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Forest of Dean Bouldering Blog. 27/10/2020
Bouldering…. At age 49 I should probably know better.
I’m sat alone on the pads that I made myself years ago, having got fed up of buying expensive branded chunks of packaging foam, and I contemplate the cost of living, hassles with websites, cnc engineering and now, a very painful and misshapen wrist. The sun soars over head but my shade of ancient trees allows only dappled light to penetrate the forest floor, “how long will lockdown last” I wonder, “where’s the next project”, “What future do the bouldering gyms and climbing walls have? Am I actually concerned giving that I boulder outside 90% of the time” and finally, “have I just broke my wrist”?
My life has been centred around hunting for blocks for 30 years now, I don’t really know anyone who isn’t involved with bouldering and I think that might be a problem. Or is it?
I pick myself up and having waited 30 minutes for the pain to subside, move the pad a few inches, brush the holds, chalk up and get ready to pull on.
The crux is based around two slopers, clustered together on the 35 degree face of the boulder, (situated near my house – a lucky find) you reach the holds from a long way off and then match, cut loose the feet and hold the swing…. Another try – Splat. Not hurt this time, and knowing that I wasn’t fully recruited, I try again, telling myself that these slopers aren’t as hard to hold as the edges on my Baseline fingerboard with added kilos that I have trained on during the Covid Lock Down #1.
I try again, this time I hold the swing – left foot stomps against the smear – right leg flags – hips move under the holds – it’s automatic – balancey pull up to the crimp – cut loose again and plant the right heel – powerful pull to the big sloper – nearly there – don’t drop it now – the top comes too soon. The first wave of joy subsides as the movement ends – now sitting atop the boulder I feel a sense of relief, a fleeting sense of pride in my achievement and the startling realisation that this boulder, might be as hard as it gets for me.
The Out of Time Man 7a/+ is a low start and misses the SDS, this was back breaking and finger searing, some training and luck would be needed, thankfully Lock Down was looking semi-permanent so I knew I had the time and solitude of space to work at it.
Back at the home gym/garden set up, I embark on a serious fingerboard training plan using the Baseline hangboard from my brand, www.roots-climbing.com
I almost bought a cheap fingerboard but it was obvious the designers had no idea what they were doing, likewise I didn’t need a beginner fingerboard and having trained on the famous brands on and off for decades I knew I wanted something different and more up to date, after all, things have changed, despite the fact we are all using versions of the original training techniques, published many years ago in Performance Rock Climbing, (you can still get it, and it’s highly relevant). I wanted a board that would deliver results and transfer to the rock. After a few prototypes and hard work matching the original curves of my first custom hangboard it was eventually completed, with a great deal of help from the CNC and CAD support team.
The training plans are based on tried tested Edge Progression techniques, which is a bit like Micro Interval training, and it’s a system that works well and gets noticeable results.
The sitter was calling and I knew that someone would jump in and make the claim so I followed the Roots Climbing Blue++ plan, included quite a lot of GAET and worked mostly on medium intensity volume at the indoor gym.
After a 12 session program and a couple weeks rest, I returned to my local block and added the SDS to my problem give the full and hardest line at 7b/+.
Until now, fingerboards were a passing interest at best to me, not anymore, as I realise fully the potential strength/performance gains to be had from simply hanging off of small edges and pockets, for a few seconds at a time. The Baseline fingerboard is unique in having special curved slopers allowing you to focus on specific muscle groups, this is a real bonus and game changer, they also look cool in an industrial kind of way, which is something I appreciate. Removing the random approach to finger strength training is also important, a systematic training program for climbing is the best way to go. These plans take you on a little journey, into hell and back but worth it!
While "surfing" the net, I chanced upon a video of strong youth, William Rivers who had a great session at Ellwood, in the Self Sabotage sector, where he linked Razor Awareness to Egoists '. (Take the high crimp of Razor on the face, then the break/crimp above to finish rightwards as for Egoists/Self Sab' etc). Hopefully you can see the video on the Media page.