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armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

I was hoping someone would spruce this up with some pictures. Thanks for that!

And thanks to Cybor Tap for putting up the new OP!


Now a question for folks:

How is the climate control in your local gym? In my gym it is ice cold in the winter, and extraordinarily hot once you get 10 feet off the floor in the summer. I am wondering if this is the norm given that there is a lot of open space to deal with, or if my gym is just lousy in that regard.

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armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Papercut posted:

Climbing gyms are massive air volumes with very few interstitial walls and ceiling spaces where you could place ducts or HVAC units. It would be enormously expensive to effectively climate control them.

Agreed, but a few of the gyms I have visited while traveling seem to have much better fans than mine. I like my gym a lot, but it is built in an old, poorly-insulated warehouse, and has extremely dinky ineffectual fans.

Sounds like it's kind of the norm though, so I won't get to frustrated with them about it.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Unfortunately there really aren't a whole lot of exercises to do for climbing (besides climbing itself). As already mentioned pull ups are a good one. One tool a lot of people use is called a hangboard. You can think of it like a giant climbing hold that you mount above a door. In reality they have multiple "holds" on them, in that you can hang off of them in different areas and it simulates different climbing holds. Simply googling "hangboard" will turn up a whole lot of options.

That said, I do not think you need one of these. Most hangboards are not designed for beginners, and have a lot of holds that you will probably not be able to use. Worse, if you try to hang on some of them for any extended period it is possible that you can damage a tendon (see Fish Shalami's recent question about a possible campus board training injury.) You can probably get by just fine with pullups, I only bring up that hangboards exist because they might be a good option for you once you are climbing more difficult routes.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

88h88 posted:

We have a hangboard in the bouldering room at university and I use it for pullups as there's great big solid hand holds on top. I was told to be really careful with any finger grips due to the tendon thing, is there any particular length of time where you can be sure your tendons can take it? I've been climbing over 6 months now and just want to make sure I'm not going to wreck myself using the campus boards.

Campus boards can injure anyone, even well trained strong climbers. Hangboards in general are a bit more reasonable I think. In general the things that are most likely to mess up your tendons are the crimpy holds. I would stay off the smaller crimps unless you are warmed up and not yet tired. Also don't make any dynamic moves onto or off of crimps. You can look up hangboard routines to get an idea what people do on them. Just keep in mind that a lot of those people climb 5.12c sport, and are training for some 5.12d route they have their eyes on.

There are lots of other things you can do on a hangboard that shouldn't really threaten your tendons. I like to do offset pullups, where I have one hand on the jug and the other on a smaller hold lower down. You can also train open hand strength if the hangboard has slopers. Try just hanging on them for a while, and if that is relatively easy try doing pullups on them. Some hangboards have pinch blocks near the outsides, and doing pinch pullups is great too. (Just make sure your hands don't "pop" off the pinch, that is a great way to mess up your tendons.)

Basically - stay off small crimps, don't exercise on one cold, be careful if you want to do any dynamic moves, and don't exercise on one when you are already tired. (Other than pullups or something)

EDIT: Also - and this is a big one - listen to your hands. Don't pop NSAIDs if your finger or elbow hurts and you want to keep climbing. Don't just tape a pained finger to the neighbor and keep climbing on it anyway. If you have pain, lay off until it goes away. In most cases you can still climb, but you need to figure out what aggravates the pain and avoid it. Climb stemming problems, or climb juggy overhung climbs, etc. There are a lot of different routes that work different technique and muscles, so find something that doesn't hurt and do that for a week or two.

armorer fucked around with this message at 17:24 on Dec 19, 2012

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

If crimps are a weakness, work on crimps! You can stitch together your own route on the bouldering wall that works in a few crimps. You can climb some TR routes that include crimpy sections. Keep trying the crimpy V3s though. V3 doesn't really mean "all crimps" either, look around the gym and see if there are other V3s up that you can work on.

