Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Red Rock Rendezvous 2015 Re-cap

The annual Red Rock Rendezvous hosted by Mountain Gear wrapped up a couple weekends ago, and I'm just now coming down from the excitement of the event! This was my second year participating in the event as a guide for the American Alpine Institute. My responsibilities included teaching a day-long beginner clinic on Friday, Intro to Sport Climbing clinics on Saturday, guiding folks on their first multi-pitch climbs on Sunday, and keeping the stoke high at all times! It was a whirlwind, but I was excited to meet so many new friends and catch up with many old ones. Here's a few photos from the weekend.

AAI Family Photo. Love you guys! Alasdair Turner Photography

Getting everyone prepped for a day of beginner skills on Friday! Red Rock Rendezvous Photo

Intro to Sport Climbing Pro-Tip: Bring flip-flops! Red Rock Rendezvous Photo

Having breakfast burritos and coffee with some of my favorite crushers! Red Rock Rendezvous Photo
On the sharp end during the Intro to Sport Clinic. Jon Jonckers Photo

Keeping the focus. Jon Jonckers Photo

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

La Sportiva Nago vs Mythos

"What's the main difference between the La Sportiva Nago Climbing Shoes and the La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoes? How does the La Sportiva Nago Climbing Shoes stack up against the La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoes?"

Great question! Those two shoes are very similar, with some noticeable differences that make them slightly better for some particular purposes.

To start off, the Mythos is an un-lined full leather shoe. This means it stretches out a lot over time. I size these pretty small in order to get a good lasting fit when they stretch out. The pair I used to own were a size 36.5, and I normally take a 39 in most other shoes. That stretching though makes them super comfortable. They're a great shoe for moderate all-day multi-pitch climbs.

The Nagos are a little different. They have a synthetic liner around the middle of the foot, so the stretching out is limited to the toe and heel. In my opinion that is just enough to make them break in and be comfortable, but not so much that they lose their sensitivity and performance ability. A great compromise.

The biggest difference is the Nago maintains its edge much longer than the Mythos. This is very important for performance on face climbs with small edges. With that in mind the two factors you need to weigh are all-day comfort against edging performance. If sized correctly, the Nago should provide a reasonable amount of comfort over a long time but the edging performance (or lack there of) can not be fixed with the Mythos. For that reason I prefer the Nago.

Feel free to keep the questions coming! 

Terrible Blog Updater

So I've been extremely absent from my blog since the Spring. I've been doing a bunch of fun things that I think are worth sharing, but my free time just hasn't been devoted towards this blog. But no longer! I've been getting a bunch of questions from friends and clients about climbing and figured I might as well start publishing my responses to them in this public forum for everyone to see. So for now I'm back with a regular stream of gear and technique related questions. Hope to get some trip reports and stories up here soon too.

See you in the mountains,


Thursday, April 3, 2014

RRRR: Red Rock Rendezvous Recap

I really just wanted to have the title of this post resemble a pirates' favorite letter, but in reality we all know that's P! (because its like an R, but its missing a leg) But in all seriousness, I can only begin to say how much fun I had at the Red Rock Rendezvous this past weekend! Not only did I spend time with so many great people, but it was my birthday on Saturday and my partner Laura was able to make it for the festivities as well.

A Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) in bloom with the Red Rock Escarpment in the background

I began Friday of the festival leading a U-climb clinic all day for new climbers. We focused on all the fundamentals of the sport and by the end of the day everyone could go through a safety check, rappel, and utilize good body positioning and technique on 5.7 climbs. Such a fun group of folks getting their first outdoor climbing experience, or at least a refresher.

On Saturday I had the pleasure of assisting professional climbing athlete and yogi Heidi Wirtz with her Yoga for Climbers clinics. I'm not a practitioner of yoga, but definitely an interested observer, and the opportunity to learn a thing or two from Heidi was a real treat. Not to mention it was also my birthday! Although this was Heidi's clinic and certainly her expertise, she let me put up a route in the afternoon at the Hunter S. Thompson Dome called Squire and rated 5.10c. I called it an "easy-hard" route, because of its overhanging nature but with big jugs to grab onto. Got to love that grade "easy-hard", they're always a lot of fun.

Panorama I took of Heidi leading her group in some yoga poses. Can't beat this setting for yoga!
I definitely picked up some yoga poses and stretches to add into my stretching regiment. It was great to get some instruction in yoga from a climber that obviously is able to tailor her practice towards improved climbing movement. But I have to admit I was very sore after 2 sessions of yoga that day!

Heidi stopping on the hike out to take a photo of a good looking barrel cactus. So great to see someone appreciating the little things! Definitely check out Heidi's yoga and climbing retreats at Earthplay Retreats.

Saturday night was definitely the party night at the Rendezvous. Lots of people dancing to the music, and the beer was flowing freely. Had a great time hamming it up with my friends after a long day in the desert sun.

Sunday I was assigned to multi-pitch guiding, probably the most popular opportunity at the Rendezvous. I took two great guys from Pennsylvania up Lotta Balls 5.8 in the First Creek Canyon. Despite some high winds I was able to stay attached to the thin face section of balls the route is known for on pitch 2. These guys had a great time and were super appreciative to get up on a multi-pitch climb and learn a few more efficient techniques for station and rope management.

My first Rendezvous will definitely not be my last! I look forward to next years event and many more after that for years to come!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Red Rock Rendezvous March 28-30, 2014

I'm very excited to be participating in this year's Red Rock Rendezvous hosted by Mountain Gear! I absolutely love climbing and guiding on the sandstone of Red Rock and I'm stoked to be invited as an American Alpine Institute guide to help facilitate clinics and guide multi-pitch routes. Should be an exciting weekend working alongside sponsored athletes and enjoying the desert sun with a huge portion of the climbing community!

Can't beat Red Rock sunsets!
To get stoked for everything Red Rock, check out this video about the event:

More great info about the Red Rock Rendezvous can be found on the American Alpine Institute blog here.

I'll also be in Red Rock the week before the Rendezvous and the week after. A few exciting days lined up already and hope you can join me in the desert for some climbing!

In related news, I'll be in Joshua Tree starting on April 5th where I have the honor of working with the group Athletes With Disabilities that gives people with a leg or arm amputation the opportunity to experience climbing. I can't express how excited I am to be working with this group! You can check out a video below of a past event.

I'll be back up in Washington starting May 1st, but I'll enjoy the high desert rock of the Southwest while it lasts! Excited to be meeting up with old friends and making new ones all spring in the desert sun.