Hanging On

Thanks to any and all who still may be coming to Frixtion looking for new posts--just hang in there with me! The semester is over next week and I'm cooking up some road trip plans for the holiday break, including Chattanooga and Horse Pens, so I should have some fun stuff to share soon. Right now the only thing I could share with you is info on my Neuroanatomy final. If that's your bag, let me know; I'll try to work it into some future posts. It's also supposed to snow here in Boone tomorrow, so I guess it's officially Rumbling Bald season. Might have to work in a trip there in the next few weeks, too.



Live Rock Climbing Competition on TV! World Cup Finals

Wouldn't that be the day? Like American football, we'd sit on our couch eating potato chips, cheering on the International Sport Climbing World Cup competitors. Everyone would know the climbers' stats, their top sends, their strengths and weaknesses.

Sound crazy? It's not a total pipe dream sports fans. Once again, the mighty internet brings the future to us faster than we can ask for it. Most of this World Cup rock climbing season was streamed live on the internet and, for this climbing nerd anyway, it was surprisingly fun to watch (I know, should have told you before the season was over, but better late then never, right? Plus you can still re-play the videos--more information and links are below).

This past Friday and Saturday, the Rock Climbing World Cup Finals were streamed live from Kranj, Slovenia (highlights here). Our 5' 2" man Ramon Julian Puigblanque killed it, becoming the Men's World Cup Champion. Kim Jain, a crushing climber from Korea took the women's category, becoming the Women's World Cup Champion. Korea's climbers are a growing force on both the bouldering and sport climbing IFSC World Cup circuits.

The Joost blog stays on top of this World Cup live streaming stuff. Or you can just keep up with things on the IFSC's YouTube channel.

It's a recurring question, but as a side topic, where are the U.S. climbers in IFSC's sport climbing circuit? Less surprisingly, IFSC's bouldering competitions receive some U.S. attention, but in general the absence of U.S. climbers is kind of disappointing.

Zachary Lesch-Huie

Crazy Internet=Design Change, Plus a Rant of Sorts

When I woke up and checked the blog this morning, there were ads running through the rotating images I usually have at the top of the page. Somehow a virus hacked the code running the javascript and started mucking it up with ads. So, for now, I'm having to just default to a simple logo for a while until I figure out what caused it and how I can fix it. Bummer. This is the last thing I need right now! This semester has slowly worn me down to the point where all I can think about is schoolwork. I used to climb, blog about climbing, go for runs, hang out with friends on the weekends. But the last couple of weeks especially have been some of the busiest / most stressful in my life, and it'll probably stay that way until Xmas break. I haven't climbed outside in weeks!

But I can't wait for the time off at Christmas. I'm trying to get a little SE road trip going so me and Melissa can hit up the Obed, Chattanooga, and hopefully HP40 too. Now I just gotta make it a few more weeks.

I'm finding that the key to not going crazy during all of this is to keep reminding myself of why I started grad school: Eventually, I want more flexibility from my career and more time for climbing. While my last job was great in a lot of ways (an Editor at a publishing company in Asheville), I only got 2 weeks off a year, was chained to a desk, and my "job transportability" as I like to call it, meaning that if I wanted to up and move to Wyoming next year, was nil. There aren't a lot of publishing jobs in the places I want to be. But Speech Therapy is a lot like nursing--there are a lot of jobs all over the country, and there are a lot of options for schedule flexibilty and having time off. For example, one of the therapists I shadowed in a local school system worked three days a week, had summers off, and still made a salary in the mid-30s. It's not an amazing amount of money, but for working part time with summers off, it's pretty sweet, especially if you're a climber. I think I could make that salary stretch just fine by keeping living expenses low while still getting to be outside 3-4 days a week. Also, you can do travel therapy, which is what I plan to do after I graduate. You can do as little as six months at each assignment, so you can basically follow the seasons around the country for awhile until you want to settle someplace.

These are the things I keep telling myself while I'm stuck inside on nice days, or studying feverishly over my breakfast, or watching the calluses peel off my tips. Hell, I moved to Boone to be closer to climbing! The irony is terrible that I live in one of the best bouldering spots in the country, and I even have boulders I can walk to in my backyard, and I still climb maybe twice or three times a month now. But one semester's almost done already...just 3 more to go! Then, I hope, I'll see all of this has been worth it.

-Matt P.



Two Down, One to Go: Triple Crown at HP40 Complete

Well, I wish I was there. I had to work on Saturday and couldn't make it down to Horse Pens for the second leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series. I heard it was a blast as usual, with some naughty behavior on the award ceremony stage (as usual?). A welcome change this year must have been the cooler temperatures.

Results from the comp are up on the Triple Crown site, along with a link to an article I wrote for Rock & Ice's website about the Hound Ear's comp. Dead Point Magazine's site also has a nice series of images from Horse Pens.

A little sports commentary: Kasia Pietras continues to do well in the Open Women's category, though out-of-towner Angie Payne swooped in to take first at HP40. Still, Pietra's looking good as an overall Triple Crown winner, and my guess is she'll have the local's advantage at Stone Fort. Nearly boring in it's consistency, the Open Men's category continues to be dominated by three young Southern crushers: Brion Voges, Brad Weaver and Jimmy Webb. At least the former two made it somewhat interesting by trading second and third places from Hound Ears. That said, Jimmy Webb continues to hold on to first like a huge, juggy Gerry rail. It seems doubtful that he won't take the series.

The Triple Crown train keeps on chugging. Next stop? Stone Fort. Get ready for some immaculate and inspiring sandstone blocks.

Zachary Lesch-Huie


ASU Climbing Team Film Completed

Matt de Camara and his Far From Home Productions have gone from grassroots, garage-punk climbing films to something truly professional. A while ago I mentioned a trip I took with him and the Appalachian State University (ASU) climbing team to the boulders at Rumbling Bald. Well, the fruit of that trip, and Matt's labor, has been born. Following their visit to the boulders, which Matt documented in the excellent film below, the ASU team helped raise over one thousand bucks for the project.

Zachary Lesch-Huie