Jan 25, 2011

Git Er Dun (offline)

I've done some soul searching and have decided to temporarily close this window into my life. I'm still following my bliss, i.e., training, climbing, and bolting. Just more privately for a little while.

I have big plans in the works.
Lichen beware!!!

Jan 16, 2011

Back in My Hole

Day 5 on my project.

The ending broke, previously seen here, resulting in a significantly easier climb. I'm suggesting V5. I climbed it from the more logical sit down, starting on the rock immediately behind.

The sit down start (from the ground) was wet, dripping wet.
I can't complain, since I'm climbing outside in January with my shirt off!!

Jan 14, 2011

Shrinkage Penalty

Performance/Training: 1) Technique

2) Onsights

3) Campus

4) Prehab/Core

Does your climbing gym have valet parking?
Movement does!

Notes: Headed to Movement (along half of the Front Range). Too crowded for a significant training session. Choose an indoor performance day.

#1 Long warm-up on the high quality moderates. #2 Too crowded to get a lead rope. Onsighted (on TR) lots of 12-. On a relative intensity scale from 1-10, the routes felt like a 6. #3 Wanted a stronger dose than routes could provide. I only keep benchmarks on 1 board so this was for fun. Focused on contact strength and pulling through (separately). #4 Quick & standard - front levers and external rotation. Overall a medium session. The worst of both worlds, performance and training.

Jan 13, 2011

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, A Review - Part II

"I can pimp the hell out of myself"

I have meet several pro climbers, including two that known for extreme self-promotion. They are great people, despite their flamboyant personae. They have helped the sport in observable and measurable ways. They separate "pimping" from work/art. They get their work/art done. They love climbing but know it is their job.

“So the Muse whispered in Beethoven’s ear. Maybe she hummed a few bars into a million other ears. But no one else hear her. Only Beethoven got it.”

All the climbs in the world already exist. Yes, I just declared that. However, they need a corporeal being, a human body with a will, to manifest them. The muses whisper in everyone's ears. The muse’s interested in creating new climbs are shouting my ears!

“The amateur plays part-time, the professional full time. … Resistance hates it when we turn pro”

Lately, I've turned pro. What is my profession? Hunting unshared climbs and sharing them. I choose not to do activities that will directly interfere with that, i.e., lift weights (which I love) or train for climbing (which I love even more). It would be easy to hide in those activities. Seeking out unshared lines and sharing them is work.

I go to work everyday. I charge my camera, put on my waders, and grab my brush. I seek out blank canvases. Sometimes they are too featured. Sometimes they are too blank. But everyday I go to work looking for the perfect line for that day.

My "work" gets in the way of my play. Recently, I went a roadtrip for fun and put myself on restriction. I was prohibited from trying unshared climbs. I saw them at every single climbing venue, even in the major areas of Bishop. All independent and quality lines wanting for the world.

“Are these angels? Are they muses? … If we forget something, they remind us. If we veer off-course, they trim the tabs and steer us back”

I have slow realized the following fact, but Steven elucidated for me - I need to get out of my own way. I have playing the game of naming climbs and claiming first ascents. Sometimes, I'm right. Oftentimes, I'm wrong. That part is not my work. My work is discovering and sharing. Let the critics and historians do the rest.


This book should be required reading for all artists, business owners, knowledge workers, student finishing dissertation, and everyone striving to be a complete human being.
Simply - If you are an artist*, you have to read this book.

I frequently do/act/create without a complete conscious, or verbalizable, understanding. Later, I find a writer that is better able to communicate the way I feel. I found that in this book. For the record, I'm as guilty of losing to The Resistance as anyone else. I occasionally win. In the future, I hope to win more often thanks to The War of Art.

Bonus: Follow the evolution of the ideas at Steve Pressfield's Writing Wednesday blog.

