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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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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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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Les Gets Lessons

By | Musings, Road Trip Beta, Trip Journal | One Comment

As Spenser mentioned, we easily fell into a tranquilo rhythm in Spain. We certainly packed a lot in with filming and climbing, but there was never a rush. Maybe that’s why we missed our train to Bellegarde, France last Friday morning. We left our Cornudella apartment with plenty of time. We stopped for coffee with more than enough time. As Spenser went to go order a second round for him and Ethan, I felt a slight pull to leave. That old nagging feeling that we’ve got somewhere to be. Chug those coffees and let’s get out of here, I said with little urgency in my voice as I moseyed to the bathroom, not realizing that those couple minutes would make all the difference. Sitting in Barcelona traffic at 7:30am, the apprenhension began. Still sitting in Barcelona traffic at  8am, we realized we really f’d up. We arrived at the train station at 8:23am, the exact time they closed boarding for our 8:25am train. In preparation, we had said our goodbyes to Ethan in the car and we ran to the gate…both knowing it was likely futile. An hour and too many Euros later, we boarded a train to Paris. Both of us hate throwing money at a situation, but sometimes that’s all you can do. I was not willing to miss seeing my best friend since middle school get married, especially not because of our stupidity. After 13+ hours and a couple chocolate croissants, we arrived in Geneva exhausted. Neither of us slept much the…

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Projects, Projects, Film Projects

By | Bolt Clipping, Climbing, Trip Journal | 2 Comments

The region of Catalunya is like a limestone analog of the US Southwest’s sandstone landscape, with flat-topped mountains guarded by sheer cliffs, a Mediterranean climate, and tall pines in place of diminutive pinyons. The result is a less dramatic but far more intricate topography, made more marvelous by the traces left by myriad cultures throughout the centuries. Wandering the harsh landscape around the Four Corners fills one with a sense of desolation. Driving the pleasant and hospitable countryside of Tarragona fills one with a sense of calm and well-being. Both have ample evidence of ancient human habitation, the former of the Stone age and the latter of every age from prehistory to the present. Above all, the Spanish countryside feels tranquilo. We have fallen into a rhythm here. We wake and make coffee, not too early and not too late. James Lucas, who sleeps on the couch, usually gets out earlier than us. We might do a little work in the morning, we might walk around the corner to the bakery and produce market where our California Spanish facilitates simple transactions and friendly smiles (Catalan is a complete mystery to us). We eat simply and generally healthily. When we feel ready, we pile into a small car and drive on small roads to Siurana, a small distance away. We warm up, we climb. We enjoy the spectrum of color as the sun sets over Cornudella de Montsant, and we pile back into the car to reunite with James. Sometimes we meet friends at one…

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Spain, Day 1- Star-struck, Awe-struck.

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

Day 0- Awake at dawn; an empty international terminal at SFO; some hours to Newark; some more to Barcelona. We’re damn good at road tripping, but flying internationally is a whole ‘nother story. Spain, we’re coming for your limestone!!! Eventually!! A video posted by @thervproject on Feb 20, 2015 at 4:06pm PST Somewhere in there we watched Boyhood, which is not to be missed. Bleary-eyed, we got stamps in our passports and stumbled to baggage claim. I had to lie down on the floor, after virtually no sleep and 12 hours in an upright and locked position; some friendly Spanish airport police checked on me to make sure I wasn’t passed out. I suppose we looked haggard. No sooner were we deposited in a foreign land – my California Spanish feeling clumsy in Catalunya – than we run into a Chattanooga foursome in the airport café. Shortly thereafter, we are greeted by Ethan, who’d just dropped off Ben. It was a smooth handoff of Americans. 2 cafés con leche, a trip to the biggest grocery store I’ve ever seen, and a 90-minute drive later, we arrived in Cornudella De Montsant. Keeping our eyes open was difficult. We slept for most of the afternoon, I went for a run, we ate a gigantic bowl of salad, and slept for another 10 hours. Our first full day in Spain was a Sunday. The sun shone, the air was cool and breezy, the oatmeal laden with chia and hemp seeds. James Lucas, who rounds…

