Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Lower Right Corner

       It's been a very cool couple of months traveling non-stop. Starting in September I did 6 weeks in Switzerland, home for 6 days, 8 weeks in the Southeast, home for 36 hours, and then just returned from an 11 day loop tour through Utah and Nevada. As usual there's always too much to write about in these blogs.
     The Southeast part of my trip was maybe my favorite ever. Kenyon Smith and I got some of the best conditions this season. We decided to take advantage of the situation and did our best to send as many great things as possible. We mainly spent time at three zones this season: Rocktown, Chattanooga, and Gadsden.  Even though I've spent a lot of time climbing here I still got to see so many climbs that were new to me.  Complete with jigsaw puzzles, a trip to the Aquarium, Big River Brewery, Moonlight Bistro, ICB, lefts to right, and rights to left. What a great time. It's been a little while since I posted a little bouldering edit so here's another one of my time down south. For the title of the video, there was much debate on how to title a southeast video without using the word "south" or "east". Hence, The Lower Right Corner.

Hopefully everyone enjoys this little piece. After the south, I came home for a day before hitting the road again with Brad Perry. I've never done so much in this short amount of time. The first stop was the town of Goldfield, NV. Here we visited the creepy roadside attraction Goldfield Cemetery. We chilled here for the sunset and absorbed the spooky atmosphere of this historic place. At the 5 hour mark this was a great way to break up the drive.

Next was Vegas Baby! We checked into the Red Rocks campground and went to a few zones over the next 4 days. At the Kraft boulders, I got to do the famous historic problems The Pearl and Monkey Bar. These have been on my list for a while and I was psyched to do them. Other problems I liked were Timmy's, Monkey Bar Direct ( could not do it), Alexisizer, Put Your Shoes On Arete, and Progressive Guy ( also could not do it). What an awesome place to finally see. A little crowded but that's expected of a cool place like this one.

The other 2 areas we went to were Willow Springs and Oak Creek Canyon. Willow was an easy to find and secluded area. Here I got to do the awesome v10 Ride the White Horse. This crazy slopey lip traverse sits in a wash and is a sloper and tension masterpiece. Absolutely love it. Doesn't hurt to be short on this one and that's rare. At Oak Creek, times were tougher. We completely underestimated the hike and got a little confused/turned around/took-3hours-to-find-the-boulders. It was epic. With all our gear we scrambled up a steep wash looking for anything with chalk on it. At the 3 hour mark, we were on our way down, giving up when we stumbled on the problem Get Burnt. We used what little time we had left to take this one down. Wow, what a move. Hard to find this area but if you like seclusion and a good walk, then this is a cool spot.

Next was Saint George. It was all about meeting up with friends and locals and just taking it easy. We cruised the area for a day and did some repeats of the easier and moderate problems. Although I did have a quick repeat of Bazooka Tooth using the crazy beta of climbing it belly down. This method really works out your opposing muscles for climbing as you end up pushing your way up the climb.

After Moe's, we headed to Salt Lake City to go to the OR Trade Show. I had never been to one but it was an interesting experience for sure. The trade show was a bit overwhelming. There are company booths everywhere. Free stickers, free cuzies, free food samples, sometimes even free beer. That part is very fun. Not to mention that you can check out all the latest gear from the best companies. While there I got to meet up in person with the two companies that sponsor me. Metolius Climbing and Evolv have been my gear sponsors for many years. I've been very happy to represent the companies that have my favorite tools for bouldering. The Metolius Recon pad is my all time favorite and Evolv is making better and better shoes every year. Anyone who hasn't checked out the Nexxo's
Check em! This is one of the great ones. Downturned, love bump, lots of rubber on the toe, a heel hook that doesn't slip. A one of kind weapon for destroying your project!

