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The Combined format a failure in the WC 2016

Article and photos by Kim Dallas

If you’ve ever been to the South Boston gym, chances are you’ve met Helen. She started climbing less than a year ago and is now climbing V6. We caught up with Helen (at the gym of course) to learn how she got into climbing, why she loves it so much, and where you can find her when she’s not at the climbing gym (hint: it involves the beach, but not in a way you’d expect…).

Climbers of Rock Spot: Helen Lin

Why did you decide to check out Rock Spot for the first time? What made you keep coming back?

Believe it or not, it was because of an interactive challenge called Boda Borg in Malden that made me get into rock climbing. They have a series of physical and mental challenges and one of the rooms was rock climbing.  I really enjoyed it so I thought, maybe I should actually try rock climbing. Then I googled and found that Rock Spot in South Boston is close to me so the rest is history!

You went from climbing 5.5 on an autobelay to climbing V6 pretty quickly! What do you think helped you progress so quickly?

When I love something, I really love it. I never like anything in a moderate sane amount- so if I find a new hobby, I go at it 6000% percent, and in this case that means I spend about 20 hours at the gym a week. People always comment on how good I am for a short amount of time, but I tell them, it’s really just because I spend so much time at the gym and they don’t see all those hours. One time I projected one single problem for 12 hours.  But I SENT IT!

Climbers of Rock Spot: Helen Lin

20 hours a week at the gym!? You’re making the rest of us look bad! So what does a typical climbing session look like?

A typical climbing session for me is about 4-5 hours. Sometimes I’ll go for an 8 hour session and bring food to the gym. There’s a lot of resting though, since you can’t climb hard for that duration. I would say my endurance is good, but my power and dynamic moves are bad probably due to my lack of resting and my long sessions. I try to switch it up - some days I project and some days I’ll work on things I am bad at like overhangs. I’ll also try and do ab work, lock offs, squats, planks, etc at the end of each session.  

What is your biggest climbing goal for this fall/winter?

A V7 inside would be nice, but a V4 outside would be even cooler!

Climbers of Rock Spot: Helen Lin

We hear you can swim for a REALLY long time. Can you tell us a little bit about your history with swimming? Does it help with your climbing at all?

I’m a marathon swimmer, which means I swim for long distances in the ocean. My longest swim was last September, when I was the first and only person so far to swim from Nantasket to Nahant and back again, a roundtrip of 18 miles which took 11.5 hours. In marathon swimming, you don’t stop to rest - you have your nutrition while treading water and you just keep swimming until you are done. This means that it’s pretty easy for me to do long climbing sessions with lots of rest since I am use to swimming for hours with no rest - my body seems to be able to take a lot of physical (yet fun) misery. It takes a lot for my body to get tired. And of course, both sports are using upper body so that aspect definitely translated from swimming to climbing.  

So just to clarify: you once spent 11.5 hours in the open water…that’s longer than my 8 hour work day plus a climbing session! I’m tired just thinking about it. What would you say is your greatest climbing strength? How about your weakness?

I’m good at crimps and slabs. I am terrible at dynamic moves - jumping to a hold I am absolutely abysmal.    

Ditto, I think I have commitment issues. Who inspires you, in climbing or in life in general?

All the climbers at the gym inspire me because everyone is so different in their style, strengths and weaknesses. There’s so much to learn from everyone, whether they just started or have been doing it for years. You learn so much from asking questions and getting different beta.  

Climbers of Rock Spot: Helen Lin

What’s your favorite style of climbing?

Bouldering definitely! I like sports that have minimal gear (like swimming) and that you can do on your own without relying on someone. I love slabs but I do like the challenge of new climbs that are not my style and trying to learn from it.

What’s been your favorite climb you’ve ever done?

A V6 yellow slab set by Keith that was up before the most recent reset. It was so satisfying to send it because it took me a couple weeks to get it.  

What’s the best thing about being a member at Rock Spot?

Rock Spot is the greatest place on Earth! I think we are the friendliest gym. I’ve made so many new friends this year. We all started climbing at Rock Spot as strangers and now we even have social activities like Monday night wings and climbing outside on the weekends. Everyone is so open, friendly and supportive with each other here. I think it’s a great place to meet new people. I also met my boyfriend here, so I think it’s a great place for those single ladies to meet all the ripped men.

Climbers of Rock Spot: Helen Lin

Thanks to Helen for fitting us into her busy schedule! 

