Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Give Up

I have spent more than 4 hours (Oh, Boo Hoo!) in the last two days trying to figure out a way to put some sort of social networking gadget on this blog.  So that people could initiate an event, invite others, etc. And I can’t do it. So I give up. (Want some cheese with that whine?)  The best I can come up with is the calendar on the right. Which any of you can access to add events if you want. (If you don’t know how, leave a comment here or email me and I’ll get the info to you.)

Of course, there is Facebook. And there is a group called “Fun With Rocks” on Facebook right now. (Actually, there are 3. One is about collecting rocks – I think – but it is closed to new members. There is another one I made by mistake that I cannot get rid of - it was an ID10T problem. But it doesn’t have any members.) The one you want to join has about 5-6 members right now. Maybe that’s the best way for everyone who’s interested to post info on their trips, look for rides, advice, etc.

And for those of you who are really wacky – present company included – you can join Taylor Falls Rock or Barn Bluff on Facebook. My parents are so proud.

Here’s A Fun Route

Here PPM, this would be fun:

Or this one:

When You Reach The North Pole

You’ll be all alone in the vastness of ice, right? Nope. Watch and learn.

Monday, March 30, 2009

VE Monday

P1030282John, Lisa, Kyle, Peter, Hans were there. As well as Dianne setting a new route under PPM’s watchful eye. Here she is climbing her new route for the first time. 

And here’s Hans finishing a lead out of the pit.

hans  P1030292

The Last Rap On The Last Rope

Quite a story of climbing a 4,500 foot wall and then taking 18 hours to rappel off. At the final rappel on the last rope, his ATC melted through the sheath.  He  made it OK. Here’s the entire tale.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Three Sisters

Aren't they pretty. Aaron 2.0 has had a crush in them for a while, he has experience with the southern most gal. He hopes to climb all three when he gets back to his home state. Sure, he will miss us, but these three are waiting for him. And another one too.

Too cold for Lisa and Richard today......

no Red Wing for us.

Devils Tower Presentation at REI Bloominton too.

Looks like we have a choice, REI April 1 or Midwest Mountaineering April 2.

Sharing the Power of the Tower: Climbing Devil's Tower
4/1/2009 7:00 PM

Frank Sanders, "The Devil of Devils Tower", Legendary Rock Climber and Adventurer, Will Be Presenting a Dynamic Program; SHARING THE POWER OF THE TOWER.

With Climbs From Baja to British Columbia, and a climbing career now spanning 5 decades, Mr. Sanders speaks from a lifetime of dream-come-true-adventures. His story has appeared in National Geographic & OUTSIDE Magazines, New York Times & Denver Post Newspapers, NPR Radio and Numerous Climbing Journals. Mr Sanders' Story Telling Style, coupled with his impactful multi-media presentation, has provided entertaining and educational evenings for audiences across our country!

Mr. Sanders, The Man Who Has the Record for Ascents of Devils Tower, will focus his program on wild Wyoming and climbs on his beloved tower. The hour-long presentation includes an entertaining history of climbing on the tower, and humorous tales from his "PROJECT 365" (his successful attempt to climb on the tower every day, for a year). Mr. Sanders will also provide powerful insights to the tower?s spiritual significance to both native, and non-native cultures. There will be exciting updates on the challenges and joys of DEVILS TOWER; SACRED TO MANY PEOPLE FOUNDATION, as they work to ease the grind of poverty and to bridge cultural gaps on Pine Ridge Reservation.

COME EARLY. Free Admission. Door Prizes, Wonderful Company!!! Special Devils Tower Posters & Shirts For Sale. DONATIONS APPRECIATED!!

Here's more

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Stay Tuned...

Enjoy the Amazing Race? Personally I think it would be better if they could slow down and enjoy the ride a bit. Richard and I have been working on our own version, just for fun and because, you are fun. Here is a slideshow from Travel and Leisure , The Fun with Rocks version won't require quite so much travel...

More Rock Climbing for the Gals

Here is a link to rock climbing trips for women.The Women's Wilderness Institute offers many trips, not only climbing but paddling and yoga too.

