Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter Break

Since I began my nannying job in May of this past year, I have yet to take a single day of vacation. Therefore, a trip to Hueco Tanks for some climbing over the next week is much overdue. Everyone will be there, and I do mean everyone. Well not really, because not everyone really can and the brother won't be there. Anyway, lots of people from Colorado and lots who are in the friend department. I cannot wait to roadtrip again. I love it so much, even if it's for a week. Hueco was my first trip that lasted more than 2 days, and 2 years ago was the last time I was really there. This means I will be envoking the Graduation album from Kanye as the background music to my life over the next week. Lots to see, an overwhelming amount to climb, not enough skin or muscles to get it all done, and literally thousands of photos to take. It's going to be a great trip. I'll be back in a week. Hopefully there will be photos to post, stories to tell, and some finely knitted garmets to display.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sacrifices

The past week of being a single parent with two kids got me thinking. A lot. At the end of 5 days I felt the, overwhelming at times, burden of a responsibility which urges me to give "my kids" the best. This is not so much concerned with worldly things as it is time, love, and attention. This week has made me feel proud, exhausted, lonely, frustrated, accomplished, caged, and elated. The life of a parent seems to be a true rollercoaster. One that I am not ready to truly ride. This also brings up the question of sacrificing my priorities. A hard pill to swallow on the idea and even more difficult to commit to doing. Seems, for the time being, I am still in the same boat. Lots of thoughts and so little time to express and discuss.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fatherhood

As a public service announcement to those who stumble across this blog, do not have sex until you are ready to be a parent. Being a parent when you are not truly ready to give up your desires, freedom, hobbies, and social life blows. Your children's joys become your joy. So before I go any further, I would like to thank my parents. They were perfect in every sense of the word when it came to my upbringing. Thankyou for all your sacrifices and all the times you gave us to Grandmother and Gramps. As children, we wished you needed a break more often.

From Wednesday to Sunday of this week the parents of the family for which I nanny are in San Francisco with their youngest son. Thus, I am left with the two oldest boys. I now know what it's like to be a working, single parent with desires for something greater in life. This job has taught me that I definitely want children, that I will be an excellent father someday down the road, that children must be taught to use manners and behave, and that family time is of utmost importance. Also, George Karl of the Denver Nuggets and I agree that shaking a baby is not an option. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yanpWXl9kRg NEVER.

So, it's been mustache-freezing cold in Boulder for the past week or two, which means inside activities. When I haven't been running my daddy daycare or selling shoes, I've been training at Movement quite a bit for some winter climbing at Hueco tanks State Park. I'm excited to say the least. Well, hopefully the moon, stars, and galaxies align and I get to have some off days in the upcoming months.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One Sixth

I spend one sixth of my total hours each week standing in front of this board with these holds. This is my most dominate, time-consuming relationship outside of work and sleep. Sometimes I pause and talk to people, but for the most part it's full throttle, no holds bared, all out war to succeed at whatever I decide is the task. I love the simplicity of the party tricks, a few moves, and failing because I am physically incapable. It is in front of this board that I realize my body has blatant deficiencies, inabilities, and a blessing or two. It is a beautiful thing to be constantly failing and, at the same time, gaining a deeper understanding of how your body works.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rollin, Rollin, Rollin

There is a song that goes with the headline, but since all my media is on virus lock-down you will have to youtube it yourself. My computer has a terrible virus. "Boo, you whore." - Mean Girls.

This means more time do more rewarding things like punting on Flagstaff Mtn. I have a terrible disease which causes me to think I can climb any boulder problem. Well, maybe this is a blessing in disguise about 5 years early, once all my ingrams and physicals abilities manifest themselves. There are 4 climbs I have chosen to do before the New Year. These are not the greatest, most beautiful, most attainable, or even ones that I like. Sometimes the only reason is because it's there. Actually, that's a lie...because it's close. Anyway the winners are Trice, Apochalypse, Cage Free, and Free Range. Maybe you know them; maybe you don't. Who cares about the grade, who cares about the name even. I have chosen them because they are essentially two climbs with traverses, which were added to the beginning to make them harder, to produce 4 lines. Sounds a little like the pre-Arkansas visit a month-and-a-half ago. So I tried Trice yesterday and got spanked for a slew of reasons, but that's whatever. Sometimes it takes a visit to realise what you're against. Hopefully, next time will be a different result. Thye reason for trying these particular climbs is mostly "because;" however, they are intended to the the final chapter of my 2009 climbing year. If half of these get completed, it will be the exclamation to a year of improvement, injury, training, and growth. The second if is, if I can continue this rampage of mental growth, training, understanding, and systematically attempting to eliminate weaknesses, I will easily be one the top climbers in the world. Some people are laughing right now, or at least raising eyebrows. If completing half of the first task wasn't arduous enough, deciding to throw another 12 months on top of it seems truly impossible.

I'm a firm supporter of believing. Seems like if I believe enough, then it happens. Well, I've been exercising that since I wasn't sure if I would make it through architecture school 4 years ago. Turns out, it almost always comes true and quicker than I hoped. Keep your ears to the streets for the next year. Who knows, I might not have kids anymore, climb impossible rocks, and be the King of England. Well, why not try.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Schtuff

It's been a while. Yep. Seems like the world is getting older and stuff has happened. Max trashed his ankle. Psychedelia came and went. I almost quit my job on two consecutive days last week, but then decided that would be financial suicide. Halloween is coming and Thanksgiving will have happened before too long. Jimmy and Brion are climbing things. Half of the people in the US are supposed to get swine flu. Thank goodness I already had it. And an Arkansas woman climbed a v8?!

That's right, I got the dirty from Jason and he said among other news about two weeks ago, Morgan Gattis became the first woman from Arkansas to climb a v8. Crazy! Well, maybe not really to most people, but it pretty much blows my mind. Orbital Mechanics was the victim at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. Jason said it was pretty much domination once the infallible beta was installed. Well again congrats Morgan, but it's time to climb a 9. Yep that's always been my attitude and I'm sticking to my guns.

Another thing you should stick to are your morals. Last week was a tough one, not so much for me but the people around me made it difficult. Husbands beating wives makes me realize things I will never do and things I don't want to condone. Well, can't fully support thos ideals until I have a real job. Otherwise, I would be actively making myself homeless. Dumb.

Well, the Yankees made it again. Hope they can pull out a win this year. If not, you can be sure they will buy better players, which I love.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autumnal Life

Fall colors have nearly come and gone in Boulder. Sad times that it happened so quickly, but it was wonderful for a day or two. Here are a few pics of this one place near where I live. Lovely, really. White fences, blue and yellow homes, and trees of red and green. I missed the best of it while I was sick, but what can you do. You can however not get swine flu anymore because getting it once makes you immune!

Saw a soccer match last night. It wasn't much of a match, but that's how it goes when everyone in Denver gets dominated by the same team every fall. I was rooting for some of my favorite people. A cold night for soccer, but wonderful nonetheless. A perfect 4 hours of my life.

Do you ever get the feeling that everything is about to change and, when I say everything, I mean everything in life. Maybe it's the fall air, maybe because each day is coming closer to my favorite time if the year, or maybe everything is about to change because I want it to happen. I really do hope all the changes are wonderful and exciting ones. Since I came off the road five and half months ago, I have been participating in a life that I am probably displeased with 75% of the time. I sleep 10-12 hours a day because that's what makes time pass. This is not me and I really do hope for many things to be different than how they currently exist.


Breath-taking trees
The red maples leaves are best next to their green and yellow counterparts.

When I tell you the other red ones were already as red as they could possibly be, maybe you will begin to comprehend the special perfection of this one small bunch.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Bubble

Everyone in Boulder knows everyone else. This is common knowledge. On second thought, it's more like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but 2 degrees will suffice for Boulder. Sometimes this is not so great. However, as long as nothing awkward develops, you get to see tons of people you know on various levels. This is probably one of my most favorite things about Boulder. Meeting up with all kinds of people to do anything thinkable.

