22 12 2007

It certainly seems that Luke has been doing most of the blogging recently, which is mostly that I’ve been so ridiculously busy with school that I’ve barely had time to do anything except schoolwork and sleep.

But now, finally, I’ve reached the Holiday break (actually, I started it about a week ago, but was busy climbing in JTree with Luke and doing all the Christmas wrapping here at home). Home, however, is now Poulsbo, Washington (not far from Bainbridge Island or the Navy base in Bremerton, if you’re familiar with the area). So even though I have free time, it’s pretty much been raining outside the entire time I’ve been home, which makes it a little hard to do any climbing outside. Hopefully today I’ll get my act together and go running in the rain.

Whatever I do, I’m pretty happy to have this opportunity to catch up on life – do some research into grad schools, which I’ll probably be applying to next fall, go running, chill out with the doggies, read a book for fun (Wicked by Gregory Maguire)! Hopefully I can regain some of my motivation for climbing, too. School can tend to make me so stressed out in general, that even climbing becomes stressful. It’s so frustrating! It’s been really hard to balance everything and to really believe I’m giving everything what it deserves (school, climbing, frisbee, and Luke, in no particular order). I’m hoping that a new term at school and a new (very exciting) geology research project can help me get my crazy life under control. Next term will also mark the beginning of the Ultimate Frisbee tournament season, meaning that although several weekends will be dedicated to frisbee, our coach will resume running our practices, which takes a big load off myself and my co-captain.

For now, though, I’m just excited for our New Year’s trip to Arizona – new climbing areas (BASALT!!! hopefully), a new state to visit, and hopefully some sweet crack climbing to kick me back into gear to prepare for Indian Creek in March. So many 5.11’s and 5.12’s to send!

For now, hope everyone’s having a great holiday season (maybe enjoying some fresh powder?)!


Happy Holidays

21 12 2007

2007 has been an amazing year for climbing and this will most likely be my last post of the year. Moving to a new place has allowed me to climb more often and at a whole bunch of amazing areas. I look forward to 2008 and many months of exploration and climbing! I thought I would add some photos to for a bit of spice, hope you enjoy!

Lizzy is already in Seattle for Christmas and I will be flying up there tomorrow. We will be in Seattle until the 28th visiting family and friends.

Climbing has been winding down recently as the temps have been a bit colder. Our only trip in the last three weeks was to Joshua Tree this past weekend. We had some really warm weather which was nice and unexpected! We did a bit of trad, sport, bouldering and multi-pitch. The mix of everything was nice and I even hopped on Iron Resolution (photo above/right) which was really cool despite the fact that it is way too hard! We also got to climb the Headstone at sunset which was fun(photo below). I had never lead before in my down jacket and it ended up being a good decision. It probably dropped 20 degrees in the hour and a half before sunset.

We are going to try to head to Arizona for a short New Years climbing trip. I will be posting up a trip report when we get back.

Thanks to everyone that reads our blog. It has been a great experience writing these blogs!

If anyone has questions or topics there are interested in let us know via comment or email. DreamInVertical at


– Luke

Climbing Shoes

10 12 2007

So the recent news is that the V10’s are going to be discontinued by Five Ten. This super aggressive slipper is going to be replaced by the brand New Jet7. As far as I know RockCreek has exclusive distribution of the Jet7 until 2008 and they have a limited stock. I heard that Paul Robinson climbed in the Jet7 during the Triple Crown. Despite crushing at this comp he has created a petition to bring back the V10.

I think that people should not be worried about the V10 yet. It was almost 3 years from the first initial news of the cobra being replaced until La Sportiva stopped selling it. The same was true of the old Five Ten dragons. The new dragons are being worn by lots of super strong climbers proving that change can be a good thing. While a replacement slipper may not be in the works for this year perhaps Five Ten is going to bring a new slipper to market in late 2008. Hopefully I can do some research and find out. Edit: See the comments for more discussion on the V10.

The Climbing Narc had a post a while ago about shoes and how many shoes people have. I know most people only have a few pairs of shoes but I own or have worn out about 25 pairs of shoes or so. This has been a product of many years of climbing and a desire to experiment with different models of shoes. A large reason for the number of pairs of shoes is that I can usually get a new pair cheaper than I could get an old pair resoled. I think there is something amazing about a shoe right after it breaks in.

Over the last 5 years I have climbed between two and five days a week for the majority of the year. I would climb more in the summer and at least half of those days were in the gym. I like to savor my climbing shoes and I don’t usually mix between outdoor shoes and indoors shoes. Once a shoe became worn down it would get delegated to indoor duty. Thus I end up doing most of my climbing on plastic in blown out pairs of shoes

For the majority of my climbing I like a sensitive flat shoe that is tight to put on but becomes useable with a bit of warmth and sweat. I am currently on my 6th pair of cobras which were my favorite shoe for the longest time. They jam well, are easy to take off and are very sensitive. As well they smear really well; the biggest problem is they don’t make them any more and they don’t resole well. Because of this I rarely use my remaining pair of cobras. After these shoes stopped being produced I “discovered” the Muira after much prodding by my girlfriend. I now have 4 pairs of these shoes and use them for almost everything. They have an amazing heel cup and are a great all around shoe.

