Saturday, February 26

rite of passage

One thing about rock climbing that I've always admired is how easily and universally we as climbers can share our experience. No matter what number or letter grade you happen to climb, all of the emotions involved are the same. Climbing brings us to confront our ego, create goals, feel reward, thrive on success and of course, suffer from failure. We all experience whirlwind victories from time to time, just as we all inevitably experience weakness and defeat. As much as we'd like to turn away from these moments of discomfort, this is when a real opportunity for growth is laid before us.
beneath I-15
This past Thursday, my battle with 'Necessary Evil' finally came to a close when I clipped the chains on this masterpiece. In the end, this savage pitch required more effort from me than any other climb in over two and a half years. I fought with frustration, terribly fickle conditions, and some severely height dependent cruxes.. but all excuses aside, the reality is that it offered a unique challenge (mentally and physically) that required both dedication and persistence... More than the victory itself, I'm just proud that I stuck with it.
Caroline Treadway Photo. Follow her radical stories and images HERE
and of course... the What Matters? blog HERE

To me, Necessary Evil represents a rite of passage in American sport climbing and it has long been a goal of mine.. since magazine pages of heroes like Chris Sharma and Tommy Caldwell adorned my walls years ago. Nearly every one of it's few ascentionists have been major roll models to me throughout my life as a climber. I'm stoked to have my name on that list.
Kenny works it out on F-Dude
Crawling under I-15 without the pressure of Necessary on my mind is highly refreshing, and I'm psyched to continue climbing on some of the best stone in the states despite having spent many days there. Yesterday I checked out another Blasphemy Wall classic, F-Dude 14a and managed a one-hang on this epically long pitch.. I'm stoked to get back after this rainy weekend.

we're all tired after a long day at the VRG
In the meantime I'll enjoy another brilliant night out in Sin City with a hefty weight off my shoulders and a smile ear to ear. Psyched!

Saturday, February 19

LV daily

After an eventful week in Sin City, I'm confident that relocating here for the season was the right decision.. and it may very well become an annual visit. Between the (mostly) reliable weather, vast and diverse climbing potential, psyched community and an unrivaled night life, Vegas is nothing short of awesome.
the VRG

I returned to Vegas with a short list of clear goals, the top priority being a devious route that bouted my attempts during a visit to the area early last year. 'Necessary Evil' 14c was established by a young and ambitious Chris Sharma during the spring of 1997. It begins with a savage two bolt V11 boulder problem and continues into an existing Boone Speed 5.14 called 'Route of all Evil'. Since Chris opened this groundbreaking route (the first of it's grade in America), it has seen a series of repeats by the likes of Tommy Caldwell, Sonnie Trotter, James Litz, Dave Graham, Jason Campbell, Ethan Pringle and Daniel Woods among others (?).
Jorge Visser photo!
Jorge Visser photo!
Jorge Visser photo!
After investing a number of days on the route, I can confidently say that this gnarly test-piece is one of the most difficult routes I've ever tried.. and as much as I'd love to list a handful of excuses as to why it feels so hard, personally, I really couldn't care less. At this point the only thing that matters to me is climbing the route.. it'll be an important accomplishment for me and I'm going to just keep trying until I clip chains. After two days of one-hanging the route I'm hopeful and psyched that that day will come soon.
Bill Ramsey knows all about the Vegas scene.. and how hard the VRG is..
Don't forget your pre-party stretches.. dancing is dangerous.

Unfortunately the passing of a few major storm systems has made the weather a little less reliable around here so I've been trading some days up at Potosi and at Red Rocks in between driving out to the VRG. Another thing that has kept me busy is the righteously famed Vegas night life. As many of my friends know well, I'm an electronic music fanatic and I love to get out and see performances. Lucky for me, this town is included on almost every DJs U.S. tour and the music venues are absolutely amazing. There's no better way to end a hard week of rock climbing than with a great crew of friends and a long night of dancing.. Vegas at it's best!
I'm something of a self proclaimed gear head, but rarely do I get so excited about a new product that I actually want to write about it.. The new Arc'Teryx S-220 is however, reason enough to be psyched. Arc'Teryx completely redid their entire WARP harness line for 2011, adding a few new models and perfecting the older ones. The new S-220 is their ultra-light sport climbing harness and is based on the previous generation S-240. With noticeably wider (and more comfortable) leg loops, improved elastic and reinforced tie in points the only thing it's lacking is 20 grams.. (it actually got lighter too). The new colors all across the line are rad as well. I'm super stoked on this new harness! have a closer look here.

