Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sicky Gnar Gnar

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When I started this blog I didn't know where it was going to end up.  That's the truth.  I still don't know why I started it in the beginning.  For the first few months I spent way too much time concerned about getting people to read what I had to say.  I wrote reviews, commented on climbing news and did anything and everything that I could to get people to notice.

Why?  No idea.  It's fair to say that the site didn't have a focus other than my general thoughts.  

Looking back on 2009 though, it's clear to me that there was a seminal moment that spring.  I still vividly remember Remo and I driving to Ski Hi and meeting up with Brian as we waited for the last member of the party.  The moment that the Five Ten Van started rolling up the hill signaled a change for midwestern bouldering.

I could sit here and spout different accomplishments and milestones but there's no need.  As soon as that day happened the mission for this blog became crystal clear.  Devil's Lake needed a bouldering resource and I was going to do anything and everything to make that happen.

Looking back, that's exactly what WE did.  It was not just me.  It wasn't Eggy, RV, Nic, Aaron, Brian, Remo, Katie, Ian, Sweaty or Dobbe.  It wasn't Chris and Sarah, nor was it Sam, Blake, Peter or Jeremy.  

What ended up happening was so much better than one core group of people developing an area.  Throughout the 2009 season we created a community that hadn't existed before.  All of a sudden a culture of bouldering and development emerged and an explosion of growth was experienced that no one could have expected.  

More than anything though, it was bigger than the people mentioned above.  It would be impossible for me to mention everyone who made a contribution over the past 3-4 years and that's the most beautiful thing about what we've done.

It's more than just one person and as a result the momentum won't stop.  All the information is out there for anyone who's interested and if someone wants to go develop a new spot, all they've got to do is put on a pair of boots and go for a walk.  I guarantee you there's more.

I've said to myself many times that I didn't want this site to wander off into oblivion.  I never wanted it to gradually stop and slowly become less relevant.  Instead I wanted it to be over when I felt it wasn't needed anymore.  The impossible beauty of where we're at and how far we've come is that this site isn't necessary to create buzz or get people excited anymore.  

All of it worked. Devil's Lake is the de facto place to go bouldering when you're in Madison.  A combination of the rock, the experience, the diversity of climbing and the vast potential have made it that way.  

It's with all that said that I can write the words I've wanted to for awhile now, fittingly enough on the 400th post.  

This is the last post that I'll write for this site. 

Sicky Gnar Gnar has followed me through everything.  My marriage to the woman of my dreams.  The unexpected death of my Aunt.  An ending of one career and the beginning of another.  

While in the end the site will be remembered as a "climbing blog", it's meant so much more to me than that.  It's been a place to vent, a place to go through the growing pains of a "new area" and a spot for people to connect and make plans to go climbing.  

Above it all though, my favorite part of this site has been the comments and the friends that I've met.  I've created amazing, close friendships with Nic, Eggert, Sweaty, Josh, Kelly and Jeff.  Without this site my life would be less, solely because I wouldn't have had the opportunity to become so close to all of you.  I love you all and I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you.

And as far as the comments go, I always enjoyed opening up my email and seeing a couple of new comments in the inbox.  LOVED that.

When I'm bored I often go back through the comments and re-read what people had to say.  Of everything I read and re-read, the one that stuck out the most was my post about my Aunt Bonnie.  To be honest it probably had no place on this site but I was caught so off guard by the whole deal that I had to write about it.  

When I re-read the comments this past winter I was blown away.  Initially I started to cry because the support you all gave me meant so much.  By the end of the comments I had tears streaming down my face.  

I don't think you guys know how much it means to me and I want to make sure you know that before I stop writing.  If you ever commented and I never responded, it was absolutely nothing personal.  I did my best to keep up but there were ones I missed.  I appreciate to no end that you took the time to sit down and write something.  

And to my regulars.  Remo, Eggert, Brian, RV, Nic, Sweaty.

Eggnuts - I've always appreciated what you had to say.  You've served as a calm voice in and otherwise charged crowd and it's something that is greatly appreciated.  Your constant support and ability to find something to talk about when no one else can is nothing short of amazing.  You are one of a very small crowd that I can call a dear friend and I have this site to thank for that.  Thank you so much for being here.  It has always been appreciated.

RV - What can I say, you were my best man in my wedding and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish you lived in Madison still.  It's a lesser city as a result and we don't have as much fun.  Through thick and thin you've been here for me and you have the sad honor of posting the first ever comment under the name "The Penguin".  I miss you and Sofie dearly and can't wait for the day that we live in the same town again.  Your consistent racism has always been a welcome relief when far too serious tones have prevailed.  On top of that, I think we can all agree that the Farewell Old Friend post is the greatest thing to be put on the internet, ever.  Thank you again for being my best friend.

Remo - There are four days that stick out to me when I think of 2009.  Two of them were spent with you and I couldn't be happier about that.  First was the day I spoke of above and second was the day that you showed me what would become Moj.  Both days showed the potential that the lake held and I'm so happy to have shared them with you.  Thank you for everything you've done for Devil's Lake and thank you for being a friend.  I appreciate it more than you could imagine.

