Sunday, August 17, 2014


This post is long overdue. I was 2nd for Pumpfest and 3rd for Boulderactive which took place a couple of months back. Managed to squeeze out a couple of trips overseas including one at Krabi. The last time i was there was way back in 2010 when i sent Greed. There were a couple of new climbs here and there but most of the climbs (which i wanted to finish up) were in the sun.

One of the highlights of the short 5 day trip was definitely sending Sissyfuss, 8b, which was put up by TJ about 5 years ago. With only 6 draws and at about 10 metres, the crux of the entire climb came down basically to the movements between the 2nd and 3rd runner which took me close to an hour to work out on my 1st worked attempt, even with the beta from the bolter, TJ himself. This climb is really special because it is definitely not about being able to pull down hard. Managed to send it on my 4th go after a rest day. Check out my send (including the butt jam!) which was caught on video.

me on Sissyfuss, 8b

On my 2nd last day, i also managed an onsight of Just Call me Helmet (putting up my own draws). Though rated 8a on the book, i think 7c/+ would be more appropriate.

I followed that up 1.5hrs later with a "Flash" of the classic Society of Gravitational Studies, 7c+, also putting up my draws at the same time. This was not a true Flash as i have tried this climb a long time ago when Spider and Tanleng were still in Krabi climbing. The only thing i could recall was that this climb was STEEP and i got spanked. This time around, i had excellent beta from Andy Popeye was convinced to try it, and was rewarded with the send.

Returning the favor, i helped Andy pulled up draws on Tantrum and gave him the beta for him to work on the climb. Tantrum was my first climb in the 8th grade which i redpointed back in 2002 when i was 22. A good hold has since broke. If you enjoy climbing on roofs with decent holds, this is the climb to try!

Check out my send back in 2002 below!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

another video uploaded!

Zona 30, 8b at Margalef from Jay Koh on Vimeo.

Finally could upload another video on Vimeo. This is me sending Zona 30 on my last day in Margalef. The send was in the evening, about 3 hours after redpointing Flash Over 8b+, consisting of between 55-65 moves depending on your sequence! Had to work quite a few days on these 2 routes!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Margalef Part 2....

part of sector el laboratori. spot FRFM
And so my siesta to Spain has finally ended.  Managed to take some nice photos and videos of a couple of hard sends and best of all, I pretty much completed everything on my tick list!!! This is phenomenal considering the fact that I would usually only complete at most 50% of what I wanted to climb on all my previous trips.
Rest day activity - visiting Oliana
and this is terradets!
Continuing from my previous post, I wanted to get onto something harder, midway through my climbing trip. Had my eyes set on either Nina Mala 8b, Darwin Dixie 8b+ or Aitzol (previously 8c, now downgraded to 8b+). Ended up working on Flash Over 8b+, which shares the same start as Nina Mala because I saw 3 guys on it and the moves were so beautiful. 

santa linya
I also had the good fortune of catching Adam Pustelnik coming close on his flash attempt, falling right at the very top! This monster of a climb weighs in at about 28m with about 55-65 moves depending on your sequence. There are 3 decent rests with poor foot holds separated by sustained steep climbing on pockets at the beginning 1/3 and boulder cruxes no harder than V5/6. It’s no wonder why climbers with good endurance can send the climb quickly eg. Sasha who sent it on her 2nd attempt. I also had the good fortune to witness some French lass finish this climb….with a little bit of effort.
rest days activities
more sightseeing.....
As the route catches the sun after about 3pm, I had to adjourn to another sector, el Laboratori to work on another route, Zona 30 which is considered to be a pretty solid 8b. This climb was also been worked on by the 9 year old Angie from Australia who send it just a few days before me. Zone 30, opened by Markus Bock, is totally the opposite style of climbing from Flash Over. It’s about 8m long with about 15 moves to the anchors. The action basically starts from the 1st move and chalking is not mandatory. I chose this climb wanting to maintain some strength and power but I also knew it was a very risky bet working on two hard climbs in a day. I could either send both OR go home empty handed.
this is how you put up runners! =D
To spare you the details of my mental and physical battle (more mental actually), I left everything to the very last day and send both climbs!!! Flash Over on my 3rd go of the day (13 tries in all, though I should have got it done with 8 instead) at about 2pm and Zona 30 on my 2nd go at 6pm. In between these 4 days of climbing, I also managed to get myself onto a few other nice 7Bs at sector Finestra.

