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!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Copper Canyon

Here's an aerial photo of the road we biked down into the Copper Canyon. This is the steepest part of the descent; there is still another 2,000 feet to descend to the bottom of the Canyon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bunch of Info On Training

There are a whole bunch of articles on training for climbing here.

When You're Tired of Climbing

imageHere are the "Top 7 Thousand-Mile Hikes." That'll take you and your hiking partners a few days.

The Warden Report

Ward emailed me that the bat hanging route he did at Red Rock River, is called "Return of Chris Snyder." It's 5.11.d and I think he on-sighted it.


Below is a photo of him just sitting up from his bat hang.

ward just finishing his bat hang

On the same climb, he also did a "coffin rest" where he could get inside a small cave.  Photo below. Route information here. You'll have to ask him for more details. Looks cool.

 ward in cave

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Get Ready For Your Ice Climbing

So here is the Planet Fear Winter Gear List.

"To give you a few ideas on where to start looking, planetFear has compiled a definitive list of winter climbing equipment, clothing, and accessories. With winter climbing, the specific gear you take is determined largely by what sort of thing you’ll be doing – ice-falls or alpine, single or multi-day, Scotland or Canada?"

Maybe you're just going to the Brick Yards, Sandstone or Casket Quarry. So what? Get out there and buy some stuff. There are people who depend on you spending money. So go. Git. Vamoose. Lasciare. Partir. Urlaub.

The Pond is Frozen and you know what that means!

Time to think seriously about ice climbing. Go here for more information on the ice fest. Who wants to go? Leave a comment. This may be the best option since Johnny Mac looks at me skeptically when I talk about dripping water down the silo.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here's what didn't happen...

He didn't make the clip.
I didn't weigh as much
I didn't drop him.
He didn't squash me.
I didn't hit the ceiling.
He didn't hit the floor.
We didn't get hurt.
Our instincts didn't fail us .
We didn't forget that climbing is inherently dangerous even after the tequila.

Two Other Peeps Busted Today

A little bird told me that Mike spent two weeks in Hawaii recently. Any photos, Mike? Any stories?

Also, I heard Aaron and Sunbeam were practicing their  dynamic belaying at VE. It was so exciting, that afterward they had to have a  C.R.AP (Cocktail to Relax and Ponder.) Any details?

I Busted The Warden Today

Ran into Ward at VE today and he mentioned he recently climbed at Red River gorge and loved it. And he did a "bat hang." And he has a photo of himself doing it but he won't post it. C'mon Ward, tell us about your climbing at Red River. What routes did you and Liz do? Here's a listing of many of the routes at Red River. Is it some of those? Here's a list of route at Muir Valley, is it any of those?

I found a photo of a climber doing a bat hang at the Red River. Is this the route you were on?

Rattlesnake Bluff

This post is for Ron. I went down to get a few photos of the bluff we talked about. I also got a little beta from a young man that lives there. This is part of Frontenac State Park. They have just put a bike trail in below it this year. I was told if you follow the bike trail you'll find another trail that goes to the top of the bluff. The young man said he went to the top once but did it when it was cold and didn't see any rattlesnakes. I think this would be something to look at a bit closer. It's a beautiful bluff for sure and I'm told you can see forever at the top. I'm on afternoon shift this next week if anyone is up for a hike.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Whole New Definition of Nats

Read Steve's blog entry about nats, and, I'll bet you , you will never read a route description at VE that says "nats on for hands" the same way. Wanna bet?

A Great Climbing Video Web site

This is the UC Climbing Television web site. They have many good videos on all kinds of topics.

Including this one on Yoga for climbing. 

BTW, I'm in the process of developing a "Yogurt for Climbing" video. It'll be very cultured and a little acidic. But not too fruity, I hope.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday

It's someone's Birthday today.

New Link Up Route at Red Wing

I just noticed this the other day. Hope we can get one more day of good weather at Red Wing this year.

Patience While Climbing

I wish I had it. But. this video does a good job of selling the concept.

After You've Climbed in the Black Hills

next summer, you can run the Primal Quest race. 

"Co-ed teams of four will race, without support crews, through the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota from August 15th - 24th."

Deck the Halls!

