Weekend Round-Up

I try really hard (regardless of what it may seem) to not post “this is what I did today” type posts. That’s very “bloggy” and online diary-esque. While this site is a blog, I’m in a little bit of denial. I like to think of it as a website that provides useful information or at least topics that make you want to think deeper on the subject. But like I said, I’m aware that I might be a little delusional.

So, today I’m going to fully “embrace the blog”. Firstly, because my weekend was pretty fun, and secondly, because I’m just trying to get back into the swing of writing those supposed informational/though-provoking posts (whether that’s accomplished or not) on a semi-regular basis.

Friday

I can’t get into too many details for what will be obvious reasons, but I went out on the town in Boulder for a co-worker’s birthday party. We came, we saw, we drank beer. Really, the only reason I mention this at all is because it sets up the exhaustion for…

Saturday

Flat Top MountainAfter the night of drinking and fun with the guys, it was time to get up at 4am to go for a hike on Flat Top Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was joined by peak-bagging extraordinaire, “Summit Air“. It was a perfect day for a hike: sunny, warm, and no wind below the tree line; noticeably colder and a lot winder above. A fantastic opportunity to try out the Millennium Flash shell I received from Columbia.

It wasn’t quite cold enough or windy enough to really say I’ve “tested” it yet, but it was much, much, much better than the base layer/t-shirt combo I was wearing below the tree line. Once colder, snowier weather hits (hopefully SOON), I’ll have a full review. I do have some things in mind already.

After we got done taking pictures and admiring the vast beauty of RMNP and Hallett Peak, we headed down, stopped for a coffee in Estes Park, and then I went straight to “Toasted Coconut Brown Ale Collaboration Release Party” from good friends at Großen Bart Brewery and J Wells in Boulder. I may be a little biased, but the bearded dudes make some bodacious beers. I’ve had their stout, coffee stout, and now the coconut brown ale. They’re community funded so don’t hesitate to help out, or go to Volta in Boulder and try their Chin Curtain IPA. (All their beers are named after different styles of facial hair. “Großen Bart” is German for “Big Beard”.)

The coconut brown ale was so good that I bought a growler and brought it to Heather and her boyfriend Will’s Halloween party to share. The people that tried it loved it.

And speaking of the Halloween Party, I finally got to put some more Twitter names to actual faces. I had recently met Heather (AColoradoGal), Kristie (wigirl4ever), Whitney (Whitneyio), Aleya (AleyaJean), Heidi (runaroundaroo), and Abram (AbramHerman) on a hike, but now I got to meet Lynne (lgsmash), Lauren (MountainLauren1), and significant others too. If you’re ever invited to a party hosted by Heather and Will, don’t eat ahead of time. In fact, starve yourself. Those two didn’t sit down until the end of the night because they were too busy shoving delicious food in our faces. It was glorious.

Sunday

I didn’t get to sleep until midnight on Friday night and not until 1am (I think) on Saturday night. After all the beer, all the schmoozing, and all the hiking, I was exhausted. It only made sense to get up at 8am to go snowboarding at Loveland, where I’m a proud season pass holder.

There’s only a handful of runs open, but for October, the mostly man-made snow was still very respectable. If you remember (which would totally shock me), I only started riding 8 months ago so I was incredibly happy to make it through the day without any falls, could still ollie without breaking my head, and even practiced riding switch. Also ecstatic that I can now get the world’s greatest Bloody Mary’s again too.

Oh, and I learned that it’s really hard for me to ride when a song I REALLY like comes over my headphones. It’s too hard to concentrate on boarding and jam to the song at the same time. Ha!

And to top it all off, I watched the Packers annihilate the Vikings once I got home.

 

Pretty stellar weekend.

