Saturday, December 19, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
With winter setting in and the snow piling up on our back deck, we’ve been getting a little antsy to go climbing outside. For almost the last month we’ve been hitting the gym hard, training at the Front to work the raw power, and making regular trips down to Momentum to tie in and get pumped on the lead walls. Between the two facilities it’s quite possible to stay in pretty decent shape. However, it’s still not climbing outside! We’ve been checking the forecast for every climbing destination south of us, all the way down to Hueco. The massive storm that has come through though has deposited cold temps and some precip in every single climbing area across the southwest. Negative.
After short deliberation we came to the conclusion to head south to Las Vegas and the sunny confines of Red Rocks. Lin made a couple of phone calls and was reassured that if the forecast is 45 and rainy in Vegas, it was sunny and warm at a few walls in the park. That was all it took. We called ahead to Bonnie Springs (bring yer six shooters!) and loaded the car up with, well, basically every single thing we own... including the cats. Chevy Chase and the National Lampoon crew has nothing on THIS family vacation.
We had dry roads all the way so we made great time. Naturally, when we hit the VRG I was driving and rubber necking trying to check out the Blasphemy Wall. I felt like a dip shit since it was seven o’clock and blacker than the inside of a cow and obviously couldn’t see a damn thing, but Deadbolts “You Don’t Scare Me” was cranked on the iPod and the psych was high. After a quick stop in Vegas for some staples, we cruised through the Nevadan desert with wild donkey signs and soldier-like Joshua trees splattering the shoulders of the wandering high way. Our digs here in Bonnie Springs are pretty swank by climbers standards. We’re rocking two tele’s, a little kitchenette and a California King bed, not bad. It DID however suck when we got all the food inside and started to cook dinner when we realized that this is the one establishment that comes complete with a kitchenette but no dishes or utensils... shit!
I took one for the team and drove the 30 minutes back to town and purchased a sweet new set of Martha Stewart dishes from Albertsons... at least we have a preferred card.
Thursdsay morning we woke up to clear blue skies and lots of sun! We scarfed down some powdered doughnuts and a bowl of Cheerios and headed for the park. We opted to climb at the sun baked Stratocaster wall, a bit of a hike but not too bad. The dogs did great considering over half of the 30 minute approach is on sandstone slabs. They clawed and pawed and peddled their way up behind us, only requiring a boost once. We pulled up onto the large terrace that makes up the base of the wall and a curious head popped up over a bush in front of us. “Holy shit” I said, “that’s a fricken whippet!” As we walked around the corner to our surprise our friends from SLC Trent and Dawn were climbing there with their 11 month old whippet Epic. The boys were psyched!
The dogs got down to some serious rough housing and we set to sampling the fantastic red and black patina sandstone routes. The warm ups were terrific; one, a pumpy short route with big open handed sloping jugs, and the other, a longer technical crimp fest on a vertical wall of blackened edges. Neither of us has had much experience climbing on this type of sandstone and it definitely took some getting used to. Some holds are terrible hollow sounding (one rib of rock the size of a coffee table I could see daylight behind) but surprisingly strong. As I was gingerly pulling on the seemingly fragile holds, I voiced my concern for the friable holds and Trent reassured me that if his 200 pound frame could tug on them, so could my 185 pound carcass. I was comforted for about ten seconds and then I realized he probably just primed them all and the whole wall was ready to fall over on me... I began thinking very light thoughts, feathers... helium... feathers... helium...
After we felt good and warmed up, we got our game faces on and set off to try the walls test-piece, a .13b called Beyond Reason. WOW! What a perfect climb! This one goes on the list of greats and I’d recommend it to anyone climbing near the grade. Lindsay hung the draws and did a great job of deciphering the upper headwall, a cryptic series of moves through tiny crimps and edges. The bottom half of the route is a full on slug fest. Compression climbing between sidepulls, edges, and sloping crimps. The movement was the first thing I noticed, brilliant throws, lunges, and powerful lock offs between finger buckets and bad edges (one in particular we’ve dubbed “the turd”). We worked the route into the fading sunlight (and warmth). I was able to snatch the redpoint on my third attempt by the skin of my teeth. Having not climbed outside in a while, our endurance is a bit lacking. The gym sessions have definitely helped but they’re still no substitute for the real thing.
