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So first of all, Daniel Woods is a machine! He climbs 2 V13’s first try, 2 V13’s second try, and 2 V11’s first try. In six hours! As you may have read in my previous blogs, I’m a Hueco-afficienado, and have tried parts of four of these problems. They are HARD. Those are real V13s.
In order of appearance:
Li, V13… I’ve done the stand start to this (V7) and climbed on the sit start with Ethan Pringle. The feet are horrible and the giant move to the pinch just doesn’t make sense. Neither of us were able to do that move.
Liane, V11…Six minutes later (!!!), Daniel fires off this problem. I watched Ethan flash it on one of my rest days in Hueco, and I’m excited to get on it next time.
The Evangelion, V13…A hard, scary Dave Graham first ascent. Tall and crimpy, climbing over another boulder, AND it’s really hard. Obviously.
Slashface, hard V13…Same start as Evangelion, horrendous feet and sharp holds make this full value. Good friend and BKB regular Mike Feinberg (3rd place at UBC Central Park comp!) took this down this past winter. Watch Daniel’s feet just stick to the wall! Nutz!
Mo Mojo, V11…Daniel styles this problem and tops it out through the scary death choss. Originally graded V12, it’s no gimmie.
Finally, Crown Royal, V13…Daniel gets the second of this Sam Davis problem, traversing below the mega classic, Better Eat Your Wheaties, V8/9. A little contrived, but another hard addition. It’s awesome to watch him try hard at the end of this day.
Needless to say, Daniel won the Hueco Rock Rodeo, the outdoor comp in Hueco Tanks. I don’t need to say much about this video. It pretty much speaks for itself; holy cow!
In case you’ve been living under a rock and hadn’t heard, the second stop on the Unified Bouldering Championships Pro Tour took place in our lovely metropolis a few weeks ago. This marked the first professional climbing comp in NYC, with finals happening in Central Park. Vasya Vorotnikov and Angie Payne came out on top winning a bunch o’ cash and the chance to flex their muscles in front of thousands of screaming people, many of whom were probably climbing virgins. Great job Angie and Vasya!
For me, this was the biggest event I’ve been able to set at, and it was a ton of fun working with the setting team. The crew consisted of myself, Max Zolotukhin, Dave Wetmore, Jeremy Hardin, and Chief Setter Chris Danielson. Chris and Jeremy have been setting events like this for a while now, and both amazed me with their abilities. Chris has some ninja-like skills with a wrench and blew me away with his knowledge of the field of competitors, and basically all things setting related. He and Jeremy have even mastered the one-leg ladder climb. Yep, Chris managed to match the ninth rung…kinda blew my mind.
Photo Credit: Dave Wetmore (davewetmore.lt11.com)
Our job for the week was to set the qualifiers and semifinals climbs at the Cliffs at Valhalla. With the help of gym locals Paul Jung and Kary Williams we busted out all the climbs in two days, leaving the third day to set up, forerun, and do some final tweaks.
Photo Credit: Dave Wetmore (davewetmore.lt11.com)
Photo Credit: Dave Wetmore (davewetmore.lt11.com)
After semifinals on Friday we shuffled on down to Central Park to tweak the finals climbs. Due to the limited time to actually work in the park, the finals climbs were set a few months prior in a warehouse in Colorado. They were then taken down, the wall was dismantled, everything was shipped to NYC, and finally the walls were put back up and the problems reset (by Mr. Kyle McCabe, bamf and workhorse extraordinaire). We spent Friday night tweaking the climbs to account for the field of competitors and, more importantly, the hot weather. We finished up by 3 a.m. and got ready for the big show the next day.
All in all the finals went pretty damn well. Comp climbing finally got a bigger venue, a bunch of people who knew nothing about climbing got super-psyched watching some mutants pull down, and Vasya got to do a one-arm in front of thousands of people. My favorite moment of the day was the crowd’s collective gasp when Mauricio Huerta first did the 360 campus move on Men’s #3; it was great to hear all the non-climbers having their minds blown!
For further recap, check out these sick videos put together from our friends over at Louder Than 11
-Jeremy “JB” Bini
Vimeo and YouTube are filled with thousands of videos of people climbing in rock gyms, but that doesn’t mean they’re all worth watching. Online videos are a big part of climbing: they help you climb vicariously all over the world. But gym videos lack the appeal of beta knowledge and the beauty of the great outdoors. It’s no fun to see footage of a shaky, chalky problem in some dark gym.
