Blog Archive

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Some unsolicited advice on finger tweaks, Crimp Oil and resting...

I have always struggled with listening to my body and knowing when to hold back from climbing hard, rest completely or push though.  I am a very determined person and have a hard time not focusing my attention on what I love--climbing. With most of my injuries I have pushed through--I have been lucky using this tactic in some situations and in others, like my shoulder, I believe I prolonged recovery.  

As I have gotten stronger and pushed harder (and inevitably gotten older) I have felt more twinges and tweaks especially in my fingers. Like other injuries, one of the biggest questions with fingers that has gone through my head more than I like is--it hurts a bit--should I climb or rest?  Last summer I choose to climb through which this time turned out to be a bad idea.  I felt tired and worked, my finger hurt a little but I wanted to climb and it was my day to climb according to my climbing/training schedule.  The backfire was big and loud as my finger made a heinous popping sound.  Acupuncture, arnica and rest was the program I was on--I just wished I choose rest before preventing the injury--hindsight.  I eased back into climbing three weeks later and months after I was completely healed.  While resting--active rest is absolutely part of the program--during these three weeks of resting from bouldering I did thousands of pull ups on jugs (immobilizing the injured finger), many runs and hikes including a 24 mile hike where I found a new boulder field, tons of abs and anything else I could do to stay fit and not lose muscle. 

I have moved on from that injury yet my finger problems are not over.  I am still plagued by a nagging knuckle that swells up and hurts.  Recently, Metolius just sent me a package of my favorite chalk (I am a proud member of team Super Chalk)!  In this package was some of their Crimp Oil.  I have heard of this but have never used it.  My knuckle was swollen after a climbing session, the Crimp Oil was sitting there -- I might as well try it, I thought, it can't hurt.  Keep in mind that this is not a magic cure but I was amazed by how much it really helped the inflammation and movement almost immediately!  

Because of the knowledge I have slowly gained as I have struggled through my stubbornness and have not listened to my body I wanted to share some unsolicited advice.  I understand it is hard to rest but give yourself a break and listen to your body.  A few days of rest is better than the alternative--being injured and resting for months.  So when you are questioning whether you should push through it is better to err on the side of caution and rest when you are tired or if something hurts.  And if you have pushed too far which is hard not to do in the sport of bouldering -- Crimp Oil helps--it really reduces pain and swelling in muscles, tendons and joints!  Here is to happy healthy climbing!

  • A healing balm for climbing-related injuries of the finger, hand and wrist
  • Reduces pain and swelling in tendons, joints and muscles
  • 100% natural blend of essential oils and plant extracts
  • Designed by climbers
  • Available in 10 and 30 ml bottles
  • Ingredients: grape seed oil, lemon eucalyptus, wintergreen, lavandin abrial, litsea cubeba, geranium, peppermint, helichrysum italicum.
  • Price: 10 ml. $12.95
  • Price: 30 ml. $24.95
  • Friday, April 4, 2014

    A tale of best friends & the poo

    Yes this just happened.  I'm sitting in my home in Estes Park, just finished training, minding my own business getting some stuff done before work (a very typical day) and I hear the UPS man in the drive.  Thinking it must be a birthday present for Adam I happily receive the package.  Hugh, not a company I recognize, what could it be, I wonder as I open the package and this is what I found.  

    A bit of background--flashback to Quinn Brett's 30's celebrated in Las Vegas with Jennifer Morse, Karla DuBois, Bronson MacDonald and myself (with guest appearances from Logan and Susan).  Short version--when we check into our Bellagio room that Karla hooked up for us it was dark--we swarm in, put our luggage on the luggage rack, desks and chairs, unfurl our belongings, figure out what to wear and the weekend of fun continues as expected in Las Vegas (including getting my wallet and camera stolen in a club).  Packing to go home quite weary and over Vegas I was in the room with Jen when I notice something under the luggage rack.  Must be a sock or something that fell, I thought as I peer closer.  To my horror, I realize that it is no sock—it’s a pile of poo!  Quite petrified me, Jen and the poo we realize that it had been in there for some time (i.e. it wasn’t us).  Shocked, offended and confused we battle it out with the unhelpful Bellagio staff and happily leave Vegas behind trying to shake off the dirty feeling of the poo (at least I did not sleep on the floor next to it).

    A little tradition has proceeded this scaring incident--a plastic replica poo has circulated around among us over the years. Initially I received it in a package from the “Bellagio.” Eventually I put it in the  bottom of Jen’s back pack on the top of Mount Ida when I distracted here with a sandwich.  I haven’t see the plastic poo in awhile but after the Hueco Rock Rodeo I got a congratulatory package from non other than Jen--the plastic poo has made it back to me.  I brought it back to Colorado waiting for the right time and moment to pass the poo.  Until today—the game was brought to a new level and mysteriously I cannot find the plastic poo! 