Lindsay came dangerously close on her third go as well but fatigue had set in and the cold temps were taking hold. She figured out a couple of better sequences on her next go and we’ve vowed to return again so she can finish the rig, truly a route worth coming back for. The forecast isn’t looking great (as I’m writing this the canyons and big mountains are engulfed in clouds) but we’re optimistic and will try and get in as many days as possible before we leave on Wednesday. It’s a real treat just to be down here and climbing in such a beautiful place.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
This post is LONG overdue and I apologize, I've been diverting my attention to Youtube and Facebook, I'm a slacker I know. Well as you all know it's September now, wow, where did 2009 go?! Salt Lake is still treating us very well, we've figured out the cool little hangs for food, like Lonestar Taqueria, Salt Lakes #1 destination for fish tacos and all victuals from south of the border. We still like Mazza, a swanky little middle-eastern restaurant with Armenian beer and wines from Iraq, Iran and all the dishes to accompany them. Upon moving here we knew that there were a lot of destination climbing areas like Maple, A.F., Logan, LCC. What nobody told us was that there a TON of smaller areas that are just as good like Blacksmith Fork, City Creek, Santaquin, Echo, Ferguson, Chadbourne, and a host of others. Needless to say we've been up to our ears in climbing trips to different crags all the time. It's like Utopia with 3.2 beer! So far we've really just been working and climbing in our free time. It's been pretty nice to have a steady work schedule and just kind of fall into that sort of routine. We don't really foresee any major trips coming up in the near future as we're trying to buffer out our bank account post "honeymoon". Luckily we've got southern Utah as a destination this winter. Only four hours away, St. George will be an admirable base to launch climbing attacks from, it'll be an easy weekend trip with a slew of different areas to choose from.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
There's a crew of guys working on cleaning everything out right now but it's hard to say what the final outcome will be. Hopefully we can do a load of laundry and flush the toilet in the same day, that'd be super! Aside from that we've been moving stuff in, cleaning, arranging, organizing, and marveling at all the cool stuff we totally forgot we had. We've been to the climbing gym once, it's an amazing facility, state of the art as far as gyms go. Climbing outside has had to take the back seat due to rain every day since we got here. Not just little Rocky Mountain thunder showers either, I'm talking like 40 days and 40 nights kind of biblical rain. We had dinner at our friends house up at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon last night and as we were driving on the interstate, people were pulling over the rain was coming down so hard. The wipers couldn't keep up and people were hydroplaning on the freeway, scary business.
So tonight we're going out for Lindsays birthday, just a romantic evening for the two of us, then it's more job hunting and interviews.
So feel free to swing by if you're in the neighborhood, we've got the spare bedroom up and running, and from the sounds of it the plumbing is starting to shape up as we speak. If it ever stops raining, we'll get outside and take some pics of our new home crags. Until then....
Monday, May 11, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Driving around Salt Lake looking for houses has made Lin and myself perpetually nauseous. We drive as slow as we can without impeding traffic too much, and whip our heads from left to right looking for the little red "For Rent" signs posted in yards and windows. Two days of this nonsense has led us to sore necks and queasy tummies. Yesterday we found a KILLER place in the area known as Liberty Park. It's got a great back yard for the boys, two car garage and lots of off street parking, enough space for the two of us as well as a quaint little upstairs for guests. We filled out the application in the rain and gave it right back to the guy! If any of you know Dan the owner (he's a school teacher who's moving to Seattle with his wife and his Prius), tell him to rent to us because we're good looking and our dogs are faster than most senior drivers :).
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Dewey has been tutoring me on photo techniques and it's been a lot of fun trying some newer more advanced tricks and tips. I took 140 pictures yesterday, not a damn one turned out! We sat down and he explained what I was doing wrong and hopefully today will yield some better results. As a personal highlight, I finally got to ride go-carts on a road trip. Ever since I saw Three Weeks & a Day, I desperately wanted to ride some go-carts Daryl Waltrip style. Our good friends Vance and Jen came down last week to visit some family and we got to spend a rest day with them at Fiesta Fun, THE establishment in Three Weeks the crew rides THEIR go-carts at. I spent all my money on those goofy things! I am such a geek.
