GYMCLIMBER 2019 / ISSUE 3
BREAK THROUGH MENTAL AND PHYSICAL BARRIERS DELANEY MILLERâ€™S FOOTWORK TIPS
E E R F PY! CO TA
OME H E KE M
PREVENT FINGER STRAINS
HOW TO BE A GOOD CLIMBING PARENT REALISTIC TIPS FOR GOING FROM 5.10 TO 5.12 HOW TO BUY SHOES THAT REALLY FIT POWER UP WITH WEIGHTS GET THE RIGHT ENERGY BAR FOR CLIMBING
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF
A D I DA S .CO M / T E R R E X
MELISSA LE NEVEÂ´
COVER: Adam Ondra pumped after his win at the Bouldering World Cup in Meiringen, Switzerland, in April. PHOTO: Björn Pohl
GYMCLIMBER GYMCLIMBER FROM THE PUBLISHERS OF ROCK AND ICE
THIS PAGE: Janja Garnbret, currently ranked first in the World Cup for Lead and Bouldering. PHOTO: Björn Pohl
NO. 3 2 0 19
THE BUZZ The bits and pieces of the indoor puzzle.
TRAINING/PROJECTING How to tip the scales in your favor to send that stubborn project. NEIL GRESHAM
NUTRITION BEHIND BARS How to choose an energy bar for climbing your best. KATIE LAMBERT
INJURY PREVENTION A common finger strain that gets misdiagnosed, and what you can do to prevent it. ZACK DICRISTINO
TECHNOLOGY A wall system by Walltopia could pave the way for a new era in route setting and competitions.
EIGHT TIPS FOR CLIMBING PARENTS How to support your climbing children. DELANEY MILLER
TRAINING/WEIGHTS How to maximize your gym’s weight room. ALEX JOHNSON
LADIES THAT ROCK A spotlight on top women climbers. DELANEY MILLER
12 WORLD WIDE The World Cup is underway and as dynamic and visual as ever.
20 ADAPT AND OVERCOME When a teenager with one arm wanted to climb, most people discouraged him. TREVOR SMITH
26 ICE WORLD COMES TO DENVER They climb gym walls with ice tools and are serious about it. ADAM PAWLIKIEWICZ
32 SETTING THE STANDARD Setting World Cup comps is as much art as athleticism. JEFF JACKSON
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
82 PRO TIPS Pointers from the world’s top climbers.
84 GEAR The inside scoop on indoor stuff.
88 HOW TO SELECT AND FIT SHOES It’s more complex than you think. FRANCIS SANZARO
PERFORMANCE She went from 5.10 to 5.12 in just seven months. And you can, too. KATHRYN PERKINSON
FROM THIS TO THIS How climbing gyms evolved from primitive origins to a juggernaut. ALISON OSIUS
Cords purpose made for the indoor world.
CRACKS OF DAWN The splitter sandstone of Liming, China. CHANG LIU
BETTER FOOTWORK Tips for getting your bipedals in top form. DELANEY MILLER
92 GEAR: GYM ROPES
LOOSE ENDS Fun facts and fiction.
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Gym Climber is published three times a year. Gym Climber depends on articles and photographs from climbers like you. Unsolicited materials and queries are welcome. To submit an article or idea for consideration, contact Francis Sanzaro at fsanzaro@bigstonepub. com. E-mail photos to photos@ bigstonepub.com. Gym Climber is produced and printed in the United States. All rights reserved. Copyright 2019 Big Stone Publishing Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
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WARNING! The activities described in GYM CLIMBER carry a significant risk of personal injury or death. DO NOT participate in these activities unless you are an expert, have sought or obtained qualified professional instruction or guidance, are knowledgeable about the risks involved, and are willing to assume personal responsibility for all risks associated with these activities. Big Stone Publishing Ltd. MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, OF ANY KIND REGARDING THE CONTENTS OF THIS MAGAZINE, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTY REGARDING THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN. Big Stone Publishing Ltd. further disclaims any responsibility for injuries or death incurred by any person engaging in these activities. Use the information contained in this magazine at your own risk, and do not depend on the information contained in this magazine for personal safety or for determining whether to attempt any climb, route or activity described herein.
climbing everyone to
541.388.5463 Bend, Oregon Since 1988
Sport Climbing Paris 2024
IFSC International Rankings
As of February, the Paris Organizing Committee of the Olympic games proposed including Sport Climbing in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Boom! In March, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the recommendation. The next step is a formal vote by the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland in December. The proposal represents a big step for climbing competitions. The Olympic event would expand from one to two competitions, doubling from six to 12 medals and nearly doubling the number of athletes, from 40 to 72. For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, athletes must compete in Lead, Bouldering and Speed. The 2024 format separates Lead/Bouldering and Speed, with 16 women and 16 men to compete for six medals in Speed and 20 women and 20 men vying for six medals in combined Bouldering and Lead.
Men’s Bouldering: 1. Adam Ondra 2. Tomoa Narasaki 3. Aleksey Rubtsov
*as of June
Women’s Bouldering 1. Janja Garnbret 2. Fanny Gibert 3. Akiyo Noguchi Women’s Speed 1. YiLing Song 2. Anouck Jaubert 3. Aleksandra Rudzińska Men’s Lead 1. Jakob Schubert 2. Stefano Ghisolfi 3. Romain Desgranges
A stylish Alex Megos and company on a double-seater in Wujiang, China, for the Bouldering and Speed World Cup.
Women’s Lead 1. Janja Garnbret 2. Jessica Pilz 3. Jain Kim
$1 Million, 10 Walls and 100,000 Kids In May, Adidas Outdoor donated $1 million to 1Climb, a foundation committed to making climbing accessible to urban kids. The contribution will fund construction of 10 walls in Boys and Girls Clubs in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. At least 100,000 kids will be exposed to the sport through mentorships and partnerships with climbing gyms. Other companies including So ill, TRUBLUE, Toms, and Eldorado Climbing Walls, are donating gear, climbing and marketing expertise. 1Climb was founded in 2010 by Kevin Jorgeson, a longtime climber known for his 2015 first ascent of the Dawn Wall with Tommy Caldwell. After Jorgeson’s life changed at the age of 9 via the introduction of climbing, he decided to find a way to expose climbing to future generations. “I felt like the opportunities for kids to discover climbing were pretty narrow,” said Jorgeson in a press release. “Now, instead of hoping the next generation finds climbing, we bring the outdoor sport directly to where they live in the city. Climbing has the ability to change the trajectory of a kid’s life.” Through 1Climb, Jorgeson’s goal is big: to introduce climbing to one million kids. By the end of 2020, the estimated project completion date, Jorgeson will be a big step closer to accomplishing his dream. Follow the progress on 1Climb.org
Fastest Woman Alive
Six-hundredths of a second. That’s how far off the world record YiLing Song, from China, was at the first event in the Speed World Cup tour, held April 12 in Moscow, with a time of . Two weeks later, in the quarterfinal in Chongquing, she blew up the record with a over two-tenths of a second faster than the record separately achieved by Anouck Jaubert (FRA) and Luliia Kaplina (RUS). Showing consistency, YiLing Song got a in the Chongquing semifinal. At 18, she is surely only getting faster.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
ADIDAS; EDDIE FOWKE/IFSC (2)
Men’s Speed 1. Bassa Mawem 2. Dmitrii Timofeev 3. Vladislav Deulin
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LOUIS AREVALO SANDY MOMENTUM CLIMBING GYM, UT
Number of commercial climbing gyms that closed their doors in 2018, according to the Climbing Business Journal.
A Game for Route Setters Soon to be seen in white elephant gift exchanges and at gym lock-ins is Punksetter, the one and only card game for teaching setting. By delivering random instructions for setting different boulders, the game teaches players how to set specific moves, create different combinations and deal with limited options. Setters and athletes alike can use the game to understand both commercial and competition setting. Best part, all proceeds benefit Climbers Against Cancer. $15.
Number of commercial climbing gyms that opened in 2018 (CBJ)
52,000 Square feet of space at the new Earth Treks in Englewood, Colorado.
Janja Garnbret is on fire. The Slovenian competitor is starting the 2019 World Cup season in historic fashion. She has placed first in every 2019 bouldering World Cup she has entered, five so far. According to 8a, her record in Lead is equally impressive: “In Lead, she has missed the podium once in all the 25 WCs she has done since she was 15 years old. In total, she has won 62 % of all Boulder and Lead WCs she has competed in.” We feel for those competing against her.
“Paris 2016, world championships qualifications. I’m in the transit zone to go to the first boulder of the qualification round. I’m ready, at least I hope I am ready to finally make a good result. I go out, send the first boulder. Back in the transit zone, still hoping I’m ready for the next four boulders. I go out and fail. It all goes downhill from there. Back to the ‘shit, I’m not good enough mode’ I fail miserably and end on the 45th place. With a goal in my mind I make an Instagram post with ‘Let’s just say I’m one comp closer to making a good result’ caption. I go home, back to training.”
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
—From Slovenian World Cup climber Gregor Vezonik’s Instagram.
EDDIE FOWKE ; BJORN POHL
“I laugh like a cornered villain who knows his escape. I will succeed because I must.”
MASTIA Everything about the MASTIA has been designed to achieve perfectly balanced performance. The result: maximum sensitivity in every movement for more efficient and natural climbing.
THE WIDE WORLD OF COMPETITION
IMAGES FROM THE 2019 WORLD CUP, SO FAR
Meiringen, Switzerland APRIL 5-6
WOMEN'S BOULDERING 1. Janja Garnbret (SLO) 2. Akiyo Noguchi (JPN) 3. Shauna Coxsey (GBR) MEN'S BOULDERING 1. Adam Ondra (CZE) 2. Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) 3. Rei Sugimoto (JPN)
1. Tomoaki Takata (JPN) catches air on the second boulder in finals. This unique boulder required a palm press and toe hook before stabbing up to the zone hold.
2. Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) and Jongwon Chon (KOR) wait for the timer to run its course during the qualification round. 3. At 30 years old, Akiyo Noguchi (JPN) is one of the oldest competitors on the circuit. Age has yet to slow her down—she currently ranks third. 4. Rei Sugimoto (JPN) keeps tension on men’s final number two. Thus far, Sugimoto’s best placement in 2019 is third. Last year, he ranked third overall for bouldering.
FACING PAGE CLOCKWISE: RENE OBERKIRCH/IFSC, EDDIE FOWKE/IFSC, (2), RENE OBERKIRCH/IFSC. THIS PAGE: NIKITA TSAREV/IFSC, EDDIE FOWKE/IFSC (2)
Moscow, Russia APRIL 12-14
WOMEN'S BOULDERING 1. Janja Garnbret (SLO) 2. Shauna Coxsey (GBR) 3. Fanny Gibert (FRA)
MEN'S BOULDERING 1. Jernej Kruder (SLO) 2. Adam Ondra (CZE) 3. Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN) MEN'S SPEED 1. Bassa Mawem (FRA) 2. Vladislav Deulin (RUS) WOMEN'S SPEED 1. YiLing Song (CHN) 2. Anouck Jaubert (FRA)
1. Traditionally lead and bouldering athletes, Alex Megos (GER) and Loïc Timmermans (BEL) try their hand at speed in preparation for the combined Olympic format. 2. YiLing Song (CHN) wins her first World Cup Speed title with a time just .06 seconds slower than the women’s world record. Two weeks later, in the quarterfinal round, Song shattered the world record with a time of 7.101, over two tenths of a second faster than the previous record. Song, 18, is currently first in Speed in the 2019 season. 3. The 2018 Lead World Championship winner Jessica Pilz (AUT) uses flexibility to get through the third problem in semifinals. Pilz, 22, placed fourth for the competition and currently ranks fourth for the season.
Chongqing, China APRIL 26-28
WOMEN'S BOULDERING 1. Janja Garnbret (SLO) 2. Akiyo Noguchi (JPN) 3. Jessica Pilz (AUT) MEN'S BOULDERING 1. Manuel Cornu (FRA) 2. Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) 3. Anže Peharc (SLO) MEN'S SPEED 1. Alfian Muhammad (INA) 2. Kostiantyn Pavlenko (UKR) WOMEN'S SPEED 1. YiLing Song (CHN) 2. Aleksandra Rudzinska
1. Winner of the 2018 Speed World Championships in Innsbruck, Aleksandra Rudzińska (POL) blocks out the lights and crowd for a moment of focus. Rudzińska placed second in Chongqing and went on to win in Wujiang. 2. QiXin Zhong (CHN) stops the time to best Marcin Dzienski (POL). They placed fourth and ninth respectively. 3. Chloé Caulier (BEL) chalks up before speed. Caulier was just one spot out of finals in the Bouldering World Cup in Chongqing.
THIS PAGE: EDDIE FOWKE/IFSC (ALL). FACING PAGE: EDDIE FOWKE/IFSC (ALL).
Wujiang, China MAY 3-5
WOMEN'S BOULDERING 1. Janja Garnbret (SLO) 2. Akiyo Noguchi (JPN) 3. Ai Mori (JPN) MEN'S BOULDERING 1. Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) 2. Kai Harada (JPN) 3. Jakob Schubert (AUT)
1. Miho Nonaka (JPN) has been injured for most of the season, and skipped the first three World Cups. Still, she placed fourth in Wujiang. 2. The opening drumroll in Wujiang is a spectacle to remember. Complete with traditional dances, colorful flowers and a picturesque lake behind the wall, competitors can’t help but ohhh and ahhh.
MEN'S SPEED 1. Dmitrii Timofeev (RUS) 2. Bassa Mawem (FRA)
3. Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) pulled out all of the tricks in his bag in an attempt to top the men’s third semifinal boulder.
WOMEN'S SPEED 1. Aleksandra Rudzinska (POL) 2. Aries Susanti Rahayu (INA)
4. The women square off in the bouldering format.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
7 1. Rei Sugimoto attempts to unwind on the third boulder. Alternatively, in an interview with the IFSC, Sugimoto said his favorite way to unwind is with Japanese sake.
2. Narasaki puts on a try-hard face while using his knees to progress up the boulder. Recently, Narasaki has put on a very different face in his photoshoot for GQ. He is currently second to Ondra in the overall 2019 ranking.
FACING PAGE: EDDIE FOWKE/IFSC (ALL). THIS PAGE: EDDIE FOWKE/IFSC, RENE OBERKIRCH/IFSC, EDDIE FOWKE/IFSC (2)
WOMEN'S BOULDERING 1. Janja Garnbret (SLO) 2. Fanny Gibert (FRA) 3. Mia Krampl (SLO)
3. Ashima Shiraishi (USA), was the closest American to qualifying for finals after finishing the semifinal round in ninth place. 4. YuZhen Baima (CHN) gets crafty in qualifiers. She finished 82nd.
MEN'S BOULDERING 1. Jakob Schubert (AUT) 2. Adam Ondra (CZE) 3. Jan Hojer (GER)
5. Like Noguchi, Jain Kim (KOR) is another legend on the circuit. Kim, 30, has 30 gold medals from IFSC World Cups and Championships.
6. Jakob Schubert (AUT) beat Adam Ondra in Munich by just one zone. It was his first Bouldering World Cup win since 2013. 7. Out of the 45 IFSC Lead and Bouldering World Cups and Championships that Garnbret has competed in, sheâ€™s podiumed in 41. Not only that, no one in the history of climbing has yet to have a perfect season. The 20-year-old is currently five golds for five World Cups in 2019. If she wins in Vail, she will be the first to have maintained the winning streak. 8. Jernej Kruder (SLO) was the overall 2018 Bouldering Champion. Despite winning gold in the second 2019 World Cup, Kruder currently sits in eighth. 9. Fanny Gibert (FRA) is ranked second for the 2019 Bouldering season. The 26-year-old superstar has yet to win a World Cup.
ADAPT AND OVERCOME When a teenager with one arm wanted to climb, most people discouraged it. One guy asked him to the gym.
By Trevor Smith Standing on top of the Bastille in Eldorado Canyon, I could see for miles on end: golden open grasslands in one direction and the snowy Rocky Mountains disappearing into the other. In my mind I also saw images of the people who, gently or not, had discouraged me.