Well, at the moment I'm sick. Not sure what it is, but I've been on bedroom lock down for over two days. It feels like prison, but if that's what it takes to get better then fine. Yesterday I sent off for a revision of my portfolio. Hopefully this one is perfect. Also, I've been watching mad amounts of movies. Yesterday, it was The Breakup, Hell Boy 2, Mummy 2, Missed Call, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and some love movie which I can't remember at the moment. Today I've seen Vertical Limit, The Sting, and Kit Kittredge. None that were that great, but I actually shed a tear in Kit Kittredge. I couldn't believe it either. Well, I am caring for kids these days and getting a bit older, so the story goes. Hopefully I will be well soon and able to take advantage of the wonderful fall weather in Boulder.

"It's about to get really good before it gets bad." Dave Graham

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Horseshoe Hell

The Ranch is a wonderful place. Take that back, everywhere in Northwest Arkansas becomes a special place as summer eases into fall and fall gives way to the perfection of winter. I will always have a fondness for this area of the country. It is a land where almost none of the climbing has been discovered, but almost all of it is locked up by private owners. Illicit walls and boulders that exist only in the imagination and your hopes.

Friday night Jason, Rob, Greg, and I slept on the porch of a cabin at the Ranch. Cool crisp night air and more stars than could be counted gave us much needed rest. The comp began sharply at 10am the next morning. Pledges were made between partners on not killing one another and the shotgun was fired. A mad scramble for respective routes left the lodge deserted. Jason and I retired to the Idahos to get the bouldering started for the day. Unfortunately, it was warm and there were surprisingly over 20 people at both of the warm up areas. We tried and tried, but neither of us could get motivated. Still feeling the accomplishment from the previous day we decided to watch a bit of the comp in the North Forty and perhaps try climbing again in the late afternoon. Everything came together around 5 and Jason put away Orbital Mechanics v8 in several minutes, while I found myself falling repeatedly on the last move of Kneeling before Power. After 5 tries, I was exhausted and chose to sit out the last one of the day. Jason, Ben Putman, and Sarah Orens joined forces in an effort to send Orb Weaverv8, but everyone was found lacking.
Dinner was had and we returned to the North Forty to watch some night climbing. Friends showed arrived and a good time was shared under head lamps. As we turned in for the night, the comp was barely half over for those competing.

Orbital Mechanics

Sarah on Orb Weaver

Lauren and Christine still excited about climbing after 14hrs of the comp.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Horseshoe Hell

Lots to tell about the week long trip to Arkansas. Out of the blocks, Lauren and I looked like a scene from Home Alone as we ran to catch our plane to Tulsa after a huge luggage debacle. Well, we made it and Jason drove 100 miles to get us to Fayetteville by midnight. Whew. Thursday was low-key, but Bikes Blues and BBQ was in town. This means 200,000 bikes and bikers. Loud to say the least. Friday was spent preparing for the weekend competition at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. Lauren was deposited in the early pm, while Jason and I left for Fontaine Red to check out a "cave feature."

We both tried Chunk up the Deuce, but it was too warm for one of the holds, so we switched gears to Fred's Roof. I wasn't all that keen on it, but Jason was close from his first day on it several weeks ago. In no time at all we had done all the moves. Jason had given several good attempts from the ground and felt like a good rest was in order before the send. He said he would give it one more good burn so as not to forget the subtleties of each position before the rest. He pulled on and soon found himself at the last jump. I told him this was the time. He loaded his legs, pounced, roared, caught the final hold and we both screamed. Though I didn't show it, as I hadn't done the problem yet, I can't recall a time I was more excited in my climbing career and it wasn't even for me. By doing this problem, he and I became the 2nd and 3rd Arkansan climbers to climb an Arkansas v11. I hope more big things will happen for him this year. That night we drove to Jasper for dinner and then to the Ranch tired and emotionally exhausted, but feeling more than accomplished.
The first large move on Fred's Roof

Sunset on the drive back to the Ranch.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vedauwoo

Yesterday morning I left for Vedauwoo with a friend. We arrived around 11 and met up with 14 other friends psyched and prepared, or so they thought, to crush. Let me say that Vedauwoo is a terrible place if you have little or no technique, or if you cannot cope with losing chunks of skin on the occasional problem. That said, for everyone else it is fantastic. A lifetime of rock to be climbed 15 mintues from the University of Wyoming and gorgeous scenery, especially in the fall.

Fall was a week away from being in full effect yesterday, but it was almost perfect nonetheless. I was unable to try any of the projects I had made note of when I visited two weeks ago, but myself and quite a few others came up with some nice sends. Climbing with such a large group of people is interesting. Taking quality pictures is almost impossible, which is a shame since there are some many people to photograph. On the upside, there are tons of people giving support and a rediculous amount of crash pads. I really enjoy climbing with all of these people and I wish it could happen once every weekend. Everyone always seems to get a lot accomplished on the days when we have a massive squad of people. Employee of the day was up for grabs as Anne Tedesco did the Gill Problem, which no one else could do, and Said Parirohk, who gave around 20 attempts on the Information Super Highway dyno and eventually stuck it! Dan Michels got viedo of me doing this dyno, so hopefully you can see how it goes.

Arkansas!

This Wednesday I'll be leaving with my friend Lauren for the Tulsa airport. We're going to Arkansas again! This time it is for Horshoe Hell. Should be a great competition for her and the rest of my friends that will be there. As usual, I will not be climbing more than 15 moves and will not be using a rope. I'm really excited to see my brother again and get some great climbing time together. I have several smaller goals while I am there, but two main ones: Chunck up the Deuce and Loved by Few Hated by Many. Both are in the V12/13 range and it would be nice to use the high motivation and the week to get the two. Others on the list are Fred's Roof, 52 to 1 Carddeck, Jeff's Prow, and Shadow Jumper. Here is video of some of them.

Chunk up the Deuce
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XVwCTgzgSc&feature=related
Chunk and Loved by Few
http://vimeo.com/3991907
Jeff's Prow and Fred's Roof
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA9mJqlbnPo

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Motivation

Going on the recent trend, I will talk about motivation today. This next line isn't an exact quote, but it's appropriate nonetheless.


"Motivation; what is dat all about?" - Ali G


While having proper equipment, training your muscles, and eating the right food is important, none of those come close to the mental aspect of climbing. Plain and simple, mental game gets it done. Motivation can make a climb feel effortless and impossible without it. Of all the things to train, this should be at the top of everyone's list. Prime examples of world class climbing minds would be people pushing the limits... Fred Nicole, Chris Sharma, Adam Ondra, and Kevin Jorgeson.


Several years ago I was studying architecture in Rome, Italy, and I was in the middle of climbing withdrawals. I had just taken my first trip to Horsepens 40 as opposed to going ice climbing In Ouray, CO. Dying to climb and having nothing but my shoes and a small bag of chalk drove me crazy. I was always thinking about it; grabbing everything as if I were in the middle of a climb. The first visit to a gym there took 2 hours by train and foot. I was utterly lost, but have never been more found once I arrived. Ecole Verticale was a glorious place; however, I only visited twice more. The next gym turned out to be my svaing grace and ultimately one of the major reasons my climbing turned from a hobby to a career.


Jollypower as it was called, was dirty and lacked class even though it was at a sport club. What it lacked in class and technology, it made up for it with motivated people. I climbed once a week with at least 12 men and several girls who could all comfortably complete v8s. Some of these men were nearly 60. I have never before or since met so many people that were so motivated. The ring leader of this place was a man by the name of Alesandro Lamberti, affectionately called Jollypower. At 24 he climbed his first 13.d. At 30 his first 14.b. At 37 his first 14.d. He was 44 when I met him and he is still the stongest and most graceful climber I have ever seen. This is not a man who was blessed for climbing, though he had been climbing for almost 35 years when I met him. Here was a man who trained 'til he was blue in the face, until his muscle failure was so evident that he could not move another inch. I bought his book, thanked him, and still hope I will see him again.


