Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Skin Can Suck It

So apparently doing nothing but sitting around in meetings followed by a daily dose of heavy drinking didn't do all that much to help my climbing...or my skin. Weird.

Katie and I went to das gym last night and I got a good half hour or so in before the clay made me cry uncle. Ugh. These days always remind me why so many traveling climbers have a tough time at Boulders. Sadly it's looking like nothing but the gym for a week or so. We're moving in a couple of days and we're very excited to have that behind us.

If anyone feels like helping I think we'll be moving on Tuesday morning. Copious amounts of liquor will be available after the move and I'd be willing to procure some foods for all involved.

Other than that things are quiet on our front. It's been oppressively hot and humid around here and I was nice and lazy on Sunday. After trying to go for a run, and subsequently almost passing out, I decided it was best to sit around and do nothing but watch Ice Softball (Hockey) all day. Classic.

Katie had a great time in Hueco and conditions were apparently not too bad. She got close on a number of things and we're already planning a trip. Can't wait to go back.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Back In The Game

Sitting in Denver right now waiting for my flight back to Milwaukee. After a week or so of decent weather we got a bit of snow last night and it was a fitting end to the week.

The three of us left walked down the road to get some food and beers. A nice way to relax after far too much time was spent talking about gear.

Katie is in Hueco right now sweating her ass off I'm sure. It'll be curious to hear how her day went down there.

I think I'm gonna head up to the talus fields tomorrow and search for some new boulders. I might bring a couple pads and try Half Dome for a bit. It's been almost a year since I've tried it and I'm curious what it'll feel like.

Anyone get out this past week?? Punty McPunterson has left the country for Scotland for a week and The Gentleman and Gunther Von Ponch have gone down south for a few days. Why they decided to go there I'm not sure, but at least they're getting out, right?

Stay rad peeps.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


In early 2004 I saw an ad that stated:

"The REVOLUTION will not be televised. May 1 2004."

Revolution climbing was born.

I just saw this. VERY interested to see what comes of it. Would love to see some of the old shapes come back.

Tahoe is rad. Whitewater rafting was fun, albeit a bit slow up until the last 15 minutes or so. Pete found out who his roommate is. Max King. I'm sure that name means jack shit to you guys but Max is one of the premier trail runners in the world. It'd be like having Nalle Hukkataival as a roomie. Pete, being a rather talented runner, will get made fun of a lot for this. A LOT.

I find it hilarious as Max is on the new Montrail workbook for Spring 11. F'ing hilarious.

On a "local" note, RV sent Sex and Chocolate. Nice work. Paul d also did the move on Alpine Club sweaty's way. As I've never tried this move that way I find it pretty interesting. I do feel like this is a very body specific move and am interested in trying it this way. That said, I still want to do the problem the traditional way. I feel like it's a proper testpiece and this beta only makes me want to do it the original way even more.

I do not merely want to get up that wall, I want to do it the way Peter saw it. I see it as a proper step forward for me and a true test of my ability. This problem means a lot to me and I look forward to standing on top of it with a smile.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tahoe Bound

We had a good day up at the lake on saturday. Pretty relaxed and casual but fun. Sofie sent Recreational Vehicle and was BEYOND psyched about it. Lady has been getting strong lately and I expect her to start beating RV with regularity soon.

I put up a new 3 or 4 that goes up from the middle of Recreational Vehicle to the lip. A big fun move leads to easy moves on the lip. If you're up there you should do it. It's worthwhile and kinda fun. I'm calling it the Raisin. Should have pics once RV steps up and send me them.

After that we went up to the Dumpster boulder and played a bit up there. I took a lap on Dumpster Diving and was reminded how cool that little boulder is.

I'm flying out this afternoon for the Mountain Hardwear spring sales meeting. It's in Tahoe and we're going whitewater rafting tomorrow. Pretty excited for it actually. Booze and product is the theme at these things and it should be a good time.

I'm leaving my shoes at home this trip. I thought about taking them in case there were any boulders near our hotel but I'd rather take it easy for a week and recover a bit. We've been going pretty consistently lately and this should be a good refresher.

Remo left yesterday for Mexico and Katie is leaving at the end of the week for Hueco. It's gonna be about 90 every day there. F'in hot!! Christ!

I hope everyone gets out in my absence and send some shit! Temps don't look horribly actually this week so get out there!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

That Hold Is Off

A picture of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades.  The red arrows point to "off" holds.  One points to a detached block and the other to a giant ledge.  This was originally posted as a four star boulder problem.

I hate that phrase so badly. It makes me sad that it's even a talking point for people.

Elimintates are a tricky business. Here in the midwest we're sort of stuck with a certain amount of rock and a very old ethic of squeezing all the possible lines out of that rock.

