Entries by Nathan Williamson

,

Remnants Of The Past, Visions Of The Future

I have been working relentlessly to finish a 5.14? project in Little
Cottonwood Canyon. It’s funny, for only having a few moves, I sure have
come up with a plethora of ways to climb it. However, no one particular
sequence has worked as well as I had hoped. The last go I had was by far my
best. I did the bottom sequence completely clean, but the middle crux is
still throwing me. The crimps are so sharp that they’ve permanently scared
my right finger tips. Scars, however, are just a stepping stone for me. It
means that I am progressing.

Getting In Touch With My Roots…Bouldering

Never forget your ROOTS. I live by this statement, both in climbing and in
life. I started to grow my climbing roots as a boulderer in Nevada. It was
there, in the middle of the desert, that I spent countless hours over a
number of years learning how to move my young and awkward body and how to
think outside of the box that contained only typical body movements. 

Through The Trees Rests A Monster / Part 2

I began cleaning and working moves on the possible 5.14 in LCC on the first
day I’ve had off in months when it wasn’t snowing or raining.  I spent a
solid hour scrubbing the route with my trusty barbecue brush and a sharp
lapis on all the crimps. As I cleaned it, I studied the sequences with a
strong hope of finding some new foot or a better hold I wasn’t seeing. The
rock is in terrible condition. Calling it chossy might just be an
understatement because holds would crumble under my weight every time I put
my foot on them. The route is very steep, and all the holds are sharp and
thin. At that steep of an angle, even good holds feel like hell.

Through The Trees Rests A Monster / Part 1

Because my goal is to send some of the scariest and hardest problems of my
life this year, there really is no better place to start than Little
Cottonwood Canyon (LCC). For those of you who have never climbed in LCC,
it’s a whole different world of climbing. The rock is primarily quartz
monzonite. Most people just call it granite because it looks, feels, and
acts very similar to granite, but a bit more quartz gives it less features
and a slipperier structure, and that changes how everything gets climbed up
there. Currently, the hardest known route in LCC is in the high 5.13 range.
Until now that is…

Frozen

       

As Tyler and I drove up the snow-packed road in American Fork Canyon, I imagined how this trip was going to be filled with hair-raising events including frostbite, exhaustion, and pure psyche. Even with all the stress I was bound to face, I couldn’t get the massive smile off my face.

I finished up my figure eight, standing there in the snow, and glanced at the thermometer on my phone. It read three degrees, and the temperature was still dropping. The forecast predicted a high of nineteen degrees in the canyon, but I knew it would be colder where we were climbing—much colder…

 Fortunately for me, the bitter cold is where I feel my strongest. If you mix a high tolerance for pain with an even higher threshold for frigid temps, then you can get projects done in a flash. That is, if you can even open your hands first.

The heat is—without a doubt—my kryptonite. I’m done for after the temps peak over eighty-five degrees, and so is my climbing. The limestone in American Fork feels like glass when it’s hot out. Every crimp feels next-to-impossible to grasp and each foot is more slippery than the last.

But the cold? Well, the rock is dry and my skin sticks to it like Velcro. 

The “ideal” climbing season in the Wasatch Range is really short (lasting anytime between October and December), at least that’s what Utah climbers tell me. I just tell myself to suck it up and not let the snow or freezing winds stop me from doing what I love to do.

So here I am standing in the snow, feet numbing up in my climbing shoes, hands throbbing from the soon-to-be below zero temperatures, but I’m still psyched to send. Apart from the rush I get from climbing outside with my closest friends, I get taken away by the beautiful view. The crisp air seems to put life on hold and I bask with frigid delight, thinking about how there are many things I can still do in the winter as a climber.

A lot of people ask me how I stay warm and not shut down when I climb in such freezing temps. My best advice for cold-weather climbing is to better acclimate your body to the cold before you even go climbing. Wear a thinner coat and fewer layers when you roam around town instead of bundling up to the point where you feel like you’re under a hot sun in the desert. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can withstand colder temperatures when you do this.

I asked my good friend Jewell Lund, OR athlete, ice climber and all-around amazing woman, for more tips on how to better withstand the cold. She answered… “Climbing in cold temps, eh? Mostly I do it so I can be as gluttonous as I want. When I’m burning 4,000 calories a day by just standing outside, you better believe I’m going to eat bacon and donuts in seconds.” So there you go, if you play it hard in the cold like Jewell does, then you can always look forward to some tasty treats afterwards.

