Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wigwam Pow Pow...


Ah, yet another really fun week has come to pass. This one has been a bit on the physical side without having time for rest days. I arrived home from a lovely week in Boven on Monday night and enjoyed an evening of rest. The next morning however I was back in business at the boulder cave. You know what they say, "no rest for the wicked." Admittedly I didn't push myself that hard, but I certainly broke a sweat in the process.

I warmed up working a few of the pre-set routes on the wall; this took about an hour. The main objective for this time was to find some very crimpy routes that would push me to my maximum reach between holds. Naturally, this is for the crux on Jabberwocky and I had a lot of fun.

The campus session was also interesting as I was incorporating a new technique that arose from my attempts to perform 1-4-7. 1-4-7 isn't a particularly massive thing for the pros but for me, it is quite a marker, particularly on my campus board which forces me to reach an extra 3cm per rung. This means that I'm moving almost and entire rung further on a normal campus board, ie 1-4.5-8, and that is actually pretty cool. To do this I have to use my triceps on my lower arm to push the upper arm into a full lock-off so I can reach the target rung. Until recently I had not been strong enough to accomplish this feat so I decided to train it specifically.

Starting with my arms staggered on the board on rungs 5&6 I would move my lower hand to 9. I did this a few times and then dropped my lower hand to 4 which simulates skipping 5 rungs to reach the target. After two sessions using this technique I felt that I was learning how the lock-off and pushing down were able to work together.

Now I am able to start with hands staggered on 1&4 and move to 7 on the left side. My right side is a bit weaker and is still in the learning process, but is close. I can latch the rung but not quite hold it. I have been finding campus training very beneficial to the rest of my climbing. I have noticed a great improvement in my contact strength, lock-off ability and precision. Obviously this is not just from campusing but I certainly have been making large improvements in my bouldering and climbing due to being able to pull some much harder between holds. I also have noticed improvements in my shoulder strength. I have weak shoulders due to having dislocated them multiple times from my past life...


Cycling used to be a very big part of my life. I was sponsored by 2one4 Marketing. They organized me events and additional sponsors. Initially, I raced downhill bikes for Scott, No Fear, Arnette Sunglass, Troy Lee Designs and a few other companies. Then I specialized in jump performances and competitions. After a few years I ended up riding for GT with the same other sponsors. It was a lot of fun but three surgeries and a few dislocated shoulders later, not to mention the occasional stitching, I looked for greener pastures in the form of rock climbing.




So where was I? Oh yeah! Wigwam and all the little indians! Oh them indians are evil I tells you! Some of the best hard sport climbing in the country, rolled into these really powerful and technical lines which are simply relentless, having no significant rests until you're about to clip the chains! I managed to spend three days there this week: Wednesday and Thursday with James Barnes and fellow Vertigo Gear Athlete Illona Pelser. James and Illona worked Tomahawk, a solid 29 power endurance line revolving around a difficult crux moving to the chains. Both were looking very strong but only James came out victorious with a redpoint on his second go of the day on Thursday.



I was on Two Dollar Navaho, a solid 30 which has some very small sidepulls and a desperate lunge to a left hand hold that is simply not as good as you want it to be after the preceding climbing... I fell off twice on that move. I will certainly send if I catch it, the rest of the route is sorted out perfectly after I gave up on a stupidly powerful sequence I made up. How our imaginations can run wild with stupidity! I think that my biggest limiting factor on this occasion was my lack of rest days. With five days on I can't really expect myself to be at my peak. I guess it is a good thing that I took Saturday off eventually...



Friday was another day at the boulder cave. I really wanted to take two rest days, but my boredom and desire to hit the campus board ending up pulling me to the cave in the evening for a good two hours. I ended up working some really technical problems with PW, honing some heel hooking skills along the line. Two of the problems we were working were great! Both involved massive amounts of core tension and pulling on the heel. Neither were particularly my style and that is why I loved them so much when I sent them, huffing the whole way. We extended one and that is still awaiting an opening ascent...

