Tag Archives: bouldering
By GAVIN HEVERLY
The HEART OF STEEL comp is this Saturday January 30th. Then again, if you are reading this, you probably know that. We have some seriously ridiculous stuff planned. Top Secret things that you will just have to come see for yourself! Here are a few pictures of the prizes and raffle items.
We have some amazing sponsors this year. We want to thank them all. Especially EVOLV for being our title sposnsor! Buy their shoes, they really are the best! Remember, this giant table full of amazing stuff is going out to the recreational, intermediate, and advanced categories. Plus tons of great stuff to raffle off (which means even if you dont place in your division you stand to win!).
We are also premiering Taylor De Lench’s climbing film SICK at the comp, so that’s just one more reason to stop by! Here is the trailer:
See you Saturday! Here is the schedule for the day.
9:00am -10:00am: Registration…getting ADRENALIZED! Free coffee/hot chocolate!
10:00am – 2:00pm Qualifying/Citizens comp…TRY HARD.
2:00pm – 6:00pm Time to unwind…Free food, raffles, video games, sponsor tables, a CAR IN THE GYM, and the world premier of Taylor De Lench’s movie “SICK: Climbing in New England”!!!!
6:00pm – 8:00pm The HEART OF STEEL gauntlet style finals round…The top 3 men and women (that’s right, just 3, no coasting into finals!) will be brought out and a spectacular spectacle will ensue…Two finals problems for the girls, two for the guys; 8 minutes per problem…For each climber, there will be $200 hanging from the wall throughout the problem (10, 20, 20, 50, and $100)…The finalist’s task? to grab as much money as possible in those 8 minutes…after a finalist climbs, the money they don’t collect goes into a pot; then, whatever money they DID grab is replaced before the next finalist climbs…When the dust has settled, whoever has grabbed the most money off the wall through both problems wins the REST OF THE MONEY in the pot that the other finalists didn’t grab. What does this mean? first place could win up to $1200! Where you get on a problem doesn’t really matter, all that matters is HOW MUCH MONEY YOU GRAB! Come witness the insanity!!!!
8:30pm – 9:00pm Awards…who brought their HEART OF STEEL?!?!
10:00pm – Dawn AFTERPARTY…you know what to do
By KALEIGH BUSH
Climbing enthusiasts everywhere, mark your calenders: on January 30th, 2010 the Boston Rock Gym and Evolv will host the second annual HEART OF STEEL bouldering competition. Flaunting a $2,400 cash purse in addition to a gorgeous line-up of prizes provided by a flock of industry leading sponsors, the HEART OF STEEL appeal speaks for itself. And, believe it or not, this year’s sequel is guaranteed to upstage last year’s inaugural jaw-dropping throwdown.
“Big cash prizes and good competition mixed with incredible event organization make this one of the most well run and unique climbing competitions going on,” explains one of last year’s HEART OF STEEL finalists Jon Glassberg, “HEART OF STEEL is setting the standard and breaking the mold for competition format and style. Period.” Glassberg’s thrilling performance earned him third place overall in the men’s Open division last year. Glassberg is shifting his focus this year by joining forces with the Boston Rock Gym’s elite team of route setters rather than entering the arena as a competitor.
HEART OF STEEL’s distinction as New England’s premier indoor climbing competition was imminent in its countless hours of preparation the first time around. But within the dawning moments of its preliminary competition, HEART OF STEEL proved itself capable of revolutionizing the face of indoor climbing competitions not only in its district, but nation wide. The triple digit turnout was littered with strong, revered climbers; the routes were as futuristic as the concepts that breathed life into the HEART OF STEEL brainchild; Manowar’s ‘Heart Of Steel’ (the song after which the competition earned its appellation- a reference appreciated by fans of metal music) pumped adrenaline into the iron-clad veins of every participant, climber or otherwise. The tone had been set and a vision had been realized. “I love it when a competition has a style and a theme and becomes something that spectators and non-climbers can latch on to and really associate with,” says Glassberg. And this year, we can only expect a fine-tuned version of something that was nearly perfect to begin with. But overshadowing the many aspects of HEART OF STEEL leading up to its main event is the highly anticipated game show style finals round that really awards this climbing competition its rightful badge of honor.
