Friday, March 27, 2009

Outdoor Day

Well with the unpredictable springs around here you never know what you might get so; hopefully you were able to take advantage of the sunshine and warm weather last weekend. With a good forecast on Saturday the team loaded up and headed to Joe's to see what we could do. We warmed up at the UMWA boulder where reach around was the team favorite. After that we crossed the street to the Small One, Orville and Zach both sent pee-wee. Then off to the riverside to finish off the day. Chas and Orville worked Kelly's Arete and Orville got the end of the day send on The Rail.
On our way out we took a little tour of Joe's and checked out some new problems established by Rocco Boccicchio who also is a route setter at The Front.
This weekend the team will be climbing in the comp at Rockreation so if you don't have anything going on tomorrow you should come join us.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Flapper of the Week

Hopefully, we won't have a picture of a flapper to post every week. But, thanks to Matt Toone, we have one for this week. Thanks, Matt! Great job!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tunes that keep you Psyched

Isaac Caldiero harnessing the jams of Celine Dion. Or, if not her, then someone who gets him psyched to crush boulder problems with double digit V-grades.

A lot of climbers listen to music on their iPods during workouts and competitive events.

What do you listen to when you're getting psyched to send? Tell us what artist/ band/ DJ gets your juices flowing.

Post a comment on this post and expose your adrenaline source.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Front's Youth Climbing Team

Our spring season has begun practice started this week and we had our first outdoor day two weeks ago. With cars packed with kids and crash pads we headed down south to the Land of a Thousand Boulders, Triassic. The weather was perfect. Warm in the sun, cool in the shade and the sandstone had a nice soft feel to it. A big change from climbing on plastic all winter. For most of our team this was their first time being out climbing on real rock so it was good to watch them figure out and work problems together to get their first outdoor sends.

While out we ran into Front Members Patrick and Ryan in morning and later in the afternoon we worked two fingers with Jason and Sara.

Here's Coach Mike and Chad working Lemonhead.

After this past week I'm excited for our spring season and getting outside.

For more information on the Climbing Team go to and check-out "programs" or contact Chris at 466-7625.

Hope to see you out this weekend.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spotting (and a little climbing) at Joe's Valley

I hope everyone had a chance to get out this past weekend and enjoy some sunshine. I got down to Joe's Valley to (gasp) climb on some real rock boulders. It was a perfect day- warm and sunny with no crowds. We spent most of the day at Area 51, and then wrapped it up at UMWA, Small One, and Riverside. We ran into Front Members Brad and Haley and got to see Brad hike "2 Finger Variation" (V9) within a few attempts. According to Brad's beta, it's easier to skip most of the holds- sick.

The original parking lot for accessing Area 51 is now closed due to vandalism. But, the parking .9 miles up the road is easy to find, albeit very limited. The new approach hike is awesome- gently rolling on soft singletrack until you hit the "coal road," which is a narrow and rocky dirt road. There are some photo opp.s at the old VW just off the trail, plus some old mining structures.

Needless to say, the bouldering was great. There were also some good lessons to be had regarding spotting and pad placement. After spending a winter in the gym, it's easy to become complacent about spotting and pad placement on your first few outdoor outings.

3 Steps for the Climber
Step 1: Before you head up, make sure you can get down safely.
Step 2: Arrange pads over rocks, roots, stumps, and anything that would hurt to land on, including pets, children, water bottles, packs, etc. Try to visualize directions and landings of potential falls, especially at the crux of the problem.

Below is me shooting off a problem, without a "confirmed" spotter.

Fortunately, I wasn't very high off the ground. But, I fell beyond the 2 pads and rolled onto my back completely off the pads. There were plenty of pads, but no one to keep me from shooting beyond them. The first time I ever went climbing I learned that I have to be willing to take responsibility for anything that happened to me when I was climbing. With that said, my spill onto the dirt was my own fault. Hence...

Step 3: Confirm that someone will be spotting you. "Ya got me?" "Can I get a spot?" Once you have a verbal confirmation from the spotter, make sure he or she has put down the water bottle, doughnut, or whatever and is in position before you leave the ground.

Regarding who is spotting you, you want to make sure he or she is not significantly smaller than you. If you're a bigger climber, you may want multiple spotters, or even consider not trying something overly committing or dangerous until you can come back with some bigger folks.

