Project Spray

By Bouldering, Climbing, Trip JournalNo Comments

We’ve now been in Fort Collins for a bit over two months. Where, indeed, has the time gone? In terms of climbing, it has gone to finding and working projects, while trying to sample as many easy and moderate classics as possible. If you take a peek at our Facebook photos, you’ll see some of the places we’ve visited during the summer. Mostly we go alpine bouldering due to the warm weather, though even at 10,000+ feet of elevation the temps have been quite warm, often reaching the mid 70s. Upper Chaos, Lower Chaos, Emerald Lake, Moraine Park, Lincoln Lake, Mt. Evans Area A, The Abyss…the list goes on. Yet we often do the bulk of our climbing in the warmer parts of the day, when the tips still slide around on edges and slopers stay slick. Since we haven’t had prime conditions, sending projects has been less of a priority. What we ought to do (or should’ve done two months ago) is invest in a couple of lanterns, so that we can stay past dark and exploit the chilly evenings. In other words, we should take a lesson from a particular blog title…but we have been fully enjoying our time meeting and climbing with new friends, exploring areas and shopping for projects. Bouldering at one’s limit requires several factors to align properly. One must be in good shape, with proper rest beforehand (the older I get, the more time off I need after training or climbing). One must be…

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The Game

By Road Trip Beta, Stuff We're Psyched On5 Comments

I have driven across the United States of America, around many of its cities and towns, and as of now, halfway back to California. Since buying Bert for the road trip in February of this year, we’ve put about 17,000 miles on him (our diesel fuel bill requires scientific notation). Since I do about 95% of the driving, I’ve spent a lot of time at the wheel. How much? Well, there is a lot of sitting in the car at stoplights, and an awful lot of cruising on the freeways at 55-60. Let’s just say it averages out to 40 MPH, which is probably nowhere near the actual figure. 17,000 miles ÷ 40 miles/hour = 425 hours Aside from callused buttcheeks, what those hours have given me is a lot of time to think, listen to various podcasts, surf country/Jesus radio stations, and contemplate vanishing points and how they relate to highway lines. The daily commuter probably spends even more time behind the wheel, unfortunately relegated to a similar or identical path dictated by expedience, rather than refreshed by ever-changing scenery. Unless navigating to a previously unvisited destination or jockeying with Boston cars, driving doesn’t take much mental exertion besides the minimum spatial awareness required to keep the wheels between the lines, the speedometer needle within acceptable bounds, and the vehicle away from obstacles. This leaves the real thinking structures of the brain free to design solutions to the world’s problems, play tricks with math, construct the perfect imaginary boulder,…

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Sometimes I Hate Climbers

By Stuff We're Psyched On4 Comments

I often wear cargo shorts (or cargo pants when it’s cold) to go climbing. This is fairly new for me. Besides the usefulness of always having chapstick at my fingertips, I find that wearing cargo pants makes me a better steward of the environment. Allow me to explain… Bouldering in Rocky Mountain National Park is, as I’ve mentioned before, beautiful and relatively remote. I still remember when the Druids in Bishop were too damn far away to bother with. Now, that 45-minute hike at 6,000 feet sounds like a rest day. Upper Chaos involves about 60 minutes of hiking (after 90 minutes of driving, if you live in the Front Range), with an elevation gain of about 800 feet, just to reach Lake Haiyaha. Then there’s half an hour of talus-hopping to get to your project. Suffice it to say, one does not simply saunter up for an evening session after a full day at the office. This is not your roadside crag like Santa Barbara’s Painted Cave or any of the Yosemite boulders that you can see from your car. The obvious benefit of this fairly rugged approach, besides stellar cardio conditioning, is that the bouldering areas are near-pristine. Marmots and pikas pop up like prairie dogs, and cavernous holes threaten to swallow brushes, shoes, and climbers. To the north and south are steep, streaked alpine walls containing thousands of unclimbed boulders, a glacier, and some crystal clear alpine lakes. Even without climbing in my life, Moraine Park, Chaos Canyon,…

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TNT: Bert Gets a Rump Remodel