If for no other reason, you won’t want to miss HEART OF STEEL for its outstanding display of a finals round. The event’s most notable distinction is its groundbreaking strategy for distributing cash prizes to the top female and male athletes of the day. Exponentially increasing denominations of cold hard cash are taped along the course of each finals problem, baiting each competitor to shamelessly duke it out amongst the others in an outrageous episode of sheer plastic-pulling pandemonium. Bathed in spotlight, each competitor is challenged to pull as many bills as possible off of the wall, creating their own personal cash pot. “Instead of being awarded a check for finishing in a top position, you can complete a finals boulder problem and have the cash in your hand as a direct result of climbing well in the moment. A tangible reward that is very motivating to climbers,” Glassberg said.
In addition to the generous cash prizes, there’s a whole slew of killer swag provided by some of the climbing industry’s top sponsors. Just some of the loot up for grabs this year include three crashpads; two Nemo tents; sleeping bags, packs, and softshells from The North Face; Evolv shoes; rope from New England Ropes; Petzl harnesses, and more. Additionally, there will be free coffee and hot chocolate, free food, video games, and sponsor tables to take advantage of during down time.
The HEART OF STEEL competition is quickly becoming a benchmark for innovation in the competitive climbing circuit, and everyone made up of the industrial-strength vital organs to handle it is encouraged to be a part of it. “The Boston Rock Gym knows how to throw a party,” Glassberg assures us.
By Amanda Beals
So as you know I have dipped my toes into the heightened world of rock climbing at the Boston Rock Gym. While I have been traveling a bunch this past month, I have had the opportunity to interview a variety of rock climbing industry illuminati. Gavin, the manager of the Boston Rock Gym, suggested I look into So iLL and attempt to snare an interview with this bombastically forward thinking, yet old school, rock climbing holds designers and manufactures.
I took Gavin’s advice and emailed the CEO Daniel Chancellor and he responded enthusiastically to my media request. Now, for those of you who are not familiar with rock climbing holds let me lay it out easily. When you indoor climb, the holds are the myriad protuberant shapes that allow you to ascend. Without holds, there is no indoor rock climbing.
What is unique about So iLL Holds is the retro, futuristic, all bets off shapes of holds. This is augmented profoundly with the high level workmanship and chemists So iLL works with to create a hold that is dynamic and impenetrable.
AB: So, your site is wild and woolly. Is that the spirit that motivates So iLL?
DC: We have always focused on a *Reality Distorted look and feel for So iLL. We geek out on bringing this ideal into both products and marketing for the brand. Currently, we are designing a new website. Its going to get interesting.
AB:I looked for a history on your company and could not find one. Tell me about So iLL came into being?
DC: So iLL started during my first year of college (April 2002). I was working all night and sleeping through my Entrepreneurship courses during the day. The first few years were rough. We didn’t have high speed internet until 2005 and I ran biz phone calls off pre-paid calling cards. I was 18 and living the dream. Shaping, molding and pouring on the back porch of my college house. The dream started there, and has now become a reality.
AB:I know that the Boston Rock Gym heralds your company as changing the course of history for indoor rock gyms. What are your thoughts on that statement?
DC: Interesting. That is a pretty big statement. I feel as though we have always tried our absolute hardest. We put 125% into Everything we do. Whether crazier shapes, wild marketing images, etc, we have always been trying to push indoor climbing into a new direction. A lot of other companies have followed lately. That is ok. We are happy to enlighten and help.
AB: How do you envision indoor rock gyms evolving or devolving over the next 5 years? And, in which ways will So iLL be a part of that?
