Thursday, May 30, 2013

The End of Funemployment

With my last update I was planning on heading to the Black Canyon for the weekend which wound up coming to fruition; needless to say I was psyched!

I ended up meeting my friend J on Thursday night and we came up with a game plan to ease me back in to the swing of things so the next day we rallied down the Cruise gully after a nice leisurely breakfast and couple of cups of coffee to do The Diagonal (5.12) a route new to the both of us. We were able to solo and simul a bit more than half the climb which certainly helped the 2000' day go by a lot faster. After hundreds of feet of some grand old choss wrangling (for the uninitiated the Black has a reputation for lots of loose rock among other things, The Diagonal more than lived up to this reputation) I got to lead the only clean, and in my opinion the best pitch of the route a 11+/12- technical dihedral protected with a couple of bolts. It felt like I was back in Rifle doing some good ol' sportz clippin' actioneering....almost. With a bit more groveling and some run out chimneying we were sippin' on suds on the North Chasm View it was grand!

Some big old hole in the ground.
The next day after being turned away from our original objectives by SAR we decided to do The Scenic Cruise (5.10+), a clean classic that I'd not done only to discover a desperately slow party of three on it. Luckily we were able to do a different start (The Cruise 5.10+) and after thrashing my way up the wide pitch we passed the party of three and blasted through the last pitches with a couple of linkups for a fairly early day. We found out the next day that the party we passed ended up spending an unplanned night on the wall, needless to say we were doubly psyched to have passed them in hindsight.

J finishing the traverse pitch

After the Black adventures I had my first day of work at CMC doing more challenge course facilitation, which was a blast despite the constant rain all that day. Since then I was hired on at Ute Mountaineering, a gear shop in Aspen for a full time job which, needless to say has occupied much of my time between training, gear clinics and actually working. I have gotten out to Independence pass with a new friend Nathan to do a little before work climbing and checking out some sweet potential projects for the summer. I'm pretty stoked to see where this second job leads as it seems to potentially be opening doors for local crag development and also for anchor replacement stuff for the desert.

For Mother's Day Taryn and I cruised down to Grand Junction to do Otto's Route (5.9-) on Independence Monument for her first desert tower and to visit her grandma and the rest of her family. While it was a touch warm we couldn't have asked for a nicer day to climb such an unusual route.
I also had my wisdom teeth out which was far less eventful than I anticipated as I didn't have any significant swelling, pain or complications with down time lasting about 24 hours before a bike ride and a day back in Rifle.
My current kitchen

The new backyard

Sunday, May 19, 2013

It's all about who you know, not what you know

I feel like networking has been a huge part of my so far short but sweet adult life. My mom has been harping on the importance and benefits of networking for longer than I can remember and certainly she's something of a master so I can safely say this post is all about what my mom has taught me and how it has made my lifestyle feasible.

Basically, I think that networking comes down to a few key components, being outgoing, following through and making a positive impression.

Obviously if you are not meeting people you're definitely not going to meet the right folks. A lot of the time that I've met folks that later turned in to great network assets it was completely by chance, running in to them at a campground, sitting next to them on a flight etc. While context can help with finding folks to network with eg work, climbing (read: your favored outdoor activity), the local gym etc. So ya, meet new people, which seems to be a good idea even outside of the concept of networking.

Follow through is clutch, if/when people make offers it's hard to take them up on those offers if you fail to stay in touch or feel like you're imposing too much. That being said it's certainly important not to impose or push too hard since that can turn people off, develop a bad rep (which could certainly inhibit future networking opportunities) and expose you for a dirtbag or something similar. This is pretty much a line you have to draw for yourself and may require some trial and error but I've found it is easier to err on the side of caution and be polite and try and cut visits shorter rather than longer.

Positive impression is good but the other two suggestions should be more of a priority with this being something you just do. Being nice hopefully isn't too strenuous as well as being considerate of folk's different backgrounds and being sensitive to those. That being said some people are just better at this than others, so be aware of what you can improve on.

A last tip that isn't required but I'd definitely suggest is simply pay it forward, if you help folks out they're more inclined to help you or introduce you to networks that can help you. To be cliche and redundant relationships are a two way street or rather that's what I've heard successful relationships are.

Any other tips and tricks you guys have found to be helpful?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Indian Creek, Rifle and the Black Canyon...sounds like an Enormocast episode

Since I last updated I have moved on from the Creek after spending about six weeks (read not enough time) there after getting snowed out and having work commitments in Carbondale.

Before I left

As I left (looking up canyon)

Also as I left (looking down canyon)

Basically my last few weeks at the Creek I ticked fewer than anticipated climbs off of my to-do list as a result of establishing and finishing more new routes. The most recent and greatest of which was the Battle of Wits that I did with Dan Hughes, (which still needs a little work) but the pitch by pitch break down goes something like this: P1: ledgy climbing to a bit of 5.11-R which takes to to an alright belay stance. P2: Climb past some protection bolts and a slightly expanding flake into a flare and pull on fingers through a roof to a gently overhanging off fingers and .75 splitter (5.12). P3: Do a V4/5 boulder problem off the belay to gain a tips crack to easy and varied climbing to the belay ledge(5.12).P4: The best finger crack I have ever done, go through a few crack changes up a slightly overhanging headwall that ends in some thank god stemming and chimneying that leads to the rim(5.12). This thing is

When not climbing my friend Jack and I honed in our hatchet throwing skillz. Note the mulch at the base of the post.

Hatchet throwing highlights included a five rotation throw that was maybe 30-40ft back. and Cutting the underwear in half and pinning them to the post.

Since I've set up camp in Glenwood I have been feasting on humble pie while sport climbing with Kevin, Liesel, my uncle Mike, Taryn and a few other folks. Basically, sport climbing vs. trad climbing(what I normally do) is climbing routes with bolts, used for protection and usually safer than placing gear as you go. Most people climb harder while sport climbing than trad climbing, but not this guy so I'm working hard to improve and balance out the two. I've been climbing so far just at a local crag called the Puoux and in Rifle Mountain Park where I've climbed up to 5.11+.

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to meeting my friend J in the Black to do some longer routes and do a little adventuring. Hopefully this works out better than the last Black trip I tried, could be dicey as we got some snow last night but I'm optimistic.

Waking up at CMC to Mt. Sopris after a delightful nights rest.