Note to my men friends: oh you don't want to go on this trip anyway so stop pouting. Send your woman, she will return relaxed, happy and with some new skills that will probably be useful to you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Devils Tower

Here’s the expert on Devils Tower – Frank Sanders coming to town Thursday, April 2 at 7:00 pm

Sharing the Power of the Tower

Frank Sanders will focus his program on wild Wyoming and climbs on his beloved Devil’s Tower.  With climbs from Baja to British Columbia, and a climbing career spanning 5 decades, Mr Sanders speaks from a lifetime of dream-come-true-adventures.  His story has appeared in National Geographic & OUTSIDE magazines, New York Times & Denver Post newspapers, NPR Radio and numerous climbing journals.  The hour-long presentation includes a history of climbing on the Tower, and humorous tales from his “PROJECT 365” (his successful attempt to climb on the Tower every day, for a year).

Expedition Room, Midwest Mountaineering

Is Someone Up There?

Ever wondered if anyone was up above watching over you while you were climbing at VE? There is. And today, I got a photo. It’s Noal.


Thursday, March 26, 2009


I have your rope. Shoot an email to this blog or something so I can get it back to you. It matches my fleece vest and I am getting attached to it.

For Any Of You Photographers Out There

This site will convert a whole passel of photos you take into a 3D, panoramic view. I put a small sample of photos I took off my deck below. The web site is here. (It’s run by the dreaded – boo, hiss – Microsoft so some of you might not like it.) I also embeded a panorama of Everest.



Mountaineering Clinic at Midwest Mountaineering

Mel and I went to Midwest Mountaineering last night for 30 minutes of power shopping followed by a talk on Mountaineering. What did I take away from this experience?
  • Social network is key. The American Alpine Club looks like a sweet deal. $75 per year and you get a journal of important ascents for each year as well as a much smaller book of failures (I was glad it was small.) Guy was another person who told me lately that humans learn mostly from our failures. There are many benefits including reciprocity with The Canadian Alpinist Club that maintains a network of huts in the Canadian Rockies that are available for member use. (I’ve been in one of them in the Bugaboos and it’s fabulous.) American Alpine Club also owns their own huts including the “Climbers’ Ranch” in Grand Teton Park as well as other huts near climbing areas such as the Heuco Tanks. Huts are listed here. By joining, you belong to their “Global Rescue Service” which will pay for you to evacuated anywhere in the world. (Details here.) They have a library of climbing books from which you can borrow. For example, John borrowed the out-of-print 1st climbing guide book to the Needles of South Dakota. And, if you are researching any first ascents, you can search the American Alpine Journal all the way back to 1929 right here.
  • Physical Stamina will bolster mental endurance. Train, Train, Train! He suggested a heartrate monitor to reach optimum training parameters. I think it just might tell me when I am about to keel over... Is the useful? Anyway I am about to hit training mode, if anyone would like to join me. My plan goes like this Do Something, everyday! Sometimes twice. (Just Like Nora) Seriously, I have the climbing thing down, time to hit the cardio.
  • Read! There are many mountaineering books out there chock full of Detail information. You are familiar with many of them. Mike Ferris's Altitude Experience, Mountaineering Freedom of the Hills (The Bible) Training for Climbing. Other overall instructional books are The Mountaineering Handbook and The Complete Guide To Climbing & Mountaineering. These last two books are probably better than Freedom of the Hills as far as mulit-pitch rock.
  • Glad I am not going anywhere with the guy that was sitting behind me. Wow, almost told his girlfriend to take a running start too. Oh that bring us to an important point. Train for yourself, but also train so you can save your partner. Don't worry Mel, I'll save you!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More A2.0 Video

By special request here's more video from Aaron's first day in a playboat. The first vid is his first time in the hole. The second is about his third ride.

Wednesday At VE

P1030120Nora, Tamara, Mel, Lisa, Hesam, Tammy and A2.0 showed up. Here are Tamara, Lisa and Hesam.



Up On The Roof

Lots of ceiling work going on today. Unfortunately not by me. I had a go at it, but my ‘go’ went fast.


When You’re Chillin’

P1030153This is the latest in apr├Ęs climbing wear seen at VE today and modeled by Peter the  “Ghetto Blasta, I Set Routes Fasta" guy.


