I headed to The Arch @ The Biscuit Factory to work on slab problems for my trip to Birchen Edge and to be a like Johnny Dawes who I think is the kind of difficult slab trad routes. It turned out to be not a very productive day their although I did attempt three boulder problem that were completely different from each other. The first one that attempted was one in The New Scarpa Circuit that was set by Scarpa Team member Yann Genoux and other route setters. These problems varied from V0 (the easiest) to I think V10 (the hardest). I did not know what the grade of the problem I chose was but what I saw from previous climbers it looked very interesting and challenging. The first hold is a huge circular volume/sloper that is very smooth and hard to grip and the first foot hold was a very small hardly visible flat crimp but I did not have enough flexibility to get my goot on the hold, after many attempts I decided to move onto an easier problem in the blue V2-V3 circuit.
The problem is the light blue one you can see most of it in the above photo. The first hold is a large side pull where I matched both hand on and the first foot hold is a large but round-ish foot hold. The next move I kept doing it wrong – instead of getting the foot onto the big foothold to the left side pull then going for the weird sloper adjacent to the big circular hold I went straight for the hand hold. I only saw my mistake when I observed another climber do the problem. When I tried it again and did the sequence correctly I needed to match feet on the large foothold then try and reach for the big hold at the top of the photo, but I could not match my feet.
The last problem I tried to do was a green V6-V9 circuit problem that the first two holds were extremely tiny crimps that you could only get the tips of two fingers on. I could get hold on the tiny holds and get my foot onto the very small circular flat foothold which is the first foothold with the help of some laybacking and turning using the one of the tiny holds as a sidepull but I could not shift all my weight on the foot standing on the hold.
Today as usual it was the turn The Castle to host my training. After the usual warm up of stretches and traversing I headed straight to the slabs – which was very busy. The first problem that I attempted was a V3 problem that involved me bridging, palming and smearing. I first tried the problem wrongly but then I remembered the similar V4-V6 problem that I named Dawesee’s Revenge and a couple of climbers doing the problem correctly last week so I did that sequence correctly and I controlled my fear until my hip joint started to hurt me so I came down. I tried the problem again but one of my knees started to hurt. The sequence is very similar to the one at the start of Dawesee’s revenge with the main difference being that the first foot hold is a huge black sloper that you put the front part of the foot on instead of a yellow long smooth sloper and the volume being triangular/pyramidal and being on the adjacent wall along with these difference the sequence was shorter. I do not remember the exact order but in the first photo below you can see the foothold and the volume and I remember you had to bridge out to the adjacent wall with a smear.
The next and final problem I tried was pink V4-V6 circuit problem where the only hand holds were at the start and being two crimps that you held with one hand and the other hand being a big sloper with a positive grip. Since there was no foot holds I had to smear with both feet to get my feet up – so my feet would not slip of the slab I held my head down someone from The Mile End Wall told me to do when doing difficult smearing. After a few tries on this problem and not getting very far I decided to call it a day but I did see another climber almost complete the problem and from what I saw it is a complete smear fest – meaning smearing all the time – with no hand holds apart from a volume near the top as far as I can remember. At the start the three hand holds do become footholds.
During lunch I was speaking to Rich ‘Tricky’ Hudson who is a route setter at The Castle about how would Adam Ondra do on hard grit routes such as The Angel’s Share (E8 7a) and Braille Trail (E7 6c) that are not all strength as Rich was talking to a friend about some La Sportiva bouldering competition and 5that Adam Ondra had one it because he had so much strength and power.