Sunday, October 31

action packed

After an action packed short trip back to Boulder celebrating special occasions of all kinds, I'm wiping off some residual halloween face-paint and thinking over the last week and the upcoming month.. sitting in seat 14d on my return flight to Kentucky. Now that my hangover is subsiding a bit, I've finally had the chance to reflect on the awesomeness of this last week.

A beautiful wedding, birthday parties, a root canal (not quite as cool), a ridiculously radical halloween, farmers markets, great friends, dogs, celebrating.. you get the idea. Not a whole lot of climbing, but that's what the Red is for. Stoked to be back!

Matt and Sandy's Sunrise Ceremony was amazing

good people. Andy Mann image

pure artistry

Pretty psyched on my pumpkin

not sure what exactly I was going for..

absolutely killer night out

Tomorrow morning I'll be pulling onto Kentucky sandstone once again, and with a killer forecast in sight, I'm hopeful to get some things done. Here comes November!!

Thursday, October 21

Straight outta Zachariah

I speak a lot about my affinity for the climbing community, and as I continue to travel, meet people and share psych, I am only more and more enthusiastic about our little tribe. We are a migratory group no doubt, and if you have ever been to the Red in October, you're well aware that this is unquestionably one of the annual meeting grounds for not only local, but also international rock climbers of all types. The Red is perhaps the greatest sport climbing destination we Americans can call our own (donate HERE), and the arrival of psyched individuals from all corners of the globe is a strong testament to this. Many people, including myself, make this tucked away Kentucky landscape their home for months every year. It's been fun to see old friends, meet new ones, and share the incredible experience that it is to be here and climb here. I love it.
here are a few rad shots below that
Simon Carter generously donated, of my 'Kaleidoscope' 13c onsight

With the arrival of cooler temperatures, the departure of my lingering sickness, and the influx of good friends, the last week has been looking up considerably. After three solid efforts on the 'Golden Ticket', I impulsively swapped projects. GT is a killer route - one of the best the Red has to offer, but a long/dyno move entering the crux was keeping me from generating too much psych on the route and one morning I randomly decided to try the neighboring project instead.

'The Honeycomb Project' climbs a steep section of clean rock through very difficult boulder problems on poor grips. I was immediately stoked on this climb - the movement, although very difficult, suited my style well - I was able to do all of the moves first try. Short, hard sections of climbing are separated by good rests.. until, on my second try, I completely destroyed one of those rests... perhaps the route's best hold, COMPLETELY gone. Now, two previously hard sections are stacked together, creating a lengthy and continuous mid-section. Sh*t just got serious and I'm very excited to put the pieces of this amazing climb together.

After a forced rest day due to entirely THRASHED skin, I'll have one more morning on the Honeycomb tomorrow before I take off back to Boulder to celebrate my good friends Matt Wilder and Sandy Rea's wedding and enjoy the company of my lovely girlfriend. I'll be back at the end of the month and my goals are simple: enjoy this incredible place, drink Ale8, climb the Honeycomb. STOKED.
The Gallery
I've been cleaning up a list of top quality routes I've made to keep me busy after my morning sessions on the project. It's been a real pleasure to hang out with friends, climb all day and sample some of the best 5.12s and 5.13s on the planet. My favorites from the last week include: onsighting the Buckeye Buttress, hosting killer routes like 'Stained' 12c, 'Golden Touch' 13b and 'Heart Shaped Box' 12c, along with the shockingly different and just plain FUN 'Swahili Slang' 12c. I also put down one of my favorites yet- 'No Redemption' 13b second try (I would NEVER recommend anyone try this in the sun, however) and onsighting the long and enjoyable 'Easy Rider' 13a. I got to check out the Gallery - a killer wall with great climbs. I onsighted 'Mosaic' 12c, the varied and very cool, 'Zen and the Art of Masturbation' 12d and the underrated 'Calm Like a Bomb' 13a. 'Hellraiser' 12c at the Purgatory proved to be one of the most challenging onsights I've managed yet - holy crap it's hard! Yesterday I enjoyed cleaning up the Dark Side, one of my favorite walls (anywhere), onsighting 'Big Burley' 13b, onsighting 'Straight out of Campton' 13a (awesome, kinda ridiculously hard for 13a), 'Shanghai' 12d and 'Tuskan Raider' 12d.
Calm Like a Bomb
Seth Lightning on Hellraiser
Zala loves the Red
At night we stay busy shooting the sh*t, playing games and drooling over the guide book. It's been a really enjoyable trip so far, and although I'm stoked to get home for a bit, I'm already thinking about November in the Red.
Kentucky Joe is always packing heat.. and laughs

