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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Roadtrip to start 2014

I know it’s been forever since I’ve written on my site and to be honest, I’ve been on vacation! I had a good month of no climbing and started again in January. Now it’s time to look at 2014 and decide how my season will pan out. Before that starts though, it’s time to go on a road trip! I am currently in Las Vegas with good friend and old coach Mike Doyle. I’ll be here for a couple of weeks before heading down to Hueco Tanks for a couple of weeks there. [singlepic id=633 w=290 h=550 float=right]¬†Joining me on this adventure will be a pretty big crew of Europeans including Mathilde Becerra, Katha Saurwein, Jorg Verhoeven, Jakob Schubert, Lukas Kob, Mario Lechner and Kathi Posch. They arrive in a couple of days and I’ve already been here for a week trying to get my bearings. The last time I was in Las Vegas bouldering had to have been a few years ago and everything seems more developed now. In my 4 climbing days here, I climbed once in the Virgin River Gorge (VRG), onsighting “Fall of Man”, and then (failed onsight) “Don’t Call Me Dude” on my second try. Onsighting routes there are very hard, similar to that of Smith Rocks. No comparison to the Limestone cliffs in Europe. The really cool thing about the VRG is that it has a bunch of different climbing all in the same route. It can start a bit overhanging, then smooth out to vertical and finish on a hard slab! [singlepic id=629 width=600 height= float=centre] The day after the VRG, I headed out with Kenny, Hans and Lindsey. We went up into a sector called the Juniper Area. It was a 45 minute hike, soooo long. It’s been a while since I’ve had to hike that far. It’s not that hard, just long. I’m so spoiled as a competition climber to just step into isolation and warm up. I did a few classics up there including “Community Service”, “Spartan Law” and the sector’s gem “Stand and Deliver”. The past couple of days have been spent in the “Kraft Boulders”. These are the boulders that are most known in Las Vegas. It’s a short hike and most boulders are easy to find. The first boulder I walked up to was “A Clockwork Orange” (picured above) and I knew I had to try the line. It’s a big 20 foot gem on the front side of the first boulder you walk past. I tried a bunch of lines over the days, completing most of them. [singlepic id=631 width=600 height= float=centre] The biggest thing I’m trying to do right now is get my body used to climbing on real rock. It’s so different from gym climbing, the mentality, movement and even headspace. In a gym training for competitions, we’re so used to training flashing, onsighting and quick decisions. While climbing outdoors, it’s all about little things sometimes, like which way your heel is facing on that weird heel hook. [singlepic id=628 width=300 height=550 float=right] I did manage a few ascents in the days as well including “The Book of Nightmares”, and a flash of “Lethal Design”! On the way out yesterday, I stopped at Clockwork. Kenny Barker was waiting there with a plethora of pads. I had one and Mike Doyle had another two, perfect. It was getting dark and I was the only one trying it, but eventually after 5 or 6 tries, it went down. Big thanks to those two brave spotters at the bottom because without them I wouldn’t have committed quite as hard as I did on the ascent. Got it on film, so “to follow”… It was basically dark while topping out and Mike had to shine his headlamp at my feet while down climbing the V3 to get off. Today, I’ll head out to the Kraft boulders again to spot Kenny and carry pads. If I feel good, I might try my project, or I might just use it as a rest day. All I can say is that I’m psyched to climb outside for so long and after such a long hiatus. I’m committed to blog every week about my adventures so tune in and post stuff you want to hear about!

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