Roads Rivers and Trails

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Tag Archives: Climbing


Rock Climbing, PBR and Overcoming Fear

Climbing is a ridiculous sport. It involves humans scaling up rock formations against gravity, sometimes without any apparent reason. If you’ve ever had to explain your rock climbing hobbies to a non-climber, their expressions and questions confirm that what you’re saying is absurd. Have you ever tried to describe a cam to your non-climbing uncle? “Oh yeah this is a super expensive piece of gear that I jam into cracks, and if it pops out when I fall I could die. Cool, right?” Have you found yourself skimping out on spending money on anything other than climbing gear? Quitting your job because you need more time off for your road trip?

….Have you ever stopped yourself and thought, “why the hell am I doing this?”

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Stoked on the summit of the south face of Sixshooters, Indian Creek, Utah

I ask this especially when frustrated with a route. I often exclaim that climbing is stupid. I have to walk away and put my ego in check. I feel this way especially when bouldering. I can usually just walk to the top of the rock, so why am I choosing such a difficult way to ascend it? Because well, it’s not really about ascending the rock, is it?

Climbing is definitely fun; it’s adventurous, it can be really cool and social, but it’s also extreme, terrifying and sometimes dangerous. It is rewarding and frustrating. I see it primarily as a solo sport, but one that requires other people around for safety and logistical reasons. It has a unique and wonderful community base, and while there are many different types of climbers, we are all the same weird rock wrestlers at the core. We gotta stick together. Nobody else understands and they don’t even know how to belay.

Sure, I love sending routes and seeing progress and feeling strong. But I also love being challenged. It’s in these moments of frustration that the reasons I climb occur to me. It’s somewhere in the moments of feeling very high gravity and my excuses for not sending, and then actually sending. In doing something I once couldn’t do and all that motivational jargon.P1050381

Honestly, climbing is ridiculous and that is part of the appeal. It doesn’t need to be defined or rationalized in order to do it. Stripping down the essences of why we climb kills the fun in a way. It’s an escape from having to explain ourselves, from having to think and conform. It’s climbing up rock formations for fun and it’s completely awesome.

This April I had the opportunity to grow as a climber. I’ve been primarily a sport climber for the last several years, and sometimes I think I boulder too much. I’m very attracted to big wall and traditional climbing and it’s the more appealing end goal for me. I spent 3 weeks climbing in several amazing places: Boulder Canyon, Colorado; Moab, Utah; Indian Creek, Utah; Red Rocks, Nevada; and of course the home base, Red River Gorge, Kentucky. I finally learned to lead trad, and to be a useful partner in traditional multi pitch climbs. Basically, I learned how to scare myself on an even larger scale than before with higher consequences and more expensive gear. It was an emotional roller coaster in a very rewarding and productive way. I had moments of genuine fear and total discomfort, coupled with rewarding and beautiful memories of significance all within minutes of each other. I had the type of “vacation” that would confuse and worry most people and is difficult to explain to non-climbers. In climbing there’s a glorification of overcoming fear, dirtbaggin’, expensive gear, PBR and whiskey. I love most aspects of it: the routes, the gear, the people, the adventure, the variable climates, even the fear. There’s something masochistic about saying you love to be afraid. I prefer to call it a humbling adventure. 

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On the summit of Bedtime for Bonzo, RRG, Kentucky, minutes before this photo I was crying hysterically over exposure fear, and uncertain gear placements and then saw this sunset and realized I had finished it.

I haven’t figured out why I climb exactly, but maybe I’ll tell you one day on the summit of one of my dream walls, 10ft or 1,000ft tall. I don’t know why, but I do know I’d rather have shredded finger tips than soft hands. I’d rather sit on a rock with a beautiful view than a recliner chair and TV. You have good days and bad days, send days and injury days. All of them should end with your friends and PBR around a fire or over a pizza at Miguel’s. Climbing may be ridiculous and terrifying but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” -Jack Kerouac

Gear Review: La Sportiva Miura VS

La Sportiva Miura VS Gear Review

By Kayla McKinney, featuring photos from Eli Staggs

There is a myriad of styles and techniques in the sport of rock climbing. Everyone has their own style and every route has different features. Different climbing shoes fit better for different styles, distances and formations. It can be difficult to know which shoe will best fit your needs, so reading reviews and testing out products if possible is a great place to start. The Miura VS is immensely popular, and for good reasons. The shoe comes in a women’s and men’s version with the major distinction between the male and female versions of the shoe being the colors and size of the shoe.

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Eli getting precise foot placements in his Miura VS shoes.

