Monday, January 30, 2012


Nic came down for the weekend to hang out and compete at Quick on the Draw. I met him up at DL to go look around and search for some new boulders.

While I was waiting I went to the zoo to kill time.

After meeting up with Nic at the North Shore we started out on the railroad tracks that skirt the East Bluff. We had grand plans to explore a bit more of the bluff but ended up accidentally finding Tipping Point. From there we hopped up to the top of the bluff and walked around for a bit.

The hiking was actually substantially easier than we thought it'd be but it was still rough. Talus is bad enough. Snow covered talus is simply frightening. I made Nic go first so it was safer for me!

We found a handful of cool things including the base of some old cemented together shelter. Most of all though it reignited our interest in solidifying the potential on the East Bluff. For the few moments were were hiking along the top of the bluff we saw a staggering amount of rock.

This short jaunt gave us a very brief glimpse into what the lake may give us this next season. I really do hope that people will focus on that rather than just doing the same established problems for the umpteenth time. Even with how good last year was, I still didn't see the sheer amount of exploration that we saw in the breakout season of 2009. Hope that happens this year.

Here's a few pics.

Then we climbed on the Moon Wall, got Nic slightly drunk at Coopers, and he lost at the comp. Not only did he lose at winning but he couldn't even be the best loser. He got third place. Not even first loser.


It was fun seeing him though and in the words of Katie "He didn't even piss me off. Not once!". I enjoy climbing and hanging out with Nic and wish that he lived down here. Come on Molly. Do it!

Maybe it'll work if we steal his dog!!

That's all I got.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

OR Recap

Many things could be said about Outdoor Retailer this time around. I could talk about the new Petzl headlamp that auto adjusts. Or maybe I could talk about Sportiva's new "ugly as hell but still the exact same as every other Gore Tex fabric on the market" jackets. Maybe the new "Dry Down" from Sierra Designs is teh coolest. Or Maybe TNF's new base layer is the most badass ever.

Who knows what the next 'big thing' will be. Either way about it, there will be a whole new set of products next year to show off and talk about.

I don't want to come across as disenfranchised or jaded with the industry. I'm not. I truly love what I do and I love the people and customers I work with. I feel incredibly fortunate that I'm able to do what I do to make a living. The industry that I'm lucky enough to work with each and every day is absolutely incredible.

My friends and coworkers make the environment what it is.

Four and a half years ago Scott Backes talked to me for a few minutes about OR. I was disappointed that I wasn't going that summer and he told me that in time things would happen and everything would even out. What stuck with me was that he told me "OR is fun and exciting the first couple times around, but after 20 of them they get less exciting". At the time I vowed to not let that happen, but as time went on he proved more than right.

The first few times you're running around trying to see all the new products and shiny new toys. Then the excitement wears off and you're left realizing that with each passing season every company debuts the new "Next Thing" that will change the industry. Inevitably, very few new products change the way we do business.

My favorite part about all this though, is that through all the rotating new products. All of the reps switching lines and people getting new jobs. Through the changes, adjustments and new opportunities it truly feels like the one constant is the people you meet. The people you call your friends.

Pete and I have each had large scale changes to our lives in the last few months and I can't speak enough to how happy people were for the both of us. Whether it was Tres, Hunter, Bill and Annalee from the Southeast. Tim from the Northeast and Jeff from Texas. Emily from the Rockies and Gabe, Jamie and Brock from the Northwest and any number of countless people who came up to us and gave us their congratulations. There were truly too many to count. It was overwhelming.

Former sales managers, colleagues and customer service reps were all amazingly happy for the both of us. I can truly say that I've never experienced anything like it and it made for one of the most enjoyable trade shows I've ever experienced.

When I came into this industry it was largely about the product. It was about the companies and the cool things they had in their catalogs. What I didn't expect was for it to change so drastically to the people behind the products. I never expected to have friends like this and it makes me so happy to think about it. I'm not sure I've ever smiled so much at a tradeshow.

But don't you worry. The product is still there. I think Sportiva has really stumbled onto something here, making a full line of apparel out of materials people have been using for decades. Revolutionary. Funny enough, it seems to be straight out of Arc'teryx's playbook.

Nothing but smiles over here!

Friday, January 20, 2012

OR dos

Didn't see a whole lot of cool things today but got another mug so that's cool.

After the show we went to the brick fire pizza place nearby. Brought back memories of shows past when josh n I went there for lunch one day. My favorite part of this show has been seeing friends from past work lives around every corner.

In the end things tend to come full circle and with all the changes in my life over the past few months my friends have been nothing but happy for me. It's been one of my favorite shows as a result.

Only people I seem to have missed are josh and Nic. Next time guys.

After dinner tonight we met up with a Columbia rep named jonny o. He's been in the business for years and is retiring after this season. Where'd they take him?? To a place with a kings chair and a pope's head on a lazy Susan. Fantastic. Hope all is good and snowy in the middle west.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


First day done and I think the coolest thing I've seen is the NAO headlamp from petzl. I can say that type of stuff since I don't work for em anymore.

