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02 PHOTO FEATURE 07 GEAR REVIEW 14 GALLERY
WINSON@GRAVICAL20n KATANA LACE SAFRA ADVENnJRA 20n
03 EDITORIAL 08 REVIEW 15 TRAINING + HEALTH
SBL20n ROCK ON 2010 ON BELAY?
04 KNOW THE GAME 11 REVIEW 16 PARTING SHOTS
SBL20n SMU GRAVICAL 20n DODGING THE SILVER BULLET
05 TRAVELING CLIMBER 13 GALLERY
CHIANGMAI HUECO TANKS USA
02 DYNO -~

~I

It is 2011, and we are in the 3rd installation of the SCA Bouldering League. We have come far, but we are looking even further.

It started with a bang with Gravical - 5m walls, IFSC-standard landing mats and huge volumes. We are looking more like a World Cup competition and less like a University organised event.

That is just the beginning. For Boulderactive 2011, Sugita Musatosh, one of Japan's top boulderers, was the Chief Route-setter for the Open category. And for the first time in Boulderactive history, cash prizes were given out for the Team and Open categories. Did I mention that we broke previous records of having more than 500 participants for Boulderactive?

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The rest of the competitions in the league, Pumpfest and Rockmaster are no slouches either, so watch this space!

On the national scene, SMF is finally getting its act together, and will have conducted an Open trial selection for National Climbers in March, 13-14. More information can be found on www.sgclimb.com. where some notes during the meeting on 21st Jan have been posted.

SCA's stance has always been that selection criteria for National representation must be transparent and fair. During the meeting, SMF gave a lot of verbal assurances, but no firm criteria were set in black and white. We sincerely hope that the trial and final

selection for SEA Games can be conducted in a professional manner, be more rigid, and not full of exceptions and sub-clauses.

As we look forward to a better year for climbing, SCA would like to dedicate 2011 to our young athletes. Go forth and compete with the best climbers in Singapore. Take part in your own categories, and also in the Open categories. Take a leap, take a fall; earn your battle scars, for that will be your talisman when you get faced with the best from Asia, and the rest of the world!

HUATAH! BenToh SCAManager

DYNO 03

~I

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~ KNOW THE GAME

.. ./ , .

,

SBL2011

LEAGUE TABLE AFTER 2 ROUNDS:

The SCA BOULDERING LEAGUE 2011, will consist of the following categories: .. Climb Asia U17 Bouldering League

(U17 League)

.. JC Bouldering League (JCBL) .. Varsity Bouldering Cup (VBC)

.. SCA Bouldering League - Open (SCA-BLO)

Of note is the inclusion of the new Under 17 league, which is formulated as a means of determining the best youth climbers we have in Singapore. More information about the rules and regulations, ranking system, and upcoming competitions can be found at www.sgclimb.com.

04 DYNO

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Please note that the U17 and JC Bouldering League will have 3 rounds - Gravical, Boulderactive and Pumpfest. For the VBC and SCABLO, a 4th competition, Rockmaster will be included.

Outram Secondary halted the rampage that is Xinmin Secondary. Of note, during Gravical, Zhang Bin Bin from Outram Secondary would have won the Intermediate Women if she had taken part in it. Just 16 years old, Bin Bin may just be the fresh blood that our sports need.

Temasek Junior College surprised no one as they continue their dominance in the JC climbing scene, though the other JCs are closing in fast. Just 24 points away, will VJC make climbing history come this Pumpfest?

if BEN TOH II OBSCURA PHOTOGRAPHY

The biggest upset during Gravical, is in the VBC. NUS, once the powerhouse of bouldering amongst the other varsities are finding themselves in the unfamiliar position of being 3rd in the league! However, NUS avenged their humiliation; and where better to do that than at their home turf, Boulderactive. But the game is not won, or lost, as a mere 35 points stands between the top and 3rd position.

In the SCA-BLO front, it is still anyone's game. With Jay and Haroz back in the picture, the current top 3 have just gotten their much needed motivation to train even harder.

This Pumpfest, "awesome" and "epic" will be superlatives of the past. Pumpfest is going to be ... LEGENDARY.

