Thursday, February 19, 2009

Things I Suck at in Climbing

1. Jumping (3 or 4 points off) and catching a one-handed hold. Please refer to my lack of success on 'Dogwood' as a demonstration of this deficiency.

2. Climbing with just the middle three fingers. This is meat and potatoes stuff for a lot of people. I knew I wasn't great in this regard but a few minutes ago I realized how bad I really am at this. Here's how I came to this conclusion: I've been working out on the campus board doing some hard-for-me stuff with four fingers per hand on the small Metolius rungs when I decide I should try some three finger stuff. I CAN BARELY LADDER MY WAY UP ONE RUNG AT A TIME!!!! Fucking warm-up shit with four fingers. Good Christ.



I could probably fill in 3 and 4 but I'd actually prefer constructive criticism from my peers. One thing I miss from my soccer days is having a coach to point out where I could improve. Sooo, have at it. I want to know how I can improve my climbing, where to focus my attention. If you have any suggestions please feel free to comment.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Center for Disease Control

Today Robyn brought Kevin and I to the CDC where she works. There was lots of security and buildering opportunities everywhere. There was also a pretty cool museum and a feature display some of the projects the CDC is involved with around the world.

I wasn't granted access to labs...damn.

A little inspiration

This just in, small pox=bad

This guy looks so heroic

An iron lung, surprisingly not that comfortable looking inside

These herpes awareness posters were informative

This was the best part. BSL4 suits! This is what people working with Ebola and other nasties have to wear in the labs. Kevin was tempted to make a run for the door with his suit on. It would have made quite the souvenir. We settled for training Kevin for his new career as an ultimate fighter. Check out the video below of Kevin trying to extricate himself from the "hazmat suit"

Monday, February 16, 2009

The South Day 4

Today was our last day bouldering on this trip. We both had several goals for the day and we'd give'm our best shot. Kevin, however, was secretly hoping he wouldn't meet his goal because of the resulting consequences it would have on a bet he had with Robyn. Let's just says it revolved around some video he'd rather not have surface. I mostly just wanted to try 'The Shield'. This is a contender for the most beautiful problem I've ever seen. I know this goal sounds incredibly easy to achieve, but in actuality, on this short of a trip its not. Fortunately I had the chance to try it out and I wasn't disappointed. The problem climbs as nicely as it looks. I could seriously consider making a trip here for just this problem. Hmmm....

'The Shield'

Kevin trying 'Interplanetary Escape'

Robyn on immaculate stone

We've go one more day in Atlanta and I think we've got something pretty cool lined up, hopefully there will be pictures. Here is one last southern video with problems from Rocktown and LRC.

The South Day 3

Yesterday was Robyn and Kevin's Birthday. We spent the day back at Rocktown and we were blessed with cool dry weather. Robyn hasn't been climbing much lately and was psyched just to be out, even still, she looked like she'd been climbing more than she'd let on and I think she'll be back in top form in no time. Kevin was planning on having a "chill" day, opting to save himself for Monday at LRC. This didn't quite work out. Here's a video of his exploits.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Breast Cancer Fundraiser

My mom's husband Gil is participating in the Breast Cancer Fund's 10th annual Climb against the Odds fundraising climb to the summit of Mt. Shasta. If its not clear to you why he's participating, wake up! A breast cancer diagnosis happens to 1 in 8 women; only 10% of breast cancer cases are linked to genetics; and of about 100,000 synthetic chemicals on the market, less than 10% have been fully tested for their effects on human health. The BCF is the only organization dedicated to the elimination of the environmental causes of breast cancer & the prevention of the disease. This isn't a 'sponsor me so I can go climb in the Himalaya' fund raiser. Gil won't receive anything from the donations, he's simply interested in having an adventure and doing it in the name of the BCF means it won't be as selfish as all the climbing I do. Here's a few words from the man himself:

"I am dedicating my training and my climb to some special women who have impressed me with their courage while being treated for breast cancer & their energy as survivors. Margie Mikels, a strong spirited woman, who along with Susy & me shares the joys of being a grandparent to Logan & Wyatt. Margie, her mother and 2 sisters are all breast cancer survivors. As a mother of three daughters, she clearly does not want them to inherit this family trait. My cousin, Tina Tafoya, got her diagnosis 6 years ago as a young wife & mother. Today she is healthy & treasures every day with her sons & husband. I also am dedicating my efforts to a group of amazing women that I call The Sisterhood of EDD Survivors; the sisterhood is huge but I especially want to acknowledge Alison, Flo, Leslie, Melinda and Vicki. Ladies – your strength amazes me. Prayer flags will be taken with me to the summit of Mt. Shasta in your honor."

