Ragnarok 12-Hour Climb Comp Interview with Ardian and Luis – 102 Routes in 12 hours

Interview with Ardian and Luis – 102 Routes in 12 hours

How did you originally learn about Raganrok?
Luis – Ardian asked me if I’d like to compete on his team.
Ardian – I don’t remember exactly.  But after doing 24hhh for a couple of years  I kept my ears open for any endurance comps around here and of course got wind of ragnarock.
How did you guys find each other as partners?
Luis -We climbed at Castle Rock together one day. We were both working on Apes on Acid.
Ardian – We met that December before the comp at castle rock while working on the same route. I suggested a few months later that we do the comp and Luis accepted.  I saw right away that he was psyched to put in the effort to do well.
What were your goals for the comp 3 months out?
Luis -Ardian had suggested we aim for 72 routes. We changed that to 100 after our first outing together had gone so well.
Ardian – 3 months out the goal was to do 60 pitches. Having already won the last two years with 54, and 50 I wanted to do better and really try to push the limits. It wasn’t just the number of pitches that was important to me, it was also the difficulty. I had not found a partner yet. Me and Luis descided to be partners less than a month before the comp. Then I increased the number to 72 pitches, then I did my math again and thought if we could do 8 pitches per hour each for 12 hours that would 96 pitches each. Shoot! Add 4 more and make 100 while we are at it. And that’s how the magic number came up.
Did you expect to hit 102?
Luis -Very much so. We had trained three weekends in a row, each time increasing the number of routes we could complete in the first six hours. We had determined that if we could hit fifty routes in the first six hours, we would be on pace to easily reach 100. The day of the comp, the wind was on our backs.
Ardian – We thought it was possible, but during training we were never able to keep that pace, so we were not sure. We knew that we could not make any mistakes and that everything had to go right or else it would not be possible.
What was it like moving through Fosters? Meaning were people getting in your way? Did you have any issues on the routes. 
Luis -The day of the comp was most excellent. Everyone was routing for us. We moved fluidly and the belay exchanges were flawless. Ardian and I complemented each other very well when it came to teamwork, and the folks at Foster’s that day were so hospitable. We had more challenges preparing for the comp than at the actual comp.
Ardian- For the most part it was just fine.  Most routes we did in clusters so we could pick any of them if there was a line on others. Many of our pitches were hard so they usually had no line
 
Do you have any stories about something that happened on that day while you guys were crushing?
Luis -We had no falls, except when I in my hast inadvertently reached too soon on hold and came up short. I quickly came down and proceeded to climb it twice without falls, but having to do that certainly provided some pressure.
We also were a bit slowed down by the Tennessee Wild filming crew who decided to interview us in the midst of us raging through the Sanford Wall. Talking is not good while speed climbing. It really broke up the rhythm we were on, but we managed.
Oh yeah, we also came up short on rope on the last couple of climbs, which meant the belay had to do some climbing to get the climber down safely. 
Ardian- Public tv interviewed us while we were climbing. That was kind of cool.
Someone almost went head first over the ledge at Jimmy wood, that’s all I’m saying on that.
My wife Lena stayed with us the entire comp and gave us support.
Can you tell us about your training program? Please be descriptive so that we can learn from the masters.
Luis -Aside from assuring that we had the best beta on the routes we planned on completing, and making sure we could do the 25 most difficult routes twice within the first six hours, I would train power and power-endurance at the Tennessee Bouldering Authority three times per week leading up to the comp. I would do a power day that involved boulder problems V6-V19 and a hand board workouts. The power-endurance day involved a circuit of 25-30 V5-V6 boulder problems within 2 hours time. The endurance day involved seven sets of a 50-move boulder problem with 4 minute rests in between sets. Light yoga would warm up every session and core workouts would end every session.
Ardian- Generally for climbing my advise is get rid of any uneccessary weight (fat or muscle), analyze your body and find your weaknesses. Your weaknesses hold you back, you have to train those to get better. For ragnarock we first formed a possible list of routes that would be strategic, then we did those routes and tried to perfect the beta. Then we did 6 hour practice sessions like it was the comp. We tried to keep the pace for 100, which would be 50 in 6 hours. The most we got during our practice sessions were 46 in 6 hours. Cutting the ropes to only what you needed and using a locking biner to tie in helped to save time.  But most importantly you have got to want it!  If want it bad enough you will figure out what to do! Imagination is key.
Overall what did you think about the new point system?
Luis -Harder routes should be worth more points, but overall it hardly had any affect on our strategy.
Ardian- I thought it was fine. Didn’t really change our strategy.
How does Ragnarok compare to 24HHH
Luis -Don’t know, but I can imagine how my feet would feel. I like half-marathons. They’re fun. Marathons, not so much fun. I feel the same way about Ragnarok. I would assume at a certain point beyond 12 hours I would lose interest. 
Ardian- I think it’s just as fun!!!!!
What did you enjoy and dislike about the event?
Luis -The Girl Scouts were a load of fun. The people in general were a load of fun and very encouraging. Disliked wearing out my gear. My GriGri, shoes and harness in particular took a beating. It would be nice to have swag to at least replace the worn gear.
Ardian- I enjoy endurance comps very much, so I really can’t think of anything I dislike.
What drives you to do endurance climbing?
Luis -Setting goals and give it all to attain it. It’s good to push your limits, even if you don’t achieve your goal. This was just another milestone. I am sure there will be more!
Ardian- It’s another way to push your limits. See what you can accomplish. It makes you be physically and mentally strong.
Will you be attending the iconic 24HHH this year and if so what are you goals?
Adrian – I will be doing it with Ryan Little. Our goal is 200 pitches . Mabye Luis and I will do 24hhh the following year.

Hello climbers! With the help of Climb Nashville, The SCC, and TN State Parks