Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April round-up

April has been a good month. A fair amount of days in the woods, time exploring, and lots of new problems and projects. It's been super fun meeting a number of new folks this spring and touring the boulders. Lots of stoke in the woods.

Isolated Boulders session.

 Really happy to see Adam put this project to rest, a very nice addition to a great set of boulders.

Atonement FA

Jarred grabbed the 2nd ascent shortly after

Superbia Session:

Eastern Superbia Session:

new proj

Bird Beak Overhang House Proj



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Low snow levels = Isos Early

The warmer than typical Winter this year has enabled us to get up into some of the upper areas ealier this year.  Over the past couple weeks we have been able to get into the Isos a couple times.  The temps have been great and so has the climbing.

Kevin sticking the opening move on Tom's project
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

This weekend we had a large crew so we set to try and send some things that might take a little more paddage than normal.

This hanging slab has always looked incredible but the landing not so...
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Nasty pit stairstepped backbreaker fall awesomeness!
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Kevin eventually found the sequence to link the start out of the pit and persevered through the no-fall nightmare ahead.  Four skull and crossbones on the Fruh Highball Scale (FHS) ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ for this one. 

Kevin on the FA of Heisenberg's Dream
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

I also finished off  Heisenberg's Dream and once is enough for me
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Thank God there is a jug on the top of this thing
Photo:  Jeremy Champion
 The rest of the crew set their sights on less ludicrous objectives.  At least in terms of danger.

Brady on a crazy mantle problem
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

"Mantles are a lost art." - Tom K.
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Sara on the FA of   "Hello, hello, radio tower"  I guess it pays to climb at Font
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Kevin on  "Hello, hello, radio tower" 
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

I also climbed out a sweet hood shaped feature but bailed right Naja.  Going left would be a 5 skull and cross bone problem FHS ☠☠☠☠☠ on very suspect nubbins.   Not today- punt!
Photo:  Jeremy Champion
 With a ton of pads we headed to the Highlander two skull and crossbones on the FHS ☠☠ but failed to remember the opening moves.  Once we figured them out we were pretty thrashed and could not find the gumption to go higher than about mid-way.

Ari on Highlander
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Highlander not enough focus for this one today - bummer
Photo:  Jeremy Champion
 To end out the day we ambled our way to the Upper Isos and gave Tom's Project a good go.  Kevin and Fruh both nabbed the pinch.  Fruh got very close topping this amazing problem out- next time.

Tom's Project (one day I will get that freaking hold)
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Fruh at the new highpoint scoping out the blankness above.
Photo:  Jeremy Champion


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Friction Labs Chalk Review (part 1 of 2)

Every once in a while we review/recommend a product.  Typically it's because we find value in that product.  This review is no different...if you haven't heard about Friction Labs and their specially formulated chalk, now is the time.

If you think all chalk is essentially the same you're in for a surprise. Depending on the ratio, what is actually in the chalk can widely vary.  The science behind it: Friction Labs' chalk uses a higher ratio of Magnesium Carbonate than any other company. Lesser brands cut their chalk with more Calcium Carbonate, making for a slipperier product when moisture becomes present.  Have you ever chalked up but instead of it drying your hands, they feel slimy? That's the Calcium Carbonate working against you.

I first experienced the Friction Labs chalk at this year's Butte Bouldering Bash; at which they graciously supplied all the competitors with samples of their chalk.  Folks were psyched, and I noticed that people were coming back around to see if they could get a second sample...we put some extras out during the raffle and unsurprisingly they went pretty quick.

BBB2014 fueled by Friction Labs 

After the Bash, we felt a critical look at the chalk would be ideal. With the winter months approaching we thought that testing may have to be limited to a science fair-esque approach, and experiences in the gym.  The winter proved to be much less threatening than imagined, and I found myself testing the chalk where it really matters to me.  Outside - exploring new stone.

Make every try count

My main type of climbing is bouldering, and more specifically, developing new problems and areas. Over the past 10 years while wandering the Boulder Batholith, my responsibilities have grown and my life changed and evolved. The time I can allot myself these days seems to be more and more limited, making each trip into the woods a time to strive to perform my very best.

Snow on the ground, dry hands on the winter stone

When you only have a couple days you can get out a month, and limited tries on your project; you take every step possible to make those attempts count.  Friction Labs is the chalk I'm reaching for - I can tell it works better…you wouldn't try your project in approach shoes, so why would you use a lesser chalk?

Every factor counts. Kevin prepping for a new highball arete project deep in the Benchlands.  Chalk of choice? Friction Labs

There are 3 blends available, Bam Bam(super chunky), Gorilla Grip (chunky) & Unicorn Dust (fine).  While preferences seemed to vary among our testers, I personally found the Bam Bam to be the blend I liked the most - mainly because I preferred block chalk prior to these tests.  Usually it was the Metolius block chalk...but you can literally feel the difference...and I'm not going back. I secretly switched Odenbeck's chalk out with another brand to see if he'd notice - one dip into my bag and he could tell something wasn't right...he gave me a look and went to find the Friction Labs chalk.

And while there is some fancy science stuff involved, what it translates to is that this chalk seems to cover my mitts better, and keeps them drier for longer.  Could this be the Boreal Firé of the chalk world? The new innovation that makes other chalk companies step back and reassess thier own product?  Also, let’s consider that for a moment…what other chalk companies?  This product is what Friction Labs does, it’s not just an accessory or an afterthought of a larger brand, it’s the lifeblood of their company.

I can feel the difference; and after a few months of testing I’m convinced it’s not a placebo...my hands stay drier and that’s that.  Friction Labs is for me.

Stay tuned for part 2 where we harness our 4th grade science fair skills and bring you some additional testing and thoughts.