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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chatty

Yesterday we drove from the Baltimore MD area to Chattanooga TN.  Its nearly a 10hr drive,  with a few stops along the way it can easily be more.
It was raining when we got into town but decided to check out LRC anyways.  Conditions were almost unclimbable but considering the long stint in the car we grabbed our gear and walked into the field just before dark, in gentle rain.  I warmed up on robbing the tooth fairy and Tennessee thong both very good problems that I had never been on before.  It quickly got dark so our short session was over just as quick as it started.
The weather over the next few days looks a little sketchy but we are holding out for the beginning of the new year when it looks splitter!! PSYCHED to be down south again to bring in the new year!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Local Session


4 From Rocks from Tim Rose on Vimeo.

I often find myself heading away from the deluge of modern suburbia in MD to spend some quiet time at Rocks State Park.  Rocks is a small area, with only a dozen or two dozen boulder problems.  It has a few really, really good lines on good rock.  Rocks is also home to the King and Queen seat, a beautiful formation at the top of the mountain that hosts several traditional climbs along with a stunning view.

Now that the days are short and the weather is conducting its annual dance from fall to winter, finding time to get outside during the week can be a challenge.  I am blessed to have an escape so close to my front door.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Something Dark


Photo: Kyle Adams - Prepping for a big move
Last Saturday was the DRG comp which always pulls a big crowd and many strong competitors in the open category.  This year was no different.  Fellow 5.10 team member Josh Larson came down from Boston to compete.  The field was stacked and as always, the problems were great.  Mid comp I got a phone call from a sir Mathew Bosley about heading to Tumbling Run the following day to check out some of the areas best..  The weather looked good for climbing and my decision to join him was easy!
I finished the comp in 4th after falling off the finish hold on the first problem but I was having a great time climbing and was psyched about going to Tumbling Run the following day.
Photo: Kyle Adams - Two crystal pinches
Years go by sometimes without revisiting local areas.  I say it often, PA has so many small bouldering areas separated by only a short 30min drive sometimes, that its hard to know exactly how much you have at your disposal.  Many years ago, I believe it was 2008 ish, Travis Gault (Central PA myth) put up a hard line on the bank robber boulder called Dark Crystal and it goes somewhere around v10ish.  Legends surround the area regarding the bank robber boulder.  The story goes, Long ago in a town not far from the Micheaux State forest a bank was robbed by an armed gunman.  The bandit escaped capture and made his way into the forest.  He buried the treasure somewhere in the forest.  He was later captured but the money was never found.  Many people have searched for the treasure but none have been successful, unless of course you consider finding a kick a$$ boulder with an awesome line successful.  In which case Travis was successful.

Photo Kyle Adams

Photo: Kyle Adams
I had gone to try Dark Crystal when Travis (aka Rabbi) first put it up and got my face kicked in on a few moves.  4 years have passed since, naturally I was anxious to get back on it and see how it felt.  I was sore from the comp the previous morning but very, very psyched that the weather was perfect and was able to hang with my friends Matt Bosley, Kyle Adams and Patrick Andrews.  Its hard to put into a blog post the kind of day that I had on Sunday.  It will be one of the days I remember for the rest of my life.  Not because my climbing was outstanding, in fact I progressively got more sore through the day but the way everything came together.  The weather was crisp but not cold, fall was in full swing the rock was dry and everyone was just having fun.  It was another day that reminded me why I climb and with temps getting better, I hope to have more adventures like that soon.

Photo: Kyle Adams - Matt finishing the cruxy last moves of Dark Crystal

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Grilt Trip


Photo: Pat Goodman
I just returned from a trip to Boone NC.  The journey started on Thursday morning at 5am when I decided to finally get out of bed after a restless night and head to Fayetteville WV to pick up Pat.  Pat and I were going to Boone for 4 or 5 days to take part in the first leg of the Triple Crown bouldering series and work on Pat's mixed gear project.  It took the better part of 12 hours of travel but we arrived safe and sound in Banner Elk where we would be staying for the duration of our stay.
Friday morning came quick after all the traveling and I was glad to have a rest day scheduled.  Pat on the other hand was ready to fire his project.  Unfortunately, no send on Friday but Pat was close and we decided that a return visit would yield the illusive "send".
Photo: Pat Goodman
5.10 and the AAC both made big presences at the comp.  5.10 was showcasing their new shoes along with a demo on Saturday for the bouldering comp.  The AAC had a crowd and pulled in some money with the support of donations on Friday.
Saturday was a little warm and damp but still good.  Houndears is sharp!  My indoor skin was thrashed in a few hours of climbing and ended up spending most of the day cruising around doing classics and having fun.  I never finished 10 climbs to fill out my score sheet tho.  I will  know to plan skin a little better next time.
Sunday and Monday both became a wash as what was going to be splitter weather turned into cold and rainy both days.  My trip came to a close with a long drive home in the snow and rain but I had a great trip.  I am always psyched to see new rock and visit with friends.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cardiovascular Adaptations

