Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

P1000249Here are 3 VE princesses wishing you a Happy New Year.

And here's Lisa (in the green) up on the ceiling again.


Happy New Year!

Richard, the mighty M and I all ended 2008 with a PBJ (Personal Best Jamboree) We will tell you all about it at Yarusso's on Sunday at 4:00 pm. Hope you can make it.
In the mean time enjoy this video of Tyler climbing the Schmatterhorn.

Big Turnout At VE Today

There was almost everyone who is anyone there. Nora, Lisa, Mike Ward, Emily and me. Oh, and we met a cobbler there today too. I am having the soles of one of my shoes fixed by him and they will be ready next Monday. (Can you imagine? It will take him until Monday to fix my shoes? What kind of service is that? Oh yeah, he's doing it for free.)

Friday morning a group of us are going ice climbing at the Brick Yards in St Paul. Hey, Ron, get your butt up here.

Here's where the trail down to the ice is located. (Nora, this is mostly for you.) The directions


View Larger Map

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mel & Lisa's New Boots

Here they are being guarded by Buddy.

The Gear Junkie's Favorite Adventures of '08

He's a local guy who gets all over. Here are his favorite adventures including his story of climbing Devils Tower.

Now That The Muddy Buddy Race Has Been Done

How about the Rogaine - Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance? (It looks like I made up that acronym, but it's a real race.)

It's being held at Jay Cooke Park in August.

Climbing Ice

The is a rumor about climbing in the Brickyards on Friday about 1o:00, leave a comment if you would like to come. If you need some boots, REI is selling off their rentals for $99. They are nice, Mel and I did the manly thing and geared up. Here is another source that Mel found online. Fun little website, I hadn't visited before.

Things you can do with ice besides climb it.

Pretty Cool!
I have been a fan of Andy Goldsworthy for years. I even made an ice star like this once (ok, mine wasn't quite that cool) He says the main tools he uses are spit and piss. I didn't use the later so that would explain my results. I recently discovered this spiral one, I have no idea how he did that. Any speculations?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Here's A House Climbers Might Like

Watch the first minute or so of the house tour video. Then weep and wonder why we live in the flatlands. (I just looked up the tax record; it sold for $462K.)

Maybe Lisa Should Teach This

Hey, We Already Knew This

This article reports on a study that we already knew:

"reveals that spending time in nature may be more beneficial for mental processes than being in urban environments."

It's harder in the winter to spend as much time climbing outdoors, but we already knew climbing outside makes us smarter. What was I saying? I forgot the point I was trying to make. Oh well, it was very important.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some Video of VE on Sunday

This is Mike, Ward and Liz leading out of the pit.

VE On Sunday

P1000189Quite a turnout today. 4/5ths of the Ender family, Mel, The Warden and Mike. (BTW, Mike should think about selling his new climbing shoes pretty soon. They looked a little ragged.)

Mike on left, The Warden below.



More Photos are at this link.

He wouldn't mention it, but...

Richard accomplished his 2009 goal before 2008 was even out the door! Up and over, that was the goal. Up out of the pit, across the ceiling and down the other side. I think he was very happy, excited and even surprised. Be sure to give Richard an "Atta Boy!!" When you see him next.

This is a Medal of Honor, I called the Prez to see if we could order on up for our hero.

Friday, December 26, 2008

T'was the Day After Christmas

T'was the day after Christmas, and all through the gym,IMG_6028

All the climbers were stirring, we even saw him.



The shoes were all laced on the feet with such care,

In hopes that they'd hold on the chips that were there.

And staff in their T shirts were clocked in and on duty,

While we climbers were happy and not really moody.

We had just settled down for a day filled with fun

Knowing it's better inside than outdoors with no sun.

When up on the roof there arose such a clatter,

I looked way up high to see what was the matter.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear, P1000144

But Lisa, her rope and a lot of her gear.

With Aaron belaying her I know she's no fool.




And across on the wall I spotted Raoul.P1000153

Faster than the raptors that Amy quite loves,

The climbers flew up the routes like doves.

So I whistled and shouted and called them by name,

Now Mel, Aaron, Now Lisa and Emily

On Levi, Raoul, and surely Amy

(and the guy over there whose name I forgot)

Happy Climbing to all and to all happy thoughts.

