Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Making it stick!

18 May: eZemvelo! Such an unbelievable place. After making a bunch of trips to the boulders, I was finally able to climb and open my first 8A, Total Reflection. I spent 4 days working the problem before being able to send it from the sit start. It is an extension of Third Reflection (7B+) that adds another 5 moves to the standing start which are each absolutely gut-wrenching. Pulling off the ground on the first two crimps is painful and powerful till your right heel can latch a very small hold high above the ground. After that I had to pull into a gaston and then match. There is a very big move following this which sets into motion the remainder of the problem.

Total Reflection 8A

Both Falco and PW repeated the problem after I opened it and Falco confirmed it to be 8A.

Next up was Aminal Arete, a problem opened by Wesley Black. I flashed it with different beta to Wes so it felt 7B to me instead of 7C, but I can admit that if I would use the same beta as Wes then it would likely have been 7C. Spoon (7C) was next on the chopping block. I nearly flashed it, fell off the finish hold pretty much. Took a few more goes to get the details narrowed down and send. While everyone else was working Spoon, I opened Spork (7B), which starts of the same holds but forks right instead of going straight up. We spent a few burns on Deadly Mosquito (7C) at the end of the day and I fell off with both hands on the finish jug, next time...

Spoon 7C

19 May: I spent the evening at the boulder cave. The object was to boulder for 1.5hours doing very specific power problems. I set 8 problems, not longer than 8 moves each (foot tracking) which forced me to move to maximum reach on crimps and slopers. I only climbed open-handed with 3 fingers. Afterwards I did 30 minutes of dynos and some campusing.


1-4-6-9 L
1-4-6-9 R
1-4-6-9 L
1-4-6-9 R

1-4-7 L failed on 7

Doubles skipping rungs 2x

21 May. Ilse, Frankie, Alex and I went to Wigwam where we met up with Dirk, Marc, Dewald, Werner, Alex and Gustav. Was a really fun day. Spent a great deal of time working Running Bare and Squall Play with no sends on either, typical wigwam day for me. Gustav did manage to snap this really awesome pic though! Ilse, Alex and Frankie were all very close to sending tomahawk but no joy (not till next weekend when Ilse and Alex both sent).

Hanging out on Running Bare (31)

The week held lots of training for me...

Sunday: Program A --> Maximum effort bouldering. The idea behind this is to set a problem that is absolutely maximum effort, no straight pulling. The goal is to develop strength in unusual positions that are not always trained or even found on a normal route. I worked with open hands to make sure that I was needing to put in the most effort to hold on. If you get stronger open handed, then your crimp strength will increase as well. I can already hold on to pretty much any crimp in a static position, but I am trying to develop my contact strength so I can catch small holds on the fly.

Afterward, I did an hour of campus work using a mixture of staggered hand positions to increase my reach and my lockoff strength.

I would start at 1 move left to 4, move right to 3, then bounce right to 7. I increased difficulty but moving Left from 1-4, Right then 1-2-7. I did this for both hands with 2 min rests in between. The idea is to rest fully so that you are able to give maximum effort behind the attempts rather than develop power endurance wherein one would repeat the moves back to back.

Monday I spent in the cave again. Program B --> 20 move boulder problem with 2 min between attempts is the goal. I made it a little harder. For the first 3 I rested 2 min, from 4-6 I rested 1.5 min, the last three I didn't rest between attempts, I simply walked back to the starting holds, put on chalk and started again. I set the problem with a weight vest of 7 kilos, otherwise the problem might end up being too hard by the end.

The campus board saw me again. This time the goal was power endurance. The aim was to stay on the board, climbing continuously for 45 seconds. I worked my way up to it. I climbed up once. Then I climbed up and down. Then I climbed up, down, up. Then finally up down, up down, up which too 50 seconds. I was simply climbing 1-3-5-7-9, so that it was not too difficult.

Tuesday. The Bedroom. I started off with a 15 minute warm up

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

Then moved into PROGRAM A for Finger Strength. This is very challenging and a bit time consuming. It takes about 2.5 hours to complete.