On the technique side, look up half crimp, full crimp, and open hand climbing grips. Also keep in mind that footwork and balance matter more when you are hanging onto tiny crimps than they do otherwise. Crimps often require that you make very precise and controlled static movements. You can work on all of those things on the V2s.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Petey posted:

What's the best way to buy new shoes? My climbing buddy told me he just orders anything promising off Zappos and then returns the rest. Anyone else have other ideas, trusted brands, state of the art suggestions, etc?

If your feet are oddly shaped, this. My wife's feet are kind of long and skinny and a lot of shoes don't fit her right. She has (no exaggeration) ordered 12 or more pairs of climbing shoes from Zappos in one order (on several occasions), kept one pair and returned the rest. Free shipping both ways. If you take that approach though, make sure to do it right after your credit card closes for the month so you can get the refund credited before you owe anything.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Tropomyosin posted:

On topic of this thread, what are peoples' feelings about use of bolt holes during gym climbing? I know there's the risk of breaking off a finger if you fall, but is it actually considered a feature if you can pull it off?

Bolt holes are never "on route". No one will set problems that intentionally include a bolt hole. They are just a side effect of the way walls are built, and you are cheating (and endangering your fingers) if you use them.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

You finished a V3 on your 4th ever day climbing, after a 6 month break? You should feel pretty drat proud. I know some folks who have been climbing two or three days a week for over a year that aren't climbing V3s.

As for a belay-only gym, the first thing you will need is a partner. (There are "auto-belays" in some gyms which allow you to top-rope alone, but from my experience they are not very common.) Most gyms have some kind of forum or listserve to help you find a climbing partner. If you take that route, you will be most successful if you can consistently climb on the same day and time each week. People prefer reliable climbing partners. Assuming that you find yourself a climbing partner, then you will need a harness, belay-device of some sort (I suggest learning on an ATC), a locking carabiner for the belay device, and shoes. Some gyms will have you clip into a pre-tied rope, and if your gym does this you will need another locking carabiner or two, it is pretty uncommon though. Some gyms actually have belay devices already hooked up on all of their ropes, in which case you won't need to get an ATC/carabiner. This is also pretty uncommon, but worth finding out before you run out and buy gear.

Pretty much every gym has equipment on hand that you can rent, but if you plan to go regularly you will save money in the long run if you buy your own. Also you will need to learn how to belay. (I assume you don't already know how, mostly because you are asking these questions.) Gyms will typically offer a top-roping class where, among a few other things, they teach you how to belay and get you certified to belay at their gym.

You can get the harness and ATC/Carabiner online (I would recommend amazon), or at a local REI or EMS, or a smaller climbing shop if you have one near you. Black Diamond sells a package that includes the ATC and a locking carabiner together, which makes life easy. I would suggest getting shoes at an EMS or REI so that you can try on a variety of different ones. Climbing shoes should be tight, although they don't need to be painfully tight. My first pair of climbing shoes were very snug, but I could leave them on my feet for hours without pain. Shoe salespeople might try to steer you into a pair of shoes that is too tight for you to start with, because that is the fit a more experience climber might prefer.

So, I would suggest you do this:
- Call the gym and see how much an intro top-roping course costs, and if it gets you belay certified at the gym. Ask if that price includes rental equipment. This will be more expensive than just paying for a day pass, but it will get you belay certified at the gym. Without that you will have a very hard time finding a climbing partner.
- Assuming that is agreeable, go take the class
- When you are there, ask about finding climbing partners. Someone else in the class with you may be interested too, you never know.
- You can also use this visit to find out what their setup is. Do they have auto-belays? Will you need to bring your own belay device?
- Find a climbing partner
- Go get a harness, shoes, and whatever other gear you will need.
- Climb

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.


Grisly Grotto posted:

Does anyone else have problems with their knees? I've been climbing for a few months now, making steady progress, but my knees are giving me constant trouble. They're really getting quite sore. At least once a session, often more I nail a knee into a hold, a wall, or something. They're covered in bruises. It was kinda funny at first but it's been bumming me out a little. Am I just unco or is this fairly common?


