Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Past

Every now and then I get a drink in me and start looking through some of the past posts here on the Gnar. It's astounding how much the site has changed over the past three years. One of my least favorite changes was when RV and Sofie left town.

Sadly I haven't kept in touch with RV as well as I used to. In light of that I thought I'd re-post four pictures of him that deserved another looksie.

Sorry bud, but that was a really bad haircut.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Here's a few highlights I put together from Todd's video. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Man, I kinda hate exploring at the lake. Maybe a Love/Hate deal is more appropriate than just a strictly hate based relationship.

All too often you find nothing. You go out with all the intentions of finding something cool and instead you find nothing worthwhile.

You find this...

Or this...

Both of which would probably be fine little problems, but neither was that tall or proud. In fact I could reach the lip of both.

Then you walk up the hill a bit and see something like this...

Which would be pretty great if it were another 10 feet tall or so.

The whole time you see something down the hill that you seem to be rotating around. It may look like this from above...

Instead of dropping back into the talus field you go up and see something like this...

Which would be nice if it had a few more/less holds.

You walk a bit further and see a reasonably cool bluff line that could hold a reasonable amount of problems, but don't see anything spectacular.

As the sun gets ready to drop below the tree line you drop back into the talus and decide to exit the field by going up, instead of going down the way you came in. After walking over 5 or so boulders you stop, turn around and look back once more at that slab you saw from above, wondering if it's worth the walk. It never is at the lake. It's never, ever worth it.

Inevitably you walk up to the boulder and it's 6 feet tall and a total heartbreaker. Or there's a roof without a start hold. Or it's completely devoid of footholds.

As you stand there looking at the boulder that you know in the pit of your stomach isn't worth it, you reverse course and start walking towards it. You'll never know if you don't check it out at some point.

99 times out of 100 it's a complete, utter disappointment.

Yesterday was day 100 for me.

As I walked up to the boulder I saw this incredible face over a backbreaker of a landing.

At first I was a bit disappointed. The boulder is huge but the landing is terrible. The I walked to the other side and saw this...

The cave goes about 7-10 feet deep and would climb up really cool features over a very manageable landing. I don't want to overhype it, but this one is extremely cool and is a very easy approach. One of the better talus boulders I've seen at the lake.

Then I walked downhill and saw this, which looks really cool...

Then I went down the hill to another boulder I'd spied but thought nothing of. As I got closer though...

This one looks climbable on 3 of the 4 sides and could have a number of fairly cool lines. Another gem in the field.

And not too far away from that one were the twins...

Which look to have a bunch of potential problems on them. As with the others, no clue if they have anything hard on them but even if they don't, they're all tightly clustered and it could be a phenomenal moderate area. The setting is incredible and there's a huge field full of potential lying directly above it!

I'm gonna see how many times I can take pictures of the shanty town.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day One

Katie and I had a few friends over on Saturday night to watch Todd's birthday challenge video. I think most people enjoyed it and at the very least it provided a nice insight into what climbing was like at the lake in 2004. At the end of the night what struck me most was just how much things had changed in the 8 years since that day.

When Todd did what he did, he was more than likely the only person at the lake that could have done that circuit. He fell a total of 7 times throughout the day and was in utter control at all times. To think that he did the full circuit, before noon, and then ran 32 miles is still mind boggling.

The truth is, there are now multiple people that could repeat this circuit. Off the top of my head I can think of almost 10 people that could more than likely do it by years end if they got motivated.

What was even better about the whole night was that afterwards I heard nothing negative. There was no competitive bullshit or talk of someone being able to do a better one. Instead people were talking about how they wanted to try and do it, just to see if they could.

In all reality, it got a few people excited to climb again. Yesterday was a perfect example of that. Katie and I ended up going to Bulbous for a couple hours and Chris and Sarah went to Rail Gun and The Zipper. Chris finished off the Zipper quickly it sounds like and I'm pretty sure that Blake and Sam joined them up there. Not sure if anyone climbed anything else though.

Katie and I had a great time on Bulbous, and while neither of us did the problem, it re-energized us for the coming season. I've climbed a total of 3 days in the last month(first a finger injury and then a hamstring) and Katie is just getting over some major sickness. Needless to say we weren't in top form but it provided a perfect day to get some motivation back.

Katie trying to find a way around the reach on Bulbous. SuperJacked.

On top of all that, it gave me my first real glimpse into what my camera can actually do. Excited.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mug Game Update

So we need you to help us decide who won the mug game today.

First, Katie's contribution.

