Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oh, Numnah!

The relief on this kid's face at the Spelling Bee is great.

Looks Like Red Wing Sunday Morning

There are 2 of us arriving at 9, another one - Aaron - at 10ish. Join us if you can.

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So Is Sunbeam Getting Sun in France?

Sun Jun 1st St Cere

Day   chancerainRain


6 mph(10 kph)

Eve  nt_rainRain


4 mph(7 kph)


Looks like the about the same as we have. Hope they brought their galoshes. 


Friday, May 30, 2008

Red Wing Schedule

Planning to go Sunday morning and then again either Monday or Tuesday - depending on the weather.

This is for Richard and John.

This is one of my favorite kayaking video's...ya gotta love "Upper Death"

And check out this's the one waterfall I really want to run...yes I'm borderline insane...but it looks like soooo muuuuch fun! Who's in?

And this is me on the Arkansas River in boat. If anyone wants to go kayaking let me know! I love starting new people out!

Clocking-in for the weekend shift...

I'll be climbing or at least getting in a good workout Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday first thing at VE. Let me know if anyone has a few hours to squeeze into their weekend to join me.

Thanks for keeping us posted Richard...without Lisa it's going to be another long week ahead. Hopefully she brought the sun with her!

Mostly This is for Nora

OK, there are lots of sick things climbers are doing these days, but here's a sick kayak descent on a river in Norway. Also, you can learn the German word for "sick line" by listening to the video. (I think it's German and not Norwegian.)

Friday at Red Wing Scrubbed - VE in the Afternoon

I think it's too wet to go to RW this morning and I need to be home by 4ish. So I'm going to VE early afternoon. I think Aaron's going too. Anyone else? Mike?

Où est Sunbeam ?

Lisa and Carl are on a big adventure in France. I would have liked to take you all with me. Que Sera' (oh crap that's Spanish). Here is a map so you can follow our travels.

trip map
Days 1-2 St Cere to Loubressac
The bustling market town of St Cere on the banks of the River Bave is a delightful place with a unique character. With two medieval towers dominating the skyline and wooden houses dating from the 15th century, it is truly one of France's hidden gems. Stroll around town to prepare for the adventure ahead, and then enjoy the magnificent views over the Gorge d'Autoire on the way to Loubressac.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday Report from a B teamer

With Lisa out of action the WR squad is in shambles. No one is quite sure what to do. Aaron and Mike showed up at ve on a gray Thursday afternoon with no idea if anyone would be there. After a few auto belays each we found each other and CRUSHED the pit’s lead routes. No pictures or videos to document out efforts just a good time……..

Here's a photo of the willow falls just before sunset Wednesday. A short but great evening at willow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Be Sure to Congratulate the New Guides at VE

Russell, Eric and Will completed their guide course in the Black Hills this last weekend. Here they are on a 3 pitch climb called "Garfield Goes to Washington" which is just behind the presidents' heads on Mt Rushmore.

The video is a little blurry and you can't pick out individuals but, believe me, there are 6 people total on this climb. 4 at the base of the headwall on pitch 3 and 2 more at the end of pitch 2 on a big ledge.




Here's a clearer photo of them with the climbers circled. If you click on it, you can enlarge it.

No Hands Bouldering

Another training technique - the rocks in the Needles lend themselves to this.

"The idea was to maintain the least contact with the rock while ascending. The use of arms, hands, shoulders and stomach were discouraged, but frequently it was virtually impossible to avoid contact with parts of the lower body above the feet."

Strength Training

These guys have a whole training program for one-arm chin ups.

"A one-arm chin is not learned overnight. Depending on your starting point, it can take 6 months to 3 years or more to achieve it. Weight and age are important factors. Less weight and younger age make a one-arm chin much easier to achieve, but Alexander at 220 lbs. and Jack at 60 years of age both achieved it."




So you can do this.

The New Sport of Bouldering

Yep, it's a recent phenomenon. Looks like it started in the '80s - 1880s.  Of course, here's a drawing of a guy bouldering in 1517.


Feeling Like You Spend Too Many $ On Gear

Watch this guy shove knotted webbing into cracks to protect himself while trad leading.

