Thursday, October 29, 2009

Different Betas, Massive Vertigo

Driving into the park yesterday Katie and I had another one of those "holy crap" moments when we started thinking about the potential the place has. Absurd is the only word I can come up with.

So. Much. Rock.

It's always nice when an approach gets dialed in. Massive Vertigo was another problem that had fallen by the wayside due to lack of information. Now, with a more dialed approach it's gotten more traffic than ever. 

Mr. Justin Woodward had the day off so we decided to take him up to Massive Vertigo. Katie was very excited to try it some more and I wanted to see if I could figure out how to do the problem. The time before I'd been stumped pretty royally. I just couldn't get the heel to stick but I was determined to do the moves yesterday.

Justin and I checked out the arete above Massive for a bit and contemplated warming up on it but quickly decided that it was a silly idea and just went down to the problem at hand. I think the Arete could be cool but if you fall from high up you'll probably get a tree in your bottom. Unpleasant.

I got on first and tried to make a feeble attempt at warming up on the small crimps. After a bit I took a break and Katie and Justin seemed to do the exact same thing. Fun to watch at least.

The three of us rotated through for a bit with all of us being confused by the beta. I got close to sticking the right hand crimp but just couldn't pause on the hold long enough to stabilize. Then I got an idea. Why not turn the overly technical heel hook crux into a compression move?? Right? It'd work. Sure.

See, there are these nice slopers and pinches right in front of your face as you try the heel hook and I just wanted to use them so badly. I pasted my feet on the wall and sucked in. My ass hit the pad immediately but I was persistent and about three tries later I stuck the lower sloper and smiled. I'd found my beta.

Initially I thought I could just throw to the juggy sloper right from there. I was wrong. I tried that move once and peeled off backwards and slid down the boulder behind me on my back. Images of the mini bluff I was about to go over flashed in my head as I cried for help. Luckily I got a meathook undercling on one of the other boulders and stopped myself.

We promptly moved a pad over that way to block any bad falls.

I tried to bump my right hand up to the good pinch and did it first try. A quick jump to the sloper and I was a happy boy. I'm always glad when I can start trying to link problems. It's a good feeling.

I took a break and watched Katie work her magic. She tried it once my way and laughed. Then the next go she found a knee bar! A couple tries later and she stuck the good pinch and was set for the jump! So cool to see her work it out so quickly!! Justin tried the knee bar but could only make it to the bad sloper. He eventually figured out the bump and was set with all the moves too!

Katie cruising the crux move

Katie trying out the last hard move

Photo: Justin Woodward

Very nice job by both of them to figure out the moves so quickly!!

I started trying links from the start holds knowing I didn't have a whole lot of time left on the sharp crimps. To make things worse the entire start of the problem was seeping horribly. Each time I started I had to get off the crimps as soon as possible since the chalk was turning into a paste of sorts. I'm sure it didn't help things much.

Each go felt a little better and I started to think I'd do it. I was psyched.

I pulled on once more and felt good.

On the match...

Photo: Justin Woodward
The crimps actually felt nice.

Going for the sloper....

Photo: Justin Woodward

I set my feet for the move to the sloper and...


Photo: Justin Woodward

Dry fired. Hard. I was done.

I gave it a couple of other goes but nothing serious. I gotta say, I didn't enjoy joining the club of everyone else who has dry fired off of that thing. Not a fun moment.

Katie and Justin gave it a few more goes each but we all left empty handed. I, for one, am supremely excited about everything and am very amped to come back and finish it up!

It looks like there may be a crew heading up Saturday before the Boulders comp.  I would love to get on Massive and possibly Beautiful Soup.  Anyone in ???

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wisconsin Bouldering Legend Fails in Minnesota

The count is now up to about 8 people who have either asked me, texted me, commented here or on Facebook about whether or not I sent the Cave Traverse this past weekend.

I didn't know you all cared so damn much!!

I'll get it out of the way right away though and let you all know that we didn't even make it to Taylors this past weekend. So there. I hope you're not too disappointed!

Anyways, onto the trip report! We took Friday off and drove up to the twin cities, hoping for a nice relaxed drive. Around Baraboo Josh texted me that it had started snowing up in Minneapolis but we were hoping we'd miss it somehow. Right about Eau Claire we hit it and it was actually coming down really hard! It was insane!! We saw multiple cars in the ditch and it was definitely accumulating.

Not cool at all.

We slowed down a bit and took our time and eventually made it to Minneapolis where it had stopped snowing. Fun.

We made our way through the confusing streets, thanks to our GPS, and met up with Josh at his shop to pick up our new pad. So psyched on the pad!!! Wow!! He did such a kickass job with it and now I want cake whenever I see it. Plus the thing is HUGE!! It's nice to have a functioning big pad again! I'll have a review up after the fall season, for sure!!

