Thursday, December 31, 2015

What happens when...

...two type-A PhD overachievers quit their science jobs and move to Hueco Tanks to guide? Follow us and find out!

It's been a while since our last post...finishing up with work has been pretty busy and a lot has happened! We started Insanity. I told my boss I'm quitting (Beth has a one-year head start on me). We got to the recovery week of Insanity and both of us got sick. We quit Insanity again. We settled on a logo! We went to Hueco Tanksgiving with Kat, Sundev, Austin and Nicole, and had a blast, even with the rain! But I tweaked my pinky tendon. Both of us have been recovering and packing and prepping for this move.

Austin Sarles on Animal Acts, Hueco Tanksgiving 2015.

Sundev Lohr on Dry Heaves, Hueco Tanksgiving 2015.
One of the saddest parts of our move has been taking down our garage climbing wall. We haven't really used it in about a year, but it was still sad to take down!

Tomorrow is going to be a big day for us, we will be moving all of our cats to El Paso! Wish us luck! And hopefully you'll participate in some of our adventures soon!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Beginning of Insanity

Today marked the beginning of our Insanity workout: the fitness test. My legs already hurt.
Beth stretching her hamstrings after Insanity Day 1
We bought Insanity several years ago and we tried it then. We got up to the week of yoga (halfway through) and just lost interest. I will say that it got me into much better shape, but I've clearly lost that cardio since then. Word of advice: don't do Insanity in a room with a ceiling fan...

I'll update this post with our fit test scores when I get home, and keep posting them as we go!

On another note, I have been getting much better at my handstand work. I've been practicing kicking up as well as holding a handstand against a wall. Last night I managed to kick up and hit the wall with my foot, but I'm not quite sticking the handstand yet. I am also able to hold a handstand for about 25 seconds, before either Beth makes me laugh or I forget my core and fall over. Progress!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Latest Hueco Tanks Trip!

It's been a while since our last post, so here's an update.

We went to Hueco Tanks for Labor Day Weekend. Beth was finally able to get her second observational tour in, and she passed with flying colors. She is now fully certified as a Hueco Tanks guide! She tried three times before, but each time the park had to cancel the tour because they were short-staffed that day.
Beth guiding us through the Hueco Tanks back country, East Mountain. She's now fully certified!
We went to East on Saturday morning, hitting Hobbit and Try Hard. It was a bit hot, and none of us (Austin and Nicole came too) really wanted to commit to the final move on either problem. After Beth passed her observation, we tried hard a bit longer and then left for North Mountain so Beth could climb too. FYI: Put your pads way further back from Try Hard than you expect. If you hit the lip but swing off, you fall really far back!

On North, we headed up to the New Meadow. Beth and Nicole worked Lobster Claw and both got further than last trip. Beth tried a knee bar pad and managed to reach the last left-hand sidepull below the face. I tried the knee bar pad too, just to show the unnecessary extra knee bars you can use super high up. Austin and I then went over to Beer Can Traverse and worked it for a while. Austin got really close, but didn't quite send, so maybe next time!
Me working the crux of Beer Can Traverse, North Mountain, Hueco Tanks. Thanks for the photo Nicole!
Sunday I took us all out to East and East Spur on a commercial tour. Unfortunately, it rained a little the night before, so we had to stick to roof climbs and severely overhung problems. We avoided any topouts just in case, since holds tend to peel off after a rain. We warmed up on a crack near Moonshine Roof, then played around on Moonshine for a bit too. We then went to Javalina, and Nicole and I got fairly far on it. Then Austin and I worked The Egg. I gave up and finally put the knee bar pad on, and then quickly worked out the first few moves. It looked like it was going to rain so we had to hurry up, so Austin and I traded off attempts. On my last attempt I got a lot further than I had anticipated, and had forgotten the beta and just did some really stupid stuff. Austin tweaked his pinky on his last go, so we decided it was a good time to leave. Luckily, it never did start to rain.
Nicole working Javalina, East Spur, Hueco Tanks.
No sends, but still a great trip! I've got a few new projects and Beth made progress on hers!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Handstand Challenge Day 11

Today is day 11, though I missed a day a few nights ago. :(

I feel like I'm coming a long way so far, and it hasn't even been two weeks!