• I ,

~I

Getting There

Budget flights connect Singapore directly to Chiang Mai (CM). Here's a tip: secure your tickets early; late flights will cost you more time and money by transferring through Bangkok (BKK). I would know because TeamNUS was faced with ticket costs of $550, over two hundred dollars more per person, for booking a late flight to CM.

before bumping for another 8 hours to CM BUS Terminal and finally to our accommodations! We highly recommend the cheap plane tickets.

To complete the picture, breakfast at the Blue House was da bomb. For only 70 Baht a serving, portions were big enough to last the day. Adventurous foodies will find local cuisine like tom yam gung, barbequed catfish or green curry easily available around the area at very reasonable prices. Want more? The huge weekend night market is just minutes from the Blue House.

Thankfully, the anticipation and sight of Northern Thailand's famed limestone crags erased all fatigue from our bodies upon arrival!

In a bid to keep travelling costs low, our group endured the travel logistical headache of a long train ride from BKK to Mo Chit Subway Station (North of BKK), taxi from the Station to the Bus Terminal

Accommodation

We bunked in at the Blue House (known locally as 'Blu How'). It was a quaint place with large spacious rooms. At just 150 BahVnight, we had access to a generous offering of large rooms, hot water and Wi-Fi.

Getting to the Crag

To get around, we touched base with Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures - a local adventure outfit. Through our local contact, we had bright red trucks

DYNO 05

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~I

(seong theows) transport us to the crags just 40 minutes away for a mere 200 BahVday, with lunch provided. If you fancy more mobility, you could even rent a car for around 1000 Baht a day.

Climbing There

Josh Morris and his crew founded and tended to the local crags with much love. Some climbers even say that if there was an award for the 'Most Lovingly Maintained Crag in the World', Crazy Horse Buttress would win it hands down. No questions asked.

Thanks to the crew, there are now some 100 routes available at the crag. One of our most memorable climbs came from the Gatekeeper Buttress. Graded at F6b, the undulating access and unforgettable climb made this route worth every climbing minute.

Imagine this masterpiece in motion: starting from a "gi-normous" cave that devours any light straying

06 DYNO

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into its gloomy mouth, the route takes you dancing all along the edge, leading into a series of laybacks while setting the climber against a priceless backdrop of the surrounding lush CM forest!

More gung-ho climbers can venture into the nearby Batman Cave. Even in broad daylight, darkness reigns as surely as night, just 5 meters from the cave entrance. To get to the mysterious routes within, climbers had to crawl, torchlight-in-hand, and scrambling through a short but steep entrance. The route was rated F7b but with all things considered, it's well worth more than its grade!

Rest Days

We recommend exploring CM city. The myriad of shops will never cease to tease and titillate the shopaholic in you; from silverware engraving, to local handicraft and leather-crafts, there'll surely be something you fancy. Top that off with a Night Bazaar,

a hot spring just outside town and a Chinatown to boot - you might even consider extending that rest day!

Travel Tips

Bring lip balm and moisturizer. The dry and crisp CM air will chafe at our Singaporean skin without mercy. Bring a windbreaker I sweater too. It can get quite chilly in the mornings and evenings, with temperatures dipping to 16°C.

More information can be found on www.fhai/andc/imbing.com

Oh, and book your tickets early too.

About The Author

Jansen is currently an undergraduate at NUS, and is also one of the Open category climbers in the TeamNUS climbing team.

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~ DORIS LIN II LA SPORTIVA

About The Author:

Doris Lin is a current undergraduate at NUS and climbs with the NUS Climbing Team. She is not your girl-next-door as she lives to defy stereotypes. She yearns to learn and be taught by what climbing has to offer, and ultimately be a better person. She loves the colour yellow and is a sucker for RPGs.

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GEAR REVIEW ~

TECH SPECS

.. Upper: --.

A combination of suede leather and Lorica®, tubular construction

.. Lining:

Front and back Pacific lining

.. Fit:

Medium, Medium asymmetrical cut

.. Midsole:

Laspoflex 1,1 mm combined to the P3 System

"Sole:

Vibram® XS Edge 4 mm

.. Features:

P3system

.. Media:

Watch the trailer at http://www.lasportiva.com/catalogue/ images/Video/800.html

.. Retailing at Climb Asia for $240.00

Product Description

The 'Katana' is a respected name for the traditional Japanese long backsword, renowned for its sharpness, dexterity and deadly cutting ability.

