wwilliam47: (Default)
Proper recovery, it makes a difference.

I have assembled all the pieces for the v0 that was kicking my ass. It should come together Wednesday. I might have had a breakthrough on the blue/brown balance-y v2, though that was sufficiently close to the end that I was not going to practice bad habits in from fatigue. (Hips. They have an effect on your center of mass' location.) White/natural I have made progress on and appear to be stuck in a new place. To describe briefly: I have two crappy half-pocket, half-crimp sorts of things for my hands. One of these is a straight down-pull about 2 feet above a ledge; one is an angled down/side pull about 9" above the same ledge and a couple feet off to the left. Nice foot chip constructs for my left foot about 18" down from said ledge, and I can get my right foot on there no problem. The difficulty, you ask? Getting enough weight onto my right foot that I can stand up, without screwing up my balance horribly. When I make that move, my weight is about 30/30/40 between my hands and my left foot, and wants to swing right (in a way that pulls me clean off the ledge) pretty badly. Losing either hand, with or without losing/moving my left foot, is prone to me coming right off. About the only thing I can do (and this is not easy) is to flail my left foot around looking for something better. I fished around at all the ways it can dangle down and got nowhere.

I think, gods help me, it needs to come up and heel-hook around where my left hand is working. Yes, that's a terrible idea that leaves me dropping really low and leaning a long way back. I got nothing better, though.
wwilliam47: (Default)
Being An Imagined Dialogue:

Me: Huh. I appear to have become weak.
Peanut Gallery Consisting Of, But Not Limited To, Spouse, Sibling, And Muscles: Well, dumbass, that's what you get for not taking proper rest days.
Me: ...you did tell me so.
Me: But having rested, I feel weaker.
PGCOBNLTSSAM: Bull. That's only because you're allowing things to heal enough that you notice differences in pain levels.
Me: ...dammit. Stop being right.
PGCOBNLTSSAM: Stop pushing for four long climbing sessions a week. Especially when at least three are on consecutive days. Then we'll stop being right at you. About this.
Me: But it was stress relief!
PGCOBNLTSSAM: How's that working out for you? Granted, it's not like you've injured yourself. Yet. This time. But the grumbling about diminished capabilities is getting to be more than telepathically audible.
Me: Okay.
wwilliam47: (Default)
I have been absent, dear readers, not so much because I have not been on the wall this week, but because it is time for me to learn New! Exciting! Core! Competencies! at my job. Specifically, proposal writing. More specifically, for a ridiculous amount of money on a two-week zero-to-submitted deadline. I always did want to learn something about how the grant writing process worked, but this is some serious getting tossed in the deep end.

Which, combined with my lungs finally deciding (courtesy good drugs) to become civilized again, has gotten me back to climbing so that I resemble a human being when I get home. (The resemblance is arguable, and largely based on bilateral symmetry.) So, to summarize the past four sessions or so:

* Grip strength and calluses go away *fast* when I functionally miss a couple of weeks.
* 'Squirrel' still defeats me at the move before the crux. I swear I will get my foot onto that undercling once and finish the rest of the route trivially...
* Lots of new and semi-new v2s to work on. Bits of progress on some of the annoying cramped starts on v2s and v3s; I have finally remembered that I should cheat and start one-legged if the initial feet are bad.
* New 5.8 on the natural face, which is going sideways for me in the middle as soon as it goes to "just use the naturals for this stretch". Working on reading the rock better; there are decent holds and decent positions for holds, but I keep missing the intersections (or gripping improperly, or both) and misreading what is a sufficient protrusion to actually use as a foot chip. This will take practice but should pay serious dividends.
* Red v3 is becoming more reliable and cleaner as I practice it. There's a brown/yellow v3 in the same general area which is pushing me to do better on splayed-out starts like the red is *supposed* to have when you don't break it by being tall. Have not gotten very far on that one though.
* Blue/yellow long traverse is still defeating me in the corner but I'm starting to see how my weight has to hang in order to make it around okay. Given that, I can back-calculate which holds I have to be on (and my proportions are so far off of everyone else that other people's beta is pretty near useless).
* V for Vendetta/Hook Line and Sinker/whatever the hell it's going to be called this time next week is just annoying the hell out of me. Crimpy bullshit is more difficult, yes, but it's painful difficult without being fun difficult. Tempted to just start rainbow climbing up to the crux and work on that move, because I cannot stomach working on the crimps right now.
wwilliam47: (Default)
So SuperComputing happened.

