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Best Hidden Valley Sport Climbs 5.11 and Up

Time for the final round of Hidden Valley recommendations – this time for 5.11 and up.  And guess what – fall sending is almost here!  So if you are in the market for some good projects, this list might be a good place to start.  While the moderate routes can get quite crowded on good weather weekends, you’ll find that the queues drastically decrease as the grades increase. GREAT “FIRST OF THE GRADE” CANDIDATES ROADKILL 11a – A little pumpy, but straightforward, and you get a good rest once you pull the roof. GRISTLE 12a – I know lots of…Read the rest of this entry →

Swiss Sport Climbing Part 1: The Giants

By Mark Anderson Switzerland isn’t particularly regarded as a sport climbing hotbed, but there are a few crags that are well-known on the world stage. We were able to visit two of the country’s premier sport crags, both located in the Berner Oberland region around the outdoor adventure mecca of Interlaken—Lehn and Gimmelwald. Although not…
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Best Sport Climbs Hidden Valley – 5.10 and Under

Now that you’ve got the basic crag beta down for Hidden Valley, it’s time to decide what routes you want to try.  The best part about Hidden Valley (aside from that 4000′ elevation!) is the wide variety of grades spread all around the cliff.  This post will zero in on the lower grades – those of you looking for 5.11 and up recommendations will have to wait!  But for now, here’s plenty to get started on. GREAT FOR NEW LEADERS STALLION 5.5 –  Both of my children like this one! BUTT FACE 5.6 – Easy slabbin’ with plenty of bolts. LEISURE SUIT…Read the rest of this entry →
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Swiss Preview

By Mark Anderson I just returned from an amazing and exhausting 2 weeks in Switzerland with my family. We experienced easily the most diverse set of adventures yet among our trips to Europe, which I will recount in detail over the coming months, but first, here is a quick, whirlwind photo preview of the highest…
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NRG Sport Climbing Superlatives – 5.12 and Up

If 5.11 is where things really start to get good at the New, then 5.12 land is nothing short of heaven.  Whether you’re looking for one-move wonders or sandbagged classics, spooky slab or straight up roof thuggin’, the New has more than a few 5.12’s for you! GOOD “FIRST OF THE GRADE” CANDIDATES LOW BROW 12a (Meadow) – First NRG 5.12 for both CragDaddy and me.  It is a slab, which not everyone likes, but if you have good footwork it shouldn’t be too bad.  Great rests + lower angle means there is not a big pump factor, although there’s…Read the rest of this entry →
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NRG Sport Climbing Superlatives – 5.11

Ah, 5.11.  While the New has some of the best climbing on the planet at any grade, 5.11 is where it really starts to get good.  Whether you are looking to bag your first one, rack up a list of classics, or avoid crowds, look no further, because this post can help. GOOD “FIRST OF THE GRADE” CANDIDATES WILD SEED 11a (Fern) – The business section of this one is about as gym climb-y as you’re gonna get at the New.  The opening slab moves will keep you honest if you are a true gym rat, but are probably only…Read the rest of this entry →
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Corner Pocket

By Mark Anderson The small town of Ouray, in southwest Colorado, is one of my family’s favorite places to visit. The town has everything we look for in a vacation spot—good climbing, endless rest-day activities, and a place for the kids to swim. With extra sweeteners like a great bakery, plentiful ice cream, the best…
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Corner Pocket

By Mark Anderson The small town of Ouray, in southwest Colorado, is one of my family’s favorite places to visit. The town has everything we look for in a vacation spot—good climbing, endless rest-day activities, and a place for the kids to swim. With extra sweeteners like a great bakery, plentiful ice cream, the best…
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Maui Mixed Plate—Part II: Pacific Heat

By Mark Anderson When we planned the Maui trip, I assumed it would be my climbing off-season, and I would be content to spend a week laying around in the sand and sipping mai tais. Silly me. Various factors contributed to me being smack in the middle of a particularly productive hangboard phase when we…
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An Addendum to the Spring Sum-Up