News from BHCC

Burr photo-1 Ace rock climbing photographer Andrew Burr will be presenting “A Night with Rocks from Around the World” slide show, sponsored by the Black Hills Climbers Coalition.
The program will feature limestone climbing in Morocco and Cuba, sandstone climbing in Jordan, some wild Irish sea cliff action, granite spires in Washington state, blissful climbs from northern Italy, and also a selection a photos from a variety of routes here in the Black Hills.
Burr is a great photographer, and a humorous speaker. Don’t miss this pick hits slide program of his work! $10 Dublin Square, Tuesday, December 30, 7:00 pm. Minors are allowed to watch the show. Call 348-3432 for info.

I know, it's too far to go for a slideshow so click here to view a slideshow by this photographer

We Tried This Once

On some old walls in a park in St Paul and the police told us it was illegal and kicked us out. Not in Germany, apparently.

Just Liked the Photo

I liked this photo of climber and cow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Big Rock in a Swamp

My bother in law keeps asking me if I ever heard if this and I usually just ignore him but this time he sent a news clipping...intriguing... Have you guys heard of The Marsh Mountain? It's near Chaska.


Get in with the "in" crowd!
Noon! Look for Emily, Levi, Lisa, Melissa and no doubt, Richard.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Something Else to Do With Snow

These are figures made in snow on the hood of a car. Don't know if these are real or photoshopped, but they look cool.

You Never Know When Rope Skills Are Handy

The Singapore Flyer - the world's largest Ferris Wheel - got stuck and many passengers had to be lowered by rope.

And here's a photo of the rescue workers climbing the spokes. We could do that.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Climbing in China

North Face and Black Diamond sponsored a climbing festival in

Yangshuo China. I was fascinated to learn that 

图片分享... 攀岩节比赛结果...
特别感谢默默付出的志愿者们... and 阳朔攀岩节


Here's how they had lunch carried in.

There's a story in English with photos of the competition here.

Benky's Grip Wash

Say what? This is strictly a video about cleaning climbing holds.

Happy Holidays

To be more accurate, Happy Hanukwanzmas

Monday, December 22, 2008

Climbing at VE on Wednesday the 24th

They are open from 12-4. I plan on being there for a couple hours starting at 12.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Climbing Tactics

This article talks about tactics in climbing and how to improve your ability to climb new routes.

He uses the 6P system - "As the P.E. teachers say – P.P.P.P.P.P (prior preparation prevents piss poor performance)."

I was taught the 7P system - Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. What's an extra 'P' between friends?


When I am in a tough spot, wishing I were taller, I ask myself, "What would Julianne do?" Yep, she's my hero, champion boulder-er, 5 foot nothin' and built out of truck springs. Yep and I have 20 pounds and 20 years on her but she is my inspiration none the less. I ask myself WWJD and I dyno up to the next hold. Thanks JV, miss you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Here's My Homage to Christmas

It's only 1 minute and 10 seconds. Certainly you're not to busy to watch it, are you?

This Is A Tough Way To Climb Ice

On this route on Cerro Torre in Patagonia, they have to dig out a trench in the ice near the summit. Story here.

Reading the Rock

Article on the discipline of studying the route before, during and after a climb. This guy says: " Look > try to understand > try to climb > try to understand > look some more > and so on
This is the way for steady technique gains."

A story with photos of this same guy climbing a very difficult route in Scotland is here. 

I like this quote from that article:

"The weather is notoriously bad, year-round, and in summer the midges burrow into the ears and eyes, forcing climbers to wear head nets and gloves."

For Those of You Getting Climbing Gear Presents

You might consider this gift wrapping service - Crap Wrap. It allows gifts to be wrapped by the store so it appears that a man wrapped them.

B TW, I can do this locally for free. If you want me to CrapWrap any presents, just bring them to VE on Monday. (I even have the safety goggles like the photo above.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

This Is What a 5.15 Climb Looks Like

Although apparently this climb hasn't been officially rated, it's estimated at being 5.15b. That's TUFF. Video link is here.

"Climbing in Siurana, Spain, Sharma added a "brutal" approach to Estado Critico, an existing 5.14c/d, making a first ascent on the route that adds more length and challenge. Sharma calls the new route Golpe de Estadoand and has been a bit reluctant to grade it so far, but others have estimated it to be another 5.15b difficulty."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mental Toughness vs Mental Flexibility

This is part of an article on mental flexibility and could be helpful in those tough lead situations:

"Climbing has “no-fall” and “yes-fall” risks. You determine appropriateness differently for each of these. In no-fall risks you weigh the strength, skill, and confidence you have left, compared to what is left to climb, in order to pass through the difficulties and not fall. You usually climb more slowly, stay on routes below your technical ability, and you do listen to your mind when it determines you can’t or shouldn’t continue.
In yes-fall risks you weigh the fall consequence you face—length of fall, obstacles, etc.—against your actual experience taking such falls. You climb more quickly, get on routes at or above your technical ability, and you don’t listen to your mind when it says you can’t continue."

