Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lame Climbing and Alaska

Climbed at Momentum Tuesday Eve. while Dal was in Basecamp (the Jr. Climbing Team). We went back over the comp routes again. First of all, they set that green Maple Route I redpointed as a 5.10c - totally the highest redpoint I've ever done and that feels cool.

Second, I managed to get up that purple sloper-from-smurf 5.9 up to the same spot again before my left hand gave up and told me to stop. Though this time I did it in much better speed and style. I was wearing the ancient Acopa JB Hightops I got off mountainproject a couple years ago. They felt slippery and didn't edge well. Probably too worn out. I switched to the new Aztecs and they felt much better.

I got on the old yellow 5.10a that I've been working for a year now. Got past all the lower sticking spots and actually only about 8 holds from the top when my left hand gave up and I popped off. I think I need to work my left hand for endurance more. Maybe lap some annoying 5.8 or 5.9 or just consecutive redpointing on the evil purple? Something.

But then we get to the whole Alaska thingy. I'm going to Alaska to do some advanced glacier training. Going up to Talkeetna and from there in a small plane to a remote glacier where I'll spend two weeks with our crew of 6 climbers and 2 guides. We'll be doing whatever is "in shape" to climb while learning advanced rope, avalanche and rescue skills. Should be fun.

So I've had to change my workouts to allow myself to recover enough (stopped doing weights) but increase my cardio for long days hiking with a pack. This time I didn't do any pack-weighted hiking or treadmills like I did for Kautz or Ecuador. We'll see how that plays out. On top of that, the minute I come home I have to get back into it because 5 weeks later I go to Mt. Rainier for the Liberty Ridge climb. Three clients and two guides. Hardest guided route on Rainier. Once you start you have to go over the top. There is no bailing. No way down. Lol. Tons of fun.

Since we have to go up and over (climb Liberty Ridge, descend Emmons Glacier) we have to carry everything on summit day (normally on a climb like this you would carry only emergency clothing and minimal food and water on summit day - maybe 10 lb), so we're limited to 30-ish pounds of our own stuff and about 15 pounds of group gear and food. I can go forever on the flats with that little load, so I just have to work on the whole 70-degree slope thing. About the same as on Iliniza Sur, but about 1,000' longer.

Anyway, DW did pretty decent on her climbs on Tue, but was also feeling a bit weaker than normal. Must be something going around ...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hardcore Gym Climbing - Comp and Not

Momentum had a Jr. Comp on Saturday the 25th of April, but they had a Citizen's Comp to Pre-Climb the routes on Friday Night. It was overall a real pain, and I managed to climb a 5.7 I didn't like and a 5.8 that I did. DW didn't really climb up to her full potential either.

We were going to climb outside as further training for me for Alaska, but it was pouring rain and then snow on Saturday, so after the trampoline adventure (another reason to be waiting on the roof with a shotgun on Christmas Eve) we decided to go to the gym and then out to eat.

We ended up going to Smith's first, because they had a bike sale on and there were a couple that Angie wanted to show me. Then we went to Momentum and got climbing. Angie climbed hard, starting a 5.13 just to see what it was like, plus a few good sends. I sent a green 5.10 (another one of the SoIll Maple Routes - seems like it's my thing) in only two tries - amazing. Then I did two attempts on a purple 9 that was really just awful slopers in bad sequences. I managed to get to the 2nd to last hold when my hands were done. So next time ---

We went to Red Robbin as our last meal out together as a couple before I go to Alaska for a couple weeks. This is going to be a rough week as I get stuff wrapped up at home and work so I'm ready to go. I'll be completely out of communications the whole two weeks - great Himalayan training I guess.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Draper Red Rock Climbing - 1st time 2009 season

Wed. Apr. 22, 2009 - this evening we took the boys up to the Draper Red Rock for an "intro to outdoor climbing" since they've both been such gym rats this past year.

While I went up to the top of the 5.7 to set a toprope and rappel down, they bouldered in the little cave under the 9 and 10's.

We sent Brennan up first, and he had to be talked up pretty hard, but he made it and did a decent job. Then DW went up, and she did an excellent job considering she doesn't really like outdoor climbing that much. We sent Dal up next and though he's been toproping 8's in the gym for his Momentum Climbing Base Camp Jr. Climbing Team, he was a bit disconcerted to be climbing outside on sharp pointy rocks that can cause great physical damage, but he did really good in spite of his fear. Then I went up and boogied up the center of the route, and thought it was a lot easier than last time - guess it's the shoes? Then Bren took another shot at it and just flew up it - no fear at all this time.

