new site

new blog site:

http://itsajurg.blogspot.com/

DPM is the bomb but the dpmblog doesn’t agree with my computer. Might have something to do with the 30,000+ spam comments that I let build up in my inbox or my stone-age computer, but nonetheless everything has been switched.Best of luck with all things climbing, school and work related DPM-ers!

Surviving Finals

“Those who cannot write, draw comics.” -someone

I went into my statistics final feeling like Chris Sharma walking up to a 5.5. “I am not even going to bring a “cheat sheet”….or a pencil” I daringly thought to myself as I plopped down in my seat and listened to our crazy professor give us instructions for the final. I had taken the practice quizzes some odd hundred or two times the night before and was feeling prime. That misplaced confidence and cockiness were soon erased less than fifteen minutes into the exam, to which I realized that there was actually not a glimpse of hope at all and that my metaphorical 5.5 actually had a v16 sit start. Killer.

 

 

And so it was that 120 minutes was actually not a lot of time when every question is an epic, detailed novel containing every juicy detail of these fictional characters’ lives. Oh..my..gewrd. I tried leaving the classroom and dipping into my emergency food storage in the midst of the test when my brain couldn’t take these painfully offensive questions any longer, but the timer on the computer served as a permanent source of mockery and my little break intensified my panic and hatred for everything on the planet…ever.

 

the look of no hope

 

And so it was that a seemingly easy test spared no mercy.

Good news: it actually feels chilly in the high country now. Tomorrow is the last day of exams so do what you gotta do to do well and then rejoice in the cool temps and time to actually climb! Woohooooo!

Short updates: last weekend was the “Finals on Finals” event hosted by our Outdoor Programs and the American Alpine Club. It was a finals-only format with 3 beginner, 2 intermediate and 1 advanced boulder problem(s) for the men and women. We were brought in one at a time and given five minutes per problem. I felt super shaky and sleep deprived but managed to flash all the problems up to the advanced problem, which I did up to the last move on my first try. I usually hate big moves but having so much support (and a whopping load of psyche from good friends…haha) makes me put on my big girl panties and go for things. I stuck it after the comp was over and one of the girls asked if I wanted to keep trying it. Yes please! I placed first for the gals which definitely surprised me. Could not have been that psyched if not for literally getting carried away or tackled after each problem by Kelley haha or getting to hang out with such awesome people. Congrats to Ryan for getting first for the guys and thanks to Tim and the route-setters for putting up such awesome stuff!!!

Last move of the womens advanced problem

Yesterday Kelley and I woke up at 6:00am to go to Lost Cove before studying..and it actually felt cold! I love that boulderfield so much–for what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality of problems. Getting to do climbs like Patio Arrete and Lunatic in the early morning made me so happy. We trotted over in our down booties to Matt’s Prow and mannn that climb is so cool! It feels super doable now and I can’t wait for another cold day! We figured out the moves and then headed to the v13 super proj, Chapter 13. I considered calling it a hang and drop problem to the jug and calling it v3, because FUHRK that big move! Obviously kidding, but it can be frustrating to feel like I’ve been working and working big moves inside or outside, and then to retreat back to older mentalities and not want to be powerful when it matters. It is something I always struggle with, but I guess there are just times when you are feeling strong, confident and do not hesitate and other times when we feel we have to fight a 3 year old equivalent of ourselves to get where we want to be. I think confidence will also come with more strength, so over winter break I will actually have time to train more, climb and work on different mental approaches for improvement. Big moves–I am coming for you!!!!

older photo of Kelley crushing Ch 13, CPratt photo

Matts Prow, CPratt photo

Time to finally get back to work, but I will leave you with this photo of Alex Honnold and long lost twin, Brennen Bull…

This made me so happy this morning, hahahahahaha! Good luck everyone!

Weekend fun, birthday sends, training!

Many moons ago, my friend Audrey and I went out for a bit in the evening to squeeze some fun climbing in. I can definitely say that psyche was way higher to take photos and watch Audrey make incredible progress on her projects than to climb! Here are some photos I took of Miss Audrey on some Mushroom classics at Blowing Rock Boulders:

classic “Mushroom Boulder” at Blowing Rock

 

Audrey on Monkey Paw, v4

 

BAM!

 

:)

:)

Audrey on Magnificent 7!

It was such an awesome evening sesh! Audrey did all the moves on Monkey Paw and we were both so pumped! We went around the backside of this incredible boulder and I got her on Magnificent 7, one of the harder V7s in the area. She surprised herself and was having fun making moves and figuring out beta. I remember the person who encouraged me to get on my first V7 and how intimidated I was just looking at the climb. It can always be such a great feeling when you realize some grade or climb isn’t as scary or impossible as you once thought. Afterwards I got on Portobello for a few tries and OH hay, it felt just as hard as it did a year ago, haha. The first move is a long reach to a weird hold that I only hit right a handful of times. The lock-off move isn’t as bad as I thought, but my lats still wanted to shrivel up and die. The rest felt kind of laughably impossible, but after seeing other people on it this weekend the moves make a lot more sense. It’s still a pretty gorgeous line and I am kind of excited to try it again.

Sunday was an amazing day of climbing too. Brennen had the best possible birthday send of Portobello after only a handful of attempts. As soon as he hit the sloper his body went into GO mode and lunged for the finish hold. It was the scariest spotting experience to date with those “thighs for miles” swinging everywhere :) Everyone else had an amazing day and climbed super well too. Birthday sends and birthday psyche are so good!

