Thursday, December 8, 2011
By Kreg Dobzinksi
It’s Monday evening and you see a purple-shirted man desperately trying to yell something at everyone from the top of a table. Well, that dude is probably me and what you may or may not hear me bellowing about is that Monday night is Challenge Night! The many forms that challenge may come in are difficult to sum up within about 30 seconds while trying to project. Allow me to elaborate a little more eloquently and describe in detail the various events we have devised to test your skills outside of climbing's normal realm. To make it easier to remember, the challenges are divided into balance-based and climbing-based categories.
Stack 'Em Up: This will strain your balance. Normally, you start by standing on two hollow 1 x 1 plastic milk crates while you are on belay and tied in. You may only have one foot on either stack at time as you add a crate to one side and then the other. You will gradually ascend higher and maintaining the integrity of the stack becomes more troublesome as you progress; the soft blue mats are not an ideal stable foundation. For added difficulty, you can try to use only one crate and balance on the corner edges.
Slackline: The slackline is a one-inch wide piece of webbing (flat rope) stretched between two points of the climbing wall - most likely about a foot off the ground. The goal is to maintain your balance as you walk down the line, which looks much easier than it is to do at first. The line will stretch and wobble although - similar to riding a bike -your balance accumulates through repetition and concentration. A few tips are to pick a focal point at eye level on the opposite wall and also to make small, accurate steps as you move forward slowly.
Highlife:This is a slackline variant - a rather extreme one. The slackline is set-up about 18 feet off the ground and stretched between the slab and vertical walls in the center of the gym. The participant is tied into ropes on both sides of the wall - double belayed. They climb up to where the line begins, and then start to walk slowly across the webbing using either the ropes tied to them for balance, or attempting to use only your hips and wits to get across.
Slackline X-Up: This event is two slacklines that are stretched across with one starting low and ending high, and vice versa. The lines cross in the middle forming an 'X'. You are able to hold onto both lines the whole time, but the challenge is to switch your body from one line to other and end on the opposite side at the finish.
Graffiti: A hold elimination climbing game and one of our most popular events. It is played in one section of the climbing wall and typically there is one large, central jug hold as the starting point. The participants take turns making one move with their hands from the starting jug to another adjacent hold and then demonstrating control by matching for two seconds. Once a hold has been used, a small piece of tape is placed next to it marking it as 'off' as a handhold for the rest of the game. Eventually, all of the easy moves are used up and the wall begins to fill with tape and looking like it was tagged - hence the name graffiti.
Rock Paper Scissors Dyno Competition:This is another climbing related challenge that adds athletic twist to the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Two walls are used and on each wall there is a large starting hold underneath three evenly spaced holds marked 'rock', 'paper', or 'scissors'. Both participants ready themselves in front of one set of holds and after the countdown of "rock, paper, scissors, shoot" they leap upwards off their starting holds (dynamic movement) and catch of the three marked holds above them. Their choices are measured against each other if both players manage to stay on the wall; if one falls then it is automatically the player still holding on, and if both fail it is simply a do-over after switching walls. The amount of rounds and type of scoring depends on how many are playing, but typically it is a swift moving game.
Bachar Ladder: This is training tool named after the ultra-strong climber John Bachar. The ladder is constructed of loose cord and PVC pipes for the rungs, so it bows and stretches away from you as it is climbed and the PVC does not really get any better with chalk. It is set-up so the ladder is at about a 45 degree ascending angle and typically is climbed hand over hand without the use of your feet, a style called campusing. Another ladder we bring out is one to develop sloper strength because of the large increases of diameter from one pipe to the next. Both ladders can be climbed in a variety of fashions to increase difficulty.
Chimney Delivery: This is a December Exclusive! Participants will be challenged to see how fast they can ascend the chimney portion of our walls, back near the lead cave. There may or may not be a Santa costume…
Well, there you have it - all the challenges decoded. Hopefully you will be able to reference this article in the future if you see something on the Calendar under Monday Night that you want explained. Also, I would be really interested to hear any games of your own that either you have played in the past or maybe thought something else up that might be fun. I want to hear about it, trust me, I really do.
at 6:37 PM