The Internet Goes Climbing

Ask, and the internet shall provide. The web bears fruit from the Tree of Climbing Humor. Behold!—

First, and probably the most important blog that you will ever bear witness to, comes a collection of Ryan Gosling memes from HeyClimberGirl.Tumblr.com. Sure, Gosling memes (if you don’t know what a meme is, start by reading this) are a dime a dozen, but “hard core climber girls like Ryan, too,” and, honestly, there is some decent advice bestowed here. Here’s my personal favorite.

Speaking of sage advice from a man of the movies, have you seen this awesome William Shatner monologue, remixed by Fall on Your Sword. “Captain of the Mountain” is a killer synth-disco jam, but the best part is this is Shatner’s query “Why do I climb the mountain? … Because I’m in love.”

For those of you that don’t know, Reddit–”The Front Page of the Internet”–is the best place to watch cat videos, along with the best and worst that the internet has to offer. As a side note, if you’ve ever seen a “viral” post on Huffington Post or Gawker, it most likely came from Reddit. Anyway, there are subReddits for just about any group or activity that you can image. Climbing is no exception. There are a lot of discussions, humblebrags, and, sometimes, funny gems like these guys getting desperate in Texas.

For those of you looking for love at the crag, try this guaranteed groaner (but it’s all about conviction!): “Do you mind giving me a belay? Because I think I’m falling for you.” Oh yeah, we went there. For a few more (and potentially naughtier) climber come ons and pick-up lines, check this out.

In other news, there isn’t really much on the internet that’s better than a good fail video. There are a ton of climbing ones on YouTube–although most aren’t worth the time and are just people coming off of boulder routes. But(!) this one is worth 12 seconds of your time–especially the last four seconds.

OK, and, lastly, here’s a quintessential list which makes fun of every climbing stereotype. Sometimes these lists can fall flat, but the folks at PimpinAndCrimpin.com do a fine and funny job with this one. Are you a Gear Diva or a Gumby, a Humble Pie or the Token Hot Girl?


Beyond Blues

It’s said that geniuses choose green more often than any other color. Utahns love their green Jell-O. Green is the color of envy and of money. And it’s also the color of those problems that you can’t do. If you’re stuck, we’ve got your back with some advice.—

This list isn’t in any sort of order, fyi. And some of these talking points might either not apply or seem obvious, but chances are that if you are stuck climbing Yellows and Blues, and want to get on those Greens, there’s something here worth noting. Try something out. There’s nothing here that will hurt ya.

Don’t look at the color:
Um, “What the hell am I talking about?” you might be wondering. Hear me out. The biggest hurdle for many athletes is the psychological one. I’m no psychologist (please, oh please, don’t tell me your dreams), but I do know that many folks think that they “can’t” climb Greens, so they won’t be able to. So, this is obviously the first point to consider. OK, you’ll be looking for a Green, but try different ones (because they may be put up by different setters whom have divergent ideas of how hard a Green is or might be of different heights or whatever) and try not to get hung up on what a Green is. Leave those preconceived notions at the door and just climb.

Cross train
If you are getting all of your exercise by way of climbing, you aren’t getting a full-body workout–it’s one dimensional. Lift weights, run, use fancy and expensive equipment at the gym, throw around kettlebells for an hour, do pilates, try out yoga–whatever, it doesn’t matter. But do something for an hour a day to create strength in places other than those climbing muscles you’ve been developing on Yellows and Blues–you’ll be surprised.

Do hand exercises
Remember when you first started climbing at The Front and your friggin’ forearms burnt like all hell from grabbin’ a hold of jugs all day? That Green that you are working on is kind of like those first Yellows, because it requires particular strengths that you have to work up to, especially hand strength for those little crimpers and contact strength for those slopers. Black Diamond makes a blue doughnut looking thingy that is cheap and easy to keep in your car or at your desk. There are myriad options elsewhere as well.