Black Hills Climbers Coalition update

The date for the Andrew Burr sideshow has been changed!

The new date is Tuesday, December 30, 7:00 pm at Dublin Square in downtown Rapid City. The cost of the program is $10, which also includes a 2009 membership in the Black Hills Climbers Coalition (normally $10 just for the yearly membership). What a Deal!!!!!

“A Night with Rocks from Around the World” slide show will feature pick hits of Andrew’s amazing photography with limestone climbing in Morocco and Cuba, sandstone climbing in Jordan, some wild Irish sea cliff action, granite spires in Washington state, blissful climbs from northern Italy, and also a selection a photos from a variety of routes here in the Black Hills.

Andrew is not only a great photographer, but also interesting speaker who generally includes a good deal of humor. Don’t miss this killer slide program!

P.S. Although Dublin Square serves alcohol, minors will be allowed to come and see the show.

Questions? Call Bruce Junek at 348-3432

Tyrolean Traverse

Here's a cool photo of Yosemite from two days ago.

"Some climbers left lines up on the tyrolean traverse between Lost Arrow and the rim and this photo shows them frozen up."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For Those of You Following the K2 Tragedy

There's a lot of links at this post to stories from various people about the accident.

Getting Psyched to Improve

This post makes some good points about the ups and downs, psychologically of climbing. (I guess the physical ups and downs goes with the act of climbing.)

For example:

"This psyche might take the form of frustration at lack of ability, progress or disappointment at a bad performance. But I think any person who is ready to improve, and certainly all good athletes, actually feel this as a positive emotion. It is the food of motivation. So don't suppress it!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Most First Ascents of Anyone

At least anyone in the US, is this guy Fred Beckey. He's been climbing for 70 years. The only serious injury he's had, according to one of his climbing buddies, is when he fell off a bar stool. (Drinking in a bar is inherently dangerous. Be sure to use an experienced belayer.) Approx. a  4 minute video.

Monday, December 15, 2008

You Can Drive By Devils Tower

On Google Street View, you can drive past Devils Tower, but you can't turn down the road that gets you to the base of it. Still, it's amazing.

Devils Tower

Wednesday at VE

There will be a group climbing this Wednesday at VE starting around noon.

It Will Be A Cold Day

It will be a cold day in H*** when Lisa and I don't go climbing on Monday afternoon. Since we climbed today, apparently you-know-what hasn't frozen over.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Who Wouldn't Want to Live in One of These

I think this is what Mel was talking about today - living in a sphere. Right now, I'm living in a box. But, if I were to become more well-rounded, I'd consider a sphere.

Lisa Wants to Bike On Snow

Here's the perfect bike for her. It was used to bike in Antarctica. You go girl!

News from our friends in the Black Hills

Black Hills Climbing Coalition
December 2008

The next meeting of the BHCC will be 7 pm Tuesday, December 16, at the Gaslight in Rockerville.
Nominations will be taken for 2009 Chairperson and board of directors at this months meeting. This is a good meeting to attend if you are interested in the future direction of the BHCC.
We need some new energy. I didn’t sign up for BHCC chair for life. Anyone interested in taking over the helm of this organization?
We definitely need a new publicist, as Aaron Costello has gone into Rapid City politics, winning a runoff for city council (Congrats Aaron!) and will have his hands full keeping all his constituents happy.
We also need to address issues with our bolting committee procedures, and welcome input and workers.
The hike to the Hall of Records is shut down due to a liability issue, someone fell and broke their ankle. But Todd said he still working on the possibility of a small group of BHCC members going..
For this year’s holiday/New Year celebration, world renown climbing photographer Andrew Burr will be giving a slide program in Rapid City Tuesday, Jan 6th, 7:00 pm at Dublin Square. Mark your calendar!

Remember for next year — Pinfest will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2009. Beans and Biners will be on Saturday, September 12, 2009.

Climb Hard and Climb Safe

Bruce Junek—Newsletter Editor

Bruce B. Junek, Chairperson 605-348-3432
Lyle Clapp, Vice Chairperson 662-7764/440-0718
Becky Wood, Secretary
Jim Slichter, Treasurer
Aaron Costello, Publicist
Ron Yahne, Member @ Large
Peter Lev, Member @ Larg

Our First Party

We had our first C.R.A.P.P.Y.™ (Congenial Relaxed And Plenty of People Yakking) party tonite. Everyone who wanted to be there and could be there, was. It was a splendid turnout. We'll have another CRAPPY™ party on January 4th. (Maybe some of the out-of-town WRers could suggest another time. Ron, Nora?)

