Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sending a Project, Finishing a Book

It is hard to describe the feeling after sending a long, hard fought battle with your project.  The only close feeling I can compare it to is when I finish an amazingly written book.  You get to personally know the characters of the story and live within the plot and settings.  Then once you read past the climax of the story and reach the conclusion, you are hopefully satisfied with how it ends.  As for completing a boulder project, your hands and feet get to know the holds and your body learns the contortions.  And after you pull through the crux you hopefully have immense satisfaction upon topping out.  There is often a bittersweet feeling after the completion of a good book.   You don't want it to end because of how emotionally connected you became to the story.  The same goes with the completion of a tough boulder project.  The initial high of the send wears away and a bittersweet feeling blends in because you know the project is over.  It is not unusual for this to happen since you have put so much time, energy and emotion into the project.  You know you will not get the same high again if you repeated that very problem that was once your project.

Jess and Bill spotting me perfectly on The Prow (v10) (photo by Marian)

My project was a highball boulder in central Connecticut called The Prow (v10).  I started this project in the late fall of 2012.  I was unable to complete it before the bouldering conditions soured and it became too hot and humid.  I was, however, able to work the initial moves into muscle memory over the past year but the middle crux (sloper pinch) was just too much due to the humidity.  I could only wait patiently until a perfect fall day arrived.  Low 50's, sunny, slightly breezy, and no humidity: a boulderer's dream conditions.   I had an overwhelming feeling I was finally going to get the send that day.  I felt great, I felt light, I felt good, I got the send.  Chills came about upon the send due to all the adrenaline...what a rush!  After coming back down to the bottom of the problem, I felt a little sadness that it was over, just like the feeling when finishing a good book.  Just like moving on to another good book, I will do the same with another boulder problem that I will hopefully have the same connection.  I couldn't have asked for more from that day.  I had great friends around me that helped push me to get the send and I had great conditions...a perfect day.

Video of the Send:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ClimbOn Review: Creme, Original Bar, and Bar for Men

What is climbOn?

ClimbOn is one of the many skin care products made by the SKINourishment company.  Their mission is to provide users of their products the facts about the importance of using natural organic ingredients in cosmetics and skin care. The mission statement and history paint a very colorful and emotional portrait of how climbOn and SKINourishment's other products have grown in popularity among climbers, runners, cross fit-ters, and other athletes and non-athletes.

Skin repair

I have been rock climbing in the gym or outside 3 to 4 days per week for the past 5 years.  As I progressed and started climbing harder, my skin was getting more damaged, torn, and destroyed.  I normally take a day off in between climbing days so my skin could heal, but even a day off sometimes isn't enough.  I need my skin to recover in a day or less so that I can keep a tight weekly training/climbing regimen.  I was never a fan of lotions and they didn't help my skin at all.  They made my skin feel oily/greasy and tended to make them peal easily.  I had almost given up hope on finding something to repair my skin quickly until I came across the climbOn Bar.

A Need

I was very skeptical at first and didn't want to try it, until my fingertips became mercilessly destroyed at a Dark Horse Series comp.  The small circular ClimbOn sample can was sitting on my dresser, and my fingers were burning as if they had been raked across a red hot cheese grater.  I opened the can and rubbed each fingertip until a thin layer built up and then slowly rubbed it in.  The next day, the fire and redness were gone from my fingertips and was able to climb the following day with no pain or redness.  I almost couldn't believe that this salve worked.  I decided to pick up the ClimbOn creme and the largest original ClimbOn bar so I would always have it on hand.

Using the bar/creme

I have been using climbOn products for about 8 months now.  I prefer the climbOn Bar for Men because of the aroma of the bar.  Many do not share my same opinion of the scent however, and prefer the scent of the original climbOn Bar.  The original bar has a citrus/lemon aroma and works just as well as the climbOn Bar for Men.  When using either climbOn bar, I have had best results after my hands are thoroughly clean and dry.  Just build up a thin layer on the fingertips and then gently rub in.  Your fingers will feel slightly oily for about 10 minutes but will absorb into skin to leave smooth, dry skin.  I always do this right before bed since your body heals while sleeping and should give healing a boost.  I use the climbOn creme whenever I have dryness on the back of my hands and elbows, since it is easier to apply.

What makes climbOn work?

I checked up on each ingredient in the three climbOn products to find out exactly what made it work.  From the table below you can see what the ingredients are in each product and what benefit is provided (benefit source:  The makers of climbOn are serious about making a superior product because every oil has some extraordinary property that promotes skin healing.  They also believe that if you can't eat it, you shouldn't put it on your skin.  You could actually eat the climbOn bar, not that I recommend it.  Tried it...not so great, but at least I knew that I could eat it and knew that it wouldn't cause harm.  I have never seen any other skin care products tout it's ability to be edible, mainly because they are not.  It is sometimes difficult to even read the ingredients of most of these other skin care products available to consumers.

It is important that people know what they are putting on their skin and why it is an ingredient in that particular product.  I recommend these products to anyone who climbs or has to use there hands in very tough situations.  If you're a rock climber or outdoors person you can pick up the climbOn bar at Eastern Mountain Sports or REI, otherwise you can order it from their website SKINourishment.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Meet the Moment to Benefit the Access Fund

Photo from

'Meet the Moment' is a rallying of outdoor adventurers to a call for action.  The goal behind Meet the Moment is to inspire others to discover their 'moment' in the outdoors.  By uploading a photo to the Clif Bar sponsored web program (, Clif Bar makes a donation ($5) to a non-profit partner that helps protect the places we play.  Along with that donation, visitors to the site can also help out by sharing a photo to a social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest) and Clif Bar will donate $1 to the photo submitter's non-profit partner of their choice (either Access FundInternational Mountain Bicycling AssociationLeave No TraceSurfrider Foundation, or Winter Wildlands Alliance).  The community of Moment meeters will then decide on which photos make the top 25.  A panel of Clif representatives will then decide on the Defining Moment photo that best describes the Meet the Moment campaign.

I have uploaded a moment of my own to this program because I wanted to help out the Access Fund.  The Access Fund is a "national advocacy organization that keeps U.S. climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment".  I am also a member of this organization so that I can give back to the climbing community that I belong to.  The photo that I have uploaded is a photo from a recent trip to Farley, a sport climbing crag in Massachusetts.  I have a strong connection to this place because it was the first place I learned to sport climb, and I consider it my defining moment in the outdoors.  Farley has benefited from funds provided by the Access Fund that helped pave way access for the area.  The Access Fund has helped open this area up for myself and other fellow climbers and I would like to help out the Access Fund in any way possible.

Air Blast 5.8, Farley

My photo has made it into the top 25 of the Meet the Moment campaign to be decided upon as the possible Defining Moment of the Clif Bar sponsored program.  To check out the photo on the site and give it some love by sharing it, follow this link:  All you have to do is share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or Pinterest and Clif Bar will donate $1 to the non-profit organization, the Access Fund.  All help is greatly appreciated!