Thursday, November 13, 2008

Perch

I spent yesterday afternoon at the 420's with my buddy Charlie, who is getting back into climbing after a 7 year hiatus.

Spending the entire afternoon in the main area, we played around on the Warm-up Boulder, with Charlie getting very close to the V3 Roof problem; a feat, considering how many feet Charlie has on him. Ok, Ashley, not everyone who is short pulls like a mad-man (or mad-woman in your case). The crux for Charlie on this problem is getting over the bulge created by the roof to the sloper near the top of the boulder, a move he has to do dynamically.

Moving the pads between our attempts, I would give my project, Perch, a few goes and then Charlie would work on his problem. I'd previously always felt disadvantaged when working on Perch, swearing from the start (3 points of contact in the starting hold) that this problem was very height dependent. Working out the crux, I realized that (perhaps) I had not given this problem as much credit as it deserves. Currently, on MountainProject.com, it has been discussed that starting the problem higher makes for a more quality line. I personally disagree, feeling that the extended crux on Perch is what makes this a truly remarkable problem.

With a smile on my face, a large bruise developing on my right ring finger, and a small amount of snow flurrying in the air, we decided to move over to the Puffin' Stone where I showed Charlie the beta for the Stoner Traverse and I began working on finishing the Puffin' Traverse. Working through all the moves, I made the left hand throw for the lip, missing my mark completely. Don't worry, Puffin', you're going down next time!

I am planning on running down to Shelf Road this weekend to (gasp) get on some ropes with a friend of mine, Tina. I haven't been on a rope since this weekend, so the prospect of a weekend of being tied in had my nerves a little bit rattled but, I can't pass up the invitation for sick limestone climbing.

It was a good day, it'll be a good weekend. Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Late as of Life

It's become readily apparent that I am in need of a camera. My point and shoot was rendered 90% useless after I accidentally through it off of a ridge in my pad and well, I agree with the statement that a picture is worth a thousand words.

I've been fortunate to be making it up into the Poudre about once a week, lately, and have been feeling a lot stronger. While in the canyon with a film crew, I was able to dial in Short Chubby Demon my first time seriously working it. Also had a little bit of fun on the Party Trick, which is actually quite a fun line.

A few weeks later, after one session, I was able to send the Stoner Traverse and began working on the Puffin Traverse. Having previously dispatched Scarface (one of the coolest problems I've been on), I've been slightly let down being that the repeat of this problem after my summer biking injuries has been unsuccessful. I'd like to wire it to the point that it's a send every time.

I was also fortunate enough to make it into Red Feather with Ashley, David, Amanda, and Jacob one day. Seeing a cool line on an arete, I decided to give it a go. While I added some very contrived moves for my lanky beta (a mantle/high step), I felt like it was an interesting problem nonetheless. After climbing it, David told me I was likely the first.

While it was maybe a V2, the esteemed "First Ascent" title felt wonderful. I decided to name it Bilbo Baggins on Stilts, due to the interesting move I did and because I had Aesop Rock on the brain. It's rather sad that, I will admit, I have already been conjuring other "FA" names to apply to later climbs I do. So far Coffee Shop (which appears to be my running nickname in the climbing community) and Brown Eyes (after someone who greatly influenced my life) have come to mind. Now it's time to explore!

Closer to town, I've been using Rotary as a training tool, attempting to create a variety of circuts that vary in difficulty depending on the level I want to climb at for the day. It's been nice knowing that I still have many of my hardest sends up there wired. From Talent Scout Roof, Standard, Corner Lock, and the Right Eliminator problems, to the pumpy Punk Rock Traverse, I am begining to get these problems wired and feeling a lot stronger.

Here's some film that I have taken over the last year. The only difference, you ask? It's now edited together (albeit poorly) with some good music by the Automated Drone Society. Check it out!


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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Just a Little Horsin' Around

Headed up to Rotary with my buddy Matt tonight, after a day of overcast goodness. While it was still a warm day, the lack of sun exposure on the sun diminished the amount of residual heat that was perspiring off the Horsetooth sandstone.

Our first stop was the Ship's Prow, a beautiful feature I absolutely love warming up on. Feeling a bit slutty in the late afternoon sun, I decided to make use of the perfect light and grab a video of me on Gill Reach; a problem that, until late, I was unwilling to commit to.
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While Matt didn't send in this video (I left his big drop in) he was on top of Ship's Prow moments later.