By Road Trip Beta, Trip Journal4 Comments

While I’m here editing the next video, my man is in the backyard nailing and screwing. Don’t worry, I’m not jealous…he’s just putting the finishing touches on Bert’s new storage system. I really like handy organization products. I’ll admit, maybe a little too much. Spenser likes to be organized, just in a I-don’t-want-to-look-like-I’m-trying way, while I love gadgets and gizmos that makes me, I believe, super mega organized. Even though we differ in our modes of organization, Spenser and I could easily agree on this simple plywood storage system for the bed of his big red truck. Building a storage unit for the bed of the truck was the first step of us getting road-ready once again. I found this handy, albeit incredibly corny, video and all we had to do was adjust the measurements. An important thing they did not mention in the video is the thickness of the plywood they used. We ended up using 3/4-inch plywood for the frame – we wanted to make sure the frame would be sturdy enough to hold us  since we plan to use it as a bed (with crashpads on top, of course) whenever we will be unable to take the trailer with us. We are on a budget, so we figured we could save some cash and use 1/2-inch plywood for the drawers. A slight issue came up when we couldn’t use the screws we bought to fasten together the 1/2-inch plywood boxes. Spenser ended up cutting small squares from a piece of 2×2 [pictures…

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The New Hotness: The Abyss

By Bouldering, Local BetaNo Comments

On Sunday (8/12) we were lucky enough to get a tour of a new area up on Mt. Evans called The Abyss. Rachel, Jered, Adam, and Mordy cruised up the hill with Vikki and I to meet Jon Glassberg and some other climbers, and we hiked in to the boulders. The Abyss is named for Abyss Lake, which is near the peak of Mt. Evans and is visible from the talus field. Most of the problems are given a nautical themed name, and by Jon’s approximation there are 80 or so established boulders, all contenders for the highest altitude V_ in the country. I think you end up parking at around 13,000 feet. The best part is probably the hike. It’s a 20 minute flat (flat!) hike across some pleasant tundra to the top of the talus, and from there you choose your own level of involvement. A few established lines sit atop the hill, and they continue all the way down to the valley floor, where a Lincoln Lake-sized boulder field sits, apparently called The Winds (the hillside we were on is called The Bends). The potential for moderates is enormous, but the development has focused mostly on harder lines. We were able to put up three new problems in a casual afternoon. The rock is similar to Lincoln Lake, mostly solid with a bit of choss and exfoliation. As with most areas, more traffic will help it clean up. Jon was there filming for an upcoming movie that…

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Downsizing & Leaving Papi

By Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal4 Comments

Today we leave Papi with heavy hearts. Okay, okay, we are moving only 5 miles away and we’re probably going to see our roommate, Adam Papilion, even more than we already do.  Nevertheless, we are a still a little dewy-eyed: the house on Constellation Drive was our first stationary digs since we left on the road trip over 5 months. And…moving is always a hassle. We ended our tenancy at Adam’s with a grilling feast, followed by a Breaking Bad marathon with pureed banana ice cream in hand (and mouth). It’s dairy-free and incredibly addictive. Like crack. Seriously, try it at your own risk and don’t blame me when you realize you have hit rock bottom after punching the white-haired elderly lady because she took the last bunch of overripe bananas from the sale section at King Soopers. So we packed up all our personal belongings (which we are very proud to admit fit nicely into the tiny new trailer) and moved into our good friend, and Adam’s heterosexual life-mate, Brad Jackson’s house. Thankfully, Brad has a nice dirt patch on his front lawn where the new trailer fits perfectly. As I briefly mentioned above, we found the perfect little 10′ trailer, hand-crafted by Bill, an animated tiny-house craftsman from Lafayette, Colorado. Bill was planning on keeping this gem to himself, but life circumstances prevented him from doing so. It’s exactly what we have been looking for, so thank you, Bill, for laying the groundwork for us (and building a way better trailer than…

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Alpine Stylee- Colorado So Far

