Showing posts with label Bozeman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bozeman. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lava Lake Bouldering

We're continuing to explore Bozeman's local climbing. One place we happened to visit this weekend was Lava Lake--a bouldering area in Gallatin Canyon.

A bit more than two miles' hike and some minor tallus scrambling keeps this place pretty quiet--as evidenced by the lack of polished holds; even on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we were the only climbers there.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring Climbing in Montana

Though I grew up in Bozeman, I left to attend college in New Hampshire in 2000. And because I started climbing in 1999, I had just less than one year as a (total beginner) climber in Montana before leaving.

In the years since I moved away, I’ve been back to visit Bozeman numerous times. However, in the last few years—during which David and I have primarily been “on the road” for climbing—we never climbed in Bozeman. We always figured that, when in town to visit the family, we might as well take a break from climbing, and do other stuff that is best done with access to a shower—like hiking, biking and the like.
David on Silver Surfer Suit

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Fling 2013 at Spire Climbing Center

Bozeman, Montana's Spire Climbing Center held its annual Spring Fling competition on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13.

This two-day event features an adults-only Friday evening competition and a Saturday kids comp.

Over the course of the preceding work week, staff and volunteers strip the gym's entire main room of holds. These are then washed and assembled into routes over the course of 3.5 days (Tues, Wed, Thurs and early Fri). This is done in phases (i.e. one side of the gym at a time) in order to leave as much of the gym open to the public for as long as possible during the setting process.

Because of multiple finger injuries, I did not compete--but instead I worked as a route setter. Over the course of three days, I made 8 routes--each of which took me 3-4 hours to build. (I'm guessing that's a pretty average pace.)

This year, Spire's whole crew created 69 routes. If other setters were working at a rate of ~3.5 routes/ hr, this comp represented more than 240 man hours of route setting alone. That's not to mention all of the time spent stripping the walls, washing holds, fore running and scoring routes, cleanup, etc...

Though it was exhausting, the entire project was extremely fun to be a part of. I took many pictures of the process (below), and wrote an article on the competition for The Bozeman Magpie.

Check out the article here:

And results here:

Mammut athlete, Whit Magro, took second place for the men's adult open category. Good job, Whit!

 Evan Mathews, hundreds (or thousands?) of holds, and a blank wall. Tuesday morning.

 Aaron, Evan, Jeff and lots of equipment. Tuesday morning.

 Aaron and Evan pick through a bunch of brand-new holds. A real setters' treat.

Aaron shopping for holds.

Sweet Jon Scott butt shot. Tuesday morning. (Behind: an entire wall that needs to be torn down and reset.)

Evan and Joe test their harnesses.

Evan on a ladder.

Thursday: the west wall has been torn down and mostly reset. 

Friday: DJAJ (Aaron Hjelt) sets up for an evening of music and elk video projections.

Jeff Ho scores the routes.

Friday, just hours before the adult competition.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bozeman Climbing Team Article

Image Courtesy John Lageson

I started climbing in the fall of 1999 with the help of some of my closest friends. Though we were all teenagers at the time, these guys had already been climbing for years by the time I started. Members of the then young Bozeman Climbing Team, these guys already "knew the ropes" so to speak... forward 14 years. The Bozeman Climbing Team is still going strong, and many of the original team members--though long graduated from the team--still climb quite a lot.

I wrote an article commemorating the quirky Bozeman Climbing Team for a local newspaper, The Bozeman Magpie.

If you're looking for a light-hearted, quick read, please check it out!

Bozeman Climbing Team -- dirtbag hooligans and and lifelong friendships

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bishop Fail/ Whiskey Not Fail

Howdy ho! Ah yes. The cozy winter continues to roll on here in Montana. Our pants are getting tighter, and our skin is getting whiter.

Since my last post, David returned from Sweden. Our original plan had been to drive to Salt Lake City, say hello to the good folks at the Outdoor Retailer Show, and continue on to Bishop, California for a 10-day bouldering trip.

However, when David came back to the U.S., he brought with him a good, ol'-fashioned case of influenza! Whoops! And, you'll never believe it--but I came down with it, too! Crazy!

So anyway, the 12 days we would have spent travelling were instead used for sweating, shivering, aching, coughing and nose blowing. So it goes!

Yeah--it was definitely a bummer to miss out on a mid-winter sun week. Both of us would have enjoyed the vitamin D and climbing inspiration. Yet, in lieu of this trip, many other good things have happened:
  • David got a job! And one he really likes!
  • We've continued to deepen our interest in jiu jitsu... and
  • We cornered a local hero into taking us out to Whiskey Gulch--a bouldering area about 90 miles west(ish) from Bozeman.

Though I grew up in the fair "City" of Bozeman, and was actually a fringe partaker of the early Whiskey Gulch days, nowadays we definitely need an interpretive guide to get to Whiskey and find our way around the place. In the 14 years since I spent time there, a lot of development has taken place... and a lot of brain cells have died floated away. (Not to mention that, according to David, my skin is now saggy.)

If you ask me, a partly cloudy day in Montana in February is a little too cold for effective climbing. But if you ask David, the conditions were perfect! So we put on our long underwear and super large down jackets, and took some photos.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cozy Winter

It’s funny—whenever I stop travelling, and settle down somewhere for a bit, I also stop writing blog posts. I guess that’s because, in a superficial way, life feels a lot less interesting when you’re bedded down in one location. Whether I’m living in Utah or Montana, I’m less inclined to take photos, and also less inclined to share anything on the blog.

