Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Black Hills

Here is a nice post from extremesports4you.com by Lola Jones

I love it when you get your teeth into a subject and then discover the myriad of other things that can be done in the same area.

It’s not just adventure racing in the Black Hills (Black Hills of South Dakota), look at this rock for example, The Devils Tower. This is actually in Wyoming but the Black Hills stretch into that state.

The geology of the Black Hills is complex. A Tertiary mountain-building episode is responsible for the uplift and current topography of the Black Hills region. This uplift was marked by volcanic activity in the northern Black Hills. The southern Black Hills are characterized by Precambrian granite, pegmatite, and metamorphic rocks that comprise the core of the entire Black Hills uplift. This core is rimmed by Paleozoic (sedimentary rock, the oldest of which lies on top of the metamorphic layers at a much more shallow angle), Mesozoic (mostly a red shale with beds of gypsum), and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks. The Hills are laid out in an oval dome with different rock types dipping away from the center.

In 1961, John Gill climbed a route on the Thimble (Needles). It was an unrehearsed and unroped 30-foot 5.12a free-solo climb (or V4 or V5 highball), and is considered one of the great classics of modern climbing.

The Needles are an area of fantastically eroded granite pillars, towers and spires which are very popular to rock climbers. The Cathedral Spires and Limber Pine Natural Area are a portion of the Needles containing six ridges of pillars as well as a disjunct stand of limber pine. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1976.

Needles Highway: Alpine View

And then of course there’s The Devil’s Tower – it was designated America’s first national monument in 1906 – and is very popular with climbers… in recent years about 1% of the Monument’s 400,000 annual visitors climb Devils Tower, mostly through trad climbing techniques.

File:Devil's tower.gif

Geologists agree that Devils Tower was formed by the intrusion of igneous material. It did not visibly stick out of the landscape until the overlying sedimentary rocks eroded away. The elements wore down the softer sandstones and shales leaving the more resistant igneous rock which makes up the Tower. As a result, the gray columns of Devils Tower began to appear as an isolated mass above the landscape.

This incredibly photographic Tower has been climbed for centuries although the first recorded ascent by any method occurred on July 4, 1893, and is accredited to William Rogers and Willard Ripley, local ranchers in the area. They completed this first ascent after constructing a ladder of wooden pegs driven into cracks in the rock face. Some of these pegs are still visible on the Tower.

The man most famous for climbing the tower is Fritz Wiessner who summited with William House and Lawrence Coveney in 1937. This was the first ascent using modern climbing techniques. Wiessner led the entire climb free, placing only a single piece of fixed gear (a piton) which he later regretted, deeming it unnecessary.

Today there are many established and documented climbing routes covering every side of the tower, ascending the various vertical cracks and columns of the rock. The difficulty of these routes vary greatly, ranging from relatively easy to some of the hardest in the world.

I would also like you to take note of the fact, and don’t forget it, that the Tower is sacred to several Native American Plains tribes, including the Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Kiowa. For this reason they requested a voluntary climbing ban during the month of June when the tribes are conducting ceremonies around the monument. Climbers are asked, but not required, to stay off the Tower in June.

It would be courteous to stay away – would it not

5 Training Mistakes

Dave MacLeod says these are common training mistakes:

1. Wait until you are tired.

2. Listen too closely to fear

3. Do the same as last time.

4. Compete like it’s a competition.

5. Get angry.

Read the details here.

Belay Gloves Review

This is from supertopo.com. Looks like cheap is good. And so is expensive.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cool Stuff

Totally gas power blender for after climbing. Order it here

and for that climb that is just a bit much…you can order this one here. I can gain up to 300 lbs and still ascend 100 feet per minute! Yipee!

from the Warrior's Way


In order to create the most powerful effort, you must have your attention fully in the present moment. What motivates you and how you set your intentions will determine what happens to your attention. We’ve discussed earlier how motivation must be grounded primarily in process goals that allow us to grow, and secondarily in end goals. Aligning goals this way maintains motivation when you are under maximum stress. Once you’ve established effective motivation, you can begin to set effective intentions.
As we said earlier, intention is attention focused in the direction of a choice or decision. In any climbing situation, you will have both end-result intentions and process intentions. Your end-result intention involves attaining an end goal, such as achieving a redpoint or arriving at the next decision point. End-result intentions are part of the process, but you cannot act on them. You need intentions your body can act out. Process intentions might include continuous breathing and moving through the next section, giving focused effort to each move, and not allowing your resolve to waver.

