09 January 2011

So Far, 2011

Time is marching forward. It's hard to believe the 9th day of 2011 is here and rolling by. It has been a long while since I have posted anything. The truth is there hasn't been anything to post. The icy grip of winter tightens each week and the boulders go deeper into the snow. For a while there was hope between storms that a day of sun would bring a day of bouldering on real rock. Not so... Each storm is colder and only a fool would attempt to go out in this winter wonderland called Wyoming. Sure, in lander they climb all year on real rock, but here at 7200 feet above sea level the cold is deep.
We were fools on a couple of occasions around the New Year of course. The New Year itself was celebrated with Pabst Blue Ribbon and too much Champagne. A painful combo even in small amounts. Just prior to celebrating a few of us went into the mountains for a sledding session. The snow was too deep to drive to the taller hills, but we made due with a short steep hill and a bruiser (kicker as the snow folk call them) over havoc and fangs made of severely wind packed snow blocks. Snow blocks? They are hard enough from the Wyoming wind that I dented the disk with one right on the ass and everyone flinched on landing. The day was complete with dogs run over, people run over and people getting attacked by dogs after getting run over.
Construction of the havoc

The Set Up
The Take Down
Only Bryan was Man (fool) enough to Superman it.
Nothing needs to be said here.

Outside of a few days over winter break I've worked a lot to save money and I spend a lot of time in the gym. I realized that this is the fourth winter I have owned and run Laramie's little training gym The Source Bouldering Gym. I spent a good amount of time of the winter break resetting walls and pouring hundreds of new holds. I had a few Christmas orders from previous customers of the Source Gym who had liked the holds and apparently wanted to feel pain again. Maybe to feel alive, maybe to focus on something other than winter. Anyway the gym, never has it been mentioned in this blog, so here it is.
Years ago when Josh Helke, owner of Organic Bouldering Mats lived in town, Josh, his wife Liz, maybe a random guest or two and I would train in his garage. He had a small 50 degree overhanging wall that was covered in poor to bad holds. I got really strong on that wall, going from a V7 boulderer to a V10 boulderer in a winter. Josh had to change rental houses and the winter of 2006 had no training wall except the University of Wyoming's climbing wall which is near vertical.
2007 was the birth of an idea and I tried to organize a co-op wall in Laramie. Everyone was in on the idea and stoked, but no one would commit to the paper work or take responsibility for anything. Laramie is an old school climbing community full of bitterness, drinkers, disorganization and amazing friendships and motivation all wrapped into a few dozen individuals. I filed paper work for an LLC and opened the damn thing myself. I found an abandoned room on the fifth floor of one of Laramie's oldest buildings (1924). Being on the fifth floor we were able to pull three levels of ceilings out and get a 12 foot tall room. All the wood was free and recycled from an old gym that ran out of money. I intercepted the wood on it's way to the dump! As an LLC I pour our own holds (I do sell a few) as well as purchase holds from Pusher, Revolution, Metolius, Nicros and all the rest. Our in house custom pours are still the preferred method of torture! In total we have many hundreds of holds. The gym is a training gym to perfection, inspired by the legendary school room in Sheffield, England. A 50 degree overhang, a 35 degree overhang, a 15 degree, all covered in terrible holds and a campus board/hang board area can make you hurt wherever you need it.
I've never made money on the gym. The gym barely makes it in this small community, but we pay the rent and get stronger every year. It has been really good to see the climbers who use the gym become V10 and stronger climbers in a season or two. For sure, the standard in the area has gone up because of the gym. Every time I mention moving the gym to my garage so I don't have to fuss with the money and trying maintain the place a few individuals get together, pay for membership and keep it going. Summer is the crux, but we keep keeping on. I have to thank all the members who keep it going and all the future members who will keep it going!
I have to especially thank the people who helped build the gym Bryan Vansickle, Ethan McMahan, Bevan Frost, Josh Helke, Mike Haftner, Austin Jenson and Caleb Richter. Josh Helke's hundreds of holds kept the gym going until we could buy and our our own. Thanks! Bevan, Ethan and Bryan wallowed in filth, three feet of old insulation that filled the ceilings we pulled out. The struggle was rewarded with lifetime memberships.
The 35 getting reset with new Source Gym custom slopers, last days of 2010.
The 50 degree and outside, downtown Laramie at -20 F, last days of 2010
Bryan Vansickle building a masterpiece or shit show depending on your view.
Pouring holds has been something that I have done since 2005. I was not happy with the hold industry after Pusher went under and had to shape my own holds. I like a simple, training oriented hold like the old Pusher and S7 holds. Too many holds are shaped to look cool and they actually climb like hell. "Form follows function" is my only guide for shaping and pouring. I sold holds for a while, but an allergic reaction to some chemical in the process allows me to only pour on a limited basis now.
New Source Holds ready for the gym. These are small to medium in size.
Large to Extra Large hollow back slopers and pinches to match on and flail. I make very flexible molds that can be tweaked to make many different shapes out of a single mold. This is key for the home gym hold maker. The hollow back saves a huge amount of plastic too.
Source Gym Crimps. These are the legendary custom crimps I shaped for the 50 degree overhang. They brought many people to the V10 grade. I pour many of these each time I pour. The small size uses up extra Urethane that would normally be wasted. Also, key to a home gym hold making operation is using every drop of Urethane. 



5 comments:

  1. Davin, We also climb year round in Cody on real rock. Clint and I made a trek to the South side of Cedar on Saturday to clean a new boulder and build some trails. A beautiful day until the storm moved in and sent us packing for the day. I have been outside almost once a week with minimal suffering over the last two months. We just got a new layer of snow, so I feel your pain, however we will be climbing at the sunny areas again very soon.
    Your holds look pretty cool. I d sure like to get some for my home gym. Maybe on your next pour we could put an order in. The legendary custom crimps seem like a must for any gym.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent update, Davin. Feeling your pain with the winter months. I had no idea you shaped holds, they look killer. Function is what matters most, for sure. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, cody too is place you can climb all year in comfort. I didn't list, as the thought of so many good boulders in perfect winter sun could hurt my "real job" productivity. Any one reading this should go to Cody and enjoy the thousands of fantastic boulders, even in winter. My best trips there have been in the winter!

    I should have said Laramie is one of the few places people aren't climbing outside this winter. Then you would ask why I live here?

    The crimps are a must and I will be happy to send some up to Cody when I pour again. And to any one else who wants them.

    Dylan, you will love the holds when you get down to the gym.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just saw this and got all sappy and emotional inside. I think just looking at those crimps might have even made me stronger. Plan on mailing some to PA when I find some extra dough.
    And Brian only sets shitshows.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Because of popular demand I will be pouring Source crimp sets in just over a week from now. (not this weekend, but the next).

    I will calculate the price based on weight of the Urethane + shipping. = Dirt Cheap!

    ReplyDelete