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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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Mediterranean Cruise

The 2011 Climbing World Championships were held in Arco, Italy from July 15-24. Through the bouldering season, I haven’t felt as strong as I would have liked to. After hurting my ring finger in February, I find it bugs me when I compete and I sometimes cant train as hard. The same injury has been bugging me on my right as well. After the World Championships, I knew I´d be going on a cruise in the Mediterranean with my family (Jason McColl, Terry McColl and Anna Lee) and girlfriend (Mathilde Becerra).   After finishing 11th in bouldering, 13th in lead, 53rd in speed, and 4th overall at the World Championships, I headed down to Venice with my family for the start of a nice holiday.   Our cruise started in Venice, Italy on Aug 25th and we spent a day in the Venice port which gave us a chance to tour Venice for a day. On the 26th, we left for Kotor, Montenegro. Contrary to what a lot of people think about cruises, there´s a lot to do, and it´s not boring. A lot of people think that they´ll be bored on the ship, but think about it this way: On an 11 day cruise, you stop in 8 different ports. At every port, me and my family got off and walked around the city for 4+ hours.   After leaving Montenegro, there was a sea day on the 28th, to make it down to the Greek isles. Our next port was Piraeus, Greece in which we spend the day of the 29th. Piraeus is pretty much the big port next to Athens. After a walk around the port, and a 20 minute metro ride, we were in the heart of touristic Athens looking at the Acropolis. I had been there years ago so I decided not to go in although my parents both went in and said that it was amazing. I stayed with Jason and Mathilde and we slowly walked around the acropolis and down through some of the streets to do soem shopping.   The 30th was spent in Kusadasi, Turkey. We knew before we got there that it was going to be a short taxi ride away from Ephesus, which is a very old site in Turkey. We hired a taxi for a day to take us to the top, pick us up at the bottom, and drive us around. He dropped us off at the top, then we slowly walked down, taken dozens of photos of old statues and obelisks. At the end of the walk, there was a big theater that some Hollywood stars have done some concerts.   By the 31st, we were still in Turkey but onto Bodrum. Bodrum has a very old castle that is one of the best restored to this day. It has some before and after pictures to show the re-construction and I believe that they did a great job.   On the 1st of August, we were back in Greece and in the island of Santorini. If you’ve never been to Santorini, you’ve probably seen a picture of the island. It has crystal blue waters and white houses. The iconic Greek Postcard. It was pretty cool, although you had to climb 600 steps to get to the city which resided at the top of the mountain. We could’ve hired a horse to take us up the steps, but being deathly allergic to horses made me walk instead. The worst part about the walk wasn’t that it took 20 minutes, just the for most of the walk, all you could smell was the fecal matter of the horses that would sometimes walk down beside you…   The 2nd of August was spent in Mykonos, Greece. This city was pretty cool although there was 5-6 different cruise ships in the ports so there was so many people. After a pretty funny encounter with one of the shop owners, and a nice walk around the city, we made our way back to a beach beside our boat where we layed in the sun until our ship was scheduled to leave. Swimming in the crystal blue water was so much fun, I never wanted to leave.   On the 3rd, we had another sea day which was great for my feet after walking around 5 different cities for 5 days. I was exhausted. The 4th was our last city and we were in Split, Croatia. Nothing too interesting here as well, so we did some last minute shopping before going back onto the ship. On the 5th, we were back in Venice after visiting so many cool cities in the Mediterranean.   My vacation was over and it was onto climbing again. I drove up to Innsbruck with Mathilde where I’ve been for the past few days. We chose Innsbruck because it has one of the best training facilities in Europe, Tivoli. It´s a 17m climbing gym with many many hard routes. After our break, it was hard the first couple of days, but when training, we have to be patient, and I know it will come with time. Another week or two on these routes, then circuits at home, we´ll hopefully be feeling great for our next lead world cup at the end of September.   The next bouldering world cup however is in about a week in Munich, Germany. After Munich is the Junior World Championships in Imst, where I´ll be heading as one of the Canadian National Coaches. If I have a good internet connection in Imst, I´ll be updating results as well news as soon as I have it!  

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Punt-X on Vimeo

This is another video that I presented at the VIMFF. It is me on Punt-X (5.14d, 9a) in Gorges du Loup, France. The video was taken and edited by a good friend named Pierre Delas who is also the owner of the site Kairn. I had some problems uploading this video to my YouTube channel so for now, it remains on Vimeo. Enjoy!

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