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Cue, The Final Countdown.

Five Ten Vs La Sportiva: The Battle for Shoepremacy

By Climbing2 Comments

You probably didn’t hear about The Brawl. The media kept it under wraps, and the organizers of the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City performed a behind-the-scenes cover-up the likes of which we haven’t seen since Princess Diana was abducted by those aliens. Nobody is quite sure how it started. Some reports indicate that the Five Ten reps had a slingshot hidden behind their display that was used to launch Arrowheads at the La Sportivans. Another witness alleged that Tommy Caldwell started it when he threatened to start chopping off fingers to “even the playing field.” Thankfully, the altercation was broken up before anyone was injured. The rival companies decided to settle it once and for all, away from the hubbub of the convention center and the public eye. Earlier this spring, Five Ten Athlete Flannery Shay-Nemirow and La Sportiva Athlete Shannon Joslin met on the field of battle. We were there to capture it on camera. The result? A fast-paced, hard-hitting, suspenseful drama of epic proportions. This is a peek behind the scenes of the climbing shoe wars. Are you ready?

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Birthday Blunder

By Birthday Challenges, Climbing, Trip Journal5 Comments

I am finally sitting down to finish digesting my 27th birthday challenge that was over a month ago (ahem, September 13th). What the heck took me so long?! Thinking back, I definitely needed about 2 days to recover post-challenge (mentally & physically). Then, the rain came and we booked it out of Squamish and begin our charge across the US, seeing who and what we could, but mostly just driving. What was the rush? I had a date I couldn’t miss: meeting five of my best college girlfriends in Charleston, SC for a reunion weekend. I’m officially back and settled in Boone, NC, nestled between two tabby cats-who-act-like-dogs (my favorite). After reading the latest The Morning Fresh post today, I realized I was out of excuses so here it goes! The Challenge: 27 kilometer bike ride. 27 (all new) V-points. 27 Polaroids. For this post, I was planning on taking a cue from my dear friend Alana and get straight to the good stuff: Highs, Lows, & Heroes. Bam. Then, as I was re-writing my ticklist into this post, I realized something that I thought was impossible: I only did 26 V-points. I read my notes over and over again and, sure enough, there was 1 point missing… I ran (seriously) out to the trailer and asked Spenser if I was crazy. How could I have F-d up the counting? Even more silly, I clearly remember Sloppy Poppy bringing my V-point count up to 13 (a memorable number). This means I messed up the…

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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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The Power of The ‘Book

By Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip JournalNo Comments

The clouds have parted and a heatwave has now hit Squamish. But, hey, we’ll take that over the rain. We’ve lost a lot of good folks the past week due to the sub-optimal weather conditions and it simply being the “time to go.” There’s a small contingent of us left, but the season for tent villages in the Chief campground is over. I think most of us have stopped checking the weather report- we now understand we are living in a temperate rainforest and the rain gods will do what they please, without warning and for-better-or-worse.

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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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Tow Truck Confidential

By Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip Journal15 Comments

Damn, it feels good to be back. On the road, that is. I haven’t written in a while, mostly because I’ve been doing my best to keep busy since we arrived back to the Bay Area. If I am doing other stuff, I don’t think about climbing. If I don’t think about climbing, I don’t get sad. Good plan. Right? Meh, it was an okay plan, but it’s the best one I could think of under a looming depression. Well, that sounded depressing. Let’s go with hovering depression. More hovering than looming. Anyway… I show no perceptible signs of injury (albeit a slightly swollen left middle finger). I am also not hindered or unable to do anything else except for climb. The single thing I’ve obsessed over and devoted the majority of my time to this past year. I guess I should mention that I also can’t give people the middle finger with my left hand, but that bothers me slightly less. 😉 Not climbing naturally creates an emptiness that I’ve been desperately trying to fill.

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New Bouldering in the Bay??

By Bouldering, Gym Climbing, Local BetaNo Comments

We love going to popular climbing destinations, but we also love to explore new areas. That’s why I was really psyched to return to the Bay Area and hear about a new crag called Dogpatch. I’ve already checked out most of the climbing that the Bay has to offer, so getting an opportunity to take a look at a new area was too sweet to pass up. We got some directions from our friend and local climber Lauryn Claassen and headed over to San Francisco. Our other good friend Jeremy Ho, who also makes frequent RV Project appearances, was there to meet us.

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You Can’t Go Home Again

By Climbing, Local BetaNo Comments

Firstly, sorry for the dearth of climbing updates. We’ve been in the Bay Area now for two weeks, and haven’t touched rock in that time. I’ve been focused on the newest video project, which will hopefully be completed in the next two weeks (I say that, but when has an estimate like that ever been accurate??). I’m also trying my hardest to get strong in the gym. Vikki is still nursing her poor finger, which as of now is still swollen. She hasn’t begun climbing again yet, but will be hopefully working her way back into it before the end of the month. Briefly, I’d like to wrap up Santa Barbara, and mention that anyone in California looking for a climbing weekend could do a lot worse than heading to this sandstone paradise. When we were college students (I graduated in 2007), it was our beloved chosspile, and places like Bishop were meccas. Now, I see Santa Barbara as my climbing “home,” where I first experienced “pump” and “flappers” and broken holds. I climbed my first V1-8 there. The place has changed, though, and I might argue for the better. The first and foremost change is the introduction of a real climbing gym, the Santa Barbara Rock Gym. It’s in the heart of SB, right on State Street, and it finally provides a community space for climbers. Before, we had some poor excuses for climbing walls: The UCSB rec center, Goleta Valley Athletic Club’s outdoor wall, and a smattering of…

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