SYSTE VAN SLOOTEN (BOTH PAGES)
The comments hurt: “No one can climb with one arm,” they told me. “Don’t even bother.” “Trevor, you need goals you can actually reach. Climbing isn’t for the disabled.” At age 6 or 7, I would drive up through Boulder Canyon with my parents to go into the mountains, and we saw people climbing, an experience that fueled in me a desire to do the same thing. “Mom! Dad! You see those people? I’m going to do that one day. I’m going to be on those walls!” “Trevor, that’s very dangerous, and it’s not for kids like you. Why don’t you play soccer or basketball?” I was born without a right arm below my elbow. Unlike many in my situation, I was fortunate enough not to have to deal with a traumatic life event, but that doesn’t mean it was easy to overcome self-doubt. Doubt is what prevented me from climbing for another seven years after first watching the climbers. How could a kid with one arm expect to climb the Flatirons or anything else? Without Ben Walburn, none of it would have happened. I met Ben at a friend’s house three years ago, in the winter of 2016, when my parents told him I wanted to climb. He said, “Hey, Trevor, I heard you’re interested in climbing. Why don’t we go climb at the gym I go to? I think you’d be great at it!” He took me to the gym and threw me on a toprope. “Just focus on making it to the next hold, and have fun!” he said. On the wall, I knew instantly that I was in love, addicted to climbing from the very first day. Ben and I began climbing twice a week (all volunteer on his part). He taught me how to move, with custom instructions
Facing: Trevor Smith climbs higher than he ever dreamed, at Worlds in Austria. Above: The podium crew of Trevor Smith (USA), Matthew Phillips (UK), Maksim Maiorov (RUS).
such as how to pull in with my feet to counteract my body’s natural tendency to barndoor left, or use momentum to swing up to a far hold. Lots of these little bits of advice added up, and I figured out how to avoid getting shut down. We soon realized that the intended way a route was set was rarely going to cut it for me. A right-hand move might be out of reach for my stump or, worse, be to a pocket! Certain holds just don’t work for me, as I can’t get my stump in them. Every once in awhile, I wondered if the route setters were thinking, Hmmm, how can we shut Trevor down? Let’s make it incredibly steep, have only right-hand moves, throw on a bunch of pockets and underclings, and call it a day! Over time, as I checked out routes at the gym, I realized certain ones were better for me than others. I could look for those that would let me push myself and progress. After about six months, I was climbing 5.10+ and even started to move into the 5.11s. Winter ended, and one spring day Ben said, “Weather looks good over the weekend. Want to go climbing outside?” The first place he took me was Boulder Canyon, and I fell in love with the “real” climbing experience. By real I mean getting exhausted by hauling gear across rivers, up hills and along sketchy approaches. If you were going to climb outside, you had to work for it! “Are we there yet?” I asked Ben, panting. “Trevor, it’s been five minutes!” he said. “We’re not even halfway.” “Are you freaking kidding me?” The next time, in Eldo, was completely different from gym or even outdoor single-pitch climbing. I looked up to see a massive gray sandstone wall with green and yellow lichen growing all over it. Just thinking of climbing it made me crap my pants. In that moment I doubted wanting to do this at all. When Ben started up, I knew I was going to have to follow him. Thoughts rushed through my head. Am I going to be able to do this? What if the rope WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
tumor growing in his pelvis. Shaken to my core, I could only say, “Everything is going to work out.” At first, there was a lot of hope. Ben was beloved. The whole community was supporting him. Surely he would get through this.
I’ve been radically shaped by climbing. On the wall, I focus on the movement and reaching the top. The separation from the real world is a powerful tool for me to deal with stress in school or anywhere else in my world, and to improve my life. It hasn’t been smooth. Struggling on certain climbs suited to right-hand movement was initially very frustrating. If I can’t even climb a 5.10, what’s the point of trying? It took me awhile to answer this question. In time I was introduced to more people within the adaptive climbing community. Boulder and Denver have huge such communities. With organizations like Paradox Sports in Boulder and Adaptive Adventures, I met and climbed with other people going through the same struggles. I also saw people like me accomplishing amazing things. They gave me the drive to climb as hard as I could. Soon I had new friends to hang with and to help and teach me, though I found myself climbing with Ben less than I would have liked. One day, one awful day in the fall of 2017, I heard some horrible news. Ben and I were walking down off the Wind Tower in Eldo after a good outing. Hugely stoked with how I’d climbed, I noticed that Ben was quiet. He seemed to be thinking about something. Once we finished a 100-foot rappel, he told me he had a 22
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Colorado paraclimbers at this year’s Nationals. Left to right: Sam White, Allison White (not related), Steve Hinson, Adam Starr, Jess Sporte, Emmett Cookson (coach), Noe Tolentino, Trevor Smith, Megan Mitchell. On floor: Bill Casson, Chelsea Cook, Esha Meta, Maureen Beck.
SHAKEN TO MY CORE, I COULD ONLY SAY, “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO WORK OUT.” AT FIRST, THERE WAS A LOT OF HOPE. of right. We talked over the beta, and both of us eventually broke the move. I realized that everything I was dealing with, other climbers deal with, too. Certain movements might not work for someone who may be shorter than I am, and other people might be unable to use an undercling or a small hold because they are taller or bigger. I was just another part of the community who had to overcome my individual challenges. After that, my climbing ability blossomed. I was able to look past my issues and focus on becoming the best climber I could be. Eventually, Mo convinced me to go to Adaptive Nationals, held in June of last year. I spent five months training for the event and placed fourth in my category—and
breaks and I fall? Will I be strong enough? What if they were right? What if I can’t? The voice above yelled, “On belay!” Now or never. Either I was going to climb this wall or turn away and go back to a society that didn’t believe in me. I found an edge for my left hand and grabbed. It felt cold and sharp, but let me raise my feet onto two little sandstone jibs. Off the ground, I forgot about everything else. One hold at a time, I crept up the Bastille Crack. Looking up, I saw Ben. I looked down for the first time: I was at least 50 feet up, way above the trees. Gazing around, I could see the road weaving up Eldo Canyon with huge walls on either side—and remembered driving up the canyon with my parents years ago. The last 10 feet to the belay station were filled with joy and excitement. I met Ben at the ledge and switched roles from climber to belayer. We still had two more pitches to go, and I had never been so psyched in my life.
Climbing with the adaptive communities for two years, I was getting stronger and stronger, but kept hitting plateaus. During that time, at age 17, even while I improved, I was often harsh on myself. Defeated by a route, I would be frustrated and blame it on my handicap. “God! If I only had two arms for that freaking move!” One night when I’d flailed, my friend and competitor Maureen “Mo” Beck calmed me down. “I’ve fallen off that same place,” she said. “Let’s figure it out together.” Mo was missing her left hand instead
started to climb and about a third of the way up, heard the crowd chanting. It gave me the energy to push on. I pulled on a large yellow volume with my left hand, and heard the announcer say I had just launched into first place. Nearing the top, I misread the last move and fell, and there was still one climber to go. Still, it was the proudest moment of my life.
while only the top three in each class qualified for Worlds, one person on the podium was a foreign national, so I was invited to World Championships in Austria in September. This was a life-changing event for me. Leaving Nationals, I was stunned. I’d had no expectations going in, and had the experience of a lifetime, meeting others in my community and finding I enjoyed the pressure of competing. The event proved to me I could put my mind to anything and achieve it. Now it was a matter of focusing for Worlds. For the next two months, I put climbing before everything. When I finally reached Austria and entered qualifiers, I was nervous, yes, but I had been training for seven months and knew I was ready. Still, I couldn’t believe it when I placed second in qualifiers. In the two days between qualifiers and finals, I was more focused and aware of my surroundings than I’ve ever been in my entire life. It was almost like I was able to see, hear and feel every single thing going on around me. On September 14, I went into isolation feeling fairly calm. I climbed for about 30 minutes to warm up. I stretched and talked with our team coach, Emmett Cookson, while waiting to view the climb. When the time came to look at the final route with the rest of my competitors, I analyzed every hold, shape and sequence. I felt like I had already climbed the route before getting on it. At my turn, everything became quiet within my head. I
The author in action at the 2019 USA Climbing Adaptive National Championship, Vertical Adventures, Columbus, Ohio, in March.
Last year the tumor metastasized to Ben’s liver. A surgery was called off, and everyone who knew him had a lot of thinking to do. I knew Ben was struggling, but he stayed mentally strong. He somehow seemed at peace, at least around me, and to be really reflecting on his life as a whole. Physically, he was able to climb until the last few weeks, and climb hard, too. He traveled the world and climbed 5.11s and 12s as a Stage 4 cancer patient. After seeing him in this last week as I write, I’ve thought a lot about how much I learned from him. He showed me how to climb; also how to be kind, motivate someone, and live a happy, fulfilled life. Ben passed away at the age of 46 on the 10th of May. Since returning from Austria, where I took silver behind Matthew Phillips (UK), I’ve felt like a new person. I was treated differently at school, at the gym, and just in general, in the way people talked or even looked at me. I’m now working toward the next World Championships, on July 16-17 in Briançon, France. I’ve been training with other adaptive individuals along with the team at ABC Kids Climbing in Boulder. I hadn’t been in a team environment before, and it has been huge for me. Being around other motivated climbers and coaches forces you to train hard! Climbing changed my life. I think everyone should have the same opportunity. Trevor Smith, 17, of Erie, Colorado, is a senior at Niwot High School. He most recently placed third in the U.S. at the 2019 Paraclimbing Nationals. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
RESULTS Neurological or Physical Disability–M 1. Noe Tolentino 2. Ben Mayforth 3. Jared Lenahan
Visual Impairment–M 1. Justin Salas 2. Koichiro Kobayashi 3. Bill Casson Visual Impairment–F 1. Amy Mullins 2. Michelle Ward 3. Mandi Curtis Upper Extremity Amputee–M 1. Mor Sapir 2. Daniel Hill 3. Brian Zarzuela Upper Extremity Amputee–F 1. Maureen Beck 2. Emily McDermott 3. Molly Ferris Lower Extremity Amputee–M 1. Corey Ramos 2. Kyle Long 3. Ronnie Dickson Lower Extremity Amputee–F 1. Mariah Bener 2. Emily Stephenson 3. Rebecca Levenberg Seated–M 1. Tanner Cislaw 2. Carlos Quiles Seated–F 1. Carlie Cook 2. Manasi Deshpande Youth–M 1. John “Jack” Whalen 2. Connor Gearey 3. Jackson Haberman Youth–F 1. Giovanna Dubuc 2. Breanna Brooks 3. Raveena Alli 24
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Jake Sanchez of Los Angeles at Nationals in Ohio.
ADAPTIVE NATIONALS By Delaney Miller
Prosthetics, wheelchairs, microphones and chalk dust filled Vertical Adventures in Columbus, Ohio, the first weekend in April. Nearly 100 athletes showed up, all with their game faces on and ready to compete for a top spot on the USA Adaptive Team. Athlete categories included Neurological or Physical Disability, Visual Impairment, Upper Extremity Amputee, Lower Extremity Amputee, Seated and Youth. “The energy in the room was phenomenal. We’ve never had as many athletes or spectators as we had this year,” said Maureen Beck, six-time winner of the Upper Extremity Amputee category. “Most of all, I’m looking forward to being a part of our best team yet as we head to France in July for the World Championships.” The two-day event—one day of competition and one day of additional community initiatives—included vendors and two guest speakers, the pro climber Kai Lightner and longtime coach and competitor Shane Messer. On Saturday, the competitors had three hours to redpoint three routes for their category. They could give each route as many tries as they wanted. “This was the first year that two of the three routes were modeled after the style of competition routes that athletes will see at the IFSC World Championship,” said Kareemah Batts, the founder of the Adaptive Climbing Group. Batts added that the setting was
more creative and challenging than that of past years. For the future, participants hope the USAC categorization at these events will match those at IFSC adaptive events, where several divisions have subsets. For example, at IFSC competitions the Visually Impaired category is broken into three subsets according to degree of blindness. This level of categorization in U.S. adaptive climbing will only be possible with continued growth in the number of competitors. That is definitely likely: already, since the first USA Adaptive Nationals in 2014, the number of competitors has tripled. Adding analogous categories to the IFSC event is just one of the changes U.S. athletes want to bring to this side of the pond. They also want to expand Adaptive Nationals from a oneto two-day competition. “We have the best problems to solve going forward now,” said Beck. “We have too many people for our current format.”
Neurological or Physical Disability–F 1. Aika Yoshida 2. Jasmine Raskas 3. Molly Finch
CHAMPIONSHIP JULY 11/14, 2019 Reach Climbing and Fitnessâ€”Bridgeport, PA
ICE WORLD COMES TO DENVER PHOTOS BY ADAM PAWLIKIEWICZ
Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS) tops out on the finals route. Before the Denver competition, Kuzovlev won four of the seasonâ€™s five World Cups and clinched the overall title. In Denver he placed second in lead and won the speed competition.
Gashed legs, acrobatic all-points-off leaps and the youngest U.S. athlete ever to make it to semis made the Ice Climbing World Cup in Denver, February 23-24, an eye-opening introduction to mixed ice competition for an estimated 22,000 spectators. A total of 38 men and 26 women from 14 countries competed in lead and speed. The only World Cup held in the United States this year, the final stop on the UIAA tour was organized by the American Alpine Club. The event centerpiece was a spidery looking freestanding structure from Eldorado Climbing Walls of Louisville, Colorado. Hold-studded overhanging walls led to crate-sized wooden cubes that hung in midair like rearview mirror dice. Athletes had to contort, fight, reach and dance upward and horizontally as the tightly packed crowd oohed and ahhed in amazement, wondering, no doubt, what a sport where you ice climb with no ice was all about. Finals were graded M15 for men and M13 for women (the world's current most difficult mixed route is around M16). Women had eight-and-ahalf minutes and men eight minutes to do battle with the routes. When one female finalist fell at just the third hold, it was obvious that the route was mean. Some climbers shook out on single holds for minutes at a time trying to beat back the kind of pump that threatens to split forearms like overdone brats, before trying to swing and hook the next hold with the precision of a 28
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cataract surgeon. WoonSeon Shin (KOR) timed out on the secondto-last clip, looked back at the roaring crowd and decided to go for the top anyway. She squared up, eyeballed the far-off finish hold, and jumped. She stuck the dyno; the crowd went wild. Maria Tolokonina (RUS), first overall in the standings, went last. She climbed like lightning, reaching the dyno far ahead of WoonSeon’s pace. Tolokonina jumped and stuck the hold but skipped off into space as the rope pulled taut with a boing. WoonSeon and Tolokonina tied for first (since WoonSeon topped out after her time finished), but Tolokonina packed up the gold because of her better performance in semis. Tolokonina now has 65 World Cup medals to her name. Eimir McSwiggan of Ireland took bronze. In the men’s lead finals, Yannick Glatthard of Switzerland—who won the lead competition in Saas-Fee a month earlier—was the second athlete to compete, but topped the route! With two dynos and some serious acrobatics, Glatthard muscled to the top, stood on the hanging octagon, pulled out
Nathan Clair (FRA) spiders along the underbelly of the competition wall built by Eldorado Climbing Walls in Denver's Civic Center Park across from the State Capitol Building. He placed seventh in lead. Up to 22,000 people witnessed the mixed competition, in which climbers used iceclimbing tools on gym walls. Often, the walls lack ice and are meant to mimic "dry tooling" on real rock.
Clockwise from left: WoonSeon Shin (KOR) ran out of time at the next-to-last clip but jumped for the exit anyway, tagging the top to place second.
four armlengths of slack in his rope, and took the mother of all victory whips, much to the pleasure of downtown Denver. Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS), who had won four of the season’s five World Cups and already clinched the overall title, was the second and only other YX chromosome to top the route. Glatthard and Kuzovlev placed first and second, respectively, and Valentyn Sypavin (UKR) took third. For the speed competition—held on real ice—workers had labored for four days to create the ice wall. They watered a horizontal panel on the ground, and the day before the World Cup, erected it using heavy machinery. The resultant wonder was a vertical 40-foot wall six inches thick with an internal refrigeration system. Climbers quickly chkchkchk’ed their way up the wall, blazing up the ice on specialized tools that are closer to meathooks than ice tools. For the women, Tolokonina took home yet another gold, followed by Coralie Jary (FRA) in second, and Marion Thomas (FRA) in third. The men’s comp had theatrics of a different sort. Unlike speed climbing on rock, speed ice climbing carries a few particular dangers: namely the axe in each hand as an athlete flies up the wall. Two climbers—Marcus Garcia of the United States, and David Bouffard of Canada—paid a price. Garcia punctured his thigh in semifinals.
