Friday, June 20, 2014

First Ascents in South Africa

We've been climbing around Cape Town and around Arjan's house finding and developing some cool boulders!  The boys have their eyes set on two awesome boulders, one of which the stand went down yesterday.  

Jimmy on the send of the stand to "Son Krag" 

The other project is at another area that I don't really know how to get there, but it's a hill side littered with boulders.  Lisa, Nathan and I have found a few boulders as well and were able to put up a couple new lines! We have another project right next to "Mirror of Midnight" which looking at it we thought it might be V5 or so.  And that's when we started working it, and it took us a solid 3 or 4 hours to do every move.  Psyched to get back to it in the next fews days and complete the boulder! In the mean time here's a little video of Lisa and I climbing our first ascents!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cape Town - First few days!

I spent about 3 weeks in the United States before I departed on my next trip... 
My 3 weeks in the States went by pretty fast and I visited several places...

Kajtek - my dad's cat

Boulder, CO - 3 days
Chicago, IL - 6 days
Lexington, KY / RRG - 4 days
Knoxville, TN - 4 days 
Chattanooga, TN - 6 days

Me figuring out the moves on Swingline

In Chattanooga I was able to hang out with my former climbing team and I took them climbing for two days.  It was a lot of fun, but really hot and humid! But we made the best of it and had an amazing time! 

Lil Nate battling at the top of one of the routes we did

And then on Tuesday June 10th Jimmy, Nathan and I got on a place in Chattanooga on our way to South Africa.  We unfortunately missed our flight in Amsterdam due to a delay of our Atlanta flight.  This delay added on an extra 12 hours to our trip, but we finally made it and went climbing right when we landed! 

View from the first day of climbing

 Moon rise on the first day 

We went climbing the following day as well, but we first went and got some amazing breakfast, after which we went to the airport to pick up Lisa Chulich.  We then hiked out to yet another amazing area! 

 Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Croque Madame

Today it started to rain and it's suppose to rain some tomorrow but then the weather looks like it will be getting better! On the 16th we pick up Daniel and we will have another 10 days in Cape Town before we head to Rocklands! 

I was able to compile a small video of Jimmy climbing over the past two days, and like it mentioned it rained today, so I had a lot of free time! Hope y'all enjoy!! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Switzerland/France Spring 2014

I just got back from an amazing trip to Europe! We were able to visit 7 countries during our stay; Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Poland, Liechtenstein, France and Italy.

The biggest thing that stood out was the difference between the climbing in Swiss versus that in Fontainebleau, France.  The climbing was completely different.  How the day went by was different as well!  

While in Swiss we had to pick our battles, climbing either in the morning or evening and each having a project that we were psyched on.  There was a lot more hiking because the boulders were spread out.  We also drove around more because there are so many areas in the Ticino area; Choronico, Cresciano, Val Bavona, Brione and a couple more. Even what we ate for lunch was different.  We would buy a Panne Rustica - this brown bread that has so many seeds all over it.  We would get a cream cheese called "tartar" to dip the bread in or Nutella.  

Fontainebleau is one of the most magical and unbelievable areas I've been to.  There are no mountains.  It's completely flat but covered with forest.  You walk into one of these forests and out of nowhere, there's these amazingly featured boulders littering the woods.  The boulders remind me of the south to areas such as Horse Pens 40 and even a little to Rocktown.  For lunch we would go to the local bakery and buy anything that we wanted that day.  I think we all gained some weight while in France!   


The features in Fontainbleau are just amazing and I can't wait to have the opportunity to go back, hopefully with cooler temps.  The top outs are sometimes he hardest part of the boulder and usually more tricky than hard - you just have to find the right body position and voila, it's doable!! 

My time in Europe was amazing to say the least! And I can't wait for the next adventure which will be taking us back to South Africa! It's going to be a great two months there before we head back for the Trade Show in Salt Lake City, UT.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Red Rocks in Las Vegas

I'm still in Europe but I figured i'd repost the three videos that I made of Red Rocks
My trip to Red Rocks was amazing and I can't wait to go there again!

Red Rocks Part I from Kasia Pietras on Vimeo.

Red Rocks Part II from Kasia Pietras on Vimeo.

Red Rocks Part III from Jimmy Webb on Vimeo.

