Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival 2016 Recap

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal | No Comments

WOW, we got so lucky with weather! Throughout the Fest, I was like a broken record. Memories of last year’s frigid fest were all too vivid. As a festival organizer, there are two hypotheticals that you are terrified of: no one shows up, or the weather is too bad to do any of the events you spent the last year coordinating. And, even though Fall is prime Joe’s Valley season, the desert is still unpredictable. Just the week before the Fest this year, there was a huge rain storm that caused moderate flooding. I imagined what kind of festival that would be… Well, I guess that’s not too far from last year’s fest… HA! Yea, the decision to move the fest to October was an easy one. The weather this year did not disappoint. It was sunny and dry during the day, and crisp and clear at night. Perfect outdoor festival temps. The first festival was so late in the year because the idea didn’t emerge until a few weeks beforehand. We didn’t want to stall the support and momentum we had locally, so we went forward with the festival despite having very little time to plan. It was a test run, and this year looked much more traditionally festival-like, but with a Emery County twist. 😉 Local Flavor So what’s the point of the Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival? We want to introduce climbers to the towns that surround their beloved Joe’s Valley, and the people that make up Emery County. At the moment, the vast majority of climbers don’t go beyond the Food Ranch…

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Our Way to Salt Lake

By | Musings, Road Trip Beta, Trip Journal | 2 Comments

It is 6:30 in the morning and too hot to sleep anymore. We start driving towards the middle of Nevada in search of food and coffee, when we suddenly realize it is the 4th of July. Everything that might be open in middle-of-nowhere Nevada is sure to be closed. And the most nutrient-dense part of our dinner last night was potato chips (possibly because we chose to climb a multi-pitch in Toulumne late in the day, so all the eateries were closed by the time we finished). A couple hours later, our stomachs grumbling audibly, we pull into Tonopah – the only place that can be called a town for hundreds of miles. Tonopah was a bustling mining town…in the early 1900s. As we drive through, shuttered blind after closed door welcome us. Then, there was the Mizpah Hotel. It looks open, and they must have a restaurant. Right? We park the truck across the street and walk over. “Did you guys miss the Starbucks?” laughs a middle-aged lady as she leads two small dogs up the stairs of the Mizpah. “We’re just looking for some food and coffee,” I laugh nervously. My usual reaction when I don’t know how to react. “Well, you’ve come to the right place. We ate here this morning,” she opens the door and tells us where to find the Pittman Cafe. Hot coffee and a hot (and very American) breakfast followed. The Mizpah Hotel was originally opened in 1907, then after the mining boom left Tonopah, it slowly died. In 2011, it was re-opened by Fred…

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Getting to the Climb: How to Keep it Sustainable

By | Climbing, Conscious Climber Project, Ethics, Trip Journal | No Comments

There’s so much rock in our neighborhood in Northern New Mexico that it can be hard for us to focus our attention on the areas that have already been developed. Often Spenser and I choose to run around exploring a new area, rather than going back and “working on” an established zone. Even though we might want to just run around and hunt for new boulders, we do realize that more people will come. Maybe 5, maybe 10…maybe more. And those people are going to want to get around this beautiful boulder field. As we found out from Ty Tyler’s visit,  it’s illegal to construct unapproved trails on National Forest Service land, but if we can prevent climbers from getting lost and bushwacking, we can limit the impacts and erosion that trigger access threats. So, what do we do? When we visit an area, we establish use patterns, which will eventually become the “social trails” that future visitors will end up following naturally. In Nosos (AKA La Madera), we decided to use cairns (stacks of rocks) to flag these routes or paths and keep other climbers on the “right” ones. We also blocked entries to old paths that we want to prevent people from using, and made preferred routes easier to navigate. These paths are indicated in the newly released New Mexico Bouldering Guidebook, but marking the paths clearly is especially important for climbers without a book. We tried to make sure that the “correct” path was also the path of least resistance, so that people would instinctively tend to…

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The Inaugural Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal | No Comments

We over here at RV Project HQ (currently: Spenser’s Parents House, Berkeley, CA) are still beaming after an amazing weekend at the inaugural Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival. It’s been a crazy couple weeks since the Fest, but now that we’ve got fast internet and cell phone reception, it’s time for a recap. I feel like there’s so much to talk about that it’s hard to figure out where to start. To me, the primary goal of this festival was said best by Steven Jeffery,   Even with the crappy audio, you can probably understand that we wanted to get climbers and local community members together, to just hang out together. And maybe we’d understand each other a bit better because, let’s be honest, us climbers don’t have much contact with the people of Orangeville or Castle Dale (except for the brief stops for sustenance – donuts & coffee – at the Food Ranch). The festival was based around bringing together bouldering, history, and community to highlight what makes Joe’s Valley such a special destination for climbers. Why in the heck do we love climbing those little rocks so much?! In the days leading up to the festival, the excitement from the local community felt pervasive. Firewood was delivered directly to our campsites, the Food Ranch made stickers specially for the event – the whole town seemed to be talking about this festival. This is primarily a photo essay of what made the Fest special for me – to check out the schedule in its entirety…

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Lizzy Asher’s Highball Birthday Challenge

