Thankful for Freedom! Freedoms like Life, Liberty, and the ability to Pursue Happiness. I feel that the pursuit is where the value is at. Just like in climbing, where because of the struggle, the victory is that much sweeter!
~ Climb 4 Real ~
Change – such a loaded word. In many cases it instills fear and worry. It is something to be resisted and avoided. It is uncomfortable. Change is sometimes tough because we fear the unknown, and everything on the other side of Change is unknown.
But there comes a time in every person’s life when “enough is enough”. Also a time when “not enough is not enough”. I’d venture to guess that we’ve all thought or said outloud, “Something HAS GOT to change!!” It is in these cases that we view change as a good thing. I propose these 2 thoughts to ponder regarding Change:
(1) It is happening all around us whether we embrace it or not
(2) It is not the change that is good or bad, it is our attitude toward it that determines the type of effect it will have on our lives.
I would like to illustrate this by being transparent with some of the changes here at Real World Climbing.
When I talk about being a climber living in the Real World, what I mean is: I’m just like 95% of the climbers in the world. I am fairly obsessed with this ‘activity’ and I think about it all the time the way a golf enthusiast thinks of their golf game.
But with all of the Real World Climbers out there, I have responsibilities: a 40+ hr./wk job, a never-ending honey-do list, a spouse and children that I need and want to spend time with.
While working in a cubicle and closet sized office environment for a several years, I have often dreamed and schemed of ways to make a living in something I was truly passionate about, as opposed to something that just pays the bills and allows small pockets of time to pursue climbing. After nearly 2 years without a full-fledged vacation, this agitation only magnified.
To be in full disclosure, I don’t think like the average employee. Having owned/operated a freelance business for several years, I am an entrepreneur that happens to have found himself in traditional employment. Needless to say, sitting in a cubicle, performing mundane tasks, and dreaming about climbing, at times I became a bit edgy and at times irritable.
I began drawing up plans for starting a second business, a Real World Climbing themed business. I found small pockets of opportunity and was launching into them, again on a freelance basis. It felt good to be on the front end of the change process, to be in control. Until… changes started happening on their own.
We found out we were expecting our 3rd child. And honestly, we were excited about the timing. As we neared the date of birth of our 3rd son, I notified my bosses on several occasions that I would be taking a full week of vacation. ‘No Problem’. Earlier in the year, the director of our department took another opportunity. A month after that the VP over the department transferred to marketing. It took nearly 6 months to hire even one of the replacements and when they did, this new director came into a tough situation. I don’t blame him for making his next decision, but it still stung. One by one, I saw my counterparts being let go… the ones that worked out of satellite offices. I worked in Minneapolis, our department was based in Indianapolis. So when I announced I was taking my week vacation, they politely thanked me for my service and let me know that I would not be needing to return after my son was born.
So in a matter of days, I was out of a job and welcoming Gavin into our family. 80% of me was completely relieved, but the 20% uncertainty remained.
You may or may not have noticed a 6 month blog posting hiatus here at Real World Climbing. I do apologize for my silence. I have really taken this opportunity to spend great quantity and quality time with my family. It has been extremely fun.
I checked off many long overdue items on my honey-do list. Like a complete kitchen/dining room face lift.
I also built yet another section to the Garage Climbing Gym. I couldn’t resist the itch… besides, I had a bunch of plywood donated and had to do something with it, right?
And I got serious about making a Real Living with what makes me feel Really Alive. I am thankful for how much I have learned from my 1st business. I am thankful for how much I have learned in my first year blogging on this site. And I am thankful for all that I have learned about climbing through books, videos, blogs, mentorship, and trial & error.
So enjoy the changes as they are rolled out here on Real World Climbing. Some small logistical changes are already in place. How do you like our new look? Like a new dedicated Twitter account: @realworldclimb And a much more interactive medium for Real World Climbers to collaborate on our brand spanking new facebook page.
Some of the exciting things to come include: more consistent content updates from me and guest writers, interviews with our fellow Real World Climbers, a video tour of the entire Garage Climbing Gym, and some further insight in how Real World Climbing is Really Making It.
Thanks for sticking with us!
~ Climb 4 Real ~
2013 has come to a close. I would like to thank you all for sharing in this thing we call ‘Climbing Life’. It has been a fun year. A good year. This post serves as the Year-in-Review for the first year of Real World Climbing (well… year and 25 days). Below I will share the top posts of the year in the following categories: most views, most comments, most shares, and authors choice. Without further adieu.
