Repeating Happiness

I’ve seen it happen time and time again, my friends have fallen intto it… and so have I. There is no denying that all reached some kind of obsession in projecting & grade chasing in climbing. This obsession spreads mentally then physically like a virus. The single desire to send sets in. It is always important to step back from seriousness and just enjoy the pure movement of climbing. I am the advocate of always coming back to climbs. Just because you’ve done it once, doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye forever. Sending is always a great time. So if you feel like you’re in a slump, revisit nostalgia.

Declarative memory is in the medial temporal lobe and is responsible for the recollection of events and facts. Visual stimulation brings back these memories. Even further, putting yourself back in the movement of a previous climb will up bring memories from when you first touched that rock. Your cerebellar muscle memory is a form of procedural memory that is autonomous. When revisiting climbs you symphonise declarative and procedural memory. You are then flooded with consolidated memories from your previous visit, then merging that with your current state.

For me 90% of the time, all climbing trips are joyous ones. When I have allotted time, I always dedicate moments to revisit previously sent climbs. When temperatures eventually fall below the consistent 95F… I can finally get back out there. Creating new declarative moments, and revisiting others. The following are a few climbs I love, and will always go back to for their own special reasons.

10. Holcomb Valley Sport - I forgot the name of this climb haha. But I do remember this route being my favorite style of climbing. Vertical and small crimpy holds.

9. Acid Wash [V7] – Bishop – Low ballin’ all day long. Happies are my favorite area in Bishop.

8. Slot Machine [V6] – Tramway – This one is special because it was my first send of my first time ever at Palm Springs Ariel Tramway.

7. Heart of Darkness [11a] – Joshua Tree National Park - This one doesn’t bring back textbook happiness to my mind. It’s definitely special. I have a permanent scar on my right knee because of this climb. This was my first trad lead, and I fell few moves from the anchors and I gashed my leg into the only dish in the whole climb. Even though I injured myself on this climb, I fell in love with trad at the exact same time. I have a video of my first lead here.

6. Alexandria [V7] – Joshua Tree National Park – This climb is seriously a bitch to get to. You have to trek 45min (2hrs if you get lost) in an unmarked trail in the middle of nowhere Joshua Tree. If I somehow manage to get back to this climb, I guess I wouldn’t complain. Its my favorite style of climbing, and high up too!

5. Solarium [V4] – Bishop – How could you not love Solarium? Its a Bishop classic!

4. The Vampire [11a] – 400ft – Tahquitz – Highlight of this multipitch trad route is The Bat Crack pitch! This route is historical, the Stone Masters working their way up this route in the 70s amazed me when I got on this route. I would love to come back and lead up these pitches.

3. White Flight [V3R] – Palm Springs Ariel Tramway – My first “R” rated climb ever finished.

2. More Funky than Monkey [11b] - Joshua Tree National Park – This is the climb that made me fall in love with roof cracks. I just wish there were more roofs around! Don’t know where else in SoCal I can fully hang from my hands/feet for 20+ feet horizontally.

1. Pig Pen [V4] – Joshua Tree National Park – I’ve seen many hard bouldering crushers get on this climb and get COMPLETELY shut down. Something about, “I don’t know what this crack thing is all about“. This boulder gave me a taste of what crack climbing is, and I fell in love with it because of it.

> Well yea, THIS telly tubby is ready to get my climb & camp on! How bout you?

Stay Psyched & Climb on Everyone!

-> Natalie Duran

Officially lost my lust for Bear Grylls

I didnt lose my lust for the gnarly Bear when he drank his own urine. I instantly lost all respect when I saw this “climbing” video. I don’t think TR or following up is lame… but the way he talks about being “by myself on the wall” & what looks like a trad lead is completely bull.

I want to learn how to lead trad with Bear Grylls. Getting up a steep Moab climb with 3 cams and 10 meters of rope, with no belayer. MAGICAL.

In a few scenes you can see that they attempted to hide the TR black rope with the shadows of the crack. I wouldn’t be surprised if they used a stunt double for some of the actual looking lead scenes. The most disappointing part is that Bear took a helicopter to the top of the climb (shown in behind the scenes). The dramatic cinematics may fool most of society, but any real climber will immediately sniff this out as a fake. Absolutely horrid  representation of climbing.

There’s SO many things wrong with this video its almost hilarious. I immediately busted out laughing when I saw him running to the base (because we all approach like that right?), parkouring between boulders, and the dramatic unnecessary slow-mo crushing of rocks.

I think we can all agree Vertical Limit is genius compared to this representation of climbing. Not sure which is worse…. Bear Grylls “soloing” or Tom Cruise “soloing” in Mission Impossible.

either way… Bear Grylls, little less badass in my eyes. Your just a top-rope tough guy.

Oh and, nice shoes bro. You would think drinking your own urine and eating all those bugs would save you a few bucks to buy a decent pair of shoes.

Anyways, haterade over haha. Climb on everyone! (the real climbing)

-Natalie Duran


2:55-3:10 just makes me want to cry.

I know that feeling. I do partake in the traddin activities. There are certain moves in crack climbing where there is so much pressure on all four points of the body. Trying to place in those intense situations is so nerve wracking. Especially when your pumped! Then you start to ponder whether that last piece you climbed above will hold or not. My hands are sweating just thinking/typing about it.

Trad climbing (for me) is a whole different experience than any other branch of climbing. Any multipitch climb i’ve done has been trad climbing, not sport. Gaining elevation minute after minute is a great experience. I still have the passion for crack. But, after experiencing a horrific trad accident involving my friend… i’ll take me a while to get on the ropes again.

stay pscyhed & climb on

– Natalie Duran