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Musings

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 and people get injured.  You can click to read more here and to know what to do after getting injured. 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 from which I may need medical attention and a brain injury law expert if I survive. 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. There are attorneys that deal with injury caused after boat accident and other such cases that you can get…

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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 which I bought from a recommended website 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, with the right accessories like bulk custom hats from Cap Wholesalers. 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…

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What The Hell Are We Doing?

By Musings, Trip JournalOne Comment

Our blog posts have been sparse, our photography even moreso, and our list of ticks has not grown. What gives? What happened to the “climb all the time can’t-stop-won’t-stop” never-ending road trip? That, dear reader, is the exact question we are trying to answer. Since we got rousted out of Canada back in the beginning of October, things have been hectic. That was right after I hurt my finger, and in the midst of trying to finish the edit for Alex Honnold’s Birthday Challenge. We spent time in Bellingham, Salt Lake City, filmed one last Birthday Challenge in Joe’s Valley, and found ourselves back in Salt Lake for Halloween. We did not party; we quite literally hid in the dark while children tried to get candy from us, while trying to work on a timelapse for the Honnold video. I don’t read many productivity blogs, but I would wager that 0% of them advise constantly interrupting your workflow with travel, changing your work surroundings daily, and keeping irregular hours. It’s Not That It’s Not Working, Exactly… You know when you’re projecting a route, and there’s a section in which you can do all the moves and even link most of them together, but you just don’t see it all coming together, ever? And then someone points out that you can use a drop-knee on most of the moves, and suddenly you realize you’ve been climbing inefficiently and, frankly, stupidly? This is what we have been feeling like. We work hard, we try…

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My Friends Are Awesome

By Musings, Stuff We're Psyched On3 Comments

I was once told that you are the average of your five best friends. It’s a cute saying and is probably quite accurate for most people, although it may speak more to humanity’s tendency to self-segregate. I’ve found that my friends tend to be on the more adventurous and quirky side, though to be honest I may have sought those friends so that I can be pulled up by the collective average. Over the course of our nearly three years on the road, we’ve encountered our fair share of adventurous spirits and inspiring figures. The ones that impress me the most, though, are the ones you and I have never read about. Sure, we expect the Wide Boyz to thrash themselves and then pull off a heroic ascent by the skin of their teeth, with much suffering along the way. But who wants to do all that without any sponsor dollars riding on it? Ryan Tetz does. He participated in an experimental bike race that had to be shortened mid-race so as not to kill all the riders (most of which dropped out anyway), and he was one of the only finishers. He’s currently in the middle of a 6-week hellstorm of hurt, 6 extreme endurance challenges in a row. He just finished pedaling his bike across Yosemite National Park, en route to Nevada from the Golden Gate Bridge. He started at 6:26 am in Marin, and reached the Nevada state line 27.5 hours later, braving, among other hardships, a nighttime descent of Tioga Pass with…

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Beware the Fake Ass Bloggers

By MusingsNo Comments

We are, to use the parlance of our times, psyched. We live on the road, we’ve met great people, and, like the shirts with the smiling stick figures, life is good. But that doesn’t mean we can’t complain. And since we really don’t do it very often, it seems fair to, every once in a while, call out certain behaviors that will ultimately result in us losing our psyche. Today, I’m going to call out Fake Ass Bloggers. This is a tear-down in the name of public service. The formula is simple. Privileged twenty-somethings get a taste of camping, or visit the Grand Canyon on a family trip. They like it and start a blog. Suddenly, a couple of strangers comment on their posts. Oh shit. Now there’s a following. Before you can blink twice, another social media hero is getting people PSYCHED to get outdoors! This would be great, if that’s where it stopped. But our outdoor hero is ambitious. Our outdoor hero wants some free stuff. Our outdoor hero wants more exposure. What’s wrong with that? you might ask. Well, that’s what I’m here to tell you. The outdoor industry is obviously keen to get as many people hiking and biking and climbing and eating 7-dollar-a-bag space food as possible. “Outdoor” is like the magic modifier that makes everything cost double.  You see, normal humans will venture off the pavement with whatever they normally wear and eat, modify it as they see fit, and still have enough money to stop at Whole Foods…

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Fun is Life and Death

By Birthday Challenges, Musings, The InteriorOne Comment

“I am deadly serious about us having fun” – Michael Franti, In The Middle I think one of the secrets to happiness and success is to take the non-serious things in life seriously, and the serious things less so. Or, since we are the ones who decide what is serious and what isn’t, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that one must allocate their gravitas wisely for the sake of happiness, and survival. Proper Seriosity Birthdays generally fall into the non-serious category. How many times have we “celebrated” someone’s unique, fleeting existence on this planet by sitting in a crowded restaurant, lucky to be within earshot of the birthday boy or girl? How many birthdays do we let pass with little more than a few cheap “you’re old now” jokes? Answering for myself: many. As a child, comforted, cared for, and complacent, my birthday was an occasion for gifts. As an adolescent, I craved little except simple, good times. My birthday falls during the summer, and more than anything I remember wanting my birthday to be more like any other summer day than any other summer day, which at the time meant 2 on 2 basketball, deli sandwiches, and MarioKart 64 (or sports on network TV). Birthday Challenges are the opposite. We take a silly day and make it silly hard, and we try like hell to complete some silly goals. We even train for them. Why? Well, that’s a very involved question, but a short answer might be, “to…

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It’s My Birthday & I’ll Abstain from Doing a Birthday Challenge if I Want To

By Musings, Trip JournalNo Comments

Today is my birthday. And… I’m not doing a birthday challenge. After a summer of challenges, I’m burnt out. For me, the most difficult aspect of Spenser’s challenge was an inability to plan ahead. With the unpredictable weather Squamish is infamous for, plans always hinge upon a smile from up above. I couldn’t stand waking up most mornings not knowing what the day had in store for us. Our plans inevitably fell apart, our back-up plans often had to be reworked. I’m tired of planning. It’s not that I feel burnt out with the birthday challenge idea. I’m still really psyched for you to do a birthday challenge. I also had a great time and learned a lot from mine last year. It’s just not what I want to do this year. Other than not having to plan, I have no clue what I want to do and, since we have to go to Vancouver to take a friend to the airport in the morning, it’s surprise Vikki Vancouver Birthday! (Brought to me by Spenser.) You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t written in a while. Now that Spenser’s challenge has been over for a weeks, I’ve had time to digest what the hell happened this summer. It’s been an incredible whirlwind, with some of the highest highs I’ve ever felt. Usually the highs are complemented by concurrent lows, but for the past few months the scale was tipped. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been fighting and crying. Disappointments, headaches, and times…

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