Thursday, September 30, 2010

Half Ropes

Not common here in the US but certainly a good idea for long traverses. This site shows how to use the technique.

A double rope overview, 80 kb

Motivating Yourself To Climb

Several good ideas on motivating yourself to climb – or to do about any physical activity – here.

I like this one especially well:

“6. Recognize every success. Success in climbing doesn’t always mean getting to the top of a route without falling…And sometimes it can just mean getting out of the house.”

Vitamin “I” Good For Altitude

The old trusty Ibuprofen works as well as Acetazolamide (Diamox) for preventing high altitude headaches. At least that’s what this medical study shows.

Advanced Rope Skills

A simple day of fun with ropes turns to terror on the seas. I vow to never sail again because today could never be topped. (until the next time)

Thanks PPM.

Fabrice At Red Wing

A 24 second slideshow of Fabrice working on “Longing for Miss Adonis” at Red Wing last Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

10 Tips On Photographing Climbers

I can certainly use these tips to improve my photos. Especially Tip #1 – shoot from above or from the side. But, that usually means a lot of time to set up the photo and it usually means you need at least 3 climbers.



Vertical Village

Looking at all these photos of El Cap – all taken yesterday – I couldn’t help thinking it’s a regular vertical village up there. Lots more here on this site which tracks the daily climbing activity just on El Cap in Yosemite. Yesterday, for example, there was a group that climbed all night, a soloist from the US, a women’s speed climbing team, a team from Spain, a soloist from South Africa,an Australian woman who’s trying to free all of the pitches, and several other unidentified teams.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Red Wing Tuesday

Emily had her first outdoor climb at RW today with Fabrice and Peter and me. Some photos below. We did some new ones which seemed super hard.


P9271038 P9271045

  P9281068  P9281110

Helicopter Rescue In Tetons

An accident in late August while alpine climbing in the Tetons resulted in a helicopter rescue for this woman.

“The Valhalla Traverse is a series of ledges that circle the Grand’s west side from the 11,650-foot high "Lower Saddle, providing access to the Black Ice Couloir and the Enclosure Couloir

More on the story here.

Rescue on Valhalla Traverse from getungrounded on Vimeo.

“1000’ Pile Of Mud”


A new route on the Titan is described here. I like this quote:

“Gagner and Aslaksen finally completed the eight-pitch route at 2 p.m. on August 29 after a four-day effort on the 1,000' pile of mud….

… what attracts climbers to The Titan is ‘the sheer awfulness of the climbing: the experience is so far beyond normal expectations, it comes out the other side as a wild adventure’."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lead & Speed Climbing Competition

This was the lead and speed portion of the European Championship just ended in Innsbruck.And

people, people PLZ NOTICE:

At 2:35 and at 3:05 minutes into the video, the first and second place lead climbers come out with their belayers – get this peeps, are you paying attention? – and their lead ropes are in a friggin’ laundry basket.

OK, so those of you who can’t afford the blue plastic bags for carrying your lead ropes, just bring your laundry baskets. And hold your head high; laundry baskets are what the champion lead climbers in Europe (Yur Friggin’ Up) use.

It’s stylish ‘cuz it’s European. Oh, I ‘spose you’ve never even been to Europe.”  That’s all you need to say to your non-cool climbing partners if they even crack a smile when you wheel your basket out.

BTW, I couldn’t understand most of what they say – I am cool, like a European – but I don’t speak every one of their crazy languages. I did translate the climbers who used laundry baskets and they said, “I need a laundry basket ‘cuz I’ve got such big ones.” (I think they mean their ropes are super long.)

UPDATE, UPDATE – I watched the women lead climbers more carefully and, sure enough, they’re using laundry baskets too! At 4:05 and 4:50. OK, now it’s official, if the women are doing something, then it’s officially super cool.

Maybe you want to buy one of my new European Lead Rope Baskets.

laydry basket copy

European Climbing Championships

Some amazing contortions in this video of the bouldering competition at Innsbruck. (I couldn’t understand what most of them said. I think it was “That was hard!”)

Technique Tips From Dave MacLeod

Some good advice on indoor vs outdoor climbing as well as using feet more effectively.

