Saturday, December 27, 2008

Blue Skies, Perfect Temps, and Velcro Friction.

Yeah, right. Quite the opposite. More like, "Can't even see the sky because we're engulfed in a cloud, its 70 degrees in December, and its 398% humidity." Lovely, to say the least. Near perfect climbing conditions... if you're a fuckin Gorilla in the Congo.
Hold up... it wasn't ALL bad. In fact, Christmas day was actually near perfect. Ines and I decided to stop at LRC since it was closer than HP40, so we could get more climbing in. We warmed up, and I headed back to Cleopatra to try and get my revenge. Stuck the hard move with NO problem. Then fell a move later. Again. Again. Again. Finally stick the "last" of the hard moves. Fall off the top. Apparently it isn't over, huh? Little break.... send. My first "real" V8 took WAY more skin than I had anticipated, but I'm glad to have donated. Now I'm just gonna stand near that problem and spew beta whenever I can.

Then came the rains.

We met up with Joe "this shit is wack, yo" Kinder and his better half, Colette, and Ryan Johnson to head up to Dayton Pockets, in hopes that the roof would hold some dry rock. A little damp... but we had a fun day despite the conditions.

Ryan crushing, and me doing my patented "Super Speed Kung Fu Spot".

Me, coppin a feel on Colette. Joe's too busy with the camera to notice...

Me workin out the moves on "Sand Blasting Skin".
After we worked our abs into submission, and after much deliberation, weather checking, and calzones the size of footballs, Joe, Colette, Ines and I headed for Rocktown.
This is what we awoke to:

Natalie and the Pimp Van, engulfed in a cloud.

No go on the rock scaling. I'm back home in Cincy. Gonna chill with Katy for a couple of days... then make another assault on Rocktown. Weather looks good and I'm gunnin for a problem called "The Vagina"... what could be better?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I had quite a bit of time to think today. 5 and a half hours, to be exact. Just as I was leaving work, all of nature conspired against me, and coated all of Cincinnati and the surrounding area in just enough ice to make driving seem impossible. And it seems, it WAS impossible for the people who had to go the same routes I did... because every way I went there was a roadblocking accident or 3. Should have taken an hour... took over 5. Not very productive.

No matter. Natalie (my Element) and I were just fine. In fact, she's been nothing but great. I had no intention of buying an Element, but on my way to car shop, my friend Justin said "You don't want a Hyundai... you want a Honda". Apparently I did, because I bought her an hour later. Anyway, this isn't about Natalie. I'll dedicate a blog to her later.

Like I said... time to think.

Heres what I thought about:

My new Sierra Designs BTU jacket. Warm. Hot. I look damn good in it.

Christmas with Katy. This isn't my favorite time of year, but she makes it all worth it. We had an immense amount of fun shopping, wrapping, and taking photos.
Bouldering... or more importantly, bouldering on good ole Southern Sandstone. Photo by Anna Hayes.

I leave in 28 hours for Horsepens, to start on my V9 projects. Shit, I don't even have a clue what V9 is going to feel like. Probably something akin to spending 5 and a half hours driving home on the ice...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Southern Sandstone and Sweet Potato Pie

My tips aren't shredded. Instead, they're just worn through. Raw. I love it. However, I've not remotely reached the level of dedication my friend "Badash" Hamilton did at the Triple Crown in LRC last weekend (where, incidentally, she took 2nd in womens advanced... go Ash!) Badash showin off the dedication it takes. Photo by Dan Brayack.

I've been here at LRC for a couple of days now, losin skin with a great crew of people. Ana Hayes, Catherine West, Shannon Lamb, Keenan Connor, and some other psyched climbers. I've been tourin the classic 5's, 6's, and 7's. Bouldering is hard. Fuckin hard. I'm not so good at it, but I will be. Winter will bring me power.... bet on it. Just to throw my hat over the fence... the goals for the winter are "The Orb", "The Vagina", and a V9... not sure which. I'll be coppin feels on all the good ones I run across to find the right one. If you don't hear about them on here by March... talk shit about me. I would about you...

I'm currently sitting in a nice warm apartment, with about 11 people and 3 dogs, eating the most amazing sweet potato pie you could imagine, courtesy of Jesse Cherry and Brian Tuteur. They've not only graciously opened their home to us, but cooked us crabcakes, potato and veggie stew, and sweet, sweet, sweet potato pie.

