Wednesday, November 16, 2011


So I haven't posted on here in a while, but my return to the blogging world seems to have finally come. I've started a new climbing blog called Toe Hook. I'm really excited about it because it's a chance for me to write articles and post stuff about the climbing world that I never felt compelled to on this blog. The main difference I suppose is that Toe Hook is more of a community based format which is something I can really get behind. I tend to not post on this blog for long periods of time because I don't climb hard enough to have people follow me around with cameras constantly and I have a hard time getting up motivation to talk about myself. Therefore, Toe Hook is the best of both worlds because I get to write about climbing without being completely self absorbed, and I get to have a positive impact on the community! 

Well, in other news I've actually been climbing a good bit lately. I went on a trip to the Red a few weeks ago and it was the sickest UTC Outdoors trip I've ever been a part of. Our group was the best I've ever had. We had ability ranges from experienced sport climbers to people who had never touched real rock. I'm happy to say that everyone pushed themselves physically and emotionally and I think we all grew together as a result. I could not be happier with the way that trip went. 

"yeah right!"
In personal news, the winter is fast approaching and I'm gearing up for bouldering season! Although I climbed a lot of sport this year (comparatively) I still haven't really pushed myself on a rope at all. I'm hoping to get out to T Wall this winter and break through that 5.12 barrier so I can stop thinking about it. It's stupid I know, but I just don't have the confidence to approach hard routes with any sort of head game yet. As far as boulders go, I haven't had a chance to get out too much, but in the time that I have, I've been able to send 3 new problems. So far this season I've gotten Galaxy 5000 (super classic v5), Cyclops (painful v6), and Tooth Fairy (v7). I'm really hoping to get the Robbing the Tooth Fairy extension soon. I was almost able to do the move on my first session on it the other day. I feel way stronger than last year. 

The same day I worked Robbing, I was also able to repeat Jerry's Kids and Midway with Alli. Elliott was asleep in the truck with Krystal's eggnog milkshake food poisoning. I don't know why he thought that was a good idea. Alli took some pics of me on midway, which honestly started out as attempts at The Chattanoogan (v12). Let's just say that one is a little it outside my pay grade. Maybe one day. Happy climbing yall! 
The new Midway beta is way better, just skip half the crimps!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Joseph on a sweet slab problem
So on Saturday Sam, myself, and Aubree led a trip out to Foster Falls for UTC outdoors to do some route climbing and it was awesome. The weather was super nice, we had an amazing group, and everybody did something they'd never done before. We had people lead climbing who'd never climbed outside, people trying climbing for the first time, and a lot of people who were just psyched to be outdoors. Then today Joseph and I hit up Cumberland boulders for the first time. I'd seen a video of the roof and thought it looked awesome so we went there first. I checked out the beta for a bit and was able to send Seven Eleven Stand (v7) on my flash attempt which was sweet. Jo put some serious work on it and did all the moves, but wasn't able to link em. I also tried the "sit" which I was really psyched on because it's just a huge campus move into the 7 start, but I wasn't able to latch on to the start hold of the stand variation (is that confusing?). Then we explored the boulder field a bit and ran across a really sweet problem I just found out is called Riverside. It's a v5 dyno thing that I was actually super psyched on which is crazy cuz I don't like dynos at all. I hit the top a few times, but wasn't able to send. That might be the prettiest line out there. Overall, it was an awesome weekend of rock climbing. Here are some pictures from Cumberland:

Seven Eleven Stand

working the "sit"

the left hand hold on the start to the Seven Eleven Sit

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pulling Plastic to Rock Star: 5 Tips to Taking Gym Strength Outdoors

Having been a gym rat for just about as long as I've been climbing, I know how frustrating it can be trying to get strength on plastic to translate to the outdoor rock world. I know some people who've made the transition look easy going from hard taped boulders indoors to advanced boulders outdoors on their first trips, but they're for sure the exception to the rule. A lot of climbers who exclusively gym climb hit a wall when they try and take their skills outside because although they have the strength, they don't yet have the technique or confidence to climb real boulders or routes. So I thought I'd do what I wish someone had done for me and write an article about a couple ways to transition from the plastic to the rock. Enjoy.
Definition of a gym rat: staging climbing pictures, (picture to the left)

  1. Start Slow

I know I sound like your high school gym coach, but warming up is more important than most of us like to think. This was one of the biggest mistakes I made when I first got into outdoor bouldering. My sights were set so high on the grades I thought I could crush, that not only did I fail to ever fully warm up, but I also missed out on tons of classic climbs because I was too consumed with getting my numbers. I think a good way to introduce yourself to the intricacies of rock climbing is to go for width rather than depth, at least at first. Why not see how many 3 star 5.8s and 9s you can hit before trying that steep 11? I think you might find that you’ll have more fun and those hard grades will come in their own time.

