Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Climbs Done at Red Wing by WRers Wednesday

In no particular order. (And I know Mike did some other ones but I didn't see those.)

New Vice Area

  • Living Postmortem
  • Dr. Rock
  • Frequent Flatulence
  • Dealer's Choice
  • Two Tone Zephyr

The East End

  • Sunburst
  • Left Lane
  • Dead Dog Arete - Mike, is this the one you and the famous poet (Byron) did?


  • Danger High Boltage

Large Roof Area

  • Needles and Pins
  • Multiple Stab Wounds

Hooray, I'm Back on the Grid

I finally got my old computer working enough to blog. (I bet some of you could hardly wait.)

So many climbs, so little time to write about them. Where to start? With Mel-lo leading & flashing her first Red Wing climb? With Lisa doing a flash on a "bold" (thank you Mike) route. With A1 leading several new routes. With Mike, showing us his intrepid, inimitable style of leading, or with me? Let's start with me.

That was the hardest part of the day for me. I'd rate it a 5.12d. And a free solo - no tech support.




Part of Buddy's support team having a PowWow







One of Lisa's support staff







Mel-lo leading



When I recover from my computer meltdown, I'll post more info about routes. Now I must go and bite my pillow.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day Off? Cross-Training!

It was nice that Steve wrote a training program for his guides to prepare to lead folks up Devil's Tower and it was nice that he shared it with us. I though it looked great totally hard core enough for the WR Crew. QD didn't like the idea of biking to the gym but I did!
There was one part that I did not understand. Day 4- Take the day off. What? I'm confused, why would we do that? I have an option for anyone else that was confused by that directive.
Go to the garage and find an object with a handle and of moderate weight, like a leaf blower. Flake and coil the cord 3 times. then walk slowly up the driveway swinging the object from side to side, using the full extension of your arms. The find a pole with a fan like attachment, do resistance training by dragging this object across the grass. If you walk backward slowly, you can work on your balance as well. Since Mel has taken some time off, I thought it might enhance her workout to hoist a 25 lb weight up onto her hip and balance it there while performing this workout. That move might be too much for the guys. If you lack the gear or facilities to do this workout, let me know. You can come over to my house and I will hook you up.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A New Technique to Practice at Blue Mounds

I borrowed these photos from the Swiss Alpine Museum.

I thought this would be a good technique to practice as a group. If we all piled up on each other, I know we'd reach the top. Any volunteers for the bottom position?


Ever felt as though you just couldn't go on?

Don't Try This at Home

I can't understand why this guy untied from his rope when he was hanging 100 feet down a moulin - an ice cave with a river running through it - but that sounds like what he did.


We can do this next winter right here in Minnesota if we're lucky.

What's So Funny?

Well the guy in the video below is - he invented laughter therapy. There's an entire worldwide movement of laugh yoga (Sunbeam, get on this) including this guy the laughing yogi. If you can watch these videos without cracking a smile, I'll buy you some climbing gear.

So the next time I laugh at you while you're climbing, it's just a way to feel better. And help you achieve Max Eff.

Rockin' Red Wing on Wednesday (say THAT out loud)

We will meet at Barnes Bluff at 11:00 am. The eastern contingency will depart Red Wing at 2:30. The western contingency will climb until the cows come home. Leave a comment if you would like to be part of the action or part of the carpool.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Toproping Sport Climbs

The recommended technique at Red Wing is to use your own quick draws if you're going to top rope. This article goes into some detail about the whys of that policy. We usually replace 5-6 'biners per year at Red Wing because of the wear on the anchor biners.

Look Who Showed Up on Sunday

 IMG_5638 IMG_5615 IMG_5651

Sunday at VE

It was a good day for some new routes. I watched Julieanne soar to the top of many 5.11 routes and a few leads. We met up with Richard and he did a wonderful job of encouraging us and to keep the quest up for outside climbing. Then we watched the climbing duo of Julie and Mike make the long lead over the roof. (to the left of the pit) It was a good day and I'm least my neck is from watching the ceiling a lot.

A Blast from the Past

Here's a 9 minute video of  a trip described below:

"In the summer of 1958 three English housewives drove 8,000 miles to India. All married to mountaineers they decided to have an adventure of their own."

