New route plaques

We’re starting to phase in some new route plaques.  They’ll be elegant.  And simple.  And modern.  And humble.  And delicious.  If you enjoy eating laminated paper products and duct tape. What follows is a snapshot of the new ‘look’.photo-1 This will allow us to forgo the redundant tape at the bottom of the routes, which excelled mostly in collecting old chalk and dead skin cells while they peeled away from the wall.  The rating should also now be easier to read!  Yay! In other news, I just ordered a plethora of holds from Urban Plastix (  You can find them on the outside of the small bouldering cave and on some of our newer routes in the expansion.  They’ve got some great shapes that we’re excited to set with. I’m making a concerted effort to diversify our climbing hold selection with other hold companies.  Like it’s a mutual fund.  And i’m the hedge fund manager.  At least i enjoy pretending i am, barking orders like, “Sell, Sell, Sell it all!” to Patrick while he’s setting a route.  Which might explain why the setters mostly ignore me these days. Speaking of Patrick, he’s been voted our setter of the month.  The polling process was arduous, but since it was only myself voting, we eventually came to a conclusion.  He was recently written up in the newspaper as the famous DJ dirtmonkey at night, and the infamous PM during the day while he’s setting routes at the BRC.  Who doesn’t love being in the paper? He actually has TWO different DJ personas.  Dirtmonkey is the down and dirty dubstep DJ, whereas his twin, Steve French is the sexy and suave house DJ.  Steve lays down the smooth beats for the ravers to groove all night long.  With one toss of his sublime hair, he can make any woman swoon.  Watch out ladies, when Steve French is around, the euro has come to B-town. Besides his monkey DJ thing and all that rock climbing, i wanted to get to know Patrick better.  So i asked and i received.  Here are some other fun facts about Patrick…. He is now the proud, if frustrated, owner of 3 chickens(maybe a fox got one?). He cooks some excellent Thai dishes.  His favorite animal is the Liger.  I mean, whose isn’t?  And finally, he used to play the saxophone.  Perhaps that’s where the budding inspiration for music began. Patrick also used to set for Granite Arch and Pipeworks in Sacramento (or Sac-town as K.Bains refers to it).  He has the longest setter tenure here at the rock club, and has a known predilection for pinches and comfy jugs.  So, if you see fifty pinches leading the way up the wall to the chains…. it just might be a PM route.

Enough talk.  It’s business time.  Here is PM with his platinum steel look.  Or his vicious kitty pose.  I often get the two confused.


Posted by Brent NG, 0 comments

The dog days of summer…

… are nearly over.  Fall is quickly coming our way and the busy season is nearly upon us.  Enjoy the last few hot and slow days.  Soon the humidity will chill out in the gym and the outdoor temps will be pristine.  The most perfect time of the year, as far as climbing is concerned, is nearly here.

I’ve been enjoying  these past few weeks by moving in to my new home(homeowner!), running more and climbing less due to finger and shoulder injuries.  Surprisingly, i’ve found that cardio fitness does a surprising amount for climbing… after not climbing for a month, i didn’t get pumped up a hard route on the tsunami.  Normally i’d be pumped out of my gourd with that much time off.  Once i start climbing full time again, my new program will involve much more running and much less climbing.  It might even reduce the injuries.  I’m sold.

As far as routes go, we reset the small cave this morning.  There is a really even spread of grades in there.  One of our front-deskers, Tyler, came in to help out as well.  Let us know what you think of his routes, they’re marked, “TS”.  There are some short and hard vertical problems up as well, involving nasty and tiny crimps, or funky sloper traverses.  See if you can unlock them!

-Brent Ng


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Some moderate affection

I’ve had some requests from some climbers to watch the bouldery nature of our more moderate 5.9’s and 5.10’s.  Fret not!  You have been heard!  I’m double and triple checking that there are enough footholds on our moderate routes to reduce the pulls and increase the technical aspect of those climbs.  This has been stressed to our setters as well.  Hopefully this will increase the flow and decrease the frustration that may or may not have occurred.

