Grindin’

I ran into an old friend a week ago who asked me if I was still climbing.

“Ummm… yep!”

While blogging, Instagramming, and posting on the ol’ facebook page haven’t made it to the top of my priority list for a while, you, my blessed reader, can safely assume that I am still climbing. I am always climbing. And if I am not climbing I’m training for climbing. And if I’m not training I’m resting from training or climbing…

You get the idea.

And yet, when my friend asked me that question I realized I was probably overdue for a status update. I always feel weird writing about my own climbing achievements, but I love seeing updates from fellow friends and climbers, and draw motivation from seeing others pursuing what they love. Regardless of what grade you climb, we all share a similar journey, and it can be inspiring just knowing that somebody else out there is still crazy psyched and diligently working to improve at the sport. And so, a status update:

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The classic Aggro Gully warm-up.   ‘The Quickening’ – 5.12c   PHOTO: William Woodward

For the past three years I have been living and working in Bend, OR, and have consistently added more and more structure into my to training life. At this point, I spend much of the winter and summer training indoors, and in large part have chosen to prioritize training and long term improvement over climbing outside all the time. In essence I’d rather train my ass off to climb 5.14, or even 5.14+ someday than climb a few extra 5.12’s this year, or next.

So far progress is slow. There really is no magic formula. All we can do is be persistent: always pushing ourselves hard enough to improve, while knowing when to back off to avoid injury. Put in hard work, and be patient when results fall short of expectations. Learn from our failures, make adjustments where needed, and press on ahead. Love the process, and find beauty in the struggle.

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One of several one-hang efforts on ‘Lucky Pigeon’ – 5.13c   PHOTO: William Woodward

With as much effort as I’ve put in to training, I honestly thought that by now I would be climbing harder than I am. Sometimes progress comes so slowly I wonder if I’ll ever climb 5.14, let alone the numerous .14b and .14c ‘dream routes’ on my bucket list. Yet, every so often, small victories show quantifiable progress over previous years or seasons, and that makes all the difference in the world.

While 2015 was not the ‘breakthough’ year I hoped it would be, there are a few highlights that stand out to me and show progress, however slow: my fastest 5.13 ascent to date, doing Slit Your Wrists 5.13b in three tries; my best weekend of climbing ever, with three 5.13’s in a two-day trip to Equinox; and my hardest roped climb to date, with Mama Docus 5.13c at Smith Rock.

Newsworthy? No. Not even for a 10-year-old girl. But could I have done those things the year before? Absolutely not. And that’s awesome.

As for now, winter is in full swing and I’m grindin’. Sleep, eat, work, train, repeat. I’m super motivated right now, and excited about some new ideas I will be trying with my training over the next couple months. Hopefully they bring another leap forward in my climbing this coming year. I guess time will tell.

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…and if I’m not resting from training or climbing, I’m probably building a sick-ass climbing wall in my garage ;)

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The Sloth Lives…

So It’s been a while since I’ve posted. To be exact it has been 8 months, 1 week, and six days since I last posted.

'It took you three years to build it. I'll have it down in 15 minutes.'Honestly, when I logged in to wordpress a few weeks ago, I was half expecting to find half a dozen Cyber-Maintenance Technicians cleaning up the cobwebs from my administrative menus, and getting ready to auction off the pieces or just tear it all down. Instead, I was very surprised to see that this blog has actually been getting views. Not just a handful a week like I was used to when I started, but 10 or more a day, and hundreds every month!

I like to write for its own sake, not to see how many people will read what I have to say, however when I am busy and crunched for time, it is extremely motivating knowing that 10 people a day might actually read what I post. If I write something that helps a single climber improve, I believe that it’s well worth the time.

So, thank you for reading. And sorry if I have been keeping you waiting these past 8 months. I will try to keep the gap shorter next time around.

Check out Practice Always for my latest coaching ramble. Cheers!

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Introducing ‘Coach Dimmitt’

Whew! After six or seven weeks of very sporadic writing effort on my part, I finally managed to publish some new content. I have only had time for two articles so far, but I plan for much more in the near future. Hopefully I can keep my blogospherical silences shorter now that I have some momentum.

