Welcome to my blog. Feel free to search around the archives for some great pictures and what led up to now.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Even robots wear 'em!

This could be affirmative proof that 5.10 makes the best shoes out there.  This is a short video of the Atlas robot making its ascent up some stairs.  They wanted to make the robot have the best traction possible, so of course they went with 5.10s.  They appear to be spires, or similar. 

Just a random fact of the day!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Trying to train.

So I put up my hangboards and rings and powerballs, along with a short board to bolt holds to, in my basement.  It's nice that it has natural rock walls for feet to practice moves and the roof should allow for a good bit of climbing area.  Just have to get some plywood up and see what goes down.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gate Fails

So, I don't normally post non-climbing things on my blog but this is really interesting.  There is a gate at some location in Europe, judging by the longer license plates and Lithuanian delivery company that people continually fail at.  Hit in the head, hitting their car, or just running straight into it.  I don't have a clue where it is, but it seems that the security people get a kick out of people running into this gate.  If you have seen videos of this gate or know where it might be, comment below.

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAIp5tPFcbQ
2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFoq8-Xszjs
3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-8H6dkPTfc
4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMBkxZ2ooQg

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gettin' Better

Slowly my finger is getting better.  Still a little sore, but no longer hurting when I am doing mundane tasks, so that is a plus.  Soon I'll get out and actually climb and see how it goes.  I did some door frame pullups on some 1/2 inch crimps and it seems like it's feeling much better than a few months ago.  Hopefully I'll be as good as new.  Just an update for now, but I'll let you all know how it goes when I hit the rock.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Boston Rock Gym - Woburn, MA

So this post is a little late but good nonetheless.  While my dad was still here, we went to Woburn and went to the Boston Rock Gym there.

Not knowing what to expect, I didn't think anything of it when we pulled up to your typical warehouse looking facade.  We went in and I was wonderfully surprised.

The first room we went in had maybe 30 V7 to V8s and was set to all styles of climbing.  There were overhangs, slopers, crimps, juggy problems and really tensiony Choir Boys type problems.

Of course, I was limited by my finger injury, but I got on some V9s regardless and they felt really true to grade.  They climbed well and were really fun.  One thing of note, was that the gym was actually kept at a pretty reasonable temperature.  Most gyms I visit are far too hot for the level of humidity present.

Of most notability was the training setup at the gym.  Among many other things they had, like ropes, rings and those gymnastics curtains, was a treadwall.  It was much more challenging than I remember it, but my shoes were not really conducive to some of the smaller holds.  Lots of fun though.  They also had your typical campus and hang boards on the adjacent wall.

Of there main rooms, there is one with a full crack spectrum.   Here I am attempting to knee jam, hand jam, and fingerlock all at once.

Thanks to my dad for these pictures.

Also, as an interesting fact, I think my dad should have been a climber.  He actually beat me at the grip tug of war game at the end of the session.

Size of Facility:          Great
Route Asthetics:         Good
Route Climbability:    Good
Route Maitenence:    Great
Training Equipment: Great
Staff Friendliness:       Great
Staff Knowledge:      Fair

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: - True  V5-V7: True V8+: True

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dr. Pepper fixed gear

For those of you that knew me in college, you remember that I was really into bikes.  However, it was all really put on hold when I went into the Army and then lived in El Paso.  In El Paso, everything is so spread apart and there aren't that many places that are nice to ride your bike.  Here in Boston, however, I am riding at least 10 miles a day and really happy about it.  As an ode to my reignited passion, I have some pictures of my bike to put up.

I am so glad to be riding again.


For those of you wondering, the frame is a 1972 Astra Tour de France that I painted myself.  There aren't really any "sick" components on the bike, rather, just that is is simple and classic.  Just like the taste of Dr. Pepper...haha.  I crack myself up.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fort Bliss Climbing Wall - El Paso, TX

So, I figured since I left El Paso, it was about time to review what was once my home wall.  The Fort Bliss Climbing wall in the Robert Loeza Soldier Activity Center is the only gym in El Paso.  The wall was only built in August 2012 so it is very new.  Similarly, the staff is also very new and very few (at this point none) of them have any setting experience.  Sometimes that turns out very awkward and silly, but other times it ends up with some really cool moves.

