Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ATC Guide Auto Lock

I kinda needed a refresher after today. (BTW, Aaron, I explained the sling thing wrong.)


Who wudda thought we would be in our short sleeves in March? The early shift Fabrice and Mel went to RW but the rest of the kids were at Taylors. Aaron and I practiced out multipitch still on Blue Moon. Richard climbed Column Direct in hie tennies. And that is because he is awesome, not because he forgot anything. That's just the way he roles. Aaron and I stopped for Ice cream, did you?

TF Wednesday

Today I climbed with Liz, Zack, Nate, Aaron, Lisa, Diane & Peter. It was Pete’s 3rd straight day of climbing at Taylors. It was Nate’s first day of being at TF. 75 degrees felt hot. Still not many wasps.

Some photos below. Other ones here.

P1100212  P1100216

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Equalizing Figure 8

There’s more discussion of the uses of an equalizing figure 8 here.

“Make an "8" on a bight then return the Loop back through with 8-10" of tail and whalla! What is nice about it is that if the piece blows that one of the loops is attached to, the Biner locks off the loop at the knot.”

Pulling Down

How to pull down on some big moves.

Old Slings

Slings outside for 7 years, were tested at 50% strength at Black Diamond. Pretty amazing.  

Taylors Falls Wednesday

I will get there about 11. See you all there

Circle of Life

Here’s my version of the circle of life. See if you agree.

circle of life copy

Monday, March 29, 2010


What happens when you combine paragliding with falconry? Parahawking.

Taylors Falls On Monday

There were, amazingly enough, 4 other climbers at TF today besides Peter and me. Peter did some trad leading which is always fun to watch and to second. I only climbed once because of my hurt foot. But I did belay Peter him up many climbs. Weather was nice although a little chilly because of the wind. There were only a few hornets. We stayed on the MN side because the base of the rocks is flooded on the WI side. Some of the climbs Pete did are here, here, and here.

I See A Couple Of Ways I Could Get Hurt

In line with my saying - “We’re never more than a split second from disaster” - I hurt my foot on a treadmill. I was getting in shape to go outdoors so I could hurt myself doing something else.

Speaking of getting hurt, I can see a couple of ways I could get hurt doing what these cyclists are doing.

This Week in Climbing.

The weather is good so let’s go! Meet at Taylors Falls Minnesota Strip at noonish on Wednesday. Leave a comment if you are coming, also if you are interested in car pooling.
Peter is desperate to climb on Tuesday. Leave a comment or email Richard or Lisa to get in touch with him. He is a great guy, just a little technology impaired. He sets a great top rope anchor though.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

1st Place Photo

In the Petzl light contest is below.

New Layout

Comments? Blogger just came out with a new way to design blogs, so we’re playing with the layout here. It’s wider and it’s bluer.

...stranded on a ledge

Ok, what happens if Ron drops his belay device...again. Well ok I guess we have given him so much crap about it, he will never do it again, but I might. So what would I do?

Here is a photo of the Carabiner Brake method. It sure looks cool and probably works well but it has many components and could be hard to rig if I am tired, it's getting dark or I don't have 6 biners or I am freaking out in any way. Read about it and we can try it later.

In our awesome class last night we learn we could save ourselves with a Munter hitch. I make one by making a clove hitch first and then reversing a loop, but that's me. Munter is odd the way he pops in and out of the biner when done correctly, kinda wigs me out. Anyway, it works. One draw back it the Munter can kink up your rope pretty good.
Here's the question: If you were trapped on a ledge because you dropped your belay device, (or you were a hero and gave yours to me because I dropped mine) What would you do? There are many ways to do things. Let's hear some!

Multi-Pitch Class

Thursday night, Russell taught us techniques for multi-pitch climbing. Some photos below. Details to follow.

Attentive class  P1100189












Do not get your nose caught in the belay device. Ouch!

Practice, practice.