Grip Goal 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Slopey 3 finger pocket on left 5 2.2 4.1 3.8 4.6 5.6 2.7 4.8 5
Slopey 3 finger pocket on right 5 2.1 3 3.7 2.2 4.8 5.2 4.6 3.3
Devil Left on ring and middle finger on tiny crimp 5 1 3.1 3.3 4.1 5 4 4 5
Devil Right on ring and middle finger on tiny crimp 5 3.1 1.2 4.1 4.3 5 2.3 2 5
small crimp on Right. Left pinky helper 5 3 2.5 3.5 4.2 3 3.4 4.3 4.3
small crimp on Left. Right pinky helper 5 1.2 3.5 5 3 2.8

Right front two pocket 5 2.3 3 3.8 3.1 3.3

Left front two pocket 5

Rigth half crimp 5

Left half crimp 5

Right big crimp middle of hold 5

Left big crimp middle of hold 5

sloper hang R with thumb in pocket 5

sloper hang L with thumb in pocket 5

I ran out of energy, so I did not finish (not to mention that my middle fingers were starting to fatigue). But you can get the picture. You should rest 2 min between maximum attempts and your goal is 5 seconds. If you can hang for 5 seconds, choose a smaller hold or add weight.

Wednesday I did some light bouldering to get the blood pumping.

Boven Baby! Left for Boven Saturday morning with Flex and Dirk. Spent the day climbing in the sun at Tranquilitas. Flex crushed Pit Fighter (31). I tried it too, figured out most of the beta, one move stumped me before my skin encouraged me to move on... Climbed Atlantis (26) once and tried Inca Trail (27) SANDBAGGED!!!!! Andrew... Your legacy lives on...

Sunday I tried Psych Ward (31) a few times and got the beta from Flex. Then spent a few hours rebolting Jabberwocky, well 2/3's of it anyway. I have to go back and get the last few bolts still. I moved a few of the bolts to make clipping easier, I hope no one minds, none of them moved more than 50 cm but I think it makes the route far better than before...

Monday, May 16, 2011


I have been thoroughly swept off my feet by bouldering! I have been training my power and power-endurance so much in the past months that bouldering has now become incredibly appealing! I went back to eZemvelo this week, twice. GREAT FUN!

On Thursday I was there with Schalk, Johnny and Ansie. Was a great day. I warmed up on Animal Planet (7C) and within a few tries managed to send it. Schalk was so close to the send too, he fell off the final hold twice. Shame bud, those 5.10s are just not made for heel hooks! Later on I sent Healing Power (7C+) which was awesome!

Animal Planet 7C

Healing Power 7C+

Went back to eZemvelo on Sunday with Falco, PW and Tii. Was another brilliant day. I warmed up by repeating Animal Planet so that I could should the onlookers the beta. Falco sent it in about 4 goes after he got the beta. STRONG MAN!!

Squirrel Drums Zipper 6C in approach shoes :)

I showed them Healing Power after that but there was no sending there. Shortly after we moved to the Italian Stallion dyno (7C). Absolutely awesome dyno! I was finally able to stick it! Falco also got it in about 6 goes! We managed to nab the 4th and 5th ascents!

Catching the dyno on Italian Stallion 7C

We moved on to a project of mine: First Reflection, this should be 8A, it will be my first when I get it. Falco and PW were also very close to getting it after I figured out some very crucial beta to get off the ground: a very thin and technical heel hook into a very difficult move into the starting holds of Second Reflection! Both PW and Falco flashed the standing start Third Reflection and decided it needed to be downgraded so but Third Reflection (now 7B+) and Second Reflection (7C) are slightly downgraded. I had my suspicions but was not sure one way or the other as the gradings were suggested by others.

Last problem of the day was Flashpoint (7C) opened by Marijus Smigelskis. Really fun, very powerful and short. Managed to point it in about 20 min. Very cool moves revolving around a heel hook on a thin hold up the roof.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wigwam, Plastic and SEVERE CRUSHING!

