Sunday, 23 August 2015
As a PS to my last little blog, I thought I would show you what Boulder does have extra, it is neat as the Yanks might say! The Diamond rock face finishes at nearly 14,000 feet so is alpine without the snow. As a day out it is a full day, with a good tiring four hour approach, and a 2 and there quarters bone jarring decent. In-between are lots of pitches. If you can climb hard routes on the Diamond, you can climb hard routes in Chamonix.
Today we took a softer option, and went above Lilly Lake, a sublime pastoral scene with a soupçon of smoke from forest fires to the west. As a family we did some friction slabs, which were fun thanks to the cooler temps of altitude, and the roughness of the rock.
Two young boys with two older boys (us) enjoying every thing that is right.
The route of the cliff is the guidebook cover shot and is a must do. It's a Charlie Fowler route of great dignity, just like the man himself. Charlie and his wife went missing in China never to be seen again, a sorry day indeed!
Thursday, 20 August 2015
So I spent a bit of time in Salt Lake for the Outdoor show, and then slowly made my way to Boulder. Just like there's only two kinds of music in America (Country&Western), there's only two towns for me! There's Boulder, and there's Salt Lake!
You're probably gonna say, 'there's tons of great towns in the US of A', and there are. But there's only two towns were you got great bouldering, sking, climbing, and other essential stuff like a great climbing community, and friends.
How you can be rubbish in either town is impossible for me to understand, but then again in comparison to lots you will be. The bewildering talent in both towns is embarrassing!
Between Salt Lake and Boulder lies the Desert, and of course Towers of Dreams. I probably won't do any this trip cos I am rubbish, and it's a bit hot. Towers, and Towers, stretching into the back of my head.
I am staying with a friend called Kyle, and his family, and the other day we did the Third Flat Iron behind Boulder with his two boys, Jonah and Asher, Asher was doing it for his 10th birthday. It was simply brill, I felt proud to be part of the whole thing, a great route with good people.
So the facilities in both towns is ridiculous, great climbing gyms, with a huge resevoir of fit young and old people. Some people have lived in both towns. Can't make your mind up? I never could. Powder is better in Utah, booze is cheaper in Colorado, if you like Puff it's legal in Colorado. Boulder's got the Diamond!
How weak I am, in the gym you cannot hide, you can run on the treadmills, but you can't hide, half the man I was. I didn't even need friends, robot belaying system allowed me several routes! Managed a few weighted pull ups, which didn't impress, but my flexibility still gets a pat on the back from the Yoga folk! Is Flag staff bouldering better than Little Cotton Wood? That's my final question! No, one more bonus question, is there a better climbing shop than Neptunes in Boulder? With it's mini museum of rock memorabilia, and it's host of brilliant slide shows over the years, my answer is, it's a great venue one of the best! Hope I can talk about something on the 3rd!
Tuesday, 18 August 2015
So I am going to do a lecture in Neptunes in Boulder, be there or be square, please bring a designated driver! It's gonna be on the 3rd of September, but I want to see some mates, so get permission from your old age homes, and mental institutes! Today I just did the third Flatiron with two of my mate Kyles boys, it was a very rock climbing in the west kinda day. A tenth birthday present, not bad at all, low seventies, it was cool.
America means a lot to me, spent years here now that I come to think about it, and given a few memorable lectures. Got the bums rush outta the Banf Festivel for causing a slight storm in a tea cup, and caused a similar stir in Ouray.
Was talking about Hot Henry Barber, the yank who came to Britain in the seventies, and changed our out look on climbing. Theres the Boulder crew and theres the SaltLake crew, there were two Magazeens that fuelled lots of climbing now there seems to be one mag and a pamphlet for new bees. But theres always climbing. And the States has played a big part in it from the Gunks to Yossa Mite as we brits like to call it.
Don't catch this, it hurts when you eat and spill Mexican food!
Sunday, 16 August 2015
So after some interesting times in Salt Lake found myself traversing the high desert towards Veedavoo. Wide open spaces, cloudscape galore, and a powerful erge to go back in time to a more primitive time overtook me. The desert turned into dry grassland with cows, and a sprinkling of Antelope, which were cute as hell. Veedavoo is a made up name, so I have taken liberties with it's spelling, Veedavoo means a lots of things to many people, but to me it means joy. It's a Zen garden of rocks and people, with a good vibe! Leave your ego behind, and enjoy the stiff grades, the barbarity of the cracks, and the pain.
A smallish rack! There were lots of huge pieces, some of the cracks are exclusively giant pieces! You get fit here as well as humiliated.
This is a photo with Jay Anderson, who is one of the daddies of Off width climbing, in my hand is a Valley Giant, a great bit of kit, not many to the pound!
Bumped into old friends Crusher and Strappo, with their younger stronger and more enthusiastic friends, oh to be young and easy under the apple boughs. There was a 20 year old project called Strappos Strap on, which got some attention, and might finally get an ascent.
I got stuck into the cracks, found them hard after not doing any for ages, and it's the same as it ever was, pain. I like them cracks, all sizes, and hopefully I will do a few in the next couple of weeks. Thanks to Nathan Smith and Liberty Mountain, look out for some of Nathans photos they are very good.
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
You know I am interested in training and training facts, jee -one might even think I'am a training nerd!
So it's with supreme regret that I pick a so called fact which seems a tadge optimistic. Most training books only possible use, is to be put in a bag, and used for weight in weighted pull ups, or squats!
In alpinism it's fairly important to be strong in going uphill fast, or reasonably fast, or turbo fast! So here we have a claim that Messner could do a vertical I km in 30 mins! And a very long time ago! To my knowledge many of the worlds best athletes in ski mountaineering, or hill running cannot achieve this time! Thats today! Not 35 years ago. Interesting.
As a crucial fact, or as a mark in Alpinism it seems silly, and weird that this mistake is in! Or was it a serious claim? How did it get passed the serious proof readers?
This book is interesting as it has various essays written by good alpinists, and let's say others of a lesser, or much lesser ability. Some of these essays are interesting despite the writers poor athletic abilities. It weighs 4 lbs, and is fairly expensive. I recommend it for doing calf raises.
I know Messner, and few others climbers are beyond any kind of question, but I find this fact unpalatable, just as I found Rich Simson's claim of doing a mile in under 4 mins very hard to swallow. I am now going to the Himalayas so please address your vitriol there.
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Diet is very important! Training is super important, so how come I am living on beer, and just done a huge sandstone slot canyon in Zion?
The USA is staggering in certain places, and is a major source of wonderment to me. I have been surrounded by friendly people who have helped me immensely. So I thank them here, all the folk at Liberty Mountain, thank you.
Sorry for the gratuitous so called funny photos, but I can't resist. Was in a Mexican restaurant, food arrived late, all mixed up, it was a Cheach and Chong film. Being in such a relaxed atmosphere is good for me, but I am in danger of getting too relaxed, so will start training, I promise.
Had a good day at Maple with some nice folk, I did seven pitches in the end, which seemed hard after the 20 mile hike in Zion, and the 21 abseils. Maple was full of lots of fit people climbing well, it was inspiring. Thanks every body.
Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Am at the Salt Lake Show, been travelling working, now a bit sizzled on beer. Had a very Ok day with more than nice people who have reaffirmed a lot about the good in people. Heres a shout for Matt who helped me keep my cool when I couldn't get the internet to work in the Sheriton hotel, when obviously it works ok in Outer Mongolier -is that how you spell it?
The Salt Lake show, what can I say, come and see me at Liberty Mountain Stand, they been kind enough to bring me over, they do good work, they are great people, and provide a good service. Lots of good gear every where etc.
going out for beers, cheers!