In other exciting news… a new set of mini-cave bouldering has been stitched up.  There’s also a new open foot traverse circumnavigating the entire inside of the small bouldering cave – big holds, big fun!

I’m out early today… gotta prep some music for a wedding this weekend.  Climb hard this weekend!


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Desperate for Dally Routes

With the new terrain in the expansion, we’ve started doing “splitzy routes”(my newly coined term)… it’s crowded down low and lots of space up top, so we have been splitting a route into an easier and harder variation.  You’ll start to see a few more of these.  Because of our splitzy routes, we’re up to 110 routes right now.  We’re, admittedly, a little low on 5.9’s, and we have an overabundance of 5.11+, 10- and 10.  It should start normalizing over the next couple of weeks, as we adjust for it during setting.

A lot of our SCS comp routes are starting to come down, so we’re setting twice in the expansion this week.  There are some new moderates and a couple of low-grade 12’s that went up today.  Last friday some new hard stuff was put up in the tsunami, so if you’re fixing to crank some easy or hard 13’s, go check them out.

If you’ve been following the blog at all (i’d be amazed) or have been climbing in the gym and actually pay attention to our route names, then you most likely have noticed the proliferation of “Dally” themed routes.  It is in honor of Dallas (aka Dtron) who is leaving mid-august.  Only, we’re in desperate need of good Dally route names.  It’s really been a steady downhill dive ever since the “Dally Lhama” and “Dilly Dally” were used up.  I mean, “Dally Donkey”, my last Dally route, is fairly contrived and far-reaching.  The donkey theme is my go-to move when the creative juices are all dried up.  So, feel free to post some dally themed route names in the comments and maybe we’ll use them!

Also, If you see a skinny little Dally romping and frolicking his jolly little way about the gym, make sure to wish him well in his journeys.

I’ve been contemplating a routesetting game lately….   We’ll leave a vote section up on each new route for the “Guess who the routesetter is?” game.  Only… i might even give a task to each setter to emulate another setter.  Sound complicated?  Sound fun?  Maybe both?

What follows is an example to abate any confusion you might have:

Let’s suppose Patrick (PM) was instructed to set like Ng (myself).  If you happen to vote NG then patrick wins(i guess you kinda do too).  If you vote PM then YOU win and he loses!  If you vote TM for some odd reason then everybody loses.  What do you win, you might ask?  Pride points and bragging rights.  Increased gym status.  Personal power and greatly increased climbing abilities.  And who wouldn’t want all of that?

Okay, i’m off to go running.  Apparently, i have a honey stinger addiction.  The only way to live with the guilt that accompanies the excess calories is to overtrain myself.  Or so i was told by Smarvs and McNichols. Proper NMA‘ers, if i do say so myself.




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Another Round of Bouldering

We just finished up another round of Bouldering.  The small cave inside and out were reset last week and the expansion cave we just reset on wednesday.  There are a lot of quality routes up, it’s a solid set.  The largest concentration of boulders seems to be in the advanced to elite – range.  Check out my Light blue route up the belly of the beast, it’s a gem (advanced -).

Today we stitched up four routes in the main gym area.  One moderate and three harder routes in the tsunami area.  Trevor put up a nice techy 11+/12- to the far left of tsunami, up the gently overhanging wall.    Sean has a steep 12- on Tsunami right, and i put up a 13- on the far left of the tsunami… an area we usually don’t have a 13 on.  Lots of pinches and compression and a little bit of jumping.  Check it out!

Dallas also put up a few more moderate boulders in the expansion today, it’s nearly a full set.  We’ll add one or two more intermediate/advance – to it on monday.

On another note, i bought my first princess waters at whole foods last night.  Apparently, it’s just sparkly water, but the crew got a hoot out of me asking the whole foods employees where they kept their princess waters, and then watching us go on a hunt for it in the cold beverage section.  You may have won this battle Smarvs, but not the war!


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That time of the year…

Yup, springtime is almost over.  Which means, besides spring cleaning, lots of nasty pollen and non-stop swamp cooler action at the BRC.  This keeps us nice and cool, but it can get a tad bit humid in here.

