Thursday, October 29, 2009


So my friend at TIMBUK2 sent me one of their new HEMLOCK backpacks. What instantly struck me is that this bag is damn good looking. By far one of the best looking rolltops out there. The second thing I instantly noticed is that there are no waist or sternum straps. This was incredibly dismaying. I basically wrote the thing off and figured it would be uncomfortable. I was wrong. Really wrong. This bag is hands down the most comfortable pack I have ever ridden with. I have loaded that thing up with groceries, bike parts, climbing gear, coats, etc. and even when it clocked in at about 38 pounds it was still massively comfortable, didn't shift one bit, and sat right where I wanted it to. The minimal strap design turns out to be this pack's blessing rather than it's curse. I took it on a 50 mile ride with about 25 pounds in it and loved it. And the fewer the straps, the less shit there is to flap around in the wind. The HEMLOCK is a standard bucket style rolltop, with a few added bonuses. There is a padded laptop sleeve that you can access without having to take the entire pack of or open the rolltop. There is also a nice little stash pouch on here too. Cinch straps on the side have proved to be useful for me too. I was a little worried initially that they were excessive, but I have cinched down my load, and even used them to strap a climbing rope to the outside of the bag. The external pocket has pretty basic organization in it for pens and other random things.

One of many trips to the farmer's market
where I stuffed the bag to the brim with produce.

Here are my issues with the HEMLOCK: The outer pocket is really poorly designed. The closure system on it (velcro) coupled with the shape of the pouch and shape of the flap DO NOT integrate well, and if you want an even remotely tight seal, you have to put some effort in to it and fold the sides in before you velcro the flap down. The light hanger on the back is too near the bottom of the pack. Every time I sat the bag down, the light lifted right off the hanger. If any of you have ever owned a bike light, you know those damn things are hard to keep around. Always getting lost, broken, etc. Anyhow, the rolltop has the same issues as the outer pocket: weird integration between rolldown, velcro, and extra fabric that needs to be folded in. Also, that main strap on the top is wayyy too long, I cut about 4 inches off the strap to keep it from flapping around. Lastly....why the hell is this thing not waterproof? Seriously. Put some vinyl on the inside and call it good guys.

All in all, this is my current go-to pack. Just the right size (they sent me Large), sleek, sharp looking, and comfortable as hell. It's a shame I'll have to revert to my Chrome if I want to ride in the rain. I'd like to see some of those minor revisions made, then they can rename the pack the "Gavin".

Monday, October 26, 2009


Alex Honnold trying not to lose his shit on Half Dome

I have come as close as I want to epic climbing disaster. I have seen my life flash before my eyes free-soloing. I have taken horrifying falls. I have made my own stomach curl up in to my throat on the top outs of higher-than-high boulders. I have been lost as hell in the woods of the high country above Yosemite Valley at night trying desperately to find my way back to the car. It has been said that climbing is a selfish pursuit. Whoever said that is either A] Not a climber, B] A complete jackass, or both. Climbing is only a selfish pursuit if the person climbing is selfish. Saying that climbing is a selfish pursuit is like saying buying a car in your preferred color is a selfish act. FREE-SOLOING is a selfish pursuit. The things you put at risk doing such a thing take a certain measure of "fuck you world" in order to swallow deep and grab those first holds. Which is all at once an honorable and courageous act, while at the same time about as childish and stupid as running around yelling "mememememe me me me!". Which isn't to say I disapprove, or have not dipped my hand in to my chalkbag and took off up something without being tied in. It's just to say that when you do so, YOU BETTER MAKE FUCKING SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Why am I talking about this? The topic of free-soloing has hit home (literally) lately, as my best friend, climbing partner, and roommate has just broken his ankle in an attempt to solo Supernova (5.14b) at Rumney. Max wrote all about his epic experience on the Boston Rock Gym blog. It has since been linked on ClimbingNarc. Free soloing seems to be getting a shit-ton of press lately. Whether it's the recent death of world famous ropeless climber John Bachar or all the rave of Alex Honnold, and I think it's really important that we keep all this shit in perspective. People like Honnold are definitely asking for it. I'm sorry, but he is. I wish him the best of luck in all of his climbing endeavors. His free-solos are awe-inspiring and downright impressive. But they are also mind-numbingly stupid. Dying doing something you love is in a way amazing. But really only in a cheesy poetic way. Outside of that, it's actually pretty ridiculous. I mean, wouldn't you rather CONTINUE to do what you love?

