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Monday, 10 April 2006
Bluffers Guide To: How to fake at Rock Climbing
Article by Jacques Marais
Photo of Justin Hawkins in Mallorca
Imagine the scenario. There’s this long-legged blonde who lives across the road, and you’ve been trying for months to make eye contact with her. Today’s your lucky day; she’s managed to lock herself out of her building and is staring forlornly up at the second-floor balcony. The only obstacle between you and her eternal gratitude is a 10m shimmy up a rickety drain pipe …
Ask the Pro:
If you want to know how to get to grips with gravity, Justin Hawkins is the right man to speak to. He’s Numero Uno in South Africa when it comes to bouldering, and has recently climbed a route that has so far been classified as ‘impossible’ by international climbers. “Problem is”, he says, “if you want to get into climbing to impress the girls, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Rather work on your pick-up lines – they’re a lot easier to master than climbing skills”.
“When you’re not stuck in between a rock and hard place, board shorts, a tee (preferably from an international climbing comp) and slops will do the trick. If you’re doing the climbing thing, opt for protection against the elements without sacrificing your style (after all, you need to be able to pull off a spade on that amazed Norwegian tourist once you’ve summited Table Mountain). Mix a technical shirt with lightweight cargo pants (from Volcom), and top the look off with Spy eyewear”.
“Spend your bucks on where you will be in contact with the rock. First off, you need good shoes (La Sportiva boasts the best rubber and grip) as well as a good brand of chalk (try 8c). Other than this, you’re basically looking at safety, so you’d want to keep it light. Opt for a 60m length of 9.5mm Roca rope to keep your head off the deck if you fall, and invest in DMM Double Mamba carabiners (they’re light and have a good clipping action). Your final must-have item is a harness (stick to Roca), and now you’re set to take on the great outdoors”.
Talk the Walk:
Running it out: The distance between yourself and your last protection placement - the further the
distance, the longer the run-out.
Gripped: the feeling you get when you really run it out (ie. shitting yourself)
Gapers: the people standing at the bottom of the crag who ask whether you’re abseilers.
Dyno: A dynamic jump, when all your points of contact leave the rock.
Cool Moves: How to bust out a dyno
“A ‘dyno’ becomes necessary when the distance between two holds is so far that it forces the climber to jump. Firstly position your feet straight below you and as high up as possible, as this is your main force of thrust. Starting the movement, your arms should be straight and your legs bent almost as if you’re crouching. Then "wind up", slowly bouncing to find your rhythm, before releasing and propelling yourself upwards, keeping your eyes focused on the target hold. Hopefully you stick …”
Worst Possible Faux Pas:
Don’t talk about that abseil you did last week - abseiling is not a sport, it is what you do to get down the face that you’ve just climbed.
Where to hang out:
The Olifantshuis in Clanwilliam - sanctuary from the campsite and home to the world’s best bouldering area. With a double Vodka and Red Bull kicking in at R15, you can’t go wrong. Many a night has ended dancing with the mounted kudu head as Kurt Darren rips it up on the decks, or being chased down the main drag by an irate farmer in his Bantam for checking out his bokkie.
Who da man?:
Fred Nicole: Swiss godfather of bouldering and founder of Rocklands
Bernt Zongrle: Austrian strong-man, opened some of the world’s hardest bouldering routes
Chris Sharma: An American legend who opened the world’s hardest climb