Saturday, April 30, 2011

Now This Is Real Bouldering

This is bouldering a real man could like. None of those fancy Capri type pants nor tight, ballet-style shoes. Just a man and a machine and boulders in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Notice - they are not using chalk nor are they using crash pads.

Bouldering At Sylvan Lake

Pete, this is for you. You’ve been asking about the Campground Boulder at Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills. Here’s a guy climbing two of the classic routes on it.

Climbing In The Black Hills

A few shots of climbing in the Black Hills. At the end of this video, you can see him summiting on Super Pin (I think.) And I think the older couple are the Conns.

Sport Diets


Will Gadd has a long post about special performance diets for sports. I like these quotes from his article. Read the whole thing here.

“The Norwegians would win or place high in the ski race, eat a couple of boxes of Oreos for post-race recovery, have a beer, eat another huge dinner, and sleep 10 hours a night. The Americans would place mid-pack, recover with sports drinks, eat a ‘Pritikin’ (very little fat) dinner, sleep poorly, and not improve. The Americans would also obsess about vitamins, body fat, etc. The Norwegians won races, the Americans worried about their diets...”

There are no magic bullets, no metabolic master blasters, etc. etc. Sorry, the guy who trains 30 hours a week and eats at McDonalds will destroy the guy who trains five hours a week and eats a perfect Paleo diet. If Paleo boy steps his training up to 30 hours a week then he may be able to compete with McDonald's boy, but even then I'd bet that the skills, quality training time and attitude would still kick Paleo Boy's ass...”

On A Rare Dry Day

Noah's Ark clip art picture for Sunday School students.We (Genevieve, Pete, Ron & I) climbed at Red Wing on Friday. For a fleeting few hours, the sun was out and it wasn’t raining. Up near the summit, we spotted this odd boat – must’ve washed up from the flooded river.





A couple of shots of Genevieve pulling hard on the big DSCN1494holds for which RW is famous.



Thursday, April 28, 2011

Which Is A Better Place To Climb, Las Vegas Or Boulder?

This article was written by a Boulder native who is temporarily living in Vegas. He details the friendly arguments about which is a better place to climb. I like these quotes:

Outdoor cross-training is accessible anywhere in Boulder: trail running, road and mountain biking, hiking, etc.”

“Indoor cross-training is better, and accessible anywhere in Vegas: dancing to world-class DJs, sport drinking at the Yard House,..”

“We have the best year-round sport climbing in America [in Vegas], including some of the hardest routes in the country.

“Sport climbing is passé. Bouldering is way radder. The best boulderers in the world travel to Rocky Mountain National Park and Mount Evans.”

Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wine When You Climb?

No not the waah waah, “I can’t do that climb,” but this kind of wine. It’s called “The Climber” and it’s a container filled with wine made by the same people who make Clif bars. Carrying this sounds like more fun than one of those hydration packs filled with only with lousy water.

“Clif Family Winery & Farm has come up with an environmentally-friendly solution for wine drinkers who also happen to be adventurers. TheClimber pouch ($17 for 1.5L) is ultra-lightweight and easy to carry just about anywhere. The packaging has a tiny carbon footprint in comparison to glass bottles, and the pouch can be resealed to keep wine fresh for up to a month. The Climber pouch is available in Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals and even has a built-in carrying handle.”

Fairly Difficult Climbing, Done Well

I posted this video before of Adam Ondra making an onsight climb of one of the most difficult climbs out there. I am posting it again, because I read a thoughtful analysis of his climbing style here. Part of the analysis:

Ondra's style is one of relentless progress earned through exact placement of hands and feet and fearless response to the route's challenges. He routinely skips clips or delays them facing falls of 30 to 40 feet on very difficult terrain, confident that he will find a spot to recover and clip again. He climbs according to the needs of the route, square to the wall when necessary and is fantastic at high-stepping and reaching while staying in balance. His decision-making process is usually immediate and highly accurate, even in unlikely sequences. …Where most of us are second-guessing or retreating into bad movement patterns, Ondra is immediately adapting to the moves. He climbs as if he has nothing to learn from the moves, no need to adjust or rethink them, just to push ahead into the next one and repeat until the chains. Most of us only feel like this on onsights in very familiar terrain or of very low difficulty compared to our limit.”

When I watched the video, I was struck by how fast he moves. He’s never been on the climb before but he confidently places his feet and hands and just goes. Quite amazing.

BD athlete Adam Ondra onsights Mind Control (8c+), Oliana, Spain from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

Locking ‘Biner On First Draw?

