Just a couple of quick notes to get me back into the swing of keeping you all updated on what's going on here...
Photo: Philip Geary
First off, this summer I hosted the First Annual Power Company Preseason Kickball Game. No idea why... I just had a hankering for some kickball antics, I suppose. We had about 35 or so people show up, kicked the ball so damned hard that I had to go buy a backup ball, and had a fantastic time doing something other than climbing. After the game, I gave Sarah the "Power Company MVP" trophy, for having pushed past her head issues and surprising me by sending a couple of solid 12b's. Finished it with dogs, burgers, and beers, exactly as it should be. Can't wait 'til the next one!
"Vision Thing". Photo: Taylor Frohmiller
Wait. Obviously I was excited about the kickball but let me back up a bit. Earlier in the summer I set off for three weeks with Taylor and Sarah to Rifle and Lander. My only goal in Rifle, as it was still hot, and it was my first trip there, and we only had four days, was to repeat an old Kurt Smith classic. I succeeded pretty quickly with "Vision Thing", a bouldery 13b that pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit. I also put on kneepads, which is extremely far out of my comfort zone. Didn't like 'em before Rifle, still don't. Taylor put down "The Beast", his first 13 outside of the Southeast, and Sarah racked up several fast ascents of long 11+'s that scared Taylor half to death. Other than that, the highlights of the short stay in Rifle were playing in the river and the carnitas tacos in town. While there, I recorded an Enormocast with Chris Kalous about my music and my relationship with the Skinner family, which you can check out HERE.
Taylor was cold.
After Rifle, we went to my adopted hometown of Lander, Wyoming. Taylor and Sarah turned on the gas once there and walked away with a handful of 13's and 12's, respectively. My goal there this year was to meet up with friend and fellow Evolv athlete Leif Gasch to try an old Todd Skinner project called "The Strawberry Roan". It turned out to be an absolutely amazing route, one of the best I've ever been on. After a couple of heart breakingly close attempts, Leif clipped the chains on one of the best lines in Wyoming. At 13d, it was a high grade for either of us to attempt on a short trip, and I was denied the send, falling a move away from the much easier exit. I'm actually leaving in two days for a wedding out there, and hopefully the weather will cooperate for a few more attempts. The whole process was filmed, so a video will be coming shortly, at which point I'll write more about my experience.
For now I'll give you just this photo, which is the view from the belay, with Leif perched on the amazingly blank, 100 foot tall pink and golden arete. The moves above this rest are heart-stopping, and just thinking about the long run from the last bolt to the anchors makes me both smile and shudder. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather in Lander.
Tomorrow is October 1st. My daughter turns 16 and the leaves are falling. The season is officially underway. I started my season in the Madness Cave, rebolting and re-equipping the classic Bill Ramsay 14a, "Transworld Depravity". I had a couple of good runs on it toward the end of last season, and I'm excited to really put some effort toward it come better weather. My first mini-project, a nice long 13b called "Molten", fell after just three tries, which tells me that I'm coming into the season strong. Taylor has also started with a high fitness base, putting down "Bohica" (13b), in a handful of attempts to complete his goal of 13 5.13's in 2013. The rest of the team is also starting strong, but making a good run for this season's MVP is Jeff Kayse, who came out of his corner swinging, already racking up three of his 5.12 projects. His crux might be setting his sights high enough before the season is over. It's gonna get exciting real fast.
Last but not least, I just got a shipment of products from Atomik Climbing Holds that I'm excited to get my hands on. Once I return from Lander I'll be hanging these up and getting started, so you'll be hearing more about the entire line of Atomik Bombs very soon! Stay tuned...