Wednesday, July 7, 2010


So congrats are due to a couple of people out there. First up Paul D who did his first V10 very recently. Congrats kid. Psyched for you. It's always fun to break new ground.

Second is Sofie who's stepped it up recently and is plowing into new ground for her. It's been really fun to watch first hand and see her quick progression. She's very quickly taken down Recreational Vehicle and Dumpster Diving in two days each. Both of those problems are stout and have seen many failed attempts from lots of strong men and women.

It's fun to see goals taken down whether it's a V10 or a V4. With Sofie it's been cool to watch her get excited about climbing again. She's progressed quickly and has a great head outside. She hasn't assigned any numbers and definitely doesn't claim to understand them. She just wants to climb cool looking problems and thats admirable. With each topout she's smiled wide and then moved on to the next one, albeit with a bit of bragging to RV about how she's gonna beat him up now that she's getting so strong.

Very fun to watch.

Paul on the other hand has progressed very quickly and his psych is seemingly always there. He's young, strong and super fucking motivated. On top of that, he's not all that motivated to climb hard in the gym. While I haven't climbed with him much, it's obvious that he's excited about climbing on real rocks and that's refreshing to see from a younger climber in the midwest. We've seen a lot of kids burn out from climbing solely in the gym and hopefully that doesn't happen to Paul.

It's in that vein that I'll toss out a little story from my time in bishop. I really haven't told this to too many people. Part of it is that I'm a little embarrassed and part of it is that it changed my thought process about grades sooooo much. Knowing that there are roughly twelve of you out there that'll read this makes it that much easier! It's not like people care, right?

I was 20 when I got to Bishop and beyond psyched about absolutely everything that had to do with climbing. On top of that I had a drive in me to get better and to try and do as many hard problems as I possibly could.

In the back of my mind I had a goal set of climbing V10. I figured if I could do that I'd be all badass n shit and people would faint when they saw me cause I was so rad. Or something like that.

Pretty soon I made it through a few grades and thought I was king shit so I started projecting a 10. A few days went by and I made some progress on the rig. Cool, I thought. I'm rad.

Then one day I got really fucking lucky and did the problem. I had a crazy amount of motivation, amazing conditions and like I said, I got REALLY lucky. I found a problem that fit me perfectly and I did it.

Up until that point I had been rather obsessed with grades. I took them as concrete evidence of how hard/sickygnar/totallysickandrad a given problem was. The more I started to think about it though, the more frustrated I got with the idea of grades. At that time I was a V7 climber, at best, and I just got caught on a really good day under a problem that fit me really well. To me, it wasn't a 10. I had no idea what it was.

As I sat on my pad it just kept hitting me that grades are so stupid sometimes. And I don't want to get into the discussion of "grades are good versus grades are bad" because that might be even more stupid than the grades themselves. The v-system at its best is a decent little guideline. At its worst it gets people onto shitty problems in hopes of chasing a grade.

What makes this story even better is thinking about all the piddly, stupid little Devil's Lake V4's that I've spent countless days on without a send. Now THAT makes me laugh.

All this said, I'm really psyched for Paul. Not for sending V10 necessarily, but for finishing up a longtime goal. It wouldn't matter if it was V6 or V12, anyone that finishes up a goal is fun to hear about and deserves a congratulations.


  1. Thanks for the mention!
    The problem in question is located on the back of the Speed Boulder in Great Barrington, MA, where access is sensitive. Because of this, and the fact that it's overshadowed by the climbs on the well known front side of the boulder, it's not well known. It climbs a massive roof, making big moves between crimps, perfect for me. The first person to tell me about it was a local guy, Dave Buzzelli. It's also mentioned in the end of the third comment in the "something from nothing" post on the blog ""
    psyched! Paul

  2. Steve,

    I fainted when I first saw you. Although, it may have been because of something other than your radness.

  3. Thanks dude! It's been so much fun. I'm pretty sure I'm already strong enough to pummel RV, but I might keep climbing anyway!


  4. Since when did we allow girls to comment on this blog? Isn't this supposed to be America? The promised land? Where men are real men and women aren't allowed to talk?

  5. Rv I do not know why you are wasting precious time writing comments, you should be looking into the witness protection program. or at the very least a place to hide.