We climbed at VE this afternoon and then Lisa, Mel, Aaron, Mark & I wandered over to Yarusso's for drinks and dinner. (When they say "Meatball Sandwich" on the menu, that's what they mean. It was the 5.12 of sandwiches - big and hard to finish. And burly to the max; meat and bread.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

How To Stay Warm While Ice Climbing

This is a slick way to keep warm in the winter. Can I borrow your rope to try it?

I've Got Spurs That Jingle, Jangle, Jingle

You'll definitely need spurs on your crampons to do this kind of mixed climbing.

Ice Climbing Festival

Shepard Road Ice

All of the WRers going to Sandstone had to cancel today 'cuz of major sickness problems. I ran into Mike and J. at VE today and helped a new guy Mark pass his belay test.

Then I went over to Homer's Odyssey to see if they had ice. Yep, they did. One full length icicle and 2 others partly formed. It's a cool looking slot canyon with easier access than the Brickyards. So maybe it's time for a ice festival right here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hey Raoul

Are any of the areas you used to climb in Britain listed here? Which areas or routes?

Worn Anchors

Here are test results of the strength of worn anchors compared to new anchors. And the worn anchors have a higher breaking strength. 

Results Are In

The recount has been done by the election judges at V.O.T.E. F.O.R. M.E. and it's decided to have the WR party this Sunday at 4ish (see sidebar on the right for details.) Because of all the votes for other dates, there will also be a gathering on Jan 4th. We had some write-ins for a gathering at King's Place in Miesville in May, so we'll do that also. Basically, WRers will be in for a lot of C.R.A.P. (Cocktails to Relax And Ponder.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Breaking News

imageI just found 8 ballots in the back of my car so it might change the results of when we'll have the party. We are working with a group called "Voters Organized To Ensure Free & Open Results by Monitoring Elections" (V.O.T.E. F.O.R. M.E.) to help with a recount. We will know shortly.

Here's How To Learn B.A.S.E. Jumping

This is one guy's experience in learning how to fly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holy Cow, I Don't Even Want to Say Where I Found This

I wonder if I should help him with his harness. Looks like he needs it.

Who Needs Ice?

For ice climbing, all you need is some hardware.

Sandstone Ice Climbing Video

This is very similar to what you'll be doing this weekend at Sandstone. I think the music will be different though.

Forearm Strength

This article recommends heavy weights  - 50% or more of your body weight - to build finger strength using finger rolls.

Monday, December 8, 2008

OK, I May Be A Little Paranoid

But even paranoiacs can have enemies. It might be the season or it might just be me but I have this feeling someone is watching me. He seems to know when I am sleeping. He knows when I'm awake. He knows if I've been bad or good.

Have you noticed this at all? Am I going crazy or what?

Endurance Training

This endurance training program is from a British web site and I know they're crazy (right Raoul?). And I think some of their math is wrong. But I believe I have the gist of it. This guy recommends climbing 2075 vertical meters per week in a total of 3 sessions. So that's about 700 meters per day you climb. Which equals approx 2100 feet. Which means 60 laps on the 35-foot-high pit wall per day of training. No wonder those Brits are strong.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lots of New Posts Below But Don't Forget to Vote

No, not that vote, the vote that's on the side of this blog at the top. And even if you're not a citizen or don't have a valid photo ID you can vote in this one. And we're hoping your vote will make a real change; a change in the number of people who voted.

VE Schedule This Week

A few will be there Monday afternoon. A few on Wednesday. Don't know about the rest of the week yet.

This Is Way Too Young To Climb

 This is a 7 month old who's already bouldering. Think of the flexibility she must have. And the strength to weight ratio. And the full pants to empty pants ratio.

Gym Climbing Tips

(For women only.) These are 7 tips for warding off plastic predators such as the:

"Five distinct species of male which inhabit the rock gym: Skin Monkey (usually shirtless, aggro, and prone to grunting); Smarmot (an unctuous, Pepé Le Pew-like creature who uses pick-up lines like “Nice rack!”); Chigger (doesn’t take “No” for an answer); the Coach (sprays unsolicited “technique tips” that might make sense); and the bona fide Nice Guy, who wants only to climb and maybe meet someone."