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Well I'm back from a string of trips and hoping to see everyone more. I made it to VE today after a few weeks off and I felt it! No big accomplishments to report besides making it to the gym on a nasty day like today. Lots of new routes to explore and some I got no business messin' with. I saw some familiar faces and met Ward too.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Trendy Biking Route

This is the new popular biking route with the tough guys (& girls.) It's called the "Road of Death." Great name. And it's just what I like to do: pay a lot of money to go to a poor country and use expensive bikes to seek thrills by using roads the locals need to get to town.

"The highway east from La Paz — the world's highest capital city — winds dramatically down the face of the Andes, dropping 11,800 feet in just 40 miles.

The narrow, largely dirt track earned its macabre nickname for the frequency with which Bolivian buses would plunge off its 3,300-foot cliffs, killing hundreds a year..."

I'll bet it's a lot of fun. Too bad I've got climbing plans this year.

The Bolts We Use at Red Wing

You probably already know this. But most of the bolts at Red Wing are courtesy of this guy. He's working on a whole lot of Sandstone routes - some of which I saw in March & they looked fun. He's got stuff on his site about how he bolts, which routes he's re-bolted (I know Mike-san recommended re-anchoring Cyclops) and how you can make a contribution. For only $250, you can name a new route at Sandstone. I'm thinking I'll contribute and name it "Buddy."  Clever name, huh? I notice Mike-san's already given him some cash. Good on ya, Mike.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm With Deano on This One

Dean Potter does not grade his climbs... "I don't rate climbs because I trap and limit myself if I rate them." Potter added that he put in "maximum effort."

I'm with Deano on this. If I put in maximum effort, I don't care what you mere peons rate them.  (Like, some days, maximum effort for me is getting off the couch. You  might rate that type of move a 5.1 or less. But if it takes max effort, why should I be judged by you? Plus, I'm tired of being limited by ratings.)

So from now on, my climbs will all be rated "Max Eff."  See you on the walls. (Assuming I get off the couch.)

No where better to be than VE on Thursday

The rain brought a tough training day at VE, there was no goofing off. Richard and I found some new climbs to warm up on and then he hit those 5.11's hard. He thought he was climbing like discordant jazz but no, it was a symphony of balance and strength. I worked on my 5.10 projects because… that’s what I do and it ain't always pretty. Mike ditched the Japanese people and showed up to lean on me for the $ I owe him. He got most of it ;) I guess he was goofing around in B1 when we left. We are training hard for the trip to Blue Mound.
Are YOU coming? Yeah! YOU.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We Can Start Practicing Now for Next Winter


OK, all we need to do is to construct some tuna rolls and a diving board. Like this guy is climbing at the Ouray Ice Festival. Video is at this site. Only newbies use ice for ice climbing.

Climbing at Willow River

It was a zoo today at Willow - we had snakes, hornets, ticks, dogs, park rangers, and, oh yeah climbers. For you herpetologists out there, we saw two types of snakes, the genus Thamnophis (garter) and Pituophis catenifer (bull) 800px-Bull_snakea large non-venomous colubrid snake. Then wasps, ticks and the true pest, the park ranger. Who wanted to give us a ticket for not onsighting every climb. (This is an improvement over years gone by, when, if you didn't make it to the top, they'd just shoot you. Whew! I'm glad they changed that policy.)

So there we were a menagerie of animals hanging out on the rocks. And helping erosion by pulling out loose rocks and throwing them to the ground. At least that's what Sunbeam was doing on her lead climb. (She was weeding the cliffs. Way to go 'beamer!)

Here's another WR production shot on location with a handheld digital camera on a limited budget by Ricardo Quick Draw.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Organizing My Stuff Today

After looking at that guy's photo below, of the ice climbing gear, I gathered most of my climbing stuff and organized it today. And now I know how to spell anal-retentive . In the process, I found two ice tools that I could've used last winter. That I thought I'd lost.  (Hey, there might be something to this whole organizational idea.) Anyway, here's a photo of most of my gear hanging on the wall.

I also collected my shoes:

I heard a rumor...

