Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I'm in. This blog is mine now sucker. What kind of loser sets his password as 'Sharmaisgod'. Nailed it onsight.

First off, what idiot designed this keyboard? Spacebar is freaking killing me. I'd shag a cat for a couple of opposable thumbs about now.

Since I've never been allowed to post before I'll start back as far as my dog brain can go. All the way back to....that's right, when these jokers left me at home for five weeks so they could go traipsing around Europe.

Oh yeah, I knew all about the trip. I saw them planning and packing and the whole time I'm thinking to myself, "This is gonna be bawse!" I was a little worried about the flight so I scored a couple of Qualudes at the club the other night. I'm thinking I pop a few of them mofos and when I wake up "Boom! Where my chiens at!" I was super amped when I heard we were going to France. The crags in France are a dog's dream. Doo doo snacks under every rock! But I let my guard down and those A-holes left me. I was pissed but fortunately my Dogfather Kirk and his main squeeze Krystaaaal came over to party. Kirk took me to work everyday. I was the mascot for New River Mountain guide's kids summer camp. Kickin' it at the crag everyday, ya know what I'm sayin'? Keepin' it real.

I was just settling in to life with my new rents when these two jokers roll back in thinkin' they own the place. I'll hold a grudge man, and I did. Especially cause as soon as they got back, life came to a crashing halt. Days at the crag turned into days on the couch. Super lame. Mama C went pretty much right back to teaching snot nose brats and M-Dub started clacking away at this here keypad. For days. Apparently he started some new job as 'editor-in-chief' at Deadpointmag.com. And believe me he will not let me forget it. I think it's gone to his head. Check this out, you're going to love this:

Ok, Ok, so the other day I'm sleeping on the couch as usual right. It's just me and M-Dub in the house. I hear real faint off in the distance "editor in chief....editor in chief....editor in chief" At first I think I'm dreaming but I'm wide awake now and for sure it's M-Dub whispering it or something. So I real stealth like slip off the couch, creep over, and stick my head around the door. Ok, Ok, seriously, the dude is standing in the bathroom with his shirt off. He's staring at himself in the mirror, flexing his muscles, saying "yeah, Editor in Chief" Dude, I am dying inside. I'm doing everything I can to not bust out laughing cause this is too good. Then, seriously, OK, seriously, he drops his arms down in like some girly pose and puts on some seductive secretary voice and he's like "Mr. Editor in Chief, here's those faxes you asked for. Would you like any more coff...." But right then he sees me staring at him and I lose it. I'm laughing so hard I can't even breath and he slams the door and I can hear him in there sobbing like a little girl. Bwaaahhhahaaa! Dude, what a loser! Can you even believe that!

So this goes on for days, the whole typing thing and he's always bitching about being busy when all he really does is update his Facebook status and reread his 8a.nu scorecard for the millionth time. So one day the phone rings, right? I can here it's Dave Pegg from Wolverine Publishing on the line cause my ears be light years ahead of ya'lls. I immediately start listening in cause I know Bel and Dee Dee are over there and I'm wondering if they're going to give me a shout out. I love Dee Dee. I mean we spent time together man. We ran in front of cars at the Project Wall, we dirted up rope bags in the Arsenal, we tried to steal sandwiches at the Wasteland so we could eat em up and then poop em out at the base of the routes. I mean I'm a dog right? So you know, I got ho's in different area codes, you know what I'm sayin'? But Dee Dee is my bottom bitch. Paws down.

Anyway, Pegg gets down to business and he's like " We gotta get this Ipod app thing on the move." I can tell M-Dub is looking a little overwhelmed cause that's gonna seriously cut into his Facebook time but he's in. I'm thinking I'm screwed. Another week in the house right. You could not be further from the truth. Pegg starts talking about getting GPS coordinates for every crag in the gorge. M-Dub is like "Dude, that is a lot of hiking" My ears perk up cause I love hiking. "By the end of the month? I don't know Dave that might be pushing it but I'll try." I glance at the calendar and that's like ten days away. Baller! We gonna be getting our hike on.

