Thursday, June 25, 2009

Attempted assault on Technosurfing

I spent two days at Rumney this past week.

Sunday, after Amanda's wedding, Matt and I stopped by to do a bit of climbing on our way home. (I know...Rumney isn't actually on the way home from Peru, Vermont, but whatever.) Everything was wet and so we went directly to Waimea (which is never a good idea...for me, at least.) And then...i did 1.5 burns on Technosurfing [12b] before calling it a day. First time, I bailed at the crux (my excuse? that was my warmup!). Second time, I at least made it to the chains, but it was a big of an epic...complete with near tears (don't worry, I didn't actually cry...I just wanted to), and lots of hanging. I got down and decided that I hated Techno and wasn't doing it ever again.

And then....on Tuesday, Kelly, Josh and I went back to Rumney for what was quite possibly my (sniff) last day there of the season. We did some stuff at Main Cliff [Underdog 10A-L, Millenium Falcon 10c-L/flash, Know Ethics 10d-L/flash], tried to climb at Orange Crush, and then headed back to Waimea. I (of course) got back on Techno and actually made some substantial progress. I hung a few times and got scared on the first burn, but the second time I just took at the crux and at a scary heel-hook move up falls, and I did all the moves the first time. Okay, so maybe I don't hate it that much...

Amanda got married!

Congratulations, Amanda and Ben!

The wedding was beautiful and there was some excellent dancing at the reception. A whole crew of us rented a ski house (with a hot tub) for the weekend (the wedding was up in Vermont, near Peru), which turned out to be a fantastic idea. (Thanks Kate!)

I didn't do a good job remembering to take pictures, but Daryl did. Click here to check out what his new camera can do.

A few more photos:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Return to Sundown

Eyeless in Gaza [12b] = SENT!!

I just got home from another awesome two days of climbing up in New Hampshire. (Sorry, no pics from this mini-trip.)

Day 1 was a spectacular (though a bit wet) day at Sundown.
After warming up on and sending Eyeless [yep, 12b is a stout warm up, but there aren't a lot of other options] we got on The Promised Land 12c and did a few burns on Romper Room 12a, both of which were really sweet lines. I think Romper Room is going to be my new Sundown project...Then, a beautiful drive along the Kanc and an excellent evening of camping at Rumney.

Day 2 was a half day at Rumney.
We hit Lower Vader for some warm ups (me and Slick on the 9's, Josh on The Caged) then over to Bonsai for Peer Pressure [10d - L, flash!] and Social Outcast [12a - L]. I'm blaming my sub-par performance on Social on a combination of too many 12s the day before, too many beers the night before, and no morning coffee. Seriously...I can't be expected to send without coffee. I mean, in normal life I can barely function without it...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Going back to Israel

Yup. It's true. I'm going back to Israel.

Do you ever feel like things just come together a little too smoothly...too easily...too perfectly? I mean, I don't really believe that things are "meant to be" or anything like that, but every once and a while, something happens to make me wonder. This is kindof like that.

In March, I came back from Israel with no plans (or job prospects) and, as my daily dose of NPR constantly reminded me, the job market was...let's just say...less than stellar. To be perfectly honest, I was less worried than I probably should have been; I mean, I had two part time jobs doing what I love to do -- rock climbing -- and I was (am) perfectly happy to delay my entrance into a real job and take some time to recover from the insane pace of MIT.

But one day, while killing time on the internet, I saw some info about an MIT-Technion exchange program that included an email address for the contact person in Boston. Randomly, I sent him an email asking if I could come by his office and chat about potential architecture opportunities. David emailed me back to let me know that they take applications for the regular program in the fall, but that this year it just so happened that there was some grant money available through the Sloan business school to fund projects related to renewable energy research in Israel. The deadline was only a few days away, but he said, if my work had anything to do with environmental issues/sustainability, I should write a proposal.

It does...and I did.

In a second bizarre coincidence, Isaac Meir, an Israeli architect and researcher at the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, had just been on campus two weeks prior, meeting with David about the potential for research collaborations with MIT students and alumni. Meir's work deals specifically with architecture in extreme environments. The Institute, which seeks to promote models for the development of the desert is part of Ben Gurion University, and is located on a satellite campus at Midreshet Ben-Gurion (a communal settlement in the Negev, near kibbutz Sde Boker, famous for being the final resting place for David + Paula Ben-Gurion).

For the Institute homepage, click here.
For a brief overview, written by the director, click here.
For a look at the Center for Desert Architecture, click here.

While I know next to nothing about desert architecture specifically, I have some experience dealing with extreme environments, and was very excited at the prospect of tackeling a site where the constraints are as stringent as (though climatically, nearly the opposite of) Antarctica.

The next thing I knew, I was emailing Isaac Meir about details for a summer research project, booking a plane ticket and filing for an Israeli visa. The plan is to leave July 7th, work at the Institute for 3 months, then do some traveling (and climbing!) around the region for a month or so. I'll update with more details and info about the project later...but at least this is a start.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rumney, again :)

Josh on some ridiculous-looking 13 at Monsters.