By Bouldering, Local BetaNo Comments

Edit: The V7 corner thingy that I couldn’t recall the name of at Guanella Pass is called “Corner Matters.” Four stars, BTW. Also, the arete Alana is pictured on is called the Aspen Arete. The heat and visual homogeneity of the midwest drives one to seek satisfaction in overindulgence. The endorphin junkie must get a fix, but exercise is too sweaty, or inconvenient, or expensive. The only recourse is stretch receptor activation, an ancient technique that I believe dates back to our hunter-gatherer days wherein one adds as much calorie-dense food to their abdomen as possible without literally busting a gut. The midwest is where dreams of climbing go to shrivel, fester, or immolate (depending on the particular type of scorching heat one encounters). Colorado, then, is where your psyche actually has trouble keeping up. Do you see all the boulders in Chaos Canyon? Now count them. I’ll wait. Coming from a chosspile like Santa Barbara – where we would climb every section of rock possible and then some out of sheer boredom – one arrives in Rocky Mountain National Park and gets totally overwhelmed by…well, take your pick: the beauty of the scenery, the length and brutality of the hikes, the stunning nature of the lines, the amount of unexplored wilderness, the amount of unclimbed rock in well-established areas, the altitude, the sheer difficulty of so many of the boulders… And I haven’t even mentioned the Front Range bouldering that sits at the far west end of the Great…

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A Bit of Catch-Up

By Trip JournalNo Comments

I started this post on Sunday. It was Spenser’s birthday and we were both catatonic from stress, unable to celebrate as we should be. Birthdays are difficult, I find you often end up doing what everyone else wants to do rather than what you want to do. Yes, it’s your birthday and you can cry if you want to, but you are essentially bringing everyone down with you when you do. So, forget it. Spenser had tweaked his neck bouldering last week and was not in the mood to celebrate. Neither of us were in the mood to start dealing with all the nagging pieces we still have left over from the original RV Project: mostly, selling Ernie and finding our new home. The trailer is on Craigslist and RV Trader, no bites so far and it’s exactly half way through the month of July…but I don’t really want to start thinking about that yet. I decided to go back in time and debrief about our long, straight, and steamy road to Colorado (and not steamy in a good way). Alright, forget about Colorado for a second and back to New York we go… During our time at the Gunks, I climbed higher and got more exposure than I ever thought I would be comfortable with. Despite all this, living in the back of the truck with thunderstorms taking us off the rocks every afternoon and the chigger larvae infestation under my skin had started to get the best of me. I needed a…

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An Interview With Shadow Ayala, and the First Ascent of Banksy

By Bolt Clipping, Road Trip Beta25 Comments

I first met Shadow Ayala at Black Sheep Coffee in Bishop, CA a couple of seasons ago. I would see him occasionally, either working on his computer or climbing on my computer in one of his many Dead Point Magazine videos. I was curious as to what this character’s story might be. At the same time, I was apprehensive due to the fact that he, apparently voluntarily, had removed his eyebrows and replaced them with blue flames. I suspect that my initial reaction to Shadow – a blend of curiosity and judgmental uneasiness– is similar to that of many other people. By the end of our stay in the Red I would learn that, in a beautifully unscripted manner, Shadow wants it that way. As I began to spend more time in Bishop, we would cross paths more often and eventually begin to chat. I learned that he was psyched on first ascents, and rarely bouldered on anything in a guidebook. His Pretty Lights-laced movies catalogue many days spent searching out new stone in the Tablelands, and speak to his drive to explore his world further and deeper than most are willing to go. When I last saw him at Black Sheep, he was showing me photos of gargantuan virgin boulders in the White Mountains, across the Owens River Valley from the more popular Buttermilks. Fast forward to May 2012. Vikki and I run into Shadow on a warm Saturday at Drive-By Crag in the Red River Gorge, KY. He…

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Just Like The Pros- On Set With Bob Scarpelli and Peter Mortimer