Things of note from the past week, in no particular order:

* There is absolutely nothing wrong with a 14 year publication gap, is there?
* Holy hell am I stronger than I was three years ago. Better able to function under stress, too.
* That said: need to do something about my right knee (balky after a SC worth of walking/carrying) and controlling my stress response (icy calm is great. Icy calm is awesome. Can I have more of that and less of the migraines please?)
* You know you're a systems weenie when a nine hex digit number jumps out at you in a log file.
* If I do not commit personally to doing better than stone knives and bearskins, how can I expect the group to?
* Bouldering walls work much, much better with enough space.
* Bouldering walls work much, much better with experienced setters who take good advantage of that space.
* It doesn't matter where I'm climbing; my brain will not acknowledge any praise from the ground as targeted at me, regardless of the reality. After I'm down, sure, but not while I'm working.
* Field coats and brush cuts are apparently good looks on me, to the point where other guys notice.
* I no longer get to treat SC as a technical conference where I can actually listen to presentations. Meetings colonize all space and time available. Related: I'm going to have to start reading the gorram papers if I want to keep up.
* For a wide variety of reasons, a smartphone is trending towards required rather than optional.
* For a narrow variety of reasons (mostly keyboard-related, some processor-related) a new laptop is also trending towards required.
* There is a not-so-fine line between "display adaptability" and "just fucking wing it". One should perhaps err towards the "display adaptability" side.
wwilliam47: (Default)
The Plan, day 1 report:

Warmed up properly, with things that are automatic. Yay! Started attacking projects in semi-random order. Top-rope projects were mostly easy to hard followed by a cementing run on a no-longer project; bouldering was a bit more haphazard with a cementing run, a new success, and a fair bit of bashing my head against a long, tricky project problem.

New success is the other (pain in the ass) green v1, which had been blocked on my ability to actually get the starting move cleanly. Fixed the start--while my left leg need not be on a *hold* it had damn well better be on the *wall*--and the rest was indeed trivial. Leg on wall ensured that my center of mass stayed under the initial crimp until I could get my right arm up and secure, and from there it's just a couple large, deeply textured pinches to the top. This also provides the meta-success of all v0s and v1s currently set being finished.

Last non-cooldown route was a reproduction of the white 5.8 that I got once about six weeks ago. Looks like a lot of the regressions there were mental--I took my time and stayed certain of my weight before making moves, and got up it as cleanly at every single step as I ever have. No fatigue whatsoever, no indecision, and a damn solid lock to make the last move. No awkwardness switching hands on the crimp right at the crux. No pain trying to stand up on the pocket mid-route. No punching myself in the face on the crossover move at the beginning--and no hand pain making it.
wwilliam47: (Default)
Well, that could perhaps have been a more exciting and successful session. Fell off *all* the bouldering problems, pretty much.

Quick conclusions from the past month+ of training:

* If I leave top-rope routes out of my rotation, my stamina and efficiency drop like a rock.
* If I leave bouldering out, my power becomes nonexistent, as does my grip strength.
* If I don't work on new challenges, my brain turns off.
* If I don't practice projects until I can't get them wrong, I will go back to getting them wrong.
* If I don't do something automatic and satisfying, my mental outlook will not stay good.

New plan:

* Warm up with an easy top-rope route and an easy bouldering problem every session. Cool down with same.
* Alternate top-rope and bouldering for project work during each session.
* Experiment with placing the projects in increasing, decreasing, and random difficulty order.

I should have enough data to start evaluating how this is working by the end of December--the next two weeks will of course be irregular with SC and Thanksgiving.
wwilliam47: (Default)
So here's the thing: be careful what you ask for. You might well get it.

"Knitting", the red 5.7-cum-5.8, has been reset with different holds for the bottom half of the route and the end hold of the crux move, and has become a 5.9, "V for vendetta". It also lost yet another supporting hold at the crux. What this means: the first 10-15 feet have gone from a simple ladder climb to a collection of tough crimps (and really, what is it with the setters right now and EVERYTHING CRIMPY?) and the ledge that starts the crux sequence going from one of the harder holds of that portion to by far the easiest. The crux must stay diagonal rather than unfolding to traverse and get vertical, and the hold above the ring that you finish the mantle onto is much, much worse. Have not sent yet.

"Squirrel" regressed due to massive footwork!fail. Have acquired some inspiration for how I might wish to attack it; might be able to enter the crux sequence if I can transform theory into practice. Sadly will not be able to try bicycling the actual crux move if I enter along this path.

Pink 5.10a has gotten halfway, which is to say I have gotten a secure hand on the 5th hold of 10. That doesn't mean my feet are anywhere I can actually advance from; the blessing and curse of a "natural feet" route is that you can fix anything if you know where to go, but there are so very many blind alleys. It's getting more solid for the first few moves, though, and one of my limiting factors is now my right hand's fingertips and their ability to keep pinching hold #4. Need calluses. Good news, though: having stopped to observe my own technique, I can confirm that I reflexively open-hand all the crimps on this route. So there's some chance that, despite the general grumpiness of my fingers, I am not working in the short term on destroying my tendons. Which is nice. I'll leave that for the young and stupid.