DC: Indoor climbing is crazy on the up and up. Tons of new gyms are being built every year. Lots of “mega-gyms” are now popping up all over the country. In Europe, the facilities being built are fantastic. Small and Nice satellite gyms. Concrete floors, giant wall features, urban architecture, etc. I feel as though the U.S market has some interesting things to learn from them.
AB:Has social media enhanced your buisiness?
DC: I believe so. Since launching our Tumblr page (soill.tumblr.com) I feel as though a behind the scenes look at the daily grind has been good for climbers. Its the first place I put new products, ideas and traveling images, all updated from my phone almost daily. These are also posted to my personal Facebook page: Daniel Chancellor. Let’s be Friends.
AB: When you first log on in the a.m. do you read ClimbingNarc or 8A?
DC:Though both nice sites, I have not in a while. Pretty busy swimming through 100 emails every morning… Being in contact personally with our gyms and home wall owners is something we strive for. My cell phone is listed on the website and I sort through and respond to each and every email. Big or small, order or question. We are happy to be reachable.
AB: What makes your products stand out?
DC: We are constantly trying to push things further. Most recently, we have been working on a new Giant Fiberglass Volume. These are very popular in Europe, but are just now starting to hit the U.S. The Growth was shaped by Jason and is currently about to start in production. Its a 4 x 4 ft fiberglass volume with a Patent Pending mounting system so screws won’t tear up the wall. We’re excited to launch this massive feature. Multiple T nuts are included for mounting other holds onto it.
Along with this, we have been working on a few other things we will be launching at the January Outdoor Retailer Show. We have been working with a team of Chemists for about a year on a new product and have filed the Patent info on it as well. We are excited about its launch.
For holds, we are currently shaping a ton. Going back to our “roots” so to speak. We are excited to launch an entire new product category in 2010.
AB: For a newbie reading this blog, who has always dreamed of climbing, but is afraid it is too hard, what say you to them?
DC:Go Get Some. Find a local gym and get involved. Its so very accessible now with the gym community in the U.S. There are plenty of people out there looking to help someone new. — A crew is waiting for you. Auto Belays are calling your name. Holds want to be grabbed. You need to sweat. Start twerkin it with a belay device and become educated. What a better way to spend your time than watching Jersey Shore.
By Chris Mireault
The next time you’re on the climbing wall, try this basic skill building exercise, it’s one of my favorites! It’s called “glue hands with silent feet” and it goes something like this.
First off let me explain “glue hands.” To initiate glue hands, pretend you have glue on your hands, simple enough right? Now every time you grab a climbing hold, try not to move your hands from the original position that you first grabbed the hold until it’s time to reach for another hold. That’s it!
This exercise is geared to make you think twice about how you grab a hold. Rather than just feeling the hold out and hoping for the best, you will have made the perfect placement the first time. Ideally this will train you to use hand holds better the first time around.
The other exercise is called, “silent feet.” Silent feet involves making perfect foot placements on foot holds without making any sound during placement. This act of silently placing your foot requires much more concentration and will require much practice at first. This exercise is also geared at having you, the climber, make your foot placement correctly the first time around.
Once you get the hang of silent feet you should start to move with more fluidity and grace. Also in theory, the better the foot placement and less foot scraping, the longer the rubber on those expensive climbing shoes will last. This is always a plus in my book.
Combine the two exercises together and you get what is called “glue hands with silent feet.” Practice these together as often possible and in time you will find yourself moving on the rock with more precision and confidence in no time. I guarantee it.
Try it the next time you’re in the gym and let us know what you think.
For more awesome exercises, and to learn climbing technique from a pro, check out Boston Rock Gym’s NUSCHOOL technique classes. These classes are guaranteed to get you climbing better faster.
