ABS Nationals Recap

25 02 2008

February has been a crazy month and our three day trip to Boulder was no exception. Lizzy and I flew out of San Diego Friday morning so that we could compete in the Citizens comp at CATS that night. With only carry on baggage and an on time flight we were able to make our bus to Boulder from the Denver airport. One transfer lead us to within a mile of The Spot and CATS, what an amazing transit system! We grabbed lunch and walked with all our stuff to CATS. Snow on the ground was a drastic change and we exchanged flip flops and t-shirts for shoes and a down jacket.

CATS is small and was uncrowded since we arrived there with plenty of time to spare. The climbing section of this gymnastic facility has a lot of very cool angles in a very small amount of space. The walls were freshly painted but the gloss paint provided horrible friction. As well the finish holds were all odd configurations of 2 X 4’s and were not to friendly. The shortcomings in the facility were made up for by the friendliness of the staff and the quality of the problems. The various angles provided a variety of styles and the climbs were set very well. Lizzy and I had fun and her family arrived a bit after we started climbing since they had a later flight.

After tiring ourselves out we got dropped off at the Spot for our judging meeting. Lizzy and I volunteered to judge the qualifiers and the finals for the Youth section of the comp. It gave us something to do and I was happy to be involved in such a high caliber climbing event. We got to see some of the routes set on Friday night and had a lot of exposure to some of the up and coming climbing talent. For our judging duty we got an early start Saturday morning and were at the gym for almost 12 hours including our time watching the open finals. Our judging jobs were easy since the majority of the kids flashed our problems and we got to go to finals for free. Another benefit was getting to watch some of our friends and Lizzy’s sister climb up close.

The open finals were quite packed and it was great to see all the strong climbers. Video can be found at MomentumVM.com shot by Andy Mann and others. Susánica Tam, an LA local who we saw at regionals, also made a great slideshow of the event. Paul Robinson beat out Chris Sharma and the show was spectacular. The routes were more of a challenge this year for the climbers and the 4th final problem remained unsent during the comp. This is much different than last year’s nationals in Maryland. A report can be found at routesetter.com about how the field was much stronger than expected. During open finals four guys and seven girls flashed all of the problems. As well when they set a super finals problem 3 of the 4 guys flashed that as well causing the tie to be broken by the qualifiers. Paul Robinson, this year’s winner, only flashed one of the three problems he completed.

Sunday was the Youth finals and Lizzy and I got moved up a problem in the lineup so that we had more falls and more excitement. Lizzy even had one of her climbers top-out early over an out of bounds line causing the head judge to step in and confirm the ruling. I had the younger kids again, Youth D, and my problem was a bit easy for the field. It saw a majority of flashes with another three or so sends 2nd try. Three or less kids were unable to send the problem.

Boulder was a ton of fun and it was good to meet new people, including the Climbing Narc, and see some old friends. The Spot was very cool and helped expand my mind in terms of what people want in a climbing gym. It was quite small and had only 2 free standing boulders but it featured tall walls with interesting angles. I ended up winning Men’s Advanced at the Citizen’s comp which means I will have to do open next year. I hope to visit boulder again and get on some of the real rock in the area!

Cheers,

Luke

Advertisements




Vacation is over, back to work!

7 01 2008

Lizzy and I are now back at school and work respectively. We had a good time learning and exploring Arizona. Cochise Stronghold was quite the experience and has made me really think about traditional climbing ethics. In many ways it was a wake up call to how climbing used to be. It was a lot of fun and I will be posting a long trip report at some point this week.

Now that vacation is over it is time to get back in a routine and start training for the spring. I hope to keep better track of my climbing so I can figure out what works and what is a waste of time. One of my New Years’ resolutions was to start a training log. I think this will help me and give me a nice think to look back upon in the years to come.

On the horizon for next weekend is the ABS regional for the Southwest. Even though I was never serious enough to compete at the regional’s out east I became familiar with a good number of the comp climbers. It will be interesting to see all of the people that show up. The comp will be held at Vertical Heaven on January 12th. I don’t expect to do well since this winter has been quite light on training and comp climbing but I hope to take some photos and cheer on my friends. For sure it will be a good time and I have heard great things about the host gym.

