It’s my experience that for some climbers, gym climbing lacks a sort of purity that every experienced rock-rat has an opinion on. The most common reason I hear is, “It’s not real climbing,” or “Gym climbing should only be a tool for training.” I understand the sentiment, and it isn’t without that sentiment that climbers can discuss what real or pure climbing is. Or, discuss what is or is not ethical, or best for the progression of the sport in the outdoors or at your local gym.
We're really excited about the community we have built here at Summit. We have such a cool group of members and thought y'all deserved some recognition. So we wanted to start featuring more member spotlights on our blog and social media! Keep an eye out for regular posts to our Facebook and Instagram giving some of our members little shout-outs, as well as blog posts!
A guest post by contributing author Hamilton White
Climbing trips always come with some kind of bad news. Usually it’s rain or you and your buddies forgot peanut butter. Hopefully it’s a story you'd want to tell others and laugh about, like the time I first climbed the Spider Grind at Reimer’s Ranch, and learned halfway through the route why it’s called Spider Grind. That's why for the last several weeks I bounced back and forth between members of the Summit climbing community for the sake of gathering stories to share with you all. I heard about pizza parlor basements, a climbing trip for the temporarily deaf that, for reasons not related to hearing resulted in sleeping in the team van, and my own first outdoor climbing trip to Barton Creek in Austin.
In the fresh 2017 winter, a trip to RRG without checking the forecast was all but asking for a discouraging experience. Snow and sub 20 degrees fahrenheit easily pushed one Summit climber and his partner out of their tent, and into the toasty basement of the known resting and food spot, Miguel's Pizza. Games and space heaters make it fairly understandable to opt out of sleeping in a six-person tent just the two of them, even though they brought enough insulation for a house. Plus, there was the added benefit of kickin’ it with a teacher who lives out of his van when school isn't in session. And when night rolls around, maybe the question, "Would anyone notice or care if we slept here?" is a good question to ask. But it's good they still left some cash in that lock box for the owner after drinking so much of the Ale81 piled up in crates, and for sleeping in the basement, of course.
Anyone who knows this climber as I do experienced my personal favorite part about this story. A few days into their trip, the climber-in-question's mother made a Facebook post asking if anyone had seen her child. Apparently, the two climbers had initially planned to climb in Red Rock State Park Arizona, but on closer look there was a “virtually one-hundred percent chance of rain for the whole week.” So, in place of Red Rock, the two decided to travel nine-hundred and sixty-eight miles in the other direction to Red River Gorge, without informing their parents. I was fortunate enough to have seen the initial post, and the aftermath of her search (eventually they connected over the phone) all in one sitting. So, I got all the entertainment, and none of the worry. I'm told Mom was pissed.
My own favorite story to tell is the time I took my first outdoor climbing trip as a sophomore in college (I'm a super senior now). About halfway through the drive to ATX, in a Taco Bell parking lot, everyone got into the bed of the truck to grab wallets out of packs when one of our (there were four of us) friends frantically started to sift through his bag as realization sunk in. "Oh no, I forgot all my gear. We have to go back!" Of course, we weren't going to do that at 4:00pm on the first day of spring break, traveling on I-35. We actually wanted to get where we were going. We looked around the bed of the truck and finally someone said, "Dude, you forgot your gear but remembered your guitar?" He was understandably upset, and I certainly didn't help by chronicling his distress on Facebook. Which, he explicitly asked that I not do, although I lost sympathy for his request once he wore my new Anasazi's without socks, my one condition for him borrowing them. A perpetual sogginess followed those shoes.
Our next story is from Mia Alfonso, a climber at the Denton location and student at the University of North Texas. Initially when I heard Mia’s story in blurb form, I thought, “Oh, you just got some soggy hamburgers, that’s like forgetting peanut butter. No biggie.” But it turns out there was more, starting with the fact that the Team Natural kids -who climb down in Houston- like to play a game during travel when one person wears noise cancelling headphones and that person has to guess the word that everyone is trying to say. They chose to say phrases like, “fat chickens,” which is cool, I guess. I’d pick supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, because why wouldn’t you?