When LA SPORTIVA shoe-makers created a climbing shoe with unparalleled sensitivity on rock, and the precision to edge on micro-features, it was no surprise that they called this climbing weapon "The Katana.".

The famous Katana has evolved to two forms:

Velcros and laces, both in a gorgeous splash of yellow. Besides the obvious difference in closure systems, the Katana Laces are slightly downturned and offers several improvements on the classic Katana's design: the Permanent Power Platform (P3) System, which maintains the downturned shape unaltered for the life of the shoe, and also a tubular inner-construction (an Italian specialty) to provide a more comfortable fit over the Katana Velcro's original unlined construction.

Fitting Description

The upper is a mixture of suede leather and Lorica® stretches just enough to conform to one's feet, not more. After breaking into the shoes, I found the Katana Laces to be as precise as the original Katana - I could edge confidently on thin footholds. The VIBRAM XS Edge rubber is also sticky enough for me to step into small shallow dimples and smear up featureless wooden walls with ease.

Compared to most other climbing shoes, I found the Katana Laces' heel box to be adequate for low-volume feet like mine. The heel box was deep enough to cover my entire heel without cutting into my Achilles tendon when I was standing up.

Negatives

My only complaint about the Katana Laces would be that breaking them in is painful. I have had the bliss (and ease) of wearing synthetic leather Velcro shoes for the past 2 years, and was naturally unaccustomed

to the longer time taken to break-in and put on laced shoes. Climbers used to extremely downturned shoes (e.g.: Miura and Testarossa) might also find the shoe a tad too flat after breaking into them.

Sizing

LA SPORTIVA shoe sizes tend to run one larger than most major brands. For example, I am currently wearing a UK 2 for the Katana Laces while my previous shoe was a UK 3.

My Conclusion

The Katana Laces are a perfect weapon for those who do a mixture of bouldering and vertical climbing. LA SPORTIVA has certainly hit the right spot with this pair of shoes as they offer the right combination of comfort and precise wall performance; this shoe does not compromise.

DYNO CJ7

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2S MICHAEL LIM

ROCK ON 2010 Report Date: 10-14 Nov

Venue: SAFRA Adventure Sports Centre Chief Judge: Joanne Soo

Chief Route-setter: Jan Zbranek Route-setters: Bondan Katiko, KY, Muk, Jason

From 10 to 14 December 2010, the SAFRA Yishun County Club Adventure Sports Centre was converted from peaceful climber's hangout to a sport climbing arena. The three main faces of the classic overhang took center stage, their domineering overhangs taunting all who had the courage to step up.

On its right was a speed wall divided into four lanes, each trailing with an identical speed climbing route. At the base of the speed climbing wall, 4 large LED stopwatch timers were mounted and displayed on a continuous panel, ready to capture each climber's timing.

The Open category and Speed Climbing rounds are a traditional highlight of ROCK ON: audiences can expect to be treated to some world-class climbing. All qualification rounds would cumulate on Sunday (14 Dec) for the grand finals where only the best climbers would compete for a position on the podium and a piece of the grand prize.

Saturday was clearly an exciting day for the competitors; many were trading beta in front of the competition walls, anticipating the challenges ahead.

08 DYNO

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Registration yielded over 360 competitors this year, including a small but formidable contingent from Indonesia.

ROCK ON 2010 has progressed far beyond its humble beginnings at the Marina Promenade back in 1992. In the spirit of competition and raising the bar for local climbing, a World Cup route-setter from the Czech Republic - Mr. Jan Zbranek, was specially flown into Singapore to be the Chief Route-Setter for the event.

Jan was born in Jesenik (Czech Republic) and has been climbing since 6 years old. He won first place in the Czech National Bouldering Championships when he was 18 and hasn't stopped making waves across the world since then. He started route-setting professionally since 2001 and has since presided over events like the Czech Youth National Championships and the Youth World Championships as Chief Route-Setter.