The gym wall is only about 25 feet high, which makes it a little difficult to really train any amount of endurance but we work with what we have.  One of the best parts of the wall, though is the people.  Strangely enough, there is only a limited amount of soldiers.  The wall is rich in locals from the El Paso area, very hyped on climbing.  Up until June 15th, the gym was free to all patron over 18 (the facility does not allow children) but now the fee is 5 dollars a day and something around 150 for 6 months.  The facility is a nice, clean place and the atmosphere is pretty good.  I would recommend stopping by this place if you're in town just to check it out.

Size of Facility:          Poor
Route Asthetics:         Good
Route Climbability:    Good
Route Maitenence:    Good
Training Equipment:  Poor
Staff Friendliness:       Great
Staff Knowledge:       Fair

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: - 0-1  V5-V7: True V8+: True


Dyno Rock - Arlington, TX

The Gym closest to Fort Worth is Arlington's own DynoRock Climbing Gym.  It is near the stadium and is pretty easily found.  The cost for a day bouldering pass with gear was 12 dollars and if you were to get on rope I think it was 16 bucks.  One unfortunate thing, however, is that on my wonderful send day at Hueco, I managed to strain my A2 pulley in my right hand pretty badly.  I can only put maybe 10% weight on it, so I may have some real issues for a while.  However, I will give you my review on the gym.

The Gym itself has been open for a long time.  Ever since I can remember, it has been there.  Therefore, it does show a little bit.  The gym uses shredded tire rubber, which some may not be fond of.  I typically don't mind it except that changing shoes in it is miserable.  Other than that, it's fine.  One thing I thought was odd was the lack of a water fountain.  I didn't bring a water bottle with me, so it would have been nice to get a drink.  Another thing that was odd was that the difficulty of the problems was set to about V7 and there were only two of them.  However, unlike Madison's gym, these were more like actual V7s.  There was one V8 and V9 but my finger prevented me from really trying them.  Lastly, I asked to go to their "members only" section.  In my head I thought it was going to be a place where their "sick projects" would be.  In reality, it was a bunch of V2s and V3s.  No problem with that, but it was a lot of space with not a whole lot of diversity.

Size of Facility:         Fair
Route Asthetics:         Good
Route Climbability:    Good
Route Maitenence:    Good
Training Equipment:  Fair
Staff Friendliness:       Good
Staff Knowledge:       Fair

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: True- -1  V5-V7: True V8+: Seemed True

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Today was, by far, the greatest day at Hueco ever.  First off, I finally got up before the park was super hot, and went and climbed.  The first problem I went to was Une Bleau de Dans un Hueco, V11.  The problem was super short but really scrunchy.  I didn't think it was going to go, but then I tried some silly beta that actually worked.  I almost fell off the topout though.  Then I headed to the Theatre of the Absurd.

I got on Theatre of the Absurd, but got all the moves and fell on the last move three times, so I quit because the last time I was there, I almost sent Martini Roof, V10, so I left and went to martini cave.  I didn't spend much time there because the problem went on the first go!  I laid out my three pads, one at the start, one kind of in the middle and one at the end.

From Martini, I headed up the chains and looked at Loaded With Power, a V10 that I would much rather attempt with at least one spotter.  I continued up the chains to look at Dark Age and Barfoot, but decided they were too much for now and rounded the corner to Dope Fiend Low, V9.  I wasn't sure how to do it, but the hold definitely looked good enough to hang on so I went left hand back and figure-4'd up to the start of the V3.  I thought I was going to fall off the V3 because I have actually never done it and didn't even look at the topout but everything ended up going well.  Right next door to that, I got on Fern Roof, V10.  It actually went pretty fast, about 7 or so goes.  I actually liked it, but I would have liked to have had a spotter for the swing.

