Friday, January 29, 2010

Knife Fight

So Katie has some sort of issue with knives. I just don't get it. She always seems to get into fights with them and, I gotta say, they ALWAYS win. Always.

This morning Katie went into the sun room in our house to do a quick Ab workout. I was good and lazy and stayed in bed. After a minute or so she yelled something to me and a I got up to see what it was.

"I cut my finger with a bread knife while I was cutting a bagel!!"


I ran out to the car to get the super glue, which turned out to be in her pad in the garage instead. I found WAY too many empty super glue containers in the car though. Kind of funny.

All the while I kept on wondering why she was cutting a bagel while doing an Ab workout?!? I just didn't get it (it was still very early mind you). On top of that, when she said "Bread Knife" I thought of this:

My confusion only grew the more I thought about it.

When I got back in the house I just had to ask. "Why were you cutting a bagel while doing sit-ups?????". Not my brightest moment, but still, I stand by the question. Turns out she was cutting it before she started. Made much more sense then.

Then I saw the knife on the counter and it all clicked. When she said "Bread Knife", she meant super sharp, serrated, pokey BREAD KNIFE OF DOOM AND DISMEMBERMENT. See below:

Everything was clear then. We superglued her up nicely and it seems that it'll heal pretty quickly.

On another note, I'm about as excited as I could be with our trip coming up. I've been feeling better and better each day and my finger feels good. Still a little tender but overall I'm pretty positive about it. I feel like right now I'm at about 50-60%. Maybe more but there are many areas that still feel super weak. Circuits have been helping a lot with general fitness and it feels good to try hard again.

So ready for some more Sandstone...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So Ill - Day Three - Wetness

Day three came along looking a bit better from up top. Things were starting to dry up a little, the sun was starting to peek out and we were all optimistic.

After a slight delay when roughly 20-25 pickup trucks came into the valley(bunch of doctors going on a memorial hike), we set out for the boulders. We warmed up on the slabs over by Zig Zag and had a lot of fun on them. I think some of my favorite problems at Jackson are the super low angle, short slabs that litter the area. They're fun, relaxed and they tend to have some really cool pockets and features. Love em!

While we were warming up another group of about 3 guys from Indiana came over and started warming up with us. They put up with our foolishness pretty well as Chris tried to clean off another section of slab. Chris eventually failed and gave up his quest to put up a horrible eliminate of a problem.

I had to at least try the horribleness that it was

It just wasn't good...At all

I went back to warming up and one of the guys from the other group noticed Katie's pad.

"I think I've seen that lightening bolt before....Is that on a review somewhere???"

HAH! I'm famous BITCHES!!!!! Not really but still kinda cool. Turns out he saw my review of our pads and bought his as a result. Couldn't be happier. Plus his green and grey colors were pretty cool. Good choice Brandon!

We threw a couple laps on one of the steeper problems across from the slab and then moved over to Zig Zag and THC.

I tried as best I could to dry the holds on Zig Zag. While we waited a bit everyone took some turns at THC. Chris quickly repeated it for the camera and threw some chalk on the upper holds for everyone. Sarah quickly made it back to her highpoint but again was having accuracy issues and missing the hold by about 4 inches to the left. She'd throw, miss, come back down to the good crimp and throw once more before coming down to the pads. While fun to watch I'm sure it was less fun to experience.

Sarah on the crux of THC

Chris, also on THC

And again...

Katie got a couple of really good goes in and matched the sloper a couple times before coming back down. For the first time back above a pad at any height at all she did well. She's definitely still getting used to that aspect of bouldering. She's doing better though. Stuff like Flatiron only helps.

Pretty soon Chris and I started trying Zig Zag. First go felt good and I fell off going for the gaston move. Chris had some operator error for a couple tries but eventually made it past the first move and stuck the gaston in short order. We had to make sure the holds were brushed and chalked before each go since the pockets were seeping.

With a bit of gusto I was able to get two fingers into the far pocket and reeled the other two in to stick that move. As soon as I did that though my core quickly shut down and tightened up so hard I wanted to puke. It was a fun little moment.

Coming back from a month off my core was definitely a weak point. I felt it there.

With my knuckles starting to feel it from the awkward starting pockets and from being 3 days on for the first time in a long time, Chris and I started boosting into the crux moves. Chris tried it a couple times but couldn't seem to figure it out. I got a quick boost and got my right hand good. As soon as I took my right foot off everything clicked and I felt the move. About halfway through the move I had my very first "wet fire" and my right hand exploded off the wall.

I sat on the pads for a second and looked at my wet fingertips.

