Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nuclear Arms Proliferation + Eric Varney Direct

My annual winter visit to the Colorado front range has started off fairly well. On December 21 I managed to send "Nuclear Arms Proliferation" on the Beer Barrel boulder. Following that, I managed to send the "Eric Varney Direct." What a goddamn sandbag.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Summer into Fall

I've had an extremely busy summer followed by an equally busy Fall season. Highlights of the summer include:
-Over 30 days of guiding at Smith Rock.
-Some great days cragging in the Lower Gorge at Smith.
-A few awesome days mountain biking.
-One particularly enjoyable day of climbing at Beacon Rock, WA.
I climbed some great routes and went on some good rides, but really it was all about guiding for me this summer. I put all of my focus and energy into guiding and overall I'd say it payed off. I had plenty of private guiding days and became much more comfortable in that role, which I previously found intimidating. There were certainly days--particularly when it was extremely hot--that felt tough, but all of that has been easily filtered through my seive-like memory hole. Toward the end of summer, Jordi and I beat the heat by swimming in frigid rivers:
Since school started, my climbing has been fairly limited. My attention has been focused on redpointing a route called "Bela Lugosi," a 5.12c at Broughton Bluff. The route is super technical, pumpy, and complex. It is the antithesis of straightforward sport climbing--the kind you find at, say, French's Dome. To stay in shape for "Bela," I have been training almost exclusively in my garage. I haven't gone to the gym much at all, which is fine by me for now. The other big news, which is bigger than anything else, is that our daughter was born!Her name is Anika Isabel Blumenstein Struck. Jordi's five-day labor was more trying than anything I've ever witnessed or experienced. We're both glad that is over and that now we can get on with having fun raising Anika.
'Cross season is in full swing, and I have only managed to get to one race--Alpenrose on October 3rd. Things were going ok until two laps to go, at which point I dropped anchor and had to drag my stinking carcass to the finish line to rot. No matter! As I've been saying for 13 years now, there's always next Sunday!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weekend Warriorship

I took it to the limit this past weekend & pulled off the Trifecta, which went like this:
Saturday: While Jordi and her aunt Amy went cross country skiing around Timberline & Government camp, uncle Andy and I spent the day skiing at Meadows. The tele turns were feeling groovy!

Sunday: The infamous "Bear Springs Trap" x-country MTB race. I have done this race many times over the years, and it is never easy. I managed 9th place in the Cat. 1 35-44 year old category, with a time of 2 hr. 56 minutes. I'll take it.

Monday: After Sunday's race I drove to Smith and spent all day Monday climbing with my buddy Aaron Webb. After a couple easy pitches, I sent my project, "Liquid Jade," (5.12b), and then we climbed a sweet 5.12a further up on the Shipwreck wall (a full 35 meter pitch--great fun!), and capped off the day with "Crossfire," 5.12a on the Karate Wall. Damn, what a climb! What a wall!

The only thing missing from this weekend are photos! I was too busy having the time of my life!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Breakdown

I've managed to send a few high quality routes during late winter, early spring. Highlights include "Dracula" (5.12a) at Broughton's, and "E-Type Jag" (5.11a) at the Upper Gorge at Smith. The Upper Gorge is a great crag and nobody was there during our two days spent there during spring break.

Our spring break ambitions were cut short by snow and rain, but I did get in one awesome day of skiing with my old friend Bernhard. Four cans of food earned us each a full day lift ticket at Ski Bowl. We were both feelin' it in our legs by day's end, but man, what fun.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gettin' Spanked

And that's as far as I got, every single damn time...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Colorful Colorado

We arrived in Colorado yesterday after an early morning flight. It feels like coming up for air...sunny & mid-50s temps...perfect.

Here is a shortlist of problems I'd like to check out:

On Flagstaff:
-NW Corner of Beer Barrel (V6).
-the "UCT"..Undercling Traverse (V9).
-Moffat Direct ... (V8).
-Just Right (V8).
-Hollow's Way (V8) .
-First Overhang (V5).

At Horsetooth:
-Pinch Overhang (V6?).

Carter Lake:
-Kahuna Roof (V5).

-Helicopter Direct (V6)

Meanwhile, here is a training secret: listen hard to this man:Nice technique, no?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Need More

The photo below documents Joe H.'s glorious failure, pitching off casually from the infamous "Chain Reaction." I made every effort to prod Joe up this thing, even going so far as to remind him that surely he could send a route that was the state of the art approximately 25 years ago. To no avail...Still, for every fall Joe took off of Chain, I took at least two off of my own path to personal glory...the ever-so-elusive and oh-so-mighty "Liquid Jade." Indeed, perhaps I am TOO STRONG TO SEND?! Why the magazine writers didn't come flocking to the Shipwreck Wall to document the power I emanated from my fingertips is beyond my comprehension. You people have no idea how truly amazing Joe and I are. Go on, diminish yourselves.