Please don't tell me which one of these I am. Oh, wait, I'm the WRer.

Buisiness Opportunity!

The Assets of Alpinist, The Most Distinguished Climbing Magazine With The Most Fanatical Readers, Are For Sale!

If you are interested in acquiring any or all of the assets of this super-premium brand, please send your contact information to

- Multiple Maggie award winner

- 14,000-paid circulation with over 8,500 subscribers

- 300,000 page views per month on website

- Distinguished advertising list

- Active wealthy male readers with average income over $91,000

Alpinist is being sold free and clear of liens and creditor claims.

On October 22, 2008, Alpinist LLC made an assignment of all of its assets for the benefit of creditors under Illinois law to the Trustee/Assignee Robert Handler of Commercial Recovery Associates. An Assignment for the Benefit of the Creditors is analogous to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Trustee/Assignee is obligated to sell Alpinist's assets in order to raise the highest amount possible for Alpinist's creditors. Commercial Recovery will entertain all reasonable offers including bulk and lot sales of assets, which assets include the company's magazine, subscriber lists, website, film festival and trademarks.

Here is the link, but buyer beware, if you read the comment here you will notice that the subscribers are kinda pissed off, they want their money back

Here's a Training Program for you!

Mountain Athletes website has a copious abundance of hardcore training ideas. Click of the workouts link. Mel, many of these guys are guides on the Grand. I think they are strong enough to save our lives should the need arise.
There is a seminar in Jackson Wyoming next weekend if anyone wants to go. I don''t see many gals in the photos.
They also have mandatory carpooling to the scheduled workouts with the group. If you don't carpool you have you have to do 25 penalty burpees at the end of the work out the only exception is if you ride your bike there. I wonder if Ward's class is this tough?

Sunday At VE

A few of us will be at VE on Sunday.

Saturday Report

I did the late afternoon shift today. I heard there were a few WR's there earlier. I nailed a couple of routes I had been working on. Did a 5.10a which was nice. I ran into a flock of kayakers I knew and I ran into a real was a real "nice" ass :) You had to be there. Great afternoon!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sandstone Ice Festival

Lots of info here with the full schedule.

"Why Bother Seeing the World For Real"

Is the slogan of Google Sightseeing website. They have some wacky photos from around the world. And here's the largest freestanding rock in the world on their site.

Climbable? Who knows. There are some aliens involved in this rock, so be careful.

This Is For Raoul and The Warden

This is the video with the guy trad leading on gritstone. Starting at 7 seconds into the video and ending at 14 seconds, you'll see he releases two ropes that he is trailing. Why is he trailing two ropes?

(I've included the link instead of embedding the video. BTW, whenever I post a video on the blog, if you double click on it, you'll go to the website where it is stored and it will be bigger. I usually reduce the size of the videos when I post them because... no real reason, it's just that I'm in the 3rd Stage of Weirdness. Ask Lisa or Johnnie Mac to explain. They're in the 4th Stage of Weirdness so they understand. [Lisa was in the 3rd Stage of Weirdness but she wanted to go back to the 2nd Stage which pushed her into the 4th Stage. Ask her. Don't ask me.])

A Book Highly Recommended

The Warden is using this book and recommends it highly. Based on how good he's climbing, might be worth buying. You know Christmas is coming .  (Which reminds me, make sure your goose is getting fat.)

How Much Should I Train?

According to this guy:

"To start answering the question of ‘how much should I train?’, a good place to start is ‘try a bit more that you are used to’. Your body will tell you whether your choice is broadly correct or not. If its not enough training, you will stay at the same level. Too much and things will hurt."

Lisa, as Goldilocks said, I think our overtraining program is "just right."

Friday, December 5, 2008

WR Party

Watch the video or read the details below.
We're planning a WR climbers' party. Our plan is to make it a Sunday afternoon so everyone can climb at VE if they want, and then at 4ish meet at Yarusso's which is a bar/restaurant about 1 mile from VE. There you can have a meal or a C.R.A.P. (Cocktail to Relax And Ponder.)
So pick a date on the poll on the sidebar.

Once You've Climbed to the Top

Here's a way to get down that'd be fun. It's zorbing

Thursday VE Report

Lisa showed up for a few minutes as she was on her way to Duluth for a multi-event weekend. Including concert going, fund raising, swimming, skiing and other peripatetic activities. John was there practicing his lead climbing out of the pit. And we helped a new guy - Kyle (possible WRer?)- pass his lead test. He just moved here from the Denver area where he used to climb in Eldorado Canyon. He's a pilot and has a fairly flexible schedule. Hope to see him some more.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Big Turnout at VE on Wednesday

DSCN7777Aaron, John, Amy, Tamara, Lisa, Mel and I were there. Two photos to prove it.