* Even if your art project is creating your life

Jan 12, 2011

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, A Review - Part I


I've chosen not to publish reviews of climbing guidebooks or training guides (both of which I obsessively collect and analyze). I have started many reviews and discarded all of them. Why? I want to push climbing forward. Guidebooks mostly record the past; the occasional expectation is when they list projects. Training guides frequently are just rehashing of old material or material that is functionally obsolete, e.g., glycemic index. I want to push climbing forward. I have unique contributions to make to climbing/life, the same as everyone if they spoke up. One of my "superpowers" is that I see connections between things that most people don't see or (even worse) won't say. Overall, I'm interested in incorporating modern thought into climbing, e.g., my review of Linchpin by Seth Godin.

The Review

I'm a voracious reader. When I'm in a reading mood, I can read 400 pages straight. The War of Art is not that long or complex. It is very deep. Once I started, I couldn't stop. I paused briefly to create art, i.e., this post. I was initially tipped off to this book by Seth Godin's blog.

The book has three sections – defining the enemy, combating the enemy, and moving beyond the enemy. In this case, the enemy is The Resistance. The Resistance is the internal stopping force of creating something new and meaningful, aka the shadow of T. S. Eliot.

The book is universe. However, this review will be specific. I will take representative book quotes and relate them to the current state of climbing.

"It was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas."

I see most climbers as miniature Hitlers. They spending more time destroying, most frequently through criticism, than creating. I have made a conscious choice to create. Now I can't imagine going a week without creating something new, most frequently it is a climb*. Some climbers go their whole lives without creating a new climb. That something I can't understand. Some would attribute it too laziness. I see it as The Resistance.

I have been in (and out) of the indoor routesetting game for 6 years. I have never had "setter's block". There are simply too many holds and the human body has too much potential to run out of ideas. I see routesetters get stuck on a blank canvas. Just put a hold on the wall, even a bad hold. Better yet use the most illogical hold in the most illogical position. The same for working a project. Try a bad idea. Then try an even worse idea. Then at least you know what doesn't work (at least for right now).

"Fundamentalism and art are mutually exclusive"

Almost all fundamentalist climbers do not create art. They are too busy policing other's actions, making sure no one breaks their rules. Even the fundamentalist climbers who create art, would create more if they used that energy as gist for the creative mill.

Pressfield discusses how fundamentalists look to purer world from which we have fallen. There are too many references to various "golden eras" of climbing to even mention. Instead, think of this moment as a "golden era" and try to maximize it.

I see neotraditional climbing as a mild form of fundamentalism. Especially people who choose to remove bolts. The bolts don't interfere with your art, i.e., climbing & placing gear. Let everyone have his or her art.

"The athlete as to play hurt"

I want to suffer. I want to do things that are both physically and mentally hard. Lifting weights is hard. Getting a PhD is hard. Developing new climbing is both. That is why I seek it out.

To be continued ...

* DISCLAIMER: I sometimes rediscover a lost classic due to incomplete information. It is creating a new climb from my perspective. If people waited for complete information very little would ever happen.

Jan 11, 2011

Jan 10, 2011

Mechanical Turk

Training: 1) Technique

2) Repeats

Dan John on Athletic Qualities
I chuckle inside everytime I hear about how good climbing is for upper body development. I laugh outloud everytime I see a climber do a pull-up. If you can do 3 pull-ups, you've paid the strength entrance fee for 5.12.
Time to work on technique.

#1 Continuous climbing. Trading an explicit monkey brain for an implicit monkey mind #2 Over-speeded climbing. Building on #1. Sloppy but makes normal climb feel like Matrix time. 1 minute rests between problems. Everything was going well until I rushed a jump move. I spun and hurt my weak knee. Stupid indoor jump moves. I need to train for my game, not the routesetter's game. A little vitamin I, ice, and zombie western comedy will fix me up.

Jan 9, 2011

If You Want Fluff, Pat A Bunny

Training: 1) Technique

2) Campus

3) Yoga, 2 blocks

4) Technique

5) Threshold Bouldering

Notes: The weather has gone pearshaped. Providing an opportunity for a significant microcycle of training. Planning an exit strategy, also.

