Thursday, December 30


When I left for the Midwest I was feeling a surge of motivation as I began planning for the coming year and my training was just picking up after a long week off from climbing. I guess I just assumed that spending 8 days in middle America would not affect my psych... but damn, it is work to stay active and engaged in training during the holidays. Especially when you're out of your element (in the Nation's fattest state to boot). In between delicious meals and enjoying family I did sneak away to check out some of the Midwest's indoor climbing facilities and even as fun as it was, I decided in the end that rest would likely benefit me more than trying to turn this holiday vacation into something it wasn't.
.....being indoors.... a lot.
Of course, as expected, if you take something away you'll wind up wanting it that much more.. and I could not wait to get home and beat myself up at the Boulder Rock Club. Especially now that I've made plans to check out the climbing around lovely Las Vegas in January. I've never been to this zone that I've heard so much about. I'm not much of a gambler either, but the bright lights and dazzling energy of Sin City definitely intrigues me. Now I just need to do some catch up training to compensate for all those cookies, Culvers and deep fried ice cream (disclaimer: I never ate Culvers or deep fried ice cream) and I'll be psyched and on the road again!
Big thanks to the awesome crowd at Adventure Rock in Pewaukee, Wisconsin for always showing us a good time. Also, if you're ever in the area, definitely check out Boulders in Madison for some of the coolest real rock textured holds I've ever grabbed. I'd also like to simply take a moment to appreciate how psyched everyone is out there.. the winters are BRUTAL, there's hardly any rock within a day trip, and good gyms are few and far between. Yet, the joyous Midwesterner remains psyched and ambitious, patiently waiting for that distant week of vacation spent (inevitably) in the Red with a long and arduously researched tick-list in hand. Meanwhile, a lazy Front Ranger plays Call of Duty on a 50 degree day in January, complaining that 'Eldo is all just vertical and the Flatirons is too far to hike'... I salute you Midwesterner!

Hope you all had a great holiday..

Monday, December 20

midwest bound

It's been a while since I was around the U.S. for the holiday season, and while certain opportunities to travel will always trump sticking around for the gnarly weather, I must say I do have a soft spot for xmas lights, cookies, visiting with family and eggnog. On the food front, I'll certainly be getting my fill over the next week as I travel to the Mid-West to see my extended family. That's right, I'm a Wisconsin boy, and (in an unshameful way) proud of it!
holidays are delicious
Aside from gifts, good food and enjoyable company, I've also been bouldering a little more - in an attempt to attack my (shameful) weakness. I've bouldered here and there over the past couple years, but never have I taken it seriously. I've known for some time now that to achieve next level in my route climbing abilities, I need to be more capable of doing isolated and very difficult movement. I rarely fail from pump any more, but single moves definitely shut me down. My ability on boulders is embarrassingly poor in comparison to my abilities on routes. I'm really going to work at it, in the hopes that an improved foundation of power and strength will be the missing link to my next route climbing goals... but damn is it humbling!!

The success and positive feedback regarding the Pure Imagination video has been super inspiring - I know that Andy worked hard to make this little video near-perfect, and thus I'm stoked to see such a great reaction from the community. We're overwhelmed with ideas and psyched to create more! The Twenty Four Karats video that I shot with the other half of Three Strings Media, Keith Ladzinski, is set to release any time now.
at the BRC, we always set routes in hot pants
If you need a last minute gift idea, or the holiday blues have got you fiending for a good laugh - take a minute and check out the Men of Route Setting Calendar that LT11, Baskit and a slew of fantastic route setters put together. It's nothing short of hilarious, and for $3 you can support the AccessFund and buy the gift of all gifts for your girlfriend.. HILARIOUS!

Wednesday, December 15

Pure Imagination Video

Andy Mann and I have been working together for quite some time now. We've become great friends as well as partners in the industry. Andy came to the Red last month to do a little climbing and to make a short film documenting my new route, 'Pure Imagination'. We put in some serious work on this thing.. variable conditions (frigidly cold, then too much sun, etc.) and some logistical problems required three independent film sessions trying to capture this climb (sorry Paige!), but thanks to the wizardry of Andy Mann, this video turned out very, very cool. I think it illustrates the climb and the wall really nicely. So.. proudly presented by Arc'Teryx here it is!!!!