By Chris Mireault
By Kaleigh Bush
Florida gives rise to a fairly ubiquitous vision: flat sandy beaches mopped by the broken waves of the Atlantic; highway medians adorned with strips of sweeping palm trees; and toe headed, heat intoxicated sunbabies riding their ocean Cadillacs to shore dressed to the nines in sunburns and wetsuits. The vision does not yield mountainous terrain. Nor does casting this landscape likely fortify the climber’s penchant for brisk arid climate and good friction. I’ll also go ahead and assume that the last thing you’d reasonably anticipate from the balmy swamps of Florida is the emergence of a laudable rock climbing community fit to foster the kind of dude whose dexterity on a rock face can hold a candle to that of the most championed climbers on an international scale. But chances are if you’ve visited just about any crag or boulder field in the US and maybe even worldwide, you’ve probably met a handful of Florida climbers. There’s even a good chance they were kind of strong. Maybe not the prized heifer at the county fair, but, arguably, we’ve generated a couple of those as well.
The impossibility of local Florida climbing aside, climbing is habit-forming regardless of where the skill is honed be it outside or indoors. But the general consensus among climbing enthusiasts is that the chief purpose of the climbing gym is its utility as a training implement; the concept is appealing in that it lends climbers a facility for training when the option of climbing outside isn’t available due to adverse weather, being too hard-pressed for time by school or work to spend a day at the crag, or whatever. But I’ve climbed outdoors and indoors enough to realize that the rigid dichotomy between the two environments is as apparent as the contrast between the fibers of plastic and of stone. In the face of this realization, reconciling with the fact that I have to drive for at least seven hours to get my hands on some quality sandstone or granite is quite the cross to bear. Consequently, us Florida climbers who are passionate about what we do are left feeling like salt water fish in a fresh water aquarium when we’re giving it the ol’ college try with nothing at our fingertips but a decent training tool. And when we do get to rock climb, our callouses are sturdy as brick houses but quick weekend climbing trips are too fleeting for our tender fingertips to restore any previous durability. So more than a few good burns on an ultra-crimpy problem and our tips are left pink, shriveled, and nearly deprived of sensation. I won’t even get into the dilemma, regardless of how substantial it may or may not actually be, of how indoor grades stack up against outdoor grades as a system for measuring progress. Is it precise to call yourself a V4 climber if you’re a solid V6 plastic climber but have only topped out V2 outside? Or are indoor grades entirely null and void since indoor climbing is barely even comparable to rock climbing? The debate is probably as contrived as the concept of climbing grades to begin with.
So, there are rock climbers in Florida. There are definitely surfers in Colorado. We’re undoubtedly among the unorthodox and would probably rather be somewhere else more conducive to our respective lifestyles, but we all get by finding a way to do what we love. And we love climbing as much as the next guy. I would also argue that being a Florida climber and having friends locally who are pivotal in the greater climbing community fosters a unique brand of pride that emanates from all of us who know what it’s like to have to set aside entire weekends for climbing in order to rock climb at all. Most of us either put climbing on the back burner when real life kicks in at the onset of real adulthood, or we move out of Florida and build our lives around climbing as a priority. Regardless, one day I will move out of Florida and build my life around climbing as a priority, which speaks volumes about the powers of passion. And my parents’ ceaseless wonder about where the hell they went wrong.
By Chris Mireault
My name is Matt McCormick and I am a teacher, climber, guide, and trainer from Burlington, VT. My climbing career started at the BRG while growing up in nearby Sudbury, MA. and quickly spread to locations all over the world.
With a degree in Physical Education, I’ve focused my knowledge of exercise physiology on my own training for climbing and have seen some tremendous gains. I offer personalized coaching and training consultations through my site at mattmccormickclimbing.blogspot.com. Check it out! Feel free to email me with any questions or feedback at email@example.com.
This is the first in a series of blog entries on my training ideas and concepts. I hope that you can take a bit of each entry and apply it toward your own climbing goals. My goal is to present an overarching concept each week and then give some examples of exercises and workouts to apply that concept in your training.
