Climbing an ICONIC V7 in 4 days (Dealing with Time Pressure!)

Climbing an ICONIC V7 in 4 days (Dealing with Time Pressure!)

Throughout my years of climbing, I’ve never
finished a V7 in a short period of time. The reason is obviously because it’s very
hard, and also I never feel the urgency since I can always just go back to my local gym
whenever and try again. But guess what? I am visiting London right now and I will
only be here for a few days. There is an iconic V7 here in the Vauxwall
Climbing Center, the Free Solo Boulder Problem replica set by Alex Honnold. For those who haven’t watched the movie
yet, this particular climbing sequence is the hardest part of the entire 3000-feet free
solo attempt by Alex Honnold at Yosemite. I am very excited and hopefully I can get
it before I head back to California. Here we are at the Free Solo Boulder Problem! The crimps look very small and the footholds
look very slippery.

There’s no foothold for the left foot on
the corner here. This is going to be challenging for me. I am going to employ a few different strategies. The first strategy is warming up longer than
usual. The second strategy is asking for beta from
other climbers. The third strategy is trying each move one
by one. For the first day, I discovered that there
were 3 moves that I couldn’t make. The first difficult move is holding the small
crimp with the thumb while reaching for the slope. The second difficult move is the famous karate
kick. The third difficult move is the stemming move
right after the karate kick. I decided to focus on the first difficult
move. I think I was falling because I wasn’t trusting
my left foot. The left foothold is very slippery and it
took me a few tries to feel comfortable to put my weight on it. However, I still kept falling and falling
because I don’t have the lock-off strength for my right thumb like Alex Honnold. I remember watching a video by Andrew recently,
and he did it by moving the left hand to the upper crimp first. I thought to myself, Andrew seems to be climbing
at a similar level as I am now, so his beta should work better for me. However, after a few tries, I have no idea
why that is easier for Andrew. For the second day, I decided to work on the
karate kick. I quickly realized that since I am not as
tall and long as Alex Honnold, I had to generate a bit of swinging momentum for my leg to reach
the wall. However, once my leg hit the wall, I felt
totally stuck. I had no idea how I could generate any force
with that kind of stretched position and a non-existent left foothold. I tried and tried and tried, but still couldn’t
make any progress. For the third day, I worked on both the thumb
catch and the stemming move. It seems like my thumb just simply isn’t
strong enough, and I am just not tall enough to do the stemming move. I tried putting my left hand on the wall and
on the hold but neither of them felt solid. I couldn’t figure out where to put my left
foot in order to generate force to stem up. This green foothold seems to be at the spot
where Andrew and Louis put their foot in their videos, but there wasn’t a green foothold
there when they climbed it. I know it sounds like an excuse but I was
very frustrated. I tried and tried and tried, but I still couldn’t
get it. For the fourth day, I had a lot of fun shooting
with the Bouldering Bobat in the morning. Jake taught me a lot of good tips about dynamic
climbing. After the shoot, even though my legs were
near dead from all the dyno-ing, my fingers were bleeding, and the skin of my fingertips
was super tender, I decided to head back to the Vauxwall Climbing Center to give it another
try. Tom gave me a very helpful tip for doing the
thumb catch, which is to pull myself in dynamically with both the right thumb and left fingers
while I reach out with the left hand. The theory is the momentum will lessen the
stress on the thumb for a short period of time, and I can utilize that time to reach
out with my left hand. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? But it worked. I also had to remind myself to catch the slope
with bent arms when I reached the hold dynamically. The last move I had to figure out is stemming. After hours of trying the move, I still couldn’t
get it. While I was about to give up, a fellow climber
decided to help me out and showed me how he did the stemming move. I replicated where he placed his left foot
and left hand, and boom, just like that, I became able to repeat this move with ease. After a few attempts of climbing the entire
route, this happened. Yes! Wo! Yes! Yes! Finally! Thanks for watching. Climbing a V7 in 4 days is truly a historical
milestone for me. My fingertips hurt now, my back and shoulders
are super sore, but hey, it’s all worth it. If you have a chance to visit London, be sure
to check out Vauxwall. The free solo route will be up there for a
long long time. As always, make sure to like and subscribe. See you in the next video.

