Reel Rock Tour 7 Review

By | Stuff We're Psyched On | No Comments

In two words: Good Times. Two more? As Expected. The premiere of Reel Rock 7 was held at the Chautauqua Theater in Boulder, a lovely wooden auditorium at the base of the Flatirons. The sold-out crowd of about 1,300 people struggled for seats, as many sections had large wooden support beams obstructing the view. Many ended up sitting in the aisles or standing in the back. The show opened with the usual thanks to the sponsors, and with Peter Mortimer asking everyone to stand up for a Facebook photo. On another cool note, Peter also asked everyone who’s birthday it was to join him up on stage. It happened to be his daughter’s second birthday, and also Vikki’s 26th, and the entire crowd sang Happy Birthday to the dozen or so people. Pretty cool. Then the films. The first bit was La Dura Dura, about Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra vying to establish the first 5.15c sport climb in Spain. The footage was, as per the usual, spectacular. I believe it was the Lowell brothers’ work filming, and they used a perpendicular version of the NFL’s above-the-field-on-cables camera to smoothly follow the climbers up steep terrain. The result is unbelievably smooth, and so much better than the previous generation of climbing film’s prodigious use of shaky hand-held footage shot by someone on rappel. Sasha DiGiulian and Daila Ojeda were also featured, leading the charge of female climbers knocking on the door of 5.15. The film was as much about the route as…

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Reel High Psyche

By | Stuff We're Psyched On | No Comments

It’s hard to believe that, like the long summer itself, our stay in Colorado is entering its autumn phase. As I type, Vikki is making her way to the San Francisco airport to come back home to the Front Range. That sentence right there would’ve been written backward 8 months ago…and soon we’ll be moving on, once again to join the ranks of those without mailing addresses, bathroom sinks, or rent. Our very first full day in Colorado saw us driving up to Vedauwoo with Brad and Adam to meet up with Pete Mortimer and Nick Rosen of Sender Films. They were there to gather the last bits of footage needed for their Reel Rock segment about offwidth climbing. If we needed a reminder that we were in climbing’s Hollywood state, this was it. If we had forgotten the lesson, we were reminded later on when Sender asked us to help film a short, comical bit with Alex Honnold for the PGA tour. In between all the star-gazing, there’s been plenty of training, bits of working, and a lot of climbing outside with new and old friends. And now everything is coming full circle! We cannot frickin’ wait for Thursday, September 13th, when Reel Rock 7 premieres at the Chautauqua Auditorium. As always, it promises to be an incredible show. Sharma vs. Ondra, The Shark’s Fin with Renan Ozturk and friends, and of course, Honnold defying odds and gravity. But this year’s special. Not only might (and I repeat: might) there…

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Gym Round-up

By | Gym Climbing, Stuff We're Psyched On | One Comment

You’ve probably heard of Boulder, epicenter of the US climbing scene, as well as Movement, The Spot, CATS, and the Boulder Rock Club. All four gyms are located within a very small area, yet they thrive. We actually haven’t been to any of them yet. Travel north along the Front Range and you’ll come to Fort Collins. There is a climbing community here, but not quite so big as in Boulder. There are three climbing gyms: Inner Strength, Miramont, and the CSU climbing wall. We haven’t been to the last one, but the other two are quite frequently visited. I know, I know…we left on an epic roadtrip and now we’re pulling plastic? To be honest, it’s a lot cheaper than the $50 in gas it takes to get to RMNP. So here’s a quick comparison of the two indoor crags we’ve been to in FoCo. Inner Strength Inner Strength was opened 18 years ago by Mike Hickey, and features topropes, lead walls, and two bouldering areas. Overall it’s a fairly small space, but it does have a fairly steep lead cave. I’ve been volunteer-setting the bouldering there for most of the summer, and have met some awesome people there. It’s also quite close to home, which makes it a convenient stop-off for a quick burn. The cons: there are no, I repeat, no supplemental equipment to train on, except for hangboards. No weights, pullup bars, bands, or even a stretching area. Also, they have one of those featured walls that…

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The Game

By | Road Trip Beta, Stuff We're Psyched On | 5 Comments

I have driven across the United States of America, around many of its cities and towns, and as of now, halfway back to California. Since buying Bert for the road trip in February of this year, we’ve put about 17,000 miles on him (our diesel fuel bill requires scientific notation). Since I do about 95% of the driving, I’ve spent a lot of time at the wheel. How much? Well, there is a lot of sitting in the car at stoplights, and an awful lot of cruising on the freeways at 55-60. Let’s just say it averages out to 40 MPH, which is probably nowhere near the actual figure. 17,000 miles ÷ 40 miles/hour = 425 hours Aside from callused buttcheeks, what those hours have given me is a lot of time to think, listen to various podcasts, surf country/Jesus radio stations, and contemplate vanishing points and how they relate to highway lines. The daily commuter probably spends even more time behind the wheel, unfortunately relegated to a similar or identical path dictated by expedience, rather than refreshed by ever-changing scenery. Unless navigating to a previously unvisited destination or jockeying with Boston cars, driving doesn’t take much mental exertion besides the minimum spatial awareness required to keep the wheels between the lines, the speedometer needle within acceptable bounds, and the vehicle away from obstacles. This leaves the real thinking structures of the brain free to design solutions to the world’s problems, play tricks with math, construct the perfect imaginary boulder,…

