Well, I’m still in Hueco. Namesake of our Hueco boulder. The weather has been pretty good, sometimes sunny, sometimes windy, sometimes overcast, and lately quite cold!
Back in Boulder, Danny, Jonny, Jay Jay, Connor, and sometimes Ian and Jon are still keeping things fresh for everyone at The Spot while I’m gone. In fact, I heard Santa even stopped over on Christmas and set some extra routes!
For those who are interested, here are some pictures of my trip so far:
I’ve spent some rest days taking showers, Internet-ting, and generally hanging out with my friends Rocco and Mary at the Hueco Hacienda.
The Hacienda is a sweet old adobe that used to be a religious retreat, meaning it has some amazing wooden front doors and lots of heavy woodwork. Inside it’s fairly well restored and Rocco and Mary are constantly working to make it even awesomer. One of the updates is new headboards for the beds that Rocco built. For the headboards our artist friend Nikias has been woodburning each mountain into an oval, then Rocco stains the outside of the board. Here are a few pictures of the process:
If you are thinking of coming down to Hueco, there are a few steps you’ll need to take. First of all, you should have a place to stay. You can camp at the Hueco Rock Ranch or at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site. You can also stay inside at the Rock Ranch and at The Hacienda. For climbing you’ll need to have North Mountain Reservations or tours scheduled. Learn more at these links:
Hueco Rock Ranch – American Alpine Club (camping, house stays, tours, pads)
Wagon Wheel Coopt – Welcome (request commercial tours)
PARK ACCESS – The Hueco Hacienda (tours, rental pads, chalk, tape, brushes, links, phone numbers, and other info)
Happy New Years Everyone!
Okay, so I am in Hueco, and have been since last week. Danny is steering the boat while I am here. I’ll try to keep setting updates coming though.
I’m also working on a review of the new G-String climbing trainers. These things are a new take on the Rock Ring and so far I think they’re really cool. I brought a set down to Hueco with me and we’re trying them out at The American Alpine Club’s Hueco Rock Ranch. I will report back but so far I think they look good, feel good on the hands and in the grip positions, and would make an excellent holiday gift for the climbers in your life. Check the site here – G Strings Climbing Trainers
Also on the docket, but probably not to be realized until I’m back in Boulder, are the reviews for Prinz and Orogen. We’ve set with both companies’ sets a couple of times now and so far we like most of the shapes. More on that next month.
As you know, we had the Highballs & Highlines comp last week. That means this week was the first part of the reset. We got problems up on the Dojo, Full Hueco, Full River, and Full Font. Next week, the Beach!
Things were a little different than normal because we ran a mock-onsight comp for our Comp Team to get them ready for Regionals this weekend in Fort Collins. We closed off the Dojo and Back Hueco and set 4 sets of 3 boulders of ascending difficulty. Each set had the first problem on the Right Dojo or in the cave, the 2nd problem on the Back Hueco Scoop, and the 3rd problem on the Left Dojo Belly.