Comments (90)

  1. You should try a before and after you climb! I love your channel 我爱你

  2. Patience and dedication LVL 100000000

  3. great stuff man! well done!

  4. Dude I really like your videos,but why do you necessarely speak like that ?

  5. Love the dedication. I have trouble focusing on indoor problems more than 1 session. You seem like such a problem-solver. I wonder if you (and I) can get more in touch with the intuitive self and go beast mode!? Rather than focusing on the problem at hand and micro-beta, shouldn’t we focus more on a macro-perspective and about how to unleash the beast inside? Obviously, micro-beta on a problem-by-problem basis is important, but we also need to just climb and develop intuition or unlock existing intuition.

  6. And now… bring your ass to El Cap ASAP

  7. great video! it shows how difficult it is for the common climber! and makes you want to do yourself

  8. ah I was just at Vauxwall a few weeks ago, to try this problem but couldn't see it anywhere! When did you visit this wall? Great climbing as always!

  9. Good job👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  10. 🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝

  11. my local gym! sorry to have missed you

  12. Where’s the dyno 😬

  13. I had to subscribe. Thanks for sharing that, specially the little steps that lead you to succeed.

  14. Epic and congrats! Always great to see the process and progress with teamwork. Thank you.

  15. youre ready for midnight lightning

  16. Are you going to free solo Yosemite Now?(Just Kidding)

  17. Stoked you got to do a colander with those guys… excited to see it. And congrats!

  18. Geek climber the kind of Alex Honnold who used 60 attempts to get through the crux while soloing 3000ft above the ground.

  19. Good job man! Great analysis as well!

  20. Wow! One of my favorite videos so far. Such an iconic problem

  21. Congratulations! That's amazing, but you came all the way to the UK to climb indoors? We've got to get you to north Wales or something!

  22. If Freerider is a 5.13a and a v7 is equivalent to 5.12a how is this the hardest part of the route?

  23. Words from Chris Sharma that I will never forget: Consistently persistent. Well done!

  24. loved this. gz for the top.

  25. Congratulations!!!

  26. i jammed my finger and watching this makes it hard oh my god

  27. They changed the colour from black to pink! 😮

  28. In a few years we are going to see the episode on the real problem

  29. awesome dude. nicely done. I definitely second others comments regarding getting you onto some outdoor climbs in North Wales, Peak District or Portland or something…. there is so much on offer.

  30. Sick dude! Did you find that the climbing/climbers were any different in the UK or are we all the same breed?

  31. Toms tip about dynamically pulling in before you make the move… you see the same issue on the first dyno on your video with jake. If you rewatch it, you can see that he starts a lot lower than you, and uses momentum to throw himself above the hold, whereas you start much higher and try to mantle it semi dynamically while reach for the holds, but that’s why you couldn’t reach them as you were already going backwards from the start instead of using the momentum like jake.

  32. Amazing man! Well done!!

  33. Awesome video, I really like seeing the process of refining the micro beta to make progress.

  34. Congratulations! You worked so hard and you got it!

  35. So cool bro! Great work. Just watched free solo aswell. Amazing film!

  36. Now imagine doing it 400+ feet above ground with not ropes… Just slightly changes the perspective, doesn't it 😉

  37. nice man ! congrats on the send

  38. look at those muscle memories, well done dude!

  39. This video encompasses so much of what is addicting about climbing. You struggle, you get frustrated, but you keep trying and something eventually clicks, and you GET IT. And it’s the best feeling ever. So you have to go and find another challenge and do it all over again!

    Great job on that climb!!