Thursday, October 14

Tucky Flavor

After a solid week of unseasonably high temperatures and record breaking low humidity, a mighty thunderstorm has, over night, brought hope back to the Red River Gorge. Unfortunately I was due to for a rest day, and I've yet to kick this lingering cold so I did not get to enjoy the first day of cool temps today. However, even just wearing pants all day- and never feeling the urgent need to remove my shirt was good enough for me.. plus the ten day forecast looks pretty nice as well.
I've been motivated to try my best to get out early the last three days and appreciate the cool mornings. Monday I got out to give Paige one last belay before she took off back to Boulder for class. I managed to repeat a couple of my favorites at the Red, 'Black Gold' 13c and 'Golden Boy' 13b before busting ass to the airport in Louisville. Tuesday I was psyched to try and polish off the Motherlode, so my Dad and I made our way there early for a solid day. I made a stupid mistake while attempting to onsight 'White Man's Overbite' 13c and had to settle for a second go summit. I was stoked however, to manage the neighboring 'White Man's Shuffle' 13d first try. I thought this route is certainly one of the better routes of the grade in the Red- very cool movement, committed and thin.. excellent! I wrapped up the day with an onsight of 'Hoofmaker' 13a and onsight of 'Harvest' 12d as well as a successful second go on 'Hard High One' 12d which recently broke leaving a freaking hard little move at the first bolt. Aside from a couple 2 star climbs lacking permanent draws (for good reason), I've officially climbed the Motherlode!
Yesterday I was excited to try a classic that I left behind last year.. 'Kaleidoscope' 13c. For whatever reason, I always really wanted to try and onsight this route. It was not until last year that I really began developing my onsight/flash abilities and it was clearly my trip to Kentucky that marked a breakthrough for me in this discipline. Kaleidoscope takes an arching, overhanging arete that has an array of not-as-good-as-they-look features on the left side, and not much of anything on the right. After a harder than expected beginning section, I tried my best to climb patiently and calmly until I felt that I had entered the crux - a very cool series of steep pinching to a dynamic reach to a hidden slot around the arete. From here I was met with some easier, albeit pumpy ground to the anchors.. Very stoked to onsight this amazing route!

Simon Carter and Monique Forestier (the first ascensionist of Kaleidoscope) showed up and I took another lap up the climb for some photographs. It was a pleasure to work with one of the worlds best climbing photographers and of course to climb with Australia's premier female climbing athlete.. plus they're simply nice people..

Later that day I got spit off the top of 'Supercharger' 13d, a cool little bouldery route, that felt a little too hard in the mid-day heat. We headed over to the Lode so I could get my pump fix for a couple where I repeated 'Skin Boat' 13a, the awesome 'Team Wilson' 12d and 'Resurrection' 12c. Last time I sweat that much whilst climbing was in Thailand. It was gross.
Now I'm on a rest day, still fighting a cold, but STOKED on the forecast. I wandered about to a couple new crags and snapped a few photos, along with putting in some SERIOUS couch time watching the rad-iculously cool skate competition series, the Street League on ESPN. Wicked!

Sunday, October 10


The last few days have rapidly flown by.. after pounding 1,200 miles of highway we arrived at the Red just in time for RoctoberFest and all of its frenzied glory. Between all the events, seeing friends, getting settled in and trying to get out climbing we've been going basically non-stop. RoctoberFest has now come and gone.. Although I've yet to hear any official numbers on how much mortgage money the event was able to raise, the crowds have been huge.
sunset over Kansas
I put on a slide-show with Sam Elias and Emily Harrington in Lexington on Thursday which was generously sponsored by Arcteryx, and since then Paige and I have been taking care of the Sportiva booth at the vendor village right at Roctoberfest headquarters.. showing off the new Python and hearing nothing but rave reviews from our shoe demo. Clinics, indoor and outdoor comps, movies, slide-shows, games, food and swag were all part of this massive three day event at America's best sport climbing venue. I'd definitely suggest checking it out if you have not already.
slide-show at Phillip Gall's
emily looking sketchy
the BEST
kids LOVE bouncy stuff
the festival...
In-between all of this we have managed to climb as well, although this unseasonable heat has been a MAJOR buzz kill. I did onsight 'Dirty Smelly Hippie' 13b and 'Spunk' 13a along with getting an effort on the incredible 'Golden Ticket' 5.14+. It took one solid work session for me just to clean this beast of endless spiderwebs and horrifying insects of all kinds. On my first (climbing) attempt, I was able to piece the bottom together nicely- a really amazing wall of deadpoints and lock-offs throughout thin pockets and the occasional rest. Then, abruptly you encounter a full-on dyno, followed by a very difficult boulder problem with some nice 13- climbing to finish. I found the bouldery section to be quite reachy, and could not put together a suitable solution on my first try. I'm hopeful that I can however, and stoked to give it another effort as soon as the temperatures drop below 80 - the route is seriously beautiful.
Adam Taylor on the Golden Ticket
At the moment I'm nursing a bit of a cold, which is well timed- I'd rather rest and relax while the temp are so oppressive.. it's supposed to cool off mid-week. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 6


...and 19 hours later.. we made it alive. It was something of a heinous drive (as expected), but at this point I could care less, the road treated us well and there were no major negatives. Immediately upon arrival we jumped out of the car and cranked some nice sunset laps at the Roadside Crag... Welcome back to the RED!!!

