Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Quick Post

Eric Jerome

     It has been far too long since I have written a blog post and so much has happened since regionals.  The main events I would say have to be my winter break climbing trip to LRC and Rocktown with team, ABS Divisionals, and the Winter Burn which was today.  There is so much to write if I go into detail but I will instead attempt to summarize. LRC was amazing. Amazing rock, amazing views, amazing people, amazing climbs. It was all fantastic. My hardest tick of the trip I guess would have to be Red House Extension-V8. I was lucky to climb a lot of super classic boulders and experience some world class bouldering. As for divisionals, they did not go quite as well.  I had a really awful day during qualifiers. My nerves kept getting to me and kept me from sending. None of the climbs were that hard but my nerves got the best of me and I ended in 11th by one point, keeping me away from finals. It was a disappointing end to my bouldering season especially because I knew that I was easily strong enough to make top 5. I'm not too bummed considering it gives me a chance to get on ropes and build some endurance. Today, the annual Winter Burn at PRG took place.  I had an okay climbing day. I kept hurting myself in all different places but it wasn't a huge hinderance. I ended in second place closely behind Cameron Horst. I also placed 3rd in the pull-up contest with 30 pull-ups. Prizes were lots and lots of Clif bars which I'm pretty happy with. I'm really hoping that the weather can get better and dry up some of the rock near my house so that I can go clean and hopefully climb some boulders. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

ABS15 Regionals

Eric Jerome

      Yesterday, I competed in my third ever ABS regional championship. My first year was still when I was very new to climbing. I qualified in the redpoint in 5th, however, in finals I managed to bump myself down to 8th and only qualified because the kid who took 3rd was not a USAC member. At divisionals I was still inexperienced and placed 19th out of 21 competitors.
 
       Last year was my first year in MYB and my competition was heinous. Somehow I still managed to place 7th then. At divisionals I only slightly improved from the year before and placed 17th of 21.

       Now to this years regionals. This format was going to be much different from last year as it is one round of 6 onsight climbs. I was pretty happy as 8th in the running order because for me the earlier the better. My first climb was in a tight dihedral. It looked to be about V4 but once I got on it I realized that it was probably only a V2 or so. My next climb was on a slab at the top overhang at the bottom wall. It started with some easy moves to a volume. Next you have to make your way from the UP brick sloper to some small crimps to finish the climb. As I reached the bricks unknowingly my foot was dabbing on another hold from a girls climb underneath the volume. I was called down which blew my flash attempt, however, I wasn't too worried because flash came third in the tie breaker. I sent it on my next go and tried to warm up my still cold fingers in the chair. The third climb was just my style. It was on a slight overhang laddering up the fall on good pinches with a lot of heel hooks available. I flashed this one and my fingers were starting to get warmer. The fourth climb was similar to the third. Lots of slick pinches on a flat wall. This one I flashed as well. My 5th one I knew would have to be harder. It was on a roll, meaning it starts super overhanging and rolls out into a flat wall. Started low right and worked to the left through some jugs. Then your have three blocks sticking out the wall and a big move to an edge. It took my two goes to figure out the sequence to stick the edge. On my third try I stuck it. Next you do a huge bump to a sloper than work up more crimps to the top. I got one of the crimps but was too tired out to stick the next move. I tried again with pretty much the same result. The 6th climb was also on a roll. It started low down left. Then traversed right onto two huge ball slopers on an arete. Then you traverse left again to some crimps on a volume and make a few vertical moves to some mini-jugs. It ends traversing right again with some crimps and slopers. My first attempt on the climb I was already pumped from climb number 5 and fought hard. Then I got super pumped but out on the big balls but managed to get the volume. I did the next move to the mini-jug but at that point I could hardly squeeze at all anymore. I fell there. My next to attempts I was too pumped to make it through the slopers again.

       Once the results came out I suprised myself by placing 2nd! Now I am more motivated than ever and am psyched to climb hard at divisionals.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My First V9

Eric Jerome

       One week ago I sent my first V9! Honestly, it was probably a little soft but still a 9 and still harder than any of the 8s that I have sent. It was on the prow, a tall overhanging section of fall. It started with big and powerful moves on those rock candy sphere holds. Then a few moves on small crimps. To finish off the boulder is the only really hard part. You must flip your low hand into a bubble wrap undercling and make a huge left hand bump into the EP Taijitu then you have to match it and make a big move to a good edge. I'm psyched to have sent it about 2 sessions and am super stoked for ABS regionals this weekend at PRG, Valley.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Nicodemus Cont.

Eric Jerome

       Today we went out to climb the boulder previously stated. By "we" I am referring to John Isola, Chris Watts, Gabe Mckenzie and I.  We came after practice so we already a tad burnt out but we were still psyched to climb. It took us a a number of phone calls and text messages before we got some decent beta for the boulders and started trying them. Right Hand of the Leper is now said to be V10. We all tried that for a while but only Gabe continued really. The rest of us chalked up some holds to the left and put up a V5 with a name yet to be determined. The FA was by Chris, seconded by John, and third by myself. It was a really cool climb with a pretty big first move with a high foot to a small crimp. Then you bump to another crimp, get your food on the start, cross to a tiny crimp and hop out to a juggy finish.  After we did that we were all pretty burned and knew we wouldn't really make much progress on the 10 and definitely no progress on the 12. Gabe continued trying for a while and on probably around his 15th attempt he finished it as the second ascent.  We filmed with a GoPro on a pole the whole day and I am planning on compiling a short video of the day. It was pretty sweet and I'm psyched to go try the 10 again when I'm fresh and my skin is decent.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nicodemus

