Boston Rocks

The longer I wait between posts, the harder it gets to post, so here\’s an easy one to break the silence.

I\’m in Boston and loving it. The weather\’s a bit hot, but my new apartment is amazing as is the fact that I\’m in the same town as my girlfriend again.

I\’ve been climbing a lot again (after taking a while off while dealing with moving, etc.). The gym here isn\’t bad, but ? despite the rave reviews ? it\’s a distant third (at least) on my list. Number two is the Seattle Vertical World, where I\’ve been a member for the past six months. Vertical World was for a long time the gym I rated all others by. It has incredible route density and variety. The routes are also fairly consistently graded. Recently I spent a day at Planet Granite in Sunnvale, California. That gym re-set the standard. They have indoor routes up to 85\’ and four or five different indoor cracks. They also have great outdoor bouldering and climbing. The routes aren\’t nearly as dense as they are at Vertical World (which is a shortcoming I\’ve noticed at every gym), but there are so many ropes you don\’t notice very often.

Anyway, the gym here … It\’s MetroRock. I have a lot of fun there, but the routes are rated all over the place. Some of the 5.8 routes are as hard as some of the 5.10a routes. There are plenty of 5.9+ routes that are easier than 5.8s, but if you kind of average out the mis-ratings, it seems like the routes are two levels harder than they are rated. This makes a bunch of the training exercises much harder than they should be. When I\’m doing a traverse or other aerobic stuff, I should end up tired ? not wishing my fingers could crimp just a few more times. And what\’s with \”5.9+\”? Is the current rating scheme not fine-grained enough? I mean, I could see adding in-betweens if your consistency was through the roof, but when you can\’t tell the difference between a 5.8 and a 5.10a? Not a chance. And there are other more confusing ratings, like \”5.10-\” and \”5.10+\”. Do those map to \”easier than 5.10a\” and \”harder than 5.10d\”, respectively? Or is a \”-\” like \”5.10a/b\” and a \”+\” like \”5.10c/d\”? Why make up ratings?

Of course, this ranting doesn\’t change the fact that I like the gym. I had a fun time with a couple of more experienced boulderers helping me through a V2 when I was there yesterday. It\’s just that I\’m used to climbing in what is apparently one of the premier gyms in at least the US, and it\’s a bit frustrating to move to one that is merely great.

In a couple months I\’ll probably be taking a trip up to the family get-away in Maine. It\’s not far from the Mt Washington Valley in New Hampshire, so I\’m preparing myself to conquer Cathedral Ledge. Taking into account the variances in rating here, I\’m working on red pointing the 5.10a routes. In Seattle I was on-sighting many of the 5.10a and red pointing the 5.10b. Hopefully I\’ll pull myself up one 5.10c here before September hits.

Ok, that was a big brain dump. I need to do more of those. Sorry for the extended silence. I\’m sure most of you had no interest in my climbing progression. Maybe the next one will interest more people. Although, if you\’re not interested in the climbing stuff, my guess is you just haven\’t tried it. Look up a local gym and drag a couple friends along. In fact, if I\’m coming through your area ever, make sure to drag me along.

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