Anyone with a Facebook has been subjected, at one point or another, to watching one of Rock and Ice's Weekend Whipper videos. Maybe you were tagged in the video by that one friend, reminding you of that one time you short-roped them, or had it shared on your wall by a non-climbing family member ("OMG WOW, *insert name here*, THINKING OF U") who thinks that you take whips that big on a regular basis. Yes Grandma, this is my life. Everyday. Anyways, big falls are an eventuality in climbing — whether or you're taking a screamer off the top of your lead project or blowing the top-out of that high-ball boulder problem, it's extremely important to know how to handle your body in the event of these, or really any, falls. The best way to learn is, of course, to practice, but here are some basic tips to keep in mind next time you're climbing, so as to best avoid injury.
As some of you may have noticed two weeks back, we posted a photo to Instagram with a freshly-inked Summit tattoo adorning someone's thigh. That tattoo is 100% real — it belongs to Summit Carrollton Asst. Manager Logan Prentice, and no, he did not lose a bet. Logan's been working at Summit for about 10 months now, and he felt that these past 10 months have been important enough to him to commemorate permanently on his leg. We were stoked, and definitely surprised when he got it, so we sat him down and talked to him on just what motivated him to get those three little blue peaks etched forever on his body.
If you're mostly a daytime climber, you've probably seen Chris and his dedicated crew of routesetters setting — and making a general racket — at one of the gyms on any given weekday. You can barely hear him and his crew cracking jokes and making fun of each other over the noise of their drills, but be assured — most everything that comes out of their mouths to each other is some form of ball-busting, but that's how it goes. They know how to set, and how to actually make it ... fun? Chris was one of Kyle's first kids on Team Texas, and joined forces with Stan and Kyle when they first bought Summit Grapevine. He now wears many hats — owner, routesetter, and orchestrator of many things within the yoga program. He's a super busy guy, but make sure you thank him for all the work he and his crew does by setting stellar new routes and problems every week, so we never get bored!
For climber John Ellison, the "crux" of his life is just beginning. If life is a 5.13, he was just served up the double-deadpoint-to-impossible-mono crux move that would stop many climbers in their tracks. In 2011, John was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer that will most likely end up taking his life. Instead of taking the woe-is-me approach, John has decided to spend his remaining time on earth funding research and cures for the disease that has now made his life so difficult. By scheduling his fundraising efforts between his frequent treatments, he has been able to start Climbers Against Cancer, one of the only legitimate organizations solely dedicated to fundraising and raising awareness about cancer entirely within the climbing community. A bit more on the organization and its massive European reach so far.
As I illustrated in my previous post on the history of many climbing terms, climbing's past isn't the neat, sensible topic you'd read in a history book. Our ancestors were a nutty bunch, inventing words and gear on the fly, with little thought as to how much they were affecting the future of climbing, they were so into the now. Without these brave, often impulsive souls making the sport into what they wanted, we would not have many of the gear and phrases we readily have access to today.
Stan is the ever-present, but rarely seen partner in Summit Gyms. He's an ex-Team kid turned Team coach turned gym owner who's now a lot of the brains behind our 3 — going on 4 — gym operation. He spends hours locked away in an office, doing all the drudgework necessary to owning a business that no one else was willing to do. It's because of him that we actually know what we're doing enough to keep expanding, and he keeps us all thoroughly entertained by being the sole source of probably all original comedic content within the company. If it's funny, it's only because Stan said it first.
Let's face it — we live in Dallas. This is certainly no climbing mecca, or even a great spot for anyone relatively outdoorsy. You can make an active lifestyle in Dallas work if you're creative / a little crazy, but this city definitely won't hand it to you. Boulderites have it easy — they can basically walk out their front door and a five-star crag awaits them. They probably walk their dogs by climbing pros screaming on their 5.trillion project, and sip fair-trade coffee while trail running at 6,000 feet above sea level. Or something like that. But it takes a lot to maintain an active climbing life in Dallas, and we deserve all the bonus points in the world for making it work. I've compiled a list of the best options we Dallasites have as far as touching real (or sometimes manufactured .. hey, we take what we can get) rock in the somewhat near vicinity.
There is something like, a billion different climbing shoes on the market right now, according to the extensive research I may, or may not have actually done. But there are certainly a lot, and we carry a pretty great array of them here at our gyms. It's hard to decide which shoes to buy, though! There's too many options, fits, and styles. Climbing shoe shopping is not like trying on shoes at Dillard's — you're not just looking for which kicks look the coolest. There are a whole host of different things climbers need from their shoes, (including looking like supah fly), so we came up with this handy guide so you can narrow down what you need from a climbing shoe, and how to know when you find it! It's like Cinderella and the glass slipper, except we'll let you stay a princess, even after midnight. Because we're cool like that.
Kyle Clinkscales, owner of Summit gyms, head coach of Team Texas and basically the mastermind behind a lot of the climbing gym expansion in the Dallas area, is not the diabolical dude you'd think he'd be. He's not cocky, he's not cunning — he's just a guy doing what he loves, and trying to make it as awesome as possible. It was six simple words, "Why don't you sell it to me?" that basically took him from owning no gyms, to owning three gyms and now building a fourth. Kyle has been an enormous part of the Dallas community basically since its inception, and he continues to write the history of Dallas climbing, and strive every day to make it bigger, and better.
As many of you that have visited our newly remodeled Carrollton location have probably noticed, we have changed up the way we rate problems there. And no, we didn't do it to confuse you guys or be annoying. We've switched over from the classic V-scale widely used in most American gyms, to the circuit system many gyms in Europe utilize. We swear the switch-over was not arbitrary — the circuit system is a more efficient training method, and gives you a more accurate idea of where your skill level is at. Here's the history of this particular system, and why we decided to integrate it into our gym.
