Friday, October 18, 2013

The Stone from the Moon

Recently I've gotten extremely psyched on bouldering! This happens spontaneously every now and then and surprises me. A few weeks ago I was messing around on the most classic problem in Groom Creek, Moonstone. Moonstone is a beautiful aesthetic boulder problem that flows better than any boulder problem I have ever attempted. I had never stuck the crux move which is a hard lock off on the right crimp and a dynamic move to a really terrible crimp for the left hand. Then just the other day when I was joking around and messing with my friends I unexpectedly stuck the move. A doorway opened and my motivation sky rocketed, "I can do the move" this was a problem I thought I'd never be able to do until the conscious pathway was rerouted and showed me I could. A week later I came back to try the whole problem from the start…




Bouldering will get you strong, the perfect training but also the purest form of climbing, nothing but you and your movement on the rock. I think it should be appreciated for that context.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Overhanging Nightmare First Ascent

September 23rd I went out near the Dam Wall in Prescott Arizona to finish a project I started last April. Local guidebook author and first ascentionist Kevin Keith and I had found a line that we attempted ground up but never had the chance to go back to due to weather conditions.

The route follows a slab for 15 feet to a large 6 foot roof, going directly over the roof you slap an arete and cross into an overhanging hand/finger crack. Follow this crack up past slopers to a wide crack, over this and up slabs to the top. The first and only day I got on it until this past september I learned how to bolt and drill Anchors from Kevin which was a great learning experience to have.

Overhanging Nightmare can be seen here in the center.

The first go on it, I fell at the second crux. After rapping back down to try it ground up again, I knew I was just blocking myself mentally. I wanted this climb and I knew the moves, I simply just had to breathe and execute. The thing thats always in the back of my mind on this route is that if you fall on the latter moves of the second crux going for the wide crack theres a potential that you will smack into the roof. Last April I fell somewhere in this area, as I fell I tilted my head back looking directly up into the sky, this ended up saving my life as it allowed me enough room for my head to clear the roof. If I had been looking straight ahead I would have smashed eye level with the lip of the roof. This automatically made Kevin and I put a PG-13 rating on the route.

As I tied back in, I took three deep breathes. I could feel the fire ignite inside of me, I was going to give my all; my motivation level was at its highest. I run the slab out to below the roof and place a cam. I grab the slopers on the lip of the roof, throw a heel up and slap for the arete sticking it with the strength of many lives. I pull up and cross over into the crack and establish my self. Place my final pieces for the run out and charge it. Consciously breathing and moving through the cruxes. I jam my hand into the wide crack, aware of the fall consequence but not fearing it; I place the final cam and get myself over the bulge to the slab. I had just sent the First Ascent of Overhanging Nightmare 5.10d PG-13, on my birthday.


Pulling through the first crux.

For more information see: http://mountainproject.com/v/overhanging-nightmare/108355557

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Evolv Cruzer Review

Evolv Cruzers Review:






For the past 5 months I have been wearing the Evolv Cruzers almost daily. If you haven't heard of them they are the latest Approach/Casual shoe from Evolv. These guys are much more than just a casual approach shoe. In the 5 months of wear I put these things through a lot of abuse, I climbed White Horse Ledge in these, hiked countless miles, bushwhacked through the rain, and wore them to just about any event I went to. Heres what I found:

Rubber: I think the Eco-trax rubber that evolv puts on all there shoes is best put to use on their approach shoes. Before wearing these I was using Merrels barefoot full shoed shoes with vibram rubber and I slipped constantly, they could not handle anything it seemed like. With the eco-trax rubber I never slipped once even when climbing and hiking in the rain, on ice or through mossy rock. I give the rubber a grade of 9/10

Comfort/Fit: The Cruzers have a tight fit to them, which is good and bad depending on what you want. I am a size US 10 and order these in a 10. I thought they fit pretty tight especially for the first 3 months. I liked it because I knew i would be doing a lot of rock scrambling/climbing in them so the tight fit was a welcome. but if you want a more loose fit I recommend going a half size up. The comfort of the shoe has been unlike any shoe I have worn before. The shoe is lined with memory foam that morphs to your foot exactly, so every time you put it on you get a custom tailored shoe for your foot that is super soft! and super comfy! The shoe wraps around your foot securing it in a perfect fit. For comfort/fit I give them a 10/10

Laces: The laces on the Cruzers have held up great and have shown no signs of wear for the last 5 months. 10/10

Colors: The Cruzers come in black, slate, red and toffee. I chose the Toffee cause it looks freaking sweet! with many color choices theres something for everyone. 

Durability: The Cruzers fought throw everything I threw at them, but they didn't come out unscarred. The ankle stitching broke loose about 4 months into use, and then the toe stitching gave. Although I put these shoes through a lot of rough terrain, I think the stitching should be much stronger, theres no excuse for poor manufacturing. The stitching ripped but I can still use them just fine that is a plus, but they work better in there slipper form. 6/10

The Cruzers are unique in that the heel tab can fold down and you can use the shoes as a slipper as well. You can go barefoot in them too! I think this is great because like my cruzers when they go through a lot of  abuse and start to see signs of wear they can be converted fully over to a slipper. The slipper conversion makes these shoes perfect for crag climbing too, I can come right off my climb and slip these guys on no problem.

