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re-learning how to climb

to say that it’s been awhile is a bit of an understatement. probably close to a year and a half. in fact, i don’t think i posted a single thing in 2013. ‘so why now?’, you may ask. well, before i answer that, a bit of an explanation on the hiatus.

 

plain and simple, i got sucked into a long term project in clear creek canyon last year. this one rock climb consumed all my climbing focus. i can’t recall exactly how many times i walked down toward the creek, put my pack down and looked up at all those draws hanging off the wall. i wanted to send this route more than any other route i had ever been on before. in my head, it represented a huge milestone; it somehow meant that i had accomplished something.

 

anyway, after working the moves over a few sessions, i eventually had all the beta completely sussed out, one might say dialed in. keep in mind, that the first time i got on this route, i couldn’t even do some of the moves. thoughts of sending this route were a bit of a pipedream, but we have to have goals, right? so armed with a bit of confidence, i started giving it redpoint burns. with each attempt, i was making upward progress. i was getting high point after high point. on my best attempt, i got to the last move of the true crux, pulled as hard as i could, bobbled the next hold, then fell. as i swung in the air above the creek, i dropped a lot of f-bombs. i don’t know if it was a true wobbler, but if it wasn’t, it was pretty close.

 

i continued to try the route, but never got back to that high point. soon after, it felt like i was merely rehearsing moves. i wasn’t really climbing, but just going through robotic motions. because of this, my overall climbing really suffered. it felt like i had lost my ability to figure out moves on new climbs i tried. i was only good at the moves on one climb, and that was it. i was falling on climbs that were at least a full number grade easier, and this started the downward spiral. a complete lack of success on any climbs at a grade you believe you should have success on becomes intensely frustrating. it made me dislike climbing, and the inevitable, impending failures.

 

so i just sort of stopped climbing outside. it always seemed like too much work. one of the hardest parts was the fact i still had to set routes at the gym. when you’re not psyched on climbing, hauling up and down a rope or running up and down a ladder to put up climbs for other people doesn’t help your mindset. this lasted a good 6 or 7 months.

 

about a month and a half ago, i went outside with my friends keith and dan. they took me to a new climb in clear creek put up by our friend kevin. i was told it was my style, that it suited me. fine. i’ll try it out. turns out, they weren’t lying, it perfectly fit my style of climbing. i was able to send it rather quickly (for me), and the excitement started building. after that, i went back to a climb that i had tried the previous year, while in the midst of my climbing ‘funk’. there were moves on this particular climb that i could not figure out. it had me stumped and frustrated. at the time, i blamed it on my height. this time around, though, after a few tries, i figured out the moves. i was stoked! the mojo was building! soon after this breakthrough, i sent a route i had tried a few times over the last few years. this got me thinking, ‘maybe i could go back to the old project, see if enough time has passed’.

 

which brings us to the reason for the post. i went down to the new river wall today, and gave it a go. clearly didn’t send it, but i was able to do all the moves first try. it felt reasonable this time around. the moves just sort of happened, they were buried deep in the brain sauce somewhere. i think i have re-learned how to climb. i believe that i somehow became a better climber, by not really climbing for a while. strange phenomenon. i just hope this is the start to a good summer season here in the front range, and i think my lofty goals are back on the table…


New perspectives and being thankful

I know thanksgiving is still several weeks away, but I have a lot to be thankful for. Last Friday, while riding my bike home in capitol hill, a car opened its door at the very instant I was passing it. I launched! Like 8 feet out. That in and of itself is horrible. It’s one nightmare that every biker or cyclist has had. It’s always in the back of your head. What made this even worse was the car coming up the street from the other direction. Not a bad thing, in and of itself, but if you’ve been in cap hill before, you know how narrow the streets are. So I was flying directly into oncoming traffic.

You always hear that peoples lives flash before their eyes before they die, or think they’re going to die. That’s horse shit! As I flew through the air, all I could think about was how this was a really lame way to go out. I was certain I was going to get hit by the oncoming car, and I accepted that fate. My body was limp.

The instant I hit the ground I heard the screeching tires and brakes as the driver mashed on the pedal. I could do nothing but lay there, helpless and vulnerable. I opened my eyes to see the car tire stopped 2 feet away from me. My shoulder hurt, my hand a wrist were bruised, but nothing was broken. I had hit my head pretty good, but had my helmet on. I should be in the hospital, or worse. But I rode the 1 block home and ordered a pizza. For all intents and purposes, and against the odds, I was fine. Someone or something was looking out for me.

On Sunday I tried to go climbing with my friend Bobbi. I was hungover and sore (post Halloween costume party and bike wreck, respectively). I played around, but my shoulder was def on fire. It especially hurt to belay. It’s a great excuse to get out of belay duty, but in all honesty I’d rather not have the pain and be forced to belay. After we wrapped up, I started to contemplate what would happen, what my path would be, if this became a nagging and chronic problem. What if my shoulder didn’t get better? I was bummed out and slipped into a funk.

The Monday setting session at the gym brought little in the way relief, either physically or mentally. I struggled to move our 35ft extension ladder, “widow maker”. While you’re never fully comfortable moving it, I was really out of sorts, and it seemed heinously difficult due to the shoulder. Tuesday we set the boulder, and I was very gun shy about forerunning the problems. But once I got warmed up, I felt a bit more confident, and the shoulder felt a bit better. It didn’t really hurt for the rest of the day. There was a slight dull ache, but that was it.