“The nature of climbing walls - look at the layout of the holds on modern climbing walls. In the main, setters tend to space the holds fairly evenly leading to the sort of position I’m in here, with limbs all at different levels. This makes quite pleasant continuous movement. But keep in mind that a lot of rock types have more patterned arrangements of holds; holds together in breaks with long reaches between and sometimes on good handholds but miniscule dinks for feet or vice versa. If you are training for this, watch out that your regular diet of climbing contains at least some movement like this.”

Camels On An Elephant

imageThis photo doesn’t really show a camel on top of an elephant. But it is a photo of camels on top of a granite peak called “The Elephant” from a story on exploratory climbing in China.





Sunday, September 26, 2010

Who Hasn’t Done This?

If you’ve got a rope and a harness, look what you can do. (Oh, you also need about 1,000 feet of cliff.)

Oops, I Goofed. The Girls Climb Devil’s Tower Reprise

When I posted the slideshow with Amy, Jen and Lisa climbing Devil’s Tower, I used the wrong song track. This is the right song for them. Sorry.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Delicate Arch Climbing

The Reel Rock Film Festival featured a film about Dean Potter. He’s quite an accomplished climber but he got into big trouble a few years by climbing Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Utah.  Patagonia stopped sponsoring him and his then-wife Steph Davis lost her job. More details here. The first two minutes of this video show his climb of the Arch and his version of the story.

(I’ve been at the base of the Arch many times and can easily see the appeal of climbing it.)



When I hear about all of the benefits of eating locally grown food, that our locavorist friends talk about, I am convinced that these same benefits would accrue to rock climbing.


So I asked myself, “Why go to distant places to climb soaring granite spires? Especially, loooooooong tedious, tiring, multi-pitch climbs? Why not climb only locally?” That’s when I decided to become a loca-rockist.

No longer will I hunger for the towers of rock that exist in the mountains. I will content myself with the soaring 62 foot limestone cliffs of Red Wing. (I know this because my special, cheap, short rope measures 132 feet and it doesn’t quite touch the ground when used to top rope the super-tallest climb at the ‘Wing.) And the 55 foot basaltic routes of Taylors Falls; where i can kinda make a pretend multi-pitch route. (If I really wanted to do that. Usually, I don’t.)

John Muir said “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” But I can do that right here.

I see no reason to travel out of state until I’ve done every multi-pitch route right here. (Oh, I think I have. But never mind, the point is still valid.) Then I can move on to other areas – like Wisconsin and Iowa and climb all of their multi-pitches.

I don’t want to be dogmatic (woof, woof) about this and I can think of a few minor exceptions to being a strict locarockist.

    1. I can find other people to travel with me out of state
    2. I can find time in my schedule to travel
    3. The weather will be good at my destination
    4. It’s not too far out of my 40 mile radius comfort zone – or -
    5. I really want to go somewhere else

So, if you want to climb in areas distant to where you live, then move there. Unless:

  1. You have a job here
  2. You have family here
  3. You don’t really want to

Those would be the only reasons I can think of. Oh, one more: maybe you like it here.

Tasmanian Climbing

One of the videos in the Reel Rock Film Tour was a Tasmanian climbing video. This is not that video, but kinda fun to watch anyway. The Tyrolean traverse at the end is cool.

Friday, September 24, 2010

All The RAGE!

You have seen him, hanging from the ceiling with a power drill in hand, whispering his sweet nothings to himself. His routes are always fair, aand you can't use height as an excuse not to send them. It's our favorite routesetter, Greg is now immortalized in ink. Artist and model, Jeff is having a hard time keeping these in stock. OMS "old man strength" is in demand!
Tell Jeff you want one, or better yet, volunteer to help at Okboulder Fest and you can have one!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wanna Boulder But Don’t Have A Crash Pad?

These two highball boulder routes might be the ticket. A good spotter would be essential but – despite the comments from other climbers – you could do without the crash pad. This one is in South Dakota.

The spotter is critical!

This one is in Colorado.[Oops, update. This boulder has been closed for raptor nesting on the summit.]

First ascentionist Luc cranking the first crux of the wild and crazy Little Devil. <br /> <br />Spotted by Sean Hall.

A New 22 Pitch Sport Climb

This is the story of how  a new 22 pitch sport climb was developed.outside of Salt Lake City. Route details here.

Topo with some retreat options marked.

