Friday, March 27, 2009

Five Questions for Mike and Anne-Worley Moelter

Mike and Ann-Worley Moelter are long-time fixtures on the Front Range climbing scene and are currently managing the construction of a new climbing gym in Boulder called Movement Climbing+Fitness. This will make four climbing gyms in our little bubble/town, all within five minutes drive of each other. I thought readers might like to know a little more about the project as it promises to be a significant addition to a booming indoor climbing scene. I know, aren't there like 10,000 routes within two hours' drive and 300+ days of sunshine? Yes and Boulderites are finicky about the weather. However yesterday we had almost a foot and a half of snow!

1. What's the new gym called and what will it offer visitors?
Movement Climbing + Fitness will offer 17,000 sf of climbing terrain, a full line of cardio and weight equipment, personal training, diverse and consistent yoga classes, childcare and more!

2. How is it different from the other three gyms in Boulder?
The biggest difference is that it is truly a complete facility in that it offers an abundance of climbing terrain and full fitness offerings. Additionally, we have been working with various consultants to ensure that we are as environmentally friendly as possible. Some examples of this are that 1) we will have enough daylight so as not to have to operate with artificial lights and 2) we will also have a PV system so that minimally 75% of our energy is solar.

3. What's it like to get an enterprise like this off the ground?
Oh my! It is a huge under-taking that is enormously time-consuming and simultaneously gratifying
4. What kind of events are you planning on sponsoring/hosting? Any grand opening events?
Keep an eye on the blog (! We have several big things planned for the opening this summer.

5. What future trends do you see in new gyms that you are trying to set/adopt?
One of our biggest goals is to have more interaction between clients, employees and the facility itself. We have some pretty cool things to reveal closer to opening! Also, the trend of having a membership base that is part climbing-focused and part fitness-focused is one of the items on which we have based our model. We look forward to a diverse mix of enthusiastic and motivated clients!

Movement Climbing+Fitness is looking for an assistant manager so if you are interested, go to the website for contact info. I will be posting on the gym after I visit it. Thanks Mike and Anne-Worley!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Anonymity and Climbing Blogs

In the past day or so I have been visited and revisited (cyberstalked?) by an anonymous commenter who has decided to call him/herself "Kimbo" regarding the issue of what constitutes a legitimate free ascent of a big wall. While I have been reconsidering some of my opinions about this matter and doing some research to be presented in a later post, I have been treated to a number of aggressive comments about my " misguided and ignorant" attitude and how I "simply dislike counterveiling(sic) opinions" and while the first is always a possibility, the second is simply not true.

In short what I dislike is one-way communication across a wall of anonymity that seems mostly to consist of personal attacks and mischaracterizations. While "Kimbo" insists that identity doesn't matter, only opinions and arguments, given the tenor of his/her remarks, I would be interested to know if he/she has the courage to put a genuine name and face to the comments I have had posted to my blog. I would leave it to my readers to ask themselves if they would care to receive or argue with these comments. So if "Kimbo" feels like stepping up to the plate and giving a genuine identity I will post all the most recent comments from him/her and let readers decide for themselves what they would do with them.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Five Questions for Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson is close to the second ascent of Psychedelic at the Gorilla Cliff near Saint George, Utah. While taking some time to let his thrashed fingertips heal, Paul agreed to answer a few questions about the route and recovering from a fairly serious ankle injury. Visit his blog at for updates.

1. What's it like climbing on a rope?

"It is totally different mentally for me. I feel like it is way more mentally tiring than bouldering and because of this has my mind running so much more than ever before."

2. What is Psychedelic like as a route?

"Psychedelic is on perfect rock, the best rock I have seen in all of the St George climbing areas. It is long moves on small holds up a slightly overhung wall. It is 60 feet and can be summed up as a v6 boulder to a v13 boulder to about 30 feet of 13a to the top."

3. Why do you think it has taken so long to repeat?

"I think it has not been repeated in so long because it really is a boulderers route. Not that many boulderers come out this way. Not only is it bouldery but it is also very technical and mental with the last 30 feet of rope climbing after the crux. It is an all encompassing route really."

