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10 Tips to Climb Harder by Climbing Smart and Efficiently

Editor’s note: about once or twice per month, we’ll republish an older piece of content that’s exceptionally well done and that we feel deserves some extra attention. This article was originally published October 8, 2015.

Have you ever found yourself thinking,
If only I were a stronger climber …
with the notionthat by being instantly stronger you would climb harder and send your projects?If so, you are not alone.
Building strength takes a lot of time and an immediate stint on a hang board will not yield immediate results. What you really want is to perform stronger today. Therefore, what can we do that would help bring us closer to performing stronger without throwing in the towel and resorting to training? What if we shifted our focus away from pure strength and looked at how climbing smarter and more efficiently could yield big gains?
Most of us identify ‘stronger’ as a physical aspect to climbing like building muscles, improving finger strength, etc. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Tiffany Henlsey at the Vail World CupTiffany Hensley getting creative at the Vail World Cup at the Teva Mountain Games. Photo: Audrey Sniezek
While being strong is an important aspect to climbing harder, it’s a misconception that it’s the only means. I believe there is more to climbing than simply brute strength.
Look at the top climbers and notice that while they are strong, they also bring a keen awareness of how to regulate their output on a climb with every move they make. Top climbers try to avoid using 100% of their strength because they know doing so brings them to failure quickly.
Energy exertion on a climb varies and learning to regulate that output can help you climb harder for longer.
There exists a range in which we operate in climbing that spans minimum energy spent to maximum energy spent. In any given climbing situation, the meter is constantly moving between the ranges—never settling until the climb is over.
Like fuel efficiency in cars, there is a sweet spot where you can get the most mileage for the least fuel output. If we climbed only things that kept us in the green with minimal effort, we wouldn’t be challenged. Similarly, if we climbed everything at our maximum effort, then we would be over-challenged and our capacity for that challenge would be exhausted rapidly. Essentially, this range wouldlook like climbing moderate routes all day tofalling on the same move on a very difficult boulder or route.
Climbing stronger is the ability to pull hardwhile also balancing the intensity of that output against the overall needed exertion to complete the climb.

10 tips to climb stronger

Consider this mantra from Yoga instructor, Baron Baptiste:
Be powerful, yet peaceful; strong, yet relaxed; don’t try hard, try easy.

1. Relax

This word used to frustrate me. I’d be stressing out on a climb and I’d hear this word float up to me. Perplexed by the notion to relax when I was clearly stressing and trying hard, took me some time to wrap my head around.
I finally came to understand that relaxing is the ability to calm down under stress or stay calm during stressful moves; it’s the ability to keep breathing or regulate your breathing to keep or get your heart rate under control.

Related:How to Breathe Properly: Breathing Techniques for Rock Climbing

Relaxing drops that meter from the red to yellow, and maybe even brings you back to green all while still on the route. Riding the stress or ignoring this critical skill will take you further into the red—draining your precious reserves and possibly leaving you hanging at the end of the rope.
These athletes are trying hard and regulating their energy output. Watch them make powerful moves then make micro adjustments to relax and throttle back to conserve energy to stay on the wall and make further progress:

2. Climb smart

Just because you can pull hard moves does not mean you should. Being smart about climbing means being willing to consider non-obvious solutions, explore alternatives and try easy. Further, simply doing what everyone else does, may not be what works best for you.
Watch as Megan Mascarenas uses her creativity to think outside the box in an attempt to climb this problem the easiest for her:

3. Regulate energy expenditure

This is the holy grail of relaxing. The ability to pull hard and then pull back immediately. Watch any top climber and you will see them try hard but you will also see them ease up in between every hard move.
Even a beast like Alex Puccio can control her output to give her enough energy to send this climb:

4. Loosen your grip

One of the best ways to regulate how much energy you are spending on a climb is to check your grip.If you are climbing with white knuckles, you might want to pause, take a breath and relax. Loosen that grip and get some blood flow back into your fingers, hands and forearms.
Over gripping is a sure-fire way to spend your fuel quickly. Pull hard, then ease back just enough to let the holds hold you.

5. Use mini-shakes

If you watch how the best climbers in the world climb, you will inevitably see them do something called a mini-shake. This technique is used to help move that lactic acid build up in the arms while climbing. This becomes especially important when there is no place to pause in the climb to get a real shake out.
See if you can spot some of these tips being used by Sasha DiGuilian on her first ascent in South Africa:
See if you can spot some of these tips being used by Adam Ondra in this video:

6. Work on skill development

As climbers, we are always testing ourselves against new and varied terrain. This means, there are a lot of climbing styles to be learned and applied. Don’t dismiss that there is room to grow. Spend time in the gym, try climbs that are outside of your preferred style, climb with a variety of different people and in different locations. Each of these are great ways to diversify your skill set. The more diverse your skill set, the more options you bring to a climb.
Sometimes it’s not about learning a new skill so much as refining an existing one. Go back to the basics like footwork, drop knees, flagging, etc. Take a class or do some technique work from one of the many training books out there. Think of skill development like an onion, no matter how long you have been climbing or how good you think you are, there are still layers to your skills that can be developed.

