Joe McLoughlin

Blog of the Week - The Rock Climber's Training Manual

Bouldering season is fast approaching, so to prepare you for sending your projects our blog of the week is one of the best training websites out there: The Rock Climber’s Training Manual.  The Anderson brothers, Mike and Mark, have taken their years of rock climbing training experience and research and produced one of the best training books available.  This book builds upon the work of Goddard, Neumann, and Horst, to name a few, to provide clear and concise information on why and how to train for climbing your best.  Best of all, the Anderson’s maintain their website and post regularly at mountainproject.com providing opportunity for questions and feedback on your own personal training program.

One of my complaints over the years about many training books was that bouldering was always part of the training programs but it was rare that there would be a specific program FOR bouldering.  The Anderson’s have included programs and training exercises specifically for improving at bouldering (in addition to great programs for sport climbing).  Although the differences in training should be obvious, it is nice to see the training needs for bouldering specifically addressed in a sensible manner.  At a minimum, the Anderson’s hang board workouts are worth the price of admission.  Check them out here.

Previous favorites:

Bass for your Face

Climbing Narc

Rock Climbing Life

Crux Crush

Joe Kinder

The Power Company

Paul Robinson

 

Northeast's Best Update

Just updated the results to date on the voting for the best boulder problems (V1 through V8) in the Northeast.  Click here to check out the results and cast your vote!  We will be adding V9 through V11 next week.  Here is a summary of the results so far:

V1: Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, 71 votes (63% of the votes), Cream at Pawtuckaway, 17 votes

V2: The Whip at Pawtuckaway, 31 votes (26% of the votes), The Wave at Lincoln Woods, 28 votes

V3: Hobbit Hole at Pawtuckaway, 45 votes (39% of the votes), The Pond Cave Traverse at Lincoln Woods, 25 votes

V4: Overlooked at Pawtuckaway, 42 votes (27% of the votes), Heart of Glass at Lincoln Woods, 41 votes

V5: Sleeping Giant at Happy Valley, 22 votes (24% of the votes), Snooze Button at Great Barrington, 15 votes

V6: Ride the Lightning at Pawtuckaway, 34 votes (46% of the votes), Coitus, Snow Mountain, 10 votes

V7: Up in Smoke, Pawtuckaway, 13 votes (14% of the votes), The Buddha at the Gunks, 7 votes

V8: Appetite for Destruction at Farley, 34 votes (37% of the votes), Dopeman at Pawtuckaway, each with 11 votes

The V7 grade is the most competitive with a tie for first and the next problem (Homefront Arete) only one vote from the top.  Voting is still open, so these results can still change.  Pawtuckaway is definitely the most popular bouldering area in New England with 5 of the 8 top problems in the Northeast!

Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, the top vote getter across all grades!

Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, the top vote getter across all grades!

Back Mattress Media - Podcast #7

Back Mattress Media, one of our Media Spotlight team, has released their seventh podcast, an interview with Big Pete Ward, prolific New England FA'er and promoter of some of the biggest comps in the country.  Click below to hear the interview and the previous Climb Time Podcasts.

Podcast #7 - Pete Ward

Podcast #6 - Crux Crush

Podcast #5 - Josh Levin

Podcast #4 - Meaghan Martin

Podcast #3 - Vasya Vorotnikov

Podcast #2 - Angie Payne

Podcast #1 - Delaney Miller

Pete Ward getting close on the first ascent of Big, V8, at Farley Ledge.  Photograph by Joe McLoughlin.

Pete Ward getting close on the first ascent of Big, V8, at Farley Ledge.  Photograph by Joe McLoughlin.

Western Mass Rendezvous

On September 19-21, 2014, the Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition will hold their 5th annual Western Mass Rendezvous, part fundraiser, part festival, part climbing comp, at Farley Ledge in Erving, Massachusetts.  According to the WMCC, "The WMCC Rendezvous, presented by Millet is our annual fundraiser to help build cohesive relationships with advocacy groups, state and local governments, landowners, and conservation groups and to keep climbing areas open and conserve the climbing environment in Western Massachusetts."