A discussion here on the benefit/drawback of using a locking ‘biner on the first quickdraw on a bolt. I climbed with a guy who did this occasionally – when the 2nd bolt was way above the 1st one and off to one side, and where the crux was low. There is some ridicule of the idea in this forum and also some support. I always thought it’d be a good idea in certain circumstances; never did it though.

Red Wing Monday

IMG_0865Pete & I climbed with William on Monday at RW. We’d met William bouldering at VE. He’s a strong boulderer but had never roped climbed outdoors. So, of course, he wanted to do a lead at Red Wing. Not some of the easier ones Pete and I suggested, but this one. We spent a few minutes on the ground explaining how you clip the bolts and then he climbed to the top quick as you please. Pretty amazing for his first lead anywhere and one of his first climbs at RW.

Then Pete tried leading on only natural pro using these slung rocks. More photos here.


Monday, April 25, 2011

“Hi, my name’s Alli, and I’m a rock climber who’s afraid of heights…”

Ali Rainey describes how her love for climbing helps her with her fear of heights.

I’d still been climbing for less than a year when I experienced my first fall into space on an overhang. I absolutely flipped out, screaming in terror as I clutched the rope, spinning in midair, unable to get back on the rock, totally irrational and unable to even come close to grasping the concept that I was actually fine.”

Race To The Bottom

This is the trailer to a new film about the 39 day, solo, unsupported trip to the South Pole in 2008 by an American. More info here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New Route Soloed On The Matterhorn

An Italian climber spent 4 days and 3 nights on a new route on the Matterhorn. More of his story here. :At about the 3:30 mark of the video, you can see him pull a large chunk of rock off the route and:

The rock is so chossy and untrustworthy that, as he stated on numerous occasions, Barmasse doesn't recommend his new route to anyone. The rock is too friable, the undertaking simply too dangerous... And this is also why he didn't want to give the route a grade.”

Hervé Barmasse | Exploring the Alps # 1 | Solo on Matterhorn from story.teller on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

11 Days On A Wall, Starting From A Deck Of A Sailboat

More of the “Vertical Sailing” series about a 3 month climbing trip to Greenland. (The whole series is here.) In this – the 2nd - episode, they start an 11-day big wall climb right from the deck of their boat. The first episode is getting to Greenland and loading the boat. The 3rd episode, I posted the other day. The 4th episode shows them pushing icebergs out of the way so they can get to a wall where they climb two separate routes to the summit and have an overnight “shiver bivvy.” The last episode is about their two week-long sail back to Scotland, including heaving-to (the boat and the sailors.)


Friday, April 22, 2011

Wearing “Grumpy Pants”

The Smileys want to become the first couple to climb all of the “50 Classic Climbs of North America” This episode finds them climbing in Yosemite and having a marital spat because they bailed off the 23 pitch Half Dome route. He says in the story

“We did not talk the entire 3 hours it took to get back to the Valley floor. Turns out, I put on my grumpy pants when I fail at an objective.”

Triple Play (Fairview Dome, Tenaya Peak, 1/8th Dome) from Mark Smiley on Vimeo.

Vertical Sailing

Combining sailing and climbing in Greenland, this is a 5 part video series. This episode shows the 75 year old captain climbing a new route in Greenland. There’s a great view of a group of seals hunting in the ocean, directly below the climbers, at the 4:55 mark.

The most amazing part of this trip, to me, is having 5 people with all of their climbing gear on a 33 foot sailboat. I used to own a 40’ sailboat and I can’t imagine cramming all of the stuff they must’ve carried on that boat.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are You A Climber If You Don’t Lead?

A well-reasoned essay on being a climber without being an enthusiastic leader. Here’s the nub of the issue for these two:

“Over the past year, our climbing relationship had some emotional ups and downs — or, it might be more accurate to say, we were that couple you saw fighting over something stupid at the crag. Steph wanted to push her trad leading threshold higher, and I wanted to help her, and we didn’t know how to do it. By the end of last year, she was questioning whether or not she even liked climbing. At all. And I love climbing.

She ended the year telling people she was ‘taking a break from leading.’ At some point, one of her friends introduced her to someone and said, ‘Steph’s a climber,’ and Steph interjected, ‘No, no, I’m not, really.’’ When she got home that night, we talked, and she asked:

‘If you don’t lead, are you still a climber?’

Photographing Yosemite Climbing

I can’t find a way to embed this video so here’s the link to a video by National Geographic with great shots of climbers in Yosemite.

Cleaning Up After Yourself

When you’re on the 15th pitch of a MN mountain and can’t take the time to descend to visit the W.C., what do you do to doodoo? Here’s a do-it-yourself doodoo guide. (You could train your dog to help but that’s #2 on the list.)