Jewell continues..”But really, I’m amazed at the human body for its ability to adapt in different conditions. I primarily think of two things when I’m outside and it’s super cold: down jackets are one of humanity’s best inventions and I need to be in constant motion. Move move move. Our movement is what allows us to spend time in places that are really unique, like frozen waterfalls. When I’m climbing a frozen waterfall, I often stop climbing just to appreciate how special climbing up frozen water truly is. It’s such an ephemeral experience to be in a place that most humans don’t see.

I climb in the cold because it’s beautiful, and it’s damn fun. I do my best to stay consistently warm, but there are shocking moments when I meet the cold. Sometimes a spindrift pummels me while I’m leading, and other times screaming barfies welcome my hands back to circulation on long belays. But those shocking moments are just reminders that I’m alive in a very special place. And, just like those frozen waterfalls, those moments are ephemeral and beautiful.

 

Stay psyched and don’t hibernate,

Nathan Williamson

Trango athlete.

www.trango.com 

                                          

Frozen

       

As Tyler and I drove up the snow-packed road in American Fork Canyon, I imagined how this trip was going to be filled with hair-raising events including frostbite, exhaustion, and pure psyche. Even with all the stress I was bound to face, I couldn’t get the massive smile off my face.

I finished up my figure eight, standing there in the snow, and glanced at the thermometer on my phone. It read three degrees, and the temperature was still dropping. The forecast predicted a high of nineteen degrees in the canyon, but I knew it would be colder where we were climbing—much colder…

 Fortunately for me, the bitter cold is where I feel my strongest. If you mix a high tolerance for pain with an even higher threshold for frigid temps, then you can get projects done in a flash. That is, if you can even open your hands first.

The heat is—without a doubt—my kryptonite. I’m done for after the temps peak over eighty-five degrees, and so is my climbing. The limestone in American Fork feels like glass when it’s hot out. Every crimp feels next-to-impossible to grasp and each foot is more slippery than the last.

But the cold? Well, the rock is dry and my skin sticks to it like Velcro. 

The “ideal” climbing season in the Wasatch Range is really short (lasting anytime between October and December), at least that’s what Utah climbers tell me. I just tell myself to suck it up and not let the snow or freezing winds stop me from doing what I love to do.

So here I am standing in the snow, feet numbing up in my climbing shoes, hands throbbing from the soon-to-be below zero temperatures, but I’m still psyched to send. Apart from the rush I get from climbing outside with my closest friends, I get taken away by the beautiful view. The crisp air seems to put life on hold and I bask with frigid delight, thinking about how there are many things I can still do in the winter as a climber.

A lot of people ask me how I stay warm and not shut down when I climb in such freezing temps. My best advice for cold-weather climbing is to better acclimate your body to the cold before you even go climbing. Wear a thinner coat and fewer layers when you roam around town instead of bundling up to the point where you feel like you’re under a hot sun in the desert. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can withstand colder temperatures when you do this.

I asked my good friend Jewell Lund, OR athlete, ice climber and all-around amazing woman, for more tips on how to better withstand the cold. She answered… “Climbing in cold temps, eh? Mostly I do it so I can be as gluttonous as I want. When I’m burning 4,000 calories a day by just standing outside, you better believe I’m going to eat bacon and donuts in seconds.” So there you go, if you play it hard in the cold like Jewell does, then you can always look forward to some tasty treats afterwards.

Jewell continues..”But really, I’m amazed at the human body for its ability to adapt in different conditions. I primarily think of two things when I’m outside and it’s super cold: down jackets are one of humanity’s best inventions and I need to be in constant motion. Move move move. Our movement is what allows us to spend time in places that are really unique, like frozen waterfalls. When I’m climbing a frozen waterfall, I often stop climbing just to appreciate how special climbing up frozen water truly is. It’s such an ephemeral experience to be in a place that most humans don’t see.

I climb in the cold because it’s beautiful, and it’s damn fun. I do my best to stay consistently warm, but there are shocking moments when I meet the cold. Sometimes a spindrift pummels me while I’m leading, and other times screaming barfies welcome my hands back to circulation on long belays. But those shocking moments are just reminders that I’m alive in a very special place. And, just like those frozen waterfalls, those moments are ephemeral and beautiful.

 

Stay psyched and don’t hibernate,

Nathan Williamson

Trango athlete.

www.trango.com 

                                          

Simian 5.13b/c

Do you have that ONE route that stands alone in your memory. I have climbed so many pitches that they blend together in my mind. Recently, I revisited a line which could never be characterized as forgettable.Although most of my favorite lines reside in…

Simian 5.13b/c

Do you have that ONE route that stands alone in your memory. I have climbed so many pitches that they blend together in my mind. Recently, I revisited a line which could never be characterized as forgettable.Although most of my favorite lines reside in…

MY HEAVEN… DRY TOOLING!!