Lose five pounds
Hun, do you think I’m fat? Don’t answer that; you can never win. But most folks–climbing gym climbers even–aren’t super-athletes, lean beasts of pure muscle. Most people that I know have a tiny bit of pudge somewhere, especially after holiday cookie-a-thons. When you backpack you want to hike farther by bringing less, cyclists spend hundreds of dollars shedding grams, so if you drop a few pounds, you’re pound to climber harder for longer.

Start with the hardest problem first
There’s a reason why climbers call it “projecting” when they spend all day on one climb. Don’t wait to try your most challenging climb of the day at the end of your session–project it. Warm up, then work on the Slabby Overhanger From Hell for a bit. Take a break and climb something easier to boost your confidence, then go back. Repeat.

Slow down
You will never get better at any sport flailing and flopping around. You will never see an Olympic swimmer winning gold by doing the doggy paddle, right? There is a certain grace involved when performing at a high level. So, slow down, man. In the same vein, practice this on Blues–focus on engaging your core, use those stabilizer muscles, and proceed through a problem fluidly.

Drink coffee  
Seriously, when is this not a good idea? But really, studies show that coffee helps increase focus and performance. Just don’t drink so much that you are jittery.

Be patient
Don’t be hard on yourself. Do you think any master of his craft–like, say, Bob Ross–got there over night? No, Bob Ross got there one happy little tree at a time. You, dear climber, will get there one happy little crimper at a time.

Here’s Part Deux of The Front’s Crag Cuisine restaurant rundown. Eating like a king doesn’t have to be so hard when you are on a climbing trip. Let us help.—

In case you missed the first installment, you can check it out over here.

With weather temps dropping to highs around 40 degrees this weekend, it’s time to head south. Here’s where to eat on your trips to Joe’s Valley, Moab, St. George and beyond.

Dig in:

Big Moe’s Eatery & Bakery
Big Moe’s has a challenge for masochistic food machos out there. and it belongs on Food Network’s Guy’s Big Bite. OK, you might want to make sure that you’ve earned the calorie intake (or have no threshold for pain—ahem…crack climbers, this might be for you.)  If you can beat the current best time of eating a 1-pound hamburger, 2 pounds of fries and drinking a large drink, then you get the $13 burger on the house, plus your name in bright lights (or, um, chalk on the board). In 2011, the best time was seven minutes. Oh, and if gluttony ain’t your thing, they have killer sandwiches and a Dutch oven dinner on the weekends that’s worth its weight in coinage. 61 S. 7th East, Price, 435-636-0451

Grogg’s Pinnacle Brewery Co.
The kid’s hamburgers at this little unassuming microbrewery are huge (and come with a load of fries). So, maybe with a wink and a nod, the waitstaff will let you order a cheap kid plate with a your pitcher of Hefeweizen (yup, that will look weird on the receipt). Since the only way that Grogg’s cooks burgers is well done, we think making an exception to save some money is a fair trade off. 1653 N. Carbonville Rd., Helper, 435-637-2924

SunGlow Restaurant & Motel
While its location at 17 miles west of Capitol Reef National Park isn’t exactly super close to many crags, this place is worth mentioning–that is, if you can wrap your head around the awesomeness of whatever a sweet pickle pie is. All you need to do when you belly up to this family restaurant is order the “pie sampler,” which gives you half slices of four varieties–oatmeal pie, buttermilk pie, sweet-pickle pie and the pinto-bean pie. Odd: yes. Awesome: Definitely. It’s worth giving them all a try, but you’ll probably order a full slice of that there pickle, afterwards.
91 E. Main, Bicknell, 435-425-3821, SunGlowMotel.com

Avoid the over-rated brewery and the overpriced tourist spots.