Pink/blue 5.10, "Bravery Jerk", I am going to start working on as an intro to crack climbing. I can't do a damn thing with this route because I keep forgetting what I'm doing and trying to treat the crack like it's a regular hold, rather than something to wedge body parts into and expand maximally. I have big damn hands. I can do this if I practice. Very unnatural approach compared to all other types of climbing though. May decide to say screw the route, climb the crack with both sides of body--the crack portion is set with left side in crack/right side on normal 5.10 holds, which is all kinds of awkward given that the holds would be a challenge even if I weren't learning a new skill with my nominally smarter side.

General bouldering: has regressed. Some is undoubtedly lack of focus. Some is that I'm not picking up bouldering problems until I've already spent 30-45 minutes working on top-rope projects. Should probably get a near-pure bouldering session in for either tomorrow or Friday's workout. Should definitely put some serious focus on bouldering in SLC (if nothing else because that means I don't need a partner as badly).
wwilliam47: (Default)
It is, I think, getting to the time of year when my lungs actually need medication for proper function. Three off days are not enough--or possibly too much--to recover stamina proper-like.

In the interests of space and not boring the regular readers (all five of you, I know), I shall attempt to sum up changes/lessons learned on the day:

Pink 5.10a: yes, this is easier when the 3rd hold is a proper down-pull and not a side-pull. 5th hold kicks my ass now even if I get up to 3rd/4th well, though. Thus far this is one hell of an exercise in patience and being careful/reading rock for where your feet can and must stand. Going to be *very* satisfying when I knock this one down, assuming it stays up long enough. The crimps are getting less deadly though, which is a Good Thing(tm).

Orange 5.9, "Squirrel": THIS IS RESURRECTED, GUYS. BECAUSE SARAH T. LOVES THIS ROUTE AND WANTS US ALL TO BE HAPPY. The lower 10 feet or so are radically different from how it was set previously; I think it's nearly as left-handed now as it used to be right-handed. It is incredible how much difference it makes to my perception of the route when all the easy holds are for my shitty arm, rather than vice versa. This, plus six extra weeks of climbing development or so, means that I can pretty easily haul my carcass up to the start of the crux sequence. The crux is (approximating): left hand pinching a decently horizontal blob, right hand on a side pull on a crimp, left hip in, both feet on pretty solid big-ass ledges that are tilted back relative to your orientation. You have an undercling paddle thing around your left thigh somewhere and a solid crimp-like thing with a decent lip on it about 3 feet above your head (assuming your head is pretty much between your arms). Get over to the paddle, stand up, and grab the crimp-like thing. Simple, eh? (The problems of course being getting over to the paddle in the first place, and then standing on it successfully.) I have a Clever Plan that is probably too cute for my own good, but the fact that the paddle is an undercling means I should be able to wedge one foot *under* it for counter-rotation force to stay more secure...noting that otherwise you have no footholds of use and are flagging, smearing, or hand-foot matching.

Other stuff: the bouldering wall is getting back towards route-dense enough not to be much fun. Everything zusammengeworfen, routes getting randomly altered/half-deleted, no good. Unlike past Mondays, not too crowded, though that may partly be because I didn't make it over until 6PM. Fingers not too pissed off at me today; nor are large muscles. Bike tires need inflation or I'm really losing it with my legs (guessing the former).
wwilliam47: (Default)
In which Our Correspondent learns several things, some of which are useful.

First: yeah, I'm migrating over to DW. Crossposts will continue until morale improves, but everyone who's not-reading me over on LJ can continue not-reading me on DW, and likewise for those who are reading. Posts will be about 99% public and about 95% climbing diaries (with the occasional other stuff mixed in). We are of course all shocked by this.

Second: goals for teh climbing. I have set myself three! They might even happen!

1) Climb a 5.10 cleanly.
2) Become proficient at bouldering v3s and below.
3) ADVENTUR! Bike to Devils' Lake/climb/bike home over a weekend.

Timeline: by end of spring semester for all of these
Requirements: rope, crazy person willing and able to belay, possibly some practice on non-biked Devils' Lake ADVENTURs. Camping gear sufficient for number of crazy people involved in the biking. Food sufficient ditto, cargo capacity ditto ditto.

Now, skills what I have learned over the past week of climbing:

* I can now do hand-foot matches, if careful and if the hold is sufficiently large. This, in particular, makes the slab blue v2 I had been cursing at since the contest a feasible climb. Still haven't gotten the last move and a half (foot switch or awkward layback, either one sucks).
* Slowly getting better at crimping, though it kills my fingers. The pink 5.10a that's a currently active project is all crimps and pinches. The good holds are the ones where there's any degree of incut such that you can wrap your fingers around something and there's enough space for more than half your finger pad. The bad holds are...neither. Literally fingertip crimps of about 1/2" and no angle. One of those had spun from a horizontal crimp (hang down off it) to vertical (hang with your weight to the right of it) which made things even more challenging; with it spun I could still get past it when fresh but only barely.
* Endurance is improving, in that I can do back-to-back days of >90 minutes and not be completely dead.
* Balance and fluidity are definitely getting better.
* Power is getting better though endurance with power is still kind of pants.
* Generally getting better at laybacks by virtue of beating my head against the start of the 5.10b (which is about 15 feet of traverse, all done leaning back at a 45 degree angle). Yes, I can only get 3-4 moves into this one but I'm slowly getting *better* at those 3-4 moves.
wwilliam47: (Default)
Red v3 is down. For those keeping score at home, that's a jump of two bouldering grades in under two weeks. That one truly is a matter of locking one arm, getting the other onto the (only moderately stretchy at that point) hemisphere, palming a volleyball equivalent, and inching your way vertical enough to finish the problem (ideally with your legs; a fellow climber apparently tried to lift with his arms. Bad idea.) Got to the finish hold three times IIRC, grabbed it twice, and was solid enough to match on it only the once.