4. What do you think of Dave Graham doing it so fast back in the day? (He did it in a few tries in 2001)

"I am unsure as to how fast dave did the line but it is very impressive that he had the vision to do the line 7 years ago!"

5. What do you think has been key to your coming back from your injury so quickly?

"Just motivation really. I never wanted to lose what i had trained so hard for over the years so even with my injury I never gave up training and in all honesty just trained harder.

Thanks Peter, hopefully if my tips are good tomorrow, I will be able to finish it up!"

Thank you Paul and good luck on one of the most classic climbs of the grade in the country!

Excellent Article at

There is a great piece at by Mark Hudon about his and Max Jones' attempt to free the Salathe Wall in 1979. This was an attempt way ahead of its time and truly visionary in terms of what was to come. Obviously even today, freeing El Cap is still a highly coveted tick. In a sense this climb was too ahead of its time as the two climbers while both immensely strong were not systematic enough to solve all the problems that the route had in store. At the time, and in fact even when Piana and Skinner did it, there was something suspect about actually working on a route that was "too hard." So hanging on the rope, leaving fixed protection, etc. was all regarded as cheating. Ultimately the physical difficulties were overshadowed by the psychological climate and the socially enforced code of what appropriate climbing practice was. Hudon and Jones freed all but 300 feet of the route.

I'm still trying to free 10 feet of granite in Boulder Canyon by any means possible. By the way, I have to say that I like Ty Landman's name, Freak Brothers II, better than Jay Droeger's Where the Monkey Sleeps which makes me wonder how naming a problem or route follows a certain path or process. Why do some names stick and others slide into oblivion? And how could Jay seriously have rated this problem V8? I am having a lot of trouble holding the left hand in the crease which makes me suspect that this problem has certain reach issues.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Freak Accident" Boulder Canyon V12

I went up to Boulder Canyon yesterday to try the V12 linkup called Freak Accident on the wall just west of the Barrio. Unfortunately my finger tips were not very hard making pulling on the grips very painful. All the moves went quickly up to the next to last move holding on to get the high right crimp. This is a very interesting little problem and one that I hope to have more time to try in the near future. Basically it's a V9 into a V10 and the issue with the V10 part is scoping out the holds, especially the small crimp up and right of the crack. You want a lot of pads to stabilize the landing a bit so the roadside location is helpful. Here's the video of Ty Landman doing the FA at Momentum Video.

Afterwards I went to Flagstaff to finish off my fingers with a few boulder problems around Nook's Rock and Cloudshadow. At some point I want to break 80 V points in one session, adding up 10 problems in all. I find that 10 problems of any grade on Flag is not easy to do, given the nature of the rock, so to try to do 10 V8 and up is a longshot but it's good resistance training getting there.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Break in a Day

My schedule is pretty hectic most of the time and it has been a while since I have even been able to take a week let alone the months that many spend at destinations like Bishop or Hueco. So I have to stick closer to home and decided on Wednesday to spend some time ticking some classics I haven't done as well as a few I have done many times before. I warmed up on Big Overhang (V2)which is really one of the best problems of its grade on the Front Range. It's tall enough to be exciting but not really dangerous and with very reassuring holds. Then I did First Overhang (V5) for video, which was a bit sketchy owing to sunny and warm conditions. Then I looked at the wall where a tall V4 called the Walk is located. I did the less scary version (V4) which ducks left to the arete and found it to be very insecure and technical. The straight-up version will happen at some point soon but it is definitely tall and intimidating solo. I went over to do Face Out (V5) and Reverse Face Out (V7), finding the latter especially difficult owing to having to tape my left forefinger which has a small split. From here I went down to Mongolian Cosmonaut and did the stand start version (V8) first try. I put in a few attempts on the lower start but skin and warn conditions didn't help. From there I went down to Red Wall and did the Regular Route from the low left (V8) and Varney's Direct (V6) followed by an attempt on the L to R traverse. I finished up on Center Left, the weird problem on the left that goes to the shallow pocket and the crystal, the hardest V5 in the world. My skin was pretty fried by 4:30. Thanks to Allie (sp?) for helping haul my pads back to the car!

