The RV Project

"There Are No Wrong Roads to Anywhere"

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Settling Joe’s

Spenser and I have been in a back-and-forth injury competition for months. I guess I have the heads up right now, though this is one competition I want both of us to lose. Currently, Spenser is back in action and gaining strength back rapidly. His progress has been raising my spirits and giving me something to look forward to when my pulley injury fully heals.

Spenser cruising Vendetta.

Spenser cruising Vendetta.

It’s been exactly two weeks since the pop and my finger is feeling much better, although not close to 100% yet. I just received my Acupressure Massage Rings in the mail yesterday, so I’m hoping a daily rub-down with these babies will speed up the healing process. If you are a climber (or someone who works with their hands frequently), these rings are a must! The rings range from giving you gentle to greater pressure, depending on your needs and finger size. I ended up buying a pack of 3 from Amazon since I wasn’t sure what I would prefer (I think I like them all, depending on my mood for massage). From my research, it seems like you can use them as frequently as you would like to increase circulation while breaking up scar tissue. You won’t believe how good your tired fingers will feel…

Trio of rings. Gold provides the most relaxed massage, while Black is the most tightest & most intense.

Trio of rings. Gold provides the most relaxed massage, while Black is the most intense. They can also be worn as a fashion statement.

Me playing around with the new macro lens on my Android phone.

Me playing around with the new macro lens on my phone.

I tried climbing for the first time a couple days ago. Sadly, my finger is not ready to hold onto anything except for a sloper (no jugs, no crimps, no flat edges). I taped my finger for support while climbing and it was throbbing when I took the tape off afterwards. I decided to take a couple days off again and will try to climb this evening. Just saw the problem Electric Fence for the first time last night and I can’t wait to go back and try it – all left hand slopers! Time to retrain my fingers (and mind) to enjoy open-handed holds! ::Wish me luck::

Other than my finger, life in Joe’s is really good. We’ve settled in with an amazing semi-permanent crew and have had a multitude of friends coming in and out over the past couple weeks to distract me from not climbing. Last night, we wrapped filming for our newest video project with Flannery Shay-Nemirow and Shannon Joslin. I won’t say much about it yet, except that I’ve posted a couple screenshots on Instragram and there will be more to come (#fivetenvslasportiva)! Also, the video was a blast to shoot – the ladies were just plain fun to work with. Yep, are now on Instragram, username thervproject. I’m trying hard to keep up with all the social media (a HUGE thanks to Katie from The Morning Fresh for being my social media mentor)!

Meagan on Worst Case Scenario.

Meagan Martin on Worst Case Scenario.

Flannery Shay-Nemirow sizing up Trent's Mom.

Flannery Shay-Nemirow sizing up Trent’s Mom.

Katie Peters crimping down.

Kati Peters reaching out to the crimps on Worst Case with Alex Johnson spotting (why does she look so terrified?!)

Philia, Shannon's dog, waiting patiently for us to wrap up filming.

Philia, Shannon’s dog, waiting patiently for us to wrap up filming.

28-inch pizza. 'Nuff said. Oh, and nice photobomb, Spenser.

28-inch pizza. ‘Nuff said. Oh, and nice photobomb, Spenser.

I’ve also started a yoga challenge for myself. Yoga everyday for 30 days. I’m been feeling crappy since I can’t climb, so this is my solution. I know that if I don’t create a challenge for myself, I won’t actually do yoga as frequently as I need to. Today was day #5! Only 25 to go… I’ve also just recruited Adriana Chimaras, a friend we met in Bishop this winter, to join in! It’s much nicer having someone there huffing and puffing next to you.

Adriana and her boyfriend, Steven Jeffrey, are in Joe’s Valley for the next foreseeable future working on a new bouldering guide for the area (YES YES YES YES!!!). They are not only writing the book, but also creating and fixing up trails while opening communication with the locals here so that we can keep Joe’s Valley open forever and improve amenities in the area. I can attest to all the work they have been putting it, it’s been a full time job for them and I am incredibly impressed with how seriously they are taking it. The current Joe’s guide gets you to the boulders, but is a disappointment in almost every other aspect. This new guide will not disappoint! Cannot wait– look out for it this Fall, if everything goes as planned. 🙂

Last Saturday, Spenser, Katie, Niko and I joined Steven and Adriana for the Orangeville City Cleanup. The positive response we received from the locals for participating put a huge smile on all our faces. They sent us home with hand-made Prairie Diamonds [see pics below] and more homemade food than we could eat! I would say the most memorable moment for me was when we arrived in the morning: I asked a local volunteer what the plan was and her response was, “What! You’re here to help?!” The shock was worth waking up at 7am for, no doubt. This also gave us the opportunity (especially for Steven and Adriana) to speak to a couple city council members about the upcoming guidebook. Hopefully this will give us climbers a bit of an “in” with the local community!