It was hard to tell what tricks Jan had in store for the competitors. He was very dedicated to his work throughout the event, his quiet personality gave nothing more than a smile away. In spite of a recent knee injury, Jan still spent hours on the wall before and during the event, perfecting his routes to deliver his expected challenge. Saturday was blessed with perfect weather, efficient scheduling and great atmosphere. Everyone agreed - it was going to be great.

Saturday's lineup included two rounds of qualifier for the Open and Junior difficulty and speed categories. The speed climbing qualifiers yielded some incredible performances from all categories involved. The quick succession of each qualifying round kept the audience on the edge of their seats, barely leaving enough time to catch their breaths before they were blown away by the clockwork precision of the speed climbers.

Local Open category speed climbers provided an awesome performance. Their titanic clash with a very well disciplined Indonesian team was a sight to behold. Not only were both teams packing incredible pulling power, their on-wall coordination was close to flawless. Spectators could hardly catch their breath when the teams literally "ran" up the competition walls in neck-to-neck races, finishing only seconds from each other.

While the speed climbing categories were under way, both the men and women in the Open category were also stepping up to their challenges on the adjacent walls. The qualifying rounds were organized in a red-point format and climbers were allowed to observe each other on their attempts on the walls.

Open category climbers were required to climb 2 routes, going up against different wall contours and also two different styles. Jan's choice of routes suited the wall contours well and proved to be well-paced, but also deliciously progressive. There were no

~I

bottleneck cruxes, and with a progressively difficult climb, it meant that each climber was encouraged to give their best to go qualify well. Jan's many years of route-setting certainly came to show in this event.

There were noteworthy performances from the Indonesian climbers and local strongmen like Jay Koh and Yam Choon Hian. While no one completed either of the qualifying routes, Jay progressed furthest and impressed everyone with his calm finesse, securing his place as the top male qualifier in the Mens Open category. The men and women of the Indonesian contingent also put on an excellent display of power and control, cruising through both qualifying routes to secure a place in the Finals.

On Finals day, competition ground gossip had it that Jan had put up an F8A+ route for the men and F7B+ for the women. Having rarely been exposed to this level of climbing in Singapore, the competitors were all excited by the challenge of a difficult climb. Chief Route-setter Jan was also confident that all climbers would be up to his challenge, and these final routes would bring out the best in them.

True to his reputation, Jan's route did not disappoint. The final route for the Men on the central overhang was progressive and demanding. Already within the first segment of the climb, climbers found themselves pulling their way through tricky sequences coupled with poor footholds. This sequence clearly shook some of the less experienced climbers up, but

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primed the challengers for the powerful sequences to follow.

Up across the first roof on the overhang, competitors had to swing their way across some distanced holds, before powering through a series of hard pinches on the most severe incline of the wall. This section was immediately followed by a sustained and punishing sequence of ledges before the climbers were brought to task on three tiny hand holds leading up to the end. Clearly, only the best would earn a top-out on this route.

The ladies faced a different style of climb. While the Men received a generally dynamic challenge on the central overhang, the ladies were presented with a technical and much more sustained climb on the slab wall. Their route was long, meandering and demanded both control and delivery of consistent power.

After a tricky starting sequence, the ladies quickly found the route to snake from the bottom left corner of the wall, across a dicey traverse on sloppy holds, ending with a short but demanding mantle into a grueling ending sequence.

It was a very close fight to the finish for both categories. Top three spots for the Men were a scramble between Jay and two more Indonesians. In his cool and controlled style that many have come to respect and envy, Jay did Singapore proud by clinching the top place in the Mens Open category.

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REVIEW ~

Our ladies also put up a brave fight to the very end. Each climber that took to the wall seemed to climb further, setting the bar higher each time. It was impossible to tell who would claim the top three positions, until Indonesian climber Wildo Baco Achmad stunned us all with her incredible endurance by becoming the only competitor to complete the climb after a sustained fight through the crux.

What a way it was to start the day of finals for ROCK ON 2010. The audience was fast gathering and on the edge of their seats just after the first event of the day. Changeover to the Youth '~ category was swiftly executed by the event officials, keeping with the momentum of excitement.

The Youth '~ male category hosted a similar demographic of climbers with two local boys facing off against three Indonesian finalists across 2 routes. On the first route, the Indonesian team produced 3 flashes before our first local climber took to the wall.