If you are climbing with control and purpose, you should not be banging into things. If you are making lots of dynamic or jerky moves on every climb, then you might occasionally bang into something. Periodically you find climbs at gyms where someone set a second route after the first was put up, and the second route has holds that are just outright in the way. That should be the exception though, so if you are banging your knees on every climb I don't think that is the problem.

I would make a point to try climbing with "silent feet" for a while. Basically when you climb, make all of your foot moves such that you don't make any noise on the wall. If you hear your feet stomping on holds or banging the wall as you climb, try the route again. If you have only been climbing for a few months, you may be pushing into grades that are too hard for you climb yet with good form.

Edit: added quote for context

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Irving posted:

... it still weirds me out that the most bad injuries we've seen have been from the frigging auto belay.

A lot of safety is gained from the pre-climb cross check that happens between climber and belayer. The auto-belay may work just fine, but without someone to keep you honest even an experienced climber can make a mistake hooking into it. We have a few in my gym, and I tend not to use them because the routes on them are a lot easier than I typically climb. I trust them just fine though, and when I do use them I double (and triple) check myself before I climb. It actually doesn't surprise me very much that the auto belay would result in accidents from improper use.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Quijybo posted:

Real rock is a lot easier to hold onto, so tiny or slopey holds feel more useful.

I think this really depends on where you climb outdoors. Some rock feels "soapy" and quite a bit more slippery than your typical gym holds. Also outside you have to deal with dirt and plants on the route, hazards like birds and hornets nests, and of course: weather. Climbing multi-pitch sport routes in the summer sun is always fun. You bake while on the wall climbing, and then you have to take off your shoes while belaying so your feet don't burn up from all the heat the rubber soaks in.

I guess what I am saying is that when you climb in a gym, you just get on the rope and climb. You don't really have to think about much of anything. When you climb outside though, there are a million other things going on. (For better or worse.) The physical act of climbing is more or less the same, but the experience is entirely different.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

a foolish pianist posted:

Don't get murdered.

This may seem like a joke, but take it seriously. There is supposedly a lot of drug cartel activity going on down there right now. I have been wanting to go for a while, but keep putting it off because of the reported instability.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

spandexcajun posted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-a0FLqwPL8

I was taught the another way, that sucked. Pinching slide with your breaking arm not locked off much of the time. I was converted, BUS is much better since you are locked off by default. Break under slide for life!

This is definitely the way to do it. One thing to note is that when you return your left hand to the rope above the ATC, you want it to be around eye level. The belayer in the video does this, but a lot of people tend to reach up to their full arm's extension. When you pull rope through, having your left hand at eye level will prevent you from taking too much rope such that you can't reach under. (That is by far the most common issue I see when people learn this approach.)

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

The upper hand doesn't serve any real safety purpose that I know of, and if your partner is hanging you should bring it down and have both hands below just for added safety. That said, I find that the upper hand serves two useful purposes. If you keep the weight of your arm on the top section of rope, you will immediately feel any slack that develops. That means that if you look away for a minute and the climber moves, you know you have to take some rope because you can feel it. The second is as I mentioned above, it has the side effect of helping you take reasonably sized pulls through the ATC.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

I am a big fan of Prana's Zion line of mens pants. They are expensive, but great for climbing in. They make a convertible pair too, so you can wear them as shorts or long pants.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

I have used Rock and Resole 6 times so far on various shoes for me and my wife - they always did a great job. I personally like the Vibram XS Grip rubber, and Rock and Resole has that. The thing I dislike about using them is that they are still in the technology stone ages. They have you print a pdf from their website (which is terrible), write your credit card info on it, and mail it to them. I think that you could probably send them a check if you knew how much the repair would be ahead of time, but I've never called them to figure out how that would work. The turn around time is reasonable though and the resole work is great, so I keep using them.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Fanzay posted:

Slabs, mostly. I guess I just need to use them more, but I feel less secure in my footholds when I use them.

