A blog about climbing full time on the road.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sandstone Bouldering in Southern Utah

Bouldering 101. Okay so for those of you who read this and don't know what bouldering is let me try to give it a description to help you understand what we spent our weekends in March doing.

Bouldering: Climbing on rocks/boulders without a rope, technically this is not free soloing as that is usually attributed to climbs that are normally roped climbs. Most often these climbs are not over 20ft tall, if they are they are considered "highballs" which is significantly more dangerous. Bouldering can be any style of climbing from slab (less than vertical) to overhung. The holds can be huge or tiny, the feet can be so as well. So why boulder instead of climbing on higher rocks with ropes? Well first of all it's a great way to get in shape. You can push yourself much harder for longer on a boulder problem. It's easier to get down to a single difficult move and try it over and over till you get it right. My favorite part of it is the dynamic motion. I love lunging for a hold and being able to grab it. I also really enjoy finding a single difficult move and working it until I get it right.

Moe's valley is a super sweet bouldering area right outside of St. George, Utah. The first weekend Cassie and I roadtripped down there we were going to spend 4 days and climb as much as possible. The drive was easy and the weather was nice on Thursday. We got acquainted with the area and ticked of most of the easy problems that we wanted to do. Friday was perfect weather with temps near 60 and clear skies. Saturday the bad weather moved in and we found out that the utah climbing club was canceling their event. they were supposed to be joining us. Oh well, so it goes. We decided to go mountain biking and did so until some very nasty looking clouds decended upon us. We descended a steep gully carrying the bikes (yuck!). Then the wind picked up and the hail started. We opted to read and nap in the van with some hot chocolate, ahhhh Ghirardelli you make some great hot cocoa! The weather stayed nasty for the rest of Saturday and the wind kept us up most of the night. We even put the pop top down because it was so noisy and slept on the couch. Sunday the sun was back out so we headed back to the boulders to find some that hadn't gotten much rain. It's important not to climb on sandstone boulders after a rainstorm for about a day lest you break off a key hold and have everyone in the climbing community hate you for destroying a classic problem. We did find some dry stone and tried some problems. Cassie sent her project on only her second try of the day (Solid Toad V4) and we headed back to Sundance.

The following weekend we headed back again to Moe's again as the club trip was rescheduled. Since we had climbed most of the lines we didn't do too many more, but just enjoyed trying the ones we had already done. Some exceptions to that were Huntsman Graffiti V5, Crash Landing V3, From Pasttime to Passion V1. I was particularly pleased with these as they were all on a boulder called "The Sentinel" which is much taller than climbs we normally try. We're getting our bouldering head on and are excited to keep climbing.

For those of you who know my right big toe has been hurting for the last oh lets say going on two years, so I've been taking it easy and working out a ton. My toe keeps getting better and I'm wearing a comfy shoe for one foot and a tight shoe for the other. it's working well but I'm really wanting to start climbing hard again. could be at least another month or so.

Check out our video of the two Moe's valley weekends. I'm still trying to figure out how to get a good HD video uploaded to youtube. I'm closer now but the HD looks very choppy. I'll keep working to get it fixed because watching in HD is super nice.

Click on this link to get to the video if you don't see the video.

Click here to see photos from our trip to Moes and climbing with friends in rock canyon

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ibex Bouldering and a new type of media

Well it's been a long cold winter. We got a bunch of snow earlier in the year, but February was pretty blah as far as snow and skiing. Combine that with my toe injury (from tight climbing shoes) and you get some cabin fever that was driving both of us a bit crazy. Last weekend we opted to finally get out of the house and brave the cold weather to go climbing at Ibex in the west desert of Utah. We recently purchased an HD video camera to allow us to share some of our experiences with everyone more than just with pictures and words. There's something about watching a movie that can really draw you into a place. This first round of video from two days of shooting sure was an eye-opener. I kinda thought that after getting better at taking pictures this whole video thing would come naturally to me. Well that wasn't really the case. Video is waaay harder than simply snapping a few pictures and being reasonably happy with them. Plus the amount of work to come up with a fun video is a lot more time-consuming than cropping and correcting pictures. We took almost two hours of video and came up with about 7 minutes of usable footage. Lots of our shots are quite shaky even with the image stabilization that is automatically applied by the camera. Please forgive some of the bounciness. I think our biggest issue was constantly moving the camera from one subject to another and zooming in the middle of a shot. We shouldn't make that mistake too many more times. Another was simply panning to fast. I was laughing so hard I was almost in tears after watching the footage. It made me very motion sick just to watch a lot of the clips. But luckily after a few hours of editing I think I came up with a final product that will be enjoyable to watch. Both Cassie and I took our turn at the camera and I must say neither of us are naturals. We'll be experimenting with formats and the technology and I'm sure each of our attempts should be worlds better.

Enjoy the world premiere of Matthew and Cassie's first home movie. It's only 8.5 minutes long so don't worry I don't think it'll bore you to death.

Ibex Pictures