This year's event includes a bouldering and roped climbing "friendly" competition, a screening of Reel Rock's latest film "Valley Uprising," and an Adopt-a-Crag event.  Check out WMCC's website, climbgneiss.org for more info and to register.

Back Mattress Media - Podcast #6

Back Mattress Media, one of our Media Spotlight team, has released their sixth podcast, an interview with the ladies from Crux Crush.  Crux Crush is one of our favorite blogs on the internets as we previously profiled them in our Blog of the Week feature.  Click below to hear the interview and the previous Climb Time Podcasts.

Podcast #6 - Crux Crush

Podcast #5 - Josh Levin

Podcast #4 - Meaghan Martin

Podcast #3 - Vasya Vorotnikov

Podcast #2 - Angie Payne

Podcast #1 - Delaney Miller

The Northeast Videos

Kai Webler, one of our Media Spotlight producers, has been putting together a series of videos on bouldering in the northeast.  He has finished up "The Northeast 2" which features bouldering at Farley, Rumney, Great Barrington, Pawtuckaway, Central CT and other areas.  What these videos lack in production or extraneous footage, they more than make up for with excellent beta footage.  Many classic problems are shown at areas all around the Northeast.  Here is the last installment of the 5 part series (see below for links to the first 4 videos).

Back Mattress Media - Podcast #5

Back Mattress Media, one of our Media Spotlight team, has released their fifth podcast, an interview with Boston-based pro Josh Levin.  Click below to hear the interview and the previous Climb Time Podcasts.  Page down to check out a cool video of Josh sending Livin' Astro at Rumney.

Podcast #5 - Josh Levin

Podcast #4 - Meaghan Martin

Podcast #3 - Vasya Vorotnikov

Podcast #2 - Angie Payne

Podcast #1 - Delaney Miller

The Northeast's Best Boulder Problems

Just posted up the results to date on the voting for the best boulder problems (V1 through V8) in the Northeast.  Click here to check out the results and cast your vote!  Here is a summary of the results:

V1: Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, 58 votes!, Cream at Pawtuckaway, 14 votes

V2: The Whip at Pawtuckaway, 26 votes, The Wave at Lincoln Woods, 20 votes

V3: Hobbit Hole at Pawtuckaway, 33 votes, The Pond Cave Traverse at Lincoln Woods, 20 votes

V4: Overlooked at Pawtuckaway, 34 votes, Heart of Glass at Lincoln Woods, 31 votes

V5: Sleeping Giant at Happy Valley, 12 votes, Snooze Button at Great Barrington, 9 votes

V6: Ride the Lightning at Pawtuckaway, 21 votes, Fuck the Method at Pawtuckaway, 5 votes

V7: Homefront Arete in Central CT, 7 votes, The Buddha at the Gunks, 7 votes

V8: Appetite for Destruction at Farley, 22 votes, Dopeman and Leave it to Beaver at Pawtuckaway, each with 8 votes

Seems obvious from the voting that Pawtuckaway seems to have the best bouldering in New England (or maybe the most popular)...

best.jpg

Throwback Thursday - January 2000

Previous Throwbacks:

First Ascent of Barbed Wire at Lincoln Woods

First Ascent of Big at Farley

The Machine

A Short Trip to Pennsylvania

Intensely Dedicated

NewEnglandBouldering was very lucky in it's early days to have some great photographers contributing to the Site including Tim Kemple, Harrison Shull, and Anne Skidmore.  Their photographs provided inspiration and documentation of an amazing time in New England bouldering's history.  We did many slideshows of their images and below are images from Anne's "Intensely Dedicated" slideshow we ran in January 2000.  All photos were taken by Ann Skidmore.  Click here to check out Anne's website.  Enjoy!

About "Intensely Dedicated" the photographer, Anne Skidmore ,writes, "I love photography, but I love climbing even more. Fortunately, I can put them together, and take on the challenge of trying to show the beauty of bouldering and the climbers with just a single picture. With these pictures I  have attempted to reveal the drive, the life, the passion, the addiction of climbers who are truely, instensely dedicated." Here, an unknown climber nears the topout of Tree Bola-Direct-Direct, V1, at Peter's Kill, New York.