Most Viewed Post
This was by far the most viewed post. It was also one of my favorites to put together. My friends are digging in with wedding plans and it looks like September 27th 2014 will be the big day! This post also received a notable link-back from TheKnot.com
Most Commented Post
This was a fun post because so many of you chimed in with your recommendations. It makes me want to pack up my gear and my family and check out your favorite climbing spots.
Most Shared Post
This was a short write up on the sad news of the accidental death of the 12 year old Italian phenom Tito Traversa. The post was meant to serve as a reminder that even though climbing can be extremely rewarding, we should never become complacent and numb to the inherent dangers. About 6 months have passed, and I hope that we remember to double & triple check our gear, our partners, and ourselves. Have fun and keep safe, all while pushing the limits.
The Author’s Pick
One of my earliest posts has actually been one of my favorites so far. I played around with the idea of a home climbing wall ever since I started climbing. I designed dozens of wall before I ever pulled the trigger and built my first. To me designing a functional and fun wall is a big part of the excitement; playing with all the options that a particular space allows and then seeing it all come together. Even in 2013 I have done several modifications on my own wall and have designed 2 more walls for friends.
Yes, 2013 was a great year. But, I look forward to what 2014 brings to the table. I look forward to further developing this blog and sharpening up the content. I have quite a few post ideas in queue and I welcome your feedback, suggestions, and requests.
Thanks again for sharing your climbing journey with me. And …
~ Climb 4 Real ~
Crazy times… Good times, but lots of plates spinning. Unfortunately that has meant less writing. And this post especially is long overdue. I hope that you’ll find that good things do come to those that wait.
A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to review some holds from Red Point Holds. I wrote from a home wall owner’s perspective. Well, I’ve gotten another shot at some new holds from a new hold company, Meuse Climbing Holds. And again the premise of my review is that the holds that are “best” for a homewall are often different from the needs and wants of a Commercial Gym.
I received a box on my doorstep from owner Brian Meuse, and needless to say, I didn’t wait long to open it and get my hands on them. And that is exactly what I did. Yes, I was interested in the shapes, as Brian mentioned that he prides himself on the uniqueness of his shapes. But we’ll get to shapes a little later. I began my exploration by checking out the texture of the holds. Texture is a delicate balance for both gyms and homewalls alike. If they are too slick, they won’t get used, but if they are too rough, they can wear down the skin too much. This is especially important as a homewall is a training device, like a treadmill is for runners. So where do Meuse Holds fall on a texture spectrum. I’d say that Meuse Holds and Redpoint Holds are very similar in texture. It really is a comfortable texture. In the couple months I’ve climbed on them, they have really held up well. In the mix were a few technical foot holds. These will prove to be the real durability test, as on my homewall, footholds are by far integrated into the most routes. So far, so good.
I then started checking out the shapes, and something jumped out at me as positively unique. Several of the holds were hollow-backed. No big deal normally, but these were not oversized holds. These were some of the smallest hollow-backs I’ve ever come across. Super light but still solid, both hand wrenched and impact driven.
There were a lot of different shapes to be investigated. A few of them could definitely be identified as sets. And as Brian alluded, there were some quite unique shapes in the box. Some of those unique features really worked and only a couple didn’t suit my preferences. Since there were so many holds and varieties to pick from let’s touch on three categories: the sets, the ‘not-for-me’ holds, and the top picks.
Right off the bat, I noticed the 3 similar crimps/mini-jugs called Rolls. They have a good radius and the subtle ridges feel solid when gripped. They are low-profile and have a small footprint, so they don’t take up a ton of valuable real estate. They also are great as footholds as they require precise placement.
I also got to grab onto 2/5 of the Cakes jugs; nice, comfortable, deep jugs with ‘eroded’ pockets to dig in with the thumb. I really liked these, and for a different reason. I liked that if they were oriented as a sidepull or undercling, those ‘erosions’ made for very precise foot targets. One thing I look for particularly in climbing holds is for a way to make it so that handhold you just used doesn’t end up a GIGANTIC ledge to stand on as you progress upward.
And lets not forget 3/5 of the Perch set. These are a set of flat edges with clean rounded edges. Solid standard holds with friendly surfaces.
