8 Reasons You Need to Watch Reel Rock 9’s Valley Uprising

While doing the rounds at Outdoor Retailer last week, I bumped into one of my favorite people on the planet, Billy Brown, who just so happened to have an extra pass to the Reel Rock film tour‘s advance screening of the new Valley Uprising documentary. The upcoming film release hadn’t even crossed my mind, so I was stoked to get to catch a sneak peek at it. I was expecting to just get a brief taste of the documentary, but we ended up being treated to the full (though not fully edited yet) film.

(Oh and I met Hans Florine – my opening line to him was “I can totally hold your cheese if you want!” Yeah. He didn’t let me hold it.)

Photo by: Katrin Bell (check out her blog and Facebook page too!)

The short story is: I left with sweaty palms, a full heart, and the immediate need to buy another van and go shred my hands on granite in Yosemite National Park. It was phenomenal. The long story is these eight reasons why you should absolutely attend a screening (or host your own):

1. Lynn Hill kicking ass.

I honestly don’t feel much of a need to elaborate on this one. If you’re a climber, you know who Lynn Hill is – and if you don’t you need to go hang your head in shame for a very, very long time. This documentary takes a look back at her roots, her historic accomplishments, and her crusade as the most influential woman in climbing.

The official Valley Uprising Poster from Reel Rock Film Tour.2. Remember that time a plane full of weed from South America crashed in the Yosemite backcountry and climber’s salvaged all the reefer wreckage? Yeah. There’s that.

3. Get a little history lesson.

The number one problem with the new generation of climbers is that we don’t know enough about where “our people” came from. When you start climbing in a gym, you miss out on the tall tales and historical legends you hear out at the crag – and kids these days need a good dose of the past to fully be able to respect the future of climbing.

4. Learn some respect for your elders.

We had a purpose: only through climbing can you find yourself
– and bullshit like that.

Playing off the history lesson, Valley Uprising will make you realize how lame you really are compared to the real dirtbags who pioneered Yosemite. These folks were real bandits, evading the law and surviving off sustenance that would make your canned beans and rice look like classy cuisine.

5. Dean Potter saying things like “Climbing will always be an outlaw pursuit.

[Read more…]

That time I was in a Backpackers Pantry commercial.

Oh my goodness. Remember that time I gave y’all a behind-the-scenes peek at my videoshoot with Backpackers Pantry at Three Sisters Park in Evergreen, CO? Well, the final video is finally up – and it’s hilariously wonderful. I had just a great experience filming this brand piece with Backpackers Pantry, give it a gander:

Let’s all just ignore that honker of a zit on my forehead. 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uNaSIaHI_Y&w=560&h=315]

Too much. And those dance moves? Yeah, they told me to “be weird and outrageous and kind of tacky” – so I basically just danced exactly how I always do. No shame, folks. No shame.

That Time I Made a Cameo in a Climbing Video, But All I Did Was Eat Nutella and Apples

Shannon Joslin climbs A River Runs Through It at Joe's Valley while Niko and Spenser film her ascent.No, but seriously. My two friends, Spenser and Vikki, from The RV Project made a killer climbing video, and I’m totally in it – and all I do in my cameo is sit on a rock and stuff my face with Nutella and apples while everyone around me is cheering. Wow. But really, does this shock anyone even a little bit?

Here’s the story: You remember how Niko and I planned to visit Joe’s Valley in Utah for two weeks, and ended up staying for two months? Well, Spenser and Vikki totally instigated our long-term stay, and while we were there we helped them shoot a sweet project they filmed featuring our lady friends Shannon Joslin and Flannery Shay-Nemirow. These incredible women climb for La Sportiva and Five Ten (respectively), and wanted to do a head-to-head battle to see which climbing shoes are better.

It took weeks to film, and months to edit, but Spenser did an incredible job with the final product – it’s such a fun video. Niko and I are really proud to have had a small part in it – mostly Niko, who helped Spenser shoot a few scenes. We both make a cameo during the “A River Runs Through It” scene, and my La Sportiva Katanas get worn by Shannon in the “Self Service” segment. Awesome!

Check it out:

Those ladies know how to crush, amirite? They make those stout climbs look like a cake walk. Bonus points to Niko for his hilariously edited fist-pump. And then there’s me, just hangin’ out, stuffing my face like a total lard. And I wonder why I don’t climb V10 – it just might have something to do with all the Nutella. Sheesh.

Check out more from The RV Project on their Facebook page, and show ‘em some love on Twitter!

Caught Red-Handed in a J-Tree Parking Lot: The First Simply Adventure Video

I still owe you a ton of updates from our time in Hueco Tanks and Arizona, but I couldn’t resist sharing this ridiculous video of Niko and I. Before you watch, here’s a backstory on how this little film came to be:

So after a very windy day of climbing at Joshua Tree National Park, Niko and I retreated back to van in a relatively deserted parking lot. As we were packing up, a curious chick came clamoring towards the van with all sorts of questions about who we were, what we were doing, and how we had outfitted our van. After a few quick introductions, we ended up spending over an hour cooped in the van talking about our trip.

