Monday, December 12, 2016

Bouldering Season is building: Fall 2016/Winter 2017

In October I gave up on my RRG climbing goals and shifted my focus to a couple NRG trips, and mainly, to bouldering.   I decided that the key missing ingredients for me were "psyche" and bouldering power.

For those familiar with the guidebook at the Dojo I moved into new territory-- ticking off my first problems in the V7 range, and generally started being able to climb V5's like I used to climb V4's and to send V6's much more easily.  

My goals through the winter are to just keep consolidating in the V5/6/7 range with a wider array of ascents, quicker work, anti-style problems.  ETC.   I also hope to visit the Chatt area, and to help develop some more problems in SE Ohio.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Blues Clues Traverse

This rest comes at the end of about 40 hand moves and involves one incut roof hold, a medium campus rung, a 1/4 inch deep foot chip as a heel hook on an arete, and a smear on the opposing side of a pine 2X4.

The problem is called the Blues Clues Traverse and it is marked with footholds only.  It becomes a choose your own adventure route, and identifying which hand holds facilitate the best movements is a big part of the difficulty.  The problem is rated 12b or V6, which I am not sure is really accurate.  It feels easier to me at this point, but it can also feel impossible to folks who, based on the numbers, ought to be able to do it.  Regardless it presents interesting challenges that teach about how to activate body positions and movement with somewhat small footholds.

The problem is primarily constructed from Ian Powell's "Sandstone Chips" which he designed several years ago, but I have not seen better technical foot chips (get them from eGrips!).  The chips have some subtle attributes which I try to take advantage of by placing them at angles that make it harder to use the preferred surface.

The day after climbing this again I could feel sore muscles in my shins from maintaining tension on the holds.  Generally I would say that this type of route offers a valuable alternative to the big and crude footholds common in indoor gyms these days.  For climbers who have gotten strong through indoor bouldering outdoor problems can be a shock because the footholds can be so small, technical, and strangely placed.   This route anticipates the devious routefinding and technical foot kung foo of harder outdoor problems.

Climbing is both a strength and a skill activity.   You need to be strong and know what to do with your whole body.  If your home gym has an area with a dense hold array you should consider setting problems with technically challenging foot options and open hands.

Here is a video of the traverse, and following that, a tour of the footholds in the order that they appear on the route.

The footholds