Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hell Can Be Found On Earth If You're Unlucky Enough!

It's been quite a while since I've had anything good to write about but I certain have some interesting stories now...

My last four weekends have been pretty floppy. They started off with me having to cancel a trip to Boven to do some extra work which took me all Saturday and part of Sunday. Nothing like working a long week, training super hard with the hopes and goals of opening your project in Boven only to find out you need to work an extra 20 hours over the weekend. On the Sunday I attended the first Gauteng Lead Comp, which was not ideal and was glad that I didn't skip my trip to Boven to attend but at least there was some climbing. The route setters were young and have a lot to learn about the style of competition route-setting but time and practice will improve their abilities.

What the training session did do was inspire as little extra effort be put into my training schedule... Dylan joined me for this and we had a good session.

Start off with 10 minutes of slow bouldering on the wall with slight pauses above the next grip.
Stretch for 15 minutes.
4x5s --> Select 4 boulder problems at about 80% difficulty.
set the timer for 5 minutes.
Repeat the first boulder problem constantly for 5 minutes with weight vest on.
Rest 5 minutes
Repeat second boulder problem for 5 minutes with weight vest on
Rest 5 minutes
Repeat 3rd boulder problem for 5 minutes (ideally with weight vest but I was too tired the first time I was doing this program).
Rest 5 minutes
Repeat 4th boulder problem for 5 min.

The objective of this is to build Power Endurance. You want to get more and more tired yet still be able to finish the problem. If need be you can take off the vest mid-way through the 5 min but it works best if you don't rest except for chalking your hands.

Next was doing an Ultra Stamina Program that was recommended to me by Paul Brouard.

Select 6 different grips on your Hangboard to use for repeaters (7 seconds on, 3 seconds rest). 3 sets, 5 min rest in between.

First minute/set of 6 grips you do with arms straight.
Second minute/set of 6 grips is done with arms in half-lock
Third minute/set of 6 grips is done in FULL LOCK
Now you have 30 seconds to complete 10 pull ups on the smallest crimp on your hangboard, you may do one, then drop to the floor so long as you complete 10 in 30 seconds.

Next exercise was a Paul B recommendation:

Create a difficult boulder problem with a weight vest.
Climb it once with 3-5 second pauses above each grip with weight
Immediately repeat it at normal speed with weight
Drop weight and immediate repeat it.

Chose 5 problems.

To close the evening we did about an hour of core training and antagonistic muscle work including: tricep dips (3 sets of 20), push ups (3 sets of 20), (8,1,8,1,8)

And then close with 15 minutes of stretching...

The next weekend I went to Fernkloof on the Saturday and did Acromax again. Also did a few laps on Stormwatch, it's still damn hard! I watched Ebert struggle on the upper section using some horrible beta which he changed and seemed really happy to have some external input. Pedley did the third ascent of A Will To Cower (30) using some really interesting and powerful beta involving really high feet.

I didn't get to climb on the Sunday which was disappointing but necessary.

The following weekend was a rainy weekend in Cape Town. Quite disappointing. Warren and I climbed some on Lion's Head, I tried his project which was just way too reachy for me but I think I helped him solidify some of beta. After a long day of looking for routes that looked fun with no success, we marched back down and called it a day.

 The weather was looking very promising for the next day so I was psyched. T and I went out for drinks that evening and I took it very easy till it was raining profusely at 11:30. At this point all bets were off and all shots were game. We partied hard, I got home the next day mid morning. All fun and games. Flew back to Joburg that night and ended up sick the next day with a severe ear infection, the doctor was worried it was going to burst. What a nightmare.

Three days in bed and course of antibiotics later, I felt like I was floating on a cloud or my mind was in a fog or something of that sort. Finished the antibiotics Thursday night while packing for Blouberg. Hiked up Blouberg on Friday evening with the Andrews and Clinton. Got to the campsite at midnight and slept till 5. The next day was a bit of an issue for me, I was struggling to keep up with Andrew and Clinton on the hiking part first thing in the morning. Possible due to residual effects of the medication and being sick, but the hike up the hill was no problem. I was feeling devastated from the get go. I had high hopes for myself and my second trip to Blouberg. The results were dismal. I fell off the first pitch due to carrying a heavy pack, brilliant 22 pitch, easy as pie but you need to be able to balance on small holds which is right up my alley. The next 4 pitches were easy enough, even the 21/22 corner with the pack again (I was amazed I didn't fall off).
Julia and Andrew above the first pitch

I handed over my chance to lead the 25 crux to Clinton as I had no confidence in my abilities, plus I was hot and feeling drained. Clinton fought for an hour or so and eventually onsighted the pitch! Awesome work. I didn't manage the pitch but Andrew did.

Clinton cruising an 18 pitch
The sun doesn't leave the face till after 4pm in winter and yes the day was very hot and guess what, there was no wind until sunset, go figure. Plus all the excessive water we started off with was consumed by our dear friend Andrew Pedley in an attempt to lighten our pack (which worked but left us thirsty for the last 4 pitches).

The hike through the maze took a while. it's only 1.5km from the top out to the meadow on paper but the hike took two or so hours in the dark. Our team of dedicated cairn spotters got us down safely, thanks Tim and Julia. Andrew, Clinton and I knew there was no point in going up Dog of Thunder (30A0) for two days and we hiked out at a leisurely pace in the morning. Andrew's GPS was a godsend on the hike down. We may never have seen the light of day without it LOL.

I am very grateful to have my DMM and Wild Country cams and nuts. This was their maiden voyage up a big wall and they performed amazingly. Watch for a review of the DMM Dragons, Wild Country Heliums and the Wild Country Zeros as well as a comparison between them in the weeks to come!

Spot the trail... It's there, I promise

To top it all off, 7 of the 9 of us who were up there got violently ill, I haven't chundered that bad in years. I was so happy it lasted on 24 hours. The only two to escape it were Craig and Porter. So I guess you can find your own personal hell on Earth if you're unlucky enough...