Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Late day, light breezes

Hot and sunny it was!  Spent the day in Ohiopyle hanging out and soaking up sun on the rocks.  I wanted to wait until late afternoon to get started setting up for evening photos.   I had a hard time finding my mojo and getting into the groove, but after a slow start I ended up with a few nice pieces.  Each had to be set up two or three times due to the breeze that kicked up.  As soon as I felt the wind, I closed my eyes and waited for the ker-plunk of rocks falling into the water.  Fortunately the breeze calmed and I was able set up a couple of balances and shoot photos up until dark.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ohiopyle Rock Balancing

Here are a few photos of rocks that I balanced at Ohiopyle State Park on Wednesday July 30th.  I spent most of the day balancing rocks upstream a few hundred yards from the main falls.  First time I did any balancing here.  Definitely some cool offerings from the river to work worh.  Quite a few interesting people  stopped by to watch whatever it was that I was doing.  Again almost everyone seemed to enjoy the experience and had positive comments up until I took them down.  The disappointment was abound... Such is the short lived life of balanced rock art.

Here's a few from down in Connellsville from the same day.  I thought the mixed media was fun to explore. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

More rocks...

Here's a few photos from some time I spent balancing rocks in Ohiopyle on Thursday 

Seeing and hearing folks reactions is one of my highlights.  Most everyone had some type of positive comment, nod or thumbs up.  Met some nice people thoughout the day at my several stops.  It was very cool to experience strangers discussing a bunch of rocks in a fashion that I'm not normally used to.  Typically it's about a climbing line or problem at such and such crag.  Which is also very cool in a different sense.  I just love rocks!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Finding balance

Some recent rock balancing we did along a favorite section of the Yough River, Connellsville, SWPA

No adhesives used, nothing but gravity!

Monday, April 28, 2014

The good is in the woods!

The Hemlocks - bouldering area
The weather has been really good and I've been running (a lot) and climbing (a bunch).  The climbing has mainly been bouldering with Laura and the local squad.  All kinds of new stuff is being explored and established.  Here are some photos from the last couple days here in SWPA!

Awesome Boulder Right - center view
Awesome Boulder Right - left end view
We first climbed this one Easter Day
Overlook on McCune trail
The River Valley in Ohiopyle State Park
Carolina Spring Beauties blooming on Sugarloaf
A cool boulder out in the woods. A little scrubbing is all it takes
Laura on Red Hill Rest Block
The steep approach trail up to The Campfire Problem
Laura eyeing up The Campfire Problem
Laura in front of  Dead in My Head, Fear and Loathing Block
The super fun, One Toke Over the Line on Fear and Loathing 
Our next stop...
This last boulder doesn't look like much in the photo.  I assure you it's taller than it looks.  I'm pretty sure it'll produce some real gems.  Can't wait to get on it when it dries up from all the rain.  I'll post some photos that do it justice next time.  

PS Lots of ticks out in the woods recently,  make sure to check yo self after playing outdoors...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

RUN to the boulders

The Main Block
I've primarily been focusing my training on running recently due to upcoming challenges I've laid out for myself.  Despite being running focused, the woods are beautiful right now.  The rocks are dry, perfect for climbing and calling my name.  The other day I decided to take advantage of both and go for a run to some local boulders where there's a crash pad stashed, have a session, then run home.  I loaded a small pack with shoes, brushes, chalk pot, and some refreshments for breaks between boulders.  I  took the long way which turned out to be about 45 minutes of road running.  It was at a quick pace considering the gear I was carrying and definitely enough cardio to get my heart rate up.  I pulled out my stashed pad and had an awesome afternoon session revisiting some old classics we established in the early 1990's.  