The campus board saw some more work after this with particular emphasis on the 1-4-7 training. I managed to touch the 7th rung a few times but not latch it. PSYCHED!! Very close to hitting this milestone.

Saturday was a rest day with a twist. I sliced my finger open pretty decently making breakfast for the lovely Yvette and myself. Damn bread knife should not be used to cut veggies!!! I really need to buy a new knife for the kitchen.

Sunday found me wishing to be back at wigwam. The rain started on Saturday evening around 4 and continued till Sunday afternoon. That is really not cool. So I sent Illona a text and asked her if she wanted to burn it up on the plastic. We did the NBL problems from Wednesday. They were pretty simple till problem 10. I flashed the first 9, almost flashed 10 and 12 but 11 completely eluded everyone. Was still fun to work.

After done with the problems Illona and I hit the hangboard for some stamina training. The great kind that lasts for 4 minutes at a time leaving you feeling completely drained while you rest for the next five minutes. It was the first time that I had ever tried the program anywhere but in my own room and it was the first time Illona had ever tried the routine. She did really well on the first round but had a hard time on the pockets for the second round during full-lock.

Grip Goal Goal 10-Mar 27-Mar





just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6 6
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 10 10
Rest 10 min


just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6 5
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 10 10
Rest 5min


just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 10
Rest 5min


just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 10
Rest 5min


just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 5.5
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 9


140 138.5 55



98.93% 39.71%


We only did two sets but I felt really strong, definitely could have kept on going. After a solid 3 hours at the barn I headed home. Yvette and I hit the Tuks cave for an hour later in the evening. Was fun. Concentrated on some big power moves that finished in large campus moves to the top of the cave.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A week in Boven

Ah! What a breath of fresh air. Paul Brouard and I managed to get in 10 days in Boven. The first day was certainly interesting. Before I warmed up I decided to place draws on my project. It's pretty crazy when I break my previous high point by a mile and fall off the finish hold while placing draws! It definitely had me on a high point for the week to begin.

Later that Saturday Kyle and I headed out to do some trad climbing. It was a breath of fresh air. We started off jumping on a brilliant 19 called Through the Looking Glass which was an easy on sight with the purpose of sighting in my eyes for the placements. Heart Of China was next on the list, a solid 23 that I would have walked all over if I had soloed it or climbed as a sport climb, but all that gear jingling around on my shoulders caught me be surprise so instead of walking up the climb like I normally do on anything under 26, I over gripped and fiddled with gear. I led it out quite significantly though, probably 3m between placements, a total of 5 on a 25m route. All of them expect for 1 were solid and the 1 that I thought wouldn't hold didn't. I took a 6m whipper on a number 5 BD nut, ripping the micro nut I had placed a few inches above it. Got everyone's blood pumping.

Second attempt was also pretty interesting when I accidentally climbed 2m past my first important piece of gear which resulted in me soloing the first half of the climb till I placed the next piece of pro, which I then backed up with the nut I was carrying from the missed placement. After this I was quite happy and so was Kyle who was considering how he might have to jump off the ledge on which he was belaying to try to take up the slack. Fortunately the route was not difficult up to this point so even whilst I was fiddling with my precarious placement I felt solid in my mind. The rest of the route was still a bit of a challenge for a 23 but I had a brilliant time! It is worth every drop of its 5 stars ***** !

I worked my project a bunch during the rest of the week with little success. I did reach new high points every day I tried it right up until the last day of the trip but alas no red point, no first ascent. I did decide on a name of it at least: Psychotic Features. It drives me a little made, that's for sure.

I got a new pair of shoes this week. The new Edelrid Typhoons. I have to tell you the shoes are awesome. I put them on my feet for the first time and they didn't feel like they needed to be broken in at all. Within 3 climbs they felt perfect, so much in fact that I was able to edge on some of the smallest holds on Vorpal Sword efficiently and quickly on the first try. It was really quite something. I would recommend them highly. They are built on the same last as the Ravens but don't have the sliding rails which means that they are slightly better for toe hooks. The shoes are priced the same as the Hurricanes but are more down turned for more precise foot placement on steeper routes. Add them to your quiver!


