Friday, March 16, 2012

Rock climbing infatuation


From I am mcgrof's smirking revenge

I tried rock climbing for the very first time on August 28, 2011. Two of my friends, Nakeyshia and Leigh had told me about and it sounded interesting. After going only two times I knew I had to buy  my climbing shoes and my harness, I was hooked... There is no other sport or activity that I had tried up to that point that in such a short period of time demanded so much out of my body that got me completely tired. Prior to rock climbing I had tried running, bootcamp boxing, tennis, squash, biking... nothing was allowing me to run out of juice as fast as I wanted to, but rock climbing really was pushing my limits.

From I am mcgrof's smirking revenge

Rock climbing is not just about physical strain on your body, it also demands quite a bit from your brain. If you cannot think clearly you're not going to climb well. One type of rock climbing called bouldering calls "problems" the routes you to climb. A "problem" in the bouldering world is a small route. With bouldering you climb without a harness given the small height of the route. After glancing at a boulder "problem" for a while from the ground, you give it a shot, and if you figure it out its called "solving the problem". Pretty sweet eh? This is another reason I love it so much. I hate typical indoor gym workouts, specially those involving weights, and really passionately hate running on a treadmill (although trail running rocks), what a fucking bore. I also love the outdoors, and the thought of being able to combine both the outdoors, awesome views and a huge physical and mental workout seemed like a perfect fit for me.

From I am mcgrof's smirking revenge

I've been keeping a log of of my climbs and its pretty fun and rewarding to go back and see your progress. If you stick to it, you'll see it. The other fun aspect of it is growing appreciation for other people's work and doing that is a key part of learning. Just watching someone climb well can really help you with your progress. I think even watching videos online can help. In hopes to get folks out there excited on climbing let me give you a few videos you can watch. Here Daniel Woods solving some v13 level problem on his first attempt. When you climb a route on your first try without stopping its called on-sight so he solved this v13 on-sight. You can read up on bouldering levels. If you're new to a rock climbing and want to grow an appreciation for this I recommend to go to a rock climbing gym and try to boulder a v2. Here is Chris Sharma climbing a "Dreamcatcher", a 5.14 route. The 5.14 is a Yosemite Decimal System grade used to categorize routes. I particularly enjoy learning what it takes for a climber to complete and get routes completed, it gives me perspective as to how hard someone has to work to complete a route. And to get an idea of the level of training a professional goes through check out Sonnie Trotter's campus boarding training video. To get an idea of what it looks like indoor, but by a crazy mother fucker pushing the limits, check out Paul Robinson's PlasTic'n.


Despite the internet providing us with a wealth of resources to help educate on rock climbing there is surprisingly not that much available. Which is why I give a lot of credit to Steph Davis for her blog, and her book, High Infatuation, in honor of which I make this blog post. I read her book in two sittings, and its been a while since I finish a book. Reading her book has given me insight into a lot of the language used in outdoor rock climbing, given me an idea of the preparation required to work on projects, insights into the lifestyle of a professional rock climber, the community, confirming my suspicion about being able to keep a vegetarian diet (in Steph's case Vegan) and still being able to push your body's limits, fun philosophical brain farts, passion, and places to consider going to disappear for a while. Steph is a beast, just to give you an idea she ran an ultra marathon just for training for her free climbing of El Capitan in Yosemite, which she free climbed in a day... Oh yeah. Steph also likes to free solo climb routes, which means she sometimes climbs without a rope. That's not all, she sometimes will free solo a climbing route and then... base jump off. And all of this is why Steph is one of my top heroes.

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