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The learning curve

June 6th, 2009 mick No comments

Many aspiring climbers seem to start in gyms these days, and it can be a bit of a rude awakening for them when they get out on real rock. It often takes more ingenuity than brawn to unlock the right sequence and send your project. Boulderers can spend many days over many seasons working a seemingly impossible move until one day it just comes together. The crazy part is that, afterwards, the same move sometimes feels effortless – as if we’ve forgotten how difficult it was for us before. Armed with our new knowledge we tackle harder problems, repeating the process and gathering momentum toward bigger grades that seem to fall by faster and faster.

When I cracked V1 for the first time, it felt like all those “sandbagged V0s” that I’d worked so hard on had been relegated to warmup status and I set my sights on the tastiest V2s in the guidebook, expanding the limits of what I believed I was capable of. It happened again and again with every new grade, each falling faster than the last.

There was a time when I thought V10 was an unattainable goal. Today I know that perserverance and hard work will get me there, and maybe sooner than I expect.

Categories: Dover Island Tags: , ,

It’s a dirty job but…

April 3rd, 2009 mick No comments

Boulderers are a fickle bunch. We often think of ourselves as stewards of the environment when we ride our bicycles to work and school, pick up trash we find at boulders and on trails, and scrub off tick marks when we fold up our pads to head home. We subscribe to the leave-no-trace policy, eat locally grown organic foods, and vote for politicians and policies that respect the planet and preserve wild places. These are important and worthwhile efforts, and everyone can understand their benefits.

But sometimes other actions are needed, ones that may seem counter-intuitive at first. Take trail maintenance for example. Granted, firing up a brush saw, covering a swamp with lumber, or hacking through the forest with a machete are not the sort of thing everyone should be doing every time they go climbing. But where would we be without trail work? We’d be lost and bushwhacking, sinking deeper and deeper into the muddy, eroding path, or gradually widening the trails until ATVs decide to ruin them.

Did you think that your favorite boulder always had a clear and flat 2m perimeter around it on which to place pads and spotters? Ever wonder why lichen seems to only grow on the side of the boulder without any good problems? How come this “game trail” leads right from the parking to the boulders?

Now now Captain Planet, don’t give up climbing to play hacky sack full time. The fact of the matter is that climbing is still one of the lowest-impact recreational activities. We change nature just by venturing into it, but we can still be responsible in the way we use it and take steps to protect its use for those who come after us.

A crisp day at Nouveau Riche

January 5th, 2009 mick No comments

I headed out to the LOC on Monday with my girlfriend and her brothers who were in town for the holidays. We carried some more lumber into the wet approach of Nouveau Riche & Great Cheesecake and plopped down a few rudimentary bridges but more work is definitely needed.

It was a beautiful sunny day with great friction and I’d never climbed there before so I was super psyched. Sent some fun lines but didn’t get on any of the harder stuff – can’t wait to try Dynamitus, it looks awesome!

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