After Salt Lake City, Joe's Valley was next on the list. We had plans of staying a few days, but issues back home had us leaving early to do some TCB. Our time in Joe's didn't consist of too much bouldering but we definitely took advantage of the world's most delicious donuts from the Orangeville Food Ranch. After gaining a few pounds of sheer pastry power, we headed back to South Lake Tahoe to regroup.  Over 5 months of straight travel have passed me by once again. Now I'm home again to decompress and plan the next great adventure. So much opportunity in front of me creates stress for a heavy decision. More travel, job, a change. This is how life goes.  I have the highest hopes for what lies ahead.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Southeast Shape Up

         I'm still kicking it here in the Southeast.  Most of my time has been spent training and keeping a better diet. I've been dropping some fat and climbing up some cool rocks. The Southeast sandstone was the first rock I ever touched when I was 18. To this day it is still one of my favorite places to visit for bouldering. While here, I've been checking out some of my old favorites like Rocktown, and checking out some areas I've not been to before. These are mainly the Hospital Boulders of Gadsden, Alabama and some of the satellite areas around Chattanooga, Tennessee. Extra psyche always comes from experiencing a new zone, making new goals, and achieving them....or getting close. The Hospital Boulders are awesome. Even though it is not the biggest area it certainly has its share of gems. We've been putting in the time to work through some excellent problems.
        In addition to training and climbing, I've been working on another little video edit cause that's what I do. I'm usually hit or miss on whether or not I make a video of a certain trip or experience. Sometimes it's nice to leave the camera in the bag and just have fun, i.e. my Swiss trip.  Here in the South, however, I've decided not to be so lazy this time and make use of the camera and laptop since I lugged it all the way here. With the help of Kenyon Smith, I've been getting some good footage of some great southern boulder problems. Working on the edit has been a productive way to pass the time on the rainy days. It should be a fun video to watch for anyone trying to get amped on a southeast trip. It should be uploaded around mid January. Until then, hopefully everyone is having a good winter and staying injury free.

                                         screen grab from southeast video edit

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Recovering in Alabama

      After a big climbing trip, my body can feel pretty wrecked. Upon returning from Switzerland I can home with a few souvenirs. I gained about 10 lbs of weight in Europe, much thanks to the affordability of the world's best chocolate and maybe the cheapest 6 pack of beer I've ever seen. Also, came home with a little elbow tendonitis. It is pretty standard to come back with a few bumps and bruises, and the body must heal before the next adventure. That's what I've been up to.
    Now I'm in the southeast USA again. I've been doing a little work for my parents, healing my tendonitis through rehab, catching up on resistance training, and getting ready for the next journey. It's a bonus that I get to do it here in the south which has some of the best sandstone around. The main areas that I've been cycling through are Rocktown, Citadel, Hospital Boulders, etc. The list of projects for me is growing everyday. I'm mainly focusing on mileage at the moment but have ticked a few good moderates while here, including the Iron Claw sit start. I had never done this line before but it was truly stellar. It has perfect compression with big moves. It also has one of the coolest pinches I've seen.  It's been great getting my bearings in this great sandstone dreamworld.
    The rock out here is getting me ready for the next adventure, which will be a two week trip through the west with my buddy Brad Perry. We'll be going through Vegas, Moe's, Joe's, Salt Lake City, and then Ibex. Utah is in the cards for January. I hope for good weather and good sending mojo.
I can't wait.
                                          Iron Claw Sit; Rocktown, Georgia.   Photo by Kenyon Smith