Our top ropes tend to get a little stiff and tight with the onslaught of increased humidity.  To rectify this, we’ve un-wrapped the double wraps on the bars of a few select culprits.  There are signs posted at those top-rope locations, just be sure there isn’t some extreme weight difference between you and your belayer, cause they can be a lot faster.

I just finished a route count – we have 108 routes up in the gym, 66 in the main gym and 42 in the expansion.  Our grade bell curve is looking nearly perfect, with only a few too many 5.11- that could spill into the 5.11 and 5.10+ range.

We’re nearly recovered from the minor setback in setting caused by the SCS comp.  There is now an extra pure stemming route put up left of the birthday slab on request by all the “Chris’s”.  As the put it, it’s pure dessert climbing, you don’t even have to pull down on a single hand-hold.

Comp routes are slowly coming down in the expansion – send them before it’s too late!  If you haven’t already, Dallas’ orange 5.12 comp route(thick tape) is techy and brilliant, as is Seth Lytton’s White 12+(arguably 13-) which comes down tomorrow unfortunately.

Enjoy the new routes.  I’m off for New York City to play some wedding music.  See you next week in the Gym!


Posted by Brent NG, 0 comments

Enter the dally climbs

We’ve recently had an influx of routes named “dally ______”.   You might have seen them around.  For example, there is dally potter, dally parton, dally struthers, dally’s raging emotion, etc.  Dally is Dtron’s newest and bestest nickname.  In honor of Dallas’s soon to come departure, we figured naming lots of routes was the best way to memorialize him.  If you see him around the gym, be sure to call him by his new nickname.

We’ve finished up our spring cleaning(sorry about the dust) and are in full swing for summer setting.  There are some great new routes up.  We’ve started dismantling some kids comp routes early in the expansion, so that we can stay on schedule with our 2 month routes up-time.  TJ has a wonderful 11- on the wave wall that is wandery, sequential, and has some fun highstepping on underclings.  Try it out!

In the main room, there is a stellar new training 5.13 put up by dally.  The hardest move is probably the very first one, but after that, there is no resting to the chains.  I’m psyched! It’s great rifle training.  We just put up a new jug haul on the right side of tsunami that should fall in the 10-/10 range.  The 11-/11 pink route will be coming down on monday and reset as well.

On request, i also quickly added an 11+/12- stemming route on the expansion slab.  Hopefully it will satisfy the deep yearning for harder stemming routes for a couple months.  Next time it will be harder, i promise!

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New flooring and patch installation complete

We finished up installing our floor and subfloor patches.  Some of the softest and bumpiest areas of the gym are feeling a lot more solid and new now.

We also were doing some spring cleaning behind the walls, which, combined with the wind, made the gym a little dusty today.  Sorry about that!

There are some new slab routes up in the expansion from wednesday for the slab lovers, including a slopy and techy 5.12 to test your mettle on.  There’s also some fun new moderate 5.10’s to get your pump on in the main gym, and a new 5.12-/5.12 arete climb on the left side of the Mary Beth wall.  Our local venezuelan hardman, Onecho, also set a stiff 5.12 up the gently overhanging right side of the tsunami wall, which will probably check in a little harder, unless i was just feeling really weak today.  It gets harder the higher you get – the best kind of route!

Enjoy the routes!

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New bouldering floor!

We successfully installed new flooring in the small bouldering cave, as well as the transition from the old gym to the expansion.  It will feel a lot more rigid than it used to, and looks brand spankin’ new!

We have a few more flooring patches that we’ll install in the next few weeks, but it shouldn’t interfere with any gym hours.

This friday we have 7 new routes in the old gym, nothing steep, mostly moderates.

Check out my new blocky 5.12- to the right of the tsunami wall… small moves on big, easy slopers and pinches!

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Post-comp decompression

There are 20 new routes up in the expansion right now.  12 from the SCS kids competition – they will probably feel a lot stouter than our usual grades.  They are all very techy and sequential, and grow progressively more difficult the higher you go.  I’m hoping they’re all fairly adult friendly.