However, Mother Nature had other plans in mind. Before the Youth '~ difficulty categories were completed, torrential rains forced the event come to a premature close. Scheduling and operational concerns further urged the organizers to cancel all remaining events. Given the rousing start to the day, it was a pity that not all climbers were given the chance to prove themselves on the wall.

The final results and prize winners for the incomplete categories were therefore extrapolated from the earlier qualifier rounds. Nevertheless, the results were decisive and the truly best climbers won the prizes they deserved.

In the spirit of self-improvement and competition, I had also joined ROCK ON 2010 as a step towards re-joining the local competition scene. I certainly got what I was looking for: a benchmark of my progress and an assurance that all thattime and efforts invested into training was effective. Never mind that I didn't win a prize; the lessons I learnt were far more valuable.

The experience of climbing an international route-setter's challenge had also opened my eyes to what the international and regional competition scenes could hold. Jan's contributions have indeed boosted our local scene's standards, and left us wanting more. Would I do it again? For sure!

Before I left the competition grounds, I stood in the rain for a bit, sizing up Jan's unfinished challenge on the central overhang. I looked around, and knew that I wasn't alone in my contemplation. We'd be back; we'd all be back again.

DYNO 09

~I

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HAKEEM KASBAN

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5

History

GRAVICAL first started life in 2007 as a small-scale, one day climbing event at SMU's school wall, aimed at promoting climbing within the school population. There were two speed climbing routes, two difficulty routes and a lot of falling tape. The organizers even had a hard time explaining to competitors that they could only climb using tiles of a certain colour.

In the following years, with an increased budget and help from SCA, GRAVICAL tightened up its organization and went fully public as a major local bouldering event. GRAVICAL has progressed much since then - from an informal internal event to a listed competition on SCA's calendar.

While GRAVICAL used to be held on the SMU campus, this year's committee brought the event to City Square Mall, into the full view of members of the public, tourists and climbing fans. Everything was bigger this year: prize values were increased, along with new competition categories and formats, bringing in about 120 more participants. However, the SMU inter-faculty category was retired to make way for these developments.

GRAVICAL has evolved much in its short history of 5 years. Who knows what next year will bring, but for now, these are the highlights for 2011 :

Team Event

The team event was conceived to provide a platfonn for working and adult climbers to stay engaged

with the scene. Oftentimes, climbers lose touch with the climbing community after stepping out to work and there are no events that offer an easy and unintimidating avenue for pursuing climbing.

This category saw a respectable turnout of 48 climbers and proved to be one of the most enjoyable and entertaining events on qualifiers day. Hopefully the Team category can become a part of Singaporean climbing culture in the same way that Climb On! has made climbing fun for everyone.

U-17 League

The key to growth in climbing lies in our youth. In order for climbing to be recognized and supported by the MOE CCAB (Co-Curricular Activities Branch) and for it to challenge the boundaries of the sport, a sustainable platform was needed. The U17 league was created to provide this platform, for Secondary School students to compete, shine and bring glory to their alma mater. Who knows, we may well have a local Adam Ondra amongst us.

Volumes and Mats

Holding a world class sporting event is the goal of GRAVICAL's continued evolution and having large, interesting volumes not only raised the visual profile of the event but also provided competitors with varied and challenging problems. This year's wall also featured a uniformly flat landing surface to catch competitors' falls. The standardized mats provided a neat, clean and professional feel to the competition grounds, adding to the visual impact.

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.(

Competition Highlights

Having an experienced team from SCA and their volunteers helped tremendously in ensuring the success of the competition. While delays during the course of the event are hard to eliminate completely, we found that they could be managed effectively through some anticipation and ensuring an efficient response.

The route setters certainly did a good job for GRAVICAL 2011. Their creativity provided a wide range of problems for all competitors that were both visually delightful and physically challenging.

The highlight of their effort can be seen in the Open category finals. Just when the final problems seemed too tough for all the finalists, both Ponti (Indonesia, Men Open finalist) and Suzanna (Singapore, Women Open finalist) moved in synchrony to complete the final climb of the event with an unprecedented bang.