Not much else to report. White 5.8 is still regressed a bit but it's coming back. The 5.10s (which I am adopting as projects in lieu of having actual 5.9s to work on) are still kicking my ass after 2-3 moves, but eventually that will become 4-5 moves, etc etc. Blue/black v2 and pink v1 are becoming damn near automatic, as is the green v1 that I can actually start. Low crimpy starts are still going to be the death of me. Stamina is doing pretty well for amount of climbing in a session, but is terrible for climbing a given route. Need more top-rope and less bouldering in my rotation if I'm going to fix that, but given the state of the top-rope routes at the moment and the level of crowding, that's a dubious proposition.

Oh, and I've run through a personal chalk bag in the last two months, pretty much. Will definitely need to sneak a refill in before I head out to SLC in two weeks.
wwilliam47: (Default)
Pink v1 is down. Not reliable by any stretch, but one clean ascent.

Current red v3 project is being pissy and annoying; my inspired idea from Wednesday appears to be a total load of bollocks. Have further ideas involving switching my grip so that the current tricky move involves locking my left arm and pushing, rather than sort of pulling/sort of hanging/sort of getting no real leverage. Given that I'm trying to yank my left foot about three-four feet higher than the hold it's on while my body tries to fall to the left, getting more skeleton support there would be *lovely*. If that fails, my ideas start to involve even wackier things like gratuitous heel hooks so I can get my weight off of the damn left wall and stand up to finish the problem. And I'm pretty sure that a gratuitous heel hook would count as making the problem 1-2 grades harder than it needs to be.

Might actually be able to get somewhere on the irksome blue v2 that starts in the cave, now that I have seen ways to un-screw the start. Probably need to ignore all the damn right-handed beta for it though. Trying to support yourself on a right hand pinch on a square block is nontrivial at the best of angles, and this one is at damn near the worst of angles...left hand to the nearby undercling would be a far superior plan, aside from the part where I'd need to rely on my waist-level right hand for power.

Fingers very tired. Right foot is getting quite sore on its outside edge. Apparently putting much of my body weight on the outside two toes on that foot is Not Good. Finally realized that starts suck in no small part because my torso is ridiculously long--there are, no joke, guys who are 6'4" and taller in the gym who don't need to arch/angle their torso as much as I do to get some of these starts at the right angle.

Flist, help me decide which fictional PhD I should appropriate for Halloween: Dr. Banner, or Dr. Jones?
wwilliam47: (Default)
I will, for the record, laugh my ass off if I manage to get a v3 problem completed before I manage my second v2 (or clean the wall of v1s). And this is a very real possibility.

Today was another object lesson in the value of lifting with legs and using arms as levers, rather than the reverse. Blue/black v2 is getting solid but is far from automatic still; the match on the next-to-last crimp is still tricky just because of the right hand grip strength it takes, and the move to the undercling is a tricky one because if my right foot is not exactly where it needs to be (and not on a hold, mind) it goes from a stable static move to a wildly swinging dynamic one. (Also note that the hold is not well enough anchored for it to be *safe* for me to put most of my weight on it dynamically. Well, not safe for the hold's integrity; I'd just fall on my butt and roll.)

Pink v1 is currently at the "done all the pieces, need to put it together" point that blue/black was at last Friday, which is a good sign for knocking it off. This is another data point suggesting that foot switches on low-rated problems are a sign you're doing something wrong; there is a move towards the end which is far, far easier (though still tricky) with my left foot on a particular chip/left hip against wall than right foot on the same chip/left hip against wall. If I get my right foot balanced right for that move, I'll finish it trivially. The key to progress thus far has been to be shameless about matching hands and letting my left arm do some of the lever arm stuff where I could use either arm (or both) but can't afford to either bend my arm or lose my grip.

Red v3 (slab) (not to be confused with red v3, overhang): the trick to this one is to recognize that "all four limbs off the ground" as a start condition is a long, long way from "all four limbs on starting holds". The start as she is actually done is leaning forward, hands splayed out front and back with your left (front) hand really low and your right on a waist high hold, left foot on foot chip. Rather than getting your right foot up statically from there (or targeting a hold immediately), you launch up off your left leg/right hand to a handhold high on the left wall and either rest your right foot against a random piece of wall or bring it up to the hold your left hand just left. From there, it's easy to get to the actual crux(es); the top of the route has three acceptable but not great handholds, the outer two of which are about six feet apart and the middle one of which is a bit lower and really quite terrible if you're not getting downward force on it. (Really, all of them are.) The finish, of course, is 2 feet above the highest of the holds. I've got ideas for fiddling feet such that I can ignore the big wingspan pose, get onto the right-hand set of holds entirely (which centers me underneath the finish), and get up to the end without getting in trouble.

