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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ABS Regionals - Boulder, CO @ ABC Climbing Gym

I had the privilege of being a part of the setting crew for ABS Regionals in Boulder, CO.  
It has been something that I've wanted to do over the last few years.  In the past I have helped out at Regional and Divisional level events but never to the extent that I did with this event at ABC Climbing Gym.  

The setting crew consisted of John Gass, Paul Dusatko, Kegan Minock, Garrett Gregor and myself.  It was a really great crew of people and we had a lot of fun setting together.  Garrett laid out a schedule for the week and we stuck mostly to it.  Friday night we spent a couple more hours at the gym, but that's bound to happen.  

Garrett allowed us to pick a set of holds that we really wanted to set with.  I ended up choosing the Talus Set from Voodoo Climbing.  I was really psyched to set a boulder with them, but I didn't know what I was going to be setting until I got to the gym Wednesday afternoon.

Garrett had chosen for me to set:
Male Youth D/Female Youth D - Boulder #1
Male Youth D/Female Youth D - Boulder #2
Female Youth B/Youth A/Junior - Boulder #6
Male Youth B/Youth A/Junior - Boulder #1
Male Youth B/Youth A/Junior - Boulder #4

Paul and I also set:
Male Youth B/Youth A/Junior - Boulder #2

  Male Youth D/Female Youth D - Boulder #1
When i was done setting this boulder everyone said that it was way too hard.  I had given the youngest kids slopers to climb on.  I ended up making a few adjustments to make it easier.  In the end, after the tweaks I think it was perfect for the Female D category but a little too easy for the Male D category.

Red holds with yellow tape

Male Youth D/Female Youth D - Boulder #2
For this boulder I concentrated on pinches along with a few slopers towards the top.  I used the two big beehive holds from E-grips.  The problem consisted of some tension at the beginning with a few compression moves at the top.  Overall the climb itself turned out well but for the competition it had the same effect as the first boulder for this category; perfect for the girls and a little easy for the boys.  

Yellow holds with yellow tape

Female Youth B/Youth A/Junior - Boulder #6
I had a fun time setting this boulder.  It had a dyno for the first move, yet it wasn't too big.  It continued up the overhanging arete with some compression moves to get up to slopey jug.  It then crossed to some small flat edges from which you did a move to a smaller slopey pinch that you had to match and go to the top from.  For the Youth B category there was an extra holds on the problem that made one of the moves a little easier, but I think that the boulder was slightly harder than it should of been for this category.  For the youth a and junior category it was about perfect separating some of the top athletes in each category.

Orange holds with pink tape

Male Youth B/Youth A/Junior - Boulder #1  
I really enjoyed setting this boulder.  It had a dyno as the first move followed by some interesting moves through the roof.  There was a double toe hook around the lip.  It finished with three pinch moves and a dynamic yet technical move to a slick volume.  There was a good amount of positive feed back on this boulder.  I was proud.

Purple holds with white tape

Male Youth B/Youth A/Junior - Boulder #4
This was the ultimate test of technique.  I used the voodoo holds that I had picked out.  They were flipped outside down as feet making the first few moves very technical and slick.  There was a really awesome move at the top that was dynamic and technical at the same time.  I really loved this boulder problem.

Pink holds with white tape

Male Youth B/Youth A/Junior - Boulder #2
I set this boulder with Paul's help.  I really like how this boulder turned out because it was powerful yet technical.  It was set on a some what overhanging wall, with some awesome compression moves at the top.  
Red holds with white tape

Overall I think the boulders turned out well.  I think the biggest mistake of the event was the youth B category.  We should of made the beginnings of the boulders easier and progressively harder.  A lot of the climbers got shut down on the first few moves, but luckily there were no ties.  

It was a great experience and I hope to get an opportunity like this again in the future with regionals, divisionals or nationals! Hopefully i'll be able to get into the Level 2 Route Setting Clinic.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

One day Vegas Trip

I helped Jimmy drive out to Vegas and I was able to climb the evening we got there
I was able to do two really fun boulders!
Here is a video of the short trip!!

Day Trip to Vegas from Kasia Pietras on Vimeo.

