Mar 31, 2012

Saturday Syke

Dave Graham is a primary inspiration for this website with his constant search for new boulders and the meaning of life through climbing.

Mar 29, 2012

Repost: McColl Training Frog-style

Sean McColl joined the French World Cup Training Camp.

My focus is result-driven medium-term (6 weeks - 1 year) programming. 2 days of training with no objective results is interesting, but not a high value, data point. What struck me was the balance of specific and general elements in the training. The specific element was choosing to climb World Cup style routes. The general element was not focusing on individual limiters or what training happened in the days before or after.

Mar 27, 2012

Create Your Own Climbing Media Network

Given the inherent power of the internet, everyone can create their own climbing media network (see mine on the right sidebar).

If you don't care about latest and loudest ascent by the youngest climber (I don't), you can ignore it and the sites that choose to cover it. If you don't want to watch uninsightful interviews in climbing shorts, fast forward through them (I do).

I don't dislike those forms of climbing news; I don't care.

Therefore, I don't speed any time or attention on it.

I make a conconcious choice on what I watch and read. I let everything else slide.

Mar 24, 2012

Saturday Syke

I spend days on this project, preparing the landing and working the moves. Then, I choose to give it away. I rather see it exist in the world now than wait.

Mar 22, 2012

A Light Chance of Falling

Bayesian inference is a powerful heuristic to understand the world. Basically, it states that predicting the future is based on the past.
I use this concept to understand how to train and perform. I tend to fall on the same type of move (over and over). My prior probability of failure on large, rounded feet and big pulls on pinches is relatively high. My prior probability of failure on crimps and topping out a climbs is relatively low.

That means if I want to maximally train I need to focus on the former. My posterior probability of failure will be high (aka I will more fall on lower grades) but will decrease my prior probability of failure in the future. On the other hand, I should focus on my strengths if I want to maximally perform (low posterior probability of failure).

Mar 20, 2012

Practicing, Rehearsing, and Gigging

In music, there are times to run the scales in the woodshed to become dramatically better. Other times, get the band together to become a seamless music making machine. Then comes the gig, time to perform.

Steve Vai's brillance was honed through practice. Black Flag became great through rehearsing. The Beatles laid the foundation to change music through gigging.

However, the easiest path to improvement is a balance of each.

Climbers by default gig too much. Almost always projecting. Sometimes they rehearse. More time spent practicing the scales of climbing is a direct path to better gigs.

Mar 17, 2012

Mar 15, 2012

Extending "Important Training Distinction for Climbers"

Please check out Rob Miller's great post on "Important Training Distinction for Climbers" for context.

My experience is consistent with Rob Miller's thoughts. Keeping 100% intensity in my climbing training program has yielded consistent gains. Like Rob Miller, I widely modulate volume at that intensity based on my current cycle and goals.

I propose further refinement of that concept - learning to not apply that intensity unnecessarily during performance. Training at 100% "greases a groove" which is suboptimal during performance, especially in sport climbing. It is common to see sport climbers fall off because they do not properly modulate their effort. I tend to pull too hard, too often. The same concept also applies to bouldering. It is unusual for a boulder problem to require 100% effort for more than 1 move. The ability put forward 100% effort and then put foward much less effort is an essential aspect of the art of climbing performance.

I geared a part of my training towards improving my ability to self-modulate effort. It is the ying to the yang of 100% intensity.

Mar 13, 2012

A Better Approach to Discussing Climbing

I have proposed an improved approach to grading.

The same method applied to any climbing label would help establish a better foundation for conversation. I would like to see it applied to these concepts:
• Quality
• Scariness
• Classic-ness

Mar 10, 2012

Mar 8, 2012

Climbs as Social Objects

Climbs can be Social Objects, the starting point for a conversation. Insert your own reference to any major alpine climb or the start holds of a test-piece boulder problem.

A single interpretation of a climb limits the conversation to "Was it climbed, yes or no?" It far more interesting when there are multiple interpretations of climb. Instead asking, "How was it climbed?"

Mar 6, 2012

A Pattern Language for Climbing

A Pattern Language is a ground breaking book. On the surface, it is a contrarian approach to architecture. On a deeper level, it is a philosophical outlook on life.

One tenant of the book is the value of selecting language units for a project. In architecture, those units could describe lots, buildings, or windows. The selection of language units can apply to climbing.

There is a pattern language to climbing areas. Hueco Tank's pattern language includes roof, crimps, and access. Red River Gorge's pattern includes steep, pump, and rain. A pattern language for a gym could be big feet, small reaches, and hand/heel matching.

Identifying a pattern language is a vital first step. If your current pattern language does not match your goal pattern language, a change is needed.

Mar 3, 2012

Saturday Syke

Anyone who climbs with me knows that I'm a proponent of warming-up. Here is another video from my warm-up routine collection (with cameos from mid-atlantic climbers).

Mar 1, 2012

Position, Movement, & Linking

When I start working a new project, I follow this template:

I find and hold all the positions. If I can't hold the holds, my time would be better spent climbing a different difficult but achievable hill.

I start connecting separate position islands. I note unfamiliar movement, room to grow as a climber. I refine the position choices with movement knowledge.

I start chaining movement elements together. Typically, progress is smaller but still present, if I have the level of awareness for it. I refine movement choices with linking knowledge.