The USA Ice Team. Bottom row, left to right: Amity Warme, Mikayla Tougas, Catalina Shirley, Heather Mobley, Corey Buhay, Angela Tomczik, Lindsay Hastings, Angela Limbach. Top row, left to right: Nate Foster, Troy Anger (holding up Nate), Marcus Garcia, Grant Kleeves, Wesley Fowler, Tyler Kempney, Thomas Gehrlein, Jake Bourdow, Aaron Montgomery, Carter Stritch Enni Bertling (FIN) at the starting gate to the women's difficulty route. She finished in 17th place. Valentyn Sypavin (UKR) hones his tools. In the world of mixed competitions, specialty ice tools are the order of the day, and many competitors customize their picks, filing the teeth into talon-like claws.
Dennis van Hoek (NED) after a speed lap on the ice wall. While the mixed difficulty wall is wood and plastic, the speed wall was fabricated from real ice, and climbers raced up it using special ice hooks. In February, before the Denver comp, van Hoek climbed Jedi Mind Tricks (M13/14) outside Lake City, Colorado. Van Hoek sent the route with just one fall—when the climb was established in 2002 it was likely the hardest mixed route in the world. Yannick Glatthard (SUI), who won the lead comp, takes a massive victory whip off the top. Sina Goetz (SUI) executes a figurefour move to make a big reach. Figure-fours, while effective, must be executed precisely to avoid puncture wounds from crampons. Goetz finished in seventh place in Denver and won women's lead in Domžale, Slovenia, in December.
Still, he went on to compete in finals, where he stabbed himself again, this time in the arm. Bouffard put a hole in his thigh—about an inch above his knee pad—so deep that he had to go to the hospital. “I actually have nine other holes in my legs from last year’s competitions," he said, "so the doctor looked funny at me. But it’s not too bad, I’m used to it.” Bouffard went on to take second place, behind Kuzovlev in first. Dmitriy Grebennikov, also of Russia, came in third for men’s speed. The Americans overall left a solid mark on the comp, with Kevin Lindlau placing 12th in lead, behind Nathan Kutcher (CAN) in 11th; Catalina Shirley, Mikayla Tougas, Kendra Stritch and Amity Warme all making semis in lead to finish 12th, 15th, 15th and 18th; Garcia and Thomas Gehrlein both advancing past semifinals in speed to the finals, reaching the first (quarterfinal) of the three head-tohead rounds there to finish sixth and seventh; and Angela Limbach and Angela Tomczik reaching the quarterfinal stage in women’s speed finals for seventh and eighth. With rock climbing finally breaking through into the Olympics, an obvious question is: Is ice climbing far behind? The siblings Carter Stritch and Kendra Stritch are founders of the U.S.A. Ice Climbing Team and have hopes of inclusion in future Winter Games. Wellorganized and attended events such as this one help strengthen the case. “We’re getting a little more uniform,” says Carter, “so that’s good.”
RESULTS MEN'S LEAD 1. Yannick Glatthard (SUI) 2. Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS) 3. Valentyn Sypavin (UKR)
MEN'S SPEED 1. Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS) 2. David Bouffard (CAN) 3. Dmitriy Grebennikov (RUS)
WOMEN'S LEAD 1. Maria Tolokonina (RUS) 2. WoonSeon Shin (KOR) 3. Eimir McSwiggan (IRL)
WOMEN'S SPEED 1. Maria Tolokonina (RUS) 2. Coralie Jary (FRA) 3. Marion Thomas (FRA)
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SETTING THE STANDARD Ever wonder who comes up with those crazy moves you see athletes pull off at the World Cup comps? Here’s four who do it and how they work the magic.
Janja Garnbret (SLO) rocks to victory at the Meiringen, Switzerland, World Cup in April. Routesetting at World Cups is an art, a balance of providing dynamic, big moves for the audience, and a physicality to match today's well-trained competitors.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
BY JEFF JACKSON
When it comes to climbing, I’m not a good spectator. I find super-fit people inching their way up walls of rock or plastic about as interesting as watching a bean sprout, but the first World Cup bouldering competition I saw, in Arco, Italy, in 2013, changed my mind forever. The first competitor, Adam Ondra, stepped out of iso, wisps of thistle-thin hair cavorting around his head. He looked like a teenaged Einstein with a neck like a Tula goose. Ondra gripped two tiny holds on the 40-degree wall and threw himself sideways, feet banking off three blue-comma volumes. He literally skipped across the overhanging wall and caught his swing with a preternatural toe hook. It looked impossible but somehow he’d done it. The crowd roared. Ondra looked out at the crowd and roared. I roared. Everybody was roaring. There was an electric connection between the crowd and the climber. In a way, the crowd became Ondra and Ondra became the crowd. I’d never experienced anything quite like it, and I was instantly hooked on World Cup bouldering. Ondra glanced down at a ginger-haired, skinny guy and yelled again. The skinny guy was beaming. “Who’s that?” I asked a reporter from Gory, a Polish climbing mag. The reporter shrugged and replied in accented English, “I don’t know who he is. He is the route setter.”
IFSC route setter Jacky Godoffe charts the course.
At present there are about 30 IFSCcertified World Cup route setters. These are the guys (and one girl so far) who set the 12 World Cups every year, the wizards who, with a soft-impact drill and a bunch of holds, make the magic. Recently, I reached out to four of the best—Katja Vidmar, Chris Danielson, Jacky Godoffe, and Manuel Hassler, and asked them to give me the lowdown on World Cup route setting.
World Cup routes are seldom straightforward, as Mickael Mawem (FRA) finds out.
THE AMERICAN U.S. route setter and an IFSC Chief Route Setter. He’s set 18 World Cups. “Munich will be 19, and Vail will be 20,” he says. “I’m strictly a boulderer. Got hooked on bouldering after a ’95 trip to Hueco. Maybe it’s the attention span, or the diversity of moves.” In 2000, Danielson was accepted into a Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago and got his Masters in Social Science with emphasis on philosophy and political theory. “I focused on academic pursuits for a couple of years,” he says. “But I was always getting jobs at gyms. Sport Rock in DC,
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BJORN CREDITPOHL, CREDITBERT WILLER
Chris Danielson, 42, is the senior
line: All comp setters at a high level do it out of passion for the sport and certainly not for the money. How much do you consider the audience/entertainment factor? A lot. It’s not principally about moves, though, as might be the common thought. It’s about the flow of the competition, the energy, the tension and excitement and connecting the competitors and the audience. Sometimes this happens directly as it relates to specific movements, but it never happens without the tension of competitiveness and the unknown.
Metro Rock in Boston. I always found my way back to climbing.” How do you set for athletes who climb so much harder than you? Remember, competitors have a much different experience. They only have five minutes per problem. We’re setting nothing even remotely close to V15, more like V6 to maybe V11 or V12. And I’m playing in the moves of these climbs, the team is assessing. Sometimes I get a ladder and imagine or put myself in position and often fail but envision. We also watch each other and gauge the move mentally. Is it gonna be right? Is it gonna be right after the last problem with only five minutes rest?
Chris Danielson lets his imagination roam. World Cup route setting is much like choreographing a dance: it's as much creative expression as an athletic endeavor.
Danielson practices what he preaches, forerunning one of his problems.
What do you think I should write about? You should talk about the variable field of play. There’s no other sport that I can think of that has such a variable field. They change the holes in golf, change gates in ski sports. But the skiers are intended to get down the course. Climbing is much further on the spectrum. The degree to which the course is changed each time is 70 to 80 percent. So the route setter is super important because not only do we create it new every time, but the athletes never try it until the competition. Describe Parkour/skate style. Not just dynamic, but very dynamic moves where the movement of the feet are coordinated. There’s always a buzz around it. It’s part of the story about how climbing evolved. As bigger holds and pinches were introduced in the late '90s, new kinds of moves became possible. What’s your favorite thing about setting? The constant newness and problem solving. I wouldn’t do this without that. Climbing outside, once I understand how it’s done, I’m a little less interested.
JEREMYCREDIT NATHAN CREDIT
Does the field of setters have to be international? The IFSC Chief Route Setter cannot be from the host country, and given this requirement alone, it always means there will be setters from at least two countries. What do you get paid to set a World Cup? About $2,000 for a week of setting, but any comp is really like 70 to 80+ hours of work, not including travel. IFSC setters typically get an average of two comp assignments per year, and most setters work many other comps each year, but no one makes a good living as a competition setter alone. Bottom WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
, 60, grew up on the outskirts of arguably the best bouldering area on the planet, the forest of Fontainebleau, France, a place he describes as “the lungs of Paris,” where he still resides. “I started very late, around 21 years old, by random, honestly, despite the fact I was living in Font. Not so many climbers at Font in the early 70’s.” In 1993, Godoffe established one of the hardest problems in the forest at the time, the famous V13 Fatman, and is the man who, in 2004, set the Speed Climbing route that is still in use today. These days Godoffe works at the French Climbing Federation where he teaches climbing.
How long do you get to set a World Cup? In general, we spend five days for setting a normal World Cup with a team of five setters for about 56 problems to set. In the case of a Youth Cup it is a longer process because instead of two categories we have to set for six. Are there any women World Cup setters? Yes, now we have fortunately some female route setters, but I would say that it is very new and up to the women themselves who did not want to try. Katja Vidmar from Slovenia is now international. From France, Helene Janicot is a junior setter this year, and in the following years I hope more and more will be involved in the game. Anna Galliamova from Russia could be ready soon. 36
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Godoffe tweaking a problem to get it perfect. Often, the difference between a good problem and a great one is miniscule.
How can you create a “fair” competition given different body sizes and heights? It is one of the crucial points to know every climber’s skills, and size, especially arm span, arm-to -foot span and height in order to make the setting as fair as possible in a round. I would say that now it is, on average, harder to be very tall than to be very small, considering all different styles of setting. Describe your creative process. I have a goal, but I never know what I will start with. I have many different tricks I can use to approach the setting. An idea of movement, the shape of holds, an idea of an aesthetic line. I try to be as fast as possible for the first draft. Then I have more time to do the adjustments before proposing this setting to the other members of the team. Sometimes I change nothing, but not that often. Most of the time it needs some changes, and in the worst case I have to strip the boulder because it doesn’t fit the goals. With the team we make more specific adjustments to have a better boulder at the end. How much do you consider the audience/entertainment factor? This is an essential point for the general alchemy of a good
MARC DAVIET, REINHARD FICHTINGER
Favorite outside problem/route? The one that was never sent before.
Manuel Hassler, 38, started
competition. Because if spectators are captivated by the game, they share good vibes with the climbers that help them to be better in the moment.
VLADEK ZUMR, DAVIDSCHWEIZER.CH
How has route setting evolved over the last 20 years? There has been an evolution of material, especially the development of volumes and innovations like double texture and PU [polyurethane] instead of heavy original holds. At the very beginning, ranking was very simple. For example, test finger power, body tension, campus moves, jumps, compression, bad foot holds and mantels. Now more and more the styles are mixed, sometimes hard to identify fast, and most of the time the same problem has two different steps. For example, the first step can be powerful biceps movement and the second involves footwork with crimpy moves. Speak to the evolution of men’s and women’s comp climbing. The women’s evolution has a way more pronounced arc in the past 10 years. I remember really well setting for women at the end of the '90s. We needed to be able, more or less, to climb the boulders without climbing shoes to be sure they would be doable during the comp. That’s not possible anymore. In general, for both genders, we play more and more with the doubt factor, setting some problems that are basically impossible to read. You just have to climb and feel what you have to do. What do you like about route setting? Number one is the emotion shared between climbers, spectators, coaches and judges. Sometimes it happens that everyone almost cries. This is, for me, the sign of a great event.
Adam Ondra rejoices on a rare World Cup feature, a crack! One wonders whether this is where his experience on the granite fissures of El Cap's Dawn Wall paid in gold.
climbing when he was 10 years old in the Jura region of Switzerland. He was light and strong, and it wasn’t long before he was competing at the international level. He immediately gravitated to route setting and shaping. At 12 he was playing around in his father’s workshop, “experimenting with polyester resin,” using bowls and dishes as molds, adding salt for texture. “Manu” set his first World Cup when he was 24. Hassler is also a strong outdoor climber with V14/15 first ascents and repeats of some of Switzerland’s most iconic problems like Heritage (V14) in Valle Bavona and Veccio Leone (V13) in Brione Ticino. How do you get to be a World Cup route setter? An IFSC pool of setters chooses the best aspirant setters. The criteria are: Very good climbing level, female setters and a good international diversity. The plan is to have one new setter coming into the IFSC each year. Who are the best route setters in the world right now? It’s a teamwork job. You can be the best route setter in the world, but if you can’t involve your team the right way in the work process, you’re not gonna be good. You have to be able to motivate your team, make them give everything they have and create a great atmosphere where everybody is able to express him or herself best. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
time you need to prepare the climbers before you propose the next level. They need to recognize things quickly and be able to climb all kinds of moves and sequences before you can propose a full version of a complex combined sequence.
Any climbers who are difficult to set for? Girls. The density of strong girls went higher the past years, but there is still a big gap between the very strong ones and the rest of the field. In the men’s category the density of strong climbers is huge, and everybody ranked between one to 50 could potentially win. It’s really hard to set a final for the top two girls. I don’t like it when they both top all the problems and it comes down to tries. At the same time, when you push a bit too much to avoid a tie, you take the risk of having not many tops, and for sure there will be no tops at all from girls ranked third to sixth. Setting for the girls is a very fine line. How do you get inspiration? Moves I do in my training, moves I did at competitions which I want to develop more. It’s always a dream to create something totally new. Competitors inspire me while I look at them during their attempts. Maybe their moves don’t work on the problem, but you can see what you need to change to make it work for a future problem. Mistakes, unforeseen moves, or solutions give me a lot of inspiration. How has comp climbing evolved in the last 20 years? I’ve been setting for maybe 18 years, and when I think about the time before me, yes, it was very different. I think the development of the material is one of the key points. With bigger holds, very tiny footholds and volumes, it changed the gravity point—climbers less close to the wall and less controlled. It allowed a lot more to play with in terms of setting. It was very easy to propose something new, because it was new for everybody. Now it isn’t easy to make new things. More and more we are combining styles. At the same 38
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Volume features are key to modern route setting, pushing competitors to use their entire bodies to execute moves rather than merely crimping on a hold, as demonstrated by Petra Klingler of the Swiss team.
What’s the future of climbing competition route setting? The direction of combining different aspects of climbing in a single problem will evolve, but at some point it won’t be enough. Material-wise there will be more and different shapes and textures, walls will change, and I also hope that young route setters will enter the circle and change things, but that’s not really the case right now. In terms of scenario, there is a lot to be done. How do you play with a full round of problems, instead of just single ones? How will they affect the climbers until the last problem, and what should this last problem look like? How can you create an open comp that’s interesting until the very last climber? These are all things that contribute to a great comp and a good show.
How can you create a “fair” competition given different body sizes and heights? You make sure that every problem is set in a way that everybody can play in it. But sometimes taller guys have a small advantage, sometimes it’s the opposite. I think it’s better not being too tall for this sport. We are always afraid about the advantage of a tall person, but these people don’t perform better than others.
Speak to the evolution of coordination versus strength in World Cup setting. For sure coordination evolved much more than pure finger strength. It’s easier to create something more interesting for the audience in terms of show, because the climber moves around more, less static, more risky. I like it when there is something from two or more styles in a single problem and to have an equally balanced round of diverse styles. These days coordination problems are way more physical than they were maybe two years ago. This physicality is probably what’s changed the most, because without any real physical aspect in it, competitors just would have been cruising. They progressed so well in this style because they trained it a lot. That’s why it needed to change and evolve to something a bit different. The climbers can do almost everything and are very quick in understanding what is set. I think the terrain is ready for something new.
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chief there’s more organizing before the setting starts. In any case, I think about the moves, boulders and climbing constantly. I wouldn’t say that’s planning, more part of preparation or just passion. What’s the best problem or route you’ve set? It’s something I will set in the future.
