Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New in the Valley

Becky's pic of me trying for the first ascent of "Snowball Fight"

There are always projects, both first ascents and personal projects. This past weekend people seemed keen to work primarily on FA's. Those of us smart enough to be in the Valley were rewarded with unseasonably cool temps. Those of you (Kevin and John) that were at home have to live with your poor decision making. Suckers.

Several new problems were established this weekend. Medina put up a gem called "Something French." Actually, I don't know what its called but he said he wanted to name it in recognition of the new French friends he made on a recent trip to Fontainebleau. I was fortunate enough to do "Snowball Fight" and "The Tea Room". Scott put up another problem near "Something French," but I didn't catch the name. Scott, Tim, and Raza were all trying a cool overhanging arete the last time I saw them but I'm not sure if it was completed.

There is a video of two of the new problems, but in the interest of keeping some things on the DL for a while longer you'll need to wait to see it. Unless you're super special, of course.

I'm flying to Seattle tomorrow morning to help my sister move back home to California. I'll be back on Thursday and I might head out for a long weekend of climbing soon after.

Oh I'm also very excited for baseball this year. I'm 2-1 at the Giants games I've attended so far, which includes the Giants victory over the Dodgers last night!

Go Giants!

Friday, April 24, 2009

What Would You Do...

...If you were a billionaire? Richard Branson has some interesting ideas. If you were a billionaire would you shop here? If you were a billionaire you'd probably buy your drugs from this guy, but you'd party with a Russian. I know if I were one I'd get a hat like John D. Rockefeller.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Not Sleeping

I know I've mentioned it before, but I sometimes have a hard time falling asleep or getting a good nights rest. Tonight is a perfect example. A little more than an hour ago I was feeling pretty groggy and ready for bed. Hopped in the sack, tossed and turned for a while, and here I am, sitting at the computer. I've found laying in bed hoping to fall asleep doesn't work so well, so I'm trying to keep busy.

Sometimes it is perfectly obvious why I can't sleep, anxiety, excitement, or thinking about climbing often keep me up. Sometimes I'll have had way to many cups of tea throughout the day, but I don't usually let that happen. Other times there is no obvious reason. I'm tired, mind and body, I'm comfortable, free of restless thoughts, and yet I just lie there awake for hours.

On occasion this can turn into a very creative brainstorming session. Fortunately, I usually do fall asleep at some point, but unfortunately by the time I wake up I've forgotten my brilliant ideas.

I guess you could say I'm exhibiting Insomnia-like symptoms. It comes and goes mind you. In Hueco I had about three weeks of amazing sleep despite sleeping in the back of my Subaru with my dog. Then, right near the end of the trip I started having restless nights again. I had it the worst when I was a young teenager. I vaguely remember a summer when I got about 1 or 2 hours of sleep a night. Its not that bad now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking a Look in the Mirror

This is an excerpt from and interview with Jean-Baptist 'Jibe' Tribout.

Most of the time I fail, but it doesn’t matter, because my goal is to succeed, instead of “not to fail”. This means I can be much more relaxed when I climb, and as every climber knows, it’s very important.

Jibe is 46 now and until recently had not been climbing seriously for about 10 years. He has already climbed as hard as 5.14b and he claims that he is nowhere near as strong as in his youth. He attributes much of his recent success to a new attitude toward climbing. The wisdom quoted above is a recent revelation, discovered in the absence of the self-imposed pressures many climbers subject themselves to.

I have to admit that when I'm climbing something particularly important to me the thoughts that creep into my head mid-climb are often along the lines of 'don't fail'. This bothers me for several reasons:

1. This train of thought doesn't manifest itself exclusively in climbing situations.
2. Its obviously counter productive.
3. This thought process can transform a recreational activity into something more akin to work.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't something I deal with everyday out climbing, far from it in fact. I can name a half dozen or so occasions (long term projects) when this became a real problem. Of course there are minor occurrences from time to time but they are usually insignificant. Last weekend for instance, while trying to top out a new problem I definitely thought "don't fail" but that was mostly out of concern for my safety and I have no regrets about that. Still, how does one deal with this type of negative thinking?

To be quite frank about this, I've been thinking a lot about going back to school over the last six months or so. I've more or less decided it is something I want to do and yet I'm having difficulty being proactive about it because of this type of negative thinking.

I understand the principals behind Jibe's wisdom but putting it in practice is something entirely different. What am I missing?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More Evidence That I'm Tired

Shortly after writing the post below I hit myself in the face with a car door. I know you're probably asking yourself, 'why would you do something like that Justin?' Well, the answer is I'm sleepy and I can't be bothered with such questions.

I've been better

All patched up

Update: I just woke up and thankfully I slept pretty well. Unfortunately my forehead still aches. At least the band-aid makes me look tough, right?


I need a decent nights sleep. I've had two really bad nights sleep preceded by one mediocre night and that resulted in a grump that can't climb much of anything. I didn't even bother going to 'Dogwood' today even though I had people ready and willing to spot. I did try 'X' finally with Raza, that was cool and HARD.

Yesterday was a bit more productive. First of all, a couple of Yosemite's finest highballs got totally gang-banged. 'Shiver Me Timbers' was the first to get the beating. I think Lyn, Beth, Becky, John, Theo, and some other dude all did it (not sure about the order). Then around the corner, 'Pinball Wizard' got shown who's boss by the same crew except for "some other dude".

Later, in a far off land that will not be described in this blog space, the posse descended upon several freshly scrubbed blocs courtesy of Mr. Chandler. There is one yet-to-be-named problem several of us did that is definitely first rate. A hard start, followed by a heady finish, with several solutions... Vintage Yosemite.

Speaking of vintage Yosemite, here's a video featuring two problems that fit that description perfectly. The first problem featured is 'Pinball Wizard,' the second is a new problem that Randy put up recently. If you don't already know where it is don't bother asking because I'm not at liberty to share. Deal with it!

A little slice of heaven from Princess on Vimeo.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Training and Yosemite

For the past month or so I've been driving down to Oakland to train at the Great Western Power Company. I could probably spend more time climbing outdoors right now, but my number one focus is to get into the best shape of my climbing life for my trip to South Africa this summer. Its okay too because I actually really enjoy the workouts. Last night, for example, I climbed, did some rings, some weighted hangs, and finished with a little more climbing for a 5 1/2 hour workout. I'm already feeling sore and I love it.

I'm really grateful for all of my friends who have been (and will continue to be) such great training partners. It really wouldn't be the same without you all. Training alone can be cool but the down time gets dull quick and the sessions become shorter and a lot less productive so thanks for all of your motivation and energy guys and gals.

Of course I'm not so loopy as to have forgotten real rock all together. In fact, I made my first trip back to the Valley last week and it was perfect. It felt so good to be hanging in the forest with good friends and perfect stone. I only climbed on stuff that was new to me too! Didn't even stop by to say hello to 'Dogwood', that's a big step for me. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I'll have a chance to try it in the next few days though.

I have some video from one of my new favorite problems but its going to have to wait until I get some other problems recorded before I put the footage up. It'll be worth the wait, the newness is quintessential Yosemite climbing courtesy of Randy Puro. Very choice.