Answering Your Questions:

There have been a ton of comments and questions on this site, and on various online forums. I have tried to avoid reading the very negative ones, but will try to address some concerns some of you have had:

Via RockClimbing.com: hippiegrrrl has said, “Cams can clink and rattle on your harness, but they ought to be shipped with safety foam”

My Response: Yes. Cams can clink on a harness, but surely being packed in a box, and thrown around a shipping facility/truck is different than that. The postal worker could literally drop your box of cams from the 4th storey window of the post office down to his truck, and you would never know how good his aim is.

Via MountainProject.com: Jeff J said, “If that is his TR anchor, I never climbing a big wall with this guy. I can not imagine the cluster F*%& that would ensue. ”

My Response: Jeff, I am sad you wouldn’t want to climb a big wall with me. I hope to one day soon go big wall climbing, but feel I need a lot more practice Aid Climbing. Aid seems to be the one area of my climbing skills which is lacking. I know that it is the most technically and mentally challenging part of “climbing”. Maybe after a few years of Big Walling, you feel that you can make less bomber anchors. I, on the other hand, believe an anchor should hold at least 3-4x the maximum load conceivable.

Via SuperTopo.com: budmiller wrote, “certainly a fake but a very good one. The devils in the details, like how he set his own 5.12!”

My Response: Budmiller, just because I set my own routes, does not mean I am fake. I try to be as real as possible. If somebody does’t agree with my grading of a route, they can certainly voice their opinion. Rock climbing grades are all subjective. There are some 5.13’s out there that some people like Chris Sharma would grade as a 5.9, because to him it is easy. I feel like the route to me, is 5.12.

Via ThisWebsite: Anonymous wrote, “Hey Wes, great blog. Helped me get the right stuff to go do some top roping out at the crag out in Sydney. Totally stoked to read your blog. Hey man was wondering if you could like teach me how to like place those anchor things in the rock….but like over the internet man. Raaaad!!”

My Response: Thanks so much! I am very happy to have helped you! It’s nice to know I have fans out in Sydney! I love Kiwis, and hope to visit some day! Those anchor things in the rock are called bolts! It is very important you learn how to place these from a certified mountain guide/route developer and check with your local climbing area’s access fund before ever attempting to do so. I am a self-taught route developer.

If you have any other questions or anything, make sure you drop me a comment or question on here or on my Facebook Page!

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Girls, all I really want is girls, And in the morning it’s girls..

Girls who rock climb… we’ve all seen them, and well, we all like them. But… I have some issues. Often times, I have trouble meeting members of the opposite sex. This is especially girlsdifficult for us rock climbers because our sport is dominated by sweaty guys with their shirts off, grunting, and constantly adjusting their beanies in case they’ve become askew after that gnarly V5 dyno problem. We revert back to primitive peacocks, shaking our tail feathers, desperate to receive any attention from the illusive female climber. I am guilty of this. You are guilty of this. However, try as we might, most girls simply don’t even bat an eye. They ignore us, they pity us, they snicker behind our backs. But who’s to blame? Why do we keep trying to nab that unicorn?

  • Lululemon: Are you kidding me? Are we honestly supposed to believe those pants that you’re wearing are more comfortable, and make you climb harder? Out of curiosity, I once tried on a pair of these booty-enhancing gifts from god, and let me tell you: in no way, shape, or form, was I able to climb harder, or more comfortably. I just felt like a piece of meat. Ladies, if you want us to stare at you like we’re staring at the sun, lose the lulu’s, and put on some sweat pants like the rest of us.
  • Sports Bras: Notice how they’re still called bras? That’s because they are supposed to be worn underneath your shirt, not in place of it. Now, I love watching girls climb in these just as much as the next guy, but I don’t need to be thinking about jugs while I’m climbing on crimps, so please: bra goes under shirt.
  • Beta?: Out in the real world, when a pretty girl comes up to you out of the blue and starts talking to you, your next move is probably going to be asking them out. At the climbing gym, when a pretty girl you don’t know starts asking you for beta, deafening alarms start going off in the male mind. “SHE LIKES YOU, SHE LIKES YOUR MUSCLES, SHE LOVES YOUR BEANIE” – ladies, do not be surprised when after you ask us for beta, we spend an unreasonable amount of time spotting you, adding you on Facebook, and asking if you wan’t to climb some time (so we can show you our proj).
  • Blame the reach: Saying you can’t do a move because your arms aren’t long enough, is the same as me saying I can’t get a date because I’m too attractive to girls, and they are intimidated by me. If you have long arms, you can make bigger reaches, yes, but you also probably get squished and fall off of moves that require smaller holds, and more dexterity. Ashima has the arm span of a Poodle, and she can climb V13. You have an average arm span, and tiny little fingers that can shake out on crimps I can’t even hold. I have sausage links on my hands.

Girls are great. Girls who climb are better, but for God’s sake, pay some attention to me, would ya?

Wes

Who is Sean McColl anyway?

Someone posted this video of a climber, Sean McColl, on twitter recently:

I did some research, and apparently this is part of a bouldering competition called the “Hueco Rock Rodeo“. Did I read this right? an OUTDOOR bouldering competition? This doesn’t seem fair to me!

At a “real” bouldering competition, you have professional route setters making sure they set world class boulder problems that none of the competitors have climbed before. They are able to create beautiful movement, and problems that are harder than anything found in nature. This is the allure of indoor bouldering. You are not limited but the finite amount of holds and moves that real rock produces.