Techniques On Completing A Project

An article in Urban Climber on techniques for redpointing a project. Includes these ideas:

  • Don’t get discouraged too soon – you picked it because it’s hard
  • Go easy on your belayer – bring an extra clip and clip in to rest longer
  • Give your redpoint project at least three burns a day after doing proper warm-ups. Go to the top every time your first days of projecting, and at least once a day thereafter

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Some Fairly Small Holds

At about 2 minutes into climb on gritstone, he grabs a hold the size of a small nail head.

New Climbing Gear

This article is from the August “Outdoor Retailer Show” in Salt Lake City but I just found it online. Here’s a look at a lot of new climbing stuff. Including the new Gri-gri II. They will quit making the older Gri-gri this spring.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Want Strong Arms?

This woman’s workout video shows you how to build strong forearms, biceps and calves. It also demonstrates that even if you’re “dogging” it during a workout, you can get stronger.

Process Feedback

Interesting concept by Eric Horst regarding one way to get feedback on how you perform when you climb:

Another strategy to improve self-awareness of results is to view yourself climbing or training from an observer’s perspective, as if watching yourself on TV. In your mind’s eye, examine the strategies you have employed, the ways you’ve been training, and your overall behavior at the crags and elsewhere.”

Lots more at the link.


Just got back from canoeing in Quetico Park Yes, there were beautiful lakes we canoed. Beautiful water cascades, like this:


But better than canoeing, was watching our shuttle boat go over a portage on a little train.


And, even better,  going about 35 miles an hour through a narrow , winding creek like this video.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday or Tuesday Night Cross Training

Anyone want to help me paint my kitchen? We can mantel and stem on the counters. To make it extra challenging, I will hide the ladder.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Metal Madness

This has nothing to do with rocks, you say? Well is does too.
I met John Climbing rocks and metal comes from rocks, widen your field of vision!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Next Time You’re Dragged There

imageThe next time you’re dragged to the Dominican Republic with your fam, take heart, you can still do some rock climbing. Article here about all the fun stuff you can do there without ever hitting the beach and getting fried to a crisp. Here’s a website devoted to adventures in the DR.

Cross Training- Paddling

Some of us are off paddling this weekend. Maybe some other of you would like to write a post to keep the team amused until we get back. Anyone want to go to Reel Rock on Thursday?

The job for you!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How Much Should It Cost?

Here’s a letter from a few organizations about a recent mountaineering fee increase by the National Park Service for climbing Denali. The Park Service wants to raise the fee from $200 to $500 per climber.

I understand why these groups might be opposed, but still, how much should it cost to climb one of the most famous mountains in the world? Should other citizens who don’t climb, subsidize a small number of climbers? If you are on a small budget and you want to climb mountains, go somewhere else. The vast majority of mountains in the US can be climbed for free.

Greenland Climbing


Quite a story of a 25 pitch 5.12 climb in Greenland.

Stuff To Know About Knots

I did not know that gorillas could tie knots. Or,

To help loosen a stubborn knot, roll it with your palm against a rock. For really stuck knots, such as those found in manky tied slings, soak the knot in water.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Resistance is Futile... Sharma finds the light~

Chris Sharma Does Wanderlust from Prana Living on Vimeo.

BHCC Update

We had an excellent day at Beans & Biners. Beautiful weather, great food and probably 80 climbers throughout the day till sundown. Thanks especially to Shawn Callahan, and Lisa Rensch for making the two great chilis, and Ron Yahne and Becky Wood for bringing all the ropes and the Mexican food. And thanks to everyone else who helped carry equipment, set up ropes, and clean up afterward.

editorial note:
I am sure they missed the Twin City contingency like mad.

There is one report of a missing sweater--a woman's Icebreaker, long sleeve, stripped wool shirt. If you found it, please call Bruce at 348-3432.

The next meeting is Wednesday, Sept 15, 7 pm at Dublin Square in Rapid City.

Deep Water Diving

Deep water soloing without the climbing. Looks painful.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Great Way To Travel On Snow

An attempt is being made this winter to travel across Antarctica using this vehicle.

Climbing & Jumping

Using a crossbow, he gets a rope over “Christ the Redeemer,”climbs a rope to the top and then jumps off. When he lands, he has to pack up fast to avoid getting arrested.

Just Meat & Potatoes Climbing


imageThe “Northern Lights” (5.12a, 12 pitches) route on the 1,000 foot high “Chief” in Squamish is described as:

“.. a ‘meat-and-potatoes’ climb with ‘some overhanging flare climbing, some long corners, some greenery and some choss.’ A time-consuming descent through dense bushes brought the climbers back to their van at around 4 p.m.”

