Friday, July 31, 2009

In Montana!

In honor and in anticipation of the arrival of our climbing partner, Mel, CW and I tested our lungs and legs out on Sacajawea Peak. It seemed like cheating, arriving fresh to climb after only 2 hours in a plane. I guess there is no glory in the endless drive across the plains in the mini van as we have done so many times before. We reached an elevation of 9665 feet after a gain of 2000 feet. All summit registers will be signed "CW and The Sunbeam" on the adventure. Attention all hikers of my vintage: I am diggin' the trekking poles! All other, talk to me in 20 years.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hardest Via Ferrata?

He does a bat hang on this via Ferrata in Austria at about 2 minutes.

Marking A Rope

Here’s an article from Black Diamond about marking the middle of a rope with a Sharpie.

Canadian Alpine Club

The Alpine Club of Canada has many weeklong fully supported climbing trips – like this one in the Valhalla Range for rock climbing. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Green Climbing

I tried to get Mel, Lisa and Carl to do the first totally “green” climb of the Grand Teton. For example, I suggested they charge their flashlights using helmets with solar cells during the day, and when the sun’s not out, helmets with little windmills. (See below.)

mel with windmill lisa in solar hat

I tried to get them to buy approach shoes with soles made from free-range rubber and the rest of the shoe made from woven reeds. And to use a hemp rope. So far, they have refused. (I guess the windmill on Mel’s head would be a little cumbersome.)

But at least they will be climbing on 100%, all natural, organically certified rock. And they will have this totally recycled phone system I made for them so they can contact their base camp.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Red Wing Geocache

Last Sunday we found this geocache at Red Wing. It is in an obvious location at the top of a climb. Today I added a “Travel Bug” which has a unique number that you can track as it (hopefully) wanders the world. I wonder how long the “bug”  will stay there. (I released a different Bug in December of ‘03 and so far it has been moved 17,582 miles by a total of 81 people.)   If you want to track “High Boltage” Bug, go here and enter this tracking number: 311319. (This is all terribly geeky, I know. But it’s very similar to that book called “Paddle-to-the-Sea.”)

Just watch us.

Grand Teton live log on on Aug 4th. Mel, Carl and I will be waving from the top.

New Gear

The Outdoor Retailers show just ended. Lots of new stuff described here including a full strength mini-biner  and a ponytail accommodating helmet.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Grand Adventure

Lisa and Carl leave this Thursday for Bozeman on their way to climb the Grand Teton. Mel joins them in Jackson Hole on the weekend and then they’ll spend two days polishing their skills on the rocks of the Teton Range. Then two days to climb the Grand and back home.  I am sure they will send us blog updates from the summit while modeling clothes. Just like they did the last time, as seen in the photo below.

Rocks I did this Weekend...They were Wet!

Another fabulous Wausau weekend of paddling and bouldering. As I promised I took some photos of the rock. It's quartzite and very pleasant to climb on. Unfortunately there were showers so the rocks Saturday evening were wet. We bouldered easy routes. 6:30 in the morning we got up and did some more bouldering before the days paddling. The rocks were dry and we did some awesome routes. So much varried personality to all the rocks up there. Pamela had her second day paddling at Wausau and did fantastic. For those interested in learning Bear Paw has been offering intro classes at the Whitewater park for $35.00 which includes gear and boat. They are filling up fast!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


This Is Similar To What We Did In The Black Hills

Only we were much higher in altitude and had much longer days. They are only going 24/7. I think we went 25/8.

Red Wing Sunday – Parteee!

4 of the 6 members of Jack’s Croquet Club gathered for a meeting at Red Wing today. There were deeelicious pies – one with a candle for my B’day – and, lo and behold, Jack showed up too.

P1060652 P1060656
There was climbing too. All of us did some leading. But mostly we watched The Warden locking up the hard routes and putting them in rock jail – for life!  


More photos here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

End Of Climbing History?

This essay develops the point that climbing technology hasn’t changed since the mid 1980s and probably won’t. He states:  “…that history no longer is being made in climbing. I don't mean that there is nothing left to do in climbing, far from it, but that there is no significant innovation in terms of technology, practice, arena, or destination likely to emerge in the future that will be considered truly historical.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

Underground Fun With Rocks

This is stretching the definition of “fun,” but I just finished reading this book about a caving expedition in Mexico to one of the deepest caves in the world. They traveled more than one mile deep and spent about 44 days underground. To get to their base camp in the cave, required 92 rappels. All of them in the dark, many of them thru running water. 

