Feb 28, 2012

My Climbing Proxy Hierarchy

Actual climbing, moving over stone or plastic, matters to me most. Sometimes I can't climb so I accept climbing by proxy.

Here is my climbing proxy hierarchy:
• Videos
• Guidebooks
• Photos
• Blogs
• The current social media outlet
• The current climbing scorecard

Feb 25, 2012

Saturday Syke

American Bouldering Series 2012 Adult National Championship are being held today in Colorado Springs, CO. Unfortunately, I am unable to watch it. Due to budget limitations, USA Climbing has chosen not to webcast the event.

Instead of spending their limited resources delighting their fans (me), they are trying to be picked by the Olympics. Their choice is clear - the Olympic World is their audience, not me.

Feb 23, 2012

Quick Tip: Hospital Booties

With the winter snow meting, it is muddy out there. I use hospital booties to keep my boots dry and clean while downclimbing. I purchased mine at a hospital supply store, 100 for ~$10.

Enjoy Spring Climbing!

Feb 21, 2012

Current Training Cycle - The Bouldering Season

Spring has Sprung. My current "training" cycle is performance-centric. I'm ready to hit the Mid-Atlantic hard.

My primary focus is killing lichen at Bushwhacks Rocks and Great Falls National Park with a light sprinkle of local classics and short road trips. Prime projects are to ready to be sent.

I'm limiting myself to one gym session per week (tough for me). I find that is easiest to train technique in the gym, given you have the ability to ignore the latest and loudest problems and climbing nuggets. My gym session will provide the stimulus I'm not getting outside (e.g., If I'm projecting outside, I will climb circuits inside. If I'm only sending moderates outside, I'll threshold boulder inside). I will force to myself to do the appropriate prehab (I swear).

Feb 18, 2012

Saturday Syke

"Let this be my annual reminder
that we could all be something bigger."

Feb 16, 2012

Programming Cycle Postmortem

I finished my first training cycle of 2012. It was designed as a post-season building phase before a training-dedicated winter cycle, but real winter never visited the mid-atlantic region. I climbed outside in reasonable conditions every week. No time for a training-only cycle, me and my Climbing World Problems.

Overall, the results of the cycle are mixed. I put up more than 20 new problems. I kept the primary goal The Goal. I fell short on most of the other objectives. I was chassing too many rabbits. For me, two is too many rabbits.

I made improvements to my climbing stamina. Those gains were partly masked because I choose two correlated dependent variables. CIR, aka rows, and hourglasses are both measures of stamina. I should have picked one and chased it until I killed it.

I picked up heavy weights and put them over my head at least twice a week. Olympic Weightlifting helps me be a more useful human being, doesn't help my climbing. I was not even close to hitting my lifting numbers, lifting after climbing for 2-3 hours is an action not consistent with the goal of lifting strong.

My core is objectively stronger. Additionally, I was able to intergrate that strength via specific technique drills. I'm better at pasting my feet and having them stay put. Most importantly, my research uncovered RKC planks. Those are a game changer.

Adding 15-20 minutes of targeted technique and mobility work at the
beginning of EVERY training session is the biggest win of the cycle. It tightens my mind and loosens my body for the hard training to follow.

Lessons learned. Time for the next cycle.

Feb 14, 2012

Leave No Trace vs Tread Lightly

I love outdoor climbing and want everyone to enjoy it, including future generations. I also love puppies and want to play with them. The trick is not to get people to agree with me but make those things happen.

Leave No Trace is one of the most popular programs for promoting sustainable enjoyment of the outdoors. However, that is an impossible standard (by name alone). If you climb outside, you will leave a trace. The traces range from short-term, footprints, to long-term, bolts. Instead, I choose to support Tread Lightly. That is a reasonable standard I can do (most of the time).

The difference between Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly is similar to the difference between New Years Resolutions (untenable after a week) and Fresh Starts & Modest Changes (which works now and in the future).

Feb 11, 2012

Saturday Syke

Another fine Udo Neuman video reinforcing the gap between USA commercial routesetting and European competition routesetting.

Feb 9, 2012

Another Piece of the Map

Most climbers don't train (FYI - Projecting climbs inside is not training. That is just performance in a different venue.) Of the few climbers who train, most are self-coached. In self-coaching, by definition, the person both creates the training map and has to follow it. For any map to be useful, you need to know where you are, where you want to go, what is the fastest way between those two points, and what is interesting along the way.

A great article, part of an useful training map, can be found here.

Feb 7, 2012


When I travel I'm a guidebook climber. I buy the best guidebook available and follow it like a bible. I chase stars if possible, regardless of grades. If there are no stars, I seek out climbs that will challenge me. A hard onsight or a quick redpoint are preferred.

When I am not traveling, I move beyond the guidebook by cleaning and sharing climbs. Every climbing area, from Heuco to any given roadside choss, has the potential for additional climbs.

I often see climbers, even local ones, as guidebook-only climbers. That choice limits their growth as climbers and the growth of the sport in general. The climbs in the guidebook are a narrow slice of the big climbing pie.

Feb 4, 2012

Saturday Syke

Brave flowers are showing their buds, it is the beginnings of spring. Bushwhack, a clean, well-lighted place for boulders, will no longer be optimal. I'm on the search for cooler, shader areas. My adventuring has yielded these two gems.

My personal passion is riverblocs with their smooth, sculptured holds and flowing water. I try to mirror those elements in my movement and often fall short. Another interest of mine is feature climbing. I enjoy the odd, frequently holdless, rocks of the world. They require more than average push and pull of climbing.

Feb 2, 2012

Effecting a training effect

In order for training to be effective, it has elicit an effect. That might seem obvious but many people miss it. Yes, a novice can "project" all day, every day and eek out minor improvements. The foot-cutting thrutching they call climbing elicits a training effect for them.

At some point a finer distinction is needed. They are many ways to elicit a training effect. You can fonder the fingerboard, switch to thrutching up a campusboard, or even try to structure your climbing to match your goals. Since they are novel stimuli, they will elicit a training effect. Some methods will have more direct and longer lasting effect on your climbing, but they will all work in the short-term.

If you aren't seeing improvements (i.e., outputs are the same), you need to change your routine (i.e., change the inputs). Any change is better than doing the same thing that is not working.