Since then I have not had a chance to climb outside in Boone with so much school work to do, but I have been training every chance I can get, whether it’s 11:30 at night or early in the morning before class. I read a cool article about changing up your training and playing around with new exercises which can greatly benefit your climbing, so I tried to be creative and think of something new to add to my training. I remembered trying a climb that required a hefty amount of contact strength a few weeks ago and I tried to copy that sort of finger stress by campusing the rungs with a weight vest (anywhere from 8 to 12ish pounds) on. It was hell the first time but it has become easier and truly makes powerful moves not feel quite so terrible. I would advise starting super slow and not pushing it too fast too far, but here is the workout I made and the training I did for the last day:

*warm up by climbing and doing pull ups

*campus without weight vest on large, med and small rungs
-skip 2 on large/med, skip 1 on small (x2)
-back three fingers on medium skipping 1 (x2)
-front 3 fingers on medium skipping 1 (x2)

*campus with weight vest
-skip 1 on large rungs with good rest in-between, repeat 5 times
-skip 1 on medium rungs, repeat 5 times with rest
-bumps
~”double bumps” (going from rung 1 to 3, then trying to bump same hand to 5)
~(without weightvest) both hand bumps (dont know the word for this, where you kind of campus dyno with both hands to the next rung, haha SO not good at describing things)

*lock off
-switch back and forth between arms 5 times
-medicine ball “frenchies”, place medicine ball at knees at 90degrees or at ankles. your core might hurt more than your arms
-uneven frenchies
-weighted pull ups
-”assisted” one arm pull up

*cardio
-6 mile run

Being productive today and climbing outside tomorrow either at Linville Gorge or Grandmother Boulders. Psyched on anything that is not a gym or library at this point…

Hope everyone has been getting some climbing in here and there! It’s a busy time of year for sure but it’s not all bad. The break is soon after which means holiday fun, family time, working and climbinggg! :) Good luck!

-Melise

Woohoo!!!!

Such mixed feelings–I feel both exhausted and rejuvenated after this weekend. This was my first weekend in town after a month of fun events and competitions. I got lucky and sent my “super-proj” second go of the day!! Big thanks to Pratt for the  footage–>preferential treatment (http://vimeo.com/53301255)

 

.

We climbed the day before and I almost didn’t want to try the problem while feeling so sore, but with so many pads and people it was pretty hard not to seize yet another opportunity to try and practice the moves. I was pretty intimidated that there were so many people around the climb at first, but thankfully those feelings have been subsiding quickly…being replaced with a focus that tunes everything out while climbing. So while I had butterflies each time before I pulled on the start holds, it was like being unconscious momentarily during each attempt. Maybe I should get that checked out? : ) This might have been my fifth or sixth day this season trying the climb. A few weeks ago I did all the moves for the first time, a few days later I linked the entire bottom section to the throw. The other day everything just clicked and it finally went.

Not to go all Miss America ermergerd-i-won speech on everyone………

omg! haha

….but I will briefly note that after some reflection, I can definitely say that none of my goals would ever be tangible without my friends. Passion and drive are necessary for us to succeed, but they are both flames that would easily diminish without the encouragement and support of those you love. A very sincere thank you to all of you guys for everything.

As far as I know, I think I may have gotten the first female ascent. I think being the only female to do this climb will definitely change soon though. I have already heard a number of girls say that seeing me try this climb made them excited to also try it, which is awesome to hear. I think women in general can get inspired from watching men climb, but it isn’t until we see other women on climbs do we think to ourselves, “wow, that looks so accessible” or “maybe I could do that too.” I am guilty of it too! I think an even better approach is what I’ve learned from my friends–and that is to get on everything regardless of grade or style of climbing. Get on climbs that are fun, and when you find one that suits your style, go for it. Preferential is super workable, not height dependent, has a great landing and the crux can be worked without having to climb to it (yay steep stuff!) so I really do hope some other ladies do it soon!

These past weeks have been a little tough, so I am happy to have completed something in my climbing that meant a lot to me. I hope that those feelings of accomplishment, excitement and dedication translate to other non-climbing related responsibilities and can give me the confidence necessary to keep working harder. It is awesome how even though climbing is both a hobby and an outlet, it can also be a means of fueling ourselves for other things going on in our lives. With the near-end of one semester and after months of so much thought and energy given to climbing, my immediate future goals are to work super hard in school to catch up and do well. So much focus has been given to climbing with competitions and events in the past, so stepping back a bit to focus on my research and plans for the upcoming semester is welcome by me! Then it’s time to step up the training and try lots of fun stuff outside! I’ve got friends all over who are also pushing themselves and working on projects of their own, so I am even more excited to see what good things happen for them soon. Keep it up!!!

Hope everyone has a great week. Push through with thoughts of 45 degrees, sunshine and beautiful boulders/routes on the weekends! : ) Take care,

Melise

 

HP40, last of the “Triple Croowwnnn!”; Comps

This past weekend was the last leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series at Horse Pens 40. It was my first time at Horse Pens and certainly not the last–that place is AMAZING! Escaping the snow covered mountains of the high country and seeing the peak fall colors of HP40 was like traveling backwards in time and experiencing the season for a second time. Absolutely loved it! We arrived a little after dark with night climbing first on the to-do list. Kelley gave us a tour of some really cool problems and we got our first taste of this unique style and rock.

HP40 is located in Steele, Alabama and is super concentrated with many quality problems. These sandstone boulders have been shaped by the elements and house interesting features and slopers at every turn.  Looking at some of the seemingly heinous slopers from the ground, I thought, “there is no way I can hold onto any of these holds!?” but, even with the heat, the friction of every hold was surprisingly good. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to our climbing; instead of obvious lines where holds are very defined and can usually only be held one way, HP40 was like “3D climbing” (for lack of a better word to describe it! :) ) Feet were everywhere. Holds could be grabbed as side pulls, then later underclings or slapped for no other purpose than for balance. You could find everything from burly compression-y climbs to perfect crimp rails to pockets to slab…(etc.) Makes me excited just talking about it!