Here's a video of the classic problem my good friend Matt Johns and I put up called Cheesypoofs - V4.  Enjoy the vast amount of exposed leg... running shorts work well for bouldering (alone)

Cheesypoofs V4
Main Block, right side
The Pyramid
The best thing I can report is that if you watch the video, I stick the lip using my right (bad) shoulder.  Slowly, but surely its getting healthier.  I hope the healing continues and I can once again use my shoulders like I did before they were injured.  Climb High, Run Far...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Altra Lone Peak 1.5 review (400+ miles)

The Lone Peak 1.5
Let me start by saying that I was a HUGE fan of the original Altra Lone Peak 1.0.  I gave them awesome praise in this 600+ mile review last year and was sad to see mine wear out after about 1200 miles.  In short they were durable, comfortable, fast, long distance, trail running shoes.  I was beyond excited to try the latest version, the Lone Peak 1.5.  I thought wow, this amazing new shoe company hit a home run with the first version of this unique trail running shoe.  I'm sure the 1.5 will be an improvment on an already great shoe.  I'm almost late in this review with the new 2.0 coming out later 2014.  The solidity of the original Lone Peaks are what caused a delay in my purchasing of a pair of the Lone Peak 1.5's and this late review.  

Trail Love... Lone Peaks Him ver 1.5, Her ver 1
Here's my thoughts after about 400 miles trail running in the Lone Peak 1.5's.  Out of the box they felt stiff as expected.  The day the UPS man dropped them off at the door, I was like a kid on Christmas morning.  I tore open the box to check out my new kicks.  First thing I noticed upon checking them out was that the stitching on the gussetted tongue was flawed (not sewn) as well as other lining stitching.  I was going to just "go with it", but decided to test the customer service of Altra.  Laura called them up and explained the sewing blems and Altra happily shipped another pair, with an RA# and prepaid shipping to send the flawed pair back.  A+ for customer service Altra.  The new shoes were blem free and I started to put on the miles.  I switched between my new 1.5's and version 1's trying to work the "stiff" out of the new pair.   First thing I noticed is that the 1.5's seem to run smaller than the 1's.  My toes in both new pair of 1.5's seemed to bump the front.  I'd suggest to upsize a 1/2 size for the1.5's if ordering online without trying them on.  Many changes were made to the 1.5's.  Like I said in my review of the 1's, I loved the heel in the original version.  The 1.5's now have a tight, narrow, stiff heel that might appeal to those runners that like their heels locked into place.  I myself prefer my shoes laced to "slip on" and my heels free to roam where they may.  Points lost for the 1.5's in my eyes.  

The new heel cup, a little snug for my liking
The red and black options are fine despite some runners comments I've read.  My real complaint is that the new upper material is weak as shiit!!!  Numerous holes are forming at the hinge point across the instep.  I'm expecting them to rip through and across most of the toe box any day now.  

Upper deterioration after roughly 400 miles, Poor compared to the ver 1

Ready to blow after only 400?
What a major disappointment after the durable and flexible mesh of the Lone Peak 1's.  On a positive note the toe cap issue has been resolved thus saving me the weekly trouble and expense of shoegooing them down.  Thanks again Altra! 

Now this is much better
It's great that the toe cap stays glued to the upper, but sucks that the upper wears out around 500 miles.  Weak compared to the originals.  I've also read the 1.5's drain better...  I never seemed to have problems with the 1's draining?  The new uppers seem to breath less, which is better for cold winter runs, but bad for warmer weather which is most of the year.  The sole pattern was unchanged, but I'm guessing the sole compound is.  I like the lug pattern used on both the 1 and 1.5's.  Oddly enough I've been ripping the lugs off of my 1.5's, something that didn't happen with the black soles on the originals.  

The red lugs are chunking off, not cool
Not sure why, but the colored soles seem weak and inferior.  In a nutshell I Iiked the LP1's quite a bit. Altra addressed some of the problems in the 1's, but still have bugs to work out of the current model. As much as I enjoy Altra shoes, it kinda makes me hesitate on the Lone Peak 2.0's debuting soon.  I'm planning on going for the longstanding 70 mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail "double", 140 mile FKT (Fastest Known Time) in June.  I hope my Lone Peaks are up to the challenge and not worn out by then.  I thought my body would be the weakest link and my shoes would be the reliable Altra Lone Peaks I've come to love, but with the quick deterioration, I'm really rethinking which shoes to use come June.  I can train my body better, but can't make my shoes any tougher.  Yikes!