Wednesday, April 30

made it.

Well... I made it. Back in the French countryside. Quite surreal really. A landscape and a pace of life that's something from a dream. And of course the climbing... is as close to perfection as I've ever tasted. It's fun to revisit this area and this country 2 years after my last adventure here.

I landed in Nice last week and spent the first afternoon relaxing by the beach, catching up from the long flights. The next few days I met up with my good friends Tommy, Becca and Fitz Caldwell and we settled into our wicked little gite nestled in the hills below Ceuse. Life is good here.

For now, I'll offer up a handful of photos from the last few days. In time I'll write a proper blog, but just know that things are going great and we're all so stoked to be here!

Nice. Always been one of my favorite European cities. Beautiful stone beaches, a melting pot of the Italian and French Med culture and charming people and downtown area. I'm excited to spend more time here. 
I'll never get tired of the view from Ceuse... 
Becca and little Fitz man.
Street art in Aix. 
Fondation Vasarely. An impressive and very unique art museum in Aix. 
The beautiful and unrelenting Biographie, and the expanse looking towards the Med from Ceuse. Becca Caldwell Photo. 

Thursday, April 17

a few days left

Well, I'm off to France in under a week. I've already been checking the weather there, corresponding with friends in the area and making a packing list. Needless to say, I'm really stoked. My trip to Southern France 2 years ago was such a magical and eye opening experience I really can not wait to return. That trip was by all means a success and radical but now I feel much, much more prepared and even more inspired. I'm hopeful that the past several months of training and climbing will pay off, but I know that regardless of my sending, I'll be drinking wine, sharing laughs with many different great friends and waking up to the sound of goat bells in no time!

Plan B. Super good. 
Like I mentioned I've primarily been on the training program but I did get out this week to a new (to me) crag in Boulder Canyon. I had essentially written off the whole canyon, after several pretty crappy climbing experiences there over the years (there are a few good routes.. I think I'm just spoiled) but I was very surprised and stoked to get out there. I did a pretty damn fun little climb that Peter Beal established 13 years ago and has somehow remained unrepeated since. It's called 'Agony and Ecstasy' and it's a little 3 bolt boulder problem direct start to a fantastic 12d granite arete. It was rumored to be 14a - I'd say it's like v9 to 12d so maybe 13+ is a better fit but who knows? It was fun! And the crag classics 'Plab B' 12b, 'The Juice' 12d and 'Hot Wire' 12c are all pretty damn fun too. It was a good day out. But I think at least to some extent I was just stoked to get outside and climb rocks instead of hang on hang boards and lift weights for once!

Okay.. more training and packing.
Wish me luck over there...

And in the meantime - have a look at this new video from Smith, produced by my good friends at 3 Strings. It's a unique piece and one that we're all pretty stoked on. Hope you guys enjoy it!

GREAT DAYS 2: Jonathan Siegrist's Spectrum from smith optics on Vimeo.

Monday, April 14


As I mentioned in a past blog, some of my very good friends have been working hard, putting together a really cool new online resource for climbers, called Training Beta. As part of the site, they are doing a podcast series - basically sitting down with a slew of random people (pros and trainers and more) and asking training questions and also life questions and all that. I did one with Neely a few weeks back before I left Vegas and she just recently put it up. If you've got an hour to kill have a listen... and let me know what you think!

Here's a link to the site and this podcast, or,

It's also available in the iTunes Store. 

And while I'm at it... have a little peek into a new web series from Smith Optics on Great Days. I did a really cool and unique short piece with Andy Mann / 3 Strings back in Vegas and it should launch on this series any day now. I'll keep you posted..


Thursday, April 3

leaving las vegas

Last couple weeks were pretty burly. After success on the Buffalo Wall, I remained pretty fired up for a while. It reminded me of my experience in years past - the bigger the objective, the longer the red point buzz lasts. Walls are so cool because they force you to adopt a strategy for not only climbing so many pitches in a day and avoiding fatigue but also for things like gear, water, approaching and descending. I think in part it's this extra stress that makes an accomplishment more rewarding.

A throw back from the first time I tried Crystal Dawn, a day with Tommy a few years back - Andrew Burr photo of the crux pitch. 
My legs were blown out from the long day but I had plenty left for climbing so I spent the next 2 days training hard - which was likely a mistake in retrospect. Sunday I followed my good friends Seth and Neely up to the Promised Land to finally get a chance at Seth's rad new route, 'Crown of Thorns' 13d. It's seriously an amazing pitch - certainly one of the best of its grade in the Vegas area.

Seth on his route, 'Crown of Thorns'
Monday and Tuesday I was back to Lime Kiln Canyon outside of Mesquite. I hooked up with a good friend and talented photographer / videographer Celin Serbo and worked with him and Dan Gambino, alongside a hovering drone to put together a short piece for Outside TV. I'll let you know when more details emerge. They got clips of me bolting what would become a stunning pitch - a 165 foot mega route that I called 'Voyager One' 13a/b.

On day one, Seth and I climbed the hyper-classic 2 pitch 'Vesper' 5.12 and as we were lowering off I spotted a line of barely there rounded pockets and Verdon-esque edges on the clean wall below. It's moments like this that we route developers straight freak out. We were all set to wrap the day and jet as the sun was low in the sky, but suddenly my mission was to get a static line back up there. I was so shocked by its exceptional quality and the fact that it had not yet been bolted that I seriously think some part of me was worried that someone would come and bolt it that night in the dark. How could people have missed this!?

Seth ran back up Vesper and hung a line for the next day. Tuesday we went out and finished up shooting and afterward I hurriedly jumared up the line and sunk the metal, easily cleaning the entire route with just a brush in under an hour. In a state of extreme fatigue from 6 days on, I threw myself at this beautiful route. It gradually gets thinner and harder as you approach the shared finish with Vesper - and on my first two tries I couldn't quite keep it together til the end. Thin, sloppy and slippery pockets pepper the otherwise blank face. Absolutely bullet stone. I puled the rope knowing that I probably hard energy for just one last try (not that I had energy for the first try) and that with just 5 busy more days left in Vegas I may not get back here.

Keith Ladzinski shot of Whitney Boland crushing 'Vesper' - my route 'Air France' ascends the dotted line below here to share the same finish. 
Somehow I put it together and 'Air France' 14a was born. It's truly one of the highest quality pieces of stone I've ever touched and certainly ever put bolted in. So excited to get it done!

The rest of the week I trained and packed up before doing 2 full days of clinics at the Annual Red Rock Rendezvous, which went very well as usual. I had stoked people in my clinics and despite some other-than-ideal weather we got a bunch of climbing in. Big thanks to Metolius for bringing me out there!

The morning after the event I hit the road. With Vegas once again in my rearview, I was especially saddened to be saying goodbye. It was a particularly great year for me, no doubt thanks to my training efforts beginning in November and also thanks to a great crew of motivated people out there. Every year I return to the desert I find a hundred new rad things to sink my teeth into and I love the place that much more. I'll sincerely miss you Las Vegas! Until next time.

One quick note. If you're in the market for a training resource - this is the single best book out there, and it's just about to be available. Mark and Mike have their science and methods nailed down - and both have seen the process work very well for them. Have a look here.