"I'm done."

After trying Body Karate for a second time and Zig Zag for the first time, I'm definitely more psyched to come back and do Zig Zag. Such a cool set of moves. Excited about that one.

Pretty soon we all packed up and started screwing around a little. Katie and I walked over to Body Karate to see if anything was dry while Chris and Sarah finished up at THC and Zig Zag. Sadly the top arete was a river and that whole block was out.

Chris didn't believe us and walked over to check it out for himself. Body Karate was going to have to wait for another trip.

We all walked down by the creek for a bit until Chris found a small section of the creek still frozen over. Defying all sorts of logic he started walking around on it. Katie soon got sucked into the "fun" and after I stopped trying to restrain her she made her way on to the ice.

Chris being all giddy 'n' stuff

He was super stable.  Really.

Katie, testing things out

Crounching Chris, Hidden Giddy

In all honesty it was probably safe. The cracks at the edges were a little disconcerting but still, it was pretty thick where they were. That said, I wasn't about to stop throwing rocks in hopes to crack it a little and give them a scare. After spending a good 5 minutes hucking rocks 20 feet in the air and watching them crash back down Chris got a little cocky.

"Dude, there is no way you're going to break this ice. It's really thick!"

I picked up one last 15 pound chunk of sandstone and winged it over my shoulder. It was to my enjoyment that I heard a nice splash as it went straight through the ice about a foot away from one of its thicker edges.

In unison I heard Katie and Chris say, "Time to get off", and they both made their way to solid ground.


Chris then made it his mission to clear off all the rocks that I threw on the ice with a big stick. It became increasingly harder as the rocks got heavier and the stick kept on breaking. Pretty soon he was leaning off of a slabby boulder with nothing between him and the water.

He looked over and said, "If I fall in right now, It's because I'm REALLY stupid.". We all agreed and watched in worried amusement as he got the last rock into the creek.

Just about to get started on his mission

Getting a bit sketchier...

And all out sketchy now.

Before heading out of the falls for the day we tried a "hang and drop" line that Katie had spied earlier in the day on a neighboring tower. Chris and I fooled around and did it pretty quickly. I enjoyed it so much I did it 2-3 times. Just a fun little V3 with a big moves and big holds. Such a good way to end the trip!

I can't even describe how good it felt to climb on real rock and be outside. It was just so good.

Thanks to Chris and Sarah for egging me on enough to make the trip. It was needed. Also thanks for taking a bunch of pictures and I hope you don't mind that I stole some of em!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So Ill - Day Two - Muddyness

Moose being her awesome self

So we woke up to a bit of a different story on day two of our trip. Most of the snow had melted and the ground turned into a muddy mess of crap.

A muddy parking lot instead of a snowy parking lot.  Not sure which is better.

Once again, we were pretty much the only people there and had a nice bit of solitude in the morning. Just as we were finishing breakfast a couple cars showed up and our solitude was broken! Bastards!! Not really, but it was kinda fun having run of the place.

Chris reading about the escaped convicts in the area.  Reassuring.

We packed our shit and made our way down the rope ladder and looked around at an almost snow free canyon. That meant dry rock, right??? I ran over to Zig Zag to check if that was dry and pretty much everything was soaked. Might be workable later in the day but not right away.

After checking out the falls for a bit and finding the old moonshiners tree ladder we eventually made our way to the welcome boulder to warm up a bit. We messed around on the big super friendly jugs for a while and got nice and warm.

The creek with the falls in the background.

Ze Falls

Chris being awesome

It was fun watching everyone jump from rock to rock trying to dodge the gaping mud pits. I was personally surprised none of us bit it, specifically myself. I seemed to have the most close calls all weekend.

After that we made our way to the only true dryish block in the canyon, Body Karate. Chris wanted to try his hand once more at the problem and Katie and Sarah were each interested in trying their projects as well.

When we arrived there were a couple of guys up there trying Hypoglycemia. It worked out well since Katie finally relented in seeing that she wasn't cheating by using a high heel for the first move, she's just much smarter than Chris and I.

The guys up there were super nice and supportive. Everyone got some good goes in and it was fun to session with some people, even if I wasn't feeling 100%. Chris had some fantastic burns on Body Karate and got amazingly close but couldn't quite pull it out. Each time he'd get to the last really hard move going to the jug he left foot would pop violently and he'd be off.

Katie put a couple of really good burns on Hypo and was also getting heartbreakingly close to sending. The whole time she was trying to link water was slowly dripping down the giant fin that caps off the problem. We tried everything from sweatshirts to socks to keep the water at bay but it was to no avail. On her final effort she got to the last hard move and accidentally slapped her left hand into a puddle of water. She kept going and stuck the next move but came off trying to move her feet around.

