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av Ben Moon
 
[ The Dominator ]
 
Ben Moon describes the 2nd ascent of a Moffatt boulder problem in Yosemite, December '93. No slouch on 'the move', Ben rates the crux of The Dominator as the hardest move he's ever done. Photographs by Kevin Worrall.

The crux of The Dominator rates high on my top five list* of hardest moves; I would like to think that they do not come much harder. If we are interested in what people will be climbing in the future we need only to look at problems like The Dominator. What is now being achieved at ground level will one day be climbed 20 feet up a rock face and God help them!

I worked hard on The Dominator. I spent 6 hours on the one move before finally realising it and yet I am still unaware of what I had done differently to all my previous attempts to attain success. Six hours over three days over three weeks. What really happened during this period? Was it simply that my muscles had become stronger, enabling me to do what before I had found impossible, or was it more complex than this? Perhaps my muscles' responses or my muscle co-ordination had improved, or was it that I found some subtle difference in body position which made all the difference? I do not know the answers and I only did the move once. More likely it was a combination of all these things.

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On the face of it, it would seem an incredibly simple move and one that is not asking how technical you are but how strong you are. Certainly it is a move where you are given little choice. You take what's there and it isn't very much. Right hand big rounded layaway, left hand good edge, right foot small smear, left foot good edge. Then it's jump! Left hand catches a small flat edge, feet immediately swing off and a fraction of a second later you're back on the ground again. But what is technique? What does it encompass? Even powerful footless moves require technique, perhaps with these types of moves we are not aware of the effect the slightest change in body position, swing, speed of movement and co-ordination can make. Technique is not only about how you move your body but how you work your muscles. Technique is learned.

"The consciousness of self is the greatest hindrance to the proper execution of all physical activity," wrote Bruce Lee. It is about letting go and allowing the body to adapt to the demands placed upon it. This is attained through concentration. The concentrated mind is a still mind and a still mind is a mind that can know things as they are.

Well I wanted to know things as they were, I wanted to know it all. Perhaps it is right that I am unaware of what, when I finally held that swing, I had done differently. I do know that it felt good, really good. To find myself after all that time on new territory, to have moved on that little bit further to a position in space that I had never been to before. My feet swung out as usual but then they swung back in and seconds later I was on top.


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When asked to list his five hardest moves, Ben reflected "that apart from The Dominator he couldn't say because "I really don't feel that I've done anything that's really hard." Come again!?

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