It auto adjusts depending on the light output you need and has a range of 7 to 355 lumens. To get that for a sub 200 price is crazy.

Otherwise it's been pretty quiet for me. I played in the hockey tournament today and we beat arcteryx in the first game. Kaboom. Lost the second though but both went to shoot outs. I'm fucking worked.

Wanna know how intense the floor hockey was?? Dude from Canada goose got checked by dude from primaloft and broke his collarbone. Yeah.

Floor hockey.

Floor hockey at a trade show.

Floor hockey at a trade show for CHARITY.

People are insane.

Em, you and jake should go to Squatters. Good beers and good foods.

Also, I got new shoes today. They're shiny. I also got two beer glasses. One of em is steel!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


First time at OR with Columbia and definitely a different experience this time around. Change can be a good thing though and that holds true today.

How's everyone doing out there? The snow has seemed to have kicked back up recently and it seems like we may actually get a bit of winter now. After such a mild season so far I'm curious how long that'll actually last.

Thats all I got from salt lake. I'll let you all know If I see anything cool out here. I kinda wonder how the sportiva apparel is gonna go over.

The pretzel, btw, was amazing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Mug Game

Katie and I play a little game with each other during Birthdays and Christmas. Instead of going to town and getting each other a ton of presents that we'd just buy anyways, we always get each other a new mug. Like I said, not a big thing, but something I look forward to.

Just as with the game of scrabble, I rarely win.

It all started with a couple of Penguin mugs.

I won this round. My one and only victory with the mug on the right.

Then we had Polka Dot V. Cake.

Katie won with her cake mug obviously.

Next up to battle was the landslide decision of Big Cheese V. Oh Snap.

Katie's gift mug of Oh Snap was, at the time, the most lopsided victory ever recorded in the history of mug battles. Oh Snap still stands as perfection in the mug world and is the standard by which all other mugs are graded. That mug was the greatest mug, of all the mugs.

Then came a bit of a closer decision of Bodum Green and Red Grippy V. Penguin Thumbcatch.

While at first glance Katie seems to have won by a pretty decent amount with Penguin Thumbcatch. Of note though is that I brought two mugs to the table with both a Green Grippy AND a Red Grippy(not pictured). In the end though, Penguin Thumbcatch won as it has a Penguin shaped thumbcatch and you can't argue with that.

Then in the most recent battle I got fed up. I was determined to win. I got Katie this mug. Green Flowery Marshmallow Tin Hot Cocoa.

Not only was the mug kinda cool with flowers and bird looking things on it, it came with a tin of marshmallows and a bag of hot cocoa. I thought it was a shoo in. She couldn't win. Mine came with trinkets!!! TRINKETS!!!!!!!

I lost.

Not only were these a limited run. They were all handmade from Josh's brother Mike and are all completely unique. They're signed on the bottom and have Josh's 'Friends' graphic along the side. The handle is huge and the mug can hold almost two full cups of coffee.

Not only was my best effort put to shame during Green Flowery Marshmallow Tin Hot Cocoa V. Organic Friends Handmade By Josh's Brother Mike, I don't think I can ever beat it. It even put 'Oh Snap' to shame.

As much as it pains me to say, Katie is the Mug Giving Champion Of The World. Well played.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Predictions Recap

Well, even if I didn't climb much this past year I kinda nailed the predictions.

1 - Alpine Club - Said it'd be done 3 times. It got done 5 times if I'm remembering everybody. Ian, Martin, Peter, Katie and Jeremy. If I'm missing anybody I apologize but this was done much more than I thought it would and that's including Aaron coming agonizingly close on it as well. I feel pretty strongly that he would have done it had he invested more time in it.

For all that went on this year with Alpine Club, it continues to endure as THE line on the boulder. If I learned one thing, it was that the good problems float to the top of the heap and the bad problems sink to the bottom.

Alpine Club will always be Alpine Club, no matter how many other problems show up on the boulder. I could go on for a long time about this subject but I'll leave it at that.

2 - Beautiful Soup - Said 5 times. If I'm remembering right, this one was done 4 times with Brian, Tony, Eggy and Peter finishing it up. How this problem was done less than Alpine Club is beyond me. Maybe I'm missing something but I feel like this is a must do for the grade at the lake.

I understand that it's sharp, but other than that it's pretty amazing. I'd encourage anyone who's even trying some of the DL 7's to hop on this a bit. It has an obvious start, dynamic moves, a manageable but slightly exciting landing and an engaging final couple of moves.

Still one of my all time favorites at the lake.

3 - Keymaker - Said it'd be done twice. Chris and Peter finished this up for a beginning and an end of season send, respectively. I'm really glad that each was able to finish it and I look forward to hopping back on it again this spring.

Seeing the renewed interest in the line this year was really enjoyable. Multiple people hopped on a rope to check it out and see what the upper crimps were all about. I remember Katie telling me about one day that she was up at Anchorpoint and looked to her left only to see Runnells on a rope, on Keymaker. That made me really happy.