Green v1 (previously finished): made sure to start this one with pure legs, the way I did at the contest, and it was a cakewalk from there. (And by a cakewalk, I mean slow and finicky for a couple of the last moves, but every hold/every move was something solid where I just needed to not make mistakes.)

Blue v2 (slab): all the hate in the world; this problem is both heavily right-handed and biased towards people around 5'10". I am, of course, neither of these. You start with your hands matched on a below-waist-level hold and your feet on a couple of chips. The next reasonable hands are at head height or a bit below for me; one is a really sketchy crimp if you can get your weight 45 degrees down and left, and one is a pretty good small pinch/overgrown foot chip that prefers that your weight be down or right but affords a good bit more latitude in that range. If you start facing left and reach with your right hand, it's some very tricky weight shifting to get solid enough on the crimp that your left hand can come up to the pinch. Conversely, if you start square on or facing right, you need to stand up using your right arm for most of your arm power so that you're free to reach with your left. I have ideas after today but I'll need to come back to it when my toes and fingers aren't heading for active rebellion.
wwilliam47: (Default)
Climbing summary:

Got the blue/black v2 today (first v2 ever!). And climbed a bunch of stuff that was about 90% oriented towards workout, and failed at a bunch of stuff that was 90% oriented towards building skills. So I've got that going for me.

Blue/black v2 details:

I will attempt to describe this in something that more resembles English than close-packed climbing jargon. Pictures will in fact help if I can get them; ask and Wednesday there is a chance that you shall receive.

This starts with Our Narrator facing into a corner, with a handhold and a foot chip on each side of the corner to start with. Both handholds are at knee level or below. The left hand is a convex block that leaves little choice but to turn my palm toward the wall, set the heel of my hand on the top of the hold, and lock my arm. Fortunately, this doesn't have to take too much weight. My right hand has a solid lip to grab onto that's facing left (into the corner), allowing me to push with my left hand, get my hips behind (to the right of) my right hand, and sink my weight mostly onto my right foot, such that my arms and right leg free up my left leg to sneak onto its foot chip.

From here, my left hand comes up to a hold in front of my (crouching) face, also with a lip that will take weight as I move to the right. I'll be going right out from under an overhang and up for the rest of the problem, so holds that are good in the direction I'm moving are useful. As my left hand comes up, my left foot can come with it and take its place on the starting handhold block. It's pretty easy to move my hips such that my left arm, rather than my right, is taking the weight of my body as it wants to fall out of the corner. This frees my right arm to reach out from under the overhang and pinch a block about the size of an index card that's mounted at a compound angle to where my body is right now. If I can keep myself pulling down and left (towards the corner) my grip on it will be solid; if I start to drift too far right or I get my weight going off the wall, things will go very badly very quickly.

There's a foot chip about 6" up and a decent bit to the right of the starting chip. My next move brings my left foot across my right, with the outside edge of my foot landing on that chip. The martial arts trained among you may recognize this as twist stance, only with my arms in a ridiculous position. Now, one of the things I picked up today is that I do *not* want to immediately move my left arm here, but I also don't want to move my right leg too far (the next available chip is a long way over and I'll be ridiculously unbalanced and try to slide down the hold I'm pinching as soon as my left hand moves). Instead, I want to uncross my legs, balancing my right foot against the wall such that I'm not going to try to pivot out from it when I move my left hand. If I get that balance right, it's easy to move my left hand to the next hold, a pocket underneath the overhang.

Once I've got the pocket, I can pretty well pick my order I think on the next few bits of adjustment. My right hand can come up from the index card I'm pinching to a crimp at a 45 degree angle down/left about a foot and a half further along (crimp meaning that there's room for one knuckle to grab the top/right edge; fortunately, there are also places to lock off with your thumb). My right leg can come up to its last foot chip (since the pocket that my left hand is in gets stronger as I get higher above it, I can afford to do this).

After both of those are done, the other key bit is to bump my left foot up to *its* last chip *before* I try to match hands on the next-to-last crimp. Shocking news: when my hands and one foot provide three points of support, moving my other foot is easy. When they provide two points of support, moving my other foot tends to cause falling off the wall as I swing around wildly on the line that my two points of support define. I'm leaning back pretty substantially, and I need to make sure that I keep adjusting and re-locking my right hand as necessary (due to its aforementioned tendency to open up if I start paying attention to any other limb), but as long as I take things slowly enough to pay attention and get my right hand solid before I try to match it, this is doable.

