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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On being injured…

Wow…this sucks. I just started this blog and now I have no cool experiences to write about because I didn’t listen to my body and I strained my flexor tendon my left hand. This past few weeks have been rough. Labor Day weekend I had big plans to go up to Yosemite and spend the night on dinner ledge and do some trad climbing with Taleen (I even got new trad shoes, which I was super excited about writing a review for).

Breaking in my new trad shoes at Stoney Point

Breaking in my new trad shoes at Stoney Point

T and her friend Annie stuffing their faces on dinner ledge in Yosemite

T and her friend Annie stuffing their faces on dinner ledge in Yosemite

The Rim Fire was slowly being contained and we were going to risk it and go but, Justin got a cold and we decided not to go. We got lucky because just a few hours later, the smoke from the fire blew into the valley and Taleen ended up going to Fresno for the weekend because the air quality was so bad (and now she has a lovely hacking cough).

rim fire

Taleen’s own shot of the smoke from the Yosemite Rim Fire

Anyway, everywhere else was humid and disgustingly hot, so Justin and I decided to go up to Black Mountain with Nicole and Morgan for some bouldering, with plans of conquering Traitor Horn in Tahquitz the next day. On our first bouldering problem, Justin hurt his finger and swore off climbing for the rest of the weekend. I pushed myself, but not too hard, hoping Justin’s finger would feel better and we would still go to Tahquitz.

Morgan, Nicole and Justin as the sun sets on the boulders of Black Mountain

Morgan, Nicole and Justin as the sun sets on the boulders of Black Mountain

When we woke up in the morning, his finger was still hurting and it was probably better we didn’t go to Tahquitz because thunderstorms rolled in. When we left Black Mountain, my left hand was hurting; but my ring finger has kind of been in a general state of dull pain ever since jamming it last year while hosting basketball club for the kids I work with; so I didn’t think too much of.

On Beethoven Wall at Stoney

On Beethoven Wall at Stoney

I had a really busy week at work the following week (ughhhhh…work), so I kind of took it easy except for throwing in a quick 11a and 12b without warming up while at the gym with my cousins. Not a good idea, but my hand felt fine.

Climbing Cousins (Me with Gracie, Blythie and Teddi)

Climbing Cousins (Me with Gracie, Blythie and Teddi)

While at work on Monday, I noticed that if I pinched my thumb and pointer finger together I felt a kind of soreness in my hand extending from my ring finger. I was overly excited to climb though, since I had basically taken a week off and they had just set some new bouldering problems at the gym, so, I decided to climb anyway. I sent a V1, V2, V3, and got on a tricky 4 without beta and misused a finger pocket with my left ring and pinky fingers. I fell off and noticed a slight pain in my hand but I moved on to another couple of problems, after which, my hand started to hurt pretty badly and began to swell up a little bit. I was devastated, thinking in the moment, how badly I wanted to keep climbing and send all the new routes that had just been put up. And as the week wore on and the swelling slowly went down, I became more and more depressed…thinking awful thoughts to myself like: I’ll never climb again, I’ll have to make new friends, I’ll lose too much strength and will only be able to climb V0 for the rest of my life if I ever do climb again, what am I going to do with all this free time? Ben can attest to all of this.

loser
Well, for now I am just going to let my hand heal and once it feels better I will slowly start climbing again…I just have to remind myself that people recover from much worse injuries all the time and that my climbing friends will still like me and my other friends will be happy to spend time with me. I am hiking all this weekend and I have plans to go backpacking next weekend…so all is not lost…maybe I will even pick up yoga 🙂

Thank you Arielle (most awesome sister ever) for scoring me these!!!!

Thank you Arielle (most awesome sister ever) for scoring me these!!!!