Check out the new ‘Coach Dimmitt’ content on the navigation menu on the right, or just click here. I would love to hear any and all feedback about this stuff. I am excited about this stuff as a writing outlet for myself, but my bigger hope is that this new content leads to some interesting discussion.

Now for a quick update: for the past two months I have been training primarily indoors, and on the boulders around town. This weekend is sort of my Smith Rock kickoff, and I’m really excited to get back in the rhythm of projecting routes. I gave a couple goes on Rude Boys yesterday, and immediately achieved a new high point. It seems like the send might be just around the corner so I am pretty excited. The training is definitely working.

No pictures this time. Stay tuned for updates and new articles soon.

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R&R

January 1st marked the end of a two-week stretch of R&R for me. Two weeks filled with friends and family, delicious cookies, and REST.

Something occurred to me during my break. Despite abundant free-time and a pretty strong inclination to pick up writing again, I had absolutely no interest in tackling a new blog post. No recent adventures, no quirky encounters, no new stories to share. In fact I have felt that way for quite a while. Maybe even a year now. Maybe ever since my life here in Bend ceased to be an adventure…

I love writing about things that excite me. When I started this blog I was living in a 2001 Subaru Outback and climbing all over the western United States. I was excited about EVERYTHING. Now, two years later, life is a familiar routine. My excitement had shifted.

I really, really want to improve at rock climbing. I strive toward it every day. I read training books. I listen to interviews. I follow training blogs. I watch videos. I try training programs. I am no training expert, but I have learned a LOT that I wish I’d known when I was just getting started. Most importantly, I am EXCITED about training.

I think I’ll write about that for a while.

On a completely different note:

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Ready. SET!! snow…

Two weeks ago, my enthusiasm for Smith was at an all-time high. Seriously. After a week of trying a little of this, and sampling a little of that, I returned from the Red River Gorge extremely eager to sink my teeth into a new project at Smith.

The weekend before last, I did just that. Around mid-day on Saturday I went up Rude Boys for the first time, learning the moves and breaking down the sequences. By Sunday evening, I felt ready to do it. I day-dreamed about the route all of last week, and could hardly wait to get back on it again.

Then winter barged in. Bwah bwah. Didn’t even knock, the inconsiderate bastard.

Oh well. Sometimes we are forced to rest. I guess there are worse things than flapjacks for breakfast and a trip to the cinema to pass a cold and wintry Saturday. Next time Rude Boys. Next time.

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The obligatory ‘rose move’ photo. Such a classic!!      ‘Rude Boys’ – 5.13b     PHOTO: Adam McKibben

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cooooooold…

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What month is it again?

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Busy day at the backup crag.

Unfortunately, next weekend also looks pretty damn cold. Hopefully we get a couple more weekends of fall before the snow REALLY flies…  I guess we’ll see!

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‘tucky.

Welp, had a pretty amazing trip to the Red guys. There is SO MUCH ROCK there. It’s pretty ridiculous. The trip wasn’t quite the send-athon I hoped it would be, but then, is it ever? The get a little better, and your standards are raised a bit. It’s just part of the never-ending cycle.

A week sure flies by quick. I got to visit a bunch of incredible new crags, sample a ton of new routes in a variety of cool styles, and left Kentucky feeling very excited to go back for a longer stay next time around.

Having said that, I have never been more excited to be back at Smith. You just can’t beat good fall conditions, and I intend to milk ’em until the snow flies. Woooooo!!

Here’s a few from the trip:

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Huhhh…

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Micah. Absolutely killing it.

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Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait….

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Kevin!

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“We don’ need shirts, because we betta den you!” Inside joke…

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Kevin getting acquainted with ‘Dracula 04’ – 5.13b

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Some chick on ‘Kaleidoscope’ – 5.13c

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Professional climber Anna Stöhr tries the incredible ‘Pure Imagination’ – 5.14c

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Andy ‘The Man’ Mann.

