Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chasing Fitness Part 1 - Overview

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, or any other kind of expert so this is not professional advice - it is merely a record of what I did to lose some weight and gain a modicum of fitness. It worked for me, it might or might not work for you. Be safe, and check with a qualified professional before starting any diet or fitness program.

Back in January my friend Jay started suggesting that I join him on a climbing trip this spring. I was hesitant because Jay is an exceptionally strong climber, and even twelve years ago when I was at my fittest I could not keep up with him. In the time between, Jay has become stronger while I have lost some ground.

In February, Jay finally convinced me to pull the trigger on tickets to Palm Springs, California - Joshua Tree National Park would be the destination for our trip. I suddenly found myself with two months to prepare. A winter of cross-country skiing and coaching peewee hockey had left me with a reasonable cardiovascular base, but standing 6'3" and tipping the scale at 206# my body mass index (BMI) was still on the wrong side of twenty-five. BMI is not perfect, but it was pretty clear I was overweight. I needed to drop weight and get stronger and I needed to do both of them fast.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Joshua Tree 2014

I thought about writing a big, long article for this, but instead I think I will let the pictures do the talking, enjoy my first YouTube video:

I will follow this up with a posting of some of my favorite stills from the trip, and possibly a written trip report as well.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend Report 4/26-4/27 2014

John and Paul came up to the house on Friday night so we could get an early start Saturday morning. Which would have worked, except we had a lot to catch up on and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning doing so. Somehow we managed to leave my place shortly after nine, and pulled into the South Shore parking lot at the Lake just before ten. Justin was already there waiting for us, and Matthew, Brittany and Katie had already started walking down the railroad tracks toward Horse Rampart. John, Paul, Justin and I quickly followed suit.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wednesday Night in the Rain and the Coming Weekend


I had the good fortune of getting a few hours of climbing in last night at the Lake with Jon and Liz. The weather was subpar, but not bad enough to turn us away. We headed to Many Pines and set up a few top ropes, but the rain kept us off the sharp end and the hard stuff. We had a good time and made it back to the cars in fading light around 8:00pm. And yes, I climbed Peter's...again - although I spiced up the rainy TR with a pair of flip-flops.

Monday, April 21, 2014

American Alpine Club/The North Face Live Your Dream Grant

Some of you may know that I spent the last nine days on a climbing trip to Joshua Tree National Park - an overwhelmingly awesome experience that I cannot wait to write about as soon as I collect all of the pictures. In the meantime I want to talk about one of the most exciting things to happen during the my time there despite it being only loosely connected to the J-Tree trip.

Last Wednesday, after three straight days of climbing, my climbing partner Jay and I headed into town for a rest day. Aside from showers and flush toilets, this meant access to cellular service and all its attendant modern-day e-goodies. Missed calls, missed texts, and full inboxes lit up our individual smart phones. Aside from the chance to talk with my wife and son, I was most excited about a waiting e-mail from the American Alpine Club (AAC) and a voice-mail from a Denver number.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wiedman Memorial Park, Rock Springs, WI

Check out the new boulder problems I have been working on a few minutes from my house.

Photo by Christina Schroeder

Wednesday Weather

The weather forecast for Baraboo this weekend is looking a little sketchy:
The weekend forecast from is calling for a 60% chance of rain on Saturday, and a 70% chance of rain on Sunday. Based on that there is still a 58% chance of having one rain-free day this weekend. So it is still a better bet than a coin-flip that you will get a good day of climbing in for the weekend if you plan on being at the Lake for the whole weekend! Ozark, IL looks much better, so some extra windshield time to Jackson Falls might be worth it. Regardless I will not be out this weekend, I have bigger fish to fry - have fun and be safe!
Today looks pretty stellar here in Baraboo, so I will probably end up at the park this afternoon for a bouldering session if anyone is interested. I plan on lugging a pad up to the Little Flatiron and giving it another go.
EDIT: I will not be heading up to the Little Flatiron today - have fun if you go.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Weekend Report for 4/5/14 - 4/6/14


If you read my post from late Saturday night, then you are probably under the correct assumption that I had a good weekend, but A Red Recollection was just a small part of it. I met my friend Justin by the horse-trailer lot at Governor Dodge State Park a little after 10am on Saturday morning. We headed up the Qual Wall for some sandstone sport climbing. We started out on Warm Up 1 and Warm Up 2. We both agreed that Warm Up 2 has gotten easier because a new hold has evolved over the winter - it is definitely the easier of the two warm ups now.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Photo from A Red Recollection

A photo of my ascent of A Red Recollection (5.11a).
You can read a written account here.
About to enter the meat of the route - Photo by Paul Campbell

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Red Recollection

I am psyched! I say that with the full knowledge that what I am psyched about means very little to very few, other than me. I onsighted a 5.11a sport climb today - which in the greater climbing community is about as noteworthy as me having successfully put my socks on this morning. Climbing a 5.11a sport climb is not easy, but it is not even remotely cutting edge, nor has it been for forty or fifty years. I will not be coming to the "Hot Flashes" section of a Climbing Magazine near you anytime soon.

My experience in climbing is that it vacillates between an intensely personal pursuit at the local cliff and a small team pursuit in the mountains - my accomplishment today was of the former sort. After over a decade of climbing taking a backseat to the rest of my life, I have entered a period of my life where it can be one of my top focuses - only my family being more important. As such, I have been faithfully counting calories and training for nearly two months in preparation for an upcoming climbing trip, and hopping on A Red Recollection today was meant to be a test of the effectiveness of that preparation (photo). I am exceedingly happy with the results. Today, at thirty-four, I led (in better style mind you) as hard of a sport route as I ever have in the past (and that was fourteen years ago when I was only twenty). To me this is a big deal, but more so because of the relative experience and the way it played out than the simple grade of the route. I have done harder and scarier things in the past, but this felt like a big step for me - today.

Cam Re-sling Review

I recently sent in a all of my cams and tri-cams to have the slings replaced; TCUs went to Metolius, Camalots to Black Diamond, and everything else to Mountain Tools. I just wanted to post a quick review, and my opinion of the service and value offered by each.

Metolius was the hands-down winner in my opinion. They were by far the cheapest, best, fastest and most-efficient of all three companies. If I ever have to buy new cams again, my experience with their sling replacement will be a factor in my decision. They went way above and beyond the call of duty by not just replacing the old slings, but deep-cleaning the TCUs and replacing trigger wires where necessary. They also sewed on labels with the year of service embroidered on them to help forgetful folks like me remember when they were serviced. I would not hesitate to send cams back here, and wish they would offer sling replacement on all brands. The cams looked and functioned like new when they came back in the mail - five stars out of four!
Metolius = Excellence

My Tips Don't Lie

After-work bouldering on April 2nd.

Can you beat this weather for April 2nd?

Of course I had to get out for a Wednesday night bouldering session with sunny 50's called for. I split from work shortly after 4pm and headed for the park. For some reason the CCC trail had a slightly malevolent feel to it. Maybe it was the lack of snow, or the huge tree that had fallen across the base of the trail since Saturday; regardless of the cause it had an odd feeling to it.