Introducing the Conscious Climber Project

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Conscious Climber Project, Stuff We're Psyched On | 4 Comments

“Every calculation based on previous experience fails in New Mexico” – Lew A. Wallace, Governer of the New Mexican Territory (1878-1881) Exotic Locales, No Passport Required The days continue to march inexorably forward, like the thousands of Barbie dolls marching into an oven that are on display annually at Burning Man. Time might fly when you’re having fun, but it flies even faster if you simply let it slide. “Not much” or “nothing” is never the correct answer to “what’s going on?” Pausing often to reflect on things is the simplest way I’ve found to stretch out my time. Like a rubber band with an intricate drawing, I can only enjoy the rich tapestry of events, and feelings, and relationships that make up my life if I pull the ends apart and dive into the details. I’m suggesting that being aware and conscious is the secret to prolonging life. New Mexico is nicknamed The Land of Enchantment, and climbers may be familiar with a particular tower that fell under the spell. But aside from the remote and mysterious Enchanted Tower, and the fact that one must pass through during the annual Hueco migration, New Mexico is almost entirely off the itinerant climbers’ collective radar. Put simply, New Mexico is not on “the circuit.” That’s about to change. Roy and Not Roy Folks, if you’ve been down with The Proj for a long time, you may recall a post from Spring 2014 excitedly showing pictures from Roy and La Madera. In fact, if you…

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Real Shit in New Mexico

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Conscious Climber Project, Trip Journal | 6 Comments

A brief note, here, to warn you that this post gets mildly graphic. There are no gruesome photos, but I do talk about some serious stuff. Read on, but be prepared. I nearly died the other day. We’re in New Mexico, and it’s a few days into our fall season here. A cornucopia of nascent bouldering attracted us here, while anticipation caused our plans to grow in scope until they eventually snowballed into what we’re calling The Conscious Climber Project. Much, much more on that in the next post. It was at one of these nascent boulderfields, called Posos, that we intended to spend the weekend getting a tour from William. William is an energetic and wide-ranging explorer of boulders, having more or less discovered most of the modern, high-end boulders in northern New Mexico. A seemingly interminable drive up a dirt road, first smooth and later rocky, led us onto an undulating mesa decorated by a stunning patchwork of pine forest, grassy meadow, and rocky outcrops. Posos hovers around 9000 feet above sea level, making it a reasonable bouldering destination for summer. Our trailer made it to the primitive campground, but slowly. And barely. In the morning, we were treated to a pair of quartzite formations straddling our campground. Both contained must-do boulder problems on some of the coolest rock I could ever imagine. William, along with Kendo, gave a quick introduction to the area. After lunch, the three of us jumped into William’s truck to go hunt for…

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Crunch Goes the Ankle

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Musings | One Comment

A huge thanks to Kati for being such a good sport throughout this whole ordeal. Above: The aftermath of what’s described below. Responsibility and Obligation The thing about life is that shit happens. We take reasonable precautions, but shit still happens. It’s an old trope trotted out often in the comments section whenever rock climbing finds its way into the mainstream news outlets, but it’s always good to keep in mind that we ought to live maximally, lest we get caught in a freak tornado filled with sharks while playing it safe on the couch. I’d much rather be killed or maimed in a climbing accident than a car accident. Highballs play for keeps. It’s part of what makes them so fun. The climber can achieve momentary mastery, being in control in an objectively dangerous situation. It feels good in an entirely personal way that must be experienced to be understood. It’s kind of a personal spiritual thing, although I’d be lying if I denied that a portion of my joy comes from getting away with something my parents wouldn’t really approve of if they knew what was going on out there in the woods. I’ve sort of fallen in love with the Rockshop, a many-acre expanse of granite formations a mere 45 minutes from Lander. The chaotic jumbles contain endless hidden projects, their surfaces weathered by icy winter winds into a fine patina with brilliant texture. As with many locations, the most beautiful lines are a bit taller and more dangerous….

