Tuesday, October 20

un poco bouldering

Just two more weeks to prepare. Also two more weeks to enjoy the US, see friends, family. Two weeks to wander the isles at Whole Foods and 'sample' bulk items. Two weeks to stick to the program and stay motivated to improve. Two weeks until I fly to Catalunya for 3 months.

Most of my time has been indoors, which usually in mid October would be driving me mad, but the cooler temperatures have just recently started to emerge. Thankfully I did take advantage, at least a little. I am so grateful for my experiences bouldering earlier this year - not only did it help me improve as a climber but my motivation for bouldering has opened a whole new world of areas and challenges. There is a lot of good bouldering out there!

'The Heist' V12 is a brilliant line found by Andy Mann and opened by Kevin Jorgeson way back in 09. More like a route, the thing is nearly 25 continuous moves with building difficulty near the finish. I can't believe how relatively unknown this awesome boulder is. On my first try from the start I chickened out over the abyss - it's actually quite scary! Here is some less than perfect Go-Pro footy of the problem.

Later that day I did a cool crimper test-piece on the Gill Boulder called '606' V10. It was a little warm for this sharp boulder but I was so stoked to be outside for one of the first times in a month that I didnt much care. 

A few days back I got another day out. With a great crew we checked out Guanella Pass for the first time. Temps were nearly perfect, overcast, breezy... fall weather. It was super motivating. I climbed 'Mind Matters' V11/12,  'Crimping Matters' V9/10,  'Earth Matters' V10, 'Love Mattress' V12,  'Dark Horse' V10 and 'High Horse Sit' V9. Everything was worth while but for me, Love Mattress was the coolest, most involved problem that I saw on our tour -- nice work Will! One of the best things about this area in my mind is the range of bouldering grades and accessibility for V1 to V12 climbers. There is a rad problem at almost every grade, in a small area. I met many motivated and super cool climbers out there as well. 

Aspen Arete V3

Mind Matters,  Ari Prat Barnadas photo

Love Mattress,  Ari Prat Barnadas photo

Love Mattress,  Ari Prat Barnadas photo

Friday, October 9

ROCK Project

Last weekend I had the pleasure of checking out my first Access Fund ROCK Project event. The aim of this event is a little different that the average climbing festival. The hope is to help educate the community about stewardship and sustainable practices at the crag, all interwoven into skills clinics and of course, beer drinking.

Travis Herbert is the man. Access Fund Education Director. Michael Allen Photo

Much like the topic would suggest, this was a much more demanding event - for all parties involved - than most. But I feel the results were worth it. Personally I took quite a bit away from the event - perhaps too much to write here, or more accurately too boring to write here. What I feel was most important though is this: 

The conversation about where climbing is going, how we are impacting our public places, and what we can do to make a positive change ... this conversation is happening. Not in someone's basement after several beers too many, waxing nostalgic and making slurred proclamations... it's happening between powerful companies, strong non profits and influencers. This is a meaningful conversation and course of action and I think people should know, so that they can join in. The reality is that climbing is changing, the landscape in which we climb is changing, and we need to change with it. 

Graffiti removal at Morrison Boulders with a huge group of people who care. Michael Allen Photo

The second 'most important' lesson for me from the weekend was in regards to mentorship - or perhaps the modern lack thereof. This type of relationship shaped my understanding of how to interact with wilderness and how to conduct yourself in the 'wild'. We have all made mistakes, no doubt, and hopefully learned from them. The benefit of having respectful mentorship is that those role models can help us learn from their mistakes. I've had - and still have - many mentors. Perhaps I'm impressionable but I really value this kind of relationship. My hope is that I can make a positive impression on a few people along the road - and when I make mistakes I can feel brave enough to share them.

Tommy sneaks in a hug with bro Dan Mirsky . Michael Allen Photo

Speaking of inspirational people... I did an interview with Fort Collins local Ben Scott that I just published on my Five Questions page. This is one of my favorite interviews I've done - perhaps because it hits on many of the points I have made above but also because Ben is a powerhouse first ascentionist with a fiery passion - nothing is more motivating than that. Have a read.