The next day our faithful guide and HP40 master Kelley got us on so, so many good problems. HP40 has some of the best moderate climbs around and every problem I did, even the warm ups made me want to come back down and immediately do them again. Here are some photos we took from the days climbing:

Marli on Moms, v2

 

Kelley on another awesome climb I can’t remember!

 

photo taken by Marli!

 

Kelley topping out like it’s his job.

 

the only time in my life when double high feet was the beta

 

hardest v3 evarrr

Seeing the same fun and genuine people at these events and making new friends has felt like being home. I am so sad that Triple Crown has come to an end but am grateful that we were able to volunteer/compete and be present at each event.Having friends all over the country now is an excuse to travel and have friends come visit and climb with us here. Psyched!!!

I have to mention that something very disheartening happened over the weekend. Two grey, Triple-crown jackets were taken from the Prana booth on Friday night and later, the Giddy and Scarpa booths reported that some of their goods were stolen as well. Many people later said that some of their things had gone missing too.Theft turned out to be a huge problem. While we were climbing Sunday, we left some of our belongings in a pile around the corner from another climb we wanted to try. We came back less than 15 minutes later to find Kelley’s 5.10 teams and approach shoes gone. Later people told me that they too had left their things unwatched briefly to find backpacks, shoes and entire bags of luggage disappear. In my mind, it seems that it may have been the same group of people, but regardless that is extremely troubling. I’d like to think that the majority of climbers are honest people, but there are those out there that can and will do horrible things that poorly reflect the rest of the community and make it so that we have to be distrustful and paranoid about something as simple as leaving our belongings in the open momentarily. Has anyone had similar experiences at this same event, at other areas or large gatherings/events??

Marli and I also had the privilege to sneak attack and pie someone in the face. The American Alpine Club had a “Slice of Pie” video contest (if you haven’t seen the videos, “like” their page on Facebook and see them, they are great!) and the winner got taken out with this bad boy:

BAM!

Thus ended the best volunteer job of the weekend, hahaha emergerd, PERH! His video was awesome though and he was a good sport, at least from what I could tell as I ran off the stage cracking up. :)

The other weekend, I entered two bouldering competitions: one ABS comp just a few hours away on Saturday and another in my own town on Sunday. I figured it would be good training and a chance to climb with other people out of town that I love seeing. Both turned out to be great competitions with fun problems and a ton of friendly people. I was overwhelmed with how nice people were at both and how supportive both environments were. I also got the chance to catch up and climb with Travis and Carter, who both carried a great attitude and were always psyched! Here are a few photos from the ABS comp:

The talented Travis Gray climbing during the finals round.

 

Carter making it look easy in the finals round!

 

finals round, problem numero 3
For the finals round, they had us come out from isolation to a wall with three newly created boulder problems with little more than 3 minutes per person to try and do each one.
Top 3 :) It was inspiring to watch these two and climb with them all day. Can’t wait to see how they do at ABS nationals!!!
Snow and wetness has consumed us here which is fine, it makes me feel better when I’m stuck in the library on a snowy, wet day rather than on a gorgeous 45 and sunny day. :P
Congrats to all the Triple Crown competitors and good luck to everyone else in their future climbing trips!
-Melise

Triple Crown part II & climbing


A week after being back from part II of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series and all I can say is, “wow”.  So much organization and hard work were put into this event and a strong Boone presence was felt with all the high-country-volunteers. The climbing was incredible and the people–so encouraging and friendly. The atmosphere always felt light, genuine and extremely positive. I am so thankful for everyone I got to meet and for everything we got to experience this past weekend.

We started off on an ominous looking Friday that surprised us with the Little Rock City boulderfield immersed in a cloud–no joke. We towel-dried boulders just enough to duct tape tags near the start holds and wondered how the weekend would turn out. We called it a day at the boulderfield when punching duct tape to the wetness was unsuccessful, but Veronica brought back the psyche, opened up her crash pad, and attempted a funky slab despite the conditions. Soon everyone was shoeing up and ready to climb with complete disregard to the sandiness, mud, and sprinkling rain. Doesn’t sound like your typical prime bouldering day, but it was a ton of fun! 

Afterwards we headed to Urban Rocks for the boulder rave. Mind blown! Got to see my favorite Chattnasties, eat the best veggie burger of my LIFE and continue climbing in the rave-tastic gym with friends who knew what to do (dancin + climbin!) We watched the speed climbing comp for a little while and saw everyone take awesomely funny whippers after the final SMACK at the top of the wall.

In short, it was an amazing day of volunteering and getting to climb with so many different people and getting on new problems! We were so pumped to get on classic problems all day and do a few new ones too. Looking at the final results I was so stoked to see SO many of my friends place in almost every category!! Still makes me smile just remembering how happy everyone was. Congratulations to everybody! Can’t wait to come back to such a gorgeous place. Makes me excited for another new area with HP40 soon!  Here are a few shots of some cool lines:

Julie making it look easy on Rage, v5

 

Brennen figures out the beta on Space, v8

 

on Deception, v7

We climbed the next day and had to tear ourselves away to make it back to town in time to get schoolwork done (college kid problems…) But it was a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to get back to that area.

