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Elevenmile Book Done!

Well after two years of effort, the new Eleven mile book is finally done! With over 400 routes and the new areas of Heavens Gate and Shangrila, this book should certainly get you where you need to go to crush! If you want a copy they will be available at the Mountain Chalet, SCC, Gearonimo Sports, Rockin and Jammin (North or South), Bentgate, or by sending me a check for 24 dollars and I’ll mail one out to you! Contact me at benlikestoclimb@aol.com and I’ll give you my address!
As I have been on a development spree, the book is already (slightly) out of date because I put up a new route every day I am there! Here are the recent additions so far since the book has gone to print:
@ Plebian Wall-Introductions Please! (5.9) on the right side of the cliff around the corner 5bs to Loweroff.
@Parking lot boulder by emerald Isle- The Infanta (5.13a) middle of the boulder 3bs to chains

Will keep you posted! More pics to come tomorrow!

Trials and Tribulations

After almost a month of anticipation, the 2011 Adult Nationals finally arrived last weekend in full swing.  As I finished up my necessary work for the week, I came home from school at 10:30 Thursday evening ready to rest up and prepare for the qualifying round in Boulder the next day.  I am so fortunate to have such a close group of friends and family that came to support me, and it felt good to go into the comp with the large cheering squad of my sisters, mom, cousin, Emily, and her Brother and Wife there to cheer me on.  I walked into isolation, and saw Ben with a large smile on his face and we quickly shared jokes and warmed up for the challenges ahead.  Isolation can be a weird place, sometimes people are outgoing and friendly, and other times they are “in the zone”.  Boulderitis was thick in the air, but fortunately I was able to permeate it a little bit to  make a couple of new friends before I went to compete.

The routes they set were really fun, and I did think they did try to keep holds and moves interesting for the competitors and  the crowd.  There were a couple of bottlenecks on the first one (around 13b) and the second one as well (around 13d).  I tried hard and had fun, which was the main goal of the comp, but the following results and rules yet again shook my faith in our good old national governing body of the sport. First off, there was never a clear outline of how many people make finals.  This little arbitrary number dictates a lot, especially after you’ve put in your hard earned $150 dollars to compete in the competition.  I had heard 7, then 10, then 6, but no one really knew.  Unfortunately not laying this out explicitly tends to let the judges pick favorites and expand an contract the finals list as necessary, as I well knew from years before being let “on” to the finals list at the Teva Games before it became the world cup.  The second is the atrocity that was the qualifiers scoring, where not only me but a number of folks landed way off (in my case 8 places) from where they scored compared to other climbers.  I knew there was something wrong, but just sucked it up and didn’t make a big deal about it until I heard multiple other people complaining about it days later.

This isn’t the first instance of shady back deals that I’ve witnessed with the organization, and unfortunately there have been so many corrupt instances (from letting famous climbers ignore the rules, to blatant favoritism in finals selection, to announcers giving obvious beta to some competitors and not others) that I fully expected something like this to happen again.  With the number of newer, better comp series organizations making their way onto the scene, I will vote with my money and solely support these organizations in hope that they will take the place of the old guard and elevate competition climbing to a standard which is worthy of Olympic status.

Ranting aside, Michelle and Graham and I headed up to Heavens Gate for a little R &R on Sunday and to sink some bolts in some new routes.  We headed up to an area Scott had dubbed “The Soup Kitchen” and put some bolts in a nice overhanging piece of stone on the left side.  The route is short, looked like 5.11 and is definitely not, but has some superb climbing throughout.  It is basically a V2 boulder problem that weaves back and forth to get to a small roof at the second bolt.  The boulder problem over the roof is a stellar V5, combining every type of move from heel hooks to slopers, crimps, side pulls, toe hooks and under clings and finger locks to deposit at a beautiful V3 to the anchors.  All together the route is around 5.12d, and Graham came agonizingly close to sending (In the middle of a blizzard!) before the “cloud of Mordor” came in and forced us to leave.  It was still a great day, and I’m glad these guys like to climb outside so much!

Through all these waves of emotions, It illuminates the truth that climbing is much more than its counterparts.  Its not just sport, trad, or bouldering;  new routing or repeating classics; competitions or road trips; but how we as people grow and strive to attain the highest moral integrity and respect for one another, as well as fostering a positive future for the sport!