7. Learn torest

Rest days, resting between climbs, and resting while climbing are each equally important skills to develop that will aid in feeling stronger when climbing.

Rest days

I wish I could climb at my limit at will every day I was on the wall or at the gym, but this will not work. When your body operates at its limit, it reduces the reserves it has to give—your overall stamina is lowered.
Even throughout the course of a climbing day, that reserve can become significantly depleted and performance become dramatically impacted. The body simply needs time to build back these reserves. Recovery time is when your body, mind, and stamina rejuvenate. Therefore, resting is as necessary as training. If you want to climb your best, then you need to build rest into your climbing program.

Resting on the wall

The more relaxed you are on a climb, the more clearly you can think. If you are thinking clearly, you may suddenly become aware of resting options you hadn’t considered before.
Don’t overlook the obvious and be willing to try new things. Creativity can be key here. Simply because you have never rested on a particular type of hold or in a particular manner, doesn’t mean you can’t try and see if it will work. You might be surprised at how much a little more recovery on a climb can help.
As your stamina for resting improves, you may find that pausing initially feels taxing but recovery starts to come on slowly. Hold on with the least amount of effort, breathe and try to relax. Try to get your heart rate to slow down, but don’t linger too long. Sometimes hanging out too long backfires and resting becomes more work than its worth.

Resting In-between climbs

Finally, resting in-between climbs is a bit of a science. There is no hard-fast rule because there are many factors that can contribute or hinder recovery during this time.
Stamina will ultimately determine how much you have to give to another burn on a climb, but hydration, fueling with food, weather conditions, and allowing the right amount of rest between your next attempt are significant factors to consider.
For instance, if you red-lined on your last attempt, your recovery time will be significant and possibly impossible for that day. Understanding your personal dial for a climb will help you determine the type of recovery you need.

8. Eat

This fundamental part of existence is surprisingly overlooked for climbing. We have this idea that we need to be light and lean at the cost of eating. I’m not going to start a debate about eating and climbing—but I will say, if you want a full tank of gas you fill up your car, right? Why wouldn’t you do the same for climbing? Be sure you have enough fuel for the climbing you want to do.

Related:Nutrition Tips: Fueling for Optimal Climbing Performance Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Audrey SniezekAudrey climbing Dr. Evil (5.14a) in Little Si, Washington. Photo: Bryan Moncado

9. Hydrate

Water is a critical vehicle for moving waste out from the blood stream. This means that as you get pumped from climbing, all that lactic acid buildup needs to be flushed out. Water is a great way to do that.
Maintaining a high level of hydration helps with recovery in-between and after climbing. Be sure to have a balance of electrolytes like magnesium, sodium, and potassium, which prevents cramping of the muscles and makes your water work harder for you.

10. Have fun

Success is short-lived, but there is always a new challenge waiting. Whether it’s training to climb stronger or tapping into everything I have to climb the strongest I can today, it’s not the success or failure that matters. At the end of the day, I want to be having fun. To me, this is what climbing is about.
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Audrey Sniezek has been climbing for over 23 years and has been a semi-professional climber since2006. She has excelled at climbing while working a full-time, corporate software engineering job. She has competed in World Cups for


and sport climbing, has had first ascents and multiple femalefirst ascents around the world, bouldered outdoors up to V9, redpointed up to 5.14b and onsighted upto 5.13b.
She currently works part-time at Microsoft Corporation and spends the rest of her time climbing, training, or coaching.

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Laura Rogora has made her first 8b+ flash, Grazie in La Fortezza. "After the warm up the idea was to try the moves of this 8b+, but when I did the first hard move I decided to try it flash. Thanks to Enrico's beta, and after a hard battle I was able to reach the chain. I was so happy!" The picture, taken by (c) Pietro Migliorati, is from the 9a project, Tomorrow Land in Collepardo. The 15-year-old has previously done one 9a and she is also the reigning Italian Champion in both Lead and Boulder. She is #1 in the 8a female ranking game as well.
Fred Nicole, the leading boulderer some 20 years ago, has put up Chakija in Rocklands saying it is between 8B and 8C. Here his full story from Instagram. "What a crazy week! The last climbing day in the #Rocklands I managed to climb this line on the beautiful orange wall just left of "Stalker" - I was looking at it more closely since my last visit there in May. It is a beautiful orange wall with quite a few strange moves, that took me a while to figure out. I named it "Chakijana", a Zulu storyteller tells it is a meercat, others a hero of their culture... I just liked the sound of it. As for the grade it is difficult to say as I can imagine it sticks better with really cold conditions; it should be around 8b/c - time will tell! In the meantime I was back in Switzerland for a few days and I am now in China! I hope for a great winter