The Sprinter you can't miss, helping hold our clean-up tools.

The Sprinter you can’t miss, helping to hold work tools.

The boys helping get mess of the road.

Steven and Spenser helping to scoop dirt out of the road.

Our reward for helping.

Our reward for helping. Prairie Diamonds for all!


I’ll be in Phoenix this weekend and it looks like Spenser might be joining Katie & Niko at Indian Creek during that time. While I celebrate with a college friend’s graduation from medical school, Spenser will be climbing cracks. There has to a joke in there somewhere…


Recovery Road is a Long One

Until our last day of climbing in Red Rocks, Las Vegas, I hadn’t bouldered since December 21st. That was the day I somehow fell from the pinch on Saigon Direct, missed the pads, and cracked my heel in two. I wanted to use the forced rest period to address another injury of mine, that being chronic tendonitis of the right elbow, or medial epicondylosis if you’re inclined to use specific terms. Nearly 4 months and hours and hours of physical therapy later and I cannot say that it’s gone. I can say, however, that my condition has improved, and I am now back to trying hard.

Except for a couple of days of sport climbing, I didn’t climb in Bishop after the foot injury. Three months later, As a reintegration to movement, Evan Ludmer and I did a little bit of trad climbing in Vegas, ticking the incredible classics Epinephrine and Sour Mash. At this point, my elbow wasn’t really hurting, but still made the crepitus-like noise that it has been making all year. I figured that keeping the climbing to a vertical 5.9/5.10 level would be okay, and it was. I decided to try some easy bouldering.

Evan and I on the top of Sour Mash, and amazing 5.10 route in Black Velvet Canyon

Evan and I on the top of Sour Mash, and amazing 5.10 route in Black Velvet Canyon

For the purposes of this blog post, I’m using grades to discuss relative strength within one person (me). It is not my intention to use grades as ego markers. They are brought up here only to illustrate a point, and in our idiosyncratic sport, grades are the best approximation we have for a standard rubric.

For the first couple of days back on the little rocks, I set my expectations low. V5 was the limit, but I found myself having trouble with V3’s and V2’s, particularly when smaller holds were involved. Day two of bouldering saw myself at the Monkey Bar boulder, perhaps the most traveled little boulder in all the land of Nevada. I had spent so many days watching people climbing on the numerous classic steep climbs that it was hard to resist trying myself. Suddenly, there I was underneath the starting jugs of Monkey Bars (V2). I began to literally monkey around. The sensation was incredible.

Still, I had a long way to go. That day saw failures on Hyperglide (V4/5) and The Pearl (V5). At my peak, I’d flash them both, but I couldn’t even move past the second hold on The Pearl…in fact I barely latched it in the first place. My elbow felt fine, but my finger strength was not up to the task. Not even close.

No worries, I thought. Joe’s Valley, with its friendly holds, “my style” climbing, and soft grades would surely be the springboard. On our first day of bouldering, I went with Will up the Left Fork to Vikki’s project from last season, Big Cheesy (V5). I remember this one being easy-looking when I filmed her. We both managed to do it first try, but I felt, well, weak. The next day, Poseidon (V8) managed to thwart us both. A move that normally would feel easy – a big sloper slap off a gigantic jug – felt very hard, and I stuck it only once. Then, neither of us could do Frosted Flakes (V5), though I know from previous experience that this is a very hard problem for the grade.

I think this is the top of Sour Mash, a fabulous 5.10 route in Black Velvet Canyon.

Climbing things you know neither name or grade of is a great way to keep climbing loose and fun.