Mel-lo and Quick draw both had some fun up on the roof today, so it was Personal Best Jamboree Day. The rest of us showed up and put on our harnesses, so we win too! There were quite a few in attendance, good to see A1 back, Trigirl, Johnny Mac, Amy too. I feel much better, I tried to take some time off but I find I am physically addicted to endorphins and adrenaline and the withdrawal made me feel like crud. I am all better now!
I am going to Duluth, see y'all on Sunday. Would anyone happen to be in Duluth on Friday. I have the day open for climbing, skiing, anyone??

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

20 Stunning Rock Formations

Here's an article and slide show that picks out 20 great looking rock formations around the world.

This Is A Tough Way To Enjoy A Sport You Love

Be sure you watch the last 35 seconds to see the edge of the cliff he's biking along.

Disaster and Climbing

This might be a (yoga) stretch, but I'm reading a book called "The Unthinkable" which is a study of how people react during disasters. Like plane crashes, fires, etc. One of the ways they study people's panic reactions, is to drop them unexpectedly from a height, so they land on their backs on a net below. "It is freaking scary. It goes against every instinct you have.

That's very similar, it seems to me, to lead climbing on the ceiling at VE. There's lots more in the book about how they train people to overcome the initial panicky feelings we all have when under stress. Such as the tendency to have tunnel vision. More to follow if I can get over my panic at reading about disasters.

Here's A Way To Combine Two Hobbies

 If you like to climb and you like to use tools, you can practice chopping bolts (like this guy here or this guy here) from routes you don't like. Another benefit is that fewer people are likely to clog up the climbs you want to do.

Monday, December 1, 2008

If You Think Snakes Are Bad

If climbing next to rattlers at Red Wing is bad, how would you like to climb next to these critters?


Mensch: German, Yiddish, person of honor and integrity. Good qualities in a belayer and a Realtor for that matter. Here is a video of the same name. Does anyone know German?

A Response to Lisa's Post About Jugs at VE

I will not, can not, in a legal sense

Touch Greg’s jugs, ‘cuz I’m a mensch

I will not, can not, move his holds

I could not ever be so bold

I could not, would not, climb his crimps

I am, as always, quite the wimp

I am not good at holds that slope

Do not like them, but still I’ll cope

Sunday, November 30, 2008


The Warrior's Way says this about self-coaching (Much More at the Link):

" Sometimes, however, you may not like all the stimulation from below and rather coach yourself. 
Instruct your belayer to be very attentive while you are climbing but to say nothing, unless it is a safety issue. Then, get on a climb at your limit and talk to yourself.
At rests:
"Ok (Your Name), breathe, shake out, calm down. Where's the next pro/stance? Is the fall ok? What's possible in this next section?"
When climbing:
"Keep breathing; keep moving; loosen your grip; calm down, what's next?; make the move; commit; precise feet, etc"

Nice Jugs

There has been some discussion with Greg at VE about a lack of juggy holds to use on the overhanging routes. Apparently there is a shortage (weird seeing as how there is a hold factory in the back) I was shopping a bit click here for nice jugs. Maybe we could ask Santa.

Fly Mel, Fly

After doing my homework on the blog, I combined coaching techniques and dyno instructions in climbing with the gifted and graceful Mel-lo. At the top of an impossible climb, completely sapped of energy from trying. I told her to take a break, look ahead and listen to me. I told her to breath, push hard with her feet and not let go too soon with her catching hand. It worked, Mel flew to the top of the route like she had wings, it was amazing! Read this stuff, it works.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fly, Baby Fly

"Everyone feels too short when the holds are far away, right? So, what's the clue? What are you to think, that makes it possible to fly and land those crucial centimeters higher up?"

Some helpful techniques for reaching way up  high.

Climbing This Week

Lisa and Mel will be at VE on Sunday. Usually they get there about 1PM. Lisa will be at VE on Monday about 1 also. My knee is sore from when I hurt it running last week so I will skip the next few days. Have fun.

Cueva de los Cristales Gigantes de Naica

When we go to Mexico, to climb that Corral. We could go see this cave. These rocks are big and pretty, but it is really hot in there. I hear it's 115 degrees.

Friday, November 28, 2008

This Is Where Raoul Used to Climb in the UK

I think this is where Raoul told me he climbed when he lived in England. I love the huge cam this guy puts in to lead it. Anyone would feel very safe with a cam that big.