In the ever changing and ever competitive field of sports, athletes are continuously looking for the competitive edge.  Recently, in the past few decades, blood doping, use of erythropoietin (epo for short) and high altitude training have all become more common practices by athletes to “get ahead” of their competition.

The first practice “Blood doping” refers to increasing the number of red blood cells(RBC) in ones circulatory system either through a blood transfusion or by taking a series of hormone therapeis such as epo.  Both of these practices, whether deemed by governing sports bodies as ethical or not, all employ some means of improving oxygen delivery to the muscles and in turn, can logically boost the muscles performance through an increased Vo2 max.  Double blind studies have shown that athletes who have been treated either with a blood transfusion or with hormone therapy have had increased Vo2 max while running tests on a treadmill in laboratories.  Blood doping is a controversial topic in the field of sports along with hormone therapies.  “EPO or erythropoiesis stimulating hormone, is a glycoprotein, formed by the kidneys and liver.  Epo appears in the plasma when peripheral tissues, especially the kidneys, are exposed to low oxygen concentrations.”  Increasing your RBC count through “unnatural” means such as epo therapy or blood transfusions is not the only way to increase cardiac output, some athletes have turned to altitude training.


Altitude training refers to training conducted at altitudes greater than sea level and typically falls for most athletes between seven to thirteen thousand feet above sea level.  Training in an environment with less oxygen can create a state of hypoxia (decreased oxygen) and in turn the body will respond in time by increasing the formed elements (hematocrit) or RBC’s in the blood stream to compensate for lower oxygen levels.  Many studies have been conducted around this mind set and to this day many varying results have left sports scientists in the dark about altitude training and its benefits.  One important aspect to note about training at altitude is that, at altitude athletes are more often than not unable to perform at the same intensity as they would be capable to attain at sea level, leaving them with a decline in fitness verses an increased RBC count and Vo2 max.  Medical doctors are now prescribing a solution to this called, train low and live high, in which athletes are able to train at lower altitudes in doing so, they maintain a level of fitness appropriate to the demands they will be placing on their bodies during peak performance and live at a higher altitude.  In doing so, creating the hypoxic state at which altitude fools the body into keeping RBC counts high.

Blood doping, hormone therapy and altitude training are all examples of forcing the body to make cardiovascular adaptations.  Cardiovascular adaption techniques come with a risk.  Anyone suffering from sickle cell anemia or any other form of blood disorder should beware.  These techniques can be dangerous to the individuals due to the shape, size, number and O2 carrying capacity of their RBC’s. This can cause serious health problems.  Blood doping and hormone therapy both incur risks such as myocardial infractions, hormone imbalance and can even result in death.  It is my opinion after conducting my research that ample training wether it be at altitude or not out ways the risks of performing blood transfusions to get ahead in a sport.  Hard work and dedication in a particular sport can pay off in physiological, anatomical and mental gains that would be non-attainable through other means.  Wether or not using your own blood to boost your athletic performance is considered cheating or not is up to sports authorities, I subscribe to the work hard play hard mentality.

Citations:

Effect of graded erythrocythemia on cardiovascular and metabolic responses to exercise.
Spriet LL, Gledhill N, Froese AB, Wilkes DL.
J Appl Physiol. 1986 Nov;61(5):1942-8.
PMID: 3781999 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Effect of induced erythrocythemia on aerobic work capacity.
Buick FJ, Gledhill N, Froese AB, Spriet L, Meyers EC.
J Appl Physiol. 1980 Apr;48(4):636-42.
PMID: 7380690 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Crowther, Greg. "Living High and Training Low." Living High and Training Low. Northwest Runner, Sept. 2000. Web. 28 Sept. 2012. .