From there, it's easy--match hands, get vertical (from leaning substantially back/left), get your right hand over the lip of the very solid finishing hold, match that with your left, celebrate.


Creeping crud can quit making me sniffly any time it likes. Students need a solid grounding in rhetoric before they get to grad school, even in CS. No, make that especially in CS. Highly skilled, highly paid computing professionals should know better than to write explicit double-deleting code, especially when their tests exercise the double-delete.
wwilliam47: (Default)
Not a whole lot new today in progress; mostly observations:

* My right hand tends to fly open off pinches (and crimps/slopers) at the slightest provocation. This needs fixing. This is probably my biggest single limitation, and it's not because I can't maintain the grip--it's mental/coordination.
* Blue/black's start is in fact easier when I use all four limbs and four points of support, and crossing feet is easier than switching them twice. If I can get my right hand to behave (see previous) I might knock down a v2 for the first time tomorrow.
* The green v1 that I flashed at the competition and haven't gotten past the start again? I'm pretty sure I'm facing the wrong way. Important note: any time that your first move is "turn hips 180 degrees while levering yourself up and then", consider the possibility that you're starting with your hips going the wrong direction to begin with. This certainly appears true for the blue v2 as well.
* Red 5.8 is still kicking my ass at the new crux (without the foot chip); I need to get some legitimate power out of my left leg while I'm mantling over the ring. Right leg can get up to the first available hold but it's at an angle where I have no power.
* I need to do a somewhat better job of balancing crimpy/pinchy stuff and shoulder power stuff, both to avoid overtaxing my tendons and to retain large-muscle power. My shoulders and legs are kind of weak compared to where they were three weeks ago, even though my grip is stronger.

(*) Assuming that "it" is something within the general range of difficulty that you've demonstrated you can manage, of course.
wwilliam47: (Default)
Bouldering wall got completely redone for this past Saturday's competition. Both 5.9s are incomplete due to their lower holds getting cannibalized for space for the contest, and the bouldering wall itself is much lower density than it had been (about 2/3 as many problems). Contest kicked my ass--I flashed both v0s (pure slab, highish standing starts, about the easiest v0s I've ever run) and one of the v1s (which was hellaciously hard to do and I haven't repeated) and didn't get through any of the other problems in the allotted attempts (2 per v1, 3 per v2, 4 per v3).

New (I presume v0 but unlabeled) problem that wasn't part of the contest took me a couple tries tonight, mostly due to getting tangled on the last move. Important safety tip: if you find yourself with your left hand and right foot on the wall, turning your back to the wall, and reaching with your right hand for a finishing hold, you're probably doing something wrong. Scary thing is, it almost worked--though I did unpleasant things to my back and arm on the way down, they were mild.

The blue/black v2 from the contest I have now gotten every move of (assuming that I ignore one of the two starting hands, because if you wanted me not to match on the other, you would have made it smaller and *made the other one not total pants*) but have not put together a clean run. Start has some hard jugs/easy crimps in the corner cave, transferring pretty quickly to an undercling and a square block pinch on opposite sides of a 18" wide or so volume. There's some foot switching that's remarkably easy because the hands are so damn good, and then you come up to a crimp, leading with your right hand, that's a side/down pull that my hand wants to slide out of like crazy (even with a ton of chalk). Left hand is still way back and down on the undercling; the only real upgrade available is the actual finish. When I get here from the start, I invariably lose my grip on the crimp before I can work my left free from the undercling to either match on the crimp or cross over to the finish. One time that I skipped directly to this position I was able to match on the crimp and finish with my right (which is the direction that the top hold favors, which I didn't know). So if I can put everything together tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll have a v2 under my belt (finally).

There are two 5.10as that I've taken up as mild projects when the relevant ropes are available. This appears to be approximately the 12th of never, because we are accumulating a large-ish regular crew on each of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (though interestingly, less overlap than you'd think between days). The good news is that I can now get about 3 moves into each of them rather than flailing at the very start; the bad news is that 5.10as are pretty consistently v1+ moves getting strung together and I am nowhere near consistent enough on those to knock out more than a couple before I screw up and lose balance/grip. My grip is *noticeably* stronger than it was, particularly right-handed, though it's nowhere near as strong as it needs to be for the difficulties I'm targeting.

Now to convince my climbing compatriots that really, truly, friends don't let friends eat crappy Mexican...one should not invoke The Taco Shop around me. I have standards. I particularly have standards for people who *live on South Park St.*
wwilliam47: (Default)
Silly right-handed people. Also silly short people. That is my story on the day, and I'm sticking to it.

I went full "assume the existence of a can opener" on the brown v2 today, skipping straight to the move that all and sundry swear is the crux. Left hand is on a large but crappy pinch (one of the flat triangular-with-squared-corners style holds), right hand is on a small, poorly oriented, and lower but much more stable pinch. (Flange of rock that lets you turn your hand over and crimp in underneath it; as long as all you need is to stay on the wall it's awesome.) From here, one must simply reach way up with the left hand and catch the lip of a tiny crimp, get enough weight on that hand to upgrade feet safely, and scoot over to the finishing jug. And the feet shouldn't take much upgrading, really.

