Monday, December 24, 2012

Acclimation: Southeast Power Endurance

Salo's Roof (Pep Boys) Soddy Daisy, Tn

Justin captured a post rain climbing experience at The Mill. The clip illustrates three distinct climbing styles and the importance of staying true to the sequence that works best for you. Anything but ideal conditions. Online read 100 % humidity and the cave had condensed. The wall was dark with moisture and the dampened white of the few remaining chalk marks no longer formed the contrast we all look for in a majestic boulder problem. Climbing almost seemed conterproductive and the temptation of a rest day poked at us. Boar's hair brushes were useless and instead seemed to just spread the peanut buttery, toothpaste chalk. We busted out some old wool socks we had sitting in our bags, caked em in chalk, and ran through each sequence a couple times with our hands. It worked! Ultimately, we overcame conditions and a climbing day was saved! Justin managed to send his first v9 along with capturing the footage below. Don't always let conditions dictate your climbing day.

Honey Child v10/v11 starts by climbing Honey comb, a powerful core-intensive v10. At the jug rail, the route exits right, completing Red Headed Stepchild v8 (rather than taking the more moderate v4 exit of Honeycomb). Days after initially completing Honeycomb, a short clip of Matt Ballard on Honeychild appeared on my news feed. Having both individual climbs dialed and a good natural baseline of power endurance, i knew this would be a good fitness link-up to try. After sending Honeychild, I later discovered on 8a that Tim Hink had previously done the link with an even lower sit start variation (Crazer Craver, aka Honeycomb sit, into the RHSC exit). He named the link Bee Line. Since then a jug flake on Crazy Craver has broken, preventing the round about and forcing a more direct line into Honey comb. Next Season!?

Blacksmith V9, Power endurance on crimps! Combines a V6ish link into Cyclops, an awkward powerful, facey V6 crimp line. Although individual moves aren't too bad, the Cyclops crux relies on power reserve (a deadpoint accuracy stab and initiation on a 1/3 pad crimp). I relied almost solely on heel-toe cams to keep crucial weight off my fingers. Moving quickly/efficiently and having beta dialed is also helpful. (moderately friction dependent) 

The Orb V8 Rocktown, GA (Photo by Wes Walker)

Nine Lives (V9) Lookout Mountain (15 mins from the house!)

Brent Perkins on Dune Blaster V8/9, Dayton Pocket

Dune Blaster. This particular climb feels like a 90 degree gym roof..that was littered by a new setter...with way more holds than you'd ever need for a standard route. Not necessarily a bad thing. Although it doesn't force movement the way other boulders might, the nature of the overly featured rock allows for some interesting options. Ultimately, your able to create and tweak a sequence that caters to your own strengths rather than having to mimick others. I'd consider the last right hand bump move to be both the crux and redpoint crux. This section involves fighting a moderate pump, but more importantly requires a tight core while pulling onto the headwall. When your ass consistently sags during this last move, its easy to find yourself wishing you'd done a few more front levers the week before.  Without a doubt, a power endurance climb

Josh Livasy cruxin The Big Empty

Mikey D milking the first mini rest of the Big E.

Roommates gettin it done on "Shiver Me Timbers Direct", powerful try-hard V8. 
Photos: Paulina Pena

I Think I can V9, Little Rock City (Crimp ladder eliminant)

Robbing the Tooth Fairy is characterized by sloping directional holds. It relies heavily on the security of left heel hooks and the push of key right foot smears. Bearing down is important, but without the appropriate foot placements, single moves can feel nearly impossible.  Failing to stay focused on each individual move is a no-go.  ADD will spit you off this climb. Delicate but powerful! 

Bedwetters V9, LRC

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Coliseum Triple Crown

Deep Throat (13c)
Aside from training for Dominion River Rock, I climbed during this past spring with two particular goals in mind. The first and more attainable goal pertained to achieving a level of consistency within a somewhat foreign and unfamiliar difficulty rating. During an early April day trip, I managed my first double 13a day, climbing both Mercy Seat and Blood Raid.  Ironically, the random workless Tuesday provided the necessary sense of epicness and urgency to hit 3 crags and send. The birthday send of Snooker (13a) came shortly after during a weekend trip to Kentucky.  The second goal focused less on consistency/mileage and instead emphasized difficulty.  Although I was unable to achieve 13c this spring, I put a few solid efforts into Deep Throat (Nar Cave, Summersville) and One for the Gipper (Brilliant Pebble, Southside Meadow). The goal was short lived. I took a step back in order to avoid the further frustration associated with low percentage moves and low friction holds.

