Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bouldering - the new frontier

Two days ago I made a trip to Laramie WY to meet some friends and go on a tour of Wyoming bouldering.  I was blown away at the quantity and quality of rock that exists in just the small section within a 1hr 30min of Laramie.  Its surprising that with a place like Boulder CO, only 1hr and 45min from Laramie that more climbers wouldnt be up here projecting and developing this world class rock.  I guess its all preference...?  I will have a full post about my adventure in the next two days.  I am headed back to develop more tomorrow.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Poudre Canyon

Last weekend Bri and I made a trip to Poudre Canyon to check out the 420 boulders (around 1hr 45min north west of Fort Collins).  I have spent the past 5 or so weeks in CO and so far the Poudre may be one of my favorite places I have visited.  The vibe is great, house size granite boulders scattered through the forest with the most enjoyable approach... if you are into hiking for about 10min on a large flat trail otherwise not so much.  The rock quality is incredible and it offers grades from v0 - v13 with the mass quantity of the problems landing somewhere in between those two marks.  To top it off there is a free guide online compliments of the NOCO website.  (NOCO does an amazing job at organizing events, driving new development in colorado as well as managing relationships between climbers and other organizations to secure future climbing at established areas, so check them out.)

At first we were skeptical  about how much climbing was actually going to be done because rain had filled the canyon on our trip up to the 420's but by the time we reached the gate to the access road the sun was out, the wind picked up and the temps were around 56..  PERFECT!   We started off at the Hanks boulder and I managed to do pretty much everything on it quickly.  My favorite by far being Hanks Lunge v5*** on the back side of the boulder.  I managed to do a v11 2nd try called Private Property.  Bri and were both psyched to see more, so we headed back to the main concentration of boulders and began to climb anything that caught our eye.  At this point in the day it was getting very late as earlier we waited at a Shell gas station for awhile to see if the rain would break.  Time was against us.   Bri managed to do some quality lines and really push herself on her new project Scarface v6.  I am sure it will go down the next time we are out.  
I got on so many classic lines and looked at so many more that I didn't have a chance to get on.  I cant wait to get back out and climb in the Poudre.  A must go if you are in northern CO.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another reason to stay in CO

I have changed my plans more times than I can count over the past month.  First weather impaired our climbing with rain and warmer than expected conditions and I ended up moving my flight out of Denver from the 12th to the 19th.  Since I am here and conditions just continue to improve daily and I have decided to yet again make a small change to my plans.  I will now be leaving on October 3rd for the east coast and will unfortunately not be attending the Nor'Easter in Vermont on the 23rd and 24th.  It is probably for the best as I injured my oblique about a week ago training for the comp and I am still in a lot of pain when I do large moves.  On a positive note I am close on 3 or so projects at RMNP that I am sure will go down the next time I am there... hopefully on Saturday.  Here is a picture of me feeling up The Game like a cheap trick. Just kidding, this rig looks sick and has one of the worst landings I have seen.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Training and Fitness