Also, who’s to say Mr. McColl hasn’t been to Hueco before and tried these problems over and over until they are all but memorized? Wouldn’t this give him an unfair advantage? From now on, lets keep it fair, and have rock climbing competitions where they belong: gyms.

Keepin’ it real.

Wes

Iran, and I ran.

Recently, I found out that Iran will be building a new mega climbing gym:

http://www.archdaily.com/470579/new-wave-architecture-designs-rock-gym-for-polur/

iran

This is awesome! I’ve never quite seen anything like it before, and I’ve been to literally DOZENS of climbing gyms. I think this is great. Since there is no rock climbing in the middle east, I feel like building these giant climbing gyms will finally bring in some much needed tourist dollars to the war torn region. And best of all, gives us climbers a reason to travel to the middle east, since as we all know, we can’t go anywhere unless we know there’s climbing nearby!

I for one, am looking forward to checking out Iran’s route setting!

See you there!

Inspired!

As some of you may know, recently, Alex Honnold completed an incredible free solo in Mexico, on a route called “El Sendero Luminoso“. This was very inspiring to me. Sometimes, (more often than not), I cannot find anybody that will climb with me. It sucks because not having a belayer really prevents me from progressing as fast as I know I could. At the gym, this isn’t a problem because of Auto-Belays. I love them. I only wish there was a portable Auto-Belay that I could take outdoors (I’m looking at you, Petzl!).

Anyway, a few days ago, pumped with adrenaline from the Honnold video, I decided to attempt my first outdoor boulder problem- with NO crash pad, and NO spotter.

What a thrill! I attempted a local problem with a grade of V1, however, I added a sit-start variation which I believe may bring it up to V3. Not sure who I talk to about adding my variation to the guide book, but either way, it was incredible.

The boulder is almost 10 feet high. I started slow.. controlled my breathing… half way I took a rest on a jug, and I controlled my anxiety. I made one final crux move…. And I was on top.

I know this doesn’t compare to what Alex Honnold does, but to me, it was my first free solo.

boulder

On a side note… I recently have been getting some negative comments on here and on various forum sites. I am sorry if I have offended anybody in any way. I will review all of your constructive criticism, and try to help the community better with my, and your expertise.

Peace, Wes.

Tech Tips from a Pro.

So how about another “Tech Tips” post? I know a lot of you are overwhelmed with the amount of gear and knowledge out there when it comes to rock climbing, and it can be tough to filter through all the junk. Here our some things I’ve learned that have helped me get to where I am today:

  • Socks are your friend: Climbing shoes are made of leather. Leather is an organic material, and can decompose when in contact with moisture (sweat). This makes the climbing shoes very smelly and can ruin them. I started climbing without socks because thats what I was told, but after a month, they smelled so bad that people in the gym wouldn’t go near me! I chucked that pair of shoes in the bin, and have switched to exclusively wearing socks with every new pair. Any cotton sock will do the job.
  • Brushes only go so far: When I climb at the gym, or even outside, I find that the toothbrush I’m using doesn’t quite get the holds as clean as I need for optimal friction. A little trick I use is to carry a spray bottle with me filled with water and alcohol. When I am going to project a boulder problem or route, I make sure to brush each hold, then, spray it thoroughly with the water bottle, wait 10-15 minutes until completely dry, then dip the toothbrush in some chalk, and re-brush each hold. Do this, and you’ll jump a full number grade.
  • Boinking: A lot of climbers will try (futilely) to “boink” up a rope after a lead fall. I see climbers do this all the time in our lead cave where a fall puts you in space. They are usually so tired after trying to blink, that even when they make it back on the route, their exhaustion overwhelms them, and they fail to send! Thus, I like to use a little trick that outdoor climbers have been using for decades: prussiking. I always carry paracord on me anyway, so when I need to get back up to a route after a fall, I set up 2 prussiks, and use a quickdraw clipped into my harness to ascend the rope. In a few minutes, you’re at the top, and not tired at all!prusik
  • Core, core, core: You’ll hear a lot of climbers use the term, “core”. This is used to describe the fact that a lot of climbing uses the muscles in the middle of your body. But climbing itself does not work out these muscles. In order to get “core” strong, you need to supplement your climbing with crunches and sit-ups! The best way to do this is in between routes or boulder burns at the gym. Do a boulder problem, do some sit-ups, do a route, do some crunches. This has literally saved my life in times where you cannot fall, and have to do a “core” move.

Anyway guys, I hope you enjoy todays post. Have any other tips you want to share? Leave a comment!

Namaste, Wes.

Another Bolt War…

So I recently found a route at one of my local climbing areas that I believed was unclimbed. It was a beautiful route, so I decided to set up an anchor and rappel the route and clean it. I tried to send it on top rope, and felt like it would be an amazing addition to the climbs at the cliff. I came back the next day and put in bolts to make this climb accessible for everybody to enjoy it. When I was finished I lowered back down to the ground and was confronted by 2 very angry older climbers. They had told me that I was wrong to put bolts on this route because it had been climbed before and the person who climbed it first didn’t put any bolts in, so nobody can.

How was I supposed to know that this was climbed by somebody else? There were no anchors at the top, no bolts, and its was dirty and full of loose rocks. I felt like I was adding to the routes at the cliff, but these climbers were very frustrated and confrontational. I decided I’d better leave.

I think that it is unfair for someone else to say how a route should be climbed. I like my route, and I’m hoping others will get to enjoy it as well.

I named it, “Rock Climbing Life” 5.8+, in honour of this blog!