Friday, November 21, 2014

Drinking the Cool Aid

Moby Grape rises just right of center and takes a wandering line for nine pitches to the top of Cannon Cliff. The Grape was first ascended by Joe Cote and Roger Martin in 1972. A mystery lives with the name - was it named after the British Rock group or was this the special drink Joe brought along for the day - Moby Grape Cool Aid? 

In the end Joe and Roger ended up climbing a fantastic 5.8 alpine rock line to the top. Today Moby Grape is one of the most climbed moderates on Cannon. The rock on this route is mostly solid, the climbing is varied, and the route finding is intricate. A day on Moby Grape is a a true Cannon experience!!! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Monashee Powder: The Cure to Fall Depression

Holly Walker shreds down the fluffy cold smoke.
Photo by Hans Christian Gulsvik 
It was deep, too deep. The fluffiness was up to my waist and after five minutes I didn't have the energy to go on. Mike Ship laughed at me while he pushed ahead, moving at a slow pace but breaking the trail. We skinned across the deep open flats with over 60cm of fresh snow and continued up 'Merlot' hill through the trees. The avalanche risk was high due to the ongoing storms and as we continued to ascend in the dense old growth spruce trees, we witnessed a size 2 slab avalanche on the open slope of the mountain across named 'Shiraz'.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Leaving Tahoe

I travel a lot. I get antsy at the slightest hint of a change of scenery. Movement is the one standard I’ve had all my life, epitomizing. Foot races, movement over stone. Not much for garden parties. Even movies are too slow for me, I need my eyes to scan the page to involve myself in the story. Camera movement does nothing to center my restless mind.

No matter what draw I feel to a place, there is a point where I need to extricate myself, cut ties, and start over somewhere new. This isn’t a healthy response, no, it’s a flight mechanism that I justify in terms of climbing.
“It’s too hot here”, I say.
“It’ll rain soon.”
I plan my travel around every excuse possible. Comps here, setting gig there.
“I haven’t seen my family in a while.”
“Projects, man. You understand.”

When I leave, it isn’t a slow process. There aren’t farewell parties or “See you laters”. I’m just off. Gone. Moving on. It’s like ripping off a band-aid, except the scratch hasn’t quite healed underneath. I decamp aggressively, with no regard for scabbing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Climb Like A Girl Red Rock, NV

Last week October 23rd to 26th I had the pleasure of running one of my Climb Like A Girl Clinics in Red Rock, NV. I can't say enough about this event and the women who learn, grow, become stronger and more capable climbers every season. This is the 12th season I have run this program in CO, NM, UT and now NV. Some of the gals are in their 1st season, some in their 12th, absolutely fantastic. The next clinic will be this winter in Ouray, multi day Ice Climbing Clinic the first weekend of February. Look for event details here and on my website Ripple Effect Training.
And I can't thank Mammut enough for providing the ropes, quick draws, harness, technical clothing to support my work. More soon from Carolyn in the Roaring Fork Valley!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pretty Faces Revolution

Welcome to the Pretty Faces revolution. There have been all female ski movies in the past, and many of them have been great films. What happened when Pretty Faces, the new Unicorn Picnic Production film came out was more of a paradigm shift than a shred fest. Pretty Faces has been getting a lot of press over the past few weeks and continues to gain momentum as it travels around the country and internationally. If I were to put a finger on why this film has been so well received, I would have to say that it is because of the great skiing, but it is also because of the relatable story it tells. We have all struggled to make it at some point in life, and Pretty Faces is a testament to the fact that if you stick with it for long enough, good things will come. For many of the women in the movie, this meant being able to ski amazing lines in stunning landscapes around the world. For me it meant showing the world that the east coast is not a barren wasteland of skiing, it is a beautiful peaceful, rugged, powdery, good time that deserves far more respect than it often gets. It is my motivation for waking up in the morning because I am always excited to see what the beautiful Vermont landscape has to offer.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Oh la!" Chamonix

Erin Smart on the ArĂȘte des Cosmiques with the glaciers of Mont Blanc in the background.
Photo: David Moscowitz

“Erin, it’s supposed to be hard, it's a hard climb. As you get better, it remains hard, the only difference is you are able to get up it.” My friend Mike told me this at the beginning of my climbing season this summer. Surprisingly simple to some, yet I had always believed that natural born climbers had an easy time on harder grades. Probably because they just make it look so easy.