The RV Project

"There Are No Wrong Roads to Anywhere"

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

The Tale of the Burning Man Wall

We are still in the Bay Area. Vikki’s got more work hours this week than most 9-5 people do, and I’m almost to the point of walking without crutches, so we’ll be back on the road soon (Sunday is the new goal). Bishop awaits, and the infamous Byron Wolter will be flying in this weekend for his birthday challenge, which we’ll of course be there to support.

In the meantime, the exciting news (besides almost being able to walk again, woohoo!) is that Dead Point published a little article I wrote up about that time we took a climbing wall to Burning Man, in 2011!

Camp UP

We even made a video about it. It’s at the bottom of the above article. Click on it. Read. Watch.

Also, here’s a link to our blog when we were building that wall. Even now, two years later, it’s fun for us to look back on.

In other news, we’re still crunching away at the video of Elliot Faber doing ZAP. It promises to be a good one, just need to get some more B Roll footage when we return to Bishop, and we’ll be all set.

TTFN! (Ta Ta For Now!)


Back When Spenser Had Two Good Heels…

…he sent Xavier’s Roof! A nemesis rig from last year that went down quickly once we arrived back in Bishop late last year. Our friend, Jeramie Hildenbrand, from Project Wingspan did a fantastic edit:

Xavier’s Roof | Bishop, CA from Wingspan on Vimeo.

You have to watch the entire video, my favorite part is at the end (my best piece of filming work I’ve done to date, hehe).

For a quick update, Spenser and I are back in the Bay Area for a bit. Oddly enough, Spenser was getting tired of sitting at Black Sheep all day, every day (and it was his Dad’s birthday on Saturday). Having both caught the flu, we figured we would take a hint and head up to Berkeley for some R&R.

We’ve mostly been catching up with friends, enjoying his parents incredible cooking, and ending up pleasantly plump while not climbing. It’s time for me to get my lazy bum to the gym today, actually looking forward to visiting GWPC in Oakland! I bet all of the problems will be brand new to me! 😉

Hopefully back to Bishop this weekend (pending weather) with some renewed vigor to take down High Plains Drifter a la Miss Alison Bagby! AND Spenser should be losing the crutches in the next week or so, yay!

High Plains Drifter V7 from jeremy ho on Vimeo.

La Vie Sans Pied

After a quick tour of the bouldering in Vegas, we’re back in our lovely little trailer in the Pit campground in Bishop. I’m getting pretty used to the gimp life. My left heel has been broken for nearly three weeks, and I won’t be able to put any weight on it for another few weeks. Being injured on a climbing trip is not my first choice, but all things considered, I’m not too disappointed.

The biggest change is that I’m not climbing. Instead, I’ll crutch out to the boulders and watch Vikki, Steve, Angie, and others trying their projects. I offer beta when possible, take photos, and read. When the urge strikes, I’ll hop around and fondle holds, but I’m being  extra cautious of climbing anything, for two reasons. One, a fall could be disastrous. Two, I’m taking this opportunity to give my elbow tendonitis some time to heal.

I had never seen the boulders of Red Rocks before, and it was fun to hobble around and add problems to my mental ticklist. Due to the holidays, we encountered many climbers whom we knew from the Bay Area and elsewhere. However, seeing dozens of people doing what I couldn’t was almost too much to bear. It’s like Vikki hobbling around a non-gluten-free bakery: the torture of temptation.

Still, it’s good to remind myself of what awesome climbs are out there. It would be easy to forget about climbing, to feel like my return is so far off that it doesn’t matter what I do now. Then I look at a climb like Americana Exotica or watch videos of Wet Dream, and I start thinking about how cool it would be to come back totally healthy and stronger than ever.

Unfortunately, my options for staying in shape are limited. Crutching around Gateway Canyon was quite a workout, though I do crave a form of exercise that doesn’t chew my armpits into hamburger and make my palms numb. While staying in super-cheap hotel rooms in Vegas, I was able to use the gym for the first (conditioning) phase of the Workout From Hell. (TL/DR: 8-10 lifts, 3 sets of each lift, 30 reps for each set). I’m also not using as much muscle as before, so my diet has changed a little to focus more on veggies (well, except for the two weeks post-injury, where I ate the hell out of whatever looked delicious). Soon, I’ll work in some hangboarding, so my fingers can stay strong while the rest of me recovers. Abs are also totally being targeted. Gotta stay cored up!

Living with crutches definitely puts a damper on what I can do. Running errands has become quite difficult, as I can’t carry anything and walk at the same time unless it’s in a backpack. I can’t help but feel a little useless. While it is nice that Vikki does all kinds of stuff for me, it would be nice to at least have the option of helping out.

On the plus side, people are generally quite kind and helpful. Some folks have experience with crutches, and they’ll relate their stories and give me hope for a speedy recovery. Dave Graham asked about my accident, then told his own story of his heinous broken ankle falling through a gym pad, and his subsequent recovery. Strangers open doors for me. In fact, I might even keep the crutches and boot for sympathy drinks at bars further down the road (just kidding…maybe?).