#1 Worked on perfect feet (foot hover, place feet w/o moving, silent) into mircorest #2 I'm reading The 4 Hour Body (4HB). Breathtaking in breath & depth. One important nugget of knowledge from the book is Minimum Effective Dose (MED). In the past, I have program the maximum sustainable campus session. For me, that is about 10 sets per arm. Lately, I'm doing the opposite - programing the MED of campusing. For me, that is 2 sets per arm. It is working great! As the wise bodybuilders say, "Stimulate, Don't Annihilate." Medium rungs - 1-2-6 & 1-4-5 #3 I'm using another concept from 4HB - Pareto Analysis. Only about 10 yoga poses get ~90 of the effect I'm looking for. The rest/majority is fluff. #4 Same as #1. #5 Pathetic. Just digging a recovery hole. I have an idiot for a coach, aka myself.

Jan 8, 2011

Saturday Syke

A Sublime Combination of Cinematography & Climbing Movement

Jan 5, 2011

Ideology of the Cancer Cell


1) Project only


1) Hike 45 minutes

rest 3 hours

2) Technique

3) Flash Ladder

4) Campus

5) Repeat/Technique

6) Prehab

Notes: Back on the Front Range. Just in time for a perfect winter session.

#1 No send day. Day 3 on my "uber project". Still making progress. It will go (soon).

#1 Found ~8 problems not published anywhere. Good enough for me. #2 Focused on relaxing my core. I hold too much unnecessary tension there. #3 Continued to focus on using minimal amount of core tension as I attempted to flash new problems. Mediocre performance - lacked syke, exposed my limiters, skin was thin. Only went up in grades. #4 Medium Rungs. Set new benchmarks - 1-2-5, 1-3-6. My new system is working. THE SYSTEM IS THE SOLUTION. #5 Repeated the same problems from #3. Use less tension. Let the problems teach me. #6 Went back to old system. Forgot new system on computer.

Jan 3, 2011

New Training Cycle!


Objective: Increase high end work capacity. Explore outside when possible.

Start Date: 01/04/10

End Date: ?

1. a. Raise my climbing density benchmarks by 10%
b. Raise my "ABS score" (top 5 climbs in 3 hours) by 15%

2. a. Send 1 unpublished climb a week
b. Go on 1 roadtrip a month

Chasing 2 rabbits!

I have the ability to climb easy & medium hard problems all day. I want to increase my ability to climb harder problems all day.

However, this winter is magical. It is warm & dry. I want to maximize that unique opportunity. I have many winter projects and areas that I want to develop. Using some techniques of fluid periodization that I have developed, I will try to accomplish these two tangential goals.

Jan 2, 2011

Goals for 2010 (Part I)

I realized that I change too much over the course of a year to plan effectively for that long (The devil's laughter is always in my ears). I'm trying something different - 6 months goals.

Here's what I'm committing to:

- Climb 50 days outside
- Visit 20 different climbing areas
- Send a confirmed V10
- Finish 2nd Stage of The Climbing Lab

- Create 1 training guide
- Publish 24 climbs

- 2 Yoga Sessions per week (1 group/1 private)
- 4 Mobility WODs per week
- Stop dry-humping badgers

Jan 1, 2011

Days Drag By, But Years Fly By

Training: 1) As Many Routes As Possible (My definition of AMRAP) in 90 minutes

Notes: 16 routes. Volume Training has begun!

Saturday Syke Video

Starting at 15:45 is the section most relevant to the thoughts below

If you view climbing as constrained by the physical world, then the concept of scarcity could apply. There is a limited about of rock. As more people climb, there is less climbing for everyone. That viewpoint creates incentives for secret areas. The convention of "Ownership" can also apply. A first ascensionist "owns" the climb. Subsequent ascensionists can violate "the rules."

However if you view view climbing as an idea, it is not constrained by the physical world. Thus the concept of scarcity is not necessarily applicable. In fact as more people climb and share, more climbing exists in the world for everyone to enjoy. An "Open Science" view of climbing creates incentives for the sharing of information. It is less important who climbs what first. It is more important the information is available. There are less "rules" to violate, merely paradigms to adhere to (or not).

Which worldview are you living in?
Which worldview would you rather live in?