First Overhang V5

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Home Climbing Wall Getting There

I have finished the first phase of our home climbing wall and I am pretty happy with the results. Nothing fancy, just an 8 foot-wide 40 degree overhang. I built it primarily to serve as a stand in if there are time issues preventing climbing outside so I can get a quick session done in the time it takes to drive to Boulder and back. The second phase will be a steeper overhanging section tacked on the left side. I have a lot of e-grip holds on it as I really believe they are the best designed holds out there but there are others including vintage Yaniro and Metolius grips. Probably too many thin crimps for most tastes. It seems that good holds are expensive and cheap ones are, well, cheap for a reason. There are remains from CATS as well as a panel from the late Paradise Rock Gym so the wall is a bit of a scrap book as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Hug V11 Boulder Canyon

Photo from EZ Harrison's blog at

Yesterday I went up to Boulder Canyon to take a look at the Hug, a Chris Schulte problem near Cob Rock. EZ Harrison had called me the day before and wanted to check it out and as I knew it was not at all my kind of boulder problem, I decided to join him. A quick creek crossing thanks to the ice and we had the landing pretty well covered with 6 pads which is probably about right. The problem comes out of a little talus pit and is very tenuous right to the end. It starts with a big throw off a RH undercling followed by a hand/foot heelhook, a crazy rockover section and a surprisingly balancy and scary last 5.11 slab where you cannot retreat or fall.

EZ had been there a while and was having issues with the moves to get over the lip. After some minimal warming up I started working the crux and was super close to doing Chris' beta of going again to a toothy crimp. Suddenly EZ did the move a different way, heading right from the first small crimp instead of going again LH. A few tries later and he was at the top, the quickest V11 he's done. I was not finding the balance point on the move but felt like it would go soon. I was boosted onto the last moves and was pretty nervous about the exit which was sloping holds on a slab with a fair amount of dirt, lichen, and moss. Happy not to have slipped there.

We headed out to the creek only to find that the ice was gone and the water was up making for a semi-sketchy crossing, throwing pads across and rock-hopping for me. EZ free-soloed the tyrolean after tossing his pads.

I will probably be back if for no other reason than that the problem is an education in itself with mandatory toe-hooks, hard heel-hooks, slopers and lots of balance. You really can't spot anyone on it so you have to load up the pads to work it which, given the creek and the tyrolean access, is a pain but still feasible. Big props to EZ for a positive attitude and getting it done so fast! Video will be up soon.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beat Kammerlander E10 at 50 and other News

A number of news sites including UK Climbing and have featured the story of Beat Kammerlander leading a 13d/14a onetime-sport route on marginal gear. The best story is at Planet Mountain but an interview with Kammerlander is here. Kammerlander has long been one of the most important figures in European climbing, known especially for his ferociously run-out and difficult multi-pitch limestone routes in the Ratikon in Switzerland. He is also a superb photographer.

I have embedded the amazing video (in German) below.

I should also add congratulations to Toni Lamprecht (38) for a sick hard (V15/16)linkup at his home crag of Kochel in Austria. Interview at Bjorn Pohl's site.

Philip Schaal is sending hard left and right in New England so visit his blog for the videos.

And Kevin Jorgeson wasted no time in scooping an classic V12 in Eldo, showing locals you don't have to hike for miles for unclimbed gems.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lunchtime Video Fix

Be sure to visit the UK Bouldering group at Vimeo. Among many others is the following little gem:

The School from dobbin on Vimeo.

This is an interesting looking film about New England:

Sick. Climbing in New England from Taylor de Lench on Vimeo.

There are many other interesting clips here...

Monday, March 9, 2009

5 Questions for Mike Brooks

Mike Brooks is the individual behind one of the earliest examples of web-based climbing media. FRB has always been about original content making it an important source for information both about bouldering and about climbers. Among the many features of the site are his interviews with local climbers which form an important part of preserving the history of climbing on the Front Range. The message board of course has been the scene of much silliness and slander. Go to for more.

1. Hi Mike, How long has FRB been up and running?
FRB was 9 years old, last Feb 14, V-day

2. What was the initial idea and how did you get started?
the intial idea was just to have a place to post Cloud 9 beta
since a guidebook was a frigging rip off ( the publisher makes the lion share of the profit) eventually we realized most of Cloud 9 is out of bounds,
but by then i realized the fun i could have with a artistic (sic) outlet
of a website and message board.

