SCARPA DRAGO

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!

Orson’s Birthday

We celebrated Orson’s birthday a week or so ago. We like to keep things simple by making it a family day, so we went bike riding and to the state park! The boys got to ride more bikes, swim, splash, stand up paddle board and enjoy being carefree. It was hot and the water was still cold so it was a great combination.

Now that he is 4 years old, expectations are big. He gets to decide when we give away his strider style bike and he has to be a part of our dinner chores like setting the table and cleaning up after meals. When he turns 5, he will have to get a job. Just kidding!

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Easy Aider Comparison

The Metolius Easy Aider has been the staple for me for many years. Actually, since I first ascended the Nose of El Cap in a day back in 2001. I regretfully did not have a pair back then. I had to ascend each pitch that my partner led with loose aiders where my feet constantly came off the aider step. It made me work really hard and loose a ton of valuable energy. Since then I have been enlightened and very happy with the Metolius model for a variety of reasons.

  1. You can cinch the foot strap on your foot so while jugging your foot is always attached to the step
  2. The thickness of the foot step. This allows you to be comfortable and not work your foot over when you are jugging 1000’s of feet of rope in a day.
  3. The easy of adjusting the length. This makes life simple when you are adjusting for vertical to slabby, to free hanging terrain since each of these positions require a slightly different foot length.
  4. Finally, their durability is awesome. I have only owned 2 sets in 15 years! Need I say more.

Aider Link

The CAMP aider however is a great adjustable aider that has taken over the number one spot for one simple reason. The CAMP Adjustable Aider is

  1. Light, over the years I have found that the lighter the aider, the happier that I am.
  2. The foot strap attaches easily and stays on your foot.
  3. It is sleek. Other aiders have extra webbing that always gets in the way and finds its way to get wrapped around your foot or knee when jugging. The CAMP version has eliminated the extra.
  4. The foot strap is thinner, but stable and comfortable on long jugging days.
  5. The adjustment is simple and fast.
  6. It works well with the CAMP auto locking carabiners. It took me a while to figure it out but auto lockers are the way when jugging and belaying. The shifting and vibrating of the movement loosens the twist gates where an auto locking carbiner will stay locked no matter what.  Guide XL2 Lock

CAMP Adjustable Aider

Summer is Rolling Along

It is technically not even summer yet, (June 21 would be the official beginning of summer and the day of the solstice) and I feel like it is just about over. I am back at 100% from my surgery about 8 weeks ago and am trying my best to get back the fitness that I lost due to the recovery process. I have been bolting new lines, mini-tracking routes, hiking mountains and on-sighting new climbs at areas that I have never visited and it’s been really fun!

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This week will be no different. I turned 41 today and spent it as every other day of my life. It has been packed with day camp for my oldest boy, getting groceries, riding bikes with my youngest son, cleaning the kitchen, kids doctors visits and surviving the wind storm that is passing through town. This week I will work at the local gym from 5-7am then drop my boys off at day camp, pick up my climbing partner and climb till about 230, then work at the gym till 815pm and got to bed. Wednesday I will bolt new lines till 130 and then climb in the Black Canyon. Thursday I will climb and bolt until 10am, then drive to Ouray and climb till dark and then return Thursday night and take the family camping in Rifle for a few days. No time is left unused and fitness and fun will follow!

I say this because in 2 more weeks I will be visiting family in non climbing territory, giving a slide show in Cleveland in July, heading to Squamish after Cleveland and then Europe after that till the end of the month. I begin teaching at my high school on August 1 and then things are back to normal and summer is over. So back to my title of this post, summer is just about over for me.

I reflect and think back to the days when I lived in my minivan and left town the first day of summer break and returned the first day of school. Life was easier (meaning I had fewer obligations, like none other than the selfish and narcissistic climbing path) and it was good back then as it is good right now with all the kinds of things that I have to get done. Life’s changes over time can not be predicted or anticipated and that makes things fun and at times stressful.

Each of life’s obstacles will be met and a plan will be created to achieve what is desired be that a family or personal goal. That is just how it goes. And now that I have said that I must go and help make my birthday dinner!

Big Time

If you are into climbing, then you probably heard some unbelievable news about Alex Honnold’s free solo of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. It was the logical next step for him if you think about it. He started with a bunch of solos on smaller features in Yosemite, The Sierra’s, and other iconic places around the world. Then he upped his sport climbing and bouldering skills by climbing many 5.14’s and many hard and heady boulder problems. Why did he do all this work, well of course to solo El Cap via the easiest route up the monolith, Freerider.