My wall-assisted handstand!
My hamstrings are really tight, so it makes it hard for me to straighten my leg along the wall. I can't even sit up against a wall with my legs flat! But this photo is probably the best and straightest my upper leg has been. I keep getting more and more confident having my hips over my head, so it won't be long before they're directly over.

Another practice Beth has been having me do is controlled kicking up with one leg (not all the way to handstand), toward a wall, and then landing on just that leg. For example, supporting my weight with my left and then straight right leg kicking up. Then landing back down on my right leg.

We'll see what next week brings!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

King of Ging Climbing

Andrew was coming into town this weekend anyway, so he made it a climbing trip too. We heard there were some new climbs over at King of Ging/Gus Fruh, so we decided to check them out today. The wall is between King of Ging and Guide's Wall, and it is called the Rubber Wall (John Hogge's guidebook corrections). Starting from the right side, they go Jimmy Hat (5.8), Trojan (5.9), Lifestyles (5.10b-ish), Sheep Skin (5.10a-ish), and Magnum (5.11b/c). The two on the right were pretty easy. Lifestyles had an awkward and thin finish, and Sheep Skin had a tricky fake lie-back over a cave at the end. Magnum tripped me up pretty badly though, and I ended up having to pull on the draw to get over the crux. I'm hoping something peeled off, because there was what appeared to be a new rock scar. Either that or I'm losing my mental game on a rope!

We also played around a bit on the cave itself, Hank's Left. I tried some more photos with my optical slave units, and I think some of them came out pretty well. What do you think?

Beth Marek working Hank's Left on the greenbelt, Austin TX
Beth Marek working Hank's Left on the greenbelt, Austin TX.

Steve Marek doing the close hand-foot match on Hank's Left on the greenbelt, Austin TX
Steve Marek doing the close hand-foot match on Hank's Left on the greenbelt, Austin TX.

Andrew Dreher getting pretty close on the long move of Hank's Left, Austin TX
Andrew Dreher getting pretty close on the long move of Hank's Left, Austin TX. He got it a few times after the camera battery died.
I felt really good on Hank's Left and got to the final crux move...but forgot what I was supposed to do. Oh well, next time! It feels like I'm recovering from most of my minor injuries, so I should be good to go for our upcoming Hueco Tanks trip!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Night Pull Ups

Just a quick note for now. Last week, I tried increasing my reps to six pull ups each minute. After three full sets (90) I was dead, and really struggling on those last few pull ups! I went back to five pull ups each minute and made it to four full sets. I also threw in some push ups and a few wall L-poses to work on my handstands. No pictures. :(

Bouldering at Bull Creek

Sunday we met up with Austin and Nicole for a bit of bouldering at Bull Creek. While it isn't quite the destination bouldering spot, it still has a few climbs that are really fun. And the pea gravel under the boulders is really great for laying down pads.

I also just got a couple Wein Peanut optical slaves for my flashes, so I tested them out as strobes with Beth's point-and-shoot camera. For the most part, they worked great, although sometimes my Canon Speedlite wouldn't fire. I crimped my adapter when I got home and made it tighter, so hopefully that will help. Here are a few shots.

Austin and Nicole trying to beat the heat in between climbs at Bull Creek
Austin and Nicole trying to beat the heat in between climbs at Bull Creek.
Austin on a ridiculously hard V1 crack climb at Bull Creek
Austin on a ridiculously hard V1 crack climb at Bull Creek.

After a few hours of climbing, we went on a short hike down the creek. We were looking for a couple newly developed boulders, though there was poison ivy everywhere and the one good route looked hard to protect. On our way back, we got some yoga action in.
Me doing Reverse Warrior pose
Me doing Reverse Warrior pose

Austin sitting quietly with a waterfall behind him
Austin sitting quietly with a waterfall behind him.

Overall it was a pretty fun day, though it's hard to feel like you got a great workout when you climb slab.