The trip started out fine, according to Mia. The weather was slightly cloudy, but nothing had indicated the need to turn around and go home. Not even the absent rainfly that she and her tent mates were going to sorely miss come 1:00am. And what an experience it must have been; sleeping in a van with five other people for the remainder of the trip.
What’s your funny and altogether-at-once unfortunate climbing story? Did you flex out on the starting hold? That crag puppy turn you into a hang-dog on a 5.5? Share with me!
Thanks to Jimmy Paenkhay for taking these shots and thanks to everyone who came out! We had over 160 tee shirts tie-dyed, floated 4 kegs of beer, threw 375 water balloons, did probably 45 cool tricks on the slip n slide, and went through like, 70 pounds of hamburger meat. If you have any photos of your own from the event, feel free to upload them to Instagram and tag us @summitclimbingyogafitness or hashtag #summitclimbingyogafitness! Or, ya know, good ol' Facebook works too.
We climbers pride ourselves on our lingo - it sets us apart from the rest of humanity and makes us feel good when we mystify regular folks with talk of "crash pads" and "toe hooks." (Both of these sound pretty weird when taken out of the context of climbing, eh?) But did you know there is a sub-language within our climberisms? There's the climbing term we use, and then what we actually meant. You might not even know you're doing this but believe me ... you're doin' it. I translated some common climberisms, and here's what I came up with:
What it's supposed to mean: You lightly brushed an off-route hold or object while climbing - depending on your ethics, this may invalidate a send.
What it REALLY means: Yeah ... you totally used that off hold. Like, not even just a little bit. We're talking like, fully-weighted it, but it was only ONCE and it started as an accident so the send TOTALLY still counts, right?
What it's supposed to mean: The ideal temperatures at which to climb, which can vary depending on the location, climate and rock type.
What it REALLY means: A temperature so perfect, you could send like, 2 grades harder if it ever occurred. Unfortunately for you, this temperature is more elusive than a unicorn, so you're stuck projecting things WAY below your limit.
What it's supposed to mean: A large, dynamic lead fall, where the rope is weighted significantly.
What it REALLY means: Any fall, really. Like top-rope, lead ... you can even whip off a boulder nowadays if you try hard enough. Whipper is a state of mind - if it felt big, it WAS big.
What it's supposed to mean: The hardest sequence, or sequences of moves of a problem or route.
What it REALLY means: Any move you can't do.
What it's supposed to mean: Working a route while taking and hanging on the draws.
What it REALLY means: Spending half your climbing session hanging at the same draw while brushing the same hold and saying "just one more try" like seven tries ago.
What it's supposed to mean: New and innovative routesetting.
What it REALLY means: No holds. Only volumes.
What it's supposed to mean: Climbing a route on your first try, without any previous knowledge or beta for the route.
What it REALLY means: When you send something after only watching someone do like, the first half. Or it was so long ago you don't remember any of the moves so it was basically an onsight.
What it's supposed to mean: A climbing move where you place your heel on a hold and weight it almost like you would a hand.
What it REALLY means: A move that looks cool when other people do it, but every time you try it you have to ask yourself "Am I doing this right?" and you know the answer is no because you don't know what you're doing.
What it's supposed to mean: Loose, poor quality rock.
What it REALLY means: Any route or area that sucks, regardless of rock quality.
What it's supposed to mean: A handhold grabbed with your thumb pointing down and elbow out.
What it REALLY means: A hold employed by routesetters when they hate you.
What it's supposed to mean: A hold with the usable surface on the underside, and is grabbed by pulling up instead of down.
What it REALLY means: A hold that just HAS to be a spinner.
What it's supposed to mean: To climb a route from bottom to top without falling, weighting any gear, or using anything considered "off."
What it REALLY means: You only fell like, one and a half times.
What it's supposed to mean: A constructed feature that either can be used as a hand or foothold or can have additional holds bolted onto it.
What it REALLY means: A death feature that will literally MURDER YOU TO DEATH when fallen on. THANKS AGAIN ROUTESETTERS.
What it's supposed to mean: A climbing command meant to express that you want excess rope in the belay system to be taken up.
What it REALLY means: Something yelled after you've already fallen off the wall.
What it's supposed to mean: A route graded easier than what most of its previous climbers would generally agree with.
What it REALLY means: Everything ever set. EVER.
