Lomba's 9b knee pad technique and leg strength story

Lomba's 9b knee pad technique and leg strength story

In the Eder Lomba video of Rainman 9b, we can see that he stays in a kneebar from 3:50 - 7:10, and short parts of it, "no hands rest". Steve McClure did the FA and he has said about that rest, "Kinda rubbishy kneebar, very intense, you are not staying there very long." Noteworthy is that they are both 170 cm tall. It should also be mentioned that when Adam Ondra tried the route in 2017 he could also get a no hands rest but still thought it was 9b.

Steve comments: Knee pad technology has improved somewhat! With the pads I now use I’d have been able to rest better! At the time the pad I found most useful was a simple knee support bandage. I also sometimes used an original 5.10 pad but it kept slipping down. So the route was really a sprint from the top of Raindogs all the way up. But this is the progression of things. New tools come along that we use to give us the edge…. Shoes, sticky rubber, chalk, cams. And these tools make the climbing feel better. Which is good!

The kneebar with good pads will make it a little bit easier, but by how much I can’t say. If others propose a downgrade, fair enough. But pretty sure for me, and the way I climbed it, it was 9b. What more can I say? Do we have to get so obsessed by the grade? If we must… I thought 9b. Ondra thought so. Eder needed ‘9b’ leg power to do it that no one else has maybe? He has used new strengths applied to the route in an awesome way. Luckily I did it yonks ago, had such a good journey. And will be happy forever.

Eder comments: When I first tried the kneebar I couldn’t get no hands, took me 3-4 sessions to get 5 seconds no hands, and months training my legs so I could stay longer, last November managed for the first time 1 min on the kneebar and after a winter of training I got 3 min for the first time last month. The kneebar is hard very painful and super intense, what you see on the video is the outcome of loads of really hard work, loads of pain and loads off pinning off the kneebar buttering your knees… My mate Josh Ibertson is also trying the route with the same knee pads and he struggles to get 30 seconds no hands… he is been trying the route for as long as I have.

So the training, I did loads of strength training like weighted squad deadlifting. Also some pain tolerance training for my right toes, because the kneebar is so intense that my right toe will really hurt due to the pressure you inevitably apply on the heel. All that pressure transfers through the shoe getting really tight on the toes.

I also did loads of explosive jumping. Calf raises… but the specific for the route where kneebar behind de campus and body crunches every other day, and the pain tolerance by adding weight to my calf raises on really painful footholds. The toes were really painful due to the particularity of the foothold.

On this particular kneebar, (see the picture), I use my left leg to still push my right foot into place to keep a more stable pose. I found that the more comfortable way to stay on the kneebar.

World at War 8C by Sam Blackwell

World at War 8C by Sam Blackwell

Sam Blackwell has done the FA of World at War (8C) in Biblins Cave, which is a link-up of a 7C+ sit start into Spaceship 8B+.

"I started trying this without the intention of climbing the full line in 2020. I did Spaceship in 4/5 sessions and then last summer I went back and started trying adding the sit start of Godzilla. I had maybe three sessions before it got too warm and I got distracted by other things. This year I trained more specifically for World at war and the first session on it dropped matching the finish hold, then came back a few days later and did the same thing. I was shown some slightly different beta from the top and came back last Friday and finished it off during the first go of the day."

How come this is your first send in 2022?
This year I’ve just been busy with work and saving to convert a van. I sold my car so didn’t have a way of consistently getting to the crag, pretty much just trained inside January till May. Starting to get out again now though.


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Lena Müller "ecopoints" 350 km on a bike to climb two dream cracks

Last year, we made an interview with Lena Müller and the ecological crises. She is currently doing a PhD at the University of Innsbruck about the effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems. In the documentary video she takes her bike 350 km to climb two dream cracks.

Janja trains almost only on a spraywall

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Another Play in Paradise (7c, Lienz Dolomites)

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Eder Lomba does Rainman 9b

Steve McClure put up Rainman 9b at Malham in 2017 after projecting it for 128 days. It is considered the hardest route in Britain and now Eder Lomba has done the first repeat. It is a link-up that goes through the crux of Rainshadow 9a and then into Batman 9a before finishing up Bat Route 8c. Interestingly, the Spaniard who lives in Sheffield has previously just done two 9a's, Rainshadow and Batman. Rainman he did after working it for 46 days but then we could add some 30 days for the other two 9a's.

Trip Tik Tonik 9a by Jules Marchaland

Trip Tik Tonik 9a by Jules Marchaland

Jules Marchaland, who has done two 8c+ the last three weeks, has done his first 9a, Trip Tik Tonik in Gorges du Loup. "It is for sure the most beautiful route I have ever tried in my life! It’s an 8b/+ at the start (maybe 20 moves) and then you have a hard boulder on small and a big pinch. After the boulder you have a good rest and you have to do a long 8b very long. The moves are not very hard but it's hard because you repeat, "I can’t fall... I can’t fall" 🤣." (c) Matthieu Marin

You did your first 8c+ in 2017 (at age 16) but then no hard routes until last year?
I did not send any hard routes between 2018 and 2020 because at my home crag (Gorges du loup and Déversé) I began trying the remaining harder routes but my level was too low. Eventually, I climbed less because I became less motivated. In the years before I climbed regularly but never trained seriously. This year I motivated myself to train more, and it works, I'm so happy to see that the work pays off!

What are your summer plans?
I have some work (building scenes for concerts or events), and then I aim for the French championships on June 4/5. After that, I want to try Kick ass and Kinematix, two 9a's at my home crag. Maybe also some small trips in Céüse and Briancon this summer.