season when I get back to Zurich!"
Jernej Kruder, one of the best all-rounders with his activity ranging from Bouldering comps to multi-pitches, comes with great news on Instagram. © Kerstin Helbach "Baam! Yesterday I stucked the dyno once again :) but this time decided to finish in direct finish named Pontax 8c. @chris_sharma opened this line a year before he sent Es pontas, so it must be a second ascent after 11 years. Luckily I feel more comfortable on dyno now, so I started working on original line. Together with @janhojer we're getting higher now and I think we have equal chances of success. So there is no battle for second ascent, cuz after 10 years, few days wouldn't make any difference. Let's hope the waves calm down and we can be back in the game.
Dave Graham, one of the leading climbers of the last 15 years, reports on Instagram that he has done an unexpected FA of Topaz 8C in RMPN/Wild Basin. The first 8C FA by Dave Graham was The Story of 2 Worlds, which has become one of the most famous Boulders in the world. "This boulder is somehow long-winded; it begins with some strange technical footwork and a tedious set up for a punchy frontal divisive move to a pinch, the gateway to the last precarious sequence of foot moves and hand shifts and mini bumps. I had no clue I would end up on the top the try I actually climbed it, in a really rare

rock climbing

moment, tension and nerves through the final sequemce were toned down as each move I completed, I genuinely thought I was falling and about to slip off every move of the final sequence. AMAZING."
Fanatic Climbing has got some comments from Alex Megos after his FA of Supercrackinette 9a+ in St Leger. "It took me 3 days and I think it's 9a+. About the sends in the East face, I did l'Enfumette but I think it's 8c+ (originally graded 9a by the man who did the first ascent Kevin Aglaé). Took me 4 tries. I did as well too "Concept Extension", 8c+."
Chris Sharma reports on Instagram that he has repeated Joe Mama 9a+ in Oliana, which was bolted by Joe Kinder but Klemen Becan got the FA. (c) Ricardo Giancola "At first a route that I underestimated, it turned into an epic battle that got the best of me. So refreshing to come back this season with an open mind and no expectations other than to just enjoy climbing. Maybe it was in my head or maybe it was all the training with @patxiusobiaga_pucseries last summer."
We’re stepping back for this week’s Friday Flick Pick, revisiting Adam Ondra’s historical ascent of Change, the world’s first 9b+/5.15c.In typical Ondra fashion, this video comes at you with screaming, grunting, screaming, and a whole lot of screeching and screaming. But you can’t fault the guy—his style delivers.
Located in Norway’s Flatanger region, theclimb is composed of two stacked pitches completed in one push, without rest. The first pitch offers 20 meters of 5.15a/b climbing and the second provides another 30 meters of5.14d.
In this video you’ll hear things about the route being impossible (he did it), looking ridiculous (he sent it), and you’ll watch as Ondra pulls down on nothing in his brilliant battle to the top.

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Explore more Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Ben Herrington - Climbing in Moe's Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Ben Herrington - Climbing in Moe's Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Ben Herrington - Climbing in Moe's Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Ben Herrington - Climbing in Moe's Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Ben Herrington - Climbing in Moe's Valley Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news last-look-at-belay-min

Half-Baked Adventures … That’s what my adventure company would be called if I ever got around to starting one.