P1030047 StitchHere’s Hesam stitching together a tough lead at VE

Award Winner- It's New!

smart belay The Smart belay device is quick and easy to use and perfect for lead and top-rope climbing using a single rope. Developed especially for the growing numbers of indoor and sports climbers, the ingenious Smart provides dynamic braking in the event of a fall, but blocks on sensing even a small amount of force from the belayer. This makes it ideal for partners of different weights. The Smart is designed to respond to the reflexes of the human body: its functionality is not impaired, even if the belayer reacts inappropriately to a fall by jerking at the rope or tensing up.

I would like to try one of these. Costs about $30.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Carnage on the Vermillion River.

After 4 days of paddling the Vermillion River in my creek boat Aaron had still yet to be flipped over in the rapids. We put him thru waves, eddys, gnarly holes and even threw him off a cliff...repeatedly...still no flips. This is unheard of with a beginner! The next plan was to move him from my 8 foot stable creek boat to a squirrely 6 foot playboat. We warmed up below the falls and eddy hopped down to the BIG DROP...Triple Drop. I went down to the bottom of the drop first to wait for the expected carnage. This was the first time he would run it alone without someone leading. Please brace yourself...this is extreme kayaking....for the rest of the photos and video, go to my blog at http://seaboopugs.blogspot.com/

Training In The Gym

Here’s this professional climber guy’s experience in climbing gyms from around the U.S. Tell me what you think. His point is too many people train their strengths not their weaknesses.

“Anyhow, here's how the training scene at many gyms works: The women walk in, talk to the guys, then sit down and stretch for 15 or 20 minutes. They are often very flexible, and show it off. Then they boulder for a bit on the longer endurance problems or lead on the less-steep walls, and often can't hold any reasonable body tension to save their lives. They rely on their relatively good contact strength (often women are lighter and have relatively good contact strength) and endurance to climb. Often they won't dyno, and stay away from the steeper terrain in the gym.
The guys walk in, talk to the women, and then stretch for about two minutes before jumping on the big rungs of the campus board, Bachar ladder or the steepest terrain in the gym with the biggest holds. They then do pullups, pushups, and join the women for a few rounds of ab crunches or some other useless maneuver that will result only in more buffed abs. And before someone his thong in a knot, there are many women who can do a front lever and many men who can do the splits. I'm working with the stereotypes I see.

North Pole Travel

There are at least 4 groups travelling right now to the North Pole and this web site is tracking them.

Jeff’’s friends are here and report on sighting some polar bears.

As well as the Baffin Babes who saw a polar bear close enough to them they got out their weapons.

Monday, March 23, 2009

You Have to Respond If I Am Going to Do More

I have been working on my Barn Bluff genealogy for my Facebook page. They won’t let me put my true age – 540 million years – or that my Mom is Mother Earth and my Dad is Father Time and that I graduated from the School of Hard Knocks. So I have to do it this way. But, look, I’ve got other things to do than this project. (Actually, I don’t. I just sit around all day waiting to erode.) So I’ve gotten this far with my family tree. Let me know what you think. (Just click on the “Open in New Window” icon next to the “Slide”window below to see it full screen. You don’t have to log into gmail to see it, it’ll give you an option to view it in a new window.)

Do You Want To Befriend Some Rocks?

Red Wing’s Barn Bluff is currently on Facebook. Email her at  barnbluffrocks –at – gmail dot com. Or, you can email Taylors Falls rock at her Facebook page taylorsfallsrock – at – gmail dot com. Who knew rocks could join Facebook? Especially really old rocks like those. (Sorry ladies, but you are pretty old.)

Monday At VE

P1030074Today we abandoned the grand ladies of the cliffs – Barn Bluff and Taylors Falls to climb indoors again. Lots of TUFF ™ climbing at VE today by Hesam and Dr. Mike and Lisa and Ben. Here’s Hesam pulling a big move.  Here’s Lisa doing some funky, crazy move. P1030049



And you have already seen Ben hanging around the ceiling in the previous post. More photos here.

Bats In The Belfry?

P1030116Don’t know what else to call this. Lisa captured this bat hanging on the ceiling at VE today – Monday. It kinda looks like Y.S.B. (Yellow Shirt Ben) but can’t tell for sure. 

This is what Y.S.B looks like when he’s right side up.  Say “"Hi, Ben, nice shirt. Didn’t think guns were allowed at the gym” next time you see him at VE.


