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Colors of the Red River Gorge

On many occasions, Sebastion (aka Sebs, aka Professor Crush) has suggested we make a trip to Kentucky’s Red River George. Though the RRG is the preeminent sport climbing destination in the United States, I always considered ‘sport climbing destination’ to be oxymoronic, usually keeping my bolt clipping local while building longer trips around intimidating trad destinations that shred both the skin and the nerves. But the RRG is on every serious climber’s bucket list and the prospect of a week climbing amazing sandstone with great friends was too enticing to let my idealism derail the fun.

So Many Puppies

Too Many Puppies (Photo: Tyler Scheer)

I also knew that Sebs, who in his Chicago days spent many weekends roadtripping to the Red, would give a first class tour. So I sent the hang dog bat signal out and Tyler, Kevin and Andrew answered the call, joining us from Boulder.

Ryan nearing the chains on Crown of Thorns

Ryan nearing the chains on Crown of Thorns


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Andrew - I had a great time exploring a new area! Thanks for setting things up and getting us out there. Next time, I will not be doing work while on vacation!!!April 12, 2016 – 8:42 am

Eli - Wow, beautiful. I love that second to last photo.April 13, 2016 – 6:25 pm

Tyler - Thanks, Eli! That climb actually looks like that – there wasn’t much photoshopping done!

Adam, thanks for the post. It was amazing to get out there with you and climb some again. What a great place. We should plan the next big trip soon.April 23, 2016 – 11:38 pm

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The Illusion of Control

We stood around the blue light of our headlamps discussing the options.  Do we sit tight and wait it out?  What supplies do we have?  What are the skies doing?  Is that the howling wind or rushing water?  These questions needed to be asked to ensure the right decisions were made about surviving the night or at a minimum until the storm passes.

Up until this moment all climbing epics that I have experienced have been minor:  forgetting a head lamp and being benighted, it gets cold but not cold enough that motion can’t keep you warm, or having your rope stuck and having to make due with a cut short rope.  All these situations are simple mistakes or circumstances that have the potential to turn into something more serious however never have.  Our current situation was different and we were faced with serious consequences if a wrong choice was made.

Morning at Red Rocks. Photo: Andrew Kuklinski

Morning at Red Rocks. Photo: Andrew Kuklinski

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Eli - For once, I am glad I wasn’t out climbing with you. :) Glad you’re ok buddy.March 22, 2016 – 7:27 pm

Kate - Wow! I second Eli- glad I wasn’t there! =) Happy you guys made it out and that a search and rescue wasn’t needed!March 29, 2016 – 2:32 pm

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The Many Faces of Whitney

The sunset shadow of Mount Whitney drapes for miles across grey talus fields that descend into mossy stair step alpine meadows. When moonlight ices over the last traces of warm red hue, Whitney’s massive east face towers in silver above, a frozen slab of vertical granite that shrinks you smaller than a star against the black night sky. Nowhere in the continental United States does a peak rise higher, and nowhere does the brushstroke of the Milky Way stand as bright against the universe’s canvas. Yet, somewhere in the breath, the echo or the vast silence of the place, even a blind man would not mistake that he stood in the presence of a monster.

The sun setting behind Keeler Needle with Mt. Whitney to the right

The sun setting behind Keeler Needle with Mt. Whitney to the right

Our goal was the summit via the historic East Face route, which, astonishingly, was first climbed in 1931. Though not difficult by today’s standards, the route is known for circuitous route finding, breathtaking exposure and, of course, climbing above 14,000 feet.

But before any of that, you have to get to the base.
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kris - Superbly written, Adam. I love that opening paragraph, and it along with the closing one wonderfully describe the attraction and thrill of climbing in the Eastern Sierra alpine. Phew, I needed that.December 17, 2015 – 7:28 pm

Tyler - Awesome! Beautifully written. Congrats on the summit, Adam and David, sounds like you earned it!December 17, 2015 – 8:23 pm

Eli - Really enjoyed reading this, makes me want to get outside!December 20, 2015 – 3:44 pm

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Valhalla to the Shore

To an outsider looking in, California climbing is a caricature of cathartic meccas: Yosemite big walls, Bishop perfection, and Joshua Tree Joshua trees. But to a local, the cliffs between those cathedrals are just as inspiring. With Tahquitz and Suicide Rock, Black Mountain, Tahoe, the endless shoreline, the Sierras and so much more, lifetimes of climbing await the next stranger in search of a familiar home.

Contemplating the last of Cracker Boy

Contemplating the last of Cracker Boy

During the last 12 months, I’ve spent my weekends exploring the monuments that don’t often feature in film tours.
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Andrew - I will go! I have been discussing with Kris some adventures in the Sierras this fall. I need to heal first through, maybe that will be enough time. September or October?July 1, 2015 – 11:09 am

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Rock and Cake

A good friend of mine, Becky Frawley, was getting married in Kansas City and this was an event that I didn’t want to miss.  It was to be a large gathering with a small tribe of long time friends, something I have been looking forward to for some time.  Something I was not looking forward to was the 9 hour drive across Kansas.  It wasn’t so much the scenery that was rubbing me raw but the length of time.  Like Nebraska, Kansas has some beautiful empty spaces, with a clear view of the horizon hundreds of miles in the distance.  I knew I was going to need a break from the butt numbing rumble of the highway so I threw my crash pad on top of my suit and head east.

 

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Emily - Nice post!!! good video :)June 14, 2015 – 10:17 pm

Doug - Nice.
Since a weekend CO trip didn’t pan out, I was going to make a day trip there yesterday but too much rain ruined those plans also.June 15, 2015 – 7:05 am

Adam - Great post, Andrew! I’d never even seen pictures of that place – those boulders look wild. Perfect eggs. Keep climbing and I hope to see you out west soon!June 23, 2015 – 9:19 am

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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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