It's the coolest knot I have seen. Does this look right? Our class last night with Russell was very worthwhile! We paid attention, asked good questions and everything. Some things were brand new, somethings I learned from Richard and others looked familiar from things I have seen guides do but it wasn't a good idea to ask a bunch of questions at the moment.
I can do it in the hall at home, let's see if I can remeber dangling off a cliff somewhere...ask us about our rap group! Richard, Aaron and Mel all know even more stuff now.

Competition That Anyone Could Do

I like the MC saying “No swimming in the Redneck Games.” I could do these competitions.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Aid Ice Climbing

I’m not even sure what they did here, but it looks cold, hard and dangerous. This is the story of Will Gadd putting up an overhanging ice climb behind a 460 foot high waterfall. In the photo below, he is using his ice tools to aid climb part of the roof. Panoramic view here.


150 Years Of Free Soloing

In a central Siberian nature reserve called Stolby the locals have a 150-year tradition of free soloing rock formations up to 400 feet tall. Rock climbing there is a community activity and large crowds of all ages – everyone climbing without ropes – are common on the routes.”

The video shows dozens of people of all ages simultaneously free soloing. Especially look at the head-first down climbing starting at about 3:40. Quite a tradition.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sick Photo Brah...

That's what the kids said anyway about this photo of Levi's Friend Peter Dodge ad the Red River Gorge. I think Justin did the editing, great job. Yeah I am a facebook stalker, get over it.

Snow Kiting In Patagonia

Some great photos of using the famous Patagonia winds to carry them and their gear up to 48mph on the Patagonia glaciers.


Instead of this all the time:







turnerThey had this:

Climb With The Pros

Win a climbing day with Tommy Caldwell, Conrad Anker, Jimmie Dunn, Eric Horst, or Steph Davis. If you win, you could climb in Utah, Yosemite, New York, or Colorado.

Contest details here.

Dem Bones

Dem bones be mighty important for ‘dis stuff. Red Wing 3-24-10.

How To Stem

P1100166 Lisa demonstrates how to S.L.B at Red Wing today. It was crowded at Red Wing on Wednesday – there were at least 10 of us there. (On Tuesday, there were only two of us.)  Mel and Fabrice got there early and Pamela, Ron, Lisa, Aaron and I took the later shift.


Here’s Ron on “Relentless.” (We had quite a scare on Relentless when I knocked down an ice cooler-sized rock from the very top.) More photos here.

Do You Feel Lucky?

“Well do you, punk?” OK, that quote about luck from the “Dirty Harry” movie, isn’t helpful in learning how to be more lucky. But this research is:

“My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

  • Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches.
  • Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. They tend to take the same route to and from work and talk to the same types of people at parties. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives.
  • Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse.”
  • Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    Training For Tolerance

    How to build strength-endurance.

    ’Tolerance’ is the ability to sustain a high-level of strength for several moves on a climb. This quality is known by many names, including power-endurance, endurance, and strength-endurance.”

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    All Things Multi-Pitch

    Belay Systems & Anchor Management - All Things Multi-Pitch
    This clinic will help the aspiring "trad" climber streamline their systems. The two main themes in this clinic are:

    •You should have a working knowledge of multiple systems regarding anchoring and various belay choices.
    •Your anchor is a workstation.
    Rope management, rappelling processes, racking strategies, advanced knots, and host of tips and trips are included in this fun, hands-on, clinic.

    •March 25
    •6:30-9:30 p.m.
    •Members receive a 10% discount
    NOTE: We must have a minimum of 4 participants to run the clinic.

    So anyway, Richard wants to take this class and he said I would to and then Aaron said he would, so who else wants to? It's on Thursday. Come one! You will learn stuff.

    Wed Wing Wednesday

    Climbing opportunities will abound this Wednesday as Melissa and Fabrice will take the morning shift beginning at 10:30 and Richard and Lisa will cover the afternoon shift at 1:00. Come when you can, leave when you must. Remember Wednesdays Wock, I mean Rock. Leave a comment if you are coming, so we can prepare your gift bag and name tag.