Chasm Lake in snow

Training Hike and #TryingStuff Volume I: Chasm Lake

Of the few people that read my satirical post about hiking being horrible, I think most of them thought I was joking. But in reality, the joke’s on them! I really do not like hiking, and if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve probably told you as such many, many, numerous times. I just don’t get it.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do it. If I want to alpine climb, there’s usually a long approach: hiking. If I want to go winter camping, it’s not very fun to camp right at the car. So, hike (snowshoe). This winter, I hope to con someone/people into taking me backcountry snowboarding. More snowshoeing/hiking because I don’t have a split board. And if someone invites me on their weekend backpacking trip, guess what, I need to keep up. More hiking in my life.

Who disappeared the mountains?
Who disappeared the mountains?

As much as I may dislike hiking, it’s always going to be a part of what I do outdoors. And as I learned on a failed attempt at the Grand Teton, I need to be in hiking condition so that I’m still physically capable of doing the climb once I get there.

Now, with all that pish posh out of the way, I forced myself to go on a hike on Sun. Alone. Something else I never do because I can’t motivate myself to do so and because I’m an extrovert to the max. I did it anyway. In order to do this, I just needed to get into the frame of mind that this hike is a “training” hike. Because I will do a lot of things in the name of training, in order to be able to perform better at a more “important” activity. I guess every hike will be a “training hike” from here on out.

I really wanted climb Mt. Audubon, but the trail head was already closed for the season, adding an additional 3+ miles (one way) to the hike. No way. Instead of climbing a mountain, I decided to drive a bit further to the Longs Peak trail head and hike to Chasm Lake.

The weather said it would be mid-twenties, a sustained 15 mph wind with 35+ mph gusts, and 1-3 inches of snow. I was excited! With that combination, I thought for sure it would get down to the low tens of degrees (if not lower) with the windchill. Perfect conditions to try out my new OmniTen gear.

To start the hike, I was wearing my Columbia base layer, lined with their OmniHeat technology, my Arc’Teryx Beta AR pants as windproof, and a Nike DriFit t-shirt. That’s it. But I did have another layer of insulation (top and bottom) and the Columbia Millenium Flash shell for windproof in my pack just in case. I also had a hat lined with OmniHeat.

This is how I normally feel about hiking.
This is how I normally feel about hiking.

I started the hike hot ‘n heavy. Way too hot ‘n heavy. I needed to slow my pace about a half-mile into it. By the end of mile 2, I was bored out my gourd (as per usual). So then I tried something else new: I listened to music.

I don’t know if I’m more annoyed that I listened to music, or that I liked listening to music.

But either way, the hike went a lot better!

The weather conditions held true to the forecast. In fact, it got so windy and snowy that Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker literally disappeared. However, I never did put on anymore layers except the hat. The OmniHeat base layers (with a little windproof help on the lower half) were fine enough, especially with the hat. That’s one benefit of being really “hot blooded”, but now I’m going to have to wait until the temps drop even more to try out the OmniHeat Millenium shell. Other than in-bound snowboarding, I’m not sure when I’ll get to wear the insulated pants they sent too. I can already tell those suckers are going to be hot!

So, yes, I hiked. Yes, I went alone. Yes, I listened to music. Yes, I wore my first set of Columbia’s technical winter-wear. And yes, I think I might find myself doing this again. It wasn’t completely horrible. Just don’t think I’ll be cancelling “better” plans (like I mentioned in the beginning) in order to hike.

Oh, and I made it to Chasm Lake and back (8.5 miles) in 4 hours, including breaks. Eh. Not too bad for someone that despises this game, right? 😉

Chasm Lake in snow
Longs Peak is only a hundred yards away or so, but you still can’t see the peak. Nifty, eh?

Is it Wintertime yet??

Welllll hellllloooooooo there, errybody! I’m finally back from Florida, feeling centered, and ready to do some really sweet ish!

There’s no denying that Fall is the Best Season of the Year, but I’m on Stoke Level 10 for this winter already:

  • Several weeks ago, long-time Twitter friend Jillian let me know that she and her husband will be visiting CO for a bunch of snowboarding and invited me along at the very end of January.
  • Last night I formally accepted an invitation to become a member of Columbia’s Winter #OmniTen family! That includes a very mysterious, very likely very epic, week-long trip…also in January.
  • Prior to that, on a whim, I decided to bite the bullet and buy plane tickets for the Winter OR Show in Salt Lake City, UT. That’s another week in January.
  • And as I realized that my entire month of January is mostly more awesome than any one person can stand, it dawned on me that I’m spending a week back in WI over Christmas.