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Micah with his heroes.

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The Motherload! Sooo puuurdy…

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Local cuisine?

PARTING SHOT: Sean Bailey onsights Omaha Beach – 5.14a like a bawhs….

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That’s it ‘yall. Later!

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Bringin’ in fall y’all!

Wooooooooooooo! Fall. is. HERE.

Before spilling my fall-stoke all over this page, I should probably start on an appreciative note by saying that I had a really great summer. The heat brought a much needed break from projects and outdoor climbing, and I was glad to take a couple weeks rest at the start of July. As for the rest of the summer, I logged about 900 hours on my hangboard, trained my ass off in the gym and weight room for a couple months, finally pulled my head out of my ass and went mountain biking a lot (seriously, I don’t know why it took me so long to hop on that train), and drank some beers.  :D

While I definitely think I played my cards right and made the most of the hot season, I am ridiculously stoked for this fall weather that is finally settling in. Fall’s just so, crisp. You know? I love it!

In the morning I leave for a week trip to the Red River Gorge, and with three months of goal-specific training leading up to it, I’m pretty damn excited. The Red is a place I have heard nothing but good things about over the years, and features a climbing style that is drastically different from the technical face climbing of Smith Rock. I expect it will be a refreshing contrast, and I’m hoping it’s a style that I’ll do pretty well at. Despite the upcoming trip, I have been very happy to get out to Smith the past few weekends, and managed to put down a new (to me) route called Oxygen – 5.13b in relatively short order. Oxygen is a beautiful and technically demanding route, and was a nice confidence booster after a summer away from projecting. As I said, my recent training has been focused on steeper climbing, so it was great to see that at least some of those gains crossed over to my home crag. Unfortunately, I failed to get a picture of that one, or any other recent climbing for that matter.

On the other hand, I DID capture some shots of one of the most incredible experiences of my life last Saturday. Let me ask you this: what is red, has three-and-a-half wheels, is engineered by Germans, and is endowed with a wildly liberal alcohol permit?

One word: Cyclepub.

My friend Jesse turned another year last week, and I was able to join him and his family in a celebration that found us peddling, growler-filling, and beer-drinking all over town. Sometimes you just have to be a tourist in your own town, ya know? Here are some pics:

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Best invention ever.

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Max being a rad DD and tour guide.

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Jesse P.  Happy birthday dude!

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Skillz.

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Fall. :D

 

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Happy crew after a ridiculously good time.

That’s it y’all. Next stop, the Red!

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Season Wrap-Up

It’s summer, guys. And if you live in Bend, OR, summer weather is about as bad for rock climbing as…   as…..

It’s bad.

So instead of trying to force things by waking up at 4am to climb a pitch or two, I plan to get some rest for a couple weeks, and then dive into a gnarly training program for the next few months until the fall season get’s the psych up again. I’m stoked. I am quickly realizing that Bend has a lot to offer during the summer months, and I plan to take advantage of the heat this year. I am sitting in a cool and shaded living room as I write this.

2014 has been a pretty killer year so far. I had some pretty ambitious goals for the spring season, and while I did not achieve all of them, I certainly accomplished more than I had hoped overall. I got after it at Smith nearly every weekend for five straight months while training hard mid-week, and was able to redpoint, flash, and onsight a combined total of 20 new (to me) routes 5.12 or harder. I have ambitious goals for the future, and I hope to eventually be climbing that many 5.13’s and .14’s in a season. Even so, this season was a definite breakthrough for me. I have more clarity than ever before about how I want to train to keep improving, and I can’t wait to see what the fall season brings.

For the past few weeks I decided to put all my eggs in one basket and tackle a route at Equinox, possibly my favorite crag of all time. I made several weekend trips in a row (about 7-8 hours drive each way) to work on the thing, and completely exhausted myself in the process. I made some good links, but in the end decided to let the route sit for the time being rather than continue beating my head against it in vain hope for success. I knew the route would likely be a bit beyond me, but figured I was due to really test myself. Anyway, I am psyched to have it as a reference to come back to after training all summer. Hopefully it feels easier :)

I have continued to suck at pulling out my camera. Here are a few from a wet weekend at Equinox. Snail and pup shots courtesy of Kevin. Enjoy!

