Saturday, July 31

OR and things

Don't be alarmed if suddenly feel a slight gravitational misalignment beginning early next week.. for a long four days, the center of the universe - most often known to be Boulder, Colorado - will momentarily shift 400 miles westward, to none other than the City of Salt Lake. OH yes people, it's once again time for the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show.. and as much as I (and everyone else in the outdoor industry) joke about how much this event sucks- it's can actually be quite fun. (in limited quantities, if you're not busy and too highly caffeinated, yet feel like you have a purpose, and your food options have not been reduced to yet another clif bar sample or the corndog stand, etc.) Needless to say, I'm stoked. Seriously. It's a good time to catch up with people, have a look at upcoming products, chat with sponsors and acquire endless chap-stick, sample bars and various key chain items. Before the show Paige and I are going to get a couple days in at Rifle, and hopefully we'll bank a couple smarmy days climbing classics around SLC, before I head off solo for a bit.
random photo: two of my favorite things.. at the same time!

Over the past week I've gotten in to set some magic plastic at the Boulder Rock Club along with chucking some laps at the Monastery and belaying Paige around Estes. I also made my way out to Rifle, for a couple days and hooked up with some great friends Joel and Melissa Love. My goal with Rifle at this point is simply to develop the necessary skill set that is unique to the blocky limestone found at Rifle and keep motivation and fitness high between now and my long trip to the South-East beginning in October. Seeing in that I waited so long to finally climb at Rifle, now I've got a canyon literally packed with difficult routes to test myself on. As I've managed to pick up some of the style over my initial few visits, it continues to get more and more fun, albeit still challenging.

I found some success and a touch of frustration this past week, again reminded of one of Rifles golden rules: BETA. Nowhere have I ever climbed that beta is so important- a small change can literally add or subtract a letter grade with ease. On my flash attempt of the 'Apocalypse Extension' 13b/c, my foot slipped while trying to use poor beta. My foot slipped again (BETA!) on my second attempt, only to frustratingly find that I was making things way too hard for myself (BETA!) and lowered to the ground immediately, tied in, and fired it. My beta was (mostly) spot on for flashes on the classic 'Pump-O-Rama' 13a and 'Philibuster' 13a. However, the golden rule struck again on the incredible 'Living in Fear' 13d, when I fell from a finishing move on my second attempt... I made the mistake once again the following day- then I found a hidden, heavily chalked undercling and fired it. (Only in Rifle can a hold be both 'hidden' and 'heavily chalked'). It's good - it's simply part of the game there and I'm stoked to be picking up on it. Seasoned rifle junkies begin to know what to look for (knee-bars, drop-knees, undercling there, pinch here, squeeze this, etc.) and I can see that they have a talent for this kind of stone - Sam Elias is a perfect example - dude is DIALED on Rifle. He's been crushing there for years, and you can see it in his abilities there - it's impressive. Before I move on, I just want to mention that Living in Fear is a five star rock climb- to think that such a consistently difficult and enjoyable climb exists is mind boggling- do this climb.
random photo: nothing like a comforting 'hand belay'

Tonight we're off to have a long awaited proper night out with a gang of good friends and the talented Sydney Blu, and tomorrow we're headed towards the gravitational pulse in Northern Utah.. I'll be studying my notes on Rifle and practicing my knee-bars between the cooler and the back of the seat in my car for our first trip to Maple!