3. What's the thing that you most want to improve about the site?

design, design , design and more reliable content providers. also
improve the skills of interviewing, podcasting and networking.

4. What do you think of the explosion of new Internet-based climbing media?
I could see the writing on the wall about 6 years ago. I'm surprised it took so many people so long to realize they can create their own world and presence online.

5. What does the future hold for FRB?
FRB is pushing into radio and tv. with the intent of
building, branding and solidifying our place in the
frontrange climbing world. We're also buying up domains
to strengthen ourselves against encroachment.
FRB is here to stay, we're in for the long haul

Thanks for your thoughts Mike!

I also wanted to add this excellent post about Fred Nicole from Chuck Fryberger.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Not much to report climbing-wise as I am struggling to get out of a trough here. It's all been downhill since losing my 5.10 Dragons:)

Here's a link to an appearance on JvonD's Boulder Vidcast show. I talked a little bit about climbing on Flag and aspiring to do V13. It was fun and relaxed but always remember to turn off your cellphone in the studio! :) Thanks Mike Brooks and JvonD!

I also was quoted in a recent issue of Climbing, in a column about grading by Matt Samet. I stand by my sentiments about obsessing with downgrading. It doesn't help focus on what matters which is improvement and attitude.

Also read my short essay for Front Range Bouldering called "Surroundings."

The wall in the basement is taking shape and should be climbable soon.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Beginnings Video

New Beginnings V8 Flagstaff Mountain from peter beal on Vimeo.

New Beginnings is a great traverse linkup in the Cloudshadow Alcove. After nearly flashing it, it took another session to refigure the beta that is shown in the video. Chip Philips has noted, after seeing comments in my 8a scorecard that I am getting on the "soft" bandwagon but in this case, the "soft" rating is deserved. If UCT is V9, NB is quite a bit easier, and if UCT was V8 as some have rated it, then NB would be V7. I am not picking on the problem or on Ted Lanzano who found a nice FA but I am highlighting the problem of reaching consensus for difficulty in bouldering.

If NB was in Hueco, it would probably be V9, but in Colorado the V9 grade is incredibly compressed, making it difficult to see the difference between V8 and V10. Add in the Flagstaff sandbagging factor and there you are...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bouldering With EZ Harrison on Flagstaff

I got a late start on Saturday afternoon and headed up to Flagstaff. I spent some time looking again for the shoes and a Marmot hat I lost last week but again no luck. This is the strangest thing--the shoes would be of no use to anyone, are clearly climbing shoes that were lost in a very popular climbing/hiking area, but I have heard nothing and seen nothing about them anywhere. This is particularly bad as I have come to rely on the Dragons quite a lot recently and will have to get a new pair soon if the other shoe does not turn up. On Friday, hearing of my situation, Rob Candelaria at CATS very kindly handed off a pair of old-style V10s for me to take, a pair that never fit him well. This is typical of Rob's generous nature and I greatly appreciate the gesture.

I warmed up on the Consideration and Hagans which felt very easy and then EZ showed up. He warmed up a bit and we tried a problem that Ted Lanzano created near Cloushadow called New Beginnings. This is a short traverse into a steep V7/8 and is very atypical for Flag. My first try I fell off the end but afterwards could not replicate the sequence and kept doing worse. EZ did it after a couple of tries but I never linked it. It's a good problem and could be V9. I will be back. We then headed over to Hollow's Way which is the classic problem on Flag. It is tall and committing with the crux on top, but we had a healthy pile of pads to ease the landing. I tried it a bunch but could not get psyched for the lunge to the top. It's fairly easy to get there and I am sure my main issue was the height of the boulder and ensuing fall. After a handful of tries, EZ stuck the punch to the lip and was very happy to top it out. Massive respect to the padless FA in the 70s by Rob Candelaria. Anyway, I let it alone for a day when I am feeling more motivated and stronger.

On the way out, we found a chalk bag in the vicinity of Nook's Rock, and in the hope of improving the karma and maybe getting my shoes back, I will make sure the owner of the chalk bag gets it back if he or she sends a comment via this blog or by email describing the bag by color and brand. And please if you see anything regarding my shoes, please let me know.