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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.


After the World Cup in Boulder, I was fortunate enough to be able to climb outside in RMNP. Due to the flights being a lot more expensive to leave the Monday just after the comp, I decided to leave on the Wednesday and if I was lucky, I’d be able to climb outside around Boulder. Monday was a true rest day because I had competed in semi finals and finals the day before. I literally did nothing. Well I guess I drove around and went into Longmont to see what stuff I could take back to Europe from Wal-Mart. Tuesday I was unable to go climbing because my friends were working. Jon Glassberg said he’d go climbing with me on Wednesday so I just thought about the Wednesday and how possible cold it might be. I decided to go climbing at Movement Climbing Gym for fun. I got there around 3pm because the family I was staying with had a son (Devon Wong) who trained at Movement and his practice was at 3:30. I figured I’d be able to get a few good hours of climbing in before the rush of people getting off work would flood the gym. I was also told that by 6pm, it’s pretty hard to climb routes because it gets so busy. I started off bouldering and just tried some of the boulder problems I hadn’t done in warm up for the world cup. I managed to do every problem on the main headwall as well as most of the others around the sides. The only problem that eluded me was a pretty ridiculous V12 on the 70 degree steep wall in the back. I thought it felt more like V13 or something, but what do I know, I just know the moves felt very very hard. After doing those problems, I felt good, and I managed to get on a couple of routes. I was already warmed up so I hopped straight onto the women’s world cup final. After 40 or so moves, I managed to get up to the move where Mina Markovic fell and man was that move hard! I didn’t end up falling there, and luckily the hold that she was going to was pretty good so I managed a good rest. I rested enough on that hold as well as the next big fatty pinch that I climbed past Johanna Ernst (note I was flash, not onsight) and topped the route! After a good 30 minutes of rest to de pump, I was bold enough to try my finals route. It was quite hard to see the holds as Movement staff had already set a dozen of so routes around the finals routes, but I still managed to remember the whole route from two days previous. After waiting for a couple of people to climb as the route went sidesways quite a lot, I was back on the finals route, but under different conditions. I was nervous at the place where I fell, but did the move pretty effortlessly. Climbing the rest of the route felt kind of weird because I knew that it was a finals route and it was super ┬áhard, but I felt good. I got up into the down climbing section and felt right at home. I grabbed the big Teknik Pinch tight and got a somewhat no hands knee bar underneath it. After a brief rest, I went through the next section pretty well and managed to fall at the same move as Jakob Schubert did in the world cup. All in all, if I would’ve climbed the route like this at the competition, I might’ve won. You never know with a competition because sometimes you climb worse, sometimes better, you just never know, that’s the thrill of competing! I had mostly tried the route again just to show or prove to myself that I could’ve done well. When you slip or screw something up especially on a finals route, it’s nice to go and climb it again just to somewhat right the mistake. You can never change what happened, but hopefully you can learn from it and not repeat the mistake. Wednesday came pretty fast, and I was up at 8am with Jon driving out to RMNP. We had originally decided to go up to lower chaos, but when we got half way through the mountain range and it was 1 degree C outside (35 F), we decided to go to the stinkbug boulder instead of making the trek up to chaos. By the time we got up to the stinkbug, I thought I was going to freeze. It was probably about -5 C with 40 km winds up there. I wasn’t actually freezing because I was wearing 4 layers of clothing, but any less and even I would’ve been cold. I’m usually pretty warm so when I’m cold and dressed properly, it’s usually pretty cold outside. The stinkbug boulder had 4 boulders on it. Really it has 2 lines, and 2 problems on each line. The obvious line straight up the left portion of the Boulder is called Stinkbug (V10). The other obvious problem from the bottom is The Power of Ten (V12). There’s a stand start to the hard line considered to be V7. The last line does the first 3 moves of Stinkbug and goes left “Stinkbug Varation” (V9?). Because there wasn’t really anything else around, I tried to warm up on some boulders just beside, just trying to get my hands warm and then I just tried the V7 a few times to warm up my fingers. They would freeze almost instantly and I would have to try to warm them up and try again. I managed to do the V7 when my fingers didn’t go numb after 1 move. It has a sort of tricky mantle mostly because there was snow on the top that was starting to melt downwards. After we both did the V7, we figured we’d go for Stinkbug or the variation. Jon had already done Stinkbug so he did the variation instead. After a couple of goes to figure out the feet, he sent it. He took his shoes off right away and let me go for it. My flash attempt on Stinkbug was short lived and instead of a heel hook, I tried a toe, and just wasn’t tall enough. The second try, I used a heel hook and made it through the first few hard moves but had numb fingers. I reached up for the next hold and couldn’t really feel it, I knew it wasn’t supposed to be too hard, so I just tried to place my feet as well as I could, and grovelled my way up and over. My finger hurt for the next 10 minutes as they attempted to thaw out. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to do Stinkbug, but once I did it second go, there was no reason not to try the testpiece of the boulder. Jon got on the boulder first, and quickly realized that the boulder was going to be a bit awkward to start. It has a very low start and dabbing was going to be an issue. With me watching, we figured somewhat how we were going to do the beginning. The problem is really 3 moves, then into the stand V7. You start on two slightly bad crimps with no feet, do a hard cross to an edge, then with a sort of toe hook, you have to grab the intermediate and stab with your right hand up and right to a pinch. If you can stick this decently well, it’s pretty much over. You do a move to a pretty good hold, and onto the V7. I pulled on for my flash go, did the hard cross over and it felt bad. I couldn’t really move my feet, so I shot out to the right hand hold. Both my feet cut and I think I brushed the mat or rock. Because I was on my flash go, I kept going, but deep down inside, I knew it was a dab, so I was discouraged. I didn’t really try on the top and ended up pitching off anyways. I fell and wasn’t very discouraged because I just said “I think I dabbed anyways”. I quickly jumped onto the top section to get some better foot beta before the mantle. On my second go, I made sure I didn’t dab, and send the problem through the blistering winds. A day well done if you ask me. After doing the first 3 problems on the boulder, I figured I’d finish it off and did the variation to Stinkbug as well. We were only at the boulder for 2 to 2.5 hours, but I think it went pretty well. We walked down, got an amazingly good frozen coffee, chocolate drink and called it a day. A few hours later, I was on the plane back to London.

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