 

 

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COSMOS #yosemite #outdoorwomen #sheexplores #milkyway (at...

COSMOS #yosemite #outdoorwomen #sheexplores #milkyway (at Yosemite Wilderness)

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It’s good to be back. Anyone climbing in the valley this...

It’s good to be back. Anyone climbing in the valley this week? #Yosemite #optoutside (at Yosemite Wilderness)

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Jimmy Webb and Crew climbing in the SoutheastJimmy Webb and Crew climbing in the SoutheastJimmy Webb and Crew climbing in the SoutheastJimmy Webb and Crew climbing in the SoutheastJimmy Webb and Crew climbing in the Southeast

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OR-summer-16-feat

The Outdoor Retailer show can be overwhelming, especially the first couple times you go. Walking around the massive Salt Palace Convention Center with its endless booths and hustle of people, it feels like some kind of giant music festival, minus the hippies selling veggie burritos. Even after almost 30 trips to Salt Lake for this shindig, it can still be a little overwhelming to take it all in, and I only look at the climbing-specific brands.

There were two main trends that stood out to me about this show. One, there is a big push into making belay devices safer/easier to use, at least five different companies had offerings along these lines. On the clothing front, breathable insulation that’s lighter and breathes better was the hot topic, as most have acknowledged that the current offerings are too warm for realistic aerobic output.

Because there’s so much on display, I’ve split things up into two categories below. The first are what I thought were the most notable things on display. The second goes through new product that’s interesting but less innovative, groundbreaking, sexy or whatever you want to call it. Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

Arc’teryx

Expanding their ever-growing shoe line, the Norvan is hybrid trail runner/approach shoe that looks ideal for fast and light missions into the mountains. While the Acrux line of shoes are ultra-durable, they feel too beefy for me most of the time. The Norvan offers excellent heel support, a double sole pattern for increased traction on dirt and mud, and a lacing system that adjusts for wide or narrow feet. Retail will be $170, $200 for the GTX version.

arcteryx-norvan

Also here was the Brize 32, a light and fast climbing pack, and the Alpha FL, a minimal hardshell made with Gore Pro and only with 1 pocket for the times when weight is the utmost importance.

Black Diamond

Several cool things going on here. First up, ropes. Years ago, BD distributed Beal ropes, but that hasn’t been the case for quite some time. Like Petzl did with Edelrid, BD has partnered with Roca to offer a new rope line that focuses on durability, value and handling. They’ll be available in 7.8, 9.2, 9.6 and 9.9 diameters, and a variety of lengths. I’ve only used one Roca rope but the samples at the show looked pretty nice.

black-diamond-ropes

On the harness side of things, the same technology that makes the Solution harness so amazing gets trimmed down into the ultimate sport rig, the Zone, which weighs 10.8 oz. and will retail for $99.95.

black-diamond-zone

Rounding out the cool new things here was the ATC Pilot, an “enhanced braking” device that’s similar to the Edelrid Jul, but with a more ergonomic handle.

bd-atc-pilot

CAMP

Every time I check in with these guys, I get the sense they are out there living the products they create. Usually that means nothing flashy, but refinements that actually make a difference in the functionality and safety of the gear.

Their new SphereLock technology on keylock carabiners minimizes the play between the gate for increased safety, and will be standard on all Photon and Orbit keylock ‘biners in 2017. The Dyon is a new carabiner that combines the SphereLock system with wiregate technology for a KeyWire design that weighs 33g, while the curved I-Beam construction on the spine creates a very high open gate strength (11kn).

camp-dyon

The Storm helmet uses EPS construction with a durable polycarbonate shell to create their lightest helmet that also has durability and style in mind. Twenty-two vent holes make it incredible breathable.

camp-storm

A double gear sling that splits into two, the Alpine Flash harness with adjustable leg loops, and the Eghen 22 is a new alpine pack with a unique rope carrying system round out the rest of their offerings. As distributors of Red Chili, they also were showing the Voltage, and a new slipper with a unique toe design for more power from your feet.

red-chili-voltage

Edelrid

As usual, there were some innovative new things to be seen at this booth. To be honest, I love this company, really cool folks that are passionate about making innovative gear (and kick-ass ropes of course). The most interesting thing they were showing, and certainly one of the more stand-out products of the show, was the Ohm. Described as an assisted-braking resistor, it’s a device that is attached to the first bolt, with the rope running through it, and in the event of a fall it lessens the impact of a heavier climber falling on a smaller belayer.