    Ski Mountaineering National Championship

    Was held last weekend in the Tetons. Racers start in the Teton Village base area with skins on, and they finish by climbing a ladder up to Corbet's Couloir only to traverse right back down. And don't worry--everything in between is hardly a cake walk. The course is is new this year, spanning 7,800 feet.


    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    Ken Kamler: Medical miracle on Everest

    runs about 20 minutes

    Red River Gorge Trip Summary

    Red River Gorge by Levi (Spring Break 2010)

    • Roadside Crag
      • Jump For Joy 5.9+ (Onsight) Slab
      • Fadda 5.10a (Onsight) Slab
      • Up Yonder 5.11b (Onsight) (do extension, way up yonder 12b)
      • Stay the Hand 5.12a (One fall) cool bouldery start, mono, 2 finger pockets
    • Military Wall
      • In the Light 5.10c (Onsight) pumpy warm up
      • Possum Lips 5.10d (Red point) hard slab, delicate very cool
      • Stay left 5.10a (Red Point) ( Stay left!)
      • Reliquary 5.12b (One Fall) crux is at large hueco, big move to slopy ledge.
      • Gung Ho 5.12b (One Fall) sequency pockets hard v4 boulder problem at top flaky edge. Very fun
      • Tissue Tiger 5.12b (One fall) Fun, Hard boulder problem in between 4th and 5th bolt. Follow tic marks. Mess of huecos
    • Muir Valley
      • Tectonic Wall
        • Plate Tectonics 5.9+ (fell 2 inch from ground everyone laughed at me) very cool route
        • 5th Bolt Faith 5.10c (Onsight) cool holds
        • Stadium
      • ED 5.7 (Trad Onsight) Wet but good enough footing
        • Sanctuary
          • Blue Collar 5.12b ( got worked) super small edges peter got redpoint on second go.
          • First Fall 5.9 (Trad Onsight) Very cool dihedral crack to fist hand crack and pull bulge to the end. 5 pieces 55 feet
    • Mother Load
      • Injured Reserve 5.11a (One fall, being lazy) defined crux big move to slopy pinch
      • Trust in Jesus 5.11b (On Site) Crimpy longer version of plate tectonics
      • Heart Shaped box 5.12c (One Fall, close onsight) 2 goes Favorite route of the trip. Cool pockets. Very crimpy ending 4th pad crimps and clip chains from full pad crimp and shitty feet (aka take victory whip)
      • Golden Touch 5.13b ( 2 bolts up) couldn’t get past credit card width crimp. Dyno past and move to 3 finger pocket
      • Tuna Town 5.12d ( 5 takes) 45 degree over hang big shoulder moves. Did all the moves just very pumpy. 10 clips then run out to chains. I slapped the chains and took the traditional 50 foot whipper, very fun.
      • Whip Stocking 5.11a (Onsight) 85 feet 8 bolts, no hands rest near chains.
      • Maizy Mae 5.13a (2 moves from top) One bolt 30 feet (stick clipped don’t worry) possible V7. Peter got Onsight.
    • Emerald City
      • No place like home 5.11c (one fall) clipping draws is horrendous, it evens suggests getting your partner to do it in the guidebook. Crux move is crimpy delicate arĂȘte. First bolt 30 feet off ground. Good exposure.
      • White Out 5.8+ (Onsight Trad) Beautiful golden dihedral. Moves to face at the top and to a finger crack. Hard to find anchors at first glance. Good exposure. 2 pitches. First pitch free solo.

    Tuna Town Whipper below:

    Mountain Movement

    July 15th to 18th, 2010
    Will Gadd, Gravsports Inc.

    Goal: To meaningfully improve a participant's ability to move confidently, securely and quickly in non-technical mountain terrain.

    Summary: Moving well in the mountains can be both an art form when done well and a circus stunt gone wrong when done poorly. Watch an experienced mountain athlete moving across talus (blocks of rock) and it looks easy, fluid and smooth. Watch someone who hasn't crossed much talus before and it's painful. It's even more painful if you're the less-than-fluid person trying to follow others across the talus. In the last 30 years of life in the mountains I've taught a lot of people how to climb, kayak, paraglide, ski and do other mountain sports. But, no matter who I'm working with, I always spend a good chunk of the class or coaching session simply working with people on how to get to the climb, river, or down the trail. This course will revolve around four main areas: Movement Skill, Training, Terrain Analysis, and Headspace. All of these things work together to move well across that talus field, and we hope to improve each participant's level of ability in each area.

