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NRG Craggin’ Classic

Last weekend was the first official weekend of fall, and for climbers in the Southeast, that means it’s time for the Craggin’ Classic at the New River Gorge!  This NRG event is actually just one of a series of climbing festivals held across the country each fall.  The Craggin’ Classic Series (organized by the American Alpine Club), is a chance for climbers from all over to get together and play around on world class rock, all in the name of community, education, stewardship, and fundraising.

This was my 2nd time working this event for Trango/Tenaya (first time was back in 2012), and my first weekend long event since the 2013 Rendezvous back in the pre-Baby Z days.  Event weekends for me are always a chaotic blur of pure craziness.  As a climber, working these events is always a blast.  I mean, my job is to go to a great climbing destination, hang out and talk gear with all sorts of awesome folks, and usually walk away with some amazing photos of me doing what I love (courtesy of Dan Brayack) – seriously, what’s not to love about all of that?!?  But as a mom, these events also bring a whole lot of behind-the-scenes stress, usually surrounding mundane, but important, family logistics.

My favorite shot of the weekend - finishing up P2 of The Prowesse

My favorite shot of the weekend – finishing up P2 of The Prowesse 5.9R

Fortunately Steve and I have learned a lot from past events and are able to sort through most issues before they arise.  We’d secured extra climbing partners so that Steve and the kids could do their own thing while I was off galavanting around with Trango, and managed to find a crag that was suitable both for Trango’s photo goals as well as Steve and his “village” – which meant I could hike back and forth to check in with Baby Z a couple times during the day to nurse.  A friend of mine even let me borrow his car for the day (which could actually end up being it’s own separate post entitled, “Dirt Road Adventures with a Stick Shift and No Power Steering,” but I’ll leave that for another day.)   Somehow, though, despite our best-laid plans, it seems like there’s always an unforeseen glitch that sends everything into a tailspin.  This time around it involved the poorly-timed eruption of 2 canine teeth and a mysterious fever, both of which turned Baby Z into a clingy hot mess that wanted to be attached to mommy 24/7.

Brenna working her way up P1.

Brenna working her way up P1.

But in sickness and in health, this show had to go on, so on Friday afternoon we dutifully headed north in a van loaded down with kids, climbing gear, and demo shoes.  After a feverish night of enduro-nursing and restlessness, I headed to the AAC Campground for shoe demos while Steve and the kiddos headed to Endless Wall with our “village.”  I met up with them mid-morning and warmed up on The Upheaval 5.9, a great slab route that deservedly gets tons of traffic.  I was psyched to watch my boy dominate Totally Clips 5.8…well, maybe “dominate” is a stretch, but he did get to the top pretty quickly, where he lingered at the anchors for several minutes enjoying the view.  Upon reaching the ground, he proudly announced that he “used two quickdraws as holds because it was easier.”  I have no idea where he’s seen that before because neither Steve nor I have EVER done that (that’s written in sarcastic font in case you couldn’t tell.)  With everything going on, we unfortunately didn’t get a picture of it, but I’m pretty certain he’d be up for doing it again next time.

Girl power :)

Girl power 🙂

Around lunch I got the call to meet my Trango peeps back down at Fern Point for a photo session on The Prowess 5.9 R.  I’ve only done a handful of the trad lines at Endless Wall, so I was psyched to try it (although admittedly a little anxious about the “R” part.)  The route actually begins on Freaky Stylee 5.12a and traverses across Stim-o-Stam 5.11c to the blunt arete.  This initial section is the part that warrants the R rating – the climbing is pretty easy, but gear is sparse, and difficult to protect for both the leader as well as the second.  (I guess one alternative would be to boulder up through the Stim-o-Stam start – a little less sketchy for your second, but also much harder moves.)  Once around the corner, the route tiptoes up the slab to the Stim-o-Stam anchors.  We split the route into two pitches so that Dan could get some “girl power” shots for Trango’s sister company, Stonewear Designs.  The finish was easier (5.6 ish) and marvelously exposed.  The only thing that could have made the view any more gorgeous would have been a backdrop of fall color!