Being that it was Matt's second day out climbing in quite some time, I decided against Mental Block. Instead, we headed to Penny Boulder where a good time can almost always be found. Procuring a little more sluttyness, I set up my camera again to catch a shot of me on the Penny Dyno from the side-pulls.
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We hung out at the Penny Boulder for a while longer as I showed Matt some of the contrived climbs I have fooled around on prior to our departure.

I absolutely love how inspired by nature I am. I have found myself saying, several times over, that the worst day climbing is still a good day. Whether it is due to the physical release of stress and energy, the mental meditation associated with preparation for a climb, or the amazing settings I consitantly find myself in, I am forever indebted to this sport. If you couldn't guess, it was a good day.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thursday Night Contrivances

I headed up to Rotary with Cameron, Brian, and Matt today, with the intention of working out the guidebook for this year's Horsetooth Hang. We started on the Ship's Prow and came up with an interesting cheese-log of a problem called the "One Armed Bandit." It's hideous. After a few attempts at the dyno, we moved down to Punk Rock. Attempting the most sandbagged start ever, a lay-down start in a horrible seam at Punk, the name "Dirtburgler in Paradise" seemed fitting. While it wasn't the most productive evening, in terms of working out the kinks in the Hang's guidebook, it certainly was a fun one.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mr. Wimpy

Hearing that my friend Mike's car broke down yesterday and his girlfriend, Jen, needed to get to work in Rocky today, I had no choice but to elect to drive her up to Estes. As it turns out, Mr. Wimpy had shut me down last Thursday when I was back at The Kind with Jordan and Dave and Ashley's crew, so I was dying to get back on the problem.

It was looking like it was going to be a repeat of Thursday, when I flew past the crux of the problem on my first serious attempt, yet was unable to finish through the final moves.

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Keeping a curious watch on the clouds that seemed to be billowing in on me from every direction, I decided that it was now or never (at least for this day).

With my caffeine levels just about maxed out, I let the sound of the stream nearby fill my head and drown out the chatter of approaching tourists. As I grabbed the starting hold and posted my feet, I began the problem I have attempted numerous times in the past couple of weeks. Suddenly I wasn't feeling like a Mr. Wimpy. Moving past the crux, I made a crucial foot adjustment; though subtle, the heal I had now allowed me to drop down into a critical hold that I needed to make the last throw for the lip. Gathering the last bit of strength I had left, I mantled out Mr. Wimpy with a heartfelt, yet great full "you bastard!"

I gathered my things and made my way up towards Emerald to see if I could spot the infamous Large and Real Large when, moments upon my arrival the rain began to make itself known. Hiking out with an ear-to-ear smile plastered across my face, I took the time to explain what was on my back to every tourist that presented the question. It was a good day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kind Boulder day 2

I wish I had one thing to say: today I got Mr. Wimpy. Unfortunately, I can't say that as I didn't. With another beautiful day at Rocky, I thought I was most certainly going to send the problem I fell in love with last Thursday. I was feeling really strong and my first serious effort propelled me through the crux though, having slight difficulties on the finish, I decided to (idiotically) remove myself from the problem. I continued working Mr. Wimpy and sequenced through the crux several more times, though I was unable to muster enough gusto for the finish.

A while later, Ashley made her way down from Chaos with the local Red Feather man, none other than Jacob. Jordan, Ashley, Jacob, and David spent some time at a more moderate boulder that, after a full day in Rocky, didn't feel as "moderate" as described.

Jordan and I hiked out a bit later and made a stop at Ed's, where I felt like I could have eaten the owners out of their business, had it been a buffet. Even though I didn't get Mr. Wimpy, it was a beautiful day and I was glad to get out climbing with Jordan again. All in all, it was a good day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mt. Evans

I took a trip up to Mt. Evans with Cameron and Steph today. On the drive down, Cameron and I had a good discussion about a situation that drives me nuts up at Rotary; rock throwing. He made the point that, while it is something that frustrates me, there are ways and means to approaching the situation that would result in a greater acceptance of my opinion. I had to agree with his words.

After what felt like miles of switchbacks (ok, maybe one mile) we started making our way towards a granite wall. The first boulder we came across hosted a problem called The Ladder. While the start was a bit scrunchy for me, the climb itself was actually pretty fun. Slightly uphill, we stopped at a problem called Maker's Mark, a climb Steph had apparently been projecting for a couple of trips. Being that the crux move was not a matter of good technique or footwork, but brute strength, I was able to complete the climb . . . though it was not in the cleanest fashion, I will openly admit. A short while later, Steph was pointing out problems on the Dali boulder to me. While I couldn't do the opening moves yet (way scrunchy) I had fun working out the dyno and finishing out the problem. After Cam showed us the party trick moves to Chocolate Croissant (?) we headed down to Pink Phink, which was probably the climb that appealed to me the most being that the moves were generally a little bigger. I felt strong, but will have to make at least one more appearance at Mt. Evans before that problem will go. I am most certainly looking forward to returning.

