Monday, January 28, 2008

Mount Sanitas

We went up Mount Sanitas on Saturday with Sophia. Beautiful Day!

On Sunday we went to the Spot--the sandbag truck backed up and left some nice ones last week. However I did an Open problem (#5)from the comp second try! Definitely not in the same league as the others but fun nonetheless. The sloper pinch problem hegemony still reigns supreme as Open 10 clearly shows. However I realize that since the walls are so slabby overall, it is virtually the only way to set difficult problems. That said there is a great deal of room for improvement and variety in setting. I suggested to Tyler Landman that they pay him per hold so he is encouraged to add a few more footholds to his routes. We'll see.

The moves on the Blue Arrow problem are coming together but maybe not likely before the walls get stripped and reset.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lisa Rands Video

Check out for some very good and free video of Lisa Rands in the Buttermilks. The video is in two parts.

Definitely puts the blue arrow roof at CATS in perspective.

Also read the account of "Manolo" (Maurizio Zanolla) and his success on the ultra thin Bimbaluna at St. Loup in Switzerland, grade 14c/d. Not bad for 50 years old.

Monday, January 21, 2008

MLK Day--Freezing cold winter continued

Here are photos of the new walls at CATS. Still waiting for paint. Much taller than before.

Winter does not let up here in Boulder. Highs for today around 10 degrees F. Saw Paul R and Seth A at CATS yesterday. Paul has had an amazing winter elsewhere, Hueco especially, but is finding it hard to get psyched around here. We talked a bit about Climbing Magazine's "Golden Piton" Award for bouldering going to Kevin Jorgeson. I wonder whether his ascents, however impressive, are really bouldering. They appear to be fairly serious solos after top-rope rehearsal instead. Certainly Daniel or Paul deserve more credit for actually bouldering, i.e. trying the most difficult moves you can do. There are other anomalies as well such as Ethan Pringle winning in sport climbing. Dave Graham or any number of Euros, or even Adam Ondra seems far more worthy. And where is the "Veteran" of the year?

It certainly isn't me. I am barely hanging in there, clawing away on the four spots at the Spot, desperately working V8 and not feeling any closer to breaking through.

Look for a review of the latest issue of Climbing soon

Congrats to Lisa Rands for a send of the Mandala.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Waiting for the semester to start

I'm getting ready for another semester of teaching but definitely feeling ready for a change in direction at this point. A long (for me) run out to Boulder Creek on the White Rocks trail put thoughts of spring in mind and new ways of thinking.

Perhaps one of the great things about climbing is that it is very obvious when you are not prepared for the task at hand. This awareness can extend to every area of life and is a useful check when you feel like things are in retreat mode rather than progression. Sometimes it can be a fine line between the two.

Hopefully this year will see some progress in all areas including climbing.

On a sad note, the death of Sir Edmund Hillary marks the true end of the Golden Age of mountaineering. His ascent of Everest in 1953 was a significant closing of a frontier of exploration, matched in its impact only by the 1969 lunar landing. Perhaps even more pioneering was his focus on education for the people of Nepal as he became a philanthropist soon after the ascent. Maintaining he was only a beekeeper from New Zealand, Hillary became an international symbol of genuine greatness of character, a rare fate for members of the climbing community. Few climbers have made such a difference in the world at large.

For a interesting set of thoughts on climbing and life, visit Stephanie Davis' blog at She is certainly exploring life at the edge and her analysis of risk, fear, and reward is well worth perusing.

Also check out for an in-progress online guide to Flagstaff from Chip Philips.

On the whining front, the setting at the Spot needs some review. I can flash and generally climb up and down most of the four and four plus problems but get repeatedly shut down on fives. It may be time to expand and refine a grade category that goes from roughly V6 to V12 and beyond. And maybe the focus on straight-on jumpy pinch problems could be relaxed a wee bit at that grade. I have offered to help set there and maybe sometime will get the chance.

The new walls at CATS are up and are much bigger than before--very promising except that there is virtually no room for climbers to sit down without being in the landing zone. Pictures will be up soon.

Also best wishes to Andy Mann for a quick recovery from a serious ankle injury at Hueco. Everyone be careful outside and inside.

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Year 2008

Just back from a quick trip to New Jersey/New York. I'm finding that 2 days is about all I can take at this point. There is simply too much stuff piled atop itself--people cars buildings, etc--even to think We visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I wanted to catch the last day of a show of Dutch paintings. It was profoundly crowded, well beyond the point of any likely appreciation of the works hanging on the wall. Some beautiful landscapes with serene clouds and views of inland rivers and marshes as well as seascapes. But very difficult really to see anything since so many people were milling around. Sophia was remarkably calm in the midst of it. She was locked out of the Frick collection due to her age so I had to dash in to look at the Saint Francis by Giovanni Bellini, a remarkable Renaissance landscape painting. And then back to the airport and home.

This holiday season has been a tough one. I'm glad it's over and the new year is starting. I have turned in an application to start a Ph.D. program at CU and we'll see how that goes. Regardless it's time to get back in gear.

On the climbing front nothing to report from me at all. There is actual progress on wall renovations at CATS. Amazing news at Hueco--Paul R has flashed V13 and sent Terremer, probably the hardest in the country, maybe Jade will hold its grade after all. That's it for now.