‘Perfecto’ Film Mystery

4 06 2008

If you have multiple browser tabs open when you click to Rock at Ice right now, you might suffer brief confusion (or delusions). Did you accidentally surf to SoothingNatureSounds.com? Has Chris Sharma fused his mind with your computer to beckon you to a beachy climbing wonderland?

Unfortunately, no.

Scroll down to the very bottom and you’ll see an unnamed video on auto-play. Perfecto by MC Productions. That is the mystery.

Looks like Mike Call has been bumming about Sharma’s old haunts. He brought Ethan Pringle – who names “Being featured in Mike Call’s (MC Productions/Momentum VM) Deep Water Solo Film ‘Perfecto'” one of his major bouldering achievements. This page and Rock and Ice are the only two online locations where I can find info about the film, coming out this summer.

Neither Movement Films nor MVM mention the new flick.

But what more do we need to know?

Good Gym Habits

4 06 2008

A couple weeks back, Phil over at Rock Climbing Blog (the journey to 7a and beyond) posted about difficulties in the gym. Struggling on routes rated below his abilities. Pumped forearms early in the session. Etc.

Flash pump?

Yesterday, while replacing my stolen bike, the sales guy at Alpine Hut confessed he avoids bouldering in the gym because he hurts himself. “I don’t want to climb V1s and V2s, I want to do something fun” – inducing ligament and tendon strain in the pursuit of happiness.

Climber’s finger?

I commiserate with both gentlemen.

Mr. Alpine Hut’s idea of “fun” might be V5s or V6s, I don’t know, while mine hovers at V3s and V4s, but the effect is the same. We both want to play at the edge of our limits. Before I developed good habits in the climbing gym – and I don’t mean bagging chalk and giving neighbors enough space – my sessions were hit or miss. And my fingers were constantly aching.

Now, my technique improves with each session. I test it on real rock and the skills stick.

What follows are some tips for getting the most outta your gym sessions. Be warned, it takes more discipline than simply showing up when you feel ready and working yourself like a dog until you are, on the rope, behaving like a hang dog.

The hardest part is committing to a schedule. As I read recently in How to Climb 5.12, never train more than 2 days in a row. For me that means in the gym. Outside, I figure, you have time between pitches. You’re messing with equipment. You’re hiking from one route to the next. If you want to spend a four day weekend at the crag, you’ll survive. Indoors, you’re packing in sends like sardines and working your body in a more concentrated manner. Your body needs the rest. Train no more than 4 days a week, and never more than 2 days in a row.

If you’re like me, you might get into the zone and want to climb every day for two weeks straight, sometimes morning and night. Don’t do that. It feels like you’re working hard, but you’re taking the path of least resistance. Sticking to a more moderate schedule allows your body to absorb new movements, build new muscle, and accept real discipline.

Next up, stretch! Stretch your legs, groin, shoulders, arms, and fingers. 10 seconds each. Roll your ankles and wrists. Do that funky dance before every session. Do it in the bathroom so no one sees you sweat. Breath deep. Get ready already. Don’t wait til your forearms are swollen and you naturally stretch them to ease the pain. Do it first and last.

After stretching, warm up to avoid flash pumps and order your climbs by difficulty to increase the length of your session.

Warming up on easy routes is fine, but traversing is even better. Personally, I have a hard time doing this because ascent and achieving goals are a big part of why I climb. But you don’t have to spend twenty minutes circumnavigating your gym. As advised by my erstwhile climbing instructor Kelly Sheridan, traverse once until your muscles feel ever-so-slightly warm. Use only jugs. Open-hand the holds. Don’t stress. Traverse a second time, still palming jugs, doubling the distance. That’s it. You’re done warming up.

But don’t head straight to the hard stuff.

In the past, I thought jumping on my own personal testpieces immediately, before I was tired, gave me a greater chance of sending them “fresh.” Not true. I just felt fatigue faster and usually didn’t climb any better.

In How to Climb 5.12, Eric Horst details an intricate plan on how to order your gym sessions. Decide what skills you want to practice, target those problems, then move to more difficult grades. Or was it lap “wired” routes when you’re tired? I don’t know. It was too organized for me to remember. If it you take a look and it makes sense to you, great! My simple plan involves three stages:

1. Seek out accessible problems first. You won’t get tired. Imagine every “easy” problem you send adds 5 minutes to the end of your session. That’s 5 more minutes for attempting the doozies.

2. Train on chunks. Break apart the hard bouldering problems or establish one skill (like dynamic movements or heel hooks) to focus on for the majority of your session.

3. Get in it to win it! At the end of your session, not the beginning, feel free to wear yourself out on body-boggling, Twister-esque assaults on rock. Start at the start and finish at the finish.

So yes, I do advocate climbing hard. If you’ve warmed up adequately and scheduled wisely, your chances of injury should decrease. But I’m no doctor. Please don’t consider this medical advice.

In closing, remember to stretch last of all. And it’s not a bad idea to intersperse hands-free training days for when your fingers inevitably feel like they’ve been through a vice. Pick out a slabby section of wall (less than vertical), get on the rope, and focus on footwork. Try anything you consider easy, but without using hand holds. Palming is ok.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Climb Up Summer Summit Challenge

3 06 2008

Climb Up!Climb Up so Kids can Grow Up is a dynamic partnership between outdoor recreation enthusiasts and the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, which focuses on theĀ African HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Climb Up is kicking off their 2008 fundraising with an impressive Summer Summit Challenge. The idea is for hikers and climbers across America to storm the nation’s highest peaks between June 27 and July 6.