That being said, The Insiders is awesome! Paul Robinson, Sasha DiGiulian, Vasya Vorotnikov, Dave Wetmore, Francesca Metcalf and Ashima Shiraishi are featured in this great Big Up production. It’s cool to see a bunch of pro climbers sending in Central Rock, Massachusetts. This short film also profiles the climbers well and you can get a good sense of what they’re about, as well as how they train in a gym setting and how they can apply that to climbing outside. Obviously, these athletes are some of the strongest in the world, and they are dominating both the outdoor climbing industry as well as the national competition circuit. Recently, Sasaha DiGiulian got 2nd and Vasya Vorotnikov raged (getting 1st for men) at the UBC Pro Tour comp in Central Park, yanking a one-arm pull up at the top of the final problem.
This was composed by Big Up to show gym climbing and promote the sport. They did a fantastic job with all the filming and editing and it make it really easy and exciting to watch. I particularly like the lighting in the gym, which is something most climbing gyms struggle with in videos.
It’s awesome to see Ashima climbing in it. She’s going to be featured in this year’s Reel Rock film tour, so we’re going to get to see lots more footage of her. It’s apparent to me that she doesn’t even come close to trying hard in this video. I don’t think they even realized her full strength. I routinely climb with her at BKB, and make up climbs for her that are practically V13. She is one to watch, and I feel psyched to watch her progress and become a national climbing sensation.
Headsetter for The Insiders is Chris Danielson, a representative for Teknik and E-Grips hand holds. He provides the holds for this event, using some of JB and my favs. Watch closely and see how many you recognize from BKB. He set some very unique movements, including the bat hang down swing dyno, done by Paul Robinson.
We had nice day of shralping the gnar this past Thursday. The day kicked off in the Trapps, and ended down in the Near Trapps. Although a bit tired, we all managed to climb some cool stuff, and check out problems that Jeremy, Ben and Mark hadn’t been on before. Overall it was a relaxed, mellow outing. Here are a few pics, and short clip of Bini ticking Cream Cheese V6 in the Nears.
Ben cruising “The Million Dollar Problem” V5, in the Trapps.
Crush the pinch! GK on “Karajo” V10/11
Rarely a night goes by when I don’t sit down and watch a few climbing videos from various blogs around the web. It’s a great way to keep the psych high and learn good beta, as well as see my friends send. There is obviously a huge variety of climbing videos out there; some are short, grainy, raw pure sending footage, and then there are others which are feature-length and action packed. Because I’m such a connoisseur of fine climbing media, I thought it might be cool to write a weekly blog about what videos are worth watching.
As this is the first week, I’m going to keep it close to home: New England. This video features some of the classic harder problems and some great personalities. Max and Dave both live in Boston and work as Route Setters. Jon lives in Boulder and also sets routes. I’ve climbed with these three and they’re a lot of fun. I’ve also had the pleasure of climbing on all of these problems except for the last one (Stand and Deliver V11) and this gets me excited to try it. Aesthetic problems, antsy beats and ridiculous outfits make up this full-bodied movie.
From the BKB route setters, here is a sick movie from fellow setters.
(By the way Jon, Bradley is in Connecticut not Massachusetts.)
Really, this past Friday was a perfect day of bouldering. The energy was wonderfully positive, light, and fun. It is rare that everyone will climb something at or above their limit. This clip that Eric threw together for us expresses the day’s energy far more than a written blog post could.
In the Beginning:
As we were pulling into the upper east side, warm, tired, and happy from our last Gunks outing, Ivan, and I were excitedly talking. What were talking about? Projects.
Projects. Where? Right here in our home turf of Central Park. Lurking in the middle of the Ramble, there is a very large boulder just north of the pond. It has gone by many names, The Hepatitis Boulder, Indian Cave, Ramble Rock, and others. Ivan had gone to check the boulder out a few days earlier, and was impressed with his findings. He’d scoped the boulder out years earlier, but without a solid crew, and projects elsewhere it’d fallen to the wayside. Some years ago, Ben Moon, and Boone Speed were visiting New York. A friend of mine, Erik Lee, had taken them out to this boulder. The two strong men tried the imposing middle line, and snapped a key hold off the face. Ivan and I were psyched to see if it still went. Additionally, there is a very classic arete. Although it is relatively easy (only checking in at V2), is quite high, and climbs above a stone staircase , so falling is out of the question. We knew of a potential low start to this climb as well, so we were just bubbling with eagerness. The game was afoot, as a certain british fellow might say.