There was a day when climbers would crap in a brown bag and toss it to the ground below where unsuspecting hikers would curiously take a peak at what a climber was planning to eat before dropping their lunch sack. Regulations have cracked down on tossing processed lunches and now climbers have to hold it even after they poop.”

Red Wing Thursday

Kind of a tough day with the cold wind and overcast skies. But Pete led up Cyclops brilliantly as you can see in the sequence below. Genevieve and I were there to watch him celebrate. When asked what his next goal is, Pete said “I’m; going to Disneyland.” Good idea, I think the Matterhorn is there.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Favorite Climbs In The Black Hills

I posted some of my favorite Back Hills climb and asked Scott what are some of his favorites. Here’s what I got from him – remember he grew up out there and has done lots of hard classic routes. He also sent a photo of his new bouldering cave.


Looks like you covered most of the ultra classic 'easier' ones that I've done!

  • I think Tent Peg is a pretty good 'easy' route with a fun step around the corner thing - feels exposed but totally safe.
  • Another good 'easy' one is Breaking Wave in Chessmen (awkward diagonal crack crawl meets runoutish shady gear traverse with breaking crystals but I think it's 5.7...). Long hike for the area.
  • Horsetheif spire is also very cool - a really easy wandering scramble to the summit that I did with my wife, but at least one really cool sport route up towards the summit area (5.10+ or .11-? I top roped it)

[Ed.   Can’t find either of those on Mountain Project. But here’s a photo of these peaks. Here are links to a map first drawn in the ‘60s which show every named pinnacle/peak/blob of rock in these three areas.]

Needle's Eye Area
Outlets and Middle Earth Area (Sylvan Lake)
Cathedral Spires
Ten Pins Area

[Ed. Scott continues]

Ones that I want to do:

In Spearfish canyon:

  • I remember a good beginner hand crack climb (well bolted) somewhere... 5.8 I think - but not like the 5.8 crack I climbed on the Tower!
  • Pakistani route is very cool with the step out over the roof move!
  • I haven't climbed in Spearfish in a long time, besides ice. I've done many 5.10 and under routes there, but can't remember most”

[Ed.  Scott also wants to do these climbs on Devils Tower. Maybe Pete, Scott and Chase will do these on the weekend.]





I've attached a pic Chateau d'Ifof my newly completed bouldering cave - which I'm still working on! The Chateau d'If a la Count of Monte Cristo.”

Now This Looks Like Fun

The speed skiing hasn’t really appealed to me, but this looks like a laugh riot.

Foot Launching the speed wings at Flynn's Paragliding site, Bishop from Dave Turner on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Climbing El Cap At 50

Three high school friends decide to climb El Cap 32 years after their high school graduation. It helps considerably that one of the friends has climbed El Cap more than 100 times. (There truly is an advantage of growing up in California if you want to climb in Yosemite.) He says, “it’s not easy. It’s super freaking hard.” I love it when one of them says “Not nervous at all.” He’s standing on the road. Another guy says it’s the most challenging thing he can think of except for getting married and having a child. (If he truly had a child, that would be super challenging as well as a miracle.)

I’m being slightly critical, but It is great to see these 3 guys getting to the summit and their pride in accomplishment. Even though one of them says he felt abandoned when the other two wouldn’t talk to him on the last pitch.

The Matadors and El Capitan from oomphTV on Vimeo.

El Grigri Dos

Es muy importante to watch this video on how to use the Grigri 2. In this video, es no correcto when belayer no locka el ‘biner. Ay caramba!

Climbing Cracks

Tips For Bigger Cracks

Lots of advice from Steph Davis on climbing off-width cracks, including this:

“For hands/fists and offwidths, you should get a bigger shoe–I use Moccasyms or Super Moccs, very comfortably sized. For a lot of offwidths at Indian Creek, I actually wear Five Tennies, which makes them significantly easier!…

One issue with wider cracks (including fists), is the rack. It’s very awkward and cumbersome to carry even a rack of 5 3.5″ pieces, and it just gets bigger and heavier as the cams get larger. Usually I plan to push up gear when the crack is wider, to save me carrying so much large gear. In a crack where I might need the equivalent of 6 3.5″ pieces, I bring 3 and plan to slide some of them for a long way. Be aware that this can put you in a very run-out situation, and if you blow it somehow, it could be a very dangerous fall. So I’m not recommending this as a basic technique for new climbers, but it is something I do commonly myself at Indian Creek, with caution.

