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Climbing the Midi-Plan Traverse

My partner was sick yesterday so I went out on a solo mission and wanted to see some new terrain. Not knowing exactly what I was going to get into I packed my Deuter Speed Lite 20 and took off for the Aiguille du Midi. After leaving the Midi I could see the Aiguille du Plan and it seemed the obvious choice for an outing but I knew nothing about the route. In my Speed Lite 20 pack I brought a 7.5mm tag line if I needed to rappel, a half liter of water, one GU, my Petzl Altitude harness, my Reverso, Sarken crampons, a sling and locking carabiner, and my La Sportiva Hail Jacket. So I was definitely...

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One Hand Clove Hitch

The clove hitch is used in climbing for many different applications. It is handy for attaching oneself to an anchor because of the ease of adjusting it during its use. Tying it one handed can be of great benefit to secure yourself when you are hanging by one hand. Here is a tech video I made where Cody Bradford shows the one handed clove hitch.

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Ski strap skins (tech tip)

Ski straps have many uses. Today I found out a new one. As Lindsay, Buster and I got to the top of Red Mountain Pass and started getting our gear ready I heard some choice words coming from the back of the truck. Lindsay who was so psyched to use her brand new skis had just realized that she had forgotten her skins. It was a long ride back to Ouray and with out missing a beat Buster looked at me and asked how many ski straps I had. After digging around the truck we found six. We put the straps on the skis and were off to earn our turns. A few things we learned. Keep the straps under foot...

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Equivocation Hitch

The equivocation hitch, also known as the daisy of death, has been getting more mainstream use as of late in the guiding world. I went ahead and put together a tech tip for Fox Mountain Guides, and a few of us went out and "red-neck" tested it. The EQ hitch is useful in a few different situations; the main one being when the ends of the rope are not available. I find this happens when short-roping clients as well as cleaning a single pitch climb with a Gri-Gri counterbalance. The latter is usually less applicable since time is not much of an issue when working in single pitch terrain. It is also...

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Every day is the last best day

My early life was guided much by my grandfather and grandmother, Mamaw and Papaw as I refer to them.  Papaw would play endless hours of pitch and catch or sneak me out to McDonalds to get a cheeseburger and maybe stop by and get a pack of baseball cards against my grandmother’s knowing. He never had but just a few dollars in his wallet and we would always spend most of it. He joked that Mamaw would not let him have anymore. I assume that many of us have these fond memories of a grandparent, parent or loved one in our life.  As we grow older these memories carry us through good and bad days...

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The Gigi (In response to Steph Davis)

I am writing this blog in response to Steph Davis’s blog on the Gigi. I think the device is a bit confusing to the general user, and it takes more knowledge to use than one might think. While I agree with Steph that the Gigi is a great peice of gear,  I think that there are some thing to consider. One is weight. The Gigi is 2.4 oz; BD ATC-guide is 3.1 ; Petzl Reverso 4 is 2.1. So the Reverson IS lighter. The Gigi does tend to wear out--maybe not as fast but I am on my 2nd one and I don’t use them as often as my Reverso. They will last longer than the Reverso or ATC though. The Gigi...

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Coiling a Climbing Rope

Coiling a Rope        

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Carabiner Brake Rappel (Tech Tip)

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Locking Munter Hitch (Guide’s Tip)

Here is a guide's tip on the locking Munter hitch:

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The Solution

I have been climbing in the Red River Gorge for the last few days and have been noticing the humidity rising with the warmer temps. This equates to slimy holds, slick feet, and well... not sending. The solution: La Sportiva Solutions. Though marketed as a bouldering shoe, the Solution's sticky rubber wants to hold you onto the wall whether you are 10 feet off the ground or 50. I had worked a few 5.12s and was not having any luck fighting the pump on  the steep overhaning sandstone that the Red so readily throws in your face. So I threw on a pair of Solutions and onsited the very next climb. Today...