At this point, I’m sure you’re frothing to see the boulder and the projects.
Project 1, sample A:
Project 2, sample B:
We’d left for the boulder in two parties, Ivan and Pete went in Ivan’s car. Ben, Mark, Jeremy, and I all hopped on the train, picked up more pads from Marks apartment, then hopped back on the subway with three pads, and trundled into the park to go meet up with Pete and Ivan. It’d been a long time since I’d looked at the two projects, being there with friends, seeing the lines cleaned with chalk on the holds, pushed my energy over the top. We first tried the left line, the low start to the high ball arete. The lower start in fact is a stand start, but begins down on the ground below the staircase. When climbing the high start, you reach off the stairs to an obvious jug two thirds of the way up. This line is incredibly powerful, and unique in style for Central Parks. The climb begins with a large blunt undercling, and high smear for one foot. A single V10 move to an excellent sidepull, brings you into a brutal lesson in architectural body positioning, as you have to navigate a series of left facing rails, foot smears, toe hookery, and extreme tension. In short, it’s totes rad. It will unquestionably be the hardest line in NYC when it goes.
After thoroughly thrashing ourselves on this line, we moved over to the project that goes up the center of the face. You start standing, compressing between a jug, and good pinch just before the roof turns to face. The climb begins with long moves between positive side pulls, and culminates in a five foot move to the lip of the boulder. An uncontrolled fall could send you flying into the pond directly below the boulder.
Tired and with darkness falling, we had to call it a day and roll out, having only given the center line a few attempts. All in all, we were all very excited to have tried these new lines, and there was definitely the fire of motivation burning in us.
Our next day found Pete, Mark, Jeremy, and I meeting up with Ivan in Central Park at Rat Rock. Ivan had a film crew in tow, and had been recording for television since 7am that morning. As we began our warm up, we were joined by strong man Brian Kim, who tends to blow minds where ever he shows up. After he had warmed up for a while, he became interested in the local test piece Koma’s Roof. Koma’s Roof was established in the mid 1980’s by Koma, a local climber who was a companion of the legendary local Yuki Ikumori. The climb is lowball, slick, and super burly. One starts the climb, two hands matched in a wide, slopey, undercling. Getting off of the ground, and sticking a sloper at the lip is the crux. Watching people trying to get off the ground is abundantly amusing, as you know they’re squeezing so hard, and moving no where. But I digress. Brian crushed it, looking cool and casual. I believe this makes for what may be only the sixth or seventh ascent of this problem in the past 25 years. Brian Kim. Making history.
Ivan, and the camera crew took a break for lunch, and by the time they were finished eating, we were warmed up and ready to go. The crew wanted footage of us climbing on new terrain, which made us all psyched, because we wanted to go try the projects again. It was back up to the Cave Boulder.
We tried the left line some, but the greatest focus was on the direct line, straight up the center of the face of the boulder. It was great to be there with so many people, and pads. The landing zone was carpeted with foam, and several strong arms were available to snag earthbound human missiles. In just a few goes Brian had found himself coiled up, and making the enormous toss to the lip. With three fingers over the top, he blew off, landing on both feet, a mere foot from the pads. Brian had been keeping track of the time, pulling out his phone frequently, he had to get to class in Philly that evening. After he extended his train tickets, it was apparent that he was psyched on this climb. But time had been stretched as far as it could be, and he had to leave with the sun still up and no send.
Ivan, Jeremy, Mark, Pete and myself continued trying the project as the sun traced the end of it’s arc in the sky. The film crew eagerly recorded our attempts, and captured some scenic shots of the sunset over the pond. With a few closing words from Ivan to wrap up the day, we dispersed into the the night.
Last week the weather on Thursday turned out to be beautiful, Brian went out to the park and sent the center face project. It is now “Yo Yo Jimminny” V11, or somewhere there abouts. Hats off sir! It’s awesome to see this new addition to NYC’s bouldering repertoire. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a video of his send up in the near future. I know a few of us on the route setting staff will be gunning for the second, third, and fourth ascents.
~Garrett “Deep Thoughts” Koeppicus