I have found that brand new climbing shoes are somewhat slippery, and they get more grippy as you break them in. You say you got these a year ago though so I suspect that isn't the case here. (Unless you really haven't worn them much at all yet?)

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

You will probably hear this a lot, but the best exercise you can be doing for climbing is climbing. You might see some gains in your climbing ability from pull ups, but even that will only really help you on overhung routes. At two months in, you primarily need grip strength/endurance and technique to progress.

It sounds like you aren't really getting in much climbing time - I climb 8-10 hours a week at my gym, broken up over three days.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Covert Ops Wizard posted:

Yup. Climbing is pain princess.


Seriously though you're gonna be rubbed raw until they get broken in or you get callouses there, if it's too painful I would suggest wrapping tape over the affected area, a band-aid is gonna get ripped right off.

I take a different approach, and just don't buy shoes that rub. My aggressive shoes are not even remotely comfortable, but that is because my toes are smashed in. They don't rub anywhere. I assume that it is the stitching on the heel seam that is rubbing? That would drive me nuts. If the stitching rubs or the top of the shoe digs into my ankle, I try on a different pair. There are enough shoes out there that I can find a different pair I like better.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

I guess it is all perspective. I don't know how new PRADA SLUT is to climbing, so yours may be a fair assessment. I have a pair of La Sportiva Miura VS, and love them (although I don't notice any rubbing in the heel). They are anything but comfortable, and I have to throw on a pair of sandals between climbs when I am belaying.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

In general, the leather parts of climbing shoes will soften up and stretch, while the rubber parts will mostly retain their shape. The heel of the shoe you mention is completely wrapped in rubber, with maybe a millimeter or so peeking out at the top.




The heel on those shoes is unlikely to soften up very much at all, even after months of wear. That little lip may soften up enough to more comfortable, but it is hard to say for sure. It is more likely that your foot will break in than the shoe in this case.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Cargo pants are an obvious option, but if you want to hang something off your harness - go for it. It doesn't have to be special made for it really. If you are handy, hammer a grommet (or hand stitch a little fabric loop) into a little zipper pouch and hang it from a gear loop on your harness. I have climbed outdoors with all kinds of extra crap, largely for photography, and it works out just fine.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

PRADA SLUT posted:

Is there such a thing as like a tiny little pouch that hooks to your harness (or somewhere) that you could put things like your phone or credit cards in? Where I climb there's no safe place to put my belongings, and my chalk bag will hold like a single small item like a wedding ring but nothing else really. Just get pants with cargo pockets?

theclymb.com has a lowepro sale going on right now, and there are a few small bags that would be well suited to clip to a hardness for about $5 each. The hipshot 20 looks like a pretty good candidate.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

who cares posted:

My friend took me to her bouldering gym on Friday when they were doing free admission for first-timers. I loved it so I took a one-on-one intro class today and I FEEL SO GOOD. The combination of physical and intellectual challenge really resonates with me. There really isn't a point to this post other than saying that I get it.

My gym does free admission on your first visit too, if you go with a member. That's how they get you.... the first hit is always free.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Ingenium posted:

So what are some good things to watch for to prevent injuries? My friend stressed to me the importance of paying attention to any elbow pain and to stop climbing if it starts hurting. I ask this because I have been feeling things like aching wrists the night after climbing, but I am not sure if that is a large issue.