If you're smaller than a climber asking you to spot them, let them know if you feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or simply unable to really be of any assistance should they pop off the rock.

Now that the climber is off the ground, the spotter gets to work.

3 Steps for the Spotter

Step 1: Stand slightly behind the climber. If she falls, be ready to guide her by the hips onto the crash pad. If the landing is on an incline or the climber comes off the rock with significant force, you can bear hug her or even grab her shirt to keep her from rolling down a hill or onto the ground.

Do not try to catch them, or you could hurt yourself. Do not stand directly beneath her as you can be crushed, as well inadvertently push her into the rock. Watch her hips, not her hands, as she climbs, so you can be properly positioned and ready should she fall.

Step2: As the climber ascends higher, move back. If the problem traverses, move sideways as needed. If the problem is severely overhanging, step back as the climber climbs out of the overhang. Use more of a "cradling" technique. If she falls, you want to catch her upper body to avoid her head and/or back from slamming into a rock or the ground. Make sure any sharp edges are covered, including any areas where a foot might slip off the rock forcefully.

If the climber is attempting a dyno, stand back at the edge of the pads to insure that the climber does not launch past the pads. Your job is to make sure the climber will land on the pads and not in the bushes.

Step 3: Communicate with the Climber. Make sure you're both on the same page in terms of where she thinks she might fall and what the best positions would be for you as a spotter. Is there anything she wants you point out as she ascends- a key hold or loose rock? If there is anything about spotting that you're uncomfortable with, let her know before she gets off the ground.

If the problem is on a tall boulder, the climber can get to a point where it can be more dangerous for both of you if you try to spot her. Discuss this with the climber and decide on a strategy before she begins climbing. There are some creative ways to spot for highball problems. But, make sure you and the climber are comfortable with them before trying to use them. If you're in a remote area, consider the possibilities of having to carry the climber out or how long it would take to find help and for that help to arrive. Also, does your cell phone have coverage where you are?

Finally, remember every fall when bouldering is a ground fall. There are tons of boulders at our local climbing areas with beautiful clean landings. But, there are also some landings that are not so welcoming. Are the possible points on the scorecard worth the possible injuries? Fortunately, with proper planning, preparation, and communication, most bouldering injuries can be avoided.

Enjoy the rad Spring temps (when they're present) and send those projects you didn't finish last Fall. But, if it does snow, get your butt to The Front and maintain that fitness.

**The above is not an exhaustive list of safety steps for boulderers and spotters. Please comment on this post if you have any further helpful suggestions. Thanks in advance for any tips, feedback, or sharing of experiences.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Keeping cold drinks cold!

Thanks to those of you who participated in The Front's Sickest Contest Ever (until our next Sickest Contest Ever)!

Sport those Front-logoed Koozies on your beverages everywhere- at work, at the Bar-B, at The Front, in the shower (no kidding!).

Advance Footwork Technique Training Tip of the Day: Wear a Front Koozie on each hand when working your proj's on the slabs and vertical walls. After your workout, put a Protein Shake in each Front Koozie. Drink. Repeat.

Is there anywhere a Front Koozie protected beverage is inappropriate?? If you think so, Comment on this post and state your case.

In the meantime, come feel the burn on the new problems being set daily.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Probably the sickest contest ever...

We just posted a trivia question on The Front's Wall on Facebook! Get on there now and submit a response! The clock is ticking!

Big Action at The Front!

The sunny weather was nice while it lasted. But, winter is making its way back to SLC. Only 2-3 more months of crazy weather like this! Yippee.

Thankfully, the Front setters are working their magic and putting up new problems like crazy. Look for some new problems in the caves soon, as well as new stuff in the east end of the gym. Woohoo!

For the weightlifting folks, we have a Squat Cage on order that should be here by next week. We're going to put in a mirror too, so you can maintain proper form and growl at yourself. Nice.

The Front also has some great membership deals going on through March 15. Check 'em out HERE.

The Front Mart has Hero Highball and Dyno Crashpads from Asana at discounted prices for Front Members! Make sure you're geared up and ready to send the proj's as soon as the temps are right.

A Front Can Koozie is always a smart addition to any outdoor activity involving canned beverages. Get yours today!