I flew back to Colorado to set for regionals at ABC!
I'm really excited for the opportunity and experience!
I think it will be A LOT of fun!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Portland Boulder Rally 2013

It was a rough weekend 
I came to this event not expecting anything, just go out there and climb and have fun! 
For the first two hours that's what it was... I was trying all sorts of boulders but only completed two harder ones
But the ones I was trying were really fun and I was progressing on them, but could never manage to get to the top! 
I'm the last hour of the event I started to spiral down into a very bad place... And I couldn't control it
I have five boulders on my score card but three of them were warm ups... And I just couldn't manage to send anything else! 
I try all the hard ones at least once and nothing... 
I was in the rabbit hole and couldn't crawl out... It was very frustrating and annoying... I didn't realize how out of shape I really was
It shows that I have not been doing much to improve my climbing, and the only thing that I have to say to my defense is that I've been traveling the last two months which caused a lot of disorder in my life.  I am just now settling in and feel like everything is in place.  But in the end I feel as it is just another excuse that I give myself. 

In the end I did not make finals but jimmy did so it was great to watch him climb. Chairing outside the gym was I little iritating because I do not like crowds, but once we were let in it worked out well because we were in the front row and were able to have maybe the best view in the house! 

Chris and I were keeping track of results and it was nerve racking to watch jimmy compete since he was last out on all the boulders and I knew what he had to do to stay in the lead.  My palms were sweaty and my blood was racing.  

JIMMY WON!!! I was so happy!! 

Sunday we played putt putt at a glow in the dark place.  It was really fun!! 

We ventured to the gym later on where I tried a bunch of other boulders along with the finals boulders.  Once again I was disappointed with myself, but at the end of the day I was able to calm myself and just turn the last two days into training days.  

I finished off with doing an ab workout after all the climbing and I know I will be sore tomorrow!  There are so many things I need to work on, and my attitude is one of them! Hopefully with time I will be able to get to where I want to be.  I just have to be patient and keep a smile on my face even when it seems I'm failing all the time... 

I mean 90% of climbing is failure, falling, trying hard and only 10% of the time we succeed! 

So it's time to train! And get back into shape!! 

The bonus of today was breakfast!! 

Either way I want to thank everyone that made this event possible!! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Trip to Idaho!!

Almo, ID is a small town of 172 people which encompasses a large area. They have a general store, a pizza shop/car repair place, an inn and a steak house. 

There are two main areas to climb at in this small town... City of Rocks (free access) and Castle Rocks ($5/vehicle).  There are a few places you can stay such as the Smokey Mountain Camping ($20+ per night) but they do have awesome showers ($3) or there's the City of Rocks campground ($12/night).  There's also the bunk house at Castle Rock that sleeps twelve and is $12.95/person/night and you have to go to the Visitor Center to make a reservation.  We got the hook up and were told about the FREE camping. Down the main road in town till the road turns into dirt and right after you pass the cattle guard you take a right. 

Most of you might of heard of Castle Rocks... It has the infamous 40+ move roof climb "war path" along with many rope climbs for both the trad climber and the bolt clipper... We unfortunately didn't bring our rope and gear, so I won't be able to tell you much about that. 

What I can tell you is that the "taco roof" is an amazing formation of rock that we are fortunate to climb on.  There's a few different lines on.  Most of which are a little bit "morpho" and hopefully I'll be able to figure out some beta before we leave to send a few of these boulders.  

Jimmy and I explored the boulders that surround the 'taco cave' and were surprised at the amount of untouched rock.  There is a great amount of potential out here and hopefully more climbs get developed as the news spreads. 

As of now, due to the goverement closing down nationals parks (which I think is ridiculous but there's a time and place for that rant) City of Rocks has limited access. Some of the land is owned by the state so as climbers we have access to that part of the land.  Jimmy and I hiked around to explore the large amount of rocks that litter the area.  Unfortunately most of the rock is choss with the occasional dyno boulder or some morpho (I hate that word) boulders.  We were able to find a few boulders that had the potential of being good climbs.  

The best part of this trip has been being together with Jimmy (and Oreo).  Even though we had an epic time getting here due to snow in wyoming we have enjoyed our whole time here. I'm really grateful to have these guys in my life. 

The main purpose of this trip was for Jimmy to try and send 'war path'. It took him four tries over a four day period. First day he fell off the move over the lip. Same for the two tries on the second day. Then we took a rest day which involved a lot of hiking around. And the fourth day he did it his first try and made it look easy. I am so proud of him for accomplishing one of his goals.  Watching him over the years has empowered me to become a better climber and I'm psyched to see what the future brings.  

Video of our trip will be up soon!! Till now just pictures!!