Who We Are

The more we claim to be something the further we are from what we want to be.

 

I’ve always felt if you succeed in life at something your proud of, shout it out!!! Send that fucking line, claim that shit!

…but I also see as humans our claims can be empty. Need for acceptance, the need to prove to your own self your going where you want to go on the road of life.

I find the sweetness of people recognizing the good qualities in you is far more gratifying than saying “I’m happy”, “I’m strong” “I’m an accomplished athlete”. Quietly taking one step at a time, trying hard to be better, making mistakes, and learning are all apart of  growing.

We grow in our sports and we grow in our lives.  No matter what we claim there is always more to do or become.

So, am I happy? I learn about happiness every day.

Am I an accomplished climber? I train and get stronger every year.

Im proud of what I do, I’m humbled when others see it.

 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving,

traditionally this is a day we remember what it is we have to be thankful for.  A day to remember the good things in our lives. There is so much in my life I have been given and many blessings I have received, but today I want to talk about the thing in my life that scares me the most.

If you were to ask me “Jed, what do you fear?”  And so on the outside I would say “Time, it’s the one thing we cannot control, it moves forward without abandon.”  And so yes this is true, time will tell us when it’s time to die, it will take our bodies slowly to that grave, if we squander it-it is gone forever. You can’t fix time, what we do with our time is final.

But if I was to tell you my true fear; that which keeps me awake, deteriorates my mind, makes me forget all that I have.

The answer is depression.

I have battled depression for my whole adult life. A demon intent on tearing me down.The thoughts of being alone, suicide, and rejection cripple me. Over time I noticed patterns and realized that I had seasonal depression. Winters are bad…. real bad , and times of daylight with exercising we’re good…. real good!

I never wanted help and determined to fight this war on my own. For years this worked. I climb, ski, and in the winter make sure I’m getting sun.

I also noticed that external factors affected me. Anger brought me down, so I worked on forgiveness and acceptance. Relationships brought me down, so I was careful who I called “friend”. Patterns of self destruction brought me down, so I tried to hold on to my identity.

This all work, I thought I was progressing! I was doing it on my own, reading, listening, finding happiness inside. Life was good, and it was good for a long time.

then….

then life changed. In a period of 2 years I lost myself. Stress’ arose. Work overwhelmed. I stopped doing all the things that kept me healthy. The demon returned. And not only did it return, it took to the darkest place I never wanted to see again and deeper to it’s pit of hell.

I cared for nothing. I loved nothing. I saw nothing in this life I wanted to hold on to. I had left this world and accepted my life was over. The times were dark, and I was alone.

On the outside, ya I was stressed with it all. On the inside every day was a step in a plan to take my life.

Then a for what ever reason something broke through. I can’t tell you what it was but I woke one day scared of myself and determined to just take a step. I was lucky, I don’t know how or why but something clicked.

I started writing, reading, looking for something.

At this same time a friend became close and she was so open and loving.

And through this family and friends without knowing the depth of my turmoil encouraged me to go to counseling. They thought I was just dealing with work and overwhelmed.

I was hiding and trying to do it by myself. It worked but I kept crashing. I would hold onto my friends love and hang out with other healthy peeps.  I discovered I had been doing life for all the wrong reasons, I had forgotten the little boy who looks at life through fresh eyes.

One step forward….

Two steps back….

Crash and pick myself back up….

 

Thanksgiving….

today I am thankful I’m alive.

I was one of the lucky ones. I found a friend. I realized I can’t do this on my own. I’m finding the boy inside who wants life, to see life with new eyes. I was taught what love is.

I know the path is not going to be smooth.

I will struggle.

today I am thankful for a friend who knows me.  I told you my life, and you held my hand.

We in this life are not alone, we all on this planet can not do it alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Blues

So let me just put it out there, I’m not a fan of summer.

