Nicole came in with our crew on Monday to do some route setting and had a few things that turned out really nicely. I wanted to take a minute to highlight this orange boulder since it totally thrashed me yesterday.

This boulder is based on one of my favorite styles; the gear change. Starting out, you have a very bad sloper, a high foot, and a move into an under cling that opens a dynamic barn-door. If you’re capable of loading up your weight over the foot, you stand up into the left leg and grind your hand into the big flathold sloper. Both starting and stopping the swing are quite hard; the little Kilter plates for the left hand and foot are nowhere near as good as you would like.

The next couple of moves still require some real core power, keeping you off balance before the gear change. Once you’re in the right hand flathold side pull, you have to move from a fairly aggressive style to an incredibly delicate balance sequence. Set the right foot well, snag the left foot toe hook, and bring the left hand across. Nicole makes it look easy here, but Adam and I had quite a hard time learning this move. Once you’re in control, slide the right hand out to the volume and prepare to release the toe hook. The barn door opens up again; a poorly placed right foot will sink you. Slide the right hand out as far as you can, bring the foot up high, and slap the beach ball. One more high foot (or low if you’re as tall as I am) will take you to the top!

I obsess over boulder problems like this. The required mental shift in focus and the diverse skill set create a boulder that challenges me in a way that a monotonous style cannot. Despite my best efforts, the holes in my skin mean that I’ll have to try it again another day.

Posted by:Chris Shotwell

CFO of LEF Climbing and Mosaic Climbing gyms of Lexington, KY and Loveland, OH respectively. Long time climber, route setter, web developer, and handyman.

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