Over the last year Lynn Hill has been writing quite a lot of blogs for findyourdetour.com. Sadly her stay is over and she will now only be blogging for Patagonia. I really enjoyed all of her writing and the various subjects and I hope she keeps it up over at Cleanest Line. Writing is a powerful tool and it has been a great motivator to be able to read thoughts from such a talented climber, thanks to Lynn!

In other news US climbers have been tearing it up. As reported by Climbing Narc and many others Paul Robinson flashed Nagual, V13 and did the 2nd Ascent of Terremer V15. Additionally Dave Graham has been on a sending spree at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch (HCR). He repeated many hard climbs including Sharma’s King Lion V12/13 and has established four climbs V12 or harder.





Climbing Shoes

10 12 2007

So the recent news is that the V10’s are going to be discontinued by Five Ten. This super aggressive slipper is going to be replaced by the brand New Jet7. As far as I know RockCreek has exclusive distribution of the Jet7 until 2008 and they have a limited stock. I heard that Paul Robinson climbed in the Jet7 during the Triple Crown. Despite crushing at this comp he has created a petition to bring back the V10.

I think that people should not be worried about the V10 yet. It was almost 3 years from the first initial news of the cobra being replaced until La Sportiva stopped selling it. The same was true of the old Five Ten dragons. The new dragons are being worn by lots of super strong climbers proving that change can be a good thing. While a replacement slipper may not be in the works for this year perhaps Five Ten is going to bring a new slipper to market in late 2008. Hopefully I can do some research and find out. Edit: See the comments for more discussion on the V10.

The Climbing Narc had a post a while ago about shoes and how many shoes people have. I know most people only have a few pairs of shoes but I own or have worn out about 25 pairs of shoes or so. This has been a product of many years of climbing and a desire to experiment with different models of shoes. A large reason for the number of pairs of shoes is that I can usually get a new pair cheaper than I could get an old pair resoled. I think there is something amazing about a shoe right after it breaks in.

Over the last 5 years I have climbed between two and five days a week for the majority of the year. I would climb more in the summer and at least half of those days were in the gym. I like to savor my climbing shoes and I don’t usually mix between outdoor shoes and indoors shoes. Once a shoe became worn down it would get delegated to indoor duty. Thus I end up doing most of my climbing on plastic in blown out pairs of shoes

For the majority of my climbing I like a sensitive flat shoe that is tight to put on but becomes useable with a bit of warmth and sweat. I am currently on my 6th pair of cobras which were my favorite shoe for the longest time. They jam well, are easy to take off and are very sensitive. As well they smear really well; the biggest problem is they don’t make them any more and they don’t resole well. Because of this I rarely use my remaining pair of cobras. After these shoes stopped being produced I “discovered” the Muira after much prodding by my girlfriend. I now have 4 pairs of these shoes and use them for almost everything. They have an amazing heel cup and are a great all around shoe.

The one thing that both the Muria’s and the Cobra’s lack is a down-turned toe. This can be essential to small edging and steep boulder problems. I have one pair of Testarossa’s that I use exclusively for this type of climb. They are really tight and I only wear them when I am trying to send a project or I need to pull extra hard with my toes. The aggressive curve of the rand on the Testarossa’s is amazing and it gives a lot of power that the Muria’s lack. I really think that different shoes make a significant difference on certain climbs. It may just be the mindset that my feet can stick to anything, but I usually send harder wearing the Testarossa’s.

Each person will have a different preference for climbing shoes and the fit of your foot should be the biggest consideration. It is also important to make sure that the shoe is designed for what you plan on using it for. If you plan on steep heelhooking it might not be the best thing to buy a slipper. You don’t want your toes curled too much for crack climbing and velcro shoes can be problematic with jamming in hand cracks and larger. If you get a shoe that is too tight or down-turned it can be very difficult to smear.

This year I hope to get a pair of the Es Pontas and the new Anasazi 2.0. I wish that more US climbing shops would stock the Scarpa climbing shoes since they look very cool. I don’t know how they size their shoes and with the addition of Mad Rock and Evolv it is almost impossible to know what size climbing shoes you should buy.

That’s all for now,

Luke