I actually really liked most of this hold, the Moldy Loaf. But the side pictured here is designed to mimic real rock. There is a lip near the wall edge that is not wide enough for fingers to crimp inside, so when it is grabbed, the lip just digs into my finger-tips. Although, I’ll be the first to admit that there may be some application of this feature that I’m not thinking of.
And then there were two holds that were just plain painful. The shapes, Twister and Newt, look really cool and definitely unique. But the ridges felt like this:
Truly, those were the only shapes/concepts that I didn’t care for. There were many holds that were great… but now I want to share the holds I consider…
My Top Picks:
Wrapping things up:
Meuse Climbing Holds are high quality. In almost all cases, they expertly blend form and function. Creative uses of their holds are only limited by the mind of the setter.
And I leave you with this bit of amusement… a video of a “Yellow” route I set on my 45* wall in the garage… and then me climbing it. If you look close, you’ll see our friends Moldy Loaf, Grenada, Chisle, Fang, and Lox.
~ Climb 4 Real ~
This article from Jennovofoodblog.com explains it all!! I’ve been feeling like I’m experiencing ‘Cabin Fever’ already and it is actually PRIME CLIMB TIME!!!
The weather has been so amazing and I walk out of the office on a lunch break or on my way home and ask myself, “What the heck am I doing inside on a day like today breathing recycled air?” and exclaiming, “I should be out climbing, this is perfect climbing weather!”
So if you ever feel lethargic and just plain blah… these 4 reasons could just turn things around for you!
~ Climb 4 Real ~
I’ve been excitedly looking forward to writing this post all summer. For the most part, the events of the day are told best in photos. But I will give a bit of back-story.
About 2-1/2 years ago, I ‘met’ a guy that would become a great friend and climbing partner on the infamous rockclimbing.com. We’ll call him Captain America (photos below). A common interest in climbing connected us, but a friendship was inevitable. Over those years, we chatted about life and families and all kinds of stuff that matters, oh and climbing/adventuring. Captain America is definitely the pure Adventurer I wrote about in my first post. We spoke of a few dates he’d been on and the ‘future prospects’, but it seemed no one could keep up with his Adventurous spirit.
Enter Ninja Hoodie (as we’ll call her). They started off as friends, and I think that Captain America fought his feelings for a while. But Ninja Hoodie proved she could not only keep up, but that she too was an Adventurer. So the courtship commenced.
I was incredibly honored when Captain America let me in on his plan and asked me to be a part of it. In the below story of photos, I will play the part of route selector and top-view hidden camera man. Please enjoy and remember to always value your Relationships on the Rocks.
Many Congratulations!!! Do you have an Adventuresome Proposal / Wedding story? Please share it with us in the comments below.
~ Climb 4 Real ~
We’re rounding out the 2/3 point of 2013. This year is flying by… so fast! I’m really enjoying putting my passion for Climbing into words and sharing them with you. I’m at a bit of a crossroads with my climbing, my life, and the combination of the two. The more I think about climbing, the more I despise the constraints that my day-job puts on my climbing goals.
I’ve recently read a couple great posts from fellow climbers about having to adjust their expectations when it comes to climbing and goals. The first was from the gals at Crux Crush. Although I will never know what its like to be pregnant. I understand the feeling when priorities change. I understand putting others before yourself. The caveman instinct in me would have already bought a converted van and be dirtbagging it in many amazing climbing locations across the US and the World. The challenge is… I’m not a caveman, and I love my family dearly. The well being of my wife and children takes precedence over my personal climbing ambitions. So when I review my fairly ambitious goals for 2013 and realize I am waaaay behind pace (possibly too far behind to catch up), my first response is to get discouraged.
I see videos, like the one above, of climbers setting and hitting their goals. I’m super happy for him, but my blood boils that I am not. But then I realize, my life is unique to me. And yours to you. Like CanadianKate, I realized that happiness is not found in the destination alone, but even more so in the journey getting there.
I remain positive that I am advancing in both my technique and conditioning. I am feeling stronger than ever. I am climbing smoother than ever. My problem solving and route-reading seems to be very strong. I just haven’t gotten outdoors much. That’s what we train for anyway. So, I’ll take advantage of those outings when they come. But I’m not going to Jump Out of a Window out of despair. I’m going to count my blessings and “Climb On”.
How are you doing with your goals? I encourage you to press on and have fun in your Journey!
~ Climb 4 Free ~
It has been a little while since I last posted, and I don’t have a ton of time to write any REAL content now. So, this will just be a quick update post. What’s been going on recently and what to look forward to.