Hope you guys enjoy the videos of Red Rocks!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

1 month into my Swiss trip

I've been here in Switzerland for about a month now and live has been pretty amazing! Swiss is surround by these gorgeous mountains that seem to never end.  The food is amazing and the people are really nice even though we don't speak any italian! There are beautiful churches everywhere you look and the weather has been getting a little warmer, but the clouds have been holding back their tears.  

Coming here, I knew that it wasn't really my style of climbing.  The problems are full of crimps and crazy body positions and heel hooks about your head.  But I wanted to get better at my anti-style, so that's what I have been trying to do.  Try different boulders and hopefully get stronger because of it.  

The main thing that I was able to accomplish was projecting and ultimately sending the climb.  I have not spent a lot of time projecting boulders.  I tend to try someone and either send it that day or come back another day to complete it.  So finding a boulder that seemed possible, and going back to it for several days was something that I just haven't done much of and it was a very good learning experience.    

The first day I saw the boulder, without even trying it or touching the holds I wanted to climb it.  Jimmy warmed up and flashed the boulder, which was inspiring and that's when I got my shoes on.  There are no other boulders around, so I warmed up on the last few moves of the boulder.  They are  a little bit better holds and it's always good to have the last part of a 21 move boulder memorized to not mess up on the send.  I sat there working out the moves.  After several hours on it, I had most of the moves figured out.  I still couldn't do the first and second move and there was another move where I had to bump to a crimp and I hadn't been able to do this move either.  

Jimmy and I had convinced Alex and Nina to come try this boulder because of how amazing it was.  It was very motivating to watch other females trying the same moves.  Alex came up with alternate beta using a small crimp and a right push foot.  This beta just didn't suit me, so I kept trying it my way.  I was super surprised with how I was doing on the boulder.  I had the boulder in to sections and felt very strong on it even though conditions weren't prime.  Towards the end of the session the right push foot that Alex had used broke (which was also the right hand starting hold)  At first I didn't think it would matter, because I only toe hooked the right starting hold.  But once I tried the toe hook it just wouldn't stay anymore.  It was a little frustrating to feel so close to sending it, and to then have it all crumble because a hold broke.  I only spent another 10 minutes trying to figure out some new beta, I was so tired already and just called it good.  

Jan and Jule came in for a week visit, and we convinced them to come try "i portici." Jimmy gave us some beta for the moves that I was having trouble with and it worked! I was now able to do all the moves on the boulder once again.  So I started to try the boulder from the bottom.  I gave it one good effort and made it through what I thought was the hardest part, I stuck the first big move, grabbed the two small crimps and went big to the good hold.  I felt my fingers graze the hold and then I found myself on a pad on the ground.  Jimmy asked me "What happened?"  At first I didn't know what happened.  Maybe I didn't go hard enough to the hold.  Maybe I was too tired.  Maybe my right smear foot was in the wrong place.  All of these seemed like good answers.  So i hopped back on, and try the move a few times with different options for my right foot.  I thought, okay this will work now.  I rested up a good while to let my fingers cool down and got my shoes back on.  I found myself in the same position I was in the last try.  Got my foot on the right smear and went for the hold.  I was on the ground again.  This time when Jimmy asked "What happened?" I knew the answer... My heel pulled me back, so when I thought I had the hold, my body went backwards.  I couldn't believe it! Falling so far up and not being able to execute.  I was mentally warn out as well as physically.  I tried it a couple more times, but the energy and the psych just wasn't there anymore. 

   DAY 4
I had fallen the last time I was at the boulder, I knew I could climb the boulder.  I warm up on the finish again and start trying it from the bottom.  I find myself not being able to hold onto the holds.  The rock felt hot and my skin was sweaty.  I was falling apart and could control my anger that I felt towards the boulder and myself for not complete it the last time I was on it.  "How do I fall so far last time and now I can't even get to the first big move!!!" I was beating myself up just trying it from the bottom and falling on the first move or the fourth or the second.  My hands just greasing on all the holds.  It was awful! It was getting dark and I was about to just give up but instead I decided to try the top some more and figure out maybe an easier way to do the big gaston move I had fallen on couple days ago.  I tried a couple different things and finally figured out that I just needed to put my heel up higher which put my body just that much closer to the hold.  It felt ten times easier than before.  I ran the sequence a couple times and left feeling happy even though earlier I was filled with hatred towards the boulder.  

