Apr 29, 2010

Boulder Canyon, Castle Rock Bouldering

I continued my after-work session theme with Boulder Canyon. It would've been a good day to bring the ice tools and a balaclava. The very cool temperatures, with a brisk wind and far bit of moisture in the air, made the rock was stickier than Willie Nelson's tour bus.

Good mixed conditions on "Nintendo"

I focused and dispatched all the moderates with quickness. The Citadel taught me that I need to climb outside ALOT more to translate my strength and technique to real rock. My strength base enables me to give rapid fire attempts. Rapid fire attempts enables me to quickly learn the appropriate technique and send the problem. Strength is FOUNDATION of all physical pursuits. Don't let anyone tell you different. I finished the day with the Colorado Burl 2 sideshow at Neptune's Mountaineering and pints at Southern Sun. The Front Range cannot be beat for sustainable climbing lifestyle.

Route Sent:
SouthWest Arete, V0- (fun)
North Slab, V0, Flash
South Face, V3, Flash (?)
Nintendo, V4, Flash (mixed conditions, shoulda brought my ice tools)
Standard Bulge, V5, 3rd go (couldn't figure out where to go, i traversed way right)
The Citadel, V8, redpoint (<20 min, 1st go with reasonable beta)

Apr 27, 2010

Climbers Don't Deserve Climbing

Training: 1) Technique, 30 minutes

2) Bouldering, 30 minutes

Notes: A recent post by Dave Macloed put together some ideas concerning the lack of progression seen in most climbers. I thought it had to with the "lifestyle" of climbing. I now think it has more to do with the The Resistance. Very few people stand out and try something different. I see it in the gaggle of ducklings wandering from problem to problem in the gym or the "professional" climbers of Boulder, CO only climbing on the outside problem of the week. I want to climb everything, the easy climbs and the hard climbs.

Block Programming makes things so simple its should be a crime. #1 - I tend to freak out and over gip, usually with my whole body. I worked on "decompressing." Some things need to be tight, everything else I try to relax. Yoga on the wall. #2 - Played on some boulder problems. At one point, I tried so hard I ripped a layer of skin off. I had no skin for power endurance training. Oh well.

Ouzel & YGT Boulders

I set out after a less than solid 1/2 day of work to explore Poudre Canyon. I knew what I was getting into and stick to the lower canyon. I wrestled with some boulders at the Ouzel pull-out. The rocks were short but one made up for it with high quality river polished granite.

Blue, V1 - sds on slopers, blind throw to jug
Green, V5 - sds with LH on a sloper ball and RH on sidpull, traverse up and left
Pink, V1/2 - sds, slopey jugs

Green, V3 - sds, a long pull to good holds, chossy rock

I finished the outside portion of my day by running a circuit, ~15 problems, on the YGT boulders. It was an idyllic experience, moving over the relatively well-featured granite with perfect landings in a field of flowers. The only sounds supplied by a babbling brook.

Some YGT boulders:

Bonus Flower

Apr 26, 2010

Poudre Canyon, As Bad As It Gets

I set out after a solid 1/2 day of work to explore Poudre Canyon. The canyon is different every time (maybe its me). The river is rising rapidly now. I was unable to access lower canyon projects. Fall will offer redemption or more precisely, an opportunity for redemption. That is best I can hope for. Plenty of time to dream and train.

So long until Fall

I made my way far up the canyon to the more established areas. I forced something that wasn't there. Most things were wet. Foolishly thought my steel cable tendons were more important than dry shoes. I was wrong. By the time I found dry problems, I had no confidence. Most of my "game" comes from confidence. I couldn't play my game and lost.

Signs of Spring


I guess ribs were on the lunch menu.

Today was as bad as it gets but it's still pretty fucking good.