By Climbing, Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal10 Comments

[I’m trying something new, posting the photos at the end of the article. Check-m-out.] I’m not going to start this blog post by apologizing for not updating. We’ve been busy with logistics and if you have a problem with that then we can fight to the death by the fires of Colorado. Which is where we are, and where we will be for several weeks. We even moved into a house! The RV (Residential Versatility) Project continues, and despite the record highs in Fort Collins, we couldn’t be happier to be in the epicenter of USA Climbing, which everyone knows is not Capen Park, Missouri. The Front Range is to the climbing scene what Hollywood is for the celebrity rehab scene. Case in point: We dropped the trailer in Brad’s driveway on Saturday. (Remember Brad, the chiseled hand-stand-walking offwidth master with laser-eyes, whom we met in Hueco?) On Sunday morning, we drove an hour north to Vedauwoo, WY to meet Pete, Bob, Nick and Becca. Pete is Peter Mortimer, who, along with Nick Rosen, runs Sender Films. Becca is a Sender employee until the fall semester at USC rolls around. The three Sender folks were filming for this year’s Reel Rock tour, specifically for a segment about off-width climbing. Brad had told them about the RV Project crew, and luckily for us, Sender was happy to have us along. Bob is Bob Scarpelli. We met him in the parking lot. He is 63, and conjures up a shorn version of…

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5.10×10 and Hunter’s Rocks, PA

By Bouldering, Climbing, Trip Journal3 Comments

Watch out Alex Honnold. The new speed-climbing trad-masters are in town, and your reign on top shall not last long. In a remarkable display of endurance, guts, and athleticism, two relatively unknown climbers managed a feat heretofore unimagined at the Shawangunks. “We used to joke about how someday, Wolfgang Gullich’s grandson would be able to climb ten 5.10 routes in a day at the Trapps,” says guidebook author and Gunks veteran Dick Williams. “What these two did will inspire generations of future climbers.” Okay, so Dick Williams didn’t really say that, or at least not in reference to us. Here’s what really happened in our last few days at the Gunks. Also, mega-congratulations to Alex and Hans, for making the old Nose record look foolish. Vikki picked up a shift on Sunday, June 10, so we spent the day working at Bacchus, a pub with internet and hundreds of beers to choose from. While there, I saw on Facebook that Murph had a list of 3-star 5.10s he wanted to tick, and a few messages later we had a plan: Tackle ten 5.10s in the Trapps (the main cliff of the Gunks) the very next day. In contrast to the rain and humidity we’d been having, Monday turned out to be perfect. Temps were in the 60s, a breeze was blowing, the sun was kept at bay by the stratus layer, and it was dry. We met at the Bistro Mountain Store for coffee at 8:45, had breakfast, and headed…

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HP40 II!! and Getting Traditional in the Gunks

By Climbing2 Comments

Finally! It’s up! Please enjoy, like, share, etc. etc. etc. Also, we finally did it. The social media trifecta has been completed, and we now have a Twitter account. Follow us at @thervproject, or else… Looking down the list of posts, it’s been a while since we updated you on the whats and wheres of our trip. In the spirit of keeping an online, public diary, let’s lightning-round our way through the past two weeks. Vikki and I departed Farley and drove to Providence. We met my parents, my grandfather and his wife, and my brother on Friday afternoon for the first in a series of massive, delicious meals. Throughout the weekend I indulged in many mortal sins, including gluttony, lust (college campus, nuff said), and envy. This was the second graduation in two weeks for us. We are a few years out of the college scene, and it was interesting to think back on my own college years and imagine the sense of infinite potential, of a whole world ahead that was dark and mysterious, like the part of the Starcraft map you haven’t explored yet. We saw students excited about the future, nervous about the future, and students who totally deny that the future even exists. I can relate: I never ever wanted to leave college, and I will probably go back to school when this road trip ends!

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TNT: 6 Essential Rules of the Road

By Road Trip Beta3 Comments

Being able to climb across the United States has already been an experience we will never forget. Getting from California to Texas to Alabama (…and so on…) has also been memorable, but more of a memorable headache. The logistics of planning a road trip from state to state can get overwhelming. We’re hoping to ease this pain with the tips and helpful websites we’ve accumulated on our travels. We’ll continue to update this post as new tips ‘n’ tidbits come up! 1. Get a smart phone. To be more specific, get a Verizon smart phone. In our experience, Verizon has the best service across the United States. This is important because if you don’t have service, you won’t have access to the internet so your smart phone is essentially useless (except for possibly chucking at your travel partner when you get into a tiff). This will cost you about $50 more per month than a regular phone, depending on what type of data plan you go with, but it’s worth it. My Samsung Galaxy has been our lifeline. You can certainly go without it, but this allows us to plan as little as possible. UPDATE: I wrote this post before we arrived in New Paltz, NY. Verizon and New Paltz do not get along. Apparently, Sprint and AT&T are the carriers to have here. Everywhere else though, Verizon. I swear. This brings up a very important point: do not EVER plan on relying solely on your cell phone. Even in…

