Monday, September 26, 2011

New Boulders

Can't write too much but I feel like we're all starting to get excited for the fall again. Katie and I talked about it a bit and we both think the East Bluff is gonna hold the next series of new areas. I was stunned at what we found just 20-30 feet below Perfect Medium and Sex and Chocolate.

On the updates front, Katie did a FA on Saturday, naming it Wrestling the Bear. Apparently that's a reference to spotting me. Chris did that after a couple tries as well and Aaron did Brototype 1.0 fairly quickly earlier in the day. As for me, I got close on Storm Troopers but had to wait for another day as energy and daylight ran out on me. Peter also epic'd his way up to Moj on Friday, calling me from the right edge of the Slant Field, completely lost. He eventually found his way up there and put it to bed very quickly, in a bout 15 minutes. Really glad you found it!!

Ian has also been busy putting up a bunch of cool looking new lines in the east bluff talus near flatiron. It's incredibly cool to see new development going on in so many different areas of the park and I'm psyched to check out the new problems on the other side of the bluff! They look fun and Katie assures me they're good.

Here are some pictures to enjoy.

Katie on Bark Biter

Sam on Bark Biter

Katie's new problem, Wrestling The Bear, on the right arete

This boulder is directly below Perfect Medium

The new roof that Chris found

This thing is actually impressive and has holds on it!

Starting about 4 moves in

This is the roof from below and behind it

Another really cool boulder directly below the roof. You can actually walk through the tunnel on the left to get into the roof.

We had a great, long day on Saturday and ended up staying well past when we thought we would and walked out in the dark.

I want to say congrats to Remo and Kate for getting married this past weekend and it goes without saying that everyone is psyched for you both!!!

Here's a little vid from Saturday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Brototype 1.0

Late afternoons and early evenings at the lake are ALWAYS so nice. I've yet to have a bad one up there. Turns out that they're even better on the East Bluff.

Katie and I went up around 4 or so last night and had a nice little session at one of the talus fields underneath Monolith. We had a few things in mind but mainly it was the Australia Slab and Brototype 1.0. During a random session at Sex and Chocolate this past summer, my injured self wandered off and figured out where the boulders were.

I'd walked for maybe 15-20 minutes through really big, unstable talus before finding them and I wondered how far off the trail I was. As I started walking up I spotted the trail a mere 20 feet above Brototype. Super easy access guys.

We started out on the slabs and I did both aretes. I think I had too many expectations and was hoping they'd be like Super Slab. Unfortunately neither was very good and the face itself, while being one of the most amazing and beautiful walls in the park, is covered in an odd patina that's kinda chossy. It's definitely not as solid as much of the other rock in the area so it dampered my enthusiasm a bit.

The Slab

We moved up to Brototype shortly after that. Without going into all the details, Katie quickly found yet another problem at the lake that's at full extension for her. A bit funny and yet very sad.

Katie, in her element....extended

I was able to piece together the moves fairly fast and did the problem after a half hour or so of off and on attempts.

Brototype 1.0

The problem itself is really cool. The movement is great and the landing isn't terrible. That said, it's kinda dabby and the left start jug destroys your palm pretty badly. It's definitely worth spending some time on if you're up there. Also, if you're looking for a project in the 5 or 6 range, this is a great option.

Does it look like I'm dabbing????? I did...

I'm impressed those guys did it in the middle of summer as I'm sure the slopers felt like complete shit. I had great conditions last night and used slightly different beta I think.

This area has a bit of potential left in it too. I spent 10 minutes crawling around the caves around there and the walls have some features on them. I even found a pretty cool little problem that climbs out of a pit. Very psyched to head back up that way tomorrow.

On a more personal note, yesterday marked something kinda special for me.

1 - I didn't think about my shoulder once while I was climbing. Not a single time. This is the first time that's happened since I got injured. Go team!

2 - It was also the first time in a very long time that I've felt "good". I felt light, snappy, quick. It's something I haven't really felt since I did Moj. I'd forgotten how nice it feels.