    Maybe this is just a way of my friends (who were my first and have since then been my best friends since I moved to Estes in ’96) saying they will miss me as they jet off to Costa Rica while I gear up for six night work week.  Thinking of you Jen, Karla, Quinn and Bronson—still wondering which one of you did this but I have a feeling I know.  “Revenge is mine, quoth she.”

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    Homage to Hueco

    Ah Hueco
    You rose out of nothingness.
    Your beauty is surpassed.
    You are an iconic legend.
    You have given shelter.
    You have welcomed strangers.
    You have watched me grow.
    You have knocked me down.
    You have comforted me.
    You have built me back up again.
    You have given me strength.
    You have given me hope.
    You have celebrated with me.
    You have consoled me.
    You have welcomed me home time and time again.
    You have watched me grow.
    I have loved under your stars.
    I have lamented at your feet.
    I have grown in your shadow.
    It has come time to leave you again.
    But I will be back and we will see together what the next chapter is as I strive to be great in your prescience. 

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    21st Hueco Rock Rodeo Round Up!!!

    The 21st Hueco Rock Rodeo, HRR, once again has lived up to its iconic status and has proven that the Rodeo has grown into a fantastic three day climbing festival in the desert southwest!  Hueco Tanks State Historic Site allowed 10 extra spots in the backcountry and 5 on North Mountain making it the biggest Rock Rodeo with 175 competitors and registration was full the week before comp!

    The fun began on Friday night with Fat Tire beer, pre-registration, the El Paso Food Truck Circus and slideshows!  Local Sam Davis mesmerized the crowd with his amazing photography showing them a local’s perspective of desert life and Hueco and sharing images from his travels!  Mina Leslie Wujastyk also spoke, shared a video and her insight on self efficacy of climbing—some great advice before a comp and important insight to take home with you.   Dave Graham sped down from Colorado just to show us the first cut of footage from The Island 2 wowing the crowd once again!

    A heat wave blew into El Paso prior to the Hueco Rock Rodeo and the conditions went from good to bad quickly as the weather went from a pleasant 50 degrees to high 70’s and February 15, 2014 for the 21st Hueco Rock Rodeo it was up to 80!  The athletes and the guides braved it out on the rocks on this incredibly hot day and gave it their all!   The top six climbs is what we were looking for to win and it was Daniel Woods.  He took first place in the men’s open category climbing 50 Shades of Red V12 for 1290 points, House of Doom V14 for 1450 points, Crown Royal V13 for 1330 points, Sugar Ray (a project listed on the problem list but done earlier in the day by Jimmy Webb who got the first ascent) V13 for 1600 points (points were so high because it was undone), The Ugh V11 for 1150 points, Indisposed Heroes V12 for 1295 and finishing the day on the Scream V11 for 1150 points.  Only the top six boulders were counted giving Daniel a total of 8115 but overall 86 V points.  Jimmy Webb came in second climbing 50 Shades of Red, getting the first ascent of the Coeur de Leon project (climbing Coeur de Leon into Troglodyte) now named Sugar Ray by Jimmy, The Ugh, The Scream, High Scream V10 for 1050 points, Windy Ass V9 for 980 points, Windy Ass low match start V10 for 1095.  Jimmy’s top six add up to 7580 putting him in second with a first ascent but he actually climbed more V points than Daniel with 88!  Sean McColl came in third with 7420 points for his top six problems and for the day he climbed and impressive 83 V points.  Sean’s problems were, Better Build your Woodies V11 for1140 points, Crown Royal, Flamignon (in one go) V13 fro 1340, Flame V11 for 1120, Thrilla in Manilla (the James Litz right exit of Rumble in the Jungle) V 12 for 1280 points, Chupacabra Right V11 for 1130 and the Full Monty V 12 for 1200 points.  Paul Robinson came in fourth--his top six got him 7210 points just 210 points behind Sean with 50 Shades of Red, Nagual, Better Build Your Woodies, High Scream, Scream, The Flame and Full Monty climbing 80 V points for the day!