The format is 4 minutes on, 30 sec transition, 4 minutes rest, 30 sec transition, 4 minutes on, etc… If you finish the problem you get to rest the remainder of that 4 minute climbing period + your 4 minute rest period before climbing again. Tries count, so you want to onsight. If you’d like to check them out, here are the sets:
Female Jr/Male Youth A (16-17) – Purple Tape
Prob 1 Right Dojo arete, compression, 4+
Prob 2 Starts on right side of back scoop on two purple e-grips scoops, moves up and left through scoop, finishes by downclimb. 4+
Prob 3 Starts on left side of Left Dojo Belly, big moves up thin crimps, 5-
Female Youth B (14-15) – Blue tape
Prob 1 Right Dojo by Yosemite Wall 4/-
Prob 2 Back Hueco Scoop, starts on yellow sloper on left side and moves up and right. (This problem was also used for Youth C) 4-
Prob 3 Left Dojo starts on right side, moves left through good holds and straight up. 4
Female Youth C/Male Youth C (12-13) – Orange Tape (and blue for prob 2)
Prob 1 Starts left side of Dojo Cave, climbs straight out. 4
Prob 2 Shared with FYB Prob 2 – Yellow sloper on left side of Back Hueco Scoop, climbs up and right, blue tape. 4-
Prob 3 Starts on large red rail on left side of Left Dojo, climbs up through pinches. Orange 4+
Youth D (11 and under) – White Tape
Prob 1 Starts back right Dojo Cave, climbs straight out to lip. 3+
Prob 2 Starts Left side of Back Hueco Scoop, climbs up and right. 4-
Prob 3 Starts left arete of Left Dojo Belly, climbs out face, then back up and left. 4/+
At lunch yesterday Jonny, Connor, Jon, and I decided to take a shot like the shot for the Colorado Daily that our friend, photographer Greg Mionske took a few years ago. When I got home I found the old shot and realized they were taken almost exactly two years apart. We are more-or-less the same…Jon looks older and he and I are both wearing updated Sportiva Hoodies from the old ones we were wearing in the original. Connor and Jonny both seem to be wearing the same pants and Jonny perhaps the same jacket as well. Connor’s got a little bit more of a beard. Overall though, as Jon said, “What are we doing with our lives?!”
More photos on The Spot Facebook! (click the link in the right sidebar).
The top 7 Men and 7 Women from the Adult and Junior sessions of the comp were invited to compete in the Open Finals. The problems were on the Beach, Women’s on the left, Men’s on the right.
The Men’s Final was a short powerful climb on the right side of the Beach. The start was a balance move off a sloper, followed by a stand-up/jump to a pinch made of two slopers on a small triangle volume. From there climbers moved out right to their choice of a dream pocket and two huge slopers. There was a foot bicycle to help them wrangle the holds until their left hand was in the dream pocket (Final competitor Rob D’Anastasio actually ended up doing a fantastic rose move into the dream pocket!) Next a big move to a wide sloper pinch, a high foot and flag, and another fatty pinch and flat gaston. From there it was a foot switch and high right foot and then a press into a sloper in the slight roof. Just around the corner above the lip was another volume with a sloper and a slopey ball on it. Competitors could either jump out of the press or reach around slowly and then jump to establish on the volume. Either way they took a massive nearly-horizonal swing, then had one more relatively easy move to a finish bucket.
The bottom moves gave many of the competitors trouble. Michael O’Rourke flashed through them, but after falling high up he fell several times before sticking the volume pinch again. On his last go he stuck it, then climbed through the problem and nearly finished it, falling on the final volume after swinging way out and coming off. It was a fantastic effort and earned him 3rd place. Matty Hong came out, 2nd place qualifier, and flashed the problem, sticking the horizontal swing as the crowd went absolutely crazy. This put a ton of pressure on 1st place qualifier Rob D’Anastasio, who knew he’d have to flash the problem to win. Rob handled the pressure well though, giving a great effort that involved the rose move at the bottom and sticking the top swing when everyone was sure he was off. I think his body literally went above his hand and somehow he managed not to let go. The crowd went crazy again and Rob maintained his first place.
1. Rob D
2. Matty Hong
3. Michael O’Rourke
4. Ben Hoberg (won our last 2 comps, was just under Michael O’Rourke’s highpoint here)
5. Matt Lubar (got to the press but didn’t get to the volume)
6. Remi Arata (got to hold 7 on his 1st try, then struggled)
7. Greig Seitz (struggled with the bottom, got to hold 7 on his 7th try)
The Women’s Final was a long technical climb with some powerful moves in the middle and end. All the competitors struggled with the techy bottom section, then made their way through some thin crimps to a sloping pinch, then fell trying to stick a long move to an e-grips comfy crimp ear. Several competitors nearly stuck the move, but all-in-all it was stopper, and final rankings came down to attempts-to-highpoint. Here are the Women’s final results:
1. Nina Williams 9- 1st go (2nd place qualifier. Nina got back on the stopper move just after finals and got through it by using a heelhook, then climbed to the top.)
