work is "core". But my core is strong enough, i.e. not a limiter. In fact, I might over rely on my core strength. Still investigating. That is why it is the Climbing Lab.

Dec 24, 2009

Get Behind Me, Santa!!!

Training: 1) Open Hand, System Board
Upper Left, Match then Pull Through
Upper Left, Pull Through (with bigger feet)

2) 1/2 Crimp, System Board
#1, Pull Through
#0, Match

3) Wide Moves, System Board
Lower Right, Skip 1 up & 1 over

4) 1-arm pull-ups
Left X 2, Right X 1.99
Left +5lbs, Right +2.5 lbs

Notes: Feel better than yesterday and performance is also better. Still not firing on all cylinders but getting stronger. Surprised myself with the 1-arm pull-ups. I might try a 31 lb 1-arm for my Birthday Challenge.

I'm heeding Dan John's advice and doing myofascial release on 6'' piece of PVC. It is hell but I feel much better after. I focus on my forearms, especially outside near my elbow. There is tightness that might be the start of elbow tendinitis. I had a problem with it in the past but don't currently feel the conscious symptoms. I also focus my left shoulder, an old injury. Afterwords there is more "space" in my shoulder. Someone saw me rolling and asked, "What is injured?" I replied "Nothing, I'm trying to keep it that way." I view it like car maintenance. I rather invest a little time and money now to prevent my timing belt breaking in the middle of the Utah desert.

Dec 23, 2009

What Would Buddha Tweet?

Training: 1) Threshold Bouldering, 45 minutes

My Field of Dreams

Notes: I suck at climbing after a rest period.

Dec 18, 2009

A Scheduled Rest Period

Every couple of months I take a short period of scheduled rest. Either I take it or it takes me, usually in the form of an injury.

Now is the perfect time.

God Bless America

Dec 17, 2009

Technique Steroids

Training: 1) Campus, Large Rungs, Ladder

2) Campus, Medium Rungs, Ladder

3) Campus, Large Rungs, Ladder

4) Open Hand, System Board
Upper Right, Match then Pull Through

5) 1/2 Crimp, System Board
#1, Pull Through

Notes: Campus and System Board on the same day. OUCH. Not too bad since I have built up my capacity for the last year. The gains in Campusing are harder to see because there is a big distance from one level to the next higher level. I can see the smaller gains in the System Board. Either way, I'm becoming objectively stronger.

Dec 15, 2009

The Sessions, #3, They Call Him Sensi For a Reason

I'm adapting to Justen's style and adjusting my schedule to be in the best possible state for learning. Today I was getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Training, if done right, is not enjoyable. I pushed against my boundaries for over 2 hours. It did help that my girlfriend Alex joined me.

I have noticed in the past my climbing feels binary, either I hike a line or it feels impossible. Justin suggested a boulder problem that fit into the "impossible" category for me. The grade was not extreme, but the problem was a problem for me. It started with a couple of reasonable moves which lead to hand/foot match heel straight into hand match on a weird sloper/pinch. I was shut down.

"Every sticking point is either physical, technical, or mental."
Dave Tate

From a physical prespective, I could have weak hamstrings and weak open hand/pinch grip. Form a a technical prespective, I could lack the engrams for hand/foot matches and hand matching. From a mental prespective, I flipped my send switch to off. Justin focuses on mental aspects. I tend to focus on the technical aspects. Both are the quick path. Strengths gains take weeks, months, or years to manifest. Technical and mental gains are more immediate and longer lasting.

In addition, I don't fall enough. I'm not afraid of falling but a fall relaxes me. I flow better afterwords.