Well, this week started off hitting Wigwam with Illona and Don. Was a lot of fun except that both Don and Illona weren't quite feeling 100% plus Illona ended up being flipped upside down on her first attempt (bump on the head wasn't nice), I was attacked by wasps at the top of Running Bare and Don got a beauty of a blood blister on his right ring finger on the first try of the day. Hmmm. At this point, we were wondering what could possibly happen next. And then the weather took a turn for the worse, leaving Don yanking on draws in an attempt to clean Tomahawk. What a day.

On Monday, Illona and I decided to take a different approach to the climbing: Stamina training on my hangboard. We both did very well in fact. I was wearing a 5.2kg weight vest to compensate for the fact that I've lost 5kgs in the last month:

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 5
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 4
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 5
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 6 3
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 5.5 4
full lock jug, rail, 2pock, crimp, 2pock, med 4 2
Rest, 10 small pulls 30 secs, 10 small pull ups 10 10
Rest 5min 109.5 99

97.77% 88.39%

Went to Bobbejaan's Berg on Tuesday for a little bit of bouldering. Was thoroughly upset to find that entrance to the area had nearly doubled in price so I think I'm not going to be heading there again. I'd rather drive further and pay less at eZemvelo where there is a much great abundance of rock. I'm quite sad about losing a destination that only takes 25 minutes to reach from home, which means I could go any day for a afternoon or morning session. Too bad.

Wednesday I got an sms from Paul Brouard asking me if I wanted to hit the barn for a training session. We had a great time there with Paul and Illona and James. Some insane bouldering happened right before my eyes. It really makes me realize how strong 8c+ climbers actually are when I try to do the problems Paul was setting.

Friday found Paul and I heading back to Wigwam for his last day in South Africa. It was fantastic. Paul crushed both Running Bare (31) and Squall Play (30) second go. I climbed both lines too but didn't managed to redpoint. I am very close on both of them, nearly sticking the first move on Running Bare and having been able to clip the crux draw on Squall Play but not able to move off the heel hook.

Saturday was the big day though of this week. After finding out that it was raining at Wigwam (which is where I left my draws and rope) I headed out to eZemvelo. This was the best decision that I'd made in a while. My new-found bouldering strength paid off completely. I warmed up by crushing a 7C called Third Reflection opened by Paul Bruyere, which had been a project of Schalk Erasmus and myself on my last visit to eZemvelo. I then added a low start to it 10 minutes later giving it the grade of 7C+ as suggested by Paul and Schalk.

Next on the chopping block was Where's Willis (7B+), a very cool line with a double dyno to a compression hold. Quite unique. The only way it is possible is with a heel-toe lock with the right foot! SOOOO cool. Right next door is Wesley Black's King Kong (7C). Took me a little while to figure it out, but eventually I stuck the dynamic throw to a finger lock and then it was all over! Schalk showed me a dyno project on the same boulder that had been tried in the past. It was very cool, 1.5m+ from a good hold to a section of rock that is less than 10cm wide and 5cm deep with slopers all around it. I managed to stick it after a bunch of tries. After some discussion I called it Learn To Drive: inspired by Dina and her horrible driving ability which wasted 45 minutes of our morning! I graded it 7B+ after trying the Italian Stallion dyno (7C) which is not too much harder than this one. I think that it might be easier if you are taller but time will tell. I did not manage to catch the Italian Stallion but Schalk manage to make the third ascent of this proud line. The first ascent belongs to a tiny Italian dude, second is Paul Brouard and third is Schalk, who caught this one and now has done his first 7C!!! Congratulations!!!

I did Dragons and Shrooms first go. The problem was opened at 7B but I don't know if that is right, 7A felt more appropriate. Last of the day was Animal Planet (7C). Stupid Brian dorked it by marking the wrong hold, so I fell off the last move twice!!!! DUMBASS!!!! Oh well, you know what, you win some and you lose some. I'll cruise this next time when I haven't bouldered all of eZemvelo first. I just wish I had some pictures to commemorate this week...