    In the Open category the ladies ripped it up as well!  Jule Wurm from Germany took first place with her top six problems adding up to 6100 points climbing and a very impressive 83 V points for the day!  Jule climbed Better Eat Your Wheaties V8 for 820 points, Glas Roof V9 for 905 points, Flower Power V10 for 1010 points, she flashed The Hand V10 for 1050, another flash of Ministry of Truth V9 for 940, The Egg V8 for 820 points, Funk Moe’s Extension V9 for 990, she flashed Doggie Jump for 990 points and finished up on The Flame sending the V11 in just two goes!  Mina Leslie-Wujastyk kept up with Jule until the end.  The ladies climbed with each other all day sharing beta and encouragement, they climbed all of the same problems until the end of the day where Mina did the Flame from one move in and then was too knackered (as she would say) to send.  Mina took second with 5715 points climbing 64 V points.  Mina climbed all of her climbs first go except Ministry of Truth which went on the second go.  Nina Willliams also had a great day climbing day coming in third with her top six totaling 4430 climbing 43 V points.  Nina climbed with Jule and Mina for most of the day sending The Hand, Wheaties, The Egg, Ministry of Truth and Mr. Serious V8 for 800 points.  Jill Waters and her family drove to Hueco from Bishop for some more warm weather climbing.  Jill came in fourth with 3460 and 33 V points for the day by climbing Mr. Serious, Uncut Funk, Funk Moe’s Extension and The Egg.  Jill’s husband Nick and their daughter guided that day while Mom crushed!   Super impressive climbing from the men and women!
    The Recreational category was on North Mountain this year and we gave them a different challenge—the Wanker 101—all V0, V1 and some classic V2s—we were looking for quantity this year and Carlos Flores won for the men with 39 problems and Amanda Anderson for the women with 47 problems—impressive for such a hot day!

    The weary climbers trickled back to the American Alpine Club’s Hueco Rock Ranch a little earlier than usual tuckered out from the heat.  To greet them the El Paso Food Truck Circus came back with four trucks and a cupcake truck and there was plenty of Fat Tire beer flowing to take the edge off the day.  The HRR was on the local NBC and ABC channels Friday night helping to make it one of the largest Rodeo parties drawing a lot of locals curious about what going on in the desert by Hueco Tanks. 

    As the fiery orange full moon rose over Hueco Tanks’ West Mountain people milled about the vendor village.  We had a lot of great sponsors and vendors that came out to the event including 5.10, Adidas, Organic, La Sportiva, Patagonia, Evolv, Mammut, Burl Eyewear, Send Climbing, Kinetik Climbing, Mad Rock, the Access Fund, local El Paso dealers joined in the fun as well Reliance Outdoor Supplies, Fisher Brother’s Climbing, Hueco Tanks Country Store and Sessions climbing gym were all there. 
    We were proud to make a donation to Hueco Tanks State Historic Park, The Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition and to the Ciudad Nueva – the local youth outreach program whose kids came out to the kids comp on Sunday. 

    The party continued with awards, the dyno contest where local Oscar Gaytan won the men’s in a sudden death battle against Conner Love and Victoria Gezel won for the ladies.  Cletus Wilcox came from Chattanooga to DJ the Rodeo and took us into the wee early hours of Sunday as the bonfire raged.

    Sunday’s breakfast began at 9:00 am with Brittney Griffith and Justin Wood cooking Nutella Crepes at the Patagonia booth.  People gathered for the clinics with Daniel Woods, Sean McColl, Paul Robinson and Nick Duttle and the kids were getting in high gear for the youth comp.  The youth comp featured some serious climbers and also beginners out to have fun and learn about climbing.  Victoria Gezel took first in the advanced youth category with 1290 points winning a climbing training camp with team ABC in Boulder, CO!  Marissa Mur was not too far behind with 1240 and won a kids climbing training camp with the Spot in Boulder, CO!  Through the Rodeo Raffle we are able to raise money to waive the entrance fee, make a donation of cash and product to the kids of the local El Paso youth outreach program Ciudad Nueva.  Thirteen of these awesome kids came out and had a great day demoing La Sportiva shoes and climbing for the day.  Thanks to La Sportiva and Asana for helping the 3rd annual youth comp continue to grow! 

    For the past three years I have either help run the Hueco Rock Rodeo or ran the event myself with the AAC hosting at the Hueco Rock Ranch and with each year I have had the privilege of saying it was the best Hueco Rock Rodeo yet and once again it was the largest and most excellent HRR to date.  I am proud to have helped this event grow into a three day festival and to help give back to the community.  Without all of the predecessors, sponsors and volunteers it would be impossible—thanks everyone for helping! Thanks again to 5.10 for presenting the event and for rushing us the trucker hats and for all of the shoes that went to winners and raffle winners!  Thanks to Adidas for their support and the shirts!  Thanks to the American Alpine Club for hosting the event at the Hueco Rock Ranch!  Thanks to Organic for supporting us and the tons of pads, La Sportiva for the support and the youth comp, prAna for all of the goodies and support, Asana for supporting the youth comp and the Rodeo, Fat Tire Beer for all of the libations and helping with the Rodeo Round Up BBQ, Patagonia for the origami bowls cutting down waste and the crepe breakfast, Climb Tech, Prana, Metolius, Osprey, Reliance Outdoor Supply, Smith Optics, Fisher Brothers Climbing, Evolv, Joshua Tree, Mammut, Petzl, Bosavi, Burl Eyewear, Send climbing, Sessions, Team ABC, The Spot, Acteryx, , NMSU, Revolution, Sanuk, Kinetik, Vcrux, Alpine Cowboy (Jason you were missed), Bear Cam for the highlight videos, Beau Kahler photography, Merrick Ales photography, Sam Davis photography, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, Dave Graham.  Thanks to Andy Klier and Allen Peters for the web development and graphic design.  Thanks to Dan Yagmin for the artwork.  All of the guides that had a long day in the heat.  Thanks to our on call medic David Johnson.  Thanks to Adam Strong, Ben Conner, Mike Wickwire, Andy Klier and Jackie Huftele for the problem list.  Thanks to Hueco Tanks State Historic Site for allowing this event to take place. And thanks to all of those who created the Hueco Rock Rodeo back in 1993 and those who have kept it alive and growing! 

