Category

Bouldering

V-Point Challenge

By Bouldering, ClimbingOne Comment

Projecting one particular line gets tiring, physically and mentally, and one of the hardest parts for me is having to shut out all the other tantalizing pieces of stone nearby. Chalk it up my FOMO, I guess. So I decided to take a day off The Shield and try to climb as many problems as possible in the best way I know how. Why The V-Point Challenge? First of all, everyone should do one. I know that climbing is held by many to be a sort of zen thing, that people often abhor a climbing partner with an agenda. It’s not about climbing hard, it’s about having fun. Don’t get me wrong; there’s no good gonna come from “forcing it,” unless you’re Patxi Usobiaga and self-torture defines your climbing career. And I don’t fault anyone for wanting to go out, climb a few things, have a beer and call it a day. I enjoy those days occasionally as well, but to me, climbing hard is fun. If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have goals, even if they aren’t tied to a number. We want to feel stronger, more fluid. We want to suck less at mantels, or crimps, or heel hooks. We want to climb that awesome-looking feature, and it happens to be hard. We want to climb more without getting pumped, because climbing is fun. Sometimes the process sucks, and we adopt an attitude of False Non-Chalance to cover our unwillingness to trim the literal and figurative fat that keeps us from doing…

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A Climbing Update

By Bouldering, Climbing6 Comments

That’s right, we still climb! I’m finishing up this post from a café in La Jolla, CA, though the post began in Tennessee. We’re here visiting Vikki’s parents and simultaneously my grandfather, whose ever-fragile health is being gauged in every way possible by the health apparatus known as UCSD. Grandpa Tang is doing well, for now, but navigating the myriad hospital departments requires someone of youthful vigor. An advantage of our nomadic, unfettered life is the ability to help with family logistics at a moment’s notice, and it’s fortunate that we can get in a 2-for-1 visit. Anyway, on to the climbings. We came back from the Outdoor Retailers show with Renewed Vitality (the first in a series of new extrapolations for RV). It’s looking like 2014 is going to be chock-full of chalky videos, and we can’t wait to get started. Until then, we will be crushing our own projects, hopefully. (No promises, but I think we’ve got most of our existential hee-B-G-Bs out of the system.) Vikki’s Progress For Vikki’s part, she got back on her horse with some short-gal teamwork, working many Rocktown and LRC classics with our good friend Rachel. We said tearful goodbyes a week ago, and since then Vikki’s been trying hard with Courtney and Kat. She’s very close to her second ever V7, Jerry’s Kids, and more importantly, is finally healthy in the shoulder and finger zones. Best of all, she just finished up her season-long project, Genghis Khan (V5) in fine style. It’s a…

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Sieging the Shield

By BoulderingOne Comment

On Friday, we spent another day at Stone Fort. I’ve been trying The Shield now for quite a while. It’s America’s best boulder problem, according to the old Urban Climber list. It’s certainly one of the prettiest lines out there. And it’s also one of the hardest I’ve ever tried. A long time has passed since I last threw myself at a project for this length of time. It’s invigorating to have something in the back of my mind to obsess over, to go to bed early for, to watch my diet for. And truth be told, it’s also insanely frustrating. Several days and 100+ tries at the crux sequence and I still haven’t stuck the big shoulder move. I feel closer every session but I still feel far from success. I can’t wait to try it again. The Shield was put up by Tony Lamiche in (I think) 2007, and has since been repeated dozens of times. I first tried it with Alex Johnson back in early November, and we both got approximately nowhere. Since then I’ve been back to it probably 7 times or so. In that time, three people have sent the rig in front of me and others have done the crux without sending. Mark Heal did it second go, and this past Friday, Ian Cotter-Brown stitched it up for what I believe is the send of his life! Thankfully, we were on hand to capture it on camera.   Taking a page from Alex’s book,…

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Local Zones 101: Zahnd

By Bouldering, Local Beta2 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, I’m also glad for taking my best crossbow scope for low light conditions, it was super helpful, thanks to Technomono!

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My Ache-y Breaky Ass

By Bouldering, The Exterior, Trip JournalNo Comments

Eleven months and seven days ago I did something unwise that prevented me from doing what I left “default” life to do. Life in a boot meant time for reflection, and it was fairly easy to assess what went wrong on Saigon Direct that put me on crutches for 6 weeks. Yesterday I did something that is preventing me from taking advantage of the best conditions we’ve had since we arrived in the south. In fact, the weather is just getting more and more sendy as the days go by, but I’m worried that I won’t be climbing anything for a while. On Tuesday, Vikki, Niko, Katie, Walker, Hammie, Greg and I all went to the Apartment Boulders so that Niko and I could finish up a cool little compression problem that we’d tried a few days before. Walker was just in town from Sweden, and we hadn’t climbed together in about 6 years. Greg is just another local crusher, the kind you hate because they’re stronger than you and (seemingly) care about half as much. I was psyched. It was cold, the compression thing was going down for sure, and then there was the gorgeous creekside boulder that we were going to finally bring enough pads to try.

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Squamish Wrap-Up and Videos

By Bouldering, Climbing, Film3 Comments

Yes, it’s November, and we’re still talking Squamish. I guess we liked the place. [Click “Read More” and scroll to the videos if you want to skip the ramblin’.] It’s been about six weeks since we uprooted the trailer and left the forest nymphs in our wake, with Bert’s steely grille pointed at the rising sun. A junk-food-fueled drive across three time zones brought us, via the homes of many generous friends, to Boone, NC and now Chattanooga, TN. I’ve got a whole post about the South upcoming, but this is a retrospective.

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Getting Thunderballed, and What To Do About It

By Bouldering, ClimbingNo Comments

Bouldering at one’s limit involves suspension of disbelief. At first the holds seem unmanageable, the sequence too cryptic, the moves too big. With enough hubris, confidence, or simple hard work, the climb begins to open up. Suddenly, one has completed a brand new set of moves. One has proven oneself equal to the challenge provided by nature and a first ascentionist. One has earned another tick in the guidebook. Great climbing literature is based on this titanic struggle of human flesh upon unfeeling, unflinching stone. In The Boulder: A Philosophy for Bouldering, Francis Sanzano correctly states that …one can learn all one needs to know about another by watching them boulder. We can discern if they are a fighter, if they make good decisions, if they are good under pressure…as if the skirt of consciousness has been lifted and they remain in the act, struggling like death before us. Boulders are the canvases upon which we may paint moments of greatness. But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the opposite. I want to talk about what happens when an easy-looking boulder problem turns you around, yanks your pants down to your knees, and spanks you…or as I like to call it, “getting Thunderballed.”

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How to Climb in Squamish

By Bouldering, Climbing, Local BetaNo 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.

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29 Celebrations

By Bouldering, Climbing11 Comments

[vimeo w=700 h=394] On July 15, I turned 29. I normally do a Birthday Challenge on these occasions, of varying levels of involvement (click to read about years 24 and 26). This year I wasn’t sure what Squamish would be like, and I procrastinated mightily in the planning. But after a few days enjoying the boulders in the magical forest, it seemed that nothing could be better than trying to do 29 of the “Top 100” boulder problems the guidebook has to offer.

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