Cycling and climbing have been a way of life for me for almost a decade now, although I only started long-distance bike touring a few years ago. My first bike tour was in the summer of 2012: a few good friends and I made our own panniers out of some army surplus bags and spent a few weeks romping around the Colorado high country on whatever bikes we had.
Needless to say, I was hooked on the freedom and simplicity of it all. One part backpacking, one part road trip … thrown together on two wheels, it equals pure bliss.
After college, I went on “The Big One:” a 10-month cycling trip from California to Brazil for the 2014 Fifa World Cup. This epic was complete with the highest highs, the lowest lows, a sunken sailboat voyage, a pet chicken, and a float down the Amazon River.
All that was missing was the rock climbing.
So in 2015, after a successful summer of working on the backcountry trail crew in Carbondale,
the daunting thought of finding a winter job and paying for housing in expensive mountain towns arose. I thought,I could always head south for the winter …
Having heard the rumors of world-class climbing, I started making plans to go down to Patagonia … but would it be to climb or bike? Why not both?! I threw the idea around, but no one would commit.
I got ahold of Boyko and told him about the latest Half-Baked Adventures plan: to bike around Patagonia hitting up some of the climbing areas we’d only heard rumors about. To my surprise, he said he was planning on quitting his job and going on a grand adventure himself and although he had never bike toured before, this one fit the bill!
I told him not to worry; it would be easy. He could be the rope gun and I’d be the bike gun (if there was such a thing). Boyko is a Venezuelan-born, Ukrainian Catalan-American hybrid, a born rock climber who speaks perfect Spanish, and someone who loves spicy food as much as I do. Stoked to have found a partner for the adventure, we flew south in January 2016 to Puerto Montt, Chile. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news cycling-the-famous-carretera-austral-near-hornopiren-chileCycling the famous Carretera Austral near Hornopiren, Chile.
After meeting up in Puerto Montt, we headed south to our buddy’s farm in Hornopiren, about a 100km ride down the notorious Carretera Austral. Our Friends Ben and Luke are permaculture farmers from Colorado who enjoy their winters in southern Chile. The Carretera is Chile’s southern highway through Patagonia, running roughly 1,200km from Puerto Montt in the north to Villa O’Higgins in the south.
It took us two days, as Boyko’s derailleur kept blowing up. After jerry-rigged repairs, beach camps, dusty roads, and a rowdy futbol match with drunken, gun-toting locals, we made it toour friends’ farm where we spent about a week hanging out with Ben and Luka. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news farmhouse-in-hornopirenThe farmhouse in Hornopiren. Many evenings were spent drinking wine enjoying the view. The wifi password is: Blood^clad-view* (*joke, there is no wifi).
Their property sits just outside Parque Nacional Hornopiren and has a 100-year-old farmhouse with no electricity or running water. This was a perfect starting point for our trip, as we immersed ourselves in the local culture of wine drinking and eating empanadas de marisco (seafood). Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news fresh-fish-caught-by-luka-from-rio-negroFresh fish caught by Luka from Rio Negro, which runs through the property.
After a week on the farm, we made plans to visit the mysterious Cochamo Valley; allegedly the Yosemite of the South. We cycled up the Estero Reloclavi Fjord on some very tough, jungly, dusty gravel roads where the mountains meet the sea. The unbelievable views were accompanied by steep washboard roads that hindered our pace.
For Boyko, this was an extremely rough introduction to bike touring. For me, I was questioning having all the extra weight of the climbing gear.
After two days on the aforementioned roads, we made it to the town of Cochamo. We loaded up on supplies for the week and rode our bikes up to the trailhead where we stashed them with the gauchos. Luckily, the gauchos offer horse packing services to carry your stuff up the valley. We loaded all our food and

