Full Circle

Often over the years I used to talk to my good friend Mike McClure about the point in time that a boulder loses its appeal. You begin to wish it was sent not because you would be psyched to have done it, but to no longer have to sit underneath the start holds and imagine what finally topping out will feel like. Losing the feeling of elation upon sending and instead feeling angry that it took you that long, or you punted off the last move so many times takes all of the fun out of rock climbing.

I first tried the Buttermilker on a fall trip to Bishop in 2008. Maybe I was an idiot for trying something that was obviously too hard for me at the time, or maybe I was a genius…I had just done my first V11′s that year, and had climbed a fair number of double digit boulders. Compression climbing had come to be my forte for whatever reason, so I set my sights on this particular climb. I think I stuck the first move 3 times that week, and for a trip to Bishop went home with a surprising amount of skin left.

Over the years I went to Bishop at least once a year, for either a Thanksgiving or spring break from school in Idaho. I have walked over a half dozen people through sending that boulder right in front of me. They know who they are and hopefully read this at some point in time. Was it a frustrating thing, to see people I considered my peers send my project in minimal time, right before my eyes? Yes and no. One year, in the span of 9 days in the Buttermilks I fell from the last move 19 times. I could start from the sit, from the stand, didn’t matter. I fell off the last move no matter what happened. Different beta, grabbing holds in different ways, nothing helped.

In the fall of 2009 Kaiya and I were on a 5 month road trip. I was climbing as strong as I ever had, and I was determined to send the project that had become a nemesis. We showed up at the boulder, fit, strong and ready to go. One attempt and I knew there was no way in hell I was sending. Knee problems that I developed on the road strictly forbid me to toe down hard enough to keep my left foot on. Every try felt like someone was tearing my knee apart. FAIL.

A year later, I returned once again driving from Idaho to spend a week. That trip I fell off the last move only 13 times. I rested more, came closer than ever and realized this may never happen. I was frustrated and disheartened by my failure. I remember thinking I didn’t care about sending anymore, I just didn’t want to have to try again. FAIL.

In 2011 Kaiya and I were living in Boise Idaho, running a bouldering gym and finishing school. We took a long weekend to Bishop in February, mainly for me to try to send, and for her to work on things she had tried a time or two. I was stronger than ever, I had sent my first V13 that summer, and was working my way through all the V11 and V12 boulders near Boise that fall and winter. I was able to one-handed dead hang the butter dish. The conditions were perfect, 45 degrees, sunny and a light breeze. We went to warm up, a little snow on the ground still keeping it crisp. I worked my way through warming up, fingers, core, head, legs, power…and popped a pulley on the Iron Fly. My hand blew off the rail and I swung out off the mini-jug with one hand and…POP! Trip over. In the adrenalin filled 15 minutes I taped my hand like a mummy and managed to fall off THE LAST MOVE.

A year later I failed. Again. I had sport climbed all summer and had no power. Guess where I fell?

All in all, I spent 26 days, 1 Toyota Tacoma (got hit on Buttermilk road and truck was totaled) 1 tendon pulley and 39 times falling off the last move before this week.

The first day back in the cave, I booted up, it was a little warm and tried the last move. It felt easier than ever. My good friend Nohl was there with some friends, one being Kyle Owen. I had a short session on the boulder, falling in my favorite spot. Kyle made an interesting observation that “you seem like your body is so used to falling off that move, that you are falling off before you even start climbing.”

The next morning, we warmed up at Get Carter, and I did some problems I had never even really tried before. It was fun, I was having a good time and didn’t even care about the Buttermilker anymore. I had come full circle. I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t frustrated with myself and I knew that I could do it. I just had to wait for the right time. I went into town, picked up some liquid chalk and in the last few minutes of daylight, sent the Buttermilker. Relief of not having to try anymore is not what I felt. I was psyched, had the grin on my face that says “I just sent something” and it didn’t even feel like it was an epic anymore.

Failing on a rock climb for so long always made me think I wouldn’t be excited to do it. I always thought I would feel more relief, as in my conversations with McClure. But in the end that isn’t what I felt. It was the same feeling as if I’d done it in one session. I was psyched. I had shut myself down mentally on this boulder for so long, having done things far harder than this before. I learned a lot about projecting, about myself and what it takes to stick with something long enough to see it through. In the end, I got no video, no photos, nothing. There were a few people in the cave that day including my wife who has spent countless hours there, watching me self-destruct in years past. Not this time. Now on to the next one!

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Moab

Four years ago, life was simpler. Kaiya and I were living on the road. In our car. No bills, no responsibilities save waking up and making breakfast, then deciding where to climb for the day. On that road trip I became obsessed with a boulder problem. Hell Belly.

In an effort to avoid some bad weather and generate a pleasant 16 extra hours of driving, I freaked out in a Fort Collins coffee shop and mandated that we drive to Moab, where it was dry and climbable, albeit 80 degrees during the day.

We spent a few days there battling the heat and waking up at 530 am to sneak in a few hours before the sun began metamorphosing the sandstone (geology pun). Kaiya was able to send Slimper V3, and I pulled off Circus Trick V4-while working Hell Belly. I wasn’t able to link from the sit start into the stand at the time but the seed was definitely planted. I love compression climbing-more than Jon Glassberg I think-and this boulder suited me very well. I couldn’t put it down in the heat, but vowed to return in better temps and send the boulder.

This year, after waiting all this time I was able to come back and dispatch it pretty quickly. Somewhere around 10 tries from the start. One thing about this boulder is that it is incredibly physical. One of the most physical boulders I have ever climbed. Putting it next to most things of the (V11) grade in Utah it stands head and shoulders alone above and beyond all the others I have tried and done. That is one reason it it so special.

