Category

The Exterior

Sh*t We Can’t Live Without: The Foam Roller

By Staying Healthy, Stuff We're Psyched On, The Exterior14 Comments

I have a love/hate relationship with things (but who doesn’t?!). I gave up the majority of my belongings to move into our 10-foot home. Spenser did too, but let’s be honest- he had way less crap to begin with! Not that it made it made it any easier. Back on topic- Even though we’ve purged most of the extra weight, there are still material objects we can’t live without. They just have to fit in a 10×7 box! THE FOAM ROLLER I hope most of you know what this is. If you don’t, you will likely benefit from making it’s acquaintance. This is my single favorite piece of physical therapy equipment out there. I’ll need it because of what climbing does to my body. That sounded too dramatic. Let’s try again. The foam roller is the best at getting out my post-climbing kinks and tightness. A consistent foam roller and yoga/stretching routine were my main shoulder saviors when getting back into climbing this summer (post finger pulley popping), so I guess I’m in a bind of sorts. If I want to continue to climb (and I do)- I gotta keep it up.

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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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In Celebration

By Bouldering, Climbing, The Exterior, Training, Trip Journal4 Comments

Last week, we met Katie and Niko at the local Joe’s Valley watering hole, The Food Ranch. The similarities were pretty conspicuous from the get-go: another couple on a year-long road trip, blogging and videoing their way through the experience. The main difference is that they are 2 months in, while we’re on year 2. We immediately got along great and became fast climbing partners and even (gasp) friends. As the amiable couple left to Moab for the week, Spenser and I mulled over a large realization they had brought to our attention: we’ve been on the road for almost 14 months! This awareness was a bit shocking to both Spenser and I. The year-mark came and went, without the least bit of recognition. It was an organic occurrence for us, it didn’t mean nothing to us, but it didn’t exactly mean anything either. Why didn’t we celebrate? Wait, celebrate what? “Congratulations on living your life,” seems very silly to me. I should mention I’m also not much for celebrating birthdays. Celebrating a year of being on the road is along the same vein. At least now I know why Spenser and I have been having such a difficult time answering people when they keep asking us how much longer we’ll be on the road for. The short answer is, we don’t know. We can’t really think about it. This is our life. We’re happy, much happier than we were in the Bay Area. We still enjoy gong back to…

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Rest, Recovery, and the Return

By Staying Healthy, The ExteriorNo Comments

It’s Saturday, February 2nd, and we have been here in Kensington for a bit over two weeks. This brief return trip was for the purposes of R&R, as well as celebrating my father’s 66th birthday, and sending off my little brother Eliot to Miami for his first big-boy job. Congratulations Eliot! It’s been just over 6 weeks since I broke my heel. I think I went through the typical stages (Kübler-Ross) of: Denial- “I think it’s just bruised…” Anger- “Ah shit. I think it’s broken” Bargaining- “It’s okay, I’ll just do lowballs” Depression- When I realized that crutches were becoming a regular, accepted, and even familiar part of my life, I started to get really depressed. Acceptance- This stage should’ve come sooner, but I think it only really came today. I wish I could inspire you with this post. I wish I could tell you that my time off the rock was productive and instructive. I wish I could tell you I trained my weaknesses, learned a foreign language, edited ten videos and had time to campus train. I wish I could write a post about how to stay positive when the main purpose for your trip, indeed, your greatest passion in life is snatched from you in a freakishly mundane accident. For the first few weeks, I weathered the storm pretty well. I drank what must be record volumes of coffee at the Black Sheep. I mastered my crutches. I won $50 playing Blackjack in Las Vegas, and another $50 at the Paiute Palace. I…

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A Review of Liquid Grip, The New Liquid Chalk