Trouble On The World Wide Web?

We had a report today that it was impossible to find www.funwithrocks.com on the internet. Has anyone else noticed that? Please email using link at the side or comment here. Thanks.

Spring Break at Red River Gorge Photos

Wow, this looks fun, These are some of Levi's photos, here are some more and more, ok I think that is the last of them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How Do You Shoot Such Great Videos?"

I’ve had many people ask me that question. (Well, actually, it was only one person. Now that I think about it though, they were talking about someone else.) Anyway, here’s an example of how to safely shoot video from the top of a climb.

The Warden Leading At Taylors Falls

P1020995 A grand day was had by Todd, Ward and me. Here’s a shot of Ward leading the “Bulge.”


Todd Leading “Piece of Cake.” All photos linked here.



lots of choices today. if you just can't get away for redwing this morning or taylar's later, carl, mel, and lisa will be at ve at 2:00.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Red Wing Sunday

Aaron2.0 and Nora will be at Red Wing on Sunday at 9Am. Climbing ‘til about noon. Then kayaking at the Vermillion River. See if you can catch them on the rocks or on the water just like I did today.

Grubby Buddy Competition

This is only a concept, not a sure thing. I’d like to organize a “Grubby Buddy” friendly race. I think it’d be fun to do this with a few teams of two “Buddies” per team. If it were in Red Wing, here’s the concept:

  • From the Barn Bluff parking lot, run up to the bottom of the bluffs at Red Wing carrying what each team needs to do one rock climb.
  • Climb one route (approximately the same height) picked by each team. After both team members have climbed to the top and gotten back down, pack up and run back to the parking lot.
  • Grab your bikes and bike up the hill to the top of the bluffs at the nearby park in Red Wing. Then bike to the cars.
  • The team with both Buddies finishing together with the fastest time, wins.

Why “Grubby Buddy?” You and your buddy will get grubby by the time you’re through. (Plus, I’d bring Buddy, the dog along with me.) I’m open to suggestions such as:

  • Only one member needs to get to the top of the route.
  • Only one member needs to run with the other buddy doing the biking.

Another version could be done at Taylors Falls with a climb, a run, a swim and/or canoe ride.  So, tell me what you think.

I Looked For Nora & A2 Today

P1020869On my way back from Red Wing, I stopped at the Vermillion River in Hastings hoping I could catch them on the water. I took a photo from the bridge but didn’t see them.

So I walked down to the river’s edge and looked upstream to the railroad bridge hole. Didn’t see them at first.



And then I saw the two of them right there on the water.

A2 & Nora on the Verm

Red Wing Saturday Slide Show

Taylors Falls On Sunday

We’re going to TF on Sunday and practice some trad leading. Join us if you can.

Red Wing Saturday

P1020862Sunshiny, smiley day. Just ask Doni and Brendan. I also spotted Todd, Liz, Richard, Tyler, and the Warden. All doing hard climbs. Lots of photos right here.



P1020778Here’s a photo Ward took of himself. As you can see, he’s just a shadow of his old self.

Summing up The Red River Gorge

If you have never been to the Red River Gorge, you are missing out. After my 6 day stay at Miguel's pizza in the Red, I have to say that I have never seen so many amazingly beautiful routes in my life. First of all, if you go to the Red you need to camp at Miguel's. It is 2 dollars a night and its the coolest social atmosphere ever. Everyone gets out their Coleman stoves at mealtimes and cooks side by side. I was very surprised that we were not the only ones who ate like kings. Climbers seem to have a need for quality food. Each day we hit up at least one or more walls.

1st day :
Road side Crag- Very sketchy the 9's that we hopped on were very wet.
-Crazy fingers 5.10c- very fun finger pockets. Over hung, dry in the rain.

-Trouble Clef 5.9- - I took a 25 foot fall on this one when my foot slipped. Very clean
-Alters Scale 5.9+ - Another sketchy, wet route

2nd day:
Johnny's wall- It was still kinda wet but we went climbing on these fun routes.
-Bethel 5.10a -Really cool shallow flakes to crimp. Same with spinner.
-Spinner 5.10b
-Mancala 5.10a -Fun route over all, crux was right before on a wet over hanging bulge.