IMG_0534-w900-h700In order to create the most powerful effort, you must have your attention fully in the present moment. What motivates you and how you set your intentions will determine what happens to your attention. We’ve discussed earlier how motivation must be grounded primarily in process goals that allow us to grow, and secondarily in end goals. Aligning goals this way maintains motivation when you are under maximum stress. Once you’ve established effective motivation, you can begin to set effective intentions.


As we said earlier, intention is attention focused in the direction of a choice or decision. In any climbing situation, you will have both end-result intentions and process intentions. Your end-result intention involves attaining an end goal, such as achieving a redpoint or arriving at the next decision point. End-result intentions are part of the process, but you cannot act on them. You need intentions your body can act out. Process intentions might include continuous breathing and moving through the next section, giving focused effort to each move, and not allowing your resolve to waver.

“Mom Approved”

Steph Davis got in trouble with her mother:

“I had some neat footage of a spinning parachute malfunction that I cut away when I was jumping in Lodi, so I stuck that in there too. Much to my surprise, people thought that was a pretty dramatic situation!

Even more dramatically, it also made my mom unable to sleep for many many nights! (or so I’m told) She was not happy.

Oh dear. Skydiving is not death defying. I mean, you have a reserve parachute for pete’s sake, what can possibly go wrong? Why all this drama?”

So here’s her latest “Mom Approved” video.

Pas de Deux from steph davis on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

This vs. That

In May, this guy, told me that this (blue), is better than that (green) Which considering angles and friction and stuff, makes sense. I wish I could remember that when I am setting up an anchor. It is easier to adjust as well. Good thing I found these photos. This dog needs to remember this new trick!

First Female Ascent

This article is from the December, 1952 magazine Applachia. It’s about the first all-female ascent of Devils Tower by Jan Conn and some of her friends.

I was feeling particularly smug because I was the first woman to climb the Tower without the aid of the old ladder, which had long been out of use.”


Things have changed since the 50s:

"How does it work? Do you climb up to a ledge somewhere and then haul her up?" Herb's careful explanation was lost to me as I fumed inwardly at the stupidity of the human race and the quirk of fate which made me look like a pudgy school girl instead of a tall, strapping Amazon.

At that moment I took a solemn vow that someday I would climb Devils Tower with someone who couldn't possibly "haul me up," someone who wouldn't get all the credit for my straining muscles. If I could find another girl.

Girl rock-climbers who lead and are willing to assume equal responsibility for an ascent are fairly rare, but the climbing group in Washington, D. C., has turned out more than its share. They have developed female climbers who don't seem to have heard that men are physically superior to women. They not only do their share of back-packing in the high mountains, but hold their own on the severe practice climbs along the Potomac River.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

...a little more

Here is a really nice slideshow of The Giant's Causeway and perhaps I am done now.

The Giant Crystal Project

I have been geeking out on Basalt, it might be easier to follow if you begin with Richard's post on Armenia and work backwards.

Look, here is another one in Iceland!
The Giant Crystal Project explains that these really aren't crystals because, the are not all hexagons, but they are polygons. No Macro Crystal formations however.

This is the theory they came up with,

Basalt columns form as sort of dessication cracks pretty much like drying mud cracks. The main difference is the temperature : basalt is cooling down quite rapidly and by doing so it starts shrinking. Of course this shrinking process starts at the surface, which is either air or more likely another, cool rock. And from that contact the shrinking process slowly develops into the depth, forming longer and longer columns. These can grow to many meter length, depending on the thickness of the original basalt lava flow. In some cases, such as the Devils Tower in Wyoming, the basalt columns may reach even 100 m length and more, but that surely is an exceptional length.