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Farley Ledges

By Climbing, Local Beta7 Comments

Vikki and I spent the weekend in Boston watching Alec graduate and eating way too much food. There’s nothing like a Chinese family celebrating the success of its offspring to stop your diet plans in their tracks (we’ve been striding towards eating only plant-based foods). We did manage to visit Rock Spot Boston and drop off samples for Kevin, the retail manager. While there, we happened to meet Metro Rock gym manager John, who was at Rock Spot because he was avoiding the crowds! Apparently, MR is gigantic, but much more of a “scene.” After the weekend, we drove out to Farley. Vikki picked up a shift along the way, so we didn’t get there until Wednesday afternoon. A hilarious thing happened while hunting around for a place to stay, but I’ll relate that story later. The denouement is that we didn’t actually make it to climb until Thursday morning.

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TTFN, Ta Ta For Now

By Trip Journal3 Comments

I tried many clever titles for this post: “Bye-ron,” “Byron Be Balling Back in Bloomington,” “The Glass is 2/3 Full,” and others you probably don’t want to know about. In the end, I chose a simple, easy, and I believe accurate phrase from Winnie the Pooh. I have an announcement to make. As some of you already know, Byron will no longer be a part of the RV Project. I’m not going to give you the boilerplate “pursuing other interests” explanation, as there’s way more to it than that. While our on-the-road phase might be over, our friendship is not, and that is why the “For Now” part of the title is important. Please read on.

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Bloomtown to Beantown

By Trip Journal2 Comments

Vikki and I have driven a lot of miles lately. From Bloomington, we dropped off the trailer in Edinburgh, IN for repairs and drove all the way to the New River Gorge in the beautiful state of West Virginia. As the primary driver, I have to give Vikki what some refer to as mad props for her navigation skills. She stays awake, she pays attention to the road and can direct me anywhere, and keeps the snacks handy. We only had one day in the New, and let me tell you, it was not enough. Imagine the Red River Gorge, but with a more blocky, bouldery style of climbing on lighter-colored sandstone reminiscent of HP40. We arrived at some ungodly hour, like 3AM, and camped at the free camping below the Summersville Dam. It was our first night without the Pilgrim, and we slept, Bishop-style, on crash pads underneath the stars. We slept in pretty late, and we didn’t get to the crag until the early afternoon. Unfortunately, Vikki’s stomach was on the fritz again, and she was only able to do a few laps on the best 5.7 sport climb of all time, Hippie Dreams on the Orange Oswald wall, before calling it a day. She stayed and belayed, but wasn’t able to try hard. Summersville Lake is amazing. A 15 minute hike leads you to a stream and a waterfall, with a wooden ladder bringing you to the Coliseum, or as I like to call it, the Madness Cave of…

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Cruise Control Killed My Transmission, or So You’re Thinking Of Towing

By Road Trip Beta2 Comments

Last week Jeline Guiles talked about how to plan a climbing trip. For a weekend, it’s no big deal. Strap pads to the roof of your Honda Accord or throw ’em in the back of the Subaru…a cooler for perishables and beer…sleeping bag. But for something of greater magnitude, like a week-, month-, or year-long trip, you’re going to need a more sustainable way of hauling yourself and your stuff, without having to pitch a tent every night. So maybe you want to do a long, misguided-adventure-filled deal like us, or maybe you want a lifestyle like couple named Ken and Jobi whom we met at the Red River Gorge. They work for a few months, then jump in their van and hit the road for the rest of the year. Either way, you might be considering a trailer. If you are, let me give you a quick taste of a beginning trailer driver. If you’re considering an RV, please reconsider. Please. How Big and What Kind? What’s your tow vehicle? You can pull with anything…Civics and U-hauls, for example. But if you want something you can live in, you’ll likely need something bigger. SUVs and pickups are your go-tos. Pickups will allow you to go with a 5th-wheel, which is advantageous for larger trailers as they reduce the overall length and improve maneuverability. On the other hand, 5th-wheels disallow you to have a camper shell, and reduce your storage for trips to/from the crag or into town. Check out tent-trailers….