Indie wall- We checked this place out and just did some top out bouldering on some 12d's. Floor was really sandy, the rock was still wet.
Sanctuary- Really overhung, around a 70 degree angle from the vertical, just looked and admired. Mostly 13 and 14. we had some friends doing some projects there on Jesus wept and another I forgot the name but it was a 13a.

3rd day:
Funk rock city! -This day was the best day yet. There was a muddy approach on an old road which came to a river that we had to wade across. Then onto a very steep trudge up the jungle and around this huge crag. We only met a couple groups there which was sweet. A couple tradders that had just finished a 10d!
Prime directive 5.11b 95 feet 8 bolts crux near the top.

Hardcore Jollies- 5.12a my first twelve let alone outdoors on lead. Really awesome big moves, fun fun fun.

Head stone-5.10a I hopped on these guys trad route up this awesome crack really fun!
4th day
This day we were hoping to make a relaxing day but I got excited when I saw Fuzzy Undercling.
Sunshine 5.9+
Moon Beam 5.9
Stay left 5.10a
Fuzzy Undercling 5.11b my highest flash on the trip.
Possum Lips 5.10d slabby route with really cool reachy moves with crimpy sidepulls.

5th day was a break day, we took a break and went to Lexington and freshened up in the family bathroom at the mall.

6th day
We got on some classic routes; I forgot the names & I don't have the guide book anymore.
5.10b, 5.10c, 5.10b, 5.14a. We were going to leave but then we got caught up trying to get the first 20 foot clip on a 5.14a called the unknown. The first move was cool and really strong. I couldn’t get the right spread with my legs so I stripped down and did it in my boxers. I'll post a picture when I get a copy. haha
Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Whether it’s backing down a runout lead, navigating a sketchy descent, or merely exercising the unlikely (I will sometimes climb up and down the same route, just for fun!), the ability to downclimb (DC) is a skill worth polishing, especially for budding trad leaders.” Full article here. http://www.climbing.com/print/techtips/tttrad268/

Nora & Aaron Kayaking

Here’s Nora’s report on kayaking last Wednesday. Notice the ice hanging on the rock in the photo at left. It must’ve been cold water. 

“Today was the first run on the Verm for 09. It was much anticipated as the ice took it's time leaving. The level is higher than reported which made for some really fun fun play. Today was also Aarons first time on moving water. Bryan Z and I have been mentoring Aaron along. He took to rolling in the pool immediately and has it down good. But then he didn't need a roll today...not even one. We started off below the falls to get him used to moving water....no flips there. We worked our way down hitting every eddy and peel out. He did great...no flips! I went to the bottom of Triple and waited for expected carnage. He ran the drops great! Next up was S Bend. Bryan explained what to do when you hit a rock. Well winter dropped a big rock in the middle of the river just above the hole. Aaron hit it and did everything right...he didn't flip. The drop into Donut went great...no flips...he eddied out fine. We threw him into Donut, again no flips!!!! We even threw him off a cliff into the water...no flips!!!! Mr. Natural! Great job Aaron!!! There were about 13 of us running the Verm today for the first run.”

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Punting A Climb

Never heard the term of punting? Here’s an article that describes how frustrating it is to choke (“punt”) on a climb you thought you could do. I liked this quote from the article:

“If you do it right, getting better at sport climbing means that most of the time you fail. When you spend most of your time failing, the desire to feel successful takes on exaggerated proportions.”

John Muir said

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

Who wants to climb outside tomorrow?

I do!!!! I was thinking Redwing. I am open to suggestions though. The only thing is that I need to be back to Hastings by 4pm to paddle the Verm with Nora!!!!! Anyone game? If you want to go push that little email button below the post and send me a message. Or leave a comment.

Join super charged Aaron 2.0 for a day of flashing the exciting lead routes at Barn Bluff in Red Wing. It's Friday, the forecast is for 49 degrees. What more reason do you need?Do it!
(post tweaked by Lisa)

A Report from the VE Social Secretary:

Upon arrival at the gym, I saw that my regular partner was climbing with 3 very short girls so I paired up with Aaron 2.0. We commenced to warm up, both weary from a couple of days of fun outside. We were joined by Kyle and Greg Tambo.....Then my 3 kiddos showed up and we showed those gals from Duluth, the St. Paul ropes. Then the crisis hit.
Someone changed the White PPM route in the chimney! I alerted PPM himself. Shock and horror prevailed. Ok, I climbed it. I got real crabby in the middle, but I climbed it. After that I had to leave, I was too upset. But I made sure everyone had someone to climb with before I left.
Respectfully submitted,
Lisa the Sunbeam.