So what is it that I do, now that the driving purpose for this trip has been momentarily taken from me? There is a ton of media sitting on our hard drive that needs uploading, so that’s a big piece of it. We’re just starting the editing process for ZAP. I’m enjoying reading and learning in an open, unstructured way as well. For example, I learned about Hugh Herr, a climber from the 70s and 80s who lost both legs to frostbite, went on to establish hard sport climbs, and is now a pioneer of robotic prosthetics at MIT. I’ve been perusing,, learning Blackjack strategy, and hacking away at Cadillac Desert. It’s good to get the ol’ gray matter moving again…and I totally do NOT miss the endless conversations about beta, climbing destinations, and all the other worn-out topics that climbers revert to when they’re around other climbers they don’t know well.

Today is our friend Sarah’s birthday. We’re going bowling. This should be interesting.

Into the New Year

When starting this post, it was only five days into 2013 and I was watching people all around me break their New Year’s resolutions already. I guess that’s expected in Sin City? Vegas can be fun, for a short period of time. And by the 5th of January, I felt like we had outstayed our welcome. The trip started out great, being able to catch up with Miss Alana and getting to know her Portland home-girl, Ashley made the first few days go by quickly (it also didn’t hurt that we had an apartment to crash at, thank you, ladies!!). Although it seemed like most of our group was ready to leave sooner, we ended up extending our trip through last weekend so that I could get my computer fixed (read: I spilled coffee on my laptop back in Bishop, which is the one we use to edit all RV Project photos and videos…everyone should get a plastic keyboard cover, could have saved me almost $400).

After New Year’s, we stayed at the Palace Station for a few days: the dredges of the casino-hotels in Las Vegas. We crammed 5 people into a room for 2, and happily paid about $5 each per night for a warm space to sleep. Since the computer was not going to be fixed until Monday, we decided to upgrade to the Flamingo. The room was much larger and included a view of the Strip. The Flamingo is one of the only hotels on the Strip without a resort fee, which is nice since most of us (except Spenser, who now heads to the gym a bit due to the broken heel) are not using the resort for much except sleeping. It’s cool to be on the Strip, I guess, but a $4 drip coffee makes the mornings a little less enjoyable on a rest day.

Back to my thoughts for the New Year… I have mixed feelings about Vegas. You can get whatever you want, and usually for reasonably cheap, as long as you are able to convince the right people of your value. For example, I got us a great deal on a hotel room at the Flamingo by saying that I did not have much cash to spend on a room, but my boyfriend (it’s his birthday, of course) would be frequenting the casino. The phrase “unadvertised” deal quickly came into play as Wimberly “found” us a double-bed room with a view for 3 nights for a total of $150. In Vegas, I actually enjoy telling white-lies, especially because it feels necessary…otherwise, you’re the chump around here.

I have realized that it is not the life that I want to live, I don’t want to pretend to have a boyfriend with a gambling problem…I just want to be myself. This realization came through the morning of the 5th after reading a work email.

I work in organ donation and pick up shifts remotely on the road. I was highly involved and emotionally invested during the years that I was working full-time in the Bay Area. I have because less and less involved as I moved to part-time, mostly for self-preservation. Organ donation is almost always a double-edged sword – someone has to die in order for someone else to live (unless you do live organ donation, which is much more rare and can only be done with the kidneys and liver). I delete many emails I receive, it’s a large organization and many of the emails sent out do not apply to me.

On this rest day morning though, Kelly’s story caught my eye.

On January 1, 2013, I was recovering from a slight hangover and hunting for a hotel deal on the internet. As I was worried about getting the best deal in Vegas, Kelly was dying. After checking out Kelly’s blog, I went downstairs to spend almost $4 on a cup of coffee and sip on it while watching people around me kill themselves slowly with their pick of poison – a cigarette, an unhealthy meal, or a gamble. People who were not born with Cystic Fibrosis, people who were born with a chance for a full life, which they have made the choice to squander. I do not want to be one of those people.

Being in Vegas has taught me more than I ever thought it could. I was coming here as a vacation from the bone-chilling cold in Bishop, a change of scenery as Spenser mentioned in the last post. Regarding my climbing, I have learned that I want to build a foundation of easier problems rather than only project problems that are just out of my reach. I have learned who I want to travel with, and who I do not. I have learned that next time, we are definitely bringing a french press to Vegas.

After an introspective day, we headed to see what Vegas off-the-strip has to offer: a breakdancing competition, thanks to a tidbit from a recent Vegas transplant, Alex Stiger. And, I think I can speak for the entire group when I say, it was the most fun we had off the boulders in Nevada! Except for when Spenser and I won a bunch of money playing Blackjack. $50 is still a ‘bunch’ of money in my book these days… 🙂

For some inspiration for the new year, check out the most recent post on Kellys’ blog.

Here’s a few pics from the trip:

Alana and Vikki working out short (and extremely painful) beta for a Red Rocks classic, The Pearl

Alana and Vikki working out shortie (and extremely painful) beta for a Red Rocks classic, The Pearl.


A gorgeous wolf-husky posing for the camera.

Amazing dog shot! Ashely is the one closest to the dog, Angie in the background.

Amazing dog shot! Ashely towering over the massive puppy, Angie looking classy in the background.


Vikki on Jonesin’ – a great V4 with a spicy top-out.

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