2. Expect Nothing (but fun)

This kind of relates to starting slow. When I first made the jump from gym climbing to outdoor I got really disappointed when I wasn’t able to climb up to what I assumed was my level. I know some people are super competitive and would totally disagree with this, but I know my level of psych is much higher when I go into a day just expecting to have fun and end up crushing. So if you’re new to the crag, maybe go without a tick list for the first few times. Having fun is a very accomplishable goal.

3. Use Locals/Get the Spray

I can’t even count the number of times a route has felt impossible, only to have a local walk past and spray me with crucial beta. So next time you visit the crag or boulder field, take an extra protein bar or bottled water and see if you can’t woo a local into spraying you down on the super cruxy figure 4 pogo move. Be warned, not all locals are willing to drop such killer hints without seeing you work the climb. So give it all you got and just be nice, climbers don’t bite er…. often.

so strong!
 4. Embrace Your Strengths

Being a small guy I’m not ashamed to say that my first hard boulder problem was one that perfectly fit my style. It was a lowball campus and while it’s not exactly classic to a lot of people, I was psyched because it was hard and I sent it. There’s no shame in starting off with what you’re best at. If you’re one of those gym rats who loves nothing more than flying between walls and skipping holds, look for a route or problem with a dyno. If crimps are your thing then crimp away my friend! Of course you’ll want to expand your abilities and strengths, but when you’re building confidence, no worries if that means sticking to things you do well.

5. Go With Friends

Even if it means shelling out more cash for gas, I’ve found climbing with good friends is way more motivating than flying solo or with partners you only sort of like. This is especially the case in bouldering. The more super friendly, similarly strong climbers you can get around you the better. The last thing you want is to only get twenty minutes on your favorite problem because your whole group isn’t ready to work something of that grade yet. And no one wants to have a belayer who could care less about the climber or the route. Belayers who are of similar strength levels will keep interest in the climb and make sure you have more time to work hard sections. The only real essential here is that the people you climb with are positive. Nothing sucks psych like a self-absorbed negative climber, no matter how strong they are.

Photo By Andy Page

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Alright so over spring break I decided to make Honeycomb (out in dayton) my project for the week. I'd previously only climbed v8 and only a couple at that, but since I love roof climbing I for some reason thought this was a good idea. Well, after 3 sessions and more than a couple heartbreaking attempts, I was able to send!! I'm so freaking psyched! This is my first v10 adn by far the best thing I've climbed. The best part about it is that it's an amazing line that's super fun to climb. Anyways, Kasia came out with me and took some video and edited it together like a champ so here's the footage: Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

the sweetness

So the past few weeks have been magical for the boys of 1802 Chamberlain. Here's what's been going down: 

First and foremost, ELLIOTT SENT T-THONG!! 

Elliott Brown on Tennessee Thong v7

In case you haven't had the privilege of seeing Elliott work it over the past 3 years, you probably won't ever see him touch it again because his nemesis has finally been sent. It literally got ridiculous how dialed Elliott had the first moves to Tennessee thong, but that last bump has haunted him for years (no really... years). But with some new beta and courage, Elliott decided to hit it up at the end of our session on Friday and he's so glad he did. In the hours after the sun had sent, Elliott dug deep and pulled it out! Gah, I'm so proud of him. Friday was also sweet because Lindsey Kirkland came out with us and got her first v6 (Shotgun), and Zoe Smith flashed her first v3 (totally gonna be climbing v5 is she keeps going outside). 

Lindsey Kirkland on Shotgun v6

On a personal note, we went out to Dayton today for only my second time and I was able to send Torpedo (v7) on my first go of the day and get all the moves of Honeycomb (v10!). Everything felt great and I'm hoping that with a few more days over spring break to work it I might be able to pull out a send which would be a HUGE burst of confidence for me. I know it's late in the bouldering season (like it's basically over) but we're still fighting for these last few weeks of stacking pads. 

Here are some more pictures of recent climbing excursions: 

Me on Tristar v3

Elliott Brown on Celestial Mechanics v7

The Crew