Bozeman Ice Festival

The Bozeman Ice Festival's mission is to promote the sport of ice climbing to people of all ages and abilities, to educate ice climbers about climbing skills and safe climbing techniques, and introduce climbers to cutting edge ice climbing clothing and equipment.

I would go, but I have plans in Duluth. Any of y'all gonna go? Take photos. It looks cool.

Friday Report

I think we were the only ones that knew the gym opened at 11:00, but then it got crowded. Richard, Raoul, Nora, Levi, Melissa and her offspring Isabella showed no sign of being overstuffed by Thanksgiving. Lots of leading was done. Levi, Raoul and Richard played on the arch and Nora went for that elusive 7th clip on the yellow 5.9 out of the pit. Mel and Izy burned up the auto belays. Isabella climbed all the way to the giant VE! Way to go!Levi and I finished of with some bouldering. I still feel a little weird up there, like it's no place to take your mama. I will probably get over it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Friday at VE

A bunch of people are going to be at VE on Friday the day after T'giving. I think VE opens at 11. C U there.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rattlesnake Bluff

Go to my regular blog. I've posted my report there as I had a ton of photos to put up. See everyone Friday at VE!

Forearms Look Like This After A Climb?

This article on lactic acid and pumped forearms, has some methods for preventing/recovering from this Popeye syndrome.




Arno Igner wrote the book "The Warrior's Way" and here's what he says about coaching someone while s/he is climbing.

"The most common phrase I hear when I go to climbing gyms or climbing areas is "you've got it." This phrase is that climbers on the ground say to encourage the climber to stay committed. There is a problem with this phrase. ..

If the belayer would remind the climber of these then perhaps the climber would be better able to rally his or her attention and keep it focused on the task. So, what are some of these things? If the climber is stopped and intending to rest then you can coach him/her to relax, breathe, and shake out. If the climber is moving and intending to climb then you can coach him/her to breathe, move, and stay as relaxed as possible. You can also ask the climber a question that will help him/her stay focused. I've found that saying "what's next?" helps climbers redirect attention on what they are doing and what they need to do next to stay committed.
Go to a climbing gym or crag and notice how many climbers say "You've got it." Now, you get on a climb and instruct your belayer to remind you to:
At rests - breathe, shake, relax
When climbing between rests - breathe, move, relax, "what's next?"
See if coaching this way helps you stay on task."

Which Shoe Is Stickiest?

This test says the Evolv TRAX XT-5 rubber is the stickiest.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'll Get Off This Gritstone Trad Lead Kick Soon

But here's another video with amazingly poor gear placement way low on the climb. At about 25 seconds into the video, watch for the 4 small stoppers and one small cam he places right next to each other. These climbers are crazy.

Here're Some of The Banff Film Festival's Winners

Lisa mentioned this video in the Film Festival that she & Mel attended last Saturday. Here's a trailer of Grit Kids 2.

Here's a trailer of Psyche: Patagonia Winter.

And here's part of Lisa's favorite movie about climbing without chalk, shoes and only using knotted slings for trad leading. 

And Crux trailer below.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hanging on in Quiet Desperation is the English Way...

There was a little discussion today over a pint about the British way of belaying. One of the films we saw yesterday showed two ropes through two pieces of protection. I though it was a mom's way of trying to protect her trad climbing kid's but it seems that the way the Brits do it. Check out this video, seem pretty safe, The belayer has both ends, the climber is in the loop, I think. Soft catch anyway, but take a look at the fall and then tell me what you think.

A Great Weekend!

Friday night Mel and I represented the WR crew at the Expo. We ate some African food at the Kilimanjaro Cafe and went to hear Mike's talk about the K2 tragedy. He did a good job presenting the facts and what likely happened from his perspective. Brief overview, there was no one catastrophic event, lots of small things, like timing and unfortunate incidences like ice falls happened in untimely ways and good people died. There was no whole team wiped out but 2 from Norway, 2 Serbs, 2 sherpas, 3 Koreans... 11 souls in all. Another pause to consider the amount of risk each of us is willing to take.

Afterward we went to Big V's to hear Noal's Band Digby Jones. I think I would call it Alternative Folk Rock. They were pretty good. The bar was a dive. VE was moderately represented.

Saturday, Mel and I took our hubbies out on the town. Carl and I went to a talk on the Wind River Range. I went on my first climbing trip there in 1975 (yeah, I was 2) I seemed the crowd had been the too, maybe even before me. The speaker did a good job of presenting the reality of a high altitude backpacking trip, some parts are just plain hard.
We went to Kilimanjaro cafe again for dinner, didn't get rave reviews from the guys but who told them to eat meat. not me! I liked it ...again.

