Friday, March 16, 2012

Lynn Hill at Hueco Tanks - Patagonia Ambassador goes Bouldering in Texas

Lynn Hill is one of the smoothest climbers I've ever seen. She makes these incredibly difficult climbs look easy.

I'm trying my best to get back into rock climbing. A few weeks ago I discovered that a climbing gym has opened very near where I live and I'm determined to get good at it again. I went there this week and quickly discovered how completely out of shape I've become since the last time I climbed. I got pretty good at it when I was a graduate student in the late 1990's. I could even do the steeply inverted climbs that are almost like climbing on the ceiling. But after I finished grad school I got too busy and didn't live anywhere near a gym, so I got out of the habit. After a few minutes at the gym the other day, it was painfully obvious how much upper body strength and grip strength I've lost in the last twelve years. It was embarrassing... At least I remembered most of the techniques such as flagging and keeping your arms straight, which are just as important as strength and kept me from making beginners mistakes. At least I wasn't a complete disgrace.

 So anyway, I'm on a mission to get back to where I can climb like a monkey again. It certainly won't be easy because I'm 41 years old now and not 29, but I think I should be able to at least regain most of the strength I had back then. Yesterday I picked up a training board, which is kind of a fancy pull-up bar with lots of finger holds so that climbers can build up grip strength in addition to building upper body strength. I've installed it above the doorway to my studio hoping that having to look at it all the time will encourage actually using it...

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