Problems Sent: Warm Up Crack, V1, Flash (felt hard, ominous omen)
Downclimb, V1, Flash (Merlin, redemption)
Slopey Mantle, V2, Flash (micro crimp > technique)

Problems Tried: Almost everything on "Warm Up Wall"
Harder They Come, V9, all the moves (figured out two methods -sloper vs jump, exposed weaknesses)
Don't Name This Boulder Problem, V10, all but 1 move (still suck on toe hooks)
Merlin, V7, all the moves (a little rad and a little sharp)

Apr 24, 2010

Saturday Syke Video

Leave it to the Canadians to put on a watchable climbing competition.
Other problems - here

I'll tell you what is NOT the Saturday Syke Video - The Live Stream of the Earth Trek's "Unified Bouldering Championships." (It doesn't even deserve a link.) There were a TOTAL of 2 sends for the Men (both by Sharma) and 2 sends for the Women in all of the finals. It was worse than watching punters thrash themselves in a typical gym session. If you want to take climbing competitions to the next level have more climbing and less falling.

PS The announcers were RIPPERS.

Apr 23, 2010

Smoking Candy Cigarettes

Training: 1) Route Doubles, 45 minutes

2) T2P, 30 minutes

3) Rhythm Intervals, 3 rounds
Level 2, 2, 1

Notes: I'm experimenting with creating sessions that follow a continuum from sport specific to conditioning specific. I got the idea from Gambetta's blog. I move from most climbing related, routes, to the least climbing related, rhythm intervals on the system board. Climbing always takes priority, but it is hard to get a strong enough "dose" from just climbing.

#1 - I'm addicted to route doubles. I climbed the hardest routes available. Falling off near the top of the second lap = PERFECT #2 - Getting better at regulating the intensity. I tend to pick the traverse too easy and the problem too hard. #3 - There is no hiding in Rhythm Intervals. They suck my soul (in a good way).

Apr 22, 2010

Arthur Clarke's Law

Training: 1) Climbing Technique

2) Hangboard/Mobility

3) Bouldering

Good Training Weather

Notes: #1 My technique on steep terrain falls apart when pumped. I practiced ingraining the fundamentals in a low stress situation. Push with feet, knee bars, heel hooks, & drop knees. #2 Sloper & 1/2 crimp, 8 sets of 6s on/60s off. No Full Crimp cause I'm starting to "quit doing shit I've already mastered." #3 Got on some hard bouldering inside, ~5 problems. Some even took me 4 tries! A good change.

Apr 20, 2010

The Sessions #7, What a Yellow Light Really Means

The volume pendulum swung the other way during this session. I got on a lot of routes, ~ 11, during the two hours. For me, this kind of sport climbing is more mental taxing than physically taxing. My old, less than great, habits come back once I start getting pumped. It is a mental battle to recognize (since they are ingrained) and start to replace the old habits with better habits. I call this Yellow Light climbing. Don't speed up or slow down, just like when you're driving. Especially - DON'T FREAK OUT. Just focus on the climbing and keep moving. Climbing well during the yellow light separates good from great sport climbers.

I'm not perftect. I don't climb perfectly (none does). In the past, I would expect a redpoint to go perfectly. It never does. I would get frustated and spin out after I made my first micromistake. I'm getting better about dealing with mistakes. Now my inner dialogue is - "Oh, I grabbed a wrong hold. I'll regrab it right. Reset and move on." It makes climbing more enjoyable, with the added bonus of cranking harder.

Apr 19, 2010

CORE, A Climbing Flick, in Fort Collins - April 25

Core is making it's way to Fort Collins on April 25 at Road 34.

Check for details at the CORE Homepage.

My thoughts about the film - here .

Apr 18, 2010

Pistols & Frappuccinos

Warm-up: 1) Climb some easy established problems

2) Hike, 45 minutes

Training: 1) Traverse to Problem (TCP), 30 minutes

2) Density Training (DT), 30 minutes
Adv Minus - 7, Adv - 6, Adv Plus - 6, Open Minus - 2

3) Recovery Intervals (RI), 12 min, rest 5 min, 12 min

Notes: I checked out a new sector with above average rock quality. It was fun repeating the established problems. After, I hiked around and found two awesome new bouldering walls. They should keep me occupied for the rest of season. It was a nice appetizer for the entre of training.