Big C driving his cars over his "NRG Bridge"

Big C driving his cars over his “NRG Bridge”

After Brenna and I tromped barefoot across the top to the ladders and back down to our stuff (read: bring your hiking shoes!), we all headed over to Diamond Point, where I was able to reunite with the fam.  Baby Zu seemed to be feeling better than she had the night before, but was still not interested in doing much besides snuggling.  We played pass the baby while all taking turns on Fine Motor Control 12a.  This line is often overlooked, but actually has a lot of nice, varied movement all the way to the top.  (Don’t forget to bring a brush, there were a few sections that were pretty dirty.)  The business is powerful, bouldery, and right off the ground until the 3rd bolt.  The rest of the climbing backs off some as the bolts get farther and farther apart, and culminates with one final stay awake move several feet above the last bolt.  My first time up I got pummeled.  The moves down low are all really long, and it took a lot of creativity (and trial and error) for me to make the reaches.  I also may or may not have called for the stick clip at the top due to an inability to commit to the 5.10 finishing move.  My second go went far better – a one-hang, with my only fall coming at the end of the boulder problem start.  Not a send, but a good note to end the day on.

New favorite crag-tivity - Generric legos from the Target dollar bin!

New favorite crag-tivity – Generric legos from the Target dollar bin!

The evening festivities involved a dyno comp, hangboard contest, and general merriment and shenanigans.  By evening Baby Zu was feeling a bit better, and I was able to enjoy myself guilt-free once the kiddos were off to bed (thanks to the CragDaddy for holding down the fort!)

The next morning brought iffy looking weather, but a happy Baby Zu that was firing on all cylinders once again.  Aside from trying to fit the Trango tent in my van later on that day, I had no other “work” duties, so we headed back to Endless Wall again.  And this time, after warming up on Euronation (10b version), Fine Motor Control went down without a fight.  Must’ve been a combination of cooler temps and lower stress levels; my beta felt rock solid the whole way up.

We didn’t crawl into bed until late Sunday night…too late for a school night (yes, we have to worry about that now!)  But a slightly more chaotic than usual Monday morning was definitely a fair trade-off for our first family adventure of the fall.  Many thanks to Trango for being so flexible with the Lineberry family circus, and thanks to Dan Brayack for letting me post his awesome pictures up here!  And a thousand and one thanks to the village of friends that helped us get through the weekend unscathed!

 

Related Images:

[See image gallery at cragmama.com]

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Tenaya Demos: Triangle Rock Club and Stone Summit

Tenaya Tarifa in action out in the Linville Gorge

Tenaya Tarifa in action out in the Linville Gorge

One of my responsibilities as an athlete for Trango/Tenaya is providing shoe demos for various climbing gyms.  Most recently, I spent a Sunday in Morrisville, NC at Triangle Rock Club, as well as an evening at Stone Summit in Atlanta, GA.

For me personally, the TRC demo marked the longest I’ve been separated from Baby Zu, who’s still nursing several times a day.  She did just fine at home with her brother and Super-Dad!  Both kiddos came with me to Atlanta, along with my mother-in-law.  While I was at the gym, they got the chance to spend time with an aunt, uncle, and two cousins that live in the area.

For Trango, a demo serves several purposes.  It promotes brand awareness – I often talk to people who have never heard of Tenaya shoes and/or think they are a new company.  It also makes it possible for a Colorado-based company to make personal connections with climbers from all over.  But most importantly, a demo allows climbers to learn about, then try out for themselves, what are, in my opinion, the best rock shoes on the planet!

You don’t have to have a lot of climbing experience under your belt to realize that finding the right climbing shoe is easier said than done.  First of all, there’s the size issue.  How should they fit?  Should I size down to allow for stretch?  Is it okay that my toes are scrunched up?  Often an uncomfortable fit is due to a sizing error (generally too small!)  But sometimes certain shoes just don’t fit well on certain feet, even if the “size” is correct.

Then there are the more specialized issues.  Which shoe is best for bouldering/slab/cracks/multi-pitch?  Smearing?  Edging?  Which shoe is the most versatile?  These are all pieces to consider when solving the puzzle of which climbing shoe(s) are best for you.

For anyone who has ever pondered these 1st world problems, YOU SHOULD GO TO A DEMO!!!  A shoe demo gives you the opportunity to not only TRY ON multiple styles of shoes, but also TRY OUT the shoes on the wall (or sometimes even on real rock, depending on the venue!)

Stone Summit Demo last week

Stone Summit Demo last week

Here’s how it works.  Check out the demo schedule below, and choose an event close to you.  Go to it.  Strike up a conversation with the demo guys/gals (we’re all pretty cool, if I do say so myself…)  We’ll get you set up with the right size/style of shoe.  CLIMB!  When you’re done, return the shoes.  Go home and wait for a coupon code in your inbox that can be applied toward your favorite shoe at the demo!  Easy enough, right?

Here’s the schedule…

Craggin’ Classic Salt Lake City, UT (Aug 28-30)
Craggin’ Classic Smith Rock, OR (Sep 4-6)
Craggin’ Classic New River Gorge, WV (Sep 18-20)
Rocktoberfest Red River Gorge, KY (Oct 9-11)

Hopefully you can find an event near you!

