Get a grip (while you can)

Chuck Millsaps, who had climbed once in the past year, sends a V1 bouldering problem on The Wave wall.

Need incentive to visit a spanking new climbing gym? Try this: If you’re, say, a 5.7, 5.8 climber, there’s a good chance you could send a 5.9 on a freshly minuted climbing wall.
“I came in and did two 5.9s,” Raleigh climber Phil Gruber said of his first visit to the Triangle Rock Club’s just-opened gym in North Raleigh. “In a row,” he was quick to add. “I’ve never done that. And I talked to a guy who did three 5.11s.”
“The grades are a little soft,” TRC Managing Partner Joel Graybeal said during a climbing session this morning.
Today was my first attempt at the wall, and I wouldn’t say the routes are easier — they’re set by chief TRC routsetter Scott Gilliam and his crew, the same group responsible for routes in TRC’s flagship Morrisville gym. The difference: the holds are all new and exceptionally grippy. Thousands of hands have yet to act as the indoor equivalent of wind and rain to smooth the holds’ surfaces.
I developed an appreciation for this phenomenon climbing a 5.8 rife with grippers (small holds that require greater hand strength to hang on to. After getting a feel for the route by watching Phil and Chuck Millsaps before me, I took my turn. I third of the way up, in a 15-foot stretch of nothing but the small holds, I managed to keep moving and punch through. The grippers were like flypaper.
Alas, there are new holds in this gym that may be grippy but require techniques that eluded me this morning. Always good to have a new challenge.
If you’re an existing climber looking for a confidence boost or a newcomer who likes to excel the first time out, check out the new North Raleigh Triangle Rock Club soon. The grip won’t last forever.

Learn more about the North Raleigh Triangle Rock Club here.

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