I've been setting routes for nearly 7 years. It's something that interested me from early on in my climbing. Something about the symphony of mechanical knowledge necessary, physical demands, creativity and logistical considerations makes it a strangely satisfying work. Over the years I've set for a plethora of comps, set for big recreational gyms, for elite climbers and just for fun. I've always felt that it made me a better climber, and helped me to envision sequences and be imaginative with my climbing.
My favorite form of setting is certainly comps. You slave for days, making the best routes you can and also (more accurately) making the routes as specific as possible to challenge the competitors and create separation in the field. There's so much mystery when the morning of the comp arrives... you've forerun everything countless times, tried to think outside the box, tweak this, tweak that... but you'll never know who exactly will show up, how they will feel and ultimately, what the outcome will be. It's always something of a nerve-racking event to watch, but also super satisfying.
Last week I set for Youth Regionals over the course of 3 long days. We built some really rad routes, and the turn out was awesome. Seth Lytton is a great friend of mine and he was the head setter for the event. He's done tons of setting for the last decade, and is super skilled at what he does. However, he's also strong well beyond his own beliefs, and I've been called a sandbagger a fair number of times as well -- I think our routes ended up perhaps a touch too hard..(?).. but there were no ties so that's what matters. It was awesome to see the Team BRC take the Regional Champion as well. This is a very burly region, and the kids fought hard to secure this huge victory. Very impressive work kiddos !!!
I am super stoked to be part of the event. Thanks for the invite to set!
Shortly after finishing up the comp I was off for Vancouver, BC to attend the Arc'Teryx Global Sales Meeting. Over a action packed and rapid two and a half days I watched presentations, hung out with the crew, explored Vancouver and peered into the numbers, into the money, into the business. Athletes rarely see this side of the operation and I think it is important. The backbone of any functioning business is the bottom line, no matter how rad the products are or how cool the vision is - businesses need money to survive - and it was eye opening to see how the sales side of things function. Hats off to the hard working Reps out there... and big thanks to Arc for bringing me out to be part of the program!
I did a couple awesome runs through downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park during my stay -- it really made me reconsider Van.. it's a pretty damn cool place. Overflowing with life.. beauty of the maritime business and harbor.. skyline in reflections on the water.. snow-capped mountains in the background.. maybe I could live here? not while I care this much about climbing though, the weather (although it was briefly acceptable) usually sucks. I'm aware.
RT Beak Peak Mission....
For a few years, running was mostly painful, but I was addicted to cardio activity after racing bikes for so long. I've grown to love trail running now. Behind climbing and music it's becoming one of my favorite things in life. My runs are usual short and brutal, but this last week I took it up a notch and developed a running goal. I've hiked Bear Peak from the convenience of my parents home many times. Mostly at a brisk pace, but also just for fun. I always thought a quick time would be fun to go after. Originally I was stoked to go for a summit time of sub 45 minutes, but after my first attempt last week went quite well, I decided to up the ante considerably. On my first attempt last week I made the summit from my parents house in about 46 minutes, and I hauled ass back-down to make a RT time of under 1:15 from my folks house which is maybe ~.6 miles from the trailhead. On this attempt I stopped on top for a few minutes to drink water and chill. I also stopped lower for a minute or so, and my pace was definitely burly but not max by any means. Whoa! maybe I could make the car-to-car happen in under an hour?
I started searching on-line and discovered that this time is kinda coveted. For a non-runner I was going to need to push pretty damn hard I thought, but it was a cool challenge and for whatever reason I was really stoked on it. I did a few runs last week, but mostly recovering and saved my legs for my next attempt. I assumed that it would take 2 or 3 more tries. Yesterday, after a solid 3 hour route climbing session in the BRC, I chilled for a few hours and convinced myself to go on a run. My plan was to pace to the Nebel Horn Ridge and see what my time was against ultrarunning bad ass Dave Mackey. I pushed at a reasonable pace to Fern Canyon and kept with the fire as the trail got steep. I told myself that if I made the ridge in under 26 minutes I must try for the summit. There I was, at the ridge around 25:30... shit. This is where the run gets heinous. Burning vertical, no respite from stairs and uphill til the summit. I pushed hard and arrived on top, touching the summit marker at around 38:20 or so. No time for water like last go, I was ripping down. I actually felt okay. As I passed 'The Mentor' 12b just off the trail, suddenly my legs were not happy. Uh oh.
I kept pushing. I had no idea how demanding the downhill would be. It really took a lot out of me - and I consider myself a very fast downhill runner, but nearly 3k downhill as fast as you can is super burly. Rounding the bottom of the slab I ate SHIT! Getting pretty tired and couldn't quite pick my feet up very well... Not even a flinch... all covered in dirt.. ha!... I knew I needed to keep crushing if I wanted to make it down. With Arty blasting in my headphones I hammered to the car and stopped my watch at 58:20! I was definitely surprised to make it happen, and also pretty stoked. I think I could maybe shave a minute or 2 but anything more than that would take considerable training. Stoked! Thanks to Sportiva for the incredible Vertical K's -- they were perfect for this run, and thanks to Suunto for my new Ambit watch!
now...... Countdown til I leave for Wyoming.... STOKED STOKED STOKED!