4 - Moj - I said it'd be done 2 times. If I remember right it was done 4 times, including an impressive flash by Ian. Chris, Jeremy and Peter also did the problem and I may have forgotten someone.

I was personally really happy to see it get so much traffic this year. It's a problem that's close to my heart and I'm always glad when it gets done.

I also thought it was interesting that in the fall it received the honor of being the only problem that Ian has ever downgraded in his entire life. Just messing with you Ian! Moj is interesting in that it seems to get noticeably easier once you've done it and figured out the momentum. RV notably did it multiple times the day he first climbed it and I've been able to repeat the crux moves a number of times since the FA.

Any way about it, it's a great problem on fun holds. I just hope the juglet doesn't break.

5 - Greatest Show - 1 time. It was nice knowing you Mr. Pebble, we hardly knew ye.

Still can't believe that fucker broke.

6 - Tunder Tighs - Twice. Well. Lets see if I can remember who all did this thing. I'll try it in order but please let me know if I missed anyone. Ian, Remo, Aaron, Esser, Myself, Eggy, Runnells, Tony, Peter and Pat. I think that's everyone as far as I know. I'm sure others may have done it as well and I just don't know.

I think it's safe to say that this problem surprised most everyone and turned into something of a neo-classic. Powerful, big moves on comfy holds that goes up one of the more imposing boulders in the park seemed to be a recipe for popularity. Who knew? In fact I can't think of one person that didn't love the problem after climbing on it, the moves are that fun and the holds are that unique.

While the landing is less than ideal, it's miles better than what it was and is extremely manageable at the moment. To have a problem go from being unrepeated to getting done 10 plus times in a matter of months speaks volumes for its quality.

7 - Sandstone Violence - Said it'd get done 4 times. Wrong on this one, same as greatest show. Only one time, not including Eggy's 23 laps per year. Maybe someday Esser's footage will make it out there. It's pretty great.

8-10 - I'm gonna leave these alone. All I want to say is that I think it's great that there's a new group of people out there establishing new problems. I hope that the bug hits you guys harder this year and you venture a bit out of your comfort zone in search of new areas. Development can so much more than finding some sick project that'll get you another double digit tick.

I think the area that Peter found, Loompa Land, is a perfect example of this. I would absolutely love to see more areas like that pop up this year.

As for the lady goals....the ladies just didn't quite step up to the plate like the boys did.

Jenga - Said 3 times. Done once.
Moj - Said it'd get its FFA. No dice.
Moostache - Said 4 times. Done once. Nice work Sarah!
Magnum - Said 4 times. Done once. Sarah and Ellen both came staggeringly close to finishing it though. Proud efforts.
Massive Vertigo - Said 3 times. Done once.
Anchorpoint - Said 2 times. If I count Katie's re-send after the hold broke then we got it thanks to Sam's late season ascent. Good work ladies.
Alpine Club - Said once. Done once. Still proud of Katie for this one.
Venus Rising - Said once. Done Once. Katie came out of nowhere for this. I had my money on Ellen.
Put up a V4 or harder - Done. Wrestling the Bear - Good work Katie.
Found a new area - Doneish. We can kinda count the area below Perfect Medium as a new area since nothing had really been put up there. I think there's still some things over that way left to be found.

So that's that. Here's to another hopefully great season. As always, I really hope no one takes anything I say seriously, at all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Despite what you may think, the Days Inn - Eagle River is not as much fun as the family on the key card may make you think. I got snowed in today so I get to experience all the wonder of Eagle River. As you may imagine, there just aren't enough hours in the day.

So instead I'll post up a great video that Jeremy put together. It's awesome to see more high quality videos coming out of the lake and this is a first in what I'll assume will be many nice videos to come out this year.

While I can only take so much of Peter and Jeremy's "Bro-ness" it's great to see them and Ian getting out so early in the year.

A number of things have kept Katie and I from being excited and I think we've both needed a break honestly. Last season was very much a disappointment for me as I didn't climb as well as I wanted to in the spring and then my injury all but took me out of commission for the rest of the year. I still feel bits and pieces of the Bursitis, which sucks, but I can start to feel some of the excitement coming back to me.

Katie on the other hand had a banner year, climbed an absurd amount of projects and got outside over 100 days. Curious to see what she'll do this year.

How've you all been? It's really amazing how much you get to think to yourself when hours of your week are devoted to driving. Expect some good things here as a result.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Goodness

I totally got upgraded last night at the Munising Holiday Inn. Booked a street view, got a lake view at no extra charge. No Big Deal.

Woke up to this today.

Then, after I took that picture I got to eat from this.

I had two. No Big Deal.

I wish I had one of these though.

Maybe with her.

Or mr. creepers over there.

That's all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Love People

Happy Tuesday from beautiful Escanaba, MI.

I thought this was a proper way to come back to this site. I really need to remember to bring my camera on work trips. Too many good photos were left behind today, relegated to my failing memory. Next time.