A bit later, we met some new friends at the Food Ranch, Katie and Niko of The Morning Fresh. Niko had just done Resident Evil as his first V10, though immediately one could tell that he’s got a lot more double digit rigs in his future. After managing a quick ascent of Bring the Heatwole (V7), we went to Eden and G2-07, awesome problems that go at V10 and V7 respectively. I knew Eden would shut me down, not only as it was much harder than anything I’d climbed in so long, but because the crux revolves around a small, slopey crimp, which is my exact weakness. I didn’t expect G2-07 to be quite so tough though, and though I managed all the moves, linking felt damn-near-impossible.

Still, I was having fun. And I am, even if the numbers don’t show it. When I was at my peak, I could walk up to most Joe’s Valley V7s and give a good flash burn. I did a few V11’s, some V10’s, and many, many climbs in the lower grades. Now I am struggling to do V7 and V8. The other day I got my ass handed to me by a couple of V6’s.

I’m not frustrated. No matter what, it’s climbing, and even if the climb itself is a no-star breaky turdpile, it can still be fun. Furthermore, I want to emphasize that I don’t really care when I get to XX grade. The biggest reason I want to climb harder things is that cooler climbs tend to be harder. Or maybe I should say: I want to climb everything, and the only way to do that is to get strong enough.

And I almost forgot the silver lining!

The best part of recovery is that one improves very quickly. Remember that, two weeks ago, I was unable to do The Pearl…nay, I was unable to even conceive of doing The Pearl! Now I know I could. Strength returns fairly quickly. Also, given that all expectations are thrown out because I frankly have no idea how hard anything is anymore, I have the chance of surprising myself by doing a move that I didn’t think my out-of-shape self could pull off, or better yet, doing climbs I think are too hard.

Basically, I get to throw out all my old expectations, particularly those revolving around grades. Seriously, not many people get this opportunity.

At the same time, though, I am somewhat concerned. I am old. Earlier this trip, I turned 28. I am no longer a dirtbagging college kid whose spare time went to climbing and whose spare money went to gas, bagels and the $2 per night camping fee. I can no longer eat terribly and feel no ill effects. I can no longer drink hard, sleep little, and still climb hard(ish) in the morning. And when I get hurt, I can no longer think of it as something that will, with just a little bit of time, fix itself. Now, there is no guarantee that I will return stronger than before. Is this a bad thing? Sure, if all I cared about was sending V2^4. But few are the little boys whose dreams of greatness aren’t eventually crushed, and by now I have no illusions of being the world’s best in the little world of climbing (especially after watching Daniel Woods not climb Lucid Dreaming). Instead, I have dreams of once again feeling strong and confident in the moves that I can do, and of climbing as many new, interesting, and beautiful climbs as possible.

And who knows. If I take care of this issue now and start training hard, I just might see myself at the top of some lifetime projects. The Shield: I’m looking at you.

Blogpost Challenge: Go Outside

As soon as I walked into the Food Ranch this morning, I realized I had made a mistake. Since popping a pulley, I’m keeping my hands off the boulders for the next couple weeks. I tagged along yesterday and snapped some photos while the gang went bouldering, so I thought I would go do some work on the computer today.

Now, I’m alone upstairs at the Food Ranch and it’s really depressing. I should be outside. Why am I not outside? I made that mistake again. When given the choice between hanging indoors versus outdoors for the day, I chose indoors.

Oof, what a fool.

So today, I challenge everyone to learn from my mistake. If you have the chance to be outside, take it. If you don’t think you have the time, make it!! I’ll leave you with the lovely musings of John Pels from Timothy  McSweeney’s Internet Tendency (click on the link to be able to read it a bit easier on the site).

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Communing with Nature!

Spenser just called and is coming to save me from my Food Ranch prison! Yes, going outside! …Might tweet about it 😉

In Celebration

Last week, we met Katie and Niko at the local Joe’s Valley watering hole, The Food Ranch. The similarities were pretty conspicuous from the get-go: another couple on a year-long road trip, blogging and videoing their way through the experience. The main difference is that they are 2 months in, while we’re on year 2. We immediately got along great and became fast climbing partners and even (gasp) friends. As the amiable couple left to Moab for the week, Spenser and I mulled over a large realization they had brought to our attention: we’ve been on the road for almost 14 months!