Alex has now (if he hadn’t already) made the jump from climber to pop culture icon with his ascent. What comes with this ascent? I am sure that he will use it to secure financial security for himself and his family. But what else? His foundation will certainly be able to help more people and make a positive impact on the world? He will inspire many to pursue their dreams no matter how bold, improbable or impossible that they may seem. I am sure that he And along the way I am sure that he will sneak his way into more pop culture via print/video/podcasts too.

My hope is that we don’t loose the Alex Honnold that lives in his car and travels around doing what he loves. I hope we don’t loose the kind and thoughtful person who just loves to get out and just rock climb. I hope that he doesn’t get consumed by the extreme fame that will now be forced upon him whether he likes it or not.

I can say that I knew him before he was famous. Before he had sponsors and before every one of his trips is turned into a video from whatever filmmaker was following him at the time. I know that he is intelligent and understands the world around him, but a little part of me worries that his new found super fame will dull his wits and change his pace.

His achievements are unparalleled and he is a good guy. After all of this,  I hope that we remember him for who he was and not for his athleticism.

 

Hiking and Exploring with the Boys

Some friends of mine just got some mountain property and invited us to check it out. Rowan and Orson and I headed out immediately. We found lots of bones, cliffs and water. It was great to let the boys explore, find poison ivy and play in the river. Orson got a little afraid in the last photo as we were climbing our way out of the river canyon. This summer vacation is going to be a good one!DSC00135DSC00149DSC00153DSC00162

The Cover of Rock and Ice Magazine!

This is nice! Thanks Rock and Ice for allowing me to share  a story and to think that a photo of me should grace the cover. This is the June 2017 issue of Rock and Ice. I am proud and honored and humbled to still be contributing to climbing today. I look forward to my next adventures and those who will take a chance and join me for the unknown.

As always I am psyched to be working with these supportive and dedicated outdoor companies: CAMP-USA, Sterling Rope, SCARPA Shoes, Arcteryx, Julbo, Treadwall. Finally, Jerimiah Watt has the eye and work ethic for taking a breathtaking photo and I appreciate the fact that when I tell him that there will be a shot, he just says “when? Let’s do it!” Enjoy this issue and thanks for checking out my blog.pizem rock and ice cover 2017

I have been battling lately…

It has been over 5 weeks since my staph infection and surgery to drain the infected area. My elbow has finally healed and I can actually do push ups and pull us now. Whew, so everything is back to normal and I can train and workout and run and climb again right? WRONG.

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In the time it took to heal, I used my right arm a lot. In doing so I created a big muscle imbalance in my upper and low back. Combine this with no physical exercise (like training) and my back is now not cooperating. My hips are offset and I stand off to one side now and have significant pain whenever I stand, sit, lie down or move.

I have been at the chiropractor and massage studio numerous times in the past few days. I have been stretching the areas that need stretching and I still end up all bent out of shape. It is frustrating but I am learning through the process. Bottom line is that after everything that I have done in the last 40 years (skiing/climbing hiking/backpacking/ice hockey)I have failed at maintaining my body.

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What I mean by that is that I have failed to be even with efforts. I have trained hard to improved but failed at the balance of maintenance. I have skipped the massages that my trainer suggested 15 years ago and now I am wound tight. It will take a little while to reprogram my body and get back to where I need to in order to feel how I should.

For those younger climbers who are charging hard toward their goals. Please be reminded that your body will only hold out for so long. Do what you need to in order to allow yourself to continue playing the way that you want  as you grow older.

In the meantime I am enjoying watching my kids grow and experience all the things kids should. These photos are of their Mayfair fundraiser day at the end of this school year.

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Squamish in July with Arcteryx!

http://squamish.arcteryxacademy.com/

Sign up for this event today and join us for a incredible time.

Music, speakers (including me), clinics (including me) and the breathtaking views and climbing of Squamish, British Columbia all thanks to Arcteryx.

I have been to this event a few times and it has evolved into an excellent time. This year many of the non climbing related options are being held in the downtown area so that the entire community gets involved. Come camp or stay in your van or crash at a hotel and make some great memories this summer with Arcteryx.

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