His book is my Bible for training, but it is unfortunately in Italian. Among other things, over 40 pages of the book is dedicated to the metal aspect of the sport of climbing. There are lots of quotes from Bruce Lee, Confuscious, and Shakespeare. One of the Bruce Lee quotes goes as follows, "the mind is the primary obstacle in any physical action." Basically, if you believe you can do it, wether you actually can, it will place the verdict solely in the physical realm. Your mind will either allow you to do the climb or you will not. If you consider all the climbers in the world past and present, you would easily see the strongest minds a top the list and a gradual drop of in acuity as the level of the climber decreased. A great example is Fred Nicole. He has always been about 10 years ahead of his time. He put up the world's first v13 and v14 when people believed Midnight Lightning to be a serious standard and v10 was an extremely high level professional. The fact that he believed and believes that almost no stretch of rock can stop him is dumbfounding. His mind is by far his most impressive asset, and let us not forget his fingers and overall physcial fitness are "special abilities," as he has been seen doing one-arm pullups on a single pinky finger. So next time you think about climbing something remember what Bruce says and keep your mind as open, as smart, and as strong as Fred Nicole's.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Assets

So yesterday was a post on training, and since I have read so much on it and think about it so frequently I wanted to expand on it a bit more. First, all people and bodies are different. Everyone responds differently to stimulus and recovers at verying rates. Therefore, one person should never be doing anyone else's training regimen. This also applies to dieting. The exception might theoretically be twins or two individuals who were almost identical in tests such as metabolic rate, cell reproduction, existing physical conditions, and their needs for training. General recommendations can be made for the masses, but these should always always be tailored.

Second, I love training myself and coaching others. I wish I could do this as a full time job. Everyone who let me observe them and then train them would eventually become whatever their heart's desired. Anyway, I wish I coached people. Maybe I should write a book or something instead.

Lastly and mostly what I wanted to delve further into is the subject of special abilities of a physical nature or assets as it relates to climbing. This is referring to a strength that is so far above average that it is unique or would be desired by anyone who knew of it. Several examples would be the open hand strength of Jimmy Webb or Dave Graham, the timing of Tyler Landman, the total muscular fitness of Alex Puccio, the lock-offs of Iker Pou, the close-handed talents of James Litz, or Dave Graham's understanding of compression climbing. These people possess unmatched abilities. Perhaps they began with more of this than everyone else, but more likely they have always been pushing something that comes naturally or something preferred. These are just a few examples, but having such a highly developed ability can make one a world class climber. Some people will never be close to such an ability, while others like Dave Graham, Fred Nicole, or Chris Sharma may have multiple ones. However, anyone can train for such a goal, and with the right choices can vastly and quickly improve whatever is desired. Obviously the most arduous would be improving upon weaknesses. One must be committed in making their weakness of paramount importance almost to the point of obsession. This type of training is the least fun and takes the longest, but will yield the most return. For example, what is Tommy Caldwell's weakness? While he has no special climbing talent that would be higher than the 90th percentile, he has virtually no weaknesses other than missin a portion of a digit, which can be argued as a special ability in disguise. Well, that's enough with the training for one post.

Training

Today, no intro I'm just going to dive in. The past year beginning at the start of this October has been a complete rollercoaster for my climbing. I quit my job last November to travel and climb. It was the best thing I have done for my climbing other than moving to Colorado. I bought my first camera, which has turned out well also. I climbed my first v11 and 12 on the trip, but I've also had some real set backs. I tore my right lat on Easter day (3 months for full recovery), broke my left ankle and tore ligaments in early June (3 months recovery and still not 100%), strained my right middle finger A2 pulley at the beginning of August (still not recovered). Someone said something stupid once to my brother when he broke his collar bone in 2 places and climbed his first v10 4 months later. "It l ooks like it was a blessing in disguise." Turns out maybe that's not such crazy talk. Maybe it let the desire and motivation build so that he would be able to mentally achieve a new level. I've been thinking a lot lately about what if I wasn't injured so much, but then again I would not have developed my weaknesses.

For the past month I have been training at Movement. Here's how it goes. The routes are great, but I don't have a partner. I climb on the auto belay and do 10 routes in 30 minutes anywhere from 5.8-5.12. Dumb, but it gets up the endurance. The boulder problems are absolutely terrible. Poor setting, climbing that doesn't translate outside, and always awkward. So none of that really. The system board is alright, but too many good holds. I train powerful square climbing on this board. Also a lot of sloper training and always with lockoffs on everything. I also spend a lot of time using feet that don't feel the best. Not necessarily bad feet, just 6 inches from where I would like. The training also consists of tons of stretching because of my inflexibility and lots of lifting to develop world class assets and improve upon weak areas. Finally, cardio whenever possible. Training is everyday between 2-5 hours sometimes twice a day. Movement is clean and the people are friendly, not to mention a well designed space from Jim Logan (the architect). This keeps the morale high. Not unlike a friend who I spent part of this last year, I have decided not to seriously climb in the gym more than 2 or 3 times a month, only training. I'm always looking for answers and this could be one.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Random Tidbits

Here are a few quick blurbs about recent news...

My brother is claiming to be the most motivated climber in Arkansas. I would've never guessed this for him, but breaking a collar bone and tearing a meniscus within the span of six months can change a person's mindset. I was informed last weekend that he nearly sent Fred's Roof v11 in his first session. Having done every move, he is in the agonizing world of trying to finish the climb from the beginning. Well, maybe there will be good news soon.

As a new and very likely the most frequently attending member of Movement Climbing Gym in Boulder, I had the privilege of watching the gym put up a rope testpiece. Mike Moelter claimed it was somewhere in the 14.c/d range after some of the moves were "watered down a bit." Originally, Somewhere near 15.a/b, I watched a v12 boulderer and a competent route climber struggle to do more than two consecutive movements. Nasty to say the least. At 42' the wall isn't that tall, but 30 degrees overhung and every move being from v8-12 with virtually no rests, it packs a mean punch.

Lastly, my portfolio came in the mail. Misprinted because of the company's web layout and several color mishaps will have me printing another 40 dollar copy. Still, I was quite pleased and thought it was pretty sweet to be able to quantify so much work and time spent over the last 6 years.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Arkansas's Hardest Boulders

I compiled this list in January '09 while trying to convince myself and a friend to visit Arkansas and give the state's difficult bouldering some attention. The two months spent there turned out to be an absolute domination by the two of us and two east coast gentlemen. Here is the best list of what I know for Arkansas.

