Most Recent

  • Best climbing towns in the United States?

    As climbers we’re constantly planning our next session.  Whether it’s a night session or an extended road trip, we’re always getting mega-psyched to get back on the rock.  Some folks got it made, cranking outdoors a few times a week while living in a cool spot.  However, some do not have that luxury.  That being said, if you had the choice to live anywhere in the country, where would it be?  Here’s a list I’ve made to highlight some of the places I’d love to call home. Boone, NC What a great place, eh?  The town is cool, the climbing even better.  All types of rock with all types of climbing.  Although winters can be harsh, Boone offers (near) year Read More

  • Name that obscure boulder problem

    Which boulder is this? Take a guess. We happened across this obscure arete out at Rumbling Bald. Off the beaten circuit, it’s spitting distance from the trail between Morning Star and Central Boulders. Deserving of a little more love, he’s marked by an interesting sort of compression mantle and fun deadpoint. Plus, for the motivated boulder-toad, there’s a not-too-dumpy sit start to be added. It ain’t five-starts or nothing, but it’s recommendable. The name and exact location will be revealed soon… Read More

  • Major Success at Dixon School Road Boulders

    When I mention Dixon School Road Boulders, most folks I talk to poo-poo the place. The common complaints I’ve heard are that the place is too small, too sharp, and too hot, or that it has too much graffiti and broken glass. I don’t get it though. Sure, it’s hot there in the summer, sure, it’s not a lifetime quantity, but damn, it’s got some pretty cool rocks in the woods, and what more do you need? As for the grafitti and broken glass, I’m from the South and, frankly, I find that stuff romantic (seriously though, there’s a bit of painted-over graffiti and no broken glass-since its heyday as a top notch rural party spot the place has been Read More

  • Scottish Wisdom

    I’m continually impressed with Dave Macleod’s writing on climbing, and in particular, on training for climbing. He’s so thoughtful, and so prolific, that you could say his writing has become as equally an important achievement and contribution to climbing culture as his climbing itself. Or maybe I’m just a smitten hero-worshipper. In any case, I’m the happy recipient of a loaner copy of Macloed’s book 9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes. I haven’t finished it, but I’ll have to get my own as it’s fantastic. The book is a perfect kick in the pants, and really quite a challenge to read sometimes as Macloed is hell-bent on dismantling those pervasive but shoddy habits that hold us back Read More

  • The Tech Point

    The Tech Point is soon upon us, if it’s not already here. We all know red points, and pink points, and onsights, and flashes. But once ipads and the like start getting embedded in every damn thing like our fingernails, we’re gonna need a standard for what it means when you’ve sussed a project to death via the internet before you’ve even seen the dang thing in person. And that’s the tech point. Someone call 8a.nu and tell ‘em to update the score card. And as should always be the case in matters of the future and malicious technology, we need only to turn to Keanu Reeves for guidance. Sure, we’re just looking at video clips now in 2011, but Read More

  • Minor Fail at Dixon Boulders

    Last weekend I had to take my mom to Charlotte to help her buy a new computer. This was like helping a person with no feet buy shoes, if that makes any sense. But that’s what shopping for a computer for my mom is like–she’s just so bad with technology it’s painful. But all that’s beside the point. Living in Boone, I never have much cause to go to Charlotte, so I’ve never checked out the boulders at Dixon School Road. I’ve heard quite a bit about them in the last few years, what with the fancy new parking lot and visitor center that’s just gone up nearby. The weather was perfect on Saturday–in the 50s–so I decided this might Read More

  • Climber’s Little Helper

    After drooling over smartphones ever since the iPhone arrived, I finally took the plunge and got an Android last November, shortly after Verizon introduced their cheaper data plan. For only 15 bucks more a month, I’ve got a phone that makes all the cruxy parts of climbing road trips smooth as a V0 warm-up. How so? Well, on a recent trip to Chatty I used the navigator to lead me straight to the boulders from Knoxville. No more having to print out Google maps and missing turns. i got to the boulders stress-free. After climbing, we wanted to camp so I pulled up the name of a nearby State Park a friend told me about. Boom. There was the phone Read More

  • The Sunny Gnar

    In a misplaced cove the sun broke on a dozen or more winter addled boulder toads. Briefly thawed and inspired by the burning star, one broke wind thus: “It’s the sunny gnar!” “Amen,” said another, “Praise the Sunny Gnar!” Made pure by the warm light, the toads voraciously pursued a climbing circuit, in between which a fresh question occurred: why limit ourselves to one boulder when we could leap from one to two? After some inspired leaping and one startling success, the toads finished the day off with more boulder problems and a pad-stagger back up the hill. By a dirt road to nowhere all they had left were bad jokes and a few beers. The Sunny Gnar was gone Read More

  • How to make a Cadillac

    Nestled right outside of Boone, North Carolina lies a humble little factory. Step inside and you’ll find two co-owners and handful of incredibly talented seamstresses. Multitask much? Ha. It’s common to find Mike answering the phone, shipping a harness, on his computer, and tweaking his new prototype all within a 5 minute time period. In order to compete with larger companies like Black Diamond and Petzl, they have to stay on top of their game. This means creating bomber harnesses that even the toughest trad dads won’t blow through in a season. Misty Mountain is one of the only harness companies that sew in the United States. This is an enormous feat that these guys take great pride in. So, Read More