Having winter right at our heels fills me with a mixture of feelings. Fear, excitement, and adventure are all very prominent in my mind with each snow advisory. Yeah, I might be missing a few marbles in the old noggin… I truly love the cold, I love the sharp pain of being cold. The sound of crampons scratching on rock is Mozart to my ears. Mostly, I know I will be shut down and scared many times dry tooling this season and secretly I dig that idea. 

 

I told myself that if I was going to write a blog about climbing, it would be about the ebb and flow of my experiences – something other climbers can relate to. And as we all know, there is definitely a huge separation between good days and bad days.

 

But I try to approach every new climb with an open mind. I can typically look at a line and be able to tell if it’s going to be something that stumps me the second I leave the ground, or if I’m I going to be able to on-site it. 


When I hear others talk about routes, I’m always listening closely for my favorite words: “It’s impossible!” Within a few days I will be standing at said impossible route sussing it out. Playing the sequence out in my mind. Wondering, and feeling nervous that this just might be it. This could be the one that shuts me down. 


I have faced two routes in my career that one hundred percent took me down. I often wonder if it’s at that point that others pack up and run for the hills. To me, being shut down is a huge smack in the face, and man do I love a good challenge.


My worst shutdown happened during a free solo. I accidently went off my predetermined line by a few feet into a section of unclean, extremely thin flakes of limestone. I stood on those tiny exfoliating pieces of rock for what seemed like a month. I was truly petrified and was unable to finish the solo. I cursed myself out the entire time I down-climbed. But, a few weeks later, hell bent on finishing, I went back and purposely climbed in the bad section just to prove to myself it could be done. I guess for me, I don’t like the idea that fear can stop me from doing the things I love. So I work very hard at controlling it.


Back to those winter adventures. While some might be getting ready to hibernate for the season, or climb indoors, I’m excited for what nature has in store. I hope with the help of a few cameras I’ll be able to take you all on some amazing adventures to remote places and show you some breathtaking dry tooling lines, perhaps a solo or two in the desert – and who knows, maybe inspire you to join me!

Stay psyched,
Nathan Williamson.
Trango Athlete 

www.trango.com

The photo: Trango Raptor.

www.trango.com/ice_gear



MY HEAVEN… DRY TOOLING!!

Having winter right at our heels fills me with a mixture of feelings. Fear, excitement, and adventure are all very prominent in my mind with each snow advisory. Yeah, I might be missing a few marbles in the old noggin… I truly love the cold, I love the sharp pain of being cold. The sound of crampons scratching on rock is Mozart to my ears. Mostly, I know I will be shut down and scared many times dry tooling this season and secretly I dig that idea. 

 

I told myself that if I was going to write a blog about climbing, it would be about the ebb and flow of my experiences – something other climbers can relate to. And as we all know, there is definitely a huge separation between good days and bad days.

 

But I try to approach every new climb with an open mind. I can typically look at a line and be able to tell if it’s going to be something that stumps me the second I leave the ground, or if I’m I going to be able to on-site it. 


When I hear others talk about routes, I’m always listening closely for my favorite words: “It’s impossible!” Within a few days I will be standing at said impossible route sussing it out. Playing the sequence out in my mind. Wondering, and feeling nervous that this just might be it. This could be the one that shuts me down. 


I have faced two routes in my career that one hundred percent took me down. I often wonder if it’s at that point that others pack up and run for the hills. To me, being shut down is a huge smack in the face, and man do I love a good challenge.


My worst shutdown happened during a free solo. I accidently went off my predetermined line by a few feet into a section of unclean, extremely thin flakes of limestone. I stood on those tiny exfoliating pieces of rock for what seemed like a month. I was truly petrified and was unable to finish the solo. I cursed myself out the entire time I down-climbed. But, a few weeks later, hell bent on finishing, I went back and purposely climbed in the bad section just to prove to myself it could be done. I guess for me, I don’t like the idea that fear can stop me from doing the things I love. So I work very hard at controlling it.


Back to those winter adventures. While some might be getting ready to hibernate for the season, or climb indoors, I’m excited for what nature has in store. I hope with the help of a few cameras I’ll be able to take you all on some amazing adventures to remote places and show you some breathtaking dry tooling lines, perhaps a solo or two in the desert – and who knows, maybe inspire you to join me!

Stay psyched,
Nathan Williamson.
Trango Athlete 

www.trango.com

The photo: Trango Raptor.

www.trango.com/ice_gear