And there you have it folks at least when we climb Devil's Tower on Sept 6 we will know what we are hanging onto!

Holy COW! Houses of the HOLY!

Ok The rock was more familiar to me than I thought. I had THIS ALBUM! Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy. I had no idea it was more than a painting!

Giant’s Causeway: Ancient Volcanic Eruption Creates Natural Wonder


Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy album cover really left an impression on me the first time I saw it many years ago. It shows a group of children sprawled out on stone steps, reaching towards the horizon (see above). It has an other-worldly vibe and it was only many years after when I realized that the background in the picture was something that actually existed. I thought it was a painting. But it’s not.

The album cover featured the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the northeast coast of Northern Ireland. It’s area is made up of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns… the steps you see are the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Discovered in 1692 and announced to the world, it became a popular tourist attraction ever since the 19th century.

Legend actually has it that an Irish giant built the causeway to fight a Scottish giant:

Long ago, an Irish giant named Finn MacCool roamed the north coast, where he could look across the narrow sea of Moyle to Scotland. A Scottish giant, Benandonner, was Finn’s greatest rival, challenging his strength and reputation.

As the two giants had never met, Finn decided to invite Benandonner to Ireland, to engage in a decisive battle. There was no boat large enough to carry giants, so Finn built a causeway of huge stones across the water so that the Scottish giant could travel on dry land; thus he would have no excuse to avoid the confrontation.

However, as big Ben approached, Finn realised to his horror that his opponent was a larger and more fearsome rival than he anticipated. He fled to his home in the nearby hills, and like any sensible man, asked his wife for advice. Oonagh, a practical woman, disguised Finn as a baby, complete with large nightgown and bonnet. She placed him in a huge, hastily made cradle, telling him to keep quiet and pretend to sleep, as Benandonner’s great shadow darkened the door.

Oonagh brought the Scottish giant in for tea, pleading with him not to waken Finn’s child, Looking at the massive ‘baby’ lying in the cradle, Benandonner took fright, saying that if this was the child, he had no wish to meet the father. He fled back to Scotland, ripping up the Causeway behind him, terrified that the awful Finn might follow him home.

OK that explains it, kinda I will keep looking

Basalt Rocks!

When I saw the Basalt Formation in Armenia that Richard posted yesterday, it looked familiar and super cool, I I looked around until I remembered that it was Northern Ireland! Giant's Causeway, same super cool hexagon formations. I am going to do a little bit more research on how this happens, this is what I found so far.

The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a natural pavement of an estimated 37,000 black basalt columns, each one a polygon with hexagons being the most common, projecting from the mainland into the Atlantic Ocean. Volcanic eruptions that occurred about 60 million years ago, give or take a few years, slowly and evenly cooled to form the otherworldly geometric shapes, forming a striking visual landscape that make the Causeway the major tourist attraction that it is today—thousands visit annually, but you can escape the crowds by taking to the Cliff Top Path.

Devil's Tower looks to be a similar formation, any thoughts? anyone know stuff. Leave a comment, I will go a googling.

The Boys Of VE

Here’s some video of Ryan and Anthony bouldering somewhere out west on their climbing trip in June.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Armenian Climbing

These Armenian climbs look a lot like Devils Tower rock. Lots of info on Armenia here. (Didn’t know Armenia has the foothills of Mt Ararat - which is where Noah landed his boat when he got tired of cleaning up after all of the animals on board.)


The world's greatest, untapped rock is in Armenia, a place you likely can't even find on a map. Watch as Sam Bie and Alex Chabot tour this stellar stone, putting up first ascents in what will very soon become the place to go trad climbing.

TF Friday

A fine time was had by all. All photos here.


Ever Had A Magmatic Flare-up?

