4 + 5 = A good time!

Great session last night. Flashed a v4 (more a hard v3) and topped a v5/v4!

After a quick warmup I sat on the yellow mat and prepared for takeoff on the black v5 below.

Legend:
Green = hand holds
Yellow = foot holds
Double dots = match/switch

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As you can see from the picture above, the problem starts with a big dyno to the thick positive edge marked by the second set of double green dots. I actually stuck the dyno with my left hand then subsequently matched. Very cool dyno! The rest was fairly straight forward.

The dynos in most problems are also the crux; and influence the grade. Fortunately for me, dynos have somewhat become my forte (if I ever was to have a forte in climbing); so it’s a good opportunity to tick off a harder grade! Not that it matters at the end of the day ๐Ÿ˜€

Next on the list was a v4 I had my eyes on since last week.

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I didn’t attempt it last week as it was at the end of the session and my forearms were completely destroyed! I watched Sharon and Brendon top it and gleaned some useful beta. I had the entire sequence wired [in my mind] and it was just a matter of executing. Felt great when I topped out on my first attempt! I tried it again at the end of the night and failed miserably! Haha

All in all it was a good night with great company; some who I met for the first time last night. That’s why I love climbing!

Every piece matters

Climbing has opened my eyes to more than just a new sport. It has actually taught me an invaluable lesson in life.

As defined by Eric J Horst, to succeed in climbing you need to master the three pieces of the pie; strength, technique and mind. The same principle can be applied to life. In order to be the best versions of ourselves, we need to commit to mastering all facets of our life; [in general] personal, family and work.

I think this is an important point to remember as it is all too easy to focus on one particular piece of the pie and neglect the others. If we place equal importance to all pieces and commit to improving all three; we’d have a more complete pie for the people around us to enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m certainly guilty of neglecting areas of my life. Serendipitously, it was climbing that paved the foundations for this realisation.

I hope others will find this useful and perhaps be encouraged to engage in self improvement with a wholistic view.

Two more 4s under the belt :D

Got this v4 in two sessions. Initially I used the feature on the bottom left of the picture; but after Rob told me he did it without using the feature, I was determined to follow suit!

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The next v4 is a short one consisting of about five moves. Crux is a big pull to the first feature, the rest is a walk in the park. Took me two sessions to get that one move but it felt awesome when I stuck it!

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Lead climbing 101

I’ll start off by saying, lead climbing is THE BEST!! ๐Ÿ˜€
Tim, Jeremy and I did the three and a half hour course last night and passed with flying colours [as most people do]!

We started off by learning how to tie into the rope; a figure eight with a stopper knot. If you already know how to tie both those knots you’ll find the first 45 minutes a little tedious; fundamental none the less.

Christian [instructor] then explained the basics about quick draws; types of gates, sling orientation then showed us the different techniques to clip in. After the theory was over with it was time to get on the wall!

We started off with the climber being tied into the lead rope and connected to a top rope so it I worked out perfectly that there was three of us. This exercise was to allow the climber to practice clipping in to the quickdraws and the belayer to lead belay.

I ran into a few snags while belaying as I was using a GriGri and Jeremy’s rope was about 20mm thick!! ;p I think the optimum operating range for the GriGri is 9.3mm – 10.3mm. Due to the thickness of Jeremy’s rope (probably around the 10.5mm+ mark) it was quite difficult to feed rope to the climber, which made belaying a bit of a mission! It was still great practice though.

We repeated the climb but this time without the top rope. The other component of this exercise was to practice taking lead falls! I was incredibly nervous at this point; not because I was scared of falling but because Jeremy had kindly informed us his rope was 25 years old!! Granted, it had [apparently] never been used but God only knows what state that rope was in! Thankfully we all survived the exercise ๐Ÿ™‚

We concluded the night with our assessment lead belay/climb and that was it – Certified Lead Climber!! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Can’t wait to get back on there!!

 

 

 

Let down…

Jeremy, Tim and I were all pumped to get our lead belay pass! We had booked the instructional session with the gym at 7 pm. We spoke to the person at the front desk to let him know we were waiting for Christian (our instructor). He told us Christian was notorious for being late but he should arrive soon.