Never have been and probably never will be. I know you all, the 10 people following my blog, are thinking I’m crazy.  I’m not I swear, well maybe a little…

Think about it I ski and i climb and both of these sports are best done spring,  winter, and fall. Climbing, down right sucks mid summer and well snow is the absolute opposite of summer… literally! I love cold weather so much I’m the last to start wearing shorts because I’m hoping for that one last day of good friction before the woods turn into a god damn rain forest.  I will hide in the shade all day chasing climbs with no sun. In fact I’ve gotten so adverse to the sun the last few years I’ve been as pale as a ginger.   I am the guy who is more comfortable wrapped up like a cocoon than in flip flops.

Flip Flops! what the hell are those? A shoe… no… a sole with a stub factor 100%. Every time I put a pair on I’m doomed to fillet my toe.

In the winter if its cold, hey, put on more layers. In the summer  you cant take off enough clothing, and I’m pretty sure ya-all don’t want to see my bare ass climbing up some rock.

With all my bitching about the heat, summer does have its benefits. Such as right now it is 1030 pm. and I’m sitting outside writing this blog. And night sessions , every one loves a good night session. Get out just as it gets dark, climb hard, swim, and drink beers! What is better than that?!? And its not just getting out at night climbing,  just getting out to the beach late at night and chillin with your crew. What is better bonding experience than lying in the sand, swimming in ocean, watching the moon rise , and the tide rolling in. I cant count the times I’ve sat on beer rock and watch the moon rise over the ocean. Not to mention the nights of drinking wine at Round Pond and falling asleep between friends on a crash pad. Summer nights become the moments you don’t want to end.

There is a calm to the night sounds, it will pull you in, it will embrace you, and those around will open up.  Yes work sucks the next day, but life isn’t just about the work. Life is about our experiences, life is about being with the ones you love, and what is better than that?

So I hope to see you out there, I’ll have a beer to share in my hand, and a space on my crash pad!

the JOURNEY

So the old adage; “its not the destination but the journey” , kinda always bugged me. I was always like , ” fuck no you god damn hippies!”. Yet now as I’m older I have been giving more weight to the journey. This isn’t some spiritual revelation but more of a consequence of trying  to obtain certain goals, destinations if you may, and failing miserably.  In my most recent video blog I came to terms with this:

Fucking Epic

When you think about it sending at your max is 99% journey, to get to the destination of the send. And!!! Most the time that destination is incredibly anti-climatic. Climbers will work months trying to send and this process of projecting has so many up and downs. We put our time and our hearts into a route and we put that route on a pedestal. It consumes us to the point of breaking our hearts as we repeatedly fail.

What I’ve come to realize is that if you don’t embrace that journey the destination is bitter sweet. Bitter sweet in that way where its totally awesome and your a beast but its over, you trained for this reward that is a mere drop of water on your tongue in a desert.

If we embrace the journey, embrace the hard work, embrace the failures, instead of exalting the send; the send will be but a part of the journey. It will be the final chapter of the book, a book you wrote,and a story you can tell.

A Reverb: Push The Bush

Last night I got the chance to climb with one of the coaches from my local gym, climbing didn’t go so well but our workout session was awesome. This winter I have refocused a little and have been getting a lot of training sessions in with a great crew. Unfortunately Coach  couldn’t join in on a regular basis cause , well, shes coaching kids…

One day she came to me and ask if I had any advice I could give her. So naturally I was like “of course!!!” . But then it struck me, for her level of climbing she is really solid, advances appropriately, and not many weakness’. So I came up with an off the cuff eval and watched her for 1-2 weeks and this was my conclusion.

Set up a little thought process to help me give you some advice.
This is my assessment and doesn’t mean I’m right just what I notice watching you climb and coach.
High level beginner to Intermediate climber with skill sets trending toward a high intermediate climber
Score 1-5 :1 needs work -5 ready to advance

Skill : 2-3
Strength: 5
Flexibility: 1
Knowledge 3-4
Foot work: 3
Endurance :2-3
Mean: 2.91

Average climbing ability: v4-v6
Projects: v6-v8

Goal for advancing grades:
-Increase average climbing ability v5-v7 over the next 6 months
-increase project ability to v8-v9 over their next 8 months

Methodology:

Number one need to get you healthy again. So a lot of climbing should be lower impact, during these times I switch to rope climbing. You can still push it hard but with less impact to your body.