 

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Snail.

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Pup.

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Kevin with the selfie.

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Me. A successful hang-dog effort on ‘Fight Club’ – 5.13c

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Homies.

Parting Shot:

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So long, 24.

Welp, I turned 25 last week.

I can honestly say that this was the least interesting birthday I have ever had. I woke up congested with a head cold, went to work for ten hours, came home, ate dinner, had a drink, and went to bed really, really early.

Nailed it.

25 seems like a pretty significant birthday as I think about it, having officially forfeited my claim as a guy in his “early 20’s”, but whatever. My birthday came and went without the nostalgia of days past, apprehension of the years to come, or anxiety about life as it continues to pass by rapidly. It simply came and went; just another Wednesday.

I think that’s a pretty cool sign actually. When you truly know what you want in life, and you are already trudging down the road that leads to it, then turning a year older doesn’t seem all that significant…

24 was a pretty killer year. It was certainly a breakthrough year for me as a climber, but more importantly it was a breakthrough year for my understanding of how to continue pushing myself and growing as a climber. I can’t wait to put what I’ve learned into practice. I plan to train harder than ever, and am stoked to see what the next year brings.

Thank you all for the kind birthday wishes. I am so grateful to have such a rad community of family and friends. I love you guys.

That’s all I’ve got.

So long, 24. So long.

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Pebble Wrestlin’

For the past few months my focus has been sport climbing. This season has found me putting a lot of time in at Smith on the weekends in an effort to ‘catch up’ to the years of experience I have with bouldering. So far this year, I have managed to tick off about a dozen routes in the 5.12 to .13- range, and feel like I have momentum to get me through a few more before the summer heat puts a kibosh on the spring season. Even more exciting has been the community I feel like I’ve developed this season. Smith has a reputation for being tricky and technically demanding, and it’s as if the local climbing community has banded together to combat those fickle and onerous routes. It is a cool thing to be a part of. And it makes climbing there so fun!

Despite my stoke, I decided to take a break from the tuff last weekend and make a trip up to WA for some good ol’ granite pebble wrestlin’ (bouldering). I’ve spent a lot of time in Leavenworth over the years, and it still feels like home to me. I always love going back. I drove up with my roommate Adam, and had an incredible weekend with friends, family, and some near-perfect climbing weather. And I finally pulled out the camera! Here’s a few from the trip:

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Best photo of the weekend. Very fun to finally climb this one after all these years. You need a LOT of pads to do it safely, and we happened to walk by at the perfect time to pool our resources with another crew. What an amazing line!    ‘The Ruminator’ – V6   PHOTO: Adam McKibben

 

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Adam sends ‘Tin Man’ – V6  Nice work man! I get to live with this stud, suckers. This boulder lies off the beaten path, but it is worth seeking out. Good one.

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Kevin ‘Treebeard’ Riley. Killing it.

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Got to see my new friend Jen Mercer climb her first V4! Nice work Jen! Way to do it in good style. ‘The Real Thing’ – V4

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Adam learning the moves on ‘Kobe Tai’ – V8

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Kevin makes quick work of ‘Pimpsqueak’ – V9

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Sent this rig! This boulder problem has always stood out as a great test-piece in my mind. Three pure, hard moves. Finally put some time into it this season and took it down. ‘The Coffee Cup’ – V9 PHOTO: Adam Mckibben

Parting Shot:

Picnic Lunch Wall-8 copy

Had to post SOMETHING from Smith. Was lucky to have photographer Dearric Winchester snap this one. Unfortunately it was a bit of a heart-breaker attempt, with me falling from that hold in my right hand (notice that it is literally ABOVE the anchor). But I was able to come back and finish it the next day so it’s all good. Thanks for the photo Dearric! ‘Coleslaw and Chemicals’ – 5.13a

Till next time…

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