Skip to main content
Category

Trip Journal

Setting Goals

By Climbing, Trip Journal3 Comments

Wow, where to start? I sat down to write a blog post about what we’ve been up to lately, but there’s hardly any way to begin it because everything I want to address is linked forward and backward and sideways and it’s all exciting but still up in the air. Right now I’m sitting in the office of our friend Lindsey’s house, for whom we’re watching over things and collecting mail in Berkeley. We’re not far from Berkeley Ironworks, which is great because Vikki and I are working our way through the Rock Prodigy training program. This ain’t no kinda new year resolution, neither…see, we’ve got goals. We even spent several days in the gym in Chattanooga to get in our ARCing and hangboarding. Those goals I mentioned come with what I would call a good chance of failure. Vikki’s goal is to climb Midnight Lightning and Nat’s Traverse (both very solid at V8). I’m going to skip 5.13b-d and try to send Jumbo Pumping Hate (5.14a) at Clark Mountain. Yeah! Sports-climbing! http://vimeo.com/117974391 That’s nothing compared to the goal of a certain someone with whom we’ll be traveling to Clark. The spark that kicked off our training was Ethan wanting to train for Jumbo Love, a route he’s tried in the past with some success. We jumped at the opportunity to film one of the hardest and most impressive routes in America, and I got excited about the prospect of trying its younger brother. The three of us share a tendency to flit from one thing to another, so the theory…

Read More

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…

Read More

Filming with FIXE Hardware

By Climbing, Film, Trip JournalNo Comments

I kinda look like I know what I’m doing, right?! Leading the second pitch of Exasperator was the culmination to my ‘summer of yes’ (saying yes to opportunities that presented themselves). Trust me, though, I felt far from comfortable up there. We met at camp early one morning and walked to the base of the Chief. Standing underneath the Exasperator crack was awe-inspiring. It’s a beautiful, perfect splitter. It’s a crack that even people who don’t enjoy climbing cracks, or who do not climb at all, can appreciate. James Lucas climbed up ahead to put up a fixed rope for Spenser to film on. Kevin Daniels, the owner of FIXE Hardware, Spenser, and I began to make a plan. Kevin turned to me, You know, that second pitch is made for little fingers… My heart jumped into my throat – I thought I would be filming today, not climbing. My ‘summer of yes’ had taken me far out of my comfort zone. I had topped out the Chief twice and gone on adventures that I never thought would be part of my reality. It had been an incredibly fulfilling summer, and I couldn’t back down now. “Yea, I would be willing to give it a go. Why not.” Oh geez, what have I gotten myself into. Up to that point, I had done a few long routes following my friends up the classics such as Skywalker, Diedre and Angel’s Crest. About a week beforehand I had split leads on a Skywalker and Diedre, but I had never…

Read More

Back to America, Back to Birthday Challenges

By Birthday Challenges, Trip Journal2 Comments

We pulled into our usual campground in Joe’s Valley, Utah in the wee hours on Thursday morning. We ended up staying in Salt Lake City longer than expected to finish some editing, and Katie was sleeping, curled up in the back of her white Scion coupe, when we arrived. “Should we wake her up?” “Absolutely” We knew we couldn’t wait. We ran and pressed our faces against the side window of the small white car. Unable to contain our laughter, we promptly woke Katie up and she squealed with joy as she unlocked her car and jumped out. This reunion was a big moment for all of us. We met Katie and her then-boyfriend, Niko, at the Food Ranch in Joe’s Valley in April of last year. They were in the midst of their year-long road trip and we became fast friends (an understatement, as Katie wrote in her post “suddenly we found ourselves huddled around a fire with strangers who would become family overnight”). They helped us film 5.10 vs. LaSportiva that Spring and we continued to meet up on the road as much as possible for the remainder of their road trip. We desperately wanted them to stay on the road so that we could continue to travel together forever…but, you can’t always get what you want. Katie is now persuing her career in the outdoor industry based in Denver, CO. Niko is managing the local climbing gym in Talahasee, FL. Things change, but our love for these two, together and separate, is…

Read More

Hyperextension of the Volar Plate

By Gym Climbing, The Interior, Trip Journal5 Comments

You know the sound that is created by pulling masking tape off of a wall? That, apparently, is a pretty good approximation for the sound of tearing ligaments. It was on Sunday, September 28th that I got my finger painfully stuck in a slot, hyperextending the PIP joint of my left middle finger. I went down the dark rabbit hole of internet research, fully convinced that, at the least, I’d broken my finger and contracted ebola. On Wednesday, October 1st, I saw Dr. Vedder at the University of Washington Hand Center at the Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle, WA. My close friend Evan, graduate of UW’s Physician Assistant program, recommended their clinic; he’d gone there when he injured the medial collateral ligament of the PIP joint of his ring finger (I think that’s what he injured…). I was checked in quickly, X-rayed quickly, and diagnosed within 45 minutes of walking in the door. I can’t really express how refreshing a breezy trip through check-in was. I knew I was in the right place when the nurse who took my height and weight remarked, “ah, another rock climber.” The X-ray showed this: Dr. Vedder tested my collateral ligaments and was not concerned about those, or that I had fully torn the volar plate (which would require surgery). He said I had partially torn it (which explains the tearing sound), and sent me off to the therapy room. It turns out that the key to recovering from this injury is movement. Scar tissue will tend…