I awoke this morning with the same dull ache, but no sharp pains. I was slated to work for a bit at the gym, then head out to get on my project, ‘public inclinations’ (13d). I finally got into the canyon about 45 minutes late, just due to errands and traffic. I was nervous, but amped when I started hiking. I felt good warming up, and while lowering, I brushed holds and did a few moves on the proj. After belaying my buddy Kris on ‘sonic youth’ (he managed a 1 hang), I tied in for a burn. 1 shot, 1 kill! With significant effort I was able to get through the 3rd crux (where i had fallen the last 4 goes) and found myself clipping the chains. This one was a physical and mental battle. Falling at the same spot 4 times in a row had me wondering if I had trained myself to fail there. I was questioning my physical health. But it all worked out, and I thankfully notched a new grade. Well earned, I think.

On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for the kind words and well wishes over the last several days. Wonderful people in my life, just one more thing to be thankful for.


New perspectives and being thankful

I know thanksgiving is still several weeks away, but I have a lot to be thankful for. Last Friday, while riding my bike home in capitol hill, a car opened its door at the very instant I was passing it. I launched! Like 8 feet out. That in and of itself is horrible. It’s one nightmare that every biker or cyclist has had. It’s always in the back of your head. What made this even worse was the car coming up the street from the other direction. Not a bad thing, in and of itself, but if you’ve been in cap hill before, you know how narrow the streets are. So I was flying directly into oncoming traffic.

You always hear that peoples lives flash before their eyes before they die, or think they’re going to die. That’s horse shit! As I flew through the air, all I could think about was how this was a really lame way to go out. I was certain I was going to get hit by the oncoming car, and I accepted that fate. My body was limp.

The instant I hit the ground I heard the screeching tires and brakes as the driver mashed on the pedal. I could do nothing but lay there, helpless and vulnerable. I opened my eyes to see the car tire stopped 2 feet away from me. My shoulder hurt, my hand a wrist were bruised, but nothing was broken. I had hit my head pretty good, but had my helmet on. I should be in the hospital, or worse. But I rode the 1 block home and ordered a pizza. For all intents and purposes, and against the odds, I was fine. Someone or something was looking out for me.

On Sunday I tried to go climbing with my friend Bobbi. I was hungover and sore (post Halloween costume party and bike wreck, respectively). I played around, but my shoulder was def on fire. It especially hurt to belay. It’s a great excuse to get out of belay duty, but in all honesty I’d rather not have the pain and be forced to belay. After we wrapped up, I started to contemplate what would happen, what my path would be, if this became a nagging and chronic problem. What if my shoulder didn’t get better? I was bummed out and slipped into a funk.

The Monday setting session at the gym brought little in the way relief, either physically or mentally. I struggled to move our 35ft extension ladder, “widow maker”. While you’re never fully comfortable moving it, I was really out of sorts, and it seemed heinously difficult due to the shoulder. Tuesday we set the boulder, and I was very gun shy about forerunning the problems. But once I got warmed up, I felt a bit more confident, and the shoulder felt a bit better. It didn’t really hurt for the rest of the day. There was a slight dull ache, but that was it.

I awoke this morning with the same dull ache, but no sharp pains. I was slated to work for a bit at the gym, then head out to get on my project, ‘public inclinations’ (13d). I finally got into the canyon about 45 minutes late, just due to errands and traffic. I was nervous, but amped when I started hiking. I felt good warming up, and while lowering, I brushed holds and did a few moves on the proj. After belaying my buddy Kris on ‘sonic youth’ (he managed a 1 hang), I tied in for a burn. 1 shot, 1 kill! With significant effort I was able to get through the 3rd crux (where i had fallen the last 4 goes) and found myself clipping the chains. This one was a physical and mental battle. Falling at the same spot 4 times in a row had me wondering if I had trained myself to fail there. I was questioning my physical health. But it all worked out, and I thankfully notched a new grade. Well earned, I think.

On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for the kind words and well wishes over the last several days. Wonderful people in my life, just one more thing to be thankful for.


looking back at the summer of george, now 1 year removed

what a difference 1 year makes.  this time last year i was coming off of a successful month in maple canyon, and gearing up for 2 solid months in rifle.  my fitness was at an all time high.  flash forward to today, and i’m pretty beat down physically a lot of the time.  since sending ‘public enemy’, there hasn’t been a whole lot of activity (1 13b and 1 13a…)

so while climbing hasn’t been a huge priority lately, it has given me the chance to reflect on how special and amazing my ‘summer of george’ was (for me, anyway), strictly from a climbing perspective.  so here goes… Continue reading


on my way to being back in the game!

felt really good to clip some chains today!  hiked back up to the slab today with g-money and rylan to try to put down ‘s00pr kr33m’.  i was feeling rather optimistic after the last time.   Continue reading


wow, it’s been a minute…

it has been quite a while since my last update.  mainly because i haven’t really been climbing a whole lot.  on the routesetting front, my impact driver/wrench died, forcing me to set with a hand wrench.  by the end of the week it’s crippling.   Continue reading


redemption

took 3 tries today, but i clipped the chains on public enemy (13d).  new grade, so psyched, glad i was able to redeem myself.  great start to the outdoor season!

oh, and thanks, corey, for the belays.  good work on sending ‘love your enemies’!


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