There are also 8 new routes that we slammed up immediately post-comp in the 5.9-5.11- range.  We’re still a few routes shy, but we’ll get them filled in over the next few weeks.  This past week we took two days to reset the small bouldering cave in the old gym.  It’s an easier set than normal, but the problems are all fun… enjoy!

We have a new setter intern from thailand working with us.  He’ll be here for two weeks.  Be sure to look out for Ooan’s tag and give us some feedback.  He’s picking up lots of tips and tricks for his gym back home.

We’re also getting new flooring in the small bouldering cave this wednesday night.  We will be closing that area a little early to start work on it, but the bouldering in the expansion will still be available.

Expansion bouldering is going to be reset this wednesday!

-Brent Ng

Head routesetter

Posted by Brent NG in Blog Post, Route Setting, 0 comments

New Routes up!

We put up 15 new routes this week in the gym.  Today, Dallas (D-tron or Dally as we all now want to rename him) stitched up a nice resistance rig on the right side of tsumani, which will probably fall in the 12+ category.  It’s a great trainer!  Look for the pink tape.  TJ also put up a nice techy 11- route under one of the auto belays.  Really fun and wandery – check it out to the left of the thunderball wall.   Get ready to mantle!

There are currently a total of 108 routes up in the gym, 42 of which are in the expansion.  The steep bouldering cave was reset this past week as well and we did some fill-in on the lower advanced problems, which we were lacking.  It’s a stiff set, but there’s some creative stuff up.  Check out Sean Drolet’s light blue compression sloper fest if you’re pushing the elite-/elite grade, it’s gotten some rave reviews.

Also – other exciting news in the office today – two of our employees have recently learned that they made it into hueco guide training.  Congrats to Jen Herling and Steph Marvez. That’s practically more exciting than winning a brand new car.  We’ll be demanding many trips from you two in hueco!   I have attached below a picture of the two of them, spontaneously caught in the height of their excitement.

They Toyota Jump

Next week we have the regional SCS competition held here on Saturday, May 11th.  We, unfortunately, have to close the expansion half of the gym for setting, beginning on wednesday may 8th.  The entire gym will be closed on Friday and Saturday, May 10-11th.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

On a good note, however, we’ll have loads of kid-sized routes for our climbing teams to train on afterwards.  Good luck to all the competitors!

We also plan on filling in immediately post comp, so there will be a lot of new routes (adult-friendly) come in and try on sunday.

-Brent Ng, Head Routesetter

Posted by Brent NG in Route Setting, 0 comments

5/30/12 Margarita Challenge Record Crushed!!

If you had told me, I wouldn’t have believed it. But I was there. I saw it with my own eyes.

As many of you know, we have an ongoing contest in my Cry in the Dojo classes.

The Margarita Challenge.

If all 12 class participants can get their heart rates past 93% of their max at the same time, I will make everyone in class a (award winning, hand crafted) margarita.

In 3 years this challenge has been met only twice. Of those two, the best performance had everyone able to achieve that 93% at the same time twice during the class. Very impressive. A record that stood for 3 years.

Until today. . .

Steph, Kat, Tammy, Beth, Kirk, Sherry, Adam, Chris, Amy, Jackie, Luke, and Josh shattered the record by simultaneously hitting 93% a whopping 7 times during class; once during each of the 4 rounds of tabatas, and then again once during each of the 3 lightning rounds.


Now we just need to settle on a day and time next week to collect their winnings!

Congratulations everyone!

Coach CWall

P.S. The class will be able to collect their margaritas on Wednesday, June 13th at 7:30pm in the Hangdog Lounge at the Boulder Rock Club!

Posted by CWall in Blog Post, Boulder Rock Club, Chris Wall, Fitness, Training, 5 comments

Circuit Training

BRC trainers have developed a training circuit incorporating Tru Blue auotobelays.  Check out this video on how to better train for your climbing objectives.

Posted by BRC in Boulder Rock Club, Fitness, Training, 0 comments

BRC Hours for April 20 & 21

USA Climbing Logo
We’re hosting a USA Climbing S.C.S. Local Event this upcoming Saturday.  Because of this, there are a few changes to the our hours of operation.  Take a look below for details.