V10
Center Spooge, Fontaine Red, likely the first at the grade
Hannibal, Fontaine Red
Buddy, Fontaine Red
Ab Lounge/Her Majesty, Invasion
Trackman, Stack Rock
Daddy Long Legs, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch
Glass Bowl, HCR
Tang, HCR
Flash Gordon, HCR
Dark Elf, HCR (broken)
Starburst, HCR
Swollen Knuckles, HCR
Harricane, HCR
Undertow, HCR
Smooth Operator, HCR
A Perfect 10/ Power of Silence, Springdale Lutz Rd.
House of Magic, Area 74
Shapeshifter Direct, Area 74
From Darkness Comes Light, Area 74
High Maintenance, Area 74
Buddha, DeSoto
Superfly, Lincoln Lake
Crimpit's Tea Room, Goat Farm
Wyatt Earp, Petit Jean

V11
Fred's Roof, Fontaine Red
Broken Earth, Fontaine Red
Stackin Paper, Stack Rock
Bushido, HCR
52 to 1 Cardeck, HCR
Bloody Knuckles, HCR
Shadow Jumper, HCR
Starburst Assis, HCR
Typhoon, HCR
Double Live Gonzo, Area 74
The Oracle, Area 74, (broken)
Thug Jump, Area 74
Thug Life, Area 74
Midnight Frightening, DeSoto

V12
King Lion, Sam's Throne
One Inch Pinch, Fontaine Red
Snakebite, HCR
The Zone, HCR
The Total Package, HCR
The Dirty 30, HCR
The Dirty 40, HCR
Southern Lean, HCR
Pangea, HCR
Release the Squirrels, Split Rocks
Zen's Garden, Desoto

V13
Chunk up the Deuce, Fontaine Red
PCP Fontaine Red
All Screwed Up, HCR
Loved By Few Hated By Many, HCR
Anti-Hero, HCR
Welcome to Fight Club, HCR
Forever Botany, Split Rocks

v14
Witness the Fitness, Hwy23, (broken)
Woodgrain Grippin, Hwy 23
Lost in the Hood, Invasion

These are all the double digit established boulders in the state. There may be more at lesser know locations around Russellville, but this is the list thus far. There are also many undone projects which would make the list, but I will stick to the established for now. If anyone has more current information please let me know, as I think such a list is useful documentation.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Do I Do with My Hands?

Sometimes it's no fun to be finished. In architecture school, I always found the time between being finished with architecture studio and being completely done with school for the semester a bit overwhelming. What do you do when something that has occupied countless hours of your life no longer exists or requires any time? Like finishing a project, coming out of a long relationship, or experiencing the harsh reality of death, it's hard to know what to do once something is closed. Some people like Ricky Bobby put their hands right back over their mouth.

Guess this means my architecture portfolio is finished for the time being. One calender year of somewhat intense work yielded 65 pages of architecture and 75 pages of photography in a nine by seven format. So now is this strange aformentioned time. Does this mean I rekindle my love of architecture? Does my architecture take a cue from my photography? Does this open the door for me to sell work? I am lost for the moment, but maybe the answers are already upon me. Perhaps they have always been there and are a gentle suggestion of a persuasion to my will. In jest I hope this persuasion results in the form of a Flava Flav enormous golden clock chain. Actually, I don't care any which way other than "to do/produce cool shit." That is all.

On a final and unrelated note, except for the title, here is a comical dance that goes with a rap song unaffiliated with a movie mention earlier.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ixK0Epr7gw

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sometimes It's Good Not to Have Everything

Everyone always wishes they had more. More money, more time, more anything. Well this morning I was wishing it was a little cooler in my house so that I could go back to sleep at 4am. Even after several moves throuhgout the house for a cooler spot; it was not to be. So, I decided to use my sleepless time wisely and take some pictures. This had happened earlier this summer, and I would need some different scenery this time. A short drive to Golden, CO, remedied this. 200 hundred photos and 3 hours later...jackpot. Two photos of the same sunrise about 20 minutes apart were produced. It's like mining for gold. Lots of time and lots of work yield a small but precious reward. Unfortunately, my camera is a disposable and 6 megapixels is rather pedestrian today, not to mention an average lens, terrible tripod, and a film speed that bottoms out at 200. One of these days, I'll have a camera that doesn't say Fisher Price on it. Still, it felt like I was back on the road again, and my only responsibility was to suck the marrow out of each day. Sunrises are a wonderful way to begin the day.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Work is a Four Letter Word

It's true. When was the last time you were excited about work? After all no one calls it easy work. It's always hard work, yard work, or work late. I justed started work again this past week, but this kind is a little less black and white. Also, I've been hard at work on other things than my "real work." A portfolio of my architecture work in college and my photography over the past eight months will actually be finished soon, and it will be nice to focus on climbing and being healthy as I did for 6 months this past winter. Here are a few things I've been pouring time into.



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Only One

Check this before anything else because you will be proud to have heard it before all of your friends and listen to Only One. http://www.myspace.com/flyunion

There have been lots of visitors in the last week and more to come. My brother (Jason), Pierre, Ariel, and Stuart made the trek from Arkansas last week and will leave this weekend. Tons of climbing has happened this week and last. Also, the parents came to town. First time to visit Boulder with me here so that has been nice and exciting to show them around. Here are a few snapshots thus far.
Mostly silliness at the Front Porch in Denver.

Looks like a Rex Quando wanna-be to mehttp://bp1.blogger.com/_Gkee5Q_0UWk/R03tXrSgq3I/AAAAAAAAAOg/rRVR846bpKA/s1600-h/Rex%20Kwon%20Do%201.jpg


Sometimes you only want to show half of your torso.


Taking your pants off is the only way to cure a fall on your tailbone.

Jumping in Lake Haiyaha is always a good decision no matter how cold.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Love and Life

On the similar mindset from the last post. Here is another great track from Little Brother and an old favourite to remind us of younger days without scars and only the future ahead of us.

://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD-2eQuq3Hg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnoQlZdabys

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"I got dreams, but dreams don't keep the lights on."

First things first, listen to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phno9K6fdlI and you will understand.

I used to dream at night so much that I awoke exhausted in the morning. Like most dreams they were rarely congruous as the events and people were a strange amalgamation. Sometimes they were so vivid I could barely distinguish between conscious and unconscious occurrences. Almost every dream was about climbing and never about anything I was or am capable of climbing. Visions and futures revealed nightly as eyelids fell and my head floated.

Here are some of the recent things I have been dreaming about.
Secret Splendour
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDAXKGgZW6s&feature=channel_page

Nuthin but Sunshine
No super quality videos for this bad boy, but I find myself looking at this stretch of rock every time I come to the Park. History, difficulty, and stature. This one has it all.

Midnight Express
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUDMBVJW5q8

And of course randomness in Arkansas.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pit Your Own Destiny

Sometimes it is all about the present moment, even when you are dying to relive the past or lose yourself in dreams of the future. Sometimes it is the here and now. These instances are what make contentment or give you the desire to move towards such a state.

Today I...
picked and pitted cherries for 4 hours; never again.
practiced baseball for an hour, which was about 2 hours too little.
slept until 10.
swallowed complaints and instead tried to make others happy.
heard two cyclists talking about their new careers.
played barefooted on a slip-n'-slide in the backyard.
spent several hours reliving the past and dreaming of the future.
gave love to a child.

This reads like a jack of all trades, parent, or someone who experiences variety on a daily basis. However, these are not my desires; they are my choices. Tomorrow will be another day in the Park. Another day of climbing, hiking, and driving. Another day to escape, to explore, and to investigate. I wish I were going to Utah for the next 4 days to relive the past and establish a future, but my current choices do not allow for such a trip. Someday the eight things that happened today will manifest themselves into something completely wonderful. Until then, it's cherries for me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Kicking and Screaming

Another big day happened at the Park yesterday, and was only shortened due to swarming mosquitos. Dan Michels, Anne, and I went to lower Chaos. We arrived in the parking lot around 10 only to find three others with a similar mindset. So three became six and we headed up the canyon. Anne warmed up with a send of Autobot, and I followed suit with the low start to it. Both great climbs. Unfortunately Dan was off to a bit of a slow start, having forgotten his shoes and chalk. No worries. Our new friends gladly contributed in the needed departments and Dan warmed up with a quick send of the Fat Lady Stand. Now technically this really isn't a problem, but so many people are doing it, that it's becomming something of a must do in the area.