Truth be told, I was immediately skeptical of the Ohm, as there’s few things as unpleasant as receiving a hard catch, but I was assured that everyone who has tested it has come away a believer. Most of the time I actually like having a smaller belayer, as I know I won’t get slammed into the wall, but there have been a few times when I was worried I was going to pull them through the first quickdraw if I took a big fall up high.

Edelrid claims the Ohm doesn’t increase rope drag, and doesn’t affect belaying, but in the event of a fall, progressively slows down the rope, meaning less impact on the belayer. It’ll be really interesting to see how this plays out in the real world. See the video below:

 

Other notable things here were the Bulletproof carabiners and quickdraw, which use a stainless steel inset at the point where the carabiner touches the bolt hanger or where the rope runs through, increasing the longevity of the ‘biner. It weighs 51 grams for the ‘biners, 112 grams for the 12cm quickdraw. The Ace is a new harness that uses their 3d Vent Lite technology to keep the weight down (240g) while remaining comfortable. They also had a crazy looking alpine harness, the Loopo Lite, weighing a scant 80 grams and looking more like something from a Victoria’s Secret catalog then a climbing company. Ski mountaineers and light and fast alpinists will probably be salivating over this thing, with it’s all Dyneema construction. Rounding things out were the MegaJul Sport and Skimmer Pro Dry 7.1, the thinnest half rope on the market.

edelrid-bulletproof

Bulletproof draw.

edelrid-loopo

Loopo Lite

edelrid-ace

Ace Harness

Petzl

The GriGri+ is a new iteration of the device that will likely be popular with institutions like guide services, gyms, schools, etc. The stand out feature is an anti-panic function that kicks in if the lever is pulled back too quickly, preventing the climber from being dropped. There is also a selector lever to switch between top roping mode and lead climbing mode, with the former allowing the cam to clamp down quicker than lead mode.  The plate that the rope runs over is stainless steel for increased durability, and it works with ropes from 8.5mm to 11mm. Retail is $150 and it’s about 30 grams heavier than the GriGri2.

petzl-grigri-plus2

petzl-grigri-plus

Maxim

As the show was wrapping up, and I was thinking there wasn’t much new stuff happening with ropes these days, I stopped in for a final appointment at Maxim. My opinion was changed on the spot, as they have a new rope, the Platinum, with some really cool safety features. First, every 60 cm the sheath is bonded to the core, to prevent sheath slippage and for added safety should the sheath get cut. Five meters from the ends, the color changes to let you know you are nearing the end of the rope. And similarly, there is a 1.5 meter stretch of a different color that marks the middle of the rope. It’ll be available in 9.8mm and 10.3mm diameters, and 70 meter length. None of these things are groundbreaking or unique in and of themselves, but the combination makes for a very safe and functional cord.

maxim-platinum

So Ill

Many people are now introduced to climbing in urban areas with excellent gyms but limited or no access to nearby outdoor climbing. For these folks, climbing fills a niche similar to cross fit or other such activities. And they are looking for gear that speaks to them and their urban sensibilities. With the launch of their new climbing shoe line, So Ill has positioned themselves as the company that is leading the way in gear and apparel that speaks to this new kind of climber.

Outdoor Retailer Summer 2016 Climbing Report

Their eight models include velcro and lace options, along with regular and low volume versions, meaning there’s something here for everyone. The styles were inspired by retro footwear like soccer and bowling shoes, and have a very distinct and stylish look. The shoes feature their proprietary Dark Matter rubber, promising to offer excellent stickiness, with the added benefit that they can make it different colors.

Initial feedback is that they have been very well received and it’ll be cool to check them out and see how they perform, since we already know they look cool.

Trango

Some of us got a sneak peak of the Vergo at the last show, but now the secret is out. Coming in the fall, it’s not just a redesigned Cinch, but a device that was designed with safety being the top priority. With different cam geometry, a different way to use it and a much better handle, Trango has hit one out of the park. I’ve been using one for the last couple of months, and I’ve been impressed. (And usually I laugh at the GriGri competitors…)

trango-vergo

The Ration Pack is a multipitch pack that can be hauled without worrying about destroying it thanks to a separate pack cover that keeps it from getting beat up. Once that wears out, you can replace them for $15.