I did once at a Taco Bell. But Mother Earth did

about 30 million years ago, during an episode geologists call a “magmatic flare-up.” During this time, an oceanic plate that had been sliding underneath North America broke apart, exposing the bottom of the North American continental plate to hot mantle rocks. This heating created new pockets of magma, and eventually bodies of granite — called plutons — across the American West.”

and it resulted in granite climbing areas in Idaho, Utah and Arizona. 10 things you didn’t know about granite here.

5.14 In The Mountains


The Tre Cima - Panaroma tackles the huge roof of Cima Ovest - on the right, 131 kbThe biggest free climbed roof in the world is here in the Dolomites of Italy. It’s a multi-pitch 5.14b(8c)

 "We ascended the first five pitches slowly, due to our lack of experience on this rock and because it is very exposed ... Our conclusion after climbing the first part was clear: better not fall! When we reached the roof, it was an amazing sight: a futuristic overhang on a multi-pitch route!

Video below let’s you practice your Espanol. (I like the mini-Winni they live in. And the food sure looks tasty. It beats sleeping on the ground like a dog.)

POU ANAIAK - PANAROMA 8C (webclip) from Jordi Canyigueral on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jumping vs Climbing

Steph Davis is interviewed about climbing versus B.A.S.E. jumping.

“Climbing is more strength dependent. Jumping is more body awareness.”

I can see why you’d be aware of your body as you’re plummeting toward the ground.

More On The Smiley Project

The Smileys are climbing the 50 Classic Climbs of North America. Here they are caught in a storm near the summit of Mt Temple in the Canadian Rockies. I liked this quote:

“The rock on these towers could be compared to fist-sized chunks of granola held together with saw dust, it just kept crumbing off under our hands and feet.”


It is 6:30pm, we are hiding just below the summit ridge of Mt Temple. The charged atmosphere is causing my hair to stand up even thought it is damped from the unrelenting hail. Our ice axes, crampons, and all other metal objects, including my sterling silver earrings, are buzzing. The thunder started just as we overcame the crumbling black towers. The black towers were the final rock section before reaching the glacier. The rock below the towers was relatively solid but not the towers. The rock on these towers could be compared to fist-sized chunks of granola held together with saw dust, it just kept crumbing off under our hands and feet. We had to belay one another from protected stances, because as the leader climbed these chunks of rock would shower down the steep slopes...

Read the rest of this trip report at www.smileysproject.com

Making A Water Bottle Carrier

Here’s climbing guide Stephen Koch on how he likes to carry water when he’s climbing:

“I like carrying water off of my harness to lower my center of gravity, especially during steep climbing. If the bottle leaks from my harness, my jacket or sleeping bag don’t get wet! Another reason I like drinking out of a bottle is so that I know how much water is left! It can be frustrating while using a hydration bladder to be half way up a climb thinking I have plenty of water left only to discover I am sucking the last of it down without knowing it.”

Here’s his video demonstrating how he makes one of these.

The Season Is Near

Rappelling on skis in the French Alps. Our ski season isn’t too far away.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Red Wing

Here’s a slideshow on some climbs from Monday and Wednesday of this week. All of the photos are here. (Jen, this new video embed code supposedly works on iphones. Let me know if it does.)

And here’s what Lisa said when I was giving her an endless stream of beta:

“I bet you’d rather be a Beta Master than the reverse of that.” (You might have to say it out loud to get it.)


Dam Goats


Goats grazing on a dam in Italy. Pretty good free soloists. .









Monday, August 23, 2010

Climbing El Gigante Parts 3 & 4

These are the other two videos of the 28 pitch 5.13 climb in Mexico done recently.



VIDEO #3: BD athletes Sonnie Trotter and Alex Honnold make one-day ascent of 28-pitch 5.13a in Mexico from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

VIDEO #4: BD athletes Sonnie Trotter and Alex Honnold make one-day ascent of 28-pitch 5.13a in Mexico from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

Seems Like A Good Idea

The idea of combining alcohol with a good gym workout, seems like a natural. Hard to argue with this kind of thinking:


“Sweat and alcohol are both great social lubricants…it’s better to work out and drink than to not work out and drink,”

“Climbing is like solving a giant dynamic first-person 3D puzzle”


A quote from a post on boingboing related to climbing:

    “It's great for geeks, and we should all be doing it.”