Friday, April 20th
6:00am Weight Room/Cardio Open

11:00am Main Room Opens for climbing
4:00pm Expansion Opens for climbing
Don’t Forget: BRC Members can climb at the Spot for FREE
Saturday, April 21st
8:00am Weight Room/Cardio/Bouldering Open
8:00am All Roped Climbing Closed, Competitors Only
4:30pm Entire Gym Opens for Climbing
Don’t Forget: BRC Members can climb at the Spot for FREE
Posted by BRC in Boulder Rock Club, Competitions, 0 comments

CWall Level 1 Test Day Results! 3/2/12

Hey there,

   Here are the results from Monday’s Level 1 Test Day. Remember to reference the heart rate monitor sign out sheet with the results.

Posted by CWall in Blog Post, Boulder Rock Club, Chris Wall, Fitness, Training, 0 comments

Coach CWall Episode 2: Shortcuts to Thinking


This has been a great week for training at the BRC, even though Spring Break is in session. Sean, our trusty coaching and training intern has been hard at work coming up with class designs and teaching all of the classes on his own (with a little feedback from me). If you were or are planning on coming to class this week we could use your feedback on Sean’s performance. This is supposed to be an educational experience for him after all.

This weeks YouTube Episode of Coach CWall: Shortcuts to Thinking deals with a topic that I see all the time in our athletic community. It deals with something called Inductive Reasoning, which basically means drawing a false conclusion from a set of facts. For example, Tom runs fast on Tuesdays. Today is Tuesday. Therefore Tom will run fast. You see where I am going?

Let’s take two athletes, Alpha and Beta. Alpha is good at something (pick the athletic endeavor du jour). Beta is new to the game and wants to be good at the same thing. Alpha does/eats/drinks X as part of their training regimen. Beta thinks that if Alpha does it then it must be the right thing because Alpha is oh so good. Obviously this is not necessarily true, as I point out in the video with a rather graphic example.

It is true that many good athletes have a lot of sound advice to dispense to the general public, but this is rare. It is the athletes job to perform, not teach. Very few top level athletes that have become effective coaches. This is mostly due to the fact that it is their job to perform, not to figure out what works for most people. There are of course some notable exceptions, but like I said, they are exceptions, not the norm.

Don’t be in too much of a hurry to follow the training regimen of the great ones, or expect to become world class after you read a training article in Outside Magazine. It takes years to make a high level athlete, and chances are there is a lot more to what gets there than you or they think.

Just because someone is successful, it is not safe to assume that everything they do or say contributes to that success, no matter how much they may believe it.

Let these great athletes inspire you. Look at their advice and cross reference it with other research. Short cuts to thinking can get you into trouble, especially with training. Be careful and thoughtful, or the next place you might be seeking advice may be your doctor or physical therapist.

Until next time!

Coach CWall

Posted by CWall in Blog Post, Boulder Rock Club, Chris Wall, Fitness, Training, 1 comment

X-Cardio for the Mountains: Week 8


Hey there,

   One week until test week, and I wanted to make sure that everyone was going to be ready with a class that would be harder than test day. We’ve started introducing deadlifts and assisted pull-ups to our regimen, as well as some more complicated core work on the swiss balls.

   We had a near success on the Margarita Challenge today. 11 out of 12 at 93% of their max heart rate or higher, with the 12th person at 92% when the timer went off. It doesn’t get much closer. But alas, no 93, no marg.

   I have had a lot of people ask me to do max heart rate tests on the treadmill since I posted protocol. That is awesome! Some of you still need to test yourselves or have me do it!

   Until next time!

Coach CWall

Posted by CWall in Blog Post, Boulder Rock Club, Chris Wall, Fitness, Training, 0 comments

Max Heart Rate Test: Not for the Faint of Heart!

Hey there,

   I would like to start off by stating something:


This is exercise. Exercise, much like leaving your bed in the morning is NOT SAFE! Please take responsibility for your well being and think before you act. And if you want to play it safe, consult with a health professional before you start ANY new exercise program.

The following is the treadmill max heart rate test that I use with my clients and teams. It is dangerous. You will be putting yourself in harm’s way. This is a “stress” test, and if you choose to do it, you do so at your own risk. 

