Hopes and Expectations

This summer I'll be bouldering in Rocklands, South Africa. I've been to Hueco Tanks and Fontainebleau in the past and Rocklands is measured at this same standard. In 2011, before I travelled to Fontainebleau I had some thoughts to share about my dreams of that magical forest and what I expected from my time there. Looking back, time having eroded things, I feel that my experience there was not what I had hoped it to be.

In 7 weeks I'll be departing for South Africa. How many and what expectations do I have? What do I want this trip to be like? The answer: I don't know.

Before my trip to Fontainebleau I was fully prepared and ready. I would look through the guidebook at night and imagine my body moving across the rocks. I would imagine the French villages and the beach sand stuck to my climbing shoes. I arrived and absorbed everything, comparing things to my expectations and constantly awakening.

Before my trip to Rocklands I am also fully prepared - prepared physically and logistically. I have a copy of the guidebook, I have my clothes ready, reservations made, and time booked. Physically I'm prepared as much as I'm going to be. I competed all season, trained with the team all season, and challenged myself as much as I could.

However, I am not prepared mentally and I don't know why.

I'll keep comparing this Rocklands trip to my Fontainebleau trip. It wasn't until about 2010 when I wanted to go to Fontainebleau. For six years before that I had no desire. The climbing style was as foreign as the location and I wasn't attracted. Maybe in the end I just needed to grow more, or at least grow into it (Fontainebleau). It eventually happened and I was so happy for that. The memories of that trip are wonderful.

Have I grown into desiring the Rocklands? I think so, but not at the same level. Is it simply because it's no longer my first trip over the atlantic to a major desination, or have I just not watched enough Rocklands videos online? Is it simply because there's no magic in Rocklands? There's no footage of Ben Moon sending Karma, or Ty Landman crushing Khéops. You can't ignore the fact that there's just fewer magical moments to expect from Rocklands.

Or is there? Let's be honest, I didn't climb well in Fontainebleau. I don't know how much of it was due to the weather but in five weeks I climbed only one V11 and two V10. The week before in Albarracin I did three V11 and one V10 in one week.

However, with a doubt, the magical things I can expect from Rocklands are great climbing moments. I will climb better in Rocklands. I will climb harder, I'm sure. I'm good at the style of climbing in Rocklands and I will enjoy it.

I just have to get mentally prepared for it. That's the missing piece. I need to know the climbs more, read about the place more, dream about it more. I need to have expectations. Magical or not, achieveable or not, inflated or not. Perhaps once I have those expectations I can then begin to let them go, replacing them with hopes and then I can succeed.

Press Release – Flash Sports Inc. Sponsorship Annoucement – IFSC Bouldering World Cup Canada 2013

Flashed is proud to announce that it will be sponsoring the IFSC Bouldering World Cup Canada 2013 on June 1 – 2, 2013. Flashed is a designer and manufacturer of bouldering equipment and indoor landing surface systems. Our aim is to produce better products combining research, science and innovation. Flashed has been manufacturing bouldering equipment for climbing athletes for just under 20 years. Focusing on the outdoor and indoor athlete to maximize performance and safety, we explore both the quantitative and qualitative to create the best gear possible. Flashed is a strong believer in completion climbing, as it promotes community, sportsmanship and highlights the best the sport hast to offer.

As a proud supporter and sponsor of the first Canadian World Cup in Canmore, AB in 2011, Flashed is very proud to continue our support of the IFSC Bouldering World Cup Canada 2013. We look forward to welcoming international athletes and fans of bouldering to this incredible event.

The Pursuit of Fitness

In the pursuit of being a better climber, I convinced myself that rowing was what I needed. Saturday my Concept 2 rower was finally available for pick-up, so I went, picked it up, set it up in the basement, and had a couple small rows while getting ready for dinner. Not much, just sort of played around, set up the computer, played around to see how it felt.

So then, I mention to a good friend, who we’ll call ‘Dave’ that I got a rower. So Dave casually says, in only the way that a close friend can…. “You should see what your 2K time is. Mine’s pretty good.”