By | Birthday Challenges, Bouldering, Climbing, Guest Post | No Comments

A big thanks to our badass friend Lizzy for crushing this challenge, and then writing this great post about it! Missing out on Squamish this summer didn’t feel quite so bad after getting to relive one of our favorite days. Last summer I decided to do my first climbing birthday challenge at age 28.  The goal: to complete four famous highball boulder problems which I had never before climbed in a single day: Ride the Lightning (V8), Teenage Lobotomy (V7), Funeral Arrangements (V6), and Black Slabbath (V7). As my move to San Francisco and the final “writing stage” of my PhD in climate science and oceanography approached, I sought to prepare for the social and intellectual challenges that I would face with a physical challenge requiring mental fortitude and discipline.  I also wanted to say good-bye to Squamish, with its familiar forest and boulders, where I had logged hundreds of hours becoming acquainted with the subtleties of granite climbing.  Finally, I had spent the previous winter working for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO with little time for anything but work and training with a core group of climbing friends, and I came to I relish my hours at the various Boulder climbing gyms.  When summer arrived, I was eager to see if my gym-wrought fitness gains could help me reach new climbing heights. After some deliberation, I settled on this particular group of boulder problems for their aesthetic climbing movements, my previous yearnings to climb each one…

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Behind the Magic of Red Point Climbing Holds

By | Climbing, Guest Post, Gym Climbing | No Comments

Meet Nikita Taylor, David Beriault, and Aaron Culver – referred to as NT, DB, and AC from here on out – the three Canuks that make up Red Point Climbing Holds. The company formed from the imagination of a 16-year-old Nikita (whom we met in Squamish almost 2 years ago) and has grown into a full-fledged passion project, spreading grippy holds across the world. Hope you enjoy their story! How & when & why was Red Point Climbing Holds formed? What did you think was missing from the climbing holds market? NT: I started Red Point in 2012 when I built my little home wall. I began making some grips in my garage for fun and joined forces with Dave Beriault, an engineer and climber. At the time we were just experimenting. The possibilities were limitless and we didn’t know what we were looking for. We didn’t expect to grow to what we are now but after meeting Aaron Culver, who is our phenomenal in-house head shaper, we got a lot more serious. In the beginning, we were more interested in just making cool holds but we have reached a point now where we can look to push the envelope. Related to the above — What makes you different from other climbing hold companies? Team Response: The market is fairly saturated with a large number of companies. It seems everybody is nearly on par in terms of material, warranty and quality so it really comes down to design and shapes. At this point…

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Training Gains – A Female Climber Perspective

By | Climbing, Gym Climbing, Staying Healthy, Training, Trip Journal | No Comments

We’ve been back in the Bay Area for about a week now and are on an edit Jumbo Love + gym training regime for the month. We are both feeling really weak right now since we barely climbed the past few weeks of filming, but are determined to get back in shape before we head to Wyoming in July. Current status: extremely sore, but hopeful because I know the training schedule I set for myself is solid. Here’s a piece I wrote for Mojagear.com (original here) last month on the training program we use as our guide – The Rock Climber’s Training Manual.   Recently on The RV Project blog, I wrote about our perceived reality of living on the road (we are going to be climbing all the time = getting hella strong and crushing) versus actual reality (weather, work and travel commitments make it next to impossible to continue to improve at climbing without a plan). We’ve spent the past 3 years pretending like we had all the time in the world, that our lives were as carefree as our Instagram portrays. Finally, we’ve accepted our reality – coming to terms with the fact that we’re busy, really busy. And, furthermore, we want to be busy. Just climbing hasn’t gotten us appreciably stronger, we’ve both plateaued. The only way we thought we could break through is to regain some structure. We needed a plan, we needed goals, or we were going to continue to disappoint ourselves. As Spenser described, after a lot of…

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Who’s Your Daddy? The Life of a Climbing Father

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Guest Post | No Comments

Hi, I’m Andy White. I’ll pause for a second while you ask yourself, “who the hell is Andy White?” Well, in the broad scheme of the climbing world, I’m not really someone who’s all that important or well known. Yeah, I’ve penned guidebooks and magazine articles, have been part of a few bouldering film projects, have put up hundreds of boulder problems in our region, manage our local bouldering blog, created and organize our local, annual bouldering festival, act as head routesetter at our gym and get the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for some terrific climbing companies – all while performing my “real job” as a full-time teacher. Still, I know there are many other people out there who have done much of the same, while also crushing harder than I do. I guess what gives me something to talk about is the fact that I sometimes manage to do these things, with varying degrees of success, while also playing the all-important, and at times, climbing-antagonistic role of father. This madness all started a few years back, when upon our return from yet another carefree and blissful trip to Bishop, Staci and I found out our little family would be growing by one. After all the initial excitement and happiness, I have to admit, I started to think about how this would affect climbing… yes I have a problem. I’d seen many friends and strong climbers take a step back from climbing after having kids, and I was…

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Relationship Redux

By | Bolt Clipping, Climbing, Trip Journal | No Comments

Spenser and I have been together for almost 6 years and living in a 6×10 foot trailer for the last 3. Spenser carries the heavier things, primarily drives the truck, and snags things that are out of my reach. I do most of the cleaning, organizing, and picking stuff up off the ground. We logically took on these roles, and this seems to happen in every relationship, romantic or otherwise. We all play a specific role in our jobs, our friend circles, our families. Whether you’re the black sheep, the prom queen, or the jokster – you fall into a role, you become an expert, you form habits, and build patterns of behavior – and, even if these habits make you unhappy, they are still hard to break. Like I mentioned last time, you get comfortable and you settle into your part. Some people are happy and fulfilled in this comfort zone, others (like me) are not. I believe that you are meant to play certain roles – for example, Spenser will always be able to reach higher than me, as I’m not willing to wear to 12 inch heels, ever. But, there are other roles that I don’t want to be typecast to, comfort zones I want to get out of. Because of this, when we left for Spain, I had high expectations for myself. I didn’t want to relinquish myself to playing the part of the stereotypical bouldering fanatic who was terrified of sport climbing, and swore off ropes. I thought I had trained diligently and was ready to kick…

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