Flow & Climbing

Ever had that feeling while climbing that time had passed and you didn’t even know it? That’s one of the criteria of “flow” defined by “the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.” The following are the definitions proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Here’s a speech he gives explaining this  concept in more detail.

1. Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one's skill set and abilities). Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.[2]

2. Concentrating and focusing, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).

3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.

4. Distorted sense of time, one's subjective experience of time is altered.

5. Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed).

6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).

7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.

8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.

9. People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.

Not all are needed for flow to be experienced.

A Life Full of Experience!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Another Slideshow From Black Hills

This is from Lisa’s and Ron’s cameras. (If the embedded video below doesn’t work go here.)

More photos from the Black Hills

No music, so you can sing "It's impossible" or Mr. Toad while you watch the slide show. OR you can go to and choose you own song. I might suggest Neil Diamond's Rock Me Gently.It's a great climbing song. Still can't believe how much fun I had....

Monday, July 20, 2009

4 Styles Of Bouldering

This video shows 4 climbers at the bouldering competition climbing the same route in 4 different ways.

How Much Should YouWarm Up?

This blog quotes from a book about climbing:

“Scientific studies have shown that bringing the pulleys and tendons up to a perfect state of “readiness” requires about four routes or 120 moves of climbing.”

New Faces On Mt Rushmore

faces on  mt rushmore copy

What a surprise, we found some new faces on Mt Rushmore when we visited. Who are these famous climbers?

We were so curious we wanted to see what Rushmore looked like from the back. So we climbed up and bent over and looked down. basckside of rushmore copy

And saw this:

Demon-of-Rushmore-6459 copy

Climbing With Strangers

Rock Climber Girl has an article about climbing with people she’s met on Twitter. They don’t sound like twits at all.

Black Hills Slideshow

If embedded video below doesn’t work, try this link.

Climbing Beta

Via Lisa’s interpretive dance skills. (Link here.)

Black Hills Climbing Trip

We returned Sunday night about 11PM. A few of us don’t have scrapes on knees or elbows. Some of us are tired. All of us are happy. None of us want to drive back there today.

I posted all of my photos  here

BTW, in looking at the photos, I have a suggestion for all of you. Next time you go climbing in the mountains, beg, borrow or steal a red shirt. Not gray, white or blue. Orange and pink are OK, but get a bright red shirt. I know it may not match your eyes – until after the evening Happy Hour – but, still, get a red shirt. OK? ‘Nuff said.

Glad you all could go. Glad you all got back safely.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Duluth climbing, anyone?

I'm going to be in Duluth from Saturday to Wednesday. Anyone up for some climbing? Call me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Weather Forecast

Weather for Custer, SD looks good for our trip. There’s a beautiful sameness to the forecast.

Partly Cloudy Thursday

  74° F | 50° F

Partly Cloudy  Friday

  76° F | 50° F

Partly Cloudy


  76° F | 52° F

Partly Cloudy


    86° F | 56° F

Ever Been Bored By A Tide?

PPM writes from Anchorage that he visited Turnagain Arm, a bay outside of Anchorage and saw a tidal bore. This article says: “The bore tide is a rush of seawater that returns to a shallow and narrowing inlet from a broad bay. Bore tides come in after extreme minus low tides created by the full or new moon.

Bore tides occur all over the world—there are around 60 of them—but only a few are large enough to make a name for themselves. One in China, for example, stretches almost 30 feet tall and travels more than 20 miles per hour. Alaska’s most famous bore tide occurs in Turnagain Arm, just outside Anchorage. It climbs up to 6 – 10 feet tall and can reach speeds of 10 to 15 miles per hour. It takes not just a low tide but also about a 27-foot tidal differential (between high and low tide) for a bore to form in Turnagain Arm.

…it’s huge—one of the biggest in the world, actually. . It’s also amazingly accessible: you can see it by road along its entire 40- to 50-mile length. And it’s a wildlife-spotting opportunity: harbor seals often ride the tide into Turnagain Arm. Beluga whales may come in a half hour or so later once the water gets deeper.”

