Shvitzing and Sending at Stronghold’s Grand Opening

When it comes to gear…don’t ask me. I am not your usual  gear obsessed climber. My decision making skills are usually based on the price, the safety and the aesthetic. Safety always comes first, then price, then the color/design. Functionality is taken into consideration too. Usually I am pretty motivated by bright, girly colors or things that look like they could have been owned by a Stonemaster. Have you seen the new Butora Libra’s? I fell in love with the design because they look psychedelic. And as for my hot pink Evolv Rockstar’s, I haven’t climbed in my Shaman’s since I got them! Once I find something I like, I tend to use it until it is completely destroyed, duct tape and all. Has anyone seen my harness…yeah I know, that I should probably replace.

So when presented with the opportunity  to try on, AND climb in new shoes without having to buy them at the Stronghold grand opening, I had to take it.

Stronghold

Evolv Addict’s

I was sooo very excited about these shoes and even more excited to get to climb in them. As a huge Evolv fan, I was so happy that they made some comfy looking slippers. I had thought about getting slippers before I got my Rockstar’s and had tried on the 5.10 Anasazi MoccAsym’s, but I hated the way they fit. I guess I had high expectations for the Addict’s, but I was somewhat disappointed. First off, the rubber didn’t seem as sticky as I would have liked and I just didn’t feel like they fit my feet very well. They felt too big in some places and too tight in others. The top, elastic part of the shoe kind of dug into my foot/ankle during certain movements, and was pretty uncomfortable. I think part of the issue is that they are men’s shoes and it was wickedly hot in the gym, so I have to attribute some of the dissatisfaction to the gym conditions.
Addict

Shaman LV’s

Ok. These shooooes. I have always wanted them. I have the men’s Shaman’s and I bought them because they were discounted at the outlet and because the rubber felt thicker so I figured they would last me longer (yeah, I’m a cheap ass), even though I was much more interested in the LV’s. Once I started wearing my Rockstar’s though, I just kind of forgot about the existence of aggressive shoes. The LV’s feel like what I imagine a ballet slipper must feel like to a ballerina. They are painful but, the, ‘hurts so good’, kind of pain; manageable, and worth it. The three velcro straps make them easy to adjust, as well as, easy to get on and off. Ultimately, they are great shoes with sticky rubber, they fit like a glove (with the exception of some awkward farting noises coming from the heel on the right foot), and they actually make heel hooks fun.

Shaman LV

Butora Endeavor

I think I was one of the few people that got to demo the Butora’s, as they are a brand new line. Xan got a couple pairs at Sender One during Nationals. He has been primarily climbing in them since, and is thoroughly enjoying the new brand. I was having a rough day climbing, I had worked all morning and it was probably 95 degrees in the gym by the time I got there. I warmed up in the Addict’s and then moved on to the LV’s. I was climbing terribly, slipping off of V2’s and shaking on V3’s. I took a break and decided to at least try on the new line of shoes. I put them on and was initially put off by the high arch support and pressure on the sides of my feet. They were TIGHHHHHT! I awkwardly stumbled over to the bouldering area with them on and watched Xan send a somewhat overhung V5 with pink tape…I decided I wanted to try it, mostly because of the pink tape, but also because of the small crimpy holds. The rubber of the shoes seemed a little harder than the Evolv’s and I didn’t think I would get very far on the problem due to the heat, but…I flashed it! I topped out and my toes literally went numb while I waited for a newb to figure out how to down climb the rock ladder. Moral of the story; tight, uncomfortable, aggressive shoes can help you send hard shit and overcome climbing barriers. While I really like being able to tell people that I sent a project in my comfy Rockstar’s; the next time I am projecting a V13, I will remember to put on my most circulation inhibiting shoes.

The Endeavor!

The Endeavor!

At some point during the event, I had gone over to talk to the Mad Rock rep, and the fancyshmancy, wonderfully light and sleek, Hulk HMS biner caught my eye. I was playing with its smooth screw gate while Marcy told me about the new women’s shoes (the Lotus and the Lyra) that are coming out in June.

Sexy and sleek!

Sexy and sleek!

 

 

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Madrock’s fancy new women’s shoes!

I told her that I had never climbed in Mad Rock’s, but that I had always been intrigued by the Concave Sole, and that I was the absolute worst when it comes to knowledge about gear. She was super friendly and gave me her card, a Mad Rock 2014 catalog, and a run down about the Trigger Wire biners (that will be perfect for projecting 12’s outside 🙂 ).

For your next project!

For your next project!

Guess who won the free Mad Rock shoes in the raffle…ME! I can’t wait until June so I can get my hands on some of those badass new Mad Rock shoes! Thanks Stronghold and Mad Rock!!!

