Friday, December 24, 2004

The Quest Continues to 5.11

So I have been climbing a lot with Jonathan, Tyler and Matt lately. Before I proceed, I will give an update of the three:

Jonathan - He is my boss and a talented climber. He is also the brother of the first female to climb 5.14 on American soil. She was the fourth woman in the world to climb that grade at the time (the other three had apparently climbed at that level before her but in Europe?).

Tyler - A neighbor and Matt's roommate. Tyler is a very strong 5.10 climber who taking his increase in grades very slowly. I think that he will become a strong 5.11 climber by spring.

Matt - Tyler's roommate. He started climbing just a few months ago and is already progressing to 5.8s. Quiet kid, but fun to be around.

Anyway, I have been going about twice a week right now, splitting my time between Tyler and Matt and then with Jonathan. I am finding that my strength is not improving that much, but maybe my technique is. I say this because I am finding that I am getting higher up certain climbs but I am still tiring and need rest to complete them. Instead of increasing my strength, I think that I am subconsciously finding ways to save energy on the way up. I don't know, maybe it is a combination of things, but still, I don't feel any stronger.

Anyway, as I learn certain routes, I am able to finally say that I can climb 5.10 pretty well. Most of them I have to rest a couple of times the first time climbing them, but once I get to know them, there is no rest needed. I am slowly learning to moves to a 5.11 minus and can put together the three separate segments of the run without resting on each one now (unless I don't rest between the second and third and then I need to rest on the third), and that tells me that I should be able to conquer this route within a month.

Still, the trip to California is not going help any. I can only hope that it takes me very little time to get back up to speed after taking more than a week off.

Friday, December 10, 2004

New Partner

I have recently started a new job, and on my resume I have put a very small line on my personal interests. One of those listed is climbing, which my boss mentioned to me during the interview process. We agreed to go climbing someday and last night was it.

Well, he kicked my ass. I now have somone to look up to when I go climbing, and I think that his skills are solid enough to aspire to. For one, he said that he had not climbed in over two years, and only three times in the past seven years. To me, this meant he would be sticking to 5.8's and 5.9's the entire night, especially since he wanted to take it easy so as to not pull anything. That lasted long. Three climbs in and he was running up 5.10's that I was struggling to get over on. He then topped it off on a 5.11. Damn!

If I can get him to go more often, I should be able to climb my first 5.11 by spring. I am now totally motivated to get my weight down to 165 lbs and to get up to 5.11 by spring. I do not want to get my butt kicked like that again. Of course, I am not trying to compete, but you know what, I feel like I owe it whomever I am climbing with to climb somewhat at their level. I get only mild satisfaction when consistently climbing with someone with weaker skills than I have. I love introducing people to the sport, but want to challenge myself with people who can push me.

From now on, I have a plan to get better and stronger. If I am to climb alone, then I will boulder specific moves so that I can learn them. One of them is a lunging move. I do not know what it is called. It is not a dyno but it does require a fully committed lunge and grab. If you don't grab it, then you fall. I may even give the feet-free wall a go. That should help improve my strength.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Quincy Quarry

Working a Slab Posted by Hello

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Day After Thanksgiving

Took Penny climbing today. She had a good day, and it was a much more positive experience than I thought it would be. So all is good there.

As for me, I re-conquered two 5.10's from last week and started working on two more for the future. My hope is to learn the different styles of this grade to help me piece together enough confidence and moves to go up to 5.11.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

5.10 and Beyond

Today I reached my goal for the entire winter, and this has only been my third time in the gym this year, and third time climbing since the early fall. And I managed back-to-back gems as well, each one was solidly done. I did rest, but not often and was able to work out the moves very well without much hard work.