Then we were off to the film festival. My fav was The Sharp End a bunch of hot shot young American climbers go and learn a thing or two from some bold and old climbers in the Czech Republic. Point being, you don't always get old being bold. Anyway, these were the guys that climb barefoot and use knotted ropes for pro. Very bold. I recommend this film. We also saw one about avalanches, very scary. But it did make me want to go skiing...very soon. Next film, The Eskimos are angry with us but Mel says she thinks they might enjoy being warm and they should give it a try. Cut to Patagonia. There were 2 Englishmen that made an attempt on an scary looking Fitz Roy in Patagonia, in the winter. They tried like mad, it looked terrible, this film was however quite amusing. There was a film about life in Aspen as well, an old artist told me "If you like something, do it more" so that's what I plan to do. So if you don't see me at the gym, I'll be skiing, or hanging out with one of YOU! If you want film titles or facts go to

Aaron & All You Other Tradders

At about 34 seconds into this video of a guy climbing gritstone in Britain, you can see 6 or 7 cams/pieces of pro in the crack he's climbing. That's a B.A.C. (Also, you can hear someone yelling Lisa's favorite climbing enrouragement "Allez, allez.")

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Good Site With Training Info has a bunch of articles in their School Room on training:

"All too often (in fact 99% of the time) climbers spend all of their energy training their bodies. But how often does it all go to pot when you are 3ft above a wire or 2 metres above a bolt. So why don’t we train our heads?"

Good Reason To Use A Spotter

Or a rope.

Friday, November 21, 2008

At VE Today

Besides some of the oh-so-regulars like Lisa and me, John and Amy were there. And we climbed with Raoul;  a guy from the UK who I've talked to several times but who usually climbs by himself. We belayed him on some very hard leads. I asked him where he climbed in the UK. And I think this is one of the places - noted for its gritstone.

The 3 Area Pledge

This guy says:

""Climbing at many different areas is the very best investment in your future climbing ability--of course it's great fun, too...Here's the biggest secret to achieving your "three new area" goal this year. Right now, you must write down the three climbing areas you want to visit (next) season and develop a plan of action for getting to each."

So here are my goals: VE, Red Wing, Taylors Falls. Oh wait, that's the same as regular. How 'bout, Needles, Red Rocks and this place. With rock faces like this:

"Eleven pitches ranging from 5.8 to 5.10d.  Great summit about 4 foot by 4 foot area!  20 second approach. [20 seconds! I don't think I'd want to hike that far.]

Or these routes on the same rock wall:

"Nine excellent pitches ranging from 5.6 to 5.10d with a beautiful summit.  A fifteen second (yes, second) 'hike' completes the approach! 

¡Ole! the fiesta begins today.

Haven't posted in awhile!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Night Out

As I have mentioned Mel and I are go to the Expo at Midwest Mountaineering Friday Night to see what Mike Ferris has to say about K2.

Just so happens that the Wednesday Rockers got an invite to go to "Big V's" at University and Snelling to hear Noal's band ( Digby and Jones) play, that same night about 10 or 11. I know it's late...babies. We will be dead for millions of years! Let's stay up late Friday night.

Here is a review of the venue
This is exactly what rock venues should aspire to. Grimy, cheap drinks, no less than three bands every night, and usually a cheap (5 bucks or less) cover. And for you scenesters out there, that psychedelic-folk-metal-noise group that will be selling out CMJ shows next year and making bloggers freak out has already played there and will be through again shortly. Oh, and their sound system is more than decent.

Here is a map

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


 "No doubt, there will be many mental battles waged as your desire to do a route conflicts with a primal instinct to avoid falling."

imageGreat quote from this article on how to get more comfortable in falling.

Here's One For Nora

These kayakers go down a 300 foot high spillway somewhere in Wales.

You'd Think Climbing Would Be Hard Enough

Without doing it barefoot.

(I had no idea of the popularity of barefoot climbing until I did a search on YouTube  and found quite a few.) 

Building a Climbing Wall?

Yesterday, I received via US Postal Service, a glossy new Nicros Catalog. I guess they think I should build a wall here at the church. Well, that would cut down on my time with all of you so...
I have a certificate for a free set of Berlmeisters ($34 value) with the purchase of $100 or more of resin products from Nicros. Would anyone like to have it for their project? Let me know!