Let's all just pray for some good weather and stronger muscles, all that any bi-pedal hominid would wish for~
Friday, April 3, 2009
Lin's finger is feeling better, she climbed on a .13b yesterday called Resurrection. Not only do I think that route is heinous (since the holds are small, tweaky, and barely there), it's certifiably HARD. The consensus around the campfire is that it's big in the grade (meaning it's difficult for the grade it's given). She went up once, had a strong burn (or try), came down and professed that she had used up all her juice and was gassed out. She then made two more attempts, each one stronger than the previous. The last go, she bobbled her feet, bobbled her hands, and still made a clip that has proven quite difficult in past tries. Encouraging.
I tried a .13b also called Indulgence. With our friend Kyle spraying me down (giving me suggestions on what to do) I flashed all the way to the top, four feet from the anchors. Flaming out, I faltered and had to hang. AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! It definitely would have been one of my strongest efforts climbing ever! Recomposing myself, I tried to figure out the very cryptic ending sequence. I pitched off right at the chains, taking a funky little fall. Due to the nature of the rock and the bolt placement, I swung into the wall kinda hard and jammed my big toe, bad. We knew it wasn't broken but it was really sore for the rest of our time at the crag. I tried putting on my climbing shoe but it was a no-go. Way to painful to stand in the tiny little pockets at the top of the route. Poop.
The weather is crapping out on us again, cold and windy. It has to be a minimum of 70 degrees in town before we can conceivably climb at the Cathedral crag (the area we're most excited about) and it's been in the low sixties for the past two weeks. Hopefully it'll warm up this next week and we can get some good days in. We're scheduled to golf on Sunday with Laurie and Dewey, we're pretty excited about that. Our good friends Vance and Jenn are coming down from Lander this week also to visit her parents. We're making plans to get out and climb with them which will be WAY fun.
Nothing too new on the Salt Lake front unfortunately. We're still job hunting, the question still remains, "what do we want to do, and how often"? It's hard to think about going back to forty plus hours a week when we see all the people around us working part time and playing just as much as us. Sure, we're struggling with the age old question of balance. Luckily, we have really good looking dogs and camper named "Gwendoline, The Ivory Palace" so I think we'll probably be just fine!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Today finds us enjoying some well deserved Internet, coffee, and hot showers with couches and lounging laying in waiting. St. George is the final destination on this little excursion in paradise. We'll be here until we make the move to Salt Lake for jobs and "real life" We stopped by the Cathedral and Wailing wall yesterday, two amazing areas south of here. I can already see spending a good chunk of our time there. With better access to the inter-web, we'll be better about posting and updating our trip. If you're on Facebook, check out the video entitled The Dude Ranch 2009. It's rated R for language but portrays our time in Hueco rather accurately. Adios
Saturday, March 7, 2009
We've had the pleasure of climbing with some great new friends, Paul Jung and Ronnie Jenkins, both from back east. Paul's subtle and dry wit is always catching us off guard and Ronnie is so off the wall that you never know what he's going to do next just to get a good laugh out of everyone. Our tours have been those not of hard climbing, but fun climbing. Running around the park looking for the mega-classic V0 and V1's we've always skipped over. Just finding these gems proves to be an exciting day. Alas and alack, our time here has drawn to an end. We've got a day or two more, Trevor is dead set on finishing a video project and yours truly is the only one who has no video time. A day or two on north and then we're heading north, maybe to New Mexico for a few days and then to southern Utah to the limestone areas of St. George and the Arizona strip. I would love to post some pics but we don't have any since Trevor has confiscated our camera to shoot his masterpiece video. If it's finished any time soon, I'll post it, just don't let the kids watch (Trevor's music may not fall under the "family listening" category).
Monday, February 16, 2009
It feels good to finally have good skin and strong muscles. It looks like we'll be here through the first bit of March as the weather further north is just not that warm yet. We're excited at the prospect of having more time to project harder climbs. We've also decided on Salt Lake as our destination for relocation. It boils down to job opportunities, housing opportunities, and a centralized location to lots of climbing. In the meantime, I've been playing around with our movie maker program and the new video is my first attempt at a future career in Hollywood. Enjoy.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
When we're not touring the fairytale land of Hueco Tanks, discovering new problems and dispatching those just barely within our grasp, we play Ping Pong. Let me rephrase, we play a SHIT load of ping pong. I would say on a climbing day we play 24 games or so, and on rest days it's double that. We're not ready for the Chinese national team yet but we have two distinct modes. We either have "Forrest" moments where we miss the table completely with the ball, miss the ball all together, or just plain screw up royally. OR we have "Gump" moments where we dive backwards, blindly, left handed and return the serve with shocking speed and dangerous accuracy. There's no rhyme or reason to it but damn is it fun. The handful of moments we're not playing, I'm building furniture for Trevors house, Lindsay's shouting for Bodhi and Amico who LOVE chasing the jack rabbits, or we're resting, rubbing hand salve anywhere we dub and "ouch" zone.
