19 December 2013

Sandstone Holiday


Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Thomas Betterton and I took a trip through Utah and into Nevada. We had around 2 weeks of climbing and were fortunate enough to climb quite a few classic boulder problems in areas such as Joe's Valley, Moe's Valley, and Red Rocks.

Here are a few pictures from the trip ... and keep an eye out for a video in the not too distant future !!

photo - Wes Walker
photo - Wes Walker

- JG

14 December 2013

Holiday Buzz

The last few months have possibly been the busiest of my life... 

Right now I am in Atlanta, hanging out at my parents house and tomorrow I will catch a flight back to Denver. With a little down time it seems fit to write and let everyone in on what's been happening in my world.

In early September I began the ABS 15 season, not as a competitor but as a route setter.

Through working at the Denver Bouldering Club, I have found setting to be an avenue into which I can pour energy and creativity while at the same time become a better climber.

The great folks who run the gym have been gracious enough to allow flexibility in my schedule so that I can travel to competitions to learn from the other route setters and gain more knowledge and experience.

Fall and Winter Setting Schedule
ABS Comp at City Rock Gym, Colorado Springs, CO
ABS Comp at The Spot Gym SBS #1, Boulder, CO
Lakewood Link Comp #1, Lakewood, CO
The Spot Gym SBS #2, Boulder, CO
Lakewood Link Comp #2, Lakewood, CO
Lakewood Link Comp #3, Lakewood, CO
ABS Regionals, ABC Gym, Boulder, CO

I won't go through every comp in detail, but I can say that I have learned something unique at each event... setting at a new gym can be a learning experience in itself... getting to set with different people, holds, wall angles.. it really has helped me to become a more well rounded setter. It also allowed me to meet other setters and chat with them about why they enjoy what they do, which in turn gets me even more psyched to be a part of the world of setting. So many different perspectives being translated onto the wall, very cool to see.

As far as ABS Regionals goes, I knew everyone going into the event fairly well and I think that really showed. We all worked well independently, which really helped make the problems cool and all the problems had a nice variety in style. When it came down to fore running and tweaking, everyone was very professional and we worked well as a group. All in all it was a great learning experience. 

First hour, first day - Hanging Volumes
photo: Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou

From left - John Gass, Kasia Pietras, Garrett Gregor, Kegan Minok, Paul Dusatko
photo: Paul Dusatko

Kegan running one of Kasia's problems for the Youth D Category

One of my problems, for the Youth D category. 

Garrett's beast of a Youth D boulder, with the large yellow holds and a slick volume for the feet

The competition was great. The kids climbed our problems, the parents were proud of their young ones, and of course those who qualified will be heading to Arizona in a few weeks to compete in the Divisional competition.

notes, notes, and more notes
I am very excited about my roll as a setter, both at the DBC and in future competitions. Great times to reflect on. I can only hope to continue to get the opportunities to further my skills.


08 September 2013

ABS 15 season - City Rock Comp

The kitchen had been my area of focus for the last 3 or 4 years, but I knew that I could no longer juggle my passion for cooking with my passion for climbing. All of my eggs needed to be in one basket.

So I put down the chef's knife, in a sense. It was more like I put down the pounds and pounds of shrimp I had to peel and devein everyday... and I started working at the Denver Bouldering Club.

It all started with wanting to improve my climbing and spend more time around people who shared the same passion for climbing as I did. That is where I still am today. Sure climbing can be seen as a job, or as an occupation,  or as a means of making money.. I see it as a lifestyle.


I had a great time setting for and attending the first ABS comp of the season at City Rock in Colorado Springs over the weekend.

Gina Kelble on one of the problems I helped set, Adv #1
Thomas Betterton on one of the problems I helped set, Open #1

A lot going on over the next few months. Keep an eye out for more updates coming soon!

28 January 2013

January 2013 - Bambi Roof, Red Rocks

After a nice trip back to the Southeast over the Christmas holiday, its back to the daily here in Denver. Almost a full month into the New Year and I gotta say I am pretty jazzed up about 2013. Work at the climbing gym has been great. I can't express how nice it is to walk into an atmosphere where everybody is psyched; the staff, the climbers - the general attitude of everyone there is great.

