Relocation Reminder

13 09 2010

Just a reminder all new Dream In Vertical posts can be found at:

We will no longer be updating .

You can also subscribe via RSS to our new site at:

Thanks for reading!

– Luke & Lizzy


Holiday News update!

14 12 2009

Things have been a bit slow here at DreamInVertical over the last month or so. Life has been exceptionally busy and the climbing trips have been plentiful.

We are pretty behind on trip reports and hopefully many will get finished over this holiday season. I finally completed writing my reflections and trip report from my first attempt on Freerider and, thanks to editing from Lizzy, it just went live. It’s a bit long, but hopefully a good read.  As the year comes to an end, Lizzy just finished up her first quarter of grad school and I am in the process of changing jobs and moving to the Sunnyvale/Palo Alto area.  Things are chaotic and I expect to get back to a more normal schedule come January  or February.

Luke enjoys a lap on Gunsmoke.  Photo thanks to RockGrrl

Back in November Lizzy and I attended the 1st annual #jtreetweetup. It was very cool to meet the many people that we chatted with online and help show them around Joshua Tree. Hopefully Lizzy or I will be writing a post from the trip soon. The highlight for Lizzy was a send of Gunsmoke! This has been a long time project and she has gotten quite close in the past. This trip she aced both cruxes and had enough endurance to finish it off. I was psyched to do a bit of exploring around the park in the mornings before meeting up with the Tweetup crew and found a new project. The Acid Crack features powerful thin fingerlocks to a core intensive face climbing section once the crack pinches down to tips. I worked the line twice on top rope and was able to figure out all but once section. This climb is steep and my style and I look forward to going back to it once I get a bit stronger.

Lizzy on Gunsmoke

Over Thanksgiving break Lizzy and I went out to Indian Creek with a bunch friends. We meet up with people from all over and had a blast with amazing weather. Lizzy just finished her post and  I will be writing about our trip soon too, since we both climbed exceptionally well. Definitely check out some of our photos here or even better ones from our friend Andre.

One highlight of the trip for me was seeing Matt Segal and Jason Kruk working on a new route at Battle of the Bugle. On our last day while driving past Battle of the Bulge we saw a few camera men above the project. We pulled over and saw Matt climb the last 15 feet or so and clip the chains for the first ascent. It was awesome to watch these guys work on this climb over the many days we were at the Battle of the Bulge. This new age line uses tricky face sequence to connect thin cracks with infrequent gear.

Like A Prayer by Renan Ozturk

On a final note, we have added a few new pages to DreamInVertical. First came our Gear Review section to allow people to more easily find our Sweet Gear reviews. As well the new Multi-Pitch Route Beta page has links to topos and trip reports from many of the classic multipitch and alpine routes we have done. This page is a work in progress so feel free to leave comments if there is something missing or some additional beta that could be added to future trip reports.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season,


More Gear Reviews Coming Soon!

17 11 2009

After testing out the Acrteryx R320 I was interested in trying out the competition. Right now I am testing the Black Diamond Chaos with the Kinetic Core Construction. So far I’ve mainly been cragging but it went up the Freeblast twice back in October. After a bunch more pitches I will be doing a full review with a comparison against the R320.


The BD Chaos fully loaded on Hidden Arch in Joshua Tree

I just bought a pair of La Sportiva Speedsters so I will be contributing to Lizzy’s review so we can get a dual perspective on this new soft soled slipper. Expect this in the next two months after Lizzy and I have a chance to go bouldering on real rock.

Lizzy and I have been climbing multipitches for a while and have found that in some situations hauling the pack can be ideal for the follower. After putting holes in many of our packs we have recently switched to using the Metolius Haul Packs when we want to haul.

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A mess of gear and the yellow Metolius Shield Haul Pack

On the Original Route on Rainbow Wall I hauled a Zodiac pack, 15L, and on El Captain we used the Shield, 31 L, as a sub bag. These bags still look great after 10 and 22 pitches of hauling respectively. After a few more trips I plan on publishing a review and a few hauling tips.

Also I  think it would be nice to provided a summary of the summit/ follower packs that Lizzy and I have used. My current favorite is the Black Diamond RPM which is a bit on the large size (26L) but compacts easily and holds weight really well.

El Cap - Oct 09 054 - edit2

Walking across the Mammoth Terraces on El Captain with the Black Diamond RPM pack.

After much searching and frustration with outdoor clothing companies, Lizzy has finally found a pair of non-cotton, non-yoga-style climbing pants that fit her in addition to providing sun and bug protection. After a few months of testing for durability Lizzy will be writing a review of the Columbia Womens’ Trekster pants. Also, Lizzy has been using the new Black Diamond Stone gloves and should have a review of them out shortly.

I have a pair of the Black Diamond N-Force Ascenders and will be doing a comparison with the Petzl Ascension.  After using the BD ascenders 4 days straight on Freerider I have a good idea about what I like and what doesn’t work.

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N-Force in hand, ready for El Captain!