Josh, Kelly, and I went back to Rumney on Monday.

I know, it's a rough life.
A recap of the past week:
Tuesday + Wednesday - Rumney
Thursday + Friday - Central Rock Gym
Saturday - Farley
Sunday - Sleeping and reading New Moon [sequel to Twilight]
[It's cool, I have a master's from MIT, I can read teenage romance/vampire books if I want to.]
Monday - Rumney

Stellar day up at the Hinterlands.
Dolt 5.9 [L]
Jolt 10b [L]
Niki's crack 11d [L...sent on the second burn, bitches!]
Giant Man 12b/c [ of the coolest 12's I've been on. New project? And Josh, thanks for]

Heaven/Something Link-up 11b [L- awkward!]
and yup, I think everything else there is way too hard for me. :)


Saturday: Matt, me, Josh, Slick, and the other Josh.

A contender for my proudest day of climbing.
Hardest trad lead [5.9]
Hardest flash [Cuddlefish llb]

We also got on a bunch of other stuff that I don't know the names of...And I got destroyed on some 12 with too many slopers and too much feet-cutting.


Slick, Josh, Matt, and Kelly at our campsite in Rumney, NH.

If you're a climber, the only thing better than being unemployed is knowing a bunch of other climbers who are also unemployed. Okay, so technically Kelly and I aren't unemployed...given that we're both working a couple of days a week at the new Central Rock Gym in Worcester. [Check it out here, we've got a pretty sick lead wall!] And Josh and Slick seem to be keeping busy post-layoff with assorted jobs and lots of setting at CRG. However, none of us is employed enough to get in the way of an awesome 2 day-2 night mid-week climbing trip to Rumney. We camped right across the street and had the whole place to ourselves.

Day One:
Main Cliff
-Underdog 10a [L]
-Peanut Man 11d [TR]
-Armed and Dangerous 10b [L]
-Cereal Killer 11c [L...messy]
-Venus 12c [L...some day I'll do this clean]
[Josh also sent Neptune 13a, which was pretty sweet]
5.8 Crag
-Romancing the Stone 10c [L. I love this climb]
-Pump up the Volume 12b [TR. Yikes, tricky crux]
a practically gormet camp stove meal [venison steaks, grilled asparagus, annie's mac + cheese, Magic Hat #9] topped off with a camp fire + s'mores.

Day Two:
-Masterpeice 10a [L]
-Centerpiece 10d [L...hardest 10d ever, I swear.]
[Josh got on Social Outcast 12a, but I was still recovering from Centerpiece.]
Triple Corners
-Man with a Hueco in his Tights 11b
[ take and near hyperveltillation]
Starship Enterprise
5.9 [um, scariest lead of the trip, for sure, thanks to wet rock, lots of spiders, bad bolt placement, and three mantels.]
-and some quality spectating for Josh on Super Nova 14a.
-Flesh for Lulu 12a [TR...clean up to the last bolt.
Maybe Flesh will go this season? It's about time...]
More quality eating [venison tacos] and beer drinking...


Matt near the summit of Mount Monadnock.

So...the weekend before last, despite the impeccably beautiful weather, Matt and I didn't go climbing. We thought, instead, we'd try to do what normal people (i.e. those not obsessed with rock climbing) do on their summer weekends. As far as we could tell, that meant grilling, eating and drinking...oh, and jai excellent game, which, I'm now convinced, should be part of any summer grilling extravaganza.

After a Saturday of bbq-hopping and beer drinking we were both getting a little antsy and so on Sunday, we thought we'd do some hiking on Mount Monadnock, which, according to Matt and Wikipedia, is one of the "most frequently climbed mountains in the world."

Before I go on, maybe I should clarify a few terms: Hiking, for all you climbers out there, is kindof like doing the approach, getting to the cliff and then turning around and doing the approach again in reverse until you're back at the car. Mountain, is meant here in the East-coast usage...meaning "a point higher than most other points around." At 3,165 feet, Monadnock might not qualify as a "mountain" in a place like California, but hey, no big deal...and no altitude sickness, either.

The hike was actually super-fun and we did it in a lightening storm, which made us feel a little more hard core...that is, until we got to the White Crossing (300 feet below the summit) and were informed by two rangers stading guard that the mountain was closed, due to inclement weather. I, much to Matt's embarrassment, immediately started laughing: "Seriously?! They can close the outside when it rains?" It's moments like these when I am reminded that there are things about the East Coast that will never cease to amaze...and amuse me.

Matt and I stubbornly waited at the White Crossing (by this time the rain had stopped and the sun was shining) until eventually the rangers begrudgingly informed us that it was safe to continue. After a quick sprint to the summit we headed back down, already debating the next weekend's climbing plans.