I took Dal up on the hiking trail to the top with a sling and locker so I could show him how to clip in at the top and take down the toprope anchors. He needs to start young. He loved leaning over the edge and waving at his brother and mom. Then we hiked down, gathered everyone and left the rock to two guys who showed up to climb. Good job all!

DW should have the pics up on her site before long.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Amazingly Great "HEALTHY" Egg/Fish Salad

I discovered, quite by accident, this amazingly good recipe:

In a Microwavable Plastic Container that seals tight, place:

1 chopped up hard-boiled egg
1 grilled just-done (not overcooked) pollack fillet
1/2 chopped avocado
2 diced oriental snow pea pods (yes two pods)
1 tbs Johnny's Jamaica-Me-Crazy sauce (though any dressing would do)
1 slice cheddar cheese diced

Put the lid on and shake till it's gloppy-gooey. If the pollack is not overcooked it will shred into flakes as you shake it.


I mixed mine with a Spring Green Salad Mix and devoured it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lead Climbing Training

Last night (Wednesday April 15) I took Mark, a neighbor, down to Momentum to teach him Lead Climbing. He asked me about it on Sunday at church and I said "sure, I can do that", since I have done it before (teach lead climbing that is).

We talked some about it, and I told him that lead climbing would quickly make his 5.6's outside feel like 10's and he was a bit skeptical of that.

I took him in and found a hanger about 2' up on the short wall of the middle island of routes and had him practice clipping with both hands from both sides of the quickdraw, then had him take the draw up to a hanger about 9' up and boulder up to it and practice clipping and unclipping from about chest height while hanging on holds, then I had him come down a bit so the draw was barely within reach and again, clip both hands both sides.

Then he felt strong and confident so he tied into the toprope and headed off up the black "yinyang" 5.10 there. At the first clip he couldn't do it so he switched to "rainbowing" the route (Angie's nickname for 'any color hold') and made it to the top. I had him clean on the way down and then gave him some helpful advice to help him do it more efficiently (particularly outside where efficiency and protecting yourself from potential injury or loss is very important). He said that leading was a whole different world and that it felt much harder because of the whole one-hand hanging one-hand busily doing a higher motor skills task. Well, not in those words anyway...

I switched him over to the green "Maple Route" a pebbly 5.10 that I really like. He did good enough and made it, but his main focus is bouldering (in which he says he's working V4's at The Quarry in Provo) so he isn't "efficient" - if you only have to go 12' or so, you can waste energy on all kinds of odd contortions, but on a rope, especially multi-pitch, you need to conserve energy and use better technique and I offered some advice on how to better switch hands and feet rather than making cool-looking crossovers and stepping through with full rotation.

I was trying out my ancient LaSportiva Tradmasters since I'll have to take them to Alaska with me next month. They want me to wear rock shoes I can wear wool socks in and I don't really want to buy new shoes, and these are very sturdy and solid outdoor trad shoes.

La Sportiva Men's Tradmaster Climbing Shoe (Spring 2009)
Click for Details or to Purchase at

I decided to get on the black 5.8 that Dallin is working, and it wasn't too bad, just odd without pointy toes. Mark said he'd never done a 5.8, which is too bad, since I think the best learning is from doing 5.8's. Even Jeff (gym owner and major FA/routesetter in Utah) says he's bailed from gnarly 5.8's outside. I explained that to Mark and sent him up the red blocky 5.8 on the other side of the Maple Route without Mock Leading (since it's wild enough without trying to lead it).

He did pretty good, got into some much better positions. I had noticed on the Maple Route that he was resistant to stemming and backstepping, so the ultimate route for that is the black 5.9 in the corner by the 5.9 layback crack. I had him Mock Lead (mock lead is when you're on toprope hauling a second rope and quickdraws up so you can clip and clean as you go up and down - the belayer would typically leave a small loop, about 4' of slack, so that you feel at-risk and understand better the feeling of leading) the route. He did good - really good. I gave him a bit of beta here and there "STEM LEFT" or "BACKSTEP REALLY HIGH RIGHT" and he had a few "gripped" moments, which was cool. When he came down he was pretty wasted.