This is a small tip, but it is something that I have to catch myself on every time during the colder months….it’s great to wear a long sleeved shirt for offwidths…”

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ueli Steck In The Himalaya

He’s there to solo climb 3 of the 8,000 meter mountains and he just finished in first one after being at base camp for two days. He climbed to the summit from advanced base camp in 10.5 hours. Details here. The video from his sponsors is below.

Ueli Steck's Project Himalaya from Mountain Hardwear on Vimeo.

A Few Favorite Climbs In The Black Hills

This is for you Pete.

These are some of my favorite routes in the Black Hills that I’ve done as well as routes that are “must-dos” according to others.

Rushmore area:

Cathedral Spires/Ten Pins

  • Spire 4 – 2 pitch trad route with optional Wormhole
  • Station 13 – slender 150’ spire with exposed finish
  • imageSandberg Peak – super fun and the best “show-off” route for people in cars. It looks like it will fall over any minute.
  • Sickle – this is an arête climb that Greg & I backed off from because we thought we were lost. Turns out we weren’t.
  • Tricouni Nail/Cerebrus – relies on  a piton placed in the ‘60s for one piece of protection. Needs a simul-rap or one rope rappel from the top.

Sylvan Lake

Moonlight Ridge & Needle’s Eye

  • Gobs of Knobs – odd name for a climb that has gobs of knobs; no listing in Mountain Project
  • Wave Runner – bolted route up a blank-looking face
  • Lunatic – bolted route up an arête
  • Moonlight Rib – many times, this is just free soloed
  • imageNeedle’s Eye – someone day I’ll follow someone up this baby





Spearfish area – I’ve only climb here twice so I have limited knowledge. I do remember these:

Milky Way Panorama

Nine photos stitched together result in this other-worldly photo of our Milky Way galaxy.

Digital fusion: Amateur astronomer Juan Carlos Casado stitched together this extraordinary shot from nine photos of the night sky

Also visible is Tenerife's Teide Volcano near the centre of the image, behind a volcanic landscape that includes many huge boulders.

But far behind these Earthly structures are many sky wonders that are invisible to the unaided eye, such as the bright waxing moon inside the arch.

Also visible are the Pleiades open star cluster and Barnard's Loop, which can be seen as the half red ring below the Milky Way band.

Read more.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Driving For Days On End Across A Desert To Climb

A preview of a North Face film about climbing some unclimbed towers in Chad. Several shots of the leader cleaner off holds so he can put in gear.  More here.

Analyzing Risks

A recent mom writes that her approach to climbing hasn’t really changed since she had her baby.  She says:

I feel like my attitude can be for the most part be boiled down to one statement, and applied in different ways depending on particular situation.


She then provides examples of how she assesses the risks involved in various types of climbing. All very commonsensical it seems to me. Such as:

1.  Topropes - If I or someone else that I trust has set up the anchor, I will gladly flail away on a toprope of just about any grade.

2.  Sport Routes -  If the route is bolted well and the fall zones are safe, I’ll go for it.

3.  Trad – I am a self-proclaimed trad pansy. I am willing to lead a full number grade higher (often times even more) on bolted routes than I am on gear routes. In new areas, I tend stick to easier grades where I can place the gear I need in a (relatively) relaxed body position.

4.  Bouldering – It all boils down to the landing – if its well-protected with pads or spotters that I trust, I’ll go for it. If not, I don’t – simple as that.

5.  Free-soloing - No matter how comfortable I feel at the grade, or how solid the rock is, there are always factors out of my control – holds can break, swarms of bees can attack (it’s happened to me on a rope, I’m assuming it could happen without one too…)”

The whole article is here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Best Exercise?

A few physiologists who study the effects of exercise, suggest the old-fashioned burpee, the squat or walking. Unless you can do H.I.T.s or high intensity interval training. An example from the article:

imageThe approach seems promising, since most of us have minimal time to exercise each week. Gibala last month published a new study of H.I.T., requiring only a stationary bicycle and some degree of grit. In this modified version, you sprint for 60 seconds at a pace that feels unpleasant but sustainable, followed by 60 seconds of pedaling easily, then another 60-second sprint and recovery, 10 times in all. ‘There’s no particular reason why’ H.I.T. shouldn’t be adaptable to almost any sport, Gibala said, as long as you adequately push yourself….Of course, to be effective, H.I.T. must hurt.”


Sounds klnda like lead climbing or even bouldering, doesn’t it?

Plateauing In Your Climbing?

