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Musings

Be Careful with Your Bullshit in the New Year

By Ethics, MusingsOne Comment

I confess that, despite it being a significant part of my job, I strongly dislike social media. I don’t think it’s all bad, of course, but I do believe social media companies profit handsomely by exploiting the fallout of humanity’s less desirable tendencies. High on that list is the tendency of people to create and engage with hyperbolic, irresponsible, and unimaginative bullshit. Don’t get me wrong. Bullshit can be awesome. Many of my strongest friendships were forged in the flames of rapid-fire bullshit that happened to be clever. Most movie plots are utter bullshit, and great fun as well. Bullshit pairs well with bourbon. And it is still the preferred method of dealing with awkward interactions at forced gatherings such as weddings and holiday parties.  I’m protesting the type of hyperbolic, irresponsible bullshit that leads otherwise caring people to throw up their hands during election seasons. This is weaponized bullshit, bullshit with an agenda, bullshit dragged kicking and screaming into the public discourse, bullshit dragged from the bar, dressed as substance, and shoved on stage in a serious role. The type of bullshit that springs from a dull imagination and robs us of words like “literally,” because a large number of unimaginative assholes couldn’t figure out any sexy ways to exaggerate their stories. Or “epic.” If you had to fix a flat tire on the way back from Bishop last weekend, you did not “have an epic.” The Donner Party epic’d. You dealt with a minor inconvenience. Similarly, can we please not…

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I Lost 8 Pounds in Two Days While Eating Whatever I Wanted. Ask Me How!

By Birthday Challenges, Musings3 Comments

I stood on top of Devil’s Castle, overlooking the Alta ski resort and what felt like the rest of the world. The moon was full and the sky was clear, so bright that my headlamp stayed in the pack. Two faint campfires burned below. I’d been dreading this. It was past midnight and I was alone, slowly picking my way along the crumbly, rotten limestone ridge that makes up the “horseshoe” at the head of Little Cottonwood Canyon. I was worried about all manner of unknown misery that nightfall would bring. The truth of the matter is that any misery was my own doing. I knew I wanted to do the WURL as my birthday challenge, and had spent much of the summer preparing for the eventual attempt. I had four potential partners, but one by one they dropped out, because they (respectively): thought it was gonna be too hard; thought it was gonna be too dangerous; were tapering for another big run; didn’t have time to adequately train. I’d heard of some other folks giving it a shot over the weekend, but I had grown tired of all this equivocating and impetuously declared (on Tuesday) that I’d give the WURL a go during the full moon (Wednesday). Snacks and a plan were hastily assembled. I didn’t really have enough time to get anxious. The WURL Report- Wednesday Afternoon Vikki dropped me off at the Ferguson Canyon trailhead, and I began hiking at 11:37am. The climb up Ferguson isn’t too…

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Just an Update, Really

By Film, Musings2 Comments

Does anyone else have trouble deciding how to spend the minutes in an hour, the hours in a day, the days in a life? Yeah, I know the topic of privilege is a hot one these days, and I know that we are privileged to be able to say that there’s too much to do in too little time (I’m guessing you’re like us, dear reader). In short, I’m complaining about something that shouldn’t be a complaint, although it has been quite difficult to make the choice to sit down and write something. We’ve been in Salt Lake City for over a month now, undertaking the biggest project in RVProj history. We’re here to start the “Steve Edwards Project,” a documentary about the man’s remarkable life as told through interviews with friends and family, photos, various outdated video formats (I’d never even seen an 8mm reel before), and the prolific writings and videos from the Dude himself.  Also, that’s a working title, and will certainly change. Suggestions are welcome. Much has been written by and about Steve before and after his untimely passing, and I suggest reading the following articles that I’ve linked Steve-style, that is, with a block of hyperlinked text: The day I heard the news of Steve Edwards’s passing I thought about having a couple of martinis and a full size bag of pork rinds, or running twenty miles, or climbing 20 routes in honor of his memory. But then I realized Steve would probably do all of these things…

