LivingVertical: Project 365 documents a year long journey into the wildest, steepest and most extreme terrain in North America–to conquer the unconquerable; overcoming diabetes through the simple act of climbing–every day, for one year. Diabetes will be my full-time job. The mountains will be my office.
365 days of climbing, starting Jan 1, 2012—Visit www.livingvertical.org for the play-by play!
Today is World Diabetes Day—Millions of people live with this incurable condition and I am one of them. My wife and I are on a mission to raise awareness and show that Diabetes does not have to hold you back in life—by climbing every day in 2012 and making a documentary out of this epic journey. Here is a short video we put together for WDD. Stop on by www.livingvertical.org for more!
Latest blog entry from the LivingVertical team as we prepare for 365 consecutive days of rock climbing and mountaineering to put the beat-down on type 1 diabetes in 2012! Right now we are fine tuning our nutritional intake and training and watching Maury and working full time to pay for carburetor repairs and other fineries that we will require as we explore some neo-minimalism through a fitness framework. Now go grab a soy latte and read on. Its gonna be a fun ride.
LivingVertical is a grassroots nonprofit organization geared toward introducing individuals with Type 1 Diabetes to rock climbing and healthy, organic lifestyles.
As part of our kick-off awareness and fund raiser, I will be climbing for 365 days straight beginning in early 2012. The 365 Challenge will help us spread awareness of this chronic medical condition and bring a better quality of life to all people with Diabetes.
To help us make this adventure happen, please visit livingvertical.org
I am finally back in NY after a month of shooting footage for the 365 Challenge fundraiser…we have a LOT of editing that needs to be done, but I will trickle out little clips here and there…please enjoy and stay tuned because we are just getting started!
After a hard fought day ascending scary spires in the Needles!
so its 4:54 AM at Devils Tower and we are headed for the summit this morning…but I wanted to share a little bit of what we have been doing in prep for the 365 Challenge so far…please note that the editing is crude and simple…please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.com/livingvertical365
Tell your friends and stay tuned for more!
Trevor and I took a couple days off from traveling to enjoy a day on Pelican Lake—wake-boarding and boating with some of Trevors mates. We had a great time in the great city of Fargo too—big thank you to Ebba for hosting us at his place and providing several solid meals and all sorts of hospitality.
Internet may be spotty from this point forward, but next comes some climbing footage from the LEDGENDARY black hills of South Dakota.
2 days, no sleep, lots of miles and radio stations fading in and out of range. Wisconsin has the worst mosquitoes ever. EVER. We got MAULED while making and eating dinner. Such is life, on the road. I did a bit of experimentation with the time lapse effects…more to come on this! Enjoy!
Packing up to climb for a month takes time…is frustrating…but we got it all organized and are now on the road! Heading out west with a stop in North Dakota (Fargo) and then on to some climbing!
A weekend of climbing at the Gunks is…well…a little like bird watching. During the course of one sunday afternoon I got to experience many of the known climbing stereotypes (with the exception of the lycra-wearing 90’s sport climber, see below…
To be fair, it is very likely that we will deal more with this staple of the stereotypical climber as we go on across the country—the northeast is really not prime habitat for the lycra crowd. More on that later…
There was a strong showing from the Euro community; from what I could tell, predominately German folks. It was interesting listening to them on the route next to us giving eachother beta and yelling down at their children who seemed to be at far greater risk while untied at the base of the cliff than they would have been with at least some rope to constrain their antics…
Yes, here is where we met Peter and Matilda. Very nice children at least from the standpoint of someone who has no stake in their safety; both were probably 8-10 respectively and who can blame them for seeking out entertainment by wandering up and down the cliff base talking to other parties whilst their parents were busy fighting gravity above…
Matilda entertained Trevor by spitting some rhymes while simultaneously engaging in a vigorous game of “catch” with her brother—using their dads shoe as a ball. This would have been all well and good had Peter not eventually biffed the catch and begun to tumble down the embankment after the errant shoe…Fortunately one of their parental figures arrived on the scene to chide Peter for his acrobatics and we moved on to view different subjects.
As usual, there was a strong presence of New Jersey climbers out at the crags as well. This is a widely observed group that is commonly found on routes that are 5.5 and below; listen for sounds of childbirth peppered with complaints that “there just ARENT any footholds” or “this is A LOT harder than 5.5 in the gym, brah!” Typically this population is middle aged and male. The good news is that the ego commonly involved in selecting routes that are over the head of this climbing group often leads to mini-epics which result in gear being abandoned, which translates into free gear (sometimes)…
We got a chance to listen to no less than 25 minutes of the group leader at the very top of the cliff, hollering down directions to his completely befuddled second on how to remove a cam. I am not sure whether it annoyed me more to have to listen to an in depth kinesthetic analysis of a movement that is about as simple as picking your nose or whether it was just the sheer volume of the whole debacle that provoked my self righteous indignation…
Speaking of self-righteous…we got to see one of those too—the semi local, from Westchester County who feels obligated to challenge everyones climbing ability since he just onsighted his first 5.7. This character appeared (oddly enough) once I was up about 35 feet on Snookys. This subject often appears when the male climber is on lead and out of the way, leaving the isolated female belayer open to his blithering. As I paused to place a stopper I hear strains of the conversation with this gentleman and my wife, wafting up in my direction. “Does he KNOW what he’s DOING? Or where he’s GOING?” blah blah blah “It’s only 5.7, really”
I found this exchange particularly odd since Snookys is one of the straightest lines at the Gunks…but thankfully this undesirable made his way down to bother Peter and Matilda’s group…I heard him haranguing the Germans about their ability to complete the second pitch of their route as he inquired if they too, knew what they were doing…
Towards the end of our afternoon I encountered the damsels in distress, a female counterpart to the New Jersey n00b. Somehow they had rappelled off the guides wall, leaving all their anchor setups in tact; so I volunteered to retrieve it for them. In good conscience I couldn’t do otherwise since the top of this wall can be accessed by soloing a 5.0 gully that I have climbed many many times…in sandals.
