Monday, March 8

I'm kind of a freak about Front Range climbing history. Anyone who caught Andy Mann and I's 'Colorado Burl' slide-show last fall knows that we mean business when it comes to route data, first ascent details and cryptic beta info. The rich history of rock climbing has always fascinated me, and the Front Range is oozing with it. My first hard sends were inspired not by what was hip at that time, but by a news clipping from an ancient Climbing Magazine or a rumor about a wicked late '80s ascent I had heard through one of my Dad's core climber buddies. I was reminded of my infatuation with climbing history this past weekend, when my girlfriend Paige Claassen and I hiked around to the Gym at Shelf Road to catch some vitamin D (top priority) and have a ball on some of Colorado's classic test-pieces.

Paige boots up beneath the classic 'Deeper Shade of Soul'

Immediately upon seeing 'The Example', I had flashbacks of one of my first 5.13 sends a number of years ago. At the time (and still today..) I was super inspired by Colin Lantz's achievements and after repeatedly reading the excerpt from Jeff Achey's, Climb!: A History of Rock Climbing in Colorado, about his hail Mary first ascent just days before the visiting J.B. Tribout would have potentially ripped it off, I knew I had to climb 'The Example'. I even went so far as to use Colin's original, forgotten beta at the top of the climb, adding a letter grade of difficulty. Looking back, I'm surprised I didn't toss on some neon turquoise lycra and a J-Rat headband for the full 1987 experience. It's historic photos like this one (below- Colin on the first ascent of the Example) that lured me to obscure climbs like 'Rock Atrocity' 13c, 'Your Mother' 12d and 'Honemaster Lambada' 13d/14a (all Lantz routes) over the years. I really admired this generation throughout the first few years of my obsession with climbing and to this day I'm still overwhelmed by how wicked the classics are.. and by how amazing said achievements would be in such form fitting attire.

Lantz in his prime

Needless to say, I spent quite of bit of time climbing at Shelf Road back in the day (..circa '06/'07..) and although I've completed nearly everything of interest there, I still love a good day at Shelf every now and then. We ran into a number of friends and enjoyed some much needed sun this past weekend. I did a couple new-to-me routes I enjoyed like 'Blast From the Past' 13-, and 'The French are Here' 12c, as well as cranking numerous laps on some of my all time favorites like 'Deeper Shade of Soul' 13b/c (Lantz route as well) and 'The Hurricane' 12b/c.

life in the back of a Subaru- wicked
I'm finally feeling gains from an intensified training schedule, just in time for a number of lengthy climbing trips on the horizon- Wyoming, Arizona and Utah. I've always found, however, that 'training' can only go so far, and in the end, all of my breakthroughs in climbing have been a product of trying hard on real stone. Inspiration is everything in my experience, and plastic can only inspire me for so long.. It always takes a couple outings in the spring to get re-stoked on the camping/climbing lifestyle. Now that my stove and cooler are dusted off and my insulating jacket reeks of camp fire, I'm motivated and consistently thinking ahead for the next trip- the time for training is coming to an end as the spring moves near and our projects dry out.

plastic makes (almost) perfect
I've also felt the benefits of massage work (thanks to GRIP massage) recently for the first time- I had my first massage work EVER done last week and I was a wreck for days.. if I didn't know better I'd think I was given a sedative and beaten with a sock full of quarters for an hour- but almost as quickly as the soreness came on I was feeling loose and refreshed- pretty awesome really. I'm excited to see how massage effects my climbing ability and recovery time.. so far so good.

Chris Weidner: like a deer in headlights, moments before Batman exacts revenge..
My cross training activities of course would not be complete without an evening of tequila induced, costume roller-skating at the Wagon Wheel Roller Rink. Despite a minor hip injury I had an incredibly good time among over a hundred members of the extended league of random super-heroes and villains out to skate that night. Anyone out to pick a fight with Batman (batman=jstar.. keep it on the down low!) was cruising for a bruising and, trust me, repeat offender Chris Weidner a.k.a. Professor Pink Python got HAD that night.