This web site sells Christmas ornaments with a climbing theme. I think Santa needs to clipped in but not by his head. Other ornaments include carabiners, nuts, cams and ice axes. But I say why buy a biner ornament for $6.95 when you could by a real one for a buck more and use it for climbing the rest of the year. Jez don't get me started about Christmas. I know! Surprising statement from me but there it is.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Here's A Guy Who Knows How to Fall

He's practicing "Hard Core Sitting."

What Were You Doing at 16?

I don't know if this is thrilling or frightening that a kid this young has climbed 5 of the 7 tallest summits.


Mel and I will be at VE tomorrow from 1-4 p.m.

The off line chat went something like this Link vs. Tri

Some folks have the most interesting conversations when the rest of the world is probably still sleeping. This "he said, she said " is color coded for easy reading.

I think you mean
link cams (watch the video on this page) not tri cams. Is that right?

no, I meant tricams, the are very simple and clever I think. Placement was a bit tricky for me but I really thought the concept was cool.
Link cams are very cool and clever in a more obvious mechanical way, the new ones have marking for the sweet spot, have you seen em? I bet you have.
So my post was based on cool stuff that got my attention.
so I guess if we were going to compare them mechanically and consider complexity, you are right.
Link cam is to the skeletool what a tricam is to....a dagger, no a jack knife, no! John's bottle opener!
Got it. I do agree that the tri cams are cool in a simple is better way compared to the link cams

Friday, November 7, 2008

Here's What Lisa Could Do With Her Knife

If she got that handy Leatherman tool she could protect herself from the Red Wing Rattlers (RWR.)


lisa with snake

New Leaders Rock VE

A rainy Friday afternoon brought 2 intrepid climbers to the big city from Red Wing. Johnny Mac and Nora joined Richard and I for a delightful afternoon of climbing indoors. Both John and Nora worked up the nerve to take the lead test and they both passed, phew what a relief since I let them both belay me!
Richard did his P.L.B. work on "Let's Get Physical" and will save success on that route for another day. Many other pit routes were completed by said climber however.
I continue to work on my G.C.T. Girly Climbing Techniques as well as my P.L.B routes and I think that I should take Tuesdays off. Maybe.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Great Gift for any Girl worth her Salt!

Man on Man, it's a thing of beauty, simplicity and elegance. I am almost as excited about this as I am about tri-cams. I'm sure you have heard my "ode to tri-cams"

The Gear Junkie: Leatherman Skeletool

Most multi-tools are chock full with functions, though they’re often too heavy to conveniently carry in a pocket. Conversely, pocket knives are light and streamlined but not applicable to circumstances where you need a pliers or wire clipper.

That’s the logic Leatherman ( puts forth when introducing its Skeletool, a light and compact multitool with just the basics — a stainless steel blade, pliers, a bit driver and a carabiner clip.

That’s it. $59.99

Dear Santa, I'm sure I have been a very good girl this year....if I had one of these I could save the world or at least pull an aching tooth out of a grizzley or remove my arm if need be...

Win An Adventure Trip


The chances are probably very slim, but...

Adventure Photo Gallery

Some great photos of climbers, boaters, etc. in locations around the world.

After You've Climbed the Eiger

Here's one way to get down.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Full Circle

It was a warm day, for March, when the first blessed email popped up on my computer screen, "Aaron, Lisa, Let's go to Red Wing" YES!!! So we rendezvoused with Richard in the south metro and headed for the bluff.
The east end still had snow cover and we brushed ice off the ledges . That's when I discovered A1's compulsive need to go NOW. Our fingers were stiff in the cold but we were determined to make the most of the first climb of the season. Richard is an encouraging and patient guide to this new playground.
We has had a full season of fun exploring every nook and crack of that crag with many new friendships born on the bluff. Perhaps Nov 4th will have been the last of it. But maybe we need to stand in the snow at least once before we call it quits. Look how young and naive we look! On the upside, when we start in March and end in November, the new climbing season is only 3 months away!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Body Quiz

Do you know the best way to tell if your own breath smells? I do. 'Cuz I took this quiz. If you bite your nails do they grow faster?

Rock Report

Ron & I were out on Monday at Red Wing and Aaron, Lisa and I were there today. Both days had great weather, few people, a coupla wasps, no rattlers.

Ron did a great job spotting me on a new lead I tried - Chinese Freedom - and when I fell near the start, I kicked him in the face. Sorry Ron. Now you and Buddy are even.