Jesse is a particular inspiration to watch climb. 11 months ago she took a bad fall at TWall, breaking her pelvis in 3 places, fracturing a vertabrae, and breaking a wrist. Today she hiked her most recent project, "Super Mario", a great V4. (This, after working 2 full time jobs the day before, getting home at 7am and sleeping only about 5 hours.) I've never seen someone so excited. She had to pause for a few minutes on the topout so as not to shake herself off with excitement. I had decided my day was over, but riding on the wave of her excitement, went on to do a V5 and flash a V6. Thanks Jesse! Next time I want to whine about something...anything... I'll think twice.

One more day here till Xmas. More to come later...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

808's and Heartbreak

I've been procrastinating on writing a new blog. Instead, I've been reading what everyone else does from day to day. Since most of my favorite bloggers have been absent the past few days, I've given in, sat down, and now here I am, typing aimlessly.

Actually, I almost have a reason. I've been listening to Kanye's new masterpiece, "808's and Heartbreak". Genius. Its where Andre 3000 left off with "The Love Below", and a wonderful throwback to Stevie Wonder, only more melancholy, and much more modern. If you aren't bumpin it right now, then well, you should be.

Thing is, I can't get sad. I'm trying to use it to channel unsettling memories, so I can get the full "heartbreak" experience. The memories are all there, from the death of my brother, to the "what ifs" left over from the amazing woman in Canada. I'm just at a place in my life where I see how those things have shaped me, and in realizing this, they are no longer "sad" memories.

I'm climbing better than ever. Work is surviving the economic disaster mostly intact. Kaitlynn keeps growing up, and just handily won her first ABS comp. Music has been strangely satisfying lately. I have no complaints. I almost wish I'd heard this album 2 years ago so that I could really connect with and appreciate it.


Just when the best collection of melancholy melodies that hiphop could produce hits the shelves, I'm all good.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Justin Timbodub... that girl is crazy!

If you don't already, go check out my girl Misty Murphy's blog... absolutely hilarious. Hysterical. I can't believe she posted that photo of me... Haha!

Don't stop there though... read through her blog. I promise you'll laugh out loud...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New friends, New family

Its true, I'm a bit of a loaner. Maybe it comes from a childhood that was less than secure. Maybe it springs from a decade of strictly trad climbing in the sport climbing paradise of Red River Gorge. Or more likely, it comes from having to disown every friend I knew at 19, so that I could stay out of jail, or worse. Probably much worse.

Recently I've forced myself to be more social in situations when I'd normally find my own space. I actually wrote it into my training program. Silly, but it worked. I've gained a number of friends and connections I never would have realized otherwise. Like switching from slab to steep, I'm happy to be versatile enough to feel comfortable at the party, or listening to it from my sleeping bag.

Last weekend I was in New River Gorge for the Deadpoint Magazine launch party. Someone asked me how I got hooked up with the event, and with the crew from the New. I'm not even sure what my answer was... something long and drawn out, fueled by PBR, I'm sure. That question though, has gotten me thinking.

I've only seen these people once or twice a year... and only for three short years. Why does it seem like I've known them forever?

The answer is simple. It's just them.

I have my daughter, and I have my grandparents, and that's all the family I have. But maybe not...

It didn't really occur to me until my lovely friend Lydia pointed out, while gesturing toward super woman Maura Kistler, "...and there's the denmother."

Since day one, everyone of these people has gone out of their way to make me feel at home. Maura and Gene Kistler. Kurt and Elaina Smith. Kenny Parker. Matt and Megan Stark.

I'm indebted to all of you for the hospitality. Thanks for making me feel like family. In turn, I plan on making myself a nuisance. The New might never get old...

Launch Lessons.

If you aren't already familiar (you should be), make a point to visit Deadpoint Magazine Online. I'm betting there's a stack of the print issues already waiting at your gym or local gear store. Pick it up. Don't pay for it. Sneak it out. Oh... wait... you don't have to... its FREE!!! Both online and print. Take it home. Shit, take home 12 and pass them out to your friends, your neighbors, your grandma, and your shrink. Regardless, be sure to peep it online. You'll get videos, extras, and yes... a new song from yours truly. Just check it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rocktoberfest and The Heffalump