So six split back into three as the other half went further up the trail. Meanwhile, Dan proceeded over to flash Taurus or do it on his second try. Amazingly fast considering he was using shoes that didn't fit. Then it was over to Tommy's Arete. Now I had sworn it off for two years. Supposedly saving it for only one try. Mostly, it was a moderate climb in difficulty and a satchel full of moves. So by then we had run into friends Carry And Kell from Boulder and the forces were strong once more. I managed to have a foot slip off and take two tries with Dan being shortly behind on the send train. Carry had a repeat for a warmup and Anne posed for pictures. Gracias.
Lastly, it was back to Autobot. I am intrigued by problems with less moves than can be counted on one hand with loads of power and nuances to each move and hold. That said, I has always enjoyed the short roof behind Mikala. I sent, saw that it was grade 7B+, and decided to give it a name; as all climbs should have names. Carry was heartbreakingly close on more than one try. Afterwards I had convinced Anne to try Wyoming Chinese, an arete on the far right of the same face as Mikala. It is a standing start, four move problem with an intense terraced landing, thin holds and committing moves. We both complete the problem in less than ten attempts between us. I screamed on three of the moves and started celebrating before I had even done all the moves. People claimed to have heard me several miles up the canyon. Even Chris Sharma and Michael Jackson would be proud of a scream of that magnitude. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNl2Pm9-7Vk.

Anne working on the Marble

Tommy's Arete in lower Choas. A must-do if you can climb the grade.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Justin Vernon and a Guy Named Tommy

Saturday turned out to be one of the most enjoyable days I've had in a long time. On most off days from work I climb from 10 to 10. That's about as fun as it gets to me. However, a concert was squeezed in on Saturday and memories were made. Around 9am Lauren Vogl and I left for RMNP. We met some friends at Emerald Lake and climbed there for a while before a quick trip up to Lower Chaos. Even though we had to leave at 5pm for the show and not the most climbing got done, it was another wonderful day in the Park. We managed to drive out just as it was beginning to rain. There was a quick rush to clean up, get a drink, and head to the show. Several weeks ago Lauren bought me a ticket...as an early birthday present. Turns out it was a ticket to Bon Iver at the Ogden. What, an amazing show. Almost every night I would sit in my car after sundown on Buttermilk Rd. in Bishop and listen to his 14 recorded songs. Listening to his music alone in the desert at the base of Mt. Tom was so many meaningful things. The melodies and words became the soundtrack to my life for that month and will always have a special place with me. Check him out at http://boniver.org/. After the show the night was not over. We had dinner at Pete's Diner, which can be described with words like hearty, hoppin', and cosy. We called it quits with two episodes from Felicity season 2 ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pifm2nBvzKA). Brilliant. A show that was wholesome part of middle school for me.

Photos of Tommy's Other Arete courtesy of Said Parirokh. A masterpiece of a line from Tommy Caldwell, whose father suggested that the would be bouldering in the park over a decade ago.


Well, it's is Monday and I'm off. Instead of going to the Park again today, since rainw as forecast, I'm working on a set of architectural drawings for a friend's parent's new home. It's been a while since I've drawn on the computer, but it's relaxing in a strange way. Like putting on an old pair of jeans for an early fall football game. Good stuff.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

RMNP is My Favorite P

Park season has officially started. With almost every problem acessible and the snow melting at mach speed, RMNP will be the place to climb over the next 3 months. Park season is a wonderful time. A time to meet up with people, make new friends, discover remote areas with old ones, work on your tan, and get stronger. I cannot begin to explain my excitement, but rather I will tell you that I am making the drive and hike every other day for the next week, and I would go more if I thought I could handle it. I have dreamed of these three months in the Park since the beginning of the year, and I am hoping to make many fond memories. So, while the time is right and the next 3 months are still the future, visit Rocky Mountain National Park.

Monday, June 29, 2009

COntent Meaning Well Enough Pleased

Have you ever been content? For some people it's a daily occurrence; for others and probably most, it is not so common. The difficulty lies in a small detail. You must be overwhelmingly content to realize this state of being. Well, I am currently residing in that state. I've been before and I am sure to visit again, but it's nice to be here again. There is a quote from a song and I forget who sings it but it goes something like this, "It's not a party if it happens every night." That's not techinically correct, but it almost always holds true. Now that quote has relevance to the subject at hand, because if you have found the recipe for contentment, why would you chose to change it? Why not wash, rinse, and repeat? Maybe people try this. Maybe it works for some period of time. However, like the nightly party, it eventually loses it's luster and the recipe no longer works. So, each person is presented with a daily dilemma. How do you reach contentment each day? Supposing you find the right mix, do you keep with it until it no longer produces or do you change it anticipating the inevitable outcome?
That said, I am planning another road trip. If it works, I will be on the road again around the new year. I enjoy the majority of what I am currently doing, but sometimes I go through the motions with my children and children need more than that even if they're not my own. This trip should be exciting. It'll hopefully be a reward well earned. A chance to regroup, recharge, and rediscover. This one will be well-thought, precise, but most of all in time and just enough.

A pine needle path in Yosemite, which kept me wandering for 15 miles one day. Just enough.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Late Fees are for Overdue Mess

It's been over a month since an update. No internet and a severe change in scenery will do that. The time that has passed since was equivalent to all the daily journal entries, if you will, from the Bishop point in my road trip. We'll skip that and we'll also skip all the details to what has happened in between then. However, I will say that I have internet again thanks to a relatively new job as a nanny. Updating should be a bit easier. Also, a nasty foot/ankle injury several weeks ago is looking quite promising. Another few weeks and I'll be able to sit Indian style and resume praticing my Rex Quando leg sweeps. So the important news...

1. Sunrises and sunsets are a beautiful thing to see alone or to share
2. Outdoor climbing will commence once again with two ankles
3. Michael Jackson died = drastic change in music for the summer
4. I'm going to Bon Iver in Denver

Friday, May 15, 2009

End of the road means new beginnings

Last Wednesday marked the end of a six month traveling and climbing journey around the US.  Needless to say, I was tired physically and emotionally.  The road can be a very rewarding place, but also an unforgiving one.  Even the smallest of hiccups can bring your life to a screeching halt.  Side bar: never lose your keys while crossing a river and hiking in the woods, especially if those are the keys to your whole life.  Those six months were and will always be special to me for the people I met, the places I experienced, and the climbing.  After only a week, a part of me wishes I was already leaving for another adventure again.  The road is everything you need it to be right when you need it.  Example, you can leave for a new setting as soon as the current one stops being what you want or need.  Well, that's not the case anymore for at least a good while.  I'm in Boulder for the time being as I have just taken a job as a live-in nanny for a wonderful family of five.  I hope to have children someday if it's in the works, but that only because I love them so much.  This should be a good trial and a nice way to get the toes wet before diving in head first.

So the bulk of the next, undetermined amount of posts will be from the last month and a half in my journal.  Unfortunately, a journal of daily happenings was not kept throughout the trip; however, the other four months were spent in places I had been previously.  Little exploration done in those places and more settling into routines that once existed.  Also the last 45 days were more or less a solo mission with different supporting cast at each venue.  Enjoy if you are interested; if not, this will be all you receive from this blog each day for a while.

3.25.09 Day 1

I arrived in Bishop late this afternoon.  Had to call Pierre for directions the last 15 miles, but the extra effort was completely worth it.  Clutch, Pierre.  The Buttermilks are amazing!!  The weather was perfect when I arrived around 5:30.  Quite a few people are here for Spring Break and just in general.  Perfect, perfect, setting.  Steep mountains with snow in the near background and quartz monzonite eggs of all sizes litter the hillsides.  Super concentrated boulder field, zero approach, fairly friendly landings, and stone that offers a variety of textures and holds.  So pretty; gorgeous!! I'm parked below the Iron Man Traverse.  I don't have a guidebook, but that seems fine.  There is a small field of this blood red, twiggy ground cover next to my car with random large tufts of waist-high, golden wheat.  The Sierras are only a few miles away and are covered in snow.  This is already a special place to me even though I've only been here for a few hours.  I couldn't sleep much last night at Rob's house in Vegas.  Probably because of all the crazy dreaming or that I wasn't used to sleeping on an air mattress. 