climbing gear

on the horses and took off on foot with our camping gear into the Cochamo Valley. This trail is hundreds of years old and is still used as a trade route between Argentina and Chile by the Mapuche people.
After a slightly aerobic trek up the trail, we made base camp at La Junta Campground. Granite walls towering thousands of meters over the valley in every direction, the opportunity for new climbing routes seemed endless. With limited supplies and time on our hands, we sampled some of the cragging in the area while waiting for a weather window to get on some of the classic big wall routes. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news bouldering-in-southern-hemisphere-minWith only “rock pad” and Martin’s gaze as spotters, Hen jumps in jubilation after topping his first boulder problem in the Southern Hemisphere. Estero Reloclavi Fjord, Chile.
After a few days of rain, the weather cleared up enabling us to get high above the valley floor. Another aerobic hike through the jungle gets you to the base of Cerro Trinidad. We kicked things off with a moderate 500m 9-pitch climb called EZ Does it(5.10+), which was really fun—up ramps and slabs to splitter dihedrals into a cave. This was a great way to get to know the valley. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news stemming-on-ez-does-it-rock-climb-min Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news hand-drawn-topo-min
Our next big objective was the notorious west face of Cerro Trinidad, via the Bienvenidos a Mi Insomnio route. This is one of the longest all-free routes in South America; a 20-pitch 1000m 5.11 wall.Bivying literally at the base of the wall, you stare up and wonder what the next day’s adventure might hold.
After an early start and soloing the first few easy pitches, we were making good progress up the headwall. The crux pitch is a super thin traverse with wild exposure. Fortunately, this type of climbing is Boyko’s forte and he dispatched it with ease. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news cerro-trinidad-climbingHen decides which crystals and dime edges he will walk on next. As thin as it is terrifying for the follower and leader alike. Cerro Trinidad, Cochamo.
Losing track of what pitch we were on, Boyko and I topped out the Cerro Trinidad in just under 12 hours! From the summit, you achieve amazing views of the Patagonian Andes. You can even see the Frey towers—a climbing area in Argentina we planned on hitting up later on in the trip.
After a rainy rest day spent kickin’ it in the valley, drinkin’ mate, and playing cards, we were indecisive as to whether we should go for another wall in a push or if the jungle and granite had worn us down enough to retreat back to civilization.
Fortunately, we decided to rally for one more wall!
Trekking up again through the steep jungle trails guided by our headlamps, we positioned ourselves at the bivy and were treated to some of the most spectacular climbing of the trip:Al Centro y Adentro(5.11+, 600m). This climb has it all: from perfect fingers, to splitter hands, to manageable wide crack, fun chimneys, and some exciting slab and face climbing!
After climbing in Cochamo, we came to understand that maybe it wasn’t necessarily the Yosemite of South America, but that maybe Yosemite is the Cochamo of North America … Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news tips-crack-rock-climbingOne of the best pitches of the trip—perfect tips crack.
After two weeks of jungle treks and Andean big walls, we opted for the flat coastal scenic route over the busy and hilly route. It ended up being about twice as far, but very enjoyable cycling through remote fishing villages. It is amazing to see how these people have lived for generations by getting what they need from the sea. We continued south via a long ferry boat ride and then headed east towards Futaleufu and then onward to Argentina! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news chubut-desert-bike-touring-min
We had heard other rumors of a climbing destination far out in the Argentine Desert. Nearly 200km from the nearest big town, it was a long shot, but since we were self-supported touring cyclists, we decided to go for it.
After lots of washboard dusty gravel roads (which had become a theme for the trip), limited water supplies, and camping at an abandoned house, we rolled into Piedra Parada just as the sun exploded into the horizon. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news bike-touring-min Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news bike-touring-through-desert
We crossed the jungle, pedaled up the mountain pass, rode through plains, and ended up in the Chubut desert in search of a mystical climbing oasis.
All the biking did not disappoint.
Piedra Parada was one of the most laid back climbing destinations we’ve ever visited. We set up a 2-week camp DBTR (down by the river) in Mario’s campground. The canyon would go into the shade by high noon, so mornings consisted of river dips and long mate sessions. Piedra Parada is a sport climbing destination on volcanic tuff (think, Smith Rock’s latin, grungy, wild, sexy, and spicier third-world cousin). Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news BiCi Vertical Trip Report: Biking 1700km and Climbing 100 Pitches Through Patagonia
We hilariously climbed the sporty overhung classics, including the mega sustained Virgin Spirewith double ropes and alpine draws, while cragging with primo $1 per 2-liter wine and lounge chairs. Since we were quite the characters at the sport crag, we made friends easily and worked our way into the vibrant international climbing scene with beers, music, and campfires. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news piedra-parada-camping-climbing-min
After Piedra Parada, we committed to a long 300km ride from Esquel to Bariloche. Unlike what we were used to in Chile, the roads were paved and the humidity was low—the biking was excellent as a result. In Bariloche, we stashed our bikes in a hosteland trekked up Cerro Catedral for a few nights to climb the very same and infamous Frey Spires that we had spotted from afar at Cochamo.
After the pleasant 3-hour approach to the Refugio area, we topped out to a snow storm and winds flattening everyone’s tents. But the climbing gods followed up the storm up with some absolutely splitter weather, which allowed us to climb the tallest spire, Torre Principal, on a beautiful bluebird day via Chocolate Liquido:a fun 5.10 route up corners and splitters that finishes with a slick, sporty pitch to the summit!
Frey is a very special location. You are pretty much alpine cragging! With fairly casual approaches and spires everywhere, you can run around this alpine playground and summit multiple towers with ease. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news refugio-emilio-frey-and-the-frey-spires-top-of-torre-principal-min Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news climbing-south-america
One of the coolest things about topping out the Torre Principal was being able to see all the way to the south the valleys which we had biked up and the lake we had camped at on the way. Also, we were able to look at our cycling route to the north. It is a special feeling knowing you’re traveling on your own power.
Once we had finished our business in Frey, we hit the last leg of our trip: the famous Ruta de Los Siete Lagos from Bariloche to San Martin de Los Andes. This was one of the most beautiful rides of the trip and it took us three days to cycle the 200km between the two towns. We were treated to nicely paved roads leading through mountainous valleys, with huge lakes and up river drainages as we pedaled north towards San Martin. The road is called the Route of the Seven Lakes, but there are way more lakes than seven! San Martin is a moderately sized mountain town at the base of a huge lake known as Lago Lacar. The last 15km was a very winding steep downhill and we bombed into town grinning from ear to ear. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Piedra ParadaPiedra Parada
Upon arriving in San Martin de Los Andes, we met up with my good friend Flori. I know her from living in Colorado and she insisted that we come visit her when we were down south. Naturally, we took her up on the offer and we were not disappointed. Flori and her friends treated us to amazing Patagonian hospitality, showing us some of the cool hikes as well as taking us out to the local watering holes and dance parties. After nearly a week in San Martin, we felt like locals and didn’t want to leave.
Having extended the trip so we could make it to San Martin, we were behind on our biking schedule and ended up taking a bus back to Chile in order make our return flights. Boyko went home a few days before me and I enjoyed my last few days in Chile in the lakeside town of Puerto Varas. It ended up being another excellent trip down to the Southern Hemisphere.
While in the Patagonian Lakes Region, we cycled over 1,700km (1000km on gravel) and logged over 100 pitches of rock climbing! The climbing scene in South America is just starting to pop off and we feel like we barely scraped the surface. I know that we’ll definitely find ourselves in this part of the world sometime in the near future.
Hen and Boyko: We’d like to thank Ben & Luka from the Turtle Island Ecology Center, Flori and friends, all the cool people we met, Clos Wine, Quilmes Beer, and Steely Dan. It would have been way lamer without you.