"Human Anatomy &Physiology (9th Edition) [Hardcover]." Human Anatomy &Physiology (9th Edition): Elaine N. Marieb,Katja Hoehn: 9780321743268: Amazon.com: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Oct. 2012. .

Sunday, September 30, 2012

New friends, New Campground, New Boulders, New River Gorge

September 16th was the first annual Craggin Classic at the NRG, hosted by the AAC (American Alpine Club).  The AAC purchased property near Bubba city on top of the Junk Yard crag and has been hard at work creating a NEW climber campground, the Craggin Classic was a kick off for the new campground and an opportunity for the community to come together, eat, celebrate, support an awesome cause and most importantly climb.

The event kicked off Friday with a pig roast which led into the Saturday morning shoe demos and climbing clinics. 5.10 athlete Jessa Goebel and myself had clinics which covered crack climbing and bouldering techniques. Saturday evening the AAC hosted Mountain Hardware athlete Pat Goodman for a slide show re-capping his recent trip to the Yukon.  Afterwards a benefit auction raised more than $1500 bills for the campground. 

Monday morning we got out to the AAC campground early to scope some boulders that are less than a 5min walk from the campgrounds.  Goodman was interested in checking out an offwidth roof crack that was fabled to shut down and thwart all attempts at a send up to that point.  In true Goodman style he managed to crush on his first burn.

I managed a first ascent as well during the same session.  An unclimbed line that had been done to the lip by Ryan Scruvy - Scurfield had yet to be completed.  I cleaned up the end and managed an ascent.

If you are looking for more information regarding the AAC, visit their website!  Anyone looking to support the New Campground and get the members discount associated with becoming an AAC member should join!!  Your membership goes towards supporting the AAC's awesome contributions to the climbing community all across the country, not to mention the New River Gorge!  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CO post#1


Its been a little over two and a half weeks since I arrived in Colorado.  Its been warm but at the same time, one of the best places you can be to beat the summer heat.  My trip has had a different tempo compared to last year at the same time.  I have been recovering from a shoulder/lat injury from February and that has effected my desire to push hard.  Nothing is more crippling to an athlete mentally and physically than a persistent injury.  It keeps you from performing at your peak and can devastate your desire to continue to push your limits. On our 3rd or 4th day on the trip I re-tweaked my lat and made an appointment to see a Physical Therapist in Fort Collins were we are staying.

Wednesday morning at 7:30 I was at Jeff Giddings Physical Therapy.  I was lucky to get an appointment with such short notice and even luckier because Jeff is a climber.  He has insight that 20 + years of practice can only get you along with the insight into how climbers operate as athletes.  Jeff had nothing but good news for me.  My injury from February was healing up great and the new pain that I was suffering from was because of permanent muscle contraction points known as trigger points in the muscle that were causing referred pain through my back and shoulder.  Jeff used a technique called dry needling to release the tension and byproducts of muscle respiration from the trigger point which relieved much of the pain that I was experiencing.

Wikipedia Entry -
In the treatment of trigger points for persons with myofascial pain syndrome, dry needling is an invasive procedure in which a filiform needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point. A myofascial trigger point consists of multiple contraction knots, which are related to the production and maintenance of the pain cycle. Deep dry needling for treating trigger points was first introduced by Czech physician Karel Lewit in 1979.

Its been 5 days and I continue to feel better, the best in the past 6 months.  If you are having muscle pain associated with these trigger points, myfascial release through the dry needling technique could help you out.  I suggest doing some research and if you are in the Fort Collins area check out Jeff’s practice.

Jeff Giddings
702 West Drake Road, Building E, Suite A
Fort Collins, Colorado 80526
Phone: 970.416.8342

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rest Dayz

Today is a much needed rest day.  My body is tired from all the climbing and running plus my shoulder and lat are still recovering and I don't want to push it to hard.  I was reading blogs and catching up on what my friends have been up to across the world and I found a few cool things that you may find interesting or lame... or interlamesting

Jimmy is in CO, here is his 5.10 post - http://fiveten.com/community/blog-detail/13186-colorado-1-jimmy-webb

(CO is currently on fire, best guess is it has something to do with hippies, global warming or possibly chupacabras.  Seriously tho, I wish everyone the best who lives out there.  To all the climbers still doing your thing in CO, perhaps now is the time to strike down your projects as they may be firey lava when you return.)

