Monday, May 26, 2008

Somebody Saved my Life Tonight

Attached to my key ring is a 30 year old number 4 hex. A hex is a piece of passive rock climbing equipment.

Fall 1985

As I was topping out on a tough 5.8+ crack climb in Keene Valley (Adirondacks), I peeled off and headed towards the ground 75 feet below.

5 pieces of pro were placed in the crack.

Zipper - big time.

4 pieces blew out.

The 5th and last piece (that no. 4 hex) held.

My partner held a strong belay.

I bounced sideways, 2 feet from the ground. I was white as a ghost.

That no. 4 hex saved my life and is never far from me these days as my good luck charm.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Be a Bum

"Labor is honorable" - I'm all for that stuff. But at least once in your life, be a (climbing, bike, surf, skiing, etc.) bum.

I was a rock climbing bum in 1984. I spent 2 months climbing & living in Yosemite on $3/day.

In 1985, I worked minimal summer hours, which allowed my buddy & I to bike and climb almost every single day in the Adirondacks.

Needless to say, 1984 & 1985 were very good years.

So, if you can swing it, be the bum that you always wanted to be.

"The goal in life is to make enough money so that you can do the things you used to do when you had no money."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Commit to the Move

In rock climbing we say, commit to the move. It means that once you have decided to do the move / sequence, then cast off and do it without any doubts - no second guessing yourself - mentally and/or physically.

The second you start thinking about failure is usually when you blow the move and fall (hopefully, you're not soloing).

I think commit to the move also applies to cycling, especially while zipping through traffic at high speeds, riding some rough singletrack and definitively racing.

So once you have decided that you are going, then go.

It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It don't matter, anyhow
An' it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don't know by now
When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I'll be gone
You're the reason I'm trav'lin' on
Don't think twice, it's all right

Bob Dylan

Thursday, May 08, 2008


A kid on my street owned one of these bikes in the mid-1970s. It was a heavy bike for a 12 year old to pedal, but it was sure fun to ride. A pre-full suspension mt bike I guess.

Learning to Climb

"Experience beats youth any day."

Learning to climb is a lot like learning to drive a car. You think you know what you are doing, but the fact is you're clueless and dangerous.

I'm amazed I wasn't killed during my first few years of rock & ice climbing.

It wasn't like I was making stupid mistakes. My partners and I just didn't have the experience under our belts quite yet.

But we survived somehow, mostly by knowing when to back down. Sure, we didn't make it up a lot of climbs in the beginning, but learning to make objective decisions in the mountains goes a long way in saving your butt.

Like most climbers I know, the early years, though dangerous, are the best years of your life. But you don't realize that until much later in life.

Enjoy your early years, but be safe.