    A good part of this course will take place in the "Playground," which is a series of skill-developing stations... I don't want to give too much away, but these stations are active, fun, and very, very good at developing better mountain movement patterns. Think logs over rivers, rock hopping, sliding on steep trails, but all organized into a replicable, fun and reasonably safe environment.

    Each participant will also receive a copy of the completed chapters and notes for "Mountain Movement," a new book by Will Gadd.

    More info here.

    View Larger Map

    Can They Do It?

    They are trying to free climb El Cap’s hardest route. Can they climb:

    “ least seven pitches of 5.14 to 5.14+ and another ten in the 5.13 range...”

    Part 2 below. Part 1here.

    Exciting Family Vacation

    A family of four sets out in February from Southeast Alaska in their sailboat. Then the fun starts:

    “When they’re forced  on to abandon ship at night in near-freezing water, all hell breaks loose. Managing to make their way alive to shore, they begin a desperate race against hunger and exposure. ..the Wortmans use shipwrecked scraps to rebuild a badly damaged plastic raft and clamber for miles over icy cliffs in utter darkness. .. Ten days after the shipwreck, the two girls are left on the beach while father and son head out in the raft for one last push to a distant cabin, but a round of frustrating delays means their reunion may never come. Starvation, frostbite, gangrene—it’s all here in excruciating detail. Get ready to shiver.”

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    It’s Someone’s Birthday

    There’s a Birthday today. See if you can guess whose it is. And when you see him, tell him… oh, you know what to say: P.L.B.

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Everyone’s A Critic

    We had some food critics with us when we had dinner in Red Wing tonite.

    Taking A Phone Call On Belay

    Here’s Pete finding out he has to go to work and can't climb anymore.

    Mostly Climbing, Some Celebrating

    Today Jennifer, Febrice, Pete, Ron, Aaron, Lisa and I met at Red Wing for our first official Fun With Rocks 2010 Red Wing Climb. After some climbing, we met in the parking lot for some celebrating and then all adjourned to Andy’s Grill for $1.00 Sloppy Joes. $1. (“Totally worth a dollar,” Jen said. )

    P1100062 P1100110



    More photos here.

    St. Paddy's at Willow

    Lots of green at Willow yesterday, just not on the trees or the ground! (Though I did see a few brave shoots poking up through the leaves.)
    Since I regrettably do not possess Richard's mad blogging skills, I have only silent stills to show. Be patient with me; I'm figuring all this out as I go with 4 imaging softwares, 2 browsers, 1 shoddy internet connection, and multiple google accounts......

    This looked like fun, but I'm not sure what the approach to the swing point was rated. It's a fair bet that the rest of it was 12.something!

    There were a variety of belaying techniques to be found, including:


    and The Bite/Assist.

    Hanging Around At Willow

    A brief slideshow of Wednesday's action at Willow.

    Organic Band

    When you’re tired of doing everything else, why not play a tree?

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Willow Was Packed

    Pamela, Ron, Aaron, Lisa and I got to Willow about 1:30 today and there were people hanging on ropes all over the rocks.


    Here’s Ryan pulling a hard move:


    And Pamela on a hard move too:


    Things To Do In A Hotel

    Using a slackline without being caught.

    Original video here.

    Urban Assault Ride

    Coming to the  Twin Cities August 8th.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010


    Driving thru the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, a 4,000 square mile salt flat, these people found a saltberg.

    Here’s what their car looked like after about 12 miles of driving in it.

    Jogging Is Inherently Dangerous

    “A 38-year-old jogger from Georgia is dead after a single-engine plane making an emergency landing hit him as he ran on a South Carolina beach listening to his iPod.”