Session #2 of Week 1 - #1 Works one of my biggest limiters, bouldering when slightly pumped. Kinda funky because I had to traverse around multiple outside corners to get enough moves in. #2 Plays one of my strengths, stamina. I tried so hard one of my legs cramped. 3 of problems were flashes, including an Open Minus. I had to lay down for 5 minutes before starting the next block. #3 - My endurance is horrible!!!

It was a different "dose" than the 1st session. I had to wait a couple of minutes before the pump went away to undo my shoes and had to pour myself into my car. A good day in the lab.

A Special Video Evidence

I fell back in love with rockclimbing because of this problem.

Apr 17, 2010

Some Change For Something Strange

Training: 1) Route Doubles (Climb 1st Route, Short rest while previewing , Climb 2nd Route, Rest 5 minutes, repeat), 45 minutes

2) Bouldering, 30 minutes

rest 4 hours

3) System Board, 30 minutes

4) Hangboard, 30 minutes

5) Icing & Wine, 30 minutes

Notes: This is the start of a transition period in my training. The Front Range spring season is tapering down, and I'm leaving on a roadtrip in one month. The new cycle will be based on the Block Programming from Steve Betchel with a couple of tweaks. I plan to add a technique block per microcycle and still try to get outside 3-4 times per microcycle.

#1 - I climbed the hardest routes at the gym. Got pumped but didn't fall. #2 - Didn't go well. The taped problems were too easy and all set by one person. Monochromatic setting gets boring quickly. #3 Focused on open hand and then 1/2 crimp, feet not cutting #4 Focused on 1/2 crimp and then sloper. Supersetted maximum effort hangs with mobility drills. My body felt better than when I started. #5 I usually don't. Glad I did.

Saturday Syke Video

Sketchball J-Tree,
Always Classice

Apr 15, 2010


I was only able to get out for a quick session before work, which was better since it is getting warmer. This sector is close to my house but the rock is friable, similar to The Palace. This boulder in particular might have been climbed on before. There was evidence of "gardening" near the base but could use more love/traffic.

Left to Right
#1, V1 - start on lip and edge to nice mantle
#2, V3 - start on slopey pinch, punch it to the top
#3, V5 - sds on triangle feature, move to arete, best problem on the boulder, great movement
#4, V2 - start on two crimps move to lip

#4, V2 - start on two crimps move to lip
#5, V? - possible hard dead vertical line on flaky holds
#6, V4 - sds on arete traverse up and left on embedded rocks, V2 from stand

#7, V2/3 - sds climb arete via positive but slopey holds
#8, V1/2 - sds fun slopers
#9, V0 - start just right of dead tree

These are just my interpretations of the rock. Given the nature of the rock, other ones are possible. There are ~20+ boulders in this area. The potential climbing within 30 minutes of my house still astounds me.

A nice day to be on the river

Spring is here

Apr 14, 2010

Radio Face

Training: 1) Flash Pyramid (up to Open), 45 minutes

2) 1 arm pull-ups, singles
Left - 0, +8, +12 (fail by 1''), +8, 0
Right - 0, +5, +8 (fail), 0, 0

3) 3 Rounds
3 Front Lever Raises
Clapping Push-ups till failure

4) 1-arm dip practice

5) Prehab & Core (even some regular pull-ups)

Notes: I felt light and strong today, still at only 95%. I cranked up the volume (~12 more problems) but only increased intensity a little. Typically when I flash I try to climb perfectly. If I don't, I repeat the problem until it is perfect. The goal is not getting to the top. The goal is becoming a better climber. The flash rule adds a mental component usually missing from gym bouldering. My physical skills are modest, but my edge comes from my mental skills. I come to the gym ready to train, 3rd stage. Nothing set in the gym can challenge me the way outside climbing can, so I don't let it. I make a decision to crush and I do.

I switched it up and played the "distillation game." The goal was to still flash but remove superfluous holds and moves, getting to the core of each problem. I add an addition rule - my feet can't cut. Otherwise, I'm training sloppy climbing. I would "flash" the problem conventionally if I missed the distillation flash. It is just a game to keep training fun (and still accomplishing my goals). On the way back down the pyramid, I focused on climbing perfectly and relaxed in a fatigued state.