So off I went, much to their chagrin, as they observed that I probably should have a rope on for such terrain. Upon getting to their anchor I found a setup that would certainly have voided the terms of their life insurance policy; I tried to think of a nice way of asking if they ever planned to climb again, because the way the gear had been placed really made me believe in the staying power of angelic forces; for the life of me I couldn’t think of what else held that cam in there. CAM. not CAMS. Single point anchor.
I returned their gear to them and as nicely as I could told them that their anchor scared me more than soloing up to get it and then soloing back down to deliver it to them. They were very appreciative and I have no idea if my advice had any effect…
Besides all of that though, Stef Trevor Vanessa and I had a great time on Snooky’s Return (5.8), Friends and Lovers (5.9) and later Trevor led Fingerlocks (or cedar box) (5.5) and we all went home for pizza and wings!
Authors note: The ability to laugh at ourselves is one of several things that separates us from animals. If you feel as though you fit into one of the demographics that was lampooned in this post, consider yourself lucky, since I am just attempting to help you laugh at yourself; I lead by example and laugh at you, myself! Polite, stuffy writing is not only patently dishonest but it is boring. If you seek such tripe, tell your friends about this blog and then go read the NY Times.
Since the last post, a lot has been going on. For one, thing we started up our Facebook page and so far have just over 40 “likes” at the time of this posting. I have no idea how that compares with the progress that other ventures experience, but it seems to be steady progress and that’s what matters. If you have not done so yet, you can help us out a LOT by “liking” us on Facebook and recommending us to your friends.
The biggest step has been the launching of the web page. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Stefanie, the site has progressed from an amorphous lump of dung to what you see now—which looks BAD ASS! Please be patient with the development of the web page—you can see that it is going to be fantastic, but it will take some time to get it really dialed in.
We will have links on there for donations and we will also tie in our blog and FB pages there too…but I will keep you updated on that progress here and through FB updates! Right now, the biggest objective is to get people talking about the project and get them interested—and telling your friends costs nothing and is a HUGE help and is greatly appreciated!
So yesterday (returning to the relevance of the title of this post) Stefanie and I and Trevor and his girlfriend Vanessa headed out to the Gunks to climb and have one last hurrah on the rocks together before Trevor and I head out west. We will be heading out this Friday (7.15) for a month, to sort out some logistics for the 365 Challenge, and to get a bunch of footage to give everyone a nice sexy preview of what is to come! I will be updating the blog from the road so stay tuned for more pix and videos!
A nice “candid” (read:appalling) shot of myself assessing the scene of the climbs…”Snookys Return 5.8” and Trevor who is demonstrating the “one-handed-no-look-belay” as Vanessa enjoys “Friends and Lovers 5.9”. Everyone sent in good style and no one was dropped.
A few shots of myself on “Friends and Lovers” —these pictures were taken with the GoPro HD hero (a fun little HD camera frequently advertised on this very site)
Our lovely camerawoman, my lovely wife and partner in the 365 Challenge. Every picture and video is a result of laborious efforts on the part of someone who is shooting instead of climbing—and oddly enough, they are never (or rarely) in the pictures! I want to make sure credit is given where it is due. Thanks, Stef!
I had been up all last night making a short movie of me leading “Snookys” but apparently I goofed it up when I saved it so I am going to post it up separately.
I am excited to get on the road again and to share this preview of the 365 Challenge with you.
In the meantime, like us on Facebook and subscribe to blog updates by entering your email at the BOTTOM of this page!
So tomorrow morning was supposed to be a sunrise filming event for the 365 Film, but between weather and people bailing and all sorts of “life” happening, well, its going to have to wait till another day.
Guiding has been very slow for me recently, giving me a lot of time to crank out these mini sections of film and I recently joined a more conventional fitness center to pass the time, which quite honestly made my skin crawl as I worked out there today for the first time…not used to so many people all up in my space.
The facebook and twitter progress is very slow; it seems like no one is taking notice of what we are doing yet…so we have to keep trying harder! I am psyched because I just found out that my niece is coming up this way and wants to get out climbing—its always a great big time when family is willing to get on a rope with me!
Ok, enjoy the video—more to come!