Thursday, February 10

Back to LV

Winters are rough. In past years I've managed to get out from time to time (weather depending) for the occasional pitch in between months of plastic climbing, but unfortunately my options in the front range are running thin, as is my motivation to climb indoors or freeze my ass off. Now that I have the freedom and an increasing amount of resources I'm adamant to resist the winter lull and get out. I realized that If I really want to go after this rock climbing thing I'm going to have to chase the sun (or the shade - season depending) and stay climbing on new terrain year round. Thankfully, I'm very passionate about traveling and always ready for an adventure.

goodbye winter...

hello desert..

And so begins this one... I'm on my way back to Las Vegas for an extended stay. I'll be hanging around and checking out everything the area has to offer until it gets too hot. As I wrote last month during my visit, the community and lifestyle out here are rad. I'm super psyched!

the essentials

Before taking off early this morning I was filling my days continuing to fight this brutal cold, set some quality routes at the BRC and get some solid training in. As a result I'm finally well, have a few more dollars in my pocket and I'm fit and ready for some burl.. just right. I also did a radio interview last week along with Adam Scheer of, which is posted below.. have a listen if you've got some time to kill.

good ol' Sport Climbing!!

I put together a short essay highlighting a (very) brief history of Sport Climbing in America to accompany a really nice series of Andy Mann images featured on the website that can be found here. While I'm in the Vegas area, I'll be holding it down for LaSportiva and preparing for a clinic and / or slide-show at the upcoming Red Rock Rendezvous next month, which is rumored to be a rad event - super excited to check it out. Otherwise I'll be cragging like an animal, and hopefully getting some hard rock climbing done. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 4

back from the dead

After a number of back-to-back 6 hour training days, with a unrealistic amount of sleep in between, I arrived at work at 7am last friday with likely zero immune system remaining. Well, lucky for me there was a BRC route setting plague going around, and within a few hours I had fallen victim to it. My sickness took it's usual path directly to my sinuses, and within a day or two I was bed ridden with the worst illness I've suffered in years. A trip to the doctor, meds, an embarrassing amount of HULU watching (several times I received the 'Need a break? you've been watching for over 3 hours' message), nearly a full week of feverish nights and countless pots of tea later, I'm finally emerging from the dead.

As I was couch bound and unable to train my psych for this rapidly approaching return to Vegas has been overwhelming - no doubt it didn't help that it has been utterly frigid in Boulder nearly all week (highs in the single digits). I'm hopeful that I can make good use of the next week by getting some of my strength back and completely clearing this illness in the process.
Boulder melts.
Anyways... the slide-show last week went super well. We counted around 80-90 people, and just from raffle tickets we raised nearly $250 for the Access Fund. Andy Mann and I have done some killer shows in our day, but this was the largest crowd I had ever addressed alone - I've gotten quite a bit of great feedback, so I'm psyched! It looks like my next show will either be at the Red Rock Rendezvous on behalf of LaSportiva, or perhaps at the Lander Climbers Fest this upcoming summer (or both!).
If you live in the front range you will find me doing an extended interview on radio 1190 tonight beginning at 9pm - tune in and check it out if you can, otherwise I'll post a link where it will be available to download later on.

Lastly, I must say, that while I know little to nothing about sports, I am a die hard Packers fan (especially when they make their way to the Super Bowl) and will be cheering like a true American this Sunday in the name of my birthplace.. Wisconsin. Psyched!!
Hope you all are staying healthy and psyched, cheers!