I recommend doing a test of this nature under the direct supervision of a qualified health professional (someone like me). 

In my opinion, you should avoid a running max heart rate test if you have any physical or  psychological condition that would limit your ability to run on a treadmill under duress (i.e. heart condition, knee injury, bad judgement, etc.)

Here are a couple of considerations that I like to remind people about when they get on a treadmill:

#1) Remember that you can fall off this thing ala George Jetson, and get thrown down pretty hard and belt sanded. It hurts when this happens. Don’t let it happen to you.

#2) Remember to clip into the Emergency Stop clip. That way if you fall the treadmill will stop sooner and the belt will sand you less. PLEASE DO NOT THINK THAT THIS WILL MAKE CONSIDERATION #1 LESS LIKELY OR TRAUMATIC.

#3) This is not going to feel good. It is a “stress” test and is only meant to be performed once in a while (I like to say no more than once a quarter). Don’t let yourself get so tired and goofy that you cannot stop the machine.

#4) Have an escape plan. I like to use the Emergency Stop Clip like a parachute rip cord. I makes the machine stop and I find it easier than hitting stop button.

#5) Strongly consider doing this with a partner who can adjust the machine’s settings for you. It is easier and safer, and they can call 911 if you truly blow it.

#6) Most importantly, stop the test immediately if you feel faint, dizzy, or feel pain outside the discomfort we associate with fatigue. The test has to end sometime you know.

Now that I have said all that, here is the test that I administer. Aside from the situations described in Consideration #6, the test is over when you increase to the next stage of the test and there is no corresponding increase in heart rate. Record the highest heart rate you achieved. That is your max heart rate. 

– Start at 2mph at a 2% grade for 3 minutes.
– 3mph at 4% for 3 minutes
– 4mph at 6% for 3 minutes
– 5mph at 8% for 3 minutes
– 5mph at 10% for 3 minutes
* 5mph at 12% or 6mph at 10% for 3 minutes
* 5mph at 14% or 6mph at 12 % for 3 minutes
* 5mph at 15% until heart rate tops out or 6mph at 14% for 3 minutes
* 6mph at 15% until heart rate tops out.
The stages marked with – are ones that happen with all the people that I test. There is individual variation with the * stages depending upon what speed a subject can “handle.” You will have to decide for yourself. I recommend deciding in advance and sticking to it on the test. Having to improvise when you are doing a test like this is not advisable.
Be careful! Good luck! Don’t puke or get blood on my treadmill!
Coach CWall

Posted by CWall in Blog Post, Boulder Rock Club, Chris Wall, Fitness, Training, 0 comments

Enter the Vlog!

It’s done! Episode 1 of Coach CWall’s weekly video blog (vlog). This episode is more of an introduction to what the general plan is for the future. 
Please subscribe to my channel on YouTube (coachcwall) and follow me on Twitter (coachchriswall). We can even hang out on Facebook (Chris Wall).
Coach CWall: Episode 1: What’s the Point?
Let me know what you think!
Coach CWall
Posted by CWall in Blog Post, Boulder Rock Club, Chris Wall, Fitness, Team BRC, Training, 2 comments

CWall: SPC – Coordinated Climbing Strength


Hey all,

   After 4 weeks of prep work with our SPC: Finger & Upper Body Power, we have kicked off week #1 of Coordinated Climbing Strength! Archer Rows, Turkish Situps, Overhead Squats, Assisted One Arms on a 1cm edge, and Alternating Twisting Knee Raises. We’ve honed things down to the essentials and are ready to enter this final phase of upper body strength work.

   We’re going to keep things pretty simple here without a whole lot of rest stations, which means that as the weeks go by we will see more and more heavy sets. After all, it’s not like anyone is going to get strong doing easy stuff.

   For those of you that were there today, and those of you doing this at home, consider throwing in an additional day after this first round of soreness passes. Here was today’s workout:

See you next time!
Coach CWall

Posted by BRC in Blog Post, Boulder Rock Club, Chris Wall, Fitness, Training, 1 comment