This would be a good time to work on flexibility
A lot of skill is based on your ability to move on the wall.
Work on general movement and opening up your hips .
Skill level will increase the more you climb ropes, also climbing ropes out side will increase foot work and skill level.

Talk to me about what I do for skill and technique reinforcement and learning

Back to flexibility, static flexibility is good but your dynamic flexibility is what is important . This would be like tia chi movement. You can gain this by working through your mid level climbs by using technique and flow working on opening your hips through the movement.
Also yoga, regularly stretching , and … ya stretching more.

Foot work ask me what I do to practice this

Endurance same as above

Knowledge will grow with experience

Once your feeling your feeling healthy ; finger , hip, knee . To the point of pushing it again.
Let’s get some sessions in.

Weaknesses to focus on to advance in grade.
Focus:
1- flexibility
2-footwork
3-skillset on the wall
you compensate with you physical strength. Practice moving efficiently on the wall.
Slow and steady feet. Quiet feet . Try stepping through moves not swinging.
Instead of pulling through a move walk your lower body up so you can casually reach a hold.
Once again all this is best done on ropes

So ya you need to climb lots of rope as a means to the goal

From the time asking for advice and me responding she had rehabbed herself really well, and by the time we got to session together her injuries were well within her control.
Her biggest weakness by far was her flexibility and hip movement on the wall,  this was impeding everything else.
Opening the hips is so important in climbing; it allows you to use proper foot technique, allows for a good flow and skill set to be learned while climbing.
Sooo… we got on the systems wall together and I watched her natural flow, took note of where she was strong and where she needed work. She was locked up when square to the wall and moving her legs was cumbersome causing her to compensate with her strength. When she dropped kneed  or turned out her movement flowed.
We first worked on moving on the wall and using her strengths to not be locked up, this involved foot work and skills moving her body so that she could utilize her strong positions. Once we practiced different skill sets and almost immediately saw improvement we got to the real core issue.
FLEXIBILITY
When we did some movements off the wall she was really locked down in a lot of the anterior medial muscle groups.
   Image result for anterior hip muscles
 The Abductor group, Sartorius, and Iliopsoas all were really tight impeding any outward rotation of the hips. This was what was causing the locking down of movement.
So what can you do to climb better when this is one of your weaknesses?
First of all work on flexibilty, just stretch.
When your climbing actively work on PUSHING THE BUSH. Keep your core tight, open your hips , and push the pubic bone forward over your feet. Activate your glutes. There is a great article from a surfing blog that touches on all this and she explains it way better than I do:
PUSHING THE BUSH can be applied to all sports and the concept is touched on in yoga, marshal arts, and many others. To effectively do it you need a strong core, Coach has a really strong core and allowed her to implement skills on the wall really quickly. It takes a lot of strength to bring your hips in and forward over your feet.
When your not flexible getting this position is difficult and your movement gets locked up on the wall. When you open the hips and push the bush you are allowing a greater versatility of foot movement, you are anchoring your core and translating power down through your legs to your feet.  Since I’m not  a physical trainer I thought it best to ad links talking about hip movement and flexibility:
The following link has great exercises to stretch your hips with:
There are many more links and advice out there for you to find. For a round up, in coaches case, this one type of training will vastly improve her climbing. Flexibility and hip movement are integral to climbing and if you put the time in you will see improvements in your own climbing by working on this one area. Combined with routine core workouts, an over all increase in climbing ability will be in your future

Beta

 

Beta!!

 

Oh the controversy of beta,  for the most part people despise Beta.  They want to do their own method or they want to figure out the puzzle,  and if given beta consider it insulting. Climbing is the only sport where we want to learn by our own intuition, where receiving instruction or beta is viewed as not having faith in another’s ability.

In all sports there is a passing of information, teaching technique, and  a general sharing of knowledge passed on from those with greater skill or coaches. It also is passed on from those you play with either through competitively trying to outdo each other or from mentoring each other. In our sport of climbing this is BETA.