My first climb today was a warm-up 5.6, which I did consecutively to get warm. I could feel on each of the first two climbs that I was fluid, even though the runs were easy. I decided early on that I was going to go for 5.10 right after warming up. The first was a black-tape run on the back-center wall. It was in a corner and required some tight bridging, sorry stemming, and balance work, but once I got the feel for changing feet using my palms to balance I felt pretty strong. There was one moment, when I was putting a lot of pressure on one hold that was big enough to have both feet, that threw me off balance. Ordinarily, when you change feet you can just hop off one foot and replace it with the other. But some holds are large enough to allow both feet, even if it is just your toes on each edge. It was the second scenario that sent the hold spinning. All I did was adjust my left foot a little to the left and...flooom...pffpfffpfff. I came tumbling down and was unable to find that great position I was previously in.

One important note here, when the hold came flying loose, I looked around to see if there were any employees around so that I could get a tool to tighten it. But there were not, so I scrambled up without it tight. I was able to complete the run, and afterward I went in search of an employee to let them know. The girl I found looked real disappointed when I said that I was not going to go back up, but I showed her the hold anyway.

The next run was a green run on the middle section, in the center of the gym. That had some odd reaches that went around an arrete, and it had a loose hold that also came spinning off under my foot. So this time, instead of finishing the run (mainly because the hold was too loose to use) I asked someone to send a tool up to me. A grateful climber nearby agreed and tossed the tool up...but I missed it. It flew right over my thigh, in-between my abdomen and the wall and crashed right down on some poor girl's head on the other side. Oops. She was not happy. I apologized profusely, but she would not have it. Thank full she did not say anything, after all, it was an accident.

After those runs I was tanked out. Surprisingly because neither 5.10 was pumpy, just technical with small holds. But I was tired and was barely able to make it up a steep 5.9 and then totally crashed on a tricky 5.10 later on. But still, I am back to my previous level, even if the endurance has not returned yet. Can't wait to upgrade that goal to 5.11 by spring!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Solid Nines

With only my second trip to the gym, and second outing since hurting my shoulder in August, I proved to myself that only the stamina had disappeared. Not only did I have a good climb yesterday, but I was climbing solid nines all the way, even getting a successful 9+ in there. In fact, I began to try climbing a ten and eleven. I was unsuccessful, but was able to get on both before being stumped on the third move. And I attempted the eleven at the end of the day, after being totally pumped on a steep, final climb at 5.8. Next week looks to be another opportunity to advance my skills to the next level. Hopefully I am climbing tens confidently by the end of the winter. If only I could get Penny go with me, I would enjoy the climbing much more.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Saturday's Climbing

Hit the Metro Rock Gym Saturday with the hopes of returning to my past glories of scaling tough indoor walls. It was nice to get there because I was able to easily get up a couple of 5.9's right off the bat, but within an hour of climbing I was completely pumped. Not having climbed in two months due to my bum elbow really depleted my energy and endurance. But I was still psyched to get out and go up.

I recently accepted a new job that will have much better hours and a much better pay scale than my current job. This should allow me to get to the gym much more frequently and hopefully get me into the spring in good shape.

I met Katie and her sister Bonnie, who had arrived at 9am to take a three-hour class before me, and we climbed together for a while after their class. But when they were leaving, which was only an hour after I had arrived (and for good reason, they were tired), Katie bumped into another girl named Helen. She had just arrived and was looking for someone to climb with, so that we did. She was a beginner as well, but who cared? All I wanted was a belay and she turned out to be someone who wanted to listen and was willing to try a route until she completed. That was nice to see.

Anyway, hope my climbing group can finally get off its ass and into the gym. Haven't heard anything from them in a while.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Heading to the gym to climb for the first time on Saturday. Katie confirmed that her sister, and possibly another gentleman, would be along for the class. I can't wait to get back into the gym and try out my moves after a few months of rest. And if I can land a new job that has better winter hours, I will be climbing a lot more often this winter. Care to join me?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Set a Date

Katie and I agreed to go climbing a week from this Saturday. She seems really excited about the opportunity. Not only is she going to go, but she is bringing her sister as well. I can't wait!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Got a New Member


A new random member signed up for my climbing site at Massclimbers on yahoo (see the link on the right). Out of all the members in the group, only two are random people who I never knew. Ten of the members are friends. Two are me (yea, I signed up under two different names to add to the list) and at least four do not belong in the group because they are either not climbers or do not live in the area. All of whom are friends.