Prehistorik 8B/+ and Rustam Direct 8B by Lucie Hrozová

Prehistorik 8B/+ and Rustam Direct 8B by Lucie Hrozová

Lucie Hrozová has done Prehistorik (8B/+) in Labské Údolí. The picture is from last month when she did Rustam Direct (8B) in Holstejn. In the female ranking game, she advances to #4.

How was the sending day fighting your compartment syndrome in your forearms? It seems like a long boulder?
Yes, it is a long one but at least it is the first moves that are hard. Then I rested for a long time in the hole on my knee (no knee pad) so I got some bruises 😅. I had a good day for my arms 🙏🙏 , very happy and grateful for that, because I know it could get worse really quickly.

How much and how have you been training/climbing lately?
So like now, I was trying one day on, two days off. I want to try one on and one off. If I have boulder I know I will only make a few tries, I want to try like just a bit Saturday and a few tries Sunday. To be climbing the whole weekend it will be somewhere farther away, let's see, it is not predictable at all, how the arms will be in the future.

How many sessions did it take to send?
I don't know exactly. I tried it a few times last year but I had a big pain in one of my fingers so I stopped trying it. This year I tried it again but I wasn't sure because the finger is not completely ok if it goes. So I pretty much really surprised myself.

The 33-year-old has won 14 WC medals in Ice Climbing and she has also done one of the hardest mix routes in the world, Saphira M15-. This career came to a halt due to a serious shoulder injury. Then in 2019, she did an 8c but she had to stop due to Compartment syndrome. Instead, in May 2020 she started bouldering and within six months she did her first 8A+. More info on comparment syndrome from an 8a training article in 2010.

Dad Bod 9a by Owen Whaley (18)

Dad Bod 9a by Owen Whaley (18)

Owen Whaley has done his second 9a, Dad Bod in Robbers Roost. "Psyched on this one! Good knee bar down low makes it slightly easier. Top was exiting when a hold broke going for the clipping jug. Super Fun." (c) Matt Levy

Could you say something about the process how you took it down?
Last year, I climbed Manphibian (9A), Andy Raether’s extension to his climb Spyfiction (8C+). In the fall, I decided to try Dad Bod (9A), another great Andy Raether route that is a harder start to Spyfiction. It’s bouldery almost immediately off the ground. The two-move crux comes at the fourth bolt. Then, you have to keep it together through Spyfiction to the anchors. I found a good kneebar right before the crux that made the clip and intro moves before the crux easier. I had tried the route a few times this season in between competitions. When I returned from a week at the North American Cup Series, I decided to go out and have a fun day on the rock. Surprisingly, I was able to do the route on my second try of the day. Excited to spend more time trying hard routes this summer.

Ben Hanna portrait doing Lee Majors 8c+ (9a)

Ben Hanna did the second repeat of Nathaniel Coleman's Lee Majors in The Dry in January, giving it a personal 8c+ grade. In the portrait video he talks about his climbing lifestyle and struggling with anxiety. He has been competing actively since 2012 and in Meiringen last month he was #9 in the qualification and later #15 in the semi, which was his best result ever.

Blimp roof 8A+ by Courtney Arnold

Blimp roof 8A+ by Courtney Arnold

Courtney Arnold has done her fifth 8A+, Blimp roof in New World. The 22-year-old only needed three sessions to take it down and she is #11 in the female ranking game. Interesting is that she only started climbing in 2016 and it was not until 2019 she begun climbing outdoors.

"Blimp is probably the coolest thing I’ve done so far. Sick roof moves lead to a crazy foot lead to get onto the head wall and then there are some awesome hero moves to the top. Another all-star line by Matt. Wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support from good friends!"

What is next?
I’m not too sure what is next yet. I suppose just trying to refine my roof climbing skills this summer in Flagstaff.

L'irrévérence 8c during the night by Maho Normand (8c)

L'irrévérence 8c during the night by Maho Normand (8c)

Maho Normand has done L'irrévérence (8c) in Orgon. As can be seen from the picture from his Insta the 16-year-old did it during the night. Previously he has done three 8c+, out of which the first in 2020. During the last six months of 2021 he had a break because of injuries and motivation, which he explained in an article last month.

"This 8c is really good. I loved climbing in it! I put one session in it one week before. Back to Orgon Friday evening to be able to climb this 8c and in my project in 9a+ during the two days of the weekend! Arrived at the parking during the evening on the crag to be able to climb early the next morning! At 10 p.m. I hit the wall and I felt that the holds were all dry and I wanted to run! I prepared the route and arranged a spotlight on the ground and finally a frontal on the head!! Warming up on the board and then going up the route and the moves felt really well! First run in the route at 11 p.m. and did the sequence with a good fight. Great satisfaction! Now will have to do my project!"

844 routes 8a and harder by Cathy Wagner (56)

Cathy Wagner has during the last 12 months done eight 8a+, out of which four in 2022. Her first 8a, was done in 1994! In total, the 56-year-old has done 844 routes 8a to 8b which should be most of all females and also her grade pyramid should be for the record books. It should be noted that a large part of her sends are done second go as well as she is honest with the gradings like for her latest 8b, Salsa-Burricado, which she logged as 8a+.

"A must-do! 8b in the guidebook, which makes sense if you climb this long traverse without any knee-pads! I've used them a lot right from the beginning and again before the final cruxy boulder section, for which I had to readjust the beta after falling twice. The thing is you have to recover after a 20-move section into a good knee-bar rest before that boulder. Thanks Pires for sharing your beta with me 😊. I reckon it's (a soft?) 8a+ with pads."