Yeeeeee hawwww!Two different approaches to getting off your plateau are presented by Steph Davis and Steph says in part:

My advice is to mix up what you are doing. One thing that is guaranteed to improve your climbing is to devote some serious attention to core (stomach) workouts and to hip opening flexibility. For a month or two, cut back on your gym climbing and replace that with ab workouts (of your choice) and hip opener stretches.”

Tristan, at “Daily” has a 5 step program including doing pyramids.

What Magic Underwear Tells Us About Sitting Too Much

“Magic underwear” contains sensors that measure your body’s movement.. A researcher trying to discover why some people get fat while others don’t, even though they eat and exercise the same, has found that some of us move around more than others  By using magic underwear. (I think this is old news; when I was a kid, adults always told me to sit still and not fidget. But fidgeting is good for us.)

“’We measured everything, thinking we were going to find some magic metabolic factor that would explain why some people didn’t gain weight,’ explains Dr. Michael Jensen, a Mayo Clinic researcher who collaborated with Dr. Levine on the studies. But that wasn’t the case. Then six years later, with the help of the motion-tracking underwear, they discovered the answer. ‘The people who didn’t gain weight were unconsciously moving around more,”’Dr. Jensen says. They hadn’t started exercising more — that was prohibited by the study. Their bodies simply responded naturally by making more little movements than they had before the overfeeding began, like taking the stairs, trotting down the hall to the office water cooler, bustling about with chores at home or simply fidgeting. On average, the subjects who gained weight sat two hours more per day than those who hadn’t”

One way to prevent extra poundage that’s mentioned in this article, is the treadmill desk. Here it is.


Rappelling Looking Glass Rock

Looking Glass Rock outside of Moab has a cool looking free rappel. It starts right at the opening in the rock in the photo above. Description of a recent climb here.


Rappelling down the arch amphitheater.

“Empty Your Heart Of Fear”

“If you have fear, you will fall” says this Congolese tree climber who climbs 120 feet with his bare feet and a vine, to get honey for his family. He is literally out on a limb while being stung by bees gathering a honey comb. (I know it’d be more expensive, but wouldn’t it be easier for him to just buy organic honey at Trader Joe’s?) I think the down climb would be even worse.

Climbing Pants

Quite a discussion on climbing pants.Mostly the pants he talks about seem to be for alpine climbing but there are rock climbing and indoor climbing pants mentioned in the comments.

My favorite pair of climbing pants is no longer made – of course. They were Patagonia canvas pants with double knees. My favorite climbing shorts are still made and have been made “since the earth cooled, or shortly thereafter” according to the product description. (I bought them about 10 years after the earth cooled, so I’m not that old.)  What are your favorite pants?


Climbing Pants

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ice Climbing As Life Changing

If you’re bi-polar, maybe ice climbing appeals to you more.

(Of course, there were several bi polar explorers like Roald Amundsen – the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. So he is truly bi-polar.)

This woman describes why she is more attracted to ice climbing because of her disorder.

The strongest relationship in my life has been with what I can only refer to as the conscious universe. Imagine feeling the earth’s pain, getting messages from the stars, or having a conversation with the moon. These things can happen, but only if you can let go of what you have been programmed to think of as impossible…

I found the world of ice climbing populated with others who were more or less just like me. They wanted more from

everyday reality, and they were willing to endure discomfort and risk in order to get it. In discovering ice climbing, I found a tribe of people that I could connect with, even if it was simply to share my joy and passion for an activity that was altering the way I looked at myself and the world.”

Could I Climb It By Myself, Tug Up My ‘Chute and Jump?

That’s the question Steph Davis asks herself and her answer is “I can, so why wouldn’t I.” Here’s a preview of her climbing on some Utah towers.

Steph Davis attempts her quest to climb then BASE jump the desert's most iconic towers. Includes a free solo of Jah Man on Sister Superior.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Minnesota Climbing Co-op Blog

Reinhold Messner – All Man, No Myth, Pure Legend

Spring is starting to bloom. The weather here is a little more hospitable, and the nearby Rocky Mountains are beckoning. In the meantime, my mind is drifting to thoughts of mountain biking trails and alpine peaks. Seeing how April is “Adventure Month,” I couldn’t think of a better way to usher in a new season of outdoorsy escapades than with a post on one of my all-time favorite adventure celebrities: Reinhold Messner.

If there is one man whose name is synonymous with mountaineering, it is Reinhold Messner. His legend is ubiquitous in the world of alpine climbing, and for good reason. In the long history of the sport, few have even come close to accomplishing what Messner did in just a few years, and more than likely no one ever will. “To non-climbers it may be difficult to convey the extent and grandeur of Reinhold Messner’s accomplishments,” explains Caroline Alexander, writer for National Geographic. I would say that is an understatement.