 

 

Related Images:

[See image gallery at cragmama.com]

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Rock Climber’s Training Manual: Performance Phase (aka RESULTS!)

I’m writing this climbing-related post from just about as far away from the mountains as I can possibly get.  Hubby’s out of town on business, so me and the kiddos are taking the opportunity to hang out at my in-laws beach house in Sunset Beach, NC.  It’s the perfect way to enjoy my week of rest after wrapping up my very first Rock Prodigy training cycle. To catch up any new readers, since January I’ve been using the program outlined in the Rock Climber’s Training Manual, written by my fellow Trango athletes Mark and Mike Anderson.  This periodized program took me through 4…Read the rest of this entry →

The New Tenaya Tarifa is Here!

I’ve found a new favorite shoe.  It’s called the Tenaya Tarifa.  It. Is. Awesome.  This shoe takes the term “versatility” to a whole new level.  It really can do it ALL…and comfortably! Let me back up a bit.  I first got a crack at these shoes a little over a month ago.  Although the addition of a 4th family member caused me to take a step back from working events and demos for the time being, the folks at Trango/Tenaya thankfully still love me enough to send me a care package of their newest products for fall – most notably,…Read the rest of this entry →

The NEW Tenaya Oasi: Comfort + Performance = Climbing Shoe Perfection!

It’s been almost a year to the date that I traded in my La Sportiva Miuras for a whole fleet of Tenayas – Tatanka for overhanging terrain, Masai for technical edging, and Ra for everything in between.  To be honest, I’ve never looked back.  My experience with the product as well as the company has been nothing but top-notch, so I’m thrilled that Tenaya is adding yet another great shoe to their line-up!   At this point I’ve done a wide variety of demo’s – at the New, at the Red, and at various climbing gyms across the Southeast.  And…Read the rest of this entry →

Rocks For Research – An Inner Peaks Fundraiser

This past weekend I had an awesome opportunity to participate in Rocks for Research, a fundraiser event at Inner Peaks Climbing Center.  In a matter of hours, we raised more than $10,000 dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)!  As volunteer coordinator,  I had the chance to work behind the scenes with an amazing crew of hard-working folks.  I also got to represent Trango/Tenaya with a shoe demo, which is always fun (shout outs to Steve Lineberry and David Barbour for helping get shoes on stinky climber feet!).     Despite an emergency evacuation inside due to rain, the…Read the rest of this entry →

The Best of the Best from Trango (and GIVEAWAY!)

This week marks one year that I’ve been signed on as an athlete for Trango Extraordinary Climbing Gear, and I must say it’s been a delightful ride!  I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to represent Trango and their affiliates (such as Stonewear Designs and Tenaya) at numerous festivals and demos, provide feedback on products still in the testing phase, as well as meet some really great people.  Oh yeah, and I also got loads of free gear along the way too!  And though I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of the gear I’ve received from Trango, a few products in particular have found their way into…Read the rest of this entry →

Tenaya Shoe Demo and Family Craggin’ Program

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 A couple of weekends ago we got the chance to head back to our oldie (but a goodie) climbing gym – Triangle Rock Club!  Although we came up Saturday afternoon to get in a little climb time with some dear friends, the main events were scheduled back to back on Sunday – a Tenaya Shoe Demo, and a Family Craggin’ Workshop.   For those of you non-climbers out there, a “shoe demo” is just like it sounds – it’s a chance for Tenaya to “demonstrate” what their shoes can do.  For three hours only, the entire fleet of Tenaya shoes…Read the rest of this entry →

Red River Gorge ROCKtoberfest…aka TRANGO-fest!

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When it comes to the age old climber’s debate between the Red and the New, our family has always sided with the New – for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it is 3 hours closer to our house.  But that’s not to say we can’t have fun at the Red every now and then.  Usually we make the trek up to ole Kentucky once or twice a year, when we’ve got an extra day or two to climb tacked onto our weekend.  This past weekend was one such weekend, although it was…Read the rest of this entry →

New River Gorge: The SEND Train has left the station…

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And I managed to hop on it this time.  (It’s about time…) SEND TRAIN:  The extreme sending phenomenon that occurs when a group of climbers are projecting together and one person finally has a breakthrough – the rest of the crew feeds off of that psych, and all of a sudden everyone is crushing left and right. In last week’s trip report I alluded to the fact that I had felt like I had been in somewhat of a climbing slump for the past few weeks.  It seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I was always coming up…Read the rest of this entry →

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