  40. I know why you have plateaued around V6-7 for years. I’m not trying to say you aren’t a good climber – you’re great and very dedicated and I admire that. Just offering some advice.
    1) from the video it seemed you don’t ask for beta very often (“I asked for beta because of the time pressure”). Climbing with a good friend on a consistent basis, especially someone who is at or slightly above your level and observing exactly how they move and position their body can really make you better (if you do this already then I apologize). While being able to figure out a problem on your own is important, there are certain things that are much easier to learn from others (like when you were told to do the bump move off the right thumdercling crimp slightly dynamically). I usually think of my own beta, then ask others, so I can still learn to read a problem by myself while also being able to compare my beta.
    2) you should try to change something when something does not work after repeated attempts (beta/mindset/body position/climbing with intention). There is no point in trying a move that does not work – make each attempt count. You can try changing your body position or doing the move more dynamically or commiting more to a tenuous movement. This is one thing I have noticed that separates Adam Ondra from other pro climbers in the World Cup circuit – while other climbers can tend to get stuck in a specific movement, Adam constantly refines his beta/execution so that he each burn is consistently different and mostly better than the last – and the end result is that he tops in less attempts overall and saves more energy.
    3) saying things like “I’m not tall enough or I’m not strong enough” – these are excuses and do not help you reach your goals, even if they may be sometimes true. It never helps to say excuses – in the end your excuses turned out not to be true and you were able to execute the climb 4 days on after a difficult dyno session. This one is the most important tip and one I have struggled with the most. Simply changing your mindset to “I can do this, I just need to fix this mistake” can help.

    Note: the reason why bumping to the higher crimp with the right hand worked for your friend was because he seemed to be taller than you and was able to weight the far left toe even with his right hand still on the second crimp from the start. He kept both legs straight and was able to balance between the two footholds pretty evenly, while your attempts for his beta showed that your left foot was slipping because it wasn’t weighted or that your right knee was bent so your weight wasn’t centered. Just because he is the same level doesn’t mean his beta would work for you – height, body shape, style are all important factors too.

    I’ve been climbing for about 2.5 years and have climbed several V10 indoors and a couple V9s outdoors, and I’m still improving quickly. This is the advice that me and my friends live by – give it a try.

  41. Congrats, solid effort! Also mind boggling to see a good glimber struggle with that sequence and then realize Honnold did it on El Capitan without a rope.

  42. Cool videos and great tips!

  43. this got me more hype than the crazy v13+ bouldering videos on here. this is commitment. so cool

  44. did they change the colours of the holds or is this another gym replicated it ? :S

  45. "Iconic" gym problem set a few months ago for publicity? My eyes can't roll far enough back in my head.

  46. What a fun video! Damn I wanna try that someday!

  47. Noice yess it was all worth itt

  48. Californian guy goes to London to climb an iconic Yosemite boulder problem.

  49. That was sweet man! Love the video!
    That movie is mind blowing but seeing that section broken down like that and imagining doing that many pitches off the ground is just nuts!

  50. Great to see the process leading up to your send. I had a similar experience. Check out this plastic version in a split screen with Alex soloing the actual rock…

  51. That was awesome! Im glad you got it in the end!

  52. Hi, I was wondering what camera you use to record your climbing videos and which cameras you might recommend for a beginner to record climbing ?

  53. Great job! Very happy for you!

  54. Love watching your journey man, your determination to grow as a climber and person is such an awesome thing! Til' the next one

  55. Please get a haircut

  56. I like how he goes yOs at the end

  57. Yeah!!! So awesome! Good job!

  58. That was some determination right there, nice work!

  59. No just do that 2,000ft up on El Cap without a rope 😂😂😂😂

  60. I absolutely love watching people persevere on a problem, it makes it so much sweeter when they get it! Awesome work man!

  61. This is the climbing centre i went every weekend!!!

  62. Ur a terrible climber

  63. I've never touched a V7 🙄

  64. Awsome dude👌💪

  65. There is no problem but the problem in front of you. Well done mate.

  66. In the beginning i was like, why doesn't he use those holds right next to him, and then i realized he was just sticking with the hard ones

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