Today a few of us went to Blowing Rock boulders and psyche was definitely high on just about everything we hopped on, from the warm ups to the projects. Even though we got a late start (Michelle and I really, really love our coffee time…) it was great to climb with some strong ladies and meet up with some of my favorite people later on.

 

Lisa walks the moves of AHR, v8

 

Michelle on Center 45, v3

Michelle pulling hard on Center 45

 

new beta from Peter helped me do the last move, so psyched!

 

Preferential Treatment, v9/10

 

sad to give up the heel, but bicycle is great too!

 

This problem was put up by A.Love and the movements are pretty incredible. If you ever get a chance to watch the film “Witness This” and see his first ascent it is pretty darn inspiring and so fun to watch. Peter’s new bicycle beta made the match a little trickier to learn after having the heel feel so good, but it made a huge difference in the last jump move to the end. All the moves have gone and I am so pumped to start trying send burns! Peter sent Squeezejob, v10 after I had thought he had already done it the whole time too haha, awesome job!!

 

Peter tries to repeat Room with a View after sending Squeezejob, v10. killa!!

 

Hope everyone took advantage of the good temps and had a fun day outside somewhere! Take care,

Melise

 

“Triple Crooowwnn!”

First off, I just finished reading a really fantastic article posted earlier this month about Audrey Sniezek and her accomplishments both in the “climbing-world” and the real world. It is always both fascinating and inspiring to read about driven individuals who are ambitious in their climbing, but sometimes even more so in how they make a difference in the lives of others (and are passionate about the line of work they choose.) I loved how she recognized a need in the local community and used both her strengths and connections with Microsoft to make a huge difference. What’s more is that she supported herself through school and took time away from school to work in order to make it through the next school year–something I have done and most likely plan on doing again–while simultaneously striving to be a better climber. Her drive is definitely contagious and inspires hope, you go girl!!

The first series of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series started off last weekend here in the High Country with a bang. Friday night was spent eating an awesome free Indian dinner thanks to the American Alpine Club and collecting our guidebooks and scorecards for the following day. It is always a really great feeling to have familiar faces everywhere from the local Boone crew to friends from VA, SC, TN and even out west. We left early to try and get some sleep, but sleeping the night before a competition or event has never been something I’m able to do! Even in my soccer days, every single game–even if it wasn’t deemed a super important one by my coach or teammates kept me up much longer than I’d hoped. Either that or I’d get excited and wake up way too early and immediately start watching soccer videos. (6am psyche? you bet!)

The competition went really well and a lot of locals absolutely killed it! Brennen and Kelley smashed the old record of Star Chaser by an incredible amount, while both guys and girls ran the stage in Light Roast, Open, Advanced and intermediate! Congratulations to everyone!!! Top notch judge Drexel also flashed two v6s and did two v8s in the same day. Killa! It was a great day for sure. I think my biggest success this weekend was stopping the thought process of ”it might not happen” and just going for it. It usually takes me a long time at competitions to warm up to the idea of trying hard and not being too intimidated by all the craziness going on. I was so, so grateful for the support of my best friend who came with me to every boulder and gave nothing but encouragement to face each climb with a fresh attitude and happy disposition. I ended up day flashing every v5, 6 and 7 I got on that day with the exception of three v6/7 climbs I had never tried before. I looked at a few v8s towards the end of the day that afterwards I really wished I had tried, but overall I have no regrets. I’m happy that it was just a fun day, that I got to hang out with such awesome people all day and that all went well. I ended up in fourth place in Open which was definitely a surprise. People have been so nice and I haven’t been sure how to handle it all and to hear so many nice things, but a sincere thanks for all the positivity!

Brennen and I headed out to a small local area this morning for a quick session before getting stuff done. It was a gorgeous day and I loved every bit of it. Slabs that will give you a whoopin’ and tall climbs for days:

Brennen topping out Original Classic

Original Classic

Brennen figures out the move on Steppin Razor v10

Off to Little Rock City/Stone Fort next to volunteer and have all new climbs! I’ve gone once for about two hours…so a full weekend of climbing kind of makes my head want to explode. Can’t wait to see errrbody there!

Stone Fort!!!!

Local’s Day, Reel Rock, Climbing

Long time no update. The past month has been crazy with the beginning of a new semester at school and all the joy that accompanies the transition from summer break, but it has been well received thus far and filled with equal amounts of both fun and hard work. My school schedule allows for a good amount of climbing and training so long as I am willing to stay up late finishing work (check!) or sacrifice a day of climbing outside to work at the climbing gym and train (check!) I’m taking some super cool classes and working in the Animal Behavior lab this year so lots of excitement always. I’ll try to do a short recap of our past local events so as to look super busy on my computer instead of writing up lab results…naturally

A few weeks ago Lees McCrae hosted the 7th annual Reel Rock film featuring some really cool footage. I thought it was great and the footage definitely brought some great energy to the place. Highlights included free drinks and food, snakes and birds of prey to gawk at and hold, and getting to watch the local climbing community come together under one roof and get psyched about climbing together.(Lees McCrae has a wildlife rehabilitation program which is why they are amazing and brought so many awesome critters for us to hold.) A big thanks to those guys for hosting such a great event.