Lets see... here we are again and I can't even tell you what the date of my last post was... 3 weeks ago? I dunno. Who cares. Since there are 4829473892384 climber blogs out there, I'm sure I'm hardly missed. Fact is, I'd rather read Sonnie Trotter and Joe Kinder's blogs than write my own. Ha.
First off... The Heffalump. Now, when this route used to have an attitude, it was called "Elephant Man", a steep bouldery 13b up the center of the main wall at the extra sharp and angry Darkside wall in Red River Gorge. I tried it 7 times in the spring... but just wasn't ready. Maybe it was mental. On 3rd try this fall... once the temps got back to heading toward crisp... I clipped the chains. I can't say it wasn't a fight, but it sure felt good. It can no longer burden me with its bad attitude, so I've renamed it, in my own thoughts, "The Heffalump".
On to Rocktoberfest. I was slated to emcee this event, which was a long time coming. Last year the RRG hosted the Petzl Roctrip, which was, for all intents and purposes, the first REALLY big event we had pulled off. This event, however, didn't have the benefit of help from the Roctrip. This was all RRGCC. Yes, there were glitches. Yes, it could have been bigger. All in all though, it turned out to be a great event, with some great people. Tommy Caldwell, Daniel Woods, Justen Sjong, Emily Harrington (who knew she was built like that... if you get a chance, watch her walk away, you won't be disappointed!), Micah Dash, Cedar Wright, Whitney Boland, and Sonnie Trotter all came out to teach clinics, socialize, enjoy the party, and crush some of the Red's amazing sandstone. I had a particularly nice conversation with Sonnie about alot of things other than climbing. Its nice to chat with somebody who is just layin in the cut, enjoying what life has given him. Sonnie is for real... an extra psyched, extra nice guy. Check out his blog... its well written and entertaining.

I gotta put that guy in a song for something other than his prowess with the climber ladies... haha!

So whats next? Started work on Paradise Lost, a SWEET 13b arete in Red River at Purgatory. I've been on it 3 times, and I'm falling off the top. We'll see how that goes.

My friend Justin Riddell on Paradise Lost, 13b. Photo by Scott James.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Butt of the joke...

Now, to say the least, I can be sarcastic. I suppose I've offended a person or two along the way with my bluntness, sarcasm, and willingness to just call somebody out.

The most exciting thing about it for me is when somebody hits me back... creatively. Not just "my dad could beat up your dad" shit... but real wit.

Years ago, an icon of Red River climbing, Chris Snyder, and I, got into a little verbal war. I ended up saying some things that might have been inappropriate and I got kicked off the forum we were arguing on. Haha... my former climbing partner owned and ran the site... but his moderators and admins collectively voted that I had gone too far. I agreed.

In the past year we've made peace. It only makes sense now that I'm clippin bolts and we see each other at the crag at least once a month... usually more. Not too long ago, he posted a comic strip on that same website,, that was about me.

My thoughts on it? Hysterical. Absolutely genius.

My point is, if you're going to be a sarcastic ass, try hard to see the genius behind what other's say about you. In this case... my hat's off to Chris.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

In desperate need of project patience...

I was starting to get irritated. See, I suck at projecting routes. I've only climbed 13a, and the longest I've worked on one is 5 tries. Beer Belly, a sweet Mike Doyle route in Red River, looked like it was gonna go fast. I fell at the last move on my 2nd go. And my 3rd. And my 4th. And my 5th.

Now I was in new territory. Was it in my head? Was it the humidity? Was it my tweaked shoulder? Do I suck? Should I take up badminton?

6th go... not even close. Fell all over it.

7th go... last move... again. Shit.

Finally, on the 8th go, I stick the damned move. Finally.


Setting up for the crux...

The crux, just before the big throw...

NOT sending, but at least I look good doing it...

After Beer Belly, I began work on its neighbors, Spank (13a), and Dirty Smelly Hippie (13b). Spank wasn't bad... a 12a to the worlds greatest jug, followed by 18 feet of STEEP "I can't clip from these holds sloper slappin". After a couple of big falls off the last few moves, it went down on go #4. Back to normal.

Dirty Smelly is similiar to Spank... except the crux is much harder. That is, till I found the kneebar right in the middle of it on go #2. I think it'll go within 5. Problem is, those last moves are hard. Guess I'd better learn, huh? The cooler weather is comin fast, and I've got 13b's to send.

Monday, August 11, 2008

JATD 2008... a time for work, fun, and reflection

JATD. Johnny and Alex Trail Day.
Several years ago, two friends of mine passed away within a few months of each other. John Bronaugh and his son, Alex Yeakley both embodied the Red River Spirit. This trail day, as John organized the first one, is their annual memorial. I'd been asked to speak at the afterparty, and Kaitlynn and I were excited about attending to put some labor back into the trails we use every weekend.
Katy and I got up EARLY. 5a.m. ish early... We rolled into the Red right on time, and met up with friends to get to work out at the PMRP. Kaitlynn, my friend Melissa, and I set to work at The Shire, rebuilding the eroding ground at the base of the wall with a motivated crew of people, many of whom we knew... Jon, Jordan, Dr. Bob, and some others.
It was a hot day, but everybody toughed it out and got an amazing amount of work done. Kudos to all who slaved away in the KY humidity!
Kaitlynn after a hard days work.

