In August of 2012, my friend Brian Spiewak and I ventured to Bridgeport to check out the Incredible Hulk. Our goal was to backpack in and climb the route Positive Vibrations; a 1200’ 5.11a. This route was a big deal to me because it was my first difficult route in the High Sierra. Positive Vibes takes an amazing line up the left-center of the Hulk. Directly to the right of Positive Vibes lies the route Venturi Effect. While Brian and I were fighting our way up Positive Vibes, there was a team on Venturi Effect. Watching these two cruise up Venturi was inspiring to say the least. I was able to talk to the leader while he was at belays, and he said that the route was amazing and safe enough for the grade. This resonated with me and I began to think that maybe someday I would try to climb Venturi Effect. More »
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Edit: RACE STARTS AT 8AM, BUT WE NEED PEOPLE HERE AT 7:30 FOR SIGNUP! THANKS!
Do you want some motivation to get fit? Lose a couple of pounds? Shed a couple tears? Get drunk with amazing friends? Jump fire, and rocket down a slip and slide of glory at the end of a beautiful race course? If that appeals to you in any way, or even if it doesn’t, sign up for the 4th annual Pull Harder Marathon, hosted by the Men of Menkar (M.o.M.)! We’d love to share some smiles, tears, and drunken staggering with another amazing crowd this year.
My alarm went off at 3:58 AM, beating Josh’s by 2 minutes and preventing a repeat of the previous morning’s wake-up: a barrage of small pebbles. I was so stoked for the day’s adventure that I skipped coffee, but not my typical camping breakfast of orange juice and Pop-Tarts. We topped off our Nalgene bottles, jumped in the car, and by 5:10 AM we were cruising down the Cathedral Lakes Trail. More »
February 10th, nearly 100 climbers descended on the Santee boulder field in East County San Diego for a major paint removal. I had managed to pull together help from Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness Center, the Allied Climbers of San Diego, the University of San Diego, the city of Santee, and most importantly scores of community volunteers to eradicate as much graffiti as possible in a single day. More »
At the end of July, we got sick of the heat and humidity of Padova and boarded Enrico’s old motorhome for a trip to France. First stop was the famed crag of Ceuse, home of Biographie and other famous test pieces. Patrick Edlinger (RIP) didn’t have any money when he developed the crag; the result, highly technical and pumpy climbing on bullet-proof limestone and really spaced out bolts. Nothing like cruxing out way out from the last bolt, racing the pump clock to no avail… we gradually got used to the whippers and simply enjoyed the air time. More »
One evening at the gym, Josh approached me excited about some crazy trip he wanted to go on. Apparently, all his usual climbing partners were otherwise engaged, and he realized that I, being a grad student, was infinitely available to drop everything, and disappear into the backcountry for over a week. On top of that, he knew I had recently finished my first 50 mile running race, so he assumed I was up to suffer. It didn’t hurt that I apparently have a reputation for smiling a lot: I smile constantly when I’m uncomfortable, and I’m always uncomfortable at the gym because there’s a crazy group of guys, running around in colorful spandex, groping each other. So, given my perceived ability to suffer with a smile, Josh was convinced I would be a good partner. I tentatively agreed to go, and Josh emailed me a writeup by Galen Rowell describing our climbing objective. “Netherworld”? Ok, I was in.
With the recent Thanksgiving holiday and the impending winter holidays, the time for reflection on the prior year is upon us. I’ve been wanting to write this for a few weeks now but have had mixed emotions since this has been simultaneously the most memorable and volatile year of my life. This year I bagged my dream job, met a wonderful woman, and finally graduated school before I turned 30, probably the most significant thing I will do with my life. Sadly, this year we also lost our friends Ben and Gil to their passion while in Peru. I miss them and think about them often, although I am even more saddened to say I never got to know Gil as well I could have. This year I also was diagnosed with bladder cancer. On my 30th birthday. I was rather shocked and disappointed.