, 34. This past April, in Moscow, Vidmar became the first woman to act as Chief Route Setter at a World Cup. Vidmar, who grew up in Slovenia, started climbing in 1997 and competed in World Cups for 10 years. Her best finish was second place at the Fiera di Primiero, Italy, Bouldering World Cup in 2008. She’s an avid outdoor climber whose hardest ascent came in 2011 when she topped out the highball Petting With an Alligator (V12) in Maltatal, Austria. “I love climbing, obviously :) ... traveling, nature, dogs and ice cream. What else do I do?” Vidmar asks rhetorically. “Everything I do in my life is connected to climbing. I'm part of the 360holds team (a climbing-holds brand from Slovenia), and this is actually my main job. Today I feel lucky and grateful that I'm able to do what I love, and route setting is one of those things.” How would you describe yourself? Hardworking, creative and shy. Where do you live? Postojna, Slovenia. How hard do you have to climb to set a World Cup? You must be fit enough to be able to test the climbs, feel the level, and adjust the difficulty, but also to be able to climb and set for many days in a row. You need to have a good feeling and understanding of your climbing and the climbing of the competitors. How many WC setters are there? I think there are about 30 people now and I would say quite a big waiting line. Are there any women World Cup setters? Last year it was just me from the IFSC and this year Helen Janicot from France is a junior setter and will set a lead World Cup in Inzai. I’m really happy to see more women doing the job. I think it’s really cool when the team is mixed. How much do you plan before setting a World Cup? For me it’s more about inspiration in the moment. When I see the venue, the wall, the hold selection and the setting plan, I think about what I want to do. If you’re a 40
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Katja Vidmar, of Slovenia, in her place of work. Of late, Slovenia has been producing the best competitors in the world, notably Janja Garnbret.
Describe your creative process. Being creative is my favorite part of setting. The process depends on many things, and it’s not always the same. For some styles and in some situations, I have a clear idea of the moves I want to set, and other times my process is more spontaneous. I just go with it, and everything happens as I start putting holds on the wall. In general, I try not to overthink things. How do the rules (four-minute limit, controlled start, bonus etc.) affect your setting? There’re just many things to consider and think about. For 4-minute limit you ask yourself if the problem is too long or too complex or too hard to read, or is it easy but not easy to climb in this time and things like that. Speak to the evolution of coordination versus strength in World Cup setting. Are you influenced by Parkour/skate? I like the modern dynamic style, it’s impressive. But I like it when it’s not just coordination, when it demands a combination of skills, and it’s more complex than just running on volumes. I think it goes hand in hand more than most people think. To be able to do those coordination moves takes a lot of power, precision, balance and good technique in most cases. Describe your vision of the perfect competition. For me a good competition is not just a perfect ranking. It’s having excitement, emotion, unexpected moments, failure, fight, success. To get this, a setting team must take some risk. It’s a very thin line between success and failure. Jeff Jackson is the Editor At Large for Rock and Ice and Gym Climber.
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In trying to send your project, you might be trying too hard. Relax, trick yourself as advised below, and remember the process is as fun and important as clipping the chains. Przemek Filipek looking loose on Giant S (7c/5.12d), Zijavica cave, near Moscenicka Draga, Croatia.
TIPPING THE SCALES IN YOUR FAVOR
8 Pointers for Slaying Stubborn Projects in the Gym and on the Rock. By Neil Gresham The fun part of a project in the gym or on rock is when you first jump on it and bust out all the moves, or, better still, link sections and tell yourself it’s going well. But what about when you’re several weeks in, and progress slows or grinds to a halt? Or you start losing ground? Let’s not even go there!
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
It is popular to debate which aspects of climbing performance—strength, technique, endurance, mental game—are the most important for the redpoint, but how exactly do you succeed in the face of adversity? Let’s take a look.
01 Pull Out the Magnifying Glass
Lower down the route, and have a fresh look at everything. Feel every hold, and inspect each one from different angles. Try gripping each hold in a different place or changing your gripping method; for example, dragging (aka: “hanging” or “open-handing”) instead of crimping. In particular, look for thumb catches (sneaky incut depressions near a hold that can be used with the thumb). Re-test all the resting positions. Search out kneebars, or if you have them, try to work them in better. Leave no stone unturned until you’re sure your beta is as efficient as it can be. One micro-tweak may be all it takes.
02 Seek Buddy Beta
It’s easy to get tunnel vision with sequences, especially if you’ve worked them out yourself without seeing others on the project. A classic game changer is to ask a pal to check out the route. It usually works best if the person is a similar height and climbs at a similar level, but any second opinion may help. Failing this, YouTube has saved the day countless times!
03 Top-Down Links
If you’ve only been trying the route or problem from the bottom, you may inadvertently have been teaching yourself to fail rather than succeed. Theoretically, you never need to “fail” if you go from, say, two-thirds height to the top, then from half-height, and so on. By setting realistic and attainable targets for linking, you will generally go home feeling like you’ve made progress, and you’ll learn the nuances of how to climb through the top section when fatigued.
04 Midweek-Specific Training Hits
If you’re on your project on weekends, a key strategy is specificity in your midweek training sessions. There’s no point in leaping around on volumes and slapping slopers if your project is on crimps, nor should you waste time trying roofs if the project is a gently overhanging wall. Compile a simple hangboard routine that prioritizes the grips you need for the route, especially the crux section. You can also base your endurance sessions on the intensity of the route. If the route is 30 moves, train on about 30-move circuits of a similar style and angle. Alternatively, if you think you’re failing because you find
the moves hard, try something slightly more powerful and intense at, say, 20 moves. If you’re failing due to lack of pure endurance, train on slightly longer sequences, more like 40 moves.
05 Change Your Recovery Strategy Ask yourself if you’re still feeling the effects of your midweek training sessions when you arrive at the crag to try your project. If so, make those sessions slightly shorter and less intense, or possibly increase the number of rest days. For example, instead of training for three hours, train for two, or instead of taking two days’ rest before trying your project, allow three. Experiment with some of the proven strategies for promoting recovery such as foam-roller massage sessions on rest days, or (if you want it badly enough) take cold showers after training, to promote circulation.
06 Mental Tricks and Cheats
Many strategies lie beneath the surface in the game of redpointing, with most centered around taking the pressure off each go. For example, tell yourself that your first redpoint try is just a warm-up or a “recon” to see how you feel. Your second one isn’t necessarily do-or-die because you’ve sent routes on your third or fourth go before. Your final redpoint effort is a “training go” because you’re tired now. Say whatever it takes to trick yourself into believing it’s not all about this particular attempt. Of course, at a broader level, the oldest and best trick in the book of redpointing is to remind yourself that the journey is just as fun and important as the destination. By focusing on the quality of execution and not the outcome, not only will you feel way less stressed but, ironically, you’re much more likely to send. Never
want a route “out of the way” and tell yourself that it’s fine if you’re still trying the same route in a year. If you’re patient and keep throwing your hat into the ring, without heightened emotion, the result is much more likely.
07 Try Harder
Be honest with yourself. Have you tried it yet? I mean really tried? Can you find another mental gear? Perhaps you haven’t quite wanted to put everything on the line, and maybe now is the time. Margo Hayes didn’t just float up La Rambla, nor Adam Ondra and Chris Sharma La Dura Dura, nor Lynn Hill on the Nose free; they were seriously trying.
08 Try Less Hard
The contradiction in hard climbing is that we must exert ourselves mentally to the max, while trying to expend the minimal amount of physical energy. Maybe you’ve been wheel-spinning until now on your project by being too aggressive. Yes, the crux will always require maximum physical effort, but can you relax more on the easier sections? Sure you can! Be soft, and simply try to climb more gracefully and easily. I’ve saved this point until last, as it was the one that tipped the scales on the hardest new route I’ve ever climbed, Sabotage (8c+/5.14c) at Malham in the U.K. We hear so much talk of crushing but climbing really hard may be about doing the exact opposite. Above all, remind yourself that we often feel miles away from projects when we are a mere percentage point away. It may take all or only one of these tips to get you to the top, but you might arrive with energy to spare! The British all-arounder Neil Gresham has climbed 8c+ (5.14c), trad 5.13dX and WI 7. Visit www.neilgresham.com. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
Competitors work through problems on the #2 module of the Harmonized System. The new wall system lets gyms replicate competition routes or share problems they set with gyms anywhere in the world.
Standardized Walls and Problems Set a New Course Imagine a world where a route setter could set a problem in a gym in Paris, upload the route to a phone app, and then a setter in Dallas could download the problem and replicate it. The benefits would be many. Climbers around the world could test themselves on problems set by World Cup route setters, you could hold national or international competitions without having the climbers travel, gyms could share routes, saving them most of the downtime and cost associated with route setting, and you could share a problem you set with your buddy 10 or a thousand miles away. This is the reality of the Harmonized System unveiled by the hold and wall manufacturer Walltopia, at the Climbing Wall Association Summit conference held this May in Loveland, Colorado. We sat down with Walltopia U.S.A. president Adam Koberna to learn more.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
What exactly is the Harmonized System? The Harmonized System uses five modules, or modules/boulders/wall features about 15 feet high and 40 to 60 feet wide. Each module is unique, and can be assembled together or scattered throughout a gym. The holds are translucent and lit with LED lights. A route setter sets a route, and enters the hold locations and orientation in an app on his phone. A gym with the same wall module can then use the app to tell them where to put the holds. Basically you push a button, the T-nut locations where the holds should go light up in red or blue or whatever color the setter chose, and you put the holds there.
ANI MANOVA/WALLTOPIA (ALL)
Whose idea was the Harmonized Wall and how long did it take to develop? The cofounder of Walltopia, Ivaylo Penchev, thought it up. Six years ago I was in Sofia, Bulgaria [Walltopia’s headquarters] and Ivaylo was able to change the colors of problems on the wall using just his phone. I was like, “whoa, this is a thing!” It’s been a work in progress, and we now have it ready to install in gyms.
Has the Harmonized System been used in comps? The World Cup finals in Innsbruck, Austria, used the #2 module for the bouldering competition, but those panels didn’t have the LEDs. So far four gyms have the Harmonized System, and five gyms are in the process of getting them. Can gyms set the problems from Innsbruck? No, but that is one of the goals of the System—in the near future you might be able to download the problems from the World Cup and set them in your gym. Is the System practical for home gyms? I don’t believe so because most people don’t have the space necessary for the modules. Home gyms are better suited to Moon Boards or Grasshopper frames. What Walltopia wants to do is bring the System to commercial gyms. Is the Harmonized System like a bigger MoonBoard? MoonBoards are smaller and fixed at one angle, and are more for training. Harmonized Systems have various fixed angles, a lower hold density, and are for setting routes rather than training problems. The Harmonized System is only for bouldering? Yep. Can a gym retrofit with the Harmonized System? Yes, but it has to be a Walltopia wall because the panels are only compatible with Walltopia framing.
ABOVE: Clear holds lit by colored LEDs mark the routes on the Harmonized System. UPPER RIGHT: Touch the green route on the app, and the green route lights up. LOWER RIGHT: Route setters enter their routes in the app and assign a color. Other gyms can download the route and set a carbon copy on their wall.
What is the goal for the System? We want to create a community. Strava, for example, has an app where runners and bikers can share data, including distances and times, and compete or just compare how they are doing relative to other users. The Harmonized System can basically do the same thing for bouldering. What are the benefits to the gym? The Harmonized System will let a gym constantly set new problems without the downtime of stripping all or part of the gym. What about cost? Walltopia has standardized costs for its walls. The Harmonized System has the additional expense of the LEDs and a subscription service for the app. But, the cost of the system will typically be less than hiring route setters to come in and reset routes. Do route setters get a cut? They can. Route setters can charge to download their problems. Where do you imagine this will all go? Gyms all over the world can hold competitions on the same walls, on the same problems. This will make climbing comps more inclusive, and bring the community together by sharing each others’ problems. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
• Climbing Coach
How to Maximize Your Gym’s Weight Room
Most climbing gyms have a weight room. Let’s talk about how to best utilize yours. Before we begin, a note: It’s important to do all weighted training before a climbing session. Weighted training is where injuries can occur if done fatigued. Always do workouts fresh or on your off days. If combined with a climbing day, climb tired, but be careful not to overdo it. Climbing tired also requires your body to rely on technique over brute strength.
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Colorado Rocky Mountain School climbing-team member Zane Mullally executes a deadlift with palms inward, shoulder-width apart.
01 WHOLE BODY
Deadlifts are great for overall fitness, but why they’re great for climbers specifically is a long list! First of all, grip strength. Doing a deadlift, you train your fingers, hands and forearms. Next is shoulder recruitment. An area often overlooked in climbing training is heavy focus on shoulders, yet that’s where a lot of injuries occur. Although not the main focus, your back and core are also activated during deadlifts. Next are your legs, commonly underrepresented during climbing workouts. Strengthening your legs is crucial for lower-body engagement on the wall. Generally, climbing with straight arms and using your body as a twisting, pivoting lever makes moves easier. The less you bend your arms, the more energy your upper body saves, but to keep your arms from overworking, you need to use your legs. Obviously your leg muscles are bigger, but the stronger
your thighs and calves, the more they can propel your centers of mass upward, and then when you stick a hold, your hamstrings, inner thighs, calves, and glutes keep your lower body on the wall. Another point to having strong legs is for falling, and doubly so for bouldering, where every fall is a groundfall. Having a solid lower body foundation helps to handle the shock load of falling.
To do a proper deadlift, grab the bar with both your palms facing down, slightly wider than shoulder width apart (outside of your knees). Keeping your feet flat on the floor, back straight and butt out, hinge at your hips and stand. Keep the bar as close to your body as possible, almost dragging it up your shins as you lift. Actively and consciously squeeze your core as you move, and your glutes as you stand. Doing the same movement but in reverse, lower the bar back onto the ground in a controlled manner, keeping your back straight and head forward.
TRAINING / By Alex Johnson
Rip the core with hanging L-Ups.
Lat Machine one-arm pull downs
02 PULLING MUSCLES
Lat Machine: One-Arm Pull-Downs One of my all-time favorite exercises! This exercise significantly increases one-arm specific pull strength. Change out the lat bar for a one-handed handle. In terms of reps, if I were to do a six-week training schedule, I’d start with high reps, low weight, so maybe eight to 12 reps with 20 to 25 pounds, and end up doing minimal reps (two to three) with almost max weight (around 80 pounds) at the end. For hypertrophy (aesthetics) you’d land somewhere in the middle. For straight pulling power, several sets at low reps, high weight is ideal. It’s important to keep good form on these, as they put a lot of strain on elbows and shoulders. Grab the handle with an extended arm, without locking joints, and keep shoulder and elbow slightly engaged when you initially grab the handle and when you release back up. Sit up straight, engage core, keep arms out to side, and keep palm and wrist facing forward, as that mimics climbing movement the most accurately. Pull your arm down like you were doing a one-arm pull-up, making sure not to turn your wrist in so your palm would face you. Continue pulling through your shoulder as low as you can go, don’t let your fist stop near your chin, and try to pull it all the way down through to your chest. Your elbow can move behind the angle of your back to lengthen the pull. On the return back up, keep the same slow, controlled pace, like doing a negative one-arm. Keeping wrist and palm facing out, reverse the movement back upward until almost fully extended. Keep a straight posture and sit up straight the entire time. Don’t rely on core or leaning back to make the motion, be sure it’s your arm and shoulder that do the pulling.
These are pretty self explanatory. It’s rock climbing: we do a lot of pull-ups! One of my favorite weighted pull-up workouts is a superset combo (back-to-back exercises with zero to minimal rest) paired with campusing. I do five to six sets of five pull-ups with 20 to 25 extra pounds of weight, remove weight, immediately head to campus board and do one set of “long move pull through” on each arm. Rest is four to six minutes. Whenever you do anything with added weight, the goal is to gain strength, therefore you want to start each set feeling almost fresh. It’s also very important not to overdo it with adding weight, and take care on lowering slowly and always in control. Pulling up quickly and controlled is ideal for power, but don’t come down quick and jerky and put strain on joints.
Hanging L-Ups I never just lie on the floor and do crunches. I’ve found that core for climbing is almost all lower body, as engaging our lower core is what keeps our feet and lower extremities on the wall, especially on steep terrain. And you use your lower core to place your feet back on the wall if they cut loose. When performing hanging L-ups, your arms can be bent or straight, but when they’re straight, they’re never locked at the joints. You always want to have a little bit of give and stay engaged. Start at a straight hang, and while keeping legs straight, raise feet and bring legs up to 90 degrees. If it’s impossible to do without bending knees, it’s better to go as high as you can with your legs as straight as possible, as opposed to lifting to 90 with bent knees. Return legs down to straight position slowly. Do not swing. Swinging makes the workout significantly easier as momentum is relied on instead of engaging core. These can be performed at the end of a climbing session, and I usually do four sets of 20 with two-minute rests. In addition to forward-hanging L-Ups, you can add obliques into the mix by pointing feet in either direction and twisting hips out slightly. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
Sinks Canyon and came to the hard part of a 5.10b. I could feel my heart beating in my throat as I pawed like a desperate cat at anything within arms’ reach. “Take!” I shouted down to my climbing partner Jackie. “Are you sure?” “YES.” Something had to change. I was capable of climbing a 5.10- sport route, but I hadn’t committed the time to making it feel smooth or natural. I needed a goal. I am motivated by working towards something and having a spelled-out plan for how to get there. I picked a number and a time: 5.12 by the end of the summer. Was that possible? It felt as lofty as saying, “I’ve run a four-hour marathon and now I’d like to win Boston eight months from now!” Well after seven months of hard work and practice, I did it. Here are the five strategies that got me there .