So I think…challenge accepted. Well, keep care of myself. I’m a climber. I should do OK. Let’s see what I can do.

Sunday afternoon, I plop down on the rower, set it for a 2K time, and hammer off. And I’m pulling and thinking that this really isn’t so hard. I’m holding a sub-1:50/500M time, and I’m, you know, feeling muscley and stuff. You know. Manly. Grrr. I need a tattoo of a flaming otter skull with crossed oars underneath. Grrr. I take a moment to look at my arms, flex a little. Nice. That’s the biz right there.

I pass the 1K mark, and my heart is going. Light sweat. Ooo. This is tricky. An I notice that my time has slowed a little. Closed to a 2:00/500….. Arms are starting to feel it a bit. And my legs? WTF is with that. They’re like getting tired. But no matter. I’m cool. I’m half way there. I’ve got LOADS in the tank. Just push on through. This ain’t so bad. And speed up a little there bro, you’re falling behind your imaginary mark of manliness!

Passing the 1,200 mark. What? Only 200m? That felt longer than 200m. Is this thing broken? Only 200M? It must be broken, I’m taking it back. God my legs hurt. And my arms. I’m surprised to find my biceps are sort of tingly, or something. I note this and think “this is probably good for me”.

Passing 1,500. Come on. You’re nearly there….WTF? My time is now 2:05/500? That can’t be. I’m pulling just as hard. I know I am. I think I can hear my heartbeat, but I’m OK. I know I am. I’m fit and stuff. I’m good at things. Speed back up. Stop being a pussy. And breath. For the love of god, is there no air in the basement? I wonder if the furnace is on or something.

1,600. Air. I need air.

1,800. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE???? I’ve been going for HOURS and it’s like time has stopped.

1,850. I’m trying to call to my wife for help. She’s in the living room. I can hear her breathing. However my mouth is only occupied by trying to hoover as much air as possible into my now-sandpaper throat as my lungs are starting to revolt against this brutal intrusion of oxygen exchange. I almost don’t notice the lungs due to the agony in the legs. I think I’ve broken something. My delusional brain is trying to imaging what it looks like inside my quads right now. I have visions of Dante’s nightmares. I think that’s snot on my chin. There’s a weird humming in my ears. I can’t see.

1,875. Make. It. Stop. I’m at war with myself. The level of hate and the level of pain are in constant conflict. Do I hate myself for doing this, or for wanting to quit? Or for the fact that my time is now looking like 2:20/500M? Or do I hate Dave? His face now hovers in front of my eyes, laughing at me. I try to punch him, but forget I’m rowing. I miss.

1,900 What is happening? My body. Ruined. My life. Ruined. Why hath thou forsaken me God?

1,950. I don’t remember passing 1,950. There’s a fuzzy black-spot in my memory, during which I either passed out, or have blocked the memory of having my arms detach from the glenohumeral joint.

2K. The noise of the beep shakes me awake and the handle goes rocketing from my hands and ricochets off the flywheel. I try to stand up, and instead fall onto the floor. The snot and vomit and tears mix onto the rug. I make a note to clean that spot. My heart feels like a 40-inch sub in a 1980 civic, rattling the rust from the body. Why can I not get enough air. A bizarre instinct takes over, and I know that there is cooler air in the garden. No decision is made, no conscious thought. I just find myself starfished in the snow in my front lawn in shorts and a t-shirt, with the neighbors dog sniffing my head. I want to push it away, but my arms aren’t responding to commands. My wife is in the doorway saying something, her words drowned by the heartbeat in my ears.

After a while, I half shuffle, half crawl back into the house, while a neighbor is asking if I need an ambulance. I mumble terrible things at him. My voice sounds hollow and hoarse. I wonder how bad I look. My wife makes some comment about my eyes looking wrong and crazy. I ignore her.

I go downstairs, and look and the time. 8:04. I’m pretty happy with that. I think – I really flogged it. That’ll show Dave.

So, prideful, I text Dave, with my triumphant time, thinking that, well, damn, he’s GOTTA be impressed with that. I’ve never rowed before, and there’s no human alive that could have suffered like I just did. I wonder if that’s, like, an Olympic best or something. I better check online to see if I should line up some sponsors.