Sasha is being Sasha and winning..  - http://fiveten.com/community/blog-detail/13190-victory-in-spain-sasha-digiulian

Zach Lerner NOTORIOUSLY under the radar, is crushing rock in Swizzy.  Here is a video of Zach climbing at the Lake in CO.

Zach Lerner climbing Bebe Wolverine V12 from Bearcam Media on Vimeo.


Pat Goodman is training and killing it in the NRG - http://bolderznwallz.blogspot.com/2012/06/house-projects-flooring-projects-and-of.html   Pat has a big trip coming up soon.  He and a team of guys will be traveling to CA to establish some new routes up there, A.

Brad Jackson (aka Big$$$$$$ Jackson) of Summit Strength (Fort Collins, CO.) finished shooting an exciting project for the reel rock with some people in Vedauwoo.  So check that out when it comes to your town.  He also tells me that his new facility is up and running.  If you are looking to get serious about taking control of your diet and stepping it up with training, Brad is has the knowledge, direction to get you to your goals.  They put plans together for athletes across the country so check them out before they burn down. http://summitstrengthtraining.com/   Just kidding about burning down.




Monday, June 25, 2012

Bakers Dozen


Thursday I made the five and a half hour drive back to Fayettville WV to spend another weekend in the New River Gorge.  During my last trip, I was gifted with low temps and low humidity.  This trip was the quite the opposite.  June 21st was the summer solstice and conditions reflected it.  
We got into Fayettville late on Thursday, had some dinner and decided to make a plan for Friday.  The forecast looked grim with rain in the afternoon and highs in the 90’s.  Our plan would be to spend the day at Summersville lake.  Its been awhile since I had been to the lake as its 20min outside of the gorge and gets crowded during the weekends.  Rightfully so, the lake boasts climbing of all grades 5.9 - 5.14b not to mention the fact that while in the coliseum, you can climb all day in the shade and take a swim when things start to get too hot.  Its a beautiful place to climb.
We lucked out being that it was a friday morning the crowds had not descended onto Summersville yet.  We shared the entire crag with a handful of climbers and found ourselves spending most of the day completely alone.  After the mid-day summer storm rolled through we were literally the only climbers in the entire place.  In 15years that is a first at Summersville.  We hammered out 11 or 12 pitches that day including classics like Apollo Read, World at War and many others.  
World at War is one of my favorites at the lake.  Its vertical with a very bouldery crux around the 3rd or 4th bolt.  A big move will get you to some jugs and fun climbing to the top.  It is directly next to two other great climbs, under the milky way to the left and another 11ish climb to the right that is just as fun to climb.  All three are worthy of your time if ever you find yourself at the lake looking for something to do.
We stayed late and hiked out that evening in the dark.
Saturday morning we woke to the news that Meinhold would be rolling back into town for another shot at sending Still Life.
Still Life is a proud line that ascends the far right side of the coliseum.  The climb is  three separate boulder problems with a crux finishing move to gain access to the anchors.  I had gotten on it the day before to work out my beta and it has two tough moves for me.  The first is low at the third clip.  You move off of two underclings that are good but have to reach big to a crimp bucket with your left hand.  Its a move that I am not consistent on.  I am at full extent to reach the left hand hold and its gonna be tough on red point to not slip up on that move.  After that you have a crimpy, bouldery section of moderate climbing.  V4ish climbing gains access to a rest jug and starts the business.  From the jugs at the steepest part of the climb to the top is a v9ish boulder problem.  It involves heel hooks, crimps and slopers and a shouldery move to a good edge.  Its a great climb and we wanted to see it go down.  
Stephen has got some crazy tall guy dyno to the start of the crux at the top instead of heel hooks and foot witchcraft.  I have never seen anyone try it that way but it looks awesome when he sticks it and works great for him.  He was so close to the send on saturday, it came down to sticking the low percentage dyno at the top.  Stephen came as close as you can get to the firing that rig, falling at the last bolt but no one walked away with the coveted send that day.  Still life is one I will be looking forward to this fall when temps cool off.
Our last day in town Pat and I had a training day.  We woke up early and started what was to be a 12 mile run.  The run went up and down through the gorge and culminated with a series of 830+ steps up the side of the Kaymore mines.  If anyone has been to the Kaymore mines they know what I am talking about.  We stopped at butchers branch (Kaymore crag) and cleaned up 10 pitches of climbing and finished with the rest of the run from butchers branch to Pat’s house.  From start to finish it took us roughly 5 hours at a moderate pace.  On our way out of town we stopped for a swim and I decided to run two more pitches to even up at 12pitches, 12miles, a solid dozen.  The goal being the bakers dozen, 13miles, 13pitches of 13+ climbing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mid Atlantic Revisited