Born and raised in northern Italy, a stone’s throw from the Austrian border and the foot of the Alps, it’s no surprise that a young Reinhold Messner began climbing mountains with his father at the age of five. “We had no football place in the valley . . . we had no swimming pool—I'm still not able to swim. The only possibility to do something to express ourselves was to go on the rocks. So we learned very early.” Reinhold said, reflecting back on his youth.

By the time he was in his 20s, Messner had already become an accomplished alpinist, and had even begun soloing new routes. He had also become a vocal proponent of alpine-style mountaineering, a more minimalist form of climbing that forgoes the so-called “siege tactics” typically used by climbers of previous generations. According to Alexander, he even wrote an essay on climbing ethics entitled "The Murder of the Impossible" when he was 27.

Messner’s most notable accomplishment came in 1978, when he and fellow climber Peter Habeler became the first to summit Mount Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen, a feat which, up until that time, had been considered suicidal. Even more astonishing was his solo ascent of Everest two years later, again without any breathing aids. As James Graff of Time puts it: “His 1980 solo ascent of Mount Everest by ‘fair means’ — without sherpas, crevasse ladders or supplemental oxygen — remains the most primal test conceivable of man against the Earth.”

Even after securing his position as one of the best climbers in the world, Messner continued bagging ‘eight-thousanders,’ and in 1986 became the first person in history to ascend all fourteen 8,000-foot peaks, including the infamously dangerous K2 and Annapurna peaks. Then, after accomplishing what most would only dream about, Messner more or less retired from high-altitude climbing altogether.

Today, at 66 years old, a gracefully aging Messner is a testament to the alpine lifestyle. For at least part of the year, he lives in a castle nestled in the mountains of South Tyrol, not far from his boyhood home. He has published more than 50 books, and is sought after vigorously for guest appearances and interviews, few of which he accepts. As an individual, Messner has gained somewhat of a reputation for his often cantankerous demeanor.

“Although he’s known to be occasionally charming, he’s famous for his tirades and grudge-nursing, both on and off the mountain,” writes Brad Wetzler of Outside. “After the 1978 Everest climb, he abruptly ended his 12-year relationship with Peter Habeler after Habeler published a book that implied Messner exaggerated his leadership role in their expeditions. The two have barely spoken, nor have they climbed together since.”

I, for one, would say that Messner has likely earned the right to speak his mind. He is clearly a force to be reckoned with in the climbing community, and the world of outdoor sports in general. In his continued quest to lift up the pastime that has been his life’s one true passion, he has also helped to create not one, but five museums dedicated to mountaineering. The project is called the Messner Mountain Museum. “I give all of myself, all of my energy, my time, my money, my enthusiasm,” Reinhold said back in 2006 in reference to his museums. The museums, which incorporate both interior and exterior elements, are open to the public during the warmer months.

Whether you are a mountain climber, a school teacher or a humble blogger like myself, it is clear that we can all learn something from Reinhold Messner.

Put yourself out there, put one foot in front of the other, and you will likely surprise yourself at just how far you can go.
This article was originally published in blog: Reinhold Messner – All Man, No Myth, Pure Legend started by bgoguen