I did manage to crush Vorpal Sword (31) in a 8 attempts total. I'd been on it once or twice at the beginning of the year but there was one stopper move for me which I could crush statically instead of having to dead point my way up the crux. The route revolves around a 25 lead-in to the bar counter rest, where the climber is able to turn around and put his arms on the ledge to stare out across the valley and wish there was a beer there. Liquid chalk will have to suffice, which is a great idea to work through the crux. The next two bolts from here are the crux and a tough boulder problem and revolve a small crimp into a gaston and then a massive move to a small crimp. Powerful stuff. But it's not over yet, the big move to a sloping, half-digit crimp for two fingers is from a poor undercling on the right hand and requires very high feet which aren't particularly good. After you catch this the rest of the climbing is simply amazing and makes you feel really good about yourself.

Jabberwocky was the next route on my tick list. I got the draws up and worked the moves out by the end of my second go. Third go saw me work out the crux moves. I did my first red point attempt and made it half way through the crux! Next go I made it one move further, then managed to link the route from mid-crux to the chains before I cleaned it. This is a really interesting route. The lower crux is 28ish and then moves into a 7C boulder problem and immediately into a 27 route to the chains. There are some decent shakes in between, but no good feet on the upper section of the route. It's very pumpy and extremely fingery. I have never had to hold on to crimps as small as the ones in the crux. Not only does one have to hold on to the crimps, but feet have to move from one tiny smear to the next. I love it. It's strangely not my style but my endurance is so good that I arrive at the crux fresh, boulder the crux and then shake on the small holds after the crux to get enough back to reach the chains! Lovely! I am very close to the red point. Just need some skin to grow back; the blood blisters on my right index and middle fingers will attest!

Well, that was yesterday. Today was a new day.



Went to the boulder cave and worked in a strong campus session. Warmed up for 30 minutes and then hit the board. But only after I set a quick problem that simulates the Jabberwocky crux!



Campus session was pretty gentle:

1-3-5-7-9
1-3-5-7-9

1-4-6-8-9
1-4-6-8-9
1-4-6-8-9
1-4-6-8-9
1-4-6-8-9
1-4-6-8-9

Start on 4 & 6 move lower hand to 9
Start on 4 & 6 move lower hand to 9
Start on 4 & 6 move lower hand to 9
Start on 4 & 6 move lower hand to 9
Start on 4 & 6 move lower hand to 9
Start on 4 & 6 move lower hand to 9

Start both hands on 6 left to 9 drop from 9 to 3
Start both hands on 6 left to 9 drop from 9 to 3
Start both hands on 6 left to 9 drop from 9 to 3
Start both hands on 6 left to 9 drop from 9 to 3
Start both hands on 6 left to 9 drop from 9 to 3 use 3 fingers only
Start both hands on 6 left to 9 drop from 9 to 3 use 3 fingers only

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Bit of a Low

Well, not all weeks can be good ones... This past week is definitely a good example of that. Sometimes, things just don't want to go your way. After my weekend high at Boven on my project, I came back to Pretoria and started to train on Monday.