Over the past few weeks I have been in contact with a few people discussing projects, boulders, new rock old classics and it got me thinking about all the great climbing that we have in the Mid Atlantic.  Its probably never gonna get covered in the media, or sprayed on 8a but thats ok with me.  I speak for many when I say "I am just trying to have a good time, whatever that means".  

Its true tho, PA, WV and MD are loaded with rock. Some good, some not so good and some world class rock.  One thing is for sure, each area is unique and each area has its own charm.  Gtown and Jtown host large quantities of high quality rock ranging in size and difficulty, Stables is the only field other than the south with easy drive up access and Elk tops my list of favorite places to climb in the country.  Not because its considered a home crag even tho its over 3hrs away but because the rock is some of the best I have climbed.  The New River Gorge is LOADED with boulders.  It makes sense tho, with all the cliffs around the area that the bouldering would be so good.  The list goes on and on.  We have a lifetime of rock, it comes down to how hard you want to look for it.

With a little research, I found a few blogs that have pics and media to areas around north west PA that I have yet to visit along with a few areas in the south west.  Once the weather cools off and I return from my adventures out west this summer I plan on checking them out.

Here is Travis Gault crushing a line at coopers rock.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Goodman and the Bad Cat

Pat Goodman FA (Cigarettes, Bacon and Hatred)
A cat pissed on Pat's climbing ropes this past week. Not cool.  In good style tho, Pat sought no lethal revenge upon the creature rather, he took out his frustrations on a new gear route out a proud overhanging arete.  (Mother nature again posed another obstacle, this time not as cat piss but a tree, which blocked almost every move on this rig from my vantage point.)

Mono Loco - NRG

Contrary to popular belief Mono Loco at Beauty Mt. New River Gorge does not have a single mono pocket on it.  It does have a heart breaker move near the top which makes me love it similar to the way I love to put a 9volt battery on my tung..  its always the same result, yet I continue.

If you are psyched on steep, hard sport climbing its worthy of your time, you will not be let down.  Classy FA Mikey.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Organic Crag Pack


I have been waiting for awhile to purchase a new climbing bag.  Most climbing back packs seem to lack one or two key features that I was really looking for, are expensive in relation to the material used and to top it off they are adequate in size but if I needed to bring any additional food or gear for the day, I was stuck cramming my PB&J in my climbing shoe to make it all fit.  What I was really looking for was something large enough to carry all my stuff, plus some, a bag made of quality material with features I could really use.  Organic delivered! Now I have a quality bag made in the U.S.A and I am not going to be dropping $80 - $120 every season to replace a climbing bag that is falling to pieces.  This new line of back packs is perfect for a few pairs of shoes, chalk bag, chalk pot, food harness and whatever else you think you might want or need the next time you are headed to a boulder field or out to the crag.  Its made of extremely durable material with heavy duty zippers, chest strap, waist belt strap and a daisy chain on the front for good measure. It is the next step in comfortable, functional climbing equipment. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Quest



Development of any kind takes a commitment to accept success or failure.  

Curiosity has its own reason for existing.  One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.  It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.  Never lose a holy curiosity 

- Albert Einstein

Ryan "Skerv" on new boulder in MD,
photo by: Original Flavor
Climbing gives me an outlet to explore the unknown, to make choices about how to solve a problem or route and see immediate feedback on my choices.  Finding new routes, new boulders, exploring what I thought I knew about my local crag or a new crag can lead to discoveries that would have otherwise went unrealized.

Recently, my friends rediscovered an area that I had visited briefly several years ago in MD but had failed to find a reason to return.  It turns out that not to far from where I had been looking for new boulders was an incredible boulder field just waiting to be found.  Its funny how close you can be to something without realizing the potential for success.  I have seen pictures of the new stuff they are climbing and its got me psyched to make the trip and check it out.  I am looking forward to seeing something new and having a new adventure.  I had a trip lined up yesterday to check the new area out but I was unable to make it happen due to a scheduling conflict.  I am looking to make a trip in the next week.

