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Vikki

Getting to the Climb: How to Keep it Sustainable

By Climbing, Conscious Climber Project, Ethics, Trip JournalNo 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 Journal4 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 PostNo 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 ClimbingNo 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 JournalNo 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 research,…

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

By Bouldering, Climbing, Guest PostNo 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 JournalNo 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 for example we order a toy when we read the anal vibrator reviews and we wanted to try something new that we both would like. Because of this, when we left for Spain, I had high expectations for myself. I didn’t want to relinquish myself to…

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Les Gets Lessons

By Musings, Road Trip Beta, Trip JournalOne 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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Fighting the Fear, Part Deux

By Bouldering, Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip JournalNo 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 Journal2 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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