This photo by Alexandra Klos (KlosUpPictures.com) perfectly captures the essence of my dirtbaggery.

The chick ended up being this awesome photographer who was visiting two friends in Los Angeles hoping to discover exactly what she wanted to do with her life. She had spent the entire week raving to her two friends about the idea of buying a vehicle to live in while she traveled the country to photograph the outdoors – and totally took our chance encounter as a sign. By the end of our little chat, she was convinced that fate was telling her to just do it.

Stoked on our trip, she asked if she could film a little and take some photos of the van – and this is what she ended up with:

*Warning: I look like a TOTAL dirtbag bum. It ain’t pretty, folks.

[vimeo clip_id=”60238062″]

Big thanks to Alexandra Klos for putting this sweet video together on the fly, it was definitely a much appreciated ego-boost to hear y’all tell us we were “iconic,” however untrue that may be! If you want to check out more from Klos Up Pictures, visit her Vimeo page, or head over to the Klos Up Pictures website , which is currently under construction, but I’m sure will soon be exploding with incredible photography.

But seriously. I look like such a bum. If it makes anyone feel better, the day after this photo, Niko and I rented a cheap motel room and I totally showered. I promise.

PS: Alexandra, we better see you out on the road living in your own van soon!
You’ve go the spirit and the guts to make it happen, and we hope you follow your dreams!

The first climbing video for Simply Adventure is now LIVE (and on DeadPointMag.com)!

Every once in a while, all that hard work and tedious to-dos and mindless training comes to a head, and leaves you with something you can actually put your finger on. After two years of projecting Super Mario, two trips to finally get the footage for a video (I may or may not have lost our tripod mount in the middle of a desert), and too many days spent waiting for construction noise or neighbor’s air conditioning units to shut up so we could film some audio – we finally did it.

Simply Adventure’s first climbing video is now live –
and on Dead Point Magazine’s website.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dESpz6IHJ3o]

The purpose of this film was to capture one of my all-time favorite bouldering problems in the southeast, possibly even the entire country: Super Mario. The ironic boulder served as the perfect example of why we feel so strongly about promoting conservation and using the Simply Adventure trip as a platform for raising awareness about the importance of preserving access and getting involved with your local climbing communities. Because, really, some people would dismiss that legendary hunk of sandstone as just a pile of rocks on the side of Montlake Golf Course – and that just ain’t okay in our book.

As much as I’d love to credit my pretty face for this inaugural video (HA!), Niko truly deserves all the praise for this little film. He is officially the video man for Simply Adventure, and I am incredibly proud of all his hard work on the Super Mario video. This is our first video, ever, so while Niko is quick to harp on any imperfections, I’d say he did a damn good job. And to think, it’ll only get better from here! 

Wait, but really, I’m on DPMclimbing.com! I feel so cool – even though I look slightly puff-faced, and do way too much slapping around on the top-out of Super Mario. Still, I’m up there. It’s real. It’s all happening, man!

What did you think of the video?
Any questions, feedback, comments, and critiques are welcome!
We’re always learning, and looking to improve.

Check out this sweet Jill Sompel climbing video featuring my good friend Libbi Gilson

During my new years climbing trip to Tennessee and Georgia, Niko and I met up with our climbing couple friends John and Libbi – and were immediately regaled with tales of Libbi’s superhuman bouldering skills and countless sends of tough routes. I was in awe of her stunning strength and balanced technique while I watched her crush boulder after boulder.

I managed to snag a few beautiful shots of her climbing during our time together at Rocktown and Stone Fort (aka Little Rock City), but another creative climbing enthusiast took documenting Libbi’s skill to a new level by filming her for a segment of a video series called “Lady Beta.” Paying homage to one of my favorite female climber phrases, this Jill Sompel‘s video features five sweet routes from Little Rock City. Watch as Libbi sends a tough V7 called “A Face in the Crowd.” Other featured routes include Sternum (V5), Tooth Fairy (V7), Jerry’s Kids (V7), and
Glamour Girl (V4).

If you want to cheat and skip ahead to Libbi’s segment,
which in my opinion exudes the highest degree of kick-ass,
skip ahead to the 4:00 mark.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/34752185]

Psst, hey Jill – if you’re reading this, you should totally drop me a line so we can collaborate on a little southeast lady beta fun!

Check out this sweet urban skiing video from the documentary All.I.Can

A few weeks ago, Hannah, a temporary addition to my Colorado family arrived in Denver just in time for a premiere screening of a Sherpas Cinema production called “All.I.Can” – and it would quickly become the object of her obsession, for good reason. As we sat in a crumbling indie theater, drinking local brews and snatching up free alpine company stickers, we became enthralled by the documentary’s stellar skiing shots, gorgeous footage of nature, and the general spirit of mountainous camaraderie that filled the venue.

