Winky and Waxman go bolting

Solo expression: Challenge Buttress

Winky and Waxman go bolting

Warming up on Winky and Waxman go bolting

Rarely do we get to express ourselves as purely as we’d like to but when it does happen, it’s truly a thing of beauty! Recently, many things have been put into an intricate perspective for me and I am continually learning how grow with them. It seems all too often we get trapped in a negative space when others aren’t willing to see things the way we do and it, in turn, creates a negative energy for us, whether we see it or not. I found a great saying (author unknown) that sums up this sentiment:

Don’t take anything personally – nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

This perspective piece, today, starts with the passing of an angelic little girl. Some friends of mine have been in a state of mourning as their 4 month old little girl a rare disorder (metabolic acidosis) and was not able to recover. The people are beautiful and the celebration of life ceremony they held in her honor, her name was Jenivee, was absolutely wonderful. I reaffirmed that they were great people and it was amazing that the diversity of the people in their lives reflected the character that they possessed. But what was more amazing to me was the people that weren’t present, the people that they didn’t know that had been reaching out. The effect that this little girl had on everyone, known and unknown is what amazed me the most.  I’m so appreciative of what and who I have in my life and am learning to share myself because you never know how someone might interpret your action, your story.

Today I drove up the canyon with a clear mind and a grand idea of something new that I wanted to try and Challenge Buttress seemed like the perfect place.  I spent some time warming up (all routes solo) on some relatively easy routes knowing there were a couple that I had been wanting to try for sometime but was never in the right space to commit to it. This newfound perspective and thoughts of Jenivee helped me find this space. The first route is a short one, maybe 30 feet, that is slated as an 11 and the second one is a little less than that, but what makes it remarkable is the fact that you have to commit to a dynamic move 30 feet off the ground. It was such an amazing feeling and I’m glad I got to share it with the people who were present. Naturally, whenever I’m around people at a crag and I’m soloing, I ask if they’re comfortable with me climbing near them. The last thing I ever want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable with climbing.

Wasatch climbing

Side pull before the top out

Perhaps some of the motivation to get these shots was also because I’ve become intrigued with some of the latest shoes out there. I had the opportunity to try out some great new shoes from Five Ten called the Blackwing. My first impressions of them follow.

FiveTen Blackwing review

Trying on the Blackwings for the first time.

FiveTen Blackwing

Post test with the FiveTen Blackwings

I also have the Dragons and this shoe is essentially the Velcro version of them. I can agree that the fit is similar but because the Velcro allows you to open the shoe wider than the laced Dragons, it makes putting the shoe on much easier. With that being said, you must consider how this shoe gives over time and ultimately the downturned toe, albeit a gentle one, will flatten out a bit. I found that with the wider opening in the Blackwings that you could actually go down a half a size from what you would have in the Dragons. Right out of the box, they’re pretty great but they definitely require a bit of breaking in. I felt like the rubber feels, initially, a little slick but once you put them to use on a few routes, the rubber becomes more and more consistent with what you’d expect out of an aggressive climbing shoe. It will stick on everything, on nothing. Needless to say, they did the job and I was never insecure about my feet.

Pros: ease of use, aesthetics, and overall function.

Cons: fit and initial function out of the box, and break in period.

These shoes are amazing and once you can find the right fit and you’ve given them a chance to adjust, these shoes will certainly take you to those limits, it’s up to you to go beyond them!

Wrecking Ball at Challenge Buttress

Getting ready for takeoff

Wrecking Ball at Challenge Buttress 2


Wrecking Ball at Challenge Buttress 3

Just an average swing

Challenge Buttress north face

Taking it all in before a casual down climb on the north face

Explore Wisely – Solo climbing is a personal choice, albeit a risky one. Many adventure sports are dangerous, but luckily each of us is free to choose what works for our lives. The content of The Active Explorer, and any resources published by The Active Explorer, are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Every person and every situation is different. Some activities covered in this blog require training and experience to be safe. Reading a blog post will not give you the skills you need. Your safety, satisfaction and fun are your responsibility alone and not that of The Active Explorer, its publisher, editor and/or writers.

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