And I get a text back.

It reads. “6:32”.

For sale. Concept 2 rower. Barely used. Cheap.

Video of the finals problem at the SpotThis year I have been focusing on climbing in competitions as well as climbing outside. Since I can still compete in the ABS youth series, I have been trying to stay motivated to train for gym climbing. It is hard to maintain a sense of motivation to climb inside while the temps have been so good outside.

IMG 0535 from Greig Seitz on Vimeo.

In January, I went to the ABS Youth Divisional Championship in Tucson, Arizona. During this competition, I met many awesome climbers. The excitement level was high with all my friends and competitors supporting each-other. I wasn’t feeling very well that weekend in Arizona, but I ended up placing fourth. Placing that high at divisionals secured me an invitation to compete in ABS Nationals.

After this competition, I competed at the Spot Bouldering Gym. During the qualifying round, I climbed very well. The problems were extremely well set with big holds and big dynamic moves. This is how the Spot set during the qualifying round. I climbed well enough on these problems to make finals.

The finals problem was great. The beginning of the problem was slightly technical. Halfway through the problem, I faced out toward the crowd. This led into an all points off dyno. After the dyno, I climbed into some more powerful climbing. I ended up placing third in this competition under Daniel Woods and Dave Graham.

I am now focusing my time and attention on training for ABS Youth Nationals, which will be held in Colorado Springs next month. I have been doing most of my training at Miramont Lifestyle Fitness in Fort Collins. I look forward to climbing on the well set boulder problems at the next competition.

Escape the Wet

The weather in the greater Reno/ Tahoe area has been less than ideal lately.  Not enough good snow to justify breaking out the skis, but too much accumulated precipitation to return to the our mountainous projects.

We watch the weather report like hawks.  If its not precipitating and above freezing, or at least close, its game on.  When the weather gods decide to take pity on us, we seek refuge in the sandy, granite littered, hills of Doyle, CA.  The majority of the climbing in Doyle is had on decomposing granite egg boulders.  When the rock is solid, it yields bulletproof patina reminiscent of the Buttermilks.  When its not, the phrase "heaping pile" comes to mind.  Most of the climbs are on vertical or slabby faces in the V-B to V-6 range.  This is great for logging tons of millage, but can leave the "crush" muscles woefully unactivated.

But, with a bit of exploration and a willingness to climb on some funky features that you might otherwise walk right past, some good hard climbing has been developed over the past few years.  Here are two such climbs that we have developed:

This climb was established by my cohort Ty Fairbairn a few years back and I finally snagged the second ascent; [vimeo video_id="54567350" width="400" height="300" title="Yes" byline="Yes" portrait="Yes" autoplay="No" loop="No" color="00adef"]

The high this day was 23º F!  I managed to fight through numb fingers on my third attempt and snagged this FA;

You may have noticed that I didn't propose grades for either climb.  Grading has become a seriously nebulous topic for me as of late.  But fret not!  I won't be launching into a self-righteous diatribe about the subjective nature of grades and the need for consensus.  For us it's a matter of not having others who have climbed in established areas recently to confirm proposed grades.  So, we end up either not grading problems at all (which is usually the case) or end up referenceing a climbs difficulty by how long the project took us to complete. For example, the Cave Problem took me three days of work to climb, whereas Cryin Shame took almost five.  If these climbs were down in Bishop, they would probably both be considered around the lower double digit realm.  But they are not, and none of us have been down to Bishop recently enough to gauge our strengths.  So, we are left comparing climbs that really can't be compared in order to arrive at a guesstimation of difficulty.  It tends to be a much cleaner business entirely when we simply leave off the grades and let people tell us how hard they think the climbs were (which people tend to readily exclaim with or with out our asking).  Besides, how do you put a grade on something that you onsighted in your approach shoes?  V-Fun, that's how!

Leaving the grading to those who really care about such things enables us to focus on the whole reason we came out to Doyle in the first place; to hang out in the sun, move on some stone, and escape the wet.