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Who are you and how did you get to Brooklyn?
I’m Rob. I like to describe myself as a New Yorker, scientist, horticulturist, explorer and friend. I was born and raised in Brooklyn. Shoutout to Bath beach (my neighborhood, haha) My father’s family were immigrants to NYC from Italy (three generations ago) and my mother’s family were immigrants to NYC from Spain (two generations ago) so I’ve been here awhile.
How did you start climbing?
I started climbing a few years ago when my ex-girlfriend, an adrenaline junkie, introduced me to outdoor climbing. I’ve been climbing ever since. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_3200
How has climbing changed your life?
Climbing has brought me into an amazing community of open and supportive people. I’ve even made friends bonding over the awesome music (disco anyone?!?) played at BKB.
Climbing in general has allowed me to have a creative outlet and an outlet for relieving stress.
Solving a problem on the wall has so many parallels to solving a problem in real life.
What are your current biggest projects, on and off the wall?
I spent a lot of time traveling in Europe this past summer so I haven’t been climbing much, so on the wall I’m trying to get back into shape. Off the wall, I’ve been trying to figure out my life (hooray for quarter-life crises). After burning myself out working on my masters degree I’ve been trying to just create things for myself. I’m actually looking to collaborate with people on a science themed podcast or website and I’ve been working with friends in home brewing and distilling. I guess ultimately my biggest project off the wall is to learn to find what I’m passionate about and to learn to enjoy the journey. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_3275
What inspires you?
There is so much to be inspired about. I’d say I take inspiration from many things: my friends, family and loved ones. But my greatest inspiration definitely comes from two things: New York City and plants. I can’t really describe it but there is an unbelievably special feeling when you really take the time to look at and appreciate NYC. Everything seems possible here. Plants may seem like an odd source of inspiration but to me there is nothing more inspiring than staring at an gigantic ancient tree that has stood for thousands of years. It really puts your life into perspective.

Keep an eye out for more portraits done by Leah Bank and community spotlights on our blog – and you can follow Robert on Instagramhereand reach out if you want to collaborate with him on a science-themed podcast!
Want to get involved in the BKB community? Hit us up with your idea, pitch or a note atTen adres pocztowy jest chroniony przed spamowaniem. Aby go zobaczyć, konieczne jest włączenie w przeglądarce obsługi JavaScript..
Description: Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Every day spent outside is a good day :) Putting in some work on...
Every day spent outside is a good day :) Putting in some work on Main Line today at Groom!
Photo: Sendaholic
It’s the time of year where the campus rungs get dusted off and the hangboard areas at the gym are filled with climbers strengthening their fingers in hopes of achieving glory at the latest climbing comps here in the Northeast. Finding dates and times for these comps can be a little challenging unless you visit each page or gym website. We figured we would do you a solid and list the details of all the climbing comps for the 2016-17 season! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news darkhorse-series
Dark Horse Series ( – A 4-part series consisting of the final comp as the main showdown for theultimateDark Horse Champion!
Comp/Round 1: Saturday October 8, 2016. Location: MetroRock Essex, VT from 8:00 AM-9:00 PM
Comp/Round 2: Saturday November 19, 2016. Location: MetroRock Newburyport, MA from 12-8:00 PM.
Comp/Round 3: Saturday December 17, 2016. Location: MetroRock Everett, MA from 12-8:00 PM
Comp/Round 4(Finals): Friday Jan 20, 2017 6:00 PM – Saturday Jan 21, 2017 9:00 PM. Location: MetroRock Everett, MA. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Guide to the 2016-17 Northeast Comp Scene
Tri-State Bouldering Series(– A recent addition to the


circuit that boasts a multi-gym collaboration in an effort to bring together the climbing community through a bad-ass comp series!
Comp/Round 1: November 12, 2016; The Brawl at NJ Rock Gym Fairfield, NJ
Comp/Round 2: January21, 2017; Power Struggle at Prime Climb Wallingford, CT.
Comp/Round 3: January 27, 2017; Feats of Strength at The Cliffs Valhalla, NY.
Comp/Round 4(Finals): March 11, 2017; The Gotham Citizen & TBS Championship at The Cliffs Long Island City, NY. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Guide to the 2016-17 Northeast Comp Scene
The Heist( – A


comp set for women by women! This comp is becoming a regular here in the northeast with this comp being in its 4th season. Check out the footage from past comps on The Heist website!
October 15-16, 2016; Central Rock Gym Watertown, MA. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Guide to the 2016-17 Northeast Comp Scene
Rocktoberfest Bouldering and Dyno Comp( – The name of this comp is self explanatory so if you’re in the area check it out!
October 20, 2016; Central Rock Gym Glastonbury, CT. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news boulderingdead-hdtv-banner4
Night of the Bouldering Dead ( – A


comp, some BBQ, and maybe some zombies for this Halloween comp.
October 28, 2016; Central Rock Gym Randolph, MA Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Guide to the 2016-17 Northeast Comp Scene
Blackout Boulder Brawl ( – Climbing in the dark with some psychedelic colors glowing all around you? Yes, please! Get dressed up and get yo’ comp on for the 6th season of this comp with some tough problems and awesome prizes!
October 29, 2016 at MetroRock Climbing Center in Newburyport, MA. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Guide to the 2016-17 Northeast Comp Scene

