Most Recent

  • Climbing Coaching Catching Up

    I sparked a conversation with some local climbers about the strong youth climbers coming out of the Midwest. As many online forum conversations often go, this one took a slight turn in a different direction, to coaching (or sometimes lack thereof). In that exchange I received this very solid quote from one of the strongest climbers out of Minnesota, Nic Oklobzija. The First Ascentionist of The Raven (V12) and co-author of the upcoming Midwest Bouldering Guide. “The only things holding [climbers] back in the Midwest are that our facilities are ill equipped to train at the same level as our counterparts out west and our coaching. I think the coaching is more a national level problem not just the Midwest. Read More

  • Grayson Highlands Bouldering Guidebook: A Review

    Absolutely amazing…Brayack has done it again, but better!!!    Around 10 years or so ago, the climbing guidebook industry started to see a revolution. Wolverine Publishing started producing some of the first real “climbing porn” style guidebooks…by that I mean an obvious change away from the basic black and white, crudely-drawn-on-a-napkin-at-the-Mexican-joint-after-being-at-the-crag-all-day line topo style guidebooks, to the detailed, computer generated, cant-get-lost-photo-topo-and-heres-some-of-the-best-action-shots-you’ve-ever-seen guidebook. Most remember the first Red River Guidebook and the effect it has on them after first seeing it, and for me, it made me never want to look at a basic stick drawing again. Sure there’s less adventure in route finding and it keeps things closer to what the FA’er experienced many moons ago, but many climbers and Read More

  • Father’s Day “Supplies”

    No, its not a typo, its just my most quoted line from the 1989 Weird Al comedy UHF. But in all seriousness, I did have a great Father’s Day Surprise this year. My wonderful wife made some secret plans for a climbing outing, and even my 5 year old and 3 year old didn’t spill the beans. The real story started about a week prior. And actually further set-up back in January. As you may have read in one of my earlier posts, I had set some climbing related goals for 2013. One such goal was to get outside climbing more days in 2013 than previous years. Twenty days to be exact. Well, guess what didn’t cooperate with my plans… Read More

  • Rendezvous Recap

    After skipping a year for the first time in 10 years, the New River Rendezvous was back and better than ever this past weekend!  For those of you not familiar with it, the ‘Vous is a climber’s festival that raises money for the New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC).  It’s also a great excuse for the climbing community to get together and celebrate living near some of the best stone this country has to offer!   Though it was the 5th Rendezvous for Steve and I (and Cragbaby’s 2nd), it was my first time attending as an athlete for Trango, which made for an entirely different experience. First of all, the ‘Vous started earlier for me than it had in Read More

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    The Mangrove Tree

    A while back, likely last March based on the date stamp, I read a blog post from Sean McColl about a French Training Camp he participated in. Right away I was intrigued by one of the activities he described as “Mangrove Power” or as my poor French translating from the diagram to the right, “The Mangrove Tree”. At the time I was guest routesetting at a local Lifetime Fitness climbing wall. This wall is actually pretty decent compared to other fitness center walls I’ve seen. They had 9 top-rope set-ups and some pretty good variety of angles. I thought of using this Mangrove Tree concept at that wall for 2 reasons. First, to increase the volume and variety of routes Read More

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    PILE ZE BAGS!!!!!!!

    I’m in Nashville Tennessee now, fresh off the best going away “party” I could ever have hoped for, and am sitting here in my hotel room with some time to kill. I’d like to give a shout out to all the great friends I met in Atlanta, and now seems like a good time to put do that and finally write down my favorite climbing story… I was in The Needles of Sylvan Lake (in South Dakota), and the climbing was the scary old-school type of climbing that I love. Manky pitons, scant pro, and the only use for my #5 Camalot was as a counterweight to keep the sling I’d draped over a knob from blowing away in the Read More

  • Rob And Rob

    Besides sharing the same first name Rob Robinson and myself both share a passion for climbing that has driven, shaped, and defined our lives. I spent a day with Rob at his home crag ( The Tennessee Wall ) climbing routes that he had been the first one to ascend many years ago. This posting will tell the story of my Easter Weekend in 2013, It will not be a short one and will include  pictures, an interview with Rob, and a perspective into my controversial world of  ” just fucking going for it “. The weekend started with me making plans to climb with Charlotte, NC local Joe Disciullo. Joe is a very experienced traditional climber with many years under Read More

  • Here’s What You Can Learn From a Rock Climber…

    The writer in me loves metaphors and analogies, which is one reason why I love writing about climbing. Time and time again I’ve been able to apply concepts from the rock climbing world to my life as a mother, wife, and friend. What a lot of non-climbers don’t realize is that there are actually several different disciplines, or styles, of climbing – some of us may have an end goal to climb Mt. Everest, whereas others of us may aspire to touch every piece of local rock that we can. Each discipline has a different set of values, ethics, and goals, and the following is a concise attempt to summarize what life lessons can be gleaned from each… The Mountaineer: Read More

  • Lessons Learned: Routesetters Clinic

    A month ago, I was invited to participate in a 3-week routesetting clinic for prospective new routesetters at our local Climbing Gym Franchise. It was a tremendous experience. I learned a ton about movement, mindset, and my own climbing. There are lessons to be learned in every experience and in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” And so is born the first in series of posts, Lessons Learned. Lesson from Week #1 – K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple Setters What I learned first is that not every route/boulder needs to be comp style or gimmicky. My personality tends toward the analytical side (as if you haven’t picked up on that already). When I look at Read More