Dec 13, 2009

Boyfriend Experience

Training: 1) Open Hand, 1-arm, Easy Side Top Sloper
5s X 3 (Each Side)
14s X Right
17s X Left

2) Full Crimp, 2-arm, Easy Side Crimp
5s X 3
10s X 1

In The Lab
Getting Stronger

Notes: Outside climbing was a good warm-up for training. You can never be too strong. Moon Climbing is the best workout I have found for maximum finger strength. Basically - variety of hand positions, hang short time (<10s),rest long time (>1 minute). There is a couple of tweaks I make to address weaknesses in the template. There is a lack of specificity, an individual might need to focus on different grips, and progression, systematic improvement over time.

I'm interested in transforming a workout into a training plan. I take additional cues from Westside Barbell , one max effort per week and undulating periodization. Currently, I'm tweaking my program by incorporating a method from Wendler's 5/3/1. The program advocates straight sets for the first sets than max reps for last set. If you blow through lots of reps (or time) during the last set, add weight next time. It is a simple method to assure volume and progression. I'm adding weight to both hangs next time.

The Palace, Defining Success

Routes Sent: Battle Axe, 9+, onsight (longish)
The Scepter/Sceptor, 10a, onsight (started to snow, had to fight)

Ice is solid
Game on for The Palace

Racking Up
Deciding if I should bring my crampons

Climbing Awaits

Notes: Got outside today. I was missing it. I hoped to finish up my FA projects, but there was too much snow to access the parking for the cliff. Settled for The Palace. It was warm, beautiful, and quiet, not another climbing party at the entire area. During my second warm-up, it got windy, dropped 10 degrees and start snowing. I agree with Upskill Climbing and won't complain about conditions. Let's just say it felt "hard." The jams felt "really hard." I have a goal of climbing every route at The Palace. Today was a success, I ticked two off the list.

Dec 12, 2009

Movement Gym, One of the Best Crags in CO?

Objective: Performance

Notes: I'm usually anti-indoor cragging. One primary reason is I get bored very easy. Indoor routes are too easy or too similar to make the climbing engaging. That is not the case with Movement. They set dam fine routes. So good in fact, that they might make you a better outside climber. Another reason is I have a lifestyle that allows for plenty of projecting/hard onsights outside. I use the gym as a path, not a destination. However, the weather in CO is wicked cold and snowy. I now have an indoor project.

Dec 10, 2009

Get Your Recess Outta My Study Hall

Training: 1) Sloper, Systemboard, Upper Left, Match

2) 1/2 Crimp, Systemboard, #1

3) Full Crimp, Systemboard, #0

4) Flash, 1 Adv+ & 1 Open Problem

5) 2 rounds
Rhythm Intervals, Level 2
35 on/25 off
rest 4:00 between rounds

Notes: Feel stronger, even though the strength metrics were the same. I need to make #3 harder. I could make it more difficult by decreasing rest (not conductive to strength gains), increase hold distance (would throw off 1/2 crimp training), decreases hold size (not possible since I'm already using the smallest holds in the gym), or increase load. The plan is to increase load but I forgot the weight vest.

I almost got sucked into the "gym climbing social bouldering game", #4, because a bunch of people I knew were climbing. Regardless of their goals or ability, everyone was projecting the same problems. For some people, the project climb was hard/impossible. For others, it was easy. I think the problems were suboptimal training for everyone. Are you playing your friend's game, the routesetter's game, or your game?

Keep to the plan - Get Strong, Get Skilled, Get Fit, Send Climbs (outside).

I'm fascinated that people go immediately into project mode. They have a mind set that every problem has to be solved. On the other hand, I try to stay in send/crush mode. I might not flash everything but I try. If I don't flash, my mental paradigm still focuses on quick sends.

I always want to train more. When it comes to Strength & Conditioning, quality and intensity almost always triumphs quantity. Today I trained hard and went home. I have almost eliminated all junk “mileage”. Every move I do in the gym has a purpose.

Dec 9, 2009

Pink Boxing

Warm-up: 1) Climb Perfectly, 15 minutes

2) Mobility Drills

Training: 1) Flash, New Problems, 10 minutes

2) Technique, Hoover, 20 minutes

Notes: An easy day after hard day. Still working technique. These days are important. They get me training, solidify new skills, but keep me from getting hurt. The hallmark of a good program is low/no injury rate.