When I wrote a re-cap of my spring climbing season 2 weeks ago, it was 95 degrees, and jungle status humidity.  Today feels similar.  But this past Saturday brought a rare respite from both heat and humidity.  And I don’t mean an “it was a few degrees cooler” kinda thing.  I’m talking, lows in the 50’s, high’s in the 70’s, and 30-40% humidity.  Such a shocking departure from the norm that it seemed almost providential that CragDaddy and I rearrange our schedules to be back at the New on Saturday – because by Sunday it was going to be summer…Read the rest of this entry →
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Spring Sum-up: Because Summer is Already Here

A little over a month ago, I wrote a “here’s where things stand midway through spring” post.  After enduring 90 degree temps in Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend, I’d say it’s time to officially close out the chapter on Spring 2019.  Despite being riddled with rain seemingly weekend after weekend, I actually had a pretty successful season.  Although the heat came way before I was ready to be done climbing hard,  I’m currently finishing up this post on the back porch of my in-law’s beach house overlooking the ocean, so life isn’t too terrible right now!  Here’s some highlights from…Read the rest of this entry →
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Spring Sum-up: Because Summer is Already Here

A little over a month ago, I wrote a “here’s where things stand midway through spring” post.  After enduring 90 degree temps in Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend, I’d say it’s time to officially close out the chapter on Spring 2019.  Despite being riddled with rain seemingly weekend after weekend, I actually had a pretty successful season.  Although the heat came way before I was ready to be done climbing hard,  I’m currently finishing up this post on the back porch of my in-law’s beach house overlooking the ocean, so life isn’t too terrible right now!  Here’s some highlights from…Read the rest of this entry →
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Slice of Time—New Eldo 5.14b

By Mark Anderson Injuries suck. Last October I (partially) tore my forearm flexor muscle. At first the injury was relatively minor, but like a climber, I kept climbing and training hard on it for several weeks, and so it evolved into something more troublesome. I spent the next five months or so rehabbing the muscle,…
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Gettin’ Sendy on Green Envy

I am quick to profess my love for the New River Gorge.  It is the gold standard by which I measure all other crags against.  I’ve been climbing there since 2007 and it just never gets old.  But for all that love, there’s just as much frustration, as the nature of NRG climbing seems to know just how to expose both my strengths and weaknesses, sometimes even on the same route.   Generally speaking, the New is known for being “reachy,” and is stereotypically harder for shorter climbers.  This is the major reason why the really strong climbing team kids mostly…Read the rest of this entry →
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The Bolting Life

By Mark Anderson The alarm sounds. I scramble to shut it off before I wake the kids. I grab my bolt kit and slink out of the house into the eerie darkness. After 45 minutes of driving I shoulder my bulging Crag Pack and trudge through the brush. My knees aren’t what they once were,…

Front Range Friday: Classic Test Pieces

Welcome to the Front Range Fridays finale TGV and Vogue at Industrial Wall. Industrial Wall itself feels like a frickin' test piece. For "easier" test pieces, I am partial to Buddha Belly at Eagle Rock, Elephant in the Room at Blob…

Front Range Fridays: Best Winter Crags

Welcome to Front Range Fridays. Each Friday we're sharing the hidden gems, underrated climbs, and best crags that no one is talking about. This week, we're sharing 5 can't miss crags for winter climbing. Graveyard Wall, Clear Creek…

Front Range Fridays: The Most Underrated Routes

Welcome to Front Range Fridays. Over the next few weeks, our athletes and staff will be sharing their secret spots, favorite projects, and local beta. This week, we're revealing our Most Underrated Routes in the Front Range.   …

Front Range Fridays: The Best Area No One is Talking About

Welcome to Front Range Fridays. Over the next few weeks, our athletes and staff will be sharing their beta on the best routes, favorite areas, and hidden gems in the Front Range. This week, we explore the crags that no one is talking about. …
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Flashback Series #4: Freerider – The Forgotten First Flash of El Cap

By Mark Anderson Every so often somebody asks me for beta on Freerider. Freerider is a ~35-pitch ~5.12d free route up the Southwest Face of the world’s premier granite wall: El Capitan in Yosemite. Mike and I climbed Freerider in Team Redpoint* style in May 2004, making the 9th ascent of the route and becoming…

Front Range Fridays: The Best Moderates in the Front Range

Welcome to Front Range Fridays. For the next 5 weeks our athletes and staff will be sharing their favorite test pieces, best winter crags, and top secret spots in Colorado's Front Range. Today, we start with the top 4 moderates in the Front…