    Melissa Strong
    Hueco Rock Rodeo Event Organizer

    Pre-Registration Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and David Mason

    Friday night!

    Send Climbing, Heather Johnson

    Sam Davis and Ana Burgos 

    Me and Bronson MacDonald--thanks for all of your help B!

    One hot Rodeo!
    Gathering and waiting for shuttles

    Daniel on 50 Shades of Red

    Daniel House of Doom

    Daniel House of Doom

    Daniel House of Doom
    Daniel Sugar Ray
    Jimmy Webb Ice Scream

    Jimmy Scream

    Jimmy The Flame

    Add caption

    Jule Wurm Funk Moes Ext with David Mason 
    Jule Funk Moes Ext

    Paul Robinson 50 Shades of Red

    Paul Robinson Crown Royal 

    Rachel Mayers Ministry of Truth
    Nina Williams Ministry of Truth photo by me

    Seam McColl Full Monte

    Mina trying The Flame

    First competitors arriving back Saturday 

    Ladies Open Winners (right to left Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, Jule Wurm, Nina Williams)

    Men Open Winners (right to left Daniel Woods, Jimmy Webb, Sean McColl)

    Dyno Comp Fun!

    Burl Eyewear Clayton Regan

    DJ Cletus

    21st Hueco Rock Rodeo Results 2014

    Men                                         Points(top 6 problems to win)                 Total v points climb in the day
    1. Daniel Woods                               8115                                 86
    2. James Webb                                  7589                                 88
    3. Sean McColl                                  7420                                 83
    4. Paul Robinson                               7210                                 80
    5. Jan Hojer                                        7180                                 79
    6. Adam Watson                                6165                                 68

    1. Jule Wurm                                      6100                                 83
    2. Mina Leslie-Wujastyk                   5715                                 64
    3. Nina Williams                                 4430                                 43
    4. Jill Waters                                       3460                                 33
    5. Rachel Myers                                  2560                                 25
    6. No more scores turned in

    1. Zachery Wood                                5495
    2. Wei Da Chang                                 5375
    3. Ben Hanna                                        5130
    4. Alex McIntyre                                 4270
    5. Quincy Conway                               4100
    6. Nathaniel Spencer                           4045

    1. Lauren Cornell
    No other score cards turned in

    1. Brandon Quinn                                 4130
    2. Andrew Osnach                                3930
    3. Joshua Billberry                                3825
    4. David Tran                                         3690
    Tie for 5th
    5. Bobby Retzloff                                  3315
    5. Jonathan Tylka                                  3315

    1. Laurel Todd                                    3100
    2. Ginger Franko                                 690
    3. Jessica Goff                                      640
    4. Ivy Todd                                          540
    5. Mitch Taylor                                   370

    Men    most climbs not points
    1. Carlos Flores                                    39 problems!
    2. Joseph McDaniel
    3. Matthews Black
    4. Seah Dacus
    5. Jarson Carlson
    6. Alex Guppy

    1. Amanda Anderson                            47 problems!
    2. Kassandra Maillard
    3. Hannah Rapp
    4. Yvette Ontiveros
    5. Elizabeth Vera
    6. Angela Schvegraf

    1. Ty Foose                                          3360
    2. Sean May                                         1230

    Youth Contest 
    1. Victoria Gezel                                  1290
    2. Marissa Mur                                     1240
    1. Esteban Porras                                  190                 
    Tied for 2nd
    2. Edwin Quezada                                30
    2. Allen Loeva                                      30
    3. Ivan Loera                                        great effort
    1. Jesus Arroyo                                    50
    2. Steva Munoz                                    25
    Tied for 3rd
    3. Sophia                                             10
    3. Jackie                                              10
    3. Marshall McDonald                      10

    Dyno Contest 
     Omar Gaytan
     Victoria Geze