3 - Katie has also caught the absurd "take a picture of yourself" bug. Awesome. Also, thank you Katie for taking a bunch of pictures. Here's your reward.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


First person who can tell me which Midwestern climber texted this picture to their sponsor on their sponsors birthday gets a free Organic Beanie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Photo taken down to save little kiddies eyes. Thanks for the fun times Nic.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


It's very fair to say that my zest for both climbing and writing about climbing has been lacking lately. I make no excuses other than I've been blown away with just how much my injury has taken my head out of many different facets of my life. I freely admit that I haven't been myself this summer.

When I got hurt back in May I genuinely thought I'd be back at it in a month or so. A month passed and with each day I thought that I'd wake up the next and be fine. As it turned out I was out for roughly 3 months, almost to the day actually. I kept telling myself, and others, that I would schedule time at the doctors but each time I'd go to do it I'd find some reason not to. Whether that was pure laziness or for fear of finding out it was worse than I imagined, I don't know.

During this summer I kind of delved into a hole of myself. Without climbing in my life I spent a majority of my time either at work or alone, at home. I saw my wife less than I needed to and didn't spend enough time around my closest friends.

It was, in short, unexpected and surprising.

We all talk about how much climbing means to us over and over. I know I've talked about it many times before and will do so again in the future. It's often talked about as a lifestyle rather than a sport and many times I've shy'd away from using that term as I don't feel it applies to me.

I've thought a lot about this recently and more and more I realize that I can't actually put a word on what climbing is to me. The strongest way that I can put it is that I've built my life around climbing. This past summer was a stark reminder of the good and the bad that comes along with that.

I felt completely lost without it in my life. What surprised me the most though was that I didn't miss the simple act of climbing as much as I missed my friends. I missed hanging out at the boulders, talking shit and trying hard. I dearly missed the ferry rides, ice cream, and the satisfaction/sheer exhaustion that comes with a full day at the lake.

Most importantly, I missed the daily interactions with the people I care about the most. It all comes down to the people you spend your life with. I missed my wife. I missed my friends. And that took a much bigger toll on me mentally than I expected.

If there was one saving grace for me, it was running. Somehow I got into running. For those that don't know, endurance has never been a pursuit of mine but it was all I had, so I stuck with it. Eventually it started to suck less and then it all clicked and I actually enjoyed it a bit.

Vera asked me to do a trail race with her in the middle of the injury. I agreed without hesitation, not knowing when my shoulder would allow me to climb.

Well, that race was this past Saturday and even though I was dreading it in the week leading up, I had an unexpectedly great time. I had an awesome run, Katie came with, Vera accidentally took a wrong turn, cut a couple miles off the course and forced Adam to sprint out of the Port-O-Potty to make the exchange.

Just awesome.

Coming back to climbing this time feels different. It feels good. I've lost some weight and feel like I'm starting to get back to some amount of normalcy. I also feel very calm about knowing what climbing has given me in my life. I feel incredibly fortunate to live the life I do. More so now than ever before.

It's absolutely stunning how quickly life can get in the way, isn't it? I often look back on the 2009 season as a perfect example of when everything lined up for the best. If you look at that same crew now, it's easy to see just how much things have changed.

Eggnuts - Second kid and just turned 40
Remo - Getting married next weekend
Nic - Married this past summer - Will never climb 8B
Dobbe - Getting married in October
RV - Moved away
Chris N Sarah - Bought a house, just got engaged
Aaron - In a committed relationship now
Runnells - Injured, again
Gabe - Got hitched
Sweaty - Got hitched AND addicted to tri's

Over the past few years this site has given me so much. I really appreciate that people come here to read what I have to say. I'd be lying to you if I said that I've never thought about stopping this ship though. I've thought about it multiple times just over the last couple of weeks. This site will end at some point but I don't think that time is now.

Every now and then I go back and read some of my favorite posts. There are a few that stand out but one in particular makes me smile. It's this one.