I have been reading a lot of information about strength training and how it can be applied to climbing. Recently I have been discussing training routines with friends and how gains can be made in climbing.  Several schools of thought exist  in the climbing community based on training and how it quantifies as climbing improvements.  I am not out to disprove or prove anything about training and how it affects individual improvements and gains in climbing rather, this will be an attempt to explain my views on climbing and strength training, how I have improved my own climbing, what I have learned from others and good practices.  These are just my views and what I believe to have helped me get to where I am today.
Climbers are not unlike other none team athletes such as tennis players, weight lifters, golfers, pro skaters, surfers etc.  All of these sports including climbing require a great deal of skill that can be gained by experience and careful strengthening of targeted muscle groups associated to the specific sport.  It is also important to note that some of the strongest athletes also spend a great deal of time cross training opposing muscle groups not used in their sports to maintain balance, promote fitness and prevent injury. General fitness and strength gain have always been my goal.  I believe that the stronger you are as an athlete the stronger you are as an individual.  To quote a good friend of mine "If you are not strong, you are weak".  If a training routine is planned and executed correctly, the result of a systematic exercise is improvement of the athlete's physical fitness, particularly strength, as the body adapts to physical load.  In a broad sense, adaptation or the adjustment of an organism to its environment. If the environment changes the organism changes to better survive in the new conditions. "Science and Practice of Strength Training" Vladimir M Zatsiorsky, William J. Kraemer  
Climbing is a unique sport because it doesn't require you to be any particular body type and no baseline fitness level exists to be an amazing athlete.  Take for instance the following well known professional climbers Chris Sharma, Daniel Woods, Paul Robinson and Fred Nicole.  All of the climbers that I listed have entirely different body types but all are incredible athletes pushing the limits in the sport.  I am not nearly as strong as those people but I use their achievements as motivation as to what is possible.
When I train I look at several things, first what are my goals for training.  If I have a general goal such as lock off strength I warm up and then spend 10 - 20min working on that specific skill.   In the example I gave I would spend time on my fingerboard practicing lock offs until failure on several different holds on each arm.  If I have a more specific goal such as a particular route or boulder problem that I need strength for, I will find out what I need to do to train those weakness so that I can successfully complete the route or boulder problem.   Second and for me the most important... maybe this should be number one?  When do I plan on climbing and projecting? When it comes down to it thats what I love to do and why I am training in the first place.  Once I figure out what the weather is going to do for the week I make my schedule and begin my routine.  I haven't really subscribed to any set days of climbing and training but I do have good friends that do have schedules and they seem to work for them.  For example, some of my friends will climb two days on one day rest with a day of training mixed in.  Others have a one day on and one day off schedule.  I like to keep each week slightly different and really listen to how hard I am pushing myself so that I don't get a negative response, over-train and end up with an injury.  I mix up routines on rings, push exercises and lifting, sprints, climbing and body weight exercises.  I wish I had a magic equation to share but honestly my training changes every week and I try and change it as much as possible.
Nutrition is inevitably brought up at some point in conversation about training and as I have no college degree in nutrition only practical application and experience my ranting is pretty much just a look at how I plan my meals.  Several of my close friends are very health conscious and watch what they eat very carefully.  Others are exactly opposite and eat whatever whenever with no regard to basic nutrition principles that we all learned in grade school.  I fall somewhere in between these two tribes.  I am a strong believer in moderation.  Balances exist in nature all around us and are create harmony for creatures that live and thrive in them.  I try and balance my diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit, meats and some dairy.  I try and stay away from sugar as much as possible but anyone who knows me and has seen me house an entire bag of swedish fish or gummy worms can attest that I am full of crap.  In any case I feel pretty good about staying aware of what I am consuming because after all, we are what we eat.
My motivation comes from multiple sources and I try to stay psyched, motivated and maintain a desire to succeed.  I have seen it first hand in my own climbing and in others, its not just enough to have a goal and develop a program to reach your goal because before you know it you will have succeeded or stopped training because some goals were to ambitious.  This is where I believe that motivation and direction from a coach can help to improve gains.  I subscribe to an overall desire to have fun and better myself and that is really what its about for me.  I am not the strongest climber on the field but I love to climb and I love seeing people get psyched about climbing.  I enjoy sharing my passion for the sport and I hope that everyone can experience the same joy I get out of it.  One thing is certain, I have a long way to go at becoming the best that I can be and I am psyched about the journey.

I have been spending the past month training with some of the strongest athletes in the country and Summit Strength has been helping me make gains in climbing and maintaining a balance so that I do not get injured.  If you are looking for additional training information or training direction check out Summit Strength Training.    Brad of Summit Strength is a training consultant for climbers all across the country and develops programs that increase strength and promote general fitness.  If you are a climber or athlete looking to make strength gains with a direction and emphasis on climbing you should talk to Brad.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Scene

Chuck Fryberger's new film The Scene was playing in Fort Collins last night so we decided to check it out.  It was awesome seeing so many people from all over show up to see the film.  The Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition put on a great event.  The film shows some of the best climbers in the world doing what they do best.  There are segments from Moab, Bishop, The New River Gorge, Joes Valley, Innsbruck, Spain and other climbing meccas.  The film was killer, check it out!


Last week in Colorado

Its my last week in Colorado.  My trip has been amazing. I have met some great new friends and climbed some amazing boulders.  It is sad that I have to go at the end of the week but I know that I will be back soon.  I have a trip back to the east coast for the Nor'Easter comp on September 23rd and 24th then to the Rumney for a couple of days and followed by a trip to the New River for a much needed does of sandstone.

Ben on the crux of Potato Chip 

Upper chaos canyon at dusk

Secret Splendor 

Soap on a rope