Thanks for reading

Spring Break 2011!!!!!

After finally achieving the long awaited period of swimsuit weather, loud music, alcohol consumption, far away road trips, and party’s abound, I got to spend most of my spring break…TILING! In an effort to catch up  on the stacks of jobs I have lined up in the next few months, I tried to spend as many days as possible getting ahead on work so that I could climb in the coming weekends of warm weather.  I was able to get out for a few days in the middle of the week, as Perri, Josh, Ben, Jason, Lex, Graham, Michelle, and I headed up to Heavens Gate for a nice couple days of climbing.  The weather was not as friendly as we would have liked, with 40 MPH winds and cloud cover, but we were still able to make the best of it.

Everyone started out the day on the classic Intercontinental, and quickly moved on to other projects at the Plebeian Wall.  Lex got frustrated trying the brutal 12d start to Shotgun Pinata, and took out his frustration by sending Centerpede (V8) just down the hill in a couple of tries… pad less.  This boulder problem is a proud line in its own right, with the top out being devious at 20 feet, so that was the first inspiration of the day.  The next came when Ben made an impressive and desperate onsite of the direct start into Shotgun called Budha’s Shotgun (5.12d).  I got so exited, that I warmed up on the project to the right (previously called the ring of fire project) and everything just clicked to produce Fourier Transform (5.13a). It felt much easier once committing to the insecure and weird body positions.  This route climbs alot like rifle, with technical jessery abound and 3-D climbing.  Other impressive sends were Josh’s first 5.11b (flash no less!) Laurens Overhang.  We moved on to Inception, and Ben gave it a few tries before being frozen out, and we finished the day by sending some 9mm downrange.  An excellent couple of days! (Jason Poole Pics!!!!!)

Return to Shelf

Today Brett and I went down to Shelf to rekindle the psych for a couple of projects he and I had left over from last year.  The two routes Carnage (5.13d) and The Indolentia Project (5.14b???) both left us last year humbled, as Brett tweaked his finger badly during a  good push on the thin crux of Carnage and I came devastatingly close to a red point of the project.  The day started out well,with beautiful sunny skies, primo parking, and good energy.  We both warmed up on the the routes, and quickly began putting things together.  The huge throw move on the project felt as hard as ever, and the right hand your throwing to is particularly tricky to hold.  It consists of a long span between a huge wide sloping pinch, and crazy body tension is needed as you fall into a crimp, do a huge desperate cross to another gaston sloper, and finish with a final throw to a jug off a nothing foot.  After getting some new beta worked out, I one fell the project yet again today. Heres a Brian pic from last year of the crux bump throw.

It has been a roller coater of emotions and injuries on this route, as I have sustained multiple blows to my body and finances from my attempts over last season.  They include:

-cutting my face open by slamming it into a bolt, leaving me with bar fight looking gash for the next three weeks.

-A perpetual deep flapper in my right pointer finger from throwing to the razor finger lock at the end of the crux, which can now be avoided thanks to new beta.

-over $300 in gas money to get down there.

-$80 in bolts and hardware to equip it

-two pairs of climbing shoes, ripping through my right toe after drilling the smears during the crux.

-40+ attempts

After still not sending today, I am actually feeling confident that maybe it might go again sometime in the future.  It will definitely be the hardest thing I’ve done, and consensus of the 10 or so people who have tried it feel it probably falls around 14b.  Who knows.  Anyhow great day with Brett, and a great start to spring break!

A long December (and January, and February)

It was a pleasant change in the weather this week, as temp soared above the unpleasant range to a couple of days which allowed the use of flip-flops.  Perri, Logan, Michelle, and Graham, and I planned a big weekend up at Heaven’s Gate, and drove up there to find it overcast and cold most of the day.  We have all grown accustomed to this, especially during this winter, and were able to have a wonderful day thanks to the small fire ring and some motivating sends.  Everyone warmed up on the classic Intercontinental (5.10c) that Perri and I bolted this summer.  It is one of the most striking lines in the area, taking a beautiful swath of stone shaped like South America on the left side of the Plebeian Wall.  This wall, when we first looked at it, looked incredibly featureless and yet another wall to add to the now compounding list of 5.14 and above walls to this region.  However after rappelling down to see the holds, it turns out the crag is riddled with unreal finger crimps and patina edges which make the wall a more accessible version of The Spray Wall in the main canyon.  Logan finally sent this today clean (realizing he could probably climb 5.12 easily if he got used to route climbing!) and Michelle and Graham both on sited the classic in style.