Today, I hardly recognized Aaron having not seen him climbing for quite awhile. We all did a few warm up leads, including a linkage climb from Rocka-holics to Too Low for Zero. Then Aaron redpointed Gear Fear using his new link cams. Cool. Lisa repeated her lead of Dealer's Choice. I broke my camera, so no photos. Muy sad.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tuesday Climbing at Red Wing

A few of us are arriving at about 11ish. Leaving after we're tiredish.

Richard, Don't do that to your poor face!

This is how you leave a good looking corpse! Yep, Yoga for your face

Muscle tension in the face contributes to lines and wrinkles while sagging jowls are caused by weak muscles. Face toning regimens have appeared for years in ladies magazines, and now that yoga is really taking off this is the latest trend to ride its coat tails.

Here are some of the exercises:

  • Crow's Feet: Open the eyes wide, as if startled or scared to decrease unwanted lines around the eyes.
  • Wide Nose: Alternate nostril breathing to create a more narrow and symmetrical nose.
  • Plumper Lips: Tap lips 5 times with your index finger.

Time For A Warm Up

With winter approaching, I thought this article on how to warm up was timely.

"The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds — known as static stretching — primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It actually weakens them."

I, of course, love to stretch. Especially before using the keyboard.

This is the stretch I like to use:

Just before climbing, I usually work up to this type of stretch:

Or, if I need to stretch my facial muscles, I like to do this:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mike Farris talks about The 2008 Tragedy on K2

The deaths of eleven climbers on K2, the second highest peak in the world, was front page news around the world last August. Local climber and author Mike Farris organized and led an expedition to K2 in 2008, and he was climbing up the mountain for his summit attempt when the accidents occurred. As the only major climbing team that did not suffer any casualties, Mike's team was at the center of attempts to find missing climbers and rescue those who survived. Afterwards, Mike interviewed many of the survivors to get their first-hand stories. What emerges is a far more complex situation than anyone realized at the time, with many separate incidents leading to injury and death.

In his first public presentation since the tragedy, Mike will reconstruct the chain of events that led to the deaths and injuries and provide some insight into why they happened. As an experienced climber at extreme altitude and as author of The Altitude Experience, Mike will explain the unavoidable problems encountered when climbing K2 in the 21st century, and how these problems will almost certainly lead to more tragedies in the future. This will be a rare opportunity to experience the joy, terror, laughter, and tears of the summer of 2008 on K2.

Tickets are $5.00 and may be purchased in the store, over the telephone (612-339-3433), or online. Proceeds to the families of the porters that died on K2. We strongly recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

Friday, November 21, 7:00 pm, Humphrey Institute - Cowles Auditorium

This presentation is part of the Midwest Mountaineering Ourdoor Expo. Mel and I are going to this as well.

Mel and I have our tickets, do you?

Midwest Mountaineering is proud to host the festival's 33rd anniversary world tour.

Click for Festival Info.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival (held in Banff, Alberta from November 1st to 9th, 2008) accepts over three hundred mountain films into it's competition, the top fifty or so are screened throughout the festival. Every year the films feature a range of styles and themes, including climbing, skiing, kayaking, biking, adventure, culture and the environment.

Prizes are awarded in eight categories: Grand Prize, Climbing, Mountain Sports, Mountain Environment, Mountain Culture, Short Mountain Film, and Feature-Length Mountain Film, and People's Choice. The international jury will announce the Best of the Festival award winners at the awards ceremony on Sunday, November 9th.

The tour brings a selection of the best films from the festival right here to Midwest Mountaineering! Whether you are an experienced mountaineer or an armchair adventurer, this event is for everyone. Don’t miss the excitement!

Banff Festival Update

The Banff Mountain Film Festival pre-screening committee viewed 296 films during the month of September and 53 finalists have been selected.

Our Friday, Nov 21 and Saturday, Nov 22 will contain completely different films. You may want to attend both nights and see all of the films!Mel and I are taking our dates on Saturday night.

  • Banff Film Festival shows are located in Willey Hall auditorium, rooms 125/175.
  • Tickets are $15.00 each — or see both showings (completely different films) for $25.00 and save $5.00.
  • Tickets go on sale Saturday, October 18th at 10:00 a.m.
  • Tickets are available:
    At the customer service counter in Midwest Mountaineering for no service fee.
    - or -
    Buy Online Here for a $3.00 service fee per order.
    - or -
    Telephone (612-339-3433) for a $5.00 service fee per order.

Saturday, November 1, 2008