They climbed this route after doing 3 other, harder routes on the same day. After this route, they climbed another 11 pitch route for a total of 13 hours climbing in one day. Wow! What’s for dessert?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why Would You Ever Climb Outside?

Look at the fun these folks are having. And no bugs, wind, rain, or outdoor squatty “bathrooms.” Wow! I think I’m gonna climb inside.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Little Vertigo

This video will give you a little vertigo; at least it did to me.

Adorable Kitten Sneezes... from Hayduke Midlfinger Sr. on Vimeo.

Pain Is Weakness Leaving Your Body?


Or, maybe, it’s weakness leaving your mind.

Will Gadd has a discussion on pushing the boundaries of pain – especially mental pain – in order to get better at climbing.

Some quotes:

“…but I make my best training gains when I push into areas of pain, especially mental pain, and all pain is mental.... I think embracing pain and becoming comfortable or even desiring it in training and in performance is essential to getting better as an athlete. The amount of pain someone will tolerate is directly related to the desire the person has for something on the other side of that pain…I see some athletes (and I'll use climbers as an example) get a little beaten down and then just give up and say, "take" or stop running back up the field or whatever. They then wonder why they're not progressing, why they're "training" and yet the same old level of exertion still feels hard. The reason it feels hard is that they are letting it feel hard.”

Chicks With Picks At Devils Lake

This is from their weekend workshop last year. They’re having another one this weekend.

Just Like Bouldering

This is similar to bouldering – minimal equipment, requires strength and balance, and you need a crash pad.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Devils Tower

These are Lisa’s photos of their Devils Tower climb. All photos here.

“A Grand Adventure”

Quite a story about a climb near Grand Junction, CO with a paraplegic. The climb Includes this Tyrolean descent. Story here. Description of route here. Nice quote:

“..had learned many lessons those months ago in the Fishers: the main two being that long approaches are no fun when carrying someone on your back, and climbing with a disabled athlete equals climbing for a reason bigger than yourself, and that feels good.”

The outstanding tyrolean traverse between Grand View Spire and the rim.

Fickle Girl

Yes, this is a photo of Jen at the beginning of her romance with the new shoes. Last I heard she was taking the sloppy slippers back to the store. Good Bye, shoes.
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Some bruised knees from team Jammin’s  (Jen & Lisa) Tower climb:



Aaron’s Pinnacle

Here’s a shot Lisa took of Aaron & Jen simul-rapping – so they didn’t have to leave any gear - from a pinnacle we call “Aaron’s Pinnacle.” (We don’t think anyone climbed it before.)


Devils Tower Climb

Amy. Jen and Lisa got back from their trip to the Black Hills and Devils Tower tonight. Big grins, big success, and, a big story of surgery. performed by Jen.

All of Jen’s photos here.

More Black Hills Climbing

These are Jen’s photos of our trip.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Best Birthday ever!

Climbing a big wall is like having a baby. You prepare, anticipate, then the day comes and you work like hell, and it is HARD! You grunt and yell and push and push and push, Then when it is over, you are thrilled and happy. Don't ask me if I want to do it again for at least a year. I couldn't have asked for better climbing partners. Thanks Jen and Amy. Russell is a fantastic guide (like a dula!) and thank you Richard for your encouragement and enthusiasm!
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“Life Lessons Learned”



This is the story of a recent climb of a 19,000 foot peak in Ecuador by an inexperienced Michigan woman.

“I am no mountaineer. But we are climbing this mountain for real.

I’m angry at myself for how hard this is, how exhausted I am, how slow I’m moving, humbled by own former arrogance. Behind me, Paul calls out in encouragement: “You’re doing fabulous!”

‘Don’t patronize me’” I snap back, aware my anger is unfair but unable to control it. And there’s no way to go but go on….

We lay down in the bunks for a few hours’ rest but I can’t sleep. I can’t suck enough air into my lungs, the room is swaying like a ship at sea. I struggle outside, make my way across the blowing snow to the toilets. I am more miserable than I can ever remember and I paid for this privilege. I’d be laughing if I wasn’t so sick.”

Sssh! Don’t Tell Anyone

A short – 3 minute – talk from TED about publicly announcing your goals. (Short version - don’t tell anyone ‘cuz it’s less likely you’ll achieve your goal if you do.)

