In case you need a reminder how stupid strong our routesetters are (as well as how awesome 360 volumes are), then watch this little shorty vid on some pretty ridiculous rock climbing by routesetters Canon Huse and Liam Shea. Shout out to 360 Holds USA for letting us misuse their volumes ... unless the volumes were intended to have rouesetters hide in them?!
Thanks to everyone who came out last Friday night, for the last competition of our Summit Bouldering Series 2015 season! It was also the first comp we have ever held at our brand new Denton location, and I think it's safe to say we christened the place.
We are getting ready to clip the chains on our new Denton location! Walltopia has done a more than amazing job getting the walls up, and they are looking sweet! They're super tall and super steep, with crazy angles galore for y'all to pump yourselves out on.
This weeks blog post can't be brought to you by our normal writer, cause ... well it's awkward to interview yourself and write about yourself. "Meet Caillin: by Caillin. As dictated by Caillin, About Caillin. #imawesome" So I'm (Retail Manager Trevor) stepping in for the week so you can meet the lady behind the scenes. Chances are you have seen her pecking away on her laptop at the different gyms, but maybe never knew what she did or if she even actually worked there, (I mean, does she?) She does and her are some things you should know!
It's been almost two weeks since our 12HSS competition, and it was totally nuts — to put it the most mildly. Over 50 teams (and over 100 climbers) climbed for 12 hours straight at three different gyms, and made thousands of sends, and climbed for miles — literally. In this post we've got a collection of what everyone climbed, how far, and their total points as well as their standing in their category. Towards the end we'll have a mini-photo album, collected from all of your Instagram photos! Here's the run-down of just how impressive all that climbing was: All in all, competitors climbed 41.7 miles at three gyms about the distance from the center of Dallas all the way to Denton, but in vertical climbing feet!
Another week and another shameless post reason why you should be signing up for our 12 Hours of Summit Suffering (as if you needed another reason), as brought to you by Retail Manager Trevor Whitis, aka guest blogger extraordinare.
If you've ever bought a pair of shoes, a gear package, or even a snack at any Summit gym, then it was probably brought to the gym by Trevor. He keeps our gear shops nice and stocked with the latest gear, our concessions stands chock-full of goodies, and our rotating selection of Summit shirts always lookin' so poppin'. He is also responsible for a lot of the demos we have at the gym, and is actually a Five Ten rep himself. He's the guy with a mane of hair more majestic than any woman's, and probably any unicorn's, really. He's a newlywed, and an all-around super nice guy who can be located solely because of his incredibly loud laugh — it can be heard for miles and will always make you smile. Here's more about this hard-working guy, so you can feel free to approach him next time you see him and request something for the gear shop.
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.
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.
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.
You all know him — you love him — he's the bearded mountain man who makes rude commentary during the Summit Series Bouldering comps — it's Summit Grapevine GM Alex "Franny" Francis! Or Franny Panties if you are trying to annoy him, which I would personally recommend doing. But it's definitely not because he let out the most rancid fart of my life as I collected this info from him, and not because my questions were choked out between gags and tears. If you know Franny, you're not surprised — but if you don't, here's a quick little Q&A I put together so you can better know the tall, hairy dude standing behind the counter at Summit who is probably farting as you read this. How long have you been a manager with Summit?
I started managing Summit Carrollton from October to May 2013/2014 and then I managed Grapevine from May until now. So about a year and a half.
How long have you been climbing?
I've been climbing for 11 years. I was the first person on Kids Club. Me and Tiny (the Team Texas nickname given to Franny's younger brother, Kyle) went to a boy scout camp at Carrollton back when it was Exposure, and we liked it so much that my mom called the gym and asked about an after school program, which they didn’t have at the time. A couple days later, she got a call back from Kyle, because Kyle thought it was a great idea and wanted to start it. When we started out it was basically me, Tiny and Kyle doing lessons and then it kind of grew from there. (It's probably only fitting that Franny is in charge of the Kids Club at Grapevine now then, right?) Then I was on Kids Club from January to May and then did summer camps in the summer, and then joined Team Texas in the fall of 2003 and I was on team until I graduated in 2009. I continued to work for the team as a Summer Trip guide until 2013 and then I started working for Summit as the GM of Grapevine.