The segment I’m sharing with you is from my favorite part of the film. During this clip, skiier JP Auclair ditches the slopes in favor of dominating the streets, car port rooftops, stairwells, and every inch of urban pavement in sight. Not to mention the fact that it’s all set to one of my favorite tunes, “Dance Yrself Clean” by LCD Soundsystem. Check it out, and thank me later.

[vimeo clip_id=”32863936″]

If that wasn’t enough bad ass skiing sweetness for you, check out the behind-the-scenes look at the making of this segment.

Video of the Day: Banjo pluckin’ bluegrass by the Osborne Brothers in 1972

Living in a house with eight mountain men exposes you to a few inevitable things, like good beer, crude sex jokes, and some really groovy music. These boys are particularly musically-inclined, and our household is home to a mandolin, guitars, a keyboard trumpets, and currently, one delightful banjo. Early Denver mornings spent perched on the sagging front porch couch were instantly taken to a new level once a little banjo music joined the day’s agenda.

The boys introduced me this video by the Osborne Brothers, and I had to share it with my readers to hopefully add a little perk into your daily musings. Never mind the fabulous bluegrass melodies and infectious foot-stomping spirit in this video, check out those chops! I don’t know who Ruby is, or what happened to make her so upset, but I’m glad someone pissed her off enough to inspire this song.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhiOaSWuFjU]

The footage was taken at Bluegrass Country Soul, a three-day outdoor festival held in North Carolina. I can’t even begin to imagine the adventures and experiences that came to life during this revolutionary event. Enjoy, folks.

An ode to Mr. & Mrs. Kirby Crider, and the most charming wedding in Flat Rock, NC

Readers, on this romantic occasion, the documented evidence of one of the most beautiful evenings of my life cannot begin to be supplemented by my feeble words. Instead, I’ll offer a meek exposition to introduce you to the night, and then I’ll let photos and video handle the rest.

In a slick twist of fate, I was invited to attend the wedding of an old Tally Rock Gym climber, Kirby Crider, as my dear friend Matt Wood’s ‘plus-one.’ The nuptials coincided with the dates during which I planned to be in North Carolina, and the venue turned out to be a short 15-minute drive from Hendersonville – so I hopped onboard, and packed a single satin dress along with all my dirty vagabonding gear.

The wedding was held at the Highland Lake Inn, and the ceremony took place beside a large lake on a sprawling, green hillside. The non-traditional proceedings included violin playing, recitations from both Hemingway and Neruda, and a splash of Judaism with the smashing of clothed wine glasses at the conclusion of the vows. I wasn’t quite planning on taking too many pictures, but, you know me.


The reception was a wild celebration of love, friendship, and a shared happiness that radiated amongst the guests and bridal party. The collective of people was described best by the lovely man who wed Julia and Kirby, who brought to attention the fact that never before had this particular group of individuals congregated in one spot, and that it would likely never happen again. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

I was schooled on the art of true love throughout the entire evening. I learned the definition of everlasting as I listened to friends and family toast the newly weds and recount the tales of their relationship. I was reminded of chivalry by my date – and my quasi date, Jason – who pulled out my chair, linked arms with me as we walked, and ensured I was treated like a lady. Perhaps most importantly, I was taught to love and live for each moment as I stole away to the lakeside and dipped my bare toes in the lily-pad laden waters with a new friend.

Here my words fail, and I must leave you with a stunning video taken by a charming new friend, Ian. I do believe he also shoots with a Nikon D7000, and he gets extra points for picking up my lens cap for me when I dropped it on the floor in a drunken haste. Anyways, this kind gentleman put together a video of the wedding – and I simply had to share it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QCiZx7CpUg]

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

Kirby and Julia, thank you for inviting me into your beautiful evening. I was delighted to be a part of the beginning of the rest of your lives, and wish you everything wonderful in the world – although you two hardly need anything more than what you already have together. Thank you for sharing your love, it was inspiring to encounter.

Video of the Week: Riverside Bouldering at Magic Wood

It has been a hot second since I last indulged you in some glorious climbing footage – so when my Tallahassee pal, Douso, sent me this gorgeous video of bouldering in Switzerland, I couldn’t resist sharing it.

The location is a sweet crag called ‘Magic Wood,’ and the scenery is out of this world (certainly out of this country). Upon first viewing, I excitedly thought this was shot in Colorado, but a little Google research revealed that this beautiful spot is way overseas in Switzerland.

Crossing over wooden bridges, stunning lines to climb right next to gushing rivers, funky bugs, and magnificent trees – count me in. Check it out:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVjEKI2Dqxc]

Trip to Europe, anyone? And speaking of trips, stay tuned for a very huge announcement to come in the next few days. Big things are happening, folks.

Are you following The Morning Fresh on Twitter? Because you should be. Stay updated with the daily musings of this travel gal, it promises to be entertaining at the least. Follow me, @themorningfresh – you know you want to.