Dec 8, 2009

The Sessions, #2, Better Training Through Technology

I'm still learning how to train in Justin's style. His training style is very different from my style or anyone else's style that I've worked with. He focuses primarily on the mental aspects of climbing, the rest will come along for the ride. Once I (re)learn the basics, we'll really get to work. During the whole session, I feel like a stupid boulder. I get pumped and fall apart so easily. Today I climbed for the first time with ankle weights and heart rate monitor. It was odd and took a little while to adapt. They are just tools to accomplish a goal. Just like there are no bad movements, there are no bad tools.

Even though training is structured at the individual level, being in an environment with better climbers will encourage me to raise my game. Movement, the gym itself, also encourages progress. The routes and boulder problems are wonderfully set, thoughtful without being contrived. In addition, they set hard problems and routes in a variety of styles. Something I find lacking in most gyms. I finally have a quality coach, training partners, and facility. Let the real training begin.

Dec 6, 2009

You Say Stressed I Say Desserts

Training: 1) Flash, new problems, 15 minutes

2) 4X4 (Adv+, Adv+, Adv, Int+)
rest 2:20 between sets

rest 10 minutes

2) 4X4 (Adv+, Adv+, Adv, Int+)
rest 2:20 between sets

rest 6 hours

3) 8 rounds
~30 moves
rest 1:1

A good day to be training and setting

Notes: I loaded the 4X4 heavy to light, to train downregulating. The goal was to finish the last problem with my breathing under control. The only thing that sucks more than intervals is lots of intervals. One day I will excel at resistance climbing.

Dec 5, 2009

Tauntaun Sleeping Bag

Training: 1) Technique, Decompress, 20 minutes

2) Sloper, Systemboard, Match, Upper Left

3) 1/2 crimp, Systemboard, #1

4) Technique, Hoover, Up to Adv+, 20 minutes

Notes: Technique work is progressing. Strength work felt hard, 2nd day on. Progress on Sloper strength. Skipped full crimp.

New Routing Disclaimer

I spent the afternoon wandering around looking for dry rocks in the sun. I found a couple. Was I the first to climb them? Probably not. Would my experience be different if there was more information about them? Probably. There would be better trails, less loose rock, more people, and I could chase numbers (or stars). Right now I have to make my own trails, clean rock, enjoy the solitude, and sift through the dross to find hard quality problems. I hope to provide a different experience for those who want it.

Part of my bias comes from my background as a scientist. Secret science is not respected. People discover things, publish them, and science progresses. There can be controversy, but science, as a whole, benefits from public records. The history of science is littered with examples of independent discovery, such as Calculus. History is the ultimate arbitrator.

I would rather focus my energy on new sport routes. That is not always possible so I pebblewrestle. I'm interested in development, which includes finding, cleaning, sending, and publishing climbs. The actual first ascent is just one part of the process, a part that doesn't hold too much interest for me. Anyone who has climbed with me knows that I freely giveaway first ascents and give credit where it is due. I'm not claiming any first ascents of boulder problems on this blog.

In the future, I will make a clearer distinction between "Exploring" and "New Routing". I will use the label "Exploring" for boulder problems and the label "New Routing" for climbs I'm bolting. I have climbed 75+ boulder problems in Northern Colorado that are not listed in any guidebook. I nicknamed them so I could uniquely identify the problems and facility remembering them. If I knew the established names, I would use them. I leave comments open and unmoderated for this purpose. In addition, everything I have published is on public land. No one person owns the public land. This is my blog and my opinions. To clarify this position, I have added the following disclaimer on the right-

"I know there is a long history of climbing in Northern Colorado (most of which I don't know). I don't care (too much) about names, grades, or first ascents. I give climbs nicknames so I can uniquely identify areas and climbs. Grades are just part of the game I play. I'm not claiming any first ascents. I just love climbing. I want people to get excited and enjoy the great local climbing.

