Saturday, July 21


A whirlwind of a week. I'm kinda surprised I'm still standing, let alone going hard on the next big objective. In under a weeks time I found myself in Tensleep, Jackson Hole, Vancouver, Squamish, Lander, Estes Park and Boulder. Nuts... but also super productive, and of course, good times. 
Jackson is awesome.
I left off last post just as I arrived in Canada. I went up to the Squamish Mountain Festival on behalf of my main sponsor Arc'Teryx to check out the scene and present a really cool film that I made this spring in the Verdon with Keith Ladzinski, Andy Mann and Nina Caprez. To my surprise, the weather was actually splitter in B.C., and for basically the first time I was stoked to get out and climb around Squamish. If anything, it was a little hot. After an always pleasing breakfast at the token Zephyr Cafe, I hooked up with fellow team mate Jason Kruk and went out to the massive Cacodemon Boulder beneath the Chief. We played on this really cool, beautiful, reachy and super bouldery 13d called 'Permanent Waves' and despite some creeping heat I managed to get it done. I checked out a savage 14b on the other side as well, but was 'bouted by the jungle conditions... and it's hard. I finally had a good look at Sharma's amazing 'Dreamcatcher' 14d and I got pretty stoked. Clearly July was not the best time, but I'm thinking of trying to make it out there for a few weeks one of these Septembers and have a go-- I'm sure it would be super hard for me (complete anti-style), but it truly is a stunning line. 

Permanent Waves, Brian Goldstone Image
That afternoon Keith, Brian Goldstone and I split up to Whistler and I got a look at one of the most bad ass freeride/gravity mountain biking scenes in the world-- something I obsessed over before I started climbing. I convinced myself that I'd spend my savings on yet another bike (would be number 5) when I got home but thankfully that urge has *mostly subsided. That evening I ran a lap up to the top of the Chief and watched the sun set behind the neighboring ridge-line..... Okay. Squamish is pretty damn sweet. 

The following day I checked out a rad pitch called 'Presto' 13a and plugged some gear on a few brilliant moderates at the Nightmare Crag. That night Keith and I presented the Verdon Film, 'Viva La Vie', which went over really well. It's looking like a polished version of this film will be going on tour in one manor or another-- so keep your eyes peeled for a potential show near you!

The following day I flew back to Jackson, Wyoming, and busted ass straight to the International Climbers Fest in Lander. This has always perhaps my single favorite event, and Lander has always been one of my favorite hangs- thankfully La Sportiva keeps sending me back to this killer festival. I drove straight to the Lander Bar and was greeted by a crew of good people. I shot the shit for a few hours before heading up to Wild Iris to catch some sleep before my clinic on Sunday. The clinic went super well, and I had a great time hanging out with my group and climbing all day. I even got a few pitches in myself - checking out the gnarly 'Genetic Drifter' 14c link-up that B.J. recently put down. I made some promising links, but decided to carry on with my plan to head back to Colorado that evening... a nutty amount of travel. I slept forever that night. Wasted from the week. 

The Drifter... Dylan Connole photo
Well, my psych overflowing, and despite being kinda wrecked I started right into my main objective for the coming weeks. This is a route that I've been dreaming about, and hoping to try ever since I did Tommy's 'Sarchasm' 14a on the Ships Prow 5 years ago. In 2001, during a time in which 23 year old Tommy Caldwell was very much en fuego (doing Necessary Evil, Sarchasm, Grand Ole Opry, Vogue, Just Do It, Lurking Fear, the Muir Wall and Kryptonite all within the last 3 years... ) he made a remarkably quick and super proud ascent of an old Eric Doub project on the Diamond called 'The Honeymoon is Over'. My interest in repeating this beast of a route has laid somewhat dormant over the years as it seems to stay wet and unpredictable late into the season, plus I've been mostly stoked on sport climbing. However, this being an exceptionally dry year, and me starting to look ahead into my climbing, seemed like a perfect time to give it a shot.

I've been up on the route now, sussing beta, cleaning and also in large part trying my best to get acclimated. The climbing is thin and hard, and would certainly retain a great level of difficulty at sea level, but it's the altitude and exposure that really makes it extreme. Several (at least 3) 5.13 pitches well above 13,000 feet make the long and intimidating crux section of this thing. I have a strong feeling that this is going to be a serious challenge, and I'm completely stoked on it. Despite Tommy expressing that this was the hardest he'd ever tried, I'm still shocked by how seemingly easy and fast he put down this line. It's the real freaking deal. Going back up there tomorrow... wish me luck!