About "Intensely Dedicated" the photographer, Anne Skidmore ,writes, "I love photography, but I love climbing even more. Fortunately, I can put them together, and take on the challenge of trying to show the beauty of bouldering and the climbers with just a single picture. With these pictures I  have attempted to reveal the drive, the life, the passion, the addiction of climbers who are truely, instensely dedicated." Here, an unknown climber nears the topout of Tree Bola-Direct-Direct, V1, at Peter's Kill, New York.

Janet Bergman climbing at Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island, while Rio Rose provides the supportive spot.

Janet Bergman climbing at Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island, while Rio Rose provides the supportive spot.

Anne did a series of hand shots because as she says, "the hands are so beautiful and crucial to climbing." Here, Janet Bergman grabs a sidepull at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

Anne did a series of hand shots because as she says, "the hands are so beautiful and crucial to climbing." Here, Janet Bergman grabs a sidepull at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

Janet Bergman's hands in the Hobbit Hole crack at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

Janet Bergman's hands in the Hobbit Hole crack at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

Tino Fiumara at Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island.

Tino Fiumara at Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island.

The photographer writes, "These are the hands of all random climbers. To me this picture sums up the end of the day. Where your tips are blown, flappers torn, and chalk seems to be permantly stuck on your hand. All of these things are what makes a climber know that he/she has had a sweet day of climbing."

The photographer writes, "These are the hands of all random climbers. To me this picture sums up the end of the day. Where your tips are blown, flappers torn, and chalk seems to be permantly stuck on your hand. All of these things are what makes a climber know that he/she has had a sweet day of climbing."

Jon Dickey starting Rump to Jump, V7, at Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island.

Jon Dickey starting Rump to Jump, V7, at Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island.

Jon Dickey straining to make the crossover on Rump to Jump, V7, at Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island.

Jon Dickey straining to make the crossover on Rump to Jump, V7, at Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island.

Janet Bergman hanging on to the Mushroom Traverse, V3, at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

Janet Bergman hanging on to the Mushroom Traverse, V3, at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

California native, Rio Rose focusing in the finishing hold of a dyno problem at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

California native, Rio Rose focusing in the finishing hold of a dyno problem at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

Rio Rose sticking another dyno at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

Rio Rose sticking another dyno at Pawtuckaway, New Hampshire.

About the photographer, Anne Skidmore: New York City was her hometown until she was nine years old, when her family moved to Connecticut. However, it was not until she was 15 years old that she discovered climbing in Connecticut. Anne has been climbing for almost five years, and loves every type of climbing, from bouldering to ice. She is currently a student at the University of New Hampshire, and will be declaring a major in Studio Art (having a double concentration in both photography and painting). Click here to contact Anne. The above photo is Anne enjoying a beautiful sunset after a great day of bouldering at Hueco Tanks, Texas. Photograph by Janet Bergman.

About the photographer, Anne Skidmore: New York City was her hometown until she was nine years old, when her family moved to Connecticut. However, it was not until she was 15 years old that she discovered climbing in Connecticut. Anne has been climbing for almost five years, and loves every type of climbing, from bouldering to ice. She is currently a student at the University of New Hampshire, and will be declaring a major in Studio Art (having a double concentration in both photography and painting). Click here to contact Anne. The above photo is Anne enjoying a beautiful sunset after a great day of bouldering at Hueco Tanks, Texas. Photograph by Janet Bergman.

Throwback Thursday - March 2004

Previous Throwbacks:

First Ascent of Barbed Wire at Lincoln Woods

First Ascent of Big at Farley

The Machine

Back in the winter of 2004, there was much discussion on the newenglandbouldering.com message board about a few problems in Pennsylvania that had been discussed as having big grades.  The guys who did the FAs were not known around the area and there was lots of doubt about the difficulty of the problems.  Specifically at question was a problem done by Chris Zwieg called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease that he claimed was V13.  Pete Ward and Brett Myers headed down to PA to check these problems out.  Here's their report:

