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Thoughts on Setting

In the late 80’s in Seattle Washington, bars and clubs were crawling with bands that would be members of one of the most influential shifts in popular music. Years later these bands would be hailed as the end of the superficial music of the 80’s and the ushers to a new era in music. At the same time, in what I imagine to be another part of town, there was another genesis. The nation’s first indoor climbing gym, Vertical World, opened its doors, marking the beginning of a new genre of climbing. For better or worse, they opened the world of climbing to untold numbers, irreversibly taking the sport into new directions.

With the advent of gyms, climbing was finally accessible to those who may have never had the chance to edge into the sport. Unfortunately, it would also provide the opportunity to teach new climbers just enough to get them in trouble during the transition to outdoors. Adam has already written a comprehensive and compelling article detailing these dangers. For those already connected to the world of climbing, gyms were an inferior substitute for outdoor routes, but also a singular training tool.

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Justin Daharsh - A well thought post Chris. As a setter, I considered many of my own shortcomings while reading this.

One of what I consider my more significant faults, is my inclination to build a route for myself. I like certain movements and I like certain holds; but my body is very different from the bodies of others. I’ll finish a route and because I have constructed it to my proportions and strengths, I will execute all of the movements with elegant poise and grace. But when my 5’6″ female partner, who is otherwise equally competent, makes her attempt, she’ll huck and throw and curse and crash. She’ll lower from the route upset and unsatisfied. I too will be upset, but for all of the wrong reasons. Instead of acknowledging the obvious flaws of my creation, I will internally accuse my partner of performing poorly. “If only she had climbed it like me,” I’ll think, “climbed harder and with more focus.” Unsurprisingly, I will have failed to recognize the all too likely fact that her 5’6″ frame is not capable of executing the movements.November 10, 2011 – 1:29 pm

Andrew - Its been a long time since I have set a route back at UNL but vividly remember how much fun it was to put together a route that could not only challenge myself but others as well. I would do much the same things that you are talking about Chris however I never really thought of not doing the moves before the route is complete!!! Interesting. See! Always learning! I always would take criticism, the good and the bad, however never changed the final route, even if the routes biggest critic (me) didnt like it. It always seemed to distroy the flow of the creation. Besides, who am I to take away something that someone else might come to find is the perfect challenge.November 29, 2011 – 7:23 pm

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Magic Sending Shoes

After the long hike to The Slab’s north face, I peeled off my drenched shirt and hung it on a nearby tree branch. The cold air and shady area quickly chilled my skin, leaving a slimy layer of sweat. We picked a warm-up route and I cinched my harness and grabbed some draws. When I reached back into my pack, my hand discovered nothing but empty granola bar wrappers and my usual training cinder blocks. I had no shoes!

Ian cruxing on s00kr33m (5.13b)

After two weeks of being deprived of a return visit to s00kr33m, my visions of hopping back on my newest obsession sank along with the feeling in my stomach. I was resigned to a day of belaying as I asked Ian what size shoes he wears. When he replied 39 (I wear 42), the sliver of remaining hope eclipsed even further. For the hell of it, I grabbed his shoes and figured I’d see if miracles are true.

With a couple of tugs and wiggles, his Miuras slid on like a glove. I’ve worn lace-up Miuras since my days at the University of Nebraska climbing wall and Ian’s shoes were like a trip down memory lane. It was game on.
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Tyler - Nice send – that route is hard as heck. I’ve found that I can climb pretty well in Miuras of different sizes. My first pair were 42.5’s and the pair I wear now are 41.5’s. They feel pretty similar, to be honest.October 29, 2011 – 12:51 am

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The Other Half 2011

I love being reminded that I have great friends. Although the weekend was far too short, our trip to Moab for the Other Half marathon was reminiscent of a whirlwind Shelf trip from Nebraska when I was a college student.

Wall Street climbing. Unknown 5.12+.