Note the slice of cake in the right corner...yum.

We hung out for a bit and talked shop and screwed around while Josh stuffed the pad. Highlight of the day was when Josh saw the fit pad in our car and started laughing. Apparently he thought it was just a novelty and never thought that it'd get any real use. Love it!!

We left and drove over to Vertical Endeavors since they were having their local ABS comp on Saturday. Katie and I met up with Nic and helped them forerun their problems. Their setting was great and it was fun to climb on some new problems and see what's up in the plastic world.

I may have actually gushed a little bit when I saw the B2 cave for the first time. Hands down the best indoor training wall I've ever seen in my life. I want.

The next day I awoke to Josh texting me about the sun being in position and gas station candy. I love my friends.

The plan was to rendezvous with Nic at Famous Dave's and then meet Josh and Barnaby, maybe the best crag dog ever, at Sandstone.

Nic pulled up in style with the Five Ten van and we loaded up and took off.

A lot has been made of Sandstone recently and it's just recently been opened up again. With that there has been a lot more traffic to the area and both Josh and Nic offered to give us a little tour. Needless to say I was very excited to check it out as the pictures I'd seen made it look great.

We started out at the Warm Up Boulder and cycled through a couple of problems there. All of them were fun but the top of the boulder was a touch wet, as was much of the surrounding area. We messed around for a bit until Josh and Barnaby showed up.

Nic gettin all rad n stuff

Nic cozying up to Josh on the warmup boulder

Nic went up to check and see if the project was dry and Josh gave us a mini tour on our way to the river boulder. Overall the area needs some serious loving. Everything is grown over and mossy from years of not being climbed on. I'm sure the snow and rain from the day prior didn't help things.

We arrived at the river boulder and Josh and Nic both set to dry out the somewhat soaked boulder. The river was up a bit and the whole thing was a little damp. It was too bad, really, because the boulder looked really cool and the problems looked like they'd be fun to climb on. It just seemed like there was nothing we could do to get it to dry out.

Barnaby checking out Josh's new landing

The three of us started trying a sit start that Nic had been fondling a bit. Josh and I bowed out after we started bruising our knees from a particularly painful kneebar but Nic persevered and eventually sent after he taped a sock to his knee for a bit more cushioning.

We packed up our stuff and started hiking to the 30 degree project that Nic's been trying lately. Along the way Lynn, Trinh and a couple others walked up and Josh headed out with them to clean up some old lines.

Katie and I accompanied Nic to the 30 degree project and I sat down with my camera to watch the radness. First go he came close. Second go he came closer. Third was the same.

Then on the Fourth go he stuck "The Move".

He reeled in the left hand pocket, dropped his knee and stuck the next move.

He popped out left to a small edge and reset his feet...



Yeah, that's right. Punt. Hard. Hardest ever.

Nic only made things worse when he couldn't replicate his success and had to go home empty handed.

We talked for a while in the car ride back about "closing" on a boulder problem. We all agreed that Nic is normally pretty good at it. Like everyone he has little moments like this where it just doesn't come together. He'll do it soon, I'm confident. He was close. Closer than anyone ever had been. He'll send.

Closing is something that I seem to be struggling with lately. There are too many projects of mine that I need to finish up. Here's to hoping for even more mild days this coming fall.

This trip was much less about climbing for both Katie and I than it was about relaxing and hanging out with friends. It was so nice to get out of Madison for a weekend and forget about work, projects and any other stresses that we have going on. I want to extend a huge thanks to Josh, Nic and everyone at VE for being so nice to us this weekend. It was noticed and is VERY appreciated!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Katie and I are taking tomorrow off of work and heading up to the north land to find us some decent weather. Right now Friday looks mediocre but we're just gonna hang out and see friends. Saturday looks really good and hopefully we'll be able to get some good climbing in. I've got sights set on finishing up the Cave Traverse but there are a bunch of things that would be fun to get on.

Hopefully the weather will hold off for Sunday as we'd both love to get up to Sandstone. Nic is working on the uber project up there and the place looks sick!! Who knows, maybe we'll do that on Saturday and hope for the best for sunday. We'll see! Should be a pretty low stress trip.

Weather looks like absolute hell down here so we figured we might as well get out of Madison, right?

We're also gonna be picking up our new Organic big pad!! Very excited to have a usable big pad again and not one that's totally blown out and semi useless. Excited to put it to use!

Next week is comp week here in Madison as Boulders is having their Halloween Comp. If you're in town, it's a really good time and should be fun. We'll be setting new problems all week.