Over all the Cruzers are a great shoe and I  would recommend them to anyone and everyone. they have been by far the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn and the fact that I can use them as slippers to makes them even better. Over all The Evolv Cruzer gets a 8.5/10

Get your pair at www.evolvsports.com

Flying Solo

Last Week I spent my time in Keene Valley. In case non of you know Keene Valley, it is the best climbing spot in New York. What ever you want Keene has it. Splitter Cracks, Overhanging sport routes, Overhanging cracks, multi pitch trad, multi pitch sport, bouldering. Everything! I love Keene Valley. The Valley is where I learned to climb for the first time so it holds that special spot in my heart. I met a ton of local climbers, and even some of the pioneers of classic climbs such as Bozemans Bullet. Chapel Pond Slab is an 800 foot slab climb that is the classic of the area. One of those things you have to climb no matter why you came up to Keene. I have climbed it a few times before and last season simu-climbed it in 23 minutes base to summit. Ever since then I have had the idea brewing in my head of soloing the regular route. So when July 4th came around and all my climbing buds had to work, I had one intention before the fireworks went off, it was time to solo the slabs.


Since I took my death fall at Eagle Falls, my mental game is been the worst it has ever been in my climbing career, Phantom fears attacking me like wolves on a fresh meat. But still even with that going on I had the desire and intention to solo the slabs. I drove up, parked, grabbed my shoes and chalk bag, walked barefoot to the base and stood. I tied the Evolv Bandits to my feet and covered my hands in white courage. I took 5 deep breathes with my eyes closed and centered my self. There could be no mistakes on this climb, I could not let fear penetrate my mind, I had to shut everything off and join in the unison with the present moment. I opened my eyes and started climbing. the first 50 feet is slightly vertical crack climbing, then the next 200 feet I ran up with out using my hands. I reached the second pitch belay and chalked my hands again. I pulled over the lip of the bulge and headed for the notorious twin cracks.

I smoothly and delicately smeared my way up to the crack and right facing corner. finger jamming and stemming up the crack I gained the slabs again. I was the only one on the entire cliff face that day and it felt incredible. I climbed through the last delicate slab pitch and made my way to the ledge below bobs knob. I looked around and caught my breathe, this was the first time in a long time where my mental game has felt good. in fact it felt amazing that day, I was on point with everything and had no fears about the climbing. I was able to sit back and enjoy the climbing with out worrying about consequences. It was relieving, the most relaxing feeling ever. I started up the 30 foot dead vertical section of Bobs Knob. Gained the lip and traversed right. I was now 700 feet above the ground and from this point I could see everything Keene Valley has to offer. The pond glistened below me, as dark clouds brewed above me. I climbed the last 100 feet of slab/crack climbing and stood on top of the summit. I was at peace, totally immersed in the moment, and understood everything again. This was exactly what I needed. Total time car to car  30 minutes. 20 of which was the decent/approach

My broken barriers were beginning to be healed slowly. One must realize that fears arise from within, and if we can take a look around at our situation and decipher between real fears and false ones, then we can begin to have control over the fears. The fears I have been experiencing have been false ones, the situations I have been in have been safe and when my mind allows the negative thoughts to flow only negative consequences result. It all stems from the mind, slow down, breathe and enjoy.Evolv Geshido Lace Climbing Shoe In Size: 5

The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

Its been awhile since I have last written, seems that I have been climbing more than I have been writing again :). Its been a wild ride since my last post. I have put up two first ascents with a dirtbag named Ball in Queen Creek Canyon, specifically at Gods Head North. The lines go at 5.9, and 5.11c both trad routes amongst some hairy dirty, choosy rock. I think with a few repeats of the lines, and possibly some cleaning of loose rock the lines would be classics. The 5.11c Jam of Doom follows an overhanging boulder on top of Gods Head through a flaring finger/hand crack for about 35 feet. You have to climb one of the other routes on Gods Head to reach it. The boulder sits high above the canyon and gives you a great exposed feeling. The route beta can be found on Mountainproject.com in the refuge section of Queen Creek.

Upon returning from Arizona, friends and I started to climb at a place called Eagle Falls. Eagle is a 100 foot cliff face that stands promptly above a raging river that contains many water falls that one can jump into and take a nice cool soak after a hard days climbing. What more could you ask for on a hot summer climbing day? The best part about Eagle Falls is the potential for new routes is everywhere! and they all go on gear! Needless to say it wasn't long until I found a line that looked promising, or so I thought from the ground.

