Welcome to my blog. Feel free to search around the archives for some great pictures and what led up to now.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Two V11s! (or an 11 and 12)

Yesterday I went out to Hueco with some guys I met at the climbing comp last week.  We went first to the New Meadow where the guys worked on a problem around the corner and I worked on Schwerer Gustov.  After about 5 tries I sent it.  It's a fun problem.  Then, we went to the Army of Darkness boulder and Connor and I climbed this highball problem that was really crimpy.  I liked it a lot but I am still not a huge fan of highballs.  I am not sure what the climb was, since it is just called project in the guidebook but it was really neat.  From there we went to the Babyface Boulders and Connor got PFOS.  It was a good send and I really enjoyed our trip out there, especially ending it with El Pasito.

Today I was able to make it out to Hueco in the morning.  I went first to Diaphanous Sea and got to work.  It was a struggle only because my skin was killing me.  The day before yesterday I went swimming and lost all of the callouses I had built up on my fingers from Boston.  I was ready to give up because everything felt so sharp but instead I threw my chacos to the top of the climb and told myself I wouldn't cheat to get up to them.  On the send, my fingers actually felt much better than the attempts that I bailed off.  I guess that I have needed to just climb through the pain for some time now, rather than let myself think I need to build up callouses.  Anyway, it was a great day.

In sadder news, however, Sport Climbing did not make it into the 2020 Olympics.  It's unfortunate, but it is the harsh reality of the ambiguous nature of sport climbing.  Try as they might to inform people, I still have people ask straight off whether comps are based on time.  Hopefully 2024!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rock Spot Climbing - Boston, MA

Last night I was able to make it out to Rock Spot Climbing in South Boston.  I would have to say that is was a decent gym.  First of all, they were open until midnight everyday, which is amazing.  That alone wins out in my book.  Second, when you first walk in, the proshop is well stocked and the entryway is clean and odorless.

Like a lot of gyms, you sign in on the computer and it sends the info to the desk.  The girl at the counter was pretty friendly and had no issues letting Alex come in and watch without having to pay.  Once inside, I was a little disappointed.  As difficult as the gym was to find, I expected it to be a little larger.  With the exception of a decent sized bouldering cave, the rope section was no bigger than that of Fort Bliss.  As far as the setting, it was okay.  There were some problems that were beautifully engineered and then others that were awkward and tweaky.  The real issue came with consistency.  There was a V9 that I nearly got, then another that didn't really look possible.  This could have been by nature of some secret beta (which I wouldn't normally mind, except no one was around to bounce ideas off of.)

The whole gym maybe had 10 people in it.  Granted we showed up at 10 and stayed there until midnight, but there were hardly any people there.  What made that fact worse was that almost every boulder problem had a sketchy top out on their wall.  I wouldn't mind most of the time with a spotter, but I'm not breaking my neck just to top out in the gym.

The price, however was the best of any of the gyms, so far.  It was $12.00 for just bouldering, which still does not beat Exposure at $8.00, but we'll get there.

Overall, it was a decent gym but lacked a little in the setting and versatility department.  I think there is a lot of potential there and I would recommend anyone in that area to pay this gym a visit and see what they think themselves.

Size of Facility:          Fair
Route Asthetics:         Good
Route Climbability:    Good
Route Maitenence:    Good
Training Equipment:  Fair
Staff Friendliness:       Good
Staff Knowledge:       Good

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: + 1-2  V5-V7: True V8+: True

Metro Rock Gym - Everett, MA

The night before last I went to Metro Rock Gym in Everett Massachusetts.  I would have to say that I was pretty impressed.  I flashed a V8 that felt pretty much on point with most V8s I have done.  The grades were pretty consistent between difficulty ratings and the lower grades were where I thought they should be. Alex got on one of the V0s (which she flashed) and said it was really nice and made her feel comfortable if she were a beginner, just getting into bouldering.

The facility itself was pretty clean but was a little older looking.  As gyms typically do, it looked a little worn around the edges.  The staff was not very welcoming at first. Between the kid that rang us up and the other guy that was not excited about me asking questions about the gym, they may need some warming up to.  He said it had been open for about 9 years but wasn't too excited to talk about wall building companies.  We did, however talk to a few people in the gym, including Jeremy Balboni, a local Boston climber.  When I was in Madison, I didn't talk to a single person in the gym and this made the second gym in Boston in which I actually climbed a session with a complete stranger.

The only complaint I would have would be the cost.  At $15.00, this is the most I have ever paid for climbing that was just bouldering.  They offered no military discount and could not offer me a student discount because $15.00 was their bouldering only price anyway.  It's $18.00 if I had wanted to be on rope too.

Overall, the gym was nice.  The problems were good and felt true to grade.  The facility is clean with a staff friendliness rating of 6 or so.  I would recommend people in the Boston area to pay this gym a visit.

Size of Facility:          Great
Route Asthetics:         Good
Route Climbability:    Good
Route Maitenence:     Fair
Training Equipment:  Good
Staff Friendliness:       Fair
Staff Knowledge:       Good

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: True  V5-V7: True V8+: True

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Central Rock Gym - Worcester, MA

So I am in Boston for the week and I am looking for a job.  However, I also am looking to check out each of the 6 climbing gyms in Boston.  Today we went to the school Alex is trying to get into and on the way back we went to Central Rock Gym in Worcester.  I have to say, it was a much better experience.  I really had a great time there climbing and interacting with the other climbers.  First off, the setting was wonderful.  I would say that it was some of the best setting I have seen in a long time.  The moves were genuinely hard, and not too tricky.  They were clean and taped well, and adequate for the climate.  I would also like to give props to their main setter, Shane, who was not only crushing, but had his ratings right on the money (at least in reference to Hueco).  It was nice to go into a gym and feel like I was working on stuff within my grade, but also feel like I was accomplishing something.  I got on some great problems of all different ratings and felt like they were great all around.  As far as pricing, it was $10 just to boulder, which still doesn't beat exposure, but they at least had a boulder-only price. Overall, I would be glad to recommend this gym to anyone, but would wager a bet that this is the gym I end up calling my "home gym." We'll see though, there are 5 more gyms in Boston and they may each be a force to be reckoned with.

Size of Facility:          Great
Route Asthetics:         Great
Route Climbability:    Great
Route Maitenence:     Good
Training Equipment:  Great
Staff Friendliness:       Good
Staff Knowledge:       Great

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: True  V5-V7: True  V8+: True

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Power Balls

While in Madison, I did get a chance to pick up some Escape Power Balls from the proshop.  I will have to say that after working out on them just a little bit yesterday, my forearms are pretty sore.  They really open up a workout and activate all the stabilizer muscles you cannot target on a fixed hangboard. We'll see how they work out in the long run, but I like them a lot for now.