Buck’s Grill House
Two words: Duck bacon. Do I need to write it again, or are you already drooling? We’d recommend getting a side of it with anything on the menu, but it melds perfectly with blue cheese on the best burger in Grand County. If your budget can handle it, the sirloin steaks (with duck bacon, of course) are worth the price after a weekend climbing Wall Street or Indian Creek. 1393 U.S. 191, Moab, 435-259-5201, BucksGrillHouse.com

Moab Diner
Back in the ‘60s, Moab Diner–then Poor Boy Diner–sold hamburgers for 29 cents. Dang! Those days are long gone, but you can still get a heapin’ helping of food for cheap–like a bowl of chile verde for $4.99. We’re not really sure what’s up with the devil-ish looking rooster on the cover of the menu (and depending whether or not you’re hungover, he looks like he could be wearing a either backpack or a rodent), but we can agree with his thirst for this diner’s deeelish (and devilish) milkshakes. The Sweetwater Potatoes–fried skin-on potatoes covered in green stuff and bacon–is a must have as well. 189 S. Main, Moab, 435-259-4006, MoabDiner.com

Mitt’s Stop & Eat
Most eateries are named for what they are (diner, bakery, etc.), who owns them or something frilly to catch the eye. Few are commands such as this: Stop and eat. Yes, sir! Although Mitt’s has undergone numerous changes in ownership since opening in 1954, the recipe for the chilli burger, the diner’s most popular item, has remained the same; a good thing, because the local beef and buffalo drowned in Mitt’s famous chilli is simply killer. OK, if I’m tired of writing about burger joints, you’re probably tired of reading about them. Let this be the last one. 356 Millcreek Drive  Moab, 435-259-7424

Quesadilla Mobilla
With the food truck craze sweeping the nation, more and more trucks are sprouting up with bolder and bolder menu items (many trucks citing David Chang as inspiration). Not Quesadilla Mobilla. You get it simple, cheesy and delicious with this on-the-go food truck. Menu items are inspired more from campfire cooking than contemporary American kitchens. Try The Dirt Bag–loads of cheese and some re-fried beans to boot–at only $4.99 or the sweet treat, Campfire Classic–marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers wrapped in a tortilla. The truck has been dealing with licensing issues with the City of Moab, so check their website to see if they are up and running when you get down there. They do open for some special occasions, like last week’s Moab Folk Festival. QuesadillaMobilla.com

St. George
Benja Thai Garden
On your mark….get set…Friggin’ eat!!! You have 90 minutes to fill your belly with all the sushi rolls, miso soup, vegetable tempura and soft drinks you want at Benja from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., Monday through Thursdays. They say they time you, but we’re not sure what the consequence is for going over (maybe some sort of chopstick torture?!). Otherwise, the sushi, for it being in the desert, is pretty good, and you can’t go wrong with the Massaman or Gang Panang curries. 435 N. 1680 East, St. George, 435-251-9301, BenjaThai.com

Jazzy’s Rock & Roll Grill
Jazzy’s is probably the best place in St. George for both early mornings and late nights…if you happen to find yourself in the city then. The environs are a bit gaudy, but in the right sort of dad-rock memorabilia way with its old concert posters, records and music instruments strewn about haphazardly. Jazzy’s roasts its own coffee–a great brew–and the assortment of cheap egg-centric breakfasts ain’t bad either. Late night, you can find entertainment ranging from open mics to rock shows to simply good beer and billiards. 285 N. Bluff St., St. George, 435-674-1678

Cracker Barrel
I know what you’re thinking: gross…and seriously? Cracker Barrell? It’s true, they will fry up just about anything in chicken grease and lard (We think they will fry up a salad if you know how to ask right). But comfort food is comfort food. And unlimited refills of sweet tea, bottomless biscuits & gravy (that are Southern-style legit) and checkers by an open fire really must be appreciated and talked about here. 1736 S. Convention Center Dr., St. George, 435-688-1200

Time to give thanks for a great climbing season.  With memories of warm summer days fading as quickly as the leaves, come gather together at The Front SLC; reunite with old friends, make new ones and CRANK!