My Dad is always stoked to help, and on a project this major- I need it. 

Wednesday, July 11

WY to BC

It's pretty crazy…  Just this morning I woke up not long after the sun rose over Meadowlark Lake at the top of Ten Sleep Canyon - I ran a lap around the calm alpine lake, yet undisturbed by motorboats or fishermen, just before I jumped in the truck, drove across Wyoming, flew to Denver, and now I'm descending into Vancouver. The pace of my life and traveling has definitely picked up. Seasons are short, often the best crags are far apart and my ambitions are only growing.

This week is particularly nuts, but also super exciting. I'm heading to Squamish to present the incredible film that we made earlier this year at the Verdon and check out the Squamish Mountain Festival. This is Arcteryx' main event, and I'm stoked to be returning for my second year. Arcteryx doesn't slouch on anything, and I've learned that their events are certainly no exception. It looks like I might be blessed with a few sunny days- hell, maybe I'll even get some climbing in! Join homeboy Keith Ladzinski and I on Friday night at the high school for the premier of the film if you're in the area.

lookin awfully silly as usual... 

When I return from Squamish, I'm going to turn it right around and bust ass out to lovely Lander, WY-- one of my favorite hangs. I'm teaching an Advanced Redpointing clinic on behalf of La Sportiva on Sunday at the Iris, and I couldn't be more stoked… legendary crag, good people, at the nation's longest running climbing event. If you're signed up, I'm stoked to meet you and get some climbing in! 

We toured the new Wyoming Whiskey distillery on a rest day... first distiller in Wyoming- look out for the delicious booze' first batch in Dec - only in WY. 

climber party last friday... always a good time.. 

rest days in Worland
Alright, on to the last few days in the canyon. It's been rad. I didn't expect much out of this short trip aside from some much needed time camping in the truck and some heinous pocket pulling, but it turned into a really bitchin' stay. After doing 'General Litzenhiemer' 14b/c without injury, I was less intimidated by the other unrepeated James route on the wall, 'Porcelain' 14b- another super bouldery route that packs a lot of difficulty into the first few bolts. A cerebral sequence through mostly edges (only one pocket) takes you up a stunningly blank and beautiful swath of cream colored rock and is followed by mellow 5.12 terrain to the anchors. It was not super easy to figure out, but once I did it went surprisingly quickly- it seems that Ceuse was good training for my fingers. I followed up with an extension to Sky Pilot that I'd yet to check out-- making an already incredible rig that much better. 'Galactic Emperor' 14a was well worth the effort- one of the canyon's best no doubt, even if it is a bit soft. It was cool to see little Cam Hörst put this thing to bed too, he's a soft spoken and kind kid, I'll be stoked to see his career evolve.

special thanks to Tara Reynvaan for the iPhone shot-- ninja kick! 
On my last day I hung out on the left side of the wall, cleaning up an old forgotten project just a few lines over. I couldn't find much info on this rig, not sure who bolted it, but it turned out to be a really cool boulder problem on some small edges down low,  after which it mellows out (sensing a theme?) to as easy as 5.9 towards the 100 foot anchor. I named it 'Buck-n-Spin' after my enthusiastic first experience riding a mechanical bull on the 4th. I called it 13b.. give it a try! I wrapped up the trip with a repeat burn on Galactic, and a cold Budweiser by the lake… 


hope to see some of you guys at these upcoming events!

Friday, July 6

4th in 10

I've made my way up to Ten Sleep, Wyoming almost every year since I first checked it out in 2008. It's crazy how popular this destination has become, and how well received it is by many-- I know quite a few people who consider Ten Sleep to be at least one of their favorites, if not their personal top crag. And I can see why; it boasts a plethora of accessible, well bolted, routes throughout the grade range, in a summer  area that's within a weekends drive of the Front Range and Salt Lake. The climbing is worth a visit, but I must say that after a few years of attending the 4th of July celebrations in a not-so-lonesome town of Ten Sleep, the party is definitely worth a visit. 