#1 - I wanted to set a PR in 1 arm pull-ups. I was forced to use 12lbs (instead of 11lbs) because I forgot to bring my own weights to the gym. I failed according to my standards (dead hang from full extension to chin touching hand above wrist). #4- I've never done a 1-arm dip. It sounds like fun.

Apr 12, 2010

Homestead Boulder

I hike around a lot and have a virtually unlimited list of potential climbing. This bloc was always on the top of my list. I had to wait over a year for the right confluence of events, relatively warm day and low river level, before I could climb on it. Today was my lucky day. My nickname for this boulder is the "Homestead Boulder." It composed of very solid red granite. However because of its location there was about an inch of lichen on it.

Here is what I ended up with after I busted out my rope and brush -
Yellow, V? - Lots of options, none of them good
Green Solid, V? - stand start on two jug sidepulls, tricky moves to tricker top-out
Green Dotted, V? - same start as Green Solid, traverse on slopers and jugs to join Yellow line
Pink, V? - same start as Green Solid, traverse to sloper and exit directly, looks very hard
Blue, V1 - Grab large plate feature, mantle, grab lip, mantle again, easy but committing

There are 2 Vos, not pictured, bookending the aforementioned climbing.

Mixed Bouldering Anyone?

Fun With Nature

Apr 11, 2010

Boulder Canyon, Welcome Back to Shredding

I planned to spend a relaxing Sunday playing on the Graham Boulder of Boulder Canyon. It went according to plan until I ripped a hole in my finger, which almost never happens. I decide to call it a short day. In the process of putting my pads in my car, I locked my keys in the car. No problem. I have a hide-a-key. I can't find the hide-a-key. DAMN! Luckily, there was a CO Highway Patrol person at the turnout. I talked him into giving me a ride.

Down the canyon to Alex's, my girlfriend, house in Boulder.

Up the Canyon to look for the hide-a-key again. Nope. Still not there.

Down the Canyon. I drive to Fort Collins to get a back-up key which I'm sure exists.

My Back-up Key-
WTF? How does that even happen?

Up the canyon to test the f-up key. It almost works. But almost getting into my car doesn't help.

Down the canyon to get cell phone reception. I call AAA, I highly recommend their plus membership. They are helpful but slightly shredding also.

Up the canyon to meet the locksmith. He comes from Nederland, the 3rd CO city to decriminalize marijuana. He is completely stoned, but my car is not that hard to break into. However, halfway through his flashlight runs out of batteries. Alex is smarter than him or me and brought a flashlight. (She is only person not shredding.)

Down the canyon for the last time.

The theme of this spring - Snow & River Crossings

Perfect Sloper in the Forest

The well textured granite of Boulder Canyon

Oh yeah, here are the numbers :

Problem Sent -
North Face Traverse, V2/3, Flash (best problem on the boulder)
Warm-up Corner, V4, Flash (not painful, mildly interesting)
Left Graham Arete (stand), V5, Redpoint (hard, come back for the sit in the fall)
Right Graham Arete (uncontrived), V7, Redpoint (from LH sloper & RH crimp, super pile, the official/squat start is ultra lame)

Problems Tried -
The Fields Problem, V6, 5 tries (hard hop move for me, ripped a hole in my finger, NEGATIVE)

Apr 10, 2010

Poetry's Influence on the GDP

Training: 1) Flash Problems (Up to Adv+), 30 minutes

2) 4 Rounds
Climb ~3:00
Rest 1:1

3) 1 arm pull-ups, triples (w/ assistance at top)

4) 3 rounds
weighted dips, triples, 70lbs
pistols, fives

5) L-sit walk & 1 arm push-ups, "practice"

6) Prehab, sit-ups, & pull-ups

Notes: I tried to get back into climbing shape without the gym, but it wasn't happening fast enough for me. Time for a little smart training. #1 - A medium volume of hard, quality movement. #2 - "Song Intervals", simple but effective for Long Power Endurance Training. Since I have no projects that require meaningful power endurance, it is very difficult to motivate myself. I do it anyways. I even got in some preseason Birthday Challenge training. I just wanted to see how "out of shape" I am.

