April 04, 2024

Bouldering has become one of my main activities over the past year. I had visited Armadillo Boulders in San Antonio once or twice before, but my interest ramped up in Switzerland as I explored various gyms around ZÃ¼rich with one of my flatmates. Last semester, I purchased a membership for the bouldering wall at the campus gym and went often between classes. This semester, I've been going to Austin Bouldering Project several times per week in the mornings and evenings.

In a single session, I tend to pick one or two problems at the edge of my ability and fixate on them until I'm able to solve them. This week, I've been working on two challenging problems.

The first problem is the blue one shown in the following two pictures. The first picture shows the problem from the front face with holds marked and the start hold circled. The second picture shows a side perspective of both holds.

The problem has a running start, and (I think) the idea is to push/jump off the wall with one foot, catch the bottom "fingers" of the hold with the left hand, and then grab/wrap the top of the hold with the right hand. At least that's what I did. By the end of Tuesday, before I succumbed to fatigue, I could grab the start hold with both hands and then move my right hand to the next hold. On one attempt, I even managed to get my left hand to the second hold but couldn't figure out the next step before jumping off.

This morning, after many more unsuccessful runs, I finally solved the problem. Once I moved my left hand to the second hold, the next step was to quickly move my left foot to the start hold. This left me in a relatively stable position, and finishing the problem from there was reasonable.

The second problem I've been attempting follows the outside corner of two vertical walls. I can do the first three quarters of the problem but have been stuck on the final quarter for the past two sessions. The following two pictures show two perspectives of the problem, including one with holds marked and start holds circled.

I didn't making any progress today, so I instead spent the rest of the morning sketching this animated depiction of the climb.

It's not completely physically accurate, as I tried to recreate it from memory, the body positioning is approximated to simplify the sketching, and the final few moves (starting with grabbing the top undercling) are all speculative. Nevertheless, I found it to be an enjoyable way to think through my strategy for this problem. I'll try to implement it the next time I go.

My sister made a "hype version" with music. (Volume on.)

Update: on my second attempt today (April 5, 2024), I finally solved the problem. The key was to put my left foot on the upper volume, which was tilted much more favorably along the axis perpendicular to the front wall than the lower volume. For all the moves involving the top hold, I was also much closer to facing the front than off to the right side. Regardless, I think yesterday's sketching activity did inspire my ultimate solution.

After my climbing session, I did a hang time challenge and barely surpassed two minutes. Considering that yesterday after climbing was my first recent attempt and I reached sixty-five seconds, I wonder if my hang times will continue to increase linearly or geometrically.