Read More

My Very First Finger Injury

By Trip Journal4 Comments

It looked like you had a rubber hand for a second. – Michelle Yalowega The Squamish Music Festival was big this summer, so big that every single hotel in town was sutffed to the gills with spirited fans of Eminem, Arcade Fire, and cheap colorful plastic body ornamentation. Even AirBnB rentals were booked. My parents and my little brother Eliot had set aside the weekend to visit Squamish, but without a place to stay, the trip had to be rescheduled, because of the injury, but for this we used the best legal resources from this useful reference to help us with this. We look forward to having people come to visit us wherever we are staying. We get to play hosts and guides and show them around an area we’ve come to love. Unfortunately, this was not to happen this time around. The festival happened, the forest didn’t seem to notice, and Highway 99 went back to being mostly empty. You can read full post to understand how to legally deal with this. A few weeks later, we solidified our plans to stay in Squamish through the month of September, and my parents were able to plan another weekend. In need of some non-climbing conversation and some fancy meals out (well, the latter isn’t exactly a need, per se), we eagerly awaited their arrival, double-cleaning everything and anxiously checking the weather. On Friday, September 26th, we awoke to another dreary, soaked day. It had rained fairly consistently for two weeks,…

Read More

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…

Read More

Day 23 (Still)

By Birthday Challenges, Trip Journal7 Comments

It is with a very strong passion that I hate the TSA. You may not agree with me. Maybe you think that being made to take off your shoes, dump out your water, and stand in a microwave somehow makes us collectively safer. Maybe you think that safety is the most important thing in life. I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion, and mine is that the TSA is only good for making complete idiots feel safer. Moreover, only complete idiots think that safety is more important than things like fun and adventure. Goodness. I haven’t even started and I’ve digressed. I’m typing this from a small chair about 6 miles higher than where you’re reading this from. The chair is hurtling north through the rarified air toward Canada. We’ve just departed from Salt Lake City, where we had flown on Friday to support an original birthday challenger. This guy: Steve Edwards, AKA Manny Varjak, Emmanuel Overdrive, and a load more pseudonyms based on various films.  So, I’m still on Birthday Challenge Day 23 because, well, we changed our plans. You see, we had  to fly out to Salt Lake to support this particular challenge. I should back up just a bit so you know why. Starting when I turned 24, Steve and I have had a bit of a rapport over email regarding birthday challenges and climbing and coffee and other things essential to living a decent life.  He lives in SLC. We went to the winter OR…

Read More

Day 22- Writing on a Rest Day

By Birthday Challenges, Climbing, Trip Journal14 Comments

Since the last post, I’ve done a few things. Day 14- Win and Lose I fully expected 30 free throws to be the hardest (least likely) element. Not so much when I first thought of it, but upon subsequent thinkings, it only seemed to get harder and harder. Will Wolcott kindly pointed out that, if shooting at an 80% rate, I stand a way-less-than-1% chance of succeeding at 30 consecutive free throws. I countered that each shot was not an independent event, statistically speaking. There is such a thing as being “on fire” and “in a groove” and whatnot. F the haters. I’m gonna make baskets. I spent an hour looking for an indoor basketball hoop in this icy land of hockey, and found one at the Totem Hall, a community center for the First Nation folk of Squamish. I shot free throws in an empty gym for the next 2.5 hours. At first I improved. I went from streaks of 8-10 to streaks of 12-15, hitting 18 in a row a couple of times. Then it all went to shit. My eyes stopped working properly and my focus waned. Best to call it a practice round. Besides, I had another challenge to attempt. So that was the lose part. The win part is way better. When Jeremy and I did our “test” run up the Grand Wall a few weeks back, it took us 5:40 because we were stuck behind slower parties. We figured that if we hustled and…

Read More

Random Acts of Kindness

By Musings, Trip JournalNo Comments

Today I’m supposed to pick up one of my very best girlfriends from the Vancouver airport late at night. A couple hours ago, Spenser noticed that both headlamps on the truck were not working. When he told me, I chuckled a little. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. EH? Thankfully, the Ford dealership is a stone’s throw away from the coffee shop we are posted up at on this rainy Friday. It’s Friday at 2pm. They’re clearly busy. The service parking lot is completely full so I pull in and park next to the side of the building. I walk in and immediately beg the first person I see for help. Without hesitation, he walks outside with me to see what’s going on. Gawd, I love Canadians. He re-checked the fuses that Spenser had already taken a look at. Nothing blown. Next, the bulbs. It was strange that both had gone out at the same time, but that could be coincidental. Or, more likely, we didn’t notice when only one was working. Bingo! Phew, it’s the bulbs. After figuring out the problem, Greg, the ridiculously kind Ontario native, showed me how to change the bulbs on my own to save us some cash. Then he told me where I could buy a new pair of bulbs for much cheaper than what the Ford dealership would charge us. Gawd, I love Canadians. I’ll be honest. At this point, with the rain and my usual avoidance of dealing with truck issues (Bert is one intimidating beast!), I…

Read More