Arcteryx Climbing Academy

As I have participated, spoke and taught at quite a few climbing events in the past, I have began thinking about how they are similar and different. Here is a list of differences:

Size: some events are small and at the grassroots level and some bring thousands of people together. You have to decide whether you want to be around when your local area says that there is a climbing event. The small ones are intimate and most everyone gets to know each other, experienced climber to beginner and the large ones are like a rock concert!

Location: most events are at desirable locations to climb but they may not be suitable for a big gathering of people. I have found great happiness in the ones where you can walk to everything including the event site, campsite, climbs and even the toilets. Other events where the camping is different from the event which is still different from the climbing can make it feel like you are running errands at while at home. I would say that ideal event locations have everything very close together.

Season for the event: some areas just can’t be climbed at certain times which means that in order for people to want to come the weather has to be nice for climbing and hanging out. What is nice now is that there are pretty much climbing events during every season and for all types of climbers be it bouldering, sport climbing, traditional climbing, aide climbing, ice and alpinism.

Purpose: most events purpose is about bringing climbers together for a good time and teaching new climbers about the sport. Some are about making money. Ultimately for me, they are about meeting new people, sharing stories, climbing, listening or watching speakers or videos and just getting outside for another weekend. Crags might be busy, you may not get to climb the route(s) that you planned on but you get to climb and get to know other climbers, travelers, and dreamers!

Giveaways: some events give away a ton of product from their sponsors. This can be smooth and it can be tricky. I have observed that the audience only stays around for the giveaways but they hate to do it. Raffles are tough to sit through. I enjoy the events where nothing is given away in the mass form at the same time but where you may receive a gift for participating in something at the event. Be that doing a clinic or playing a game or fun competition or attending a presentation.

Games: some events have tons of ways for climbers and non climbers alike to participate and enjoy the venue. It might be by trying to accomplish tasks while climbing or building a trail or cleaning an area or building a parking lot or running races or climbing competitions, costume parties or whatever. I have found that I like these the most! These games bring people together and get people talking to each other which is good for the community.

I have probably forgotten something in the list and I may update it later.

How does the Arcteryx Climbing Academy stack up? I will let you know in another day or two but the opening night was pretty good! I will report out soon.



Climbing in the Dark?

Last night I was invited to climb the Chief in Squamish. As I hadn’t done that before, I was immediately saying “yes, let’s do it”. Minutes later after scrambling to get my climbing gear together I was getting into Jesse’s rental and we sped off to the granite wall that overlooks Howe Sound in Squamish.


We were going to mini traction a route. What does that mean? It means that we needed only a mini traction device, our shoes, harness, chalk and a headlamp. Our friend Will had recently hung a few ropes on the whole multipitch route and we were up for some after work fun as the sun was beginning to hide behind the mountains.

I put on my new pair of climbing shoes after we ran up the trail to the base of the route. Jesse was already a pitch up his favorite route in Squamish and I jumped on the line behind him before he reached the first belay. A third joined us Taryn (I think that was his name (a local Squamish guide)). We cruised up the lower angle pitches quickly without a care in the world until we reached some more challenging terrain. Delicately and with encouragement I danced up the wall using mear foot smears and tiny crystals to advance in height. The crack was mainly finger sized with a random hand jam for good measure. The entire climb I couldn’t believe that my feet were staying on the rock on the invisible footholds.

It was at the crux of the route where we each climbed on the rope slowly and methodically. A mistake would mean a fall on the rope and that would mean ridicule from our joyful team. We hooted and hollered as we each climbed perfectly but not without effort up the crack in the darkness until rapping the wall drenched in sweat with wide smiles across our faces.

It has been a while since I felt that way and played with reckless abandon. Thanks Will for hanging that line and providing me with some great memories and thanks Jesse and Tayrn for inviting me to join in the fun!

Whistler… Ah Yeah

First time here at Whistler and it is all that it is cracked up to be! It was hazy due to the wild fires up North, but still awesome. We downhill mountain biked for the first time. I crashed when I got tired at the end of the day and went flying over the handlebars. We rode the Peak to Peak gondola and hiked to the summit of the mountain while smelling the smokey air. Lastly, we saw 3 wild bears on the mountain while riding. Overall it was a good day.


Ohio Training

Ohh, it is a bit more challenging. I have a universal machine and treadmill and elliptical at my parents and awesome trails to run from the house. BUT I do not have a nearby gym. The closest is the Cleveland Rock Gym which is only about 20 minutes from the house but I have to train after my kids get to bed and by then I am so tired from playing with them during the day.


My typical day starts with a run or a bike ride with the kids (normally a run and then the bike ride). Then swimming in the pool for an hour or two. Then more playing after lunch and some hiking adventure near the house. Then more pool time and dinner with the family. By the time its book and bedtime I am ready to call it. That is when I have to get focused and look toward the payoff of fitness and get myself to the gym to train.

I am looking to just keep my calluses and power endurance so I will do a fingerboard session on hopefully a wooded finger board (I hate plastic ones) followed by a timed bouldering session. I usually complete 4 to 5 minute rounds with a 2 minute rest with an objective of a certain number of a problems at a particular difficulty or a progression in a certain amount of time. After 4-5 rounds of that, I work on my core with my 5 minute abs with additional weight.

Bottom line. If you want to keep it, or maintain it, or progress at it, you got to get after it no matter how tired you are feeling at the time.

IMG_0605What am I preparing for? Another adventure where the dry weather is with Mike B!

New Routing

I have been working hard this summer trying to establish some new climbs in Unaweep. Check them out. Thanks to Above Alpine Photography for coming out to shoot for fun with me. Mike B and I had a great time doing what we love, rock climbing.


Arcteryx Climbing Academy!

When: July 20 to 23

Where: Squamish

What: The ultimate climbing festival with clinics galore, perfect climbing, great presentations/films/live music

I will be presenting Thursday night and teaching multi-pitch techniques! Come on out for a great time, great climbing and a rad experience with tons of Arcteryx athletes to cheer you on!



DSC00183DSC00184So, I finally tried the DRAGO from SCARPA. I normally don’t like a shoe this soft or a shoe this downturned, but I was happily surprised. Here is why:

  1. I wear a 10.5 shoe and I ordered a 43.5 euro size and it fit like a glove. My toes were no more buckled than I like them. (I like them just barely bent over)
  2. The whole shoe is soft. So when the down turn was about to cause pain, it just stretched a little bit making it comfortable to wear on routes of boulder problems.
  3. The rubber is not as thin as a rubber. No joking, most of the thin shoes in the past had rubber as thin as a rubber. This shoe it is thicker allowing you to still have a very soft touch but not so soft where you think that you will wear through it in a day. I felt that I could smear with this shoe.
  4. The shoe fits well around the top of the fit because of the innovative design. It zig zags with stretchy material to allow you to snug the shoe up all the way and not have any overlap. I like it.
  5. The heal is always a problem for most people but this shoe has gotten it right too. I feel confident when I need to heel hook that the shoe will stay on my foot and the rock!
  6. So far I think we have a winner!