That the Wednesdays Rock crew will be headed out to Willow River State Park on Wednesday about noon. Yes, I believe I did start the rumor. Yes, Richard I know you are a Red Wing addicted man. But some of us have to get back early and do other stuff. Leave a comment if you plan to come along. You can leave a comment if you strongly object too, but come on! Who could object more strongly that Aaron and I? We are the ones that had the big ole adventure and we are totally up for it! Please read "What you are about to read is not fiction" If you do not recall the tale.

Calories and Climbing

According to this guy, a person can burn 300 calories in 30 minutes of climbing. Considering I'm on a route in the gym for about 1 to 3 minutes, it means doing 10 routes for 300 calories.

A typical B&B meal at King's (burger, fries, beer) equals  approximately 691.6667 calories [beer=153, French Fries=539/3  (we usually split them 3 ways) and cheeseburger=359.]  So that means I need to climb continuously at Red Wing for 1 hour to burn off a B&B meal. They'll need to build some taller cliffs down there.

(For those of you who want to check my math. I got my calorie figures from this site.)

Grip Tips

This guy has lots of exercises to build grip strength using buckets, sand, rope, etc. Here's one that:

".. is also unique in that it combines two different movements which together work every bit of the lower arm region, including the entire forearm, wrist, and fingers. It also gives the wrists a good stretch, working muscle fibers that are often unused, and the stretching of the muscles will also help prevent injuries."

He has many more exercises on his website. If you look about 1/2 down the page on the right side, you see links to his previous strength tips. Including one using a flower pot and dirt & one using a rope and a bucket.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Are You As Organized as This Guy?

I'm a lot like this guy. I know where all of my stuff is: scattered.

Here's a Video of Lisa and Aaron at Willow

Not really, but you'll see at 3:05 a fall similar to what Lisa took last week at Willow. But I know she didn't scream like this climber.  (Warning, there's a little bit of "French" in the soundtrack. So guard your ears.)

Another Reason to Be Glad We Live Here

If we lived in California, we'd be forced to hang out at the beach. And we'd never get our work done.  But, just like them, we've got a mellow vibe here.  Probably more darned mellow than theirs. In fact, we're the most mellowest anywhere. (I know I am. ) So take that you California dudes!

Some Ice Climbing Goals for Next Winter

Bah, humbug, winter's over. But we can look forward to this next winter:

"An all-star international team has reaped a rich bounty of new ice and mixed climbs in the Canadian Rockies [they] bagged 10 probable new routes in a nine-day trip, ranging from 60 to 600 meters, and from WI5 to M12.

The team helicoptered to Icefall Brook, just south of the Lyell Icefield in British Columbia, and camped a short distance below the climbs. At least 10 climbs had already been done in the area, mostly by Dave Thomson and Dave Chase, but dozens more possibilities awaited."

Aaron's got a pilot's license. We can get there. Dozens of new climbs await us.

Let's Show Some Solidarity

So I read this article, and I'm thinking, "We could help them out right here." Sure a person could go to an exotic locale to make a statement, but we can bloom right here where we're planted.

I can see a group of WRers setting off flares at the top of Barn Bluff or Taylors Falls so we can show our solidarity with this guy. Only problem is, it's probably against some law and we'll get fined. Oh well.

Sunbeam & Carl Climb Sunday in the Sun

Just to add a little detail to Lisa's report below, she, Carl & I climbed on the dark side (the shady, east side) of Barn Bluff yesterday. Everything was still a little wet and slimy. So we used her brand new, prototype ground cloth to keep the ropes clean and our shoes dry. (You should buy one from her. It works well.)

She did her first onsight at Red Wing with "Goofed on Skunk Weed". Which was wet and slimy. We then climbed "Vertical Vice" which was damp and slimy. Then "Looking for Lust" which wasn't wet and slimy; it was more accurately described as slimy and wet.

Then we climbed "Danger High Boltage" and  she led "Too Low for Zero." Which has a big reach near the top so it's easy to cheat on that move for someone with the disadvantage of height.

We stopped at King's on the way home for the traditional B&B.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunny Sunday at Redwing

Richard and Carl and I ventured to the dark side this Sunday. There were lots of folks out there today but not as many as I expected. The WR B Team showed up as well. We had a great time and I'm too tired to be funny (I know, It's shocking) Richard was climbing like a well oiled machine. Carl did a few routes and I did some stuff too. It might have been the perfect day. Here are some pictures.....zzzzzzzzz......Oh Le Rocher, I remembered the point.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Here's a Survey for You to Complete

Sunbeam and I are thinking of changing the name of this blog to something other than Wednesdays Rock. We've checked out a lot of names that are available and wondered what you think of them. We've tried a lot of climbing related terms such as belay on, on belay, on the rocks, etc. and they are all used. If you've got some additional name ideas, let us know. Here's a little poll to see which names you like.