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Sometimes I Hate Climbers

By | Stuff We're Psyched On | 4 Comments

I often wear cargo shorts (or cargo pants when it’s cold) to go climbing. This is fairly new for me. Besides the usefulness of always having chapstick at my fingertips, I find that wearing cargo pants makes me a better steward of the environment. Allow me to explain… Bouldering in Rocky Mountain National Park is, as I’ve mentioned before, beautiful and relatively remote. I still remember when the Druids in Bishop were too damn far away to bother with. Now, that 45-minute hike at 6,000 feet sounds like a rest day. Upper Chaos involves about 60 minutes of hiking (after 90 minutes of driving, if you live in the Front Range), with an elevation gain of about 800 feet, just to reach Lake Haiyaha. Then there’s half an hour of talus-hopping to get to your project. Suffice it to say, one does not simply saunter up for an evening session after a full day at the office. This is not your roadside crag like Santa Barbara’s Painted Cave or any of the Yosemite boulders that you can see from your car. The obvious benefit of this fairly rugged approach, besides stellar cardio conditioning, is that the bouldering areas are near-pristine. Marmots and pikas pop up like prairie dogs, and cavernous holes threaten to swallow brushes, shoes, and climbers. To the north and south are steep, streaked alpine walls containing thousands of unclimbed boulders, a glacier, and some crystal clear alpine lakes. Even without climbing in my life, Moraine Park, Chaos Canyon,…

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Downsizing & Leaving Papi

By | Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal | 4 Comments

Today we leave Papi with heavy hearts. Okay, okay, we are moving only 5 miles away and we’re probably going to see our roommate, Adam Papilion, even more than we already do.  Nevertheless, we are a still a little dewy-eyed: the house on Constellation Drive was our first stationary digs since we left on the road trip over 5 months. And…moving is always a hassle. We ended our tenancy at Adam’s with a grilling feast, followed by a Breaking Bad marathon with pureed banana ice cream in hand (and mouth). It’s dairy-free and incredibly addictive. Like crack. Seriously, try it at your own risk and don’t blame me when you realize you have hit rock bottom after punching the white-haired elderly lady because she took the last bunch of overripe bananas from the sale section at King Soopers. So we packed up all our personal belongings (which we are very proud to admit fit nicely into the tiny new trailer) and moved into our good friend, and Adam’s heterosexual life-mate, Brad Jackson’s house. Thankfully, Brad has a nice dirt patch on his front lawn where the new trailer fits perfectly. As I briefly mentioned above, we found the perfect little 10′ trailer, hand-crafted by Bill, an animated tiny-house craftsman from Lafayette, Colorado. Bill was planning on keeping this gem to himself, but life circumstances prevented him from doing so. It’s exactly what we have been looking for, so thank you, Bill, for laying the groundwork for us (and building a way better trailer than…

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Just Like The Pros- On Set With Bob Scarpelli and Peter Mortimer

By | Climbing, Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal | 8 Comments

[I’m trying something new, posting the photos at the end of the article. Check-m-out.] I’m not going to start this blog post by apologizing for not updating. We’ve been busy with logistics and if you have a problem with that then we can fight to the death by the fires of Colorado. Which is where we are, and where we will be for several weeks. We even moved into a house! The RV (Residential Versatility) Project continues, and despite the record highs in Fort Collins, we couldn’t be happier to be in the epicenter of USA Climbing, which everyone knows is not Capen Park, Missouri. The Front Range is to the climbing scene what Hollywood is for the celebrity rehab scene. Case in point: We dropped the trailer in Brad’s driveway on Saturday. (Remember Brad, the chiseled hand-stand-walking offwidth master with laser-eyes, whom we met in Hueco?) On Sunday morning, we drove an hour north to Vedauwoo, WY to meet Pete, Bob, Nick and Becca. Pete is Peter Mortimer, who, along with Nick Rosen, runs Sender Films. Becca is a Sender employee until the fall semester at USC rolls around. The three Sender folks were filming for this year’s Reel Rock tour, specifically for a segment about off-width climbing. Brad had told them about the RV Project crew, and luckily for us, Sender was happy to have us along. Bob is Bob Scarpelli. We met him in the parking lot. He is 63, and conjures up a shorn version of…

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