Favorite climbing area?
Red Rocks in Nevada.
Choir Boys in Hueco Tanks.
Favorite Summit memory?
Making short jokes about Lindsay Murray while she’s climbing in finals at the Dallas Summit Bouldering Series competition. (To be fair, she is pretty short. Glad I'm not that short, that's for sure.)
Little known facts about Franny:
He has a degree in Zoology from Team A&M. Despite Franny's insistence that it is pronounced Zoh-ology, it's probably actually pronounced Zoo-ology. Probably. I read it in a book once. Which I'm not sure was a book. It might have been nothing.
Also, he once set himself on fire during a team trip to the Red. He set his baggy emo teenager jeans aflame by standing too close to a space heater, but still continued to climb for the rest of the trip with second and third degree burns on his knee. One particularly sensitive team mother (Hi mom!) referred to him as "Sparky" for many years after that.
His biggest claim to fame might just be his ability to clap with one hand.
Well there you have it. Everything you need to know about Alex Francis, and maybe a bunch of stuff you didn't need to know, but are definitely glad you learned. So next time you see him, say "Hey Franny! How are you? How's your Zoology going?" But it's Zoo-ology. Not Zoh. Remember that.
So I'm gonna begin this post by saying that I am definitely not a doctor. I have a degree, yes, but it's a liberal arts one that basically makes me qualified to diagnose you as a poor speller. I am also not a yogi. I do yoga, but there are days when none of the poses make sense and I resign myself to an hour of glorified flopping around on my mat. But, I am a climber. I've been at it for about 13 years now, and I can attest to the effects that a year thus far of yoga practice has given me.
I injured myself during my time training for competitions in my youth, but instead of taking care of it, I chose to ignore it — like all sensible people do. And if you guessed that my injury would only get worse, then you'd be right! Your prize is the ability to travel back in time and punch 15-year-old me in the face. Congrats. Anyways, after beginning to attend yoga classes, I found that I was not only able to mitigate the pain of my shoulder injury, but also begin to reverse the issue that was causing it: the dreaded climber shoulder hunch. (For some reason I also thought it was called "Boulder Shoulder" but a Google Images search of that got weird ... so ... disregard). Through religious use of heart-opening stretches, and a constant consciousness about my previously awful posture, I corrected my shoulder hunch and have noticed a significant reduction in my shoulder pain. Boom!
And let's be honest, shoulder hunch is just the tip of the iceberg of climbing-related problems. While in Down Dog at a recent yoga class, my yoga instructor tut-tutted as she saw my hands — instead of spreading neatly out on the mat, my knuckles bent up like I was trying to palm a basketball. "You're a climber, I see. You've got climber hands." No duh. I weakly attempted to straighten my fingers out in shame, but they soon curled back up into that perma-crimp we all know and love. But that's not good. It means my tendons are too tight, and therefore more prone to injury. By regularly doing hand-strengthening poses like Down Dog, you can stretch the tendons and pulleys in your hands to the point where your fingers might look ... dare I say ... normal? Gaining more flexible tendons doesn't weaken them — it just gives you the ability to have Gumby fingers to crush all holds out of existence.
Hip and hamstring inflexibility are also issues known for plaguing climbers. We spend so much time working our arms, shoulders and fingers that we forget leg day, every day. Our poor little legs turn into inflexible sticks, to swing around on overhangs and cram into the latest super-shoe. Just a little bit of hip and calf stretching during yoga, and you cold be high-stepping and heel-hooking for days.
Climbers can be a loud, rather aggro bunch, but there's a lot we can learn from our soft-spoken yogi friends. My climbing, as well as my climbing-related injuries, have only improved after starting yoga. If I go more than four days without yoga now, the panic starts to set in — Am I going to feel stiff? Am I going to get injured? Am I going to die?! Yoga can serve as the perfect counter-balance to the punishment we put our bodies through while climbing, and it can keep a lot of avoidable injuries from happening in the first place.