“Climbing is like solving a giant dynamic first-person 3D puzzle”

There’s a discussion in the comments section about indoor vs outdoor climbing.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Iron Messiah

Here’s a climb Ryan and Anthony did 2 months ago in Zion Park. At one point, Anthony describes the climbing technique for this route required as a “reverse birth.”


We’re Not In Minnesota, Anymore

Lower section

This is Ryan from VE climbing in Zion Park on the VE staff’s “Traveling Rockburys” show early this summer.

You can see it’s similar to climbing in MN because the rock face is attached to Earth and there is a sky above. Otherwise, it’s a tad longer and a touch redder.

I think this is “Huecos Rancheros.”

The video below is Anthony climbing this same route. Zach did the filming and the narration.




Friday, August 20, 2010

Climbing Clothing

I wanted to title this post “sexy climbing” but I was too afraid of what would show up on the Google. This is a post by Alex Johnson about her recent experience at the Salt Lake City Outdoor Retail Show, It ties into the two posts below Lisa and I made about sexy climbers.

It was also unbearably hot, as the desert usually is in August, and the scantily clad girls were out in full force. I understand how dreadful the summer heat can be, but some of the outfits are beginning to cross the line. It’s out of respect for my fellow female competitors, and the respect that I hope they have for themselves, that I wish for the provocative attire to be taken down a notch. Yes, we all know sex sells, and that sadly it seems the less you wear, the more you’re photographed. But I believe trying to gain publicity using your body is pushing our sport in a negative direction and it’s sincerely disappointing. My desire is for women climbers to be notarized for their personalities, ethics, morals, professionalism, etc. Much further down the list lands climbing ability or accomplishments, and never should seeking attention for clothing, or lack thereof, come into play.”

Read Alex’s whole post for the death-defying trip into the desert that she and her family took. They were trapped for hours in deep sand in Arches National Park. (Their car broke down in Kearney, Nebraska which is the only place I’ve ever had a car break down on a trip.)

Rescue On Mt Blanc – By Texting

Tom Greenwood and his climbing partner Finn McCann were rescued after spending a night in the open on Mont Blanc

Two climbers, climbing from the Italian side of Mt Blanc, were rescued when:

Heavy, icy rain poured down the rockfaces, making it impossible for the pair to go either up or down the mountainside. They tried phoning emergency numbers but found that they didn't work.”

So they texted their friend back in England.

"We were worried about hypothermia and with two bars of battery between us we were really panicking. I'm not afraid to say that we were very scared. We tried the mountain rescue numbers but they didn't work, so we sent a text to a friend in Shrewsbury.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stone Summit

From a review of the new climbing gym in Atlanta called Stone Summit which is the “largest in the U.S.”

“The building itself is massive, and the parking lot is even larger. To put it into perspective, this is the only climbing gym I have been to with an approach.

Stone Summit features a route that requires a 70 meter rope. Not only does the main wall top 60 feet at its highest point, but there is a second story above the lobby featuring multiple 30 foot walls.”

A Sassy Answer to the Question

In response to Richard previous post " Why Men Climb" Chicks on Crag ponder the question, why women think men climbers are sexy. Makes me rethink this whole deal!

Maybe this is why so many climbing relationships go sour, women don’t realize how dirty and self centered climbers are… rockclimbergirl puts it right,

“Perhaps, such women don’t actually have exposure to the reality of extended periods of time without showers, the wounds we all incur from jamming our way up and stumbling out way down, and the particular loneliness that can come with being in such a stark, intimate setting with another human being who doesn’t seem to care much for you, other than as a weighted object that can hold a rope…”

rockclimbergirl’s interpretation of the results is a bit comical, especially when she talks about personal experience. Take a look at the results from the survey, and read rockclimbergirl’s blog [ and here – ed.]  for more about the source of this article. In the survey conducted, 41% men also found women climbers sexy. So we can agree climbing is a sexy sport, had I participated in the survey my first choice would have been women who climb, of course…

Climbing Austrailia

A guilty pleasure of mine, Cedar Wright cracks me up….