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Birthday and Meteors at Holcomb Valley Pinnacles

By: Jaclyn Hope Ferber

On Friday, August 9, 2013, Sheila, Kanani, Erik and I loaded up my car full of gear and headed into Holcomb Valley for my birthday weekend.

carholcomb

L to R: Me, Sheila, Kanani, Erik

We stopped for pizza along the way and talked about real meaningful shit, love and life, with Erik leading the conversation (a rarity). When we arrived, Ben, Dave, Amelia, Gabi and Nick were already there, and Jan was asleep in the car. We took about an hour to set up the “hotel,” the ginormous tent that my parents let me borrow, with Erik leading us once again, being the brilliant engineer that he is. We tried to look at the stars for a bit, but it was very cold and late, so we all snuggled up together and went to sleep in the “hotel.”

The next morning I nearly sliced my thumb off with Nick’s “pocket” knife while cutting mushrooms for the breakfast scramble and had some fun dripping blood all over myself. Jan cut the rest of the mushrooms for me. We ate, packed up what we needed for the day and headed over to Motherlode where we met up with Justin Kenderes, who brought Erin, and Justin Menestrina, who brought Harold. We literally claimed the whole west face with our group, there were so many people.

Amelia, Nick, and Kanani on the west face of Motherlode.

Justin M. talked me into leading a 3 star 10c called Mighty Quinn as my first route of the day. I got it clean but the top was pumpy and overhung. Ben and I went to go get Laurie and Adam, who had never climbed before and were waiting at the campsite. On the way there, I decided it would be a good idea to practice my off-roading driving skills and got my car stuck on a rock. Luckily, Ben knew what to do and put a rock underneath my tire that was spinning freely and was able to get my car to go forward by slamming on the gas.

Amelia and I TR’d Long Arm of the Law, an awesome 11a with a huge heel hook throwy move!!!

longarmofthelaw

Me on Long Arm of the Law.

Jan and I took Laurie and Adam to try their first route, and Amelia led it for us. I was super proud of Laurie, who was saying the whole time, “I’m not doing that!!” She got to the top with the most technical skill and grace I have pretty much ever seen in a first time climber!! I hope she comes climbing with me again!

Laurie on a 5.6 chimney route.

We then went over to Lost Orbit where we found Ben, Amelia, Gabi and Harold. I led a really balancey and scary route with a really high first bolt (10b or c I believe) and Gabi led the 12 to the left of it which Harold, Ben and I top roped. It was overhung and crimpy and I didn’t bother to try the top which looked slopy and balancey.

That night we got back to the campsite and had the greatest camping potluck of all time! Chicken, sausage, pasta, even quesadillas. Laurie brought me a chocolate cream cake she had made for my birthday and everyone sang happy birthday and we roasted marshmallows stuffed with Rolo’s over the campfire and had some (okay, maybe a lot of) whiskey and wine.

People began to grab sleeping pads and blankets and head out into the field to watch the meteor shower. It wasn’t the best one I’d ever seen, but I did see a few good shooting stars! The next day we packed up (breaking down the “hotel” took much less time than it had taken to set up) and went back to Lost Orbit to get a few warm up climbs in.

Lost Orbit

I have been wanting to lead Pistol Pete (10a) for a while and finally got the chance to. It was a much harder lead than I could have imagined. I had top roped it clean so many times I thought I would be fine leading it, but it is a loooong route and a lot of the bolts are just out of reach. After that, I managed to talk Erik into leading Coyote in the Hen House (10d on mountain project, but I think its an 11a) for the last route of the day, and we weren’t even surprised at all when he got it clean. 🙂 I followed it and had quite a bit of trouble with the start because it (for me at least) requires a backwards thumb undercling which I couldn’t do properly due to slicing the corner of my thumb the morning before. I got creative and used the other edge of my thumb (painfully and awkwardly) and got past the beginning, getting the rest of the route nice and clean!

claimjumper

We said bye to Ben and Jan and headed down the mountain with only minor bouts of car sickness. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and a perfect way to celebrate my birthday! Thanks to everyone who made it awesome!

Maple Canyon

By: Sheila Estaniel

I went to Utah recently and found my new favorite place to climb. Maple Canyon, considered one of the world’s destination climbing spots, made my heart skip a beat for many reasons. First of all, you get to play on natural cobblestones. My hands felt giddy feeling the different rock textures as I went up. Sometimes, I thought something would be a good hold, but it ended up too smooth and slippery. Other times, what looked like a few pebbles super glued together actually gave me a solid place to hang. It was like a yummy box of chocolates because I really didn’t know what pleasant puzzle I was going to get with each route.

maplecanyonarea

We visited the area as part of an eleven day long road trip, so we unfortunately only got one full day of climbing there. We arrived at night and pitched our tents in the dark. I woke up to this view:

 

The weather was very gloomy during our morning hike to the crags (we went in the middle of July), but the sun eventually showed its face.

The climb I enjoyed the most was on Pipedream. Here’s Chris Sharma during the time he  on-sighted every route there,  including a 14b:

Photo source: DPM Climbing

Here’s little ol’ me climbing the same wall, but on a much friendlier but WAY pumpy 10b:

maplecanyon_sheila_estaniel

Overall, I had such a great time there. This place is supposed to have over 600 routes, so I definitely want to return and stay longer. Until we meet again, MC!

(Thanks to my friends Justin Kenderes and Mariam Gevorkian for these awesome shots of me at Maple Canyon, btw. =)