FROM 5.10b TO 5.12
How I went from 5.10b to 5.12 in Seven Months By Kathryn Perkinson
I live in a town where climbing 5.13 is normal. Where everyone pouring beer or flipping burgers at the bar has forearms with 15-inch circumferences and fingers that could shatter your ceramic mug that says #1 Grandma.
In the past few years, rock climbing for me has gone from “this scary thing I do to hang out with my friends” to something I really love, something that gives my weekends and workouts purpose. A way to connect me to where I live—days and evenings spent focusing intensely on the 50 feet in front of me, noticing the tiny subtleties 48
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
and variation in texture, color and density. Relishing in the change of season that makes space for climbing until 10 p.m. or lifting hard and going to sleep at 8:30. It’s become a way to share experiences with people I care about—from celebrating success to working through fear or ego. In January 2017, I was climbing in
I’m lucky to live in a town that’s home to some really talented climbing coaches. I emailed Steve Bechtel from CLIMB STRONG and set up a meeting. I knew I needed to climb more and get stronger, but had no idea how to specifically channel my energy. I couldn’t do a pull up and had never used a hangboard, and the idea of projecting was as foreign to me as coral reef to a polar bear. I know what you may be thinking: “A coach? That seems awfully spendy, I already climb 5.reallyhard, and I don’t live in Lander/Boulder/fill-in-theblank.” In fact, it wasn’t that expensive, and especially not if it’s your priority. I had a personalized plan that cost $60 and lasted me anywhere from one to three months (price varied based on specificity and duration). I probably ended up saving money (even after paying for coaching) by forgoing ice cream and beer after climbing. And many of Climb Strong and other companies’ clients are remote. Wherever you live and whatever you have access to, it can work for you. With the program, I learned how to train deliberately when I was inside—whether it was doing specific bouldering workouts, using the systems board or timing my lifts. I
1. HIRE A COACH
also learned how to train deliberately outside—having pointed goals for each day at the crag and learning when to rest. I’m a firm believer that we all could benefit from coaching—an outside perspective and someone to be accountable to. Like my brother-in-law Josh always says, even Michael Jordan had a coach.
2. CONSISTENCY The single biggest limiter for me was my brain. That little voice inside my head will whisper, “Yes, you’re six bolts up and not back-clipped and the rope is not behind your leg, but what if you fall in a weird way and you pull the rope behind yourself and the rope unclips from the last three bolts and the snake on the ground jumps up and …” Rationally, I understand there is nothing unsafe about the way I climb or the routes I’m on. But emotionally, I feel an intense and debilitating fear that makes me gripped, clunky and sweaty. Climbing consistently is the one strategy I’ve found that (nearly) eliminates this fear. It gives me the time to practice my mental game and self-talk. When I’m more familiar with that voice in my head, I am more adept at saying, “Hi! Thank you for your concern, I really appreciate it. However in this moment I am going to disregard what you’re saying
because it’s not actually founded in reality. To bed with you!”
3. LIFT WEIGHTS By now this should be old news. Lifting weights makes you stronger, and you can lift without hypertrophy. Your muscle isn’t dead weight or bulk, it’s tissue that works for you and your climbing. I started lifting in high school and within weeks became a quicker, better lacrosse player and equestrian (nerd alert). Lifting in a programmatic way—developing overall strength with systematic, deliberate workouts—made me a better athlete, which made me a better climber. I got to work on my deadlift, bench press and front squat (among others). And with consistent practice, I can now do a pull up! Stopping running was hard for me. Really hard. Running has given me joy and been an anchor in my life for as long as I can remember. When I was unemployed and on this training program, I’d go for runs because I had nothing but time. But once I had a job again, I needed to make a choice. If I only had an hour or two to workout, was running really a priority? No. Climbing was. And so I (somewhat begrudgingly) took a seven-month hiatus from running and had more energy and time to focus on my goal. Whatever it is you do, if it’s sucking energy and time from your climbing, stop it.
JAN NOVAK, MEI RATZ
4. HANG ON YOUR FINGERS I heard Climb Strong coach Charlie Manganiello say on a podcast, “It’s not your major muscle groups that give out while you’re sport climbing. It’s your fingers.” I think building stronger fingers was by far the biggest physical difference that contributed to my success. After training, I could hold onto smaller holds for longer and with the confidence that I wouldn’t hurt myself. I started hangboarding regularly, and even bought a TRAVEL HANGBOARD to take on 30-day hiking expeditions. Of course, do this in a controlled, deliberate, patient way following a program built by
professionals. It’s easy to go too hard, and nobody wants sad, hurt fingers.
5. BELIEVE This one sounds corny but it’s true. When I sat down with Steve in January and told him about my current rockclimbing ability and where I wanted to be by the end of the summer, he confidently said that we could get there with some hard work. This guy knows his stuff and he says I can do it! Now I too believe that I can do it. I think that belief gave me daily motivation to work really, really hard. I remember a few days driving back from the crag after climbing 10 pitches knowing that I was supposed to go lift weights. I felt so tired, and the idea of going to a dark gym alone felt daunting when I really wanted to eat popcorn under a fleece blanket. But the psych was in knowing this was moving me closer to my goal, and that little decisions add up to big decisions. The belief in me from another person gave me belief in myself to put myself out there and try. Kathryn Montana Perkinson is a writer living in Lander, WY. Find more at kathrynmontana.com and @ kathrynmontana. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
CRACKS OF DAWN
The Sandstone Wonders of Liming, China
PHOTOS BY CHUANG LIU
Gisely Ferraz of Brazil stuffs One of the Best (5.11+). FA: James Cherry, 2012. While Liming climbing has been favorably compared to that of Indian Creek, it differs by being less parallel: the crack sizes can vary in a single pitch, bend, taper. All making an interesting style that gives Liming its unique flavor. This route isn't actually named One of the Best, notes guidebook author Mike Dobie. "I believe that the name has gotten mixed up with a sentence in the description of the guide. I said that the pitch was 'one of the best,' in Liming, but now people call it One of the Best. It is located in the Cretaceous Area of the Dinner Wall, alongside the routes Soul's Awakening (5.10+, 7 pitches), Wind of the Valley (5.10+), The Forgotten Line (5.10+, 33m), and Elephant Riders (5.12, 5 pitches). Continue past One of the Best and you encounter Firewall (5.13+), one of China's most difficult trad pitches.
Mike Dobie discovered one of the world's premier sandstone crack areas by accident. In 2010, while thumbing through a Chinese travel brochure, he stumbled upon photos that left his jaw slack. He saw "wonderful things," to borrow the famous words Howard Carter uttered when he first peered into King Tut's tomb. Outside the dirt-road village of Liming (Dawn in Mandarin), in the Yunnan province about 450 miles northwest of Hanoi, Vietnam, sheets of crimson stone hung along the skyline like gigantic billboards. Their message to Dobie: unbelievable climbing awaits. When Dobie and fellow American Austin Stringham arrived in Liming they were thunderstruck. Above them reared so much potential you'd have to believe in reincarnation if you'd ever hope to climb everything. And while the local TibetoBurman ethnic Lisu people scaled the cliffs to raid beehives and birdnests, Dobie and Stringham were the first actual climbers to gaze upon the walls. Dobie set up shop in Liming, population 100, and got to work. Within five years he and a small legion of other developers had sent over 200 routes up to 5.13d, some as long as eight pitches. Dobie now splits his time between Seattle and Liming, but continues to pluck lines, and there are now some 450 established pitches. Yet Liming remains off the map and Chinese climbers have been slow to embrace crack climbing. "Numerous 5.14 [Chinese] sport climbers try 5.9 crack and fail and leave the next day," says Dobie. "But it is slowly improving and now there is even one local climber, Xiao Xie." Meanwhile, in Liming a dozen or so visiting climbers press on. All the more reason to grab your rack and get there.
The prolific Mike Dobie established Flight of the Locust (5.12c) on the Guardian crag in 2015. Here, Ken Anderson repeats it. Anderson has sent numerous hard lines in the area, including Tetragrammaton (5.13a), said to have Liming's single hardest move. Dobie notes that Liming has numerous routes with bolted extensions. Holds such as those on Flight tend to be small and solid, and the style is bouldery and demanding. "Putting in bolts opened a new door for the climbing in Liming," he says.
The Cretaceous and Cave areas are all on the Dinner Wall, the most dramatic escarpment visible from town. The crack lines of the Dinner Wall are similar to those at Indian Creek: mostly parallel, and atypical of the region. Everywhere else the cracks are more varied, even offering up the odd face hold. For more beta on Liming Rock, check out the new guidebook Liming Rock, sixth edition, available directly from Mike Dobie, email@example.com.
FACING PAGE: Gisely Ferraz and The Clamdigger (5.11b), another Dobie techy classic. You find The Clamdigger at the Pillars area, currently Liming's most developed crag with over 60 routes from 5.7 to 5.13+, including multiple 200m+ multipitch lines.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Ryder Stroud comes to grips with Velocio-opteryx (5.12). FA: Mike Dobie, who else? Stroud was sponsored by various climbing companies to explore and develop the remote mountainous regions of western China. In under three months he journeyed through Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai, and Xinjiang provinces. The result: his guidebook Wild West China Exploration (2015), available online. Velocio-opteryx is on the Wifi Wall, one of five crags in the The Sport Climbers Area. Most of the crags are just a five-minutes stroll from the road. At the Wifi, you can, in fact, belay from your carâ€”and pick up wifi!
Gisely Ferraz slamma jammas Brazen Hussie (5.10b). FA: Mike Dobie, 2014. Brazen Hussie and the adjacent Flight of the Locust (5.12-) are on the Guardian, a crag stacked with 5.10 to 5.12 lines, mostly trad routes with some bolted sport extensions. The crag, notes Dobie, is popular, "although I prefer the Pillars and El Dorado because you have over 50 routes at each crag from 5.8 to 5.13+." RaĂşl SaĂşco and tape gloves that have seen wonders.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Ken Anderson repeats The Firewall (5.13+), Cretaceous Area. He sent the line in just nine goes. "Which is pretty sick," says Dobie. Logan Barber made the FA in 2015 after Dobie pointed him to two aid lines yet to go free. Besides The Firewall, Barber made the FFA of Honeycomb Dome and repeated Matt Segalâ€™s Air China (5.13d R)â€”the hardest trad route in China at the time.
The five-star Another World (5.12+),on the Dinner Wall in the Cave Area. Ken Anderson nabs the thank-god shelf of the belay station. Mike Dobie got the line's first free ascent in 2015, and soon after, Australian Logan Barber tied into the thin, steep, 50-foot crack continuum you see above the belay. After 23 attempts, Barber succeeded. His Honeycomb Dome (5.13d) remains unrepeated. Other worthy climbs in the sector include Japanese Cowboy and the Assless Chaps Extension (5.12+), The Warm Up (5.10), Flying Squirrel (5.10 2 pitches), and a new top out route called Finns of the Valley (5.11 A0, 5 pitches).
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NUTRITION There’s a mountain of energy bars, chews, powders and drinks to help you power through your gym session, but what to get?
not going beyond 350. You need blood flow to the muscles, not to the stomach. Additionally, you’ll want to keep fat consumption to a minimum during the workout, as fat slows digestion, slowing the uptake of carbohydrates and proteins. Opt for chews, gels and bars with sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, date and coconut nectars, brown rice syrup or stevia. Hydration should be ongoing during your session with approximately six ounces of water or electrolyte drink every 15 minutes.
The Skinny on Bars, Gels and Energy Drinks By Katie Lambert You just arrived at the gym and are starving. You check in, glance over at the bars and gels, and pick one based on the wrapper color. Shame on you! No doubt, you’re not trying to get your nutrition from bars, but if you ever find yourself staring at the shelves in confused indecision, here are some guidelines.
DURING YOUR WORKOUT High carbohydrate content, two grams or less of fiber and ideally with B Vitamins are the types of bars you want to have during your workouts. Watch out for unrecognizable ingredients and sugar alcohols (sucralose, xylitol, mannitol), as these are hard hard to digest. Being as simple as possible, you could aim for a bar with around three to nine grams of protein, at least 15 grams of carbohydrate, and no more than 13 grams of fat. Be mindful of the calories consumed 60
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Immediately after your session you should optimize your nutrition. Drink eight ounces of water within the first 20 minutes post workout. Your body is most effective at replacing carbohydrates and promoting muscle growth and repair the first 40 to 60 minutes after exercise. This continues for the next 12 to 24 hours. Within the first 30 minutes after a workout, consume around 20 grams protein to optimize recovery. This helps usher carbohydrates back into muscles and provides the amino acids necessary for rebuilding. You also need to consume carbohydrates, a carbs to protein ratio of 3:1 is ideal: If you have 20 grams of protein then you’d need 60 grams of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates with little fiber are best and, again, avoid sugar alcohols (xyliyol, mannitol) and opt for ones derived from real food like honey, maple syrup, date and coconut nectars, brown rice syrup or stevia. Fat hardly maters at this point in terms of the bar. Remember, real food is optimal post workout, but recovery powders and bars high in good protein like organic, grass-fed whey concentrate and hemp protein are the ones recommended. Pea proteins can actually be very hard for people to digest and assimilate and soy proteins should be avoided. Katie Lambert is a Nutritional Therapist with a Masters in Traditional Nutrition with a special interest in Type II Diabetes Prevention as well as performance nutrition.
THE RIGHT GEAR KEEPS YOU CLIMBING. Buy Sterling Ropes, including the 40 meter 9.8 Velocity,™ at your local Sterling Gym or Dealer.
Made in U.S.A. with U.S. and Globally Sourced Material © 2018 Sterling Rope Company, Inc. SterlingRope.com/FreedomToFocus
Sterling Engineer Jim Ewing | Salt Pump Climbing Co. | Photo: Maxine Ewing
PURE FOCUS TAKES YOU TO GREAT HEIGHTS.
Read the label and strive for natural food sources such as honey, and avoid alcohol sugars such as sucralose, xylitol and mannitol. Shoot for 350 calories maximum, and seek real fats such as palm oil, coconut oil and nut butter.
Fat slows the overall digestive process, but it is a necessary macronutrient. You do not need a large amount of fat from energy bars. Focus on getting macronutrients from real food. However, when it comes to bars, the easiest-to-digest fats are from coconut oil and coconut manna (a blend of oil and meat). Seed and nut/nut-butter-based bars contain a good source of anti-inflammatory fat in the form of Omega-3s. These are great for joint and soft tissue health. Palm oil contains carotenes and vitamins and is good for reducing free-radical damage and inflammation, but is controversial for its role in deforestation.
The Dope on Energy Bars BRAND
HONEY STINGER Organic Cracker N’Nut Butter Snack Bar
CLIF BAR Builder’s Protein Chocolate
LARABAR Blueberry Muffin
KIND Nuts & Spices
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Appropriate refuel and rehydration Hydration should be continual throughout climbing and training, and continue after with the use of electrolytes and/or recovery drinks.
Promote muscle repairs and growth The body is most effective at replacing carbohydrate and promoting muscle growth and repair the first 30 to 60 minutes after exercise. This continues for the next 12-24 hours. If you train/climb multiple days in a row you MUST maximize recovery in that first hour after. Consume 20g of protein directly after workout.
Boost adaptation from the session Nutrient-dense foods in the correct ratios will promote proper recovery, allowing for adaptation to the new stress of the session.
Support immune function
CLIF BAR Peanut Toffee Buzz
HONEY STINGER Organic Energy Chew
After Training or Climbing
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COACHES CORNER / By Delaney Miller
8 TIPS FOR CLIMBING PARENTS AKA: How to Not Ruin it for Your Kid
Attention soccer moms and dance dads: there’s a new sport in town that will help your kids develop physically, mentally and emotionally. Through climbing, your children can also learn social skills, build confidence and possibly make it to the 2020 Olympics. They will need your help to be successful. Here are eight tips so you don’t mess it up.
they’re still a kid, and they will need freedom and structure to develop into a decent human being. Think about your kid’s long-term growth and remember climbing is just one component of their life. Accomplishments will not feed maturity. Don’t force anything, seriously. If they want to come down, 2. let them. If they’re tired and want to be done, leave the crag. And if they want to keep going, then keep going. The point is that kids need to be self-driven. up. Be there. Kids want to know you’re proud of them. 3. Show The best way to show them is to stick around during practice. Watch them send their projects. Belay them, video them, take pictures, whatever. Just be there.