Tadda! Its me Levi.

More Complete Trip Report Here

If you want to read more about my trip to Moab, link is here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rockin' out the week at VE

With Mel, Richard and now Aaron gone. I am trying my best to carry on. Mike and I climbed all the 5.8+ routes that we could find on Thursday. I scored some shoes for Jake, Thanks Mike. I'll pay you when I see you. I might even sell them to Richard for a huge profit ;)
Friday, I was taking the day off, snoozing and such, when Levi showed up. He was here for about 5 minutes before we decided to hit the gym. We worked on that overhang with the worm, I did it this time but alas, I had a belayer very invested in my success, so I might have to do it again. Levi climbed right up Tree's frozen cookie and I finally climbed it too with just one take. The atmoshere turned zoo like so we retreated to Chipotle.

Moab Video

It's out at last! Another boring video of my trip to Moab.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back from Moab

If you're a Biblical scholar, you'll recognize the map below from about 850 B.C. with the Kingdom of Moab clearly marked in what is today's country of Jordan. I did not travel to the historic Kingdom of Moab, I went to the American version in Utah.

Image:Levant 830.svg

What you are about to read is not fiction...

It was a beautiful Wednesday! The perfect day for Aaron and Lisa to tackle some of the tamer climbs at Willow (or so we thought). The first bad omen was on approach. As Aaron grabbed a tree branch to hoist himself up onto the ledge a 30foot, highly venomous garter snake leaped into the air and almost swallowed Aaron whole. Fortunately, the beast missed it's mark and the climb continued. Lisa decided that she was going to lead "jar of wasps", errr "jar of flies". Gracefully, she made it about half way up on lead before the swarm attacked; she was forced to retreat and send up the infantry to get the draws down and finish the climb. After taking a 10ft lead fall going over the roof, Aaron was also overwhelmed with the onslaught of Central American Killer Bees, and performed Richards magic retreat leaving no gear behind (like a good boyscout). After pulling the rope, the Third Omen appeared: a 4 ft bull snake wrapped up under Lisa's feet. This is when any reasonable person would pack their bags and grab a cold one in Hudson. We, dear readers, are not reasonable. On to "daily grind" it was, as it appeared to host less bees than the prior routes. Aaron took lead and struggled his way past the overhang. Lisa was up next to top rope this route. About 20 feet up, Lisa's right hand slipped out of the crack she was climbing. I swear, she swung half way across the river, giggling the whole time. On the ride home Lisa and Aaron both agreed: this is why we climb.

Tuesday update from WR – B team

Tuesday the B team went to Redwing to enjoy the sun and April warmth. The windy conditions made for interesting fun. The gusts were always strongest just before clipping the anchors, playing with the leaders head and making communication to the belayer difficult. It felt much cooler than upper 60’s, but conditions were perfect for sending. High friction, no wasps and full sun!

The day finished next to a couple of ladies with potential for WR status. They were having so much fun that one forgot to put on her climbing shoes and didn’t notice until she reached the first bolt. My guess is they’ll make the A team before the two B team members that ventured out Tuesday. Rock On…

Wednesday Alert!

Aaron and I are going to Willow River in Hudson today at 1:00 p.m. Meet us there if you can! It's a mighty fine day so far!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday, She said...

It was a bright sunny day, just barely warm enough, so after huffing up the hill, Aaron and I decided to lead some of the "easier" climbs on the dark side of the bluff. Well the dark side was dark. And cold and scary. Aaron lead High Boltage, it didn't look easy but as I had my brand new purty quick draws, I decided to give it a shot. Things were going fairly well but half way up I informed my belayer that I was probably having a mental breakdown of some kind. He didn't even give me any crap about it and let me down. Hey, my fingers were cold. Now the dilemma..