To participate, individuals must raise $115 and teams $5,000.

As of right now only one team has signed up, so please check out the high point in your state to see if you’re ready for the challenge.

If you poke around on the Climb Up website, you’ll find great stories from previous events. Read up on the fun you can have participating in programs like this. Get motivated. And realize there’s really nothing stopping you from climbing for a cause.

Steve McClure Sends 9a 5.15 Redpoint

2 06 2008

Steve McClure has been enjoying a run of American press lately – featured for his string of unrepeated FAs in Climbing Magazine (May) and now, “prematurely” sending yet another 9a project on May 20th, he’s back in print and online.

Looks like the short climbing season at Kilnsey Crag in Yorkshire didn’t hold him back. Nor did the inevitable hangover days, which he cited as another distinct challenge for British climbers. Distinct, perhaps, but not unique!

Climbingfilms.com put up this involved, intimate, and absorbing video – a clip from Psyche DVD (Posing Productions) in which McClure talks about the project.

Favorite quote: “The ultimate in crimpy, sustained routes. And it’s kind of my bag so I shouldn’t complain.”

Also, check out the coverage and interview in Climbing Magazine online. Does anyone else detect in all this his nonchalant arrogance? Absolutely charming.

Inside Outside Online

28 05 2008

Quick post to connect to recent articles of interest on Outside Online:

1. Adventure Adviser – “Where are some bouldering spots for beginners?” Answers include Lost Rocks and Bishop, California.

2. Gear of the Year. Not all top 14 products made my heart quiver, but these did.

2.a North Face Primero 60 Backpack. Gorgeous! Sounds ridiculously well-built. And, there’s a woman-specific model. Doesn’t move me when it comes to chalk bags or even harnesses, but does make a difference in packs.

2.b Marmot Aura Tent. Have I ever told you I love Marmot tents? Can’t hide the truth. Is it all about looks? Or do I really value personality? Occasionally fragile, yes, but they’re so handy, easygoing, and never overbearing. I can take them anywhere. They give me plenty of space. So great for bed, I’d even consider a one night stand.

Reduce, Reuse, Resole

27 05 2008

Last week, Jason Hendricks from The Adventurist went on a rant about the so-called “greening” of outdoor gear. And how we shouldn’t rely on manufacturer’s eco-hype alternatives – like recycled polyester base-layers and such – to do it for us. I’m sure this discussion is going on everywhere at once, but for my part, I committed to writing about environmental action you can do, not just pay for. Reducing waste and reusing equipment you already have.

Then, over the weekend, a new climber asked me about resoling shoes. How often? How much? And how? What a perfect lead.

Regular climbers can wear through two or three pairs of shoes a year – more if you’re a chronic gym-goer. As tempting as it might be to buy a shiny new pair, the conscientious and cost-conscious choice would be to have them resoled or do it yourself. Sending your shoe to a repair shop (half-soles only) costs anywhere between $20 and $35 plus shipping. Unless you know people who know people, that’s noticeably cheaper than a new pair.

Reasons to resole your shoe:

1. Toe rubber worn 75 – 80% thinner than the rest
2. Visible holes in the toe or elsewhere
3. Soft spots in the rubber you can feel with your fingers

For #1, you’re safe with half-sole repairs. What’s cool about this, you can mix n match. Say you like the fit of your Evolv slippers, but Five Ten rubber knocks your proverbial socks off. Well sir, you can have both. I’ve seen shops offering Five Ten C4, La Sportiva Vibram XSV, Scarpa Megabyte, Boreal Fusion, Mad Rock #5, and Evolv TRAX rubber soles. Take your pick.

If you notice holes or soft spots, you’ll also need to replace the rand. This is the second layer of rubber that wraps around the toe box and serves as an anchor for the sole. The longer you wait on basic resoling, the greater chance you’ll damage the rand and make the whole process about $20 more expensive.

Repair shops can also re-attach leather or synthetic uppers that are peeling away from the rubber.

Basically, they take your torn-up shoes and return them like new – fit intact. Mostly.

Send them by mail and the process takes a couple weeks. Drop them off at a shop near you and it could take as little as a couple days. To find a locale, try this list (last updated March 22, 2007).

If you’re the DIY type, check out these instructions for resoling at home. I know both Five Ten and Mad Rock offer kits. For quick patches, get handy with Shoe Goo or Aqua-Seal.

And finally, if you’re the procrastinating type, take good care of your soles and they’ll last longer. Keep them away from heat. Clean them between routes. Don’t walk around in them. And store them in a well ventilated place. (Tips courtesy of the Rubber Room.)

Spray – New Film from BS Productions

27 05 2008

Beautiful new film from BS Productions – their fourth.

Spray stillIn Spray, filmmaker Brian Solano documents the adventures of four climbers along the Northern California Coast. Joe Kinder (The Life), Chris Linder, Collette McInerney, Luke Parady (The Life), and Vanessa Compton.

The film tour is over and the DVD up for sale. See Spray the website to watch the trailer and buy it online.

On a personal note, the only other BS Productions/Brian Solano film I’ve seen is The Life. Looks like Solano had a much bigger budget for Spray because that trailer is way more crisp and the music far more inviting. This is going on my list.

Readers, if you’ve seen em, should I watch The Australian Project and Karma, too?