Mountain Athlete Workouts

The Mountain Athlete web site has tons of work outs for climbing. Here’s their 8 week program to build strength and endurance for climbing. This video sure makes their training look like fun.

Taylors Falls, a beautiful day

..and not cold at all. We had the place to ourselves, we set some top ropes on Piece of Cake and the column, and the one in between that I can't recall right now. Probably because I am still swooning over this vision in really nice pants. I think his name was Studs McGoodlookin or Russell, I don't remember for sure.

In spite of all the men around, one even shirtless, we climbed some very fun routes! It was the first time outside climbing for one, first time trad for one, confindence builder on anchors for two, and an overdue return to the rock for several. And a great day of climbing for all the people of the rock, Mel, Emily Liz, Sarah, Ben, Russell, PPM and me.

and then we went out for a C.R.A.P. Ok, the ones that were old enough did. and the ones that didn't have to go to work, and the ones who didn't go home to make dinner for a spouse.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Longest Icefall Climb

This waterfall in Norway is about  2400 feet high and until this year had not been climbed. Story with more photos here.

What’s It Cost To Climb The Seven Summits ?

In this article, the author lays out the expenses to climb the highest peaks on the seven continents. Kilimanjaro is the cheapest at $3150.

Taylors Falls

A bunch of Girly climbers will be at Taylors Falls today and a couple of manly men doing some trad climbing. The gals will be there about 1 p.m. Leave a comment with contact info if you would like to know more.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Sorry, I seem to have stolen a rope at the Bluff today. Send an email or comment and I will probably give your rope a ride home to you and bring you some flowers.

Red Wing Tuesday

Let’s see, who was there? Ron, Lisa, Aaron, Kyle, Russell, Nora, Peter and Hans. The day was slightly hazy but sunny enough so that it was plenty warm. Most of the shady side is still too wet to climb so we climbed on the sunny side. All photos are here.

Kyle led his first outdoor climbs including “Too Low for Zero,” “Jump Start",” and “Sleeping Bat.” Aaron led his first outdoor climbs of the season including “Sleeping Bat",” “Jump Start” and “Pigeon Paranoia.” Russell started off by leading “Left Lane” and did lots of other climbs I didn’t see. Ron, Nora, Lisa , Peter and Hans climbed “Pigeon Paranoia,” “Sleeping Bat,” “Jump Start” “Suicide Squeeze, “Work Ethic” and others I don’t remember. It was a good day for the 2nd outdoor official climbing day.

Fun stuff today!

Hey every one this is Levi from the red river gorge! If you didn't know we are staying at migels pizza which is a pizza shop/proshop/ camp site/awesome place to be. first day was wet but we got up some wet nines. I took about a 25 foot fall on my first route but it was nice and clean. The first day we also got a 10c called crazy fingers. It was really fun. Next day we got out to johnnys wall and indie wall and sanctuary. Only got a couple climbs in at johnnys "Mancala 10a and some others to the left of that one. We scoped out indie wall and sanctuary and did some bouldering. Today was the best day ! We just got back and the stars are out. We hit up funk rock city today and I got up a 11b around 95 feet. i forgot the name and a 12 a called hard jollies or something. I was really happy from the 12 a. First time getting up a 12a let alone lead out doors! I also hopped on some trad that some one had led. It was a nice finger crack, it was really fun and around a 10b. I am kinda rushing through this right now so sorry if some of it doesn't make sence. We are really tired from today. Our aproach was really awesome we had to wade across a river and hike up some jungely stuff. see you later bye

Whitewater Instruction

Today at Barn's Bluff quite a few climbers were interested in learning to whitewater. I help teach at CanoeU each year...you can find the info at http://www.rapidsriders.net/. They teach once a year and it's a whole lot of fun. UM Duluth and UM St Cloud also have courses and the intructors thru there are top notch. If you're wondering what whitewater Minnesota has just check my blog http://seaboopugs.blogspot.com/ and search the archives for photos and video. There are other links to regional blogs and websites on the side bar. Questions? Feel free to get hold of me. Good day on the Bluff!