~ I picked up another climbing hold line to review. Been setting and climbing on them.
~ I picked up a freelance client to design their Homewall. Design phase is done and it will be built next month.
~ Keep an eye out for a post next week about an event I am honored to be a part of. Hint: it involves climbing, people, and real life…
~ Review coming for the above mentioned up-and-coming Climbing Hold company from a Homewall perspective.
~ I’m working on a Beginners Guide. Its proving to be quite extensive.
~ A video update of how my modified Mangrove Tree is working.
~ Interviews with fellow “Real Climbers”
Thanks for hanging with me. Please comment below with any topics you would like covered.
~ Climb 4 Real ~
Wow!!! It’s been about a month since Episode 1 of the ‘What If???’ Game. Pretty good responses. I know how hard it can be to squeeze out a few minutes to both compile a thought and get it into writing. I don’t take it lightly that you even take the time to read, let alone type up a comment. I wrote a post earlier listing some climbing sites I loved and frequented often that could use a pick-me-up. According to my click-through stats, you guys really came through, and several have even shared new content. Thank you!!!
Well, it is time again to warm up those imaginations and share some inspiration. Remember, anything goes! (as long as its PG) Another Special Notice: This post will only be fun with your participation. [Comments are still open on Episode 1]
Here we go again…
You have access to:
And room for 2 more stamps on:
And one of these:
What country will you fly to first?
What sectors will you climb at?
What dream routes/boulders will you climb?
How long will you stay?
And then where will you go next?
Re-cap: You have one month and access to a Flex Jet program and can climb in any 2 countries other than your own.
Dream HUGE and share below with the rest of us.
~ Climb 4 Real ~
I tend to have a systematic, organized, collector type personality. So when I really got hooked on rock climbing, I was pleased to find there were all kinds of things to collect.
Gear… oh how that shiny new gear can get the blood flowing. A new set of cam’s or nuts for your rack. Don’t get me started on shoes. I discovered my favorite shoes (to date) and in order to preserve them, got a “messing around” pair too, for my training and warm-ups. Holds for my homewall… yeah, I collect those too.
Ticks… and I don’t mean the blood sucking parasites. I mean a list of dream ascents. And the ability to check them off one at a time.
Climbing Partners… I’ve come to realize that one can never truly have enough climbing partners. For the shear fact that we all have crazy schedules, it is optimal to have lots of options when you need them. Plus, climbing is the ultimate social activity.
So when I got serious about climbing (which didn’t take long), knowing that it would bring me to many great locations, I decided that I would purchase the guidebook for that location. Even if I was only going to be there one time, I wanted the guidebook for the memories… and for the collection of course.
I haven’t been to as many climbing locations as I would have liked, but I would not trade any of those experiences for another. And there’s a bright side, there’s plenty of time left to add to the collection.
So here’s what I got so far, in the order of acquisition:
Naturally, first game Minnesota & Wisconsin.
Then, several summers during my college years, I climbed in Colorado.
My climbing trip to Arizona was a spring break adventure.
As a birthday gift a few years back, my wife conspired with my former college roommate/climbing buddy for a stellar surprise trip to Southern Illinois (Jackson Falls).
And then there was the amazing trip to the Red River Gorge.
That’s my collection. Its just getting started. I really want to get out to some more locations in the not so distant future. I’d like to add to my collection with guidebooks from:
~ Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota
~ Rumney in New Hampshire
~ New River Gorge in West Virginia
~ Smith Rock in Oregon
~ Squamish in British Columbia, Canada
~ And many more fantastic locations across the world (Spain, France, Australia, South Africa).
There is plenty of room on the bookshelf… and no shortage of desire to Collect.
What does your guidebook collection look like? Share in the comments your recommendations for the best guidebooks at your favorite locations.
~ Climb 4 Real ~
EDITED to Add: Two new guidebooks added to the collection. Brand new, hot off the presses is the “Field Guide to Minnesota Bouldering” and “Willow Climbing Guide”. The Minnesota Bouldering guidebook was co-written by Nic Oklobizja, Richard Cargill, Chris Craft, and Jon Marek. It has been long awaited and much needed in this area. It comes with full color photos and a rich history for each area. The Willow River guidebook, while short and sweet, also comes with a rich history of the climbing at Willow River as well as full color photos of the many link-ups in this very steep sport climbing area.