I'll leave you with my favorite part:

The thing about generations is that they end. Right now we're right in the middle of this thing. I don't know how long it will last, but I'm hoping it'll go on for a while. That said, this time next year the core group could be totally different. You just don't know.

So, enjoy this while it lasts. We're in the middle of the 4th generation right now and this next season is when we can really leave our mark. My psyche and excitement is overwhelming right now. You can't even imagine.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Always a good day when I get one of these packages. Thanks bud!

And Katie on Storm Troopers from this past Tuesday.

Katie also texted me that Ian just did the second ascent of Sex and Chocolate With A Cherry On Top which is fantastic. Nicely done! That one has been waiting for a year and a half now for someone to step up. I'm glad Ian did it and I'm glad he was smart about it and dropped a rope on it to suss out the moves. No reason to get hurt over a problem like that.

Also sounds like Remo finished up Hungry Hippos and Eggert repeated Jenga yesterday. I think Jenga is like a V13 for Eggert. Just my take.

The first move on Storm Troopers continues to stymie me which is just mind boggling but once I get a handle on that hopefully I can finish it up. It's really nice to see fall coming into focus. The shoulder is feeling better, new problems need to get done and I can say definitively that I'm more excited about doing new problems than ever.

East Bluff needs to get established this fall for sure.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dodge Comp

First off, huge thanks to Dobbe, Andrea and Fuzzy who put in a ton of work to create one of the cooler events thats happened in the midwest. They did it off of unexpected short notice with a great layout and organization. Everything went super smooth from what I could tell and I'm glad I was able to be there for at least a little while.

I think in total about 30-40 people showed up at some point in the day and multiple people showed from Minneapolis and Chicago. Nice work and congrats go out to Peter for climbing a shitload of problems and winning. Well done.

What kind of shocked me was how few people showed up from Madison. The split was about half and half between people that came in from out of town versus people from Madison. Sure the normal crew was out there but really??? By my count, about 15 people showed up to the comp from 45 minutes away. At least 4 others drove from Chicago and at least 6 others drove from Minneapolis. Then there were another 5-10 people that I didn't know but came from out of town as well.

I understand that there are things happening and life gets in the way sometimes but I was a little disappointed at the Wisconsin turnout. I mean, come on. At least 10 people showed up and paid 30 bucks to become members of the Wisconsin Climbers Association.

This is a group of people that is already working towards opening areas for the betterment of our climbing community. All of the proceeds go towards their efforts and a lot of hard work and thought went into bringing the midwest its first outdoor climbing competition. It's something that's totally unique, was extremely well run and super fun.

Alright. Rant over.

I encourage anyone who reads this to stop in at Boulders, talk to Dobbe and donate $30 to become a member of this organization. You can trust me when I say that it'll be worth it.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

Here's a video of Storm Troopers and A View To Kill. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fun Update

So it's not often that we get to update a bunch of stuff here but since I didn't do one earlier this week, here you go.

1 - Storm Troopers is a pretty fun little boulder problem. The right exit looks nice too. Tons of different beta on this one should allow for a lot of different options for most heights. FYI, that thing BAKES in the morning, as Katie and I found out this morning. So greasy.

2 - Jeremy did the longstanding "First Cube/Undercling Project". While only a 1 move wonder currently it's a cool problem and a worthy addition to the 500 Ft. field. Even better, he did it second try and Ian did it right after that.

I already posted the good pictures to Mountain Project so you get these...

3 - Wanted to wait till one of them posted it to Mountain Project but both Ian and Katie did Battle of the Bulge at Dodge in really impressive fashion. For those that don't know Battle is an old line from a few years back that Dobbe put up. It's only been done a handful of times and both Ian and Katie did it very quickly. I think Ian only spent a day on it and Katie spent VERY limited time on it two years ago. If I remember right she only tried it a handful of times on an extremely cold day.

Even better, she got the first Female Ascent of the rig.

That problem is damn hard and damn sharp on very small, unfriendly holds. It's a proud effort on both their parts.

4 - Katie can haul some pads.

And finally.......Thanks for this gem Peter...