Red Wing Eagles

P1020486When Aaron was climbing on Sunday, we saw 5-6 eagles circling over his head. Here’s a shot of two of them in the photo on the left. Below, is a zoomed version. And if you click on that zoomed image, you will see the eagle head supersized.

eagle cropped

Read Rock Climber Girl’s Trip Report

She just got back from a trip to Red Rocks and has several reports of the climbs she did. Several multi-pitch moderately rated trad routes. Her 2nd report is here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Free Ride to Redwing On Tuesday!

Lisa and I are planning on going to Redwing on Tuesday, leaving the cities around noon. If anyone is looking for a free ride let me know!! (Respond to this post)

Making This Blog More User Friendly

We’ve had lots of suggestions about improving this blog. Such as:

  • Showing a calendar of upcoming trips – especially with the outdoor season starting
  • Helping people find someone to climb with them on a specific day/location
  • Letting more people post messages

Please email me or Lisa if you have other ideas or modifications. Right now, there are 16 people with permission to add posts and 2 more people who are pending. If you want to post and you’re not sure if you have permission, drop us an email. Or catch us at VE. Or sing a song and post it on YouTube. Or…

VE Photos From 3/14 – 3/16

Here are photos of Diane, Vicki, Danielle, Kyle, John, Peter, Nora, Aaron and 60% of the Ender clan. All of the photos are here.


I can see your house from here!

Kammerlander is famous for his daring and runout first ascents, often carried out from the ground-up, he stated that the protectionless crux had created sleepless nights. When he finally managed to link this section, in temperatures down to -4°C, he was "so surprised that I still stuck to the rock, like a drop dangling under a ceiling. I felt that I as falling but I kept going for it. The primal will that I felt in this situation, coming from deep down in my stomach, is what I remember and what carried me through. When I climb such a route I don’t feel like I am 50 years old."

See an interview and video of the ascent of the face. It would be helpful if you know German, but if you don't it's still fun to watch if you don't.

Climbing Plans & Your Input

We have lots of plans for outdoor climbing this year, including the Black Hills the weekend of July 17th. Most any day the temps are over 45 degrees and not raining, is a good day to climb outside. (At Willow, you can even climb if it is raining.) Some additional plans we have but with no specific dates yet, include:

  • Exposure to exposure
  • Multi pitch intro
  • Rappel practice
  • Trad leading practice

The three closest climbing areas to us in the Metro – sorry about that Nora, Ron and Raoul – are Red Wing, Willow and Taylors Falls. All three can be fun and we plan to go to both of those frequently.

We need your input to make this blog work as a clearing house of where to go and when to go and with whom. So you can put a post here if you want to initiate a trip. You can also just check the calendar to see if someone else is going when you can go. Or, you can try emailing one of us – either individually or through the email link just to the right. 

If you are shy, and don’t want to post your trip, we can help. Just put “Shy” in the subject line, drop us an email with where you want to go and when, and we will do the rest. If you are too shy to send us an email, then call us. Or talk to us in person. If you are too shy to do that, well, send Buddy my dog a message on Facebook.  (His email is buddysletten at  gmail dot com.)

Red Wing Tuesday And Wednesday

If you’ve never been to Barn Bluff before, here’s a map. If you want my cell phone number, send me an email at the mailbox link to the right.

Layering For Warmth



Here’s what they wore in Antarctica in the Fall of 1911.




Here’s a photo of an iceberg on the Antarctic Peninsula lit up by flashlights in June of 1911. Very climbable, I’d say. These photos and many more like it available here. ice berg

Get A Workout & Help A Kid

Want to try out those new shoes by hiking up a mountain? Well, here you go:

“Climb Up the 50” to benefit American Foundation for Children with AIDS.

Climb up the highest point in Minnesota – Eagle Mountain – and raise money. Check here for details.

Aliens And Rock

No, not this kind of Alien but this kind:


Here’s an article about the green kind of alien. I quote part of it below:

“Above tree line on an alpine bivouac near Tuolumne Meadows, Mt Conness, not high on anything other than the moment, sitting at my stone observatory after dark enjoying the heavens, I saw a constellation of stars materialize, bluish and bright, blinking in concert and moving across a large portion of the sky dome. The formation vectored in, out, yawed left and right. Then, not five minutes after its arrival, poof!”