Aaron could lead it again or do the fancy rope trick to get the gear down. He chose the fancy, scary, freaky rope trick. It was very stressful for both of us. So we directed our feet to the sunny side of the street. Things were better over there in the company of Ryan, Suzy and friends. Aaron lead Sleeping Bat and Pigeon Paranoia, I topped them. Hey, I'm doing battle with demons! Pigeon Paranoia was a tough start (aren't they all) and real slabby at the top, I liked that but I had an EXCELLENT belayer. Thank you le Rocher!

Hello from Moab

It's 80 degrees here and sunny. And I'm off the internet grid; stuck using a computer at the library because my computer won't work. So I can't send photos or do much of anything. We've done lots of biking and hiking and today rented a Jeep and drove up a trail that took us 2 hours to go about 7 miles because it was so rough. It's called "Top of the World Trail" and it's cool. I counted 7 mountain ranges in view, LaSal, Rockies, Abajo, Henries, Uinta, Wasatch and one more I don't remember. Climbing is great out here too; they park the car at the base of the cliff, turn on the tunes, sit in the passenger seat to belay and climb up 400-500 foot cliffs. While the Colorado River rolls by. Tough to beat the view. See you Thursday.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stayin' Alive

Stayin' alive, stayin' alive.... is what I'm trying to do right now with my new job. Wow, long hours! Climbing Monday and Wednesday nights and sometimes on weekends is pretty much what is keeping me sane!

Joel and I climbed with Morgan (my niece) on Saturday morning. She's a natural and loves it. Joel did his belay test so now the two of us are set to go. Yea! I saw Aaron.2 on Saturday but I think he was ignoring me. J.K. he probably just didn't hear my greeting.

Watch out for me and my old buddy, Suzanne, tearing up VE this week. She's in town from Kansas and rearing to climb.

Thanks for cleaning the loose dirt off all the climbs at Taylor's, Redwing and Willow for me. If I actually ever get there this summer, I'll appreciate it. =)

Sunday News

I got a call from Richard in Moab, he is having a great time. Let's see if I can quote the call.

"Lisa! It's just great out here! The weather is beautiful, I'm taking lots of pictures but my laptop is having some kind of system error and I can't blog!! Tell all the WR's that I'm sorry! It's crazy out here, all kinds of climbing. People just pull up to the rocks in their cars and turn on the radio and climb. People are belaying from their lawn chairs! I don't know if that is safe!! It's like a big party! We are headed into Arches and I'll probably lose you. Lots of mountain biking going on. it's just beautiful."

Wow... sounds like a call from climber's "Woodstock" If they would have had cell phones back then. I think he is having fun but misses us all deeply.

Of course we miss him, but the beat goes on. Le Rocher and I are headed to Red Wing on Monday. We will probably be there 2ish. Tuesday is Taylor's Falls day. We will be there about 1:00 probably. Pleae email me directly if you need more info.

I climbed at VE with Mike-san today. We had an amazing day, leading a series of terrifying overhung leads that would send the more inexperienced climbers home crying for their mamas. Ward, Todd, Byron and Terra were there too. I found out that it's not so much all the Hawaiians and Japanese people enthralled with our blog. It's Mike! Nothing like a logical explanation.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Summer Climbing Destination- Rocky Mountain National Park

They did fill out the application for the secret service but there was that one incident... I think those records are sealed....
Jake and Levi have a summer job at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado!

  • Climbing hosts?

  • Sherpas?

  • Okay, they'll make you lunch at 12,000 feet at the Trail Crest Cafe.

We know Levi loves to climb. Jake will love it too or spend 3 months belaying his brother. He won't need to overtrain like we do, as he lives in a 19 year old body. It's almost like new. I will be going visiting after they do recon on all the hottest climbing locations. You are all invited to come along!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Look Ahead at Blue Mounds

Here's a shot of a climber sleeping on one of the longer routes at Blue Mounds. Lisa, bring a bivy ledge so you can do this too.

Here's another shot high up a route at Blue Mounds. Looks tall, doesn't it?

Thursday Climbing at VE

Lisa led that nasty overhanging blue route by the water fountain. And finished it. A1 and I worked in the same area on that other nasty overhang. Then A2.0 showed up and the 3 of them all checked out the new routes put up by Trees on the natural wall. And it took longer to explain where you could and couldn't put your hands and feet than it did to climb them. (I got to belay them all. Which is probably why they did so well.) So despite the bromance, we actually did a lot of climbing.

