Eric Heiden's Blog

Why did you fall off of your project?

Seriously.  Think back to the last session on your current project.  Replay the climb in your your mind.  Now focus on the exact moment that you fell off of the climb.  What was the reason you fell?

Be honest with yourself.  Were you so pumped that you literally couldn’t keep yourself on the wall?  Did you foot slip?  Did you barn door?  Did you miss a low percentage type-move?  Was one of the holds just too small to use?

The easiest way for you not to fall off of the climb next time is for you to fix THAT problem.  Get specific with it - don’t just try the whole thing again and hope that things work themselves out this time.  If you fell off because you were pumped get in the gym and work on your endurance.  Learn how to properly find and use rests.  Learn to breath and shake out.

If you fell off because the crimps that you needed to use were too small get to work on strengthening up your fingers.  Work on a hangboard.  Isolate the issue.

If you barn-doored then find a better body position or foot hold to adjust your center of gravity.

If you just plain didn’t try hard enough - then before the next time you get on your project think about what it would feel like to try harder than you ever have before.  Then while your climbing keep that idea in your mind and use 100% of your GRRR on the crux.

If you didn’t fall, but instead backed down because of the fear of falling - maybe above your last clip or pro then get in the gym and work on fall training!

It’s very easy to excuse your failures with excuses like “That climb is just too hard”, but if you eventually want to do the climb then the first step is realizing how you need to adapt to negotiate the moves.

I was recently given this advice and I was lucky enough to have video footage of myself of my latest project - Ride the Lightning, v6, in Pawtuckaway State Park.  I have 10 or so takes of me falling off of the crux move, and one take of me actually sticking it.  I pulled up my closest attempt that I still fell off on and watched it over and over again in rapid succession, trying to take in all of the nuances of my body position and movement.  Then I pulled up the clip when I stuck the move.

It looked exactly the same to me.  So what gives? I thought, Did I just get lucky on one burn, or try harder?  It sure didn’t look like I was trying harder when I stuck the move.  In fact it looked like I was trying a lot less.  So I took screenshots of the frame right as I was about to touch the crux hold from both clips, lined them up in photoshop, and behold:

My hips!  I sucked my hips into the wall just a little bit more on my best attempt, and flagged my right foot just slightly higher for a little more opposition against the barn door.

What I’m trying to convey is that even if you think you’ve heard this kind of advice before and don’t feel like it will help you - you still fell off of your hardest project, because it’s still a project.  If you can find a way to correct that one issue it might be just enough to get you the rest of the way up the climb.  If you have video of yourself climbing - watch it - you’ll be amazed how much you can learn from watching yourself climb.  If you don’t - try setting up a camera or a cell phone to record next time you’re working your project if possible - if you don’t send that day it may help you in the future (and if you do send you can make sick videos from the footage!)

Unfortunately it is the middle of January and snowing wet snow outside right now - but with this knowledge in hand my chances of sending are going to be much higher the next time I get on this climb.

This weekend I went on a solo mission to finish up my bouldering projects for the season - namely Ride the Lightning, which, much to my dismay, was soaking wet from rain two days prior.

After arriving to the park bright and early on Saturday and discovering the state of RTL I set to warming up in the cold weather on a classic v2 named E-Z Cheese which I had never touched.  After 3 laps on said classic I was too hot to wear my down jacket.  I then went to work on a line that I wanted to do simply because it had shut me down on the last visit: Hobit Direct - a v4 sit start ‘variation’ (shares a topout) to the park ‘classic’ (read: lowball polished crack traverse) Hobbit Hole.

After applying some burl and figuring out that adjusting the marginal starting left heel hook up to a much better left heel, I managed to send it, but not with much grace.

After deciding I was officially warm with minimal skin loss I went to look at a v6 I had read about on mountainproject called Bulletproof - a beautiful friction sloper traverse with a nice flat landing that only climbed about 8 feet off the ground until you were standing up - perfect for solo climbing work.  I took my time working the beta and figuring out each move one at a time.  On my first real go I came inches from sending and was almost too psyched to rest.  I came up with better beta to the finishing sequence, rested about 10 minutes, set up my camera, and sent!

After Bulletproof I tried to climb on some hard climbs such as Rio’s Problem (sharp v7), Terrorist (technical v6), and Zap (sharp burly v3) - none of which produced sends.  At this point v3 felt harder than v6 so I decided to call it quits for the day.

All in all a wonderful day which could only have been made better by being out there with friends.  Next time I’m dragging someone out there even if they’re kicking and screaming, goddammit!

Here’s the latest from New Hampshire.  Spent December 3rd out in perfect, sunny, 45 degree weather climbing on the granite boulders of Pawtuckaway.  Mooost of the video is my buddy Dan Blanchette crushing everything in sight.  I got through the technical crux of my hardest project ever - Ride the Lightning (v6), and couldn’t get back up that high from the ground.  I’m so psyched to send next time I’m out there!

The send of my longest-standing project to date.  I started working on Iron Cross sometime in 2008.  At the time I was sending v3s, thinking I was a v4+ climber.  After expecting a send on it every trip to Lincoln Woods for years since then finally in November of 2011 I sent Iron Cross.  2nd go of the day after about a year and change away from it.  It was nice to see that I had progressed in the time I had spent in Pennsylvania.

New Hampshire Bouldering

Here’s a quick video I threw together from yesterday - the day before hurricane Irene hit.

Enjoy!  Get Psyched!

A video I made about a friend of mine - Josh Helke - owner of Organic Climbing.  I was thrilled to see so many people watch the video and give me feedback in some form.  Scheming about my next video…

A weekend playing on rocks

On Memorial day weekend of 2011 Ali and I drove down to Coopers Rock in West Virginia with our friends Josh Der, Kristal Watrous, Michael Fitzgerald, Leah Wasser, and Mike Molony. We climbed in mucho heat+humidity and it was fun.

Music: Apollo Sunshine - Today is the Day, Kings of Convenience - Live Long

Enjoy!

A taste of February in PA

Here’s a short little bouldering clip I put together from last month.  Doug Fischer, Mike Molony, Josh Helke, and I went out to Hunter’s on a sunny but windy Saturday in February.  Doug and Mike climbed allllmost every line on the Standard American Accent boulder.  I got a few of them on film and put them together to some relaxing music by the Kings of Convenience called Boat Behind.  The problems, in order of appearance, are Incredarete, Cockblock, Levitation Complication, and Std. American Accent (low original start).  Enjoy!

A Blustery Day at Hunters from Eric Heiden on Vimeo.

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