Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why Create a Hangboard?

"Necessity is the mother of invention." - Attributed to Plato, Frank Zappa and a slew of others.

Wisconsin is flat. Sure there is a famous place called Devil's Lake with classic climbing, including the first 5.13(a/b) or 8a ever climbed named Phlogiston. However, Devil's Lake is two and a half hours one way from my house. There is closer indoor climbing only an hour away. That unfortunately costs money and I am more or less unemployed.

Thus with time on my hands and an idea in my head I decided to figure out how to retain the climbing strength I developed this summer. Reading about Sonnie Trotter making his own hangboards and about the Metolious wood hangboards I was inspired to make my own. Admittedly the first one I made is very rough, carved with chisels. Fortunately, it was enough to do some basic training and figure out what I really wanted.

In an effort to continually create, innovate, and have an income I sought the help of a good WPI friend, Jeff, who was interested in the project. Some CAD work and some time bent over a CNC mill and the next thing I knew I was working out on the hangboard that I designed.

When I started this particular project I was skeptical of how much it would actually be worth for me personally. From previous experience most hangboard holds seemed the same to me. All the holds seemed to be the same depth. There were no slopers, which is what 5.12 climbs and harder consist of. There were jugs, which no 5.12 climber needs. There was nothing vertical, like a crack in a rock that trad climbers would follow. Finally, there was no cutomability. What you bought was what you got. If you wanted to work a specific hold you could not. My goal was to solve those issues and create my perfect training device.

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