Don’t make comparisons. Do you like comparing yourself to others? Do you think your kid would like it? Enough said.
on things you can actually control. That includes the 5. Focus basics—eating right, warming up properly, focusing on your
own routine (think back to #4). Most importantly this does NOT include performance in a competition or on a project. Results are 64
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
short, marginal instances compared to the process of achieving them and should likewise be marginalized. open about your own experiences, especially in regard 6. Be to your own passions. Teach them a healthy way to do
things that they’re motivated to do. Remember, monkey see monkey do.
them try other things. If they don’t just want to focus on 7. Let climbing, then sign them up for that soccer practice or piano
lessons. They’re at a crucial developmental phase, so don’t cramp their style with your own possessive goals.
supposed to be fun. Climbing can be done from age 5 to 8. It90.isIt’s a sport for life, so let kids be kids while they are, in
fact, still kids. Projecting and even competing are not worth doing unless they are actually fun. Otherwise, games like add-on might be a better alternative. By the way, as a former World Cup competitor and current youth climbing coach, I’ve seen it all. My own parents didn’t have these fool-proof tips to mold my young career, but their daily advice stuck with me: “Just do your best.”
1. Your kid is not special. Even if they’re the best of the best,
As a former World Cup competitor and current youth climbing coach, I’ve seen it all. My own parents didn’t have these fool-proof tips to mold my young career, but their daily advice stuck with me: “Just do your best.”
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Photo: by Maggie Hellmann of climber, Lou Renner at The Climbing Wall Amsterdam - De Klimmuur.
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As climbers, we celebrate focus, determination, and completing difficult tasks. We’re a tough and resilient bunch. That’s why the American Alpine Club (AAC) feels the climbing community is the perfect constituency to tackle the complex issue of climate change. In a recent survey, the AAC found that 94% of climbers agree that climate change poses a risk to the places we climb, ski, and hike. Mountain regions are warming at roughly twice the pace of the global average. As climbers, many of us are intimately familiar with the mountain landscapes of the world and have witnessed changes as mountain weather becomes more extreme. Glaciers are receding, climbing areas are becoming hotter and more frequently impacted by wildfires, and terrain for skiing and ice climbing is shrinking due to warming winters and changing seasons. “Whether you boulder, sport climb, or spend your time in the alpine, climate change is one of the greatest threats to our sport, our lives, and our planet,” said AAC CEO Phil Powers.
of climbers believe climate change is happening now and is mostly casued by human activities
of climbers believe climate change poses a risk to the places we climb, ski, & mountaineer
The AAC is committed to safeguarding our climbing environments by supporting commitments to limit greenhouse gas emissions, advocating for smart public lands and energy policy, and educating the climbing community. We’re making internal commitments to curb our own carbon footprint and increasing funding for our climate research and advocacy efforts. The climbing community’s voice is critical. Climbers are passionate advocates, and it’s time we join together more formally to address climate change. While we can all carpool to the crag, or re-sole our shoes a few extra times, we should look for bigger commitments from our government and the outdoor industry itself. The AAC is stepping up to the challenge by partnering with outdoor brands, national non-profits and academic institutions to mitigate the causes of our changing climate. Join the AAC and support our efforts to combat climate change.
UNITED WE CLIMB.
of climbers feel that climate change will make outdoor activities like climbing, skiing, & mountaineering more dangerous
of climbers state they have witnessed changes in the mountains where they climb or ski that are due to a changing climate
of climbers are worried about global warming
a AAC member Jeremiah Watt @miahwatt
Snag th start g is Field Gu id etting invol v e & ed.
AAC member Forest Woodward @forestwoodward
PROFILES / By Delaney Miller
LADIES THAT ROCK This is Why They Rock
Among the small handful of women to have climbed 5.15, including Margo Hayes and Angy Eiter, is Anak Verhoeven, from Belgium. Verhoeven established the first ascent of Sweet Neuf (5.15a) in 2017, an accomplishment she listed next to her three Lead World Cup titles. Verhoeven, 23, is a full-time athlete and devoted Christian. She spends her time training and practicing her faith, as well as taking photos, getting outside and reading books. Currently suffering from an elbow injury, Verhoeven aims to be healthy by the end of 2019. In the future, she will continue to push herself outdoors as well as in competition. Someday, Verhoeven hopes to claim a World Championship medal.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Oceana Mackenzie,16, is strong, flexible and has a knack for jumping. The new age parkour-style bouldering suits her—she’s not afraid of double clutches or volume running. Mackenzie, from Australia, has five sisters. Like most girls her age, she spends time doing schoolwork, getting brunch with friends, shopping and posting pictures of food on Instagram. When she’s in the gym, however, her youthful age doesn’t align with her masterly expertise—Mackenzie moves. Her long-term goal is to qualify for the 2020 Olympics as well as win a World Cup, and she’s well on her way. In the recent Meiringen Bouldering World Cup, in Switzerland, she was the youngest female finalist. Still, Mackenzie maintains a humble goal for 2019: “to learn, gain experience and to have fun!”
—Aleksandra (Ola) Rudzińska
Aleksandra (Ola) Rudzińska Simply put, Ola Rudzińska, 25, looks like an athlete. She’s lean and tan, with hawkish eyes and an expression that means business. Her mantra, “Never give up,” is exemplified in her training and competition routines: She’s focused, cool-headed and confident, an attitude that helped her earn the 2018 World Championship title for Speed in Innsbruck. Prior to that, Rudzińska struggled to stay true to her mantra. “In this time, I had a lot of failures,” she told Gym Climber. Still, she stuck it out. Days before the competition, Rudzińska bought two boxes of ice cream in preparation for her hopeful breakfast of champions. Luckily it didn’t go to waste. In her free time, Rudzińska coaches young athletes and is currently planning her wedding. “I think the most important [thing] for me is my family and private life,” she said. “Someday I will finish my career, but still I will have my family and friends with me.”
MICHAEL TIMMERMANS, DAVIDSCHWEIZER.CH, MARCIN CIEPIELEWSKI
“I think the most important [thing] for me is my family and private life. Someday I will finish my career, but still I will have my family and friends with me.”
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HOW WE WENT FROM THIS Climbing gyms used to be little more than glorified garages. Now they are projected to be a $1 billion businessâ€”how did this happen? By Alison Osius The first commercial climbing gym in the United States, the Vertical Club, built with a purported $14,000 in 1987.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
FACING PAGE: COURTESY RICH JOHNSTON . THIS PAGE: SENDER ONE
The Sender One LAX in Los Angeles, a state-ofthe-art facility with lead climbing, toproping, bouldering, yoga and fitness classes and kidsâ€™ climbing camps. You can even go online and get an update on route setting.
In 1968, John Syrett, an 18-year-old novice, stepped up onto the slick rocks cemented into a brick corridor at the University of Leeds, England, and found magic. Talented and fluid, with light-blue eyes and curly black hair, he was soon a fixture on the scene and outclimbing everyone. Yet many people in the era doubted that skills on an artificial wall would apply to real rock.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Upper right: Francois Savigny, inventor of the plastic hold, and one of the first holds brought to the United States.
itself—many gym climbers have no interest in ever climbing outdoors. How did we get here? In 1979 Francois Savigny, an engineering student at Les Arts et Métiers in Paris who frequented the boulders of nearby Fontainebleau, stopped one day to examine the natural grips on the stone buildings on the way from the city to Font. A light bulb went off. “I thought it would be cool to adapt artificial holds to climbing,” he says. Savigny carved wooden holds and nailed them to a tree trunk. “Very bad,” he says today. In 1983 he experimented with ceramic holds, then tried resin mixed with sand poured into a silicon mold, and the artificial climbing hold was born. A year later, Savigny had an idea for a business and met with a banker. Savigny explained his plan: He would make and sell artificial climbing holds. The banker laughed him out of his office. Undeterred, Savigny borrowed $3,000 in seed money from his grandmother and in 1985 founded Entre-Prises. His first products were resin, hubcap-size hexagonal tiles that screwed to plywood walls. In southeastern France in La Mure near Grenoble, Entre-Prises build the first climbing wall with wooden panels
(CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) FRANCOIS SAVIGNY (2, ALAN WATTS
Two years later, Syrett onsight-led what was likely the second ascent of the Wall of Horrors, a runout 5.10 and the country’s hardest route. Throughout rock climbing over the last 50 years, you see the same story: Someone climbs or trains in a gym and busts out. The U.K. climber Ben Moon came out of a cellar gym to produce Hubble in 1990, and Chris Sharma went into a gym at age 12 and at 15, in 1997, claimed the first ascent of the Virgin River Gorge’s Necessary Evil (5.14c), the hardest climb in this country. Before Syrett’s day, most climbers did not train per se, nor understand the benefits. Other kinds of walls had existed here and there—with adjustable wooden ones in France as early as the 1950s—but the University of Leeds wall, put up by a phys-ed instructor, Don Robinson, to help climbers maintain over winter and prevent injury, is widely credited as the first real climbing wall for training, an icon. Fifty years later, gym climbing is, according to a 2018 Climbing Wall Association report, projected soon to be a billion-dollar activity, with over 600 commercial gyms frequented annually by five million climbers, more than the number of sport, trad, ice and alpine climbers and boulderers combined, and that is just in the United States. Overseas, Germany—a country smaller than the state of Texas—alone has more than 280 climbing gyms. Japan, about the same size as California, has over 500. Gone are the days of real rocks epoxied to cinder-block walls. Today’s gyms are custom-built, often with steel framing and sculpted modular panels that are as much art as exercise equipment. Climbing gyms can have thousands of members and be multi-million-dollar investments offering yoga and Pilates classes, the services of professional trainers, and amenities like weight rooms, coffee bars and cold brews. Last September Earth Treks opened a whopping 53,000-square-foot gym with some 500 routes in Englewood, Colorado. In the Netherlands you can climb “Excalibur,” a freestanding tower 121 feet high. Today’s climbers can make a living setting routes for gyms or competitions, and competition climbing on an indoor wall is now an Olympic sport. Where indoor climbing was once simply a way to train during the off season, it is now a sport unto
Left: A page from an early Entre-Prises catalog showing the hexagonal tiles and newly invented bolton modular holds. The photos were taken during the first-ever indoor climbing competition, at Vaulx en Velin, a suburb of Lyon, France, in 1987.
m o st t est ed. m o st t ru st e d . m o st t r u .
Top: Savigny with an early Entre-Prises wall, built for a kindergarten in 1985, in Meylan, France. This wasn’t the first artificial wall, but was one of the first and a stepping stone to larger projects. Lower: An early Metolius fingerboard.
FRANCOIS SAVIGNY, BROOKE SANDAHL
and removable holds in a school gym. A year later Savigny installed a wall for Hewlett Packart in Grenoble. Encouraged, Savigny saw the potential for indoor climbing, although money remained an issue as no one was keen to invest in the odd-ball business. To promote the new activity Savigny sponsored the climbing superstar Patrick Edlinger and France’s leading female climber Catherine Destivelle. Entre-Prises also funded early climbing competitions, and Savigny pressed to get the new sport into the Olympics, a mind-bending notion. By 1988 Savigny, no longer satisfied with holds that had to be laboriously screwed on and off, worked with the fastener company Böllhoff to develop a new attachment system. The next generation of holds had a single bolt in the middle that attached to a threaded T-nut on the back of the climbing wall, and holds have used that system ever since. Savigny, who still climbs, sold Entre-Prises in 1999 and restored a 14th century castle, the Chateau du Montalieu, only to have it burn in a lightning storm. Seven years later he completed the second restoration, and today the father of the climbing hold and gym rents the chateau for weddings and seminars and is a professional mediator. As early as 1975, the University of Washington set up a 40foot outdoor wall, and though use depended on weather, the facility developed a fast following. Many climbers also “buildered” on college walls or screwed strips of wood to garage walls and crimped on those. In the 1980s, L.A. climbers glued holds onto the concrete of highway underpasses, creating a whole scene. In 1986, Chris Grover, a Metolius employee and early advocate of sport climbing, and Alan Watts, the major
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In the Netherlands you can climb “Excalibur,” a freestanding tower 121 feet high.
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developer of sport climbing at Smith Rock, attended a trade show in Europe and saw Savigny’s plastic holds for the first time. They returned to Bend, Oregon, with two samples. Upon their return, as Watts reminisces in an email, “[Grover] showed the holds to Doug Phillips [Metolius founder], and they started playing around with molds and resin,” beginning a process of experimentation. “It made sense,” says Phillips. “A lot of climbers had been using blocks and strips of wood screwed to garage walls for training, so making actual molded holds was the logical progression. The big mental leap was going from going from climbing on holds for training only, to climbing on holds as its own thing: climbing.” In the summer of 1987 Grover began to design hangboards and large sculpted tiles that you could puzzle together and screw onto plywood walls. Watts began working at the company as well. Shortly afterward, a company named Vertical Concepts, also of Bend, began marketing climbing holds. Kent Olmstead had started with wooden holds, and in 1987 began experimenting with resin compounds, creating Rok Buildering Bloks. In early 1988, Metolius took its hangboards, tiles and holds to a trade show in Las Vegas, after which Savigny approached them about teaming up to import his holds.
m o s t t es t ed. m o s t t ru s t ed . m o st t r u .
That autumn Watts and Grover left Metolius to found Entre-Prises USA; Phillips invested in it, as did they, and EP USA was up and running. “To be honest,” says Watts, “I never saw the enormous potential in climbing holds and gyms. The whole climbinggym industry in the U.S. was just a bunch of dirtbag climbers trying to avoid getting a real job. It was not a good decision for me to leave Entre-Prises in 1997. I would be driving a much nicer car today if I persevered. I figured that the climbing-gym industry would never amount to much.” In January of 1987, two Washington climbers, Rich Johnston and Dan Cauthorn, had been sitting in a tent at 20,000 feet on Aconcagua when Johnston, a mountaineer, asked, “What do you rock climbers do during the winter to stay in shape?” “I don’t know,” Cauthorn had answered. “We just do pullups in the basement and drink beer.” “Isn’t there a rock-climbing gym?” Johnston asked. Cauthorn looked bemused, but Johnston couldn’t shake the idea; other sports had means of year-round practice. Back home, he collected information, buying subscription lists of local climbers from Rock and Ice and Climbing magazines; looked around in retail shops; bought a pair of rock shoes; and hung out at the UW climbing rock learning moves and techniques. That summer Johnston called Cauthorn, saying, “I want to start this rock-climbing gym, and I want you to be a part of it,” offering him 15 percent (of what he says was then “nothing ... like offering you 15 percent of this glass of water”) and a salary to run the place and bring in rock climbers. Johnston rented a warehouse in Seattle, bought lumber, and at the end of each day’s work as a paralegal would go see how the early members—Cauthorn, Greg Child, Greg Collum, Cal Fulsom and Tom Hargis—were doing in putting the place together. “I’d stop in and say, ‘That’s kind of crazy—good job,’” Johnston says. “I think we spent $14,000 to build that gym.” He laughs. “That doesn’t even pay for a day of construction on my jobs now.” The original Vertical Club opened in 1987 as this country’s first commercial climbing gym. “It was definitely a community effort,” Johnston says of the “VC.” The crew glued rocks onto wooden walls and hung Macrotiles, the textured 18-square-inch hexagonals from Metolius, on one wall. “We couldn’t get handholds,” Johnston says. “EntrePrises was making holds in Europe but wasn’t yet selling them in America.” Cauthorn, though, saw early holds from Brooke Sandahl of Metolius, a good friend and climbing partner. “We got some, and then more and more and more,” Cauthorn says. “The first holds,” says Sandahl, “were pretty crap, painful and with varying textures … Once we got the mixes more dialed and spent more time on the actual holds, better radiuses and more comfortable grips followed.” Sandahl and Doug Phillips had shaped most of the early holds, with Grover making the molds. The company’s
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Bouldering gyms such as the Monkey House in Carbondale, Colorado, don’t have to be large to pack a punch. The problems are professionally set, and the well-lit, airy spaces are a far cry from the dark and dusky climbing gyms of 20 years ago.
sponsored athletes Jim Karn and Scott Franklin created later handhold lines. Franklin was the first American to climb 5.14, repeating To Bolt or Not To Be, at Smith Rock, while Karn in the late 1980s and early 1990s climbed more 5.14s than any other North American. The British climbing historian Mick Ward traces much of modern hard climbing history back to plastic, Leeds and Syrett. He writes on UKClimbing: “Let’s take some current limits of rock climbing: the first [French grade] 9a, the first F9c, the first F9a onsight, the first and second free ascents of the Dawn Wall [Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, Adam Ondra], the first solo of Freerider [Alex Honnold].” All the protagonists developed their skills, at least in the early years, on artificial surfaces. Alex spent most afternoons from age 10 through his teens at the gym. To that list we add the Three Amigos—Dave Graham, Joe Kinder and Luke Parady—who in the mid-1990s pushed each other in gyms through the cold Maine winters and then established cutting-edge routes worldwide. Graham and Parady met in the climbing gym in eighth grade. Daniel Woods, once part of a junior climbing team in Boulder, established the V14 Echale in Clear Creek Canyon in 2004 at 15, and later the famous Jade in Rocky Mountain National Park, climbing many V15s and into V16. His friend Paul Robinson, keeping pace from Massachusetts, was to develop hard problems stretching from Bishop, California, to huge swaths of the bouldering mecca of Rocklands, South Africa. A young Ashima Shiraishi learned to climb 5.14+ from within the confines of New York City, where Sasha DiGiulian, who is now free climbing major big walls, confidently went for college, knowing she could rely on gyms. Brooke Raboutou, cragging in summer and mostly climbing indoors during the school year, at age 11 became the youngest person ever to climb 5.14b. The Leeds wall was probably the first such, followed by the wall in Washington, the invention of plastic holds by Francois Savigny, and the first commercial gym in 1987. Thirty five years ago when Savigny was a college student toying with ideas for modular holds did he imagine that indoor climbing would become a booming global business and climbers could earn livings setting indoor routes? “I didn’t think it had real potential,” says Savigny. “I was young and just thinking to make a few dollars to live.”