The all-around aggressive gym shoe for those on a budget, the La Sportiva Python has surprisingly great edging capabilities for a slipper. Not a newcomer to the climbing scene, but new to the gear shops of all three of our gyms (instead of just being sold at our Dallas location), the Python delivers power, precision, and surprising comfort to a high-performance slipper. Here's the lowdown of this flashy, aggressively down-turned shoe, and why it's a great staple for anyone's shoe arsenal.
She's been a GM of two gyms now, but she is also the GM that has been with the company for the least amount of time. She is also the source of GIRL POWER within the company (excluding myself, but I barely count because I am fairly "unfeminine," we'll say). She came to us fresh from working the climbing wall at TCU, and you probably know her as the bubbly chatterbox that is always at the gym — either working, climbing, or getting in her fitness at Climb Fit. Here's the basics of this neat little lady, so yo can have yet another topic of conversation to have with her. Like you could ever run out of things to talk about with her, anyways.
As we tore down the panelling to begin our reconstruction project at Summit Carrollton, the dust, chalk and God-knows-what-else from the past 22 years came pouring out of the gym's walls, like smoke from the microwave after you accidentally nuke a fork. (Similes are not my strong suit.) Besides giving us the anticipation of potential future lung problems, the dust brought with it some very strong feelings of nostalgia from a lot of us who have been climbing at this old climbing gym for the past few years. This gym — now Summit, but formerly Exposure — is one of the oldest climbing gyms in the state, as well as the country. A lot of people have graced its walls, (Climber Jack Mileski, who coined the term "beta," actually got his start at Exposure back in the day), and it's seen many, many changes throughout its 22-year history in the Dallas area.
Fairly new to the scene in 2014, the Five Ten Hi-Angle is a balancing act of aggressiveness, comfort and affordability. It's got the down-turn to put down some work, but won't ruin you and your wallet in the process. Available at all 3 of our gyms (with the women's model only available at our Dallas location), here's the inside scoop of what this shoe's all about, and why you should care.
We're very excited about the brand new GM at Summit Carrollton! He's been an employee of Summit Grapevine, but we shipped him off to Summit Carrollton, so we could steal Mackenzie and relocate her to GM of Grapevine, and ship Franny off to pursue his dream of being a bearded lady at the circus. (Or he's been promoted to Regional Manager. He's still a bearded lady, though.) David's a pretty quiet guy, known for his tattoos and swoopy blonde hair — which did you know, used to be crazy super long? But I sat him down and managed to get him to talk about himself long enough to get this blog post done. So here's a little Q&A so you can better know our newest GM and resident super-nice-guy, David.
Climbers have a very particular vocabulary. If any outsider were to eavesdrop on a conversation between climbers for even five minutes, they would leave very confused and probably disgusted. Our slang terms get slangier, and shortened, and misspelled until we're left with a language so exclusive, that I'm still learning new words all the time — and I have been in the climbing game for about 13 years now. I compiled a list of 20 of the most common climbing terms that y'all might be interested in hearing the origins of. Let me know if I missed any! GriGri: Believe it or not, the term "GriGri" is derived from Voodoo. Yep, spell castin', doll stabbin' Voodoo. In Voodoo, a "gris gris" is a good luck talisman — thanks to its auto-locking feature, I'd say the GriGri is a pretty good luck charm against your partner's crappy belaying. So be sure to make an animal sacrifice to the Petzl gods, in appreciation for them creating you such a glorious device.
There are a lot of things we focus on while we climb: what shoes we're wearing, how comfortable our harness is, or how ripped our tank top may, or may not, make us look. (Spoiler alert: RIPPED.) But what about your chalk? Are you thinking about the performance of your chalk every time you clap it on your hands? I know I haven't in the past ... I have typically gone with whatever chalk is closest to free ... but all chalks are NOT created equal, and the newest chalk line we have added to our gear shops at Summit stands out miles above the rest. I'd say it's more than just chalk — but it's not. It's different because it IS just chalk; with none of the other nonsense fillers you see in other chalk blends. Basically, it's the gluten-free blend of the chalk world, and once you start, you ain't never going back. Probably because you can't digest gluten anymore, but whatever. I am no dietician.
He's a bad-a$$ rock climber, an awesome slack-liner, and now a new dad — he's Chris Curry, the GM of Summit Dallas. He and his wife Raili both work with us here at Summit, and they just welcomed their baby girl Koa in January, so it's safe to say that Chris is a pretty busy guy. But he took the time to sit down with me, so the rest of you can better know the ultra-nice, curly-headed guy throwing you beta at Summit Dallas.
Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees, the details in the big picture — or, the little, essential climbing items through our mounds and mounds of climbing gear. It's fairly easy to gear up for a climbing sesh at the gym — harness; check, shoes; check, chalkbag; double check cuz I got TWO to choose from — but there are quite a few items we usually forget to keep handy, that aren't absolutely essential until you, holy crap, need them. Here's the quick and dirty list of the small stuff that you would want to keep in your bag at all times, to bust out and show off your preparedness, you little boy scout, at those times when you really need them most.
Your body is a machine. A finely-tuned burl-monster that crushes crimps into dust, alters the forces of gravity with every dyno, and mantels so hard the wall topples over. Or something like that, right? Like any machine, your body needs a proper warm-up before performing its mind-bending feats of strength. I mean, you can jam your foot on the accelerator straight after starting up your car, but your rig would go a lot faster a lot sooner if you let the engine warm-up a bit. It's science.