The Front is proud to introduce it’s newest citizens comp, Cranksgiving, as an ode to those perfect sends and the friends and temps that made them possible (and *ahem* all the time in the gym that got you in sending shape!).  All ages and abilities are encouraged to come out and climb!

Participation gets you entered in the raffle, where we will be sharing the bounty of shwag.  Join us Saturday, November 10th and crank away on sweet new problems and make some sweet new friends.  Check-in starts at 4:00pm with climbing from 5-8pm.

Pre-register here by Thursday, November 7th and pay only $30 as a member AND get a sweet comp t-shirt!  Non-members and late registration add $5 each. 

Also, don’t forget to save the date for the Send to Defend fundraiser event December 1st, also at The Front SLC.  It’s a joint effort between The Front and the University of Utah to raise funds for the SLCA and The Access Fund.  $15 ($10 if you’re a member of The Front) gets you into the Comp-slash-DJ party-slash-meet ‘n’ greet with Lynn Hill thanks to Petzl (and no, that is not Lynn on the poster).  Raffle prizes?  Always!  With this much bold text in one paragraph, you know it’s gonna be good. You can register online or on the day of the event.  Whether you participate or spectate, be sure to donate!

While you’re out and about on the interweb…you might as well stop by Indie Ogden’s Best of Ogden site to vote for us!  You don’t even have to drive up if you’re in SLC.  What do we win?  Absolutely nothing, aside from knowing that we’re loved.  We all need that, don’t we?  Oh, and it means we get to go to just about the hippest party Ogden’s seen in a while, on December 7th at 7pm.  After you vote for us, go to the “Party” tab to get your tickets.

Why be humble when we have this awesome opportunity to shamelessly brag about our Competitive Climbing Team?  The Front had the home court advantage at this past weekend’s ABS Local competition at the Ogden gym.

Maya Wheeler getting there. Photo: Zach Burton

Our collective team of SLC and Ogden kids set a great example for the visiting teams, with strong placements and fantastic attitudes!  Kate Rasmussen and Austin Hansel took first place in their age divisions. Dallas Hammonds, Le Evans, and Zach Berger placed second in their divisions and Paris Tran, Axel Dillman, and Eric Coley all took third places.  In addition to all the usual suspects, competitors from Idaho (Yay, Front Boise!) and Colorado made the trek to come hang out and compete with us.  See all the results here on our website, or check out usaclimbing.org to learn more about the competition circuit. 

So far this season, our Regional and National rankings are looking good! Can’t wait to see where these kids take it this year. Sights are set on Divisionals in Tucson, AZ, and then it’s on to Colorado Springs, CO for the National Championships (fingers crossed and training hard)!

Crushing kids at the ABS Local Comp. Photo: Zach Burton


Another dawn, another Deadpoint Comp laid to rest…

Gumby in da house! Photo: Indie Ogden

This year our bouldering wall was graced with ladybugs, zombie skate punks, disco duos, 80’s fitness freaks, sharkmen, really big monkeys, lycra-clad wrestlers (ewww), and Gumby (proper noun), who entered the building empty-handed and went home with a Metolius crash pad in his hot little green hands!  Fifteen-year old National Youth Champion Nathaniel Coleman showed all the old guys how to do the hard stuff.  There was schwag for everyone, thanks to Evolv, La Sportiva, Metolius, J-Tree, Slackwater, and Wild Country!  Results are here.

And now…time to start brainstorming costume ideas for next year…it just keeps getting better and better!

Said the butterfly to the shark… Photo: Indie Ogden
Hunter S. Thompson (father of the butterfly above) and Dr. Gonzo. Brilliant! Photo: Indie Ogden
Wes and Kyle deadpoint disco style. Photo: Zach Burton

Danny the Dominator. Photo: Zach Burton

We love our customers. Photo: Indie Ogden

Let’s say that you’re on a climbing trip, or maybe you’re a weekend warrior on a brief sojourn, and you are surrounded by a sea of dirtbags whose diet consists of deeply-discounted expired Cliff Bars from Big Lots and dehydrated beans they scored from their wilderness-guide friends. Food on climbing trips doesn’t have to be this way!