The highlight of the day may have been watching Chris's face as he saw a local run lap after lap on Yosemite Slab. His face was priceless.

Sarah was not amused by the river running down her project.

After that we couldn't keep the water contained any longer and had to leave. A quick hike found us at Zig Zag and THC. I gave both problems some well deserved lovin' and things started to look climbable! Chris and I both did THC rather quickly and I'm pretty impressed with the problem. It doesn't look like much but it climbs really well. It all comes down to two separate big moves on good holds. A slopey traverse leads you to the biggest jug in the world and we both dropped off from there.

The thought of skittering down the wet mossy boulder wasn't too appealing. Katie and Sarah started giving some efforts and Sarah made rather quick progress on the line and was making it to the second throw after a couple minutes. She had a couple double clutch moments where she went up for the sloper, missed, and then tried again. Someone needs to work on their aim...possibly as much as I need to work on walking without tripping.

Katie also made some good efforts but it was really interesting to watch the two ladies of the trip try this problem. Sarah is 5'10" with a positive ape index and Katie is 5' 1/2" tall with a minus 2 ape index. Both have totally different styles and it was fun to watch them climb together. Very different beta and very different strengths.

Pretty soon it was getting dark and we went back to camp to relax.

Later that night we were sitting around the campfire as a truck drove down the road. All of us jokingly threatened the truck to keep driving so we could have our solitude. Possibly the best was when Chris started talking about carving up a shiv if they drove into the campground.

About a half hour later two people and a pup came walking past the camp. The two people called for "Rocco" and Chris yelled out "Brad?! Hayley?!". Turns out it was Chris's roommates from when he lived in the Red. We chatted for a while and made sure Brad and Hayley knew that Chris wanted to "Shiv" them. Funny little moment.

Be sure to check out Brad's site here.

On a side note my finger feels better and better each day I climb. I just have to rest it well. The excitement and psyche for the new season is starting to boil over. RV is back and I'm excited to start training again. There is so much to do this year it's not even funny.

Rain this weekend. Hoping it'll melt some snow!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

So Ill - Day One - Snowyness

Moose Hanging Out At Camp.

I saw a window and I grabbed it.

In short, I've been crazy busy lately and this trip to So Ill came up super last minute. I took the chance to get out of Madison and we left about 12 hours after deciding to go.

We had no idea if it was dry. No idea if things were climbable. No clue if the weather would hold or if we'd actually get to climb anything. We just wanted out of Madison for a little bit.

We were planning on meeting Chris (Gunther Von Ponch) and Sarah down at Jackson Falls and had planned on spending three days being lazy there. Earlier on Wednesday Chris told me they'd leave a bit earlier to make sure we had a campsite when we got there.

I told him not to worry too much. January isn't exactly prime time for Jackson...

All I can say about the first night it that it was DAMN cold out. The inch or so of snow on the ground didn't help matters. Around 7 AM I got up with Moose in tow and we went for a bit of a walk. The other three were fast asleep and I had some time to burn. We walked out to the falls, which as we found out later in the weekend is the cool thing to do, and I was sad to see they'd taken down the rope ladder for "Safety Concerns". In its place they put up a two bolt easy sport climb. Oh well.

All Alone At Jackson Falls.

Pretty soon the others started waking up and the sun started to peek out. Things were looking up.

Chris Showing Us All That He's Just Not Into That Whole 'Morning' Thing.

After a quick breakfast we started out down the trail and over to the dog walk access. Katie and I made it down through the snow ok but we watched in surprise as Chris chucked Sarah's pad down the small hill and everything exploded out of the pad. Water bottles, sammiches, climbing shoes, down booties...EVERYTHING! In an even cooler moment their Stanley thermos landed on their aluminum water bottle and basically imploded the water bottle. Very fun.

We picked up the mess and dropped everything under the Reefer Madness boulder while we ran around like idiots looking at the different boulders. Eventually we started warming up on all the stuff by Reefer. It was so nice to be on rock again. Chris spent some time up on the top of the boulder trying to clear off the lip of any and all snow. First time I've seen someone use a car brush to clear off snow. More fun was had.

Katie On Ghetto Life

Shortly after that we packed up and moved over to Body Karate and Yosemite slab. We set up our bevy of pads and got going. I'd been curious about a problem called Hypoglycemia that climbs into the finish of Body Karate from the left on cool slopers and edges. I figured out the hard first move after a few tries and then quickly made my way through the rest of the beta. A bit of a rest and some key foot beta from Chris and I'd finished it up.

