Moon Dust

Went bouldering at the gym again today. Didn’t make a whole lot of progress though to be honest. I did manage to climb a new overhang though:

It’s another technically easy climb but it’s still pretty tough for me because I lack the strength. Good technique practice being I have to play around to compensate when I start losing energy however.

I’m climbing at about the top of what a beginner should be climbing at the moment but jumping into the “mid” zone (4 kyu/6a and above) is still quite out of my reach. The holds are just too hard and I’m usually lucky just to be able to start the problems. I figure I’m going to have to build up a more solid base on 5 kyu, and maybe some 6 kyu overhangs before I have much of a chance.

Oh and by the way, I have pretty much run myself out of chalk. I just bought a pre-filled sock last time as it was my first one, but I figure it should be cheapest to refill so I bought a decent size bag to do that from:

Moon Dust from Moon.

300g for like 840 yen which is rather affordable. Note the sock I’m using holds just under 50g and it took me a good few months to exhaust it, so this should last me a long while.

Topo

Went bouldering at the gym again tonight. Managed to do a new 6-kyu and 5-kyu I had started working on last session. In honesty though, I got the 5-kyu on half luck, and I couldn’t repeat it. I’m getting closer to being more constant at it, but it’s a pretty damn hard one (for me). Pretty much blew out my arms constantly repeating the open, but I did manage to find another 5-kyu I think I might have a fighting chance at. Another 6-kyu on the same wall looks pretty fun too. Will probably start working on those while trying to repeat my nemisis from today next time.

In other news, I have been throwing around the idea of going out to Mitake and ended up buying me the bouldering guidebook:

The wifey tells me I have to finish my taxes first, so I guess I better start working on that. It looks like that have some pretty easy boulders out there as well so I’m considering taking the whole family with me. It would be something different to do anyway!

Heel Hook

I went bouldering again last week. They had changed up one of the walls on the first floor and were in the middle of doing a rework of the grading.

Japan does the Dankyu system which is basically the same type of system you rate Karate with. I learned that I’m climbing at around the 5-kyu at my best right now, which is estimated to be around a 5b in Fontainebleau, or around V2 in Hueco — which isn’t all that impressive, but it’s still enough of an asshole to have a lot of these sideways crimps that I hate:

Trying to pull your entire weight of the floor with a couple fingers is just… well, you know.

Lately i’ve been focusing on learning negative slopes and so far about the best I have managed is the following guy:

Technically speaking it’s a pretty easy climb, but it’s been good practice for me because it takes a lot of strength (but it shouldn’t if I had my technique down better). The first time I huffed my way up this one a little Japanese lady like half my size breezed up it after me without a care, and it wasn’t just because she was lighter; it was because she knew what the hell she was doing.

One good point of the night: I learned how to do simple heel hooks, and I really, really like them. I managed the first one kind of on accident but was amazed with the balance and support it gave me. Can’t complain about adding another trick to my repertoire for sure — anything that helps.

Rogue

I got my bouldering shoes in the mail this week:

I ended up getting some Rogue’s from Five Ten. It’s supposed to be a hybrid shoe but I ended up picking it out less because I plan on doing crag, and more for the reason that I have experience with the brand, liked the way it fits, liked the ease of cramming my foot in with the velcro, and liked that it wasn’t too advanced of a shoe that it would be a waste for me to learn and get better in. I plan on giving them a try tomorrow evening if possible. Kind of curious how they will break-in.

Should Have Been Easy

Just got back from bouldering tonight, and I felt a bit blah, but in retrospect I guess I did make some progress. I think I did this one like almost ten fucking times before I could manage to climb the whole thing:

This is SUPPOSED to be one of the easier ones but I had a time with it for some reason. Starting out on that first hold meant I had to sit on the floor and pull myself up with my hands (with my feet under the overhang). Then I had a time finding out what to do with my feet once I got my hand on the second hold. I eventually learned to invert my right knee and put the back of my foot on the blue hold to the far right, and then struggle like a moron to lift my left leg out from under the overhang and get it on that first hold as I reached up for the third. Then there is that green asshole up in the middle that’s a pain to get your hand over and hold on to.

I’m climbing like two levels above this in most cases — don’t know why this one wanted to be such a pain. Happens rather often though I guess.

Should Be Sleeping

I should be sleeping but apparently I don’t do that anymore anyway so I figure there’s no need to start now. Had a early start (and a late end) to work but I still managed to go run 5k after I got home believe it or not. It actually wasn’t that bad after I got my ass out of the house. It’s a much different atmosphere than running in the morning, but I guess I’m probably going to have to get used to it because I’m going to have to start work crazy early from here on out with our shift changes — meaning there is no way in hell I’m going to run in the morning cause I would have to get up by at least 3:30. Which is fucking night still, not morning.

By the way bouldering absolutely killed me yesterday. The last two times I have been I have gone with people doing it for the first time — so I was doing the lowest levels with them first. This time I went by myself and just started at my level (which granted, isn’t all that high). First one I climbed though, I got to the last hold which was a good reach off from a flat wall off to one slanted forward, pretty far up in the air, and it wasn’t that hard, but it still scared the shit out of me. In short, I need to warm up better I think. And all this calorie cutting isn’t helping.

I did however climb one “at my level” that I haven’t done before, and I found one a step above my level that I think I actually have a fighting chance at if I work at it. I got halfway up last time. And the people there are super nice as always. Some total stranger yelled “gamba!” behind me as I was about to give up on one — and I managed to finish it with the encouragement.

Gamba” by the way is kinda weird: it’s a shortening of “ganbare” which is something like “go for it” or “you can do it” but I’ve never heard it used outside of that place — but everyone there uses it . I’m assuming it’s Japanese climbers slang — but it could just be normal slang and I’m getting old.

Bouldering

I went bouldering for the first time with some guys from work this week:

It’s crazy hard, and you end up having to use your brain just as much, if not more than you have to use your body.

You have different “problems,” which are simply routes graded by difficultly across the rock. On the ones I was doing, you start with both hands on the same start hook, put both feet on the wall, and then you have to follow a specific path with your hands on specific rocks, but you are free to use your legs however you like.

I was just climbing on the beginners section, but even that killed me. I think I probably did about 10 problems in total before my arms just wouldn’t work anymore. That, and I just didn’t have the technique to do the tiny overhangs and whatnot.

Watching the good people there was really impressive though. They just maneuver their body in the coolest ways, using these fluid motions that makes it look so, so easy. Makes me really want to start climbing regularly and learn too.

In short it’s just a really cool sport. One of those things I could easily see myself getting addicted too.