Climbing and Bro-Mance

OK, you're thinking. what's "BroMance?" Well, it refers to this article from which I'll quote a snippet:

Turk and J.D. are two straight male doctors who are, without a doubt, in a bromance, a relationship defined as "the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males," according to

I thought, "What a bunch of hooey!" And then I found an example of it right at VE today. Who knew?

Here's their theme song.

Check out the weather for next week!!!!

Next week we are looking at high temps in the 60's, lows in the 40's! I'm thinking: back to back marathon climbing. Monday-Willow, Tuesday-Taylors, Wednesday-Redwing, Thursday-Willow, Friday-Redwing, Saturday-Sleep. O.k., maybe I'm just a little excited about the great weather that we are expecting, but I think climbing season is officially here!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Blue Mounds Trip Dates Set...probably.

Ok, here's the plan:
Depart Twin Cities May 11 about 2:00 A1 is the last one with obligations so when he is free, we go!
We camp at Blue Mounds that night, awake Monday ready to climb all day. Tuesday we wake up, climb until we don't want to any more and drive home. Tell mom not to wait up.
Who's in?

Rockcraft at Taylor's Falls

The sensible folk said it was too cold for outdoor play. But Mel and I have played outside at -20 so that didn't stop us from trying out Mel's new anchor technique at the Minnesota strip today. The only two hardy souls there were Will and Eric from VE. They were helpful and polite and I must bake some cookies for them in gratitude.
Lessons learned today
  • Boulders are big.
  • A 6 foot sling only seems big indoors.
  • Someone needs to bring a rope. Probably the person that owns one. (me)
  • It is possible for a dead sasquatch to float upstream
  • It's good to be outside and alive in Minnesota in the Spring!
  • Climbing an anchor you set yourself can mess with your mind.
  • The sun will shine on you as you drive up to your house.

We Just Missed the Sun on Wednesday

The forecast called for sun and high 40s. And it happened about 2PM. Unfortunately too late for Aaron and me who begged off going to Red Wing. A bird told me some brave peeps went to Taylors Falls and did some climbing. Can't wait for the report.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

So Where Are We Going on Wednesday?

Who can go? I'd like to go to Red Wing. (Who knew?)

When can you leave?

Here's forecast:

WEDNESDAY - Partly cloudy. Highs 45 to 50. North winds 5 to 10 mph.

Is anyone out there? Somebody talk to me.

Monday at VE - Lots of Falls on the Walls

Lisa led over one of the overhangs on the natural wall so she can get used to leading the roofs at Red Wing - like "Sleeping Bat." She got past the roof in good style, reached up and over the top - on that climb, the top is very wide and very sloped -  and fell all the way down below the overhang.  As far as a leader can fall at the gym. Ouch! And then she went back up on top rope and finished it. Hoo rah.

Aaron and I led on the arch so we can get strong enough to complete a lead at Willow River.

Since I don't have any photos of our climbing from Monday, I thought the 2nd 3rd 4th 5th best thing - one of the top ten best things  - would be to show a photo of me typing this post. So here it is:

Monday, April 7, 2008

Falling on Monday

I took that article on falling to heart. I am losing some of my fear of it. The downside of all the practicing is the toll on my poor body. I have bruises bigger than I am.
Aaron never falls. But he wouldn't be scared if he did. He did have a rough weekend. He might have fallen then.
Richard decided to only climb the most difficult routes at VE, a little grunting, a little falling.
I suggested blog silence but "if silence was golden I wouldn't have a dime." A really great climber I know said that once.

Wednesday this Week is Outdoor Day

Grab your sunscreen, polish up yocartoon-sun-smilingur 'biners and shine your climbing shoes for Wednesday. Looks like the first good weather day of the week. Let's go to ... someplace.  

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Sleeping Bat Awakes!

Our intrepid videographer - Mike - noticed this face while watching the video of Aaron2.0 climbing "Sleeping Bat." Can you see it? Do you think it looks more like a bear than a bat? I do. If you want to see it bigger, watch for it in the first 4-6seconds - especially at second 6 - of the video of Aaron2.0 below. I've tried to enlarge it but no luck. You can click on the photo and it gets slightly bigger. Lisa says she sees a climber there with left leg in the middle of the circle, right leg going straight down. Thanks Mike-san.

