Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lazier River And New Video

So we tried to go floating on the Black River on Saturday with Sarah, Chris, Finley(their dog), Sam, Blake and Moose(our dog).  We ended up getting a good 30-40 seconds of prime floating in during the 5 hour trek to the cars.

Turns out that in late August the water doesn't move too fast.  We should've known what we were getting into when we all got in the water and Chris and Sarah started going backwards.

Either way it was a super fun day and was a great way to spend a 90 degree saturday.  Watching Moose and Finley deal with the water in their own ways was entertaining enough.

In all we had 5 tubes, one two person raft with paddles, 6 orange life vest that Chris lashed into a raft, two dogs and a floating cooler that was shaped like a bobber but took on water immediately and didn't actually cool anything off.

At one point in the day Sam looked at us and said, "This is the biggest shit show I've ever been a part of".  Couldn't have said it better myself.

That night though Chris made a giant fire and we played around with my camera.  This is what we got.







Then Chris tried to write SickyGnarGnar....semi successfully.









He eventually got a good one though.


In other, actual climbing related news, we took Jugs out bouldering!!!  And he liked it!!!!!  May have helped that we got him on some highball cracks to start him out but eventually he tried Flatiron and you could see the switch turn inside him once he started to really figure out the beta.  He was able to touch the second left hand crimp after a handful of tries and I've got no doubt that he'll be able to finish it up soon if he wants to.

It's always fun to take people who haven't bouldered at the lake around and show them what we have.  Jon has walked past the Flatiron possibly hundreds of times without trying it so it was cool to see him actually get on the problem and enjoy it.  Remo and I were both able to repeat it and I must say, that is without a doubt one of my all time favorites.  Truly love that boulder problem.

Quote of the day was when Jugs topped out a 20-25 foot tall crack climb and as he walked off he asked Remo and I "Was that high?".  Yes Jon.  That was high.

And finally, I've finished up my next video!!!  See below and enjoy!!!  I'm glad I was able to finish this one up before we left for Hueco as it leaves me clean to make another one down there.  4-5 days should be plenty to get a nice one together.  Every time I use my camera I enjoy it more and I'm so happy I picked it up last year.


Devil's Lake Bouldering - Summerness from Steve Schultz on Vimeo.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Two things.

1 - Good luck to Tony B for his birthday challenge tomorrow.  It's incredibly ambitious(21 boulder problems, 21 routes and copious amounts of alcohol all in one day) and I wish him nothing but the best luck.  The boulder problem circuit alone is proud, let alone adding a stout list of routes on top of that.  The forecast is calling for 90 degrees and sunny.  Tough draw bud.

Boulders -

V1 Face at the north shore
Big Bud
Show Me The Kind
Gay Gigolo

Slope Of Dadaism
Pillar Of Contemporary Movement
Venus Rising
Sex & Chocolate
Fat Pants
The Flatiron
Beautiful Soup
Intercourse Arete
Trust Fund
Pete's Pebble
Magnum PI
Dumpster Diving
Super Slab
Tunder Tighs
Smooth Operator

Routes -

birthday crack
birch tree

upper d
brintons direct
full stop
cul de sac
breakfast of champions
push mi pull yu

2 - And secondly, it looks like a small group of us is heading up to Black River Falls to get away from Madison for a bit.  I've never been but the plan is to camp/float/relax and maybe climb a bit.

Any recommendations for must do's are more than welcome.  I have 2 months of training to pack into exactly 1 weeks time before Katie and I head off to Hueco for a short, hot trip next Friday.  Should be fun no matter what we get on.

Hope everyone else has a good weekend and again, good luck Tony!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Man In The Hat

In 2005 I spent my last summer in Mammoth working at the little climbing wall up at the resort.  I got to work outside in beautiful weather and spent all day hauling little kids up a 20 foot pillar.

I was young, 21 I think, and got to be around fellow climbers all day long talking shop and sharing stories.  During less busy times we'd take take turns trying to 'free' the natural routes using beat to hell climbing shoes from the shoe bin.  My go to shoe was a pair of purple Boreal Crux's.

Looking back on it now, I laugh.  Once again I didn't realize how lucky I was, but I don't think there was a better way to spend a summer.