As a general rule you should learn to differentiate tendon pain from muscle pain. If you have an ache / twinge / whatever and it is in an area generally devoid of muscles (elbow, wrist, finger joint) then you should pay attention to it. Don't just pop some Aleve and climb on it anyway, it will only get worse. That said you don't necessarily have to stop climbing if you develop a pain like that. A lot of the time you can just climb different routes for a while until it fades. If you are climbing a lot of crimps and develop a nagging pain in one of your digits, go climb overhung stuff for a week of two instead. That type of variation should give it time to sort itself out.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Miuras are more aggressive. I have a pair and I really like them, and everyone else I know that has a pair feels the same way about them. If you know your size though you should be able to pick up climbing shoes online easily enough. Zappos typically has a ton of them and has free two way shipping so you can send them back for free if they are the wrong size.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

The most common (roped) warmup at my gym is for people to start 2 or 3 grades below their "project" climb, and climb one route per grade until they get up to it. The bouldering crowd tends to warm up by climbing (and often downclimbing) 3 or 4 simple problems. You can certainly take more time warming up than this, and some of the regular climbers do, but this is the most common thing I see.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

PRADA SLUT posted:

Are there any bags made for holding shoes and harnesses and poo poo, or do people just throw them in any bag?

I ask because I like to keep bags with different things together, like one for hiking, paintball, biking, business meeting, etc.

I find that keeping your shoes out of a bag helps them dry faster and be less stinky. So I throw all of my crap in a small duffel bag, and carabiner my shoes to one of the handles. Be sure to use a locking carabiner for that though and lock it. Losing a shoe makes you feel like an idiot.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Claes Oldenburger posted:

Okay that makes sense! Yea we ended up on 5.8 which seemed like the perfect level of mind challenges as well as learning better placement/less giant hand holds. I almost made it after a few tries but my arms felt like jello that I was slapping against odd shaped rocks haha. I'll definitely try out some bouldering when I go tomorrow. Are the routes mapped out by tape? I guess you try and only use the holds that the tape is next to or on?

Typically there are several different routes on any particular rope. Each route will be marked with a single color of tape. So something with red tape may be marked as 5.6, for example. You should only use the holds (for hands or feet) that are marked with red tape in that case.

5.8 is pretty difficult for a new climber - the best new climbers I have taken to my gym started around 5.6 and rapidly moved on to 5.7.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Do any of you guys use a weight vest? I just bought one but it hasn't arrived yet. I am in an odd spot with my climbing at the gym and I've been finding it hard to progress. Basically I can send all the top rope 11s, most of the time flashing new ones that they put up. I can only send one or two of the top roped 12s that are up at any time (the variation in 12s at my gym is absurd.) I'd like to be leading a lot more but I don't have any regular lead partners. On days when I can lead, all is well and there is plenty to challenge me, but on days when I am top roping I get kind of bored with my options. I am hoping that the vest will let me get more out of the 10s and 11s, and build up more strength on those days when I am otherwise just kind of coasting.

Does anyone use one and have any advice for me? I am planning to put 10 pounds in it and climb with that for a few weeks before adding any weight. The last thing I want to do is injure myself by getting overzealous.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Circuits on V0 through V2 seems reasonable enough, and I will be careful not to twist an ankle. I was thinking about finger and elbow tendon injuries from strain, not really about falling so that is a good point. I don't plan on going to up to "10-15 kg" for a while, although the vest I got will hold that much if I want. I'm planning to start with 10lbs and see how it affects my climbing on some easier routes that I know pretty well already. If that goes well for two weeks or so, then I will probably go up to 20lbs and stay there for the next couple months. I'd like to be in better leading shape by late spring / early summer. If anyone is curious, I'll try to post back about the vest and any progress I've made in a few months.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

gamera009 posted:

I wonder how they get away with selling the bags with famous characters on them without getting sued by the likes of Valve or Nintendo.

It looks like they are re-purposing existing stuffed animals. There's nothing illegal about reselling a stuffed animal with some "modifications" applied to it.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Blech. No I hadn't heard that story but I'm glad they managed to bring it to light. I hit the Gunks for trad climbing sometimes, and walk by all those boulders on the carriage road. I don't understand what would compel someone to do this sort of thing. There is SO MUCH to climb in the Gunks.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Petey posted:

I'll note that none of my stuff was particularly crimpy (I don't have that strength yet), so I'm a bit concerned because I'm not sure if that means (per this post) that it shouldn't have developed. I'm not sure if I ramped up too aggressively.