2. Isabelle Goodacre 9- 2nd try (4th place qualifier)
3. Megan Mascarenas 9- 3rd try (Megan was the closest to sticking the move, but as she did not control the hold she got the same score as the others who also grabbed but did not control it. After the raffle she got back on at the start and easily climbed the problem. Megan was the 1st place qualifier, and climbed O7 and down in the regular comp.)
4. Margo Hayes 9- 4th try (5th place qualifier)
5. Tiffany Hensley 9- 5th try (3rd place qualifier)
6. Laurel Todd 9- 6th try (6th place qualifier. Laurel fell on the opening moves 5 times and it looked like she wouldn’t get through them, but then she magically managed and climbed quite a ways further.)
7. Tika Anderson 3- (7th place qualifier. Tika got pretty stuck on the tricky opening moves, where everyone fell at least once and many several times. She nearly stuck the crimp but her foot kept slipping at the last second.)
Full preliminary results will be up soon at http://www.thespotgym.com. No pictures yet, will post some when we get ‘em. Thanks for coming out, and nice job everyone!
Quick Update – Highballs & Highlines Comp This Weekend! + Reset Schedule + Hold Sale Ending Tonight!
If you’ve been in the gym at all you’ll know that we’ve already started setting for the SBS 8 Highballs & Highlines comp. This comp will be Saturday, and so far we’re really excited about the problems. Also, the highline slacklining is really sweet to watch, and as usual we have food, drinks, beer, a DJ, a gigantic sweet raffle, Pro Finals, etc… Hope to see you there!
This means that The Spot will be closed tomorrow for setting. Spot members can climb for free at the BRC tomorrow and Saturday (during the comp).
Sunday The Spot is open as usual.
Monday we will begin the reset, but we are resetting differently than usual. We will be running a mini onsight- style comp for our Youth Team and some of Team ABC. This onsight-style comp will help our kids get ready for Regionals the following weekend. We will be setting the mock comp on the Dojo and Back Hueco, meaning there will be new problems there Monday night, but they will be closed off to public climbing until probably 7 or 8pm (after the mini comp is over).
Tuesday and Wednesday we will set as well, and we should have fill on most of the walls by Wednesday 4pm-ish. We will probably do River/Font on Tues and Front Hueco and/or Beach on Wednesday.
Also, last chance on our used holds sale. We are selling them through 11pm tonight at $1 off current listed price. If they cost $1 they will now cost .50 cents. If you want ‘em, come get them before they’re gone!
http://www.redpointholds.com ~ Nikita@redpointholds.com ~ BC, Canada
These guys will be sending us some holds to check out, so we’ll let you know what we think of ‘em. I’ve been in Hueco but now I’m home to set the comp, so stay tuned for that and for reviews of Prinz and Orogen.
Ok, so last week we added a bunch to The Beach and we took down the huge volumes on the front of the Font and put up a bunch of new problems on the front and sides as well. Hope you are enjoying them.
Next week is Thanksgiving so some of us are out and about but several setters will come in on Tuesday and put up some new problems for you. Just filling in, no stripping. The week after Thanksgiving is pre-comp week, so we are stripping Beach and Dojo on Wednesday night (28th) and setting them Thursday, then stripping the rest of the gym Thursday night (29th) and setting Friday (30th). The gym will be closed Friday the 30th but you can climb at The Boulder Rock Club.
Saturday, December 1st will be the Highlines and Highballs comp. Don’t miss it!
Also coming after break will be a review of the Prinz holds and also an intro and review of the holds that Orogen Designs sent us last week.
orogenclimbing.com ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~ 1.778.678.1446 ~ Victoria, B.C. Canada
Stay tuned and hope everyone has a great break!