If you are interested in donating please visit Gil's Breast Cancer Fund web page.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The South Day 2

The 'Vagina'

Today was a little slower paced than yesterday. I think it would be fair to say both Kevin and I were a little low on energy. After briefly trying to warm-up I decided to wait to climb until the evening. Kevin had some attempts at various classics including 'The Orb', which he should have done but decided to forget how to climb at the end instead. Sunday for that one. Same goes for the 'Vagina', a problem named after the hold pictured above.

Nick, Robyn's boyfriend and our tour guide for the day. Also pictured, his dog Endo who puked on my jacket. Below Nick demonstrates how to climb a couple of classics off the couch. If the problems appear short, that's because Nick is 6'5".

Kevin on an 'Island of Beautiful Women'

Trying a cool problem called 'Blackout'

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The South Day 1

Today Kevin and I got to go play on the sandstone of Tennessee. It was Kevin's first visit to Little Rock City (aka LRC or Stone Fort) and I think he liked it. Our good friend and host Robyn joined us for a very nice, albeit warmer than expected, day at the boulders.


Kevin trying 'Kaya'

This area is on private property, a golf course in fact. The folks that run the course are generous enough to allow 50 climbers per day free access as long as you are willing to sign a waiver and register online each day that you climb. I made a point of visiting the pro-shop to say hello to the manager and thank him for allowing us access to the beautiful boulders. He seemed to appreciate it and said as much. I think this kind of simple gesture would go a long way toward improving climber relations in many access sensitive areas across the country. Its amazing how much more accommodating people can be when you're friendly to them.

Here's a video of a few problems from our first day.

The beautiful Jigsaw Wall

Tomorrow we go to Rocktown!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Back in CA...

From dirtbag to scumbag in under 5 minutes!

Back but only for a few minutes. Actually, I've been in the my home state since Friday afternoon but it feels like a just a few minutes.

I left Hueco after another low energy day with a few more problems in the bag but without any of my BIG goals achieved. I tried just about every trick in the book (including dropknee-heelhooks and climbing with no pants) but 'El Chupacabra' will have to wait till next time. Kevin and Wick both had very impressive last days. Kevin managed his fourth hard problem in a very busy two weeks and Wick returned to his early trip form with sends of 'Full Monty' and 'Platonique'.

Here's a video that more or less captures the essence of my last day in Hueco. Thanks to James for suggesting the positive thinking inspired twist.

Less than 24 hours later Turtle and I found ourselves back in California, on the beach in San Diego. While I was there I got to visit with Sarah and eat tons of yummy food.
We also went to the Birch Aquarium and saw some cool fishies...

...and non-fishies

After over 3,600 miles...the last leg of the trip

On Wednesday its off to the southeast to visit Robyn and Nick and boulder on perfect sandstone for a week. Woohoo!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dog is My Co-Pilot

On Sunday morning Turtle had a little accident. It was nothing life threatening but I thought it warranted a trip to the vet. Bouldering got put on the back burner for a couple of hours while I tended to my wounded pooch. The picture above was taken right after leaving the vet, who ripped me off by charging me for superfluous drugs. If you look closely you can see a tear rolling down her cheek.

Shortly after returning to the trailer

Enjoying this morning's sunshine

Turtle is already running around the Strong Ranch as per her normal routine and she'll have the bandages off in a couple of days.

Mike's dog Bran, on the other hand, has a much more pressing medical need. Apparently he's ruptured his other knee (he's done it to both rear legs now). The surgery will be VERY expensive and his recovery process will take at least six months. Mike will soon see his 'occupation' turn from climbing bum into a stay at home nurse for a while.

Bran, during happier times in Joe's Valley, UT.

Fucking dogs...