With the recent advent of climbers starting in the gym, we are slowly seeing a push for more coaching and the passing of knowledge from one to the other. Prossional climbers are just not training on their woodys or just pushing numbers in the field anymore but going to personalized trainers. Specific institutions are  ariseing allowing them to get this professional training and hone in on their weaknesses. Not all of us have the capability of either paying for class or going to a personal trainer. This is where beta comes in into play. 80% of the time we as climbers should be willing to except beta from those around us. Taking beta will advance our knowledge of the climb and advance our skill set.  There’s no such thing as bad beta. Beta is strictly knowledge to be used to get to the end point. If a set of beta does not work for you it is either a skill set you have not learned or not in your preferred climbing style.

For me I look at beta in two ways;

1: It either gives me insight how to accomplish my goals

or

2: It shows me a weakness to work on.

The only time I ever don’t want beta is if I’m tryin to do a pure on-sight, other wise before I get on a route I want every bit of information about it I can get. Information on a route should be standard and asking for “beta” should become a practice you use to succeed. When a boxer goes into the ring he/she knows everything they need to know about their opponent. They will scrutinize every little thing to prepare for fight night. The route is your opponent, and before you leave the ground you should study your opponent.

Im not saying with every climb that you should harass the locals.  Sometimes you just want to dance with the rock flowing in an empty state with no thoughts just the feel of the movement. But if your squaring off to an intimidating climb, speak up and get the low down.

Beta has many benefits: you will be less fatigued after the climb, you can prevent injury by not trying tweaky moves or knowing if a hold is strenuous. It can teach you new skills, and it can relieve stress by having knowledge of the climb.

So the next time your hanging at a stopper move, or about head up a test piece; ask for BETA.

 

Woops forgot a title.

Wow!

I cant believe I haven’t written anything since Jan-2016!!!

Oh wait ya I can, I actually do this thing, it’s call getting outside😜.

I spent a lot of time in the gym this winter trying to get stronger for my spring projects, which are actually my uncompleted 2016 fall projects. It was particularly hard this year to stay focused on a routine and do legitimate “training”. The little I did get in involved; core work outs, and varying campus/lock-off regimines. For core it was simple, burn out on the 45 followed by crunches with a 20lb medicine ball. For campus and lock off strength I hit different campus rungs and systems boards.  The gym I climb at has a 30’+ wall set aside just for training, this makes it easy to vary the type of work outs you do. I would cycle over 2 different sections per session and try and change it up at the next session. I try to always be moving from one type of movement to another every time I climb and I try to work on my weaknesses weather I’m climbing or working out. For me the gym is a great place because the nature of gym holds and style of gym climbing hits all of my weaknesses.

I have 3 major weakness’ ; pinch strength, dynamic movement, and core.  The unbalance of strength is quite drastic, I could flash a crimpy v9 and struggle for days on a dynamic pinch v7. Since my training routine kinda fell apart let’s talk about what I did on the wall to improve.

First and fore most, I stopped climbing routes that were my style and easy for me. Second I honed in skills that were lacking and charged full ahead. Take dynamic movement, in the past I would walk away from anything I had to throw for. This season if I couldn’t do a move I would approach it from 2 directions. One,I would watch those I climbed with and ask for beta (in my case how to jump) ; two, I wouldn’t stop trying the move or technique till I made progress or actually did the move. Sometimes I would have to try a dyno 20/30 time before I stuck it.

A training session should always starts with a good warm up , move into your session, and end with a cool down or burn out. Warming up is essential to prevent injury, get your brain focused, and allows you to climb harder and longer. Your sessions should always vary, mix it up. Set goals for yourself weather it be endurance & power, projecting or on sighting , or technique.

As for the cool down or burn out ,I tend to burn out. After about 2 hour session I’m pretty spent and will start trying to send as many problems at my onsight level as possible. On a good night this could be 5/6, on a night I’m totally trashed not even one. If you want to cool down, the best thing is to just move around on the kiddy wall, doing low effort and just stretching out as you go up and down.

So did my winter gym sessions help?

I believe they did, I have seen improvements on my projects this spring & hope to see some sendage!!

No matter what you do to train, the most important thing to do is to actually….

well …. just do it! Don’t stop, get off your ass and get out and climb!

or campus, lift, cardio, whatever it is; get it done!