As you’ve seen on our Big Hold Company List, there are a ton of hold companies all over the world. New ones pop up, and we look at their websites, but it’s hard to tell things like quality, texture, durability, and comfort from online pictures. Shipping isn’t cheap, and, at a gym like The Spot where we break a lot of holds, we don’t usually like to risk an order unless we’ve seen and tried out the holds and know they’ll hold up to our walls.
Ryan from Prinz holds called us up and said he’d be driving through and he wanted to drop off some samples. On Saturday I met him at The Spot and checked out what he brought to show us.
Prinz has done something clever that I haven’t seen before (at least in this form). They put together a nice sample set of 5 different holds from different lines. Each is a different color and they’re all packaged in these nice, easy-to-hand-out, store-ready bags. Ryan’s whole trip was visiting gyms, introducing himself, and giving out sample sets to help them get a feel for what Prinz hold has to offer.
To the right of the sample pack are two sets of slopers (one of two medium slopers, one of several smaller slopers) and an awesome huge feature. Ryan brought these for us to review, and we will be posting a review on ‘em once we’ve tried them out and have opinions. Ryan also showed us lots of other shapes, several big slopers and pinches and other stuff that isn’t up yet on their website, but you should be able to see ‘em soon.
Saturday when Ryan dropped them off I picked out one of those green sloping edges and felt the texture. Prinz pours their own urethane blend, and, as we hear over and over from hold companies, Ryan said it wouldn’t break. The texture was fine but the hold felt brittle, like other, weaker urethane blends we’ve seen before, and I said that I thought there was no way it’d go on the wall at The Spot without cracking in half. Ryan wanted to see if we could break it, so we got some bolts and a wrench and went to work.
I picked a moderately concave surface with a bolt in the middle of it, set the hold across it, and began tightening. To my complete amazement the hold flexed into the wall without breaking. It also didn’t weld the bolt and t-nut together (at least not during my short test).
I unscrewed the hold and picked another, more uneven surface. It didn’t break.
Finally, I picked a t-nut that we never, never use because it is ridiculously placed in the middle of a carved hueco were no holds, not even footholds, will fit. Also, we’re pretty sure the t-nut isn’t straight, meaning it’ll pull the hold into the wall unevenly, thus loading it unevenly, thus breaking it. I began tightening, the hold began flexing, then…snap.
It didn’t break in half. Instead, a chip broke off the side. I pulled the hold off the wall and looked at it. The broken area was white, like stretched plastic. A little sandpaper, literally a brief swipe, and the broken area was smooth and comfortable and the hold was not ruined. Here’s a picture of it post-sanding:
Then we threw it at the floor and walls for a while. The edges dented a bit, but no brittle chipping. I was extremely impressed, especially considering that I thought the hold would easily break. We’re going to set with them next week, and we’ll share those impressions, but so far the holds have far exceeded my expectations.
One more note, you may recognize the upside-down bomb on this hold. The bomb is the Prinz logo. It used to belong to Bomber Holds, out of Southern California, but Prinz, out of Northern California, purchased the logo and some of the shapes from Bomber. Bomber doesn’t exist anymore, and Prinz is an independent company run by completely different people, but if you are looking for old Bomber shapes ask Prinz and they might be able to pour them for you.
That’s all I’ve got for now, more updates after setting and climbing on the holds.
Check out the Prinz website: Prinz Climbing Holds — Home
It’s about Hueco season so hopefully everyone’s already got their reservations. If not, you can schedule tours and camping through the Wagon Wheel Coopt and also at the Hueco Rock Ranch which was just purchased by the American Alpine Club. You can also camp at the park, but call ahead to reserve your space!
Here’s a never-before-released video of my friend Vanessa and I during the 2010 season that Chris just dredged up from the depths of his hard drive. Enjoy!
And to watch more Hueco vids check out this Vimeo channel: Hueco Tanks Bouldering! on Vimeo