Monday, 8 October 2012

Bachar Ladders, portaledges and cash that was crimped for

Bachar Ladder

There is never a slow week at the Westway.  Given even the faintest slice of free time and we will put some strange scheme into action and this week was no exception.  Between the meetings and belay watch we managed to set up a massive Bachar ladder. 

For those of you who don’t know where this crazy training device comes from here are the facts.  Using inverted rope ladders as a training tool for climbing was first associated with the American climber John Bachar.  During the 70’s and 80’s John Bachar was a prolific climber known for his daring free solos and first ascents of ground breaking lines.  He was one of the free climbing boundary pushers applying the new style of climbing to routes of incredible technical difficulty. In the mid 70’s John Bachar, Ron Kauk and John Long made the first free ascent of Astroman.  At the time this was the most continually difficult climb to have ever been free climbed.

When back at Camp 4 John was commonly found training on one of his devices that he had crafted around his pitch.  Amongst the contraptions there was always an inverted rope ladder that he would perform different campusing exercises on.  As other climbers recognised the benefits of training on this apparatus it became known as a Bachar ladder.

The Bachar ladder should be climbed while campusing.  The ideal technique is to campus from rung to rung in a controlled consistent manner.  Upon reaching the top you should lower yourself down one rung at time avoiding dropping suddenly onto one arm.  The goal is to be able to increase the speed at which you can perform the exercise as opposed to how many reps you can do.  We plan on putting the Bachar ladder up every Wednesday afternoon so keep your eyes open for it around line 1.

Student Wednesday

This Wednesday has seen an unprecedented number of Students attend the wall, many for their first taste of climbing.  Mountaineering clubs from UCL, Imperial College, and Kings College turned up creating a queue that stretched some 25 meters out of the door.  Despite the wait spirits were high as everyone managed to get inside and get cranking on the plastic.  Those in the know put the new guys through their paces, gearing them up to register the following week.

Yosemite news

Last week Antoine and Alvar finally set of on their mission to climb the Nose of El Cap.  We have been watching them hone their rope skills on the outside walls of the Westway for months now. There they toiled away the hours practising hauling and jugging past gear.  In the wall they would climb laps to gain that high level of fitness required for a big wall ascent. The two of them even managed to test out their portaledge with a full dress rehearsal.

Antoine and Alvar took the portaledge with them cragging in the West country and after a days climbing set it up without much trouble, fixed their lines and descended to the pub for some refreshments.  After the night’s festivities instead of making the easy trip back to a tent, the two of them were faced with their first experience of jugging up a 60 meter line, in the dark, with only one head torch.  The two managed to make it through this post beer jugathon epic and even admitted that the portaledge was probably more comfortable than a tent on the ground.

Their other training involved a recent trip deep water soloing in Croatia.  However we are still unable to see how this translates to the skills needed for the granite of the Yosemite Valley. The guys did get some good tans though.

For those of you looking for news on the exploits of the rest of Team Westway in the valley I am afraid details have become sparse.  The one thing we have learned is that Andre and his partner managed to make a one day ascent of the Nose.  He will be back with us soon and we will get all the pictures and details to you then.

Crimp for Cash £££

The Oven was reset this Friday with Slim, Adam and Tricky putting up the usual array of brilliant problems. With the reset of the oven comes the Crimp for Cash competition.  For those of you who don’t yet know, the Crimp for Cash competition involves only one single problem.  If you manage to climb this problem your name is put in a hat for a chance to win £20 that evening.

The Crimp for Cash problem this week was a particularly fiendish one that was unexpectedly dropped by some strong climbers.  After a lot of crimping and pulling we eventually ended up with about 20 names in the hat and Dan A’s name was pulled out as the winner.  

Dan actually flashed the problem without much bother.  We may have to put a harder one up for him next time.

Over the next couple of days the fridge is being reset which means a lot of new problems for you guys to solve.  So if you've not been away climbing this weekend and have instead been driven mad by the audience of Strictly come Dancing clapping like trained seals then get down to the wall and crank out those frustrations.  

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