Drexel and Trillium the corn snake

Climber gals at Reel Rock! :)

 

The following week was Local’s Day at Hound Ears–a chance for the local climbers to come together, help clean the Hound Ears climbing area, and climb! Hound Ears is a special boulderfield that is only open to climbers one day out of the year, and that is specifically for the Triple Crown Bouldering Series competition held annually in the southeast. (Side note: If you haven’t already seen “The Tribe” video, you absolutely should watch it! It talks about the beginnings of the Triple Crown competition, access issues faced in the area, and the people who have worked tirelessly to build relationships with others for continued access. Beautifully shot and worth the watch for sure.) It was an awesome day of climbing and hanging out with everyone. Lots of new problems got climbed on and highlights afterwards included free drinks and food and watching a crate-stacking contest. Grown men versus little girls = awerrrserrmm. While waiting for everyone else to come down the mountain, we played a mini epic game of Bball that was way too much exercise after a full day of climbing, but totally fun. Our team, the Allstar Chuffers, showed no mercy and won the game. Look out!

Training wise,  I have basically been trying to stop doing things that are ”my style” (pulling on small holds) and work on the not-s0-fun things that clearly need to be worked on (one arm lock offs, core, dynos, etc…) A friend recently shed some light on the subject when he mentioned “I find that the exercises that are the least fun to do are the things most in need to work.” Makes total sense. Darn. I’m working on putting together a training plan similar to the one I had over the summer, but smarter with regards to time as doing ab workouts at 1:00am after studying or writing papers is not healthy, fun or helpful at all. With a busier schedule I think it’s important to adapt to the demands of other responsibilities and adjust so that we aren’t spread too thin between trying to train super hard and work and do school or whatever the case may be. Sometimes the healthier option both for ourselves and our bodies is to skip the workout and get a few extra hours of sleep or rest so that we can really give 100% the next available day.

Today we went to Grandmother Boulders and kind of had a goofy day. Psyche was high for certain problems, which fizzled out to psyche for a circuit day, which fizzled out into “get on whatever and play” day. Here are some shots I took of the guys tryin’ real hard!

 

Kelley on Third Rail, v9.

 

Finally found the name of this plant: Soapwort (awful name!) No real interesting facts about it other than it is everyyyywhere at Grandmother along with the fall flower favorites, Joe Pye Weed, Goldenrods, and some other white flowers in the aster family

 

Brennen on the send of Grope the Pope, v6. Oh but wait, there’s more…

 

Getting cruxy; Kelley with the super spot.

 

this face screams “I’m playing it cool but I am about to crux my face off on the slab” haha jk..but seriously

 

Bryce on Love Rocket, v7 dyno

 

Kelley on Love Rocket

 

sicky!

classic

 

Brennen showing off his tall skills :)

 

bam!

 

aaand shirt comes off

 

A lesson to those who celebrate by taking off their shirt after sending, haha. thou shalt hath punishment and mockery by kelley.

 

motivation to stick holds!

 

the moment we had long been waiting for. stuck flat tires are pushing the limits of climbers’ patience everywhere.

I am really excited to see my friends and everyone else crush this season. I feel like the overall psyche has been through the roof for some time and everyone has been looking insanely strong and motivated. Keep it up guys and gals! I have a few climbs I am really excited about as well as a list of climbs I would like to try soon. Definitely time to start saying ”whateva, I do what I waunt” and go for it!

Hope everyone is crushing work, school and all things climbing. Fall temps are almost upon us!

-Melise

 

smangin’ on some trainin’

 

After a week of fails, sickness, school projects and ice cream binges (see comic from last post for general idea) I finally had a somewhat productive day, at least training-wise, that got me excited to start working harder to get back in shape. I got some inspiration both from one of my bestest pals who agreed to have a training day and from Kris Peter’s blog about training his athletes. This blog is really informative and provides some heinously tough workout ideas for all climbers. If anyone is looking for even more ideas, here is a brief outline of what we came up with:

Our modified (aka wimpy) version of those pyramids was to basically not even do the pyramids and instead do “5x5s” (4x4s with an added problem and added set) and doing ten pull-ups after each set. We picked five problems that each brought a different move or technique that would be challenging with fatigue, all in the v4/5 range. If we failed at any point we added one more climb to the set, totaling about 25 boulder problems and 50 pull ups at the end. Brennen’s forearm massages were crucial beta to not hating life and getting back on the wall. :) But really.

Afterwards I climbed problems that were really hard for me and tried to focus on individual moves that gave me trouble. (Dynos, powerful moves..) for about four hours. Kelley “went to work” (pffftheheh) and Brennen and I left to go do a core workout that was basically a bunch of leg lifts, russian twists with 8 or so pounds, and laughing at climbing videos and old photos.

Part of the training also included kicking Kelley’s ass in 1 v 1 soccer. I think Kelley might have gotten a workout in with all the pouting and whining he did??

witnesses of the 1 v 1 captured this shocking poor sportsmanship photo of Kelley

 

Our past climbing days outside have been super hot but still a lot of fun. I got to watch my friends make crazy progress on some hard climbs and did a few climbs that I had trouble with last spring. I was super stoked for sure! It definitely feels really selfish to spend so much time training and climbing though, but it is nice to see it slowly starting to pay off a little by little.

Have Guns Will Travel v7; photo by Zach Silberman

 

Fall temps are almost upon us! Stay psyched & injury free, hope everyone is still getting in some climbing somewhere!

-Melise

 

 

Welcome back to Schoo

School is starting to feel just like ”the good old days,” 12-14 hours on campus and bedtime by 1:00 or so, if I’m lucky. I attribute most of this to my determination to not get stressed and get my work done ”while having fun.” Even a horribly awful day got turned into a light and funny situation just with a little Paint document and a whole lot of procrastination…

 

You’ll have to click the photo to make it legible.

 

Climbing update from the past few days later, my only goals for the night are to finish a presentation and get six hours of sleep. Hope this makes everyone feel about fifteen times better about themselves…

 

-M

 

 

Back to School

First day of class was definitely a success…

 

First day of class, brought to you by Grandmother boulders

 

Working hard? Or hardly working towards a school degree? heh heh…i joke.

