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Joe’s Valley: Time For A Change

The Access Fund:

As the popularity of Joe’s Valley continues to rise, increased climber traffic is causing some extreme environmental impacts that could threaten access if not addressed.

…snip…

The planning process will continue throughout 2015, with a final plan ready for rollout in early 2016. We ask the climbing community to embrace the changes that are needed at Joe’s Valley.

Anybody who has climbed at Joe’s the past few years can recognize the need for some changes there to create a more sustainable future.  Hopefully with the involvement of the Access Fund and the climbing community we can preserve the awesome resource that is Joe’s Valley.

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Possible 5.14c FA By Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson[1.  Not to be confused with his brother Mike who just recently repeated Mission Impossible], writing on his blog about the FA of a potential 5.14c in Colorado’s Clear Creek Canyon called Siberian Express:

I’m calling the route Siberian Express.  Based on my maintenance training I can confidently say that I was in top shape when I did it.  The weather likely extended the outcome somewhat, but considering my fitness and the twelve days required, I suspect it’s the hardest route I’ve climbed and warrants a 5.14c rating.  More importantly, it’s a great route.

Mark also did the FA of Double Stout at Clear Creek back in January at a proposed grade of 5.14a.

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The Heart-Stopping Climbs Of Alex Honnold

Another big, mainstream news piece on Alex Honnold, this time in a cover story for The New York Times Magazine.  Plenty of great insight into what makes Honnold tick, but I especially enjoyed this bit about Dean Potter:

Even Dean Potter, an openly spiritual man who describes free-soloing as part of a personal art form that includes base jumping, finds Honnold difficult to understand. “Alex is like Spock,” Potter told me. “I freak out at the top of solos and scream — like, super emotional. Then I’m wasted emotionally for months. Alex just does it and walks away and does another.”

Honnold doesn’t like this kind of talk; he insists that he worked hard to develop his self-control, and he grows prickly at any suggestion that he is unlike other people. “Before Dean solos something, he has to, like, slaughter a goat and fly with the ravens,” Honnold joked, as if Potter drew on magical aid to see him through danger. “I don’t want to slaughter a goat and fly with the ravens. I just want to climb.”

Funny response from Potter last night on Instagram:

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The Dawn Wall Interviews

Cool, interactive piece from Climbing on the Dawn Wall featuring interviews with both Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell.  I particularly liked this quote from Tommy about why he is so relentlessly positive even in the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge like the Dawn Wall:

It helps to have almost died a few times in your life! [Laughs.] That brings things into perspective! I think the hard things I’ve gone through have made me want to embrace every day to its absolute fullest. Those experiences have helped make me who I am today. But part of that is also being a part of a great community and having my own great role model in my dad. I mean, my dad is absurdly optimistic, and that’s contagious.

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Chris Sharma Talks About His Latest FA

PlanetMountain caught up with Chris Sharma on the heels of his recent FA of El Bon Combat:

It’s about 25m long, up some really interesting rock, a mix of sandstone and conglomerate that offers some really cool climbing, up this beautiful blue streak and tiny conglomerate pebbles. The moves are unique, completely different from what I was used to at Oliana, Margalef and Santa Linya. Imagine five 8A boulder problems stacked one on top of the other, with a few rests, but nothing great. The moves are very dynamic and yet at the same time extremely subtle, even though they’re right my style I found them to be really tricky.

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Ticked Off

The Access Fund:

Despite the obvious benefit of chalk for climbing—its drying effect on sweaty hands—climbers can often get carried away with it. Over the years, chalk gets caked onto holds, forming layers, which affects the texture of the rock and the friction of that very poor sloper. Too many ticks can also cause confusion on a route, botch on-sight attempts, and ruin the self-discovery and problem-solving aspect of climbing.

If there is one trend I noticed during my time in Colorado it’s that you would think boulderers were going blind with the amount of tick marks being used these days.  It was not uncommon to walk up to a boulder and see multiple tick marks, often garishly long, per hand and foot, with the person who actually put them there long since gone from the problem.  Usually the harder the boulder, the worse this problem got.

Judicious and discrete use of tick marks for key holds that are cleaned off after every session is one thing, using tick marks like tape in the gym is something completely different.

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Mission Accomplished

Mike Anderson, writing on his blog after climbing his first 5.14c, Daniel Woods’ Mission Impossible in Clear Creek Canyon, CO, at the age of 37:

Even as I write this a couple days later, it’s hard for me to put into perspective. I started climbing in the early 90’s when 5.14c was the end of the rating scale. It didn’t exist in the US until 1992. The fact that I’ve worked my way to that grade is surreal. What’s curious is that I’m not surprised to have done the route. As soon as I started working on it, I felt that I was up to the challenge. Whether deliberate or not, I had been training for this route for a decade, and now I believed I would do it, in time.

You can see a nice video of Mike on the route here.

Mike, along with twin brother Mark, is the author of a training book called The Rock Climber’s Training Manual.  If I were better at actually following a workout plan I would do a more in depth review of it, but I can tell from loosely following the workouts that there is some good information to be had.  Also, the authors religiously follow the plan and they both crush despite having considerable grown-up obligations outside of climbing.  If you are interested in improving how you train for climbing this book is well worth checking out.

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