Sounds Comfy

A new 19 pitch route on North Hower Tower in the Bugaboos of Canada was climbed in about 42 hours. This part of the route description sounds comfy:

Their first chance to rest was 2 a.m., at the end of Pitch 10, where they found ‘grim wet ledges in the back of a shallow chimney.’ Here they brewed and recharged for four hours…”

Cordelette vs Accessory Cord

My dear friend A1 sets an elegant top rope anchor. There is no disputing the placement of the pro, or the beautiful knots. Really, I should have taken pictures. The shoelaces though... that was a matter for me to ponder...

There is a belabored , er I mean extensive, discussion here.

Now I realize this forum is just any other group of climbers yakking. I am fine now.
Really Aaron, I am serious, It was gorgeous (and strong).

I speak the truth, no sarcasm, cross my heart, jez boys are sooo sensitive

used black harness?

Is anyone ready to retire their trusty (sketchy) old black harness? I want one to clip my camera to...shoulder bags hurt my back. I promise I won't use it for climbing-I already have one for that. Talk to me!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

K2 Books

Nick Heil

NPR has an interview with an Outside Magazine writer about K2.

For high-altitude climbers, the "holy grail of mountaineering" sits on the border of China and Pakistan. The peak is called K2, and it is the second-highest mountain on Earth.

K2 is just 800 feet shorter than Mount Everest, but it's considered a far more dangerous climb. Just over 300 people have reached the summit, but 80 climbers have died on K2, making the death rate about 25 percent.

Nick Heil has written extensively about climbing for Outside Magazine and in an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep, he reviews three new books about the so-called Savage Mountain.”

Start Young, Train Hard

Here’s another strength endurance routine from Climb Strong. Just the warm up looks hard.


Movement progression -

10 moves, rest 1 min

20 moves, rest 2 min

30 moves, rest 3 min

40 moves, rest 4 min”

Dance Climbing

Synchronized climbing. The next big thing? Nah.


Apparently when Lucy went looking for a meal of meat 3.4 million years ago, she and her family Brought their Own Stone Utensils.

"Now, when we imagine Lucy walking around the east African landscape looking for food, we can for the first time imagine her with a stone tool in hand and looking for meat

With stone tools in hand to quickly pull off flesh and break open bones, animal carcasses would have become a more attractive source for food," he said. "This type of behavior sent us down a path that later would lead to two of the defining features of our species -- carnivory and tool manufacture and use.”

SporkThink of what they could have done with these.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reel Rock Film Festival

You can vote on a few of the videos in this year’s competition here.. My favorite so far is “Top Rope Tough Guys.” They have an awesome belay anchor setup and a great idea for an assisted dyno. It’s worth watching just to see how they anchor the belayer in the car.

Update, “Queen Lines” video shows you how to “shallow water solo.” It looks gnarly and super fun.

The tour is coming here Sept 23rd. Details here.

Biking Up A Mountain

These 3 set out to bike up over 6,000 meters.in altitude without pushing or carrying their bikes

One of them succeeded.

Complete story here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Update On Smiley’s Project

This is the couple that is trying to be the first to climb all of the “50 Classic Climbs of North America.” Here they are in the Canadian Rockies on two of the classics. Mt Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies and a seriously bad mountain for weather. Also, it rises 9,000 feet from the valley floor to the summit. More info on Mt Robson here and here and here.

The lactic acid was flowing relentlessly in our legs after climbing Slesse as we made our way to the latest and greatest ski resort in BC, Revelstoke. This place is great! We concluded that we could move there if we ever have to flee the country for whatever reason.