Just take a look at this calendar (that took me way to long to make)!!

Winter Adventure Calendar

I have a feeling I’ll be working some weekends.

So, I’m very sorry, fall. I really do love you. Truly, I do. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will be out romping around in your cool temperatures and admiring the yellow Aspens for the first time in my life, but I am looking past you, and I am stoked to be crashing down the mountain and putting my new Columbia gear to the test! I wonder if they make helmets…

OmniTen Welcome Package

What’s Holding You Back?

More specifically, what’s holding me back? Three, maybe four or five, things are [mostly] happening simultaneously right now, as I type this.

  • Last night I created a new static page on this website devoted specifically to my “Tiny Home Project“. I’m all in on this and will be going to look at two different trailers later this week, possibly today. (This is considered “simultaneous” because I’m still promoting it today on social media, and contacting companies that may be interested in helping out.)
  • 20 minutes ago, I shared this video from Backcountry.com‘s Facebook page. It inspired the hell out of me.

  • Which caused me to watch “Art of Flight”.

  • Then a friend messaged me, saying I should try out for American Ninja Warrior. I’ve had no less than a dozen people tell me this.
  • And now, because I’m typing this, I’m reflecting on a text message I received from Pamela after climbing in Vedauwoo.

So again, I ask, “What’s Holding Me Back?”

As far as I can see, it’s me. I’m holding me back.

Am I afraid of failure? Afraid of success? Not recognizing current success? Downplaying accomplishments? What is it?

Why do others recognize my capabilities, but I don’t? Why am I afraid to make the leap required to do the things necessary to live up to my supposed potential?

Or maybe I’m just self-absorbed. Maybe I’m a “victim” of my Gen. Y stereotype.

I don’t know what it is, but I don’t have any answers. I only know what actions I can take to get me where I want to be. If only I wasn’t afraid to take those first steps.

Now let’s talk about you. What’s holding you back?

Sports Are Dumb

I’ve been playing sports since the age of 5. I feel as though I have the authority to say this:

Sports are dumb.

The Early Years

Starting around the age of 5, my older sisters would invite the neighborhood kids to come by and play baseball in our yard. Since they’re significantly older than me, they’d “let” me run around the house anytime someone would get a hit. That’s the game I played.

Then I got a little bit older, and my friends and I started playing full-contact backyard football. (Along with T-ball, but baseball is lame anyways.)

College football pic circa 2003

Finally, at the age of 10 while in fifth grade, I got to play my first “real” organized sport: basketball. A short two years later: FOOTBALL!

Mid-Life

From approximately 1994 – 2004, I played organized, sanctioned football. Also during that time, but not entirely, I played basketball, track, and wrestling. Especially in Junior High and High School, where I was a 3 or 4 sport athlete, my life revolved around sports.

Twilight Years

After completing my time playing football, which lasted the longest, I needed something else to fill the competition void. I chose powerlifting. It was also during this time that I had decided that if I can’t be the one competing, I want to be the one getting others ready to compete. I went all-out on becoming a personal trainer with an emphasis on sports performance.

 

First powerlifting competition in 2008 or 2009

I’m not a powerlifter anymore; I still train select others; but I’ve quite obviously now moved on to climbing and other awesome sports.

If there’s been one constant in my life, it’s sports.

Sports r dum

For someone that has devoted their entire life to sports, this might come as a surprise to you, but it’s true. Take basketball for a second…

10 people, running up and down a court hundreds of times per game, for what? To put a stupid ball through a stupid basket.

Football?

22 people. A tiny little ball. 100 yards between the goal. 22 people chasing a tiny little ball up and down a 100 yard field. That makes sense?

Crossfit, Marathons, Powerlifting, Olympic lifting…

Ha! You’re not even competing against anyone but yourself!