Apr 9, 2010

5FHAR, A Couple of Lines and A Project

I started my river bloc exploration by trying to add a sds to the middle line on the warm-up boulder, but it proved to be too crimpy and hard for me today. After I made my way ~1/4 mile downstream to a couple of problems in a cove.

Pink, V2 - sds, follow blunt steps, not the best rock
Blue, V3 - sds, climb dihedral, topout via white crystal dike ladder
Green, V5 - sds, compression start yields to arete, good rock
Yellow, V2 - sds, undercling to crack with gratuitou kneebar

White Crystal Dike Ladder

About 100 yards downstream is this finger of rock-
V6 - sds, gymnastic moves to gain arete
I've been keeping my nicknames for climbs private,
but this is good one -
Continental Clean, aka Put Some Belly Into It

The other side of the rock-
V5 - sds, desperate moves before a glory knife-edge arete

This rock is about 100ft downstream-
Blue, V3 - stand start on large sloper
Green Solid, V2 - stand start
Green Dotted, ? - sds follow lip, I couldn't even get established!
Pink, V0 - featured but slick slab, brilliant but scary

This rock is the most river polished stone I have climbed on, think textured glass. Every problem is great because the rock is so unique. The Green Dotted line is futurist.

A bird nest in the middle of the river

The Crafty Nest Maker


Poudre Canyon, The Bog, Beyond The Guidebook

Below are lines not listed in the current edition of the Poudre Canyon Bouldering Guidebook.

The Bog Boulder
Pink, Beach Side Face, V4 - in the guidebook
Green, V4 - crimps to groove, dirty & loose when not covered in snow
Yellow, Slopey Thrutch, V5 - in the guidebook
Red, What Happens in the Poudre Stays in the Poudre V8 - start on chest high ledge, move to lip
Black, Iron Helix, V6 -in the guidebook

Sidewalk Boulder
Yellow, V1 - fun moves, could use more traffic, sds is much harder
Green, V2 - make your way up on good holds to large ledge
There are many more problems on this boulder not covered in the guidebook.

Saddle Up Boulder
Yellow, Green Monster, V7 - in the guidebook
Black, Gaydar, V8 - start on Green Monster undercling, move left on crimps to join Arete #19
Red, Under the Gaydar, V10 - sds, follow crack to join Arete #19

Boulder next to "Simple" Boulder
Unknown Problem, V6 - sds on jug rail, climb the arete


Apr 8, 2010

CORE, A Climbing Flick Review

I was fortunate enough to catch the world premier of CORE at the Boulder Theater packed with the Front Range climbing community. Two live bands that opened for the film, one acoustic duo and the other metal. I like the concept of bands opening for a film premier, but didn't understand the hair metal band theme. When someone says "core", I think hardcore punk.

Chuck Fryberger's latest offering continues in his tradition of trying to move past climbing porn, narrativeless movies focused on grunting climbers cranking the biggest moves on the smallest holds. He succeeds in capturing the lifestyle of climbers at the core of the sport. The film is a series of segments focused on individual climbers, profiling their personality and one climb. A surprise crowd favorite was the footage of BJ Tilden's sending his 15 year project, Genetic Drifter in Wild Iris. There was baited breath with each hard mono pull, similar to watching NACSAR waiting for the crash. It never comes but the anticipation was delicious in the theater.

The climbing is not cutting edge, in terms of pure numbers, but still at the center of today's climbing scene. The shots are vibrant. Chuck's is unquestioningly pushing climbing cinematography forward. The editing is crisp, which kept my attention during the purely narrative sections. However, the editing distracts during the actual sends. The microediting kept me pulling me out of the poetry in the movement. This is most apparent when Nalle makes painfully close burns on "Livin' Large", a proud 8c arete in Rocklands. For once Chuck lets the footage just play, the audience is drawn into the attempt and the emotion of the failure. Overall, I was entertained, but the film lacked the palm sweat factor that is typically present when watching climbing.

