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

05 November 2012

Growing Up in the Climbing Gym, Completely Obsessed

I walked into the Tennessee Bouldering Authority in the summer of 2000. A smaller scale bouldering gym, TBA became my home for many years. With small walls that focus on training power, the thing that I like a lot about TBA is the really great focus on community. The owners would coach us in the gym during the week and take us out bouldering to LRC, Rocktown and HP40 on the weekends. 

Hats off to Luis Rodriguez, Eric Pittman and others for building the base that really lead to the growth of climbing, especially bouldering, in Chattanooga. Luis, you set the bar high man! I hear news of a sick new steep wall just built by the guys at TBA. Go check it out!

When I moved to Denver, I quickly became an active member at the Denver Bouldering Club (DBC.) This gym has many similarities to TBA. Abbreviated title. Cool bouldering walls. Sense of community. I think of it as TBA, but a little bigger.

A few weeks ago I accepted a position working for Thomas Betterton, owner of the DBC. This will include many odd jobs around the gym, cleaning, front desk work, etc... The time I have on my hands is allowing me to fully embrace aspects of the climbing world that I only had small amounts of time for in the past. Along with the other small jobs, I am very excited to continue working as a route setter.

I have been spending as much time possible learning how to set different styles of moves. Analyzing different body positions, compressing, opposing, balancing. Once I started to do some research I got really excited about the endless possibilities I have as a setter. 

Check out this site for lots of helpful insights and tips to use while setting.

Excited to start working on a couple other projects also, especially a climbing video focused on climbers that fly under the radar here in CO. Making plans for traveling to Joe's Valley, the Southeast, and Hueco over the next 6 months or so. Psyched!!

Another reset on the 45 wall at the DBC

Setting at the DBC (photo: Betterton)

More on the way!
- JG

28 October 2012

Eldo Canyon

Couple pictures from the weekend -

Ivo Penchev on The Infinite (photo: John Gass)

27 October 2012

Fall 2012

For me, it has always been exciting to change things up and start fresh. On that note I have decided to step back from life in the kitchen to explore what the outdoor industry has to offer.

Looking forward to working with the crew at the Denver Bouldering Club as they expand their space by adding two brand new Walltopia walls! Gonna be insane! These walls are WAY cooler than anything I have seen, competition or gym.

Pictures from the last few months --
Joe's Valley, Utah

Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

More on the way!

03 September 2012

Spring and Summer 2012

This summer has gone by in what seems like the blink of an eye. Five days a week I am consumed by work at The Corner Office Restaurant in Denver, CO. Most of my climbing has been done in the gym. Trying to stay motivated through Colorado's strange, seemingly bi-polar weather. Amazing one week, insanely hot or rainy the next.

Changing colors at Mt. Evans - photo: John Gass

Despite the weather, I have been able to get out on the weekends and enjoy what Colorado truly has to offer. Most of the new development has been happening in the high talus fields of Chaos Canyon in Rocky Mountain National Park. I have been spending the majority of my days at Mt. Evans.

Hanging out at the Dali Wall in March - photo: John Gass

As snow levels have been much lower this year compared to previous years, we were able to get great temps at the Dali Wall in March. I had a great breakthrough and every day we went out climbing I felt motivated and light. 

Climbing Super Gui. I had wanted to climb this line since the first time I saw it in May 2009.

Signs of life above 13K ft - photo: John Gass

Quite a bit closer to Denver, Mt. Evans offers remote climbing in some of the most amazing settings in the country.

Cliff line at the summit of Mt. Evans - photo: John Gass

As the weather begins to get nicer, I can feel motivation returning and am PSYCHED to get back to trying hard on the boulders littering Mt. Evans. I have a few goals in mind for this fall...

Trying No More Greener Grasses - photo: Justin Jaeger

Sunset @ Mt. Evans Summit - photo: John Gass

Everyday spent out in the mountains is amazing. Different each day. This dynamic is what keeps me motivated and psyched to return. The climbing community is full of incredible people, each person with a different perspective than the next. I consider myself very fortunate to have found such an amazing life-style sport into which I can pour so much emotion and energy. I can say confidently that climbing will continue to be a huge aspect of my life for many years to come.

More on the way!

15 March 2012

ALPINE FEVER - PART 2 -- Bouldering Video from Colorado


Here is the second part of the alpine bouldering series shot in the summer of 2011. This short features hard classics as well as many first ascents from Lincoln Lake on Mt. Evans. Check it out .. 



31 January 2012

ALPINE FEVER -- Bouldering Video from Colorado

Alpine Fever is a series of short videos that Ivo Penchev and myself shot in the summer of 2011. Set in the Colorado Rockies, it will include scenery and climbing from both Rocky Mountain National Park and Mt. Evans.
Here is the first part from RMNP ...

Keep an eye out for the next two parts:

- JG

10 January 2012

Hueco video

Here's a short clip from the trip down to Hueco...

- JG

08 January 2012

Hueco 4

Last photo update of the 2011-2012 Hueco trip...

 Brion Voges working out the moves on Daniel Woods' House of Doom v13, unrepeated

This break has been amazing. I've got a lot of footage from the trip and will be releasing a few videos in the coming weeks.

Now it is time to return to the daily grind. Excited to get back to the kitchen and back out into the Colorado mountains....

- John G

05 January 2012

Hueco 3

A couple more pictures from the Hueco trip...

Waiting to get into Hueco Tanks.. the daily routine for climbers without reservations to North Mtn

Giovanni Traversi on Crown of Aragorn v13 (East Spur)

Brion Voges working on Yellow Diamonds v13 (East Mtn)

Brad Weaver sending Full Throttle v13 (East Mtn)