Bouldering Diary

  1. On Damaging Rock - by Ben Moon

    On Damaging Rock - by Ben Moon

    I remember when North East climber and photographer, Mark Savage, sent me a photo of the damage done to the classic Bowden problem 'Vienna'. The damage is obviously due to it's popularity and 'Vienna' is certainly not unique in this respect.

    There will be classic problems all over the country which are sadly changing for the worst. One of the causes of this damage is from excessive brushing to remove excess chalk so as to improve the grip between fingers and rock. We all do it and it’s almost become a ritual, part of the mental process of preparing for a hard send. However it’'s worth questioning how effective this process is, is it worth the damage it causes and are there better alternatives for improving the friction and therefore your chances of success?

    I have done plenty of brushing in my time and my company even sells brushes, but in most cases I don’'t actually believe it does help to improve the friction. The only cases where it might help, are where the hold obviously hasn’'t been brushed for a long time and is really caked in chalk. In my experience, this is not often the case and holds generally are pretty clean. If the hold is relatively clean, and by clean, I don’'t mean free of chalk, I just mean free of large particles of chalk or layers of chalk then brushing is unlikely to provide any advantage other than a psychological one.

    I certainly don’'t see how it will dry out the hold and remove moisture, which is really what you want. Therefore in most cases, I would say brushing is pretty much a waste of time and the benefit will be far outweighed by the long term damage you will do to the rock. Even if you are dealing with hard rock types which aren’'t easily damaged, at the very least the hold will become polished over time. You can see polished holds everywhere and although I am not saying that brushing is the cause of this polish, it'’s certainly a contributing factor and should be avoided where p

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  2. The Real Thing By Ivan Lisica

    The Real Thing By Ivan Lisica

    So, is it possible to raise kids, work full time and (continue to) climb well? There are many examples that it is possible, but the real question is how? 

    Having children means a day-long action, regular job last for 8 hours and training also takes part of the day. Except mentioned you have to eat, sleep and do a pile of other small things that also require some time. Bearing in mind that day lasts only 24 hours, it becomes clear why incorporating climbing into this jumble often called "real life“ is all but an easy task.

    After you become a parent it is quite normal that climbing is not anymore the most important thing in your life. The arrival of these little creatures is a miracle which awaken the most powerful feelings and often significantly changes your view of life. When you reset to new settings overnight, raising kids and providing good for them becomes the priority number one. Consequently, it increases the importance of having a job and a place to call home while everything else, including climbing, becomes the thing of the secondary importance.

    If you are a passionate climber, it is not easy to accept new circumstances.  At this point many of my friends, young parents, just stopped climbing and started enjoying some of the less complex activities. When I say complex, I am thinking about those who take less time to perform and are much simple in terms of logistics. 

    There is also another part of the crew that continued to climb but often have problem to accept the fact that their climbing level has dropped and it becomes much harder to reach and maintain a good form. They keep climbing but are suffering from inner restlessness which is hard to withstand for longer time.

    Anyway, this is the point where you need to show maturity and admit to yourself what climbing really means in your life?

    Why do I climb? Is it just about climbing top lines

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  3. David Fitzgerald Takes On Switzerland

    David Fitzgerald Takes On Switzerland

    Our #MoonTeam Athlete, David Fitzgerald, has just got home from a long three week trip to Switzerland! This is a video of some great lines that he climbed during some of his days spent in Ticinto, Switzerland. 

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  4. The Big Island by Michiel Nieuwenhuijsen

    The first time I tried the Island was in January 2013. What a beast! I could desperately make (most of) the single moves, but not the transitions from one body position to the next. Nevertheless I was intrigued by this problem, the most brutal and perfect compression climbing I've ever encountered. At this time I had never climbed anything near the level of difficulty of the Island. It weights in as a hard 8b+, and the full line ‘the Big Island’ is 8c. I knew I had to get a lot stronger to make a chance at climbing this problem, but I also knew that it would be a huge motivation for the upcoming years. Over the next couple of years I gradually started to train more and with that I became a better and stronger climber. In that period I visited the Island every now and then, and almost every time I made some progression. I think it was in the winter of 2014/2015 that I had the feeling of making an actual chance of climbing this problem in the (near) future. By that time I had already done my first 8b+ and felt a lot more confident to try those grades. I could do all the single moves and the necessary body position transitions. I also started to do some links, but after every link I was totally exhausted. At the end of the season I could do the full problem (the 8b+ version) in two overlapping links. Motivation stayed high and I started to do more specific strength training with the pullup-bar, rings and - my personal favourite - campusing boulder problems. All my training is as climbing specific as it can be without adding any extra weight. Physically training was paying off and this also had a great effect on my mental state. I was (and still am) climbing with a lot of confidence. I think that truly believing in your abilities makes you a better climber. Doubt, on the other hand, holds you back. At this time I knew I could do the Island, I actually wasn’t speaking of the Island anymore but of his big brother; the Big Island. I wasn’t feeling any pressure or doubt, the

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  5. From Kalymnos to Chironico...

    After a few months of training where I have been focusing on bouldering I thought it would be nice to visit one of the top bouldering spots in the world. Chironico. This was basically my first bouldering trip, all my previous trips have been rope climbing trips.

    So I found two beginners from my climbing wall and off we went!!!

    Our trip was too short, we only had four days, without a car and the village where we stayed was 15 km away from Chironico so the first day we just went to look at some of the problems since it was getting dark.

    On day two we were psyched to finally start climbing. We woke up early, to jump on the first bus... But we ended up taking the second bus... Finally we arrived in Chironico to go bouldering!!!

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