While it wasn't a super rad sicky gnar gnar style send, it felt really good to pull a little bit and finish something again. It felt even better to do it rather quickly on my 4th or 5th day back climbing.

Chris ended up punting on his flash go pretty badly by falling off of the upper jugs unexpectedly. Too bad really. He finished it up right after I did. Maybe I should start calling him Gunther Von Punt...I like that.

Gunther on his punt attempt.

And again, to reiterate, he punted well after this.  Sad to watch cause he looked so strong.

Katie started working on the problem and Sarah started working Cold Fusion. Katie made some great progress using a heel hook on the first move where Chris and I had pulled out our stupid hats and made the move much harder than it needed to be. She figured out the rest of the moves pretty easily and was left to just try and link it together. She had a couple of really good tries making it to just past the redpoint crux before coming off. We figured it'd go tomorrow or the next day, no problem.

Katie working out the first move.

Near the finish on one of her best tries.

Sarah figured out some good beta on Cold Fusion and was getting closer and closer to making it to the big jugs up high. Sadly the Sandstone was taking its toll on our skin and we were getting more and more thrashed. Katie was still sore from her death workout earlier in the week and I didn't want to mess with my finger too much.

Chris though was pretty psyched on Body Karate and so we set up the pads for that bad boy. He gave it a few goes and finally I had to convince him to awkwardly put his heel in instead of his toe. He listened and quickly stuck the second and third moves. After trying the back end of the problem he had everything figured out rather quickly.

On the first slap.

He gave it a couple of really strong efforts but couldn't keep his core together long enough to finish the problem up.

I tried Body Karate once but my fingers cried uncle after one go and I didn't want to get hurt.

I spent much more time brushing the problem than actually climbing on it.

First move...

Finger saying "Ouchie Poo".

After a bit of rest we were able to egg him on enough to get him to try Yosemite Slab. Chris is, by choice, not a slab climber. He brought over Katie's half pad thinking that it's so low angle his lack of slabby skills wouldn't matter. He was wrong.

This is the exact moment that he slapped the wall and lost ALL of his chalk.

About halfway up he asked the ladies to "Bring over a real pad" so that he wouldn't die. The pictures tell it better than I could though. I think he spent a good 10 minutes on the damn thing.

Katie and Sarah bringing over a "Real Pad".

Shoulda brought the chalk...


With that we hiked over to Zig Zag and OBD to see what might be dry. Nothing was dry, but we cleaned up some of the topouts with hope in our hearts as we walked out. On the way back to our pads we spied the rope ladder by lovely tower and went up there instead of the dog walk. A continual stretch of wetness made the rope good and sketchy all three days.

Look for Day 2 radness soon...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So Ill

65 comments guys. Well done. Apparently you guys like to talk about booze. Makes sense really.

Following one of the busiest, most stressful two weeks I've experienced I'm leaving town. Katie and I decided last night to take thursday and friday off this week and go to So Ill. We're going to be making the trek with Chris Esser(Gunther Von Ponch as he's now known) and Sarah. I can't wait. Sadly the timing doesn't work out as well for RV as he gets back to madison today and won't be able to make it.

Don't worry, we'll make it down again this spring.

My finger has been feeling progressively stronger and I was able to try hard a bit last night. Slowly but surely. It feels so good to be back.

On a lighter note Aaron 'the gentleman' Kaetterhenry thought that I was taking a month off because of the blood blisters I got when I dry fired off of Massive Vertigo. Silly Aaron.

I'm super excited to just get out and do some easy problems down there. It's supposed to be perfect weather and I intend on taking a bunch of pictures. Should be a great way to start the season. The radness will commence once more!!!

So for everyone you was giving me crap last week.....suck it...suck it long...suck it hard.

45 and sunny bitches.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Couple things I've learned...

I've figured a couple things out in my time off the past month and thought I'd share it with you guys.

1 - When I'm not climbing I drink a hell of a lot more.

2 - Not climbing sucks.

3 - I've recently taken a liking to Whiskey. Recommendations are welcome as I'm new to that particular booze.

4 - Taking time off from climbing blows.

5 - Our puppy is a pooping, biting, barking antichrist. No joke.

6 - I hate taking time off from climbing.

On a lighter note, I climbed the other day and my finger felt moderately good. A little tenderness but nothing horrible. I think we're going in again tonight or tomorrow and I'll try it out again. Nothing but warmups but it feels good to be climbing again. Hopefully that continues.