Nothing as romantic as watching some bouldering on a sunny afternoon, right? Katie & Niko admire.

Nothing as romantic as watching some bouldering on a sunny afternoon, right? Katie & Niko admire.

This awareness was a bit shocking to both Spenser and I. The year-mark came and went, without the least bit of recognition.

It was an organic occurrence for us, it didn’t mean nothing to us, but it didn’t exactly mean anything either. Why didn’t we celebrate? Wait, celebrate what? “Congratulations on living your life,” seems very silly to me. I should mention I’m also not much for celebrating birthdays. Celebrating a year of being on the road is along the same vein.

At least now I know why Spenser and I have been having such a difficult time answering people when they keep asking us how much longer we’ll be on the road for. The short answer is, we don’t know. We can’t really think about it. This is our life. We’re happy, much happier than we were in the Bay Area. We still enjoy gong back to the other ‘real world’ for once in a while, but always end up wanting to leave. It’s not our world, it’s theirs.

…Now I’m just going to get philosophical on y’all for one second. At the ripe age of 26, I think I’m finally starting to understand how individual each person’s reality truly is. The way every single moment is perceived is particular to the individual, even with Spenser and I who spend almost every moment together. How we experience each step of this road trip is is a completely separate reality. Neither of our experiences is more or less real, but it certainly helps to be cognizant of how differently we can comprehent the same moment [this tactic is particularly useful in assuaging variances in opinion that occur…daily ;)].

Disparate experiences aside, life on the road is our current reality and neither Spenser nor I want it to change. Spending time with Katie and Niko, remembering how we felt when we started this crazy trip, reinvigorated us and reaffirmed that this is the life we want.

Katie using the thumb mono on Feels Like Grit.

Katie using the thumb mono on Feels Like Grit.

Niko locking off on Eden.

Niko locking off on Eden.

Katie trying hard on Kelly's Arete. We both need to go back and finish this one.

Katie trying hard on Kelly’s Arete. We both need to go back and finish this one!

This post was supposed to be about a fresh start for our second year. It still will be, just not in the way I’ve been brewing it up in my head the past couple days while we’ve been out of internet contact at the campsite.

I was planning on writing about The RV Project’s new training plan. Since Spenser is just getting back into the bouldering game after a long siesta, we have been projecting many of the same lines (a silver lining to having Spenser injured). Wanting to milk what’s left of the cool temps, we came up with a training plan for the rest of our time in Joe’s; a two-day on, one-day off routine: a try-hard day, followed by a conditioning day, and then a rest day.

Lindsey "Hat Hottie" Tjian smoothly cruising Kelly's Arete.

Lindsey “Hottie in a Hat” Tjian smoothly cruising Kelly’s Arete.

At the top!

At the top!

Looking calm, even on the slopey top-out.

Looking calm, even on the slopey top-out.

Yesterday was a try-hard day and I decided to get back on an old nemesis rig from our last trip to Joe’s, Kill by Numbers. I was inspired by Katie’s ambitious send of the climb about a week ago. Kill by Numbers has been especially frustrating for me, being the only climb that I’ve worked on repeatedly and am still trying to refine my beta on. I was feeling good at the end of the day as we hiked up the small hill that leads to the Kill by Numbers cave. I’ll admit, I didn’t feel strong on the moves, but I thought I could push through. The problem is right-hand sloper intensive (not my strong suit) and my right hand was getting pumped quickly. After my second-to-last go, I felt a slight pain in my left middle finger, but ignored it and pressed on. I pulled hard on the left-hand roof crimp and then pop.

Although this has never happened to me, I knew exactly what just occurred: I’ve read this story many times before. So, that’s that. My original training plan is out the window. We’ll see how the finger feels in the coming days, but for now…no climbing. Making the most of the lousy situation, Spenser and I went on our first icing date last night at the river- I held my hand in the ice-cold water, while he his elbow. Cute, right? 😉

Spenser sending his first V7 of 2013, Bring the Heatwole.

Spenser sending his first V7 of 2013, Bring the Heatwole.

Don't trust your children with her! ;)

Don’t trust your children with her! 😉

Will was with us in Joe's for about a week before jetting back to start his Chapter 11 in the Bay Area. Guess the problem he's pinching hard on!