I will be offering a series of training workshops at the BRG in the near future that will go into greater detail and provide a hands on opportunity to learn more ideas on how to improve your own climbing fitness. These will include a personalized training plan that I will write and email to each participant after the workshop based on their goals, ability, and motivation. Keep your eye out for these workshops!
This first entry provides THE foundation for effective training and is an important starting point for future entries.
Principles of Training
When planning workouts for athletes, exercise physiologists form their plan based around a set of core principles referred to as the Principles of Training. Here they are… When reading these, think about what you do to try and improve your climbing fitness and whether or not it meets these principles. Below each principle I’ve briefly outlined how this applies to climbing-specific training.
Overload: In order to see gains in muscular strength, endurance and any component of
fitness for that matter this principle must be applied. Our bodies are
extremely adaptive will adapt to the demands placed on them. Only if we load muscles to a a point not previously encountered will they gain strength, endurance, and or power.
Do you purposefully keep track of your progress by writing down your workouts or at least keeping mental note and then increasing the intensity in following workouts? Do you find ways to specifically overload certain muscle groups, movements, grips, and fitness components such as power or strength?
Progression: While it is crucial to overload the muscles in order to see the gains we
strive for, it is equally important to follow a logical and planned progression
of resistance. Effective training is not reactive but pre-planned and
The closest that most climbers come to meeting this principle is that they try harder and harder routes and problems in the gym and outside. This is most often done in a rather haphazard manner rather than being pre-planned. Many climbers do not build a solid foundation of routes at say a V5 level before spending infinite sessions projecting V7. Additionally logically pre-planning your workout and sticking to that plan is at the core of this principle.
Specificity: It is important to realize that fitness for climbing should be viewed as several different components that must be targeted specifically in order to be improved. I’ll go into each of these in greater detail in a later post but the major components are strength, endurance, power, and anaerobic endurance. Exercises must be specifically chosen to target the components which you want to improve.
Do you plan your workouts with specific exercises to target specific things such as crimp strength, power, anaerobic endurance? In order to practice this principle you must have a pre-set goal for each session and pick specific exercises to target that goal.
Individuality: Each individual has unique and ever-changing needs and goals in their
training. It is crucial to honestly assess your needs fitness wise and set goals in
line with those needs. It is also key to keep in mind that some exercises that may
work great for one person will not work well for you. This is something I always
keep in mind when coaching and training.
Be flexible to try a variety of methods of training as long as they meet the above principles. Honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses and target those weaknesses. If a certain method of training does not work well for you, be willing to try something else!
Lastly… Keep these three in mind to pull together your overall plan.
Frequency: How often do you come into the gym or hit the crag? How many days a week do you have available to train?
Intensity: In weight lifting intensity is judged by the weight. In climbing it is vastly more complex (more on this in the future…) Intensity can be judged by difficulty of moves, # of moves, rest time between burns, number of problems/routes climbed, and a variety of other ways which I’ll discuss in the future.
Time: How much time will you spend during each session training. Some people spend several hours in the gym accomplishing the same amount that could be accomplished in one hour. Are you making the best use of time?
These principles are the foundation of any effective training plan. I encourage you to take the time to reflect on them and whether or not you’re applying them to your own goals!
Next I’ll be talking about aerobic strength vs. anaerobic strength and will share the training I’ve been doing for an upcoming trip to the Red River Gorge…
So instead of just sitting on my bum, boohooing my misfortune (see: A Painful Learning Curve) over the past three weeks, I have taken this time to start realizing a long time dream of mine: putting together a list of the BEST BOULDER PROBLEMS IN AMERICA. This is a huge undertaking and I need as much help as possible.
I’ve created a list of polls, V0 to V14 listing every boulder problem that in my eyes warrants either 4 or 5 stars. Readers can vote on my selections or add their own through comments and such. Please help spread the word, kind people, and this will be an invaluable tool to climbers for years to come!