Costumes are encouraged. I think I've found a good one.

Freaney - you getting a crew together?? Should be a fun one!

Runnells??? You're probably going to be scaling real rocks somewhere aren't you?

Who's in??

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Predictions/Birthday Challenge

As most of you know I made some predictions earlier this year and want to give it sort of an update as we're about halfway through fall right now.

1 - "Alpine Club will be climbed 2 more times before year end."

I still think this will hold true. There are multiple people that are psyched on it and a couple that are close. I would like to go up with a motivated group. I need something to inspire me again on that line.

2 - "Beautiful Soup will be climbed 3 more times before year end."

I'm pretty confident this will happen. Sweaty wants to work it and is strong enough to do it. Remo could do it with some motivation. He just needs to clean up some other projects first. Aaron and Gabe have yet to try it but it's definitely doable. Dobbe mentioned that he was close this spring and Mr. Eggbert just needs to try it with us. On top of that I'm closer than ever on this thing. High on my list.

3 - "Keymaker will get its second and third ascent."

BOOM! One down, one to go. Who's in?? This WILL happen!

4 - "Perfect Medium will get sent twice by year end."

BOOM!! For those that don't know, Remo sent yesterday and Mr. Bonamici sent earlier in the fall. DONE BISHES!! Plus Gabe will send next time he tries it. DO IT!

5 - "The Greatest Show On Earth will get done at least once."

Who wants to help me clean this rig?? Nic, Remo and I are all pretty psyched about it. Lets finally do the problem justice.

6 - "I will finally RE-find Massive Vertigo."

DONE!! Massive Vertigo is getting so much action it doesn't know what to do with itself! Sweaty made a really quick ascent and more will follow suit this fall.

7 - "RV and I will finally fucking do Sandstone Violence and get that shit behind us."

The Brown child is sadly out of town for the year and may not be able to fulfill his end of the bargain. I fully intend to sack up.

Not bad so far. It's impressive how much action the lake has had recently.

And in the second act of my latest post I'd like to take some time to talk about the Birthday Challenge.

First off I added a problem that Steve Day and I did back in late 2005 called Steve's Eliminate. It's contrived, fun and kind of absurd. It's also exactly how I started my last challenge. I'm excited to change how the challenge ends.

I've taken Venus Rising off of the list as my motivation to repeat it just wasn't there. Plus it took skin too quickly for my taste. In its place I've decided to add Moj to the lineup. It was only logical.

I've also added both of the main cracks on the Tombstone wall to the list. It's important that this list incorporate as many of the different generations of climbers that have come through the lake and I feel like both of those are worthy additions.

I also added in a couple more warmups from the phenomenal Super Slab area.

1 - Burma Warmup - V0
2 - Murder Slab - V2
3 - Steve's Eliminate - V5
4 - Big Bud Arete - V2
5 - Geise Dome - V2
6 - Slope of Dadaism - V3
7 - Shawn's Slab - V0
8 - Bark Biter - V4
9 - Perfect Medium - V8-9
10 - Tombstone Right Crack - V0
11 - Tombstone Left Crack - V0
12 - The Zipper - V8
13 - The Flatiron - V4
14 - Alpine Club - V9
15 - Beautiful Soup - V8
16 - Anchorpoint - V6/7
17 - Intercourse Arete - V3
18 - Recreational Vehicle - V4
19 - Trust Fund - V0
20 - Pete's Pebble - V2
21 - Dumpster Diving - V4
22 - Book of Glass - V0
23 - Wall of Glass - V0
24 - Moj - V8
25 - Super Slab - V0
26 - Jenga - V6

Now, some of you may notice that Alpine Club is still on the list. I just couldn't take it off yet. My best guess is that it'll be off the list if I can't do it this year. I'm open to ideas of what to replace it with. Tell me! What should I do?!?!?

I like how the list is set up right now though. It makes sense and is going to be really hard for me but still seems somewhat possible. I think what I like the most about it though is that it goes through many different generations of climbers. Here's the list of FA'ist's that I know of.

John Gill
Eric Z.
Paul Jones
Peter De Salvo
Brian Sandona
Jay Knower

I really like that these problems are all classic in their own rights and it's a list of problems that I'd be incredibly proud to have done.

As a side note it looks like we may try and have a party up at the lake afterwards. Both RV and I are gonna be attempting a circuit that day and we're thinking of renting out the small shelter on the north shore and having drinks and food by the lake. Who's in??

Also, RV, what is your circuit gonna be?? Or are you gonna try the same one as me??? We want to know.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Massive Vertigo, Dos

Aaron looking a bit cold

Saturday came and the forecast called for clouds in the morning and sun in the afternoon so we'd planned on going up a little later in the day and catching good temps and sun. Gabe and Aaron made their way up and were gonna meet us at Beautiful Soup and then maybe go to Massive Vertigo.

