Tuesday, November 30

enter the rest

After a solid six weeks spent living and climbing in Kentucky, I finally said my goodbyes and began my journey across the titanic ocean of pavement that lay between Zachariah and Boulder. By now I've spent enough time in the Red that I think I will always feel at home there.. it has become not only one of my favorite places to climb, but also one of my favorite hangs. In-fact, even amongst an eventful trip for climbing, I would still say that the moments with friends enjoying the Kentucky lifestyle are some of my favorite. It was always a great crew of people staying in the house down there. I will miss the evenings, mornings and rest days with all the best characters, right along with the days climbing and crushing. It's all good in the Red.
the crib. Mann Photo
Over the last week I stayed busy doing a number of media days with my good friend and pro photog Andy Mann. We shot stills on a couple of routes and put in many hours of hard work seeking perfect light in near freezing temperatures to shoot video on 'Pure Imagination'. The result is awesome. I've only seen the rough edit, but I can say that it highlights the difficulties and beauty of this amazing climb very well. It will be released on the radical ARCTERYX website in a series of two, along with a video of 'Twenty Four Karats' that I shot earlier with Keith Ladzinski.. keep an eye out!!
some stills..
Also over the last week, my girlfriend Paige Claassen returned to the Red on a mission to dispatch the bouldery 'God's Own Stone' 14a, and after a couple days of work, she did just that. Thanksgiving day she put the hammer down on this test-piece, making an impressive first female ascent and continuing with a truly breakthrough year of climbing. I'm very proud of Paige for her accomplishments.. RAD!!
Paige is no stranger to 5.14
The weather was definitely turning for the worse in our last few days, but we managed to get one last, brilliant day of climbing in on our way out.. I had yet to check out Left Flank, an older established area in the Northern Region. The quality and rock features here are simply incredible.. The walls are jam packed with awesome 5.12's as well as the Red's first 5.13, a Jarrard test-piece that is among the best 5.13's at the Red: 'Table of Colors' 13a. We warmed up in frigid temps on the awesome and varied 'Infectious' 12b, before heading to the business. My primary goal was 'Table of Colors Direct' 13b, which I managed to onsight along with the rest of this incredible wall. Guidebooks frequently toss around statements like best 5.xx in the universe! which rarely live up to the hype, however,'Dinosaur' 12d and 'Mercy, The Huff' 12b could actually be some of the best, ever. I finished the day with a lap on the short and steep 'Stunning the Hog' 12d and it's very cool neighbor, 'Sex Farm' 12b. Next thing I knew, we were knee-deep in Kansas and bored out of our minds..
the long road home
Those rad climbs at Left Flank would be my last for a while.. I'm embarking on something I've yet to try out: taking a voluntary rest period. People are shocked when I tell them that I've not taken more than 5 consecutive days off from climbing in over 4 years. I've always kind of feared rest, in my reckless pursuit of progress - which, no doubt, is why I've come as far as I have in just six years of climbing. I've been telling myself for some time now that it would be a good idea to take some rest, but I always had something too damn motivating on the horizon. Fresh off of a great trip, with no climbing plans directly ahead, it finally seems like a good time to take a little break. So, in this spirit, I'm planning on taking (hold your breath!) EIGHT days off... IN A ROW! don't laugh. this will actually be pretty challenging for me. I'll let you know how it goes..