From there, I headed down the hill to the Terminator wall.  The first climb I got on was Mcbain, a V8 that my friend Ben recommended to me last time.  I flashed it, but barely.  It was over pretty quickly as it finishes on a jug, so I started working on the V10 to the right, Predator.  This was honestly the hardest feeling problem of the day.  It was really crimpy and powerful.  I worked on it for about an hour.  It was not the prettiest send, but it went.

One climb I wanted to look at was Anal Intruder #10, V11 so on my way out, I went by the New Meadow.  After working Predator, I could barely even hold the undercling so I decided it was about time to go.  It was a great day and I am excited to have done such great climbs today.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Two V11s! (or an 11 and 12)

Yesterday I went out to Hueco with some guys I met at the climbing comp last week.  We went first to the New Meadow where the guys worked on a problem around the corner and I worked on Schwerer Gustov.  After about 5 tries I sent it.  It's a fun problem.  Then, we went to the Army of Darkness boulder and Connor and I climbed this highball problem that was really crimpy.  I liked it a lot but I am still not a huge fan of highballs.  I am not sure what the climb was, since it is just called project in the guidebook but it was really neat.  From there we went to the Babyface Boulders and Connor got PFOS.  It was a good send and I really enjoyed our trip out there, especially ending it with El Pasito.

Today I was able to make it out to Hueco in the morning.  I went first to Diaphanous Sea and got to work.  It was a struggle only because my skin was killing me.  The day before yesterday I went swimming and lost all of the callouses I had built up on my fingers from Boston.  I was ready to give up because everything felt so sharp but instead I threw my chacos to the top of the climb and told myself I wouldn't cheat to get up to them.  On the send, my fingers actually felt much better than the attempts that I bailed off.  I guess that I have needed to just climb through the pain for some time now, rather than let myself think I need to build up callouses.  Anyway, it was a great day.

In sadder news, however, Sport Climbing did not make it into the 2020 Olympics.  It's unfortunate, but it is the harsh reality of the ambiguous nature of sport climbing.  Try as they might to inform people, I still have people ask straight off whether comps are based on time.  Hopefully 2024!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rock Spot Climbing - Boston, MA

Last night I was able to make it out to Rock Spot Climbing in South Boston.  I would have to say that is was a decent gym.  First of all, they were open until midnight everyday, which is amazing.  That alone wins out in my book.  Second, when you first walk in, the proshop is well stocked and the entryway is clean and odorless.

Like a lot of gyms, you sign in on the computer and it sends the info to the desk.  The girl at the counter was pretty friendly and had no issues letting Alex come in and watch without having to pay.  Once inside, I was a little disappointed.  As difficult as the gym was to find, I expected it to be a little larger.  With the exception of a decent sized bouldering cave, the rope section was no bigger than that of Fort Bliss.  As far as the setting, it was okay.  There were some problems that were beautifully engineered and then others that were awkward and tweaky.  The real issue came with consistency.  There was a V9 that I nearly got, then another that didn't really look possible.  This could have been by nature of some secret beta (which I wouldn't normally mind, except no one was around to bounce ideas off of.)

The whole gym maybe had 10 people in it.  Granted we showed up at 10 and stayed there until midnight, but there were hardly any people there.  What made that fact worse was that almost every boulder problem had a sketchy top out on their wall.  I wouldn't mind most of the time with a spotter, but I'm not breaking my neck just to top out in the gym.

The price, however was the best of any of the gyms, so far.  It was $12.00 for just bouldering, which still does not beat Exposure at $8.00, but we'll get there.

Overall, it was a decent gym but lacked a little in the setting and versatility department.  I think there is a lot of potential there and I would recommend anyone in that area to pay this gym a visit and see what they think themselves.

Size of Facility:          Fair
Route Asthetics:         Good
Route Climbability:    Good
Route Maitenence:    Good
Training Equipment:  Fair
Staff Friendliness:       Good
Staff Knowledge:       Good

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: + 1-2  V5-V7: True V8+: True

Metro Rock Gym - Everett, MA

The night before last I went to Metro Rock Gym in Everett Massachusetts.  I would have to say that I was pretty impressed.  I flashed a V8 that felt pretty much on point with most V8s I have done.  The grades were pretty consistent between difficulty ratings and the lower grades were where I thought they should be. Alex got on one of the V0s (which she flashed) and said it was really nice and made her feel comfortable if she were a beginner, just getting into bouldering.