All in all we're getting stronger, day by day, minute by minute. We know we're getting stronger because we climb a bit harder each day and in the meantime we hurt like hell! Sound logic I think. The dogs are getting a bath today at Petsmart so Lin and I are headed to the dollar theater for some sweet old movies. We may even take in an ice cream before we head back out into the desert. I'll have a large, not because I'm hungry but because I think I can probably fit both my hands into a large bowl. Mint chocolate chip too, for when we pull our tips out and like them!
Monday, January 19, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
With an impending storm, we flew out the next morning (only to find out later that we were one of the last planes out and then they closed O'Hare) and arrived in Houston to a voicemail that the entire rest of the gang were delayed in Denver and couldn't make the connection to San Jose (the capital of Costa Rica). We continued on south, arriving in San Jose at dusk. Kelly the travel master had arranged a shuttle for us to a great little gated hotel complex in Escazu, a region above San Jose. We listened to gunfire and fire works as the Christmas holiday approached. The rest of the family arrived that night via a different airline and flights.
The next morning we loaded into a sweet little Toyota van that puts most American cars to shame. As a side note, ALL their cars put ours to shame. We rode in a Toyota Hilux while we were there and when we asked our driver what kind of mileage it got, his response was "I can't count that high". Matt and I did the math, roughly 50 miles to the gallon. But back to our trip down, our driver Antonio would prove to be one of the highlights of the trip. His Tico knowledge of the country was invaluable. From the coffee highlands to the coastal regions he gave us the brief history of Costa Rica and explained all of her idiosyncrasies to us. The ride down took 10 hours, five of which were on a two lane dirt road. Brutal to say the least. When we arrived in Zancudo we flipped out. It is truly at the end of the earth and there are a significant lack of amenities to prove it.
We dropped our bags, put on our suits, and RAN into the ocean like lemmings to the sea! Pura Gringos I think. When we got back to our cabinas we realized just how remote we really were. No phone, no TV, no radio, no Internet, no communication with the outside world at all. There was a small "convenience store" two minutes walk away with surfboards, beer, and pink marsh mellows. Other than that, we could bust open any of the coconuts outside our door and the restaurant at the "resort" served us most of what we needed. I say "resort" because it was comprised of four buildings, the restaurant, the owners house, two cabinas, and the surf shop. Oh yeah, none of the buildings had insulation, glass, or hot water. Screened windows, hardwood floors, and fans, lots of fans.
The next week is a blur. I can tell you we swam, surfed, walked the beach, took pictures, drank Imperial beer, and pretty much just lazed around the black sand beaches in the sun. We took a tour through a wildlife refuge, THAT was COOL! A few highlights were the dolphins swimming next to our little skiff boat, snorkeling a coral reef (waiting on the underwater camera to be developed) and the spider monkey showing Matt where it wanted to be scratched...funny as hell! We ultimately got the surfing thing down, what a blast! It took us all a day though to realize why you need a rash guard. We thought it was for the water...negative ghost rider! My abs, knees, and inner ankles all still bare the wounds of wax rash where I lay on the board to paddle out through the surf. We walked to the "center" of Zancudo which was nothing more that the police station and school, the best part of which was as we were walking back along the beach, we were adopted by a beagle named Magio. The owner of the Coloso Del Mar informed us that "we were his now and not to try and shake him." Magio was great, he was our personal body guard for four days.
Our journey home took us along the Panamanian border and through many police checkpoints where when asked about our travels the policia would look at us with confusion when we told them we had been in Zancudo. Barely making all our connecting flights back, we came back to Milwaukee two nights ago, weary from two days of travel, and fighting some nasty head colds. We'll continue to add to this post with new photos when everyone sends them out, here are a few to tide you over. In summation, the trip was amazing. We saw way more country than we thought we would, met some great people, and enjoyed the Pura Vida. We wouldn't recommend this trip to just anyone, there's a reason it's at the end of the earth. It takes a long time to get there and at times it's not the most comfortable trip but in the end, it was totally worth it. Adios