After arriving at our camp site in the Sand Flats at 1 am, we settled down for the night and woke Saturday morning with climbing on our minds and the half marathon looming on Sunday.
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Kate - I have to agree with the lognormal curve as well… only you guys would put together a histogram of the race results! Thanks for putting up the picture of me looking so ‘special’ – I knew that was a bad idea as soon as I did it! JK =)

Had a great time with everyone!October 19, 2011 – 10:56 pm

E.F.R. - Such a great overview of your Moab adventures! Congratulations to both Ian and Karen, too! Fantastic!October 21, 2011 – 12:36 pm

Kris Scheer - Thanks for the details of the race. It’s awesome that you participated, finished and are still alive. Congratulations !October 23, 2011 – 7:48 am

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A Bit of Everything

The last two weeks are a blur of climbing, running, weddings and work. Tonight the alacrity continues with many of our crew heading to Moab where several of us will be running the Other Half marathon, an event that has become October tradition. This will be my fourth Moab half marathon. Each has brought sweat, grit, lungs crying for mercy and legs begging for collapse. Each has brought improvement. Unlike training in past years, this year I’ve had a hard time getting on track. A variety of injuries, a busy work schedule and general stress has resulted in particularly grueling runs. Usually, after a few weeks of training, I look forward to the runs because I start to enjoy them. This time around, it seemed that each run required a confrontational internal debate. Despite the injuries and lack of motivation, I’ve managed to run more than 170 miles during the last 10 weeks. All I can do now is sell out completely for 13.1 more miles. I’m as ready as I’m going to get.

Beautiful October weather has yielded some amazing climbing of late as well. Billy Smallen recently moved to Boulder and we climbed one of the Eldo classic 5.10s, Handcracker Direct. It was great to catch up with him. We’ve also made it out to a new (for me) area in the Flatirons, The Slab, home to some of the best 5.12 and 5.13 climbing in the region. I had some mop up duty left at the Bongo Boulder that Tyler documented in the awesome video below. It felt great to send after coming so close by headlamp on the first trip.

Adam Neef and Ron are both close. They just need to piece it together. Enjoy some photos and stories from our recent adventures and the climbing World Cup held in Boulder.
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Psychos Boomerangs and Bongos

The heat of summer put much of my Eldo wish list on hold, chasing us to shade and higher altitudes. Now that the 90 degree days have passed, the confounding sandstone on the massive Redgarden Wall is again inviting. Numerous beautiful, historical, heady 5.11s sit rarely touched, awaiting the next challenger. Among these are Le Boomerang (5.11d), Psychosis (5.11a) and Psycho Pigeon (5.11b), which Tyler and I completed this weekend.

We also had time to visit one of the Boulder area’s classic boulder problems, Bongo (V7).

Tyler on Bongo (V7)

Meanwhile, Lizz and her group of shadowy cronies headed to the Nederland area to take in the sights of bright yellow Fall aspen groves. Check out some photos and short stories from the week.
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Tyler - Awesome days lately! It’s been fun getting up some of the less-traveled classics.September 29, 2011 – 9:13 pm

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A Few Gems

This weekend marked a unique contrast of climbing. Friday and Saturday we were cranking away on crimps and pockets on Shelf Road’s characteristic sport routes while on Sunday, The Yellow Spur beckoned us skyward with pitch after varied pitch of quality.

The Gem - 5.12c (Photo: Doug Lintz)

Doug captured a few fantastic images of our stormy time at Shelf. Check out some photos and notes from the weekend.
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Kate - Glad you guys had fun- wish I could have been there with you! Well done on Yellow Spur… I’ve been spit off 2 times! Third times a charm, right?September 19, 2011 – 9:04 pm

David - Great photos of the route. I kept telling myself I needed to work on stemming as much as possible to save my forearms, and it looks like I improved on that score based on the pitch 4 photo. Thanks for sharing a great climb.September 19, 2011 – 11:11 pm

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