I had (more than enough) time to finish off putting together my slide-show during the drive. I've got a cool little selection of pictures from Smith and The Red to show off and a box full of ARCTERYX goodies to raffle away tomorrow night in Lexington.. I'm super excited!! Be there!

Here is a killer video that myself and Jon Glassberg put together featuring a rad little route close to Boulder called 'Primetime to Shine' 14b. This Daniel Wood's first ascent features some nice bouldery movement on gnarly little grips, with little opportunity to relax. I originally did the route last year, but I was happy to jump back on it to grab some video with Jon. I really enjoyed working with Jon, and while the direct sun and spotty shade was not ideal for the video (or climbing) he managed to create a bad ass little piece. Enjoy!

Monday, October 4

Ready for Launch

It's been something of a battle to keep my psych levels at peak over the last few weeks since I finished Kryptonite. As many of you surely know, nothing motivates like a project or a goal, and with my trip to Kentucky still weeks ahead of me, I felt as though I was left with a little too much down time. To fight my easing stoke, I clocked long and sometimes arduous hours on plastic, repeated a number of local test-pieces (some again and again), and even tried to do some bouldering (whoa!!!), not to mention belaying my lovely girlfriend as she took down one of the state's hardest. These were all worthy inspiration, but nothing works quite like the real thing - which at this point, is only a heinous drive away.. I'm mega enthusiastic to announce that.. I've finally made it! We leave for Kentucky tomorrow. Psych levels are accelerating rapidly!!! It's going to be a good fall.. I can FEEL it.
If you'll be in the area, definitely come and get fired up with myself and friends Emily Harrington and Sam Elias for an evening of slides, stories and good times. This Thursday (the 7th) in Lexington at Phillip Gall's at 7pm. I'll be showing wicked awesome slides from an all-star photographer cast including Andy Mann, Keith Ladzinski, Andrew Burr, Ben Moon and Brian Goldstone of my recent trip to Smith Rock and of course from last October in Kentucky. More info HERE.
it's kinda pretty up here..
For years I've been trad and sport climbing in and around Rocky Mountain National Park, but somehow I'd yet to visit the exceedingly popular bouldering areas. Well, in search of something different I decided to check it out with a crew of good friends one day this past weekend. This would essentially mark the first time in over a year that I bouldered outside (just a little dust on my crash pad), and I have to admit.. it was super fun. I got the lower Chaos tour and totally loved it - the landscape and the problems were exceptional. Not that I needed a reminder, but bouldering is certainly a weakness of mine. I felt challenged and had enough fun to set a few goals for next season - strictly bouldering goals - that I will need to work up to. I'll always prefer the involvement, thrill and lactic acidity of routes, but I've decided it would be rad to boulder for a month or two next year and try to tackle some weaknesses. I did put down a couple boulders on our tour however, onsighting 'Potato Chip' V7, did 'The Marble V10' and 'Deep Puddle Dynamics' V9 along with some good effort on 'Nothin but Sunshine' V13 and 'Gobot' V11 among others. The weather was nearly perfect, the trees were going OFF, and the company was killer- enough said.
b-real styling, in style
Tony Yao crushing four fingered folks egos
Seth Lightning kills boulders. 'The Marble'
myself on the radical 'Deep Puddle Dynamics'
From a sea of over 20,000 submissions, arriving from over a hundred countries, Andy Mann's image of myself exiting the hyper reachy crux of 'Vogue' was chosen for Red Bull's incredible collection of sports images- the book is called 'Illume' and it's absolutely stunning. Andy and I are both STOKED to be featured. Speaking of Andy Mann.. he, myself and Paige all got out to shoot photos at the beautiful Monastery. Andy captured some incredible images of Paige crushing on 'Grand Ol' Opry' and of myself on 'The Quickening' and 'Third Millennium'. Keep your eyes pealed for some jaw-dropping sickness.
stoked to be in here..
Okay, I'm off.. time to load up the iPod and pack the WRX. My next update will be from the comforts of Slade, Ky.. I'll also be sending quick and titillating updates through scenic Kansas from behind the wheel via twitter (exciting stuff!!). Cheers.