 There is more but not necessary for here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

COming Home

I arrived in Colorado on Saturday night after an exhausting 13hr drive.  Glad to be done with that until I have to drive to Hueco Tanks this weekend.  It's always strange returning to familiar faces and places after being away for an extended period of time.  Like seeing friends on the first day of school after summer break, I was excited to be back home.  Everyone is more or less the same, and it feels like I never really left Colorado at all.  Even the weather is the same, which is perfect.  Somehow over the past three months I managed to forget what it was like to be in Boulder, a place so full of good energy, life, and happiness that it can carry you.  This place has a vibe that makes me want to get out, live, and accomplish things.  I love it.  

Since arriving, there has been almost nothing but climbing.  Sunday, it was Carter Lake with a 12 person super posse.  Great warm weather and a peaceful setting, but terrible rock.  I've never felt or acted like a rock snob until that day; however, the friends were still top notch.  Monday, it was an early breakfast at the dinning halls and then Flagstaff.  I would like to thank Addison Maier for making my dream to eat in the dinning hall come true.  That night it was an overly pschyed session at the Spot.  My boys crushed everything with no regard for difficulty while I made up problems, coached, heckled, and brain-pointed every single problem in the gym.  Yesterday, SOrens and I ran the one-two on Turning Point in the Satellites.  A great problem and a must do if you have the strength and time.  Then it was time for a night session in the gym.  I gave moral support as she climbed all the 3 spots and rebrain-pointed everything in sight.  Today is finally a rest day, but I will get to watch Brob at the Rock Club tonight.  So excited to be back and living this week of my life in Boulder!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fontaine Red

Two days ago I decided to go for a day-long adventure. I hopped in the camry and drove the 100 miles by myself to Fontaine Red, which is located near Deer, Arkansas. Shortly after leaving Fayetteville it began to rain and I was worried about driving so far and all the rocks being wet. However, I thought of the Hospital boulders in AL, where it never rains even if it's raining everywhere else. Maybe Font will be like this I thought to myself. As luck would have it, it was!

First, the acess to Font would no longer be possible if it were for the people who cleaned it. I was told by Patrick Weldon that he and several others spent a whole day cleaning the road to the main area. Thankyou and awesomeness. So, take you time, clean a bit as you go, and you can still enjoy Arkansas's first bouldering destination. The purpose of the day was for 3 things.
1. Center Splooge: AR's first v10
2. Broken Earth
3. Fred's Roof
I warmed up on Mills Lane v7. This is a great moderate on the Center Splooge boulder and has some super textured sandstone. Finishing this, I moved to Center Splooge. I had worked it twice in the past and was hoping this would be the day. After an hour of solid work and some beta refinement, I managed to finally stick and hold the light, dynamic crux. It was quite satisfying to do a problem that had eluded me and had such history.
Center Splooge follows the huecos with crimps up the middle of the wall.

Next, I tried a roof project which I thought would be a lot easier than what it was. Couldn't even get off the ground. Then it was off to Broken Earth. Jeremy recently got the second ascent of this problem, and I was hoping it would also go for me. The problem features a starting sidepull and undercling jug feature and then 5 crimps of varying terribleness. I quickly figured out my beta, which was almost exactly the same as Jeremy's, but my hips are tighter than White House security so a minor tweak there. About an hour and a half into the problem, I realized I was going to have to bare down extra hard to get a to the top. This resulted in several dry-fires and lots of breathless minutes to follow. One of the last goes that I would've had for the day, I managed to keep everything together just enough to squeak out a send. I have never sent anything so desperate and by what felt like the narrowest of margins in my life. So pleased.

Broken Earth follows crimps up the middle of the picture.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pre Valetine's Day Massacre

As I mentioned in the previous post, on Friday Jason completed his first v10 and followed it up with a 7 and an 8. Most likely his best outing to date. Earlier that day, I traveled to Area 74 by my lonesome to see if I could do anything new or just get a workout since Jeremy was donating plasma. As it turned ou I had a pretty good day myself. I put up two new moderates on the shortest part of the main wall and a fairly difficult climb across the road next to Jeremy's Messy Bear. I then proceeded to finally complete From Darkness Comes Light v10. This was probably my proudest moment of the day as I have worked it for quite some time over several years, and have fallen on the last move about a dozen too many times.


Messy Bear v8 starts on the low slope on the left side of the picture and moves up the faint crack and then right for a move to topout. High Maintenance v10 start on a pinch to the right of the tree in the picture and traverses left into the feature that is heavily chalked. The problem has quality movement, but is unfortunately north-facing. It is almost always wet, sandy, or dirty in general, but the rock cleans well. The grade may change with more ascents and depending on its evolving condition. If you find yourself running out of problems, wanting to topout, or wanting to clean something to warm-up, this climb is an excellent choice.

Dreams and Realities v6 begins on a right facing sidepull and a left hand crimp just to the left of the rock in the bottom right of the picture. It makes one move left and then backwards to the right facing jug before topping out left of the tree.




Self service begins 15 feet to the left of Dreams and Realities and as around a v7. It begins right hand in the heavily chalked slot and left hand on a crimp. It makes one large move to a jug straight out and then finishes straight over the lip. Both of these moderates previously had chalk on some of the holds, so I am probably not the first to do them. However, they are not in the guide book, so this is what I am calling them. Both are nice problems for their difficulty.

Scott Fitzgerald on From Darkness Comes Light v10 in the fall of '07 courtesy of Matt Hagler.

Little Mexico

VD? "Yep, that's some good stuff" is what you should say.

So, there has been some serious, recent, throw down fistacuffs domination at Lutz Rd. (Springdale). Last Thursday Jeremy and I visited to get some exercise. We both quickly put away an old problem which lies just left of the Muffin and climbs into it. It doesn't have a name, but this one might stick; Squealing for Butter v8. It was a nice little roof climb. Next I tried to complete A Perfect 10 v10, but could only muster a little progress and threw in the towel after a few goes. Jeremy, on the other hand, was trying a direct line out of that problem on small crimps up the face and underclings in the roof. Super cool-looking movement and fairly tough as he was suggesting somwhere in the 12 or 13 range. Last, we both repeated the Dirt Merchant Direct Dyno v10. I had "established" it a year an a half ago and wanted to see what it felt like again. Jeremy clapped it up and I was not too far behind him. The next day Jason came out for a similar workout and followed suit on all those mentioned. He also did Billy Ray Cyrus v7 to finish off the day. Nice work on the first 10 son!

JTW's project starts on the lowest right chalked hold, traverse left several moves and then heads out the blank section. Burly and super technical.
Dirt Merchant Direct starts on a right facing rail, moves to two crimps, and makes a big move to a jug. Holding the swing can take some practice.


Jason making the third move on Squealing for Butter v8.

Jason in the middle of the long twisting lock-offs of Billy Ray Cyrus v7.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lazy Sunday

It's not actually Sunday, but it sure feels like it. Jeremy and I tried to go climbing earlier today at Area 74 and Split Rocks. Rain was in the forecast, but the air was so warm it caused the rocks to sweat. I guess the rocks knew we were coming. Anyway, today is another rest day. Rest day activities include lifting weights, reading books, posting on blogs, editing pictures, talking smack, watching indoor climbing, or eating cake. Maybe Jeremy won't do anything else crazy to Simon's hair.

Hot garbage:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/1397/saturday-night-live-snl-digital-short-lazy-sunday

Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm an Escalade

The setting was perfect! The rocks were sandy and wet, the ground was mushy soft, and there was the other man. Keep reading; this is still about climbing. On Saturday, Jeremy accomplished what is very likely the second ascent of Justin Wood's Ruthless Arete v11 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H_qilCR9F0 <-- he ghostrode both of the climbs in this one. He flashed it in the aforementioned setting and proceed to knock it down to nine points. That was the first climb of the day and the highlight. We both came relatively close on Kneeling Before Power but couldn't seem to muster enough skin and will power. I stomped Orbital Mechanics to the right of it, and almost manged the send by doing a 180. Not so, but the the next time I skipped holds and dynoed. It is raining here and everyone is unsure of themselves since we should be climbing today.