After the work, we headed to the lake at Lago Lindas. Here we met up with Tina Bronaugh and Johns youngest son, Jesse. Melissa and I hit the lake while Jesse and Kaitlynn canoed around. Now, I'm no Michael Phelps. Fact is, the water is just not my comfort zone. However, when we decided to head across the lake to the slip-n-slide, I decided to shelf my fears, and swim the distance. I just focused on relaxing, and it wasn't so bad. Maybe the 2012 Olympics and I'll give Phelps a run for his money...
The slip-n-slide was great fun. Kaitlynn finally got on, and once she did, there was no stoppin her. Apparently, the slip-n-slide isn't my forte either. Some of those guys were pros...

Melissa, Katy, and I... crushin the slip-n-slide.

Next up: Dinner. Great food, beer, and chatting with friends. I got to chat with Melissa some more, which was nice. Shes excited about climbing, and wants to sponge whatever info she can... and since I love to spray my philosophies around, its a great match! An amazing bluegrass band played, and during their break, several people spoke about John and Alex. Matt Tackett got pretty emotional... which led to the rest of us being emotional. Funny how that happens. The band started back up, picking up spirits, everybody danced, and of course, the beer was still flowin. I'm gettin old, but I think I held out till most were headed for bed. So did Kaitlynn... crankin pullups on the ceiling beams till the wee hours. Pullups?? Where did those come from? She'll be crushin everybody before long...

In a few days its off to Salt Lake. First to Maple Canyon for Cobblefest, then to the OR. More shows with Misty, more climbing, and more beer, I'm sure. Can't wait!

Special Thanks to Wes Allen for the JATD photos. See his more of his incredible camera wizardry at

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lander, Wyomin'

Ok, so I suck at updating this. It can only get better, I think. Of course, there's always the prospect of complete abandonment, which is never out of the question... but lets hope for otherwise.

The last few weeks I've been riding a whirlwind, which dumped me off at the airport in Salt Lake City. There, I met up with good friend and wonder woman Devaki Murch, who whisked me away to lunch and to meet with my ride to Wyoming. Muchas gracias Devaki... you seem to always save the day in your invisible jet! Misty hooked me up with the ride (thanks Misty!) with her friend Damien, a cool Argentinian who brought along his girl and their bouncy little dog. Even though the car was packed... the drive was fast and fun.

Destination: Lander, Wyoming.

Morning 1 in Lander I hooked up with Chris Lindner and crew to do some climbing at Wild Iris. The rock there is the polar opposite of the Red... short, bouldery, and slippery. I loved it. Got in a couple really good mid-12's and tried a 13a.

Two Kinds Of Justice 12b/c... Spencer belaying.

After belaying Chris on the famous "Throwin The Houlihan" 14a, which looks impossible, and takin some big falls off of "When I Was A Young Girl, I Had Me A Cowboy", 13a, we headed back to to the hotel for some Mexican cookin.

Now... Chris is sponsored by Camp Chef, so he brings these huge incredible camp grills and cookware with him, and makes these elaborate dinner (always in a tortilla) every night. I'm a Chef Boyardee kinda guy, so it was fun to witness all this. While Carlos was videotaping the Chris Lindner Cookery show, the hotel management showed up at the door.... told us we couldn't cook there!! However, the show must go on. We set up the grill in the middle of the alley in back of the hotel. Haha. It was comical to say the least!

Chris finding the spatula he'd just sent Scotty to find... for the 2nd time.

Chillin in the alley with Chris.

After the tortilla fest, we headed to the bar so I could emcee the raffles and introduce Chris to the Lander crowd, where he would be showing his movie "Spray".

Its amazing how the climbers and cowboys coexist there. No tension at all... just beer and laughs.

Next day I headed to Wild Iris with Misty Murphy and her hubby Bill. Misty and I had just met, despite doing several songs together, and I think we were both nervous about how we'd get along. It didn't take much time to realize that we were both a little off our rockers and we all had a great time. Bill is one of those silent strong men who has developed as many sport routes as most people ever climb. Those kinds of guys deserve way more credit than they get...

