Weekly Climbing Feasts

Hello again from Ten Sleep! After spending an alternately hot ‘n’ soggy or cold ‘n’ soggy spring in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, we’ve been back here in Wyoming for almost a month now. The summer season started out not-so-promising, with cold temps leaving my numb fingers torn apart. Dry, cold air means zero friction; you need a little bit of moisture to help keep hands tacky enough to stay on small holds, not to mention being able to feel them. Anyhow, the cold days left me with chunks of flesh ripped from my fingertips for a couple weeks, until the true arrival of summer more recently.

That happening prompted some quick sends of early-season projects on my part, allowing me to delve right into my long-term relationship with this summer’s biggest challenge. I’d actually tried this route out last year at the end of the season, and given it some good flails, with not too much success – some of the moves were just at the edge of my power limit, meaning I maybe did a couple of the moves only one time, total. This year, though, I’ve found that regardless of the outcome of the route (Send? No send? I don’t know…), at least I’m stronger, since I can do a bunch of the moves in ways I couldn’t last September (i.e., the right and realistic way a climber would who could actually have a hope of sending the route), and I can do many more moves in sequence already. Psyched about this!

But the real news for this year so far has been this season’s incarnation of après-climbing training days. Quick history: three seasons ago (2008), I tried to maintain training through the summer, failed because I got greedy about sending, and then regretted not training. Two seasons ago (2009), I trained on my own through the summer. Last year (2010), I almost always had company in training, but we stuck to the stuff for training inside the house – exercise bands, pull-up bar, hangboard, and body weight. Not so much for this summer…

This summer, the routine that’s established itself goes something like this: climb all day until everyone’s skin is thrashed (along with some muscles). Return to the casa, where I run off to do my hour/hour-and-a-half of weight training on the Bowflex while everyone else heads into the bouldering gym. After I’m done, I go out to the gym, where people are starting to get tired, and that’s when the real fun begins – CAMPUS TIME.

We spend an hour or two campusing around the gym like little kids in a playground, making up all sorts of footless challenges for one another as we monkey about. The falls are dramatic, the moves are ridiculous, and the fun factor is out of hand. It’s a hilarious time, totally captures what rock climbing and bouldering should pretty much always be about, in an ideal world – just pushing your own machine to do things you’re not sure it can do, and having an absolute and light-hearted blast while doing it.

It’s the start of a new week here in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, and I’m already looking forward to the end of the week’s campusing craziness, wondering who will show up this time to play. In the meantime, though, I’ve got days of good climbing on real rock ahead of me – and that’s pretty exciting, too. 

Adventure Inspired, Winter Training, Etc.

Check out my recent interview posted on Adventure Inspired. I've been wondering what to say here for awhile, but it turns out I just needed someone else to ask some questions and direct my focus and get me started. I've been busy in Ten Sleep this winter what with training both using weights and by bouldering in the gym, complete with its high-jumping mats rescued from the town dump last summer that make falling that much easier:

Along with training myself, my schedule has been packed with coaching other climbers, taking a personal trainer certification course, writing (my favorite article I researched and wrote this winter is probably the one on NSAIDs (or "vitamin I") as they relate to climbing performance. On top of all this, Kevin (my husband) has gone and started developing a new outdoor climbing area that's like bouldering on a rope for 80 feet or more...and that can be climbable on warm winter days. What's a girl to do?

What I mean by "bouldering on a rope" here isn't that the routes are short, but rather, that they're long, but feature bouldery hucks and throws, over and over and over again, especially if you're not a tall guy (or gal, I suppose). No complaints here; this is exactly what I need, and now I have it right in my backyard. And, as a bonus, I finally have a practical sport-climbing application for all of my bouldering training in the gym, which often seems to just focus on dynos -- I really do need to just let 'er fly on these routes. It's nothing like the more measured pace and controlled movement of Ten Sleep Canyon climbing.

I don't really have any climbing pictures of this stuff yet (sorry, but it's hard when the days are short and the temps are cold and there's only two of you out there to get any climbing photos), but I will eventually. In any case, I'm supposed to be training right now since the cold temps today and not-quite-sunny conditions scared me away from heading out to the crags. Some friends from Canada were here earlier this week when the conditions were similar, and I battled through the day with numbed, wooden hands...meanwhile, my Canadian friend declared the conditions "perfect" and proved that they were for him by climbing well and then sharing his warm, sweaty palms with everyone else's freezing ones. Amazing stuff, that. Not for me, though...that day sent me into my familiar scared-of-cold visage, so I'm choosing indoor training today with the hopes of the warmer climes promised in the next week actually happening. That's it for now...adios from Ten Sleep.