We had been going to the boulder in the mornings because it stays in the shade until two.  We decided to try it in the evening once the sun had gotten off of it.  It was a bad idea.  The rock had been sitting in the sun for a few hours and made the holds unbearable.  I tried so far to do the first few moves, but holding onto pinches was so hard to do.  I was ripping skin every time I tried any of the moves.  I was getting so frustrated that I started to cry a little bit.  I just wanted to complete this boulder, and it felt as if I was doing worse and worse on it everyday.  I gritted my teeth and gave it my all and fell right before the first big move.  My fingers were slipping off of every hold that I grabbed, but yet I was able to get through a good chunk of the boulder.  It was clear the boulder wasn't going to go down today, but I knew if could happen when the rock didn't feel so hot and my skin not so sweaty.  

We got to the boulder super early compared to the other days.  I think it was around 9am.  Conditions felt better than before, but not as cold as the day I had my best effort on the boulder.  I warmed up like I always do on the top portion of the climb.  My fingers felt a little sweaty and I got a little nervous.  I also warmed up doing the first big move and going to the top.  I felt a little pumped but perfect for a warm up.  I got the pads ready at the bottom, sat down and let my fingers cool off.  I chalked up, placed my left heel, grabbed the start holds, placed my right smear and pulled off the ground... 21 moves later I find myself grabbing the jug at the top of the boulder and topping out!

 I've have just described the day to day battle that I had with this boulder.  What I have not mentioned is the mental game that I had to deal with.  After the 3rd day, I knew I was physically strong enough to send the boulder.  So why did it take me until day 6 to send it? This proves to me how much of climbing is mental... Before I would go to sleep I would visualize myself climbing the boulder successfully, over and over again.  I thought about the boulder while trying other boulders.  On the 6th day I concentrated on staying HAPPY the whole time before we got there and while we were there.  The power of just being HAPPY can surprise you... I also got a "psych" video from my buddy Doug, which got me laughing and ultimately cleared my mind of any negative thoughts.  As I mentioned before, projecting has taught me a lot about myself, climbing, conditions and most of all the mental game with climbing.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hueco Tanks

I recently traveled to Hueco after a great trip to Red Rocks! 
The main reason why I was going besides the obvious was to meet up with my former climbing team from Chattanooga.  For their winter break we planned a 10 day trip for them to Hueco.  And it was a great trip!! 

We climbed all around but mostly North Mountain and East Spur.  The kids ended up having small projects through the trip and it was great to see them come back and try them.  

Nathan warming up at the top of the chains

We got lucky with our reservations and volunteer tours.  There were not as many people in Hueco as I would of  suspected.  We were able to get onto North Mountain without reservations several times.  The only time we had a problem was the kids last day in Hueco.  Luckily we ended up getting on a tour and they were able to climb.  

Evan warming up on a highball

We concentrated on a bunch of classic climbs of all grade ranges.  Such as No One Here Gets out Alive and Ghetto Simulator.  I was also able to get on a few boulders that I hadn't done in the past such as Uncut Yogi and Alf in a Blender. 

 Nathan on Ghetto Simulator

Me on Alf in a Blender 

I remember trying Alf in a Blender a couple years ago and thinking to myself that the reach on it was just a little bit bigger than I would be able to do.  I ended up figuring out some crazy beta with heel hooks and toe hooks and even a knee bar!!! This was definitely one of my favorite sends of the trip!

Me trying Chupacabra

When I came to Hueco, I wanted to send Chupacabra.  The main issue with this boulder was that I had to use a left heel hook, and with my knee not being in top shape; I was not able to do the beta that I had tried two years ago.  I was able to do all the other moves on it, so hopefully next time I get out to Hueco I'll be able to try it. 

 Anna on Jigsaw

Anna's project for the trip was Jigsaw.  Unfortunately, she was not able to complete it but got really close and learned many valuable things throughout the processes of projecting.  She tried it over the coarse of three days.  It was really awesome seeing her overcome not being able to send it before we left, which I believe is one of the hardest things to do. 

Kaitlyn on the topout of Mexican Chicken

Kaitlyn was able to send a few harder classic boulders that she had on a list.  It was everyones first time to Hueco so they just had this amazing boulder field to try anything at anytime.  I really love going to new areas.  It's always so much fun to compare the differences and similarities to other areas.  Also you have so many new boulders to try, that sometimes its mind blowing.

