Thursday, July 17, 2014

Santa Barbara's Hardest

One of the most popular articles in Allez was Steve Edward's "Southern Cal's Hardest" in issue #3. That was written in 1995 — before sport climbing died. Fortunately, there are a handful people refusing to acquiesce and just go bouldering like everyone else. Bouldering is more convenient, social, and (most would say) fun; but I believe sport climbing still offers many things that bouldering cannot. So, because history is important, and maybe some readers will take up the sport climbing torch, I'm writing an updated version of Steve's article.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ratings & Difficulty: Appendix

In my last article, I tried to take an objective look at ratings. By far my most popular post ever, it was also, mostly well received. There were several good questions and comments that I will now address.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ratings, Difficulty and the World's First 9c/15d

Antonio on No Skill (12c) Owl Tor, Santa Maria, CA

I guess 12c is a lot
harder than 12b.
 Antonio Labaro             


I've planned on writing something about ratings and difficulty for a while, but Antonio's comment finally motivated me to do the work. Antonio has been progressing through the grades at the Owl Tor and in April he redpointed The Hell of the Upside-Down Sinners, his first 5.12b. Full of psyche and energy, he moved on to No Skill, a 5.12c variation of two other routes. He's doing well, but he did notice: yes, in fact, 12c is a lot harder than 12b.
   But how much harder? And aren't ratings subjective? Most climbers talk about them as if they are. I haven't seen this done before, and I wish I had more data, but we need to start somewhere and try to have an objective discussion about ratings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Foundation 2.0 & Owltoberfest 2014

I just completed my latest foundation phase and I'm so happy with it I'm dubbing it foundation 2.0. The refinements might seem minor, and I still need to find a better plan for climbing outside on the weekends; but overall, I resolved enough basic problems that feels like a solid step forward. The foundation phase I've been looking for involves training on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with a large volume of campusing, fingers, core, pulling, and "prehab" shoulder training for 3-4 weeks. I'm a weekend warrior, and am 100% focused on sport climbing; hopefully, the handful of sport climbers left might find some of this useful. I still have one cycle to write-up, but these will be more productive if written while I'm in the cycle; so that's what I'm doing this week. I redesigned this phase by reviewing my previous ones , noting the problems, and testing alternatives.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The holidays are a bad time for training

Food, wine, traveling, family obligations - all of these combine to make training challenging around the holidays. While this might cause many to conclude not to attempt a training cycle, I see this as the most important time for structure. Sure, it might not generate the gains one would usually hope for; but the structure is a better defense against the onslaught of temptations. For a goal, nothing outside was too close and/or enticing, so I went with only campusing goals: 1:4-7 & 1:5-7 on the 5/8" and 1:5-8 on the 1". The first two were quite realistic, although both would be personal bests; but the third was definitely a long shot.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Campusing - Goals and Plateaus

Regardless of your campusing ability and experience, plateauing is a common problem. The main reason for this is that the next hardest move/goal is often much harder than the move you've just completed. I recommend having parallel goals on the same rungs and alternate goals on other (bigger and smaller) rungs. Clearly, trying a specific goal is one way to train for it. The next most obvious method is to simply try the goal on bigger rungs. This article covers the less obvious ways to train for a specific goal; the methods I cover here are: Drops, Component Moves, similar moves on the same board, and Stacks.