 Kelley and I didn’t have Tuesday class whereas Brennen just doesn’t have a real major and got out at 9:15 (just kidding!) It was an awesome and cool day at the boulderfield with highs in the low seventies/high sixties. We had a full day which in-short included:

  • Brennen makes “surprise progress” by doing all but one or two moves on two different V11s that no doubt should move on up the project list.
  • Kelley dominates the dab with a yell that gets him up Six Pack for Sure, v6 in a few tries, and flashes Steve, v5. Total problems done this summer by him comes to 38 or 39.
  • I got a blood sugar high from rasberry yogurt that got me psyched and led to the 2nd ascent/FFA of Ophidiophobic, v6. A cool section of bottom moves lead to 20-25 feet of scary slab. Also did Steve first try which was a total surprise.
  • omelets from heaven follow afterwardsToday was my actual first day of school and I could not be more excited. My classes and professors are amazing, my classmates I’ve talked to so far seem genuinely excited about being in school, and my schedule allows for lots of working at the gym and climbing. Statistics, Ecology, and Air Pollution & Climate change were all I had today but I loved every minute of it. Having a chill summer in Boone has been really special and relaxing, but I definitely missed the sort of mental stimulation and ties back to the “real-world” that school does a much better job of than simply climbing and hanging out with friends. :)My goal for this year is to be on Dean’s list again and to find ways to do well in both school and my hobby without forgetting that climbing is just that–a hobby. Except for the 1% of the climbing community that can actually make a living from climbing, it will remain that for all of us. That is not to say that climbing should be exempt from passion or to stop dedicating a lot of time to something you love; I hope to climb for as long as I am able but ”future me” knows that climbing is not as sustainable and can not be a means to consistently put other important things ‘on the backburner.’ Just looking to other inspiring people in the area who work, teach, travel, and continue to be dedicated and passionate about climbing is enough to keep my optimism high and realize that climbing and goals in school/work do not have to be mutually exclusive. In my short time of climbing, it seems that many climbers I have met and known tend to be an incredibly dedicated, hard-working and a seriously driven group of individuals; I have a feeling if any climber wanted to reach their goals no matter how big, they could do so with flying colors. (sounds cheesy, but it’s true. give yourselves some credit.)

    Here is a campus workout I followed from the day before if anyone is interested in campus-related ideas. Definitely just something  I made up bored while at work:

  • warm up by doing 10 pull ups on the jugs, 10 pull ups on the top rail, 10 pull ups on the crimps slowly with about 5-10 minutes of rest in-between.
  • start on the biggest campus rungs by simply hitting every single rung with a different hand (skip 1)
  • begin to skip 2 rungs and pull through and skip 2 to the top.repeat anywhere from 5 to 7 times (also–always lower by doing the exact same workout campusing down as well)
  • do the same for the middle rungs (I failed a few times for sure)
  • campus the small rungs by skipping one
  • go back to the biggest rungs and campus with both hands leaving the rung at the same time and landing on the next rung (‘campus dyno?’) to the top if you can (I failed..alot)Good luck with all things school/work related and climbing,Melise

 

 

 

More Outside Climbing, hurrah!

We are so spoiled in the high country!

 It’s only Thursday and with the exception of a rest day and a day of route-setting in our gym, every day has or will be

dedicated to climbing or training. The pressure to climb as much as possible before school starts had set in, although I know that with my/my friends’ schedules of being done with class every day by noon or so, climbing outside will probably not be as limited as before with more sporadic schedules. :) Yeah, us college students kind of have it too easy sometimes….

ha

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day. A cool, crisp, perma-breeze lured us from our humble homes and followed us to the boulderfield. With psyche music blasting, we made it to the DRY boulders of Grandmother early in the morning. I even brought a jacket…it was crazy! It felt so cool and almost reminiscent of Fall. After some mini epics on the top outs of our warmups, we hurried over to Macheesma, v8 up the hill. Drexel ended up doing it with the quickness on his second try! It’s a really interesting and technical looking problem, awesome job mayne!

After hiking the Spence Ridge Trail several times getting into Linville Gorge, we decided no matter what circuit we decided to do that day, no walking could even come close to our previous hikes. So without concern for how to minimize hiking-time and plan an efficient route…we did what we waunted! Next was the Have Guns wall. I ended up pulling a day flash out of my behind on Have Guns, Will Travel, v7. I heard the top was really hard and scary and thought I would never do this problem. Turns out it’s like a v2, just 15-20 feet high. It took me a while to get psyched on this problem when I repeatedly envisioned myself punting off the top.

yes I punt off problems, even in my dreams

 

This is a Nate Draughn video of the v9 version that continues right, whereas the v7 goes straight up after his sweet one arm lock off unwinding.

Afterwards we tried some newer problems for Kelley to add to his list. His goal is 50 new boulders problems before the summer is over; he is now just 13 short of completing it! A day at Backyard and/or Thunder Hill or Hound Ears should get that quick. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even do 50 problems last season and this summer combined, so that is kind of awesome! We met up with Flannery who did some new problems and added the ”stand” of Nintendo Thumb v6/7 to her crush list as well. Everyone did new problems again!

Lastly was a trip to the Mighty Mouse boulder where Drexel almost day-flashed Klamper. It might have been an eensy weensy punt, but hey, if slopey/pinchey v8s go in the summer, then hopefully good things are coming in the Fall.

earlier shot of Drex on Klamper v8; copyright CP Photography

And finally, after getting rained out halfway through the day, we came home, made veggie burgers, did a core workout, and I made cookies :) Core workout posted at the very end:

When Fall comes, I’ve got a new training plan I’ve been working on, a healthy eating plan (that includes cookies of course..) and competitions lined up to do. I’ll post things as I learn them, especially about nutrition and exercises.

