Wednesday, March 17

Taste of Spring

Fellow humans, don't fear! That fiery sphere that slowly traverses our sky is our friend.. The Sun. It's been a long time coming (especially in the Front Range), but I do believe we've entered our first taste of the Spring, complete with clock-changing, curious flip-flop wearing and lower thigh exposure. Remember to ease into your vitamin D consumption for the most satisfying bronze, and despite how tempting it may be, don't stare directly at the Sun itself!

Eldo: the sun-chasers dreamland
Oh, and one more thing, don't resist an outside afternoon bouldering session or a weekend at the crags.. we all love the plastic, but it's time to loosen our grasp on training and do some rock climbing for a change. I'm happy to admit I've been getting out a bunch, with an exciting trip beginning in a couple days as well.

Right after setting for the final BCS and SCS comps at the Boulder Rock Club last Friday, Paige and I hit the road North to one of our favorite hang outs, Lander, Wyoming. Since last spring when I first visited Lander, I've taken at least 6-8 trips back (some significantly shortened due to weather) and (mostly) loved every one. In much the same spirit as last March, we awoke this past Sunday to a considerably snowy camp site, and dooms-day clouds throughout. Luckily the friendly locals at Elemental Training Center hooked us up with some refuge, showers and a short, tired bouldering session.

famous last words, 'oh, we can for SURE make it through that'
After some complications (read: my stupidity) getting my Subaru stuck in two feet of snow we found ourselves blessed with a blue-bird day on Monday, and so began our first spring 2010 tanning / sending session. After many trips to Sinks Canyon I found myself mostly on the repeat-train, on routes in the Killer Cave like 'Samsara' 13b, 'The Throne' 13a/b, 'Successor' 13b, 'Mr Majestic' 13b and of course 'Killer' 12c. I did also fire a brand new extension called 'Exodus' 13c, that is worthy of a ride despite a little filth at the top. Paige had a killer weekend (no pun intended), firing The Throne, Successor and pulling off an epic running-waterfall top out flash of Mr Majestic- WICKED effort.

After a pebble grabbing good time at Flagstaff this morning with my Dad (in prime shape after taking 1st overall at BCS for his age category!!), I think I'm officially hooked on sunshine. I've got a pretty darn enjoyable couple of circuits that I'm really stoked on up at Flag, I've been doing them for years. Despite what you may have heard, Flagstaff actually is super radical and there is a core group of us who still really love bouldering up there. It's basically where I learned to climb, and to this day I feel gratitude and respect for the classic area- it never fails to provide a little ass kicking and V3 ego crushing-good time. Hurts soo good.

I'm hyper-psyched to be off to South-West Utah Friday morning for a proper 10 day climbing trip mostly focused around the limestone monster test-pieces at the Virgin River Gorge. Neither Paige, nor I have ever been, and along with The Red and Smith Rocks, the V.R.G. has been a top priority visit for me for quite some time. I love the kind of challenge that low-angled stone produces and after another session or two at Flag I'm hoping my fingertips will stop screaming and start biting down proper. Stoked. Very stoked.

flag boulder sessions: underrated.
We've got a number of great friends who will be in the area, and the weather forecast, after some depressing periods of wet, looks splitter. Hopefully you've got some spring break / last week in March plans cooking as well- resist the plastic! Enjoy.

-props to ANDY MANN, for all but (guess which one) photos-

Monday, March 8

I'm kind of a freak about Front Range climbing history. Anyone who caught Andy Mann and I's 'Colorado Burl' slide-show last fall knows that we mean business when it comes to route data, first ascent details and cryptic beta info. The rich history of rock climbing has always fascinated me, and the Front Range is oozing with it. My first hard sends were inspired not by what was hip at that time, but by a news clipping from an ancient Climbing Magazine or a rumor about a wicked late '80s ascent I had heard through one of my Dad's core climber buddies. I was reminded of my infatuation with climbing history this past weekend, when my girlfriend Paige Claassen and I hiked around to the Gym at Shelf Road to catch some vitamin D (top priority) and have a ball on some of Colorado's classic test-pieces.

Paige boots up beneath the classic 'Deeper Shade of Soul'

Immediately upon seeing 'The Example', I had flashbacks of one of my first 5.13 sends a number of years ago. At the time (and still today..) I was super inspired by Colin Lantz's achievements and after repeatedly reading the excerpt from Jeff Achey's, Climb!: A History of Rock Climbing in Colorado, about his hail Mary first ascent just days before the visiting J.B. Tribout would have potentially ripped it off, I knew I had to climb 'The Example'. I even went so far as to use Colin's original, forgotten beta at the top of the climb, adding a letter grade of difficulty. Looking back, I'm surprised I didn't toss on some neon turquoise lycra and a J-Rat headband for the full 1987 experience. It's historic photos like this one (below- Colin on the first ascent of the Example) that lured me to obscure climbs like 'Rock Atrocity' 13c, 'Your Mother' 12d and 'Honemaster Lambada' 13d/14a (all Lantz routes) over the years. I really admired this generation throughout the first few years of my obsession with climbing and to this day I'm still overwhelmed by how wicked the classics are.. and by how amazing said achievements would be in such form fitting attire.

Lantz in his prime

Needless to say, I spent quite of bit of time climbing at Shelf Road back in the day (..circa '06/'07..) and although I've completed nearly everything of interest there, I still love a good day at Shelf every now and then. We ran into a number of friends and enjoyed some much needed sun this past weekend. I did a couple new-to-me routes I enjoyed like 'Blast From the Past' 13-, and 'The French are Here' 12c, as well as cranking numerous laps on some of my all time favorites like 'Deeper Shade of Soul' 13b/c (Lantz route as well) and 'The Hurricane' 12b/c.

life in the back of a Subaru- wicked
I'm finally feeling gains from an intensified training schedule, just in time for a number of lengthy climbing trips on the horizon- Wyoming, Arizona and Utah. I've always found, however, that 'training' can only go so far, and in the end, all of my breakthroughs in climbing have been a product of trying hard on real stone. Inspiration is everything in my experience, and plastic can only inspire me for so long.. It always takes a couple outings in the spring to get re-stoked on the camping/climbing lifestyle. Now that my stove and cooler are dusted off and my insulating jacket reeks of camp fire, I'm motivated and consistently thinking ahead for the next trip- the time for training is coming to an end as the spring moves near and our projects dry out.

plastic makes (almost) perfect
I've also felt the benefits of massage work (thanks to GRIP massage) recently for the first time- I had my first massage work EVER done last week and I was a wreck for days.. if I didn't know better I'd think I was given a sedative and beaten with a sock full of quarters for an hour- but almost as quickly as the soreness came on I was feeling loose and refreshed- pretty awesome really. I'm excited to see how massage effects my climbing ability and recovery time.. so far so good.

Chris Weidner: like a deer in headlights, moments before Batman exacts revenge..
My cross training activities of course would not be complete without an evening of tequila induced, costume roller-skating at the Wagon Wheel Roller Rink. Despite a minor hip injury I had an incredibly good time among over a hundred members of the extended league of random super-heroes and villains out to skate that night. Anyone out to pick a fight with Batman (batman=jstar.. keep it on the down low!) was cruising for a bruising and, trust me, repeat offender Chris Weidner a.k.a. Professor Pink Python got HAD that night.