I had a training session at Boulder Movement today. I also felt pretty grotty because last night I’d stayed up until 1am, and the previous night until 2am, reading a book, and then this morning I’d been woken by La Serpiente at 6 to tell me that Destroyer had wet the bed, so all in all I hadn’t really rested much. I was hungry too – I’d scarfed down a protein bar as I ran to the gym, but hadn’t had proper food and my stomach was rumbling.
Today was going to be the day we worked on power, and on dynos. A dyno is when you leap from one hold to another, rather than moving slowly and carefully from one static position to another, and it’s a technique I’ve avoided thus far through fear of the consequences.
Thus I was a bit intimidated. We started off warming up on a few easy problems, then went onto a 7, an easy route with big, juggy holds. I did that easily. Then we took out two of the holds, and I tried again. Now, it wasn’t an easy matter of moving up the wall – there was a big lunge to get from the lower holds to the higher ones. To do this, I needed to push up hard with my left leg as I swung my left arm to grab. The first time I did this, my foot came off because I wasn’t driving my toe into the hold.
The second time, I also fell off because although I was toed-in, my knee was pointing into the wall, rather than parallel to it, so when I pushed, I pushed myself off the wall. The third time, I got these parts right, and managed to get up to the top. It’s more tiring, but definitely more spectacular.
We went on to a 12 and a 15, adding difficulty again by removing holds from the ones available to use. And then we went on to a 23.
Now, bear in mind that I’ve done one 20 in my life, with a 50% success rate from 6 attempts. It’s been one of my resolutions to be able to climb a 20. A 23 is somewhere in the rarefied atmosphere far above that, inhabited by proper climbers.
To do this, you started off with both hands on an awkward hold, and a single foot hold. Then you shift to grab a large hold at just below waist height, and then the next hold is … the edge of a box-shaped volume three feet up and to the right. Somehow, I lunged and leaped and made this the first time, then got my other hand up, and yanked myself up. With one move to do to finish, I found myself stuck and wobbling on top of the volume, and it was only by forcing myself to pause, slow down and breathe that I realised that I didn’t have to fall off. By extending my left leg to flag out below the final hold, I could then reach over and get both hands up. And then I stayed for a few seconds, before descending.
So there I am. I’ve done a 23. The improvement over where I was a year ago is really tangible. Hell, the improvement over last week is pretty incredible. All of a sudden I’m not rejecting dyno moves out of hand, and I’ve exceeded what I was expecting to do this year. Not bad for somebody who was tired and hungry.
For the rest of the session, I was a bit slow, but I managed to send a 19 on the first go, and almost managed a 20 as well. So my operating envelope seems to have expanded a lot, which is rather nice. Going back tomorrow to get video to prove I’ve improved.