When the average climber hears the term "triple crown", they typically can't help but envision one particular scenario...Its early to late fall.  The van doors open and a sea of crashpad shelled human turtles swarm the bouldering field.  The three-location event targets the most stacked boulder fields that the Southeast has to offer: Houndears (Boone), NC, Stone Fort (LRC), TN, and HP40, AL.  Its a great time of year. "TRIPLE CROWNNN!" However, I'm not writing this post in regards to Kurt Smith's infamous war-cry.  Outdoor bouldering is at the bottom of my list of things to do at the New River Gorge in the middle of July's baking heat.

With a Richmond crew very much psyched on Summersville, I made it a workout goal to complete the Triple Crown (Apollo, Pod, and Mercy Seat) within a day.  Regardless of my previous ascents, the coliseum proved to be an excellent training ground..physical climbing, steep terrain, shade, and sustained power endurance (qualities that cater well to my strengths and skill sets). I truly respect the persistence, dedication, and commitment required to complete a long term project; However, there is something to be said about a climber's ability to consistently repeat and reproduce ascents that fall just below an individual's difficulty threshold.  Ideally, sending should not be about the luck of the draw. Consistency and precision should replace low probability. Like Dylan Barks and his dispatch of the entire Madness Cave in a day.  Climbing 14a is super impressive. But climbing 13d, two 13c's, a 13a, and two more 14a's in a day is no fluke (in July!). Instead, it represents a true testament of fitness, climbing ability, and all day stamina.

Max Caudle, Apollo Reed (Summersville Lake)

"The Coliseum could not be more appropriately named. This extremely overhanging wall is a bustling battleground of combat. Shirtless, muscle-bound gladiators wait in line to test their skills against their chosen adversary. The boulders at the base seem custom built to house the slew of cheering onlookers, mostly bi-kini-clad vixens, intent on singling out the strongest young lad with the most perfectly timed "power blat". The routes are steep and classic. Apollo Reed is undoubtedly the most popular 5.13 in the region and stands as the entrance exam to the harder routes in the amphitheatre such as Mercy Seat, B.C, and Pod.  The regions hardest route, Still Life, gazes out from the far corner eagerly awaiting its next victim but few step up to the challenge. Most hardmen would rather shoot for climbing the Triple Crown: Apollo, Mercy, and Pod, in a day. It's these select few who usually hike back to the car with the prettiest girl." -Mikey's excerpt from the NRG guide book.

Dean and myself on Suicide Blonde and Deep Throat (Nar Cave). Nothing better than manufactured cruxes and aged nylon perma-draws..

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Eye of Odin (8c+) Dani, Magnus, and Ethan

So typically, I try to stear clear from posting random videos that are unrelated to my own climbing or the local crew (with the exception of the training and psych page).  I'll leave that task to DPM and CNarc..Couldn't resist with the one. The story behind this thing is pretty unreal.  Props to Ethan for the film, edit, and music selection...oh yea, and the FA. Ondra swooped in with the onsight a few days later.

The Eye of Odin (8c+) first ascent from Ethan Pringle on Vimeo.

Friday, June 1, 2012

When Idols Become Rivals (The stout field of DRR)

Forerunners and Routesetters:

Nate Draughn and Rami Annab

Dave Wetmore and Shane Messer (Routesetters)

Josh Larson, Lexington (MA), Age 26

Matt Bosley, Parkville (MD), Age 33
Ryan Banister, Timonium (MD), Age 26
Devin Doyle , Raleigh (NC), Age 22
Alex Johnson, Denver (CO), Age  20

Ian Chavis, Richmond (VA), Age 25
Peter Grill, Boone (NC), Age 20
Austin Boze, Richmond (VA), Age 19

Tim Rose, Elliotsburg (PA), Age 27
Andy Cutler, Richmond (VA) Age 23
Daniel Woods, Boulder (CO), Age 22
Jimmy Webb, Chattanooga (TN), 24
Paul Robinson, Moorestown (NJ), Age 24
Andrew Palmer, Midlothian (VA), Age 24
Michael O'Rourke, Boulder (CO), Age 17
Matt Londrey, Richmond (VA), Age 21
Taylor McNeil, Cary (NC), Age 21

Vasya Vorotnikov, Newark (DE), Age 25
Carlo Traversi, Boulder (CO), Age 23