A followup… Part 3: Efficiency

•2014/09/30 • Leave a Comment

I’ve decided to write this to better clarify what I mean by efficient movement, and because I referenced efficiency in the ST posts, it’s important to reduce any confusion; as a result, here is my take on the topic of efficiency. Part of the reason for my motivation arises from a simulator session while on plastic with some friends that resulted in a discussion on efficiency in movement stemming from a problem I set whose crux was more movement specific than strength/power specific.

Aparté, Apremont Sully.

Aparté, Apremont Sully.

Continue reading ‘A followup… Part 3: Efficiency’

Hawk at the park, and other sundry things

•2014/09/12 • Leave a Comment

Here’s a nice change up from climbing. It’s a short video of a Coopers Hawk feeding on it’s kill (or carrion, not sure but it looks fresh). This was shot a Hart Park in Orange, CA, an old school buildering crag with some of the nastiest vert traverse crimping I can remember. The hawk is oblivious to this history, of course, but some random guy walked up with the intention of seeing if the hawk would drop it’s kill, and it did, then the guy continued after the hawk. Bizarre. Anyways, here is the guy walking after the bird…

Coopers Hawk is to right of walking man...

Coopers Hawk is to right of walking man…

More images and a neato video of that Coopers Hawk after the break!

Continue reading ‘Hawk at the park, and other sundry things’

System Training, part 2

•2014/09/08 • 12 Comments

Here is part 2 of my ST overview. In my previous post, I laid out the framework for the wall and then went on to explain details about feet and turnout. I also explained what the basic body position is between movements up the wall, and why it is significant. In this post, I will go into detail about the movement one practices based on the hold type. As important as the resting foundational body position (FBP) is, so is everything one does while moving between holds. I don’t have many photos this time, but I do have a real world example Jill shot of me while in font. This example does lend credence to why I chose to do a specific move on a specific problem that usually isn’t done with my chosen beta. Here is one of the photos:

El Poussah. This ultra classic problem (stand) is usually performed with a toe or heal hook on the chalked sloper above my right foot.

El Poussah. This ultra classic problem (stand) is usually performed with a toe or heel hook on the chalked sloper above my right foot.

UPDATED: I forgot to add photos of the workout positions. They are now included within the body of text.

Continue reading ‘System Training, part 2′

System Training, part 1

•2014/09/06 • 12 Comments

Here is the more in-depth explanation of system training (ST). My original post was rather ambiguous and difficult to comprehend, so hopefully this will elucidate things. (All photos were taken at the Factory Bouldering gym.) Btw, the Factory Bouldering gym has the only system wall I know of in socal, and it’s angle is about 30˚… good for intermediates with moderately stable shoulders. Beginners with strong shoulders can use it too.

FBP (better--I'm using a lower foot where my plumb line ends up behind me; therefore I need to 'draw' myself under/forward with my feet.)

FBP (better–I’m using a lower foot where my plumb line ends up behind me; therefore I need to ‘draw’ myself under/forward with my feet.)

FBP (worse--In this photo, I've chosen a higher foot that allows my center line to reside along the plumb line effectively allowing me to do nothing except maintain form)

FBP (worse–In this photo, I’ve chosen a higher foot that allows my center line to reside with the plumb line effectively allowing me to do little except maintain form)

FBP (useless--Here I'm just hanging with no intent to control turnout, posture, or link upper to lower torso)

FBP (useless–Here I’m just hanging with no intent to control turnout, posture, or link upper to lower torso)












In this post, I’ll detail the layout for one type of hold (all have the same arrangement but fitting them all on one wall can be a bit tricky), and explain the foundational body position (FBP) that is the precursor to what is often times referred to as a ‘system move.’ After that, in the next installment, I’ll explain the different workout rules the Huber’s used with an explanation for why I think they chose to do this. Basically, there are 3 different rules used for different hold types with one dominant rule (I’ll call #1) governing all except the thin crimp and slopers. Thin crimps require the body position to be locked off while slopers require the action of cutting loose, controlling it then returning to rule #1 positioning.

Continue reading ‘System Training, part 1′

System Training… coming soon, very soon

•2014/09/04 • 2 Comments

I’ve written the post on System Training but need photos. Everyone needs photos, hell without them, we’d all be photo-less. ;) I plan to shoot some images tomorrow then upload Part 1 by the weekend. Part 2 will come very shortly after. Part 1 starts with an introduction then covers Holds, Feet, Body Form and Turnout. Part 2 covers Movement, Body Tension, Routine and Final Thoughts. Cumulatively speaking, it’s about 4+ pages, so making it two parts should minimize the negative impact to your enjoyment or concentration skills.

