Daniel Woods Takes Down Longterm Project…In The Gym

Indoor climbing doesn’t matter, right?  Sure, people get psyched about comps, but nobody cares about when someone sends a regular problem set at the gym, right?  Right?  Well, maybe not.

A couple of nights ago Daniel Woods climbed a longstanding project at the CATS training facility in Boulder, CO.  CATS is a bit unique in that problems are set and then left on the wall for years, allowing climbers time to project something long-term.  The so-called Bubbble Wrap project was one such problem at CATS that had rebuffed efforts by some of the world’s best boulderers over the past five years until Woods was able to climb it the other night1.

Like I said, indoor sends are not normally a big deal, but a funny thing happened after Woods’ send.  James O’Connor posted a video of the send that generated a lot of activity on Facebook and racked up over 10,000 views in the first 24 hours it was online.  Does this mean indoor sends now somehow “matter” in the grand scheme of things2?  I doubt it—I’m inclined to agree with Jamie Emerson’s thoughts on the issue—but it’s clear that this sort of thing does resonate strongly with many of us on some level.

I know I’m that much more psyched to get into the gym this weekend to pull down3.

  1. I can’t say for sure, but it seems likely that Woods put more work into climbing this problem than just about anything he’s climbed outside.  Think about that for a second.
  2.  Ignoring any arguments that climbing itself doesn’t matter
  3.  But I’d still rather be climbing outside

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20 Responses to Daniel Woods Takes Down Longterm Project…In The Gym

  1. Daniel Woods' Mutant Back January 31, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    It’s not like he named and graded it as an FA. People who are getting so worked up about just need to calm down and appreciate it for what it is: an athletic demonstration. It’s mostly note worthy that no one else was able to do it and that it is probably really, really fucking hard.

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    • Ben January 31, 2013 at 11:57 am #

      Best username ever.

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  2. Carlos Lugo January 31, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    I honestly don’t get why everyone was so excited about this. Lots of gyms have “long standing projects,” and the only people who really care are the ones working on them.

    I feel that the fact that this is being shared by so many people who completely ignore DW hard ascents on boulders says a lot of unfortunate things about the way climbing works in the US.
    I’m watching this video pop up on my feed, and wondering why they so many feel this is somehow more relevant or entertaining than his flash of Entlinge (which was barely shared at all in comparison).

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    • TimS January 31, 2013 at 9:07 am #

      The thing I like about the vid is it shows how brute strong Woods is on the plastic. Being stuck in the rainy/snowy UK where it’s too dark to get out on rock after work, that gave me some added motivation to get to the wall and try hard.

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    • your weird February 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      Why was entlinge not as well publicized?? probably because he was made to take video off because it was supposed to be in his next video part. dummy

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  3. Psmall January 31, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Yea, I don’t think the number of views means it “matters” . I just like watching awesome climbers climb crazy things!

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  4. Ryan January 31, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    Indoor climbing doesn’t matter. People just have a hard on for Daniel Woods. A video of him climbing a flagpole would get 5 stars.

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    • Yo Chi January 31, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      To those of us not geographically blessed with nearby outdoor climbing or an agreeable climate, plastic is often all that we get for the majority of the year. I find it pretty damn motivating to hear about stuff like this, therefore it matters to me.

      Also, if I’m inspired by the movement and wanted to try something similar I could conceivably set something like it (albeit infinitely easier) using the same holds. It’s kind of a neat proxy for going on a trip and climbing on something FA’ed by someone whose talent you respect, but on a waaaaaay dorkier scale. Then again though, we all like to fondle rocks in the woods while wearing goofy-ass shoes, and to an outsider/non-climber that’s pretty lame too.

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  5. Greg January 31, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Shit its cooler than doing zumba. Relax we all gotta burn off steam in the gym.

    And go listen to the Rogan interview, too. Sometimes its best just to enjoy shit and not think of reasons to hate on ‘em :D

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  6. Douglas Hunter January 31, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    This reminds me of a story about Malcolm Smith. He was on the road, working on the second ascent of Hubble, which was highly coveted at the time; when he got a phone call from his bother back home. His bother informed him that he was getting really close to doing one of the projects on their home wall in their bedroom. The legend is that Smith, packed up and headed home to try to do the problem before his brother did. So at that moment for Smith, doing a boulder problem in his bedroom was more important than getting the most anticipated second ascent of the year.

