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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Hueco Life

The last time I was in Hueco was in February and that trip was a pretty short one, 5 days. This time I’m down here for 11 days which means 8 or 9 days of actual climbing. My first day was on the 10 and since I had signed us all up for a volunteer tour, we went to East mountain. Currently in our crew is Jamie Chong, Simon party and Sonnie Trotter. We warmed up at the warm up roof and I played around on a V13 called Liane. After that Jamie and Simon wanted to head to a problem that they were both really close on. It was a V10 called Full Service. I wanted to try it and I also try a link up that started on Full Service and joined up with another problem just left. The link up is called Full Throttle and is given V13. Since these problems were in a cave and there was a breeze that day, it was really cold down there. Jamie and Simon both showed me their individual beta and I thought that Jamie’s beta was better suited for me. After a few minutes of warming up Jamie decided to give it a re warm up burn. He pulled on and fired the problem first go! After seeing the beta first hand, I put my shoes on and gave it a burn. Thanks to Jamie’s beta, I flashed it! To finish up our sesh, Simon disbatched the problem a few tries later. I also played around on the link up Full Throttle, but the big span move in the middle was shutting me down. I could do the span but getting my heel hook over my right hand was too hard because I was so spanned. After that we decided to head over and try the ultra classic “Slashface”. I really wanted to give a good flash burn on this problem but I may have picked a bad day to do it on. After trying Liane, and then Full Throttle, i was pretty tired. Over the past couple of years, i’ve seen lots of clips of people trying it and doing it. I’ve also asked a few people to give me some beta on it but they didn’t tell me about the beginning. It turns out there’s a pretty cryptic heel hook that took me a bunch of tries to figure out. When I finally figured it out and stuck the gaston, my fingers locked awkwardly and my pointer finger started to bleed from under the nail. I thought the hard moves would start once i hit the gaston on the face but i was wrong, every move on that problem is pretty hard. I tried of a few more times then called it a day. Even though my flash attempt was terrible, I still want to come back and try this problem again. Today I ended up trying 3 different V13’s but I think after a bit of work I could send them all. On our second day, I had another volunteer tour booked so we decided to go East Spur. I was still tired from my long first day but there was this highball called Rules of Chaos that looked cool. I warmed up on easy problems then went over to the problem and set up the pads with Simon. We each took turns trying it and in a couple of tries each we were at the crux move which was 15 feet up and just below the lip. Taking a closer look, we found an undercling out right and I decided on my next attempt I would go that direction. It felt good, so I committed myself for the seam below the lip. I said in my head I wasn’t going to fall but the holds had a different opinion. I missed the hold by a fraction of an inch and came spiralling down. It was scary, but Simon caught caught me and I landed safely on the pads. The next time I got up there I was confident that I just had to go a tiny bit further to hit the good seam. Once again I comitted myself to the move but this time I hit it. Once I hit the hold I thought disaster! The hold was way worse than I thought but I past the point of jumping down. I threw in a hard backflag and threw for the lip. I hit the lip, my feet swung out but i was too high to think about faling and I held on. I took my time topping out but at least the send was in the bag. Comparing the problem to other V10’s in the park, it felt much harder so I decided to go with V11 for the grade. Since the problem hasn’t been climbed much, the rock was super gritty and my skin hurt so much after that problem that I didnt climb for the rest of the day. Since it was still pretty early, Jamie wanted to hike over to Full Monty and Simon wanted to try another V10 called Focus. Simon dispatched Focus in 3-4 tries but Jamie was unsucceful on Full Monty. After that, we walked over to Donkey Show to let some of our fellow tour members try Mr. Serious. While we were over there, Jamie threw on his shoes and flashed Mr. Serious, then flashed the low link up connecting into it. Today, we’ve been resting in a cafe called Kristoph’s. At 9pm tonight, we’re going back to the Airport to pick up Vikki Weldon and my brother Jason McColl. We have two more volunteer tours booked for the next two days so we’ll probably head to East or West again.

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I’ve just returned home from North American Championships. If you didnt already know, the competition was held in Montreal at a gym called Horizon Roc. Truthfully, after seeing a couple of pictures of the gym, I was a little worried that the walls were going to be too short. Now that the competition is over and I had a chance to climb 4 routes I would like to say that this gym is probably the best gym to hold a lead event in Canada. While some of the routes had to to up the sides of the headwall, the longer finals routes were the closest I’ve felt to a European competition. Great job Horizon Roc and route setting staff! Full results of the comp should be up the ifsc-climbing.org site soon. I managed to walk away with first place finish in open men. Along with this title was a cool 2000$ For me, this money will be funding my trip to the World Championships in China this summer. Aside from competing, at the comp, I was also nominated one of the assistant coaches for the Junior National team. While I was at the comp, I was trying to help the team as well as warm up and compete myself. There with me were head coach Andrew Wilson and felliw assistant coach Stacey Weldom. The hardest part about coaching this weekend was the amount of kids from Canada at the competition. With 73 juniors competing across 10 categories, it was impossible to individually warm up every kid. This comp was much different than Worlds for example because instead of 4 competitors in a category of 60 there were 8-10 in a category of 20. I think spme people had unreasonable expectations of the coaches and were then a little dissapointed. That aside, I felt like every kid got a good warmup and I think team Canada climbed well as a group. During the 3 day event I had to be in isolation at 730 every morning. With the time change I didnt sleep much this weekend. Last night, I got back to Vancouver at 11:00pm only to go home, pack, sleep and them catch a 10:00 bus from downtown. Since I didnt have time to get onto my computer, I’ve done this whole post through wifi on my new iPod touch. Sorry if there are tons of writing errors, I’m still getting used to the digital keyboard. By 11:00 tonight, I’ll be reunited with Jamie Chong and Simon Parton for 11 days of bouldering in Hueco Tanks, Texas.

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Upcoming Travels

In a few days I’ll be heading off to Montreal to represent Canada in the North American Championships. Two years ago, the competition was held in Denver and i managed to walk away with a win in the Open Men. On the womens side, Emily Harrington was the winner. The competition also has Junior categories and a handful of Edge Junior Team members are also going. While i’m there, I’ll play part athlete, part coach. The NACC08 will be held at a gym called Horizon Rock in Montreal. The link shows just one picture of the lead wall but it looks like with a creative route setter, it could have great potential. One of the biggest problems we face in North America is having competition walls that are much smaller than the walls in Europe. After my 5 day trip to Montreal, I’m headed to Hueco Tanks, El paso with Jamie Chong, Simon Parton, Vikki and Weldon and Sonnie Trotter. I’ll be in Hueco from Dec 9th-Dec 21st, which means 8 or 9 days of solid bouldering! Check back here for photos and trip journals.

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