Boston Boulder Brawl (B3)( – The date says 2016 in the photo but worry not, you won’t need to time travel to attend this comp as it is really happening in 2017 on April 8. This comp has an interesting format with a “last man standing” finals format. This means if you don’t finish a finals problem, you’re out!
April 8, 2017; Rock Spot Climbing South Boston, MA.
This list will be updated as soon as we get details on upcoming comp information, so bookmark this page and check back for updates! Also, if you know of a comp, let us know and we’ll spread the word!
Black Diamond has made an interview with Adam Ondra concerning him being on his way to Yosemite planning to try three serious routes. "Well, the first serious route I’d like to try is the Nose 8b+ (VI 5.14), and then the Salathé 8a (VI 5.13b), and then the Dawn Wall 9a (VI 5.14d). But for me, the really important route is the Salathé, and I’d like to try and onsight it in one day. So I think it would be wise to try something beforehand and the most classic route is the Nose, so why not? I talked to Tommy a little bit. He gave me some tips, like where to set up base camp, the portaledges, where to fix the ropes, stuff like that. And about the shoes … that’s very crucial." Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Rifle 911
Many years ago, on a hot summer day, I was climbing with my friend Dan. I took off my shirt off before climbing.
Sorry, it happens.
“Dude,” Dan said, his eyes transfixed on my unimpressive pectoral region. “Your chest hair looks like the Bat Signal.”
“What?” I said. “Does not.”
“Yes, it does,” he said. “Look.”
He pointed at my heart, and began sketching the iconic insignia with his finger.
“You’re Batman.”
“Am not!” I said. No, no, NO! It can’t be! I’m not Batman. Spiderman, perhaps. But Batman? Too fucking kooky!
“I’d much rather be Batso,” I said, beginning to think a bit more clearly as I spattered a heavy coating of liquid chalk on my fingers.
“Um, hello? Batso … Warren Harding, bro. You know, first ascent of the Nose ’n shit. Drank a bottle of red wine every day, ran around with a gang of hot women and drove fast cars, and didn’t give a fuck about anything.”
These were the few facts I knew about Warren Harding, and to me, they were the onlyones that mattered.
“That does sound like you,” Dan said. “Except for the fast cars, hot women, and first ascent of El Cap thing … now, are you going to climb, or what?”