No matter where you venture to in and around Utah, there are plenty of options to up your crag cuisine–food that won’t hurt your wallet, is satisfying and filling, and adds a little somethin’ extra to your trip, so you’re not just scrumming it.

This is a two-part blog, starting with Northern Utah (while it is still warm-ish). Later, we’ll investigate food in the southern, warmer regions of the state.

Dig in:

City of Rocks/Ogden:

Rock City Mercantile
This is the ne plus ultra of climber cuisine and supply shops. Rock City Mercantile, located in the big red barn before entering City of Rocks, has everything you will need for camping, from supplies to dry goods and food. But they specialize in pizza, and after a hard day climbing, it sure as hell is nice to let someone else do the cooking–and, mostly, cleaning–for you. Piping hot and melty, the pizza is killer and is nearly as nice as the assortment of full-octane beers RCM carries. Elba-Almo Road at 839E, Albion, ID, open seven days a week.

Maddox Drive-In
Nothing about Maddox says, “health food,” but what the hell, you’ve been climbing all weekend. Maddox is perfect for a quick stopover at the drive-in on the way back from the City. The burgers, thick and really (this must not be understated here), really juicy, are the way to go. Be sure to sip on some homemade root beer, or, better yet, down a rootbeer float. 1900 South Highway 89,  Brigham City, UT, (435) 723-8545, MaddoxFineFood

The Fruit Highway
Along historic Highway 89, there sure are some beautiful stretches–and, OK, some ugly industrial ones as well. But the 10 miles from Willard to Perry in Utah is probably the sweetest. Coined as “The Fruit Highway,” this stretch hosts more than 10 established (brick & mortar) family fruit stands, and, during high harvest, tons of folks selling out of flatbeds. The fruit comes from the surrounding hills, and this time of year you can load up on apples and pears. If you remember this spot, be sure to check back in 2013 during peach season–Utah’s peaches make Georgia blush.


The Crepery
There’s a word that means when you eat food, you are sometimes transported back in time to where your subconscious has stored the thought of that taste (No, it’s not “tazo”–that means smelling something). Well, maybe if we bit into the word we’d remember. Anyway, munching on  Pepe la pesto (pesto, Parmesan cheese, smoked turkey, roasted red peppers) or seventh habit (housemade custard, chocolate sauce, strawberry or banana) crepes at The Crepery will bring you back to those romantic nights walking down the cobbled streets of Paris. Or, at a minimum, will remind how delicious these thin little pancakes are when made on an authentic griddle. 130 N. 100 East, Logan, (435) 787-4080

Tandoori Oven
Torpedoes, Subway sandwiches, fro-yo and greasy assorted processed foods are what normally comes out of gas stations (as a side note, the last thing we saw was an oatmeal dispenser–yeah, how gross is that?). Not in Logan. The Tandoori Oven, located inside a Sinclair (the gas station even sells Indian spices) is, hands down, the best Indian food in Logan, and maybe some of the best we’ve ever had stateside. Try the the Chicken Tikka Masala, the garlic naan and lamb anything. 720 E. 1000 North, Logan, UT, (435) 750-6836, TandooriOvenLogan.com

Uintas/ Kamas:

