Another handful of months have passed. Lots of good things are happening and I know I’ve been delayed in providing updates. So let’s commence with some digital rope work and tie up some of these loose ends. Over the next few blog posts I will be getting back on the “sharp end” (climbing term for tying into a rope) by re-capping some of the progress being made behind-the-scenes while I was busy not writing on the blog.
PCI Clinic – September
In mid-September, I rewarded myself by using some birthday cash I had received to purchase a clinic session put on by Pro Climbers International (PCi). PCi is an organization that not only puts on clinics, but also takes on projects to preserve our environments and support our youth. Co-founder Kevin Jorgeson was one of three pro climbers putting on the clinic, along with Alex Johnson and Alex Puccio.
I went into the clinic with some specific goals. I wasn’t particularly looking to learn a new “move” or technique, although I did. I was interested in picking up their mentality and thought process. I know that what separates the elite from the average in any endeavor is mindset. And these three just further prove this point. First off, and not surprising, they were all very approachable and friendly. They were humble. And by humble, what I really mean is this: they did not downplay their abilities as climbers, but rather uplifted all of us as equally capable of growth with the appropriate amount of effort, effort they have put in for years.
They took time to just observe our climbing in order to gauge our starting point and then customized their input to benefit each individual. And they jumped right in with us, just like a session with your buddies at the gym. They joked around with each other and the positive energy grew as they fed off of each other. They even had a good time giving each other a hard time on a really hard comp style dyno problem.
One of the biggest mindset clicks I was able to make was initiated from Kevin Jorgeson and perpetuated by all three throughout the clinic. It was the fact that everything is interconnected in climbing, and a little bit of inefficiency (either physically or mentally) is carried along and dampens the next connection. Kevin used the example that everything starts in your toes and works its way up through your feet, calfs, knees, hips, spine, head, arms, hands, and eventually your finger tips. They showed how a simple foot position change affects the entire body’s position, which in turn impacts how you grip the hold (or how helpful the hold is to grip). This example of a physical chain-reaction can easily be applied mentally and psychologically as well. One small thought of doubt can lead to a downward spiral of negativity and eventually to failure. Things that make you go… HMMM!! Kind of opens the mind to consider, what else am I doing or not doing that is limiting my climbing potential? Or even my overall success at LIFE!?!?
Far and away, this was a fantastic experience for me and if/when they come back to the area… I’ll do it again in a heartbeat. I highly recommend going to the PCI website and checking for a clinic in your area and taking full advantage of the YEARS of wisdom and experience they have to offer.
Keep an eye out for another “knot in the rope” soon about an update on my climbing friends Captain America & Ninja Hoodie. But in the meantime, remember to…
~ Climb 4 Real ~
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 ~
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 ~
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 ~