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On Dreams and Family

By Road Trip Beta, Trip Journal5 Comments

This past weekend, Vikki flew to Phoenix for the weekend to help her college friend Anna celebrate graduation from medical school. I drove her to the airport in Salt Lake City, and rather than drive 2.5 hours back to Joe’s Valley, I stayed until she flew back on Monday. During her absence, I was graciously put up by our friends Max and Emmy, whom we met in Las Vegas through Alana, whom we met in Colorado. Max and Emmy are about my age, married, and living in a home they own in Salt Lake City. They have a dog named Sampson and five ducks in the backyard. They have a circle of friends, they have people over for BBQs, they go bouldering on the weekends, and they make long-term plans. They “have their shit together.”  Visiting and talking to people like this used to make me uncomfortable. The twenties has been called The Defining Decade, the period when you’re supposed to achieve all sorts of lifetime milestones like settling into a career, settling into a house, and intentionally building toward some grand future. We are not really doing any of those things. Vikki’s friend is now Dr. Ward. My best childhood friend just earned his Master’s. I ran away from academia 6 years ago. Vikki let her GMAT scores expire. I don’t have to tell you that things are changing from the white-picket-fence dreams of the past, that our generation is more capricious than any previous one. The New York…

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Commitment

By Climbing, Trip Journal2 Comments

Today I fly out to Phoenix to reunite with some of my closest friends from college, all of them my sorority sisters. In college, I was in a sorority. I also used to have long hair. I think that’s it for the confessions for today. Let’s just safely assume that I was a different person before I began climbing. Scratch that, less a different person, more that I had different interests. Our mutual friend, Anna, is graduating from medical school this weekend. Medical School. She’s going to be a doctor. I’m living in a trailer. The only reason that this actually affects me is that Anna and I used to be on the same path. Anna was the first person I met in college. We met in line waiting for our dorm room assignments, ended up living across the hall from each other and even joining the same sorority. We have been good friends since that very first day that we met, when I was wearing a bright pink Juicy Couture jumpsuit. Okay, that was seriously the last confession. You should definitely Google my outfit choice if you’re not sure what I was wearing. Nevermind, I’ll just post a picture below to give you an idea. So where/when did Anna and I diverge?  We can go into all the differences that we have, starting with the fact that I’m a brunette and she’s a blonde, but the only difference that matters is commitment. 9 years ago, Anna committed to becoming…

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Settling Joe’s

By Bouldering, Climbing, Staying Healthy, Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal2 Comments

Spenser and I have been in a back-and-forth injury competition for months. I guess I have the heads up right now, though this is one competition I want both of us to lose. Currently, Spenser is back in action and gaining strength back rapidly. His progress has been raising my spirits and giving me something to look forward to when my pulley injury fully heals. It’s been exactly two weeks since the pop and my finger is feeling much better, although not close to 100% yet. I just received my Acupressure Massage Rings in the mail yesterday, so I’m hoping a daily rub-down with these babies will speed up the healing process. If you are a climber (or someone who works with their hands frequently), these rings are a must! The rings range from giving you gentle to greater pressure, depending on your needs and finger size. I ended up buying a pack of 3 from Amazon since I wasn’t sure what I would prefer (I think I like them all, depending on my mood for massage). From my research, it seems like you can use them as frequently as you would like to increase circulation while breaking up scar tissue. You won’t believe how good your tired fingers will feel… I tried climbing for the first time a couple days ago. Sadly, my finger is not ready to hold onto anything except for a sloper (no jugs, no crimps, no flat edges). I taped my finger for support while…

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Recovery Road is a Long One

By The Interior, Training, Trip JournalOne Comment

Until our last day of climbing in Red Rocks, Las Vegas, I hadn’t bouldered since December 21st. That was the day I somehow fell from the pinch on Saigon Direct, missed the pads, and cracked my heel in two. I wanted to use the forced rest period to address another injury of mine, that being chronic tendonitis of the right elbow, or medial epicondylosis if you’re inclined to use specific terms. Nearly 4 months and hours and hours of physical therapy later and I cannot say that it’s gone. I can say, however, that my condition has improved, and I am now back to trying hard. Except for a couple of days of sport climbing, I didn’t climb in Bishop after the foot injury. Three months later, As a reintegration to movement, Evan Ludmer and I did a little bit of trad climbing in Vegas, ticking the incredible classics Epinephrine and Sour Mash. At this point, my elbow wasn’t really hurting, but still made the crepitus-like noise that it has been making all year. I figured that keeping the climbing to a vertical 5.9/5.10 level would be okay, and it was. I decided to try some easy bouldering. For the purposes of this blog post, I’m using grades to discuss relative strength within one person (me). It is not my intention to use grades as ego markers. They are brought up here only to illustrate a point, and in our idiosyncratic sport, grades are the best approximation we have for a standard rubric. For the first couple…

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Blogpost Challenge: Go Outside

By Bouldering, Climbing, The Interior, Trip JournalNo Comments

As soon as I walked into the Food Ranch this morning, I realized I had made a mistake. Since popping a pulley, I’m keeping my hands off the boulders for the next couple weeks. I tagged along yesterday and snapped some photos while the gang went bouldering, so I thought I would go do some work on the computer today. Now, I’m alone upstairs at the Food Ranch and it’s really depressing. I should be outside. Why am I not outside? I made that mistake again. When given the choice between hanging indoors versus outdoors for the day, I chose indoors. Oof, what a fool. So today, I challenge everyone to learn from my mistake. If you have the chance to be outside, take it. If you don’t think you have the time, make it!! I’ll leave you with the lovely musings of John Pels from Timothy  McSweeney’s Internet Tendency (click on the link to be able to read it a bit easier on the site). Spenser just called and is coming to save me from my Food Ranch prison! Yes, going outside! …Might tweet about it 😉