A Cat and a Bat

There’s a story floating somewhere in the most sugary section of our collective unconscious about an old lady’s cat getting stuck in a tree, andthewell-proportioned fireman who comes to therescue, while all the neighbors applaud the moot heroism.
Obvi, the story is totes dumb since since cats can get out of trees just as surely as routes with permadraws will be climbed. … At least that’s what I thought, until a fateful trip to Rifle.
Dan and I were looking to sneak in one last pitch before an ominous-looking raincloud unleashed its fury. As I drove us up to the Anti-Phil wall, we noticed a shadowy figure running zigzag patterns on the road. It was our friend, “John.” He was wearing a women’s rain jacket, eggshell colored, form flattering and way too small.
He saw our car and started waving his arms like a maniac.
“Stop, stop! Call 911! Call the fire department!” John was hysterical.
“Wha happened?” I asked.
“Some crazy redneck tried to free solo out of the Skull Cave, and now he’s stuck on the wall,” he said, panting. His voice was jumping octaves like Indian pop music. It expressed a hint of genuine worry mixed mostly with the evil pleasure of being The One to tell us. “If this rain comes … Jesus, he might fucking die!”
“What can we do?”
John hopped into the back of the Sentromes, my 1996 Nissan multi-beast with 300,000 miles. We drove up canyon to find Elmer, the camp host whom we suspect hates climbers. Elmer was sitting in the hut and smoking fiendishly. John pleaded with him to call the fire department. It was obvious that Elmer wanted to deal with this as much as I did.
Dan shot me a look that said, This is serious bullshit. I responded with a look that said, Is there any other kind?
I was super anxious to go see what kind of “redneck” gets himself stuck on the wall beside the Skull Cave. I envisioned a hick dressed in a wifey and wearing a NASCAR hat, sitting in a little rocky hole, crying his eyes out and yelling like crazy for Jesus.
The speed at which Elmer, 400 pounds, was moving was killing me. Finally, he concluded his call to the fire department and we were off.
We returned to the scene and sure enough, there he was: a kid, no older than 20, in a red baseball hat, jeans and long-sleeved shirt, standing awkwardly and shoulder-scumming against a flake at a little stance.
He was probably only 15 feet off the ground, which sort of suddenly made John’s original depiction of the situation seem a little melodramatic to me.
“Dude, why don’t you just climb down?” I asked the kid.
But the scene of climbers that had gathered around him had already determined that this situation demanded a code red response. In addition to calling the authorities, I heard various folks tossing around archaic concepts of self-rescue that they had once read in Freedom of the Hills.
“If we can climb up to that ledge, I might be able to to rig a 3-to-1,” one guy said.
“Really, you think a 3-to-1’ll do it?” another guy asked. “What about a 5-to-1?”
“Fuck me, you might be right,” the first guy said. “Five to one it is.”
Meanwhile, the Redneck kid was laughing his ass off. He looked higher than a giraffe’s ass on stilts.
“What are you doing up there?” I asked the kid.
“I was tryin’ to get at them clippy things!” he said. “They’re so shiny.”
I was fighting back an increasingly evil desire to climb up to the Redneck, grab him by the belt loop, and hurl his dumb ass down into a bush. I knew the cops were coming, and all I could see was a dreaded headline in tomorrow’s paper.
Mayor Shuts Down Climbing After Drug-Addled Climber Needs Rescue
“Why don’t you just jump?” I suggested, seriously.
“No! Unacceptable!” cried out one of the climbers leading the code-red. “The rock is loose, and now it’s wet. It’s too hard and too dangerous. If you think you know how to rig a 5-to-1, then by all means, go right ahead. Problem is, I don’t think you do!“ He jabbed me in the chest with his finger.
“Bitch, I’ll rig a 10-to-1 in your face!” That’s what I wanted to say, anyway. I didn’t say that.
“I’ve got to get out of here,” is what I actually said to Dan.
I was astonished to the point of being bored by such fretfulness from a group of people who supposedly rock climb.
We drove out of the canyon for about one second when we passed the distinctive flutter of lights that have always caused me fear and panic—one cop car, one fire truck, an ambulance and the park ranger were streaming up canyon.
“OK, we have to turn around to see this,” Dan said.
Do we? I wondered. I paused on the side of the road, unsure and uneasy. For some reason, I considered what Batso would do. I reached up into my shirt and touched my chest hair—either my mark of Cain or my cross to bear. Batso would never miss a fuck-fest like this, I realized. I took a whack of some L-Glutamine powder, hit the pedal, and the Sentrometer went wild, spinning us around 180 degrees and fast.
We quickly caught up with the Authorities, who had stopped at the canyon entrance, stymied by where to go. I pulled up to the front of the parade and rolled down my window to talk to the lead cop.
“Do you need my assistance?” I asked.
“Do you need my assistance?” he responded.
I nodded. “Follow me if you want to live!”
My heart jumped into my throat, and I felt a jolt of electricity run through my balls. I looked into the rearview mirror at the acid-kaleidoscope of flashing lights. I hit the hazard lights on my 1996 Nissan Sentra and revved the lawn-mower engine to the max
“I am Batso!” I screamed, accelerating forward. Dan deserved to know the full truth. We were in this together, and he should be ready for whatever might come next.
“I thought you were Batman?“ he said.
“Don’t argue with me,” I said. “I was in a hammock on El Cap way before people like you were climbing 5.13’s. Ha ha!”
We reached the Skull Cave. It only took a minute. The Authorities jumped out of their trucks. Eight firefighters, two cops, three EMT workers and the park ranger ran around pulling levers and cocking rifles.
The fire crew had brought one 24-foot ladder, which they assumed was inadequate due to gumby disinformation. Apparently, in Gumbyland, 15 feet really means 30 feet. That makes sense on some level, doesn’t it?
“He’s only 15 feet off the ground!” I shouted. “Trust me, I’m Batso!”
“Can you stop saying that?” Dan said. I agreed that maybe it was time to lay low. There were cops around, after all, and I was out of my element, far from the high lonesome of El Cap’s perfect stone and nowhere near my beloved red wine.
Once the fire crew got into the Skull Cave, they immediately recognized the Redneck stuck on the cliff.
“Oh, hi, Billy,” the fire chief. “You get yourself stuck up there?”
“Is this gonna cost a lot?” Billy asked.
“Oh, just a couple hundred bucks,” said the chief, who sported a mean rat-tail that snaked out of his hard hat like a dead worm. “That won’t be a problem, will it?” he said, laughing crazily.
The EMT workers brought Billy down to the ambulance, where they stuck a steel catheter up his penis while he howled like a dog. Meanwhile, the police were writing up tickets for a few minor violations: a first-degree BAD (Being A Dumbass) as well as third-degree RRPP (Reckless Redneckin’ in a Public Park). I demanded that the cops slap on a premeditated STCT (Stealing the Clippy Things), as I have had three draws stolen in the last month alone. Alas, a climber’s needs are not a priority for Johnny Q. Law.
My friends and I left, surprised again by how consistently Darwin’s theories are foiled by the modern machinations of humanity. A sudden wave of exhaustion washed over me. It is an incredible thing to realize your true identity and just how deeply rooted climbing is in the absurd.
A version this article originally appeared in Rock and Ice magazine many years ago.
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Sierra Blair-Coyle
Moonstone V6
Groom Creek, Prescott, AZ