Skinny Moose Media Ahoy!

25 06 2008

vice/virtue has moved to a new blog network.

Thank you, Skinny Moose Media, for inviting me into the fold.

And people, it’s not selling out if you’re not even famous. Yet. Mark my words, I’ll soon be drinking toddies with Strong Steve and playfully ruffling Czech wonderkinds‘ hair while Rock & Ice pays to photograph the goings-ons. That’s all the fame I desire.

Check me at

Steve McClure Can Crimp My Crag Any Day

23 06 2008

Strong Steve McClure

Before the cheers (and possible jeers) for Sonnie Trotter quieted down, Steve McClure made his own Rhapsody (E11 7a 5.14c) ascent with characteristic bravado. Some would disagree with my assessment. They say he’s a humble, modest man. Now, I don’t know him, but based on quotes and video clips, I imagine him practically swaggering up Dumbarton Rock. This is no insult. He is hands down my favorite climber this season. His nonchalance and apparently being a decent guy totally makes up for braggadocio. But then, don’t all American girls go bonkers for British accents?

And what does any girl do when she’s keen? Googles the guy, of course!

Random facts I’m happy to know about Steve McClure:

  1. He’s a father! Oh, that’s nice.
  2. Both his father and mother were climbers – put him on lead at 7, 8, or 9 years old.
  3. His childhood nickname was “Bush-Head.” Currently, he’s known as “Strong Steve.”
  4. He has the brain of an engineer, not an artist. And he’s good with his hands on, you know, technical stuff.
  5. He’s ok with recreational climbers. Mostly because they stay indoors.
  6. Once said grades were invented to start arguments.

Plus, this weekend I was begging out of leading 5.9 in a drizzle, feeling like a scaredy-pants, explaining I would never feel right about hands and feet popping due to wet rock not lack of skill. And today, I read that Strong Steve is “uninspired” by climbing loose rock because “not only climbing skills are being tested, a certain amount of luck is involved.” We even think alike! Why, I’m tickled pink.

Thanks to and for the info.

For Steve’s personal commentary on Rhapsody, grade-related and otherwise, visit Climb Magazine.

Link Cam Inspection Notice & Update: Axle Nut

19 06 2008

Omega Pacific is requesting that Link Cam owners inspect their Link Cams for a potential defect recently discovered.

“As of this posting, the incidents are extremely rare and are not considered widespread, but we feel that it is in the best interest of climbers’ safety to inform the climbing community of the potential for this problem. Should any Link Cam owner wish for us to perform the inspection, we will be happy to do so. Please contact us for information how to prepare the return.”

To determine if your Link Cam should be sent back for repair or replacement:

1) Identify the side of the cam with the nut.

2) Identify whether the axle is “peened” or “mushroomed” over the round nut.

Correct: The axle-end is smooth and flatter.

Incorrect: The axle-end is sharp and has concavity.

Correct: no threading from the axle should be seen.

Incorrect: some threads may be visible beyond the nut.

3) Apply some counter-clockwise force to the nut and attempt to remove it from the axle. It should not rotate. Some very minor movement may be within specification, but you should NOT be able to rotate the nut more than a few degrees.

“If your cams fail this examination – or if you are in doubt of the results for any reason – we request that you contact us at 1-800-360-3990 to arrange for the return of your cam(s). We will repair or replace them as necessary.

We apologize for this inconvenience. Please feel free to contact us for any additional information.”

Michael Lane
Sales & Marketing Director
800.360.3990 toll-free
509.456.0170 international


Don’t Knock It Til You Do It

12 06 2008

Sonnie Trotter on the sharp end

For once, I have an opinion and it has nothing to do with the environment or charity.

After Sonnie Trotter redpointed Dave MacLeod’s Rhapsody on Dumbarton Rock in Scotland (see here too), he made a blog post along these lines:

It won’t be long before I’ll say or do something that people won’t like, accept or understand and I’ll be the easy target for smack talking and trash mocking [about] the fact that I only choose climbs that will gain me visibility and that I only ‘redpoint’ after X-treme toproping sessions, so therefore I am not a true climber of soul. It will go donw like this —

“Talk to me when he does something from the ground up.”

“I heard he doesn’t climb ice, what a puss.”

“but did he do the extension?”

“Did you hear he used a rubber knee pad for the crux?”

“Oh my, what a cheater.”

“It wasn’t a flash, he fell off the first hold and then got back on again.”

Oh and let’s not forget that I am a sponsor whore, a prostitute for free shwag and food stamps.