Those of you who read this blog, are outside a lot. Have you ever seen anything weird outside? (Weirder than me in a skirt sitting on top of a rock, I mean.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Climb Like A Girl, Part 3

I tried climbing like a girl today and it seemed to help. I was thoughtful, balanced and super, duper techniquey. See if you agree.

Sunday At Red Wing

Nora and Aaron2.0 and Buddy and I were there. As well as The Warden and Mike. It was a little chilly to start but by 11:30, it was plenty warm. As you can see, Buddy liked Aaron’s new rope ground cloth and his new rope. Then Aaron used his new quick draws and new rope for the first time to lead several climbs including Jump Start and Sleeping Bat.  There’s Nora mantling onto a ledge and The Warden leading a 5.11 ground fall route. More photos here.

Here's what I heard...

Mike and Ward had a good time at Red Wing today. He said he started the season climbing harder routes than typical. Sleeping bat, Cyclops, Urban Chunks, Big Rocks Remembered, Suicide Squeeze, and an unknown 10.

Finger tips hurt…..Can’t wait to go again!

Richard, Aaron 2.0 and Nora enjoyed Sleeping Bat, Jump start and probably some other fun stuff.

Mel and I did some cardio training on the many stairs in Stillwater. It was just what we needed. Stretching out the legs in the fresh air and sunshine Yeah!

Richard needs a climbing partner at Redwing for Monday, please disregard the last video and go climbing with him. He is harmless... really.

Report from Red River Gorge

Levi and his posse from Duluth arrived at the Red River Gorge late last night. They drove by several vacant Campgrounds, thinking perhaps it was too early in the season for many climbers. Then the got to Miguel's. They were over 100 tents back there. He said it's like a rock festival (ha ha)
He said they climbed a couple of 5.9's and a 10 called Crazy Fingers. It got a little "sketchy" he said and then he took a 25 foot whipper. Why would you tell your mama that??? I asked if he was wearing that new helmet I bought him. He said "no, but I will tomorrow" I continue to pray for their safety, it's all I can do!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Climb Like A Girl Cont’d

me in skirt on rockIf climbing like a girl means relying more on thinking, balance and better technique (see post below), I too want to climb like a girl. Another one of my many goals for ‘09. So, I went out and bought a new outfit. Think the skirt picks up the color in my eyes?

Climb like a Girl

It's a good thing, not like throwing like a girl. PPM routes have put me more in touch with the girly climber in me. Maybe forced, no, coaxed into relying more on technique, balance and thinking, than is typically my style. I think I am learning to slow down. Maybe I need to learn that everyday...again.
Here is an article, from rockclimbergirl that discusses a much broader definition than the preceeding. I am embracing my girlyness, without any more apology. It's about time.
I especially like this part.

I also climb like a girl. I'm typically the coffee-brewer in my camp; I do have days -- fewer lately than when I first started out -- where I'm happy to belay all day without climbing because I just don't feel it, or I'm unusually afraid that particular day. I have, a few times, had to rely on my guy friends to retrieve lost gear when I got too sketched out to finish a lead. That's not necessarily girly -- that means I'm a beginner, still, even after three years, and I'm still learning -- but it sure feels girly in the moment when I have to ask for help. I wonder, a lot, since I climb a lot of the time with really strong guys, if everybody is as afraid as I usually am on lead and they just hide it better than I do.

P.S. thanks PPM you have made March more interesting, and March is hardly ever interesting.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday The 13th At VE

Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky. But we were lucky to have Amy, Nora, Peter, Doni, Richard, Kyle and Aaron at VE today. Also, Mike (PPM) and Dr. Mike. We had a riot climbing PPM’s new “corkscrew” route ourselves and then watching others climb it by slowly doing a 360 as they went to the top. Good job Mike. Dr. Mike was just off working 7 straight nights at the emergency room. That’s why he only led a couple of 5.11s out of the pit. Hope to see more of Dr. Mike at VE and not at his hospital.

P1020399Here’s a photo of Lisa just finishing the new PPM route he named “Santa Claus” but we named “Corkscrew.” And here’s Doni doing some big hairy lead in the pit.