Unknown climber on problem at colls cove, western PA

All the new activity got me perusing the internet for climbing footage of remote areas in our region.  Some videos of western PA bouldering have got me amped to see what Coll’s cove has to offer.  Its another gritstone/sandstone area that I have heard good things about.  I forgot how much fun exploring remote regions of PA can be when its hot and humid and conditions are anything but ideal for sending projects.  Plus you cant reap the rewards of hard work without actually getting out and putting in some work looking for new gems.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dominion River Rock, Boulder Bash, Blast Off, Blow Out, Bonanza


After a long, fun weekend at the Dominion comp I have managed to get out of bed this morning without an aching shoulder/back.  Thank GOD! I am really pushing to heal quickly but our bodies have a quick way of reminding us when we push to hard to fast.
The comp this past weekend was great.  I have been looking forward to it since I signed up and it was a great motivational tool to keep me honest with my PT and staying on track healing my injury.  We had a good turnout on the competition side names like J Webb, P Rob, D Woods, Carlo T, Sasha, Angie, both girl and boy Alex.  The crowd was pumped to see everyone jump and swing around on some inverted terrain.
All in all my shoulder held up well and I ended up tied with everyone going into quarter finals and onwards.  The field was so close through the whole event, no one dominating competitor arose however, props to Woods for being the only one to figure out and finish the semi finals problem.  At the end of the comp I didn't make top 5 but there is always next year and I am hoping to be healed by then.  I think DPM or some other media company probably got footage so check around.  Thanks to everyone who showed up to support, to the crowd, the crew who put their hard work into setting up the comp and of course, my super sexy, incredibly functional, late but only fashionably, sponsors who hook it up!!!  Without you guys these events couldn't happen.
and to the dog that jumped 25 feet to win the dog jump. 




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Featured

I started listening to this band The Features.  Its a 3 1/2 hr drive to Richmond on Friday, I should have plenty of time to listen to their new album and make an assessment.  Check em out if you are interested.  They are a little Jack White, Black Keys, Killers and Lady Gaga.....

One time I went on a road trip to the Gunks with my buddy, we listened to a Daft Punk album on repeat for 4hrs (dont ask me which one they sound pretty similar after 4hrs on repeat).  I heard Daft Punk in my dreams for at least 3 days after the experience and to this day I can no longer hear the song Around the World without getting goose pimples.. not the kind of goose pimples you get when you are happy or excited.  Just typing the words Around the World made me puke a small amount.  Here is to your own musical savoir-faire.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rogue


Its been a long and interesting journey recovering from my injury in February.  Time has been kind and has been moving quicker than a cat falling in a bathtub.  School is coming to an end, 3 finals left and I am cant wait to be done with this semester from the devil.  Anyways..  Now that I have managed to tear two of the largest muscles in my body I think I will take it easy for a little and probably retire from getting injured.  Its really not as fun as it sounds and to be honest I would rather be doing something fun rather than sitting on my rear, watching movies, eating ice cream and growing tired at the mention of physical activity.  I think its time I get training.

I started making regular trips to Earth Treks to see how much my shoulder can withstand, so far so good.  I have been able to boulder regularly but my focus has been sport climbing which lends itself to be more challenging for my endurance rather than stressing a healing muscle with sustained burly moves on shouldery Earth Treks boulder problems..  but I'd be damned if they won't get you strong fast.  So with sport season opening on the east coast and my sights set high.  I am planning on being fully recovered by mid summer and ready for action in the fall.  Until then I have got a plate full of ideas of stuff I want to do.  Late if the season I want to return to CO and finish up some projects.  The New River is going to be a destination for much of the first part of my summer and to top off an already full schedule I rallied for the Dominion River Rock comp coming up next week.
pants... what an idiot, it was 300F that day
This will be the second year for the Dominion comp, I can honestly say I have never competed in any event quite like it.  The venue is huge and the walls are not really walls but resemble something from a sci-fi wrestling match, not a climbing competition wall.  Large features of varying shapes and sizes are suspended from a metal structure which allows 360 of viewing for the audience and one hell of a great time for competitors.  I am really psyched to be a part of this event for the second time.
All in all my summer will be jammed packed with school, climbing, work and whatever else happens between now and fall.  Its awesome being back and doing the things you love.

