Monday, January 31, 2011


So while the rest of the climbing world is embroiled in heavy handed debates of uncut footage, topping out, start holds and general ClimbX douchebaggery we're planning another trip. Fucking right.

Leaving for Chattanooga on the 18th of February and not coming back till the 27th or 28th.

I hate to say I've been training because when anyone says they "started training" it inevitably means they've just been climbing more and they want people to know they're gonna get sikkstrong. That said I've dedicated the past 3 weeks or so to spending a couple days a week running a few miles and doing a decent sized core workout on the hangboard and rings. While it's not a lot, it's more than I've done in a long time and I'm happy about it. So there. Take that.

I can't say my climbing is improving by leaps and bounds but I feel good and I'm excited to go somewhere. That right there is a good thing in my world. It's a nice contrast to the mindset I had before leaving on the last trip.

Plans to go to the lake last week derailed when the dry, 33 degree day turned into a wet snowy mess. On top of that, we're supposed to get some ungodly amount of snow(for Madison) tomorrow and inevitably the town will shut down and all the hippies will ski into work. I'm allowed to say that because my coworker Pete is one of those hippies.

For anyone who doesn't ski into Atlas Snowshoes. You know you want to.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Open Projects

So I wanted to do a full on projects post here. Kind of the be all end all of open projects at the lake. There are a bunch of them that need to get done and I'm hoping we'll see many finished up this year!

1 - Seam Project

I've spent 3 days on this one and have come away empty handed. I'm not really sure how that happened. I will say that it was comforting to see RV and Chris both go through the same progression as I. It feels so doable when you first try it but as time goes on it gets trickier and trickier.

When it comes down to it it's a single move. It should be over once you get your feet back on and cross over.

It's thrutchy, a bit awkward and the landing is interesting enough to keep me coming back. I'm very much looking forward to doing this boulder problem. Not sure what it'll take.

2 - Corner Project

Remo and I have spent limited time on this one and the crux seems to be getting off the ground. Once you're a couple moves in Remo tells me you can throw a toe hook in and move around pretty well. Opening this could mean that a true low start could be done for Moj which would be cool as well.

For those of you who haven't played on it it starts on a poor left hand edge and a mediocre undercling. Getting up off the ground doesn't look terrible until you look at the feet. Just horrible. If we can figure it out this could be one of the harder ones at the lake. Time will tell.

3 - Half Dome Project

Sadly this one is turning out to be a bit of a heartbreaker. The jug will surely break at some point and the start is a touch awkward till you get the momentum right. Both those points in mind it's a relatively safe and incredibly hard project with an easy approach. Can't ask for too much more in Wisconsin.

This problem seems like a good step up from others I've tried around here but in true Lake fashion it's going to be a whopping 3 moves long. After a pretty heinous dry fire last fall I'm curious what it's going to take.

4 - Falling Pieces Project

Peter and I tried this one years ago but ultimately deemed it too much of a heartbreaker. Once more a boulder sadly covers up two amazing underclings making a would be perfect project into a jump start. So sad.

Melin seemed to be the only one really psyched on this one and it seemed he came fairly close to it a couple times but then had to leave it for next year. I've never had huge motivation for it but I'd be happy to see someone do it.

5 - Jack Backwards

So I'll be honest here. I had no clue that the official Jack Backwards project went up the gully to the right of the amazing wall. Never would have imagined it but oh well. Last fall Vince did the dihedral and named it Jack Bawkwards.

In my eyes the true gem is still there.

The wall to the left of Bawkwards is AMAZING. 100% completely incredible. Not sure if it'll be hard, easy, moderate, whatever. It'll be cool though. Not sure how this ones been overlooked. Actually, thinking about it now I should check my guide when I get home. Who knows. It could be a TR for all I know.

Either way, project or not, it's worth doing.

6 - Big Money Project

Gotta thank Remo on this one. RV and I looked at it very very briefly this past spring and dismissed it as not worthy of time. Remo says it could be cool. He says it could be hard. Who knows. Gotta try it though.

The nice thing about this is that it'd be easy to do with one or two people and obviously the landing isn't an issue. While lowball, it could be cool. We'll see.

7 - Triple Tower Project

If we can move one boulder this could be a very good addition. It looks like some cool compression moves into an existing V4. Who's up for some trundling??

8 - Tunder Tikes Project

I'm just going out and naming the project left of Tunder Tighs. This should be a prime one as long as we can fill in the pit. That's the big question. We'll need a decent sized crew for it. Remo and I are in, who else?

9 - Tilted Boulder Project

Within a span of a week Remo and I looked at this problem without knowing the other had. The main project would go up the right arete on kind of a striking line. There is also maybe potential for something REALLY hard up the left face.

If I remember right there weren't that many holds.