For any climber maybe thinking of picking up yoga, I put together a little guide of the different types of yoga you might see at our gyms, and when and why you'd want to try them. Yoga for dummies, if you will, but you guys aren't dummies. I know better that that.
Vinyasa yoga is, in essence, yoga poses synched with breathing. There is a pretty heavy flow aspect to Vinyasa, with each pose flowing into the next one, in harmony with your breath. Vinyasa, in Sanskrit, translates to "connection," signifying the direct relation between your breathing and movement. It is a very flexible form of yoga, meaning the poses and flows can be varied greatly to accomplish a variety of different goals, such as flexibility, power, etc.
When to try Vinyasa: Vinyasa is a great intro into yoga. Because of its flexibility, it's very simple to modify any poses in a flow you find too difficult into something a little easier. It's great for beginners, to get your blood flowing in the morning, or before a workout.
Along with a regular Vinyasa Flow class, at Summit we also offer power flow, slow flow, and inversion flow Vinyasa classes.
Power flow might be pretty self-explanatory. A key component of Power flow is cardio. It'll get your heart rate up and you'll probably break a sweat. These classes usually have a pretty heavy emphasis on standing poses to increase your circulation.
When to try Power Flow: Not for the faint of heart, Power flow yoga can be a pretty intense workout. Maybe if after a long weekend you've got some toxins you feel you need to sweat out, then Power Flow is the class for you. A Power Flow class before your workout might sap all of your strength, so would be best after climbing, or as a standalone workout. Other benefits of Power flow are increased stamina and strengthening of the bajillions of stabilizer muscles usually neglected in most workouts.
Slow flow Vinyasa is less intense than Power flow, but don't expect it to be easy. Slow flow places emphasis on holding poses for extended periods. Correct form is important in Slow flow, so you're not spending 45 seconds in a possibly injurious position. Also, make sure you are conscious of any preexisting injuries with Slow flow (although this really applies to all of yoga ... and all of life for that matter. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.)
When to try Slow flow: Slow flow is great anytime, and for really anyone. The slow movements calm your ADD mind, and holding poses will build muscle. It might be the slowest way to jacked ever, but totally worth it.
Believe it or not, yoga can actually be fun, and Inversion flow is perfect proof of that. Inversion involves a lot of being upside-down, in various head-stands, hand-stands, forearm-stands, whatever-stands. These classes can be a fun time to experiment with things you wouldn't normally try. And they're a safe place to flop around on the mat, and generally be a goof. (I know this. I am normally that goof.)
When to try Inversion flow: Are you bored? Try standing on your head. Now you're not bored. Inversion classes are fun, while improving your balance and increasing your core strength. I would recommend Inversion classes to anyone at anytime, as long as you don't have any serious shoulder issues ... and don't mind being upside-down.
Ashtanga classes are similar to Vinyasa but they are a little more structured. It centers around five different Ashtanga asana (pose) series, which are usually followed sequentially. It's fast and repetitive, and a pretty intense overall workout. "Ashtanga" means "eight-limbed" in Sanskrit, which is in reference to the eight different aspects of yoga focused on in Ashtanga, such as concentration, posture, and breath control, to name just three.
When to try Ashtanga: Normally not recommended for beginners, Ashtanga is great for anyone wanting to up their yoga game, or try a form of yoga that is more traditional. It is meant to be practiced every day, and when practiced regularly it'll get you really strong, really fast. Do work son!
If your aim is to feel like a rubberband through yoga, then Yin is your class. A very slow-paced class, you won't necessarily be breathing hard and breaking a sweat. But you will be able to put your legs behind your head ... eventually. Yin classes are usually composed of just a few poses, but they are held for very extended periods, like five minutes, to allow you to sink into your fullest expression of the pose. Yin is usually about flexibility and not about strength.
When to try Yin: Umm, can I say all the time? Yin is great after a climb, to really stretch out your already warmed up muscles. Yin is aimed at loosening your connective tissues, and stilling the hamster wheel going crazy in your brain.
This is not a comprehensive list of every type of yoga — just the types of classes currently offered at Summit. I hope this guide helps you pick which class to try next!