Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sicky Gnar Gnar

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When I started this blog I didn't know where it was going to end up.  That's the truth.  I still don't know why I started it in the beginning.  For the first few months I spent way too much time concerned about getting people to read what I had to say.  I wrote reviews, commented on climbing news and did anything and everything that I could to get people to notice.

Why?  No idea.  It's fair to say that the site didn't have a focus other than my general thoughts.  

Looking back on 2009 though, it's clear to me that there was a seminal moment that spring.  I still vividly remember Remo and I driving to Ski Hi and meeting up with Brian as we waited for the last member of the party.  The moment that the Five Ten Van started rolling up the hill signaled a change for midwestern bouldering.

I could sit here and spout different accomplishments and milestones but there's no need.  As soon as that day happened the mission for this blog became crystal clear.  Devil's Lake needed a bouldering resource and I was going to do anything and everything to make that happen.

Looking back, that's exactly what WE did.  It was not just me.  It wasn't Eggy, RV, Nic, Aaron, Brian, Remo, Katie, Ian, Sweaty or Dobbe.  It wasn't Chris and Sarah, nor was it Sam, Blake, Peter or Jeremy.  

What ended up happening was so much better than one core group of people developing an area.  Throughout the 2009 season we created a community that hadn't existed before.  All of a sudden a culture of bouldering and development emerged and an explosion of growth was experienced that no one could have expected.  

More than anything though, it was bigger than the people mentioned above.  It would be impossible for me to mention everyone who made a contribution over the past 3-4 years and that's the most beautiful thing about what we've done.

It's more than just one person and as a result the momentum won't stop.  All the information is out there for anyone who's interested and if someone wants to go develop a new spot, all they've got to do is put on a pair of boots and go for a walk.  I guarantee you there's more.

I've said to myself many times that I didn't want this site to wander off into oblivion.  I never wanted it to gradually stop and slowly become less relevant.  Instead I wanted it to be over when I felt it wasn't needed anymore.  The impossible beauty of where we're at and how far we've come is that this site isn't necessary to create buzz or get people excited anymore.  

All of it worked. Devil's Lake is the de facto place to go bouldering when you're in Madison.  A combination of the rock, the experience, the diversity of climbing and the vast potential have made it that way.  

It's with all that said that I can write the words I've wanted to for awhile now, fittingly enough on the 400th post.  

This is the last post that I'll write for this site. 

Sicky Gnar Gnar has followed me through everything.  My marriage to the woman of my dreams.  The unexpected death of my Aunt.  An ending of one career and the beginning of another.  

While in the end the site will be remembered as a "climbing blog", it's meant so much more to me than that.  It's been a place to vent, a place to go through the growing pains of a "new area" and a spot for people to connect and make plans to go climbing.  

Above it all though, my favorite part of this site has been the comments and the friends that I've met.  I've created amazing, close friendships with Nic, Eggert, Sweaty, Josh, Kelly and Jeff.  Without this site my life would be less, solely because I wouldn't have had the opportunity to become so close to all of you.  I love you all and I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you.

And as far as the comments go, I always enjoyed opening up my email and seeing a couple of new comments in the inbox.  LOVED that.

When I'm bored I often go back through the comments and re-read what people had to say.  Of everything I read and re-read, the one that stuck out the most was my post about my Aunt Bonnie.  To be honest it probably had no place on this site but I was caught so off guard by the whole deal that I had to write about it.  

When I re-read the comments this past winter I was blown away.  Initially I started to cry because the support you all gave me meant so much.  By the end of the comments I had tears streaming down my face.  

I don't think you guys know how much it means to me and I want to make sure you know that before I stop writing.  If you ever commented and I never responded, it was absolutely nothing personal.  I did my best to keep up but there were ones I missed.  I appreciate to no end that you took the time to sit down and write something.  

And to my regulars.  Remo, Eggert, Brian, RV, Nic, Sweaty.