OK, This Will Give You the Willies

If you've got a touch of vertigo like me, this will give your stomach a lurch. Have any of you hiked this Caminito del Rey trail?

Above is a 2 minute version. Below is a 6 minute version.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

This is Old News But..

Here's the video of Sunbeam doing her first lead at Red Wing last


Video of Aaron2.0 at Red Wing Saturday 4-5-08

Thanks to Mike-san Nohr we have this footage of Flash descending "Sleeping Bat" after onsighting it.

PS This was mean of me to make fun of the videographer 'cuz he was just trying to help and didn't know how to use my camera. So I apologize. But it's still a funny video and I've made the same mistake many times. Sorry Mike.

Flashing at Red Wing with Aaron2.0

Aaron (Flash) and I went to Red Wing today as well as everyone else and their brothers and sisters. Imagine the entire VE gym full of people climbing right next to each other. That was Red Wing on Saturday. (Man, am I spoiled by climbing on weekdays!)

Aaron2.0 led his first 5 outdoor climbs today. We started on the snow and climbed "Goofed on Skunkweed" and "Vertical Vice." He onsighted both of those. Then he flashed (the man's a maniac) "Danger High Boltage" and "Too Low for Zero."

We wanted some sun so moved over to "Sleeping Bat in a Ziplock Bag." He onsighted that too. (It would've been a flash, except he belayed someone else who climbed it first.) That is an impressive lead. I managed to squeak out a lead on "Urban Chunks" which he topped. Video and photos to follow.

PS It's amazing how hot 65 degrees feels.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Video of Friday at Taylors Falls

The Weather Was Warm, the Climbing Hot

Taylors Falls was packed with photographers jostling each other to grab some shots of our stalwart band of WR climbers. Luckily we captured a few ourselves.

The weather was warm but the climbers were sizzlin' up the rock. The Warden showed up to lock up one of his favorite leads - "The Bulge." That's a hot climb! Sunbeam and Aaron climbed like a house-a-fire. I don't even know how many climbs they did - I was too busy smearing sunscreen around my face to pay attention.

We topped the day off with a demonstration of climbing prowess on "Fancy Dancer."

If She Leads, She Bleeds

Yesterday, Sunbeam demonstrated the old adage, "If you don't cut or bruise yourself, you're probably not climbing hard enough."

Lisa flashed her first lead at Red Wing - "Cinq Jour D'Affille". Her first climb of the day was her first complete outdoor lead, her first French-named route, and her first outdoor flash. And conditions weren't ideal - about 50 degrees, no sun, and snow on the ground.

After her lead, we climbed "Looking for Lust" which is the longest climb at Red Wing. That was wet at the top so not the best conditions. Aaron & I took turns leading that and Aaron flashed that route too.

Because we were cold, we fled the shade and went to the "Sleeping Bat" area in the sun. This is where Lisa took a leader fall, cut her finger (nothing serious) on a sharp rock and then wrote her initials on the climb in blood. Hope it's still there when you climb it.
A couple more climbs and time for B&B (burgers & beers) at the King's Inn.

Lisa "flashing" at Red Wing.

Sunbeam beams after leading.

Aaron leading "Looking for Lust"

Sunbeam and her Buddy

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Friday's Climbing Plans

After an epic day at Redwing with Richard, Lisa, and Aaron; the tenacious trio have decided to go outdoors again! This time: Taylors Falls. We are planning on meeting mid morning on Friday sometime; and will be back around 5ish. I hope Flash, J, and Mel-lo will grace us with their presence!? (or maybe we just aren't cool enough for them anymore?) I will let Richard post pics, and Lisa tell about her hair raising 5.10 lead fall. On second thought... you should have been there.

