I haven’t been writing much about climbing. The last couple months have mostly been morning bouldering sessions. I’ve been climbing everything between V0 and V3, plus a smattering of V4s. Once I decide to climb something, I generally work on it until I solve it. Most things don’t take more than a couple sessions to solve.
Except for this one white V4. They put it up at the beginning of October, and I must have climbed this thing 20 times over 6 weeks before finally solving it. I’d try and get stuck, try and get stuck again, go home, think about alternatives, try and get stuck, repeat.
I went home and thought some more. The thing I was stuck on were a pair of near-vertical holds toward the top. They’re shaped and angled such that there’s nothing to hook or hang your fingers on. The hold is all about hand strength. (At least it is to me based on my current skill.)
Fortuitously, I destroyed my hands at taiko a couple weeks ago. I wondered if some liquid chalk would provide some blister-free grip, so I finally sprung for a tube of the stuff. The chalk arrived, did exactly the opposite of what I wanted for taiko, but now I finally had some long lasting crazy dry grip for the holds I kept sweaty hands sliding off.
A fresh application of liquid chalk, plus a dusting of plain old Gorilla Grip chalk was all I needed to trust that I could stick well enough to complete the moves:
I cheated a little in this video: My left knee actually bumps against the long black hold when I rock to the left. I adjusted after watching this, straightening my knee a little more (I think) and rocking a little less to the left to finish the problem cleanly.
Upon studying the video, I decided to write this post for my future self. This problem actually required a lot of skills I’ve learned in the past year. I wanted to write them down, then come back a few years from now to see much more I’ve learned.
- 0:08 – Upper body low on the start. You’ll peel off the wall if your upper body is up high, which I didn’t realize until a guy was trying to do this the other day and asked how I wasn’t falling off the start.
- 0:10 – Turning your feet (and thus body) in place.
- 0:17 – Back flag. I flag a lot, back flag almost never, but it was perfect here to keep my body from barn dooring.
- 0:32 – I’ve actually tucked my hip onto that hold on the right.
- 0:50 – I’m pushing down with my right foot, up with my right knee, and wedging my right leg in place between the two holds.
- 0:53 – Repeating, “Trustyourgrip trustyourgrip trustyourgrip,” over and over ahead in my head.
- 0:57 – Left knee is in an ugly rock-over. I’m just learning this technique, and as I study the video I realize I could have relied on it more at 0:42 as well.
- 1:00 – OMG I made it to the far left hold!!!
- 1:04 – Switching feet. Could have been cleaner, but at least I didn’t slip switching like I did at 0:13.
- 1:10 – One attempt before this video, I felt sooo good knowing I could reach that final hold. In this video, I’m disappointed that I touched my knee on the black hold again. In the next and final attempt, I’m super thrilled about solving it fully.
Too much? Am I overanalyzing?
I think that’s actually a good thing.