Thursday, December 25, 2008

Boise Ridge Traverse.

I spent a day out traversing the Boise Ridge with John.  The traverse starts out on the road to Bogus.  You climb up to the antennas on the backside of Bogus and then get some downhill.  The road was nicely filled in and the turns were sweet!  John had a nice touring set up for Tele and I was on AT gear.  After some turns we hit some rollie-pollie terrain.  I really didn't want to put my skins back on so John taught me a quick lesson on using kick wax.  It worked very well.  I am going to study applying kick wax a little more.  You got a good kick and glide and didn't have the weight of skins.

It was an excellent day to be out.  The sun was trying to poke through the clouds, but never did.  We stopped for a quick lunch and became cold just sitting there.  After lunch, we got a few more turns in and then started the climb up to Eagleson.  I had to switch to skins and finally made it to John waiting under a tree.  He said that I was only a few minutes behind him, but I think he was just being nice.  Let this serve a warning, if you go out and do endurance activities with a national cycling champion, expect to be humbled!  He was even breaking trail!

We descended down 8th street.  We were in "survival ski" mode.  The conditions were horrid.  Drifts that were 3 to 5 feet tall led to ice.  The wind was blowing very hard and I was exhausted.  We made good time on the descent and John's friend Tom picked us up after a short walk down 8th after we ran out of skiable ice.  My altimeter told me that we ascended 1,920 feet and descended over 5,000 feet in almost 20 miles.  It was a most excellent day!  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

(If you don't know where this is, you don't need to know )

The ice is setting up nicely.  It's still real early season.  Hopefully it will fill in with some colder temps.  There were a few people up there, but no climbers.  This snow that we are getting would make the drive pretty interesting.

The ice is hookable with big nodes, so I climbed up and down a few times trying not to bust any icicles and ruin it for the rest of the season.  Downclimbing ice is and art that I need to spend more time on.  It makes you very aware of your foot placement.

The kids are now hassling me to go snowshoeing.  It's really ME snowshoeing pulling them in a sled.  Good for a nice long cardio day.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Black Cliffs

I went climbing today with Taylor out at the Short Cliffs.  We climbed a fun route called Copperhead.  I then ran some laps on a 5.8 called Minuteman.  It was T-shirt weather out there!  It's hard to believe that it's the 6th of December.  

Copperhead (10a)

My hand is still a little jacked up from my feet popping off and landing on a hand jam about a month ago.  It starts to feel good and then someone shakes my hand with the "I'm trying to impress you with my squeeze" type handshake and then it's sore again.  

Minuteman (5.8)

I think that living in Boise and being a climber is a good thing.  I can't think how many times we come out to the Black Cliffs.  In the summer when there's good light, we sometimes climb 5 days a week.  Granted, 5.8s, 5.9s and 5.10s aren't the hardest, but we have fun.  I think that Alex Lowe said, "The best climber in the world is the one having the most fun!"  Sometimes it can be crowed, but everyone is trying to enjoy the rock just like me, so there's good energy.  Also, I love trad climbing and most people are at the Mid Cliffs clipping bolts.  So if you can place gear, there's a lot of climbing to be done that doesn't get done much.  I grew up here and remember seeing people like Ted Thompson, Rob Hart and Mike Stoeger climbing and being scared shitless of them.  I often wish I would've kept climbing, I took a layoff and am now working back up to the higher grades.  It's a journey.  

The kids were very good up there.  I was worried how they would act with only me and Taylor, but they were great.  I am so glad that my wife and kids are tolerant of my addiction to climbing!  Bonnie is a good climber and I think that once she starts leading gear routes her mind will open to the possibilities of climbing harder.  I never want her to feel like she HAS to climb.  She is by far, my most favorite climbing partner!  Ever since Damon died, I have been thinking of how much of a void people leave when they are gone.  I have to be a better person.  The better the person, the bigger the void!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I thought that I would post a picture that goes way back to the mid-80's.  This is my first climbing wall that my Pop and I built.  At the time, it seemed real hair-brained, but I wanted to climb and living in Fairfield, ID, your options are limited!  I wish that I would've developed the idea more based on the amount of gyms in the U.S. today.

I had a good training session last night.
3 rounds   1 min hangboard
  10 Medicine Ball Swings

3 rounds Traverse
20 Step-ups with 12 pounds (24" Box)

3 x 3  Boulder Problems

I need to get back on my routine of running.  I want to run the Le Griz again this year in October.  I love being in Montana and if running 50 miles is a good excuse to go, then sign me up!  I wanted to go to the Bozeman Ice Festival, but it's only a couple of weeks away, so we'll see.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The roof has fallen!