So the next day we hit the proverbial dusty trail which in West Virginia is more like soggy moss and mud. Some of the best days of my life. Let me tell you just a few of the adventures I had. First day we hike all of Bubba City from Rubble Rock to Cat Cliff, all of Endless, all of Beauty, half of Fern Butt, and all of Kaymoor. Money. The perfect day. A couple things happened that day. First I stopped to swim in Fern Creek and M-Dub was down in the water too. He's trying to point at something in the water but all I see is my own reflection. Turns out there is a lobster-sized crawdad down there but I can't see it. Apparently M-Dub sees all this go down. I'm in the water up to my chest so I can drink without moving my neck cause that's what I like. I'm standing there minding my own business and this crawdad walks straight over to my leg and tries to take a chunk out of my paw with his claw-piece. Dude, I jumped straight out of the water a mile high and ran to the shore. I was scared to death and shaking worse than the last time I shit peach pits. But such is a dog's life and we headed on down the mossy trail.

We're strolling along now at a steady clip and I come upon a girl squatted down right next to the trail. I point her out and M-Dub looks embarassed cause she's dropping a deuce right there! No big deal for me. I'm thinking snack time!

Right after that I stir up a yellow jackets nest cause that's what I like to do. I get stung a bunch and it's no big deal but M-Dub is a total sissy about bees. He goes tearing through the woods screaming "They're on me, Macauly Culkin, My Girl, Call 911!" Unfortunately, he didn't get stung at all.

It's starting to roll up towards evening time now and as the lights go down my fellow woodland creatures stir to life. Out around Sunset Point we're real quiet like getting a coordinate for Keeney's Buttress and a trio of young Bucks walk into the clearing. All three are just younguns with some fuzzy racks. I crouch down real low cause I know I'm about to get my chase on. Then boom! It's on. I feel the wild beast in me come forth and instinct takes over. Two bucks break one way and I single out the indivdual from the herd and follow him. M-Dub can hear my howls far off into the distance of the West Virginia wilderness. I chased that deer until we were both blue in the face. I wonder what I would do if I ever caught one?

And that was just the first day! Yesterday we hiked a bunch up around the Gauley River and Summersville Lake. We went and checked out Carnifex Ferry and some toothless old timer stopped to tell us about his guard dog. He said if we went near his house when his wife wasn't home we'd be cool but if she was in there it'd bite us. I kept pulling at the leash cause dude was weird. But M-Dub seems to get off on these types of interactions with real-deal hillbillies.

After that epic hike we made our way out to Gauley Crag. In the parking lot were two people. A parapalegic lying down on a chaise lounge and some lady with a note pad giving him some kind of hypno therapy or something. Dude, this place is weird sometimes. It was 90 something degrees that day and it was killing me. My tongue was dragging the ground I was so hot. M-Dub spent the whole day bitching about the heat and I'm like "bro, your tongue is in your mouth. What do you expect."

So later on we hike out to the Lake and I run into one of my boys, Rupert P Dogface. He's a boxer like me so we played a bit and then I headed down to the Circus Wall. The heat had finally taken its toll and I was feeling it. Out there around Circus Wall I found this sweeeeet mud hole that smelled like feces. Mmmmm. Needless to say, I got all up in it. I rolled on my back and made sure that the doo doo mud was all over my belly and back and on my face. I ran over to M-Dub to show him how pretty I was and how good I smelled and he yelled at me as usual. Man, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince had it right. Parent just don't understand.