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Fighting the Fear, Part Deux

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip Journal | No Comments

I have so many emotions when it comes to Bishop. It was one of the first places I ever climbed outdoors and it hooked me. I had been climbing for less than a year and Bishop made me truly fall in love with bouldering. The boulders are tall and scary, but the landings are flat and the approaches short. And the backdrop. It’s just an incredible atmosphere out there. It can also be chossy and grainy and sharp – and I love all of it. After climbing mostly indoors for the past couple months and setting some new standards for myself, I was ridiculously excited for our Bishop trip this past week. It was going to be as crowded as a Justin Beiber concert because of President’s Day, but we were going with a good crew and planned on just accepting the masses, or running away and climbing in more obscure locations. Before leaving for Bishop, I knew a few problems I wanted to get on, but nearly any problem in Bishop forces me to face my fear of falling. Spenser had mentioned that I should try the namesake problem on the Bowling Pin boulder. To be honest, I didn’t really take him seriously. I had a clear recollection of feeling like I was eons away from doing it last time I tried. It was decently steep, crimpy, and tall. Oh, and the nice slab finish. Ya right I did, however, realize that this was a perfect problem for me to project. It is within a doable grade range with…

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Fighting the Fear

By | Climbing, Staying Healthy, Training, Trip Journal | 2 Comments

“Discomfort is a common barrier to hard work. Usually, hard work is unpleasant. In addition to the obvious aversion to pain and suffering that tempts climbers to give less than their best, athletes are also encouraged to “listen to their body” or “back off at the first sign of injury.” These pieces of advice, while fundamental and necessary, create a murky line that atheletes are reluctant to cross for fear of injury or wasted effort. The solution to this conundrum is for each athlete to incrementally push ever so slightly beyond their comfort zone, monitor the effects, and then analyze the results. If all goes well, the athlete can push that much further beyond her previous limits the next time around. Though it may sound complicated, this is relatively straightforward to do with diligent application of the previously discussed training principles and contributing factors. This methodical approach to progressive overload is the essence of this training program” – The Rock Climber’s Training Manual. Spenser mentioned that we’ve set some lofty goals. In my mind I’m like this: but I’m actually usually like this: Sigh. Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of crossing the line. Fear of disappointing. That simple four letter word tends to hold each of us back in its own way. When it comes to climbing, I realized a while back that the fear of getting hurt (often exhibiting itself as fear of falling) prevents me from trying hard. Until now, I really never wanted to do anything about…

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Setting Goals

By | Climbing, Trip Journal | 3 Comments

Wow, where to start? I sat down to write a blog post about what we’ve been up to lately, but there’s hardly any way to begin it because everything I want to address is linked forward and backward and sideways and it’s all exciting but still up in the air. Right now I’m sitting in the office of our friend Lindsey’s house, for whom we’re watching over things and collecting mail in Berkeley. We’re not far from Berkeley Ironworks, which is great because Vikki and I are working our way through the Rock Prodigy training program. This ain’t no kinda new year resolution, neither…see, we’ve got goals. We even spent several days in the gym in Chattanooga to get in our ARCing and hangboarding. Those goals I mentioned come with what I would call a good chance of failure. That’s why we chose them as goals. Vikki’s goal is to climb Midnight Lightning and Nat’s Traverse (both very solid at V8). I’m going to skip 5.13b-d and try to send Jumbo Pumping Hate (5.14a) at Clark Mountain. Yeah! Sports-climbing!       http://vimeo.com/117974391 That’s nothing compared to the goal of a certain someone with whom we’ll be traveling to Clark. The spark that kicked off our training was Ethan wanting to train for Jumbo Love, a route he’s tried in the past with some success. We jumped at the opportunity to film one of the hardest and most impressive routes in America, and I got excited about the prospect of trying its younger brother. The three of us share a tendency to…

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