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Yearning For The Simple Life

By | Bouldering, Photo, Trip Journal | One Comment

It’s been a little while since we rapped at ya, like in the familiar. I recently read through some of the older posts on this blog, and got hit with a wave of nostalgia for the flippantly written trip diaries of the yesteryears. Truth be told we’ve had a bit of a wacky time of it lately, from leaving the Bay Area on Wednesday June 17th along a circuitous path to Salt Lake City. Another trip journal entry seems in order. If all goes well, the older me will thank me for leaving this little easter egg for him to discover when he’s digging through the archives. Old Stomping Grounds, New Beginnings First stop was Pine Mountain. It’s all of the following: beautiful; one of the first places I went bouldering outside of Santa Barbara; where Vikki climbed her first boulder problem; a remote cluster of sandstone with a view to the Channel Islands; a place we hadn’t visited in 6 years. It was in the upper 80s, so no mega-sending went down, but it was relaxing. We slept like people are supposed to, deeply and long and under the stars. We spent one day at Pine, and on Friday drove down to San Diego for a visit to Vikki’s mad scientist parents. Saturday, we had the pleasure of watching Ben and Zhuojin celebrate their marriage (conveniently, not far from Vikki’s parents’ home). Ben is one of my oldest climbing buddies, and they are extremely appreciated members of the People Who Have…

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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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Larger Than Life

By | Bolt Clipping, Climbing, Musings | No Comments

The Elephant in the Room The past couple of days have been a bit of a blur. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you’re familiar with rock climbing. From that I’d deduce that you’ve heard the news about Dean Potter and his partner Graham Hunt’s fatal wingsuit flight in Yosemite (edit: read about Graham Hunt here). Many, many stirring tributes have been posted, and I’m sure that many, many useless internet comments will be/have been appended to those. I’ll leave the bulk of the eulogizing to those who knew him better, and I encourage you to spend some time studying Dean’s legacy. Yet even as I write this post, I can’t help but reflect on how influential he was to a younger me. I believe every child feels that he or she is somehow “different,” but parents and teachers and mass media cause us to become a bit smoother around the edges as we grow into adults. On one hand, a society requires a certain allegiance to order, but on the other hand, nothing good ever came from people obeying conventions. I remember hearing of Dean’s controversial 2006 ascent of Delicate Arch, and thinking that he was somewhere between a genius and a total asshole. But I remember thinking, and realizing that simple concepts like Leave No Trace aren’t so simple after all. Remember 1984, and how dull and grey everything was. Dean never lost his color. In a game without rules, Dean further defied convention by inventing entirely new games. Say what you will about selfishness or…

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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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Everything Real Big

By | Bolt Clipping, Musings, Trip Journal | 7 Comments

For more frequent updates, video clips, and photos, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Also, there’s a little teaser clip at the bottom of this post. Enjoy! It’s truly hard to believe that we’ve been doing this travel/climb/document thing for over 3 years now. Year 1 was a bit of a dizzying doozy. Year 2 was when we first stepped into the world of semi-professional media. Year 3 was the year of Shit or Get Off The Pot. Year 4 is the year of Love. Jumbo Love. For the past 4 weeks, we’ve been living at Casa Mike in Las Vegas. Ethan, Georgie, Vikki, and myself are here with the main goal of going up to Clark Mountain and filming Ethan on what is arguably the hardest sport route in North America, Jumbo Love 5.15b. Side goals include Georgie sending 1000 Churches 5.13a, and myself sending Jumbo Pumping Hate 5.14a, both at Clark’s 3rd tier. What’s It Like Up There? Everything about Clark is bigger and badder. We are out the door by 8:30. It takes a bit less than an hour to get to the Yates Well exit, and another 30-40 minutes to drive the infamous 4×4 road to the parking lot. The Third Tier (AKA The Monastery, not to be confused with the several other crags with the same name) is less than a mile from the parking lot as the crow flies, but the hike takes about 40 minutes. The first section is an uphill trail of increasing steepness, leading to the…

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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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