Also: I saw some earlier references to "warming up tendons." Is that actually a thing? If so, how do you do it, and how do you know when it's done?

My comment about crimps was mostly to illustrate that you can climb other types of routes to avoid the pain. That certainly isn't the only way to injure a tendon. Just pay attention to it. Stopping climbing is the best way to let it heal, but that is no fun. Sometimes taping it will help, sometimes it won't. You basically need to see what you can do without aggravating it until the pain subsides.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

First day climbing with the weight vest today. Holy crap what a difference. I thought I would be taking it easy with 10 lbs in the vest, but it kind of kicked my rear end. I ended up climbing mostly 9s and a few 10s, stuff I normally just sail up, and every move was difficult. At the end of the evening I knocked out 8 pull ups with the vest and was struggling on the last one. Usually I can do 15 or so. I plan on only climbing with it every other gym trip, and I think I'll stay at 10 lbs for the foreseeable future.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Typh posted:

How the poo poo do I not slip off tiny slippery food holds? The biggest issue on the two 5.10+ I've attempted is that there are some footholds I can't put any weight on without my foot sliding right off. All I can find online is "they will hold you!" but they don't hold me.

It really depends on the foothold. A lot of small foot holds you can "edge". Basically if there enough of a flat or a protrusion that you can actually stand ON the chip, you are probably edging. I have a funny feeling that isn't what you are asking about.

Sometimes the foot chip is actually more of a slight lump or buldge and doesn't really have a "top" to speak of. On chips like that it is ofter more effective to smear just above it, by half an inch or so. When you do this the hold ends up cupped beneath your shoe, in the area just in front of the ball of your foot. Whether you do this with your toe pointing into the wall or towards the outside depends a lot on the route and where you need to go next. You end up with a lot more rubber contacting the foot chip that way, and the foot will typically stick a lot better.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Without climbing, it's going to be hard to get back into climbing shape. You could get a hangboard set up somewhere at home, but that isn't going to replace climbing. Are there any good bouldering spots near you?

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

Got outside for the first time this year over the weekend. Me and some friends hit up the New River Gorge. Weather was great on Friday and Saturday, although below freezing over night so tent camping was a wee bit chilly. The main point of this post is:

Get back outside, the weather is fine!

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

SplitDestiny posted:

New backpack time!

I'm looking for a new backpack. What size and recommendations do you guys have for someone who is starting to get more into trad and needs an all purpose backpack.

For instance, I'll probably be doing snakedike in yosemite later this year so I'll need to be able to carry my gear and food. Also, being able to truck around to various multipitch routes is needed. Would I need a bag that separates into a smaller wall bag?

I have a Petzl Bug, and while it is quite small I get a lot of use out of it. Being small, I can bring it up multi pitch routes with me and it doesn't interfere with my harness. It doesn't hold all my gear though. If I need to bring a bunch of gear to the wall I end up slinging some of it and clipping some of it to the loops on the bag.

And Thorkel:

We hit up Bubba City on Friday. I had never been there before, and honestly wasn't that impressed (although we only really hit Ames Wall). Saturday we were on Endless Wall near Legacy and Discombobulated. We took off late Saturday night, and missed the rain that came through Sunday.

Edit: we camped at Chestnut Creek

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armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

PRADA SLUT posted:

I got a flapper on my left hand, right underneath my ring finger (where the finger connects to the hand). It was two days ago so it's healed a bit, but still there. What's the best way to tape it up so it doesn't get worse (like what directions would I go with tape, my tape always falls off and isn't effective)? I'm want to climb tonight and will try to avoid jugs with it.

I know it isn't what you want to hear, but I never had good luck taping them. That is an incredibly awkward place to tape, and as your hand sweats the tape will almost certainly release. The only bright side is that I haven't had a flapper in ages - Basically since I stopped climbing juggy stuff.

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