margalef conglomerate
To put this trip in comparison with previous ones, this was the most fulfilling one to date. There are just too many beautiful climbs and sectors left unclimbed and unexplored. The one sector which I really want to go back to is Espadelles. Unfortunately I had only 1 day here and it was too warm to go back to as it faces the sun constantly. Will have to be back here when it’s colder and enjoy the climbs in the sun. Margalef offers all kinds of routes that will suit many climbers on conglomerate rock.
it can be quite chilly in the morning
Here’s a list of my sends in terms of difficulty:
1. Flash Over 8b+
2. Zona 30 8b (send on same day as 1.)
3. Photoshot 8b, 2nd go
4. La Bombi 8b, 2nd go (send on same day as 3. Felt more like 8a/+, crux being clipping the 3rd draw!)
5. El Fustigador 8a+, FLASH (my first flash of this grade)
6. Dr Feelgood 8a, ONSIGHT (my first official 8a onsight =)
7. Dando Brea, 8a FLASH
8. Malasombra 7c+, ONSIGHT (superb climb and NOT easy for the grade)
9. Aeroplastica L1 7c+, 2nd go (super polished, the only climb in the 7th grade I fell off from)
And many other climbs in the 6s and 7s……

me on Photoshot, 8b
I am seriously considering postponing my trip to Hueco Tanks to come back to Margalef again. We shall see what happens though. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures and video of my send! Will post more soon!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Margalef 2014 !!!

It's been quite a while since i have written anything. I have been out to Laos last December for a quick trip but climbing has been very much hampered by my golfer's elbow on my right arm. It's really frustrating as the tennis elbow on my left arm took almost a year to recover fully. Laos is filled with limestone cliffs and possess a very scenic environment, away from the craziness of the Singapore city life.
Welcome to Margalef!
Fast forward 4 months and i am now in Margalef, Spain for the next few days and have had 5 wonderful climbing days so far. Have heard and seen so many pictures of this place and this is for sure one of the best places i have been to so far! There is just so much to do and all kinds of routes from 4s-9s on conglomerate rock. Routes can be short and bouldery or really long and sustaining so you are really spoilt with choices.

Sector Finestra, that's where Gancho Perfecto is...
Prior to coming here, i have been systematically follow a training program and at the same time tried to climb regularly even though the recovery of my elbow has been painstakingly slow. Somehow it hasn't bothered me much and i have managed to achieve many new personal milestones.

skinny dog needs to hide in a down jacket to stay warm
The weather here has so far been good, and temperatures range from between 18-24 degrees celsius in the daytime to about 10 deg at night. It's possible to climb in the sun but only in the early mornings or when it is cloudy. Crags like Espadelles(5 start crag) which face the sun pretty much the entire day are almost impossible to climb at unless you want a nice tan while cranking up slimey pockets. It's a shame but i will have to come back in March instead of April when its colder.

me at Finestra en route to sector Tenebres
As usual, i have a ticklist (like every previous trip) of what i would like to try and send. However the BIG difference this time around is that i am managing to take down the climbs way faster than any previous climbing trips! Plus i am sending at least an 8a almost every day!

Sector  Cova Soleiada. Onsighted my first official 8a here!

It has been a long time coming and i have been closed on numerous occasions but i have finally onsighted my first 8a, Doctor Feelgood last Sunday! I had another big day just 2 days ago on 16th April. Managed to send Photoshot, 8b on my first redpoint go right before noon, fighting really hard and screaming right at the very top. Had wanted to give it a good flash go but the draws were unfortunately down so i had to put up my own draws and worked the moves at the same time. Came down and rested about 20 minutes before giving it a good burn and had to fight hard at the top because i really don't want to fall and do this climb again! This is the first 8b which i have completed on my 2nd go. Followed this up with the send of another climb La Bombi, rated 8b in the book the same day but in the evening on my 1st redpoint go as well. This climb is much shorter, only 4 runners and you pretty much pre-clipped the 1st two. Basically a short boulder about V9/10 and the hardest move for me was to clip the 3rd draw. These climbs were all captured on video!