After a round of American flag clad Budweisers, I completed one of my life goals-- to ride a mechanical bull-- a goal I had been holding out on for years, but there was no better time or place than Independence Day in the streets of Ten Sleep, surrounded by bonafide cowboys, with live country music in the background and a belly full of Bud and Whiskey. It was awesome. 

The main street is shut down, the band comes out, the population of Ten Sleep doubles... it's a good night.

Marisa shows off her red white and blue.
The following day I ticked another goal (although to be fair- not a life long one). On Wednesday we spent the day at the bitchin' French Cattle Ranch- THE outstanding crag for quality at Ten Sleep. Next door to one of the best 5.13+s in the West (Sky Pilot), is a heinous project that was finally put down by a visiting James Litz a couple years ago. He kinda went on a rampage of freeing projects in the canyon, and this one, dubbed 'General Litzenhiemer' is the hardest of them. It begins with a gnarly boulder problem, which is mostly where it gets the grade. The holds for the first 3 bolts are remarkably bad, and it took me a pretty solid work session just to figure out how I might move through them. There is a bouldery exit to the bottom as well, and then after a pretty decent rest, you finish the rig, through 5.12 terrain on a couple reachy moves on edges and pockets to the chains. 
Jenn Flemming starts up on 'Dances with Cows' 13a

It came together really quickly, which I was seriously surprised about. James is well known for his superhuman finger strength, and I just assumed that anything carrying a 14c price tag would be absolutely nutty at this crag. When we returned on Thursday afternoon, feeling at least a little bit worn out from the previous night, I had low expectations-- but I hung my draws on the top of the route and finished sussing the bottom. As a thunderstorm rolled in, striking lightning as I stepped foot off the ground, I made my way through the cruxy bottom to the mid-way jugs. It was POURING. Not at all a steep cliff and it was running with water… I've done some climbing in the rain, but this was straight up wet as hell climbing. Tickmarks gone, I was soaking wet, shoes, chalkbag- everything. Thankfully the top is pretty mellow and I made it happen-- but I felt like I could blow off at any moment, even in the finishing 5.11 zone (seriously it felt like some of the harder climbing).  It's a very significant step up in difficulty from the 14a's I've done in Ten Sleep, but I'd say it felt quite soft for 14c. Who knows? Another repeat will help sort it out. Regardless... Stoked! Happy 4th of July everybody!!

Monday, July 2

in and out...

Boulder. It's always rad to stop through. I still consider it home here, although it's been over a year now since I technically lived here. I've been moving around so much over the last few years that the idea of 'home' is becoming increasingly liquid-- but I remain the most at ease in Boulder. My parents live here in South Boulder, just beneath the flatirons, and thankfully they don't much mind my stopping through- in-fact they're always stoked to have me around, which is awesome.

I was clocking a pretty inspiring (for me) amount of mileage running trails in the foothills until the Colorado wildfire epidemic struck Boulder's front range, and overnight a booming cloud of smoke shut down the open spaces (which remain closed) as fire fighters and resources were gathered from the state's other demanding fires. It was a scary day or two up here, with pre-evacuation declared, and my parents out of town, I was looking at making some pretty serious packing decisions on their behalf... but the firefighters came through and stomped it out. Nice one fellas (and ladies)!
Pretty serious fire action, very close to home. 
Been spending long hours re-building my Mountain Bikes- Zeke has gotten increasingly good at following on long rides, so I decided it was time to break out the rigs and get obsessed with singletrack again. Plus I bought a second Maverick.... stoked! 

too much inside time for all parties involved... 

These have been aiding my running game- check out a new gear review I did on the Sportiva Vertical K. 
Now I'm juggling my plans for the summer- trying to make room to bolt some exciting new zones in Wyoming and Idaho, as well as attack a demanding alpine route that I've been wanting to try for years. What's happening for sure is that I'll be presenting our bitchin' film from the Verdon at the upcoming Squamish Mountain Festival, and I'll be hanging in Lander for one of my favorite climbing events - the International Climbers Festival. I'll be teaching an Advanced clinic on Sunday the 15th, which was just announced, so get after it and sign up!

Well... see you later Boulder! not sure exactly where I'll be, but not here- leaving to head northward tomorrow. Cowboy hat in tow. YEEEE HAAAWWW!