Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moon Fingerboard Review

Moon Fingerboard ready-to-go!

Recently, a friend and fellow climber Galina Parfenov (Moon Climbing Team member) proved to me that I needed to be training on the Moon Fingerboard (Moon Climbing Website) at home since I climb too much at the gym and don't leave enough time or energy to do hangboard exercises.  There is a Moon fingerboard at our gym, which I like to use but do not train on extensively.  So, I put one up in my house to train on my off days of crushing plastic at my local gym (damn New England weather!).  

Look at those crimps and slopers, my hands are salivating (sweating really but salivating sounds better)!

The Moon Fingerboard is a very difficult hangboard, which I feel would be suitable for climbers that climb harder than 5.11 or v6 in the gym.  There are some pros and cons to training with the Moonboard.  I'll start with the pros first:

1. Almost all holds are useful on the board.  I say "almost" because there is a single 2 finger shallow pocket in the lower center of the board that I don't really know what to do with.  I feel I would only use this on uneven lock-offs but don't necessarily need to use it for that exercise.

2. Has 2 nice open hand slopers that keep your hands in the open position for pull-ups.

3. Has very small crimps (my strong suit and what I prefer to climb on)

4. Has the exact difficulty level I prefer for a hangboard without all of the useless holds and pockets.

Reminds me of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters


1. Does not have warm-up (meaning large) holds.  My hands have to be warmed up significantly before starting on the easiest holds.  This can easily be fixed by just adding a couple of screw on pinches or jugs to my board.

2. See entry 1 under Cons because that is the only negative I could find with this hangboard.

Overall I felt that this fingerboard is definitely designed for the advanced climber looking to up their game on the really tough crimps in their life.  I also feel like I get an improvement in my contact strength on really tough dynamic moves to really small holds.  Basically this board gets the job done without adding a large amount of unnecessary pockets and holds; a minimalist's dream so to speak!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mad Rock Shark 2.0 Shoe Review

A week ago, I was hooked up with a pair of Shark 2.0 climbing shoes from Mad Rock Climbing and was able to give them some testing at the gym.  After all they are designed to be a competition shoe and a gym would be the best spot for the initial tryout.

Pardon the appearance of the Shark 2.0 shoes in the picture, I have very chalky hands...at all times.

The first thing I noticed about the shoes is the bright orange "Arch Flex" that made the shoe very flexible and comfortable.  In the mid-sole area, the edge of the shoe was stiffer than the center which helped with the overall flexibility and sensitivity while wearing the shoe.  The heel cup was solid and tough and the design gave the heel cup extra stiffness.  After a while of playing with the shoes like a baby plays with a rattle, I put them on to see how they felt.

Flex you say?! 

I had a little bit of difficulty getting the shoe on but once on, it felt snug, tight (perfect amount), and secure.  The mono-velcro latch was nice since I didn't have to worry about tightening multiple straps or trying to figure out which one needed to be tighter (or that I'm lazy and tightening one strap takes less energy).  I jumped on the wall and started feeling them out and was impressed with how light they felt on my feet.  It had the perfect amount of rubber around the toe, and I could actually feel what my foot was touching on the wall, even on tiny "smear" foot-holds.  The biggest concern I had when testing the Shark 2.0 was if my heel would slip during heel hooks, which has always been a problem for me.  My concern disappeared quickly upon trying some difficult overhanging heel hooks in the gym and my heel sticking like gum in your younger sibling's hair (must be something to do with that Science Friction rubber they have over at Mad Rock).  I also appreciated the extra rubber on top of the foot which was great for toe hooking.

I went through my normal routine of warming up and climbing the "v8's and v9's" (quotes due to our gym's (Prime Climb) notoriety of sandbagging boulder problems...and that plastic grades really don't matter).  After climbing in them for an hour and scenting the shoe with my ruggedly pungent foot aroma, I was already used to them and felt comfortable on just about everything, even on longer routes on our lead wall (no toe cramping!).  These could definitely be a great shoe for  whenever you're facing some really hard routes or problems.