Eggnuts - I've always appreciated what you had to say.  You've served as a calm voice in and otherwise charged crowd and it's something that is greatly appreciated.  Your constant support and ability to find something to talk about when no one else can is nothing short of amazing.  You are one of a very small crowd that I can call a dear friend and I have this site to thank for that.  Thank you so much for being here.  It has always been appreciated.

RV - What can I say, you were my best man in my wedding and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish you lived in Madison still.  It's a lesser city as a result and we don't have as much fun.  Through thick and thin you've been here for me and you have the sad honor of posting the first ever comment under the name "The Penguin".  I miss you and Sofie dearly and can't wait for the day that we live in the same town again.  Your consistent racism has always been a welcome relief when far too serious tones have prevailed.  On top of that, I think we can all agree that the Farewell Old Friend post is the greatest thing to be put on the internet, ever.  Thank you again for being my best friend.

Remo - There are four days that stick out to me when I think of 2009.  Two of them were spent with you and I couldn't be happier about that.  First was the day I spoke of above and second was the day that you showed me what would become Moj.  Both days showed the potential that the lake held and I'm so happy to have shared them with you.  Thank you for everything you've done for Devil's Lake and thank you for being a friend.  I appreciate it more than you could imagine.

Sweaty - Still remember the day that Nic did Keymaker?  Remember meeting us up at Moj?  I do.  Watching you lumber up the talus, screaming and yelling about how terrible it was and how much you hated the lake was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had.  By the end of the day you'd done Jenga and Massive Vertigo and left with a completely different opinion of Devil's Lake.  Your infectious enthusiasm and love for all things absurd make it an absolute joy to climb with you whenever we can.  Sadly, now that you're in Colorado those days will be fewer, but no less enjoyable when they do happen.  I'm so glad this site brought us back together and I really can't thank you enough for always being here.  It's meant a lot.

Nic - Who would have known that you'd become one of my best friends?  I sure didn't and neither did Katie.  What you did to the lake is nothing short of astounding.  You invigorated a community and help energize an otherwise dormant area.  The feeling at boulders the night after you did Keymaker was incredible.  To this day I can't remember being at the gym and having it feel so energized.  I'll never forget that feeling and I want to thank you once more for what you've done for the Lake.  You wrote in a comment once that sharing of info was the future of bouldering in the midwest and that shaped my view more than you could imagine.  There are so many other things I could say but I'll leave it at one more thank you.

Brian - You've somehow been a constant voice without saying much.  When you do though it's always even keeled and logical.  You're one of many that have made this site what it is today and I want to thank you for that.  It seems that we get very rare days together each year and they're always fun and always exhausting.  This spring on the East Bluff, the day up at Moj.  They're both days that stick out in my head as happy memories and the fact that I got to spend them with someone as awesome and famous as "The Narc", only makes them better.  Honestly though, who would have thought this all up when you were still climbing at boulders back in 2005?  Thanks for always being there.

Katie - You are absolutely everything to me.  I could talk about how you've grown as a climber or about the time you told me "I'm never climbing here again!" the first day you climbed at the lake.  There are so many things I could say.  The downside with all that, is that I can never seem to put into words what you mean to me.  I love you more than I ever imagined was possible and each day I wake up next you you I count myself lucky.  Thank you so much for being supportive of this stupid little site and allowing me to put up so many terribly embarrassing pictures of you.  What you've given me over the past handful of years is so much greater than I could ever hope to return.  Thank you for always being by my side.

And for anyone who has ever read this blog, thank you.  I really do appreciate it and I want to say that the fact that people still show up and read what I have to write is just stunning to me.  I don't get it, but I'm thankful for it.  If you've ever enjoyed, hated or read this site I encourage you to leave a comment here letting me know.  

If I had to leave people with one thing, it'd be this.  Don't hesitate to walk around that final corner.  Devil's Lake is full of surprises and I was victim to that this past spring.  When Katie and I went up to Don't F With The Bees a month or so ago something looked oddly familiar.  I pulled out my phone and sure enough.  Sitting in there from this past spring was a picture of the giant pillar that holds Bees.  Back in March I'd taken a picture of the pillar and promptly walked to the right, not the left, thinking that I saw more potential there.  Little did I know that 20 feet away sat one of the better problems of this season.