Will was with us in Joe’s for about a week before jetting back to start his Chapter 11 in the Bay Area. Guess the problem he’s pinching hard on!

Will offering a different perspective on Bring the Heatwole.

Will offering a different perspective on Bring the Heatwole.

Our second year is not starting off how I imagined it. The single most important thing I’ve learned on this road trip still rings true: plans change [see: our very first blog post]. Nonetheless, this second year I’m really excited about. Before year 1,  I was incredibly nervous. Not anymore. We’re pros. We’ve got this. I mean we still have stuff to learn, always. What were pros at is rolling with the punches.

Although you won’t see a video of me sending Kill by Numbers anytime soon, here’s a vid that Katie & Niko’s friend Angus made of his trip here. It includes Katie sending the rig!

The Cat that Broke the Mold

At around midnight last night, Spenser and I pulled into the familiar parking lot of the Food Ranch in Orangeville, Utah. It felt good to be back at Joe’s.

I haven’t written in a while, so I guess there’s a lot to catch up on. Since I wrote last, we’ve left Bishop, released a video, blasted through Vegas, and arrived at Joe’s. In combination with work, I’m not surprised I haven’t been amped to sit on the computer and write up a post. I guess I also haven’t felt inspired. And there’s really not point to blogging sans inspiration.

Now that we’ve returned to Joe’s, I have my inspiration. When we spent fall here last year, Spenser and I fell head over heels with a neighboring camper’s kitten (who we lovingly called ‘Kitteh’ as we did not approve of the owner’s choice of name).

Kitty the Kitten. Adorable, no?

Kitteh the Kitten. Adorable, no?

This was the first feline that I’ve ever become affectionate with. Sadly, her life was cut short by her owner’s incapability of taking care of a kitten on a road trip (she was run over by a car).

Fast forward to Bishop. When we moved our trailer into the backyard of the Zoo in the middle of February, I was looking forward to more frequent hot showers and an easy place to cook. Never did I imagine I would also meet the cat of my dreams. Let’s just start with my confession: I am no longer adamantly a dog person. I fell in love with a cat. A very specific cat…Hank.

This is Hank.

This is Hank.

This is what happens when Hank plays with a carabiner.

This is what happens when Hank plays with a carabiner.

This is what happens when Hank plays with Spenser.

This is what happens when Hank plays with Spenser.

Hank is a Maine Coon, known for loving to cuddle (being dubbed “the gentle giants” of the domestic feline world) while being independent and not clingy. Normally, I avoid cats. They know I’m allergic so they head straight my way, wanting me to pet them (just for a second) so that the allergy tsunami can be unleashed. But, I know that they know…so I stay as far away as possible.

At first, I thought Hank was just like the other cats. I thought he was just coaxing me into petting him so that he could immediately turn his soft, furry back to me and run away. …Leaving me sneezing and wheezing and wanting more… But, Hank was different.

After a single night shift with him in my lap, I was hooked. You could even call it obsessed. Hank would sneak onto my lap and softly purr as I typed away. He never asked for more attention and if I swatted him away, he would leave and not come back until he was beckoned. It was a purr-fect relationship (sorry, couldn’t help myself). Having him with me while I worked a solitary 12-hour shift made it the experience much more pleasant. I’m a bit nervous about how I’m going to cope with not having him around for those work shifts! Who else is a cat lover out there? I would love to hear more about what kinds of cats are better to own if you want a (not-too) affectionate cat who is easier on the sinuses. I’m ready to give other felines a chance, too! 🙂

LaVern, the Zoo mascot.

LaVern, the Zoo mascot.

My first stab at making gluten-free cinnamon rolls from scratch! I took full advantage of the oven at the Zoo.

My first stab at making gluten-free cinnamon rolls from scratch! I took full advantage of the oven at the Zoo.

On Wednesday, March 20th, we departed Bishop for Las Vegas. The last week in Bishop was a flurry of climbing and working. Gitta Lubke, a Red River Gorge regular, happened to be in town so we climbed every day that I wasn’t working. Having Gitta in town was great because we had to plan each day since her time in Bishop was limited, and I actually had to stick to the plan!