By Road Trip Beta, The Exterior3 Comments

Like every climber ever to grace this earth, I suffer from non-optimal skin. It sweats too much, it’s too thin, it’s cracked, it’s split, it just hurts. I’ve tried damn near every chalk there is. So far, the best I’ve been able to figure is Antihydral about once a week and plain old block chalk before every go. Recently I was reading Dave Macleod’s Online Climbing Coach blog and saw a review for Liquid Grip. I’ve tried Liquid Chalk and I like it, but it requires reapplication and is otherwise a pain in the butt for me. Liquid Grip is supposed to be an “apply and forget” sort of product, which would solve my main complaint with liquid chalk, so I figured it was worth a try. The company gives the somewhat dubious claim that the product adheres to the amino acids in your skin and will not transfer to other surfaces. Of course I perked up when Dave gave it a positive review, but I grimaced when I read that “there is a small amount of Rosin (less than 5%) in the product and they reassure that there is no transference to surfaces although didn’t say how this was tested.” I sent away to Liquid Grip for a few samples. On one hand, LG could very well be a manna for los manos. On the other, I’m very concerned about rosin being used on rock, because over time it forms a slick coating to the rock and destroys the friction…

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Are Piercings Worth the Price?

By Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Exterior, The Interior, Training, Trip Journal8 Comments

As Spenser said in the last post, we have arrived to sandstone heaven. I could not be happier. Colorado has beautiful stone and a multitude of great climbs, but Joe’s Valley is just easy. Especially after a summer consisting of driving an hour and a half, hiking another hour a half, climbing, hiking over talus for a half hour, climbing, and repeating. Free camping, boulders everywhere, and a town with everything you need just a short ride away. It’s been effortless getting used to life at Joe’s. But I’m getting carried away. The point of this post is to talk about piercings! Let’s go back to where my curiosity with this began. Towards the end of our first climbing day at Left Fork, we met Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and David Mason. Mina and I started talking about physical therapy and the recurrent shoulder/neck injury she used to struggle with. Mina’s shoulder would act up, especially during training, much like my injury (similar neck pain with numbness down the arm). She went to a chiropractor in Britain that was more on the alternative side of things and he told her that her piercings could be hindering her recovery. Piercings? Really? Her chiropractor explained that because of the repetitive stress on her body from traveling, climbing hard, training, and so on, her immune system was already working overtime. To add the piercings on top of all that was possibly the straw that broke the camel’s back, in a way. Since her immune system…

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No Pain, No Gain…No, Really.

By Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Exterior, Training, Trip Journal8 Comments

Again, I’ve made the mistake of ignoring the nagging feeling in the back of my mind, that feeling that something is just not right with my body. The first time was when I ended up getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Not sure why I didn’t learn my lesson the first time… I was in physical therapy before leaving on this road trip for recurring shoulder pain. I made some minimal changes, but overall I didn’t trust my physical therapist. I thought she was full of it. Ok, just partially full of it. She assigned a few back exercises and stretches and sternly told me that I needed to climb less frequently for a while. Whenever I asked for an explanation, she gave me a half-ass response. Whenever I asked a follow-up question, she dismissed me. She was scatterbrained and always in a rush and I didn’t like that about her mode of therapy. So I only half listened to her. I was so busy with work and leaving my life in SF (renting out my apartment, packing up, etc.) that I barely had time to climb anyway – I was focused on getting out of the Bay Area and on the road. I changed up my daily habits a bit, things that were obvious to me, such as not holding the phone between my shoulder and head while typing and carrying an ergonomic backpack during my daily walks to/form the BART station. My shoulder pain went away without me doing…

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Time to Try Hard

By Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Exterior, Training, Trip Journal4 Comments

I’ve just fallen in love with the concept of training. I don’t enjoy training…yet. And yikes, if you know me, you know that’s a crazy sentence. Like Spenser mentioned in the last post, we’ve been in Colorado over two months. Since being in Colorado, Spenser and I have kicked up our training several notches. Through this, I’ve realized that my quit threshold is extremely low… What is a quit threshold, you ask? I see it as the moment you lose your “grrr,” when you stop trying hard. It’s completely psychological. You could do one, two, or even three more push-ups/crunches/squats, but you choose not to. You essentially give up. You know that the extra effort won’t kill you, so why do you stop? The negative impact is not solely felt in your training, this attitude will eventually permeate throughout all your actions. It could mean that you will not make that last move on the climb you’ve been projecting, or that you will lack the mental gumption to study hard for class that you need to excel in. So here we are. In Colorado, surrounded by ridiculously strong climbers. Living with Brad Jackson, a training master. He knows how to train smart, not just hard. So…exactly why are we not taking FULL advantage of this? When this realization finally hit me, I felt like quite a bonehead. The past 2 months have been the most active months in my entire life. Hiking to and from Rocky Mountain National Park, at high altitude, training hard…but…

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