Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reflections of an Old Man

I turned 31 on Wednesday. I am undeniably established in my thirties. Despite living another year, I don't feel any older, or different than I did when I was 21. In fact, I feel stronger than ever, and I intend to continue improving for many years. Unfortunately, the reality is my bald head, growing wrinkles, and general disregard for current fashion betray the fact that I am no longer young. Especially by Boulder standards. That said, I have started to cling to the idea that you are only as old as you feel. Thankfully my gymnastics background has conditioned my muscles and joints to support this notion- for now... I have noticed that my body isn't exactly what it was ten years ago. I have to stretch more often, my metabolism has slowed down, and my fingers feel a bit more fragile from time to time. This doesn't bother me too much- a little prevention and self awareness never hurt. In the last couple of years I have also experienced serious performance slumps. Some of these periods have caused me to consider whether I had reached my peak and was doomed to plateau or get worse. Thankfully, I have always been able to snap out of it by changing my training, or finding some new motivation.

So along with trying to push my physical limits, I will also explore the notion that climbing, like age, is all about your mind set. A denial to give up and grow old. A commitment to improve, learn, adapt, remain curious, and find joy in the new and uncertain. An opportunity to travel, play in the dirt, be humbled, and remain young at heart. I will look to older climbers like Ben Moon, Fred Nicole, J.B. Tribout, and Yuji Hirayama to show me that age doesn't determine what you can accomplish. And when my body finally falls apart, I can proudly say that I never took a moment for granted.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Left Graham Arete

Last Thursday, I finally finished the Left Graham Arete V11. The moment I pulled onto the wall, something felt different. The moves didn't feel easier- it was almost like I had finally convinced myself that it was possible. My foot didn't pop, I hit the holds perfectly, and 15 seconds later I found myself at the top in disbelief. I down climbed, and eventually realized that my success had come at a price. The small crimps had completely split my right pointer finger. Still glowing with victory, I happily accepted the sacrifice the problem demanded, and drove home.

Since my tip was destroyed, I spent the weekend doing non climbing related activities. Two days never felt soooooo long. Thank god for climbing!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Unfinished Eldo Projects

This boulder is located below the Lower Peanut Wall in Eldorado Canyon. It features a large roof with one very hard project that moves along a slopey rail in the roof, joins a flake, and then ends with a heinous mantle. The chalk was added by Paul Robinson after I tipped him off about this problem. Despite his efforts this thing remains unclimbed, and looks like it would be at least V13. Here are a couple of pictures of the unfinished line.

If you continue up the talus field you reach the Upper Peanuts Wall, where you will encounter this boulder.

Colorado needs a V16 and this is it! The line starts with your left hand underclinging the roof and your right hand on a decent edge at head height on the face. Traverse left along the edge of the roof using small crimps and underclings until you hit a slippery pod at which point you climb upwards making some impossible moves to gain better holds before topping out at 20 feet. It seems appropriate that Colorado's first V16 is found in Eldo. Here are a couple of more pictures.

Since area requires a strenuous 20 minute hike to reach, this boulder problem has never been cleaned. That said, anyone willing to step out of the box and investigate this problem won't be disappointed.

Lee's Rehab

About a month ago, Lee hurt something in her left palm trying Smokin' Joe at Joe's Valley. Ever since, we have been trying different things to rehab her hand. At first, our tactics involved no climbing, but gradually she's started to climb again- avoiding crimpers, and holds that separate her pinkie and left ring finger. Continuing her rehab, we went to the East Draw for a little finger friendly bouldering.

Just outside Eldorado Canyon, this is a great place for cold days because it's South facing, and at the top of a hill. The climbing is found on a long band of pebbly sandstone with a steeper section at the left side of the wall. Lee tried Pig Dog for a while, and between attempts we drank tea.

Although the rock isn't perfect, and none of the problems are amazing, we remained thankful to be outside, and enjoyed the unique view of Eldo.

Eventually, Lee's hand started to hurt, so I dropped her off at home, and I drove up Boulder Canyon to try the Left Graham Arete V11. I have been trying this thing randomly for about three years, but have always shown up without the prerequisite finger strength. For some reason, things felt different this time, and after shredding my tips on it for an hour, I surprised myself by falling off on the mantle! Unfortunately, it was getting dark and my tips were paper thin. So I went home with a glimmer of hope that with a little rest, and some new skin, my stubborness will payoff.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sweet Success

Climbing involves lots of failure. Ninety nine percent of the time we flail and struggle just for a fleeting moment of triumph. For most of us, this process yeilds no rewards or fame, we do it simply because we love the sport. Well for some reason, I have been having a lot of success lately. Two weeks ago, I completed the first ascent of The Holdup .13d. This 35 foot arete spanked me around for almost 2 years, until it finally let me redpoint it on April 27, 2008. Ben Collet showed me this obscure line in late 2006, and I immediately fell in love with the demanding moves, and technical nature of the route. Unfortunately, I found it hard to find parteners, appropriate weather, and the motivation to slog up the hill. Even on the victorious attempt The Holdup pushed me to my limit. A huge thanks to Mark Rolofson for cleaning and equipping this route way back in 2001.

I also recently finished Hardboiled V11. This overlooked boulder problem has great rock, intricate moves, and offers a nice independent line. Plus, being right off the road, it's super convenient as an after work project. This thing teased me for over 2 years- allowing me to get all the way to the final moves only to have my foot pop off while standing up for the finishing hold. Thankfully, my epic saga with this thing is over.

So thanks to the climbing gods for smiling upon me for a breif period of time. I will continue to be persistent, train hard, stay positive, and try my hardest. Hopefully they will notice my efforts, and allow me to taste sweet success again.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Unfinished Boulder Canyon Projects

I was up at the Cage Free Boulder in Boulder Canyon yesterday and realized that there is a great unfinished line on the Cage Free Boulder. Basically, the line traverses left into Cage Free from the starting hueco of Surface Tension. With all the very strong talent that has visited this boulder, I am very surprised that this very logical linkup hasn't been polished off. The canyon could certainly use another V13. Any takers? Of course a discussion about uncompleted lines in Boulder Canyon wouldn't be complete without mentioning the huge roof that sits below cob rock. As one of the most obvious features in the canyon, this thing screams to be climbed! It seems crazy that such an amazing, unchipped, roadside project isn't teeming with people trying to send it. The center line looks like it has V14 potential, and a left start which links into the end of the center line looks like it would easily hit V12. So let's get busy people!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Taylor Bruce Roy- the man with three first names.

When I was born, my parents unwittingly played a cruel joke on me. They honored some close friends and family by naming me Taylor Bruce Roy. Given the fact that this is a combination of three first names, people are constantly mixing up the order. When I was young this really annoyed me, but now that I am older, I find it amusing to try and guess if a person will mess it up or not.

Anyways, enough about my name, let's talk about this blog. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have a blog. However, over the last year, I have slowly become addicted to reading other people's blogs and have concluded that it's only fair to join the madness. Mainly, I will talk about climbing, but I will also occasionally post about notable things going on in my life and those I love. First, I would like to say that I feel a little strange having a blog. Mostly because I have a hard time believing that my life and opinions are interesting enough for somebody else read. I also feel kind of weird talking about myself, but it is the age of selfless promotion, so I need to get over it. The goal is to post at least once every week. Anyways, I hope you enjoy it.

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