Category

Bouldering

Crunch Goes the Ankle

By Bouldering, Climbing, MusingsOne 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 JournalOne 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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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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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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Spenser’s First Ascent in Bishop: Behind the Name “I Don’t Know Jack”

By Bouldering, Film2 Comments

Just over 2 years ago, I broke my heel by falling off of a tall boulder problem in Bishop, CA. Several weeks later, ambulatory but avoiding bouldering, I wandered up the hill from the Fly Boy boulder and toward the small dome that overlooks the rest of the main Buttermilks area. The guidebook indicates that there isn’t any climbing in the talus, which is why I’d never gone the additional 100 yards or so to the little peak. After a really neat arcing flake, I scrambled to the base of the dome proper, enticed by what appeared to be an easy solo-able route to the top. Upon closer inspection, the rock appeared somewhat suspect and the climbing insecure, so I traversed counter-clockwise toward the Peabody boulders until I had to squeeze through a little gap formed by some boulders. I emerged on a little patio formed by a flat granite platform encased on one side by a flat wall, and overhung by a sweeping 60 degree incline, blank but for one feature: a long seam running from the bottom to the lip of the overhang, with big holds on each end of it and a blank section in the middle. The top, visible from an adjacent block, appeared to have some holds too. The rock also appeared a bit suspect, which is, I thought at the time, why I’d never heard mention of this line, and why it appeared unclimbed. I mean, seriously. Bishop is synonymous with bold highballs. How could this pure, singular line,…

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Latest Video: Kelowna Boulderfields

By Bouldering, Climbing, Exclude From Site, FilmNo Comments

At the end of June this year, we decided to travel to Kelowna, British Columbia to attend the Rock the Blocs Boulderfest. Outdoor bouldering comps are a guaranteed good time. This one did not disappoint and we decided to shoot a few boulder problems the day after the competition. Kelowna Boulderfields: Ripe for the Picking from The RV Project on Vimeo. I’m especially excited/anxious to release this video- it’s the first edit in a long time that I’ve done the majority of on my own, making it an incredibly personal project. After the initial frustration and exasperation ebbed, I remembered how much I truly enjoy the editing process. It became my “I’m back in the editing game” piece. Although it took an inexcusably long time to complete, I am happy with the finished product. I even got to beef up my After Effects chops and create a map graphic (a full day of work for 9 seconds of video… somehow totally worth it in the end). Next up for me is finishing up a film about Spenser’s first ascent in Bishop, CA this past April. With rain in the forecast after this weekend, we’ll hopefully be getting a lot of editing done in the next week. Quite the line…here’s a screenshot.

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My BDC- Long Term Beatdown

By Birthday Challenges, Bolt Clipping, Bouldering2 Comments

“Just so you know, Georgie, I’ll be sprinting this one as fast as I can, since I’m training and all that.” “No worries, you can go ahead of me.” And so I sprinted up the first set of stairs on the trail that eventually gains 700 meters of elevation, bound for the 3rd Peak. About 150 stairs later, I was cooked. My legs felt like molten slag, and the air I was sucking didn’t seem to contain any oxygen, despite being at sea level. What began as running quickly turned into plodding. “I think you’re hosing yourself by not warming up” No shit. And so Georgie and I huffed our way up to the pinnacle of the 2nd Peak, arriving exactly 36 minutes after we began the hike. There is a trail, you see, that goes directly to the 3rd Peak, but it is vicious. Roots and rocks. The type of terrain that eats inferior ankles for breakfast. There is no moving quickly over that kind of trail. I think that, physically, the single hardest part of my birthday challenge will be this run, 36 minutes or less to the 3rd Peak. So why did we go to the 2nd? To see if the trail was faster, if longer. And it was. Despite lingering on the top of the 2nd Peak for a few minutes and dawdling over to the 3rd, we made it to the 3rd Peak in 51 minutes. That’s 1 minute faster than when I did the 3rd peak trail…

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SF in the SE

By Bouldering, ClimbingNo Comments

Climbing is about trying hard, pushing your limits, and getting out of your comfort zone. Right? By surrounding ourselves with climbing all the time, we sometimes conflate the importance of our sport. Sometimes we forget that it’s also about fun. That’s why it’s refreshing when our hometown homies come out for climbing trips. We don’t know many crews as tightly knit and as motivated to just have fun as our San Francisco friends. On top of that, they also climb hard. You may recall Highball Day, in which Mark Heal, Josh Horsley, and literally dozens of other climbers sessioned on 7 of Squamish’s best tall problems. Despite many different strengths and ability levels, the SF crew has the uncanny ability to work together and stay psyched, rain or sub-zero temperatures be damned. This past winter, the crew descended upon Chattanooga. On one particularly frigid day at Rocktown, a day that also happened to be Josh’s birthday, the San Franciscans swarmed all over the classics and dispatched a whole lot of stars’ worth of boulder problems. Please take a few minutes and check out the video we made for Organic Climbing, because it’s never too soon to get psyched and start planning a Southeast Sandstone Bouldering Rampage for the upcoming season! And when you’re done with our video, check out Will Wolcott’s awesome edit. More shenanigans, more sending, and some epic fails on Flying High.

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Birthday Challenge Episode 1: Alex Johnson

By Birthday Challenges, Bolt Clipping, Bouldering, Film2 Comments

EpicTV’s newest series, Birthday Challenge, went live today! Episode one follows Alex Johnson as she hits the quarter-century milestone with grace, humor, and optimism. She also manages to climb 25 routes and enough boulder problems to amass 25 stars in Las Vegas’ incredible Red Rock Canyon. Check it out below, and share with your friends, because we want as many people doing birthday challenges as possible this year! (Speaking of which, if you have done, or are going to do a birthday challenge, let us know! Also, there’s a BDC group on Facebook you should probably join.) We mentioned earlier that this year was going to be quite an adventure…all of a sudden we are making films…professionally! We dove into this one. Drove across the country to one of our least favorite cities (Las Vegas), and spent a couple of days filming Alex, interviewing her and her awesome mom Trish, and gathering some ridiculously cute footage of Fritz. When it came time to edit, we wanted to tell a story. We wanted to inspire. We wanted to give you Alex in the raw. Several long nights yielded a great 8-minute film we were proud of, and better still, that Alex was psyched on. We sent it off to EpicTV. EpicTV responded that they wanted something a bit more “action-packed.” So it was back to the editing station to chop it up again. The result is a totally awesome 4 minute video showing some of the gorgeous sport climbing in Red Rock, classic boulder problems from…

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

By Bouldering, Climbing, Local Beta10 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,…

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