The line of choice looked like it followed a hand/finger crack that went straight up for about 40 feet and then trended left eventually opening up to a small corner. I racked up and set off, the first 10 feet weren't bad maybe 5.8-5.9 I had solid gear in and continued upward. When i reached the base of the "crack" I learned that the perfect hand crack that looked promising from the ground was nothing more than a wide flaring open book. I began to sort of freak out at this point because I was already pumped due to not warming up at all. From the ground it looked like an easy warm up route for the day, I was wrong; I placed a yellow camalot and began climbing higher. the climbing began to get harder now and I was getting more pumped…but when in doubt run it out (right?) Wrong. I kept climbing and soon found my self holding onto two slopers, and standing on minuscule dimes. I looked up, no gear, no possible way (i thought) I could make it up any higher. I looked down, I was twenty feet above that yellow camalot that was placed very peculiar. Would it hold a fall? I looked back at what I just climbed up there was no way i could back track down to the cam. Inevitably the shakes came and soon I was swearing my head off in fear… then I fell. Falling 40 feet, I flipped upside down because of the rope behind my foot (Stupid!) I landed 8" from the ledge at the beginning of the climb. I opened my eyes and saw my good friend and belayer Andy smiling with excitement of my fall. In my mind I was thankful for the cam holding.


I was glad that I had survived one of the sketches climbs of my life. After recuperating at the base I pondered the idea of it the line ends and is impossible to climb, or if I was just scared and couldn't let my mind open to the opportunities that were in front of me. So I walked to the top of cliff and through down a TR. After retrieving the gear, I tried to find a way up this giant. Eventually I saw a possible way that involved big throws to tiny side pulls, technical feet and committing moves. I top roped it clean a few times and am psyched to get back and check out more gear options. On top rope the climb felt like hard 11 maybe easy 12. if i had to put a grade on it now, I would say 5.12a R. I have plans to go back and snag it on lead before leaving for Arizona in two weeks.


This experience taught me a lot of things, first and foremost never expect anything to be easy, and always make sure you are doing things right. I was to caught up in fear and my internal dialogue that I didn't notice the rope behind my foot before I fell. I had ample time to switch my feet before I took the fall and could have prevented it. Sometimes you really need to just say "Stop!" take a deep breathe and see things from a far, take your self out of your body and see things in a third person perspective, analyze and decide everything from this position.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cheap Tents Blog Interview

Daniel from Cheap Tents Blog posts interviewed me about my climbing a couple months ago. Check it out and pass it around to anyone that would be interested!

Cheap Tents Interview Link


Hope you enjoy!

Pan Flutes & High Flukes

I recently received a grassroots sponsorship from Evolv. Evolv makes some of the greatest climbing shoes in the market. Legendary Chris Sharma uses their shoes so that means they can't be that bad ;-). Over the next year I'll be testing out their shoes and giving out reviews on the internet and also directly to the company. I am honored to be apart of their team and look forward to the coming months of using their shoes, crash pads, and other gear.

I'v been training hard back home in Syracuse, New York at The Wall. We've been getting some great bouldering routes set their by Andy Freeman and Brian Caha. The snow and cold weather is still hindering the chance of the climbing season to start early, so I'v came out to arizona to get on some rock.

 I met my friend and climber Kyle Knoll in Sedona, we decided we would give a go at Mars Attacks 5.8 II.
Neither of us had ever climbed on sandstone and we were a little curious to see how we would hold up compared to other places. We bushwhacked and scrambled our way to the base of the climb due to having no idea where the trail was we figured we'd just head in the direction of the rock formation that resembled Mars Attacks. Luckily we were right and we soon racked up and began climbing.

I lead the first slab pitch, originally this pitch went at 5.6 but because its sandstone and the route has seen a lot of traffic recent debate is that it goes at 5.9+. I thought it was 5.8 slab, either way it was a scary introduction to sand stone haha. After the first pitch Kyle took the lead to traverse 120 feet right on the 5.8 2nd pitch. Meeting him at the belay I racked up and took on Pitch 3 (5.6) this crack-chimney pitch brought me back to my days in the Red River Gorge, there were pockets, pinches and underclings everywhere, then it would go to 30 feet of pure crack climbing. It was an amazing pitch to say the least.

While belaying Kyle up the third pitch and gazing out across to Devils Bridge, Capitol Butte, and the Sonoran desert I began to hear a faint sound of a pan flute. The sound of the flute brought me into the moment and strangely relaxed me completely. I was able to just BE. I stood on the 4 foot ledge and took in everything the world could give me at that moment. Kyle arrived at the belay and the flute stopped. We charged up the last "5.9" pitch (more like 5.8) and set up the rappel. While Kyle began rappelling down, the pan flute started up again. I really enjoyed who ever it was playing the pan flute. It was amazing to hear it but not know where it was coming from, I once again came fully into the present moment. It was a great addition to the climb. "Off Rappell" yelled Kyle, I breathed deeply, gazed out to take in the big red rock walls of Sedona and began my decent back down to society.


Mars Attack was an amazing climb. I recommend it to anyone who travels to Sedona to go climbing. The route was just purely amazing, adding all the pitches together you really can't get such a great classic.

I'm headed to go climb in Queen Creek in a couple days. Im psyched to get down there as well and see how i match up on their sport climbs as well as some of the trad routes.