Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Secrets of the Stars

Jerry Moffatt, one of the all-time great rock climbers, spoke at a slideshow about his struggle to do the first ascent of The Dominator (V12 or V13), one of the hardest boulder problems in Yosemite Valley. At one point, he was so frustrated that he decided to try microwaving his chalk to ... what? Make it drier? It wasn't clear if this helped. As he got closer to sending the problem, Moffatt kept missing a deadpoint to a crucial hold. One time he'd miss to the left, the next to the right. To succeed on the climb, he needed to nail this hold dead-on. Moffatt thought, "I could do this if it was a pocket." So, he took some tape and blocked off the bad sections of the hold, left and right, leaving a narrow gap to aim for, as if it were a pocket. He stuck the move next try.

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