I was able to climb it on a day with good friends, not in the greatest of conditions, and bleeding from my ankles and forearm. A full value send that was memorable and emotional for me. Not every boulder means a lot when you get to the top, but this one did and I am really psyched to have put it down!

Enjoy the photos and video!

Adam on Washed Up

Adam on Washed Up

Kaiya in try hard mode

Kaiya in try hard mode

Working Hell Belly in September 2009

Working Hell Belly in September 2009

Adam Bradley on Circus Trick V4

Adam Bradley on Circus Trick V4

Nicole on the no name arete

Nicole on the no name arete

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Updates, Interwebs and what’s new

Moved, remodeled, moved, built climbing wall, beer, oysters, moved, built climbing wall, beer, beer, rock climbing, Rifle, Wyoming, Boston, Cape Cod, Connecticut, Manhattan, SLC, Boise, SLC, Casper, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Newlin Creek, SLC. Finally got the interweb hooked up at the house!!

Yeah. Been a bit hectic that last couple of months. In February I found out that the Boise Front was changing ownership and that I was no longer going to be working there…or Kaiya. Options were either start the construction company back up (good $$, lots of lower back problems) hope Kaiya got a great job and live off of her, or squat at Mike and Tammy McClure’s house. Kaiya actually did that for a while too.

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Mom with her favorite goat, Chester

We ended up choosing the the unlisted option of moving to Salt Lake, where I will be the head route setter for both the Front gyms and Kaiya will be Kaiya. Unemployed for now, but armed with a college degree she will undoubtedly make more than me at her first real job. Good for me. On March 16th we officially were “houseless”-I have and always will have a home-and we headed to Moscow Idaho to do some remodeling at my mother’s house. Usually I only stepped in on construction projects at the folks when the stakes were high and larger things needed to be done without measuring once and cutting thrice. Many people do not know, but my father passed away in a freak accident in January, leaving it up to me to help mom out when she needs it, so to Moscow we went. I sawed through a steel bath tub, remodeled some bathrooms, cut and split 3 chords of firewood and did all the little maintenance jobs that my dad would do on a regular basis.

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My mother. The ONLY 64 year old woman I know that can sledgehammer toilets, run a chopsaw and routinely does sheetrock work. A true badass lady.

After Moscow, we headed through Boise on our way to SLC. We planned on heading down to SLC, finding a place to live, then I was to fly out to Boston to work on a huge climbing gym for Brooklyn Boulders. I spent a month in Boston working 80 hours a week, was there during the Marathon Bombing and all. Kaiya flew out the first of May and we saw some relatives and spent some time with family. Once we got back, we still had to find a place to live. With the dog, and our desire to not reside in the ghetto it was a bit hard to find a house that fit all of our requirements.

Found a place, moved all our stuff into a friends garage and headed to the beautiful state of Wyoming. On our way to Colorado Springs we stopped in and climbed at the Alcova Boulders near Casper Wyoming. Very high quality sandstone, on par with Joe’s Valley. Bullet black rock, well featured with tons of hard projects to be done. We climbed for a couple days and then headed to CO. Spent two weeks in Colorado, managed to get out to Newlin Creek and climb for a day. I sent the Nickness (fell off the jug on the flash) and Kaiya made quick work of Pineapple Express. Derek Foote did his 2nd V8-the Nickness Stand and Pineapple Express as well.

After Colorado Springs Kaiya and I stopped in Rifle for a couple days of rope climbing before I set for Divisional and National SCS Competitions this year. I needed some endurance. I surprised myself by flashing a 12c, 13a, sending a 13b in three tries and almost flashing a classic 13c, Sprayathon. For just a couple climbing days it was a great trip. Lots of photos of dogs.

The video is of our last trip to Riggins this spring with Adam Bradley and Nicole Brown. That is one place I will return to each year to try and send some of the great projects that are still lying in wait for someone to top them out. Enjoy the photos and video, I will get the Wyoming and Colorado video up this weekend!

Stay tuned for more!

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Welcome to the new site!

Changes galore for us lately. Aside from the work situation, I am going to be more involved with Organic Climbing, and Blurr, as well as continuing to rep for 5.10. A couple months ago I found out that the Boise Front was being sold, and that Kaiya and I would no longer be working there. We immediately started to figure out what we wanted to do…road trip? Move somewhere else and work at a gym? WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO???? After about 10,000 conversations weighing the options and talking with the current owner of the Front in Salt Lake City and Ogden we decided to move to Ogden, Utah. I will be the head route-setter for both the Front gyms there, and Kaiya will be getting a job doing something in her field.

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A lot of other things have happened this spring as well. I wrote an article that ended up getting published in Rock and Ice-the April 2013 issue-check it out, NOW! There are photos from amazing Moscow Idaho based photog Ben Herndon who we have been hanging with and climbing with while in Moscow. I have been brought on as an employee for Josh Helke at Organic Climbing USA as well. I have been an Organic athlete for seven years now, and am psyched to spread the love in a different way! Hit me up if you need anything Organic!

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Whilst unemployed for a couple weeks and before we trudged up to Moscow, Kaiya and I got out a fair bit and I shot some video and photos of our climbing shenanigans. I hope you enjoy the photos and the video. Check back I will have updates weekly on whats up with our move, when we find a place and how that goes, and all things climbing!!!

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Cheers!

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We are here!

Finally almost ready to unveil the new website! Check it out to see all that we are doing with work for 5.10, Organic Climbing, Blurr and Metolius!

Also we will be posting photos and some (probably funny) video of us remodeling our little trailer!

Check back soon it will be finished next week!

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