Oh, but wait. Climbing is “above” all of this, right? It’s pure. It’s movement. It’s a connection with the rock. It’s the joy of summiting.

My first climbing competition, 1 year after I started climbing

ERRRRRRR!!!!!!

It’s still a competition.

If it’s not, why do you care about grades? If it’s not, why do you climb? You can hike to many summits. Why do you want to get better at it?

Humans Need Sports and Competition

I’m sorry, but this is nature. There are winners and there are losers. There is evolution.

Mr. Caveman had to compete with predators for his food. Mr. Caveman needed to compete against the world just to survive. Mr. Caveman needed to compete with Mr. Caveman #2 for the right to procreate with Ms. Cavewoman.

And that’s still true to this day, even if it takes on varying degrees and forms that may not be easily recognizable on the surface.

But it’s what we know as humans. We can’t explain why we need to compete. I can’t even explain why I have to show my superiority over someone/thing. But I do.

It’s stronger in some than others. That’s apparent.

But it’s still there. No matter how geeky, awkward, rich, poor, passive, or timid you are.

And you should accept it. In fact, the sooner you accept it, the sooner you will see success in whatever it is you are competing for (jobs, customers, significant others, online gaming, etc.). And once you start getting wins under your belt, you’ll starting getting more and more. And then you’ll be unstoppable. A happy life, is a full life.

You wanna know the most sensible and idiotic sport? Mixed Martial Arts.

Two people, beating the crap out of each other, winner shows dominance, gets paid, gets the mate.

But it’s still just two people beating the crap out of each other.

That’s dum.

And entirely necessary.

I Miss You: Thoughts of Days Passed

I’ve missed you lately.

I miss the way you make me feel.  The way you make my heart flutter. You challenge me to be better, yet are forgiving when I need to slow down. You bring out my best, even when I’m at my worst.

The way you can take everything else away that’s on my mind and just need to be there with you. Wholly. Entirely.

I miss the journey of seeing you. The anticipation. The challenge. The stress. But it all melts away at first sight. And then it’s just us.

I miss exploring your curves, your features, your everything that makes you unique. No one else is like you. I’ve seen you many times but you still surprise me, everytime. There’s still so much about you I don’t know.

Others have rejected you. Tried to lure me away from you. Told me you’re not perfect. Said I could do better. I don’t believe them. You have everything I need. And more.

The weeks apart are excruciating. So incredibly painful that I’ve skipped work just to see you. But every weekend is a reassurance of our love. It starts with one weekend, then two, then three, then four, and before you know it, I’ve spent every weekend of every month I can with you.

And then I have to leave.

I’ve been gone for but a few short months. But soon, soon we will be reunited. My breath begins to hasten and my heart begins to race as I think about it. Just thinking about you takes me away from here, to a better place. We will see each other again.

But until that time.

I miss you.

Niche Snowboard

Loveland Ski Pass

Finding Time and Motivation to do Awesome Things During the Work Week

 

I'm quite frustrated as I sit here and type this. I'm hoping this can act as some kind of therapy. I'm frustrated because I feel like I'm chained to this desk and chained to my own laziness.

 

I started this morning with a quick 5-min. workout in my gear room (a room in which holds all of my gear) consisting of assymetrical stance kettlebell swings. I was feeling charged up and really good about life. So good that I was whacked by the “HOLY CRAP I NEED TO WRITE A POST RIGHT NOW” truck. But, I needed to get ready for work. And by the time I got to work, the motivation for that particular post, which had the potential to cause quite a stir, had dissipated. Such a shame.

 

As I went through my morning routine, I found myself feeling like something is missing. Something in the realm of doing awesome stuff. Don't get me wrong, my weekends are outstanding, usually including a hike to see some amazing mountain scenery that Anh has picked out, nordic skiing in the backcountry, camping, or snowboarding. And if we decide to stay in, we do equally amazing things, like watching the entire Season 2 of The Walking Dead in one day. I LOVE my weekends!