So a bit later M-Dub's like "Hey Lilah, you want to go get a drink?" I'm like "Hell yeah I want a drink. I'm freaking parched as a mofo." So we wander down to the lake and M-Dub is like "Oh wow, this water is so cool and refreshing and he's splashing his hands in it but something aint right. I'm a dog you know and I can sense when something is up. I cock my head and shy back a bit but he grabs me up and throws me as far into the lake as he can. I'm airborne bro and I have time to mutter "What the F...!" before I hit that water like a fat kid off the high dive. Skadoosh! Then he jumps in after me and starts dunking my head like a bully at the park pool. I get to wrastlin back but it's no good man. He won. I ended up cleaner than a frog's armpit. I didn't even smell like doo doo anymore. Man....

Here we are today at the Meadow. We hiked the lower Meadow down to sunkist wall where we found this jumbo hornets nest. Apparently, Parker threw a rock at it the other day and tried to knock it down but they just built it back stronger. Tenacious little devils.

I was totally game for knocking their nest down and eating their babies but again, M-Dub is a total sis. I can tell he's having 'My Girl' flashbacks again so I let it be. We hike down to the river and find a crossing.

You have got to be kidding me? Now I'm the sissy. I'm seeing consequence bro.

But I don't live my life in fear. I ain't skeered. Come on, get psyched and....Gap it!

We're on to the other side and M-Dub starts talking about 'projects' again. I am so tired of 'mega proj' this and 'mega proj' that. I swear if he says it one more time I'll lunge for his juggy and latch on with my canines. This rock all looks the same to me. Just another roof blocking my good sun.

I found this graffitti and started laughing my ass off. M-Dub scolded me like he didn't think it was funny. Lighten up bro. And make sure you wear a 'Trojen' Ha! I swear us dogs are smarter than the rednecks around here.

We hit Hedricks Creek and then blasted back across the river and hiked out. Hey, just for the record I am not afraid of turtles. M-Dub will tell you I'm scared to death and will give a wide berth to avoid them. Whatever man, I just respect them that's all. And they smell weird. And they have sharp beaks. And OK their shells kind of stab into my psyche for some reason but I aint skeered though. No way.

Time to sleep.
Do not disturb...unless you're filling my bowl with some Lamb and Rice. Gotta rest up for tomorrow. I never know what we'll be getting into.

Peace out bitches! And I mean that in the most scientific way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Europe can Liechtenstein my nuts

We're back. What a trip. Visiting Europe was amazing but being home again makes me realize just how good we have it here in beatiful West Virginia. I learned some valuable lessons over there and thought that I should write down a few tips for Euro travel.

Note the picture. Does anyone remember what that thing is? That's right, it's a Betamax recorder. If you were around in the 80's you may have even owned one before you got your VHS player. This one happens to be clad in a substance that I can only assume is iron. Yes, in the future when you see this picture you will know that the blog post you are about to read features: IRONCLAD BETA.

Lets begin with ironclad beta on what to pack for a long Euro camping trip. I realize you are smart people and you know to take things like a good tent, sleeping bags, etc. so I will only suggest two items that you may not have thought of.

Camp stove. Here's the deal. The camp stoves you buy in America run mostly on white gas which is widely unavailable in Europe. Propane stoves bought in America have a fitting that will not accept the propane/butane cartridges sold overseas. One option would be to take a Whisperlite International which will run on unleaded, diesel, or just about anything you put in it. Maybe even Jack Daniels. But you end up with clogged fuel lines, nasty fumes, and they cost a hundo. We opted to just buy a Campingaz campstove like this one when we got there. It was easy to find, fuel was easily obtained and it cost about 40 dollars. You can borrow ours if you're heading over. We also bought cheap plastic plates, bowls, mugs, french press for coffee, etc. That stuff was super cheap and we left it at a campground with a FREE sign on it.