Michelle, Perri, and Logan then moved on to another quality pitch, Laurens Route (5.11b) which is hidden on the ledge  behind the Intercontinental Boulder.  All came very close, and would have sent if it wasn’t 38 degrees on the route.  Graham moved on to the best route on the wall, Shotgun Pinata (5.12c) and came agonizing close to the send when robbed by a foot popping mid crux, and I worked on the project to the right called Ring of Fire Project.  This thing is probably around 5.13a, but encompasses a whole range of techniques and tricks which I haven’t quite refined yet, which is awesome because it illuminates a weakness that when fixed will definitely correlate to sending my other harder projects in the area!

This area is starting to look like a proper crag. With chalked holds, nice trails forming, the breathtaking scenery, and the alluring invite of project draws waving in the breeze, it hard not to leave here with a smile.  I am so pleased with how this area is turning out, and when the weather gets warmer we can finish up all the projects left at the area, and hopefully get some camping in this summer!

Thanks for reading!


These last couple have weeks have been unbelievably busy, but yesterday I fortunately got out to climb.  Bob and Carrie Robertson, two very prominent first ascentionists in the Colorado Springs community invited me up to an area I’ve heard a lot of great things about but never been to: Voyager.  This stellar valley of enormous crags has been slowly and quietly developed for years, and Bob had an old project he generously showed me that he wanted to finish up there.

This line takes the center of the 500 foot wall of Voyager proper, and we needed to finish bolting three more pitches before making the free climbing effort.  It is basically broken down as follows:
Pitch 1 (5.10c) beautiful slab and face climbing which can be linked with the 2 bolt 5.10a pitch above for a 30 meter intro pitch to the ledge.

Pitch 2 (5.11c) I bolted this steep panel up a cool series of technical steep moves in a dihedral to another ledge above.

Pitch 3 (5.12b) Another pitch I bolted, taking a crazy series of large crystals to a technical crux up a cool crack feature.  The crux pitch.

Pitch 4 (5.12a)  Bobs pitch.  Beautiful V3 boulder problem to a sustained and flaring crack for 40 feet. way different style!

Pitch 5 (5.7) crack to the the top

This thing should be pretty good when completed, more updates and pics to come!

Dead point Video

While the Arctic Chill and various forms of colds have seemingly paralyzed any attempts at climbing (Or anything for that matter!) here in Colorado Springs, fortunately there have been multiple indoor distractions to keep bodies warm while we trudge through the cold months of winter.  The Sport Climbing center has been in full throttle mode lately,   with numerous updates, face lifts, and the A Muerte training Alex, Austin, and I do with the members on Wednesday nights where no one leaves without trembling pumped forearms, sore fingers, huge smiles, and ample  motivation toward all the hard climbing they will do in the months to come.  I have been working fervently in school, hustling through my 17 credit hours (sometimes class lasts for 10 hours a day!) and fueling up with new recipes Emily and I have been trying, as well as my favorite cold weather drink: Frangelico and hot chocolate which is definitely a gravity inducing beverage.

Among the various distractions is a new video that Nelson (a working class hero himself) shot about me developing local crags near Eleven mile Canyon.  The film is geared more toward being a working class weekend warrior, trying to hustle and climb as much as possible while still discovering new areas and pushing personal limits.  There are a number of truly amazing climbers here that I draw inspiration from as Scott Hahn, Brain Rhodes, Keith Ladzinski,  Brett Pierce, the Holligsworths and Bill Schmausser all work their asses off paying mortgages, maintaining personal relationships, are knowledgeable in a wide variety of subjects, and still crush it everyday at the crag.  I think it is refreshing to see people like this because it makes you realize you don’t have to be a trusfundafarian who dirtbags it everywhere to climb well, just a thirst for the sport and and open mind.  I hope you enjoy the video, and more importantly the vast amount of new routes at every level amassing here in Colorado Springs…



Thanks for reading!


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