Optimism and Presence: A Love Story

April 12th, 2011 § 2 Comments

- by Myriam Souaya
photo by l@mie
My mentor recently pointed out to me why the climbing community is such a positive group. Though he’s never climbed before his logic made complete sense, ”they’re all optimists,” he said,”you’d have to be”.
While his assessment was right on target, there is something more there that I’ve only recently been lucky enough to tap into. In order to find success on a wall you have to live in the moment. Lord knows the odds (and gravity) are stacked against you. Thinking too far ahead about everything that could stand in your way would make anyone blanch.
How many times have I been on the wall distracted and nervous thinking about obstacles I haven’t even come across yet. “I can’t make that dyno, pull that roof, stick that hold, get that clip…”. Over and over and on and on. Energy wasted worrying about problems not yet encountered.
In fact, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the last few years wasting energy and letting obstacles get in my way. There was the frustration over the job that wasn’t producing money to allow me to go back to school. There was the family whose rejection I feared. The relationship I left with more baggage than I could fit in my old beat-up jeep. The period of sickness I couldn’t shake. The opportunities not given to me. An endless list of employers, friends, acquaintances, and grocery store clerks whose fault it was that I was stuck in a rut.
Three years ago I walked into work on a beautiful, sunny day that would promise to be a blast and that would surely give the opportunity to make quite a bit of money. I was incredibly lucky, there were people all around me who couldn’t get work. But a feeling rose to the surface after being buried deep down for quite a while. I was miserable. A little thought crept into my mind, born seemingly out of nowhere. I should move home. In ten years I hadn’t spent more than two nights there. I could think of a million reasons why it would be a terrible idea. And yet, just like that I called my sister and offered to take care of her kids for the year. On the phone she was incredulous, “you want to do WHAT?”. It made no sense but from moment to moment over the next month it was as if someone other than myself was in charge. I’d need to get out of my condo, leave a career I’d worked so hard for, leave dearly loved friends and drag everything I owned back to the house I grew up in. It was a lot. If I had stopped to think about all the reasons to maintain the old status quo I never would have budged. I’ll never know why I was struck with that urge on that day, but I set in motion a series of events that have made me a far happier person than I’ve ever been. It was all about living in the moment.
Last week I showed up to Sportrock with the weight of the world on my shoulders. A little excitement, a drop of anxiety, a mountain of unfinished work with a dash of confusion and an inkling of self-doubt for good measure don’t sound like they would result in the best mental state for an undertaking such as climbing. I was surprised to discover however, it was just what I needed. My mind was so full I had no choice but to tune it all out. For the first time I truly experienced climbing-as-meditation. Climbing- living- in the moment. It’s an amazing space to exist in, so utterly absent of all other things. Just your breath, your hands, your feet, your gaze, your mind all working together as they should to accomplish one little goal after another, one at a time, again and again. Living in the moment. Being present. Seeing through the obstacles. As I clipped the rope into the anchors that day I looked down from the top of the wall and allowed myself a smile.
It’s good to be an optimist

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Everest Base Camp

It’s the beginning of the busy season for climbing Everest. Quite a good blog about base camp and his 4th attempt to summit Everest is here written by Alan Arnette.

Shopping In Kathmandu

Getting ready for climbing around Everest, he does some shopping for expedition items in Kathmandu.

Freddie Wilkinson, Robert Frost and Jim Aikma fly to Nepal to meet up with Ueli Steck for spring training in the Kumbu,Himalaya.”

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Climbing With “Sanders” In Czechoslovakia

Climbing on the Czech sandstone, you can’t use any trad pro as we know it – only knotted cords.

“The Czech Republic sandstone tower climbing is pretty cool. Sandstone climbers are called ‘sanders’…. He usually climbs in ragged clothes. On his harness hangs a mixture of strange ropes, cords and laces and somewhere among all this crap hangs sand-scratched and furbished (shiny) carbines, and quick-draws…

A ‘sander’ uses chocks and friends to open a bottle of beer. Those things are not allowed to be used on the soft sand-stone. Mastery of setting roped knots is an inseparable part of our climbing. Badly set knots can easily change beautiful and safe routes into ones we call an “obvious suicide”

Each route is climbed in the true meaning of on-sight climbing, because you can’t follow a line of bolts and chalk marks. Instead of common bolts there are special sand-stone ring-bolts set into the rock. There are not many of them on the routes, so not every time you manage to see all of them from standing on the ground. You just have to believe that they are there – somewhere. This very specific climbing style developed here – on-sight or death.”

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Climbing Angel’s Landing On Live TV

In 1978, for the first time ever, ABC’s Wide World of Sports showed two people climbing Angel’s Landing on live TV. Here’s the story as told by one of the technical support crew. In those days, they had to rig coax cable up the entire route so they could use TV cameras. Because the live broadcast was ending soon and the climbers hadn’t reached the top yet, they started to hurry the climbing. Which resulted in a long leader fall.

“George Willig [the lead climber] was obviously aware of the programming time crunch and was charging hard to make the summit when he slipped and free fell about thirty-five feet.

Always the professional, Mike Hoover [the cameraman] had George dead center of his lens when he fell. Mike‘s camera followed him perfectly for the entire length of his dramatic plummet!

Steve’s belay held and George was OK.

The entire country, and who know many people all around the world, were watching these two men risking their lives thousands of feet from the ground and they had just witnessed their new hero fall through mid air!

When Jim McKay, the  renowned sports announcer announced to the world viewing audience, ‘ Stay tuned for ABC ‘s coverage of the NFL Football game,’ the phones lines  at ABC headquarters  were jammed with angry viewers  demanding that they continue the broadcast.

I remember the call coming in over our video monitors to Larry Cam, the executive producer of the show. It was the president of ABC Broadcasting saying, ‘Forget the sponsors Larry, and Keep those cameras rolling until George and Steve are safely on the summit! This is going to cost “Us” Millions, but, our ratings are through the roof!’