Side note #1: Simon received a haircut yesterday. He is either an eight pound lion or wearing tights and a cropped fur coat. Hilarious and spot on. Pictures soon on here or http://jeremytyler.blogspot.com/

Side note #2: I have a handlebar mustache and I operated a chainsaw yesterday. Put two checks for me in the badass column.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Ranch

Yesterday Jeremy and I decided to take a day trip to Horseshoe Canyon. We were told there were many down trees and lots of brush to impede all sorts of activities. Unfortunately we weren't disappointed. The hiking was laborous to say the least, but the weather was prime so we had a good day. After warming up, we went to look at a possible sit start to an existing problem called Come O Long. I thought it might be possible; however, after some attempts by both of us to get off the ground in a productive fashion...no such thing. We left there for a Daniel Woods problem called Wrong Turn v9. This roof climbs through 6 huecos and is not too bad if your jug calluses are thick. Mine were not and thought I might lose some fingers. Jeremy said "excuse" and whistled his way through the jug haul. Classic.

Next stop for the day was the Knuckles boulder. I wanted to get up any line on it and JTW wanted to be done with Bloddy Knuckles v11. Unfortunately, Jesus Watch Oh Nine blessed the landing with a huge downed tree perfect for breaking backs, ankles, and legs so all the climbs are moving up in the "E" grading. Anyway, Jeremy ran out of gas for the crux move of Bloody, so no send there. Heartbreakingly close. In the mean time I had begun work on Knuckle Sandwich v9. I did all the moves quickly and gave a few goes from the beginning, but seemed to be lacking the endurance. JT came to the rescue with a swift kick in my britches to get me going. I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed beta from all angles, which resulted in a flash for him. He was grateful for my motorboating and I followed suit with a send right after him. Next I practiced my beta spraying skills on Swollen Knuckles v10. This year-old Blakes Strickland problem climbs crimps striaght up the wall. Jeremy pranced it and avoided the potential death fall on the fallen tree.

The Knuckles Boulder

The last hour of the day was spent next door at Ty Landman's Typhoon v11. Jeremy had already done it and I was still working on the stand, coming in around v10 and known as Harricane by Harry Robertson. I finally stuck the single move, but could not do the sit start. Having spent around 125 tries on the stand start over several seasons, I'm excited to have done the move and enjoy the contentment from not feeling a desire to do the sit start.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Doin Work

So as of late, I've finally decided to get back on the proverbial horse. My climbing has been experience a slow decline over the previous two months, but hopefully there will be no more unmotivation. It was brought to my attention that I was not climbing enough to "do work" on meaningful rock climbs. Since returning to Arkansas, I've climbed several times in the gym, done a few sit-ups, and tried to climb at least four times a week.

Monday we went to DeSoto. Jeremy was going to clean a project and attempt some of the higher moves on top-rope, and I was going to try to do anything. Turns out Jeremy's project is a lot harder than he thought; maybe he will find enough in himself to claw to the top of it before he leaves the state. I started the day off by warming up on a classic problem called Zen in a Blender v6. I would strongly reccomend this one to anyone who enjoys climbs at this grade or is trying to do a climb around this grade. After getting warm I proceeded plow through problems. I'm unaware what the names of some of these problems are, but I managed to luck out and do Buddha v10. I was informed recently that this was an old Micah Scott problem. It is a one move problem for the grade on a 40 degree wall with essentially no feet. After several dozen attempts at getting off the ground, I succeeded and realized the climb. Success by way of perserverance is one of the principals reasons why I continue to climb. I love that feeling.

Today, I made a quick trip to Lake Lincoln to take a look at a possible unrepeated Barret Tilley problem known as Superfly v10. I did the problem with several bumps, but it is a two move problem for the most part. After guaging the first long move and trying each move in isolation, I put the whole problem together in a few hours of work. I wish the problem would've gone a bit quicker, but the cold weather made for a nice session.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Jesus Watch Oh Nine

Over the past business week many people in the heartland region of the midwest were led to believe Jesus would be returning soon, very soon, infact this week of all weeks. I was one of these individuals. As it turns out all the hullabaloo (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hullabaloo) was the once-a-decade-ice-storm. Mostly tree damage and some 1.5 million homes and businesses without power. All this killed the climbinng and training that was supposed to happen, but it made for some fun and interesting nights with the few friends in Fayetteville that were lucky enough not to lose power. Days and nights were spent drinking the hours away. More than a few magazines were read and a few books "looked at" in an attempt to ward off alcohol induced retardation since school was cancelled for the week. Amazing! Too bad I'm not in school this semester. If you could imagine the winter wonderland scenes that you can buy during the holiday season for the home, then you would have imagined Fayetteville correctly over the last week. Beautiful in a haunting black and white and unapologetic way.

So now we wait for ice to melt and rocks to dry. In the mean time I've been thinking what I'm going to do with my life after this trip. Who knows, ugh. Possibly the answer is in a long visit up the west coast to Squamish in early spring.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Guidebook Update

Since the freezing weather has not permitted climbing over the past few days, I decided to turn my efforts elsewhere. Because of all the sending as of late, I realized that the Area 74 guidebook could use an update. The guide was originally written by Scott Fitzgerald about 4 years ago and since then over a dozen new problems have been established ranging from v7-v11. While the original guidebook doesn't have all the correct names, the current names are the ones the general public knows, thus no names were changed, only additions made. Even though it is a small area, it has a pretty good range and depth of problems and it's proximity to Fayetteville make it a worth while destination. So, check it out sometime if you find yourself with an afternoon to burn in the area...http://www.drtopo.com/guidebooks/pdf_guides/usa/Arkansas/Area_74.pdf

The Ranch

You can't climb everyday nor should you. Turns out Jeremy is learning this one the hard way. Yesterday we visited Horseshoe Canyon Ranch(http://www.gohcr.com/rock_climbing.htm). Sorry the website is run by punters. Anyway, the high for the day was 30 and felt about 10 degrees colder. Windy, high humidity, and no sun means it takes you an hour to warm-up, if you can even call your current state after that period of time as "warm." Be that as it may we tried to climb stuff. He had a streak to maintain of 7 days of climbing in which he had climbed at least a v11, and I, on the other hand, was trying to send anything. We decided on the divide and conquer method, but unfortunately Jeremy was unable to get warmed up again once he made the 20 minute hike across the canyon. That coupled with the fact that he was trying to make the second ascent of Dave Graham's power testpiece, Loved by Few Hated by Many v13, didn't bode well. He rant into two hours later without a pad and confessed the ending of the streak. Just two days before he and I had visited DeSoto. As usual, he wreck shop and I tried to keep up. I sent nothing for the day, while he crushed the second ascent of Zach Leavitt's Midnight Frightening v11. He the proceeded to establish two of his own in Project Pat v9 and Upward Warrior v8, both of which were sick climbs.
JTW blowing minds and demoralizing others on Midnight Frightening v11

Upward Warrior v8 starts in a standing position with sidepulls bear-hugging the arete. It gains the sloper at 10' and tops out slightly left.

While Jeremy was gone, I proceeded to do the likely second ascent of an old Blake Strickland problem in the north Idahos called Isolation v8. Although it is an eliminate, it climbs some amazing sandstone slopers, so I was pleased to finally do it. Next I met up with the only other people at the Ranch that day who also happened to be friends. I had the chance to witness what is very likely the first native female Arkansan send a v7 in Razor's Edge. Morgan Gattis has been holding her own with the boys for years, and she definitely seeing dividends these days. Hopefully her climbing will continue to flourish. Across from Razor's Edge is another Blake Strickland problem know as Dark Elf v10. This was one of the original four v10s at the Ranch before outside developers came. Unfortunately, I was told by Blake that the problem never saw a second ascent as it broke shortly after his first ascent and is probably unrepeatable in its current state. After 30 minutes on Sunday, I had worked out all the moves except for one, which still illudes me. In this time Morgan sent her project and Jeremy reappeared, so I decided to call it quits on that rig until a warmer day.