We'll get the ugly out of the way early.

I sucked on Beautiful Soup and stopped trying it after about 5 goes. I need to go back with more psyche, that's for sure. I dunno what was happening but I was fumbling around and forgetting my beta and just being a tool in general. Big thanks to Katie for being the level headed one.

I had one good go but I want to go back with more pads and spotters. Who's in?? I want a session on that bad boy!!

Second, the weatherman can suck it. He can suck it long and hard. All the sun that abounded in the morning turned into this on the drive up:

Anyways, after my pitiful series of attempts at Beautiful Soup I walked away for a bit and swore that I heard someone yelling my name from one of the wooded talus fields to the South. I kept on hearing these muffled sounds and then Katie got a phone call from Aaron. He confirmed that he was trying to find us with Gabe in tow and promptly yelled again for me with the phone against his mouth. With Katie partially deaf now I was on my own to direct them my way.

Somehow Aaron went up not one, but at least two talus fields too early for Alpine Club. I didn't even know that two other fields existed!! Either way, they finally made it to us and Aaron made a weak attempt to warm up before we departed for Massive Vertigo.

With a totally jacked pad setup that consisted of our pads, already folded up and loaded for the hike, lined up under the V3 to the left of Alpine Club. Jacked.

Katie looking very unimpressed with the landing zone

I scurried up to the topout to make sure I caught his almost guaranteed tumble down the talus field behind him on camera. Sadly, he did not hold up his end of the bargain and after a couple of false starts he topped out in good fashion.

Surprised and happy, like a puppy!

Finally hitting the good holds at the lip


After Aaron came down we picked up our pads and left for Massive Vertigo. A nice, quick hike up the talus and we laid down the pads. I started things out and came agonizingly close to sticking the crux move yet again. I had a couple of good attempts and my heel stuck better than it had in the past. I feel like one more good session and I'll have it.

Gabe hopped on next and very quickly realized that the sharp crimps weren't ideal to warm up on. He gave it a few good goes and got the first moves fairly fast. Sadly that got him to the crux and when he figured out that it was a heel hook crux I think a little bit of him died inside. Heel hooks are not where Gabe is at his finest. They're his Kryptonite, if you will. After a couple goes he stepped aside with a confused and sad look on his face. Nervous Nacho was not happy.

Go Nervous Nacho, go!!

Aaron got on next and started working the crux with me. Aaron had all of his stuff stolen from his car earlier in the week and he was in less than ideal shoes but got fairly close anyways.

After the three of us messed around Katie finally took her hand warmers out of her shoes and set to work. On her first go she made the point of telling us how easy the first move was and that we're all "Sally's" for making it look hard. Touche'.

She'd been amped to try it since watching me flail on it last weekend and had no real trouble with any of the intro moves. She's gonna have to figure something out for the bigger move but is definitely excited to get back on it. It'll be a good project for her.

Toasty shoes

On the first move

Figuring out the crux move

One thing I noticed though was the amount of dry fires people had on this problem. I was the only one to not have my hand just explode off of the problem. I thought it was pretty funny.

She's on.....and...

BOOM!!!  She's off!!

Katie didn't think it was funny.

The other entertaining part of the day was seeing just how tall Aaron seems when he stands next to Katie. Check it out.

Tall bastard

With a quick change in the weather our day ended as rain started coming down rather hard and temps dropped about 10 degrees in 5 minutes. We slipped our way down the talus and made our way back to the cars.

I'll leave you with a shot of Nervous Nacho, devastated after he found out that there was a heel hook on Massive Vertigo.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What A Day


That's all I can really say right now. I'm not sure there has ever been a day like yesterday at the lake. Maybe one or two but this one ranks high on the list. It's been a long time since the West Bluff has been worked over like this.

Remo and I met Nic at boulders since I got a text from Nic the night before that he wanted to "take the boat". We started out at Beautiful Soup and Keymaker as it was high on Nic's list. After sherpa-ing 8 or 9 pads and other various gear up to the base Nic dropped a line down and rather quickly figured out the beta for the upper half.

He ended up doing the move on his third go and it was on like donkey kong in a sea of prawns! Yeah, I'm a dork. A big one.

Nic and I warmed up on the opening moves and figured out good beta really quickly. It was so good to finally get chalk on all of the holds and see what the line actually was. It looks so blank otherwise!

Nic started giving intermittent goes but kept on falling on the crux dyno of Beautiful Soup. In the meantime I started work on Beautiful Soup and felt really strong on the move that had shut me down so many times in the past. My beta seemed easier than ever and after a few goes I hit the rail and just before my feet came back into the wall, I exploded off of the hold.