But they aren't enough.

Not when you live here.

Not when there's infinite things to do within a 2-hour drive.

The addition of my new snowboarding setup isn't helping. I check the shipping status of the different components at least 3 times/day, knowing they only get updated once and knowing that they're going to be delivered when they're supposed to be delivered. And even if I had everything in my posession right now, it's not like I can drop everything and head to the mountains.

 

I'm hoping I hit my “critical mass” point with not working out. Other than the great shit I do on the weekends, I'm mostly sedentary…which is eating at me…but apparently not to the point where I was willing to do anything about it. I'm hoping the need to fix my problematic hips (which is why I was doing kettlebell swings this morning) will be the catalyst to get me back to training during the week.

 

But I'm still not sure that will be enough.

Not when you live here.

Not when there are mountains outside your backdoor, which are way more awesome than gym workouts.

I found this picture on Instagram from “randoroolz7” that pretty much sums up my urge in life right now.

It's damn near daylight savings time, which means it will be lighter in the evening longer. Much to my snowboarding dismay, spring has sprung here in Colorado, and the temps are warming up. The combination of those two things will make it easier to go climbing outdoors after work.

 

But for the immediate time being, I still sit here daydreaming, wishing, thinking, plotting my next weekend. Hating that I have to wait until the next weekend.

 

I find myself researching, looking at, purchasing gear, trying to fill that void, but in reality, doing stuff is the only thing that helps.

 

Yet, I don't have the motivation. As much as I want to do these things, something internally tells me to be lazy. And it's much easier to be lazy after you get done working 9 hour days behind the desk. The bitch of it is knowing that I can change this on my own, whenever I want.

 

I partly blame the cost of a climbing gym membership. In Minneapolis, I could an annual climbing pass to 4 different gyms (within the same network) for $300-$400 (I don't remember right off the top of my head). In Boulder, I have the choice of paying $700-$800. I know it's my passion; I know I shouldn't put a price on that; but money is money, and I see “free” climbing (pun intended) right outside my window.

 

So this is where you come in

 

What do you do during the week? How do you stay motivated? What crazy awesome things do you do outdoors after being in the office all day?


**Disclaimer: I realize I'm asking for your advice and kind words to get my butt motivated, but Crossfit and trail running are off the table. Just to save your fingers from typing if either of those were going through your mind. 😉

 

P.S. This is definitely just a stream of consciousness. In fact, I didn’t even proofread it. Sorry for the inorganization.

 

 

Weekend Adventure Ideas for Boulder

20130123-131952.jpg
Ok, Boulder and similarly adventurous locale dwellers, I need some ideas here.

The better half is gone this weekend, and I cannot just sit on my keester. The way I figur (please read that phonetically, as it’s spelled), I have a couple of options:

  • Convince a friend to take me climbing (dependent on his weekend plans)
  • Go for a solo camping/backpacking trip (not particularly knowledgeable of free vs. fee areas)
  • Sit on my keester
  • Some other equally awesome weekend long project that can be done from the confines of my apartment or in an urban area (technology, reading, writing, research based topics)
  • However…

    I’m tired of hiking. I’m not much of a hiker to begin with, and that’s all I’ve done thus far.

    I’d love to cross country ski or go snowboarding, but winter is largely non-existent.

    I’ve been dying to go mountain biking, but there’s just enough snow to make it suck. Also, still need to buy a mountain bike. Kind of important.

    I know Boulder (and all of Colorado) have more than that to offer; I’m just ignorant at this point. HALP!

    2012 [Mostly] Climbing Year in Review

    Let’s not try to downplay this.

    2012 was a monumental year for me

    (even when I didn’t realize it)

    Photo Jan 16, 9 20 30 PMJanuary

    It all started with a trip to Minnesota’s North Shore (of Lake Superior) to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We (Anh and I) spent 4 days and 3 nights camping in subzero weather. Believe it or not, this is [one of] our ideas of fun and definitely does not deter me from gourmet campfire cooking.