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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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The Cat that Broke the Mold

By Bolt Clipping, Bouldering, Climbing, Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip JournalNo Comments

At around midnight last night, Spenser and I pulled into the familiar parking lot of the Food Ranch in Orangeville, Utah. It felt good to be back at Joe’s. I haven’t written in a while, so I guess there’s a lot to catch up on. Since I wrote last, we’ve left Bishop, released a video, blasted through Vegas, and arrived at Joe’s. In combination with work, I’m not surprised I haven’t been amped to sit on the computer and write up a post. I guess I also haven’t felt inspired. And there’s really not point to blogging sans inspiration. Now that we’ve returned to Joe’s, I have my inspiration. When we spent fall here last year, Spenser and I fell head over heels with a neighboring camper’s kitten (who we lovingly called ‘Kitteh’ as we did not approve of the owner’s choice of name). This was the first feline that I’ve ever become affectionate with. Sadly, her life was cut short by her owner’s incapability of taking care of a kitten on a road trip (she was run over by a car). Fast forward to Bishop. When we moved our trailer into the backyard of the Zoo in the middle of February, I was looking forward to more frequent hot showers and an easy place to cook. Never did I imagine I would also meet the cat of my dreams. Let’s just start with my confession: I am no longer adamantly a dog person. I fell in love with a cat. A…

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Daniel Woods on Lucid Dreaming

By Bouldering, Trip Journal4 Comments

Unexpected messages pop up sometimes. It could be an old Facebook friend, a spam phone call, a LinkedIn invite. This time it was Beau Kahler, our friend from Fort Collins whom we also climbed with in Joe’s Valley. He knows photos, and is now trying to know video. He hit me up on the ‘Book on Monday, asking if we had any extra Organic pads. The skinny: He and Daniel Woods schmobbed out to Bishop from Boulder in a 15 hour push with the singular goal of climbing (Daniel) and filming (Beau) the second ascent of Paul Robinson’s Lucid Dreaming (V15/8C). They had three days. I offered my help on camera #2. We met up at the boulders on Tuesday morning. We snapped some photos and got some video of Daniel trying the standstart, Rastaman Vibration (V12). He quickly did the crux jump move, and we moved into position to film the attempts from the start. Daniel had more trouble that expected with the sit-start moves and transitioning into the stand. The crux consists of the first four moves: a hard pull into a sharp, tiny undercling with the right hand, coming in to match on top with the left, standing up tall on the undercling to reach up to the infamous glassy left-handed micro-pinch, and finally the hard move from the pinch to the crimp that defines Rastaman. After watching several attempts, it was clear that grabbing the tiny, sharp, toothy undercling from below meant that he was holding it in the…

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Creating a Base

By Bouldering, Climbing, Trip JournalOne Comment

We’ve been in Bishop on and off since Thanksgiving and I have sent ONE of my projects. I’ll also admit that the single project came very easily. I know I’m not supposed to care about sending specific problems, but I do. I’m also going to be honest about the fact that it totally sucks feeling like you’ve not progressed. I had big plans for Bishop. I thought I would be sending everything. Well, at least everything in the V5 to V7 range. After our two week trip to the Bay Area, I was ready to come back with renewed vigor, but I arrived back in Bishop unenthusiastic and unmotivated. Then our visitors from Indiana arrived: Byron and Matt to the psych rescue, right? Wrong. Don’t get me wrong, Matt and Byron were not lacking in motivation. I was. Maybe I needed a new project to work on? As I fell off the second move to Milk the Milks repeatedly while cursing the slick foot that I was unable to make proper use of, Max’s advice from our trip to Red Rocks in January burst into my mind. The advice that had made so much sense to me at the time, but that I had promptly forgotten about. I needed to create a base. How did I expect to be able to use a tiny glassy nubbin on a V6 move, when I was not comfortable using glassy feet on the V2s in the Buttermilks? Suddenly, I felt quite silly. I had been…

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Into the New Year

By Climbing, Staying Healthy, Trip Journal4 Comments

When starting this post, it was only five days into 2013 and I was watching people all around me break their New Year’s resolutions already. I guess that’s expected in Sin City? Vegas can be fun, for a short period of time. And by the 5th of January, I felt like we had outstayed our welcome. The trip started out great, being able to catch up with Miss Alana and getting to know her Portland home-girl, Ashley made the first few days go by quickly (it also didn’t hurt that we had an apartment to crash at, thank you, ladies!!). Although it seemed like most of our group was ready to leave sooner, we ended up extending our trip through last weekend so that I could get my computer fixed (read: I spilled coffee on my laptop back in Bishop, which is the one we use to edit all RV Project photos and videos…everyone should get a plastic keyboard cover, could have saved me almost $400). After New Year’s, we stayed at the Palace Station for a few days: the dredges of the casino-hotels in Las Vegas. We crammed 5 people into a room for 2, and happily paid about $5 each per night for a warm space to sleep. Since the computer was not going to be fixed until Monday, we decided to upgrade to the Flamingo. The room was much larger and included a view of the Strip. The Flamingo is one of the only hotels on the Strip…

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