 

Balance

Work Work Work

All work and no play makes jed a dull boy!!

It was a incredibly busy summer for me, I had multiple jobs going on at once, large crews working under me, lots of mental stress dealing with people, and I felt that my climbing this year took a big hit.  I was able to keep my strength up for most of the early climbing season even though I was climbing only one a week. It wasn’t until late summer that I saw a drastic crash. Mentally I was beat, trashed, I didn’t want to try hard only to fail. I liked being the energizer bunny at the crag, pushing hard 2 days in a row and training during the week. That wasn’t happening, I wasn’t sending, progressing, or even maintaining. It was time to reel it in and take step back.

I decreased my work schedule by declining some jobs, looked ahead to my trip to the Red River Gorge, and set a goal to get back in shape.

Lets lay it on the table here; I hate working out! SOOOO..I set some short term goals:

  1. clean up some of the easier 13’s I hadn’t put time into
  2. clean up 2 cliff lines at my local crag
  3. repeat some of the 13’s I’ve already sent
  4. send a high volume of 12’s either repeat or new
  5. first and foremost get stronger
  6. maybe work out…

I’m gonna be truthful here, I didn’t work out. What I did do was get back to a more balanced life style. I dropped my work down to 40/50 hours a week and forced myself to climb at least 3 times a week. I would do 2 high output days and one easier day. As you get older or “grow up” in my case, the challenge is to learn how to be balanced. Being balanced is really hard for me. I want to be the best at everything I do. When you have that as a focus you throw your life out of balance. There is a difference between trying to be the best and doing your best. When I’m trying to be the best I measure myself against others, this hurts my forward progression both at work and on the rock. When I am striving to do my best I measure my performance against my personal progression.

There will always be means to measure ourselves; the intricacy or quality of your work, the grade you climb, or how fast you ran that mile. In my work life, I am continually looking for ways to give my clients a better product. I weigh my abilities by products I’ve seen, but instead of trying to be better than  someone else I need to try to better my skills. I continually get trapped in seeing others perform and feel defeated cause I want to be better then them. If you can focus on your own progression you will be better able to maintain balance. I find it very helpful to set small obtainable goals like the ones above, these were all well within my ability and were focused on my progression.

So the balance, as with everything it comes with a sacrifice. When I’m working hard at both work life and play life they both suffer a little. You don’t progress as fast as you would like in either, so keep you goals obtainable. Be willing to accept setbacks. One of the things I do is weigh what I can give up; things like going to the bar, extra leisure activity, and sleeping in. With balance and well set goals it does come together. By keeping your goals internally driven you won’t have the stress of trying to be the best. By not fixating on others for goal development you are not as crushed when you get a set back.

So where did I end up with my goals?

I did well! I was able to tick off multiple 13’s and 12’s. I came really close to cleaning up the cliff lines  (I have three very dirty 12’s to do), and I increased the volume of climbs I’ve done. As for stronger, I’m always working on that!

Balance is always going to be a struggle for me but if I keep my goals reasonable and self driven, I’ll be a much happier worker and climber.

 

New Packs!!!

new Ben Moon packs

So this spring me and my wife ordered new packs from Moon Climbing. We have now have used them for almost 6 months and couldn’t be happier! These packs come in one size and if you are of smaller build the pack may be a little tall for you. We ordered ours out of  a German climbing distributor cause we found they were always out of stock state side. Both packs cost us 208 euro with shipping.

IMG_1761 IMG_1766

These packs are great, they come with a rope tarp, have great padding, front zipper to get into gear packed in the middle of pack, and a small storage pocket. I am able to pack quite a bit of gear in these packs, the above pic shows the test load I used to check size. There was plenty of room left over when all of it was crammed in.

IMG_1763IMG_1765 IMG_1764

The packs waist and shoulder straps are padded really well but don’t add a lot of extra weight to the pack. The zippered stow pouch has plenty of room. The packs in general are really well made, the zippers are rugged, the nylon quite durable, and the buckles take a good beating.

My only complaint is that the compression straps could be longer and a top rope harness for trad days would be nice.

All in all you cant go wrong with these packs.