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Last Few Months in Review

  I have been neglecting my blog due to lots of work and training in the mountains. Here is a picture account of what I have been up to for the last few months. Hope you enjoy!                         After a great rock 101, I then headed west for some sun...           A quick layover in Boulder and we made our way over to Devils Tower...                 Up and down Liberty Bell...

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Wherever You Roam

I put this video edit together of Lindsay singing one of the songs she recorded a few years back. First real go at editing with very simple software. The Canon 7d shoots pretty amazing video for an SLR!

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Climbing on Dirt

I went to Fisher Towers today for the first time. Many people say it is an acquired type of climbing; I would now agree. It is mostly climbing on caked together dirt with the occasional pebble thrown in for a good hold. The climbing isn’t why I would go back and probably not the reason anyone would - it is the position: some of the coolest features one can get to the top of with the Utah canyon lands surrounding you!

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Another Day of Continuing Education

At the AMGA conference, there are many training opportunities. I have to attend continuing education every year to stay in the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Provider pool, so today I attended the SPI Current Provider training. It is great to work with other providers from around the country to learn new tips and techniques. It also helps make sure we are all on the same page when giving courses and exams.         Mick Pearson talking about how he teaches belaying in the AMGA SPI Courses. (left) Mark Hammond enjoying the early morning sun. (below)

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Hessi Chimney

Eric Wheewell, Lindsay Fixmer, and I went out to Hessi Chimney today.  It was fairly cold, but with the sun out, we got warm on the approach. The climbing was really good with sinker tool slots but very little ice. Great mixed climb to get warmed up on for this coming winter!

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Avi 3 Study Session

In guiding, there are many hazards that one must have great depth of knowledge about to be able to mitigate risk.  Snow stability is one of them. Eric works for Colorado Mountain School, and they  have random study sessions based on what training is coming up. He invited me to join a group of them studying for their Avalanche Level 3 course. I have to take this course in a year or so, and this was a great opportunity to refresh some of my skills from Level 2. One of the main points I took away from this evening was know the weak layer, know what is above it, and know how this relates in time...

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Northface of Notchtop

Andrew Councel, Lindsay Fixmer, and I headed up to check out the North Face of Notchtop in Rocky Mountain National Park today with a great forecast!  When we got to the base of the climb, there were splitter blue skies, and the route looked good. I started up on the first pitch, which was a little thin and had some mixed climbing (which isn’t normal).  As I was getting into the crux, a storm blew in quite rapidly.  I moved through the crux and on up to a piton and ice axe belay and put Lindsay on when the slope to our left cut loose. Andrew got a little bit of the sluff at the last...

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Mammut Ultimate Hoody (2)

I put the Ultimate jacket to the test this past week. While ice climbing in Canada, we got some very “Canadian” conditions. On the uphill approaches, the long pit zips come in handy while the jacket still knocks down the wind. Some of the climbs were still dripping, and even though the jacket is marketed as windstopper, it sheds water very well and kept me dry.  I will be using this jacket later this month on Aconcagua and will report back then!     Here is the link to the tech specs: Mammut Ultimate Hoody  

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Cristin and Caroline Julian

Cristin lives in Florida with her husband, Matt and children, Ben and Caroline. They all have a climbing problem! Cristin came in this day with two objectives: 1. practice multi-pitch rescue and 2. lead Second Coming. After a few hours of multi-pitch rescue practice at our climbing school, we headed out to the rock. Cristin did an amazing job leading and Caroline did an even better job lead belaying and seconding the pitches (her first time).

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Mummy, Daddy, and the Prow

Joe Brown and I camped with another FMG party the night before near Table Rock in preparation for our day in the Gorge. After some good campfire stories and envisioning the ice climbing to come this winter season, we were off to bed!                     We woke up in the morning to crisp air and blue skies.  After a quick breakfast, we started hiking around 8:30 A.M. We got down into the Gorge, and Joe didn’t hesitate at the first pitch lead. We moved at a great pace, swapping leads all day and were back...

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