Kelowna | The Boulderfields

By | Climbing, Local Beta, Road Trip Beta | 2 Comments

Last summer was all about Squamish, but we knew British Columbia had more boulders to offer. When we found out about the 2nd annual Rock the Blocs Boulderfest outdoor bouldering competition in Kelowna, we decided to take a mini road trip East and give’r a go. The town of Kelowna is located on the eastern side of the massive Okanagan Lake. The Boulderfields are just south of town and take about 45 minutes to get to by a windy dirt road. There’s some rocky spots, but we took it nice and slow and were able to make it with the trailer. The Boulderfields have a seemingly endless expanse of gneiss rock (think Chaos Canyon at Rocky Mountain National Park). The area is highly concentrated but some hiking is involved, many choice areas require a bit more of a commitment to get to with some scrambling over talus à la Chaos Canyon. Contrary to Squamish bouldering, there are holds! Tiny crimps, textured slopers, good edges- whatever your heart desires. In previous years, a few sport routes have been put up across the area and now, with the hard work of a few developers, there’s also the up-and-coming bouldering playground. Both Spenser and I had a blast at the comp, quickly forgetting we were running on just an hour of sleep. Spenser got the second and third ascents of a couple spectacular steep lines, while I struggled a bit with some of the top cruxes and fell off more climbs than I finished. Nonetheless, I took in as many easy and moderate climbs as the…

Read More

Fear, Loathing, and Escape in Las Vegas and New Mexico

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Local Beta | 10 Comments

I got the fear. And the loathing. Vikki and I were approaching Black Corridor, a popular sport crag in Red Rocks, NV. We were still fifty yards from the entrance to the narrow chasm, and we could plainly hear the cacophony of a popular crag. I flashed back to college parties that I knew would be no fun, but that I wanted to go to because, well, because it seemed like everyone else was there. And therefore so should I. We had been dreading the Las Vegas leg of our trip. This city doesn’t suit us. There is a long list of reasons for this which I need not elaborate upon. Its redeeming feature lies west of that iconic white spear of light the Luxor hotel hurls nightly into space in a pathetic gesture of grandiosity, as if Las Vegas was rejecting the sun’s blistering rays. Red Rocks and the canyons surrounding it are, and there’s no denying it, stunningly beautiful and full of stone. And so we drove to Las Vegas. The routes in the Black Corridor are more or less stacked on top of one another, making it a perfect location for practicing roped climbing. We need this practice, as much of our filming over the next year will require rope work. And so we joined the Saturday crowds. The next day we visited the Kraft boulders, a very easily accessible collection of blocks that would, on a Sunday, be similarly crowded. This translates, inevitably, to polished rock,…

Read More

Local Zones 101: Zahnd

By | Bouldering, Local Beta | 2 Comments

Update 8/25/14: The parking situation has been settled again, this time it’s back to the ol’ parking lot. Thanks SEC for leasing the land! Update 4/10/14: The parking situation has finally been settled and updated. Read the new parking rules for Zahnd. Zahnd is an area that we had heard of in passing. Normally, when one hears of a place with boulders (assuming that person enjoys climbing on them), it causes an immediate increase in blood pressure. However, when Zahnd was first mentioned, it was during our first week in Chattanooga, and we’d already left projects behind in five other nearby zones. Adding to our list of places to check out didn’t seem like a high priority at the time. A few days later, we were taking a rest day at Mean Mug Coffeehouse when I overheard the barista say “Zahnd.” Niko and I immediately went up to the register and got the lowdown from a very psyched Sam. That weekend, Niko and I decided to hike around Zahnd and see what all the fuss was about. I’m glad we did.

Read More

Local Zones 101: Hospital Boulders

By | Climbing, Local Beta | 4 Comments

Big news! My ass is better, and I can climb again. All it took was a trip to the Hospital…boulders, that is. They’re in northern Alabama, by the town of Gadsden, a short hop down the freeway from HP40. The stone is good, with a handful of very fun problems in every grade and projects galore. The best part is that we own it. Let me explain…

Read More

How to Climb in Squamish

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Local Beta | No Comments

When people come to Squamish for summer bouldering (and many, many people do), they often get bouted by climbs that, numerically speaking, are well within their abilities. I experienced it, and I think most people have the same feeling to some extent or another. People blame poor feet, cryptic granite, painful crystals, and humid conditions, but the real story here is that the climbing in Squamish is Yosemite-style technical, and quite varied; it requires a break-in period of several sessions.

Read More

Summer Lovin’ – Slug Style

By | Local Beta, Trip Journal | No Comments

Last night, as Spenser was walking back from the toilet to our trailer, a pair of inconspicuous slugs caught his eye. As we sat mesmerized, we were not prepared for the other-wordly experience we were in for… This further confirms our supposition that Squamish is undoubtedly a magical forest. Enjoy the weirdness of nature- you just can’t make this sh*t up! 🙂

Read More

New Bouldering in the Bay??