     

     

    February

    Here’s an intriguing thought: You’ve been climbing for less than a year, you miss competition in your life, and there happens to be a local climbing comp. What do you do? Enter it of course! I climbed in the Passion for Flashin’ competition in the Advanced division (5.10b-5.11b) and ended up getting 18th out of 43…because I ran out of time, not because I couldn’t make the climbs. I’ll take it!Red Rocks in Vegas

    Then I noticed I was filling up on vacation time at work so we decided to plan a destination climbing trip. Red Rocks in Vegas in late February seemed like an obvious choice, and I accidentally lead my first 5.10’s outdoors.

    Blue MoundsMarch

    Upon our immediate return to the Midwest, we had an unseasonably warm month of March. It almost makes me regret writing that March is the worst month of the year. Almost. We climbed every weekend that month, including a trip down to Blue Mounds State Park in southern MN. I didn’t conquer anything notable that trip, but it was great exploring a new crag, and we had awesome camping weather.

    April

    April kind of sucked. It was cold, much like March was supposed to have been. Due to all of the outdoor climbing (all single-pitch, no endurance routes), my gym climbing suffered. When my endurance returned I found that my footwork was NOTICEABLY better (thanks to climbing on real rock). I quickly progressed to leading low 5.11’s and on-sight, top-roping upper 5.11’s in the gym. I know, I know, that doesn’t’ count. Remember, I had only been climbing for barely a year at this point, mkay?

    Stuck in a Man Trap - 5.10May

    May was just kind of “eh” for climbing. Got out of my groove and only went to the gym sporadically. The few times I went outdoors, I didn’t really feel like I was accomplishing much. I was starting to question my “self-imposed climbing progression schedule type thing”. Upon further reflection, I had realized that I had flashed more 5.10’s outdoors at the Taylors Falls (TF) crag in a month than the previous year combined. For me, most of the TF 5.10’s feel more like gym 5.11c’s and d’s. So, guess I can’t be too mad about that.

    June

    In June, we spent more time at the TF crag and made another trip back to Blue Mounds with a whole herd of humans. It was there that I flashed more 5.10’s in a single weekend than ever before. That was also the weekend I wrote the infamous (right?) Columbia Compounder Shell review.

    I also seemed to have had a pretty cyclical pattern of consistent climbing for 2 weeks, and then not doing anything for 3 weeks. Again, I was starting to question my own progression. And again, it wasn’t until I thought about it, that I realized I was beginning to boulder V5’s and 6’s (indoors). I certainly wasn’t doing that before.

    Oh, and we spent 10 days in Cozumel, Mexico.

     

    Jan Conn in the Black HillsJuly

    We made our annual 4th of July trip out to the Black Hills once again with or AMAZING friends Steve and Cecilia Johnson, their son Grant, and “The Condie’s” with their son and his girlfriend (at the time). Steve has been climbing since the 70’s (sorry, Steve), and we got to meet his climbing partner from back in the day. It was fun to see those dudes still leading and following “Black Hills 5.9’s” and telling stories from their prime years. We also got to meet Living Climbing Legend Jan Conn. Jan was the first female to free climb Devil’s Tower [with her late husband Herb]. I’ve got a whole separate post just about that so you’ll just have to wait.Loss of Sensation with a crowd

    I lead my first 5.10a out there called “Loss of Sensation” aka “Sport Fucking”. Some guidebooks rate it as a 5.10d; Mountain Project is the one giving it 5.10a. I have to agree with the guidebook. It was f*cking scary! I think the people of MP were off the intended route. No freakin’ way that was 5.10a. Steve agrees, and that’s good enough justification for me.

    I also lead my first trad routes out there. It was a 3-pitch climb called “Retable” in the Inner Outlets area by Sylvan Lake. Can’t say much more than that because, again, it’s a whole ‘nother post.

    North Shore ClimbingAugust

    In August, I made my first trip up to “The North Shore” strictly for the purpose of climbing and camping. Anh was off by herself being the most of extreme badasses so I went with a couple of other friends. For those of you unaware, “The North Shore” (Tettegouche State Park aka Palisade’s Head and Shovel Point) is tied for Midwest’s premiere crag with Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin. Nothing of note here, just a lot of fun!