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Switzerland, realizations

                                                                       My home in Chironico. The Fiat Panda

A person can learn a lot about themselves through different experiences in life. Travel, relationships, achievements and failures all play an important role for development. I’m no different I suppose. I recently went on a trip to Switzerland, a place I had always dreamed of going. Before the trip, I had spent 11 weeks training harder than I ever had for bouldering. Hard problems usually take me a long time to complete if I’m not prepared. I tried to offset this normality by prepping my body and mind to send the climbs I always craved  when I watched those videos of my heroes on these amazing rocks amidst the old world setting of the Swiss Alps. I felt pretty confident going into the trip that I was in the best shape of my life and ready to take down my hardest climbs ever with the quickness. What I took from the trip was beyond my expectation but perhaps had not much to do with rock climbing. I got to take a good look at who I am as a person and a climber. I’ll start with the facts. Grade-wise, sending-wise, this trip is not going to impress anyone. I did many problems from 7a to 7c. I had a typical epic trying to send Unendliche Geschicte 1. This climb, which is the first part of the Never Ending Story took me 11 days, over the span of 2 weeks to complete. In my personal style, I fell at the last move 46 times in the link before a beta change got me a victory send. The send was on the last day and last try before a snowstorm blew in and shut down Magic Wood for my trip. Afterwards I visited the Chironico area in Ticino. I mean, I don’t even know what to say about Switzerland. I had such high expectations and they were exceeded further than I could ever imagine. Giant and majestic mountain ranges shrouded in waterfalls and striped cliffs were everywhere. The rock is very quality, the lines are aesthetic and inspiring. The food is great. People are very kind and very smart. The villages are very old world. Entire towns are made of real stone. The streets, homes, roof tops. Old fountains run water that you drink from everywhere. Wandering these paths left me feeling like I was walking in another time. To say that I was in awe would be an understatement. I always wanted to see this place and never thought it would happen, but here I was, right in the middle of a dream. On this trip, I came to some serious realizations about who I am and what I do. In the beginning of the trip, I felt like a typical obsessed boulderer. I just really wanted to send those high numbers. I wanted to perform well. I wanted to live up to everyone’s expectation. Mine, my sponsors, my onlookers. When this didn’t happen right away I found myself landing in depressing state. I felt like I failed on the trip. I didn’t prepare enough, I didn’t train hard enough. As a boulderer who focuses on goals and projects, it can tend to take me to a dark side. It is here that I find myself trapped in a black hole where everything feels like a disappointment. At the start of this trip, this is where I was. Wondering what I was doing out here. Waking up everyday cold and wet. I wanted to quit, go home, be a normal person. This feeling set in like a dark cloud. Then I started walking through the forest. I looked around at where I was. I realized what I had done with my life. All the beautiful places I had been, all the great people I got to connect with, and all the adversities that I had overcome. I stopped, laid down and stared at a blue sky with clouds moving over me so fast. Then I smiled and laughed at myself. All the good things about my life were realized in this moment. The experience I have being a traveler and a boulderer is so great. Comparing myself to others or thinking that climbing hard equals happiness were foolish thoughts to have. For me, in climbing there is something much deeper going on. It’s the place where we drift further away from our comfort zone and draw closer to something special.  I thought back to a time many years ago when I saw rock for the first time. I was just a clueless kid walking in a forest of giants that had been there centuries before I showed up. I thought back to this time when I just roamed around til I saw something that drew me in. The climbs had no names, no grades, no stars. They were simply what I wanted to scramble at that particular moment. That feeling, that’s a good thing. Remembering this time was great. I got back there again. We get lost over time. I listen everyday to people talk about “ this problem is cooler than that one”, or “ that guys not that strong”. I hear people playing favorites, downgrading, bagging on everything. I realize now that I am nothing like those people. Bouldering has a much deeper meaning for me. I can’t describe it really. When I climb, I feel like I’m in a bubble. It has a very religious feeling. As if I’m doing a dance that pays respect to these large god-like objects that have brought so much joy and meaning to my life. It’s a true passion. An undying love. On this trip, eventually I realized that this is who I am. I can’t be too pious about it I suppose. On the surface, I do strive to challenge myself by doing hard climbs, I make videos, I have an account and sponsors. But, this deeper facet is why I do this. When I imagine the perfect day of climbing for me, I close my eyes, hear beautiful music and imagine myself walking alone through a forest. When the wind blows, leaves fall from the trees, filling the terrain with an array of decorative colors. I walk and walk and walk, and then I see it. That rock that stops me in my tracks. I smile and know that it’s time. This is a very sacred practice to me. My new goal as a boulderer is to always keep this close to my heart where it belongs. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Welcome to the Future

I'm in Switzerland, doing my thing, having an epic through one problem at a time, when low and behold I saw this. Working with these guys was a real pleasure and it is awesome to see how it came together.