Some of our most memorable hits of the week would be The Rail Problem, a fantastic V3 on Roadside Boulder in the Buttermilks, and the unnamed V4 highball that has the same start. The Fang (V4) at the Sads was my most difficult day flash to date and Gitta’s first V4-in-a-day. It felt great to be able to send The Fang on my first go when I was unable to get past the first move last time I got on it in early February. I guess my easy circuiting mentality worked!? Lastly, we both managed to send Burning Rubber Necklace, a pumpy V4 traverse in the Happys. It felt really great to dial all of these problems that were “not-my-style” and to send projects in each of Bishop’s main climbing areas before leaving!

Gitta Lubke on the finishing crux of The Rail Problem in the Buttermilks.

Gitta Lubke on the finishing crux of The Rail Problem in the Buttermilks.

Gitta reaching wide on the opening move of The Fang in The Sads.

Gitta reaching wide on the opening move of The Fang at The Sads.

The sunset as we left The Sads after both sending The Fang.

The sunset as we left The Sads after both sending The Fang.

Timing could not have been better – after Gitta left I severely needed a few rest days to recover from our climbing frenzy, so I focused on packing up and preparing for our departure. We also managed to finally complete our latest video, let us know what you think!

It was especially difficult to leave Bishop this time. I know I can speak for both Spenser and myself when I say that we LOVED living at the Zoo. Although it would have been interesting to experience the Zoo during it’s infamous crazy times, the newest iteration was just what we needed. Everyone who lives there gets along and does their part to keep the communal spaces clean. The best part is that all parties involved seem to be upfront and honest. If there is an issue in the house, it gets brought up immediately instead of swept under the rug where it can fester into a bigger problem. I think we fit in quite nicely and we already miss every person (and animal) who lives there (Sandra, Elliot, Ian, Frank, Evangeline, Ryan, and Paul – we mean you!).

Well, hello, Las Vegas.

Well, hello, Las Vegas.

So…we went back to Vegas…for TWO weeks. Even though we were no longer Red Rocks virgins, we still left Vegas yesterday feeling completely wiped. A quick recap… The first weekend was a Portlandian bachelor/bachelorette celebration, which we excitedly joined in on. I successfully navigated my first bachelorette party, it was so sweet of all the ladies to let me be a part of it!

As the Portlandians departed (all except for Alana, of course), Evan and Jeff arrived, and we all moved into a condo that Will had rented half way between The Strip and Red Rocks. Spenser joined Evan for a couple of long routes, including Epinephrine and Sour Mash, while I stuck to bouldering, mostly in the late afternoons as the midday heat went into the 80s and beyond.

Welcome to Red Rocks. Can you believe this 30 minutes away from the Strip?!

Welcome to Red Rocks. Can you believe this 30 minutes away from the Strip?!

A little joke Spenser played on Daniel...

A little joke Spenser played on Daniel…

Alana and Will enjoying the sun.

Alana and Will taking a necessary siesta.

Dan focuses in on Lethal Design.

Dan focuses in on Lethal Design.

Alana toes in on the backside of the Monkey Bars Boulder.

Alana toes in on the backside of the Monkey Bars Boulder.

Will styling the full extension on UltraViolet.

Will styling the full extension on UltraViolet.

Adding to the list of recent really lame injuries, I broke my pinkie toe on my left foot. All I’ll say about it is- I’m happy Spenser is doing his physical therapy, but I’m unhappy that the 20-pound weight he uses came into a head-on collision with my toe. Walking has been fine, but putting on a climbing shoe has turned into an even more painful experience. Since it was ridiculously hot in Vegas, I decided to just take a break from climbing altogether and wait for the sandstone at Joe’s Valley.

Other highlights include Alana running a half-marathon for the first time and the surprisingly amazing off-strip restaurants that we found. The Vegas off-the-strip guide will be written up by Will in a guest blog post soon.

We started early- sunrise over Red Rocks Visitors Center parking lot.

We started early- sunrise over Red Rocks Visitors Center parking lot.

Not a bad backdrop for your first half marathon. ::Alana & Tarris keep on keepin' on::

Not a bad backdrop for your first half marathon. ::Alana & Tarris keep on keepin’ on::

Alana running strong! Who does this on their Spring Break?!

Alana running strong! Who does this on their Spring Break?!

Just like last time though, we were ready to leave Vegas when the time came.

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