Mt Sir Donald is located just up the road from here on Rogers Pass, the legendary backcountry ski destination. The terrain here is amazing, but we were here to climb, not ski. As we prepared for the climb in the parking lot we asked the question we seem to pose often, "how much crap do we need to carry for this climb?"

read the rest of the blog post at: www.smileysproject.com


Ok Gang, While you were all having a big time at The Wing, Aaron and I were on crack at the gym. I drove home on this day feeling a bit melancholy, it is not the the end of summer, but I can see it from here, then I looked on FB and saw this photo, it made me feel better.

Will Gadd on Skrikjofossen, Eidfjord

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Glass-Bottomed Hot Air Balloon

Glass-Bottomed Hot Air Balloon Is a Terrifying ExperienceDesigned for flying over the Alps, a glass-bottomed balloon in test flights would

“…usually end with passengers shrieking and screaming in fear, but this is the first time we’ve actually taken to the skies unaided. It was a terrifying experience.”




Win A Weekend Climbing Clinic

Go here to enter the contest to win a free spot at the upcoming Chicks with Picks” weekend clinic at Devil’s Lake. Their Facebook page.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Climbing In Greenland



’Go climb that wall! And don’t come back unless you do!’ Captain Reverend Bob shouted up at us on July 12 as we stepped straight off the boat on to the wall.”.

A new route on an 850 meter cliff in Greenland.

El Gigante Part 2

Continuing the saga of climbing 28 pitch El Gigante in Mexico.

This is the second in a four-part series about Sonnie Trotter and Alex Honnold making the first one-day ascent of Logical Progression, a 28-pitch 5.13a route on El Gigante in Mexico's Basaseachi National Park.

Here’s Why Men Climb

A study by a University of Hertfordshire professor suggests that women are especially attracted to men who rock climb.”

Sorry ladies, men didn’t think women who climb were the sexiest: 

Among the survey’s male participants, climbing didn’t even make it to the top five. Men overwhelmingly picked aerobics (70%) as the sexiest activity, followed by yoga/pilates, going to the gym, and running.”.

Details of the survey here. Do you believe these results?

Climbing A 5.14

Read about Ali Rainey climbing a 5.14 at Ten Sleep, WY. I like these parts:

I’d already done three sets of 10 pull-ups at home; I’ve been playing around with this number trying to figure out the optimal amount of pull-ups to get my body warmed up without taking anything away from my power….

Despite my issues and reservations with switching belayers midstream—and especially about getting belayed by someone I’ve never climbed with before… I accepted the offer, tied in, and instantly fell off of the bottom moves that I have pretty dialed—my fingers were screaming in pain, and I knew I didn’t have much left to give…or so I thought. I sat down, popped my shoes off, and talked about how I’d have to come back and send on Monday. And then I put my shoes back on to try again.”

Read the whole thing.

When Do You Call Yourself A Climber?

Quite a philosophical essay on what being a climber is at Rock And  Ice.

“Many people wonder when they can first call themselves a “real climber.” We live in a material society, where we’ve decided that the things we own say the most about who we are. If you own a harness, belay device and rock shoes, then you’re a climber. .. When you decide to call yourself a climber, I suppose you are one.”

[That seems an easy enough definition. So if I want to call myself an “eye surgeon” does that make me one?  - ed.] 

He has other definitions that are less self-referential and more objective. Read the whole thing.

Here’s another essay written by a 25 year old woman called “What I Love About Climbing.” A snippet:

“Climbing has saved my life over these past few months as sadness and pain and anxiety threatened to overcome me.  For that, I shall always be grateful, because imagining how, or indeed if, I could have coped without it, I am terrified of my own inner frailty.”

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Devil's Lake

I am thinking of going to the Chick's with Picks Seminar in Devil's Lake Sept 11 and 12. Men are welcome too. Is anyone interested in going?

Patagonia Adventure Race

A recent video from the multi-day race from Feb 2010.

Best Mountains For Beginning Mountaineers

Picture of Mount Baker, Washington

This article from Outside Magazine lists 5 mountains that a fit trekker can climb. Here’s a follow-up from The Adventureblog which lists many more including quite a few in the U.S.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More Chicks

Here’s a video from last year’s “Chicks on Rocks” seminar at Devil’s Lake.