Chris and I had a nice conversation the other week about this topic and it's been something that I've wanted to write about for a while now. In my career at DL I've gone through a wide range of emotions about the subject. While I see that the occasional eliminate can be fun in a stupid sort of way, I'm much less inclined to "follow the rules" than I used to be.

Chris said a couple things that caught me. The first was this:

"Yeah, the whole time I was working that thing, and ultimately made it go my way, which sounds similiar to your way, I was thinking I wish I knew what "it was supposed to be". Kind of a shame really. It isn't supposed to be anything. It's a piece of rock. And I was psyched to snag that jug flying across the face. "

The second was something that many people have mentioned before, but he put it well:

"To find a pure line, that clearly has a start hold, nothing is off, and tops out, is the pinnacle. None of this other stuff." 

Really couldn't put it any better. It's refreshing to hear more and more people saying similar things recently. With the amount of problems going up in the past 2-3 years there has been a remarkable absence of eliminates going around. It's been somewhat of a changing of the guard I guess.

Eliminates are quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard of and it's rather nice to see them go more and more by the wayside as time goes on. I encourage anyone who climbs at the lake to "just say no" to eliminates. If you think the hold might be off you should grab it out of spite, just to stick it to the man.

I could talk about this for hours, really. Instead I'll just post a picture of myself looking totally ridiculous. Ryan, this one's for you. This was minutes after falling off of the topout of Pinball at Burma sans pads on my birthday. And yes, the fritter was delicious.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Black Gregory Equipment

I like the sound of that name. What do you guys think?

So the big hullabaloo right now is BD/Gregory merging into one awe inspiring company of radness. Or so they say. My opinions on this are a bit skewed having worked for Gregory in the past. I really do love the company and think that they put out some of the best packs on the market. They're one of our industry's few "heritage" brands and I hope they don't lose that.

I was on Cloudveil's website earlier today and was caught off guard. CV was bought earlier this year and some major changes took place right away. Everyone was fired, they closed the Jackson Hole brand shop and moved the company to Connecticut. It's sad to see a brand like this seemingly go away for good.

The new owner keeps on claiming that nothing will change and that they'll keep on keeping on, but that's seeming less and less likely now. It's too bad really. I still have one jacket from them that I keep more for posterity than anything else.

There were a couple comments on the CV blog that caught a coworker and I off guard. First someone said the following:

"I wish Cloudveil could be more authentic like K2 or Marmot. Being owned by a NY company that specializes in making crock-pots and mason jars really impacts their ability to make technical apparel."

I really don't think this person knew that K2 owned Marmot.......or that K2 is owned by Jarden corp.....who owns Ball Jars.....and that Ball Jars have roughly a 90-95% market share of the Mason Jar market. Made me smile.

Another said this:

"What a bummer! Another sellout! I too will be forced back to the Patagucci line."

Never mind that Patagonia for a while went on a bit of a buying trend itself. A while back they bought the prominent PFD line Lotus Designs and promptly drove it into the ground and out of business.

Thought it'd be interesting to post up some info about who owns who in our industry. Feel free to add more in the comments if I miss something.

The North Face - Owned by Vanity Fair - For all the shit that TNF receives for being "The" outdoor company in our industry they continue to have an impressive athlete list and an even more impressive list of cool marketing campaigns. The trip to Turkey was just the latest in very cool media.

On top of that, they still do make some very high quality gear. You just have to wade through all the Denali fleece to find it!!

Mountain Hardwear/Montrail - Both companies are owned by Columbia - I'm biased obviously but I can honestly say that MHW hasn't been too effected by the merger. Separate design/sales/headquarters has allowed MHW to be fairly independent from Columbia.

Montrail on the other hand had a bit of a rough patch there. The ship seems to be righted though and they're on a better track. Seems they figured out that they make great trail running shoes and not so great climbing shoes. Although Nic might have something to say about the Method. Nic?? Anything???

Marmot - Owned by K2 who is owned by Jarden - Seems that the only hiccup came in the pack world when they absolutely destroyed Dana Designs. It was sad to see such a good brand go down so hard. Other than that things have been good for Marmot it seems. They make good shit and also have a nice roster of athletes to go along with the product.

Dana himself seems to be doing ok. Get an update on his absolutely badass packs over here.

Patagonia - They seem to be one of the few large outdoor companies that does their own thing. Curious to see how long that lasts and just how much backlash will come along with any sort of merger/sale. What seems most interesting to me is that they've played the "buy" card with a number of companies. Lotus Designs was just one of the companies that are no longer around.

As much as I might not be a fan of the Patagucci style, I do respect their commitment to environmental ideals and also their commitment to the community. It's impressive to say the least

Arc'teryx - Owned by Amer Sports - Arc'teryx is another brand that seems to go along with many people not knowing they're owned by the same group that owns the ball sport giant, Wilson. They're a great example of a company being bought and not losing any of their credibility. They still maintain very high standards and have phenomenal products.