Lovely Lamb chops!
Had another big day yesterday as well when i flashed my first 8a+, El Fustigador, all thanks to excellent beta from Till and Johannes from Germany. Tills was literally screaming beta from below whilst belaying me and Johannes from the top, whilst taking some nice photos at the same time. 

It's funny how the last hard route which i flashed, Carte Blanche 8a in ceuse, the exact same thing happened, with belayer and photographer shouting beta up and down respectively.

The cathedral at Tarragona
Have yet to fall off anything below 8a+ yet so i'm keeping my fingers crossed and hope for the best.
This is my tick list so far:

12th April, Saturday
1. Baby sitter 7a
2. La Niña de la selva 7a+
3. Equiparrostolls 7a
4. Malasombra 7c+
5. Amb pal no doña pal 7b

Taking in the sights at Tarragona
13th April, Sunday
1. Murciegalus 6b+
2. Samson 6c+
3. Estilson 7a+
4. Kriptonita 7c+
5. Doctor feelgood 8a

putting up the draws and working the moves on Photoshot 8b
14th April, Monday
1. Magrana 6b+
2. Montgronyeta 7b+
3. Magic festival 7c

15th April, Tuesday

The big flapper after my redpoint of Photoshot 8b!
16th April, Wednesday
1. Murdoc 6a+
2. Escargot boobe 6b+
3. Photoshot 8b, 2nd go
4. Fanatic 7a+
5. Besame mucho 7b+
6. La bombi 8b, 2nd go

my first 8a+ flashed!
 17th April, Thursday
1. El pesafigues 6b
2. Okupa hristo 6b+
3. Vells temps 7a
4. El Fustigador 8a+, Flashed!
5. La corva de la felicitat 7c

 VENGA !!!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Roc Trip Europe and The North Face Boulderactive 2013

It has been a busy 2 weeks at Kinetics since i got back from Europe on the 2nd of this month. We have had some staff leaving due to the start of school. Finally have a little time to sit down and do a short post on my trip to Europe last month!

Check out the right of the campus board!
I flew directly to Frankfurt, Germany for an exhibition and had the opportunity to visit some local climbing gyms. Check out these 2 pictures of BoulderWelt! Nice, clean, big and most importantly, plenty of routes which are changed regularly.  Check out the right side of the campus board! The owner told me they had a really tough time building that training system!

Huge area for climbing with tonnes of easy routes!
The central part of my plan for this Europe trip was to head down south to Ceuse in France and try to send Bah Bah Black Sheep, a 15m long 8c/+ which i have spent many weeks on in the summer of 2009. I dropped by Magic Wood to climb for 2 days as it was en route to Ceuse.

At Magic Wood!
Magic Wood is probably the only bouldering area climbable in summer in Switzerland as it is much higher in altitude. At about 1400m above sea level, the afternoons can get pretty hot but the nights are cold and everyone wears down. Good conditions for hard sends are hard to come by unless you rise early or climb with headlights at night.

Darkness Cave
My personal take on the grading in Magic Wood is that the harder climbs are quite stiff. I wasn't exactly out of shape but the 8a or harder climbs at Magic Wood felt much harder compared to Cresciano and Chironico. Perhaps it was a combination of my not-so-smart climbing, attempting these conditions dependent blocs in the mid day heat. 

I did some of the easier climbs and roamed around a bit to have a look at the classics like New Base Line, Never Ending Story, Supernova, Electroboogie etc. before deciding to have go on The right hand of Darkness V11/8a. This climb is located in the Darkness cave along with plenty of other climbs like Rememberance of things past 8b+, In search of time lost 8c. Dark Sakai and From darkness to Sunshine. 

coffee is cheap in Europe!
I had to leave empty handed without the send in the bag. There was 1 move which i couldn't do and on top of that, i split 2 of my finger tips which hurt like a bitch! Until the next time and in better conditions for sure!

