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Stories of Shelf

Going to college and “growing up” during that time in Lincoln, Nebraska is not an ideal location to learn how to rock climb.  It’s flat, covered in corn, and you get really good at holding your breath while driving past the numerous cattle pens along I-80.  While the people are the nicest and most caring people you will ever run across, the state does not provide for the mountain adventures soul.  During college (early 2000’s) a devout group of flatland gym climbers sought out real rock anywhere they could find it but needed the right avenue to do so.  Jon Cannon and Brian Wandzilak had been climbing at the unknown area of Shelf Road and suggested that it would be the perfect place to teach new climbers, camp, and share a common passion.

Jon and Brian were the experienced climbers of the group and all of us newbies had stars in our eyes when they would talk about their adventures in Rocky Mountain National Park, Shelf Road, and Garden of the Gods.  I felt like I had finally found like minded people to share my deep rooted desire to be outside.  These godfathers of the Nebraska climbing scene organized the first annual Shelf Road Climbing Trip, scheduled for April 2002.  Myself, Jon, Brian, and a handful of other still close friends made our way to Shelf and 14 years later the tradition continues.  Every April, no matter the weather, we converge on The Bank group site and make stories.  Stories of the trek from Nebraska, broken bones, love connections, blizzards, and feats of strength.

This year is no different.  With a modest turnout of 35 people here are the best stories from this year.

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Tyler Scheer - One of my favorite places with my favorite people!May 19, 2015 – 10:28 pm

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Ten Years of Luck

I still remember the first time I climbed. Geared up with my purple rental harness that had the look and feel of a repurposed seat belt, marshmallow rental shoes, and naive overconfidence, I rainbowed up plastic jugs. The route itself wasn’t too physically difficult, but as I got higher off the basketball court at the University of Nebraska, I could feel the exposure. Ten feet from the top I decided I had enough and stammered a request to come down. Jason laughed, insulted my balls, and told me to get to the top. From that point on I was hooked. How could I not be? The 20 routes set in our little corner of the gym provided endless challenge, puzzles and above all, fun. The friends I met waiting around for a rope to open up are still some of my closest today. But the movement and the feeling of improvement are what got me addicted and kept me coming back. Ten years on and well over 100 vertical miles later, here I am, helpless to resist such a compelling sport. I followed my heart and career from the endless Nebraska flatlands, through Moab, to Boulder and now to Yosemite’s shadow in the Bay Area. I’m just as motivated as my younger self and still in awe of the endless riddles nature poses on the rock.

Grace working the wide Jams on the Yosemite classic Reed

Grace working the wide Jams on the Yosemite classic Reed’s Direct.


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Emily - B-A-ootiful. Truly a badass. I better see you in Boulder when you come through and let’s climb!!! Glad your ankle is better, yikes.April 26, 2015 – 10:41 am

Eli - Really enjoyed reading this. Glad you’re doing well, even crushing charder than before. Talk to you soon.April 26, 2015 – 6:49 pm

Andrew - Injuries are not fun, whether they are physical, mental, or health related. Glad you are back and ready to climb in Eldo!! The real question is which route do you want to do.April 27, 2015 – 8:49 pm

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Skiing Uphill

The weekend is coming.  Snow is falling in its silent way and is forecasted to continue through then.  I have to get outside; these four walls are slowly getting closer, smothering the flames within and making it hard to breathe.  An overnight backpacking trip to Rocky has been near the top of the to do list for a while but the lack of interested partners and 7 degree lows make this exciting outing seem less sane.

On the Brainard Lake Trails.

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Adam - You pizzad when you were supposed to french fry. Other than that, looks like a great time. Kind of. Count me out. I’ll be on the couch with a turkey leg and a Hot Toddy.March 18, 2015 – 3:20 pm

Tyler - Really fun day! Next time we’ll get you better skis.March 23, 2015 – 12:14 am

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Ice

Climbing has been part of my life for a long time and living in Boulder has allowed me to explore that passion on a daily basis.  One aspect of climbing that I have always been interested in but distracted from, is ice climbing.  Moving climbing into the the winter realm always seemed like a natural progression.  I like the bite of winters teeth on my face and how the snow makes the world peaceful and quiet.  Why not go climb in it?  I finally gave it a try on a trip to Ouray, Colorado.  Ouray is situated between towering rock cliffs in southwest Colorado in the Uncompahgre River valley and hosts the worlds best venue to learn how to ice climb, The Ouray Ice Park.

Ice in the Park.

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Adam - Andrew! Thanks for the great post. I’ve heard so much about Ouray, but being allergic to cold never made it out to climb. It looks and sounds like the experience is worth the trouble. How were the crowds?February 20, 2015 – 9:30 am

Andrew - The crowds were not too bad. Some of the harder, more popular routes were loaded but since we were staying near the beginner stuff it was great! Would love to go back during the week and get in more routes.February 21, 2015 – 11:54 am

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Dreaming Again

140331-008I woke up from a beautiful, vivid dream. We were lounging on the deck of a white boat, adrift at sea. The sun was hot, the sky was clear. A crew of my family and friends surrounded me. Normally, a dream like this wouldn’t be noteworthy, but this dream was special, the first I’ve had in two months.

My wife and I recently had twins. This has been amazing in so many ways, but not without it’s challenges. We’re losing sleep, personal time, and many of the freedoms we’re accustomed to (like having time to bathe every day, complicated meals, and climbing).

But it’s getting easier, and the possibilities, the dreams, are returning. Jamming up the cracks of desert towers, squeezing through slot canyons, dips in the creek. I’m dreaming again, browsing Mountain Project, hands sweating. And a funny thing has happened: I stopping drinking soda, I went for a run, I’m stretching. Just the dreams are helping me live better.

The siren song of sandstone sings again; This time I’ll bring a bigger crew.

Chris - Good show Eli. Sing the battle cry of climber parents far and wide knowing that you do not dream alone!January 30, 2015 – 12:55 pm

Andrew - Dreams are what keep us alive and give us something to work towards. Thank you for your words, Eli.February 2, 2015 – 8:32 am

Adam - This is fantastic. Thanks for starting us off in 2015, Eli! Keep dreaming and I hope to see you (and maybe Leo) out on the rocks again soon.February 3, 2015 – 2:30 pm

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Playing In the Sand at Mickey’s

“I almost punched myself in the balls.” – Cliff Li

That was the day in a nutshell at Mickey’s. Sebs, Cliff and I were battling the greasy boulders while greasy naked old guys threw around a Frisbee, the scene reminiscent of Boulder’s Dream Canyon. Enjoy a few pics from the day’s events.

Gearing up to launch a huge dyno

Gearing up to launch a huge dyno


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WillO - O my, that looks amazing… Right on the water! Nice work man!August 11, 2014 – 11:21 pm

kris - Nice photos!August 12, 2014 – 11:51 am

Zach Willet - That bloody skin pic makes me cringe! U guys r like Spider-Man.August 13, 2014 – 9:04 am

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