The facility itself was pretty clean but was a little older looking.  As gyms typically do, it looked a little worn around the edges.  The staff was not very welcoming at first. Between the kid that rang us up and the other guy that was not excited about me asking questions about the gym, they may need some warming up to.  He said it had been open for about 9 years but wasn't too excited to talk about wall building companies.  We did, however talk to a few people in the gym, including Jeremy Balboni, a local Boston climber.  When I was in Madison, I didn't talk to a single person in the gym and this made the second gym in Boston in which I actually climbed a session with a complete stranger.

The only complaint I would have would be the cost.  At $15.00, this is the most I have ever paid for climbing that was just bouldering.  They offered no military discount and could not offer me a student discount because $15.00 was their bouldering only price anyway.  It's $18.00 if I had wanted to be on rope too.

Overall, the gym was nice.  The problems were good and felt true to grade.  The facility is clean with a staff friendliness rating of 6 or so.  I would recommend people in the Boston area to pay this gym a visit.

Size of Facility:          Great
Route Asthetics:         Good
Route Climbability:    Good
Route Maitenence:     Fair
Training Equipment:  Good
Staff Friendliness:       Fair
Staff Knowledge:       Good

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: True  V5-V7: True V8+: True

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Central Rock Gym - Worcester, MA

So I am in Boston for the week and I am looking for a job.  However, I also am looking to check out each of the 6 climbing gyms in Boston.  Today we went to the school Alex is trying to get into and on the way back we went to Central Rock Gym in Worcester.  I have to say, it was a much better experience.  I really had a great time there climbing and interacting with the other climbers.  First off, the setting was wonderful.  I would say that it was some of the best setting I have seen in a long time.  The moves were genuinely hard, and not too tricky.  They were clean and taped well, and adequate for the climate.  I would also like to give props to their main setter, Shane, who was not only crushing, but had his ratings right on the money (at least in reference to Hueco).  It was nice to go into a gym and feel like I was working on stuff within my grade, but also feel like I was accomplishing something.  I got on some great problems of all different ratings and felt like they were great all around.  As far as pricing, it was $10 just to boulder, which still doesn't beat exposure, but they at least had a boulder-only price. Overall, I would be glad to recommend this gym to anyone, but would wager a bet that this is the gym I end up calling my "home gym." We'll see though, there are 5 more gyms in Boston and they may each be a force to be reckoned with.

Size of Facility:          Great
Route Asthetics:         Great
Route Climbability:    Great
Route Maitenence:     Good
Training Equipment:  Great
Staff Friendliness:       Good
Staff Knowledge:       Great

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: True  V5-V7: True  V8+: True

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Power Balls

While in Madison, I did get a chance to pick up some Escape Power Balls from the proshop.  I will have to say that after working out on them just a little bit yesterday, my forearms are pretty sore.  They really open up a workout and activate all the stabilizer muscles you cannot target on a fixed hangboard. We'll see how they work out in the long run, but I like them a lot for now.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Boulders - Madison, WI

Alex's sister's wedding shower was this past weekend and we made a trip up to Madison, Wisconsin to visit and take part.  The in-laws and many of their friends were there and it was nice to see trees and grass, if only for a few days.  While we were up there, we went out with friends, saw some local attractions and did family bonding type things.

As is the norm on any vacation, I made an attempt to go climbing.  For this locale, it was the local gym, Boulders Rock Gym.  After climbing there, I came to some interesting conclusions about gyms.

First off, gym prices are outrageous.  First off, I had to pay $14.00 just to boulder.  I was maybe there 2 hours at most, and no climbing is worth that.  I paid $70.00 for my parks pass and about $7.00 in gas to get out to Hueco maybe costing me a total of $10.00 or so per trip, and I STILL think that is high.  At a lot of gyms, if you want to boulder only, you can pay a discounted fee.  Of course this is hard to regulate, considering you can't always ensure the climbers will stay off rope, but $14.00!