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TNT: A Beginner’s Guide to Planning a Climbing Trip

By Climbing8 Comments

Today’s post is from Climb On! Sister blog editor-in-chief and fellow Primo Chalk athlete, Jeline Guiles. As a bouldering dynamo and outdoor climbing aficionado, we thought Jeline could give us the lowdown on how to plan a successful climbing trip for all you outdoor virgins, or those who just need a refresher. Here’s a video from her February trip to Red Rocks in Nevada to get you psyched on getting outside! ________________________________________________________________________ So you’ve talked to some climbing buddies at the gym and are ready to plan your first climbing trip of the season (or first trip…ever), but don’t know where to get started? Planning your first climbing trip can easily become a daunting task without the right resources. There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself: what gear do I need to bring? Where do I stay during my trip? What will the weather be like? How will I get around the area without a guide? And the list goes on. To make the planning process a little easier on you, I’ve created a mini-guide of things you should do/know in order to prepare yourself for your upcoming epic trip. The Climbing Area: Before making a decision on what climbing area you want to travel to, make sure to do some research. Talk to the climbers at your gym about any crags they suggest checking out. You want to choose an area that caters to the type of climbing you’ll be doing and the grades you’re…

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RV Project Episode 6: Horse Pens 40 Bouldering

By BoulderingNo Comments

The new video is up! The first Horse Pens 40 Bouldering episode features some footage from our time in New Orleans, introduces the Schultz family and Kenny, and finishes with some gorgeous night climbing captured with the crane. We hope you like it, as it’s Vikki and I’s first stab at editing footage on our own. Let us know what you think, either here or on our Facebook page. Problems in the film: Bum Boy, Centerpede, Millipede, Hammerhead, Orchid, Hercules The RV Project spent the weekend in Bloomington, IN, the hometown of such RVP characters as the Byronian Yeti, Neal “1-Arm on Whateva” Sipahimalani, Matt “Gimp Stylez” Morse (who just sent Jesus Wept (.12d) with a bum ankle), Pat “Bionic” Lafree, and a whole lot of dogs. Indeed, the Wolter household is open, friendly, and full of golden cheer. If you ever wondered why Grumpy Golden appears at the start of our vids, wonder no more: Vikki and I will be dropping the trailer off for repairs in Edinburgh, then cruising Eastward towards the New River Gorge, then Duke, DC, New Haven, and finally Boston for my little cousin’s college graduation. Bloomington is a fun little town, and we look forward to returning in a couple of weeks, after all of our social obligations have been fulfilled. We got the Rebel T3i and will bring you photos and such from the long drive. Cheers til next time!

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Never Stop Trying Hard

By Climbing8 Comments

Our time at the Red is winding down. Only two more days before we drive to Bloomington to visit Neal, Matt, Byron and the fam, and our new homie Patrick. We’ve been cranking hard on the HP40 videos, which will ultimately be two episodes. Episode one is looking awesome, and we are just waiting to get some solid internet to upload the beast (it’s kinda big…). Editing video means chopping out A LOT of very good footage. As they say, a museum is only as good as the stuff that isn’t on the walls (to spell it out for you, you must curate). Here’s a quick clip that didn’t fit in the Horse Pens episodes but is good enough for publishing. It’s one of those magic moments that was luckily caught on film (thanks to Kenny). This won’t be on the next Dosage, but it remains one of my favorite clips that we’ve shot. I wrote a bit last post about how trying hard is pretty much all I would ask of anyone out there climbing. This clip gets me as psyched to climb as any Dave Graham 5.15 FA in rural Switzerland. The story behind the video is that we were there in the canyon with lanterns and a whole gaggle of Louisianians, including Hudson, Sawyer, Blair and Ryan Terrill, and several other folks. There was a noob who’s name I can’t recall, but who embodied the spirit of try-hard. It was his first time ever climbing outside, and I…

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