11 November 2014

AJ Tip #2

Is it time for another AJ Tip? I have yet to come up with a cleverer name... Trendy Tips. Top Notch Tips. Terrific Tips! (I'm biased.) ...I'm open for suggestions. Please!

Anyway, I've had another random thought I'd like to share with the class. This one benefits not only the lives and ankles of everyone reading this, but also me if I happen to make your acquaintance out at the boulders.

I am that super anal control-freak that will walk up to a boulder, no matter who's on it or whose gear is underneath it, and start rearranging crash pads. Yup. And guess what--you'll have to deal with it. Because if I'm going to climb on something, I want there to be as little risk of injury as possible. Um... Shouldn't we all feel that way???

I can't count the times I've walked up to a climb in horror, totally shocked that anyone is even still standing by the looks of the pad placements. Foam just thrown down randomly, gaps, holes, uneven surfaces. Why, people?? Why risk cutting your road trip short because you rolled your ankle on the edge of a mat?

For the love of your ankles, here is my method to making a baller landing.

1. Be a perfectionist. Even if your buddies have to wait an extra 45 seconds before they can jump on their proj, they'll thank you later. Or they won't, but your conscience will be clear.

2. Close all the gaps. Connect all the edges. Creating a solid landing zone is like putting a really big puzzle together. Find the best way all that your pieces fit while covering the most ground.

3. Invest in a seam sealer. Slider, Bubbler, whatever they call it, get one. A thing flat piece of foam to lay over the cracks that eat and spit out broken ankles.

4. Have an even surface. If you have enough foam to build a two-layer landing, RAD. If not, try to keep the surface as flat and even as possible. This could mean keeping a folded pad underneath an opened pad if there's a ledge, drop off, or bulging rock in the way. Also if your base covers a large area, but you have a larger pad for a second layer, put it right in the prospected fall zone. Try to avoid having a double-layered edge at all costs.

5. Constantly Re-Evaluate. The job is never over. Each time someone falls, things shift and move around, especially if you're on a hill. Keep pushing the pads together to close the gaps, rearrange your seam sealers, hide the buckles because those hurt to land on, too.

There you have it. I just saved all your ankles, and hundreds of dollars in hospital bills, and months of rehab. Go and be safe!!