There's always more to be done at Devil's Lake.  Don't settle for the status quo.

Thanks for listening guys.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Here's some pictures from this past fall.   Lots of funtivities.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Vid

Katie and I had another stellar weekend at the lake.  Temps were super cold on Saturday but conditions were great over on What Up Weasel.  Aaron and I punted rather hard after having done the crux move but hopefully it'll go somewhat soon.

Sunday was spent on the 'fruit problems' over by group leader.  Nothing hard other than the one mover, but don't worry guys, I figured out tall beta for that one and can lock the move off almost static to an inch below the hold.  Awesome.  I feel like Katie on every single problem she's ever tried.

The other three problems are fun, if not a bit sharp, but it's a great spot to warm up and gets morning sun which was a nice bonus.  Peaches and Low Hanging Fruit were my favorites of the four problems there.

Took a bunch of pictures that I'll post up tomorrow but in the meantime here's the Fall video!!!

Fall from Steve Schultz on Vimeo.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Holy Boulders

In a world of ever changing climbing access it's nice to see stories like this come across.  It seems that the Holy Boulders will finally be climber owned for a long time to come.  

Not a whole lot to say other than it makes me smile to see a map, directions and a crude topo drawn for the Holies.  For years and years it has been shrouded in semi-secrecy and I remember going down there with Steve Day back in early 2006 for the first time.  We searched for months to find decent directions until I finally got them from a couple people, Chris Craft included.  

When we finally made out way down to the boulders we were stunned at what we saw and it makes me so happy to see that the local climbers worked so hard for so many years to reach this solution.

All too often people are all talk and no action(myself included) and it was great to see such a 'final' announcement made without a long preamble of a potential solution.  They saw the 'for sale' sign and just went out and did it.  Awesome work guys.

Now, go and donate a few bucks to the project to help it get finalized!  They still need $185,000 to make this a true reality so help them out as much as you can!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Katie and I spent a couple days this weekend and again last night up by Smooth Operator trying a couple of the nice new problems left from this spring.  Katie set her sights on Fat Raccoon and I set mine on What Up Weasel.

Katie finished up Fat Raccoon last night in impressive fashion and did a new, more direct finish to it.  Oddly enough she used holds that Chris used when he did the problem this spring but ended up cutting out 4-5 moves that got you out onto the left arete.

It was impressive just how fast she did the line and the crux move is childs play for her now as she can repeat it relatively on command.  Last night she definitely did that move more times than she didn't, that's for sure.

Fittingly enough we saw a very fat Raccoon on our way out of the park.

My time on Weasel didn't go as well as we were hoping but I was able to do the moves and came agonizingly close to finishing last night.  Unfortunately we ran out of light and I ran out of energy on the surprisingly physical line.

After spending a couple days on it this past weekend my body was wrecked and I still couldn't do the crux lurch.  Took a couple days off and then did the crux the first two times I tried it last night.  Funny how shit like that works.

I also think I figured out an easier topout than what others have used.  Did you guys really match on the slopers and go out right???  So much easier to grab the giant jug six inches from your left hand and directly above your left foot.

Really looking forward to hopping back on both of those problems though!  They're excellent.

Here are some pics.  Fun.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Anyone getting out this weekend???  Looks like we're heading out possibly both days.  Totally sicky.

Mike found some more new stuff over in Lost and Found, which as it turns out, is directly above the Twins boulders.  Sounds like we might go check some of that out one of the days.

Katie's up at Burma right now trying Tick Tock and the weather looks prime once again so I'm assuming the Leaf People will be out again in force.  Sounds like Katie did the lower moves second try just now but the top was dirty.  Fun.

Anyways, here's some pics from last weekend.  Enjoy.