How Long Could You Hang On?

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ZB_Contest_IFSCbwchMunich14_KiprasBaltr

Kipras Baltrunas of Lithuania digs deep for his hang time of 1:22. Competitors can choose to hang with straight arms or locked off. Courtesy of Zlagboard.

9/17/14 - Ramón Julian Puigblanque not only took a silver medal in the lead climbing world championships last weekend, he also claimed a new world record in hangboard time. Julian clung to a pair of one-pad holds for 2 minutes 44.34 seconds to shatter the old record, set by Alex Megos earlier in September, by more than 30 seconds.

Huh? There's a world ranking for hang time? Now there is.

The ranking is maintained by Zlagboard, a new hangboard maker based in Italy. At first glance, the Zlagboard looks like an ordinary wooden hangboard mounted on a steel frame. But when you pair it with a phone-based app, the system will track your hang time and continuously update your training program. (The app includes training plans designed by Spanish star Patxi Usobiaga.) It also allows to share your stats with other climbers worldwide—and to compete with them, if you want.

To show off the new board system, which retails for a whopping 250 euros (about $325), the Zlagboard team has been holding hang-time contests at international climbing competitions in Europe this summer and fall. Hence the world ranking.

All competitors hang on the same set of holds (see photo): a pair of flat, 2 centimeter grips. (That's slightly more than 3/4 of an inch, or less than one full pad.) Get a feel for it on your own board or any 2 cm edge. So far, only five climbers—including Julian and Megos—have managed to hang on for more than 2 minutes. Julian set his record after taking second place in the lead world championship finals in Spain. Just a warm-down.

The top two women in the rankings currently are both Americans: Rita Marsanova, with a hang time of 1 minute 46.85 seconds, and Delaney Miller, the top-placed American climber at the 2014 world championships.

Sources: Zlagboard.com, Maria Hilber, Vertical-life.info, IFSC-climbing.org