Power: In todays world you'll likely be taking about 10 different appliances that need to be charged up. Laptop, camera, video camera, Ipod, cell phone...and all that stuff has it's own power cord. We ended up with an entire bag devoted to cords. The 'bag of cords' we called it. We took a 12v car inverter that was about the size of a paperback copy of Stephen King's 'The Stand'. Everytime we got in the car we'd charge something up as we drove to our destination. Never did we have to worry about oddly shaped plugs, running 220 into a 110 device, or finding plugs to begin with. This is certainly IRONCLAD BETA. And take a laptop. Most cities have free wireless in their town square.


Camping in Europe is fully busted. How much would you pay to pitch your tent between the dark blue tent and the trashcan? How's 30 dollars a night sound? How 'bout 50? Seriously it is ridiculous. But 'wild' camping, as they call it, is frowned upon and usually well posted with 'no camping' signs. And you can't claim you couldn't understand cause it's a little picture of a tent with an X over it. I say go for it anyway. Hike your stuff up to the crag and camp under the sicky overhang at the base of your gnarly project. What are they gonna do if you get busted? Fine you? Well, since we paid about 500 dollars to camp in Europe for a month I figure we got fined anyway. Renegade camping is the way to go. At Ceuse the camping was much more reasonable but everywhere else not so much. Of course you could always just stay at my friend Fred's house. Fred Nicole, maybe you've heard of him?

Johny Utah: "They're traveling on the money, going where the waves are.

Angelo Papas: "That's right, the Ex-presidents, rip off banks to finance their endless summa'!

If there's one thing I've learned in this life, it's to NEVER doubt the knowledge that can be gleaned by watching the movie Point Break just one more time. And what's that between Reagan and Carter? Looks like an IRONCLAD BETA recorder to me. The ex-presidents have got it together. You go where the waves are. And similarly if you get to your destination and it happens to be the heat wave, snowstorm, or flood of the century don't be afraid to leave. Especially if it's a 50 year storm!

So there you are wondering where to go next. Hmmm. What possible resource could I use to find my next premier destination? Two words:


If forced to choose between actually climbing or never logging into 8a again......Sophies choice man. I don't even like to think about it.

8a.nu is amazing. I recently started using the 'ticklist' search function. Type in the name of the crag you want to visit or the name of the crag you're at and it brings up a google map with nearby crags flagged on it. Drag your cursor over the flag and click it. It brings up the name of the crag, a chart showing which month of the year it receives the most ascents (which gives you a good idea of the prime season) and an ordered list of the most ascended routes. These routes are of all grades so you know immediately which routes are the best. 'Best' meaning: high quality or soft for the grade. So if you're looking to go to Switzerland and you type in Voralpse it will show you all the other nearby crags as well. You can pan out a bit if you're looking to travel a bit further. Pan out more and you've got all of Europe with all the tiny flags of every climbing area. Amazing. Then once you pick an area and you're looking at all the routes that have been 'ticked' at an area it will tell you how many ascents of each route. Click on the name of a route and it brings up everyone that has sent it and the comment they made on it. If the route has only been climbed twice by Dani Andrada and Dave Graham and one of the comments is "Hard! a true fight to the finish" it's probably best to pick another. If 20 people have done it and said "so classic! so soft for 7c!" BOOM onsight effort! This will all be in my tactics book but that is a ways off and this information needs to be shared immediately. Just another way that 8a has shaped my life as well as sculpted my guns.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I don't want a large Farva, I want a liter of beer

We left the B+B at Voralp and headed for Austria. On the way there we passed through the tiny country of Liechtenstein. Click here for some interesting facts including some tips for money laundering. We had no guidebook for Burs but we didn't need one. This crag is totally plush. They have painted name plates with name, grade, and cute picture at the base of the routes as well as a kiosk with a full topo at the crag. Nice. It's also carpeted. Yes, the crag is carpeted. They carried a bunch of quality persian rugs up there and laid em out. Due to the severely overhanging nature of the routes we were able to camp on the rugs and stay out of the rain. A really ideal set up. Oh, we also found out when we got there that this was the same crag that the video of Beat was shot at. Interestingly though, the rock he is climbing in the video is not at all like the conglomerate in the canyon just upstream where we climbed despite the fact that they are a few hundred meters apart.