Everyone on our production team’s jaw dropped in utter disbelief!  This had never been done for any sporting event that Wide World Of Sports had covered, even the Olympics!

Friday, April 8, 2011

TF On Friday

Netta did her first trad lead at Taylors Falls today with the intrepid Russell as her belayer.

Build Grip Strength And Live Longer

Research indicates if you have a strong grip, you’ll live longer. At least that’s what this article says. And it gives 4 handy tools to build your grip strength  “while you sit in front of your TV.”  (Of course, maybe you’ll be healthier if you didn’t sit in front of your TV.)

Treasure Hunt

“Find the Go” treasure hunt starts this week. Looks like you could win a lot of great stuff if you want to drive around the US looking for it.

FindtheGO 2011 from kurt mann on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

They Just Opened Up The North Pole Base Camp For The Year

It’s quite a process explained in this video. More details here.

Missing Winter Yet?

This couple made an attempt on Denali 2 months ago. The weather wasn’t all that good. At one point in the video, the thermometer registers minus 55 degrees F. They stayed in snow caves which look warm and spacious. More details here. I like the way he carried an aluminum extension ladder into the mountain by just shoving his waist thru two of the rungs.

Need To Make Some Quick Cash?

Join the porters hauling trash away from Mt Everest. They’re making about 70 cents per pound they carry. There are an estimated 11,000 pounds.

Onsight 14c

Adam Ondra climbing in Spain was captured on video onsighting a 14c. He sure seems relaxed – especially when he goes by several draws without clipping. More info here.


BD athlete Adam Ondra onsights Mind Control (8c+), Oliana, Spain from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

1 Route, 1 Try

This is a highlight video of the women’s sport climbing championship held last weekend in Boulder. They had only 1 try on   Men’s video here too. Here’s a play-by-play description including what shoes most of them wore.

“Alex Johnson, who won fourth in the women’s division, stated “It was super-duper fun. Bouldering is more my element. Route climbing is scary — you only get one chance!”

2011 SCS National Championship Highlights • Women from Louder Than 11 on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Newbies At Joshua Tree

Noe basking in the glory of her first trad lead!

A couple new to climbing, spends several days at Joshua Tree doing a lot of moderates. A great story of their experience. I like this quote:

“This climb solidified Noe's love of Joshua Tree. The longest approach we did all week, it still wasn't more than 20 minutes with no elevation gain or mosquitoes. It probably helped that we were carrying just one rope and 12 or so quickdraws, too.”

Making A Climbing Harness

Quite a lot of technology involved in making a harness.

How to Make a Climbing Harness from Far From Home Productions on Vimeo.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Hard Mixed Route In The Canadian Rockies

He uses every kind of protection except bolts. I like the part where he throws his leg over a piece of ice right at the summit and pulls himself up. More details here. (Plus, what a great gear room he has, And organized too.)

“From Cripple To Climber”

A young man talks about how he fell in love with climbing despite the terrible pain of his Fibromyalgia. When he first started climbing, he would climb for only 20 minutes and then be in “screaming pain for three hours.” Now he is leading 5.12s and planning to climb some of Sharma;s hardest routes. 

Quite a story of perseverance. (He reminds me of myself in two ways:

1. I feel excruciating pain just thinking about doing a really hard route.

2. I, too have a goal to climb some of Sharma’s routes; there must be a 5.8 or 9 he did when he first started. I’d do one of those.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Lot Of Times I Ride A Bike Like This

It's hard to get others to go riding with me while I am doing this and I need really tight clothing in order to make these moves work.

She's 9, Give Her A Break

She touched a tree with her foot when she was climbing a V12 so it doesn't count as the first female ascent of the boulder problem. She's 9 years old. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Train Less, Get Stronger

Climb Strong’s website writes about doing “the minimum necessary training to see continued progress.” If you want endurance, train on not so hard routes for longer time. If you want power, train on hard routes for less time. Read all of the details at the link.

“I’ve said it before-fatigue creates endurance, heavy loads (difficult moves) create power and strength. So it works really well to build power when you don’t have tons of time. Test this yourself. Write down all the problems and grades you send in your next bouldering session. Note the session length, level of fatigue/soreness post-session, and the number of days between sessions. Now, reduce the duration of your session by 25%. If you trained 2 hours, train only 1.5 hours next time. Do a couple of sessions at this new duration, keeping the same notes as before. After 2-3 sessions of 1.5 hours, reduce your time again by 20-30 minutes. Repeat the process again, then reduce again, in our example, you’d drop to 45 or so minutes per session. What you’ll see is a drop in volume (duh!), but an increase in overall performance at high levels.”