Blog

1-5-8.5

A few years ago I got hooked on the campus board.  It's a great way for me to train power and I really enjoy it.  I go long stretches where I don't practice it at all, and then I'll get back into it and train on it once a week.  I do a cardio warm up and boulder lightly for 45 minutes.  After that I get to the board where I follow a modified version of Ben Moon's workout. Immediately I was fascinated with the magical 1-5-9: Start matched on rung 1, move up to rung 5, then to rung 9. Match, drop, and rejoice.

1-5-9 was made famous in the film "The Real Thing" - The first true bouldering feature film, "The Real Thing" was released in 1996 and chronicled British legends Ben Moon and Jerry Moffat on a trip to Fontainebleau.  At one point in the video they're training on a campus board and Ben completes a new personal best going from the bottom of the board to the top in only two moves doing "1-5-9".  I say "1-5-9" in quotes because if you watch the video (which everyone should) you can see that the last rung on the board is only at half the regular spacing because they have run out of room on the wall.  So, Ben Moon's accomplishment is actually "1-5-8.5" according to the specifications of his board.

This "1-5-9" soon became the aspiration of all would-be tough campus boarders.

The first board that I trained on had rungs spaced at 8 inches apart.  After a while I achieved 1-5-9, to much screaming and excitement.  It was at this time when I became interested in the specifics of the campus board design in hopes of measuring exactly how valuable my accomplishments were.

The original campus board was built in 1988 by Wolfgang Gullich.  Although I've never officially heard first hand, this board is believed to have had rungs spaced at 8 inch distances and is the reason why a number of boards worldwide have this spacing.

The original campus board

After training on that original board with Wolfgang, Jerry Moffat built his own campus board at the famous "School Room" in Sheffield, England.  This board was built with rungs spaced at 22cm (except the last one) and this spacing has slowly become the standard spacing for an official campus board.

The board in the "School Room"

After researching online and speaking to climbers in Sheffield, Altitude Climbing Gym built a beautiful campus board completely to specifications:

- Approximately 20 degrees overhanging - Rungs spaced at 22cm - Columns of large, medium, and small rungs.

I have been on the campus board once a week for a about a month and I've recently repeated my personal best achieved in March 2009. I completed 1-5-8.5 on 22cm spaced medium-sized rungs!  This is a big deal for me and it’s equal to Ben Moon’s accomplishment in The Real Thing. I’m really excited. Here is a video snapped with my mobile phone:

[vimeo video_id="57188058" width="580" height="326" title="Yes" byline="Yes" portrait="Yes" autoplay="No" loop="No" color="00adef"]

While symbolic of a great accomplishment for myself, it's also a pretty good achievement in the climbing community and certainly not a usual occurrence.  However, keep in mind that Malcolm Smith and Daniel Woods have done 1-5-8.5 STATIC.  Alternatively, there's only a handful of people who are rumoured to have done 1-5-9 at 22cm, a feat which has been discussed to be around the V14 level of effort. I can't wait to get back at it and keep reaching for that last half rung.

If this got you psyched here's some other fun stuff:

In this video Nalle Hukkataival does 1-5-9 on a board with 20cm spacing.

In this video fellow Flashed climber Yves Gravelle does a number of impressive feats on a board with 20cm spacing.  1-6-10 is truly impressive.

For even more reading on the topic Jamie Emerson wrote an interesting article in 2010 with some good comments.

Adventure Inspired, Winter Training, Etc.

Check out my recent interview posted on Adventure Inspired. I've been wondering what to say here for awhile, but it turns out I just needed someone else to ask some questions and direct my focus and get me started. I've been busy in Ten Sleep this winter what with training both using weights and by bouldering in the gym, complete with its high-jumping mats rescued from the town dump last summer that make falling that much easier:

Along with training myself, my schedule has been packed with coaching other climbers, taking a personal trainer certification course, writing (my favorite article I researched and wrote this winter is probably the one on NSAIDs (or "vitamin I") as they relate to climbing performance. On top of all this, Kevin (my husband) has gone and started developing a new outdoor climbing area that's like bouldering on a rope for 80 feet or more...and that can be climbable on warm winter days. What's a girl to do?

What I mean by "bouldering on a rope" here isn't that the routes are short, but rather, that they're long, but feature bouldery hucks and throws, over and over and over again, especially if you're not a tall guy (or gal, I suppose). No complaints here; this is exactly what I need, and now I have it right in my backyard. And, as a bonus, I finally have a practical sport-climbing application for all of my bouldering training in the gym, which often seems to just focus on dynos -- I really do need to just let 'er fly on these routes. It's nothing like the more measured pace and controlled movement of Ten Sleep Canyon climbing.

I don't really have any climbing pictures of this stuff yet (sorry, but it's hard when the days are short and the temps are cold and there's only two of you out there to get any climbing photos), but I will eventually. In any case, I'm supposed to be training right now since the cold temps today and not-quite-sunny conditions scared me away from heading out to the crags. Some friends from Canada were here earlier this week when the conditions were similar, and I battled through the day with numbed, wooden hands...meanwhile, my Canadian friend declared the conditions "perfect" and proved that they were for him by climbing well and then sharing his warm, sweaty palms with everyone else's freezing ones. Amazing stuff, that. Not for me, though...that day sent me into my familiar scared-of-cold visage, so I'm choosing indoor training today with the hopes of the warmer climes promised in the next week actually happening. That's it for now...adios from Ten Sleep.