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TECHNIQUE / Footwork
01 Don’t use the sides of your feet—like ever. Even when you’re backstepping or insideflagging, your big toe should be the main contact point. Using your toes will allow you to pull yourself into the wall or pivot when necessary. You will also be able to match or switch feet on small footholds. If using the sides of your feet proves to be a hard habit to break, try this trick: cut a tennis ball in half and, without covering the toe box, tape each half to the end of your shoes. With the tennis ball halves attached, climbing with the sides of your feet will be impossible.
How to Stop Climbing Like a Penguin (Lol) By Delaney Miller As a coach and climber of almost 12 years, I’ve developed a very visceral reaction to the sight of bad footwork. Honestly, nothing grinds my gears more than watching a climber stomp their way up a route using the sides of their feet and waddling side to side like a penguin. Every athlete has heard a coach or two yell, “Stay on your toes!” Why do people treat climbing differently? Good footwork is a skill that must be carefully cultivated. While it’s not always the most fun or flashy technique to develop, it is arguably the most helpful to upping your climbing game. You may be able to do muscle-ups and dead hang on crimps, but if you can’t stand on your feet, your project will remain unsent. Here are six tips you can use to develop better footwork.
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03 For low-angle climbs, drop your heel and spread your toes. This will allow you to get more surface area on slabby terrain. Practice on volumes or slopey jibs to develop this skill. Remember to keep your hips into the wall to prevent yourself from slipping out. Play around and try matching your feet on small holds. This will help you develop precision and confidence when it comes game time.
Engage your toes. Look at the angle you’re climbing on. As a general rule, for steep climbs, your toes should be engaged and your heel should be up. The muscles you would engage to draw a line in the sand are the same muscles that should be engaged while on high-angle climbs. To develop this skill, try attaching resistance bands to the back part of your shoe. Have a partner grab each resistance band while you’re climbing and see if they can pull your feet off. This exercise will help you learn how to better engage the muscles needed to keep your feet on the wall.
On slabs you may want to drop your heels and keep your hips close to the wall.
04 Use “quiet feet.” Quiet feet means you’re intentional and delicate with your foot movements. One of the biggest mistakes new climbers make is looking up before they’ve actually placed their foot down, and so their foot scrapes the wall before it lands on the hold. Tracking your foot movement with your eyes all the way to the foothold will ensure you don’t miss, slip or stomp. If necessary, “squish the bug,” with the bug being the foothold, to ensure your toes are where you want them to be. If quiet feet proves to be a challenge, try adding poker chips to footholds and see if you can climb without knocking the chips off. Don’t have poker chips? Use bottle caps, coins or corks.
Fit your shoes correctly. It’s always important to bring the right weaponry to the battlefield. Wearing terrain-appropriate shoes will help you make precise foot movements and improve self-confidence. Check out the article in this issue for tips about picking the right shoe. Also, though it may seem tempting, don’t wear socks with your climbing shoes. Climbing shoes are designed to help you feel the holds and wall surfaces!
06 Find the best part of the hold. All climbers feel around for the best part of a handhold, but often just plop their foot down on a hold. Especially if it’s a volume or a larger hold, think about the specific part of the hold you are going to stand on and why. It’s all about intentionality. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
Lumbrical strains are common, but often impersonate finger-pulley injuries By Zack DiCristino • USA Climbing Team Lead Physical Therapist
A mono at Wild Iris, or maybe a slopey pocket on that yellow problem you’ve been working at the gym: You pull, or try to pull, with that ring finger or pinky, the other fingers semi-curled just below it … and feel a zing, right in the palm of your hand. That’s not good. You don’t know what you just did, and if someone suggested a lumbrical strain, your first question might be, “What’s a lumbrical?”
WHAT IT IS There are four lumbrical muscles, one at the base of each of the index, middle, ring and pinky fingers. Their function is to bend at the base of the fingers and simultaneously let you straighten the fingers at the middle joints. Imagine pinching a two-by-four and you’ve got it. They can contribute up to 10 percent force production in the hand. The lumbricals originate from the 80
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SYMPTOMS With the injury, pain may arise at the finger close to the knuckle joint (among the major knuckles at the base), possibly on the side toward the thumb, and even into the palm of the hand. Sometimes, with severe strains, you may hear a pop and believe you have injured a pulley. It is important to differentiate a lumbrical strain from a flexor-tendon strain, although you can experience both simultaneously. With a lumbrical strain, there can be localized tenderness in the palm and potentially in the web space between the fingers. The “lumbrical stress test” can help determine the nature of the injury. Apply resistance to the injured finger with it straight while flexing the adjacent fingers. If you experience pain, you are likely to have a lumbrical strain. With a pulley tear, you should instead feel pain on the palm side of the finger, usually with a crimping grip. Both tests mimic the mechanism of injury. Diagnostic imaging (ultrasound, MRI) may be necessary to determine the degree of strain. Grade 1 is a mild strain, Grade II involves tearing of the muscle fibers, and Grade III, when disruption occurs most often, is musculotendinous disruption: a tear or partial tear where the tendon meets the muscle.
Strain of the fourth lumbrical due to the “quadriga effect.”
flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendons in the palm of the hand. They insert into the extensor expansion on the back of the fingers. Lumbrical strains are sometimes confused with different finger/hand injuries, such as a flexortendon injury, but in recent years our ability to assess them has evolved. The most common mechanism of injury is the “quadriga effect,” where one finger is straighter while the adjacent fingers are flexing forcefully, such as with a mono pocket or open-handed grip while you “drop” or flex the adjacent finger (usually the ring finger or pinky). According to a hand surgeon, Andreas Schweizer, this strategy increases maximal force of the holding finger up to 48 percent. Pulley tears, by contrast, usually occur in crimping, where the fingers are flexed at the middle joint with the distal joint or fingertip extended.
REHAB Rest! Sorry. But that is what you need. Rehabilitating a lumbrical strain begins with appropriate rest from climbing: • Grade I strains - expect to rest one to two weeks. • Grade II’s - four to six weeks. • Grade III’s - six weeks or more. First in rehabilitation is the remodeling phase, and later you can regain strength. With Grade I’s and II’s, you may begin gentle range-ofmotion exercises within the first week, but not aggressive stretching. Once you feel that full, pain-free active range of motion is restored, and have no pain with daily activities such as opening your car door, you may begin a gradual loading progression to rebuild tissue strength and durability. • Grade I’s - you could start in two to three weeks. • Grade II’s - three to four weeks. • Grad IIIs - four or more weeks. This loading phase would start with low-load isometrics, first by using a sling/runner as if it is a mono. Adjust the amount of resistance so there is no pain. Hold the isometric for 10-15 seconds each set, two to three sets, three times per week for two to three weeks. If that is painless, then move on to hangboard progression (unweighted as needed), starting with a three-finger pocket and using the same parameters. If you could do this previously, progress toward holding body weight. Then progress to a two-finger pocket and repeat, again adjusting weight according to tolerance. Mono deadhangs are strictly reserved for those who were previously at this level. Remember, the load needs to be very submaximal. The purpose is to remodel the healing tissue. Regaining strength will come later.
Dropping one or more fingers below the fingers using the hold can increase holding power by up to 48 percent, but can also injure the lumbrical muscle in the palm of your hand. Lumbrical strains can mimic fingerpulley injuries—a professional diagnosis is necessary for proper recovery and rehabilitation. RIGHT: Squeezing a rolled-up towel is a good strengthening exercise to prevent lumbrical injuries.
RETURNING When you resume climbing, buddy taping the injured finger to the adjacent finger may help decrease loading and isolation. At first use holds the injured and adjacent fingers can share, to avoid the quadriga effect. Hold off on pockets and open-handed grips that isolate the injured finger until last. With pockets, begin with three-finger pockets, then use two-finger ones, and last try monos.
PREVENTION Hangboarding from two-finger or mono pockets to prepare yourself for the positioning is one method, but not everyone is ready for this type of loading. Another option is to use a sling/runner girth-hitched to a weight, and perform an isometric hold in this position. Other specific exercises that can strengthen the lumbricals include using pinch blocks or hanging from pinches with the fingers straight, or deadhangs from slopers using a “cupping”-type grip. Basic exercises include pinching a towel roll or rubber ball as shown in the picture. Last, always hydrate and always warm up, especially if the route requires pulling on pockets. Zack DiCristino of Salt Lake City is the lead physical therapist for the USA Climbing Team and conducts research on climbing-injury prevention. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
POINTERS FROM THE WORLD’S TOP CLIMBERS
Train and climb with people that are at your level or slightly better. This has lots of benefits—like keeping motivation and fun high during training sessions—but it’s also just easier to learn from each other than by figuring out everything by yourself. —Jakob Schubert, 2018 Combined World Champion
Power is crucial: Lift weights two or three times a week. You’ll likely see rapid improvement in your max-level boulders. By the same token, listen to your body all the time and don’t over-train. It is important to have enough recovery time. —Staša Gejo, 2017 Bouldering European Champion
Observe! We all know how important it is to carefully “read” the route or boulder before attempting it. But do you actually do it? Before you get off the ground, always take a look at where the handholds and footholds are placed, and try to figure out your beta and a plan of attack. —Anak Verhoeven, three-time Lead World Cup Gold Medalist
Stock up on calories for training. Eating two hours before a climb, with an emphasis on carbohydrates, is a great idea. Otherwise a chocolate bar right before does the trick. The fuel doesn’t automatically make you a stronger climber, but it helps you maintain focus and a positive attitude until the end of your training session. —Alexey Rubtsov, three-time Bouldering World Cup Gold Medalist
Be open to all different types of climbing and styles, and take something from each. There’s always something to learn. —Jernej Kruder, 2018 Bouldering World Cup Champion
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Cross training keeps you healthy and sane. If I don’t supplement climbing and climbing specific training like hangboarding with more traditional weightlifting and cardio, I go crazy and get injured. I focus on antagonist shoulder exercises and on muscle groups that don’t often get worked by climbing itself, like glutes and hamstrings. I find this also breaks up the monotony of climbing specific training. —Maureen Beck, 2014 and 2016 AU-2 (Forearm Amputee) Paraclimbing World Champion
Urška Repušič, of Slovenia, making a heinous move look easy.
Visualize! You can do this one with a friend and challenge each other. Pick a route inside or outside. Without telling them the name of the climb, describe the beta to them in detail. Your goal is to figure out the name of the climb simply by knowing the movement. I’ve been practicing this quite a bit. I believe these kinds of drills help a lot for competitions as well as onsight or flash climbing. —Justin Salas, 2018 Visual Impairment Paraclimbing World Champion
Capture the moment, big or small.
V50 Pro Special Benefit Edition Partnered with Access Fund, every purchase raises $10 to protect America’s endangered climbing areas. AKASO’s flagship model, features vivid 4K Ultra HD resolution at 60 frames per second, as well as stunning 20 megabyte still images. • 2” live view touch screen lets you quickly switch between modes and settings as well as review video and photos in playback mode • Electronic image stabilization smoothes shaky footage • Use underwater down to 40 meters with the included waterproof housing • At $155, you’ll have money left over for your next adventure
Comes Fully Loaded: • Underwater housing • Wristwatch styled remote trigger • 3 batteries • Two-port charging station • Wrist Strap Mount • Variety of mounts for helmets, handlebars, etc. WWW.AKASO.NET
Go Beyond with AKASO
FOR THE PLASTIC WORLD AND BEYOND
1. MY CLIMB
7. BLACK DIAMOND
Free in app stores | Like Facebook for climbers, this app allows you to connect with friends, log climbs both in the gym and outdoors, and share climbing information and photos. It also helps you find a partner in the gym.
$89.95 | With a low profile fit and foam padding, the Supernova harness is a comfy and reliable choice. Designed specifically for women, it’s a great all-arounder for single-pitch send goes, trad climbing or even ice climbing.
$44.95 | This innovative device offers a smooth ride for the climber and easy handling for the belayer. It threads similarly to other assisted braking devices, but the unique shape provides an extra level of security. It has a steel construction for single rope (8.7mm-10.5mm) use.
$2,195 | Magnets are used in MRIs, refrigerator doors, data storage and now, auto belays. TRUBLUE is the only auto belay on the market to utilize magnetic braking technology to provide a reliable, safe belay. Because TRUBLUE doesn’t rely on friction to lower the climber, there are fewer parts to replace or wear out.
$138 | You’ve watched countless bouldering vids of Alex Puccio and Jimmy Webb in Fontainebleau. You may have trained for a trip and even looked at booking a flight, but then you got sick and used up your vacation days. Pusher came to the rescue with their famous Fontainebleau holds. The Boss, a big, bulbous sloper, is perfect for recreating those climbs you’ve yet to try.
INFERNO II WIREGATE QUICKDRAW
$17.95 | Hard to argue with a workhorse ... or a big, generous gate opening to ease those fast or hard (or really hard) clips. Hot-forging process produces these light but reassuringly strong and durable carabiners.
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
PILOT BELAY DEVICE
$100-750 | Volumes that are artpieces. These finished wooden pieces look decorative, almost as if they’d lack texture. In fact, they are textured, with a nice sandy hand. They also come in a variety of stain colors, including a beautiful black. The lineup includes two dozen shapes, each in different sizes.
$175 | The Instinct SR is a soft and supple slipper, great for long days in the gym or climbing on steep terrain. It is moderately downturned, asymmetrical and the softest in Scarpa’s Instinct line, making it an ideal go-to shoe.
$17.95 | Permissions have been worked out. Someone’s latest route is in and established, and lately getting more attention, including by you. Someone involved in stewardship of the area, seeing you there, mentions that it could use two permanent draws at the start. So you do your part, fork over for the common benefit, and place them. ClimbTech makes “lifelong” quickdraws. Each has a bent aluminum gate, steel-alloy body, and a galvanized aircraft cable.