Pilates For Climbers

imageDon’t know nuttin’ about it. Seems like it could be helpful for climbers. Link here.

Black Hills Climbing Coalition

Here’s the latest newsletter from the BHCC.

“Black Hills Climbing Coalition

September 2010

The next meeting of the BHCC will be 7 pm Wednesday, September 15, at Dublin Square in Rapid City.

We had a great turnout for Pin Fest. Thanks to everyone who put up ropes, and thanks to everyone else who came out and climbed.

Don’t forget Beans and Biners will be held Saturday, Sept 11th at the South Seas at Mount Rushmore.


Park in the Wrinkle Rock pullout. The first ropes start going up usually around 9:00 or so and remain up till around 4 or 5 pm. Open to all climbers. Bring food or snacks to share. Anyone want to volunteer to make chili??

Our only drill is wearing out. The chuck wobbles slightly, and the spindle and armature need replacing. We bought the drill a few years ago on ebay (maybe $300-350?). It was cheaper, but it hasn’t lasted that long. A new Hilte is $1,000. Do we buy used again, or go new? Anyone have a contractor connection to get a buddy deal? If anyone wants to make a drill donation, send a check (c/o BHCC, PO Box 2103 Rapid City, SD 57709).

Devils Tower trail work/climb//barbeque is Sept 25.

Climb Hard and Climb Safe.

Bruce B. Junek – Newsletter Editor”

Daisy Chain As Personal Anchoring System

Here’s why daisy chains aren’t good to tie yourself into the anchors.More info here.

QC Lab: Daisy chain dangers from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Trad Climbing

Three climbers from England do some amazing trad climbing in Europe. Details of their climbs here.


Pete and Tom's Big Euro Adventure from Wild Country on Vimeo.

Team Lisa On Top Of Devils Tower

imageLisa just called from the summit of Devils Tower. They reached the summit about 4:30PM (Central time) on Tuesday. They couldn’t climb on her Birthday – Monday – because it was raining and very windy.

Congrats are in order. Details are to follow.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Life to the Max

Just thought I should let you know that Amy, Jen and Russell and I are celebrating my 50th Birthday on top of Devil's Tower on Sept 6. Purely by chance there will be a TV Crew filming it. I know... just strange.

The TV Show is called Life to the Max. I know you will all see it as it airs Saturday Night at 11:00 pm and Sunday Morning at 5 am! Wow, no wonder I haven't seen it.

Why us? Well here is their mission:

"Life to the Max” is a show that highlights stories of perseverance, tenacity and winning attitudes. It is more than just a sports show; it’s a program about those who look at the glass as half-full.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Joys Of A Rock Climbing Guide

A climbing guide in Boulder talks about his experiences leading clients. I liked this part:

As I clawed up fragile, lichen-covered fingertip holds, my movements turned slow and deliberate. Sixty feet up, my last solid piece was 40 feet below; I would die if I fell. I silently fought for my life. After 20 minutes, my client asked about the route. "Oh ... um, it's great! You're gonna love it," I yelled down weakly.

Battling tears, I finished the lead. Then, with the security of a top-rope, my nonchalant client waltzed up like it was nothing.

"Cool!" he said. "What's next?”

Retrievable Anchors/Single Rope Rappels

I’ve been studying techniques for canyoneering. (We’re going back to Utah in October for some more canyoneering.)

I am impressed by all the different ways canyoneers have developed to make a safe rappel on a single line and yet still retrieve the rope. 

This is one technique using a regular size climbing rope and then a 6mm pull cord.

The normal "climber" method of setting up a rappel is to thread the rope through the anchor and rappel on both strands. This is a simple, straightforward method, and works in a lot of cases.

Using a block, the canyoneer can rappel single strand on the rope, then pull using a lighter line, such as a 6mm pull cord. This saves weight and adds flexibility.”

Here’s a system to retrieve all of your anchor slings after you descend:

Image:Retrieve s.JPG

Lots more ideas here.

Kinda Wimpy

I was reading about these Greenpeace activists hanging from an oil rig on a bivy ledge . They were protesting drilling in the Arctic. This struck my as kinda wimpy behavior:

"Our activists hung there for more than 40 hours but last night, a freezing storm and high waves made them decide it was too risky. So we contacted the police to say we were stopping the action," he said.

So they were rescued by the police.

Freezing storm? That’s when the real climbers just get started. Or, rescue themselves.