Here's a picture of Elissa tidying up the house. We climbed two days at Burs and I really liked it. Elissa not so much. She doesn't like the pockets, they hurt her sausage fingers. With only two days to climb we didn't project anything. Just onsighting. I was able to onsight 4 7c's which for me is really exciting. After two days of pocket pulling we were ready for a rest day and a new crag. The sky was blue so we headed back to Switzerland. We ended up in Interlaken which is home to the famous trio of the Monch, Jugfrau, and Eiger.

Interlaken and the surrounding area is a major tourist destination. Tons of people and kind of a headache despite the amazing surroundings. We got a guidebook and decided to camp and then hit up a crag called Lehn the next morning. We went to one campground and they wanted to charge us 46 dollars to camp on the ground. You have to be kidding me? No way. So we went to another one. Same deal. That is just crazy to ask for 50 bucks to camp on the ground for one night, even if it is right at the base of the crag we wanted to climb at. So we hopped back in the car and drove, starving, through a driving rain storm for about 2 hours. We burned about 10 dollars in gas then finally found a campground that was only 30 dollars. We pitched the tent in the rain, scarfed back some dinner, and passed out, unshowered, to the sound of fireworks that were blasting off in celebration of their stupid national holiday. The next day we drove back to Lehn, about 10 dollars in gas, right past the 50 dollar campground to the crag. Elissa fails to see the logic in why this was the right thing to do. Oh, young, naive Elissa. You have much to learn about the ways of the world.

Lehn was a very cool crag. We warmed up on a sweet 7a and then boom! with a single clap of thunder the climbing portion of our trip was over. That's it. Our last climbing day. We got rained out. So we came back to the campground, fired off some internet and a liter of beer and tomorrow we head to Geneva. Done. We fly out early morning the day after tomorrow. Geneva to Amsterdam for a little drug rave then 8 hours of discomfort before we land in the paradise of Detroit, America. Smooth sailing from there. Supposedly we have someone picking us up at the airport in Baltimore but I'm not even sure about that. Aunt Sandy is pretty flighty. You know how those Keene girls are.


G'day mate! Long story short...we got rained on and I'd erd that the rock was always dry in Austria. So we head across the border and I come up on some bloke and I'm like "Oy, mate. Where can I find some dry rock around 'ere." And he gives me this blank look like 'es a frenchman or sumthin'. I start gettin' annoyed and I get in 'is face and I says "OY, are you 'earin me? I'm lookin' fer dry rock...Araps, Gramps, Blueyes.....? Any of this ringin' a bell?" And he pulls out some little Swiss folding knife jobber and threatens me with it and I says to 'im "That's not a knife...this is a knife." as I pull out me bowie.

So the first part is true. When it rains in Switzerland it makes West Virginia look like the Sahara desert. We got a room at the B+B up in these sweet swiss alps overlooking the crag of Voralpse. If you're not familiar with the Stephen King story 'the Shining' then this place comes highly recommended. We were the only guests at the place so it was a little weird but they still had the restaurant open and it was amazing food. German food is upretentious. They take a piece of veal for me, Shnitzel, and bam! throw it in the deep fryer. Delicious. They even offered a vegeterian option for Elissa which is rare in German country.

This is me telling a swiss cow what I ate for dinner last night.

This one is for you Parker...Hilti headquarters.

That same day we had a tentpole stick clip epic getting Elissa's draws off Paradigma. Then we blasted out for Austria. We heard from some locals that this place in Austria called Burs was always dry. Conglomerate rock which made us wonder about the quality but dry is good so we split.
The locals are pretty jacked. Elissa loved Austria for some reason. She kept getting distracted and for some reason she wouldn't pay any attention to me.

No bother though, I found a little love interest of my own. I told you I am an art lover. More on Austria after dinner.....