I work in an hour of training on my hangboard, with a 15 minute warmup:

Min Type of hold Exercise Sec/Rep
1 Jug Drops 5 rep
2 Medium Edge Drops 2 rep
3 Small Edge Negs 5 rep
4 Pocket Pull-upp 5 rep
5 Medium Edge Hanging 20 sec
6 Jug Pull-up 10 rep
7 Medium Edge Hanging 20 sec
8 Small Edge Hanging 20 sec
9 Medium Edge Pull-up 5 rep
10 Jug Hanging 40 sec
11 Medium Edge Hanging 25 sec
12 Medium Edge Hanging 25 sec
13 Small Edge Pull-up 5 rep
14 Small Edge Hanging 20 sec
15 Jug Hanging 1 min


Followed by a 30 min program with a 6 kilo weight vest
Min Type of hold Exercise Sec/Rep
1 Jug Drops 5 rep
2 Medium Drops 3 rep
3 Small Pulls 5 rep
4 Medium Negs 5 rep
5 Pocket Pulls 5 rep
6 Medium Drops 2 rep
7 Jug Hang 30 sec
8 Jug Pulls 10 rep
9 Medium Pulls 5 rep
10 Small Hang 15 sec
11 Medium Hang 20 sec
12 Jug Drops 5 rep
13 Small Hang 15 sec
14 Jug Hang 40 sec
15 Medium Hang 20 sec
16 Medium Pulls 5 rep
17 Small Hang 15 sec
18 Medium Hang 20 sec
19 Small Hang 15 sec
20 Small Hang 15 sec
21 Medium Hang 20 sec
22 Jug Pulls 10 rep
23 Medium Hang 20 sec
24 Small Hang 15 sec
25 Medium Pulls 5 rep
26 Jug Hang 40 sec
27 Medium Hang 20 sec
28 Medium Hang 20 sec
29 Small Hang 15 sec
30 Jug Hang 1 min

In the evening I bouldered a little, concentrating on dynos and pinches. Also with 6 kilo weight vest. I felt pretty strong throughout the evening and when I took off my vest at the end of the night I flew up all the problems I was working with the vest on, although I was quite tired.

On Tuesday I went back to the cave and spent the afternoon working the boulder problems that Wesley set for the comp on that Saturday. I did them all with my weight vest on so they felt really hard and reachy, but got easier at the end of the day when I took off my vest.

Wednesday I rested and did some work on my thesis for the most of the day. Wasn't particularly productive but at least I did some more than I had done on the previous two days.

Thursday I did some stamina training... No weight vest. This is tough work and involves a 4 minute set of work encores! The first minute utilizes 6 sets of holds, 7 seconds on with 3 rest on each hold with arms straight. The second minute uses the same 6 holds with arms at half lock. The third minute is then at full lock. The forth minute is just pure torture! Try to do 10 pull ups in 30 seconds on a small hold! I dare you! Take 5 minutes off and repeat! Do this for 5 sets in total and you have a workout.

This is what it looks like for the training log!
Grip Goal Goal 10-Mar




just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 10
Rest 10 min

just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 10
Rest 5min

just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 10
Rest 5min

just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 10
Rest 5min

just off straight jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
90 degree jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 6
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 5.5
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 9


140 138.5



98.93%

video
Fun stuff.

So now for the bad part of the week: Boven this weekend. It all started off with an easy on sight of Grannie's Cottage (25) and a quick repeat of Condor (27) as warm up to put the draws up for Frankie, but it all went downhill from there. I felt great putting the draws on my route, linking it from the 3rd bolt to the anchors placing draws but after that I never had any success. My two attempts were both to the same place: falling off at the infamous right hand crimp at the top. Grrr.

The next day was no better. Tried to on sight Bamboozled (27). Gave it a very valiant effort, down-climbing the moves probably 10 times before giving up. Worse yet, I couldn't even make it to the top of the route so I had to down-climb it to clean. Frustrating. Tried Dropkicked again too and didn't quite make it to the top before I decided it was a bad idea and cleaned it. My project was a disaster too. Fell off in the shake at the top on the first attempt: see video. And my second attempt was just stupid, so I pulled my gear off it and went home.

video

Low points can be good for learning and for teaching you lessons, but they are still very frustrating nonetheless. I shall simply have to work harder and clear my head before I head back there with Paul Brouard next weekend, for 8 days. I am convinced that it will go then. Might also jump on either Lab Rat or Jabberwocky. I may very well just need a change of pace with my project...