It was a moment of pure magic that seemed only possible in the movies. As Ponti capped off his performance with a human flag and Suz with a megawatt smile, the spectators rose as one from their seats, cheering; carried to their feet by the invisible force of nature that for a few precious moments Defied Gravity.

DYNOll

~I

-lJ

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N BELAY?

GETTING IT RIGHT WITH ASSISTED-LOCKING BELAY DEVICES

2S MICHAEL LIM iii SOURCE FILES

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TRAINING + HEALTH T

Belaying is an inseparable part of climbing. Got rope, got gear; but, got belay?

You'd be surprised by the number of people making wrong and potentially dangerous assumptions about the belay devices we use. One of the most commonly misunderstood and (as a result) misused devices are the assisted-locking I braking belay devices. Popular devices on the market include the PETZL Gri-gri, TRANGO Cinch, MAMMUT Smart and Smart Duo and the recent CT Click-Up.

While many people know this class of innovations as "auto-locking" or fall-proof belay devices, they are anything but. Climbing is an inherently risky sport, and incorrect use of the device frequently puts both the climber and be layer at the unnecessary risk of injury or death. In this column, we'll share some important tips that will make you look-up and avoid a screw-up.

Important Basic Information

Read the technical brochure or safety note that comes with your device. Most people just throw it away, thinking that they already know everything they need to know. Wait, don't you do that too?

Hold on Einstein, did you know that technical brochures are consistently revised by responsible gear manufacturers? So is information and drawings about the functions and correct ways of using the devices.

For example, the PETZL Gri-gri states clearly that it is a "belay device with assisted braking." Right next to this description are three easy-to-understand rules: .. Be attentive

.. Always hold the breaking end of the rope" .. Tie a knot in the bottom end of the rope

Take a poll; don't be surprised if at least half of your poll flouts rule #2 - oftentimes by overzealous, over-confident or ignorant belayers. After all, one needs to have both hands free to clap, right? Wrong, risky behavior is not encouraging.

Checking Your Gear

Assisted-Iocking!braking belay devices are marvelous machines, if you use them correctly. Start by knowing your device:

.. Compatible rope diameter - does it fit the one you are using?

.. How to fit the rope correctly, take-in and release rope,

.. Markings of warranty, manufacture dates and care instructions,

.. Check for damages or malfunctions in the assisted locking mechanism,

.. What activities it can and cannot be used for.

Practice Makes Perfect

Correct gear must be used correctly too. Read the brochure and watch the demonstrations. TRANGO, for example, has released a clear instructional video on Youtube about the Cinch.

Get specific and reliable training in the proper use of your device. While you can probably figure most of it out, ensure that there are no mistakes by consulting a climbing professional and practicing while supervised until you are confident and correct.

This step is crucial because no two devices function the same when catching or lowering a sport climber, especially for lead climbing where dynamic belay requires quick feeding and taking of rope.

Just Be Careful

A couple more things to note:

.. Ensure that you use the correct carabiner. .. Connect your device only to the belay loop .

.. Pull on the climber end of the rope as a function test - the device must lock responsively.

.. Develop a habit of partner checks to avoid mistakes.

.. Always lower your climber slowly at first

to get used to the responsiveness of the device. .. Tie a knot 30cm from the end of your rope

to ensure that you never let the rope slip out accidentally .

If you have any doubt about using your device, just don't use it. There's nothing un-cool about using a traditional or manual belay device. However, there's nothing cool about risking your climber's life just because you wanted to be cool.

Stay safe to climb again. Be careful out there.

" "Always hold the braking end of the rope"

was repeated 9 times throughout their brochure •

DYNO 15

~I

DYNO: So boys, how was the trip conceived? Who's idea was it anyway?

Yam: I was super psyched when I returned from my first bouldering trip to Bishop, California in Dec 2008 and vowed to return the following year stronger. 2 years passed and as work and recurring injuries threaten to show me the other side of the hill, I decided that Hueco, the mecca of bouldering, had to be the next, hopefully not the final destination, before time runs out.

Ivan: One day while climbing at Yishun SAFRA, Yam approached and asked if I wanted to join him for a bouldering trip to Hueco. I remember that he said something like, "if you don't go now while you still can, you will regret it." How could I refuse?