Here's the whole group:

Oh, and she got me a giant mug:

Overall a winning combination of beer glasses, whiskey snifters and coffee mugs. Normally I'd have been terrified, knowing deep down that I'd once again gotten crushed by Katie's superior coffee mug finding skills.

Today was not a normal day...my mugs were not normal mugs.

First we'll start with the Elephant Mug:

As you can see, a nice orange background frames a bunny, a cow and a hippo all dressed up in elephant costumes. A great mug on a normal day but not an absolute winner. Just a solid, colorful entry.

Now....my second mug, and dare I say my best work, was this:

What's that Steve??? A black mug?!?!? That's so boring!!!!!

Ahh yes, but look what happens when you put hot water in it:

You get two bunnies having sex.

Dare I say, my best work ever. But we need your help!! Vote on the poll so we know who won this round!

That's all.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Time has a way of playing tricks on your mind. It's always nice to get a reminder that you were completely wrong about something that you'd previously been so sure of.

A couple weeks ago I got this from Todd.

After hearing that he had a full video from his birthday challenge in 2004 I made sure he knew I'd love a copy of it. I never really expected him to send one so I excitedly ripped open the envelope.

I found this.

After looking forward to seeing it so badly I was kinda crushed. I talked to Todd again and he said he'd send a new one.

Then today, after a terrible trip up to the lake with far too much snow and wind to explore anything of any worth, I came home to this.

This time it was in one piece.

I can't tell you how fun it was to watch it. Soon, hopefully, more of you will be able to as well.

Remo and I had chatted for a few minutes about it earlier this week and we both decided that Bud White, Beautiful Soup, Massive Vertigo, The Zipper and Martini Madness were the problems we most looked forward to seeing.

On top of those, I couldn't wait to see Bulbous. I just wanted to confirm the beta that had been stewing inside my head for 8 years now. That he went out to the crimp first, and then to the pinch.

RV and I spent days trying that beta. Whenever I talked to anyone about the problem I insisted that the original beta was to move out to the crimp first.

When the footage rolled up and Todd went out to the pinch first I was stunned at how wrong I was. I actually couldn't believe it.

Now I truly have no clue what the difference between Bulbous Left and Bulbous Left Center is.

Time has a way of distorting memory and this was a prime example of that. For whatever reason I'd ingrained it into my head that the beta that Todd used was the crimp beta, despite that this had no basis in reality, whatsoever. I'm sorry to everyone that I spewed the wrong beta to! I'm sure there are many of you out there.

All that aside, the video is a great glimpse into Todd's generation and Neuman's narrating is hilarious. It's very rare that you get to see the end of a generation in such a stark moment. Within a year, everyone in the video except for Nick Rhoads had either stopped climbing or moved away from Madison.

It's incredibly impressive to see the full circuit again, and in particular, Todd doing Beautiful Soup and Massive Vertigo with terribly hard beta as his 29th and 30th problems of the day.

On top of that, we finally get to see where Bud White started!!! Check it out!

I'm excited for some other people to see this. I'll keep you up to date and let me know if you want to check out a couple clips. We'll figure something out.

Here's a couple of shots from my beautiful day today.

30 MPH winds and blowing snow make exploring a helluva lot less fun.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Here's what we've been up to lately.

I got a beer with a cool top.

Moose killed Santa.

I found a rubber ducky racing rink.

Katie vetoed the rubber ducky racing rink.

Then we got some cubes for our living room. Katie sawed them open.

After that I made a big cardboard fire. With a scrabble game.

And then Chris and Sarah brought Finley over and we all had pretzels and beer.

That's all.

Going up to the lake tomorrow to search around for a bit. What have you all been up to?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Iron Man Traverse

It's no secret that I love history. Namely, history of significant events, items or, in the climbing world, problems and routes. I love hearing the backstory behind a persons motivations and even the backstory of a name. There are certain routes that inspire more interest and The Iron Man Traverse is one of those.

When I first moved out the Mammoth/Bishop I made it a point to have Iron Man be the first problem I climbed at the Buttermilks. After falling on the last move late in my first day I came back the next day and did it first try, smile on my face as I grabbed the perfect juggy bread loaf and rolled over the mantle. To this day it's one of my favorite memories and reminds me of a great couple of years when I was lucky enough to call Bishop home.

No matter your view on the problem itself, there is arguably no more obvious of a line and its popularity is no surprise. Because of all that, I was really happy that Wills wrote up a really cool history on the problem. He delves into the name, the history and Tony Puppo's FA and his business with the Rubber Room.

It's worth a few moments of your time and a great read.