P.S - check out the Dominion site http://www.dominionriverrock.com/events/boulder-bash


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Unofficial, Official, Non Scientific, Scientific Data

Lat Strains are a strain in the arse.   One week and a couple days into PT and I have seen a huge gain in strength and pain is minimizing.  Based on the decrease in pain and my ability to pull more weight I have come to the conclusion that I am on the mend.  Until I am back to 100% I have decided to take up running, gunsmithing, moonshining and duckpin bowling. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Apogee

photo: Danielle Vennard
February is typically the month we expect a few snow storms, bitter cold and more time spent in the gym rather than climbing outside.  We have been rather lucky with no serious snow storms to date and temperatures hovering near perfect for bouldering.  Typically I would be training and climbing in comps but I have been battling a nagging injury that refuses to resolve. During my stay in CO over the summer I noticed pain in my left lat after climbing sessions.  It was never serious enough to end a session but continued to be a nagging pain that would be more intense pre and post work out but during work outs seemed to loosen up enough for me to push on.  Its been about 4months and I am still suffering from a growing pain that seems to be in my lat/scapula/teres major area.  At one point last week I was completely unable to do a pull up.  This week due to increased pain and extreme loose of power in my left arm I stopped climbing and started doing some research.  I am not a Dr. but everything that I have read so far points to a teres major strain with a scapular/lat strain too.  Recovery time is around 4-6weeks and in rare cases upwards of 6months but its worth it to me to finally be back to 100% instead of hovering around 85% for the past 4months.  I am going to see a PT for my injury next week and I hope to get this resolved.
On a lighter note I made the annual trip to Climbnasium for their Frostbite comp last weekend.  They had nearly 140 competitors competing in beginner - open categories.  The energy was great competition was tough and I walked away with a first place finish, win all around.  I was originally planning on attending Nationals but this is no longer an option with my current health....  always next year.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Unlocked

photo: Kyle Adams
Every area that I have been to over the past 14 years climbing has its gems.  Every once in awhile those gems turn out to be difficult and beautiful.  In central Pennsylvania at one of my local crags Governor Stables, we have been trying to unlock the beta to one of the proudest boulders in the field for almost half a decade.  People have come through looking at this horizontal roof devoid of holds near the lip and tried countless ways to figure out how to gain the head wall and finish the boulder to the top. 
I had put a session in on the roof project in the past but I wasn’t making any headway so I almost wrote it off as a lost cause, just another amazing “almost climb” at GS. Last week I got word that the beta was unlocked.  I was curious so I got in touch with my good friend Char who decrypted the sequence that could potentially turn the problem around.  I sent him a text and asked him what was up and what he had figured out.  His response was “its tricky and hard”  hahahaha, not surprising.  Armed with this new knowledge that it was tricky and hard I went out to see what I could come up with.
I spent the first several attempts contemplating the move that only Char had done and trying as hard as I could to think trickely and hardely.  After sometime had passed and I tried everything that we had tried before, I figured it out.  I was psyched and started giving it some red point burns but I was too tired and sick to fire it.  I packed up and headed home.  Char and I talked briefly and we were both so close falling near the end but neither of us sent that weekend.  Char was headed out Monday but because of my class schedule and how sick I was feeling I wouldn’t be able to make it until Tuesday.
Monday Char sent easily in a few try’s and the climb after nearly a decade of attempts and trying to figure out beta finally fell.  I was super happy for Char but I still needed to do the climb.  Tuesday after school I drove up to GS and waited until the sun started to drop and the conditions got crisp and sent in a short session.
I share the same affinity that all climbers do with solving a problem.  Whether its the hard project no one has done or the problem that your buddy walks up with wool socks and a beer in hand thats giving you fits.  Either way I love to climb.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2nd Place Finish PRG Winter Burn - ABS Regionals

photo: Danielle Vennard (WB11)
This weekend was the 6th annual Philadelphia Rock Gym ABS Regional Championships (Winter Burn).  Despite some snowy weather Friday night that looked like it might impair our travels, Saturday morning came and the roads were clear so we made the trip to Philly. 
The Winter Burn always draws a large crowd including some very strong north east climbers.  This year was no exception.  From what I gathered from the staff, this year was PRG's largest turnout and the Open category was stacked as usual.  We had 3 hours to climb in a section judged format competition.  I barely filled my card at the end of 3hrs but I was happy, had a lot of fun and felt good despite having lost a significant amount of skin.
I managed to make finals and in the end ended up in 2nd place when it was over.  Looking back as most competitors do, I wish I would have done a couple of things differently to gain additional holds on some of my attempts.  The competition was tough but I was happy to do as well as I did.   
I had a great time, the setting for the competition was great and seeing old friends and meeting new people is always a good time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