Time In The Pines: Welcome To The Future from Deep Roots Media - Dane Henry on Vimeo.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Swiss Bound

Ever since I saw that old Dosage with Dave Graham in Switzerland, I always knew that I wanted to go there. I'm a real sucker for magical scenery and that place looks like it has the goods. Since then I have seen so many more videos of this beautiful country. Can't get over how cool it looks. Well, now I'm packed and ready to go. In a few hours I shove off for my first European adventure. Going solo. My focus??/ hmmmm GGG I'm not sure...uh .....BOULDERING!!! So much to do, so little time. My first stop, I was thinking some place magical, maybe in the woods....hmmm ;). I'll come up with something I'm sure. As you can see from the pic, got my favorite pad, my backpack, camera and an assortment of electro goodies. I'll be taking pics and maybe even a video or two. Now I just need good weather and strong abs. So crazy I'm about to go to Europe finally.

It seems like dreams are just that, dreams. But when you take action, they become real. It starts with one small step, then another, then another. Soon that destination you thought was so unreachable is under your feet. I can confirm that you don't have to be rich, educated, tall, or even all that lucky to make these kind of things happen. But you have to believe and you do have to move towards it. Making shit happen is a great feeling. No matter what we're talking about. To anyone out there with dreams, remember to believe and move. Whatever your pleasure, your adventure awaits. Now get some!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Aloha 2014

        The older I get I feel like any minute now this bouldering stuff has to get boring right. But it really never does. I've taken my mind off projecting through the heat the past few months and instead focused on training for one of those bucket list type trips. I'm psyched to say that I'm finally going on my first trip to Europe for climbing. Spending a chunk of time in this part of the world has always been a dream of mine. After years of talking about it I realized you just have to do it. I know that Europe is a big place but I decided that Switzerland is the place that I've always wanted to see the most. So I'm going there pretty much solo with a loose plan. I hear it rains a lot so I'm preparing for the worst weather, but my greasy fingers are staying crossed. If the bouldering gods could grant me 45 days of sunshine, 15 mph breeze, and 55 degrees ( I really should practice my metric) then only my short legs can stop me. I'm extra excited about this trip. The boulders look first rate and everything else does too. Castles? cheap gelato?  And CHOCOLATE! Holy crap. The list of problems I have memorized from countless swiss video binges is too big to print. I honestly can't wait for this trip. But I will have to for a few more weeks. Consequently, training is hard, and that will end soon too.
      In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of backpacking and bouldering outside of training. I can't seem to get off the new stuff. I've been testing out the new bouldering guidebook from our local dudes Dave Hatchett, Frank Lucido, and Jon Thompson. So far it's been getting me to all the right stuff. A few of the great ones I've done lately are Electric Chair v10, 2nd ascent Platinums; Entrance Exam v10, 2nd ascent? Benwood; Ashy to Classy sit start v9 Kirkwood Lake ; Grand Design v6 Kirkwood lake. All these are so sick. I'm having so much fun with access to all this new stuff. If you haven't checked out Lake Tahoe Bouldering Guides : South and East Shore Edition, then get it. In Tahoe, you can locate this new guide at Sports LTD in South Lake Tahoe, at the Sports Exchange in Truckee, Alpenglow in Tahoe City, or High Altitude Fitness in Incline Village.

         More recently I've been working on the video of my latest trip to Desolation. After Lake of the Woods, I knew I was ready to step it up to the more burly hike. I decided to go to the coolest destination I've found in Desolation, Lake Aloha. I've been going there every season for a few years now and it is still one of my favorite trips. Backpacking and bouldering combined. For me there's just nothing like it. When I'm out that far in the wilderness doing my favorite thing on earth, superficial thoughts are harder to come by. I get in this zone with the simplicity of it all. I realize that this is what I do, and I love it. Enjoy the video peeps.