• Down in the murky black

    I’d never been to the Black Canyon, but I’d certainly read a lot about it. Bold climbs, ballsy climbers, poison ivy, and dubious rock quality about sums up the literature on it. I was asked/encouraged to go, and looked forward to seeing what would happen. Heading to the Black seems like the opposite, say, of heading to the Tetons or Castle Valley where your destination jumps up off the plain in front of you. There was one set of mountains, but we went right on through them, down the other side, and off across some scrubby flats through ranches and tiny towns. We were headed to a big climbing area, but it just didn’t feel like it. Like going climbing Read More

  • Ft. Collins Bouldering: Horsetooth and Arthur’s

    Over the winter I had the pleasure of sampling the bouldering around Fort Collins, Colorado. Horsetooth Resevoir is the historic area, but just off the beaten path and not to be missed either is the chunky granite of Arthur’s Rock. Horsetooth’s proximity to town, quick approaches, beautiful setting, and selection of historic problems make it a worthwhile place to visit. The area’s sandstone is interesting and of varying quality, but when good and traveled it’s got a nice texture that’s subtle and friendly to pull on. A major draw for me was the area’s history, and a chance to climb problems first done by John Gill. The Pinch in particular did not disappoint. What a good one! The old-school traditional Read More

  • Flatirons, Dinosaur Rock

    A good buddy visited Boulder from out of town, set on climbing for a week or so. With a new baby on the way, he was getting his climbing days in like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter. Needless to say he barely took a day off, dragging partner after partner out into Boulder Canyon, Eldorado Canyon and the Flatirons. Dead set on crushing, it was all we could do just to keep him fed and beered. I caught him for the home stretch of his trip. We did two days up on the Flatiron’s Dinosaur Rock, with a rapid-strike mission to Boulder Canyon’s Country Club Crack in between. The Flatirons offer a different sort of feeling than Boulder’s two Read More

  • A hueco visit and the meaning of el paso

    Eric Perlman’s Masters of Stone III movie gave me my first impression of Hueco. Perlman’s movies were VHS precursors to the glut of web-based climbing movies we watch now. His Masters of Stone I, II and III offered frenetic sport-clipping, drop-knee tours through French limestone country, along with healthy servings of Sierras granite, and mullet-powered sport climbing radness from other parts of the American West. The series’ third offered a tour of Hueco, starting with a dusty, disappointing El Paso scene. The late Todd Skinner provides an entertaining intro: “It’s called El Paso, ’cause if you’re not a climber, you just pass on through.” Sure, it doesn’t make literal sense but that line still cracks me up. Eye-popping footage follows of Read More

  • Triple Crown Stone Fort: Open Fairway Boulders and post-comp event on the 18th Hole

    The Triple Crown’s success story for bouldering at Stone Fort continues to grow. It begins with helping create public access to Stone Fort, some of the best boulders anywhere. This year, the story progresses further with the boulders along the fairway being officially opened for climbing (comp day only). While competitors logged miles on the field’s standards, the highlight was all the action on the 18th hole–not golf this time, but climbing. Tiger Woods didn’t show, but Jimmy Webb did. He managed the first ascent of a fantastic looking bulge-to-squeeze problem (video coming here soon), to the right of the equally aesthetic Y Crack. Just up the way were more gems densely packed together, including some highly technical slabs, classic runnel-squeeze Read More

  • Hound Ears Photos from HoLt Menzies; On to Stone Fort Triple Crown!

    Here’s a quick impression from the Saturday, October 1, 2011 Triple Crown Hound Ears competition. For some amazing photos of the event check the High South Collective. The Stone Fort Triple Crown comp is today in Chattanooga. See you out there!   Saturday morning sat down hard and cold on the Triple Crown Hound Ears event. The sky was full of snow clouds and the forecast was what the Triple Crown organizers might describe as “interesting.” Hemming and hawing over whether to cancel the event led finally to the decision to postpone ’til the next day. Competitors were disappointed and dismayed as conditions at the staging grounds seemed doable enough. Meanwhile, the boulders were soaked on top and getting hammered Read More

  • What climbing partners are good for

    Below are an assortment of photos from recent outings with friends to northwestern North Carolina crags like Hawksbill, Ship Rock and the Dump. I enjoy and am even occasionally obsessed with these crags, and I am utterly smitten with the Blue Ridge landscape in which they are situated. That said, these wonderful places are made even better by the fun, interesting people I am lucky to climb with. Sure, my climbing partners are good for a belay, but they’re also good for a whole lot more: advice, sandbagging, jokes, stories, beer, much-needed energy bars, and even well-timed insults that are meant to foster a warped humility. So, as individually oriented as climbing can be, I’m having a hard time figuring Read More

  • A spot of UK Trad

    Cut-to-the-chase beta: skip my windy drivel immediately below and watch this awesome video. Or read on and hit the link at the bottom of the post. If you occasionally follow the idiosyncratic, yet seemingly always vital UK trad climbing scene, you might remember the climber James Pearson doing a seaside route a few years ago, The Walk of Life, and proposing the banging grade of E12. The mysterious UK grading system somehow alchemizes psychological and physical difficulty into one heady number, so there’s no way I would presume to know how to use it, much less guess what “E12″ could possibly mean. For those though who can guess at what E12 means–those UK natives fluent in the E-grades–Pearson’s proposal of a Read More

  • Review: 9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes by Dave MacCleod

    A while back I mentioned here on Cruxn how I had started Dave MacLeod’s 9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes. I’ve finally finished the excellent book. Here are some thoughts on why the book is well worth a read. Are your climbing habits and routines carefully arranged like some delicate porcelain figurines on Grandma’s mantelpiece? If so, beware: Dave MacLeod‘s book is poised to fling your hollow idols across the room, smashing them to bits against the wall. But how, you might ask, can such an apparently destructive gesture aid in self-improvement? Why to help put the smashed pieces back together again, Humpty Dumpty, presumably in a much stronger, better fashion. Of course Dave’s tone throughout 9 out Read More