Gear Review - Mammut Parinaco Jacket

I love jackets. I am a jacket connoiseur and whether it is a light wind shirt or a heavy duty down parka I love trying on jackets, feeling the fabrics fit and cut and seeing all the features. I really can't get enough of them and now that every outdoor company is throwing in outrageous colors it is even better!

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Gear Review - Black Diamond Mission 50 Backpack

This is the mother of all technical backpacks. I would describe this pack as comfortable, versatile and feature rich. Heavy loads are no problem, stripping weight is no problem, carrying a rope, ice tools, crampons and all the usual alpine/ice gear is no problem and even skis can be carried by the Black Diamond Mission 50.

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Tallahassee Rock Gym Expansion

Every climber has a similar story of their early days...driving home late after climbing with forearms burning thinking of the problem or route that shut you down go after go. I remember it like yesterday. Working at the Tallahassee Rock Gym was a privilege and climbing there was a blast.

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Gear Review - Outdoor Research Stormsensor Glove

Gloves. I don't think there is a more important piece of gear for winter activities than gloves. Your gloves need to be warm and dexterous but they also need to be comfortable and dry. The perfect glove, I have found, does not exist, but there are many good options for all around use and only a few suitable for specific activities like ice climbing or skiing.

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Longs Peak Cirque Ice Climbing - 11.5.12

Alpine climbing at its finest. High elevation, wind, little sun, cold temperatures, it all combines to make an epic day on the mountain. My first day out this season was up to the high alpine of Rocky Mountain National Park in the Longs Peak Cirque. We started at the Longs Peak Trailhead parking lot at 6:20 am and didn't return until about 4:30 that afternoon.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Off Season Psych!!!

Here is a pretty cool video of Sam Elias and Emily Harrington ice climbing in Vail, CO.  It is cool to hear the perspective of one of the best women rock climbers on another climbing discipline, ice climbing.  Emily has just taken up ice climbing over the last couple seasons and to hear how she relates to it and how it has affected her is neat.  Her candid emotions about ice climbing and specifically leading are comforting to hear because that is in essence ice climbing.  It is primarily mental and even a seasoned veteran of high end  rock climbing can get the willy's!


Notice how she says she never wants to fall.  That is definitely the first rule of ice climbing.
Can't wait for next season!!!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Joe's Valley Bouldering Trip

Joe's Valley is probably one of the top three best bouldering areas in the west.  Joe's offers a massive amount of bouldering with differing types of climbing from slab to roofs.  Camping is easy and close to the climbing, the Food Ranch in nearby Orangeville has all the amenities needed, and the weather is phenomenal from September to April, which pretty much opposes the alpine bouldering season in Colorado.  It is a fantastic place for Frontranger's because of the easy drive and a quick 3 day weekend is just enough time to climb a couple areas and a few particular problems.  The areas include New Joe's, Left Fork and Right Fork.  Each area has its own classics from Resident Evil in New Joe's to Wills of Fire in Let Fork and No Substance in Right.  I just went on a trip to Joe's with a crew from Inner Strength Rock Gym (ISRG) from April 19-22 after not having been to Joe's since 2007.  It was a great trip and reignited my excitement for bouldering outside and going on road trips.


The ISRG crew included Ethan, Brian, Chase, Jon and Greig.  We packed the cars at ISRG late Thursday afternoon and took a caravan of Honda cars (CRV and Civic) out west.  We crammed Brian's CRV with 6 crashpads!  There was a BD Mondo, Revolution AK, Mad Pad, BD Dropzone, Bittersweet Double Wide and BD Butler!  It was incredible.  The other car had a BD Satellite and all the camping gear.  The roadtrip was long, but the guidebook held our attention and anticipation.  We stopped in Glenwood Springs (traffic circle problems) for food and pushed on through the southern Utah desert.  After pulling into the canyon around midnight we finally setup camp with our tents and sleeping bags before finally passing out.  We were all exhausted and knew Friday was going to be amazing.
The Crew...photo by Jon.
Friday morning started with perfect weather, just cool enough to go check out New Joe's before the heat really kicked in.  New Joe's is pretty much an open desert with a few trees here and there, but otherwise provides no shade.  It is a short drive to New Joe's (10 minutes) and a short hike (5 minutes).  We wanted to warm up on some classics like Pimpin' Jeans and a couple V3's and got on some of the classics including Scary, Self Service, Chips and Planet of the Apes.  We all climbed extremely well and a couple problems were worked by all.  After warming up on Pimpin' Jeans we walked over to Chips and Planet of the Apes.  Since I had done Chips before I put my sights on Planet of the Apes.  I fell from the topout of Planet 3 times and will have to go back to get that done next trip.  Everyone else tried Chips, but to no avail.  Other than Ethan, who had done both before, Greig was the only one who got both V7's Chips and Planet of the Apes.


After climbing in the sun all day we headed back into Orangeville to hit up the Food Ranch where we got provisions for the trip.  It is more or less a large gas station grocery store with a small food bar and an upstairs sitting area, but they do have pretty much everything.  We all grabbed Gatorade and snacks and went back to camp.  At camp we pillaged the drainage over one of the hills for fire wood and did quite well.  After getting heaps of wood together Jon made some awesome curry with pineapple and peppers and chicken.  We had rice to go with it while we built the fire.  Side note to anyone thinking about visiting Joe's.  We did notice on day two that nearby Castledale does have a water park.  This would be sweet for rest days, as there is nothing else to do around Orangeville and Castledale!


Day 1 Photos:

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With such a short trip to such a huge area we really had to focus on the classics.  The second day was spent mostly in Left Fork on classic problems like The Angler, Kelly's Arete and Wills of Fire.  The Angler is the most classic highball V2 I have ever been on.  It has a continuous slopey rail that trends left out over the river and ends with a two finger pocket for the topout.  It is just spicey enough to keep you interested, but super fun to send!  The photo below shows you the exposure of being over the river and the overall height of the climb.  We all ran threw this problem and get some magazine worthy photos.
Me getting to the business
Kelly's Arete and Wills of Fire were both extremely fun too.  Kelly's Arete had everything from slopers and pockets to underclings.  You climb a blunt arete with a big high step to reach a very slopey topout.  Stellar all around.  Wills of Fire was a really cool V6.  The problem went straight up a pretty overhung face.  There were specific holds for each move and the sequence was important.  There were crimp rails, jugs, slot sidepulls and a funky 2 1/2 finger pocket.  Wills was amazing and Greig sent it on his second or third go.  Ethan had climbed it before, but the rest of us gave it a go, but to no avail.  We were all so toast from climbing for two days and from the intense heat.  Usually Joe's is okay for weather (heat) into mid April, but it was especially hot for us.  We had to chase the shade and got on problems with overhangs and tree cover to keep cool and motivated.  We did a pretty good job of it too!  Saturday night we even went out at night with headlamps to try Moby Dick (V6).  That problem is definitely one for the day time.  The topout of so slopey we were sure we couldn't see all the holds.  Next time I guess.


Day 2 Photos:

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The trip was a great start to 2012's season and all in all the trip was a success.  Everyone climbed hard and got on problems they could work.  I am looking forward to climbing on the Frontrange for the next few months.  Bouldering around Estes Park and Fort Collins and roping up around Denver, Golden and Boulder.  I am actually going up to the Satellite Boulders at the Flatirons in Boulder this weekend.  Should have a trip report up fairly soon after.
Our campsite for the weekend