Climb An Active Volcano

From an article in the LA Times:

"Want to see for yourself what it feels like to look into the mouth of the most active volcano in the continental U.S.?Sure, you can get a permit to climb the 8,365-foot summit by yourself. But a better way might be to hook up with experts who know what they’re doing. Each year, the Mount St. Helens Institute hosts several field seminars on and around the volcano."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Let's Play A Game

Remember the old game, Where's Waldo? This is a similar game called "Find the Old Mountain Goat." When you click on this link you will see an image recently taken on our trip to the Black Hills. See if you can find more than one old mountain goat.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Muddy Buddy! Who's In?

From National Geographic Explorer...

Climbing + Yoga: Center Yourself
"I'm hesitant to even call this rock climbing," says Heather Sullivan of the rock climbing/yoga retreat slated for July 17 to 20 in Yosemite National Park ($1,215; "It's more about learning to breathe as you move across rock." Never mind that Sullivan's teamed up with local legend Ron Kauk, a seasoned climber with a number of big wall firsts under his belt (he was also a stunt double for Sylvester Stallone and climbing instructor to Tom Cruise). Basing operations out of Tuolumne Meadows Campground (8,800 feet), participants split time between yoga sessions, hiking, and "playing on rocks" at nearby glacial lakes. "We'll also be making some time to just be," Sullivan says. For once you can return home recharged after a weekend of rock climbing.
Who wants to go? Hey! I could teach this!

Here's Something You Should Add to Your Pack for Safety

This is what John and I used in the Black Hills to climb while it rained. It probably saved us from disaster.


I know what Lisa would say, "Babies!" But I'd like her to say that to our faces.

Here's a better idea, then we can all go!

Don't worry that there is no sound, it's in French anyway. This shows how to take 2 sailboards and make a catamaran. I'm sure It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I Tried Lisa's Windsurfer - Here's What Happened

It's sort of like deep water soloing only without the climbing part of it.

Something for Richard ( or everyone) to do while I'm gone

I have a sailboard. I don't know how to make it go! Here are some lessons on you tube. You guys can study up while I'm gone and we can have a workshop when I get back.

Here's What Else Aaron Loves To Do


This is about a 5 minute video showing the type of plane he uses when he's not busy climbing. 

Here's A Reason To Visit Mars

The latest color photo from the new Mars Lander shows a pink 27mars.190sky. What a great reason for girls to visit: it coordinates with all their pink clothing.

Reasons People Like Climbing the Black Hills



Here's a climb called "Gobs of Knobs" because it had, well, I guess , the best way to describe it is to say, it had gobs of knobs.





Here's one reason people climb in the Needles area: a moderate - 5.7 - sport climb that tops out with a fab view.




This is a rock near the famous John Gill boulder problem at Sylvan Lake. John McDonald's traverse of this boulder has never been repeated. We call it the "John McGill" boulder problem.



IMG_5990 Here's a climb Pat at VE recommended called "Valdez Overhang." Pat's description was perfect: "a juggy, overhanging gym climb."







This is a 60 foot climb with 3 bolts that goes up a thin flake with perfect handholds the whole way. It's so narrow on top that you can't stand on it.




A typical Rushmore climb - no real handholds; only foot holds on  outrageous friction. (We climbed one of these in the rain and there still was enough friction.) Don't bother rubbing the rock hoping for the Handhold Genie to pop out and make holds appear. S/he won't.

OK, We're Home

 IMG_5920 It's exactly 9 hours from my house to Rushmore climbing area in the Black Hills. We left there at 4PM Sunday and got home now.


Here's what the drive home looked like.





Here's John climbing at Spearfish. It was getting dark & starting to rain.





This is John climbing up "Inner Course" at Youbet Jorasses rock at Sylvan Lake.




This is my foot as I top belayed John on "Inner Course."



Here are some climbers on "Lander Turkey Shoot" at Sylvan. What's cool is she's climbing the ridge on the right and her belayer is up above on the left. Neato, huh?





Here I am on top of some windy, cold climb at Moonlight Ridge area in the Needles.




If you count, you can see 6 climbers on this route called "Garfield Goes to Washington." I think at least 4 of them are our VE boys.  (Just behind this rock, are the heads of the Mt Rushmore presidents.)






'Nuff said.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It was a "business" trip!