Finally after almost a week, I have installed the roof on our climbing wall!  I feel bad because my wife is much smaller than me and lifting the roof overhead was difficult.  I had pre-drilled some screws and once it was in place, I popped the center screws in and screwed in the outer edges.  
I have tried to think forward of any potential problems.  I insulated the walls and the trusses before installing the plywood, I checked structural design to find a good balance between steep angle and strong structure, installed more T-nuts than I thought I needed and painted the panels before hanging.  I would recommend even building a small wall if you have the space.  It has helped me avoid pumping out.  I have found that through training lock-offs and straight arm traverses, I am not as pumped/scared placing gear and my widgets (thanks for the term Dean Lords!) are more thoughtfully placed.  The major drawback is that you will walk by the wall doing something else and before you know it, you are in a full-contact bouldering session!  I try to only use the wall intensely for 3 days a week.  I will traverse and boulder using jugs on the other days.

I would have liked to have two steeper walls and a roof for a more "cave" like feel, but it turned out good for the level that I climb at.
I put up the three roof jugs and traversed across.  Man!  It's going to take awhile to get strong on the overhanging stuff!  I like how it makes you very conscious of your foot placements and balance.  

I would like to thank ASANA for the excellent holds that they make.  They are a local company here in Boise and produce great products for the pebble grippers of the world.  The texture of their holds is near perfect.  I have a few Nicros and Metolious holds, but they don't compare to the Asana holds.  They have a new hangboard that is awesome!  I hope they develop some system holds or strips, as well.  Time for a light dinner and a go on the wall!  

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today I used the excuse of scouting for ice up around Crouch to go to one of my favorite hot springs.  It's about 12 miles from Crouch and you have to wade the river to get to it.  
The river was very cold.  I had to carry the kids across.  When I put my feet in the pool it was complete pleasure after the crossing!  I haven't been up here for quite some time and there has been some major construction going on!  There used to be only three pools that were constructed with logs, tarps and rocks.  Now it's sporting SEVERAL pools made from concrete.

The kids went from pool to pool.  I stayed in the upper pool and enjoyed the light snow and hotter water.

We stayed for about an hour and a half and then a truck pulled up.  As we were coming down the hillside, they were going up and down the river trying to see if there was an easy way across.  I wadded the river with a kid over each shoulder.  I figured that I would rather carry the extra weight than have to wade the river twice again!  They asked how it was.  I tried to sandbag them and say that it was easy and not that cold.  I wanted to see someone else suffer with ice cream headaches in their feet!  They drove off without even trying.  Then the snow picked up on the way out.  It was nice. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We went to the new North Face store special event tonight.  While I got to talk to Pete Athans, my wife admired the clothes (and price tags!).  Pete is a very intelligent person to talk with.  He has evolved from a very skilled mountaineer into a fine humanitarian.  He works with the Khumbu Climbing School to help prepare high altitude Nepali climbers and workers.  I talked with him about Anatoli Boukreev.  I love Krakauer's writing, but after reading Beck Weather's and Anatoli's books on the Everest disaster, I wonder if his judgement was a bit quick.  

Myself and Pete Athans

The store is nice.  They have their official Grand Opening tomorrow and I bet it will be a zoo!  I'm sure that it will provide the clothing needed to look posh in the downtown area.  I will continue to be a patron of The Benchmark.  I have dropped money there since I was 13 and they were located on Emerald!  

So I guess the moral of the story is, I didn't get the roof on the climbing wall... again!  I also didn't train tonight.  Unless you call dodging wine toting socialites and cheese servers, exercise. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No roof yet.

Well, we never got the roof up.  Last night we watched Wall-E and tonight we trained on the wall.  It's hard now that there is only 10 hours of light.  I work for 9 hours and by the time I get home, I have about 30 minutes of light.  Not that I need light to put the roof on the climbing wall, but it's a motivation thing.  Tonight, we worked on endurance traversing and easy boulder problems.

6 x Traverse (any hold, silent feet)
1 minute rest between traverses
3 x Boulder Problem (Dyno)
3 x Boulder Problem (Lock-offs)

I fired up the "Heater Buddy" while we were out there and it was a comfortable 51 degrees!  

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blog. Say What???

My cousin Damon recently died from cancer and it makes me think about the whys and whats in the universe.  He was only 44.  He was a voracious skier and lived life with as much adventure as he could.  It hurts to lose people that are close, but it served as a wake up call.  Everyday I think about time slipping through my hands.  There are a lot of things that I would like to get done.  

Making a blog is not one of them.  But I need an outlet.  I notice most of my climbing heroes have blogs.  When you read someone's blog, it gives a very brief glimpse of them on that particular day.  I also know that more people will read a mattress tag, than this blog.  Oh well...

I have a climbing wall in my garage to try to keep in climbing shape when I can't make it outside.  We went to the gym last year through the winter.  It was great in some ways.  It was nice to lead climb and there were some great people that I met, but it's very hard to go to a gym when you are used to climbing outside.  It was also very expensive.  I used the saved dues from the gym to build a wall.  If you go to the Metolius website, mine is pretty much the same design.  I am going to put up the roof tomorrow.  Building the wall is one of the best things that I have done.  I read a tidbit on Vince Anderson's website about his 8 x 10 wall being a great training tool.  He is absolutely right!  Even a small wall will keep your edge when you can't get outside.