That's not to say there weren't downsides, a kid once peed his entire way down the zipline, but the good far outweighed the bad.

My roommate Darren and I spent much of our free time in Tuolumne and we revered the legends of the area.  Croft, Long, Bachar, Kauk, Clevenger, Yerian.  We constantly wore out books written about them from reading them over and over.  It absorbed our lives and we just couldn't help ourselves as we became more and more enamored with the stories.

We'd constantly joke about going out and doing some proud, hard route only to promptly go and find the nearest 5.8 to sketch our way up.  We were not talented climbers.  I honestly can't count the number of times I motored up some pitch, unknowingly blowing straight past the belay station forcing myself to cobble together a sketch ball of an anchor.  Darren always knew it was bad news if I came into view standing gingerly at the anchor, leaning in as far as I possibly could so as not to weight the anchor too much.

Luckily we each had the same problem and we quickly learned not to complain, but instead went by the 'no fall' mantra.  I couldn't imagine a better climbing partner for the alpine rock environment.  We fit together so well.

In the middle of the summer we had one of our first cloudy and semi rainy days up at the climbing wall. There weren't many people at the resort so my coworkers and I ended up spending much of our day messing around and talking more shit than usual.

An hour or two before the end of the day two men and their sons came up to climb on the wall.  One of the men was friends with my coworker Keith so we set them up with harnesses and three of them went to town.  One of the guys stayed behind and hung out with us for a little bit.  I knew he was a climber since he was wearing an climbing companies baseball hat and he looked familiar but I couldn't place him.  I figured at first that he was someone I'd seen around town.

We sat around and talked about the weather for a bit.  Talked about a couple of local areas, gear and other random small talk.  He asked me where I was from and what the local areas were like back in Wisconsin.

We talked for maybe 30 minutes before his brother and their two sons came back over.  It'd started to rain and they were going to take off.  Keith came over to say goodbye to his buddy and as I was putting their harnesses and shoes away the man poked his head around the corner.  He noticed the bucket of shoes, and the Crux's in particular.

He laughed a bit and said quietly and unassumingly, "Been forever since I've seen a pair of those...I designed those things.".

Immediately I got nervous.  Instantly everything came together and I knew who the man was.

The man was my idol.  My hero.  The person that I looked up to more than anyone else.  The man in the hat was John Bachar.

Photo - Nathan Smith

I immediately froze and transformed from a climber into a jabbering, stuttering, awestruck fanboy.  We chatted for a few minutes, made plans to climb with Keith and he left.  I was stunned.

Later that summer we followed through with those plans to climb and I consider it to be one of the greatest honors of my climbing life to have spent time with the man.  We laughed about my reaction after the fact and it was something he made fun of me for, every time I'd see him.

He gave me some of my most cherished climbing related memories and for that, I'll be forever thankful.

When I got home that first day and told Darren what had happened we both smiled and sat in our living room, almost in silence.  As a young climber it was such a seminal moment for me that I truly didn't know how to react.

Darren opened up one of our guidebooks, picked out a nearby 4-5 pitch 5.6 and we busted out to climb it, fully inspired by the days happenings.  In proper fashion we missed multiple belays, didn't weight any anchors, got off route and topped out in the dark.  As we sat on the top of the route packing our stuff we both just laughed at the absurdity of it.

Darren looked at me and said all that he needed to, "Bachar woulda been back in town 2 hours ago".

Monday, August 20, 2012

North Shore - East Bluff Talus

Learned some stuff this weekend.

1 - Chris and Sarah had a great wedding and it was extremely fun to be a part of it.

2 - Riding in a stretch Escalade down Willy Street is an extremely enjoyable experience and I highly recommend it to everyone.  Some of the glares we got were incredible.

3 - I don't know how to tie a necktie, at all. (updated with the picture of the tie that I tried to tie.  This was my 10th attempt or so and was leaps and bounds better than any of my other attempts...)

4 - Remo is a sandbagger.  His problem Sunny and 60's is absolutely incredible and stands alone as one of the top problems in the park, regardless of grade.  The holds are great, super comfy, the movement is engaging and the last move is exciting, but totally safe.  All of this over a fairly nice landing.