There you have it! Feel free to tell me any I might have missed!
Here at Summit we pride ourselves in being more than just climbing gyms — we're yoga studios, workout spaces, and fitness class providers. We recently branched out our fitness classes to include TRX suspension training classes, and we're very excited to be expanding our TRX classes, with more class types and times. If you haven't tried one of our TRX classes, yet, here is a bit more about the classes, and their benefits for your climbing, and your overall fitness.
Hey guys! Thanks to everyone who came out and made our Spring Open competition an absolute blast! Y'all certainly dressed the part - pretty sure we had more Hawaiian shirts and fake leis than Hawaii #guesstimate #quickmath. While uncooperative weather made some of our outdoor activities a little chilly (we had such high hopes for the dunk tank ...) hopefully the awesome food trucks and FREE BEER made up for it! A big congrats to the winner of our Buttermilk Sky-sponsored pie-eating contest — also sorry for how sick you probably felt later ... also not sorry.
Our Spring Open Bouldering Competition is next Saturday, and we are getting SO. DANG. PSYCHED. Last year was our first-ever Spring Open, and our first competition to feature a block party in the middle of it. This year we're making it bigger and better, and wanted to share with y'all some of the great activities we have planned, so y'all come out and join us! PLUS- it's LUAU-themed, so get ready for leis, tacky shirts, drink umbrellas, and oddly-placed coconuts!
It's Valentine's Day! Whether you care or not ... it's here! In honor of Valentine's Day, we rounded up some of the folks who met their significant other here at our gyms, and got their stories. It's really amazing the amount of relationships that have started at our gyms — we snagged a few of our happy couples to tell us how they met! So if you find yourself alone this Valentine's Day, don't fret — A. Because it is a totally arbitrary holiday! and B. because there might totally be someone for you at the gym right now!
When it comes to fitness nowadays, there are plenty of newfangled machines you can buy to get you fit - row machines, stationary bikes, even the Shake Weight promises you results in 3 short payments of $19.95*. (*Editor's note: I have no idea how much the Shake Weight actually costs - you can dispute this with me if you want, then you'd have to admit you actually bought one of these things ... ) But who would have thought that it takes nothing more than two straps and your own body weight to whip you into shape? TRX, the latest addition to Summit's fitness class offerings, is a full-body workout that's quick to learn and a lot of fun — you won't realize you're even working out until you're crazy sore the next day.
You might have noticed we started carrying a lot of guidebooks in all our gear shops! We realize there is a lot more climbing out there than just at our gyms - so we want to encourage all our members to eventually make the leap from indoor climbing to outdoor climbing. There is a lot more involved in outdoor climbing than a waiver and an orientation, however — so what is the easiest way to become comfortable with climbing outside?
Climbing outside is great, huh? The fresh air, the feel of REAL ROCK and the chance to break in that brand new rack of draws your mom got you for Christmas! Sometimes the climbing community as a whole can take our access to outside climbing areas for granted, though. We're climbing on big rocks that have been in place for centuries — seems like a no-brainer that we should be allowed to do that, right? I mean, rocks are free?!!!?? But behind every accessible climbing area, there is a local or national organization fighting to maintain its access and upkeep. According to the Access Fund, one in five climbing areas in the U.S. is threatened by an access issue. So today's post is all about access! Since we realize you guys can't spend every day climbing in our gyms and will want to venture outside, here are some tips to keep your impact low while climbing outside - a great way to keep our climbing areas open to climbers today, and in the future.
As the year comes to a close, we're left to reflect on our accomplishments of the past 365 days — miles driven, friends' birthdays Facebook had to remind you of, tinder dates never texted again — and for us climbers, routes climbed. For every route or problem you've climbed this year, there was a routesetter behind it — setting every hold, move, and tweaking every angle. It's actually a pretty insane amount of work - in 2017 alone, Summit routesetters set over 4,600 different routes and boulder problems.
Hey you heard? Not only that bird is the word, but that we are having a redpoint rope competition next Friday, at Summit Grapevine!
It's our first-ever rope competition, and we're very excited about it! If you're already sold, you can sign up or look at important stuff like the rules here — or, read on and we'll tell you why this comp is gonna be the bomb.com!