South East


The weather was prime and I couldn’t ask for a better crew or psych than I had over the past week.  I made it to Alabama late last Wednesday and we stayed with our friend Josh Reyes and his family near Birmingham.  Josh’s wife had a pulled pork dinner waiting for us when we got in at 1am.  Southern hospitality cannot be beat.  Where else can you roll in at 1am and have a delicious home cooked meal waiting for you on the table?  We stayed up enjoying our meal and the amazing hospitality talking about the climbs we wanted to get on the next morning at Hp40.  I mentioned that I was really psyched to get on God Module, Slider and a few other rigs that looked incredible.  We were all getting sleepy and decided to call it a night so we cleaned up and went to sleep.

We woke up early the next morning to make the 40 min drive to Hp40.  I have been wanting to try out God Module one of the king lines at hp40 for some time now.  The rock felt like velcro that morning.  I was sure that the weather would not be a factor so we warmed up and headed back to give it a few tries.  My first two attempts were complete failures.  The starting foot on God Module is no better than a grease spot on a flat wall.  The first move felt really difficult and I barely managed to pull off the ground and grab the first crimp let alone make the next move.  I quickly warmed up to the first move and managed to do the rest of the climb in about 10 trys.  I was psyched.  I didn’t expect to send let alone send quickly.  I had some skin to spare and my psych was high so we ran around the boulder field and did a ton of classic hard lines.  I couldn’t have asked for a better first day in the south.
My second day was equally as good but I felt a head cold starting.  My partner on my trip had contracted nothing short of what seemed to be typhoid fever the day before we left and I was the victim of circumstance.  I took some time to rest but the sickness had already set in.  It didn’t end our trip rather, we decided to stay and take longer rest days than initially expected. 
My next day climbing I got a tour of a local AL spot.  I was psyched about getting a chance to climb at a new area and meet some new friends but what I was really looking forward to on the trip tho was my time at LRC.  I had only been there once before and I was injured so my time at LRC was very minimal, a few hours at best and I didn’t get to climb very much.   This time was different.  I was feeling sick but not run down between rest days.  My main goal was the Shield.  Every area has a king line.  The Shield at LRC is a king line.  It climbs an incredible piece of white sandstone with a lighting crack feature directly down the center of a gently overhanging face.

It was cool the day I got to climb at LRC.  Temps were in the 40’s and I was feeling good after a few days of rest.  My throat felt like I had swallowed a mouth full of glass and my nose wouldn’t stop pouring but I was going to make the best of it.    I warmed up on some classics, White Face, Faces in the Crowd and some other lines in that area and then made my way back to my project.  It was my first time attempting the shield so i wasn’t sure what to expect.  I shoed up and made it to the crux of the climb first try.  Got down...  pondered the slopey crimps and cruxs move then gave just the crux section an attempt.  I did the crux moves independently first try and I felt like the climb would fit me very well.  I jumped down and started my red point burns.  I jumped on for my red point burn made it to the jug felt great hit the slopey crimps, still felt good did the crux and was amazed that I was at the top of the boulder problem.  It felt like i had energy to spare and I was surprised to be at the top on my 3rd go at it.  I was psyched however; I couldn’t reach the last move.....  I tried everything...  but the hold felt completely out of reach.  I finally dropped to the ground and made a few more goes at the last move until I realized that I would need to grab the last good crimp slightly differently than I originally thought and needed to adjust my beta.  Once I realized what I had to do at the end of the climb I felt confident that it would go down.  I did the climb next try and was so psyched to be topping out this amazing boulder problem.  The rest of the trip didn’t resonate completely with me.  I was so happy to do so many great lines while I was in the south and to have climbed really well even tho I was sick.  It felt heady as we walked out of LRC our final day.  The south is just an amazing place to climb.