Jeremy on Sunny and 60's

Jeremy looking terrified spotting Aaron on Sunny and 60's

5 - Dobbe really, really likes problems that start in a hole.  He grabbed everyone and showed us a potential line just down from Diamond in the Rough.  It full on climbed out of a hole but the moves were fun and actually really unique.  Aaron was able to snag the FA and Dobbe, Katie and myself followed close after.

The boulder itself is incredibly unique and starts on quartzite but actually finishes on some sandstone, using one of the most incredible jugs I've ever touched at the lake.  Aaron called it "Party Hole" and it should weigh in around V4 or so.

Aaron at the start of Party Hole

Party Hole, go directly up from where Aaron is.

The incredible jug at the top.

Dobbe looking at his other new line, You Only Fall Once

6 - There's an incredible amount of rock up by Sunny and 60's and I'm very excited to go back.  Katie put up a short but cool V3 up there that she named 80 and Rainy.  Jeremy finished it up soon after as well.
80 and Rainy starts on the left side of the face, just above the roof
Another large, impressive boulder that needs lots of landing work

On the boulder with 80 and Rainy there should be a number of other short problems and even a little roof climb or two.  Again, many boulders need to be moved and landings need some work but once cleaned up it should be a very good area.

7 - Remo posted a picture a while ago that didn't gain much interest but after seeing it up close and dubbing it the 'Cra Cra Project' I can say with confidence that once the landing is fixed up it should be very cool and very proud.  It's simple, about 3 moves, but steep and singular line out of an impressive overhang.  Excited to try it eventually.

The Cra Cra project

8 - Aaron is awesome.

Hope everyone else had a good weekend.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chris N Sarah

Congrats guys.  Today should be fun...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Gotta say, I didn't write pretty much all summer and I don't think I missed a whole lot of what went on at the lake.  It was so hot out that it was probably the worst summer to be a climber at the lake.  Now that things are cooling off a bit it seems that more people are getting out.

Just last week both Sam and Blake were able to wrap up Magnum PI and the week prior Kevin Baker did it as well.  Magnum is still one of my favorites on the Dog Walk boulder so it's nice to see it get some traffic.

I'd tried magnum, without success, a couple months before Dobbe and crew were able to figure it out.  I was extremely dismissive of the line and continually talked about how contrived and terrible it was/would be.  I like to think that I was just mad I couldn't do the problem!  I'm very glad that I was wrong on that one.

Ian has also done a number of nice looking lines up on the east bluff.  From what I can tell the area lies just past the Horse Ramparts Bouldering and his line 'Don't F With The Bees' looks like a really fun addition.  Looking forward to trying it once it gets cool enough that the bees aren't a problem!

Here's to hoping for another good fall season!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Taylors Falls

Katie in the middle of the Cave Traverse

Woah, what's that????  A climbing picture?!?  On the blogsite?!?!?!?!?!  Shomygosh...

Yep, Katie had her birthday on Saturday and we went up to Taylors Falls and stayed with Nic for the night at his house in White Bear Lake.  It was super fun and even though Katie didn't manage a send of the Cave Traverse, it was absurdly nice to just get outside and climb on rock for a bit.

Katie looked incredibly strong and repeated all the moves rather quickly but unfortunately a kneepad snafu ended up making a normally pedestrian move quite a bit harder.  She had a number of good links but her energy ran out before it all clicked together.

Katie towards the end of the Cave Traverse

As for myself, I puttered around on some of the warmups and my finger felt good for the first time in a while.  Granted I didn't grab anything too small and I could still feel how tender it was, but positive movement is a very good thing.

After we were done climbing we drove over to Nic and Molly's house (which is awesome) and hung out with them and some other friends.  We met new people, had fun with others we hadn't seen in a while and had a good time.

I got slightly drunk and started drinking bourbon again, Nic got really drunk and almost started his lawn on fire.  The night was a success.

Things seem to be turning for the positive recently.  Started climbing again last week, started running again a couple weeks ago, trips are being planned and I can feel the energy returning a bit.  Are we in for another good fall?????  Here's to hoping.