Meanwhile, the final 'cross race of the gargantuan Cross Crusade series is over, and while most folks in the ol' "blogosphere" were babbling about Molly Cameron's late race bobble, nobody expressed any interest in the REAL tragedy that took place not two laps in: my shifter getting clogged with mud, rendering it inoperable. Here's me, pre-tragedy:So graceful, so wonderful. Oh, what might have been!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Another Sunday, another 'cross race. Looking ahead...and looking behind...Either way it was ugly.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Saturday, Another Sunday

Saturday, October 17th: Great day of guiding a couple students at Smith Rock! We did some great multi-pitch climbing, followed by some cragging, all in a marathon day...left Portland in the early AM, returned home late, shattered, and psyched.The next day, Sunday, October incredibly hard 'cross race in Sherwood, Oregon. I look like a spring chicken in the photo below compared with how I looked when it was all over. Totally took me four days to recover.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recent Saturday, Recent Sunday

I've been getting in some solid Saturday climbing sessions, followed by Sunday 'cross races.

Saturday, October 10, Liquid Jade (12b) at Smith Rock:
I didn't quite get the send, but all the moves are easily's just a matter of linking. Next trip.

And then...Sunday, October 11th: a 'cross race at Rainier High School, Rainier, OR.:Tough race, as all of them are. The course at Rainier is incredible.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Liberatory Education & Killing The Thousand-Headed Dragon

Jordia on September 19th, 2009, after finishing 2nd in her age group and 7th woman overall in the Timberline Marathon, Mt. Hood, Oregon:
Then, after resting a few days, and enduring a week-long, influenza-induced torment, Jordia ran the Portland marathon on October 4th:

Meanwhile, school is full steam ahead, and I still have the wise words of Paulo Freire ringing in my ears after a good summer's read. There's lottsa learning going on, what with Jordia and her marathon, loads of bouldering, some cragging, and happily, a bit more late summer guiding for me. Finished up a great route called "Kashmir" (5.12a) at Broughton Bluff--a full 100' of climbing with trad and sport all mixed together. I managed it without too much difficulty.
Meanwhile, it's cyclocross season, and for me to be a part of it after 11 years, I have to check my ego and just go for it, despite now having fully made the transition to making climbing my primary extra curricular activity. There's always something new to learn, as I was reminded the other day by this befuddled broseph:I leave you with this little ditty, and some summer bounty...
'Tis the night before the 'cross race
butterflies in my trunk
but the worst of it is
my bowels be carryin' funk...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer Fun Time

This summer has been very busy with guiding and a little traveling here and there. Nothing too exciting. The above photos were taken at the City of Rocks in early July. I spent most of July guiding at Smith, and most of August renovating my garage. Yeehaw.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Guiding the Monkey

Guiding season is in full swing, and I had a great time guiding clients on Monkey Face on Sunday. Three other guides and I set up a tyrolean from the "Springboard" to the mouth, and then took them up via Panic Point to the top, from where they rappelled 200' to the ground. Great day of guiding for me, and fun for everyone.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Test of Endurance/Summertime Guiding

School's finally out for summer, and last week I started my "vacation" off right. I drove out to Smith Friday night, worked a guiding gig all day Saturday, drove to Corvallis Saturday night, raced the Test of Endurance 50-mile mountain bike race (5 1/2 hours on the bike...tough!), drove back to Smith Rock, and did a multi-pitch guide training all day Monday. I drove back home Monday night thoroughly worked over, but very psyched.

I'm hoping to get as much guiding work as possible this summer; it looks like I'll be out at Smith quite a bit. Monday's training renewed my motivation to pursue an AMGA Rock Instructor certification so I can legitimately guide multi-pitch terrain (of which there is plenty at Smith Rock). My fellow guides at Chockstone are great to work with; they are all quite unassuming, and totally accomplished climbers and guides. Monday's training was challenging, and gave me the perfect shift in perspective about climbing/guiding.

The Test of Endurance was very hard, but I expected as much and am happy that I finished. The amount of hard climbing in that race is sickening. I'm content with how I've been able to balance my interests in cycling and climbing...both are demanding and you can never stop improving in either pursuit.