I usually have something about a shoe I would like to change but I couldn't really find anything to change about these shoes since I've had them.  If I had to compare these to another shoe, I would compare them to the La Sportiva Solution, very similar in flexibility but without the higher cost.  The rubber quality is not as high as La Sportiva but is still better than previous Mad Rock models.  I also liked the Shark 2.0 better because the heel cup fit nicer.  Overall, Mad Rock did a great job designing the Shark 2.0 and making it an aggressive shoe for all types of climbing.  I can't wait to see what they have in store for their next innovative shoe (Shark 3.0 anyone???).

Power Struggle 7 Bouldering Competition--CANCELLED DUE TO WINTER SNOWSTORM NEMO


Power Struggle is back for the 7th time!  The raddest, baddest, toughest bouldering comp in New England  is set to hit again on Saturday February 9th!
(Poster Artwork by Dan Yagmin, Jr.)

Competitors from around the New England area will make the trip to Prime Climb to crimp, pinch, slap and pull on some plastic in hopes of winning some money and prizes!  If you have never been to a bouldering comp and have never witnessed a finals round, this comp is a MUST see!  The power, intensity and heart that these competitors pour out onto the wall is an amazing event to watch!

This bouldering comp is not just about who is the strongest, it's about who has the mental toughness to persevere through the problems set forth from the minds of amazing setters that work for Prime Climb.  Competitor's fingertips will become raw, their forearms will become fatigued, and their toes will become cramped inside the climbing shoes, but the excitement and fun that these competitors carry with them will not fade.  At the end of the day everyone leaves knowing they gave it their all and had a blast!

There will be a Men's and Women's division with problems set for beginner, intermediate, advanced, and open (pro level) level climbers to tackle.  Prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd  place of each division with a cash prize for the open division.  Men's and Women's open level qualifiers will compete later in the day for a chance to be the champion of the Power Struggle 7!

As a climber and competitor who has participated in past Power Struggle events, I recommend anyone with an interest in competitive sports or climbing to come and compete or just come out to watch an awesome event unfold down to the finals!

Climb for MS Success!

This Climb for MS at Prime Climb Climbing Gym (on Dec. 8th 2012) was a huge success!  Connecticut rock climbers and visitors to the gym that day donated a total of $2510!  A donation dollar for dollar match by Prime Climb gym brings the grand total to $5020 that will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society!

The gym was packed with eager veterans and newcomers to climbing who wanted to help out toward a worthy cause: defeat MS!  The day started out with a high intensity dyno comp won easily by the springy Dave Decelles for the males.  Later in the day many people tried their hand at the obscure sport of crate stacking.  For the ladies Megan Twohig took first place with 17 crates stacked and I took first place for the men with 24 crates stacked!  The day ended with everyone gathered around a table full of climbing "schwag" clinching handfuls of numbered tickets in hopes of winning some awesome prizes donated by vendors such as: Five Ten, Trailblazer, New England Ropes, Revolution, Pusher, Team Rainbow Designs, Friksn, Evolv, Madrock Climbing, So Ill, Practical Climbing, Sanuk, Julbo Sunglasses, Detroit Rock Climbing Company, and many more!  If you couldn't make it out to the fundraiser donations can still be made to fight MS on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's webpage that can be found here.  Below are some photos from the action that occurred at the fundraiser taken by the event organizer Sean Ewers (awesome guy by the way!!)

Rep from National MS Society educating on MS! 

 Dave Decelles, winner of Dyno Comp!  He took down every dyno there with ease!

 Meg Twohig stacking mad crates here! She took the gold for the women's crate stacking!

Myself taking crates and stacking them like it was my job!  I came away with 1st for the men's.

The MS fundraiser day turned out to be a great day and huge success!  MS Society, Prime Climb and Sean Ewers (event organizer) greatly appreciated everyone who made it out to the event and/or donated!  More photos from the event can be found on this Facebook link!