Monday, October 29, 2007

New Hampshire Fun!

Hello again!

It's been amazing in our part of the world lately! Interestingly, it takes almost a year to remember how leaves finally turn here in New England. The fall is by far the best season for tourists to roll into New Hampshire or Vermont and blind themselves with the colors that our diverse forests have to offer. From yellow and orange birch trees to bright red maples to oaks that always tend to be late when it comes to changing their image. These recurrent changes in the fall also bring us the best climbing temperatures (40-60 Fahrenheit), and that "shape of your life" finally awakens from its summer hibernation.

Dave Wetmore preparing for the FA of 95 (V10)
Photograph by Vasya Vorotnikov

What have I been up to? There are always all the endless homework and classes in which you keep writing down anything that's put up on the blackboard while dreaming about that perfect day you are missing out on, that perfect 55 degree heaven out in Pawtuckaway, or Rumney... Once the weekend rolls around, it's impossible to spend any more time at your laptop, crunching in numbers or, better yet, figuring out what reactor, batch or continuous, is of better application in whatever circumstances. It's time to hang out with Jesse or go climbing con mis amigos.

Neil Mushaweh getting psyched for
Liquid Sky (5.13b trad/rusted pins)
Photograph by Vasya Vorotnikov

And thus far, we've been having the best times, trying to travel to as many different climbing areas around our parts as we can. Our main destinations are: Rumney, Cathedral, Pawtuckaway, Marshfield, and Farley. A stategy of climbing in as many different places as possible paid off, rewarding us with continuous color changes, beautiful New England views, and some of the best climbs to dig your hands into.

View from the High Grade Wall up in Marshfield, VT
Photograph by Vasya Vorotnikov

After doing a bunch new (for me) routes up at Cathedral and Marshfield, I got back on Jaws and with the help from everyone screaming, was able to finish it. It's by far my hardest and most memorable send that should be coming to soon. I don't think I ever put so much effort into or spent so much money on a single climb. Each trip to Rumney would cost around $15-25, depending on whether or not I got some Larabars or 5651 (Hannaford trail mix) and whether I was going up with Neil or just driving up on my own. I committed over 35 days over the past year and a half into this thing, and it finally decided to give in. Memories of trying both of the cruxes multiple times a day will stick in my mind forever. I'll remember Neil figuring out more and more microbeta for me while keeping me on belay, Andrew and Jeremy giving me multiple catches while I try it over and over again, the Jay & Jay crew supporting me and reminding me how close I am to getting there, and everyone else who was there at one point or another to scream and cheer. Thanks!

Me, getting ready for Supreme Clientele,
Neil thinking 'wtf is he thinking' in the background,
at Rumney. Photograph by Kurt Oian

The weather, though, is only getting better and so I would only advise to take advantage of this north-eastern goodie and come out and climb if you can! Last Friday, on October 26th, we went up to Rumney with Neil and Kurt to get on some classics at Monsters. I thought it would be a good idea to try a boulder problem I've been eyeing for a few years, called Supreme Clientele (V10) to the right of Dr. No, but the lack of pads and rocky landing always served as a turnoff. With a confidence boost and a great spot from both of my friends, I was able to stick a scary dyno and finish the problem. Plenty more to do this fall, though!

Me on Supreme Clientele, trying the dyno move.
Photograph by Kurt Oian.

Neil has been working hard on amping up his climbing level over the past year, and he's making progress, jumping on some hard 5.13s all over the Northeast. Trying Liquid Sky up in North Conway, falling on the last moves of Charlie Don't Surf at Rumney and on the last tough move of Dazed up in Franconia. He finally decided it was time to send and began the fall streak, having ticked off High Grade (5.13a) and Hardway to Highgrade (5.13c, 2nd ascent) up in Marshfield both in a day. The very next weekend, he thought it would be a great idea to destroy Predator (5.13b) at the end of a restless day at Rumney; I'm sure there will be more to hear from this Master of Science in the near future as he is now turning his attention to Monsters... dun-dun-dun.

Neil working Boogieman (5.13c)
Photograph by Kurt Oian

David Wetmore. Same old - same old, but has quite a few climbing goals in mind for this season as well. His Pawtuckawayan sending spree has stalled at Justin Bourque's testpiece, Halcyon (V11). In addition to some established lines, Dave also finds time to scope out some FA's. And now we have an awesome new line up on the Swirley Boulder called 95 (V10). This double hand jump start with a few campus moves is definitely worth checking out!

Whoever might read this, please go climbing! It's freaking beautiful out!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Training... Always

Hello to whoever might come across reading this!

First of all, it's going to be a rarity to see a post here about my latest trip to Switzerland or myself hopping around in Flock Hills, New Zealand. That's because for the most part, I stick around New England, going to school here, working doing some research, and going to the closest to me crags. It would definitely be a special treat to travel to some exotic climbing location, but until then, I will probably focus on what's new in my hometown.

And so, I want to dedicate my first post to a big part of my life, and that's training. "Training for what?" Sometimes I love and sometimes I hate that question. I sometimes train cuz I'm bored, I train cuz there is a competition coming up, I train to get better, I train to send that open project at Rumney that I've been falling on for over a year... But most importantly, I train because I like training.

Me, trying Broken Jaws, probably my 20th day on it...

Photo by Kurt Oian

Surely, you've heard of guys who don't come out of the gym for days, lifting until their eyeballs pop and man boobs grow bigger than Anne Nicole Smith's, rest her soul. The reality though is simple: they're just there to impress the ladies, as my dear friend David Wetmore would shyly point out without thinking twice (actually, even after thinking that much). But here, the UNH/Dover team does training for the heck of it, as kind-of a habit.

Laps after laps after push-ups after pull-ups after laps. We come into the climbing gym, still thinking we're only 15, we begin to climb without warming up. Boulder problems turn from easy to hard in a matter of minutes, and while tendons tell us to slow down, adrenaline has already increased tenfold and "sweat angels" are left on gym pads. It's a habit. It's fun, it makes you feel like a hamster running around its hamster wheel. (if you're into that sort of thing) Weird, but we somehow manage to get some satisfaction from screaming at each other as we pull on that same problem for the 50th time, still thinking it's doable.

Interestingly enough, the situation doesn't change we get outside. We climb till our fingers bleed (yes, you, Neil Mushaweh); if we're not going to the top, we get pissed and try again till our tendons get scarred and our bodies begin to fall apart; if we send, we go for more... and it continues till each of us remembers that we have something else to do besides climbing, like sleep, and we make plans for the next time we're going to climb. To say the least, I'm obsessed with climbing and training and I've been doing it for 10 years now, and never regret pushing my body, indoors or outside. "Training for what?" though still remains the question. Recently, I created a google spreadsheet for the UNH/Dover/Sister/Girlfriend crew just to keep track of what we do every day. I want to see what makes us better and I want to get better. We could do without it, but the training log made it even more fun for me creating a friendly competition amongst friends, and especially yourself. I mean, how would you feel if you're training and today you only did half of what you did the previous day? There's no stopping: you gotta push it a bit more!

Now that I said all that about training, here's some more truth. I'm in college. I'm busy working, taking classes, and trying to finish all of my homework. I also, sometimes, maybe, want to relax. And it's been really hard to get outside and climb as much as I want (like I used to when I didn't work or take summer classes, etc.) What's the best thing next to climbing outdoors? Well, it's climbing indoors and training for outdoors. And that's where I'm at now, getting ready for the tradeshow competition, waiting to get a break from work and classes, and go climb on some real rock, and finally try and finish up my project at Rumney.