After an exhausting hike out, we stopped at the brewery in Idaho Springs for some dinner before the drive back. Making it into Fort Collins well after 11, I found myself ready to pass out. It was an exhaustingly good day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Headlamp Horsetooth Sandbagging.

After a scorching Fort Collins day, I met up with Cameron and Brandon for some afternoon/evening bouldering up at Horsetooth. While I was playing around on the Ship's Prow, an errant pebble came streaming down from the top of the ridge. "Yea, let's not throw rocks guys, thanks" immediatedly emminated from my lips. When another rock, strategicly aimed, came heading in my direction, I was already almost around the prow when my stern look turned to laughter as I found myself staring down Cameron.

A quick couple of laps on Finger Ripper and the problem left of it inspired me to actually attempt the Gill Reach. I had pulled into the bomber under-cling jug before, but had never felt confident enough to make the big move to the huge lip. Upon watching Cameron dynamically solve the problem, I couldn't help but give it a go. While it is by no means the hardest problem I've done (especially with monkey-like arms) having the confidence to pull through that move was inspiring and (as with all my Gill FA's) I had to thank the man when all was said and done. Again, thank you John Gill!

A short jaunt down the hill and we found ourselves at the Right Eliminator where Brandon sent Right Eliminator Standard for the first time and I saw Cameron procure some of the most interesting beta for Right Eliminator Left. After popping off of the big move on the Right Eliminator Prow, I stuck the move the second time but couldn't for the life of me remember how to top out the problem.

Down at the Punk Rock, I found myself in a similar situation. I just couldn't finish out through the sloper slots (I'm going to blame it on the heat . . . sorry Sherman). Cameron trashed his tips a few times on the Kelley traverse and Brandon gave Punk Rock an equal amount of worthy efforts. Punk Rock was being its usual punk self, leaving us with sore tips and slightly deflated.

The headlamps came out for our efforts on the Mental Block (my favorite boulder at Horsetooth). I will say, gear related, that I thought my Black Diamond lantern would come in handy, as it had for a few camping meals. While it could have been that it wasn't fully charged, I don't think that piece of equipment will come in handy for much more than a midnight snack in the woods or a light for reading in the tent. We all played around on Standard and Cameron and I started trying to campus the problem as our energy was fading. A few minutes later we found ourselves hiking out; sore tips, bruised egos, and a smile on our face. It was a good night.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rocky Mountain Adventures

I woke up early today and met up with an acquaintance to go climbing with Ashley and David (two of the nicest people I have ever met) in Rocky Mountain National Park. My first time in RMNP, I decided to go with David and the girls to Emerald Lake, founding ourselves at the Kind Boulder with a couple of other climbers.

After a warm-up or two, I started to work out the Kind. In only about three or four tries I had nabbed the ascent! What an amazing line that is; I will have to agree with its classic status. While I wish I could state that many more climbs were ascended, that is not the story of the day for me. Enticed by another line on the Kind, Mr. Wimpy, I wore my tips out repeatedly attempting to work out the moves on the problem. While I was able to pull through the crux move independently, I was having a hard time sequencing into it . . . my first RMNP project (of many to come). A group of Japanese (or other Pacific Island descent) climbers showed up and began campusing the Kind . . . they were an interesting group of kids that certainly pulled hard. I believe a couple of them were working on the Kind Traverse.

Hiking out in a gentle rain that turned a bit harder, we got back to the car tired, hungry, and a little damp. A quick stop at Ed's allowed us to procure a drink or two and some much needed grub. I also ran into my friend Shawna bartending at Ed's where she poured me a not-so-modest helping of Don Julio 1942 . . . delicious. My acquaintance and I returned to Fort Collins and had a hard time watching a movie due to the droopy nature of our eyelids.

The next morning, while I was sleeping, she used my shower, flipped through a couple of magazines, used my internet, and possibly stole my pants. I know, this sounds odd, but I can't find them anywhere. This girl is a rafting guide in Clear Creek and I had run into her in Fort Collins a couple of days in a row when I decided she might have a fun time up in Rocky. I thought I was being an accommodating person, giving her some amenities that she had been lacking throughout the summer. I wish I could have told her my pants weren't included in my accommodations.