Remo and I started yelling and screaming like idiots as I rolled around on the pads. A couple more goes and I'd nearly stuck the rail 3 or 4 times with one, or both, of my hands exploding off each time.

Soon after that, Nic started giving repeated goes from the start and came close each time. We all knew that if he stuck the throw he'd do it. On one of his closest goes he split his right index finger and came down bleeding from both his tip and his right ankle. A little bit of tape later and he was set to go again, knowing that time was short on the painful right hand crimp.

He cruised to the throw and stuck it. He pulled to the small left hand crimp as Remo and I stayed silent. A short mantle later and he hit the final crimp and sketched his way up top. More yelling ensued and both Remo and I started vibrating with excitement.


I couldn't really believe it and was so so so happy that I was there. This problem had such a stigma around it and no one wanted to really try the upper moves for some reason. It's always good when things like this get shown that they can be done. The same thing happened this past spring when Nic came into town and did Alpine Club and Beautiful Soup.

I love shit like this.

We packed up and started hiking through the West Bluff. Eventually we made our way to the Power Plant Project which Nic promptly dispatched in about 5-10 minutes and called Black Sheep.

After that we went up to Moj and I sat around all lazy like and watched Nic and Remo try over and over. It was really fun to watch people try it. It's a very body position dependent climb and I still can't even describe how glad I am that I was able to do it. It's such a classic problem and a great addition to the lake. I really encourage everyone to get on it.

It took Nic a decent amount of tries and he had to pull out the try hard to finish it up. Well done! Remo got absurdly close on a couple of tries and was able to stick the crux move but couldn't get his left foot over to the good foot before his left hand came off of the sloper.

It was about that time that we heard some yelling from down in the talus field and up came Sweaty to join in the fun. After a laborious hike up which left him panting and bitching about the approach, he set to work on warming up on Moj despite the fact that three of the best warmups in the park are no less than 30 feet away.

Both him and Remo kept on getting closer and closer but I'm sure they'll be back to snag an ascent soon.

We moved up the hill slightly and layed seige to Jenga. Remo did it with his eyes closed and made it look like a V3 and Nic followed soon after. I finally sacked up and grabbed the finish jug(about fucking time if you ask me) and as I was walking down Sweaty pulled on and did it second go. Nice little group send of an amazing problem! So good!!

We played a bit of Crash Pad Golf on the hike down the talus, which I DOMINATED by the way, and made our way back down to the trail. I'm at least a V12 thrower.

Nic had to go home after that but the three of us all had a bit of skin left so we hiked over to Massive Vertigo. I showed the guys my beta and retaped my tip for the third time that day and officially pulled the super glue off of my finger. I wanted to cry it hurt so bad.

Sweaty figured out the heel beta rather quickly and moved on to trying to finish it while Remo and I were still fumbling around with our shoes. After maybe 15 minutes he had it in the bag and was topping out! Sick work!!

And that was it. We were done.

Such a good day!!! Nic got employee of the day awards with sweaty coming in close behind.

Official tally of the day:

Keymeaker - 2nd ascent
Black Sheep - 1st ascent
Moj - 2nd ascent
Jenga - Group Pillage ascent
Massive Vertigo - First ascent in years

I can't thank Nic enough for coming through again to try these problems. Remo and I kept on talking about how huge it was and how much more possible everything seems.

Personally, Keymaker is very high on my list and I'm looking forward to dropping a rope on it very soon. I'm pretty confident that Beautiful Soup will go quickly and I'm very psyched about the full line. It's something I looked at years ago and never actually thought I'd be able to do it. It seems so possible now.

Too. Many. Projects.

Monday, October 12, 2009

3 Days

Katie and I had a fantastic weekend and managed to hit a bunch of different areas these past few days. Sadly my camera decided to be a punk and lost all of the pictures from the memory card. I'm not sure why this keeps happening. Sad though.

Friday we took off for the lake at about 3PM and on our way in we passed Brian coming down from the boulders. It sounded like he had a good day but wasn't able to stick the crux move on Moj just yet. Soon!

I had my sights set on trying the Power Plant project so we hiked straight there. Confusion quickly set in and I couldn't figure out how to start it without dabbing. I tried a couple different things before we eventually took off, but it seems like I had bad beta and need to start a bit deeper in the pit.

After that I went over to Alpine Club and gave it my requisite attempts before utter frustration and confusion set in. I just can't even describe how frustrated I am with that problem. Oh well.

