Friday, July 25, 2008

It's water soloing time

Getting acclimated back to the Texas heat has been tough. As early as April I was seriously doubting my return and wondering if people could really climb in this heat and humidity. Then, I went to Pace Bend and reminded myself what climbing in Texas' summer is all about.

I didn't remember there being so many routes at Pace Bend when I lived here before, but the heat has apparently driven the growing Austin crowd to seek more routes above the cool waters of Lake Travis.

There's almost always a crew of folks out on the weekends and no matter what the lake levels are at there's typically a place that is safe to climb. If anything, the top-outs will just get more and more mental as the crags get taller and taller.

The routes are pretty consistent with other Austin cragging in that most of it is juggy and overhung. However, there are plenty of routes with vertical/technical features as well. Also, routes range anywhere from 5.5 - 5.13 so you are sure to be entertained for many summers to come.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fontline airs "Storm over Everest"

This week PBS aired a Frontline special covering the May 10, 1996 epic on Everest that was earlier revealed in Jon Krakaeur's book, Into Thin Air.

Go to the PBS link below to view an online version, explore a "Roundtable" of climbing ethics, view an interactive map that takes you through the events, and read other interviews/discussions around the special and epic Everest events.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Endurance and Competition

I recently participated in my first climbing comp – The Limestoner in Austin, TX. In the past I avoided competing for a fear that it would potentially affect my passion for the sport. I always had this notion that mixing commercial interests (sponsors) and competition (climbing for a reason other than connecting with the environment) would take away from climbing’s purity.

But, I see it as a way to compete with myself. I entered the endurance portion of the competition. This awards the climber who climbs the most routes and at the hardest levels. And, since I had climbed 32 routes for my birthday a month or so earlier, I figured this would be a good opportunity to really push myself and see how far I could go, a notion I doubt any belayer could be as excited about. Luckily, I had a great buddy (Randy, a climber profiled in an earlier blog article) who was willing to help out.

Actually, when it came down to it, the fact that there were other competent climbers in the endurance portion pushed me even harder to keep going and try harder. Maybe I am competitive after all.

Regardless, the comp helped me push myself beyond any point I had experienced in the past and helped fuel my confidence for upcoming challenges.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tufa City

A few weeks back I went down to Mexico with a couple friends to climb the enormous tufa cave at El Salto, Mex. First of all, El Salto was unexpectedly at a pretty high elevation – considerably speaking at least. There were pine trees and the weather was nice and crisp…perfect sending weather.

The scenery was pretty amazing. The trees were sagging with long moss and we were crammed in this rocky valley about 200 meters across with towering limestone crags on either side. There seemed to be the potential for multi-pitch everywhere. But, you can climb multi-pitch in Potrero, we wanted to pull down on tufas.

The drive in was a sketchy 4x4 trail where we kept getting passed by teams of ATV weekenders that seemed to be barely making it themselves. The climbing was well worth it though.

Once we finally got on some routes, we found it to be some of the most amazing overhanging routes we’d touched. Nasfuratu has become one of my top ten routes and I still can’t stop thinking about the moves. It’s that perfect route that has consistent moves, requires technique and makes you think about every second you’re on the wall. Then, once you think it’s over, you have a huge throw to a semi-blind slot that you either get or you miss…

I plan on getting back out there again soon. Who wants to go?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Motivation: 31 routes and one for good luck

It's crazy how much motivation plays as a factor to reaching certain goals in climbing. I have had days where I feel great physically, but am just not feeling the motivation from my climbing partners. It can be hard to concentrate and push yourself when your partner isnt saying a word and you have to look down to make sure they arent sleeping.

On the other end, if your climbing partner is psyched and wants to see you succeed, he/she will push you, read your emotions and even scream for you. That's when I do my best. Recently, I had my 31st birthday and I wanted to celebrate it by climbing my age in routes. The whole day I had a great friend belaying me and my girlfriend keeping me motivated. As a matter of fact, almost everyone at the crag was cheering for me and letting me run through on their routes and on their gear.

This kept me going and kept me psyched and not even considering giving up. Fear and tiredness didnt even enter my mind that day, whereas if a climbing partner is a wet blanket, I will sketch out on minimum run-out and take on a route I know I can crush.

It's important to stay psyched and climb with people that challenge you to push on. At least that's the case with someone like me who feeds off of the people around me. I also feel its important for me to keep my partners and other climbers psyched to keep the vibe up -- so go SEND IT!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cobras are back?

Apparently La Sportiva is bringing back the sorely missed Cobra. Currently available in Europe, the near perfect shoe is slated for a Fall USA market return.

Bout time La Sportiva!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary 1919 - 2008

The first to send Everest has passed. Hillary died at 88. The humble conquerer attributed most of his accomplishments to motivation and drive once stating, "I think it all comes down to motivation. If you really want to do something, you will work hard for it," a motto we could all live by.