Category Archives: Trips & Outings

Relationship on the Rocks

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  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.

Tied In and Ready to Climb

Tied In and Ready to Climb

Embarking on a Memorable Climb

Embarking on a Memorable Climb

Here I am Getting into Position

Here I am Getting into Position

Captain America is Pumped (wonder why)

Captain America is Pumped (wonder why)

Making Some Progress

Making Some Progress

Making Some More Progress

Making Some More Progress

Captain America Locates Hidden Camera #1

Captain America Locates Hidden Camera #1

Can't Hide His Excitement

Can’t Hide His Excitement

She's Got to Finish It

She’s Got to Finish It

No Help From Captain America

No Help From Captain America

She Earned It

She Earned It

She Completes the Climb

She Completes the Climb

Celebrating the Climb She Still Has No Idea

Celebrating the Climb
She Still Has No Idea

"Can you grab that biner for me?"

“Can you grab that biner for me?”

Retrieve the Biner

Retrieve the Biner

Emotions Well Up

Emotions Well Up When She Spots the Ring

"You were in on this?"

“You were in on this?”

How about we don't drop this...

How about we don’t drop this…

How is His Gear Placement Technique?

How is His Gear Placement?

Showing Hidden Camera #1

Showing Hidden Camera #1

Show the Camera Man

Show the Camera Man

Showing Hidden Camera #2

Showing Hidden Camera #2

Smooching (bottom view)

Smooching (bottom view)

Smooching (top view)

Smooching (top view)

Lowering Together

Lowering Together

Show Off the Rock

Show Off the Rock



The Happy Future Mr. & Mrs. Adventurer

The Happy Future Mr. & Mrs. Adventurer

Locking Biner is Retired from Climbing UseHappily Ever After ~ The End

This Locking Biner is Retired from Climbing Use
Happily Ever After ~ The End

Many Congratulations!!!  Do you have an Adventuresome Proposal / Wedding story?  Please share it with us in the comments below.

~ Climb 4 Real ~


The ‘What If???’ Game – Episode 2

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 ~

Guidebook Collection

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.

1st & 2nd Editions by Mike Farris

1st & 2nd Editions
by Mike Farris

Then, several summers during my college years, I climbed in Colorado.

1st Edition by Stewart Green

1st Edition
by Stewart Green

My climbing trip to Arizona was a spring break adventure.

by Stewart Green

by Stewart Green

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).

3rd Edition by Eric Ulner

3rd Edition
by Eric Ulner

And then there was the amazing trip to the Red River Gorge.

3rd Edition by Ray Ellington

3rd Edition
by Ray Ellington

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:

The King Dream Builder

The King Dream Builder

~ 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).

Room 4 More

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.

Willow Climbing Guide & A Field Guide to Minnesota Bouldering

Willow Climbing Guide
A Field Guide to Minnesota Bouldering

Raining but ‘Climb On’

Sad, but kinda True

It was nice outside all during the work week… and then it rained on Saturday.  I had made plans for Saturday with several climbing friends three whole weeks in advance.  But worry not, our plans were not foiled by the rain.

Backstory: I met a group of climbers at the climbing wall of our local YMCA.  It’s no climbing gym, but is is well kept, and the Wednesday Night Adult Climb attracts a loyal crew of great climbers and above all great people.  I got to know them just a bit this winter as I would utilize the wall for some of my endurance workouts.  Many times the the topic of my Homewall would come up.  And many times we discussed that we should all get together and climb at my house.  So we made it happen.

As often is the case for climbers in the ‘Real World’, lining up schedules is often a challenge.  I often have a hard enough time lining up schedules with just my wife and two sons.  So to arrange for several families, we had to start early.  Three weeks in advance.  When we approached the 1-week mark, I was pleasantly surprised how many RSVP’d to attend.


Grillin’ & Climin’

I did  tell them that I would grill for them.  They all brought snacks, I fired up the grill and charred some meat product and we all had a great time.  Even though it was cloudy and rainy most of the day.

The morals of the story are:

(1) Plan Ahead… WAY Ahead!!!

(2) Good people = Good times!!!

(3) Climbing is a very social activity and we feed off of the energy of those we climb with.

~ Climb 4 Real ~

Father’s Day “Supplies”

No, its not a typo, its just my most quoted line from the 1989 Weird Al comedy UHF.

But in all seriousness, I did have a great Father’s Day Surprise this year. My wonderful wife made some secret plans for a climbing outing, and even my 5 year old and 3 year old didn’t spill the beans.

The real story started about a week prior. And actually further set-up back in January. As you may have read in one of my earlier posts, I had set some climbing related goals for 2013. One such goal was to get outside climbing more days in 2013 than previous years. Twenty days to be exact. Well, guess what didn’t cooperate with my plans…

Winter Weather – Snow into May

Needless to say, the late start to (in my opinion) climbable weather coupled with various additional schedule conflicts that come with a “Real Life”, I had not made it outside to climb a single time yet. So when I was whining away about not having gotten outside yet, in the second week of June, my sweet wife had to bite her tongue and keep the surprise alive.

So Sunday morning, Father’s Day, I am awakened by a shake. “It’s 9 o’clock, time for church.” [wait a minute… if it’s 9, we’re already late] So I open my eyes to an envelope waving in front of my face. I open it and it goes something like this:

Happy Father’s Day!
Get packed! We’re going Rock Climbing.
We leave at 7:30 sharp.

It is then that I look at the alarm clock and read 6:45. [Wow, this is awesome] So we get on the road and I notice some funny business, like secret texting and asking me what towns we drove through to get to the crag. But I play along. After all, this is very thoughtful of her and I am EXTREMELY appreciative. We hike to the base of the bluffs and set the gear down, when all of a sudden, “Oh, I forgot the bug spray in the car. Can you run down and get it?” [For real??? OK] And as I’m jogging back down the trail, around the corner comes my climbing buddy and fellow Father. Supplies!!!

Sharing Beta and a Belay

It was a great day. Good warm-up on a classic 5.9, one mis-read sequence away from a 5.11c onsight, and the 2nd go redpoint. I had fun in the great outdoors, doing something I love with the people I love. Plus, although my wife is a distance runner, she is a natural on the stone.

So the seal has been broken. Outside climbing is the name of the game. And the Game is ON!!

2013 Goals Update
20 Days – 1/20 – 5%
13 5.12’s – 0/13 – 0%

~ Climb 4 Real ~

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