Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Climber's Christmas Wishlist

I'm going to be honest.  I am only writing this in hopes that my wife will read it and pick up on my not so subtle hints on what I want for Christmas this year.  However, most other climbers out there will agree that the items on this wish list are pretty damn awesome, and they would want them too.  I am sure there are also other non-climber people out there (wives, husbands, parents, etc.) who don't know what gifts to get for the climbers in their lives.  I decided to take the liberty and compile a list of some of the most awesome gear out there that a climber would love to find in their stocking or under their tree come Christmas morning!  Take a look!

1.) Mammut Neon Gear 45 Pack: This pack has everything needed for a nice trip out to the crag.  It's made to carry on your back but opens in the back for ease of access to the main compartment.  Inside holds all the gear you need, including special compartments for shoes and chalk.  There is also a gear rack to clip your quickdraws onto.  An integrated rope bag can be removed and spread on the ground for rope placement while belaying.  The all around scoop: an awesome pack and I want it!

2.) Black Diamond Magnetron RockLock Carabiner:  I'm not the type who needs fancy carabiners, but I have to admit I really like this locking biner.  I've played with this carabiner every time I hit up an Eastern Mountain Sports or REI.  It has 2 quick release magnetic arms that hold the gate shut.  A quick press with thumb and finger opens the gate making a quick entrance and exit at the belay.  No more screw locks or twist lock gates to mess with.  I wouldn't mind finding this piece of gear hiding at the bottom of my stocking laying next to a Pez dispenser.

3.) Metolius Climbing Tape:  Whether you get a splitter, flapper, or just need a little support for your tendons while pulling some stone, Metolius Climbing tape is probably the best tape to use and chances are your current roll you have now has been used down to the bone of the roll.  Hopefully this climbing necessity makes its way into your stocking hooked onto some candy canes!

4.) La Sportiva Testarossa Climbing Shoes: A personal favorite of mine, the La Sportiva Testarossa packs a mean punch when tackling my projects.  As one of the most durable shoes I've ever climbed in, the extreme downturn of the shoe does not diminish while wearing them for extended periods.  Size 40.5 is my fit if a certain someone is looking to hook me up with a fresh pair..*cough, cough, wink, wink* to the wife!

5.) La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoe:  Continuing with the shoe trend from above, a climber must be able to make their way through the rough terrain to get to the crag or boulder field.  A sturdy set of approach shoes is a must have for scrambling up some low angle rock and uneven surfaces.  With a shock absorbent sole and the ever-so-sticky Vibram rubber bottom makes for a pain free hike out to a climber's playground!

6.) Columbia Ultimate ROC Pant:  I have owned two pairs of these pants and they are my favorite pants to climb in when the fall and winter time hit.  The first pair lasted me almost 5 years before they developed too many holes in them.  They are lightweight and they have a zip close security pocket to keep your lint covered gum secure and safe. I could easily use at least two more pairs of these due to how much I climb in the fall and winter.  True to size and great fit!  A must have for fall/winter climbers!

7.)  Marmot Limelight 3-Person Tent (Alpenglow):This 3-person tent is what I would like to have for my next climbing trip.  At 6 lbs. 11 oz. and easy setup, this tent is a must have for minimal weight and extra sleeping room.  The tent also has two vestibules for when you need that extra storage for your backpack and shoes.  Just looking at this tent makes me want to start planning my next adventure!

8.)  ENO DoubleNest Hammock:  What better way to take a break out at the crag or boulder field than to hop up in an easy setup hammock.  They are surprisingly durable and can hold up to 400 lbs.  The hammock also stuffs down into a sack the size of a large softball making it very easy to take along on your next climbing trip.  All of us climbers need a rest at the crag, might as well make it very comfortable!

9.) Terramar Sports Men's TXO 2.0 Baselayer:  I got to try out this base layer from Terramar Sports and was quite impressed.  I wore it out rock climbing in 35 degree weather.  It kept me warm but also dry while hiking and climbing.  I liked it so much that I would definitely want another one or maybe even a pair of the TXO 2.0 pants....

10.)  Petzl Spirit Express Quickdraw:  I got a set of 6 of these things a while back and I really liked them.  I especially liked the snag-free keylock nose.  It makes freeing the draw from protection and cleaning on the way back down from the ascent.  Since I only have 6, it would make a lot of sense to have a "few" more for the longer sport routes in my life.

So ends this year's Climber's Christmas Wishlist.  Hopefully this list brings some insight for people looking to get the perfect gift for the climber in their lives.  I know I would be extremely stoked for any gift on this list appearing under my Christmas tree this year!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rumney Sport Climbing

It is our adventures in the outdoors that keep us young in both body and mind

Victim of Love 5.8, Upper Darth Vader Crag, Rumney, NH

It is rare to wake up outside with temps in the mid 30s and be psyched and excited for something.  That something for me was sport climbing for the first time at Rumney, NH.  Once daylight broke, my dog and I un-burrowed from the sleeping bag and stepped out of the tent into the brisk, cool air.  We packed up our site after breakfast and headed out to the crags to sport climb on some schist (rock type at Rumney).

We headed up the steep terrain to the Upper Darth Vader crag for some warm-up climbing.  The initial cold air faded away as the sun slowly warmed the area.  After the warm-up we headed over to Waimea crag to get the onsight of the classic 5.10d Waimea.  The rock color was striated with dark and light colored sections.  A well of energy built up inside me that I wanted to pour into the ascent of this beautiful line.  There is something about climbing a route for the first time in a new area that makes you realize what you've been missing.  The newness of an area and experiencing the routes and views give you an incredible high.

Out of the shadows and into the light on Waimea 5.10d

This is one of the greatest things about getting outdoors to a new area.  It restores your sense of adventure.  Everything is new and fresh to your senses and makes you feel more alive.  All of your youthful energy that you thought was fading now seems higher than ever.  You feel almost unstoppable in your pursuits of the day, and you don't desire the end.

Once you get away from adventure and have time to reflect upon it, you start to get an itch for another, and then slowly a plan starts for something else new and exhilarating.  There is a spark inside of us all and once we provide the fuel of adventure, a roaring flame grows that is near impossible to extinguish.  It is important to keep providing ourselves with adventures, to keep exploring new areas, and to push our boundaries, even if they are nearby.  This fuels our fire and provides our amazing life experiences that we will always remember.  Rumney, for me, is one of those experiences that I will always remember and will continue to revisit.

Bottom Feeder 5.13a