Sweaty - Still remember the day that Nic did Keymaker?  Remember meeting us up at Moj?  I do.  Watching you lumber up the talus, screaming and yelling about how terrible it was and how much you hated the lake was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had.  By the end of the day you'd done Jenga and Massive Vertigo and left with a completely different opinion of Devil's Lake.  Your infectious enthusiasm and love for all things absurd make it an absolute joy to climb with you whenever we can.  Sadly, now that you're in Colorado those days will be fewer, but no less enjoyable when they do happen.  I'm so glad this site brought us back together and I really can't thank you enough for always being here.  It's meant a lot.

Nic - Who would have known that you'd become one of my best friends?  I sure didn't and neither did Katie.  What you did to the lake is nothing short of astounding.  You invigorated a community and help energize an otherwise dormant area.  The feeling at boulders the night after you did Keymaker was incredible.  To this day I can't remember being at the gym and having it feel so energized.  I'll never forget that feeling and I want to thank you once more for what you've done for the Lake.  You wrote in a comment once that sharing of info was the future of bouldering in the midwest and that shaped my view more than you could imagine.  There are so many other things I could say but I'll leave it at one more thank you.

Brian - You've somehow been a constant voice without saying much.  When you do though it's always even keeled and logical.  You're one of many that have made this site what it is today and I want to thank you for that.  It seems that we get very rare days together each year and they're always fun and always exhausting.  This spring on the East Bluff, the day up at Moj.  They're both days that stick out in my head as happy memories and the fact that I got to spend them with someone as awesome and famous as "The Narc", only makes them better.  Honestly though, who would have thought this all up when you were still climbing at boulders back in 2005?  Thanks for always being there.

Katie - You are absolutely everything to me.  I could talk about how you've grown as a climber or about the time you told me "I'm never climbing here again!" the first day you climbed at the lake.  There are so many things I could say.  The downside with all that, is that I can never seem to put into words what you mean to me.  I love you more than I ever imagined was possible and each day I wake up next you you I count myself lucky.  Thank you so much for being supportive of this stupid little site and allowing me to put up so many terribly embarrassing pictures of you.  What you've given me over the past handful of years is so much greater than I could ever hope to return.  Thank you for always being by my side.

And for anyone who has ever read this blog, thank you.  I really do appreciate it and I want to say that the fact that people still show up and read what I have to write is just stunning to me.  I don't get it, but I'm thankful for it.  If you've ever enjoyed, hated or read this site I encourage you to leave a comment here letting me know.  

If I had to leave people with one thing, it'd be this.  Don't hesitate to walk around that final corner.  Devil's Lake is full of surprises and I was victim to that this past spring.  When Katie and I went up to Don't F With The Bees a month or so ago something looked oddly familiar.  I pulled out my phone and sure enough.  Sitting in there from this past spring was a picture of the giant pillar that holds Bees.  Back in March I'd taken a picture of the pillar and promptly walked to the right, not the left, thinking that I saw more potential there.  Little did I know that 20 feet away sat one of the better problems of this season.

There's always more to be done at Devil's Lake.  Don't settle for the status quo.

Thanks for listening guys.



50 comments:

  1. 1. Who's Katie?

    2. Who's The Penguin? I'll kill that dude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. did sofie give you permission to use the computer? wanna climb rocks and eat food nov 16-19?
      xoxo katie

      Delete
    2. 1 - You know Katie, the one that hits really hard and pinches the underarm skin that really hurts(you know the stuff).

      2 - The Penguin is a bastard. For reals.

      Delete
  2. it's been a pleasure.
    Cheers MS

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  3. This site f****** rocks Steve!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John! Appreciate you always coming here!

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  4. Sorry to hear you're going to quit writing this. I moved away from Madison right as this "bouldering renaissance" was getting started, and I have always felt like I missed some exciting times. I enjoyed keeping up with it through this site.

    -Rob R ("dragonslayer")

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rob, wow! I had no idea you read this stuff! You did indeed have some rough timing when you left but if you're EVER in town, let me know and we'll happily show you around!! Hope things are good!

      Delete
  5. There is a lot going through my mind right now and I guess I'm getting a little emotional too, seriously. I'll keep this simple-

    Thank you Steve!

    Remo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remo, thank you for always reading and contributing! More than anything thank you for pushing the development at the lake so much!! You're one of the main players in the revival and I'll always be happy for that!

      Delete
  6. If it weren't for this blog, Ian's 8a card, and everyone's updates on Mountain Project I don't think I would have committed to moving to Madison. I would have missed out on meeting you all and climbing on some of the best problems in the country (and some of the worst). Thank you for doing what you did to get it started and for inviting me to hop on the wagon once it was already rolling.
    -PB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Peter. It's amazing how much of a group effort that it's been. While this site, along with others, was a big part of it there are so many other things that went into the process of development. Makes me happy to see.