10 - Science Friction Project

Again another problem that I haven't been super excited about but it's been fun to follow its progress as more an more people try the thing. Sweaty, Remo and Vince have all put time in on it and come away empty handed.

Aside from one seemingly really sharp crimp it seems like a prime line with a good approach.

11 - Project Wall

So most of these projects I can imagine doing. They don't seem too outlandish and actually rather possible. The project wall doesn't even seem imaginable. With that said though, every time I go out to the reserve I throw a pad below it and futz around for a bit. Always with the same result.

It very well might go. Who knows. If it does, I think it'll be well into the double digits.

Off the top of my head I can't think of any other of the "big" projects. There are literally hundreds of other problems out there for the taking right now! Not just on the West Bluff either but the entire East Bluff and off the Fire Road on top of the West Bluff. That's not even taking into consideration the huge expanse that is Steinke Basin.

There is so much potential still up at the lake that it's absolutely mind boggling. The days of hiking for more than an hour to get to a mediocre project and thinking it's the future of the lake are done. They're over. There are so many new problems to be done it's staggering.

Let me know if I missed any though. I'll happily add to this list.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Shoes For The KT

So it seems that the Team Shoes won out in the end. Final tally goes as such.

Teams - 28
Hornets - 23
Scarpas - 15

Despite widespread claims of voter fraud we will not be holding a recount. I trust that all my readers have the upmost integrity and wouldn't dare drop themselves to the level of clearing their history and restarting their browser all in the name of shoes. Blogger polls are of the highest standards in both security and accuracy.

Response from one of the alleged fraudulent voters:

"It was a pain.. had to clear my history and restart Firefox every vote!

22 I think are me."

Awesome. Love you guys.

So I actually have no idea what shoes she's gonna get. It'll be interesting to see what she ends up with.

I've got a couple things set for this week but I've got a question for you guys out there. What open projects are on your list for DL???? I'm putting together a comprehensive list and want to get them all on there. Go.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lucky Boy

Photo - Greg Epperson

Brian had a pretty cool post yesterday about Bucket Lists. I had a lot of fun reading everyones responses and it was one of the more interesting climbing related posts I've read in a long time.

The story aspect of climbing sites is what makes me come back for more. Jamie Emerson has had a few gems that keep me coming back in particular. Brian's experience on Sandstone Violence is a prime example of why I keep checking his stuff out. The more personal the experience the more I generally like to hear about it.

I think that's one reason why some of my posts come out a bit longer and more detailed than some people like. For me it's not the end result that's interesting but the process getting there. That process is so curious to me and says so much about what that person felt.

It's one of the reasons I love to read about Birthday Challenges. While I, generally, am terrible at the BC I love reading the reports. The sheer amount of suffering that goes into a challenge is staggering and I'm enamored with hearing about it.

Case in point. We went to the Boulders holiday party last weekend. It was a good time and I had fun hanging out with everyone. Now, the most interesting part of the night was hearing about Neuman's challenge that took place earlier in the day.

32 miles of running, some amount of Whiskey/Bourbon and to top it all off, the Culver's Chili Cheese Dog Challenge.

Three Chili Cheese dogs and 2 medium Concrete shakes. Normally it's followed by three laps around Culvers but we'll forgive that mistake as they had already ran 32 miles.

All this, completely off the couch. Neuman did one lone training run a week before the challenge. Proud. Possibly the best part was that his support team also did it off the couch. Talking to Skinner, who did 18 miles off the couch with 2 hours of sleep, was especially sobering. The dude could barely walk.


While I was reading the comments about Bucket Lists one in particular stuck out to me. It made me quickly realize how lucky I've been in my climbing life so far. Someone mentioned the Bachar-Yerian and it kind of hit home. I've stumbled into doing many routes that people consider lifetime goals. I went into many things fairly blind not knowing what I was getting into.

I've climbed El Cap and Half Dome(proper, not Snake Dike) without having any previous aid experience, learning along the way as I made mistakes. I've topped out Midnight Lightning before I knew that I wasn't "strong enough" to do it.

And my proudest moment came by doing the Bachar-Yerian first try, learning only afterwards who had gotten hurt on each pitch. Again, a lifelong goal realized before I knew just how special it really was.

There are always defining moments in peoples lives and all too often they pass by without us enjoying or cherishing them. We hear it all the time as climbers. The moments that make us who we are tend to suck. Fear seems to be an ever present motivator during the truly hard times and it's incredibly easy to forget the joy/fun we actually experienced as they get overshadowed rather easily.

Maybe the best part about looking back is that you can look past all the ugly stuff and remember the good stuff. Moments like that make me happy to be a climber, living the life we do.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pick Katie's Kicks

Katie can't decide what shoes she wants next, so you're gonna do it for her. You've got three choices. Check em out.

Five Ten Team Shoe

She loves it. They're her current favorites. Sadly they're also a full size too big. Five Ten doesn't seem to make any shoes down to her size, 5, so she just wears a 6 in those.