I got a call from Richard, he is on his way back from the Needles with lots of fantastic tales of fickle weather. He spotted some VE guys in a mexican resturant. Then I got this email. And I thought they were just goofing off!

Hello, climbers! I hope you guys are getting a lot of airtime outside this spring. If not, here's another opportunity for you. We have one more slot left in our Trad Climbing class on Sunday, June 1. The class is 8-4 p.m., costs $199 (10% discount for members). It is limited to three participants. Pat Mackin, our head guide, will be teaching this class. In other news, we have three staff members getting checked off to guide Devil's Tower and Needles this last week: Russell, Wil, and Eric. They were snowed out one day last week in the Needles! Our primary route on Devil's Tower--the Durrance--has been closed due to Prairie Falcon nesting, so they will head out again in July to finish off the certification process. Vertical Endeavors is one of a handful of organizations that is authorized by the NPS to train guides to guide on the Tower. See you at the crag!
Steven B. DavisVEGA AdministratorField Instructor

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rockin' Interstate Park, W.R. Style

While Richard and John represent Wednesdays Rock in the West; Lisa, Aaron and Grant put on a show for the locals at Taylors Falls. Starting off at the Tourist Rocks, Grant sent his first outdoor climb! The Tourist Rocks are called that for one reason... tourists, and they loved watching an eight year old scamper up the routes. I'm so proud!

After the Tourist Rocks we headed over to the Minnesota Strip where I let Grant belay me on some easier routes. I was able to set up some top rope anchors for the first time in my climbing career, and Lisa was able to flash/redpoint every climb we did!

Lisa had a great time; as she put it "I had a great time!". I'm happy because Grant is going to fall asleep at 9, and Grant is ecstatic about his accomplishments today! Thanks again for coming along Lisa!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Runout Routes

Aaron and I did not know the meaning of the term Runout Routes, so I did some research (that sounds more better-er than I googled it). Finally I ended up at my source for all climbing info.
This is an interesting article without a definition but from the context, I can understand why our John has hit the bottle. Scary, eh?

Here's What Real Hard Men Do After Leading Runout Routes

Or maybe it's what they do before they lead long, runout routes.

1st Real Day at Black Hills

The other post was a joke. It's been raining here since 8PM Thursday night. We're writing this in the library at Custer while we wait for our clothes to dry out. They are very nice here and don't mind our clothesline strung between the shelves.

Here's what we've had all day.

We did hike around checking out climbing areas such as Moonlight Ridge and Cathedral Spires. Here's a photo of John walking past the Spires. Can you see the tall rocks in the distance. We couldn't.

Taylors on Saturday!

Sounds like Lisa, Aaron, and our respective offspring will be visiting Taylors Falls for some climbing on Saturday! We will be meeting up at 9:00 (yes, in the morning. no, that's not early) in the North Suburbs and carpool from there. This is an open invite for climbers of all abilities to come with us for some top-roping fun. I told Lisa to be on her best behavior (sober, no swearing) so feel safe to bring any youngsters you might already have or acquire in the next 20 hours. It sure would be nice to see some MIA W.R's (you know who you are)....

If We See Bears the Next Time at Willow,

Be sure to read this:
"...that in encounters during the past three decades where humans used the spray against black, brown and polar bears, the spray stopped the bears’ 'undesirable behavior' more than 90 percent of the time — and in none of the incidents did any person suffer serious injury."

Well here we are on top of a Rushmore Climb

The view's great. The weather's been good. Wish I knew who this guy was.

Mt Rushmore's Changed

I was surprised to see how buff George Washington looked. I think he's been climbing in the area right behind him.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We Finally Got to the Black Hills

What a long ride on this thing. My face hurts and I'm tired. 

one step closer...

Some of the WR Crew are headed to Midwest Mountaineering tonight for a slide presentation on Grand Teton National Park. That would be Mel, Carl and Lisa. Wanna come too?

Monty Hall Problem

Here's an online game about probability that tests your strategy on which door to pick to win a prize. 

(You might have to register to use this site. It's free but if you don't want to register, go here and grab a pre-registered user name & password for almost any web site that exists.)

Here's an article describing why you should try a certain strategy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Willow Video

A 1 minute video of today.