    Also made it back to V5 and 6.

    Summit of Cloud PeakSeptember

    The weekend immediately following that, Anh and I returned to Cloud Peak. We summited this time and plan on never going back!

    We also went back up to The North Shore with more friends. Anytime we go with this group of people, we prove we are the best potluckers in the Midwest.

    October

    October was more cyclical climbing/not climbing nonsense. I also started my job search to move to more mountainous locales. Somewhere amongst that, I lead my first 5.11a at Willow River in Wisconsin. Ok, MP rates it as 5.10d, but the consensus is 5.11a. Just give it to me!

    Moving on…we also made our other annual climbing trip with the Johnsons down to Devil’s Lake. Devil’s Lake, much like The Black Hills has outrageous route ratings. 5.6’s in DL is about a 5.9 in the gym. Last year (2011) I was unable to send anything 5.8 or above. This year I got at least one 5.10a. And just like The Black Hills, a 5.10a at DL is a great feeling.

    Other than my trad leading back in July (once I write that post, you’ll see why it doesn’t really count), I had only done 1 mock trad lead before in my life. But, I had also just purchased a full set of cams, and I was dying to use them. I lead my first legitimate trad route, a 5.4 called “Queen’s Throne”.

    November

    Very little climbing…anywhere…anything. A LOT of getting a job in Boulder, CO.

    We did, however, camp out and spend the night waiting in line for a limited beer release called “Darkness” from Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Park, MN. The beer and the event has gotten so big that it’s now called “Darkness Days”. It was tons of fun and damn near merits a trip back just for that weekend.

    December

    Applied to become a member of EVOLV’s Grassroots Climbing Team

     

    And that’s 2012: a LOT of 5.10’s outdoors, some 5.11’s, made it to the V6 bouldering range (if only for a while), summited a mountain, and overall, made A LOT of progress.

    Already in 2013, I flashed my first 5.12a indoors, top-roping, moved to Boulder, and made the EVOLV team. Trust me, there’s much more in store. Stick around. 😉

    Reintroducing Low Gravity Ascents

    This post is funny. Only because I read something from Asshole Climbers, sighed deeply, and said to myself, “that’s what I’m about to do.” I violated every single one of their rules for starting and continuing a blog. Oh well. I think I have a valid excuse. (I’ll get to that in a second.) Besides, my Twitter name, domain address, and main header has been different since November, if I remember correctly. I’m not good at keeping secrets so if you really loved me, you knew this was already happening. I just want to make it official. So here we go!

    What’s In a Name?

    Prior to the 2-month hiatus, you may have realized my blog was starting to head in a different direction. It no longer felt like “Dudes With Tents”. The original “dudes” didn’t last much longer than a month after it launched anyways. Rather than posting about everything under the sun that could be interpreted as outdoor enthusiasm, I was starting to post only things that involve “going up”.

    I started to think of ultra-gnar climbing terms, but I still wanted this to be somewhat professional. Somewhat. I remembered something in the YouTube video, Shit Climbers Say, and it seemed to make sense. The character described having a really good climbing day as being “low gravity”. I liked that. For many reasons. When I climb, I want it to be effortless. I want to be able to make it to the top (of whatever I’m climbing, however), and say, “damn, that was easy.” If there were such a thing as “low gravity” (outside of space travel), it would definitely help in that regard.

    “Niche it Down”

    That’s the advice I’ve received across multiple industries, from multiple experts, and I hated it. However, this time, it just makes sense. Those same people would probably tell me that I need to be even more specific this time around, but I think I’m just too ADHD to commit to one micro-facet of one topic of one industry. Yuck! I get bored with every type of climbing if I write or participate in any one of them too long. I’ll also post somewhat sparingly about my other interests in life as well.