Personal Record breaking

Wohoo! I have to tell you about my climbing yesterday! I am excited to say that FT work has not completely dampened my climbing abilities. I climbed my first .12a yesterday! I fell once in the middle then fell just as I was topping off - didn't quite have control at the top for more than a second so technically 2 falls. I'll take it! Richard (who works at VE) was witness to the .12a.
I was pumped about it, especially since before the 12a I did the yellow lead arch (no takes) and the orange arch (unfortunately didn't quite finish). Then I moved on to B1 and red pointed some of the problems I had been working on. Long and Karen are witness to those. We almost got the really hard white problem on the left side of B1 but the big blue feature kept spinning and knocking us off! Argh. All in all - a great night of climbing. I climbed for 4 hours! =)

We're going to Redwing this Saturday (or Taylor's if RW wet). Mel are you still up for it? Long has all the gear. Let's talk on Friday or email me about it if you're interested. Love to see others of you!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

May Trip to Needles/Black Hills

I think the fewest days to make the trip worthwhile is 4. In the past, because of work schedules, we've left in the evening after work, driven most of the way that night. Arrived before noon. Climbed that day and the next day. Climbed in the morning of the 3rd day and then driven home arriving in the Twin Cities around midnite. Now that's possible and it's tiring. So adding one more day makes it more relaxing. It's likely we'll get one day of cold or wet weather, so that's another good reason to add an extra day. It's about 10-11 hour drive from here to there. 2 or more drivers make it more pleasant.
All that said, when? Here's a monthly temperature for Custer, SD which is close to Rushmore. Sylvan Lake area and the Needles are about 800 feet higher than Custer, so a little colder. It appears as though the average temps are in the 60s - which is fine for climbing. It's better to go later than earlier. But let's pencil in some dates around the weekends of May 2nd or May 9th. If you have more weekday flexibility, then we can arrange some other date. I know May 11th is Mother's Day. If you're going and you're a Mother, what a great gift. If you need to spend that day with your Mother, we can't go that weekend.

For fun I looked at the 5 day forecast for Custer for this week. It's about the same as here. And they're 5000 feet high!

I Can't Stand the Suspense! Let's Go!

That's it! 47 and partly cloudy, good enough for me. I will pick up Mel and meet you at Willow at 12:30. Richard will pick up le Rocher and Flash. J. if you feel sick be at St. Andrew's in Mahtomedi by noon, for your healing session (call me). If not we will climb something hard for you! Wear your boots as the trail will be sloppy! Pack your gear! This place is lead only, no top rope.

Outdoor Climbing Threat Level: RED

Lisa has put all W.R'ers on "red-hot-alert" for outdoor climbing. Be prepared! Expect an early morning phone call (often before the crack-of-noon) or email. Have ropes, draws and harnesses packed and ready to go. Past experiences have shown that we typically rendezvous around 12-1, and are done climbing by 5 or 6. I think Flash is a doctor, (or is studying to be a doctor, or knows a doctor, or has been seen by a doctor) so he can write a sick note to get you out of work.

I think we need to have an intervention with J about her job: it's really getting in the way of climbing, and that's just not healthy.

It's not that we think Richard is a liar; we just don't trust him...

Yesterday, after overtraing for 6 days, Richard decided that he should take a day of rest. (sound familiar?!) It was up to SunBeam, Carl (code-name Karl) Flash, and Beaner (beaner?!) to make sure that Richard kept this vow to his disciples.
We all met up at the gym at 12:30. After a brief meeting, we decided that we should split-up; as Richard is known for overtraining in many settings, and can be very hard to locate. Flash checked in B1 and B2, Lisa and Karl topped some routes in the small pit; just to make sure Richard wasn't hiding there. Eric and I peeked over a few roofs; no sign of him. Lisa had a great idea! She figured: if Richard was at the gym, the best way to lure him out would be to use a lead rope as bait. Lisa, Aaron, Flash, and Eric lead the blue route next to the small pit. We then went over to the walls by the arch, thinking that some more difficult climbs would draw him out; if he truly was there... Flash did awesome on the blue 5.10, and Aaron grunted his way up the new white route. Carl and Lisa were off in a corner somewhere doing god-knows-what.
After a few hours of searching we agreed that Richard did indeed take the day off. That means we are all in trouble on Wednesday, as Richard will come back refreshed and ready to knock the pants off of that big pink lead out of the pit.
As for myself; I think I'm going to take it easy. I need to save my energy as I am expecting early morning phone calls and emails from Richard and Lisa regarding a spontaneous trip to Redwing/Willow River/Taylors Falls.

New Name for Richard?

I Got My Undies in a Bundle on Monday

Lisa captured me with my undies in a bundle. In my defense, I was just starting a hard climb.