Saturday morning we woke up to rather frigid temps with our thermometer reading either 33 or 34. Thinking that we'd just wait out the cold at breakfast we went to Tex Tubbs and had one of the best breakfasts in Madison. They do such a good job!!

We walked outside and were stunned to see snow falling on the streets. Not cool at all. We piled into the car and decided to continue with our plan of going to Governor Dodge for the day. Driving through the snow I noticed a bank thermometer reading a balmy 35 degrees and neglected to tell Katie about it fearing that she'd turn the car around.

Katie had her sights set on Alpine Bouldering Club, a classic V6 nestled in the woods near Barrel Ridge. Somehow we went the absolute worst possible way and after a thorn filled 15 minute walk we re-found the boulder.

Katie made one attempt at warming up before sliding down the landing and promptly moving on to A.B.C. After a bit of frustration on the first move she quickly picked up great beta for the move to the small pocket. In between stuffing her hands into a mitten full of hand warmers and putting on as many layers as she could possibly climb in, she was making really good progress.

Having figured out the first couple moves she moved on to what will probably be the crux for her, moving her right hand up just a bit so she can reach the first decent edge high on the wall.

Eventually though, the cold set in and we had to pack up so she could get blood back in her feet-sicles.

A quick drive over to camp b and we set up under Battle of the Bulge. I'd given this problem a single, and very hot, day of uninspired attempts last September right as I was coming back. I don't think I could have been in worse shape.

I was psyched to try the problem again and curious to see how it felt. Everyone had talked about the super sharp edge and while I wasn't looking forward to that, at least I was mentally prepared.

A few goes in and I'd refined my beta for the first couple moves and I went to work on the crux. I tried the recommended beta a couple times and fearing I was going to get a split I started trying to find other beta. After a bit of searching I found a very small, sloping sidepull near the crimps and started using that.

In the end I got close to reaching the sidepull but couldn't quite muster the move. We took off for the day and defrosted our feet by the heaters.

On Sunday we took our time and made it to the lake around noon or so. A quick drive through the park brought us to Burma Road. After making sure we didn't get stuck in the mud off the road we made the quick hike in and I showed her around the area.

Burma has always been one of my favorite areas at the lake and the V1 warmup is possibly my favorite problem at the lake. The atmosphere is unique and you feel like you're way out in the middle of nowhere. We messed around on a few of the problems at the main wall and then walked around to the backside so Katie could try some more classics.

Again, we had issues actually warming up as most of the problems are hidden away in the shade. Katie did manage to start trying one of the very height dependent boulder problems and did fairly well with her small stature. I'm not sure who convinced her to try it, but it definitely wasn't me.....definitely.

After Katie properly destroyed any skin she might have had left we figured we'd head somewhere else. I was having troubles deciding what I'd like to work on but eventually settled on Massive Vertigo. I hadn't tried it even though I'd been there twice and thought that Sunday would be the perfect day to try.

We made the quick approach(although now I have to buy Katie 3 Hermit Crabs since I made her walk in talus) and I was pleased to see that the landing wasn't as bad as I thought it was. 2 Full Pads and 1 half pad were all I needed to work the problem and feel safe. Kind of nice.

I pulled on for the flash go and made it to the crux before I came off in pain. I quickly realized that I hadn't climbed in almost two hours and the sharp crimps didn't feel so hot on my tips.

A few minutes later and the crimps started feeling a bit better. The crux on Massie Vertigo comes down to a shallow, sloping heel hook for your right foot and a big move up right to a small crimp. The climb overhangs a good bit and any fall on the crux move and you just sit down on a rock. Kind of nice really. Not too dabby but still a nice fall.

While the move itself doesn't seem like it'll be brutally hard it's oddly tricky. I kept on trying and getting a little closer each time but every single time my heel would pop off in disgust. I just couldn't get it to stick. On top of that your left hand is on a sloping sidepull and it's hard to really lock that off.

Pretty soon my skin was starting to go and then, on one of my last tries, I ripped a small hole in my pointer finger and I was done.

Out of all the projects on my horizon I'm definitely most psyched on Massiver Vertigo right now. Such a cool problem. I just need the heel to stick...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Need A Pep Talk

Tomorrow's forecast is saying afternoon showers now. NOAA is saying "New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible." so I'm being pretty optimistic about it. I'm just gonna assume that it'll be fine and that we'll all send an untold amount of projects.

It's only a tenth of an inch, right??

Plus the weathermen have sucked this fall. Like woah. It'll be good tomorrow. Really it will.

On the other hand, this weekend looks amazing!!! Saturday is supposed to be sunny and a high of 44 and Sunday is the same with a forecasted high of 46. Can't get any better!