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  7. DUDE!!! I'm so sad! How am I going to be able to keep track of what you fools are doing out there? What the fuck. Peter just puts up pictures of odd objects on his. Total crap. Thanks for the shout out man. It's been really great getting to know all of you and make such good friends thru your sight Gnar. You have brought a lot of folks together which is awesome. New slogan should be 'the E-Harmoney of climbing websites'. I will miss coming up with slogans for you and ending discusions

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With my crude sense of humor. Who knew there was a limit to how many characters you could put in a comment. Anyways man, I love you and the rest of the Gnar minions and I'm sure I will catch you all when you come out west!

      Love sweaty!

      Delete
    2. Oh Sweaty, you were a key part of this site and I'm so glad you were around to help develop over the years. It wouldn't have been the same without you.

      I'll let you know when we're out in your land and we'll get together. no doubt.

      Delete
  8. Steve I knew this day would eventually come. It's been a really fun ride, and I know it ain't over yet. Really I don't know how you kept it up this long, but I was always glad to read another post and bask in your boundless energy. This blog brought the community together, and I met a lot of great people through you and this blog. Make your own circle, indeed. I hope you keep putting your amazing photos on the proj and/or the Wisco bouldering blog. See ya at Boulders. C$!

    PS. I was at Boulders this am at 6:30. We should meet there some mornings. It was refreshing to have the place basically to myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chris - I'd also be in for early AM sessions if you are looking for company. I enjoy the gym when it's dead as well.

      Delete
    2. Seriously?? Early mornings??? Not sure im up for the alpine start stuff but if it means I get to climb with Chri$ then maybe.

      Delete
    3. Working on it! Footage will pick up a lot once I am graduated in December.

      Delete
  9. Bummer man. I like reading this blog and it seems like it was influential in the bouldering boom at DL!

    Hope you're well. I may be in the area around T-giving, if you are around we can climb warm-ups and compare one-packs.

    Huston

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HUSTON!!!!! Let me know whenever you're in town and we'll get together and grow our one packs.

      Delete
  10. WAIT A SEC! PETER??? IAN'S CARD MADE YOU MOVE TO MADISON?????? IT MAKES ME WANT TO MOVE AWAY FORM MADISON?????? FOR GOD SAKE... THE APLOINE CLUB BOULDER??? AND I JUST SAW THE EL PAR PROJ AND THE LINE IAN PUT UP ON THAT BOULDER.... TERRIBLE! JUST ICK.

    But on the real...

    Steve,

    Remember the day I cut my arm? that sucked. just paid that shit off a few months ago. I also remember getting real drunk at your house and cuddling with you and Katie in the morning. I also remember cleaning off greatest (or lamest) show, that sucked, so much moss. I remember when we first talked on the interwebs about climbing and how cool the Madison crew was when I would visit with Five Ten. I really thank all of you..

    ReplyDelete
  11. Remember that time I almost flashed Massive after finding the knee bar and then fell on the jug... that was awesome.

    Remember when we hiked in the winter? that sucked.

    Remember when I did death of a traveling sales men? UNREPEATED??? PUTS UP A FEET ONLY TRAVERSE INTO THE BEGINNING OF ALPINE CLUB AND GIVES IT V12 AND EVERYONE GOES ANDS TRIES IT??? I PUT UP THE BEST PROBLEM AT THE LAKE THAT YES, IF YOU YOU FALL YOU COULD VERY WELL DIE... BUT STILL.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still can't believe you cut your arm like that. That was so fucked up.

      Delete
  12. It is a very sad day indeed. I always enjoyed clicking on the link on my bookmark bar and seeing what was new in the world of the Lake and your mind. Not only that but this blog was my inspiration to start blogging - even if on the very unrelated topics of photography and biology.

    Congrats on what this site has accomplished, though. It's been fun.

    Jeremy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jeremy. I really appreciate it. You need to make more videos.

      Delete
  13. Hey Steve, it wasn't until recently that I found your blog but have thoroughly enjoyed it since. I'm sad to see you go.
    Mr. Mix

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mike, we need to go do weasel. let me know when you head up. Glad you enjoyed reading and thanks for being a part of it all!

      Delete
  14. I am going to miss you terribly. Here's why: 1) Yours was the only "www" blog site I memorized, 2) Other than random texts, it was the only spot where I could keep tabs on Katie, and 3) Your voice was always fun to read. Consequently, I am 1) basking in self-serving wonder hoping Katie will pick up the blogging, and 2) sad that I won't get to see the mugs you two exchange.

    You will be missed - thanks for the information and entertainment, but most of all, thanks for influencing me and having a hand in my love for bouldering at the Lake when I was able to get out there. You're pretty awesome Steve!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Adding an unnecessary comment now just to keep this alive...lame i know...Ice season starts in 6 days!

    ReplyDelete
  16. another useless comment from me... I miss knowing what you punters are doing out there! Come back please

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for all the hard work on the blog Steve! It has been a fun read over the last few years :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anybody else come back and read this from time to time? I do. I miss you all and I miss hearing what you fools are up to through this blog. Hope you all are well!

    ReplyDelete
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