Friday, March 22

In the Hills

Had to switch things up recently because the heat was too much to deal with. I tried a couple days a while back and found myself falling off moves that were a non-issue in cooler weather. Normally I'm way too obsessed to 'take a break' but I knew deep down it was time to move on, at least momentarily.

We we were off... a big crew rallied up to the Utah Hills and we set up a full on gypsy camp with a dozen climbers and about that many dogs. It was rad to get back into the truck camping and living under the sky all day and night. I love the rhythm and simplicity of living on the road and this was a cool reminder of how much I love just straight climbing. As you can likely tell I get easily distracted here in Las Vegas - there's so much to do aside from climbing - which is rad. It's the distractions in-part that keep bringing me back, but I've about had my fill.

Wake up, breakfast, sunshine... to the crag... climbing, climbing, climbing. Back to camp... food, beers and bullshit with the crew... all over again. Surprisingly satisfying. It's a great existence, and I'm looking ahead to a handful of months on the road, doing just this.

16 creatures deep in the sprinter for the crag party

Another good thing about breaking away from project mode is that it gave me the chance to climb on some new terrain and check in with my climbing. It's easy to get lost in the same movement, the same routes and the same failure when you're project focused. I think you can actually get weaker in this mode. I ran through a handful of new to me routes which was super motivating. The cathedral is a rad cliff. The edgy 'Purple Haze' 12d, bouldery 'Infidels' 13a, super bouldery 'Runnel Vision' 13b, and varied 'Hand Party' 13d all got me stoked and an old Joey Kinder rig, 'Unforgivable' 14b/c was a good challenge over a couple days of effort. It was nice to climb something so bouldery and different than my project. This route basically broke down to getting through literally the first couple moves for me. They are super burly if you're short! The power endurance crimping section above was much easier for me, although still pretty tough on link.

 dog party

The whole crew sent. Good times. 
Well. Now the crew is off again, this time - to Arrow. We've got a cool weather system rolling through the area briefly and I plan to take full advantage. Hopefully taking a week and a half off of my project has not left me dusty! Wish me luck out there, this will likely be one of my last opportunities to take it down this season...

Lastly, I want to give a HUGE thanks to everyone that made it out to Blue Diamond wednesday night to check out a few slides and a showing of Viva La Vie. It was a HUGE success and it was super cool to see a big crew of Las Vegans in one place. It's a rad community but we rarely all get together. Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council did a hell of job promoting and organized, and we raised a bunch of money for the area thanks to sponsors like Maxim Ropes and Arc'Teryx along with Desert Rock Sports and many more. Thanks again everyone! Can't wait for another one. We had nearly 150 people in there!

Friday, March 8

The Route

Sometimes I feel like the day you make dramatic progress - your first one-hang, your first 'almost send', finally doing all the moves - that these days are the best. I've spoken before about the actual let down that's frequently associated with sending a long term project. Here's this route that's driving you... you think about it every day, you take care of your skin, you train, you imagine the movement. It gives your climbing purpose, and for someone like me whose life is so very saturated with climbing - it almost gives your life purpose. 

I've had that experience many times before where finally completing my a project is of course exciting, but then it's shortly after followed with a sort of emptiness. That drive is suddenly gone, and I may briefly celebrate- but before long I'm almost bummed, thirsty for another challenge, and the cycle starts again. I'm not sure what to expect with this rig if I do happen to finally take it down, but I have a feeling that it'll produce a unique and lasting satisfaction. It'll be one of my best routes.

boyz in Arrow Canyon

At first I thought this new project could go quickly -- holds the whole way, none of the individual moves are particularly hard, and the angle is lower and more consistent than Le RĂ©ve, it's neighbor. As I started climbing on it and figuring out sections I gradually changed my mind about the potential difficulty. While no single moves are super hard, nothing on the route is easy. There's a few feet of fluff climbing but even the intro and exit sections are 5.13 terrain. The climbing is complicated and varied with long sections building in difficulty. It's basically on the whole way, and the main rest at 3/5 height is deceivingly poor. 

It's become a battle. In part because it's hard for me, in part because I've not had a consistent partner, in part because the conditions are fickle and in part because it's thrashing my skin. Lastly, it's a battle because I really want it. I love this route, and I'm so excited about the way it's turning out. I really, really would like to finish it up - I've invested so much energy, time, money and now emotion into this thing.... Yesterday I managed a solid one hang, with a broad overlap.... it feels super close.... wish me luck for this weekend! 

Can you name this wall? Doing some laps on a day off from the project.. 

In the meantime, check out this article I wrote in the recent DPM --- 

And save some time on the evening of March 20th in you're around Vegas- I'll be doing a slide-show and video presentation to benefit the local community, Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council. Details soon... 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!