So please, if you are from the New England area and need a good climbing forum, the join the group. I have a lot going on on the site - database to keep track of your climbs, photos, a ton of good links and other stuff. So join up, it is free!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Colleagues are a climbing

Finally, after two years I have managed to get some of my co-workers to come climbing with me. Katie Mabie and Teresa Yan each want to go and check out the new climbing wall in Everett (Metro Rock Gym). This new gym blows away the other gyms in the area and it is creating interest in the climbing community. I love bringing beginners to the gym for the first time, it is always exciting to watch them successfully complete their first run. Once hooked, you never go back!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Is it possible to make that life change to climbing?

Believe me, I have thought about this many times. If I did not have the moral attachment to doing what is supposedly right in this world then I would be living off of recycled cans and caves somewhere. But I choose to remain loyal to my student loans, my professional ambitions (which are very real) and my hope that I will one day be able to raise a family and send my kids off to a good college. These dreams are not bad. I mean, some people would say these ambitions are a waste of time, but I believe that you can cut and paste my list with other ambitions to fit anyone. People have to make choices in their lives and they usually do so out of survival instincts (no, not the "living in the mountains on berries" survival instincts). Just because someone chooses not to go in one direction does not mean that they are wrong-headed.

Or does it?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


On Brat at the Gunks in New Paltz, NY. Not a lot of leading pics. Sorry folks but I just can't seem to recruit people to stick around long enough while I work my way up the route. Posted by Hello

Is this a roof? Talk about using your abs! Posted by Hello

Smearing away at Red Rocks in Gloucester, Mass Posted by Hello

Good for the Soul?

I have been dreaming a lot lately about winning the lottery (don't we all). And I keep saying to myself that if I do win it then I am going to buy a Winnebago and travel the country climbing for a year. I'll recruit a couple of friends to come along and we can just move at our own leisure. Don't get me wrong, I can understand why buying an RV would turn people off. Camping and roughing it are supposed to be better for the soul and could provide greater freedom. But give me a break! Who would not want to live in luxury and climb year-round at the same time?

My itinerary would have me climbing in places like Joshua Tree this winter, moving east to hit the Southeast by spring and New England and the Northeast this summer. Late summer would have me trucking north to Jasper and the Canadian Rockies (got a good friend there), and I would end up at Yosemite for the remainder of the fall. Of course there will be side trips to Utah, Montana, Colorado and other places on the way. But that is a pretty general path to take. Can't wait!

Monday, October 18, 2004

My First Post

This is my first climbing post. I hope that you can check out my other blogs if you get a chance, but please remember that they are not about climbing.

I am itching to get back out there after a 7-week absence. The last time I got out was at Crow Hill in Leominster. Had a good time leading but the tenderness of my elbow got to me. I had hurt it bouldering a week or so earlier in Bar Harbor. Bryan took me out to Monument Cove (just before Otter Cliffs on the Ocean Drive) and there were some pumpy problems that had compact starts. A lot of lunging and grasping for holds that would have been better used without a good body jolt. Most of them had sit start, unless you started on the mini roof, then you started on your flat back. It was the roof that got me I think. Pretty easy to twist your way up to the next hold, but if you have lost a lot of upper body strength as I have the past eight months or so you end up lunging more than twisting calmly. As a result, my elbow took a lot of the impact that my back and shoulders should have absorbed.

But I am feeling better. I think my elbow may finally be getting back into shape. At least it does not feel as tender as it had before. I gave a good rest, not even lifting in the gym. And now that a new gym has opened up in Everett (across from Target) called the Metro Rock Gym, I am hoping to get a good winter's worth of climbing in.

Of course this means getting a new job. This job just does not pay enough for me to get a membership, and the winter hours (70+ from February through July) are simply not flexible enough to allow me to get anywhere beyond my small world. Having Penny not wanting to climb anymore really takes wind from my sails, but I can find new partners. After all, I did find Donna and Danny (though I have not heard from them in a while).

Well, that is my first post. Please feel free to comment or add to the conversation. If you post something that is worth repeating, I will re-post it for all the world to see.