For some odd reason, the lock right/reach for tricky hold with left is viewed as far, far harder than the insanely folded up start on a pair of tiny handholds.

Got some beta on the brown/red v3 that has been eluding me (come around the corner dynamically and brachiate like mad. I shall have to try Tarzanning it for the lulz, if nothing else.) and made some progress on that; my ultimate problem I think is that I need to have my right hand properly set before I go swinging on it, and I keep pulling just enough with my left to unset my right.

If I assume away the obnoxious start on the green v1, I can now get cleanly to the last move, at which point I stall out due to lack of balance and the imminent threat of breaking my neck. Will try again with proper crash pad.

Blue v1 kicking my ass simply because fingertips are raw after two days of attempts. Tomorrow is a rest day for game anyway; will reattempt Wednesday.

Contest Saturday, noon-5. Local types should feel free to come by Union South and mock me mercilessly. (Yes, yes, why is this unusual?) Someone's got to represent the old, slow, and heavy though. Will pick top-rope stuff back up next week, with stronger arms and grip and better technique. I look forward to mocking past-me for thinking various 5.8s were hard.

In work news, Cray continues to generate a large number of WTFs per debug cycle. Even for systems geeks, there are RULES. And something, somewhere, is breaking some pretty fundamental rules. At least the weirdness is giving us some notion of what could be wrong and how to fix it...
wwilliam47: (Default)
Progress is mostly in the form of not injuring myself further. Much. Right shoulder got tweaked in the same way that my left has been, but to a much lesser extent. That said, REPORT!

Blue v1: finally figured out how to start this SOB--I was facing the wrong way and using the wrong foot, and despite the apparent symmetry of the start, this really, really matters. Start matched on a round bad jug/good crimp sort of deal, *right* foot back-stepping on a chip, left foot dangling (not the reverse). Route goes off to the right and up. Right hand up to a crimp that's about 3' over from the start, left matches, lean back into it and get left foot up to the starting handhold. Left hand will need to come another foot+ past the crimp you're matched on to a crimp/pinch (the angles are no good for right hand there), and one foot will need to come to a solid blocky hold (small pinch/good chip sort of thing) that's about 2 feet underneath the crimp, maybe less. After you get that, somehow your body needs to pivot so that you have a prayer of matching feet, or you need to drop down with your arms still crossed and re-set feet and come up. Still working on that, but afterwards, right hand crosses to a nice jug, upgrade feet on a series of chips, and straight up to the finish.

Red v2: still no joy on the last move. All betas I have found would work better if I had less monkey-ish arms, but it is tremendously hard to both flatten into an overhang *and* get my weight onto a too-short side pull; shortening up my legs/arms to get the side pull supporting me brings me off the wall far enough that when I move my right hand I'll topple back. Going to try some really unorthodox stuff here Monday; it can't be any worse than what I've been failing to do.

Orange v3: getting a bit more secure on the crimp/crimp to crimp/pocket move to the point where I can sort of stand on the starting handhold after doing it. Not ideal though.

Green v1: start move might actually avoid eluding me one of these days. Could get cleanly off the ground and just missed the left hand first move, though, so that's something.

Yellow v2: actually got all four limbs off the ground, for a wonder. First real move is still pissy (hand-foot match unfolding 4 feet of space? really?) but I might get somewhere now.

Brown v2: don't even talk to me about this one. I am so very tired of all my weight concentrating on my left hand, and the fact that it's on the worst hold of all *four* limbs does jack to alleviate this. Sad, sad panda.

Automatic problems are still automatic. Jug hauls out of an overhang are still interested in shredding my shoulders. Jug hauls on slab are still fine. There would be film at 11 but that would require effort (and a lack of shame that I have not *quite* reached. Posting miserable failures in text is somehow less shameful than posting them on youtube.) Fridays are still crowded as hell.

...and now I get to find out how much Cray ruins my weekend.
wwilliam47: (Default)
Ayup. As per subject.

I am slowly, *slowly* getting some measure of body control on some holds that are some degree of non-jug (ie cannot wrap first two sets of knuckles around the hold like a handle). Lot of rainbow work on the bouldering wall, just moving from crimps and pinches to other crimps and pinches slowly and carefully and *not* moving a limb that still has 1/4 body weight on it (or more). Additionally (and I had forgotten this), the red v2 has the same problem (getting weight off a jug and onto a far worse handhold) but with my right hand on the jug; this means that a) it'll be easier as I trust my LH grip more, and b) at least when I screw up, I'll be wrenching things in the less sore shoulder. However, the downside is that it's even harder than the places where I've been stuck--I have two good feet, my right hand is side-pulling, and my choices for the left are to side-pull opposite my right (and then get my damn monkey arms to behave such that I can put real weight on that side pull in close quarters) or come not as far over but higher and side-pull the same direction (which makes the weight transfer easier but leaves me pretty screwed on follow-up).

