Friday, October 28, 2011

Chain so big, can't pop my collar

We went down to the Linville Gorge the other day and did a fair bit of climbing with Mike Stam.  This was one of my first times really getting to climb with him.  It's pretty amazing to see all of the work that he puts into developing new boulders down there.  He spent like 4 hours building a landing and cleaning holds for one problem, and then he flashed it.  It's crazy to think of putting that much effort into something that lasts for only a moment.  He called it Naive Melody (V4), but it was pretty hard.

Me on Naive Melody- Rachel Scheffe pic

He got video of the climb, so i'll link it in when/if he posts it.  I did a handful of climbs while i was down there, including Glassy Heel Hook (V4), Stranger Than Friction (V7), The Devil (V6), and a couple more that I don't know the name of.  There is a stupid amount of climbing that I want to do in the Gorge and i'm psyched to get back!! 

Also, i just got a new lens.  The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8.  I took a few test shots recently and so far i really like it.  There is definitely distortion at 11mm, but the image is still mostly sharp.  Here's a few snapshots that i've taken so far:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Under the twilights, we livin the miller high life

A lot has gone down recently.  To start, it's Triple Crown season and my psych level is super high.  I've been doing the Star Chasers category and it has worked out quite nicely so far.
Hound Ears:
With bad weather in the weeks before the comp, i didn't get to do as much training as i would have liked.  My skin was soft and the only circuit training i had done was in the gym.  Even so, i was looking forward to the challenge of taking on both Tilley and Purp.  Comp day rolled around and it was super cold.  It was also snowy/raining.  As much as i didn't want them to postpone the event, it turned out for the best (mostly).  The only downside was that there was an 'afterparty' that didn't get postponed.  I may have had a bit too much fun, dropped my beer for no apparent reason (beer in a cup, so it really went everywhere (including all over my shirt/pants)), decided Cookout would be an excellent idea, and decided sleeping in my car would be an even better idea.  The upside to sleeping in my car was that I was already at the meeting spot for carpooling.  The downside was that i didn't actually sleep that much due to the frostbite that was surely setting in on my legs and feet.  So, feeling a little sick and quite tired (don't worry, i fixed the 'tired' problem with a couple Monsters (but that only added to the 'sick' problem)), we were off to the comp.  It turned out to be the best conditions Hound Ears has ever seen.  My goal for the day was to win and to do the three four-star problems in the field.  This includes The Crusher (V10), which I have been itching to do for years.  Oh, and also to have a killer good time and climb loads of boulders that i had never done before.  I started off by racking up a decent amount of stars, then went to try The Crusher.  I almost did it first go (closer than i'd ever been before) but it just got worse after that.  I blanked out on all my beta, wasted way too much energy/time, and didn't send.  It was a struggle to finish the day after that (pumping out on v4), but i managed to do a lot of good climbs before time was up.

Final Stars:
Me: 107
Tilley: 104 (how crazy close was that!!)
Purp: 83

Also, shout out to some other peeps who killed it that day:
Men Open:
1. Brad Weaver: 13,128
2. Nate Draughn: 12,508

Women Open:
1. Kasia Pietras: 7609
2. Isabelle Faus: 7183
3. Leanna Lockhart: 3539

Advanced Men:
3. Ben Newton: 6999

Intermediate Women:
1. Kat Marek: 3041

Big thanks to Jim Horton and Chad Wykle for doing another amazing job putting together Hound Ears and seriously hooking it up with the prize packages!

And.... On to the Stone Fort.  This year the comp fell on the weekend after Hound Ears.  Fortunately, it was just enough time for most people to recover (not Doug, his hands were... ). 

I drove out to Chatt with Chris Collins and Michael Harrington. Good ol Andrew Miller was nice enough to let us crash at his place.  We arrived a little late for pre-reg, but we chilled for a while and drank some free beer, watching some serious climbsters in action (tanktops, speed climbing and everything) at the Urban Rocks Gym.  Someone stole my Stone Fort shirt and koozie.  What really killed me was listening to everyone talk about the "Hound's Ear comp."  Next day, we got to Montlake way too early, hung out for a while, and eagerly awaited the 80 degree day to come.  Long story short:  The 'easy' climbs that get stars are all slabby and slopey (aka hard as shit), and all i had was a pair of blown solutions and no slab skills to speak of.  At Hound Ears, I fell a handfull of times all day.  At Stone Fort, V2 slabs were kicking me off left and right.  My feet were bleeding by the end of the day (they actually weren't, but they might as well have been).  I got dehydrated on 3 separate occasions and nearly decided to quit each time.  But, I did learn a lot about how to climb and i won some cool stuff anyway.  Some rando beat me at Star Chasing by 8 stars, but i still got second with 121, and i also did the Premium Blend Light Roast the fastest (nobody else did it, but i was still really fast dammit).  Shout out to all the people that killed it again (i'm too tired to list everyone tho).  They also premiered A Fine Line by Andrew Kornylak.  I thought it was badass.  Off to the afterparty (which i though meant free beer and fun).  I had spent all of my cash on water that day, so when i saw that they were charging 3 bucks per beer, i was a bit sad.  Fear not, we'll just hit up a gas station to buy more beer for cheap and have our own party, right?  And we'll just walk to the nearest one, right?  An hour and a half later we made it back with our beer.  And we didn't get stabbed or shot.  Things were really going our way now.  Did you know they have 32oz Miller High Life cans in Chattanooga? 

Yeah, i may move back there this season after all.  When the night was done, I was a little disappointed that I didn't get that ride to Atlanta that I was looking for, but I guess that's ok.  Waffle House for breakfast (awesome) and back to Boone (by way of Asheville....).  Good shit.