INSTINCT SR CLIMBING SHOE
11 15 17
SYNERGY CLIMBING SHOES
$169.95 | The Synergy meshes elements. It is both aggro (downturned) and sensitive; soft enough, thanks to the absence of a midsole, to discern small ripples and cling to slopers, but structured and able to edge on steep stuff. For indoor and comp (local or beyond) use or bouldering. 11. AKASO
V50 ELITE WIFI ACTION CAMERA
$139.99 | High quality action shots, video recording, voice control, advanced image stabilization and more: The Akaso V50 Elite is worth the money. The camera features a two inch touch screen, up to 170 degrees of view and a 90 minute battery life. 12. STERLING
BIG GYM LEAD ROPE, 25M
$88.95 | Looking for a training rope? One you can toss around and trust to get the job done? Sterling’s Big Gym rope is big, durable and built to handle copious amounts of chalk and dust. Gym owners can rely on it for topropes or climbing programs, while climbers can rely on them for weekly training use. 13. OUTDOOR RESEARCH
WOMEN’S AXIS S/S TEE
$39 | Hemp. Because why not? It is soft and breathable, tougher than treated cotton, repels odor,
and uses relatively few resources to grow. This tee can work in the gym or to go to work; or maybe one after the other. Blended with organic cotton. 14. HIPPY TREE
BASIN HYBRID SHORT
$66 | These shorts, made from recycled polyester, cotton and spandex, are designed for hiking, climbing and looking good. They have two front and two back pockets and come in four colors. They’re durable, comfy and minimalistic. 15. OCUN
JETT LU CLIMBING SHOES
$99.95 | A shoe made for comfort. I’ve had 10 pitches already on them, and they are excellent on vertical limestone and sandstone. The toe is precise and intuitive and the rubber is, as advertised, sticky. A solid offering by Ocun. 16. TRANGO
CITY SENDER PACK
$129.95 | Going from work to the gym? If so, this pack has ample room for all your gear, plus a laptop compartment and special chalkbag pouch. It opens up on both sides for full exposure. Carries nicely and has a modern feel. 17. FIVE TEN
ALEON CLIMBING SHOES
$190 | Crafted by none other than Fred Nicole
himself, the godfather of hard bouldering, the Aleon is a performance shoe, with a laser toe and heel cup for precision heel-hooking. Eschewing the trend towards the super-soft, the Aleon has a healthy amount of mid-sole. 18. LOWA
ROCKET LACE SHOES
$150 | Lowa, known for their hiking and alpine shoes, has expanded their product line to climbers looking to kit out their lower halves. The Lowa Rocket Lace, introduced early in 2019, is a moderately downturned shoe best for steep bouldering or sport climbing. It’s stiff enough for edging, yet soft enough for all-day comfort. 19. ADIDAS
WOMEN’S ROCKSTAR TOP
$35 | The Women’s Rockstar top is comfortable enough to wear all day. Integrated bra provides light support rather than a snug fit. Stretchy fabric wicks. Criss-cross back gives you freedom of movement. 20. ENTRE-PRISES
$54 | Entre-Prises Mini Jugs are the perfect size for stuffing fingers into on both vertical and steep terrain. They’re each about one pad deep, making them a dependable tool for entry level routes, or as a reprieve on more advanced climbs. You can use them for your home wall or mount them on boards for a midday hang. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
RESTORE OUR CLIMBING AREAS Many of our climbing areas are being loved to death. Become an Access Fund member today, and join a growing movement of climbing advocates helping to conserve and protect our climbing areas. www.accessfund.org/join
Protect Americaâ€™s Climbing
Serenity. Focus. The moment where
AUSTIN SIADAK OWENS RIVER GORGE, CA
patience pays off.
Whatâ€™s your #SoWorthItMoment? Tag your photos for the chance to win gear and more.
GEAR / Fitting Rock Shoes
fun; for absolute newbies who don’t need the distraction of less-thancomfortable shoes. If either of these situations sounds familiar, get the comfiest pair of kicks imaginable, let ’er rip, and stop reading. For the rest, keep on. 2. Performance mostly matters. The marketing of certain shoes as for “performance” is a lie. Performance is relative. A 5.8 climber needs a shoe that performs for their ability just as a 5.15 crusher does. That is what matters. Performance means you are using a shoe for what it was made for.
Choosing new shoes can be a pain— we’re here to help By Francis Sanzaro As the gear-review manager for Gym Climber and Rock and Ice, I own over 50 pairs of shoes. And that’s lowballing. I’m trying on new shoes almost every week. My feet hate me. First World problem? You betcha. Forget all you know about how to find, and fit, your next climbing shoe. Most of the information out there is junk. This is your first and last guide. APPETIZER
Primary Laws of Shoes 1. Comfort is not king. Fitting your climbing shoes for comfort is like buying a car because you like the driver’s seat. What I’m not saying is that climbing shoes should be uncomfortable, only that buying for comfort first isn’t wise. A few exceptions exist, however, where comfort should be top priority: for kids, because their feet are still developing and they just need to have
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
4. Foot shapes are different. I know some climbers whose feet only fit in a La Sportiva shoe. Others only use Scarpa. Try on loads of brands and whatever shoe you end up getting, there should be no extra space in the toe box, heel cup or arch. If there is, keep shopping. MAIN COURSE
Now to the Shoes Flat shoes, as in where your feet are absolutely flat and no crunched toes, pretty much like your everyday shoes. The bottom of these shoes looks flat. In general, flat shoes are excellent for slabs and the vertical wall, and kids. Flat shoes can be soft to stiff. Stiff are for harder vertical routes or hard slabs, such as when you need to
HOW TO BUY ROCK SHOES
3. Have two pairs, at least. I bring three to the crag, or gym, and so does almost everyone who takes climbing seriously. First, ask yourself what type of climbing are you doing? Are you mainly bouldering, leading or toproping? Whichever one will determine your shoe. There’s no such thing as an all-arounder, really. Thinking one shoe can do it all is like trying to shoot your best round of golf with only a five iron. First, you want a pair to warm up in, and a pair when things get serious. Why? Save the wear and tear on your sending shoe, which can cost upwards of $200, and grind down the rubber on a cheaper pair.
JOIN US TO CELEBRATE THE WALLS THAT UNITE US, NOT DIVIDE US.
GLOBAL CLIMBING DAY 8.24.19 To learn more, visit: thenorthface.com/walls
Proud Partner of USA Climbing
PROVEN. TRUSTED. BOMBER.
A flat shoe with a relaxed rand lets your toes lie naturally without being squeezed. These are great entry-level footwear, and because they are comfortable, are suitable for all-day wear.
stand on quarter-inch edges and such. Stiffness helps you stand on smaller holds with more efficiency, putting the burden on your calves. These shoes are not ideal for bouldering or anything steep. Flat shoes tend to be the most comfortable. Fitting for flat shoes: “Yum, these feel good” to “Ahh, perfect.” Fit these shoes snug, your toes right up to the tips, but not crunched. If it’s a tad tight, ask yourself if you can wear them for 15 minutes. If you can, get them. Snug yields better performance than loose. Bear in mind that rock shoes stretch, usually half a size.
Medium down-turned shoes strike a balance between comfort and performance. If there is an all-arounder, this is it.
CLIMBTECH PERMADRAW VISIT CLIMBTECHGEAR.COM
Downturned shoes are designed for steep to overhanging climbing and bouldering. A downturned shoe arcs like a bird beak. Downturned shoes are usually mid to extremely soft for sensitivity. Unless you predominantly climb on vertical terrain, you want a pair of downturned shoes in your arsenal. There are subcategories: Mildly downturned: A mid to mildly downturned shoe will get you up techy slabs, can perform on vertical terrain, can still get into pockets, and is great for the lead cave and bouldering. Extremely downturned: A rule of thumb: the more downturned a shoe, the more it is meant for overhanging climbing, the reason being it lets you grab and pull in with your toes (for a caveat, see “Asymmetrical shoes”). There’s nothing sadder than seeing someone on a steep route with a flat shoe. As Yoda said, No favors do they make for themselves. For steep bouldering or steep sport routes—over 45 degrees—get an extremely downturned shoe. 90
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Aggressively downturned shoes with a slingshot heel rand perform better as the wall gets steeper. This type of shoe compresses your foot and puts the power in your toes.
Fitting for downturned shoes: “Not bad” to “Uuugh” to “Damn, that hurts.” Again, they’ll stretch a bit, about a half size. You only need to wear them for one to five minutes at a time. If you size these shoes too big, it’s like tying up a horse’s leg before the race. Very snug to tight is the rule. During fitting, your toes should be crunched and angled downward—this allows you to pull on steeper terrain, and the asymmetry in these aggressive shoes will allow your big toe to engage. Rands—The rand is the strip of rubber running around the shoe upper. Most downturned shoes have a tensioned “slingshot” heel rand that keeps your heel locked in and drives your toes to the end of the shoe. There are other variations of an active rand, such as arch rands. Some flat shoes will have an active heel rand, but the majority are relaxed. Stiff shoes—as in, the bottom of the shoe feels like a board—refers not to shape but feel. These shoes are for outdoor climbing, trad climbing and slabs or vertical routes with a lot of edges. A stiff shoe has a rigid midsole, a midbed stiffener that supports your foot (especially when torqued in cracks), so you don’t have to have strong feet to get the best performance out of them. Stiff shoes can be flat or downturned, but usually they are flat’ish. Fitting for stiff shoes: same as for flat shoes. Asymmetrical shoes—this refers to the shape of the shoe. Imagine a twisted banana. The more the tip of the shoe bends away from the center line, the more asymmetrical the shoe. Flat shoes are typically more symmetrical, but never perfectly so. Most asymmetrical shoes are downturned. The purpose of the asymmetry is to keep your toes in a crimp position, which helps with digging into holds on steep routes and, with some models, help keep you on small holds on vertical terrain with greater precision, thanks to your big toe doing a lot of the work. Fitting for asymmetrical shoes: Same as for downturned shoes. WWW.GYMCLIMBERMAG.COM
GEAR / A Guide to Gym Ropes
Price: $449 200 meters MM 10.8 Sheath % 34 Falls held 5-7 Impact force 10.6kN Static elongation 9.9% Dynamic elongation 28.1% Weight grams/meter 72.9
MONSTER GYM ROPE
Price: $135 35 meters; $350 100 meters MM 10.2 Sheath % 37 Falls held 7 Impact force 7.8kN Static elongation 7.3% Dynamic elongation 36% Weight grams/meter 68
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Price: $107.95 30 meters, $144.94 40 meters, $358.95 100 meters, $708.95 200 meters MM 10.1 Sheath % 38 Falls held static rope, 5 falls for EN static rope test Impact force 4.7kN static test Static elongation 4% Dynamic elongation static rope Weight grams/meter 65
Price: $89.95 30 meters; $109.95 MM 9.9 Sheath %37 Falls held 7 Impact force 7.9kN Static elongation n/a Dynamic elongation n/a Weight grams/meter 62.6
BlueWater Price: $331 100 meters, $663 200 meters MM 10.6 Sheath % 41 Falls held 11 Impact force 8.3kN Static elongation 9% Dynamic elongation 34.1% Weight grams/meter 77
Black Diamond GYM ROPE Trango Price: $99.95 35 meters; $109.95 40 meters MM 9.9 Sheath % 36 Falls held 6 Impact force 8.4kN Static elongation 7.6% Dynamic elongation 32% Weight grams/meter 64
Price: $649 200 meters MM 10.5 Sheath % 47 Falls held 8 Impact force 8.4kN Static elongation n/a Dynamic elongation n/a Weight grams/meter 67
Price: $99.95 30 meters; $109.95 40 meters MM 10.1 Sheath % 37 Falls held 7 Impact force 8.5kN Static elongation 8.5% Dynamic elongation 34% Weight grams/meter 65
GYM ROPE CLASSIC
Price: $129.95 40 meters (available in other lengths) MM 9.9 Sheath % 39 Falls held 8-9 Impact force 8.5kN Static elongation 6.5% Dynamic elongation 31% Weight grams/meter 65
/ By Emily Moore
2019 Trade Show
2019 CWA SUMMIT By the Numbers
Each year, the indoor climbing industry makes a stop in Loveland, Colorado, to continue developing the capabilities of our community and strengthening connections among peer groups. Hosted by the Climbing Wall Association, the CWA Summit is the premier conference and trade show for the indoor climbing industry, which convened nearly 1,000 participants in 2019. As an outcome of the event, the CWA reports that, by all indications, the indoor climbing industry continues forward with impressive momentum. By the numbers, letâ€™s examine the outcomes of this yearâ€™s key gathering of indoor climbing professionals.
2020 Tokyo and The CWA Summit With Tokyo on the radar, be sure to attend the 2020 CWA Summit to stay connected with the latest industry innovations, engage in peer group discussions, and look to the future of indoor climbing. The 2020 CWA Summit will be held at the Embassy Suites Loveland Conference Center on May 13-15, 2020. Mark your calendar and make sure you register for the CWA email list for access to early bird tickets and member discounts. climbingwallindustry.org climbingwallsummit.org Instagram:@climbingwallassociation 94
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
The future of indoor climbing is experience-driven and technologyfocused. From digital routesetting archive software, to new shapes for walls and holds, 77 vendors showcased their latest product and service innovations.
Climbing wall builders
climbing holds businesses
climbing flooring manufacturers
climbing wall equipment manufacturers
climbing gym software companies
climbing gym retail and equipment businesses
climbing industry nonprofit partners
2019 Geographic Representation The CWA Summit is becoming ever-more international, with gyms, vendors, and influential climbers from France to Japan participating in the event.
US States Canadian Provinces Countries Continents
42 5 13 4
2019 Attendee Profile While gym owners and managers remain the primary attendee groups at the event, routesetters, program directors, and other staff categories continue to grow year-over-year.
Gym Owner Gym Manager Corporate Management/Staff Program Manager/Director Routesetter Prospective Owner Coach/Trainer
29% 29% 15% 9% 8% 6% 4%
2019 Professional Development Opportunities Professional development opportunities ranged from mentoring your routesetting teams, to strengthening your leadership competencies through justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) training, and much more.
Pre-Conference Workshops 16% Keynote 1 Conference Breakout Sessions 36 Industry Roundtables 8 Product Presentations 20
YOUR CLIMBING BUSINESS RESOURCE INDUSTRY STANDARDS
Subscribe to the Lines Newsletter to stay up to date with the indoor climbing industry: ClimbingWallIndustry.org/Lines
/ By Owen Clarke
SOME FACTS, MOSTLY FICTION WHERE YOUR CHALK ENDS UP
Too Many Twelve-year-old kids with biceps the size of your thumb currently bouldering twice as hard as you.
50% #1 Yoga 20% 5.10 18 15% 10% ON THE HOLDS
ON YOUR CLOTHES
ON THE MATS BELOW
Average grade climbed by those guys carrying a Gripmaster around the office 24/7 and pumping it furiously.
Times you’ve had to get off the wall this year to make way for the crusty old dude with the Gollum haircut traversing laps around the gym on jugs one foot off the ground.
oil can alleviate muscle and nerve pain in a large percentage of users, but has the added side effect of making the user unable to stop talking about it, 24/7 (looking at you, Daniel…). 96
GYMCLIMBER / NUMBER 3
Yoga is clinically proven to increase your projecting range by two letter grades, but only if it’s practiced while drinking kombucha and wearing elephant pants in the backyard/compost box of your SO’s tiny home.
IN YOUR BELAYER’S EYES
IN YOUR MOUTH (CAN’T STOP EATING CLIF BARS WITH THOSE CHALKY HANDS, CAN YA?)
“So ... I don’t do it often, but when I do, I’m insanely good at it. Like, I’ll go out with my friends every year or so, they rope me up and man, I’m just up there like a monkey. I love all kinds of climbing. Rocks, trees, mountains. You name it. Fun sport. Fun sport.” (Goes back to discussing merits of pour over coffee)
—Overheard by Boulder-based guy wearing horn-rimmed
glasses and FiveFinger sandals, who referred to his profession as a “cannabis industry entrepreneur,” when I asked him about climbing.
“It’s true what they say. Your baby will save your life. Welcome to the wall, sweetheart”—Vivian James, via Instagram, in Rockreation Los Angeles.
Sending Track of the Year: “thank u, next,” by Ariana Grande. In 2018, more projects were sent while listening to this song than any other.
LIV E .C LIM B.RE PEAT. The New Zone Climbing Shoe Get in the Zone during your next session with this new high-performance shoe built with our innovative Engineered Knit Technology. Designed for hard, steep climbing, the Zone combines unparalleled breathability and comfort, with a high-performance, semi-aggressive shape, engineered for the send.Â
PRIMEKNIT SOCK-LIKE CLOSURE SYSTEM FOR EASY ACCESS
C 4 S T E A LT H® C O MP O U ND FOR UNBE ATA BLE GRIP AND SUPERIOR EDGING PERFORMANCE
CONCAVE TOE BOX FOR TOTA L CONTROL
© 2019 adidas AG
A L E O N
ADAPT AND OVERCOME: When a teenager with one arm wanted to climb, most people discouraged him. By Trevor Smith. ICE WORLD COMES TO DENVER:...
Published on Jun 25, 2019
ADAPT AND OVERCOME: When a teenager with one arm wanted to climb, most people discouraged him. By Trevor Smith. ICE WORLD COMES TO DENVER:...