Brown v2 is a basically impossible start for no good reason; even here, there's a slightly better right-hand hold and it kills me. (You would think this would not matter on sub-post-it size holds that allow 2-3 fingers to crimp over their top, and that crappy is crappy. You would be wrong, dear reader.) Many of the v2s that have been annoying me have the problem that there are really, really good (if awkward) starting holds, and then there's a big move to the really, really bad holds. Thus the rainbowing instead. We make our own fun and etudes as needed.

Orange v3 #1 has a move I am working on as part of this series of "work the crappy holds dammit": pair of crimps with right hand coming up to a pocket, followed by standing up, getting feet upgraded, and side-pulling the hell out of that pocket. I will, at present, be happy with pocket & stand stably. I can, at present, get to/in the pocket, start standing, and then fall comically.

Green v1, if I skip the annoying-ass start, has some interesting pinches with interesting footwork as its central section before finishing on an undercling; I figure working on those pinches is a noble and useful thing at this juncture as well.

Left shoulder: not dead. Feels pretty good, did not injure further AFAIK. Fingernails mangled and re-trimmed. Fingertips feel like I ran a cheese grater over some of them. Even if I leave my harness home to keep me out of trouble, I should bring my own chalk...wall chalk no es bueno.


Oct. 1st, 2012 10:23 pm
wwilliam47: (Default)
Regressions. Regressions everywhere.

White 5.8, missed the square block before the undercling. Red 5.9, getting to the first non-sloper, non-pocket handhold and failing miserably. Orange 5.9, LOLNOPE at the same damn right hand pinch/stand on crappy angle. New yellow v0, shoulders are going NOPE. Green v1? We got your NOPE right here on the start.

Positives: anarchism, still easy. Blue/orange v1, still easy. New yellow 5.7/5.8ish stretchy thing that should be manual belay only, I found a belayer for and got about halfway up before I ran out of reach (n.b. this actually means ran out of balance, but hey). Red v2, I undid a bunch of my regressions. Red/brown v3, at least I haven't regressed and the first move (okay, first two really) is getting slowly more stable. Everything from there to the crux is "experiment with how not to fall off this shit so you can actually perform one of the two crux moves". There's a tricky reach for a decent size not-quite-jug, or a switch feet with one hand of support and then unfold and stretch for a faaaaar foot chip first. Take your pick, bad balance to get hands set, or worse balance to get feet set.

State of body: my right hand grip strength is terrible and my left shoulder is threatening compensation injuries (currently compensation soreness, which is like injury) as a direct consequence. Thursday (or possibly Wednesday depending whether I think that I can climb back-to-back Thursday/Friday) is for visiting my Friendly Local Music Store and getting a damn finger exerciser (guitar style) to fidget with at work. Of course, sore shoulder tends to start fail cascades...may be time to drop a decimal while I work on grip strength and heal. On the bright side, I wind up eating like a maniac to maintain between 215 and 220 and I'm converting a hell of a lot of flab to muscle.
wwilliam47: (Default)
Through reading, learn we to speak English good!

Now that there is (finally) no longer a single-staffer bottleneck on belay testing, I have tested and passed; this opens up the new 5.8ish belay-only route. Also: no stupid kinesthetic-failure injuries today.

Both the 5.9s are still being bitchy at the same points; the red at least has enough moves before I fail that I'm working on something real. The orange is pretty much an exercise in frustration. Got a low 5.8 and 5.7 in for warmup/cooldown respectively.

Bouldering, I'm at least making some progress at. Various of the guys are starting to be useful teachers, and I spent the day scattering my time across various pieces of v0 through v3 problems. Highlights:

Green v1 is nominally startable, though it's a Feat Of Strength(tm) to get up for that first move. Even with good starting technique, my right arm has to take a hell of a lot of weight and it leaves me drained and out of position for the next move.

Red/brown v3: haven't written about this one for obvious reasons. Start is a low horizontal stretch with nice jugs for your hands and well-centered foot chips. It's heading into the corner, folding around with a big reach with arms, legs, or both, coming out from under the overhang, and up to the top. Thus far, I've got the start and first two moves: LH coming all the way across my body, catching a jug, and getting my hips turned so I can put weight on that hold, followed by RF up to a chip. At that point LH/RF are around the corner from RH (if it's still on) and LF; there are a variety of approaches and I've not gotten any to work yet.

Orange v3: once I learned I was approaching it entirely wrong (the crimps that only work from certain angles dictate a sideways start, not a straight-on one) I think I see that this is doable in principle. Any individual move is going to be hella tough at present, which makes it a good exercise at least.

Yellow v2: there are moves in the middle of this that are good exercises, and I might even be able to work out the start given time and a lot more shoulder strength. Fun with opposing side pulls...

Blue/orange v1: still automatic even when tired & sore.

I reckon that if I focus on bouldering for a bit, the top-roping will improve a lot when I go back to it...
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