By | Bouldering, Gym Climbing, Local Beta | No Comments

We love going to popular climbing destinations, but we also love to explore new areas. That’s why I was really psyched to return to the Bay Area and hear about a new crag called Dogpatch. I’ve already checked out most of the climbing that the Bay has to offer, so getting an opportunity to take a look at a new area was too sweet to pass up. We got some directions from our friend and local climber Lauryn Claassen and headed over to San Francisco. Our other good friend Jeremy Ho, who also makes frequent RV Project appearances, was there to meet us.

Read More

You Can’t Go Home Again

By | Climbing, Local Beta | No Comments

Firstly, sorry for the dearth of climbing updates. We’ve been in the Bay Area now for two weeks, and haven’t touched rock in that time. I’ve been focused on the newest video project, which will hopefully be completed in the next two weeks (I say that, but when has an estimate like that ever been accurate??). I’m also trying my hardest to get strong in the gym. Vikki is still nursing her poor finger, which as of now is still swollen. She hasn’t begun climbing again yet, but will be hopefully working her way back into it before the end of the month. Briefly, I’d like to wrap up Santa Barbara, and mention that anyone in California looking for a climbing weekend could do a lot worse than heading to this sandstone paradise. When we were college students (I graduated in 2007), it was our beloved chosspile, and places like Bishop were meccas. Now, I see Santa Barbara as my climbing “home,” where I first experienced “pump” and “flappers” and broken holds. I climbed my first V1-8 there. The place has changed, though, and I might argue for the better. The first and foremost change is the introduction of a real climbing gym, the Santa Barbara Rock Gym. It’s in the heart of SB, right on State Street, and it finally provides a community space for climbers. Before, we had some poor excuses for climbing walls: The UCSB rec center, Goleta Valley Athletic Club’s outdoor wall, and a smattering of…

Read More

The Essential Guide to Joe’s Valley Living

By | Local Beta | 4 Comments

Edit #2: PLEASE do not just camp anywhere! Joe’s Valley has far surpassed its carrying capacity for primitive camping, and creating “new” campsites is a huge threat to access. Please camp in demarcated sites only! Thanks! Edit: Ungerman’s Meats have moved into a bigger space, just off Highway 10 on the far side of Huntington from Joe’s. The number to call is 435.687.2276. Happy grilling! Having spent over two weeks in Joe’s Valley, and also having gotten the low-down from friends who have previously been here, we have gained insight above and beyond the Insightful Guide. If you are planning your first trip there, or even if you have been before, read on for some useful information you might not have thought of. It may be getting a little chilly/snowy there soon, but bookmark this post for Spring/Fall 2013 keep this handy on your iPad as a PDF, and feel free to ask questions or make additions in the comments. Fires One of the most important amenities on any climbing trip is firewood. In Joe’s, there are three options. The first option is to gather. PLEASE DON’T. Plants don’t grow very quickly in the desert, and what’s dead and on the ground is an important part of the ecosystem. The areas near popular campgrounds are picked through anyway, which means you’ll be tempted to hack into a huge log that’s being used as a bench, or something like that. The second option is to buy it for the standard $6 per…

Read More

TNT: A Perfect Rest (Sun)Day in Fort Collins

By | Local Beta, Trip Journal | No Comments

Since Spenser and I are on a budget, we have rarely been patrons of the local breweries or restaurants, even though Fort Collins is full of them. Then, Zack Macfarlane said he was coming for a visit. We were psyched. This gave us a reason to explore FoCo in a way we haven’t yet. Zack loves booze, broads, and beers. Yes, I know the booze includes beer. It was for emphasis. And, okay, Zack was also here for some climbing. Lucky enough, Fort Collins has all of the above to offer. We picked him up at the Denver Airport bright and early Saturday morning and headed straight for Guanella Pass, after a quick pit-stop at a local breakfast joint. Zack ate biscuits and gravy with a side of chicken fried steak, Spenser a carnitas benedict, and I polished off a plate of gluten-free Johnny cakes. Needless to say, it was not going to be a serious climbing day, but it was going to be a blast! Guanella Pass provided us an excellent try-hard-enough day, so we decided to take a rest day and give Zack a tour of Fort Collins on Sunday. Another love of Zack’s that Spenser and I both share is ribs. We have had infamous feasts of homemade chai-spiced (oh yea, that’s right) ribs back home in the Bay Area. Sometimes we yearn for those nights. After working up an appetite climbing, we stopped by Smokin’ Yard BBQ on our way through Idaho Springs. Spenser’s face probably gives…

Read More