Here is an interesting photo of 28 year old Nico Favresse taping up for The Cobra Crack. He put a few wraps around some of the key pressure points before his attempts. Nico first went up the line back in 2005 or 2006, just to check it out. He told me the locks fit well and the line was striking, but he did not have enough time to invest. I’m not sure how many days he put into the climb this year, but I know he was around for a couple of weeks. The funny thing about the Cobra crack is that a strong sport climber has a far better chance than a weak crack climber. What I mean to say is that, when it comes to the hardest free climbs, no matter what style they are, good technique can only get you so far.
I’ve seen some amazing crack climbing technicians get spanked on moderate boulder problems, and of course it goes the other way too, but to climb these hard finger cracks, one is better off training the upper body along with one and two finger pockets, rather than doing laps on low angle splitters. Nico is a prime example of this (he had to use his ring finger on the undercling mono move ‘SICK’, unlike Dedier who squeezed in his middle), as is Matt Segal, Ethan Pringle, Kevin Jorgensen, Steve Mac, Dave Mac, ect…ect…
These climbers (either born strong or train hard or both) have the guns to push things into the next realm, 5.15 crack climbing, 5.15 milti pitch big wall climbing (it’s finding them that is the hard part), but the bottom line is that the strongest climber wins. Flexible, stylish climbers look good and all (especially in tights, mmm), but if you can’t growl from the gut and lock down them smaller holds to the knee cap, then you’re not trying hard enough. Here is my advice and (I am prepared to take it myself) increase the intensity and reap the rewards. That is why I’m determined to start bouldering again, it’s fun and it does nothing but make us stronger, from tip toe to pinky finger. It’s been far too long that I’ve been in cruiser mode, just climbing things that look good, without much training, I’ve gotten away with a lot, but I need to re-focus. Take my word for it, this year will be different. Boulderers tend to make quick work of hard sport climbs, sport climbers make quick work of hard trad lines, hard trad climbers make quick work of big wall free climbs, (I.E. Tommy Caldwell) and Big Wall free climbers make short work of Patagonian Alpine climbs. And strong Alpine Climbers are nothing short of a GOD. Ever notice Rolo’s feet never touch the ground? He hovers yo. I’m serious.
When things settle down a bit (not living in my van), I’ll post some video of Nico moving over stone on youtube, I’ll post the link here, so check back shortly.