I also have been back at my project in Matthew-Winters Park which has become EPIC.
Falling at the pocket move, falling off the second move and the third move and the fifth move. WHY is bouldering so difficult. 

Concentrate, focus. Conditions are good, could be better. Stop. Focus. Breathe. Everything you got.
It will only come down to one or two minutes on one day. Then it will end, and the search will continue!

Aside from the usual I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to head out to Red Rocks with the DBC crew this past weekend. Like a mix between Hueco Tanks and Joe's Valley, the amount of sandstone boulders seems to be limitless. We climbed a lot of cool problems and made plans for a return trip in two weeks to finish off a few that were left undone.

Here is a video of some of the problems we climbed ...

31 December 2012

Chattanooga Christmas

After what seemed like a long time away from my roots in the Southeast (10 months), I got back to Chattanooga, TN over the Holiday. It was great to visit with family/friends and to spend time in such a great place. I was even able to get a good bit of climbing in !

I met up with some old friends for sessions at The Stone Summit in Atlanta as well as The Tennessee Bouldering Authority, the latter being the gym that I grew up and learned how to climb in. Both gyms are much different than The Denver Bouldering Club and I got worked on all the tough, powerful problems.

I also got out and climbed on some of the great Southern sandstone that I once visited so often. Aside from running the circuit at LRC and a quick session at the Honeycomb Roof in Dayton, I made it to a newer area near Sand Rock in northern Alabama. The area, Griffin Falls, is mostly known for being a rope climbing area although it is now home to one of the most difficult boulder problems in the Southeast, Aggravated Assault.

Given the v14 grade by Daniel and Jimmy (making it the first of the grade in the Southeastern states), the boulder problem shoots straight out a near horizontal roof on less than positive edges and underclings. With really unique movement on superb rock, this problem will no doubt be a longtime test piece for strong climbers visiting the area.

Climbing the v9 stand start to Aggravated Assault, Griffin Falls, AL
Photos: Jimmy Webb

Here is a short video I put together of Daniel and Jimmy working out the moves and piecing together the roof...

And a few pictures I took during my stay in Chatt.

Until next time !!

09 December 2012

Joe's Video

Here is a quick video I put together from out trip to Joe's Valley over Thanksgiving.

28 November 2012

Utah Update - New Boulders in Joe's

Just got back from a nice stay in Joe's. With several miles of canyons littered with black sandstone boulders, Joe's Valley is a climber's playground. Along on the trip were good friends Sarah and Ivo Penchev.

The plan was general: get away from the city, climb a few old projects, check out some new one's.

Going into the trip I felt like I was in decent shape and looked forward to climbing a couple problems I had tried and failed on in the past. Of those old projects, the one that stands out is Beyond Life. At v10, the "stand" has become my nemesis over the years. For the longest time I thought that the boulder was very height dependent. I think the key here is body positioning and contact strength. After sticking the difficult crux move to the left hand edge for the first time, I was able to climb this one to the top.
I have a lot of video to sort through from the trip and will be putting up a short clip sometime in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out!
Another goal was to check out a boulder across the creek, early on in Left Fork. Established by Anthony Chertudi, Zodiac v11 climbs the left side of a huge black boulder via pockets and edges. I tried it for a bit, figured out some beta that worked for me, and made a good link into the middle of the boulder. Unfortunately the end requires more pads than we had and I was done for the day. This one is still waiting for a 2nd ascent, though it was getting some traffic later in the week from Mina L-W and Nick O.

Ivo cleaning up the top. The finish goes around right into the crack.
Zodiac v11
A lot of the trip was spent looking for and trying some of the new problems that had been established in the area. Most of the new problems at Joe's were put up by the Scott, Joe, Griffin crew. Check out Scott's blog, ClimbingCollective.com, for more info on the new boulders. 

Ivo Penchev climbing on Dark Matter v12

Balls to the Wall v8 (photo: Griffin W)

Superman v10
Amazing new line. Sounds like it was a group effort to clean this one up and build a massive landing underneath it. No doubt it will be a contender for the best boulder in Joe's, in my mind it's right there with Black Dahlia in terms of quality.

- JG