(I wish I were a chick then I’d have cool stuff I could do too. Plus, then I could dress better and have shoes that match my belt.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chicks With Picks Climbing Seminar At Devil’s Lake

We are psyched for our upcoming trip to Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin! So much so, that we want to encourage more climbers of BOTH the male and female type to come out and join us at our co-ed weekend skills clinic Sept. 11-12 with two one-day clinic giveaways!

At the co-ed weekend skills clinic, which precedes the full Chicks Rock! experience Sept. 13-16, our infamous Girly Guides will be giving clinics on topics such as:

  • - Self rescue (Saturday)
  • - Intro to trad leading (Saturday)
  • - Working a project/red point tactics (Saturday)
  • - Anchors (Sunday)
  • - Intro to big wall climbing (Sunday)
  • - Intro to multi-pitch (Sunday)

But, because we are ready to rock in Wisconsin, and want to see some men take advantage of this opportunity to learn from some of the best guides in the world, we are giving away a total of two passes to one of these full-day clinics!

So, how’s this contest going to go down? Well, we want you to get creative! In order to enter the contest you must submit a photo of an artistic creation you design, or capture with some climbing related piece(s) of gear on our Facebook page.

[Are men who go to this seminar “Hicks With Picks?” – ed.] 

This Looks Tough

Quite a training program. Don’t try this at home without adult supervision.

More From The Grand

The story of 4 climbers from Worthington, MN who were caught in the lightning strikes on the The Grand last month.

Johnson happened to be standing in a small puddle when the lightning struck. He said an odd blue glow came up from his feet, which were literally pushed upward off the rock by the energy of the blast….

“I felt the jolt go through me,” Miller said. “My gloves were smoking, my boots were smoking and there was the smell of burning hair. Dave was thrown from the rock. Now we were staring into the valley of the shadow of death.”

Monday, August 9, 2010

“I Had The Illusion Of Control”

102_0281This is more under the category of “Fun With Ropes.”

We took some ropes added water and a boat and had a great upper body and core workout on the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers today. This is Lisa under an “illusion of control.”









A web page devoted to exploring some myths about climbing gear. Such as, how weak are ‘biners after they are dropped 30 feet or more. (Not much weakened.)

Other fun things to do with a rope

Sometimes it is just too hot to climb. Richard, Aaron and I had a great time out on the river today. That Richard is a pretty hot skier!
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This boulderer loses a “stone” (14 pounds) of weight over a 6 week period to finish his project.  Great quote:

“I consumed a lot of green tea over the last 6 weeks.”  Ugh.

Rolling On The River


I posted my 20+ year old canoe on craigslist. Two days later, a buyer came over to look at it. And bought it. No big deal, right?

But, he is leaving this Tuesday for a trip down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. He came here from Portland, OR to canoe down the river. But he didn’t have a canoe until Sunday when he bought mine. I wish him luck.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Green Living

Is this the first evidence of a “man cave" or just a way to live close to the earth?

Anthropologists have unearthed the remains of an apparent Neanderthal cave sleeping chamber, complete with a hearth and nearby grass beds that might have once been covered with animal fur

…these hearth-side beds also likely served as sitting areas during waking hours for the Neanderthals.

‘In some way, they were used to make the area near the hearths more comfortable,’ he said, mentioning that artifacts collected from various other Neanderthal sites suggest the inhabitants prepared stone tools, cooked, ate and snoozed near warming fires.”

I bet they put their TVs in the sitting rooms. 

“I wouldn’t trust him with my car”

And here we are climbing this thing.”

Clever and funny imitation of extreme ice climbing.

Andy Kirkpatrick, clip from When Hell Freezes Over DVD

Best Short Film, Vancouver Film Festival 2010

Trad leading on sea cliffs in Wales. Long run-outs. Wow! (BTW, notice the red shirt the climber wears so you can see him against the rocks. I’m just sayin’.)