Tuesday, July 28

Bouldering

It's been about a month of bouldering. So much learning... I know what to expect in the Bear Lake parking lot. I know the trail to Lake Haiyaha too well.  I've met so many new people - almost an entirely different crowd than the sport climbing scene. I've acquired some power, I've fallen on my ass (x1000), my eyes have opened considerably. I can find my way around the boulders and even sometimes give others directions. The best outcome is that I've grown a considerable appreciation for bouldering, this specific corner of the Park, and furthermore I've really enjoyed myself.


Rocky Mountain National Park is truly the best venue for bouldering I've ever experienced, and Upper and Lower Chaos are down right stunning environments, just to be in. Add friends and motivation and a purpose to explore... this is a world class destination. Every day I've been up there I've felt blessed and stoked. To make things better I've even been doing some climbs too.

I set a very arbitrary goal in late June to try and climb a dozen V12s or harder before the Outdoor Retailer Show in early August. This is nothing more than a week's effort for bone crushers like Daniel, Jimmy or Dave but for me it felt like a formidable challenge. Especially considering that previously I had climbed only a couple V12's, ever. Doing the Automater V13 with relative quickness was hugely motivating, but it was still more or less a short, hard route. So I aimed for some pure boulders, like 'European Human Being' V12, 'Secret Splendor' V12 and 'Nothing but Sunshine' V13. These problems are less than 6 moves, and hard. These really opened my eyes to the more aggressive boulders around, and encouraged me to try one on the top of my list, Jade. 


Flash on 'Barbed Wire Beard' V11 

At first it was a bit of a battle to refrain from tying in. I wanted to get pumped so badly, but I stuck to the program and really tried to focus my energy on the bouldering life. Aside from a week of sour weather and a long weekend traveling, I have been in the Park 4 days a week all month. Things have really started to click for me in the last week, and especially in the last two days. 


Bear Cam shooting up a storm on Meagan Martin and 'Running Scared' V10 

On Sunday I climbed Jade. A problem that I have heard about since it's genesis in 2007. I never ever imagined climbing this problem and was skeptical even after trying it for an hour. In the moment I knew what needed to be done, and it was only a matter of forcing my body to exert itself near maximum. Doing the crux was a strange feeling that I've really never experienced before. Being so on the verge of failure and yet simultaneously feeling in complete control. Encouragement from friends, outstanding conditions and very low expectations lead me to the summit. It was... surreal... and very motivating. 


Jade was number 9 on my list after 'Automater' V13, 'Element of Surprise' V12, 'Nothing But Sunshine' V13, 'Centaur' V12, 'Freaks of the Industry' V13, 'European Human Being' V12, 'Secret Splendor' V12 and 'Riddles in the Park' V12. Yesterday I returned to the Green 45 in search of number 10. 'Wild Cat' V12 was especially hard for me but I fought through it with a spot and support from my Dad. On the other side I started fooling around on 'Don't Get Too Greedy' V13, and give it a successful rip during a horrendous gale wind. It's one of my favorite problems that I've done. I've got one week of bouldering left. 


Don't Get Too Greedy 

Originally my hope was mainly to improve my power, and hopefully improve my chances of success on this fall's mission back to Spain. Somewhere along the way I started really liking bouldering, and while it still feels like practice, I am for sure planning another month of it next year. Yes, pretty stoked!

If you happen to be in the Estes Park area next month, come check out the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous on August 15. I will be presenting on my spring in Spain and this last month of bouldering, including many videos and photos and laughs! so yeah. Come and drink beer and enjoy! 

Hopefully see some of you out there! 

Wednesday, July 15

Estes Life

Much in the same schedule as last year, I set aside a good chunk of my summer months to be in the Colorado alpine. Estes Park is one of many places around the globe that I feel blessed to call home. Every August since I was born my family and I have taken a road trip - some longer than others as we moved around the country - to visit and enjoy Estes Park. Finally, some seven years ago, my parents pulled the trigger and bought a small cabin just a few miles from the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. Since then this early 20th century cabin has been the jump off spot for Diamond missions, days of bolting, mountain runs and any other exhausting endeavor we can get into up here.




