Michael O’Rourke: Update

Photo by Aaron Colussi
Photo by Aaron Colussi

After I returned from my trip to Joe’s Valley in December, I became sick again, and decided this would be a good time for me to take a short break from climbing. With Christmas coming up, I was going home to Chicago for a week, so I figured this was my time to finally relax.

I got back before New Years and went to go see Pretty Lights on New Years – which was pretty insane, you should see them if you get the chance. After Christmas and New Years I was all caught up on my partying and relaxing for the year. It was time to get back to training for the upcoming competitions. After 3+ weeks off of climbing, coming back was a difficult uphill battle, and after the first couple gym sessions I felt beat down and fat. But after a week I was back to where I was before, and able to climb for more than an hour.

The weather this month was rather unpredictable and there were only a few days that were good enough to go out. On the day I did go out I went up to flagstaff to try and get Hollows Way (V8), a committing and tall problem that I’ve been too afraid to finish. It took me a couple tries to warm up, and then eventually I just shut off my brain and went for the hold on the lip.

Finally another ultra classic off the lifetime list, this one was interesting for me because I’ve tried it since I got to boulder but never once committed to going big on it so it’s cool to see my progression even though it wasn’t crazy hard. Now back in the gym I’ve got 2 weeks until the competitions start so I begin supplementing my climbing with weight training. Mostly basic upper body workouts in order to stay balanced.

The first competition was at the Denver Bouldering Club, and was also a cancer research event, where they raised about $5000 for research. It was a really fun comp, and I was psyched to climb on the new walls they had installed I ended up in second after finals were done. I was also planning on doing the winter tradeshow competition called Di’namik in SLC, Utah, but instead I bought last-minute tickets to LA to see the Grand Opening competition at LAB (LA Boulders), which is a part of Touchstone Climbing. The Touchstone gyms are probably the best gym chain in the country, complete with a great setting team.
I love going to new gyms to test out their terrain and climb on brand new features. The itself comp was really fun, with some tricky but well thought through problems as well as some straight up burliness. After finals I ended up in second again, it wasn’t my best performance but it’s hard to get your best in finals every time. But I flashed the slab final and thought that was nice accomplishment for me.

So for now I continue training, and hopefully the weather will get better so I can get back outside soon!