To this, I must say, the man shouldn’t even have to think about haters. This was the second ascent of a E11 7a (5.14c R) – the first of it’s kind in 2006 – so the only one who could possibly smack talk Mr. Trotter would be Mr. MacLeod himself. About the knee pad, maybe… But no one else.

Trotter had to take monetary donations from other climbers to fund his last days at Dumbarton. Their generosity was amazing, but should full time climbers really have to live on squat to stay credible? I personally hope Trotter finds as many corporate Johns to sponsor him as possible – just to keep the mad ascents coming. (It’s not like a Petzl rep went and chiseled holds for him on Rhapsody or Direquiem.)

So yes, I’m ranting. I’m using this space to support the doers and decry the posers who’ll say anything to look tough. Seems to me that climbing at your highest level means focusing on your own self. Do your thing the way you think it should be done. And leave it at that.

This is the only thing that irks me about the climbing community. People talk about the purity of the sport. How it’s been besmirched by the influx of “impure” athletes. Sounds like scary talk to me. Also, it’s sad when home grown spots like Hueco get overrun by climbing “tourists,” but such is the evolution of a sport.

Where would the impetus for opening new routes, problems, and territories come from if you could hold onto the past?

Reminds me of the interview with Reinhold Messner that was floating around the blogosphere a while back. The man has no fear of the future. Not only does he not have to poo-poo today’s rock climbers to make his achievements look more astonishing, he doesn’t feel like he has to, either. (That makes sense, right?)

But then, I’m an iconoclast. And I can get fierce. Um, yeah. Congrats, Sonnie! I’m sure you’re not above hatin’, posin’, and say, bemoanin’ sport routes or something, but in this case, you done good.

(Oh, and, check this Sonnie Trotter training video.)

Health, Empowerment, Research, and Advocacy

11 06 2008

HERA for short. This Women’s Cancer Foundation has been everywhere lately. Besides Climb4Life events, founder and cancer survivor Sean Patrick is drumming up funds through the Partners in Action program.

Women’s Adventure magazine is newest to the list. That means every subscription sends $5 toward ovarian cancer research and advocacy.

Most exciting, HERA is partnering with the Sterling Ropes Recycling Center in conjunction with their Climb4Life event in Boulder this weekend. Eco-conscious Coloradoans are welcome to drop off their worn-out nylon cords. Friday from 3 – 6pm at the local REI. Saturday from 8 – 10am at the Boulder Rock Club. (Normally you’d have to send them in – but still a great option for greening your climbing gear.)

If you’re in the market for new gear, I’ve seen HERA emblazoned on special-release climbing products from Mad Rock to Petzl…

Mad Rock HERA Pad

Mad Rock just released the HERA Pad – a lightweight bouldering crashpad made for women climbers. $139.95 with $6 destined for the cancer foundation. Closed size: 24″x36″x10″. Open size: 48″x36″x5″.

Evolve HERA shoeIn May, Evolve unveiled the HERA women’s climbing shoe. The narrow, non-aggressive fit and extended toe rand make for a comfortable all-arounder. Perforated upper for breathability. Three grooves in the rubber above the big toe designed to relieve pressure as you maneuver on edges. $109 online with standard custom add-ons like split sizing. 1% of online and dealer profits head straight to HERA.

HERA hangboardJason Kehl shaped this minimalist hangboard for HERA and Priced at a not-bad $47.50 and promising 5% of sales to support the cause.

HERA climbing holdsAlso available on, five HERA-themed sandstone holds for $25 with a 5% donation rate.
HERAbinerPun of the day – the HERABINER – courtesy of Petzl. $13.95 each. $1 for its namesake.

P.S. As far as I can tell, the BlueWater Lightning Pro rope from BlackJack Mountain Outfitters is no longer available.

Climb Up Summer Summit Challenge Part 2

9 06 2008

Quick update.

It’s official.

As part of the Climb Up so Kids can Grow Up Summer Summit Challenge, I’m climbing Mr. Rainier over the 4th of July weekend.

Now seeking sponsors. Spare change, dolla dolla bills, gold fillings, personal checks, anything helps. As little or as much as you can afford. It’s all tax-deductible. Contact me for more info.

Donations go to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS. Their work delivers “cost-effective relief, services, medical and social support, education and advocacy” to help HIV positive children in Africa.

Thanks in advance for your encouragement and sponsorship!

Live Intensely…

4 06 2008

But not this intensely.

Office Worker Goes Absolutely Insane

I’m on a roll today. My CEO sent this to me.


Climb more, nervous breakdown less.