For lighter missions the Ration Capsule allows you stuff your keys, a light jackets, bars etc and hang them off your harness. The Concealed Carry Chalk Bag keeps chalk from spilling all over your pack, and the Tanta is an entry-level shoe with all the usual Tenaya features that should prove popular.

Wild Country

The REVO is a new assisted-braking belay device that functions like a traditional belay device on steroids. There is no new technique to learn, and it can be used in either direction, so it can’t be loaded improperly. There is no method for overriding the inertia reel locking mechanism, which increases the margin of safety over other devices. It works on ropes from 8.5mm to 11mm.

wild-country-revo

I got to play with this, and the function was impressive. It was smooth and easy to use, though to me felt really heavy and bulky. I could see them becoming popular with gyms though, and if the technology can find its way into a smaller size, we might have a true game changer.

Also new here was the Cirrus helmet, which stands out right away for how it looks. At first glance, there are very few visible vents. Closer inspection reveals they’ve used a ABS outer shell layered over an EPP inner shell for a helmet that can hold up to repeated abuse. The venting system takes advantage of the space between the shells to move air and heat away from the climber’s head. It has a clean and unique look, more akin with skateboard helmets than what you see from other climbing brands.

Those were the big highlights from my perspective, but there was plenty more really good stuff:

Adidas

The Swift Solo ($99) is a lightweight version of the popular Solo approach shoe, with a one piece molded forefoot-toe cap. Slip on construction keeps it light and comfortable. These should be ideal anywhere you need a lightweight approach option, or just a nice cragging shoe to wear between burns on your project.

adidas-swift-solo

Butora

This was a brand I had heard a little bit about but never had the chance to actually meet with before this show. I’m always a little skeptical of new climbing brands, especially shoes. I mean, are you really bringing something to market that’s better than Solutions or the Booster S?

The Butora stuff looks promising, and I’ve been wearing a pair of the Acro’s for the last four weeks, so far fairly impressed. Their newest offering is the Narsha, featuring a tight heel cup with a forgiving heel rand, making for a comfortable high end shoe for the steep stuff. The main velcro strap is supplemented by a smaller multi-angle strap on the front to better adjust the fit. A big draw with these guys is that their shoes come in a wide and narrow version, which as someone with size 12 feet that are very narrow is a welcome change. Most other “low volume” shoes are aimed at women and don’t go as big as I need them.

butora-narsha

DMM

The main excitement here was their new Flexform harnesses, which was designed for maximum comfort and performance. The comfort part comes from bonded composite pads with zoned areas, thicker in the middle for support, and softer ones around the edges for flexibility and comfort. The tie-in points are injection-molded for increased durability, and there are five gear loops, ideal for trad climbers who need to carry large racks. It’s also manufactured in their facility in Wales.

dmm-eon

Five Ten

Lots going on at Five Ten, including the announcement that they are now distributing Fixe Hardware, Alien Cams and Roca Ropes. Too soon to say how this will play out but an interesting development for sure.

On the shoe front, Fred Nicole is now a developer for 5.10, and they are stoked to have him on board. When the Blanco went away, many die-hard fans were distraught, as the Pinks didn’t really fill the hole that was left. But fear not, they are back in the line, which should be welcome news to those who’s idea of fun is micro crimps on a vertical wall. The Urban Approach is a svelte, collapsible model that’ll be as comfortable in the city as it is descending into the Black on an early fall morning.

five-ten-blanco

La Sportiva

I remember laughing with a friend about how in some of the earliest videos of Adam Ondra shredding steep sport routes he was wearing Miura’s, a great shoe but one more people associate with trad climbing than steep sport. Well apparently he planted a bug in the shoe designers ear at Sportiva, as in 2017 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of that shoe, they are launching the Miura XX, Adam Ondra’s signature shoe, which will only be available for one year. Take the Miura, add the P3 Platform, an updated design and a new lacing system and you have a Miura for the 21st century. Not sure why they wont make more of these, but time will tell.

sportiva-miura-xx

The Kataki is a lace up version of the Otaki for those who want a more precise fit. The Mythos Eco is made from 95% recycled materials., including the Eco-Ribber outsole which was made from rubber leftovers from other shoes. The Maverink is a No-Edge shoe designed for younger climbers, the design of which reduces pressure on the growing foot.

sportiva-kataki

sportiva-maverink

Maverink

Liberty

Grivel has a new helmet, the Stealth, that weighs 190 grams and was designed for optimal airflow to keep your head cool. The Tau carabiner expands their twin gate design, using a solid gate with a wire behind it. To disengage, you have to pull the wire to move the gate. It was fairly intuitive, though honestly I’m not the biggest fan of these designs.