Five Ten Hornet

I've been kind of enamored with this shoe since Nic showed it to me last summer. It's got a lower volume last and asymmetrical lacing so the fit should be very nice on them. Once more they only go down to size 6 but with laces it might be just a bit better. Sadly it does seem that these have the Dragon heel instead of the Team heel. As a bonus it's got mystique rubber, so that's nice at least.

Scarpa Instinct S

With he options somewhat scarce in her size she's turned her attention to a slipper from Scarpa, the Instinct S. My understanding is that this is their response to shoes like the Project and the Speedster. A 3MM outsole with little to no midsole and a nice toe cap. It seems like a solid shoe that would do most things well. I've got not other experience with it other than a very brief once over a year and a half ago.

Jon, you got demos??

I know a few people have them and those I've talked to seem to like 'em so who knows?

So there you go. Tell Katie what she should get. Vote on the poll to the right. You have until Monday the 24th at 1:00PM.

On the home front it's currently snowing and this is all I got to say about that.

Ian is going through what I imagine Nic went through last winter. We're getting desperate and waiting for a 30 degree day to go to the lake. Hoping it's soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well If She Can Do It

First things first. This is hilarious. Leave it to the Minnesota boys. Might be one of the saddest pictures I've ever seen.

Photos shamelessly stolen from Nic's site.

Good to see desperation is truly setting in. For those that don't know they hiked out there to climb the roof. Not the face above the roof.

Back on track now. It's somewhat fashionable to talk about female participation/equality/whatever and while I don't want to get too deep into anything, ever, there's something that our little crew of fools finds fun and entertaining.

We see it all the time at the gym when some boy thinks they're impressive and notices one of the ladies (ellen, katie, sarah, lauren, vera, etc.) hop on a problem. They see the lady finish the problem and decide that since said lady has a set of jugs he can obviously do any boulder problem that they can.

Cause the dong is superior in some way, obviously.

He then proceeds to follow the lady around the gym trying every single problem she does, falling on the first or second move. It's always entertaining and the fact that it happens so regularly is kind of mind blowing. I've tried to notice if the same thing happens when a dood does a boulder climb but I haven't been able to pick it out. It's just so glaringly obvious with the girls.

While I've seen it happen at the gym there was one event down south that kind of spurred this a bit further. We were at LRC and Katie had just satched up Now and Zen(VEEESEEVEN!!!!OMMMMGGGGSORADICALLLZ!!!!!) in about 10-15 minutes. She did it quickly and then wanted to move on to other problems. Redhouse was on her list and after getting beta from Anthony we walked over that way.

We arrived to a harom of dudes screaming, yelling, punting, douching, and shit everywhere. Penis session was in full on hyper mode.

So we hung out and scammed some beta hoping it'd clear out a bit. More boys showed up and eventually one of the boys came up and started talking to Katie. He kept going on and on about how good Super Mario was(for those that don't know Super Mario is the 4 right next to redhouse, a 7). The dude just couldn't shut up about it. Kept going and going. Started giving out beta and everything.

Nevermind that every single person there was getting on Redhouse and Katie never even mentioned Super Mario. Neither of us did. She had jugs so therefore she can't climb any harder than V4. Simple as that.

Absurd. We brought it up to Holly and some of her friends and apparently it's standard fare down there too.

Fucking absurd. Dudes can be so stupid.

I don't want to get into some chick power mode and proclaim that gender equality is the main concern of the gnar but seriously guys. Get your shit together. It's embarrassing to watch something go down and in the end it's just sad. It's a sad representation of the sport and more than anything it's incredibly frustrating for anyone involved. It CANNOT feel good for the ladies involved and I can't imagine it as anything less than demeaning.

All I know is that Katie ended up walking away from the problem not wanting to try it. All because a bunch of guys were trying to prove just how badass they were on "the softest V7 in LRC".


Thursday, January 6, 2011


So someone(Nic??) wanted me to put up a new post so here you go. Enjoy.

First. Congrats to Sarah for doing Mulletino!!! I know she wanted to do it pretty badly and it's great to see her getting stronger. Seems the ladies are starting to step it up. Good.

Second. Chris, you didn't give me ample enough updates so I'm gonna hold back on your south update. No problem names for you. Suck it. Well I will tell everyone that you flashed Redneck. Good work.

Sarah was good and told us what she did. She got rewarded for it.

Third. Local trade shows suck. Like woah. I hate the Alliant Center with a passion. That said, it's been a good week of peddling our wares.

Numero 4. RV is coming in to town for a few days. I'm gonna get him drunk just like last time. We're gonna crush V2's like nobody's bidness.

Fifth. Nic did the Shield. Good work bud. Happy for you.

6. Four Roses Bourbon is damn tasty. Lets talk alcohol. Go.