Evan working out his beta on Moonshine Roof

Our last day we went out on tour to East Spur.  It was a great day and everyone tried some new boulders and were also able to complete new boulders as well.  Moonshine Roof was the last stop of the tour and we all tried it out.  It has one of the best features i've seen out in Hueco.  

Me flashing Frogger

When the kids left I had several days left before I had to head back home.  I was able to flash my first V9 (Frogger).  I guess having a boyfriend that is known for his flashing, I wanted to start trying my hardest on first tries.  I guess it rubs off.  

 Sunset in Hueco

On one of my last days out, several of us went onto North Mountain and just went around and tried classics V4/5 and under.  I think almost every boulder I tried that day was new to me.  It was one of the best days in Hueco thus far.  It's always so much fun just being able to climb and not worry about projecting or sending hard.  

A hole through the rock

Climbing outside motivates me more than anything else, and it's great that I have finally figured that out.  Climbing in the gym is great and all, but getting out to areas and dealing with camping or dust makes the experience even better!  I love climbing so much, and i'm grateful that I'm able to keep doing it.  Also I'm glad all the kids had a great time and from what their parents told me they couldn't stop talking about it!  Hopefully next year we will be able to organize another trip! The whole time on the trip I was filming many sends and made a little video of the trip, hope everyone enjoys it!! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Red Rocks Trip

                 Oreo in the bush

My trip in Vegas has come to an end and I'm sad to leave, but it was a great experience and great trip! 

I was able to hang out with old friends and meet new ones.  We were fortunate enough to have a place to stay. Our friends Kenny and Julie live in Vegas about five minutes from the boulders! It was a pre location and they were really awesome for letting us stay for two weeks! Our friends Courtney and Daniel stay with us as well.  Cameron, Nalle and Lisa were part of our crew as well but they stayed elsewhere.  

The first few days we all climbed together, but once the boys found projects in other canyons they would go do their own thing.  So in a way it was a boy trip and a girl trip.  That's how Courtney and I decided to make a video of the trip.  We will have two parts of it so be on the look out for that here in the next month or so.  We spent a lot of time at the Kraft boulders, but were able to make it out to a few other canyons as well.  Next time we might be spending more time developing then repeating boulders. 

              Courtney on Scare Tactics

We were able to tick off many classics out here. Scare tactics, bubble butt, Americana exotica, jabberwocky, bitch slap 5, Timmy's problem, orange top blue sky, mr. Moran, Quercus (FA), vino rojo, monkey bar direct, alexisizer, blood trails, all nightmare long and pork chop.  It was a great trip and I learned a lot about myself and my climbing.  

                 Cam on Pork Chop

I really enoyed the group of people that we were with.  We had a bunch of fun climbing together all day and then hanging out at night and making dinner together or just going out.  It was truly a great trip that created many memories! 

            Nalle on Clogging the Feed

It was awesome to watch the boys establish new boulders.  All of them walked away with FAs.  Daniel with 'the nest' and 'half magic.' Nalle with 'clubbing and tubbing' and 'clogging the feed.' And Jimmy did 'one flew over the cuckoos nest' and 'fear and loathing.'  I also got to watch all of them send a scary high ball 'the shinning path.' They had a great dynamic between each other.  It was really motivating to see them push each other and laugh and have fun doing it! 

         Jimmy on The Shinning Path

We spent a little time on the strip.  One evening Lisa, Courtney and I went to Fremont St. We were there right in time for a pep rally and walked around gift shops. Also went down a slide that was a lot of fun.  Haha.  Had some frozen yogurt and I gambled away $2.  Overall it was a great time experiencing a little bit of Vegas.  

                    Fremont street 

My birthday was yesterday and we all went to the Rio Buffet.  We had to wait in line for an hour but it was worth it! So much food!! We spend over two hours in there! They had Asian food, southern food, Italian food, sushi, desserts, and much more!  It was fun to hang out with a great group of people for my birthday!! It was a great day of climbing as well!  

                 Entrance to the Rio 

Now Jimmy, Oreo and I are on our way to Hueco Tanks. We have about a 12 hour drive ahead of us, but it will be worth it in the end.  My climbing team from Chatty will be joining us on the 26th and staying till the 4th!  I'm so psyched to show the kids the beauty of hueco and all the classic climbs!! 

                  Daniel on The Nest

                Lisa on Mr. Moran

                 Me on Blood Trails