I tried "When I Was A Young Girl..." several more times... falling off the final move twice. I was pretty psyched to be close to a 13a in an area other than the Southeast, that didn't fit my style, and on completely foreign rock. I didn't even intend to try anything hard... but after my first go, I thought I might have a chance. Only one day left though...

The "Rose Move" on "When I Was A Young Girl I Had Me A Cowboy", 13a

That night, I had to perform at the festival, and Misty and I were going to do our song "Float", a tribute to Todd Skinner... who's family were going to be present. NERVES!!! We were both pretty nervous, but we got the sound system set up (finally), and ran through the song once... our first time doing it together. It went great. Now for the real thing....

Once the crowd thickened, and the dyno comp was finished, I took the front and center position. Of course, its not hard to get climbers to listen when you talk about climbing... so I had their attention from the get go.

A few songs in, I brought Misty up to perform "Float". All these people staring at us were friends and family of Todd... including his wife and children. Scary. We pulled it out... and the crowd loved it! Amy Skinner, Todds wife, came up and gave us hugs afterward. Phew!! Emotional...

Misty Murphy and Odub... Live in Lander

I finished out the show with a couple of big songs, and then to shouts of "Encore!", I did an acapella version of a "name dropping" song that Misty and I are working on. They were lovin it!

Misty and I hung out, sold CD's, talked to lots of drunk people.... and got our drink on as well.

It couldn't have gone better.

Next day I went climbing with the crew Misty had been camping with. Lots of laughs! Did a cool, slippery 12a called "Saddle Tramp"

Saddle Tramp 12a

Late in the day, Bill volunteered to hike WAY out to the Erratic to belay me on my last goes at "When I Was A Young Girl...". We arrived... and NO DRAWS. I had brought just enough to do it... and nearly sent it hangin the draws. Rested 20 minutes... and crushed it. Psyched! The coolest part... its an Amy Skinner FA.

So, Lander was amazing. The climbing was extra cool, the people were even cooler. I can't wait to make it back...

Big gigantic thanks to Misty and Bill (and Joe and Lily) for getting me back to the airport just in time!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008



I've been wearing Evolv climbing shoes (Predators) for several months now, and quickly decided they are the best shoes I've ever stuffed my feet into. That makes it even more exciting for me to become a part of their athlete roster! Joining Team Evolv means that I'll be joining with some of the best climbers on the planet... Sharma, Rands, Lindner... to wear and promote shoes made by an incredible company. Not only are they the greenest climbing shoe company on the market, but they go out of their way to be a force in the community. My kind of people. They're sending me the new "Optimus Prime", which I can't wait to put to rock...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gettin started...


I've spent the last year and a half getting to know sport climbing, training, and gyms. Things that, in my years as a traddie, I wasn't familiar with. I guess a 3 year layoff changes your perspective...
The gym training has been incredible. Sport climbing is a complex and beautiful dance, and I like to think I'm good at it. 13a's are coming easier and easier, and I've just started work on my first 13b's... Elephant Man and Shiva... both in the Red.

Got on Elephant Man after sending Tuskan Raider (12d), which shares the first bolt. Its full on from bolt 2 to bolt 6... then a bad stance... and another bolt of hard moves, followed by a 12a headwall. Power endurance at its finest.

Shiva is the opposite. I tried it after a 2nd go ascent of Tapeworm (12d pictured at right)... its neighbor. Shiva is steep 12a to a hard V7ish boulder problem, to more steep jugs. Should be fun to work on...


Where to start?? I've recently started a new project... one I'm extra psyched on. I'm working with an incredibly talented singer/songwriter/musician/climber/hottie named Misty Murphy from Utah. Check her out at We just released our first collaboration, entitled "Float", which is a remix of sorts of her song "35". "Float" is meant as a tribute to climbing legend Todd Skinner, a big influence in my climbing.

I've received several emails from friends and family of Todd, including from his niece Becca and his widow, Amy. It gives me chills that the people close to Todd are touched by our song. We'll be performing it in Todds hometown in July... I'm already nervous.

You can download "Float" here:


I have no complaints... none at all. Why is it that writing is better when there are complaints?? Work is good, money is good, life in general is, well... good. Just finished a great mural at work... Undersea theme in a room absolutely made for this mural. Is so much more fun to paint when it makes sense in the space...

My daughter, Kaitlynn, did her first lead climbs a few weekends ago! Led 3 more this past weekend. Only 10 years old. She'll be schoolin me in a few years, no doubt... I look forward to that, though. I asked her once how good she wanted to be at climbing... her immediate answer: "Better than you."

Won't be long...