Sunday, December 12

past and plans

I feel that it is important every now and then, in any pursuit, to occasionally halt your day to day grind, take a moment to reflect on your recent past - both successes and failures, rest and start fresh. This is precisely what December has been for me thus far. The last year has proved to be a breakthrough year for me in many respects.. but like anyone, I also suffered various defeats. It feels both healthy and righteous to take a minute and rejoice in those wins and also examine my losses in climbing of course, but also in general. Thinking ahead, I find myself tending towards larger and larger goals and as I create said goals, I become immediately motivated. For me, planning has always been nearly as fun as execution and as I plan for the coming year, I must say.. I am unbelievably stoked! There's much work to be done!!!!!!

In the spirit of reflection.. I flipped through the old 2010 photo library and dug up some images to share from this past year. Enjoy!
quickdraws in the pipedream
name this boulder problem and I'll buy you a 6-pack (Andy Mann, you only get a 40 oz.)
Fall in Boulder
midnight in the San Rafael Swell
Wild Iris, Wyoming.
gourmet road tripping
we found Zeke on the highway in Kentucky, on Thanksgiving Day. After much deliberation, he managed to nab a seat in the Subaru on the way home. He lives in Colorado now and as it turns out, he is an excellent running partner
The Kitchen at Makers Mark
New Castle.. waiting out the sun..
'There's a KNEEBAR!'
Scamp. Leif approves.

Saturday, December 4

Me VS Rest

My relationship with resting has been something of a battle over the years. In the first few years of my climbing I rarely rested, convinced that too much resting would result in a loss or stagnation of progress. After a lifetime of various athletics, I was no stranger to day after day abuse, and the rate at which I was improving kept me coming back for more. For the first three years of my life as a climber I would regularly climb 6 days a week, and aside from one three week break (while traveling), I never rested more than 3-4 successive days. Even on rest days I would run 6 miles, or mountain bike 15, or do yoga, or play frisbee, or hike a mountain, etc. I could probably count the number of days I did nothing active, during those three years, on one hand.

It was not until about three years ago, shortly after a major milestone in my climbing (doing my first 5.14, 'Sarchasm' 14a) that I began to better recognize my body's growing need for recovery and chill out a bit. I trained at a new level to send Sarchasm - aware that it's elevation (at over 12,000ft) and it's approach (2.5 hours, 3k vertical) would require mega aerobic fitness. I was so addicted that even the day I finally sent, I rewarded myself with a hour long bike ride. The following year however, I would come face to face with some different challenges. My next projects would also become major milestones, but would require a different type of strength. As I began training power, I quickly recognized a greater need for rest (i.e. on day 4 I would be essentially incapable of climbing). I compensated by climbing fewer days per week, but I continued to train aerobically on my 'rest days'. If you've ever seen a panting cyclist, sitting up and rehearsing beta while changing lanes in traffic, it was probably me.
probably a 'rest day'. circa 2005

rest day. circa 2010
For quite a while I continued training on 'rest days', and I also noticed very little improvement in my climbing. I finally tried out taking a sit-on-your-ass-do-nothing rest day and was shocked by it's effectiveness. Who would have thought... right?

Over the last two years or so, I've finally come to terms with resting (almost). My goals have grown exponentially, and my training has changed accordingly. Through much trial and error, I finally discovered that during periods of intense training or projecting, I see the most gains and greatest performance when I increase the potency of both my workouts/climbing days and my rest days. Nowadays, on rest days, I freakin REST.. and it feels GLORIOUS. Even so, in the last three years I've had a whopping 5 successive rest days, once, and it was not voluntary.

Until now.. This time it's voluntary, and much appreciated. While I could never expect to succeed at, well.. basically anything, if I were to train and (not) rest like I did five years ago, I feel strongly that it was an important time in my development. Now, I recognize the value of rest and I am in tune with my body's demands, which have changed dramatically.

Today marks day 6 of my almighty 2010 week-o-rest. This break has been just as valuable mentally as it has physically.. and more than anything, I'm excited to see how I feel when I finally start climbing again. Will the dreaded days of rest prove detrimental and result in extreme performance loss? or will a couple days off be the missing ingredient to supreme crushing abilities? THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME!

OH, and one more important thing that rest is good for; NOT climbing. As much as I love the pursuit, it's important to be a human every once and a while and spend your time and energy elsewhere.. if nothing else, it will likely boost your motivation.