    Here’s a list of what you can expect to see in the near future:

    • Climbing (duh!!) – Sport, Trad, Bouldering, Alpine, Non-technical day hike peak bagging – maybe – (is there a term for that?), and industry news – maybe – (there’s plenty of other sites for that)
    • Interviews – from hopefully the lesser known names in the industry. A search for Sharma, Honnold, or DiGiulian will render more interviews then you’ll know what to do with. Who cares about those guys? (I kid! I kid!)
    • Climbing for Beginners – Again, plenty of scattered information, but since I’ve only been at this for less than 2 years and haven’t tried my hand at Alpine or Glacier travel yet, I’d like to capture the things I’m learning along the way.
    • Training and Nutrition– I once wrote a semi-successful blog about training and nutrition. I’m a certified strength and conditioning specialist through NSCA. And I pretty much go AGAINST everything mainstream. Typically, the more mainstream it is, the more I dislike it. This won’t be the same advice every other outlet spews out daily.
    • Beer– Gosh, I love craft beer. I’m beginning to amass quite a collection, and I must say, it’s delicious.
    • Gear Reviews and/or Stories – Yup, still going to do those, hopefully every Monday. Why? Because a lot of the gear I have and am lucky enough to test out for manufacturers also help me go up. Whether it’s a hydration system, a tent, crampons, or a new model of shoes, they’re all required to help me get up the mountain or rock. Ya dig?

    I shouldn’t tell you this because I’m HORRIBLE at committing to a schedule, but here’s what I’d like to try: a gear review on Mondays and a regular post on Wednesdays (from one of the other topics listed above).

    What I’ve Been Up to Lately

    Getting fat.

    No, for real. Skinny fat is the new look.

    I haven’t been super active for the past 2 months thanks to the Holidays, deer hunting season, and….

    The view on my drive into work doesn't suck.
    The view on my drive into work doesn’t suck.

    MOVING TO COLORADO!

    Yup, that’s right. I got a new engineering job in Boulder, CO. That process started at the end of October, and I start in 3 days (Jan. 7, 2013)! It was mostly self-imposed stress but stressful nonetheless. When that happens, I tend to shut down and just “wait out the storm”.

    I’m not too concerned however. I vowed to get back on track as soon as I got to CO and so far it’s going ok. I’ve been here for 2 days and I did a light session in the weight room yesterday (both, in terms of weight and duration…yikes) and had a 5 mile hike in the mountains today to scope out our first mountain. Baby steps…

    As I type this, all of my belongings are in a moving van heading to CO. Once it’s all unpacked, you better bet your buttons I’ll be incredibly busy outside. Hiking in work boots and jeans was none too fun at the end of the day.

    What I’ll be Up to in the Future

    Indian PeaksAnh went ahead and bought me some pretty awesome ski goggles and a helmet for Christmas. Looks like I’ll be diving face first into snowboarding. As we were hiking today, we ran into a cross-country skier (not literally), and it reminded me how much I enjoyed that, all 3 times I’ve done it. We were hiking along a trail that leads to our first mountain climb so I can’t even guess how many we’ll do this winter, hopefully a handful or more. I’ve been told you can climb 12 months out of the year, outside. Can’t wait to try that. In the spring, I’m really looking forward to getting back on two wheels. I’m too much of a wuss for downhill biking, but I loves me some technical cross-country biking.

    All of that adds up quickly, and it means a lot of inspiration for a lot of posts. So excited.

    Yadda, yadda, yadda, I was invited to become a member of Evolv Climbing’s Grassroots Climbing Team, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    New Outlets

    A re-brand wouldn’t be complete without revamped ways to connect. I’ve been using Instagram (sparingly) for a couple of months, and I have a Facebook Fan Page created (just waiting on some finishing touches before I open it). I will be posting more of the industry news, links to climbing stuff I read around the web, and some random videos on the Facebook page more so than on here (unless I’m super lazy one week…or 3).

    As always, feel free to connect on Twitter and/or subscribe to the blog (on the top, right of the page) to be notified as soon as something new is posted!

    Hold on to your helmets because it’s about to get busy around here!