    Winds Make You Weary

    According to this TV report on 3 climbers stuck overnight at Red Rocks, “wind makes other climbers weary when they scale these rocks.”


    Monday, March 15, 2010

    The First Outdoor Climbing Day of 2010

    I just checked the weather for Wed Wing for the week, looks like Wednesday's partly cloudy, high of 53; or Thursday is 59, mostly cloudy. I am willing to sacrifice my job to go climb either day. Is anyone else willing to do the same?


    This is a new limestone cave climbing area near Hurricane, Utah.


    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Body Tension

    Dave MacLeod explains body tension here.

    “Body tension is the product largely of technique, but also of strength through the body. Some important (and trainable) parts of it are:

    Climbing rhythm. That is not getting too extended with both arms high before moving the feet.

    Aggression in the lower body. Many climbers are far too passive with the lower body, and aren’t using the strength they already have.

    Placement of the foot - The big toe must be in a position to apply the strength, and it’s often not possible because the toes are not engaged and the heel is dropped low.

    Turning of the trunk - Helps bring the tensioned hip close to the wall during a stretch and be more ‘over’ the foothold.

    Momentum use. Momentum is essential to apply body tension from awkward positions where it’s hard to apply foot force. For example throwing the hips into a plane in which the foot can apply force during execution of a move.

    You could go to a gym and train body strength for a decade and it would make little difference to your body tension in climbing if the above factors are not working for you already. The flip side is that many climbers have enough strength already to get a lot more body tension just by working on the technical elements.”

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    “The Brotherhood”

    This is a story on the Black Diamond website about a unique style of bouldering.

    “I turned the corner and saw two guys about my age, decked out in football helmets and shoulder pads, hockey gloves, Carhartt pants and wrestling shoes…Max sprinted toward the sloping slab face of a massive boulder; his thin wrestling shoes digging up bits of gravel with every powerful stride. Max launched on to the slab in a surprisingly athletic bound; his feet and legs pumped against the rock as his hockey-gloved hands scratched to assist.

    … At that moment I could have introduced them to “proper” bouldering as I knew it, with advanced techniques, chalk, pads, magazines, V-grades, controversy, competition. As a seasoned boulderer of 13 years, I could have shown them how the sport was really supposed to be practiced. But why? How were my methods of bouldering better than theirs? My style more pure? Or how were anyone’s for that matter? How could I have possibly approached Max and Duane and told them that despite all their passion and raw energy their version of bouldering was incorrect? “Is that really my purpose as a climber?” I thought. No, it definitely was not.”

    One time, when we were in the Black Hills climbing and it was raining, we went looking for these boulders. Maybe an hour west of Custer. Never could find them.

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    The Ducks!

    The Eider Ducks! At 1:40 in Richard's narwhal video! I didn't know what kind they were, but we saw those in Iceland!!!! They don't quack; they say "wah-ooo?" as they tip their heads back. They're really fun to watch! Listen here.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Rockfall On The Interstate

    I 70 in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado has been closed since Monday because of rock fall which damaged the roadway (photo below.)

    Photo Zoom

    Sneak Up On A Narwhal

    According to their website, this trip is for you if you’re … 
    “… looking for a relaxed adventure. The arctic already is far off the beaten track and we are far from any usual tourist route. You do not have to have previous Arctic experience, but you do need to have an adventurous spirit.”

    I think sneaking up on a narwhal – and a walrus - would be the best reason for going.


    Mind Games

    If you have ever taken a big whipper or suffered a climbing injury, you know it can be a long road back. Some days I wonder if I will ever get back. In exploring Steph Davis' Blog I found an article that speaks to this issue better than any I have seen, The part I like best is a comment by "Larkin".

    "”Take that glow/excitement/appreciation for life that you gained from this experience and recycle it back into your adventure. As you slowly work your way back into climbing and leading don’t “learn to ignore the fear” but let it become your friend, so that when you feel it, you think “oh yeah! Thanks for the reminder. This is LIFE, and I love it!” rather than “oh shit, gonna die, gotta go down.”

    To read Steph's full article, and I think you should, click here Mind Games