After 8,593 miles, 3 months, 2 countries, 9 states,
14 CRAGs, and 222 pitches, we’re DONE!

Driving Across the American Heartland Looks Like...


Denver to Rumney. In two days. 16 hours day one. 13 hours day two. 1,971 miles in total. Vast quantities of unleaded gasoline. Spinning tracks like this when it’s the wrong three o’clock, we’re getting punchy, and awaiting arrival at the deeeluxe Econo Lodge of Toledo, Ohio… AND along the way, I took Will’s Cracker Barrel virginity. That was special for both of us.

the Caning


Some climbers call last month ‘Sendtember’. A month for cooler temps, climbing strong, and checking off projects. Not us! We spent the month getting our asses handed to us. Repeatedly. Lots of hang-dog time spent thinking, “How the hell am I supposed to do THAT move?” As John deftly illustrates.

First, by the notoriously technical tuff of Smith Rocks. Then, we high-tailed it to the Great White North in a (successful) effort to graft our skin to Squamish’s granite boulders. Eventually, we returned to Smith Rocks for more punishment. We like punishment. Another week of near-ground falls on routes like the Caning got tiresome and we went to Idaho. At the City of Rocks, we learned two things about Idahoans. Idahoans believe…

1) Trees are a type of rock, becuase you start routes like Bombs Over Tripoli by ascending a 25 foot tall Juniper. And 2) it’s O.K. to place initial bolts 30 feet off the deck. Without launching into an ethics debate, we contend, “NO NO. You’re wrong.”

As the month approeached its end, enough was enough. We tore ass out of Idaho on dusty dirt roads, connected to Interstate 15, and ended up in a place called Maple Canyon. Rumor has it, Joseph Smith and one of his harems were instrumental in cleaning, bolting, and FA or FFA’ing Maple’s cobbled cliffs.

What we do know is this: We thoroughly enjoyed not stressing about shattered femurs if we fell before bolt one. We also liked not wearing down the skin on our fingertips to the point of bleeding all over every pitch. It was also nice to get pumped beyond our wildest dreams on the grossly overhung routes at Minimum Crag, Windshield Wiper Wall, and Pipeline.

We capped the month at Rifle, basking in < 2 minute approaches, driving from CRAG to CRAG with our harnesses on, going entire days without hanging a single quickdraw, checking out classics like Easy Skankin’, and gawking at the .13s and .14s on Project Wall.

On Staying 'Psyched'


After reading last post, you wonder how we keep things ‘fun’. Or maybe you question whether we even like sport climbing? OR, OR, perhaps you’re offended that we don’t have 100% positive, inspiring things to say about the natural world and activities that allow us to enjoy it? If you fall into these camps, close this tab and navigate to any other outdoor-oriented blog or Instagram on the web. They’ll have what you crave in spades. I promise. For those still with me, I offer the following tips on staying ‘psyched’:

  • Go CRAG anyway. “Show up and see what happens.” Sometimes the day turns around. Lots of times it doesn’t. So, you end up doing a painful and exhaustive re-evaluation of your existence and life choices while you hike out via headlamp.
  • Drink. Surprise, surprise… As the most aggro partner of CRAGCATION, I drink the most.
  • Visit friends. Like Ethan Jayne. In Seattle. Have him show you top breakfast spots like Patty’s Egg Nest. Then eat as much Palaak Paneer as possible. Follow that immediately with rounds of tequila shots at Octopus Bar. Watch Meru. Fall asleep on Ethan’s hardwood floor while watching the Simpsons.
  • Have friends visit you. Like Sean Callahan. In Smith Rock. Reintroduce Sean to sport climbing… Sean hadn’t tied in since last October’s trip to the Red River Gorge. Climb 5.10s and make fun of everything.
  • Go to Portland. Visit Powell’s Books. Purchase a case of Voodoo Doughnuts. Enjoy the not-so-thinly-veiled innuendo on the boxes. Eat a doughnut before dinner, then a doughnut after dinner. Then drive to Haystack Rock. Jump in the Pacific during late-Sept. The ocean will be cold. You won’t care.
  • Go to Canada. Fantasize answering the borderpatrolman’s jejune, “What brings you to Canada?” inquiry with something like, “I’m a fugitive in America and my Thule box is packed to the gills with coke”. Make sure to turn your phone off, or else you’ll rack up $50 in international charges like John did.
  • Try trail running. Unless you’re John Shredski, a full lap around Smith Rock State Park will leave you so exhausted, you’ll lack the capacity to give a shit about anything else afterward. (I think this is actually the reason people run regularly).
  • See movies. Maybe they’ll be O.K… Like Mission Impossible 5 or the Martian. Or maybe you’ll see something stupid like The Intern, just so you can veg out looking at Anne Hathaway for 121 minutes.
  • Read books. Will decided to pick up Proust. In Search of Lost Time is 4,215 pages. That’s a lot of time not thinking about sport climbing.