The good thing about Magic Wood is that there are so many quality climbs located so near to each other compared to many other crags BUT the landing is often not fantastic. A good spotter and plenty of pads will come in handy for sure!

fruit pizza at La Freissinouse
Moving on to France, i caught up with Paul at Les Guerins campsite. According to him, the weather hasn't been fantastic and is set to continue. What a bummer....

Out of the 8 climbing days i had there, 4 were raining and we had to run down in the drizzling rain. The rain was so heavy on some days that many climbs were not dry by the next day, something i have never experienced before in my previous 2 trips there.

Massif de Ceuse
The crux of Bah Bah was wet and i wasted 6 climbing days on it, trying to climb on the wet holds. Needless to say, i did not once make it anywhere near my previous high point back in 2009. I changed tack and gave a not-so fantastic flash go on Sueurs Froides 8a+ after sussing out the beta from someone who was 1.9m tall. Not a very smart move. The crux of the climb was this big move to a bomber jug. Good thing i checked out the ending prior to my 2nd try as it was still possible to fall at the top! Send it on my 2nd try.

Taking a short break after the 1 hr hike up
I spend the last few days checking out some other climbs which i might want to get onto for my next trip and one of them was Dure Limites, this 8c which the 12 year old climbing phenom, Ashima sent on her 2nd go. YES SECOND GO aka TWO TRIES. Boy this climb is HARD. Definitely not a holiday 8c and apparently even Sasha had a hard time on it especially at the top. (Note to all: There are no holiday grades in Ceuse!!!) 

Lunch - potatoes, green beans, mushrooms and lardons!
I did have a good time visiting the supermarkets and gorging myself on French cheese and pastry during my time in France!

My plan for this trip to Europe was not to stay at Ceuse for the entire duration but to visit a few other crags, one of which was Le Gorge du Loup, whereby the famous Kinematix 9a and PuntX 9a (only 14m long) is located. Apparently this place requires a down jacket because it is located in a gorge and the wind can get really strong even in the summer. BUTTTTtttttt, there was no wind on my first day there and it was hot!

Le Gorge du Loup is famous because of the crag 'pupuce surplomb'. There are about 70 routes from 6a to 9a and more than 50 of the climbs are above 8a. The cliff here is overhanging and the style athletic.

I hopped onto the mega classic 8a/+ Deverse Satanique and gave it a good onsight burn before falling at the 2nd last runner.

Le Gorge du Loup
There are no extremely hard moves but the route was SUPER PUMPY and i was so exhausted that i couldn't even raise my hands for at least 10 minutes after the fall. Most of the climbing is on tufas which resembles a shark's fin.

Although i got it in the bag on my 2nd go, it was a close call. I did not feel fully rested even after an hour and a half and almost fell off while clipping the anchors on my 2nd try. Deverse Satanique will rank as one of the best 8a/+ i have ever done!

I had my sights on a 8b+ beside it, Hot Chili Beans Volcano after watching some locals work the moves. The climb begins bouldery and links up to the ending of Deverse which is about 15m-16m. Totally my style!

Unfortunately the next morning it RAINED and i bailed. Took a long and slow drive back to Germany to return the car and fly back to Singapore, which concluded my Europe trip for the summer of 2013.

Yuji and I at the competition!
Boulderactive this year was held at Suntec and all in all the competition felt a lot more smaller scale compared to previous years (the wall was also much smaller). I touched down in Singapore on Friday and had my qualifying round the next day. Having climbed on a rope for the last few weeks, i know i was neither competition fit nor boulder fit so i will be happy to make it into the finals. Imagine my surprise when i actually qualified first. Routes were not hard but some were a lil more technical. In fact, the last climb required not much pulling and would probably be not more than a 6b in fontainbleau.

Having met my goal of qualifying, i wanted to just enjoy the climbs in the Finals with no expectations. I personally found the 1st two routes really hard, in particularly the 2nd one. 

I was really huffing and puffing after the 1st climb and that is usually not the case in the Finals of local bouldering competitions. In the end i think i received a 7th placing (out of 8) even though i was one of the few extremely closed to sending the 3rd climb. Finishing it would have elevated me to 2nd. That is the nature of competitions =D.