Last stop for the day was yet another Strickland problem. Come O Long v8, was established a little over a year ago in the south Idahos directly behind Even Dirtier. It is an excellent short face climb with a slightly hazardous fall potential. Blake chose to top it out by traversing left and coming back right; however, I thought the correct line should be straight up. I nearly flashed the problem, but neglected to fully consider the topout. Short work yielded my second Strickland problem of the day and another possible second ascent. I was happy to have done this one, especially since I believe a sit start will be possible on this one. By that time it was so cold one could barely stay warm even while climbing in a down jacket, so we called it quits. All in all it was a good day. A lot of climbing by myself and "alone time", but that's what this roadtrip was predicated on anyway.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Second Ascent? Naw...First Ascent!

Today Jeremy and I went to Area 74 so he could continue to wreck shop in Arkansas. He did four problems in several hours and the easiest was his first FA at the location. After warming up we went across the street to the North face of the Ripple Effect boulder. I had brushed two sloper problems here on several different occasions over the past year. Although these problems are a mere eight feet tall, they are still great little problems on high quality sandstone. Unfortunately, it's facing North, so there's always moss and lichen growing and the stone is on the soft end which makes it sandy when it's not brushed often. After thirty minutes of serious brushing and rechalking, Jeremy finally managed to send the left problem and called it Messy Bear (v8). The problem begins on a sloper and is a one move wonder to a right hand pinch. I followed suit several minutes later, and was pleased as I have always wanted to climb this short face since brushing it.


Next it was back across the street to Shapeshifter Direct. I had established this direct start in the fall of '07 to the existing Shapeshifter, which is a traverse, and had suggested the grade of v10. While the traverse is a good problem in its own right, I felt the direct version to be the true line and the first of many difficult roof problems to come from 74. A descent flash attempt yielded another successful climb in a few more trys for Mr. JTW.

Two down, two to go. Next was the Battle of the Bulge project. When Scott Fitzgerald published the guidebook to Area 74 through Drtopo.com, he believed this climb to be the most difficult, suggesting a possible grade of v12 even though no one had climbed it. The problem is an instant classic if you're able to pull off the ground, and it is some of the friendliest sandstone in the Ozarks. The bottom half is slightly overhung and trends right to left up a steep flake. This section is probably v1 to an undercling. From here the problem get progressively more technical and difficult including drop knees, flags, a half inch deep mono, a grossly thin sloping crimp, and a stab for the finish. I honestly doubt anyone repeats this line for a very long time, as it will take someone with some special and finely honed fortes and some serious determination. Jeremy decided to name it Double Live Gonzo (v11). Well done sir!

While Double Live Gonzo was the crowning moment, it would not be JTW's last tune of the day. In twilight we walked to the Eastern most end of 74 in hopes that Jeremy had one last climb in him. A month and a half ago I had opened the former Bad Girls project in the corridor, calling it The House of Magic (v10). With another second ascent looming, I gave the play-by-play in hopes that it would get flashed. A good effort was had, but no such luck. Not a mintue before complete darkness, Jeremy sent it next go. We gathered our belongings and lumbered to the car, excited about all that was accomplished but equally exhausted.

Tomorrow we are travelling to a nearby magical wonderland known as the Kingdom of Caring. We have both climbed several days in a row, but there is a streak to be kept alive and domination will most likely ensue.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Second Ascents

Two nights ago several friends were talking about climbing. One asked another if he had put up anything recently. The unspecific nature of the question was a bit confusing to the person it was posed. Was it about opening new boulders, claiming first ascents, or simply climbing rocks? The answer: no, just second ascents.
As of late, Jeremy Tyler Walton has been on a second ascent spree. Now, that's not the most difficult thing to maintain in Arkansas since first ascents are going up everywhere and few people do a good job of sharing information about a new climb. Nonetheless, the guy has been "turning beef to patties" to quote Lil' Wayne. Last Monday, he added another tick to his second ascent list with his quick send of Ryan Sewell's Broken Earth (v11/12) at Fontaine Red. Later I received the full list of his second ascents, some of which only two people have done. Neat.

Dragon Slayer (v12), Little Rock City, FA: Tony Lamiche
Reflections (v10), Little Rock City, FA: Matt Bosley
Shadow Jumper (v11/12), Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, FA: Jason Kehl
Release the Squirrels (v12), Split Rocks, FA: Dave Graham
Western Gold (v11), Laurel Snow, FA: Jimmy Webb
Broken Earth (v11/12), Fonatine Red, FA: Ryan Sewell
God Given (v10), Horsepens 40, FA: Josh Reyes
Her Majesty (v10), Fontaine Red, FA: Scott Fitzgerald
Crimpit's Tea Room (v10), Goat Farm, FA: Blake Strickland
Dirt Merchant Direct (v10), Springdale, Fa: yours truly

Ryan Sewell's Broken Earth climbs what Ryan claims are "some of the smallest crimps he can hold." Agreed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Split Rocks

Yesterday, Jason, Pierre, Jeremy, and I decided to go climbing. Unfortunately, once we arrived at the destination, Pierre and Jason chose not to climb; however, they still honked their literal and proverbial horns. The first stop was at Area 74 where Jeremy and I both had a little work to do. Jeremy began his rampage by warming up on and completing The Oracle (v11). The first ascent likely came this time last year by Blake Strickland. I believe it was originally called Twilight, but not much was ever said about the climb. A few months later, Ryan Sewell had been visiting the Ozarks for a while and climbed what he believed to be an undone project in The Oracle. Words and pictures were spread, and with three repeats occurring in the past month and a half the problem will most likely keep the later name. I managed this problem about a month ago and would reccomend giving it a try.
The Oracle
Next, Jeremy and I moved over to the project roof at 74. While the rock can be friable under this roof, it has the capability to produce some long and powerful roof climbs to highball finishes in the high double-digit range. In two or three goes Jeremy found himself at the top of From Darkness Comes Light (v10). Two summers ago I opened up the stand (Eternal Twilight v7) to this porblem with the intention of working my way deeper into the roof. As time passed and school began in the fall, I was unable to complete the sit start. The first ascent was claimed to be either Scott Fitzgerald or Eric Gifford sometime that winter, but I don't know the dates. Maybe a year later, Joe Meiners visited from Dallas and believed he had a first ascent on the problem and called it Arachnaphobia. If you haven't noticed already this is a trend in Arkansas. Someone does an amazing climb, doesn't publicize it, and climbing in Arkansas continue as if nothing ever happened. It's fine not to inform the public about what is being climbed, but it makes for an unorganized and unprogressive climbing community.

From Darkness Comes Light climbs out the roof ten feet left of the crack in the face.

The last stop of the day was Split Rocks. This is perhaps one of the most wonderful places in all of Arkansas. To date, there are two established boulder problems, about half a dozen project boulder problems, one bolted project sport climb, and a project trad line. With such few lines and few people knowing its location, Split Rocks remains in obscurity, which is probably for the best. Since I am unaware of the current state of access for this land, I would suggest not visiting unless you can do whatever it is that you desire to do in a few hours. I digress. Anyway, Dave Graham put up a highball pocketed testpiece in February of '08 known as Release the Squirrels, which premiered in the movie Dosage 5. It climbs a 40' face of impeccable white standstone. After 30 minutes of work, Jeremy had made it through the low crux and was in the middle of the 30' slab topout. Needless to say, he was a happy camper once he was finally on top.

Jeremy sticking the first pocket on Release the Squirrels (v12).

Jeremy battling the redpoint crux of Release the Squirrels.