A Short Trip to Pennsylvania

For many climbers, first ascents have a special meaning, somewhat like being an artist and creating a beautiful painting. The reality is that being the first to climb some chunk of rock in the middle of the woods really doesn't mean that much, except to the person who did climb it first. Over the last few months, on our message board, a couple of Pennsylvania boulderers have felt the need to defend several of their first ascents of some boulder problems at Big Rocks and Hunter's. They have endured endless trolls and attacks by mostly anonymous individuals. Through it all, and to their credit, they stuck to their guns and responded, sometimes at length, to all their critics. With some prodding and support from newenglandbouldering.com, Pete Ward and Brett Meyers took a short trip down to Pennsylvania to check out the problems and provide an objective report for us. Here is what many of us have been waiting the entire long, cold winter for:

Tornado G-Spot: V10 Actually quite a nice problem even with the spray paint. Apparently some guy killed himself by driving his car into the boulder awhile back. Lends a certain Je ne sais qoui. Photos show Brett Meyers working the problem and Randy Burks, the local tour guide. All taken by Pete Ward.

Lynn: V8 possibly V9. There was ice on a key hold and it's a bit of an eliminate so exact grade is hard to say. Photo of Pete Ward working the moves, taken by Brett Meyers.

Green Stream: V8 without sidepull. Sidepull was covered in ice, so grade w/sidepull??? If it is useable at all.

CJD: Can't give accurate grade because:
1. Footholds broke repeatedly.
2. It's hard to tell what's on route.
3. We got shut down.

Thanks to Joe M for sending us, and thanks to Randy Burks for giving us a tour and encouragement. For what it's worth we both believe that Randy climbed Toranado G-spot and Green Stream in the past.

Blog of the Week - Bass for your Face

Previous favorites:

Climbing Narc

Rock Climbing Life

Crux Crush

Joe Kinder

The Power Company

Paul Robinson

Our Blog of the Week for this week might be a candidate for the most irreverent blog on the internet.  The guys at Bass for your Face climb harder than most yet take things the least seriously that they can.  Their blog always seems to be poking fun at somebody (usually themselves) and is always good for a laugh (if you can figure out the inside jokes).  Their video clip, Magic: The Climbing is a great example of the hi-jinks that can usually be found at BFYF.  Check them out here and be prepared for a good laugh.

Blog of the Week - Paul Robinson

A young Paul Robinson, crushing then, crushing now.  Photograph from NEB's archive.

A young Paul Robinson, crushing then, crushing now.  Photograph from NEB's archive.

Sometimes you need some star power for motivation, and stars don't come much bigger than Paul Robinson.  From his humble beginnings in New Jersey, Paul has risen to the top ranks of the bouldering world.  His blog is regularly updated as he travels the world sending the hardest lines and always includes amazing shots of him crushing.  His blog is not wordy or philosophical, just great shots on the hardest problems all around the world.  Check it out here: The New Adventures of Paul Robinson

Blog of the Week - The Power Company

Previous favorites:

Climbing Narc

Rock Climbing Life

Crux Crush

Joe Kinder

This week’s blog of the week is a site that will not only motivate you to get better at climbing but give you the ins and outs of how to get better at climbing.  Kris “Odub” Hampton’s The Power Company blog provides tons of info on training for bouldering and routes.  In his blog posts he provides real world, nuts and bolts training tips and case study feedback on the results of his own training and some of his clients.  Though I don’t always agree with Kris’ ideas (particularly his bias against aerobic training), I particularly like how Kris isn’t afraid to discuss the mistakes he and his clients make in their training.  Most training books and websites are focused on do this and only this, while Kris’ delves deeply into the fact that no one training program is going to work for everyone.  Trial and, unfortunately, error is the way to getting better at the complex sport of climbing.  Check this blog out at www.powercompanyclimbing.com

Throwback Thursday - March 2001

Previous Throwbacks:

First Ascent of Barbed Wire at Lincoln Woods

First Ascent of Big at Farley

3/8/01 Western Massachusetts
      On the morning of Friday March 2nd, Boston based climber Gene Yazgur was shot six times in the head, chest, and both legs. His roommate, Michael Lenz, was shot in the head and killed, and Gene's beloved dog Samson was also shot and killed. The alleged assalaint was Daniel Mason from whom Gene had recently won a $118,000 settlement because of a "road rage" traffic dispute. Mr. Lenz died of three gunshot wounds to the head as he slept. Unfortunately the noise did not wake up Gene. Mr. Mason allegedly started by shooting Gene in the head through his chin. However instead of killing Gene this only woke him up. Gene was then shot three more times in the chest, and as he tried to flee he was skillfully shot once in each leg, breaking both femurs. The killer then left him for dead, but Gene managed to call 911 on his cell phone despite his wounds.
     He currently remains in a coma although his condition has been upgraded from critical to serious. Gene has many friends here in Western Mass. He went to school at UMASS and while he was there he befriended many local climbers. He climbs with an awesome "take no prisoners" style and retreat is never an option. His fearless and tireless approach has earned him the nickname Gene The Machine among his friends. His ability to get himself in the middle of fantastically difficult situations is unparalleled and nearly everyone he has climbed with has a Gene story that borders on unbelievable. In our small community his reputation so precedes him that the first time he came into my gym I instantly recognized him and introduced myself before he said a word. Although if he had spoken, his thick Russian accent would have given him away immediately. None of us who know him are surprised that he survived being shot six times, and while we are aware that he has a long way to go to make a full recovery, noone is betting against him. He is after all The Machine.
     At Farley there is a boulder problem called Half and Half (V6). The boulder looks like a giant cube standing on one of its points. Half and Half starts under a 45 degree overhang on a small crimper with an awful left foothold, chucks to hidden jug, and then tops out via a hard and scary rockover on your heel. Since its FA last fall, Ken Majka has proposed a sit start. His claims that it would go were so ridiculous that no of us would even bother telling him he was on Crack before we shook our heads and walked away. The move Ken envisioned starts left hand on the foot hold of the original Half and Half and right hand pinching a horrendous obtuse arete. There are no feet, and you must throw three feet to the 1/4 inch starting holds of Half and Half. However because your body is in the wrong position to start the problem you must campus to the hidden jug at the lip. I've seen Slashface, I've seen the Buttermilker, I've seen The Fly. None look more improbable to me than these two moves.
     Today Farley is blanketed by over three feet of snow as is much of the rest of New England. The sun from yesterday melted just enough snow to make the few pieces of rock not covered with snow, covered with ice instead. I like bouldering in winter. To me bouldering at Farley today was not a option. This morning Ken woke up early before work for a good breakfast, some coffee, and to read the latest on Gene in the Boston Globe. The story is right there on the front page of the City and Region section and the new details it gave about Gene's heroic survival sat with Ken all day at work. Originally Ken and Gene were going to drive down to the Red River Gorge next week for some spring break climbing and Ken has spent the week since Gene was attacked wishing there was something he could do. Getting off work at 4:00pm Ken headed straight to Farley. After the 20 minute drive, and a 20 minute hike past wet boulder after wet boulder he arrived at the base of Half and Half and what must be the only dry holds at Farley. The hard part was all dry leaving only the scary top out to clean off. Ken did his best to brush off the lip but it was still dripping wet when he started work on the sit start. To my knowledge noone else has even attempted the sit start to Half and Half because none of us believed that any amount of work by any person would get the thing done. After about 45 minutes of trying Ken hung from the jug on the lip about to mantle on the FA. He tells me that even though the finishing move (which involves rocking over on a shitty heal smear that starts out as a heel hook) was soaking wet, he was never scared or even nervous. The only though that mattered was:
     "If Gene Yazgur can survive being shot six times and still call 911 there is no way I can possibly fall off this move."
     Soon Ken was standing on the lip looking up at a 45 degree slab covered in three feet of snow. Instead of downclimbing to a hang and jumping to the pads he did what Gene would do in the same situation and dove in, frontpointing to the top in his Red Chilis. When he was done Ken Majka stood on top of what is surely the hardest boulder problem in Massachusetts: The Machine (grade unknown)

Prologue:

Gene Yazgur survived the shooting despite being shot 8 times (initial reports said six) and having to go through 17 surgeries.  The shooter was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.  As far as we can tell, The Machine has only seen 2 or 3 sends since the FA, including a 2nd by Dave Graham who confirmed rating at V12, and Andy Salo who says the problem consists of one really hard move.