Eric Jerome

        I went down to the boulder that I had seen on so many bus rides in Reisterstown after an exam today. Considering its placement on a lonely road with no other rocks nearby as hiked up to it I was astonished to see chalk on all the holds already. I was a bit disappointed because I thought that I had discovery this great rock myself but obviously that was not the case. However, since it was already cleaned it did mean that I did not have to spend time doing that myself. The boulder is about 60 degrees overhanging and has about 4 or 5 small crimps straight up it. I immediately knew that it would be a hard climb. I was thinking V8 to V14 originally. Short after I had to leave and head home. Later, I posted about the rock on Facebook. To my surprise, Tim Rose, an insanely strong climber from my neck of the woods, commented saying that I should check out another boulder with two established lines near Nicodemus Road. It was the same boulder and he notified me that his line up the middle is a V12 called Nicodemus and Fernando also has a V8 called Right Hand of the Leper to the right of that. I'm psyched to go out there tomorrow with my buddies Gabe McKenzie and John Isola to try to send the 8 and make some good effort on the 12. Psyched to have a boulder close to home to project that is already cleaned for me unlike all the others I'm working on! Happy sending!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A New Perspective

Eric Jerome

     I just finished watching the live stream by LT11 with Dave Graham and Angie Payne. I would like to address my views on some of the topics said and discuss how it changed my outlook on climbing. Firstly, the thing that struck me incredibly is Dave's start to climbing. After only a week he was climbing 5.12 and a year 5.14. He said that him and his friend Luke both climbed at the same difficult which I find spectacular that both kids who happened to be friends were climbing V14 at 16. I found it interesting that he began climbing outdoors after only a week or so gym climbing and this made me ponder why kids today including myself were not intrigued and psyched to go outdoors right off the bat. I think that it is possibly because of the modern look and feel of indoor climbing. The highlight on competitions and the flashy colored holds. We looked up to the stronger climbers we saw in the gym. Whereas, for Dave as he started in the beginning of climbing his role models were said to be the men at his gym who were already going outside and developing hard climbs. They did not have the competition aspect and indoor climbing was still seen as more of a means of training than it is a variation on the sport completely. I sat wishing that I have or had a positive role model pointing me towards real rock rather than the staff at the gym telling me to go try that new V9 in the cave. I think that I will reach out to Tim Rose a strong climber at my gym who is constantly developing new hard climbs.  Dave mentioned how he was traveling to Colorado after a year and climbing and I cannot fathom my parents allowing me to most likely skip school and go across the nation to partake in a pastime that I had only taken up just a year previous. Seeing Dave talking about his travels and life finding and cleaning hard boulders actively changed my climbing role models. Now, I no longer look up to competition climbers as greatly as I had previously and am inspired by Dave and wish to model his climbing decisions. I do wonder a bit wether he was exaggerating the grades that he was climbing so quickly, if grades were much different then, or if he had unknowingly had previous experience climbing. The technique aspect of climbing hard could be perceivable because he might be innately more inept to seeing things like sequence and how to maneuver your body to make moves the easiest. However, after only a few months, for instance, I cannot imagine being strong enough already to be able to do the type of moves and pull on the types of holds required to boulder and rope climb at such an insanely high level. Dave said that styles were a big part for his progression. He could not understand his flashing of a crimpy V9 but his having to project a powerful V3. This raises the question of wether or not any of the outdoor things that he was doing were not his style. Maybe his original style of climbing on crimps has not progressed significantly because he is still climbing relatively the same as he was 15 years ago although perhaps since then he has improved on his powerful moves at a rate that most people improve on climbing as a whole. Outdoor climbing typically is very crimp oriented and could bring a bit of an explanation to his super hard sends. In the end I think all my reasoning for him not to be that good is just brought from self-pity after hearing of his tremendous strength. Excuses and saying that I would have done the same if I had been born with the same circumstances may seem pleasing currently but unless I face that some people are just better than other people than I will continue making excuses for my own abilities and weaknesses to no end. Dave said that his first time climbing was on a dihedral 5.9 where he tweaked his knee trying to attempt a drop knee. That just shows that from the start he had a superior outlook on the physics and movement of climbing. Both Dave and his friend Luke were both sponsored within a year which allowed their travel and lifestyle which makes me wonder how different climbing today would be if it had not grown to the scale that it is today where there is a whole new level of competition to get sponsored and much less opportunity to get your name out. Also this was at a time when technology did not so much control and take over kids lives. They had the time and the spirit to go outside and explore and find rocks to dedicate their time to whereas now with the amount of school work, the pressure to perform from parents, and the constant need to be connected via social media we do not want to hike and find rocks but rather prefer to drive to the gym and train there hoping to someday be in the highlight video of some world cup with giant volumes and loud music. A boulder that him and Luke were projecting at the age of 17 or 18 after only climbing 3 or 4 years he said would be graded V16 or V17 which to think is just mind blowing that someone could be that strong after just a few years of climbing and from what it sounded like not training at all. What was said about kids not climbing outdoors anymore and being so commited to the competitive game really enforced my decision to strive for FAs and climb on real rock as much as possible. Previously I would have prefered going to the gym to spending a few hours brushing moss but I think that that just changed.  Anyways, these are just my thoughts as they came to my head. I think for this is better and more pure to leave it unedited to see my progression of thought. This weekend I plan to check out a boulder a friend of mine spotted on the bus ride to school that looks sweet. If I can make it down I will write a post about it. Goodnight