Anyway...rant over, the next thing I noticed has to do with setting and rating.  I understand that in a gym that is in Madison, Wisconsin, you can probably set things pretty slopey. But...when it gets to be 80 degrees outside and you don't turn on the A/C and your gym is nearly 90 degrees, you have to consider that none of those "sick" sloper problems are going to be any fun.  I understand that you can't always predict the weather outside, but you go to a gym to train first, then if you want to set a nemesis and climb all day on one problem, go for it.  The gym had a good number of good boulder problems, but everything had a slopey pinch on the left hand for the crux.  Not just a pinch, an inverted wedge on a roof slopey.  I was getting spit off of V5s based solely on one hold.  Which leads me to my next point.  Rating.

I have been to and worked at a lot of gyms.  Every place has a different setting, rating and climbing style.  Whether they may have big juggy throws, or crimpier is synonymous with harder, or slow static movements, the ratings vary greatly depending on the style.  However, this is the first gym I have ever been to that gimmicky was how they based their ratings.  Granted, I almost fell off a V3 because it was so dang hot and humid, but there was this V7 that had these slopers that were just not to be grabbed.  Each problem had a move in it that was just too tricky to get every time.

Some may read this and say "Oh, Eric, you are just bitter you got spit off a V7" or "It just sounds like you need to get on more sloper pinches" and that is fine.  My issue is not that I didn't get a problem, or not even about a grade, but rather that this is someone's home gym.  I can only imagine that there are guys that do climb these boulder problems and are super frustrated with their ability.

At our gym on Fort Bliss, they have for a while now, not rated the problems.  That is fine, except people are going to want to know regardless.  Their justification for it is that they don't want kids (by that I mean Soldiers) climbing a "V4" in the gym and then going out to Hueco and getting hurt.  My philosophy, however, is quite the opposite.  If I climb a V4 in the gym, I would be more accurate in judging my abilities before I tried the throw on T-Bone Shuffle with only one pad; maybe saving my ankle.

I can't say there is any danger to sandbagging at a gym, but the main reason to rate accurately is to measure progress.  If the V7s in the gym are the hardest thing...and they're actually V7s-V10s what is the use of rating them at all?  You are better off rating back in the B Scale. I have got to be sure that there are climbers there, fully capable of bouldering double digits but to them they aren't pulling harder than V7. As well, when people visit your gym, you want them to be able to walk up to a problem and know if they are even going to want to spend time trying it.  Especially if you only have a few in their ability anyway.

Overall, it was a good gym and the setting was also good and this is in no way a knock on Boulders or its setters.  The gym was wicked sandbagged, but to each his own.  That is why there are consensus ratings outside.

If you have any comments, feel free to share.  I would like to know if people prefer ratings in gyms or not.

Size of Facility:          Good
Route Asthetics:         Good
Route Climbability:    Fair
Route Maitenence:     Good
Training Equipment:  Fair
Staff Friendliness:       Fair
Staff Knowledge:       Fair

Grade Trueness  V1-V4: True  V5-V7: + 1-2  V8+: N/A

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another go, another letdown.

Alex and I made it out to Hueco yesterday.  My sole intent was to get on my Nemesis, Power of Silence.  I don't know what it is about this problem, but it just gets harder as I get stronger.  I have tried and tried and tried it, never to any avail.

We didn't head out until about 2 p.m., getting there about 2:30.  When we got there, Maria told us the park was full.  I could hardly believe it, but it gave us good time to sit out and just relax.

We only had to wait for a little while when we got to head up to the problem.  I am sticking the pinch intermediate hold, but just something in my body makes me shut down when I try to go for it.  I stuck the hold maybe 20 times the other day and yesterday I stuck it maybe three.  Granted, I only spent about 30 minutes over there, I knew it wasn't going to go.  I left and decided to try my luck at Diaphanous Sea.  It went pretty poorly too.  Worse than last week, so I figured I was just having an off day.  We'll try again soon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