For other Sweet Gear reviews make sure to check out the Gear Reviews page.



Luna Bar All Women’s Triathlon Festival 2009

31 08 2009

This last Sunday I participated in the Luna Bar Duathlon at the Luna Bar All Women’s Duathlon at Rancho Seco Park, which is in rolling hills south of Sacramento near some vineyards and a nuclear power plant (I’d never been this close to one!!). I had decided to do this event because it was going to be 2 days after I moved and I figured I could use both motivation to unpack stuff from my car and a break from putting stuff away. Also, I was interested in getting into triathlons and thought this would be a good intro because I wouldn’t have to deal with the swim – bike transition, which seemed complicated, or struggle to train for swimming, since I technically didn’t have access to the Caltech gym/pool any more after graduating (what do girls do with your hair? Do you just redo it after taking off swim cap? Braids?)

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Bike and bag of gear all ready to go the night before

I trained for this more than any recent event, mostly because I knew my legs needed to be in shape for the biking and running. The Rose Bowl was perfect for this – mostly flat with some very gentle hills and a 3.15mi loop. I would do several laps for a bike workout or 1-2 laps for a run workout. I also did a couple of practice duathlons – transitioning at the car.

So I felt pretty prepared. I packed up all my gear the night before and got up at 5am the morning of to drive to Rancho Seco Park so I would have plenty of time to park, check in, and prepare my transition area. I’d never done something like this before, so I checked out how other ladies were setting their stuff up, putting the bike on the rack by the seat and organizing their various shoes, clothing, and towels (for triathletes) on the ground next to the bike.

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My bike in the transition area

It was so cool being at an event that was just for female athletes. There were 4 events – Super Sprint Duathlon and Triathlon and Luna Bar Duathlon and Triathlon, so there was an event for everyone, from the not-so-in shape to the serious triathletes. Throughout the day, everyone was really supportive of each other and sports-woman-ship was everywhere. Plus, I didn’t often see this many women in my years at Caltech (only at frisbee tournaments, where the camaraderie is not so good…) Yes, boys, it was nice for all of you to be on the sidelines just cheering us on.

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Looking at all the ladies setting up in the transition area.

My race was a 2 mile run, followed by a 20 mile bike ride and a 4 mile run. These last 2 legs were shared with the triathletes, who started in waves on a .5 mile lake swim. When we started the first run, we all joked that we would rather be jumping in the lake – the run course was in the sun and it was already getting hot. I’d drank about 2 Liters of water since waking up, though, so I think I started out pretty well hydrated. I focused on pacing myself on the first run – I have a tendency to go out WAY too fast and tire myself out early and felt good and relaxed on the first run, doing 8-minute miles, faster than I’d expected. My first transition went well and I felt fast and strong going out on the bike course, even though I was getting passed by triathletes who’d clearly trained more than me (my cycle speed is currently only about 15 mi/hr, whereas I imagine the best athletes were probably around 20mi/hr). I had taken two shot bloks before starting the race and took the remaining 4 shot bloks at intervals throughout the bike ride (it’s way easier to do bloks/gu while cycling than while running) and trying to stay hydrated.

The bike ride was an out-and-back course and it seemed there was a little more uphill on the way back, plus a headwind, so I didn’t go quite as fast and my legs started to get tired, but I kept going. I only had one almost-bad incident when some bitchy lady honked at us from behind (I guess she was impatient to pass?) and I jumped, accidentally nudging my front wheel onto the soft shoulder. Miraculously, though, I got back on the road almost immediately and hadn’t been at one of the spots where the pavement dropped off several inches to the shoulder. A passing woman congratulated me for not crashing and flipped off the rude driver for me.

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My number – 76

The final run was hard for me, not only because it was longer than the first run, but because my legs were really tired and my stomach was feeling really awful, as it often does on races. Normally, 4 miles wouldn’t be too bad of a run for me, but the heat and tiredness made it a big challenge. I focused on my breathing, and on taking advantage of the downhill sections (which not a lot of people seemed to do). I had a cup of electrolyte and a cup of water at every aid station (every mile, which was great!), using most of the water to pour on my head to keep cool.

I ended up finishing in 2:24:50. I’d not had a good idea of how long this should have taken me, but I expected to take over 2 hours and, based on the return part of the bike course and the second run course, I was pleasantly surprised by this not-too-terribly awful finish time (the winning time was 1:57:00, the last finisher was 2:54:54). I was 8th out of 22 athletes in the Duathlon and 1st (out of one athlete, but hey, I was competing just against myself anyways) in the 20-29 age group.

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My 1st place plaque and free box of Luna Bars!

Overall, this event was a great experience! Everyone was really friendly and supportive. It made me really excited to get into triathlons next season because I still don’t really love running, but I enjoy biking and swimming. This was a lot more fun than the long trail race I did in May, even though I covered more distance, because I got to ride my bike! In the meantime, I’m hoping to get my cycling speed up, get back into swimming, and maybe compete in some shorter trail races (I’ve always been better at running less far…) so I can work on my speed. If I’m not out in the field for this event next year, I definitely want to do it again! Check out this page for info about the race this year.