Somehow, despite the huge rise in popularity over the last several years I barely even thought of bouldering in the Alpine. The taller objectives have always been my primary motivation, but I knew that one day, when it felt right (or I was kind of forced into it) I would dive into the awesome bouldering resource that is here in RMNP.

A way above average snow pack made me double guess my original summer plans... but... well.. maybe it was time to give this bouldering thing a shot.



I rarely tie in when I'm climbing indoors but realistically I've only clocked a handful of bouldering days outside a year for the last... eight years? And by todays standard I have never bouldered anything hard. Plus, with strength and power being my distinct weakness, maybe a summer of bouldering would be a perfect alternative. So there it is.

Week before last I got out as much as I could. Alone, with my Dad, or with who ever I met at the boulders. It was rad. I climbed 'Automater' v13, 'Element of Surprise' v12, 'Nothin but Sunshine' v13 and 'Centaur' v12. Probably more hard boulders in a handful of climbing days than I have done in my entire 11 years of climbing beforehand. It was very motivating and encouraged me to stick with it at least until the snow melts. The last two weeks I wrapped up a training cycle in Boulder and took a quick trip up to Squamish for the Arcteryx Climbing Academy.




Isabelle Faus agonizingly close on Centaur. 
She is a bone crusher, and I would plan to see a lot more of this girl. Very inspiring to climb with her this day. 

The Academy was awesome. I lined up with many of the other North American Arc Athletes -- we talked products, we shared stories, we gave our feedback and we celebrated together. This group, along with the whole Arcteryx family are so varied, talented and simply rad. It's an easy group to hang out with, get along with, and dream with. The actual event was hosted at a stunning venue - the atop the new Sea to Sky Gondola. We shared beers overlooking ridiculous sunsets with speakers and films playing through the evening. During the day I taught a sport climbing clinic with a crew of super motivated and strong climbers. After just 4 days I'm back at our little cabin in Estes, motivated and hopeful to get the most out of the next 3 weeks of pure bouldering!































If you missed it, several of the videos from my trip to Europe have emerged, with a few more still to release. Have a watch below for some sports action at Ceuse and Siurana. Enjoy! And while you're at it, click over to the brand new Bear Cam Media site for your visual pleasure!





---------Life Beyond Walls--------




Tuesday, June 16

the list

Settling back into USA life. The pace has mellowed, the goals have changed, the faces and languages are different. I'm taking care of all the responsibilities that I avoided during travel, I'm making plans and seeing friends. Training hard for the summer and fall.


I always have a running list of obscure routes, forgotten projects, once such pressing ideas and little hints that friends have sent my way. This list is where I go when I feel a little lost or in-between travel when I'm keen to get out. I kinda love this list. Some routes stay on this list for many many years and others get deleted after a short visit or better yet a send. 

I did two routes on this list since I landed back in the States. Homeboy Bear Cam was there to capture both--- 


I finished a route that I had bolted 2 years ago. 'I am the Walrus' is a 35 meter beast on the South Face of Seal Rock. In my (extended) absence, my long time buddy Elliot Bates took over the project, cleaning and unlocking sequences. He generously let me come back on board and climb the route last week. It's rad. Light duty 14b, just too hard at 14a for me. Elliot will send soon and then the route will be officially open. I have a feeling that it will be well loved by all the strong men and women of the Front Range.. 


'Ninja Ladder' 14a. I first tried this Big Thompson test-piece only days after I climbed 'Grand Ol Opry' 14b at the Monastery - my first of the grade back in 2008. I remember this route feeling very hard. Not sure if I did all the moves that day. The route remained on my outmost radar for many years but this past April while climbing with Andre DiFelice we somehow brought it up. He being a Fort Collins local and good buddy to Geoff Sluyter, the first ascentionist. We got all fired up about it and it immediately moved to high priority on the forgotten list. So glad I revised yesterday and found my way to the top for likely the route's second ascent since it was bolted in the mid 90's and done in 2000. Truly it's a gem!