After that, I’ll begin the final edit of my commentary on guidebooks with references to the new upcoming Black Mountain Guidebook (based on their publicly released PDF sample).

Since we didn’t commit to buying the summer pass for the tram, we’re avoiding going outside. We have gone for a hike in Joshua Tree at the beginning of August when it finally rained in socal but without climbing. Our hike took us to a ‘new’ area for us, but the big boulders have top anchors; regardless, the boulders are worth bouldering, whether or not they’ve only been TR’d. We plan to take another hike to a nearby area as this region has stellar rock, either fine grain or large grain, but solid all the same. This means we can increase the number of projects, already numbering over 80 and feel even more frustrated! Yay for frustration as long as there are new lines to climb.

Bang On, Black Mountain

•2014/08/02 • Leave a Comment

After meeting up wtih a fellow boulderer Dave Struthers (who during socal’s late 90’s was a principal developer at Black Mountain) at another friend’s home near the L’Aveyron Gorge, France, I asked him about Bang On, a Ben Moon testpiece he repeated, and his understanding of the grade; this he enlightened me along with his experiences.

Previously, a conversation with a well-known boulderer about Bang On dealt partially with a grade difference. I don’t consider it a big deal, but problems, regardless of grade, should be open to a quorum of understanding about its particulars. This includes its grade, its start, variants, the quality of the line, the experience of the moves, and the moves themselves. That said, I’m only going to mention something about the grade. I know, pretty lame focus. Agreed, but I’m still going to mention it. The boulderer understood the line to have jostled between 12 and 13, and my understanding when the line was established was that a line proposed to be v13 would definitely have been big news because that was close to the upper grade of hard bouldering worldwide. In other words, 13 was of world importance.

Black Mountain never really had problems that challenged the world standard, or at least was running close to the A team level. It did have quality lines of world standard, and it had legit ratings that weren’t going to reward anyone easily. It had history back to the 70’s with some of the most renown climbers of their generation. It was the bastard child of the Yosemite granite craze that Moon, Moffet, Bachar, Kauk and locals popularized beginning with the Big Ditch’s Midnight Lightning era.

Moon’s FA of Bang On was a healthy shot in the arm for the locals who really wanted to prove themselves on lines, hard lines. When two expat brits, Wills Young and Tim Clifford, added the 2nd and 3rd ascents, followed by socal’s own Dave Struthers, the line was downgraded to v11. Ben had proposed v12, maybe with justification because his beta was different. Wills and Dave both told me they thought the cross over was the technically best way to go, and it took out the sting of the first move match: Big right, match while holding any swing, then shuffle fingers, if necessary to bump to a thin and precise crimper out right. This bump looses the pedestal… assuming you’re tall enough to have used it. A left hop setup leads to the dyno for the jug sloper dish just below the lip. Check out the 3 very small pictures at the link above.

The crossover used by Tim Clifford, Wills and Dave takes a full extension left hand over the right. The left foot presses very high and next to the hand. It’s a sweet move given you have good shoulder mobility. The roll out isn’t easy, and requires a healthy dose of tension to get the feet down and under on small and precise micro incuts on a steep overhang (45 degrees according to Struthers). He said on one of his attempts to send, he ended up breaking the lip off the start hold, and knocking the wind out of him as his right hand smacked his chest resulting in a hard landing. The start was very good, and now it’s flat. He sent it shortly after. He still felt it was an 11.

I guess the point is the difficulty range seemed more to be 11 or 12 than 12 or 13. With the gB most likely giving it, um, I guess a red or purple (red is v7-13, purple is v10 to v14+), it won’t matter. See, wasn’t that a fun exercise in wasted reading time?

Still here (in socal), still warm

•2014/08/01 • 4 Comments

I’ve been avoiding posting for no real good reason, but maybe it’s the conditions for bouldering in socal (subpar, at best) that are to blame. ;) In the mean time, I’ve been working on various writing projects and, in the process, happened upon the topic of System training (some call it systems wall, systems training).

This is the Factory's system wall about the time they opened. It's been updated, but it lacks adjustable angles. It's not mirrored, though it may seem so.

This is the Factory’s system wall about the time they opened. It’s been updated, but it lacks adjustable angles. It’s not mirrored, though it may seem so.

Continue reading ‘Still here (in socal), still warm’


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