Apr 7, 2010

An Interesting Listen ...

I disagree with some of Eric Horst's advice, e.g. linear periodization and the role of pull-ups, but I was pleasantly surprised by his latest podcast - here.

Diamond Rock & Other River Blocs

Spring is finally here. I have long list of river blocs to wrestle with before the might Poudre borrows them for a little while. I spent the first half of the day climbing at "Diamond Rock" Day Area.

This rock isn't Diamond Rock proper but still a gem in my book -
Various Warm-ups in the V0-1 range.

Yellow, V0 - good warm-up and best downclimb
Blue, V1 - balancey moves on small crimps
Green, V5 - sds on good edge, an off-balance move leads to slopey jugs
It is possible to link green start into blue but it is too sharp/traversey for me.

Blue, V4 - slab to mantle, delightful but slightly terrifying
Green, V3 - sds sidepull to committing exit

I spent the remaining part of the day at 5FHAR area, the former home of ice blocs.

Warm-up Boulder
Green, V0 - great jugs
Yellow, V0+ - good moves on great rock
Blue, V0 - follow lip, contrived but neccesary

This boulder is just downstream and uphill from the warm-up boulder-
Yellow, V1/2 - chosspile
Green , V? - sds on lip, make several hard interesting moves on sidpulls, pinches, and crimps, V3 from stand
Blue, V3/4 - big moves on big holds, bring a change of pants if you plan on falling

This boulder is directly uphill from the warm-up boulder-
V5 - sds on left hand on lip and right hand on sloper, mighty fine compression climbing

I'm grateful to have great rock a mere 20 minute drive from my house and 1 minute hike from my car.

River Sculpted Rock

River Polished Granite,
Simply The Best

Apr 6, 2010

The Sessions #6, Deep Mastery

I spent the climbing portion of this session on a single route. It was a good teacher, if I paid attention. It reminds me of the deep mastery present in kettlebells, Olympic Weightlifting, and climbing at Owl Tor. There is a limited number of reasonable moves with a kettlebell, i.e. swing, snatch, get-up, and windmill. There are only two lifts, Snatch and Clean & Jerk, in Olympic Weightlifting. There are ~12 rad routes at Owl Tor. People spend a lifetime mastering these pursuits. It doesn't suit my disposition, but I can see the attraction.

There was also a fitness portion of the session which mixed general "functional" training with climbing specific training, not dissimilar to Mountain Athlete or Alpine Training Center. These type of circuits are useful, but not necessary nor sufficient, to accomplish climbing related goals. I'm still a believer in the "postage stamp rule."

P.S. I did not clip the chains of my training route today.

Apr 5, 2010

GE Boulders, Back in the Game

I spent the period of time before my scheduled hiatus repeating problems in the guidebook to get my scorecard up and understand grades better. I sent a bunch of rad problems but came away more confused about grades. I'm back to following my bliss by developing
(or rediscovering lost classics).

My nickname for this area is GE Boulders
(until someone tells me better).

The best boulder to warm-up on -
Green, V4 - sds, climb left arete, nice crimps, V1 from stand
Yellow, V4 - sds on pinch, V2 from stand
Red, V3 - sds, V0+ from stand

This boulder is directly behind the warm-up boulder -
Yellow, V4 - sds crack, climb up and over a smaller block to topout
Green, ? - sds crack, make several hard crimp moves to easy sloper topout
Pinke, ? - low-ball traverse following the crack, I'm not interested

Blue, ? - sds lip, rad tricky gymnastic climbing, possible to start lower (very dabby)
Pink Dotted, ? - lip traverse, I'm not interested

Backside Arete - sds, nice compression climbing

This is the best boulder. I profiled it earlier.
Green, V5/6 - sds, follow crack up and left, I used the large detached flake for feet
Black, V5 - sds, little moves on little holds, some people would call it technical
Red, ? - still very hard from the sit
There is also a very hard problem possible on the riverside.

It is nice to be back playing my game.