Cloudveil - Owned by Windsong - Seems more and more that this brand is being driven straight into the ground.

Mammut - Owns Toko and a sleeping bag line - Mammut seems to be the other company on this list that isn't owned, but owns others. Just last year the century old boot line, Raichle was morphed into Mammut Footwear.

Nau - Owned by Horny Toad - Nau is funny to me. Very funny. They promptly went out of business after one year of operations. They had an unusually large following due to their humanitarian work and charitable donations that ended up putting them out of business.

Horny Toad scooped them up and Nau has been surprisingly quiet since then.

What I find most interesting about all of this is that pretty much all of these companies get their fabrics and materials from the same damn people. If you look hard enough at any line you're bound to find a nice jacket or tent or sleeping bag. Yet, having said that, all of them are known for different things. Whether it's the green efforts of Nau and Patagonia or the reDONKulous prices that go hand in hand with CV and Arc'teryx.

What I find incredibly encouraging though is the commitment to our very small industry that each and every one of these companies display in some form or another. No matter who the owner is or isn't, there is support behind each of the names. There's a very real story to go along with the name.

I encourage you to look around a bit the next time you need something. Stray a little from what you'd normally buy and who knows, you might find something cool and new. It's amazing what you'll see when you take away any previous thoughts you have about a company and shop "brand blind".

That is unless you're buying a crash pad.....then you need to buy Organic. For it still cool to say that???

Monday, May 10, 2010


Quick recap of recent events of radness.

Last Thursday:

Our very own Mr. Egghead did Massive Vertigo in good style. See the video here. Rubber bottle opener thingy duct taped to his thigh was key to his success. Way to get all resourceful n stuff! Awesome!

That same day RV, Skinny and I met Katie and Anne up at Monolith.

1 - Katie climbed on a rope. Holy crap.
2 - RV got close on Perfect Medium.
3 - We saw Skinners upper ass crack. Not cool
4 - We all got very close on Axiom of Contemporary Movement. That's what I'm calling it from now on.
5 - Skinner went commando.
6 - Katie saw Skinners balls through the hole in his pants. Even more not cool dude.

On Saturday we tried going to the lake but it rained. Instead we got all sorts of radical in the gym. I almost did the green one with the quickness. Yeah. I'm radical. Katie circuited everything in the gym like 12 times and RV set a new modern day classic. We rock.


Despite our best efforts Remo ended up talking RV and I into coming to Dodge to try SV. We rolled up coffees in hand and created a ruckus. Three laps on the tried and true warmup sat us at the base of SV.

Like always RV's best go was his first and it was all downhill after that. He made it up to the high right hand but didn't know where to grab it. He had a couple of other good goes but it didn't go for him.

As for me I felt super on it until the move to the break. Remo and I agreed that something was up with that hold cause it felt like utter shit. On my second go I made it up there and as I was moving my foot to the chip I popped off of it. I cannot even describe how nice it felt to not jump off at that point.

Mini victory for the gnarmeister.

I could say more about it but I won't. It was encouraging to say the least. RV and I figure that the hold was just a bit damp from the previous nights rain. It felt real bad. Worst it's ever felt to me at least.

That is all for now. What did everyone else get on? I want updates!!!!!!!!

Also, Mr. Narc has apparently fully turned into a spurt climber. My condolences, sir. Honestly though, just glad you're climbing again.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Three things happened recently that people should know about.

1 - RV got all Sicky Gnar Gnar and sent Massive Vertigo. Did he use a Kneebar Pad? No. He tied a sock around his thigh. Is his ascent better or worse than others? Does his count? Will he get full points? Did he eat one scone or two scones before sending? Did his shirt dab on the pad? Is he a punter?

If you want to debate any of these subjects go away. Don't want to hear it. Well, unless it's pastry talk. Then I want to hear it.

Before the sock



2 - Greatest Show is clean. Look.

Forgot to close my pad.  Oops.

There ya have it

We spent a good three hours on a rope cleaning that rig. I think I've got the upper sequence figured out but it's pretty hard. The arete looks damn hard as well. Damn hard.

3 - Mr. Eggnuts is good at playing tourist. Touche' sir.

After we finished cleaning Greatest Show we were walking along the trail when a guy with his family asked us what the pads were for. "Them fer climbin'??" Then the masked man politely asked "Or are those fer sleepin' on??". I gave him a quick glance and continued to stare at the ground.

Then I heard "How's it going Steve?". It was Chris. Well Played. We had a nice chat while the bugs circled us. Found out he did Axiom of Arete Aesthetics which is awesome! It's probably been close to a decade since that problem has been done. Proud.

Good weekend. Sounds like 5-6 different groups up at the lake. All at different areas. Makes me happy to see that. We saw Tony and Sarah at the ferry and they were headed up to Monolith. Guys, anything go down???

That's all for now.