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.