Hope everyone has a great rest-of-the-week!

-Melise

 

Core Workout

  • 10-12 reps of lock-off twists. Basically, pull up to a 90 degree lock-off, twist your knees to each elbow without moving your torso or leaning back.
  • 10-12 reps of leg lifts. Straight legs if you can
  • 10-12 reps of knees to chest, they get cruxy for sure!Then repeat.If you’re feeling especially sassy, you can do my favorite exercise afterwards: the dreaded 7 minute plank!!
  • start a regular plank either on your forearms or on your hands with straight arms. Hold for 2 minutes; next, flip to your right side for 2 minutes, then your left side for 2 minutes. Finish with one minute in the regular plank position. Your shoulders will hurt more than your abs.

 

Linville Gorge

8/10 – lengthy recap from first trip to the gorge:

Friends and I woke somewhat early this morning after a good deal of of route-setting the days before (cartoon of the route setting experience coming soon…) to climb at Linville Gorge. With The Tallest Man on Earth playing to a scenic drive through our lush mountains, we arrived and hiked down to this incredible area.

I can’t say it enough — the Linville Gorge area is breathtakingly beautiful. Coming out from the trail to a bridge with massive boulders littering the banks of the river as far as the eye could see got me pretty durn psyched. It turned out to be nothing like what others had mentioned (“too hot!” “buggy!” “waa”..haha just kidding) It was a bug-free, overcast, breezy day and as good as you can get for summer climbing.

These were some highlights from each area of the day:

Warmup area

-First stop after warming up on some unknown slab and a great v2ish climb was the sea of love boulder (?) to look at Sea of Love and the sit. Brennen and I flashed the v5 version (sea of love stand?) and Drexel and Brennen looked really close on the v7 sit. Too bad you have to crawl out of a mini cave for the entry moves. Still a sick looking problem though!

Glory boulder

   -Glory Days and Glory Nights. Brennen did the v7 Glory Days 2nd try while Drexel went for the repeat. It’s an awesome problem and at first it looked height dependent–but definitely not. Just gotta cut feet on the crimps and campus to the jug. Can’t wait to go back here! Drexel and Brennen crushed all the moves on the v8 with the wildest looking swing I’ve ever seen. This boulder is fantastic. Some especially exciting highlights were: 1)Drexel getting hurt in every imaginable place on his body, with 2 body-rock-contact falls and one d-spot; 2)brennen has wildman beta; 3)brennen is somehow able to go all Ip Man with his spotting and avoid a foot to the chest just by looking at it

Pure wonder boulder

   This boulder is so beautiful! Too bad Helter Skelter was put up by a six foot samsquamsh. (note: I have no idea who put this up..) If you’re short this problem gets burly. Favorite parts:
-swimming and jumping off the boulder, amazing!
-swam out to the proudest line in the gorge and mantled the moss to a dyno over the water. king line for sure
-drexel continues to crux on the ground yet regains his strength to do all the moves of wonderful arrete easily
-brennen doesn’t flash helter skelter mantle but does it anyways and also cruises moves of neighboring v7/8s

mothership boulder

Mothership (v7/8) and this whole boulder is really interesting. We saw it from the trail and thought we saw crimps. upon closer look the boulder problem literally looked impossible and super blank. a little clean up job went a long way and we gave a few tries. Highlights:
-Psyche goes from low to hi after we realize the climb that looks impossible goes
-all 3 of us did the first move a different way
-the boys get to the slopey lip every time
-brennen hangs onto quarter pad crimps dynamically and campuses the middle section

 This video of the gorge shows  the area quite well. The Glory boulder is at around 3:30 and everything else just gets me psyched to watch!! Can’t wait to go back!

———————————————————–

8/13 – return to the Gorge!

One cook-out milkshake (Reese’s cups, m&ms, heath bar, peanut butter and fudge) later and I feel amazing. Moreso from the day of climbing than from the overload of sugary goodness I just dumped into my system. We made a last minute switch from Grandmother to Linville Gorge and set off this morning. It was Kelley and Flannery’s first time going on the Spence Ridge Trail down to the gorge. We basically did the same circuit of boudlers, but everyone sent something new and it was awesome! Kelley and I did the Sea of Love sit V7 while Flannery did the stand after not climbing much in a long time. Go Team!

Afterwards we headed back to the beautiful Glory boulder where epicness occured! Drexel did Glory nights,v8, twice basically but fell once going to the last hold and once mantling the shit out of the finish hold. FUHRK it was so close!! With Kelley’s motto, “Give ‘em hayull, do it for Dale!” how could you not try super hard?! I got back on the v7 Glory Days and managed to hold the swing multiple times before trying to throw out to the jug. I found a perfect foot after trying it one too many times and was too wrecked to see if it could work, but I’m still excited to one day do this climb!

Went to Helter Skelter boulder next where everyone minus me did Helter Skelter. I almost reached the pocket by getting a super high left smeary foot while crimping my face off on a hold everyone else skips. needless to say I am practically dying to get back on this climb………..(dramatic overuse of periods to display sarcasm*) the coolest part is jumping off the boulder to swim, then swimming out to my super proj where you mantle moss and do a double hand dyno. It’s the future.

