The Foundry Blog
Beta Bites: Episode 2
For the second round of Beta Bites, we’re stepping up our game… to an elite problem on the steepest section of the wave, designed to test your footwork, core and finger strength to the max! There are fewer problems in the elite circuit, but it packs a serious punch: the problems suit advanced climbers looking to build their strength and further their skills.
Features, features, features! You’ll get sick of hearing about them! This problem is characterised by awkward body positions separated by long moves. Some very useful features help the climber orientate himself to make best use of the holds: this problem teaches that the biggest hold isn’t always the best – body position is more important.
.. it is harder to be precise when catching hand-holds dynamically and body positions are not consistently secure. Most problems require a combination of static and dynamic movements.
Owing to the awkward holds, maintaining a good body position is essential for making progress on this problem. In the video you’ll see there are two ‘sequences’ – or series of movements – for completing the crux of the problem. For the first, the climber utilises his flexibility by placing a high right foot on a feature on the lip of the wave. This allows him to push some weight through his right leg, oppose it with a ‘locked off’ left arm and reach accurately with his right hand for the undercut above. In the second sequence, the climber uses a large foot hold rather than a feature to make the move to the undercut. This second sequence requires less flexibility, but due to the long reach the undercut is harder to hold. Your body shape will define which sequence works best for you.
When pulling over the lip of the wave, you’ll see the climber drop his left hand and right foot from the wall. Although he has fewer points of contact with the wall, his centre of gravity is advantageous for executing the next move – to a left-hand ‘gaston’.
Static vs. Dynamic
The climber uses several different styles of movement to complete the problem.
‘Locking’ off your arm, shoulder and back muscles will cause rapid fatigue, but also allows you to reach holds accurately and maintain stable body positions. Alternatively, dynamic movement can be more efficient as it requires less muscular contraction and uses momentum. However, it is harder to be precise when catching hand-holds dynamically and body positions are not consistently secure. Most problems require a combination of static and dynamic movements.
The blue problem provides a good example of this. The first move is best executed dynamically, since the body positions involved are too strenuous to hold for any significant amount of time. Also, the holds are good enough here to allow quick movement and less overall exertion. Similarly, when the climber throws his right hand to the triangular hold over the lip, he moves dynamically because the body positions are extremely difficult to maintain. In contrast, the undercut higher up is too awkward to swing dynamically to, and a left arm ‘lock off’ is required. As can be seen in the video, this allows the undercut to be reached accurately and in control, and the climber can set up effectively for the difficult next move.
Try experimenting with static and dynamic movements on the Wave!
May 16th, 2013 by Kylie
Beta Bites: Episode 1
Welcome to Beta Bites!
Beta Bites is a series of videos showcasing tips, tricks and advice – or “beta” – for the numerous bouldering circuits at The Foundry.
In our first week, we’re looking at a level 1 problem in the groove of The Wave. This problem is quite technical, demanding delicate footwork and good body position. The level 1 circuit is perfect for learning and refining basic climbing techniques such as bridging and foot swapping, and offers a gentle introduction to a huge variety of hand holds.
When bouldering on The Wave, features play a vital part in gaining optimum body positions for different moves. In this problem, the climber uses features from the sit-start all the way through to the top out to create opportunities to ‘bridge’ and to get established in the groove. You will use features much more in the Level 2, 3 and Elite circuits, but for Level 1 problems, features provide foot placements additional to the bolt-on holds so height and strength need not be limiting factors.
Remember that ‘over gripping’ holds will fatigue your forearms more quickly. This is called ‘getting pumped’, and will definitely cut your climbing session short!
‘Bridging’ between holds and features distributes your weight onto your feet, reducing stress on your fingers and forearms. Look for places in grooves and between arêtes to bridge – it’ll help you control your weight, stay in balance and preserve energy.
Efficient movement is a key element of climbing successfully. Notice that the climber keeps her arms straight wherever possible – when climbing, think about bent arms as being ‘switched on’, and straight arms as being ‘switched off’. Keeping your arms ‘switched off’ for longer saves energy, which will become more and more important as your climbing improves. Additionally, remember that ‘over gripping’ holds will fatigue your forearms more quickly. This is called ‘getting pumped’, and will definitely cut your climbing session short!
Foot swapping is an intuitive action that you’ll probably be doing already. It can easily help climbers to adjust their body position without losing balance. But like any technique, foot swapping still needs to be done efficiently. A tidy way to swap your feet is to place one foot on top of the other, then remove the lower foot. As with all foot movements, try to move your feet precisely and quietly. You know your footwork is delicate if you can’t hear it, and good footwork stops your boots wearing out too quickly!
Our infamous bouldering wall, The Wave, was built over 20 years ago and still remains one of the best indoor bouldering venues in the country. Renowned for its outdoor-style features and top outs, delicate arêtes and a big, burly overhang, The Wave has everything for novices, veterans and professionals alike.
May 9th, 2013 by Kylie
Youth Climbing Series final round
The Foundry’s final round went really well. 58 competitors entered. Jim Watkins, BMC ARea Youth Coordinator wrote:
‘The Foundry will have three Foundry Academy representatives at the final. Alex Hall finished as Area Champion in the Boys A category, Erin Moore was runner up in the Girls B and Pippa Wakin was third overall in the Girls C category. All three will climb in the final in Edinburgh on 15 June. Two other mentions. Abbie Rivett got two third places in the rounds and just missed out on challenging for the final due to being injured for the second round and Jenny Hunt was literally just edged out of overall third on a countback across all climbs across the series after finishing level with the eventual third placed competitor’.
Results can be found here:
April 22nd, 2013 by Neil