Willow River Wednesday

We had a wild life and some wildlife at Willow today. Small groundhog and big snake.  A few small wasps. Big overhangs. Mucho fun. I'll never go there again.



Snake attacking my helmet.






Snake handler, handling the snake. (That's what they do, you know.)





Team Lisa






Aaron leading something that was too hard for me to even remember its name. 

Willow River Time: Like it, or hate it


Initial Reaction: "Wow this is fricken awesome!

Final Reaction: "My hands hurt, and I have little confidence left, but still beautiful.

Today at willow river I had a good time. I arrived at willow river when Richard started making Chris Sharma grunts, Badass.. . . He was almost to the top of this awesome overhang route. Awesome job Richard! I then attempted the same route but top rope and failed but had a fun time swinging around like peter pan as mel would say. Mel got up jar of flies, awesome! Mom finished jar of flies and decided it was swing time on that one other climb. Aaron got half way up the badass climb all the way to the left. Richard tried the same route but got to the same spot. Time for the swling diddly trick of yours richard! Nice job Aaron! Cool climb and way to go ahead and pick up the snake. Overall, I am pretty burnt out and those rocks are sharp! Thanks for climbing with me people.

Real or Fake?




That's a head of hair of which to be proud.

Here's A Good Reason To Go Outside Today

We only have a few years before this will happen to us:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weather in Black Hills This Weekend

Friday, May 23 High: 70 °F RealFeel®: 65 °F

Breezy and warmer with sunshine and some clouds                    

Friday Night, May 23

Low: 49 °F RealFeel®: 38 °F Cloudy and windy with showers and thunderstorms

Saturday, May 24

High: 72 °F RealFeel®: 67 °F Mostly cloudy and breezy with a couple of showers and thunderstorms possible

Saturday Night, May 24

Low: 46 °F RealFeel®: 39 °F Cloudy most of the time with showers and thunderstorms; breezy

Sunday, May 25

High: 68 °F RealFeel®: 65 °F Clouds and sun with a thunderstorm possible

Sunday Night, May 25

Low: 45 °F RealFeel®: 37 °F

Mainly cloudy

Monday, May 26

High: 72 °F RealFeel®: 70 °F Nice with times of sun and clouds

Monday, May 19, 2008

Now Here is a Rock for your Yard!

Alas, it's in someone else's yard in Duluth. It's right on the street. Just the spot to take an evening stroll and climb a few routes. Levi said he thinks it's illegal but Mountain Project doesn't seem to think so. It's say beware of broken glass and bums and ignore the spray paint that says "No climbing". Lot's of cracks in the top for anchors, I think there is one bolted route. I will check it out on my next visit.

Climbing Disorder?

Letter writer to the New York Times asks:

"...if people whose overeating puts them at risk for illness and early death have eating disorders, why don’t we say that people whose mountaineering puts them at risk for injury and early death have mountaineering disorders?"

So do outdoor risk seekers have a disorder? I know I have issues, maybe that's one of them.

Whitewater Action

Nora told me she's going to Manitoba this week to kayak at Sturgeon Falls. Here's a short video of those big waves.

Il a Commencé à Pleuvoir à Aile Rouge

While Lisa led Cinq Jour D'Affille it started to pluie. Our posse today at Red Wing (Aile Rouge) was Sunbeam, Nora, Jake, John, Levi, Buddy and me. We split into two teams: Lisa's Family and Lisa's Friends (LF1 and LF2.)

 Nora on Sunburst

This was the first time we'd climbed with Nora and with Jake. (Lucky them, huh?)

Unfortunately, Aaron made it rain after we'd only done about a gazillion climbs, so we had to pack up and leave.

N.B. Nora, if you want more photos of yourself climbing today go here.


P.S. Didn't see Lisa do any business in her pants yet. But the day is young.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm So Proud of My Gals!

tg gals on rock The Women on the Edge of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church did an awesome job at Taylor's Falls on Sunday. We climbed the heck out of the Tourist Rocks and the made our way over to the MN Strip. Thank you to Steve from VE for excellent instruction and thank you to Flash, Cici and the rest of the Minnesota Climbers Association for showing up for Clean up the Crag Day. Mel is great leader, I knew she would be. Gorgeous day!

tf gals