We ended with Drexel crushing the crap out of the Mothership, v7/8? Saw v8 on the handdrawn map. Tiny little crimps and delicate feet. Beautiful climb! We later decided that for people who are active and just climbed for a solid day…..fast food once in a blue moon probably won’t kill you. The decision after that was instantaneous. Cookout. I got my 5 flavored milkshake and ate with the biggest smile on my face. Ahhhhh :) Onto a push-up pyramid, ice bath, then 7 minute planks before route-setting tomorrow. Woohoo!

Nope, no photos, didnt feel like hiking with a heavy camera. Saw some new flowers to add to the species list page though.

I’m rambling and tired. Hope everyone gets to enjoy some rain-free climbing days!  All the best,

Melise

 

Update: AAC, mank climbing & future plans

 

Last Thursday evening Prattapus and I ventured to our favorite local coffee shop for happy hour with the American Alpine Club southeast crew. Free drinks, climbing-talk and amazing  “hors d’oeuvres”?! Get down! It was really great to find out about some big things the AAC has recently accomplished and what they envision for the future. The acquisition of the Hueco Rock Ranch is definitely cause for celebration and talk of events to bring our community and region closer together was especially exciting.

Also, I’m sure many southeast climbers already know that Roger’s  campground is sadly no more. The good news is that the AAC has purchased forty acres of land as to be used for a campground for the New River Gorge that is just above Junkyard. This will also be the site of next year’s NRG Rendezvous  and a new climbing event will take place there towards the end of September. I was really impressed with their enthusiasm, details for community involvement, and dedication to both serving & striving to unite people at a community/local-level. I mean free beer, c’mon! I would definitely encourage people to consider a membership with the AAC and get involved with events going on in your region.

The next day we got up early to climb at Grandmother. Because of so much rain and so little dry rock lately it was a brobrah-psyche-fest like no other. Pockets seeped and traces of chalk were barely visible with the completion of each climb, but for many of us it was the first time climbing outside in over a month and couldn’t have cared less.

I also learned a really great lesson  from little Isaac, Zack’s lil’ bro. He completed a climb at the long wall area after a few attempts and everyone cheered him on when he got to the scary top. He came back down after topping it out looking very unsatisfied and slightly annoyed. With his beautiful candor/honesty that all kids seem to be unaware of, he said “It’s not like it’s a big deal….I mean, you guys just did it so easy. It’s not even hard for you..” It kind of broke my heart. We all started sharing our own experiences and let him know that it doesn’t matter; climbing is for YOU and if something pushes you and you rise to the challenge and complete it, it IS a big deal and we wanted to share in the happiness for another fellow climber. Comparing people in climbing is kind of impossible. Just do what makes you happy and others will love to share that with you.

Kelley and Zack got on a super long, technical v9 called Third Rail and got super close…in eighty degree weather, so I am pretty excited for those guys to try it in even the sixties and see how fast it goes for them. Later we all got on All Jazzed Up the direct way, extension, and original way–which Zack campused every move (no, I’m not joking…) and I tried the extension moves. Kind of contrived, but still fun! I fell either crossing to the intermediate for the throw or the hold you match for the throw, I forgot. Just fun to find things that are climbable while it’s baking hot.

I took some photos of the guys on Sunday Service later with Zack’s camera so hopefully he will post those soon so I can steal them..haha..for everyone who’s bored at work and needs a healthy dose of climbing-related distractions (really just for you, Mike! :)  )

Now on to adult stuff (yechhh) my plans are to apply like mad for future internships abroad (South Africa, France, Southeast Asia…climbing and biodiversity hotspots!), climbing outside and dropping indoor-climbing like it’s hot, and doing grown up stuff..like being responsible and taking more showers.

Hope everyone gets to get outside and enjoy it while it’s nice. Have fun!

-Melise

When it’s too rainy to climb…

 

Went on a rainy “adventure walk” the other day and took a few photos:

 

 

 

My battery died after only a few shots (noob mistake..) but I was lucky to come home to a roommate who accidentally burned the everliving crap out of one of our baking pans, which made for more photo-taking opportunities ;)

pre-wash

 

No hope for outside climbing anytime soon, but we have still kept the training flame burning. Two days ago (feels like just yesterday, haha) we did a weight-lifting and hangboard day:

Weight exercises:

  • “Frenchies” with an 8lb medicine ball between the knees (knees at 90degrees.) These are SO awesome because they force you to do the frenchies s l o w and really work your core; 3 sets wide and narrow
  • lat pull machine – slow reps of 10 at body weight or less, 3 sets
  • assisted pull-up machine (only me who did this since the other two guys can do one arm pull ups without it, ergh) with 30 lbs taken off, 6 reps each arm, 2 sets.  I want to do one so bad!
  • straight arm pull downs (my bro gym terminology is horrible, can you tell I know nothing about these machines? will do some research later to incorporate more accurate terms) 10 reps, 3 sets. kills your chest
  • forearm curls, 10 reps 3 sets
  • uneven push ups with medicine ball
  • bench press (not too much weight at all)
  • one arm lock off at full and 90 degrees

Hangboard:

used the Beastmaker workout with the Moon fingerboard. Started off with the 10lb weight vest then dissed that ish like Adam Sandler. After the workout (30-40min+) we did a series of one arm hangs, more lock off and Kelley did a two finger one arm hang. wtf! I did my first 90degree one arm lock off and one arm hang on the pad and a half hold. woooo training.

Tis all, hope someone is getting in some climbing somewhere!

 

Also, check out this video of my friend Eric Singleton doing Flaming Lips at Whitesides, looks sick! –>

http://www.dpmclimbing.com/climbing-videos/watch/eric-singleton-climbing-flaming-lips-512-r

 

Take Care,

Melise