Stretching is an old topic but understanding the utility of stretching, and becoming someone that stretches well takes some effort. In this post I want to get into some of the details of stretching the extensors and flexors of the wrist and fingers. We put tremendous stress on these muscles in climbing and (more…)
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
As a coach I enjoy the four-minute work period followed by four minute rest period structure of the “on-sight” format competitions used in the ABS; it’s demanding, it favors climbers who are well trained, and the line of demarcation between the climbers who are prepared for this format and those who aren’t is well defined. I also like it because it provides a good program design exercise, how often do we get the chance to create training programs for such a specific, well-structured task in climbing? (more…)
I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about climbing performance, movement analysis, and program design for climbing, etc; but none of it means a dam thing if we don’t tie in properly; or if the pads aren’t placed correctly.
I’ve been thinking about safety because a friend had a terrible accident in a gym two weeks ago. It appears that the cause of the accident is that he did not tie in.
As a climber of over 30 years, accidents are not new to me, and I have lost a few friends along the way. When I was 16 an older friend and mentor died soloing Ice on Mt. Washington. A few years later Kevin Bein the great Gunkie climbing died when a rappel anchor pulled on him. When I was about 21 in a short period of time I saw or heard about a number of accidents that occurred due to tie-in errors. I counted ten people I knew, all with more than 10 years climbing experience that did not tie in at all, or who did not tie in properly. In response, a friend suggested that everyone check their knot three times prior to climbing, in this order:
1- Tie in, then check your knot.
2- Put on climbing shoes, then check your knot.
3- Step up to the route, then check your knot.
(being a bit of a chicken I also tend to check my knot before taking, or lowering off.)
When discussing these accidents and near accidents it became clear that in many cases the climber was distracted by something while tying in. Someone asked them a question, or handed them something. So its important to not hand a climber anything, or do anything that can drawn their attention away from tying their knot.
Also, we are all in it together, it is the belayer’s job to check the climber’s knot and the climber’s job to check the device. No matter how much experience we have, no matter how many climbs we do per year, we need to always do this one simple and mundane thing that can prevent life changing horrors from occurring. The closest I ever came to a horrible accident was when I took a lead fall, and my belayer’s beiner was not locked. The gate opened, the device slipped out, but was caught on the notch in the nose of the beiner. I missed a 40 foot ground fall onto talus by millimeters. It was just dumb luck that I didn’t die that day.
In the gym sprains, dislocations and broken bones happen on a regular basis. The main factor? Missing or hitting the very edge of a bouldering pad. It only takes a few second to check the pads and make adjustments. Yet it’s so easy to just climb and not deal with it.
Whatever it takes find a way to remind yourself to do a proper safety check. Among a certain set of climbers I used to hear the phrase “Smoke pot? Check your knot!”
Talking to my friend Drew on the phone the other day he mentioned that he and his daughter Mason came up with this new one:
“Check your knot twice, then the device.” (TM Mason Bedford)
Drew had another more colorful one:
“Check yer F***’n knot or I’ll kick your A**!”
What ever works, please, please, please just do it.
What would be a good phrase to use to remind boulderers to check pad placement prior to climbing?
In this post I want to flesh out some of the details of body tension that I have not described yet, I also want to take a stab at defining the sub categories of body tension and I hope to do this through analyzing specific moments in the video of Dave Graham on the Island (V15) that I mentioned in an earlier post. (more…)
After describing the forces at work on hand and footholds as well as the function of kinetic chains we can now see how these features are at work in body tension. (more…)
Things have been very busy so I have not had much time to dedicate to writing this week so this can hardly be considered a complete post (sorry!). Anyway I think a number of the comments on the previous post described salient features of body tension, and got at how and why body tension is difficult to define. For my part, I want to take a step back and start with three important basic points: (more…)
Two days ago I got Steve Bechtel’s “Power Endurance” in the mail. It’s a 60 page booklet on interval training for climbing. My overall impression of this work is very positive. Bechtel’s emphasis throughout the book is on maintaining high quality of movement in all aspects of training and he is adamant about not working at such a high level that movement suffers. This is a rare perspective and its really nice to see someone writing about fitness but keeping the emphasis on the quality of movement. Other authors pay lip service to this idea but Bechtel means it. Also, Bechtel has clearly spent a lot of time experimenting with different interval structures for climbing (more…)
Lock-off training has a long history in climbing, going back to at least the 1970s if not earlier, its one of those things that it seems climbers have “always” done. Part of what has made lock-off training popular has been the top climber’s who have promoted it over the years. John Bachar and his “Bachar ladder” may have been the first climber to broadly popularize lock-off training through photos and videos that showed him not only going hand over hand up the ladder, but also doing one arm pull-ups, one-arm negatives, and lock-offs. (more…)
Over at ClimbingNarc there was a discussion last week concerning Sean McColl’s short video of training activities. I got in a bit of hot water in that discussion. To be fair, I brought some the criticism on myself because I started off in a fairly tactless manner, and for that I apologize, but I also got in hot water because I directly confronted popular sports myth and didn’t provide the details behind my statement that the activities presented in the video were not likely to be responsible for McColl’s high level of climbing performance. I don’t think ClimbingNarc is the proper place for such a detailed discussion, but this blog is. (more…)