On the Cover

So, I made the cover of a magazine...my face was not included, nor was my name mentioned once in the magazine, but that's okay.  I guess as they say,"no press is bad press."  The other photo they had told me they were going to use was kind of silly, but it did have my face in it.  I was just up at the wall playing around anyway and I can't expect any ol' publication to know how to take professional climbing photos.  Some of the guys I know like Damon Corso and Merrick Ales have been tuned in on their craft for years and years, producing stunning images.  This was just a quick snapshot for the quarterly Fort Bliss Morale Welfare and Recreation publication.  It was fun regardless. Does that make me famous?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rainy Day Hueco #12 & 35


Today did not end in my send of Power of Silence.  I don't know what it is about that boulder problem but that is a different story.  Today's story is about triumph and victory and perseverance...or at least about how it rained at Hueco and good things happened anyway.  First, I got there and went in the rain to go check out/clean Power of Silence and I stopped off at Diaphanous Sea.  I got the throw a few times in a row and felt confident, but wasn't able to link the bottom.  And every attempt it was getting wetter and wetter.

Then Bicho and Pop showed up and we went to The New Meadow with their friend Veronica.  Bicho and I got on a V11 named Gustov that was pretty neat.  We were fighting waterfalls that literally ran into your face as you climbed the problem.  Just as Bicho sent it, the seam of water on the left side of the boulder made its way into the heel-hook and all was lost for my attempt.

Disheartened, we headed to Martini cave, hoping to find some dry climbs.

There, I tried Martini Right, Bicho tried Dirty Martini, Pop got on Big Iron, and Veronica, Baby Martini.  I remember in 2008, looking at the throw on Right Martini and thinking it was impossible.  Today I not only stuck the throw, but I was able to control it and finish out Big Iron from there.  Then Bicho and I went for food and drinks to fuel for the attempts on Power. (Above you can see Bicho and Veronica "fueling" with the ever potent Cookies 'N Cream bar.)

As aforementioned, I did not send it.  Bicho did, however get it but as none of us (him included) thought he would get it that go, didn't get it on film.  I'll be back out tomorrow to see how things go.  Maybe I'll start on Power.

Friday, April 5, 2013

New Friends.

Today I went to Hueco finally since I've been out.  It was a good trip.  I almost got Power of Silence and I met a new friend that did El Techo while I was filming.  Here it is.

Pretty cool, I thought.

We intend on going back out on Tuesday, after I train and get a rest in.  We'll see how it goes but I am pretty hopeful.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


As I am not the first person to write about this, I am certainly not the last.  Climbing seems to be such a sport that it completely consumes those who partake.  Never have I heard another athlete complain so much about not being able to do their sport.  Occasionally when injured, I have heard a runner or a cyclist complain about not getting out and enjoying their pastime.  Maybe it is the nature of climbing that it is a maximum effort type of sport, with heavy muscle recruitment.  That maybe it is so goal driven and the goals are so clear that it's hard to just take an easy day;  climb that route, send this problem, beat our wall time.  If you haven't figured it out yet, I am talking about taking rest days.

When I was younger, I used to climb 3 hours a day, pretty much every day of the week.  I got sore occasionally, but really only when a specific move called out a certain muscle group.  I never felt tired, but in retrospect I think that is because I was actually always tired.  I never had off days because I never had rest days.  I plateaued and I couldn't figure out why.

Then I joined the Army.  I had so many rest days that I sank.  I "rested for nearly 6 months in training and for 10 months in the desert (Afghanistan not El Paso).  But then, I found a happy medium.  I got back from Afghanistan and I started up again.  However, my job, school and FiancĂ©e kept me busy enough to have forced rest days.  Suddenly I was climbing better, faster than any advance I have had in my climbing career.  I came back not able to get things I had done prior to deployment and then was able to send nearly 4 grades harder within a few months and it all had to do with my resting in-between hard sessions.

Now back to what I was originally saying... The question then comes, that how, if I have seen the benefits of resting, is it still so hard to not climb?  It is as if I did some pull-ups and now I should be good to send, right?  But wait, you're telling me I have to wait three days?!?  I don't have that kind of time, body!  I gave you food so just be strong...but I digress.

My point being that now, finally, I get it.  I get what resting has to do with climbing and that it isn't just for bodybuilders and gymnasts.