So there it is, my own little pep talk. The season is here!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rain Sucks

I shamelessly stole this picture of Aaron from the Facebook.  It's just too good to not post here.  This is Aaron at last years battle.  Can you guess which one he is???

Yep, rain sucks. This past weekend it threatened just enough to keep us away from the boulders. That along with a family event down in Milwaukee has kept us at the rock gym for the past week. Not cool.

It finally gets cold and the rain comes in. I just don't get it. Why now?

It looks like I might finally get out this coming Thursday with Remo, Dobbe and Gabe but we'll see as the weather channel is saying 40% chance of rain. Hopefully it holds off and we have some good conditions. I know that all three of them are gunning for Perfect Medium and I think they've all got a shot now that it's a bit cooler out. We'll see how it plays out I guess.

I'd also love to head over to the West Bluff and get on some of the projects out there. The Power Plant roof looks really good and I'm curious what the projects up by Moj will turn out to be like. Either way I just want to get out on real rock. I'm getting tired of the gym when conditions should be so good!

This weekend looks absolutely perfect and I can't wait to get out in such good conditions.

I do want to note a couple of things below:

1 - Rhoads is insisting that he's convinced Remo to give up bouldering and start climbing solely on a rope(possibly a slight exaggeration on my part). Either way, Remo, I will kidnap you and only bring you out to go bouldering and to spot from here on out. No joke. You have projects to send son!

Remo early in the summer on Perfect Medium

2 - I will be getting rad next week with a masked man. Maybe, just maybe, he'll put his feet above his head at some point during the day.

The masked man, bloodied and beaten

And Finally...

October 17th


Governor Dodge

There Will Be A Battle Of Unprecedented Size And Amazement


We really need to get a bunch of people out there. All the warlords will be out there with the foam swords and tin foil shields. I just can't even describe how fantastic this stuff is.

So, who's in?? We can't miss it.  Plus, maybe there will be punch and cookies afterwards!!

That is all my friendly minions! Also congrats to Nic and sweaty for ticking off some of their projects. Nic's getting strong 'n stuff.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Projects

So as most of you know I got lucky and snagged a classic FA at Devil's Lake a couple days ago. I'm definitely pretty psyched about it and later that night I could hardly sit still I was so excited about it. I think Katie was a touch annoyed at times.

I think I'm most happy that I've been lucky enough to contribute to the massive route list at Devil's Lake, an area that many people have called "climbed out" for years. On top of that I'm really happy that Moj is such a classic problem and is actually fun to climb on. It's very atypical for the lake as there aren't any painful holds and the movement is fun and interesting. It's physical and tough and I hope others enjoy it too.

I will say that the 5-6 iron crosses I fell into destroyed my chest and shoulders. It feels really good to be this sore.

Now, moving on!! I wanted to put up a list of all the projects that I know of at the lake. I was talking to sweaty yesterday and we both agreed that it's really nice to have a new ethic about sharing information. For so many years projects were so hush hush and everything was very secretive. No one knew about a project or an area until it was climbed out. Even getting directions to the Reserve was hard to come by. At least it was for me but that might have been cause I wasn't popular enough!!

It seems that in the last year since Sweaty started posting everything he found at Dodge on Mountain Project we've finally developed a bouldering community. That's something I never expected to see again and I'm glad it's here. This season that energy transferred over to the lake with new stuff being found almost weekly. I keep getting blown away by the projects we're finding. It's amazing!!

In the spirit of the words "Open Project" here is my list of known projects at the lake right now.

1 - Half Dome Project - V9+ - Having tried this a couple days I can pretty confidently say this will be one of the harder lines at the lake when it goes.

2 - Power Plant Project - V9+ - I haven't tried this one yet but am looking forward to putting a couple days in on it very soon. Cool looking climbing out a horizontal roof on big features. Should be classic.

3 - Tilted Boulder Project - V? - I have only seen this one, not tried, but it could be pretty cool. Not a ton of features on it!

4 - Roof Traverse Project - V? - I still need to clean this one off but there is a line on it, for sure. May not be as hard as I thought though. Maybe a 7? Some boulders need to be moved before trying it.

5 - Prow Project - V7+ - This one is just above the Roof Traverse maybe 25 yards. There's a big boulder and there looked to be a line on the right side climbing up to one possibly hard move off an undercling to a bad crimp at the lip. Cool and worth checking out if you're up there.

6 - Corner Project - V7+ - There looks to be a short but hard line just left of Moj. Looking forward to putting time in on this wall.

7 - Bidness Project - V9+ - This one looks brutally hard and I'm curious if it will go. There is a crescent shaped sidepull in the middle of the wall and the rest is pretty blank. There are one or two other holds on the face and then a bad sloper up top. I hope it goes!