Samak Smoke House & The Notch Pub
In case you forgot some provisions before venturing up to the Uintas, Samak Smoke House is the place to stock up. They also offer lunch on the go–sammies and such–but the real treat here is all in the name of the place. Samak smokes their own jerky (the best local jerky around), which comes in a variety of flavors and in beef or turkey. They also smoke their own cheddar cheese (to die for), mozzarella, salmon and trout (another favorite). On Sundays, you can smell the barbecue cooking as you head down the mountain–it is not to be missed. The same owners that own the smoke shop also own the nearby pub. And as far as The Notch Pub goes, if this doesn’t make your mouth water, you’re probably a robot: “Dave’s Famous Burger”: Handmade out of ground tri-tip steak, and covered in our signature cherry wood smoked cheddar cheese, served with lettuce, tomato, & onion on a homemade bun. Damn! The Notch is also a great place to get your pitcher-of-beer on, either out on the patio or inside in the oak-y, cozy interior. Samak Smoke House, 1937 E.  Mirror Lake Hwy.,  Kamas, UT, (435) 783-4880, SamakSmokeHouse.com; The Notch Pub, 2392 E. Mirror Lake Hwy., Samak, UT, (435) 783-6244, TheNotchPub.com

Dick’s Drive-in
Similar to Maddox listed above, Dick’s is all about eating some greasy-ass food because, well, you’ve earned it. If you pass on the food–because you are only 20 minutes away from high-class options in Park City–don’t miss out on the milkshakes: You have to eat them with a spoon. 235 Center St., Kamas, UT, (435) 783-4312

Yolk on Main
Let’s just do everyone a favor and get the one egg pun out of the way: This place is eggstr — I can’t make myself do it. I just can’t. It’s “excellent.” Self restraint, people. But don’t get your hopes up for anything more than diner fare–but with big ol’ ‘Merican-sized portions–and you won’t get let down. If a big egg breakfast with all the fixins and bottomless coffee is your thing–and let’s face it, it is–then check this place out. 35 S Main St., Kamas, UT, (435) 783-9655

More to come…

Ok, so the Idaho Mountain Festival starts today, but don’t fret…it goes on all the way through Monday, the 30th.   Four days of climbing, clinics, camping, slide shows, parties, contests, and trail running in and around City of Rocks and Castle Rocks State Park. To get your passes, bring cash money (because that’s all they’ll take) to festival headquarters at Castle Rocks, which is also where the Tent City camping will be. More info at idahomountainfest.com!

After you’ve fallen in love with Idaho, get psyched to head back up for a day trip October 13th for the Dierke’s Lake Boulderfest. BoulderFest provides a rare opportunity to compete in that generally bygone thing of the past, the outdoor comp! The day starts with some trail maintenance at 7am. Comp climbing on the funky basalt boulders along the Snake River starts at noon-ish, and awards are at 4:30. It’s $3/car to get into the park, and comp entry is only 15 bucks.

Then, October 17th, the Reel Rock Film Tour drops once again in SLC with showings at 7pm and 9:30pm at the Tower Theatre, 876 East 900 South.  It’s so much more than just a movie viewing, with oh-just-about-everyone-who’s-anyone attending, and raffle prizes from Goal Zero, Petzl, The North Face, Evolv and more!  When else are Wednesdays this awesome?! As usual, Reel Rock brings a little something for everyone.

Sporty:  The Dura Dura.  5.15c in the works.  Sharma.  Ondra.  Digulian.  Ojeda.

Alpine:  The Shark’s Fin.  A second attempt at settling a 6310m score.  Anker.  Chin.  Ozturk.

Traddy:  Wide Boys.  Offwidth mania.  Randall.  Whitaker.

Just Plain Crazy:  Honnold 3.0.  ‘Nuf said.

Tickets are available at The Front Climbing Club (1450 South 400 West, Salt Lake City, UT), The North Face (6223 South State Street, Murray, UT), or the DAY OF THE SHOW at the Tower Theater. Secure your tix before they sell out…it actually happens!

This year’s Deadpoint Comp is Saturday, October 27th at The Front Ogden. It’s an ABS Local in the am, fun for the citizenry in the afternoon! Hmmm…what to wear…what to wear?

And if just you happen to be on the other side of the country for any reason, Rocktoberfest in the Red River Gorge is happening October 5-7th. This year, one of the largest climbing events in the country celebrates the final payment on the $227,500, 700-acre Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve- one of the most historic purchases of land by climbers in North America.

Happy Fall, y’all! Be safe and send hard!