But I realize that’s a strange and inaccurate way to look at it. Because in the last 3-4 years—even though I’ve been to a bunch of places, and climbed on a lot of random rocks—the lifestyle I’ve been living is pretty monotonous—even if it was pretty sweet for a while!

Climb, rest & work, repeat. Always chase dry weather, and never spend too much money. Work in a café all day, milking the purchase of a single drip coffee. Add in a bit of “getting rained out,” “camping and cooking in really cold weather,” and “sleeping uncomfortably,” and the picture gets a little less idyllic.

So here I sit in Bozeman, having not touched a real rock in nearly two months (gasp!). And, though it would be a total lie to say I don’t pangs of nostalgia looking at friends’ climbing photos, it would also be a gross untruth to say that I’m bored or even well-rested.

Since coming to Montana in November, David and I have had a great time opening our lives up to the Wonderful World of Non-climbing Adventures! We’ve been getting outside to sled, run and x-c ski. I’ve been working a lot, and doing it in a comfortable spot right by the wood stove. And this winter, we’re actually really psyched every time it snows.

We’ve been building problems at the climbing gym, and even getting to know some of the folks there. We’re eating better than ever, with easy access to a grocery store and a fridge. We've been spending lots of time with family! And we’ve recently both committed to the mandatory half-year contract at the local MMA gym, where we’ve been mostly taking Brazilian jiu jitsu. Sweet!

From a climbing perspective, both David and I are really excited about the chance to have an entire season to focus primarily on training. Yes, yes, we train during climbing season—but the honest truth is that, even if we train regularly during climbing season, the training always takes somewhat of a back seat. Naturally, I’m having somewhat of a hard time avoiding a mental dip not knowing what I’m training for… but I also think it’s totally natural to fall into a slump during this cold, dark and cozy time of year.

So, in a nutshell, that’s why I haven’t been posting anything. But whatever! I’m sure I’ll get outside and climb a rock at some point in the future. And I'll take a picture of it, and post it here for you to see. Meanwhile, it’s wood stoves and indoor climbing for me!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Family Visit: Climbing and Such in Montana and Wyoming

David's brother, Rickard, flew in from Sweden to visit us for a few weeks. Though his time isn't up yet, we've already covered a lot of ground.

Rickard spent his first two days in Bozeman. There we did some jetlag-friendly, mellow hikes - like up to Sacajawea Peak from Fairy Lake and the classic "M." 

Since then we've been in Ten Sleep. We've done a mix of hard and easy climbing days. And though we haven't always been good about taking pictures, we still took several during some easy days at Circus and Slavery Walls.

En route to the ridge of the Bridger Mountains beneath Sacajawea Peak

David and I on the ridge

Rickard looking good as a silhouette 

Rickard taking it easy at Circus Wall

Me doing the same

Rickard at Circus Wall

Steve (the dog), David and Rickard hiking out of Circus Wall

Me warming up at Slavery Wall

David doing the same with storms approaching

David at Slavery Wall



Ten Sleep Canyon in Fall

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Three Weeks in Montana, Some Swedes, and Lots of Hiking

We spent the most of May in and around Bozeman, Montana. 
David's parents came from Sweden for an amazing visit. We hiked nearly every day, saw a huge portion of Montana, ate a lot of awesome food... and got married! Here are some photos of our weeks together:

The parents (some of which are jetlagged and used to sea level), approaching the summit of Baldy, a mountain in the Bridger Range.

The Swedes hiking about 5,000 vertical feet (to 8914') in five miles to reach the summit of Baldy. Jet lag? No problem!

 Baldy's summit

 My mother arriving at the top in style

 Smoked salmon, creme fraiche, chives and lemon on toast: a Swedish classic

 A herd of bison on the Turner Ranch in Gallatin Canyon 

 Hiking up to Storm Castle in Gallatin Canyon

 View down into Gallatin Canyon from Storm Castle

Off-roading parents

Though we're really sad to say goodbye to the families, we're looking forward to some great months of rock climbing this summer....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bozeman Area Climbing: The Hanta Virus Cave and Natural Bridge

I haven’t properly lived in Montana since 2000. A huge portion of the climbing here has been established in the time after I moved away. So on our drive north from Vegas, we started sending text messages to climber friends here – to see if we could tag along and get some guided tours of the area’s local climbing.
Our first day back in town, we followed friend,  Kevin Volkening , to the Hanta Virus Cave in Gallatin Canyon. We enjoyed a fabulous and long warm-up route, and then a suberb ass-kicking on some steep-ass “jug” hauls.
Our first sport(/roped) climbing day since November: check.
The next day,  Kevin  took us to Natural Bridge (south of Big Timber), where we happened to run into  Kyle Vassilopoulos  and friend Jonathan Scott, the area’s main developers. For me it was too cold to climb (shade + wind), so I didn’t even mess around with it. ( David  and  Kevin  have manlier circulation than I, so they climbed a lot.) But we got a thorough area spray-down and look forward to going back.
It turns out that Montana is the perfect place to be in March... at least this year. T his freakishly warm winter is providing us with amazing sport climbing and bouldering conditions. AND WE’RE NOT CAMPING ANYMORE.
Poopy butt after "eating sh*t" on the way out from the Hanta Virus Cave

Snowy approach to t-shirt climbing

Natural Bridge, Montana

Kevin Volkening climbing on Shipwreck Rock at Natural Bridge


Notice the river flowing out through the rock at Natural Bridge

Goin' home