grivel-stealth

Metolius

Coolest thing here for me were the new belay glasses. I’ve been using the CU specs since they were first available in the states, but always thought $120 was a bit pricey. These will retail for $60, and feature a prism that’s bigger than some of the others I’ve seen. Looks like a great value.

metolius-belay-glasses

For developers and/or bolt replacement geeks out there, their bolt hangers are now 316 stainless, no more of that low grade 304 crap ;-)

They’ve got some interesting new footholds in their holds line. They are the thinnest bolt-on holds available, great for simulating the poor feet found on most hard outdoor climbs. Plus, they’re made from metal so they are virtually unbreakable.

Mammut

The Magic Sling is what everyone’s talking about, which only loses 10% of its strength when knotted (compared to 30-40% for nylon and 50-60% for Dyneema). They claim you can factor 2 fall onto it and not break your back, which is nice.

There’s no denying that a huge area of growth for climbing has come from people living in large cities who spend most to all of their time climbing in gyms. These are not the traditional consumers of years gone by, who are using the gym only to train for going outside. Oddly enough, it seems like only a few companies, like So Ill, are recognizing and catering to these consumers.

A few products from Mammut along those lines, a line of chalk bags and pots that are customizable by the customer. Also the Seon Transporter, a gym/work bag that you can take to the board meeting and then head to the gym with afterwards. The Sloper Low is a stylish approach shoe with urban styling . Also of note is the Rainspeed Utility, a $300 5.25 oz weatherproof jacket.

mammut-transporter

Outdoor Research

The Ascendant Jacket takes Primaloft Alpha Direct breathable insulation and removes the liner, making it lighter and more breathable. I love the idea of insulation that you put on and leave on, for me I generally run too hot to take full advantage of it. This jacket looks to solve that issue and it’ll be really cool to see how it performs.

Patagonia

The Nano Air Light is Patagonia’s offering in the not-quite-as-warm and more-breathable active insulation category. As with Rab and OR, this piece looks ideal for those of us who run hot but still want something that will keep us warm when we aren’t moving, or are lapping up the pow on the way down! 40g of breathable FullRange insulation in the front is backed by super stretchy wicking waffle knit.

patagonia-nano-air-lite

The Ascentionist Pack gets some updates, which makes getting into the pack easier and improves the suspension. The Storm Racer is a 6 ounce 3-layer waterproof shell that might replace the Alpine Houdini in some folks’ packs.

Rab

The Alpha Flux is their latest offering in the breathable insulation category, featuring the new Alpha Direct insulation, which has no lining fabric, making it lighter and more breathable. This was a trend at several of the clothing companies and it’s cool to see things headed in this direction. The Kinetic Plus is a lightweight (12oz) softshell that’s highly water resistant which utilizes their new Proflex shell fabric. The new Downpour shell is a $100 jacket that offers full protection from the elements at a reasonable price.

rab-alpha-flux

Scarpa

The Insticnt VSR takes the popular Instinct VS but softens it up and adds XS Grip 2 instead of the harder XS Edge. The result is a shoe aimed at lighter climbers or those who prefer more sensitivity in their footwear. Unfortunately it only goes to size 42…

scarpa-instinct-vsr

 As usual a big thank you to everyone that took the time to meet with us!

Read more http://www.splitterchoss.com/2016/09/01/outdoor-retailer-summer-2016-climbing-report/

In order to be ranked in the Combined World Cup, you need to have results in two disciplines. From the results 2016 we can see that only a couple male and female actually have gotten semi results during 2016. Previous years, more athletes did compete successfully in both Lead and Boulder but now it seems almost everyone has chosen to specialize in just one discipline. In fact, the only two athletes that have participated in more than two events in at least two disciplines are Sean McColl and Jakob Schubert. Not one female has actively competed in at least two disciplines. The combined format failure in the World Cup 2016 is confirmed by checking the starting list for the World Championship. Only Sean McColl and Charlotte Durif have signed up by the guys who regularly do the semis in at least two disciplines. Could this be considered as a silent protest towards the Olympic Combined format?

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Twilight over the valley. #Yosemite #halfdome #sunset (at...

Twilight over the valley. #Yosemite #halfdome #sunset (at Yosemite Wilderness)

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