Do any of you blog readers do triathlons? Any training tips?


Sweet Gear: New Reviews Coming Soon!

20 08 2009

2009 has been full of new gear at Dream in Vertical and we will be publishing  some of the reviews that Lizzy mentioned earlier in the year.  As well we just got two of the latest and greatest shoes from La Sportiva thanks to Backbone Media and Sara over at RockClimberGirl.

I am excited to try out TC Pro which seems perfectly suited for some of the harder multipitches I plan on climbing  later in the year.

The new Sportiva TC Pro designed by Tommy Caldwell featuring Vibram XS Edge rubber.

Lizzy will be testing out the Speedster and as a stiff shoe lover will provided a chance to try out the more sensitive end of the climbing shoe range.

The super sensative Speedster with the new 3mm Vibram XS Grip 2

Also after wearing the Arc’teryx R320 for many pitches from Zion, to Smith Rock and the Sierra I feel ready for a review.

Darkstar - July 09 043

Wearing the R320 on a sub 20 hour C2C ascent of DarkStar

Also I will be doing a 1 year review of the Black Diamond Oz, C3 and the Petzl Reverso3.

This should add a bit more info to my previous post:

Sweet Gear Generation3: The Reverso, The OZ, and C3’s

Also be sure to check out some of our other Sweet Gear reviews:

Approach Shoe Reviews by Lizzy.

A General Rope Review by Luke

La Sportiva Miura VS by Lizzy

Patagonia DAS Parka by Lizzy

Patagonia R1 Flash Pullover by Lizzy

Patagonia Plush Pants by Lizzy


– Luke

ClimbFind and Weekend Updates

31 07 2009

Back in June Sara over at put Lizzy and I in touch with Jon and Kevin at ClimbFind.We were able to entertain them during one of their road trip stops at Smith Rock.

Climb Find is going live TODAY with a new feature of their site, a Climbing Feed, that will bring climbs a new way to connect with people and display local news/updates. So the next time you need a climbing partner go to their site and put in a request!

Lizzy and I have been a bit low key the last few weekends but have been working on some longer post examining our past climbing histories. Since we both started climbing before we met it is interesting to see how our partnership has helped us develope new skills.

Hope everyone has a good weekend! If you haven’t seen this video from Sonnie Trotter you should check it out. Sick crack climbing!!

 – Luke

Smith Rock Send List!

30 06 2009

So, before going to Smith Rock, I posted a ticklist of the routes I wanted to do. I ended up doing a lot of them, plus plenty not on the list. So here’s everything I lead, in order of increasing grade (R=redpoint, O=onsight, F=flash; sport routes in italics, trad routes in bold):

Hop on Pop, 5.8 (R) – always a classic

5 Gallon Buckets, 5.8 (R) – another classic

Light on the Path, 5.9 (R) – ditto. watch out for the bird crap, though, in one of the upper huecos (gross!)

9 Gallon Buckets, 5.9 (O) – only 5.9 to the first anchor

Helium Woman, 5.9 (F) – this route is more fun than the Watts guidebook gives it credit for

Moonshine Dihedral, 5.9 (R) – although I’d already onsighted this one many years ago

Captain Xenolith, 5.10a (F) – not quite as fun as its neighbor, Helium Woman

Cosmic, 5.10a (F) – the easiest knob route at Mesa Verde, not quite as fun as the harder classics

Cruel Sister, 5.10a (O) – gosh, this got pretty wide for my little hands at the top, bring a #4 camalot (or two!)

Chicken McNuggets, 5.10b (R) – the start is deceptively tricky

Wedding Day, 5.10b (O) – this route is not very fun

Screaming Yellow Zonkers, 5.10b (F) – a classic! love the knobs!

Badfinger, 5.10b (R) – fun!

Rim Job, 5.10b (O) – this one is very cool, despite looking intimidating-ly thin

Wildfire, 5.10b (O) – super cruiser above the initial tight corner

Cornercopia, 5.10b (R) – the last 4 are all on the Wildfire Wall – what a mecca for 5.10 and 5.11 trad climbs!

Barbecue the Pope, 5.10b (R) – maybe not the best route to climb in the sun (oops)

On the Road, 5.11a (R) – this route is incredible! don’t miss it! maybe my pick for the best 5.11 at Smith…

A Woman in the Meadow, 5.11a (F) – pumpy!

Pure Palm, 5.11a (R) – by far the hardest 11a I did this trip…

Vomit Launch, 5.11b (R) – this may be the best (sport) 5.11 at Smith

Moondance, 5.11b/c (R) – this was good training for Pure Palm…

Sunshine Dihedral, 5.11d (O) – my crowning achievement 🙂

Still many projects to get back on, but consider this a list of recommended routes at Smith (except maybe for Wedding Day, which wasn’t that awesome). Hang tight for some blogs from Luke (right now I have the advantage since I’m DONE WITH SCHOOL WOOO).