We didn’t think too much of it at the time as it was only 6:50. Rather than freeze our butts off at the entrance, we decided to head upstairs to warm up. 7:15 – still no sign of Christian. We asked one of the reception girls to check in on him. She told us “He should be here soon”.

It was 7:30 and we were torn between giving up on him and climbing hard [as to not waste the night] or save ourselves in the event he decided to show. After numerous unanswered calls, the likelihood of Christian turning up was bleak. It was 7:55 at this point and we had basically given up. As a final attempt to salvage the night, Jeremy yelled down to one of the three staff at the front desk; just to remind them we were still waiting for Christian.

Breaking from their animated conversation, one of the girls yelled back “Uummm we have some bad news for you…”. One of the male staff headed up the stairs to where we were and informed us Christian was sick and was not coming in.

I was devastated at first. Then a little anger crept in. I was annoyed that it had taken them an hour to inform us that Christian wasn’t coming in; and we had to find out ourselves through incessant probing! Just outright unprofessional to be frank. Not only that, I had already checked in on Facebook with the post “Lead climbing 101”! Turns out the only thing that transpired last night was 1:01 hours of waiting for our instructor who never turned up! ;p

All ranting aside, I understand if you’re sick; heading into work is probably not high on your list of priorities. But the least you could do is fulfil your responsibilities as an employee and call in to notify your workplace; Or maybe reply to the guy who had called you fifty times and tell him you won’t be able to make the appointment YOU had scheduled -_-‘

Ok this really is the end of the rant! Needless to say I was bitterly disappointed but what can you do! At least I still have the lead climbing course to look forward to!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Ticked – v4 cave

I finally ticked off the v4 cave problem!! I had been working on it for the past month or so and I’m super psyched I finished it! I wouldn’t say I boulder v4s just yet as they still give me a lot of grief! Having said that, I’m satisfied with where I’m at [for bouldering] ๐Ÿ™‚

On a separate note, Jeremy and I had been in talks (for a couple of weeks now) about getting our lead belay pass. Completion of the course will allow us to lead climb at the gym! The proposed date is next Monday (pending work schedule and availability of instructors). As my sport climbing fitness leaves a lot to be desired, my focus now will be to get myself on as many top ropes as humanly possible [until the course]!

Assuming I pass the course, my plan will then be to focus on lead climbing; with the ultimate goal to lead some routes on actual rock! There is actually a mid year [Sydney Rockies] climbing trip coming up in a couple of weeks so hopefully I’ll be ready by then!

 

Patience really is a virtue…

In hindsight I probably should have skipped climbing all together last night. Quite sore from training the night before and felt a bit of a fever coming on; but alas! I was too keen on ticking off the v4 cave problem!ย The night started well. I had a descent warm up and worked out the sequence through the crux and to the top of the problem. It was just a matter of linking it all together.

After a brief rest, I sat down on the yellow mat and prepared for my attempt. ย From the first move I could tell I was by no means “fresh”. However in the words of Ronnie Coleman “Ain’t nothin to it but to do it”! I made my way through the crux and up over the lip. I was sure a top was on the cards! You can imagine the horror when I slipped off the last hold – just as I was reaching up up to match!ย Admittedly I had messed up the final sequence, but I felt I should have completed the climb; espeically with one hand already on the final hold!

With an ever increasing forearm pump and plummeting energy levels, my subsequent attempts were all in vain. I should have retired from the project, long before I did; which lead to the inevitable. On [what turned out to be] my final attempt, I tweaked my left wrist ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Upon reflection, the injury was easily avoidable. I was clearly banging my head against the wall but my desire to complete the project blinded me from rationale. This goes to show there is a fine line between determination and stubbornness! The challenging part is knowing where to draw the line.

I heard Peter (one of the regular climbers) saying he had to “..finish off this v.hard problem before I can try something else. I’ve been working on it for months”! He topped the problem soon after ๐Ÿ™‚ That really put things into perspective for me. I wish I heard that before I twisted my wrist!

Although I sustained a [minor] injury and failed to complete the project,I learnt more from last night than I did any “successful” session I’ve had. Most important thing is that “Patience is a virtue” and is fundamental to the success of any pursuit!