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Our Way to Salt Lake

By Musings, Road Trip Beta, Trip Journal2 Comments

It is 6:30 in the morning and too hot to sleep anymore. We start driving towards the middle of Nevada in search of food and coffee, when we suddenly realize it is the 4th of July and we had some issues with our windshield. Everything that might be open in middle-of-nowhere Nevada is sure to be closed so we will have to fix it later, luckily services as autoglasstec online could help us with this. And the most nutrient-dense part of our dinner last night was potato chips (possibly because we chose to climb a multi-pitch in Toulumne late in the day, so all the eateries were closed by the time we finished). A couple hours later, our stomachs grumbling audibly, we pull into Tonopah – the only place that can be called a town for hundreds of miles. Tonopah was a bustling mining town…in the early 1900s. As we drive through, shuttered blind after closed door welcome us. Then, there was the Mizpah Hotel. It looks open, and they must have a restaurant. Right? We park the truck across the street and walk over. “Did you guys miss the Starbucks?” laughs a middle-aged lady as she leads two small dogs up the stairs of the Mizpah. “We’re just looking for some food and coffee,” I laugh nervously. My usual reaction when I don’t know how to react. “Well, you’ve come to the right place. We ate here this morning,” she opens the door and tells us where to find the Pittman Cafe. Hot coffee and a…

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Just Chasing Our Tails

By MusingsOne Comment

Have you ever watched a dog chase its own tail? I’m guessing you have. Have you ever thought about what that means about us? Dig this… We were sitting around one night a few weeks ago, me and Vikki and some buddies and my brother Eliot, having adult beverages and shooting the poop. We got to talking about my brother’s dog Walnut, and how he’s kinda dumb sometimes. Among other things, he chases his tail. What can’t be denied, though, is Walnut’s athleticism and agility. They did a test, and it turns out the mutt’s got a lot of fast in his past. I took a sip of whisky and made the point to my companions that a dog at the crag might chase his tail, and we might laugh and feel intellectually superior to the dizzy canine. Then we might cram our feet into little shoes and try to get up a piece of geology the hardest way possible, while that same dog might walk up the backside and greet us on top. That dog might think itself the one of superior intelligence. I took another sip of whisky and stood up. I was about to be on a roll. I could feel it. “You guys, think about it,” I said. “We climb rocks not for the glory of that rock, but because it’s an arbitrary goal that forces us to better ourselves mentally and physically in a way that’s engaging and fun.” As often happens when I get…

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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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Larger Than Life

By Bolt Clipping, Climbing, MusingsNo Comments

The Elephant in the Room The past couple of days have been a bit of a blur. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you’re familiar with rock climbing. From that I’d deduce that you’ve heard the news about Dean Potter and his partner Graham Hunt’s fatal wingsuit flight in Yosemite (edit: read about Graham Hunt here). Many, many stirring tributes have been posted, and I’m sure that many, many useless internet comments will be/have been appended to those. I’ll leave the bulk of the eulogizing to those who knew him better, and I encourage you to spend some time studying Dean’s legacy. Yet even as I write this post, I can’t help but reflect on how influential he was to a younger me. I believe every child feels that he or she is somehow “different,” but parents and teachers and mass media cause us to become a bit smoother around the edges as we grow into adults. On one hand, a society requires a certain allegiance to order, but on the other hand, nothing good ever came from people obeying conventions. I remember hearing of Dean’s controversial 2006 ascent of Delicate Arch, and thinking that he was somewhere between a genius and a total asshole. But I remember thinking, and realizing that simple concepts like Leave No Trace aren’t so simple after all. Remember 1984, and how dull and grey everything was. Dean never lost his color. In a game without rules, Dean further defied convention by inventing entirely new games. Say what you will about selfishness or…

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Everything Real Big

By Bolt Clipping, Musings, Trip Journal7 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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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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An Ode to our French Press

By Musings, Stuff We're Psyched OnOne Comment

The alarm goes off. My eyes open, but I see nothing. With a flip of my hand, my beanie is gone and I am immediately aware of three things: I have crust in my eyes; it is time to get up; and it is frigid. Ah, the trailer life. Today might be the day after a rest day, and the conditions are going to be perfect for boulder crushing. Today might be a filming day, and we’ll be humping cameras and gear around. Today might be one of those housekeeping days, which we’ll spend in a public library or café staring at screens. I don’t care what day it is. What in the world could ever get me to throw the covers aside and forsake the only parcel of three-dimensional space in the known vicinity that is above freezing? You might think that classic boulder problems are motivation enough. Not so. If you can remember back to high school chemistry, you may remember a concept called “activation energy.” Before a reaction can commence, there must be an initial energy input above a certain threshold. Put simply, a fire needs a spark. Every morning I wonder what on our solar system’s green Earth could coax me from the cozy down cocoon, where I cuddle a tiny heater I like to call Vikki. And every morning, I need only turn my head to the right to see the answer to this vital quandary. Shining bright like a diamond, it sits proudly upon…

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