Important Meeting, I Nominate Richard and Ron to Represent Us!

Black Hills Climbing Coalition

June 2009

The next meeting of the BHCC will be 7 pm Wednesday, July 15, at Wilson Park on the corner of Mount Rushmore Road and Saint Andrew streets, Rapid City.

This will be a short meeting to finalize plans for Pinfest, and to examine all the coalition climbing ropes and equipment to make sure everything is in good condition.

Don’t forget that Pinfest will be Saturday, July 18, starting around 9 a.m. There will be top ropes put up on a variety of climbs in the Ten Pins area in Custer State Park. All climbers are welcome to come and join in this yearly Black Hills climbers gathering, and we especially appreciate climbers who are willing to put up ropes on the climbs, and help take down gear at the end of the day.

The area around the Ten Pins has been heavily logged to get rid of bug trees. There are huge piles of slash now spread all around the base of many climbs, which we would also like to clean up. If everyone worked for just 20-30 minutes it would make a huge difference in how the area looked. All you need to do is bring work gloves and be willing to help carry logs and branches away from the base of the climbs.

Unlike Beans & Beaners, there is no potluck at Pinfest, so bring your own food and water and come out for a great day of climbing in one of the most scenic and beautiful parts of the Black Hills!

Sue Scheirbeck is having a “most excellent cornmeal pancake breakfast” at 7:30 a.m. before Pinfest that is open to all climbers. RSVP to Sue  if you can make it so she knows how much batter to make up. You can also bring coffee, fruit, yogurt, nuts or syrup. Yumm!

Be sure to tell my boyfriend Ron that those cute girls from St. Paul are headed his way.


imageIs the Alaskan town next to Prudhoe Bay. That’s where PPM is now. Here’s a story of a trip to that town. BTW, there is a haul road to Deadhorse from Fairbanks that is ride-able by bikes – Lisa? – but services are spotty according to this report.

You can see that it’s stunningly beautiful.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Half Ropes

Lisa and I were at VE today  - it was way too nice to climb outside. She got the idea of practicing our half rope technique. So we grabbed two ropes and practiced some leads. After we started, Pat came over and gave us handy tips and explained why he prefers that method of climbing – especially on longer routes – and why it’s safer. It was great fun but next time we’ll use two different colored ropes. It’s easier to keep straight which one needs to be clipped next. 

Reduced Rope Drag

No Pain, No Swearing

When you hit your elbow on the rock, be sure to let loose a “Doggone it, that hurts.” Because apparently, it helps reduce with pain when you swear. At least according to these researchers. One of the researchers said, “I would advise people, if they hurt themselves, to swear.” Dang, that’s good to know.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wow! Wausau!

A funny thing happened on the way to kayaking this weekend. I found out I love bouldering! I always thought of bouldering as just going up aways and traversing and coming back down. I'm happy to say I was set straight this weekend. Four of us paddlers/climbers were up at the crack of dawn to hit up Rib Mountain in Wausau before the water was turned on. I was introduced to real feral far away from the indoor kind of bouldering. Trust me on this...the routes are incredible from easy to extremely hard and everything in between. They were tall enough that once you past a point a fall wasn't really an option. What a great start to the day! Well worth the trip for just bouldering. Of course being Wausau there are so many other things in the area to do. Sorry, I didn't get any photos....I had my camera battery on the charger. Next time or just check out Mountain Project for more beta.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Good Use of Climbing Skills!

Thoughts on Food

You need energy to exercise and energy comes from food. Make sure you've eaten adequately before any fitness activity and eat to refuel afterwards, says Sue Travis, RD, PhD, of the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

The amount of food a person needs will varies with age, sex, weight, and activity level. The rate at which you burn calories depends not only on the type of exercise you do, but also on how vigorously you do it.

Travis emphasizes that it’s important to divide your calories between carbohydrates, protein, and fat:

  • Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates — sugars and starches — are broken down by the body into glucose, which muscles use for energy. Excess carbs are stored in the liver and tissues as glycogen and released as needed. It’s glycogen that provides the energy for high-intensity exercise and prolonged endurance. Some good sources of carbohydrates are whole grain breads and cereals, fruit, vegetables, pasta, and rice.
  • Protein. Protein should be part of each of your major meals because it will help slow absorption of carbohydrates. Fish, eggs, chicken, meat, and beans are excellent sources of protein, and 3 ounces per meal is enough.
  • Fat. You need some fat in your diet, too, says Travis. Low-fat dairy products, like 1 percent milk, and lean cuts of meat will give you the fat your body needs.