It is time for a good break from hard climbing and get my elbow to recover fully from this nagging tendonitis.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What is your Goal?

Recently renewed my sponsorship with Outdoor Venture for the The North Face Singapore branding in Singapore. It has been 2 years plus since i came on board as one of their local ambassadors in Singapore and they have not disappoint in providing quality equipment for outdoor usage. You can check out the profile of the other athletes here.

me at the contract signing!
Took the opportunity to grab a pair of Men's Double Track Guide (TNF Red!) shoe and a Base camp duffel XS in red as well! I have owned another TNF duffel in another size (Small - blue) for the last 2 years and this bag is super durable and literally bombproof. Made of ballistics nylon, you will be hard pressed to cut/ damage it on purpose so that you have an excuse just to get a new bag! It comes in many different sizes to suit your needs and multiple colors for you to choose from.

new shoes and red XS duffel
My new shoes will be put in to good use when i negotiate the 1 hour trail up and down Ceuse in a couple of months! At only 650g, let's hope it can take a pounding.

It has been almost 5.5 months since the onset of lateral epicondylitis in my left hand (aka tennis elbow). The recovery is painfully SLOW. This has been one of, if not the longest recovery period i have ever had to endure. Seeing a Sports doctor and a physiotherapist at Changi Sport Clinic about 2 months back helped me to better understand how the injury came about and what i can do to recover faster and prevent a recurrence of it.
injuries are a pain in the arse!
I am probably about 90%-95% fully recovered and reckon that it will take at least 1 more month before it heals entirely. As such, i will be skipping NTU's Pumpfest 2013 early next month. Although i have started to crank down hard in the gym, the last thing i want is to suffer a recurrence of the injury during a competition. Looking on the bright side, injuries can also help you understand your body better, especially your capabilities and limitations.

With the temporary pause in coaching due to school exams, i made full use of the downtime to attend some sports seminars which help me reminisce what i learned and applied to my own training about 10 years ago. Allow me to summarize below.

Beginner climbers benefit a lot from repetition and observation or attending technique classes as climbing is NOT a functional/fundamental skill like walking. Sport Climbing is itself a highly specialized form and the movements are motor skills that can be learned and refined through hours of practice. A beginner climber should focus more on skills development as opposed to physical development as climbing is a sport that requires a high level of skill. Along the way, the climber will also be able to observe gradual improvements in his/her own physically abilities due to consistent practice.
improvements should be continuous and gradual! there is NO quick path to the top
Of course, once you attain a certain level of proficiently and partake in competitions, observation and repetition is not enough. To do well, one will need to understand and incorporate other factors into their regime such as sports nutrition, physical training principles, mental skills training etc. There are a tonne of useful scientific information related to training out there in magazines, books and online articles that may or may not be climbing related but can equally be applied to the sport of climbing. 

step-by-step you will reach your goal if you have a proper planning in place
Setting goals (Long-term, intermediate and short term) is also a critical process ALL top athletes have (regardless of what kind of sport). You have to be kidding yourself if your goal is to do well (according to one's standard) in a competition 2 months down the road with only 2 months of training! Look at all the winning Olympians, if not ALL of the Olympians. The build-up to their participation in the Olympics takes at least 4 years with the norm being at 8 years, if not more. I know of many young climbers who only start hitting the climbing walls/ hangboards/ campus rungs whenever a competition draws closer but slackens/ stops once the competition is over. This is NOT going to work at all and they will fail. Consistent improvement through training is the key to success in most, if not ALL sports.

Adam Ondra set himself the goal of onsighting a grade harder every year and he has been consistently hitting his intermediate goal since he started his own training more than 10 years ago. These are the results of his own training and serve as a motivation to achieving his long-term goal (which i have no idea what it is =D).

Here's a fine video from the Governator himself, Arnie, on Visualization and Goals

I have already achieved my long term goal in Sport Climbing, a goal which i set myself more than 10 years ago (and No, my goal was not to complete an 8C climb =D). All the best in your journey to achieving yours.