    Rightly or wrongly problems on plastic do matter a great deal to us as individuals. I think it would be kind of fun if we developed a buddhist aesthetic around it. Like the Monks who do the Mandala sand paintings. These paintings take teams of monks weeks to complete, the difficultly of the task is extreme, and the paintings are destroyed right after being completed. Now that the problem has been climbed it might be cool if it were taken down and replaced right away with another one just as hard or harder.

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  7. toothbrush January 31, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    It does beg the question; if someone else more locally known to the area had done that project, would it still be news? Probably not. Yes…maybe? It’s obviously an amazing exhibit of strength and technique. But the climbing world is full of great achievements that simply fly under the radar. Most of those that achieve them likely don’t even care, or weren’t even looking for attention on the matter anyways. Those achievements simply solidify the fact that climbing is a personal pursuit. The discussion is yet another example of this paradox, where we battle the logic of the grassroots and commercial aspects of climbing. That paradox will never end and I hope it doesn’t. Hopefully climbing can continue to withstand being enveloped fully by either one (grassroots or commercial) and continue a healthy balance. Or maybe slide one way for a few years then slide back….

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  8. Jason January 31, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Ok, I admit it. I was one of the 10,000 people who watched it. The only reason that I clicked play was because of the title “the bubble wrap project”. I was hoping that bubble wrap would play a part in the project in some way. After about half way through I realized that it was only going to be video of Wood’s back over and over until he got it. Kinda a let down from what I thought we’d be watching based on the title. Definitely would have been more exciting with bubble wrap.

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    • David January 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Lol, it’s named after those bubble wrap texture holds from e-grip he’s climbing on.

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  9. ian January 31, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    There’s nothing inconsistent about the following attitudes which I, and I assume many others, hold:

    1. Climbing is partly interesting because of the natural environment/features with which we interact, irrespective of any athletic achievements.
    2. Climbing is partly interesting because of the athletic achievements, irrespective of the natural environment those achievements are set in.

    So, if there’s a really beautiful boulder problem no one’s sent, it’s still cool to see. Conversely, if there’s a really really impressive athletic ascent in an ugly or artificial environment (i.e. CATS), it’s still cool to see.

    You could even, in addition to 1 and 2, consistently hold:

    3. If two sends represent equal athletic achievements, the one in the superior environment is more important.

    It seems to me that you’d have to place _very_ little value on athleticism to not find a display like this from Woods interesting (or perhaps you just don’t understand how difficult the hardest problem in CATS would have to be to earn that title). Certainly one is free to not value athletic achievements, but it’s nonsense that valuing them is somehow inconsistent with also valuing natural environments/outdoor achievements.

    I get so sick of climbers telling me what it is and isn’t OK to like about climbing.

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    • Douglas Hunter January 31, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      4. Climbing is interesting because of the aesthetic value of its movement, on that level easy and hard climbs can both provide great rewards, indoor and outdoor climbing can both provide great rewards.

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  10. EasyE January 31, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    I value the importance of setting a goal for yourself and accomplishing it, wether it be on rock, plastic or at your day job. I try to think passed wether a climb is important or not and ask myself what do I wanna accomplish today. Props to everyone out there working hard at what they love!

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  11. EasyE January 31, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    I value the importance of setting a goal for yourself and accomplishing it, whether it be on rock, plastic or at your day job. I try to think passed whether a climb is important or not and ask myself what do I wanna accomplish today. Props to everyone out there working hard at what they love!

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  12. Owen January 31, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Once again, the Narc manages to host a meaningful and thoughtful conversion on an issue that -in almost every other venue- seems to have prompted only mean-spirited and shallow commentary. Keep it up!

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  13. Chris Philly Climber February 4, 2013 at 5:30 am #

    Hate hate hate hate hate! This the playa hatersball?! Real rock, plastic, who cares? Its climbing. While climbing outside takes the cake for me, gym climbing can also be mucho fun as well… Lighten up people! Climbing is the most pointless activity out there and i love it!! Keep it light, keep it fun, crushhhh

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