Try to have a combination of items from all three of these food groups at each of your major meals, says Travis. For a healthy breakfast, have a high-fiber cereal (either oatmeal or another whole-grain cereal), a low-fat dairy product, and fruit or a glass of juice. The easiest lunch might be a sandwich made with lean meat, poultry, or fish on whole-grain bread, with raw veggies and fruit served on the side. Protein and energy bars can be useful, but don't use them as a meal replacement, warns Travis. Look for bars with at least 10 grams of protein and some carbohydrates, rather than products with a high protein content and hardly any carbohydrates.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hmmm, some VE folks got to the Black Hills before us.

Taylors Falls Friday

Lisa and I were checking out our anchor-setting, top belaying and rappelling skills in anticipation of our big trip. So here are some photos of Lisa setting up anchors and them rapping down on them. (Who knew girls could be good at this stuff?)

P1050883P1050899 P1050889

Thursday, July 9, 2009

We’re Not As Tough As We Used To Be

Being outdoors is inherently dangerous. Here are two men who used their emergency locator beacon because there was too much sun in Alaska. They lasted one day out of their 7 day trip. (Hey girls, when you go to Alaska remember the sunscreen.) Man, I am glad I spend most of my time indoors.

(Of course, I should talk; I’m all excited about competing for a pair of pink tights. DO NOT tell Jack London or Ernie Hemmingway.)


I just notice that there are some new heads on Mt Rushmore. When did this happen? Was it in the news and I missed it?

Old and tired:

New and perky:

new rushmore

(When I do this stuff, I’m puzzled why so many people don’t want me taking photos of their faces.)

For Our Upcoming Trip

Look what treasures the internet contains – photos of all the rest areas along I 90 in South Dakota. What a wonderful resource, huh?

For example, if you see this rest area, you know you are at exit 296.


But if the exit looks like this, you are at exit 264. See the difference?






Now driving farther west, you might see an exit looking like this.

Quick, where are you? Exit 218 or exit 100? Answer here*

* It is obviously exit 218 because exit 100 looks like this.

Cross Training

Ron and John did some cross training to build strength for climbing by fencing today. No, not this kind of fencing:


(Although they would look delicious in those little white outfits.)



They did this kind of fencing:




Cool lookin’ hats boys!


Emily is going to Slovakia this Fall. So here’s a chalet that you can stay in when you are visiting her in the Tatra mountains. It’s got quite a history.

Slovak University students built the chalet in 1944. They were helping Polish guerrillas and Russian refugees who escaped from Nazi camps to get to the guerrilla camps in the Low Tatras.”

Bring Your Signs & Banners to Rushmore

When we climb at the Rushmore area next week, look what we can do now. This area used to be closed to climbing, but not now. 

Here are some signs I am bringing:

crop hard climbs


Hey Mike & The Warden

Have you been to this place in South Dakota? Sounds like you should go when you visit SD. For the rest of us mortals, there’s some nice footage of climbing in the Rushmore area.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stealing Diamonds

“A robber looking for actual diamonds entered Black Diamond Equipment headquarters in Salt Lake City, threatened the shift manager with an ice pick, and demanded ‘the precious metals and the money.

here are some insider tips for the robber. Horny Toad does not sell amphibians and Granite Gear is not made from heavy rocks.’"

Burning Crater

Known locally as the “Door to Hell,” this close relative of the “Pool of Fire” and little-known tourist attraction has been on fire for at least three decades.”

The Contest Is Over

And I won! I’m talking about the “Fight for the Tights” competition at VE. This me in tightscompetition is for a pair of pink tights and it is awarded to the climber who climbs PPM’s custom designed routes in grand form. (PPM is definitely the Route Setter Extraordinaire.) After only one week of the contest, I decided to award myself the pink tights. So I did. They look smashing, don’t you think?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Black Hills Climbing

These climbs are all in the Sylvan Lake area. (In my previous post, I mentioned a couple of them, but this list is more extensive.) Also, on the first page of the same article, is the story of the first ascent of a Sylvan Lake classic, as told by the Conns. More details of the route here.