The La Sportiva Miura VS, winner of the Rock and Ice – Best in Gear, does not fit into every niche, but is an excellent intermediate to advanced climbing shoe that excels in precise edging and placement on slab to overhanging face-climbing.

The ideal terrain: Overhanging sport routes, bouldering, gym climbing and technical face climbing.  I do not recommend these shoes for trad climbing, especially with the triple Velcro system.

Personal Review:

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Precise foot placement and smearing.

After my first pair of climbing shoes got too old and smelly, I decided to bump up to a more intermediate climbing shoe. The Miuras were the right choice for precise toe performance on small footholds, heel hooking and edging. I feel like a ballerina because I’m so on point with my toes. Toe chips that once seemed impossible are comfortable ledges compared to the flatter toe box shoes I had previously. When I first got them and put them on, I thought I horribly misjudged the size and that I could never climb in them, because they were so tight and painful. It took almost a month of climbing once or twice per week for the shoes to break in “comfortably.” I went down a full size from my street shoes, which was painful at first but perfect after the break in period. The shoes are still painful in the toes to this day, and not comfortable to walk around in. I am actually forming a callous on both of my big toes from the shoes, but I am weirdly proud of it. I chose the VS (as oppo

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Bend near toe bed after prolonged use.

sed to the original Miura’s) because of the micro seconds saved with a Velcro system. Who has time for laces? The triple Velcro system enables a precise fit and is a perfect compromise for laces.

Update: I have now had the Miuras for about 4 months and I climb 2 or 3 times a week and my opinions have changed since I first started this blog. They have started loosening in the heel and a peculiar damage is occurring in the leather around the toes, as shown in the photo, from bending my foot. I worry about the longevity of my shoes because of this bend. I also regret having gotten the VS Velcro system because I believe that laces would fit better around my narrow, small foot now that the leather has stretched even more. Regardless, these are still my go-to shoes for sport and bouldering and I still highly recommend them to anyone looking for an intermediate shoe. When these retire, I will likely get the Miura Women’s instead of the Miura VS.

For specific shoe specs visit the La Sportiva website:

For the Men’s VS:

http://www.sportiva.com/men-s/men-s-footwear/miura-vs.html

For the Women’s VS:

http://www.sportiva.com/activity/activity-climbing/miura-vs-womens.html

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When things get chossy, it’s good to have a shoe you can count on.

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Climb On!!

Climb On!!
Climbing in the Tri-State
Written by: James Mobley

My wife will tell you that I’m obsessed with climbing.  I say I’m passionate about climbing.  Either way it is a key part of my life!  I’ve been climbing for over 13 years and continue to get more involved in the climbing community.  It challenges me to grow my mind, body, and spirit every time I climb, all year long.  I fail more times than I succeed but when I do achieve a particular goal it is very gratifying and I grow as a person.  I enjoy going to climbing areas and meeting new people in the climbing community.  I meet people from all over the world and we all have a common bond, our passion for climbing.Amarillo Sunset 5.11b

Bouldering At Springfield OhioSo where do I go to fulfill my passion to climb?  I moved to Cincinnati mainly to be closer to The Red River Gorge in Slade Kentucky.  The Red is a worldwide destination for climbers.  Gritty sandstone, pocketed lines, and steep roof routes make it the mecca of Midwest climbing.  Climbing guides for the Red River Gorge are available at Roads Rivers and Trails, located in downtown Milford.  The guide will give you ideas for climbing, camping, and restaurants.  My favorite place to find all three is Miguel’s PizzaMiguel’s Pizza is an icon around the world for supporting the climbing community.  Their dedication to climbers is evident through their business; gear shop, food, climber camping, and their ongoing support in all the yearly climbing events that take place in the area.  On top of all of that, they make the best pizza on the planet, no joke!

But wait, there’s more!  Living in Cincinnati gives me access to a number of other great climbing destinations.  You can urban climb right in Cincinnati, at Eden Park.  The New River Gorge in West Virginia offers features, such as, splinter cracks, ledges, horizontal cracks, and clean lines.  On a hot summer day the New also offers great places to jump into the water to cool off after a day of climbing!  All this is available within a short drive. Just north of Cincinnati, in Springfield Park, you can boulder limestone rock.  Just west of Cincinnati, in Muscatatuck, Indiana, you can boulder along a creek bed.   A southeast day trip offers bouldering in Athens, Ohio. In summary, amazing climbing surrounds the Cincinnati area.

Funkadelic 5.10bIf you’re looking for a new way to get fit and meet great people I encourage you to try climbing; be it in one of the local gyms or one of these outside locations! I feel lucky to live in a place with so many great options!