8 - Seam Project - 7/8 - Starting on the left side of the seam there are some sidepulls and an edge right before a jug at the lip. Looks like it'll go though. All three of these look really cool and somewhat possible.

9 - HemorRhoads Project - Short. Painful. Pointless. It's a perfect name. In reality it could actually be a cool little problem. Only one move but it may be fun.

10 - Half Dome Right - V6-7? - Almost forgot about this one! There looks to be a line going up and right with a really bad landing and slopey holds. Not high on my list but might be for someone else!

11 - Dyno Project - V6+ - At the monolith boulders it's just one huge huck. May have been done by Tim Halbakken but I'm not sure.

12 - Burma Chamber Project - V7ish - Kelsen and I did all the moves on this one a couple years ago but didn't link it. One really big move leads to good crimps up an overhanging wall. Cool line.

13 - Right of Jenga Project - V? - I have no idea how hard this might be. It may be easy in fact. I did the first move a couple years ago but couldn't muster the will to huck for the jug even with a bevy of spotters and pads below me. Terrifying.

I think that's all I can think of right now. I'll add more if I think of them and let me know if you know of any too! So much to do this fall!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Story Of Moj

Moj at Red Wing

Coming out of High School I was a pimply faced insecure little kid that wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I overanalyzed what I thought people would say about me and even though I said I didn't care what people thought, I did. I had zero self esteem and even less confidence.

I was a sad little kid that didn't want to go away to college. It sucked.

My parents drove me up to Menomonie and got me all set. My roommate, it turned out, actually owned a harness and we went down to the schools climbing gym.

At that point climbing wasn't the life force that it is now but it was still something that I enjoyed and I always wanted to do more of it. When we arrived at the gym my roommate started fumbling around with his harness and abruptly told me he'd forgotten how to put it on. How, I'm not sure, but I quickly started scanning the room for new partners and left my roommate to deal with the tangled mess of webbing on his own.

Out of sheer luck and good fortune I met 3 other guys who'd just decided to take up climbing. Tony, who would later turn out to be one of my best friends, Drew, who was just funny and cynical, and Christian 'Moj' Ward. Where the Moj came from I'm not sure but it seemed to suit the air of mystique surrounding him perfectly.

These three grew into the first 'real' group of friends I ever had. Whenever I got the chance I walked the 20 minutes to their dorm floor and hung out for hours on end. We'd do absolutely nothing and loved it. The entire floor grew into some of the best friends I've ever had and it was such a happy time for me. They treated me like family.

Out of everyone there was one man who stood out from everyone, if even just a little bit. The Moj was an incredible person. I'd never met someone so comfortable in his own skin and he seemed so happy for it. He was fine when people gave him crap for owning well over 30 different Star Wars books. He wore sandals year round and would go into a snowball fight with a full body snowsuit, bare feet and sunglasses. He also seemed to have no problem with any of the things that anyone else would be massively self conscious about. He had incredibly strong ethics for someone his age and I was impressed by all of this.

Without him ever knowing it he changed my life. Like clockwork I started to change little by little. My confidence went up and I started caring less and less what others thought of me. I tried more to be happy with who I was, 'cause it's not going to change. If anything, I'm just going to get more dorky as time goes on.

Over the years I spent less and less time at Stout but still kept in contact with most of my friends from 4th floor Wigen Hall, but our contact definitely slowed down.

Then on January 31st 2007 I got a call from Tony while I was at Boulders. It went to voicemail and I listened to it when I got home. Tony just told me to check my e-mail and then the message ended. His voice sounded different and sad but I figured it wasn't anything major and waited till morning to check anything.

Moj had died.

I broke down after reading the e-mail from Drew and only remember that sickening feeling that we've all experienced. I didn't understand. I still don't and I never will. While close family members had died, I'd never had a close friend die and I didn't know how to deal with it. It was one of the worst things I've ever experienced. He meant so much to me without even knowing it.

He died in his apartment on January 31st 2007 at the age of 23. I never once told him what he meant to me or how he changed me and I regret it every single time I think about him. He changed who I was without trying at all. By just being himself he made me a better, happier person.

It destroys me that he never knew. He was hands down one of the greatest people I've ever had the pleasure to spend time with and I consider myself lucky to be able to say that.

Such a beautiful person.

Moj touched more lives and changed more people than I even care to guess. I'm one of many and it was clear at his funeral that he was a very special man who did incredible things with his time here.

My life is what it is, in large part, due to Moj. Thank the people that are close to you and tell them that you love them. Tell your friends how happy you are to know them and make sure they understand how important they are to you.

We miss you and love you bud. Rest In Peace.

Go here to read more about the man.