If I got something wrong or if I'm out of line, please contact me."

Dec 4, 2009

Epistemological Blindness

Training: 1) Flash, New Problems, 20 minutes

2) Threshold Bouldering, 20 minutes

3) 10 rounds
~30 moves
rest 1:1

Notes: I went to a gym that I typically don't go to, trying to stay out of a rut. I flashed most of the problems. They put extra holds on the wall so you can make up your own problems. They still don't have enough holds, especially feet and small holds, to make it a good training facility. They also set nice 30+ move traverses. I flashed all of them. I got down to business and ran laps on the hardest one using only small feet. Climbing there is like cumin, it is nice but not a daily thing.

Dec 3, 2009

Pecked to Death by Baby Ducks

Objective: Climbing Technique, Climbing Stamina

Warm-up: 1) Rec, Up & Down x 10 (Don't Rush)

2) Mobility Drills

3) Int, Up & Down x 5 (Don't Rush)

Training: 1) Technique, Decompress, 20 minutes

2) Flash, New Problems, 20 minutes

3) Technique, Hoover, 20 minutes

Notes: I almost want to count today as 2 technique sessions. It was fun but felt long. Justen gave me some tips on relaxing while climbing. It worked so well, I felt like curling up and falling asleep on crash pad. The technique work immediately carried over to the flashes. I'm still amazed how little improvements in technique translate to huge improvements in performance. It is the quickest path to better climbing (or any sport). I progressed from easy to hard problems. By the time I got to the hard problems, they felt easy. I wasn't training stamina but came along for the ride.

Dec 2, 2009

New Training Cycle

Objective: Planning

After the feedback from Justen, I'm entering a new mesocycle, Technique/Long Power Endurance. The last cycle, Performance/Power, was a success. I got objectively stronger, sent my hardest boulder problem, and did all the moves on my bolted project.

There are some physical constraints. CO turned into a version of the Hoth ice world, so performance days will be few and far between. In addition, I've to do some traveling. I don't exactly know where or when, but I won't have great access to crags or gyms. That is LIFE. That makes strength training not optimal, but strength is not my biggest limiter. The idea behind a microcycle is that I complete each session type (in any order) before starting over. I can drop the training if the weather gets good or I end up in Hueco.

Dates: Dec 3- Jan 10

Per microcycle
4 Climbing Technique
3 Climbing Power Endurance, Long Interval
2 Climbing Power Endurance, Medium Interval
1 Climbing Power Endurance, Short Interval
1 Climbing Strength
0 Climbing Power
0 Crosstraining
Gymnastics and cardio when appropriate

"Don't have any meetings about your web strategy (or training program). Just do stuff. First you have to fail, then you can improve."
Seth Godin

Dec 1, 2009

The Session, #1, "You climb like Rob Miller"

Objective: Assessment

Notes: I attend my first session of The Sessions with Justen Sjong. Like all good training programs, it started with an assessment. My assessment was consisted of bouldering, lead climbing, and top roping. I was a wreck from yesterday - I set a route, did a climbing photo shoot, and got on hard FA projects. Although I wasn't in a peak state, I still climbed in my style. I won't get into all the details, but I received quality feedback about my climbing. Justin has amazing visual perspicacity. Most of the session focused on improving my mental game. There was little discussion of specific technique improvement and no talk of strength improvement. In addition, I got some homework to improve my climbing. I'm looking forward to finally having a coach.

On a side note, he decided to skip GPP assessment just by looking at me. Then I told him a little about my CrossFit-type background, which promoted the "You climb like Rob Miller" comment. Rob Miller is a former CrossFit guy and a great climber. While I'm not in the same league, I have same style. It is a blessing and a curse for climbing. I'm skipping all GPP work and might not do any climbing specific strength work.

Random notes - 4 types of breath, down regulation, heels, see texture, dig in