I ran up the purple 5.7 on the short end of the overhanging wall of the middle island (next to the infamous yellow alien-planet 5.11+ that Angie onsited to cause a near fist-fight when someone dissed her as being unsuitable for climbing anything over 5.9 and she pointed out that was ironic coming from a "flailing gumbie" - LOL!

Feeling much more comfortable in old-school shoes and wool socks. Mark mentioned he used to climb in Madrock Phoenix - about the same deal and very popular shoes.

Mad Rock Phoenix Climbing Shoe
Click for Details or to Purchase at

I sent Mark up the mystery 5.x black route I onsited last week, and he didn't use the arete at all (like I did) and did a decent job. I told him then it was late (after 8 PM) and that I had stuff to pick up at REI so he could go boulder and I'd be back later. I told him he'd learned enough for one night and that we'd take him outside for a real lead on a 5.7 before he got psyched to take the lead test at Momentum - an overhanging 5.10a (but really juggy).

When I got back he was working a V3 with some friends and I gave them some cool beta and Mark just barely grabbed the top hold on his final try. We headed home then. Good night!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Buying a Condo in Keystone Colorado

Economy barely affects vacation condo market in Summit County Keystone Colorado

"Based on several factors like a strong housing rebound in California and incen­tives from the economic stimulus package, Yun said the market is bottoming out. Sales volume and prices could climb 10 to 20 per­cent in the second half of this year"

Read the article for more information, but the firesale market seems to be drying up quickly.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Scarpa Mago Momentum Climbing

Scarpa Mago Cliimbing Shoe (Spring 2009)
Scarpa Mago Rock Climbing Shoe Extreme Sport Bouldering

Angie got a new pair of Scarpa Mago Rock Climbing Shoes on Wednesday night while we were climbing at the Quarry. We went to climb, but since it was "Mutual" and "Single Ward" night, every rope had a dozen people on it at once, mostly NOOB, so I was out. She bouldered hard, and sent most of the v0 and v1, even trying a few v2 and v3. Good stuff.

She was wasted and needed a break, and remembered that I had offered to buy her some bouldering shoes if she progressed up to v2, so I went down to see who was on duty. Christian. Far out. He's a great guy. He and Adam are pretty cool, and I go down and try on shoes with them for "fun" and they dig it.

So we went down, and dug through their stuff to find a shoe that would be good for inverted, pockets, steep, and had a good camber and pointy toe, while considering her marginal "Morton Toe". She tried quite a few, and ended up with the Mago, and the Testarossa as her two finalists.

La Sportiva Men's Testarossa Climbing Shoe (Spring 2009)
LaSportiva Testarossa Rock Climbing Sport Bouldering Shoe

Christian had his hands full with a family from down by Nephi buying equipment for two older teenage boys, and we of course offered our two cents, and I believe helped him close the deal while still doing his best to serve his customers. In the meantime, Angie slipped into the bouldering room and compared the two shoes. The Mago won. (though I preferred the Testarossa, but it's way too much shoe for me at my humble level)

So on Thursday, during basecamp (kids climbing team) she did some toproping in them. She started on a new 5.8, but didn't like it at all so switched to a 9 that felt good to her. I went around to the other side of the wall and did a nice new 8 that I really liked. Onsited it. Then she did it and loved the pockets with her new pointy toed Magos. She got on then and tried a couple of evil 10's but didn't really feel like she was getting the best out of her shoes, threw them a few times (not at me this time) and I got on then and did the 9 she had finished first - again - onsited it (one of the few onsite 9's I've done).

I talked to her about some advice Adam gave me about cinching up the laces at the forefoot to draw the leather into the crease of the folded toes, so she broke down and tried it, and did the small brown 9 near the arete and then the yellow 10b. She did completely different footwork and took different holds, and it was great watching her step into the new world of high-end climbing these shoes would carry her into (and that's some mixed metaphors there).

She can hardly wait to get on it some more, so we're going to climb Saturday. I think the Pauls will be there - since they have a sitter and he at least is eager. Wonder if I can ever talk him into Rainier? Anyway, my wrist and fingers are sore, but hopefully I'll be back in shape for Saturday.

It was totally cool though to flash a 9.