The one thing that both the Muria’s and the Cobra’s lack is a down-turned toe. This can be essential to small edging and steep boulder problems. I have one pair of Testarossa’s that I use exclusively for this type of climb. They are really tight and I only wear them when I am trying to send a project or I need to pull extra hard with my toes. The aggressive curve of the rand on the Testarossa’s is amazing and it gives a lot of power that the Muria’s lack. I really think that different shoes make a significant difference on certain climbs. It may just be the mindset that my feet can stick to anything, but I usually send harder wearing the Testarossa’s.

Each person will have a different preference for climbing shoes and the fit of your foot should be the biggest consideration. It is also important to make sure that the shoe is designed for what you plan on using it for. If you plan on steep heelhooking it might not be the best thing to buy a slipper. You don’t want your toes curled too much for crack climbing and velcro shoes can be problematic with jamming in hand cracks and larger. If you get a shoe that is too tight or down-turned it can be very difficult to smear.

This year I hope to get a pair of the Es Pontas and the new Anasazi 2.0. I wish that more US climbing shops would stock the Scarpa climbing shoes since they look very cool. I don’t know how they size their shoes and with the addition of Mad Rock and Evolv it is almost impossible to know what size climbing shoes you should buy.

That’s all for now,


Projects and Goals

7 12 2007

I dream about rock climbing all the time, the routes I want to do, the places I have been and the people I have climbed with. Climbing is so much more than an extreme sport or a test of physical prowess it really is a lifestyle. My climbing lifestyle is motivated by the places I read about and the routes that I want to go out and climb. I train, go to the gym and work on getting stronger so that I can climb all of these projects. To be able to travel the world and sample the best routes at a given area is my ultimate goal.

There are just so many places to climb in the world and so many stunning routes. From simple boulder problems at Bishop to the tall granite walls of Yosemite. Because I want to be able to climb them all the majority of my goals revolve around being a well rounded climber. My list of projects varies in both style of climbing and global location. While there is a clear focus on long hard traditional routes I also enjoy single pitch sport climbing and bouldering.

Motivation is very important for training and a key element in a day to day climbing routine. It can be hard to keep doing those sit ups every week or those hang board sessions when you don’t have some goal to shoot for. I find that medium term goals are very important so that I can stay excited about climbing. Even though a medium term goal may not be your dream route it will keep you positive about climbing. Going all out when training can be problematic since you have to make sure to pay attention to your body and avoid injury. If a climber sets there short or medium term goals too high it can be hard when you can not meet your expectations. It is much better to be honest and set a moderate goal before worrying about finding a really difficult project for a long term goal.

When attempting a new project it can be necessary to gain new skills and fitness in order to succeed. To determine where you need to focus your training energy it can help to break the climb down and compare it to your strengths and weaknesses. One of my project routes is Romantic Warrior 12b. This is an eight pitch route on the Southwest face of the Warlock in the Needles. It includes four hard pitches one 11d, two 12a and one 12b. While I might aspire to onsight this route it will most likely take me multiple visits so I will get a feeling of the climb before I send it. In order to train for this climb I know that I need to elevate my endurance so I can handle leading so many hard trad pitches. As well the 12b and 11d pitches involve tricky stemming and RP’s. This has motivated me to find other routes with similar characteristics of lower grades to provide a ramp up. These medium term routes will help me gauge my fitness and let me know when I am ready to go try to climb Romantic Warrior.

This fall Lizzy and I traveled out to the Red River Gorge for the Petzl Roc Trip. This was a very motivational trip for the both of us and we spent a lot of time doing specific training in preparation. Instead of doing a jumble of bouldering, trad climbing and sport climbing we focused on clipping bolts and training endurance. With all of the work we put in we were really excited for the trip and both climbed very well and pushed our limits. The trip was an excellent motivator and gave us a time line to train and get into the proper shape for hard sport climbing.

Projects and Goals are really important as we come into winter. This weekend looks like all rain and last weekend was a bust as well. The temps are dropping and climbing must be done inside to maintain fitness. Many people don’t enjoy the gym but if you can find a way to make it fun it will greatly help you ability get back on projects in the spring. Training hard all winter has helped many climbers push the grades much harder than if they had just stayed home.

If you have a big list of routes to do it can put a lot of pressure on you since there is so much to do. It is important to remember that there is a lot of time and that you do the best at climbs that you train for. At the Red I excelled on crimpers since that had been what I was training on. When I did a slopey route I had a lot of trouble since I had not been climbing on slopely holds. So take one goal at a time and maximize your skill level for the climb you are focusing on. Pressure while climbing will only distract you and keep you from pushing to the limit. Remember Climbing is FUN!!

Here is a list of climbs that I want to do in my lifetime. I would like to do most them in the next five years or so but its tricky to know where I will be. This list comes from reading climbing magazines, chatting to other climbers and reading guidebooks. Many climbs are area classics or are very aesthetically pleasing. Desire for many climbs has stemmed from a really nice photo of the climb. Enjoy!

– Luke

Grand Wall

The Needles:
Romantic Warrior

Steck – Salathe
The Rostrum

NW face of Half Dome
Nose in a day
Free Rider

Toulumne Meadows:
Bachar – Yerian
Lucky Streaks

Red Rocks:
Cloud Tower
Original Route, Rainbow Wall

The Gift

Smith Rocks:
Astro Monkey
Chain Reaction
Heinous Cling

Joshua Tree:

Indian Creek:
Ruby’s Café
Way Rambo

Red River Gorge:
No Redemption
Table of Colors Direct


Birdman from Alcatraz
Mr. Joshua
The Totem Pole