DYNO: Such motivation! So how did you prepare for your trip? I mean, there aren't many good and accessible bouldering spots in our neighbourhood to get your fingers ready for serious cranking. Ivan: I have never followed any training programs or workouts. I just kept doing hard routes and mostly crimpy problems. I zero-ed in on my crimp strength because I heard that routes in Hueco tended to be crimpy. I also checked in with climbers who have gone overseas about the V-gradings - what to expect and maybe how long they work on the V grades. So, in a way, I was preparing both mentally and physically for the trip.

Yam: The biggest challenge for me was actually finding time and energy to train. I know it sounds cliche, but with 9 exam papers Oncluding the 'N' & '0' Levels) in one semester alone, I found myself literally stealing time between my work schedule to train whenever possible. For example, I found myself often having 45-minute slots free during some working weekdays and a few hours at Yishun on good weekends. By the time the trip started, I was already mentally and physically exhausted; for the very first time, I was starting to believe that @#% (I think he

16 DYNO

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meant "age") had finally caught up with me. I believe in the value of acceptance, but I wasn't going to go without a fight.

DYNO: ·shifts uneasily in my sear You're not going to start fighting here, are you? Could you describe the crag location, for those of us who have never ventured further than the sanctuary of our MRT station.

Ivan: We took a 28-hour epic flight journey from Singapore, transiting in Narata-Tokyo, to HoustonUSA and finally a domestic flight to Texas, EI Paso (near Mexico). In EI Paso, Yam rented a car that we used to drive to the crag and everywhere else. We stayed at Hueco Rock Ranch which was literally beside the Hueco State Park, separated only by a fence. The Hueco State Park only allows a maximum of 70 persons for visits to non-restricted area like North Mountain, and guided visits for the other restricted areas. We had to make reservations for each climbing day, and reach the park office before 10 am, after which the park office will release the reserved booking for public enrolment. Each entry costs USD$5 and guided/volunteer can be as much as USD$20 (or free for the volunteer subjected to availability). From the point of entry, everything was within walking distance, but some routes took us about 30mins to reach.

DYNO: You've accumulated quite an impressive tick-list. What was your most memorable send? Yam: Diaphanous Sea, my first V12. It happened so quickly and suddenly, I almost couldn't believe it! (Considering a week earlier I was struggling on a 6a+ during the school trip to KL , due to a very bad elbow from Rock On)

Ivan: For me, it will be Chablanke (V11 /12). I reached the crag around 10am. From not able to make the first move till the last move, I probably spent like 40- 50 attempts on it. And yes, I finished it like around

3pm. It was a very different kind of route for me. Technical and super crimpy! At the end of the day, you should see my finger joints, they were swollen. I remembered spotting Yam that day, and he finished Diaphanous Sea (V12) . That was a day after Chablanke (V11/12). I was super psyched after 2 days rest, I flashed a V12, a V7, and red-pointed a V12, V10/11, V10, V9, V7. Maybe, having a good partner does spurn you to greater heights.

DYNO: I am truly as scared as I am impressed. Here's one for the teachers: what have you learnt from this trip?

Yam: I learn not to underestimate myself, yet accept and respect what the body cannot do.

Ivan: 2 things I learnt from this trip. First, my partner is a diet freak. "laughs" He watches his food intake very closely and always check on my food. But nevertheless, I can't complain because I know I like to eat junk food. The biggest lesson I've learnt is probably REST. During the trip, I climbed 5days in a row at beginning, but I did not seem able to push myself as much as I could. And after a much needed 2 days of rest, I was rewarded with huge progress. So, let this be a lesson for all climbers out there.

In closing, I'll leave you with the ever-chatty Ivan's comments. May his words inspire you to follow in their footsteps, and venture forth to more climbing adventures!

"[Hueco] was a whole new experience compare to gym climbing. I do not detest gym climbing because that was how I trained and what made me who I am now. But, comparing them both, I will say that I fell in love with natural bouldering -- the endless possibilities and raw beauty of the lines, especially the feeling when you solve the biggest puzzle that Mother Earth has provided." - Ivan Toh (January, 2011)

~I

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