That said, it is extremely important to note that on the topic of free-soloing, my opinion does not matter. Much like when I told Max the night prior to his accident "I don't think it's a good idea.", I am sure that if someone whom cared deeply for Alex Honnold told him not to do what he does, he would likely smile and nod, and go do it anyhow.

When trying to explain Max's injury to a non-climbing friend of mine I was asked "why the hell would you do that?" While I couldn't speak specifically for Max's motivations, I could answer the question:

"We as climbers want to push the limits. Our limits-both physically and mentally, we want to push the limits of what is possible as a climber, we want to reach new thresholds and hew heights-literally and figuratively."

"But why not just tie in?" my friend asks. I had to put it in terms he could understand:

"When you and I get on our fixed gear bikes and go tearing through the busy streets of Boston without brakes people think we are insane. But we get it. We know our limits, we feel in control of our bikes and the situation we are putting ourselves in. We love the exhilaration and pureness of the fixed gear bike. The simplicity of it, and yes, at times, the riskiness of it all."

He nodded. Now it made sense.

Steph Davis well in to the "no fall zone" sans rope.

And that's just it. Us weirdos out on the lunatic fringe of society are always pushing our own limits. Whether it's to increase our heart rate, boost our own egos, or simply because we think-and have sometimes convinced ourselves-that we are invincible. Steph Davis once said that "free-soloing is the ultimate display of control." I can't say I disagree. But it's important to recognize that the potential for accident-which is to say-things that are *outside* control is not finite. Shit can, and certainly will happen. The more you free-solo, the more you put yourself out there to push those limits, those physical and mental bounds, the closer you will get to that scary edge. A scary edge that falling off of can land you in emergency surgery with a smashed ankle, bug-eyed and laughing with your friends at how close of a call you just had, or dead.

The late Mike Reardon.

One important thing that Max touched on in his little screed about his experience is something that I have as of yet to see mentioned in any other public forum on the topic of free-soloing is how it affects those around you. In his case it was his employer, friends, roommate, etc. The Reel Rock Tour fails to mention in it's heart-warming interviews of Alex Honnold and his mom just how awful it would be if he died. How it might devastate those around him. Those stories are saved for the obituary issues of Climbing. Where numerous people chime in to tell their stories about John Bachar or Derek Hersey. It seems as though we maybe glorify the acts of free-soloists until it's too late. Perhaps more articles should have been written calling Mike Reardon a moron. Perhaps not.

Climbing is not a selfish pursuit, it's an amazing and fulfilling lifestyle and activity that can bring people together, form the strongest of bonds, and teach you a million lessons. It is also inherently dangerous. The lesson of injury or death from free-soloing is not a climbing lesson, it is a life lesson. Cherish what you have, love what you do, and don't be stupid.

Maxim asleep in my car on the way home from the hospital. Glad you're ok pal.


As the past few months have been somewhat of a living hell I have come to depend on late night bike rides. They are a gorgeous thing. Particularly as the weather has gotten to be my favorite. Cool and sunny during the day, and downright cold at night. Crisp fall air in my lungs is one of the most refreshing things I can imagine. This month's mix is intended to be plugged in to on a bike ride. I made this specifically to fill my ears (and yours) with an epic crescendo of riding goodness. So grease your chain, put on your helmet, plug in your headphones and ride hard.

TRACK ORDER (by artist):
1] Assemblage 23
2] Styrofoam
3] The Fauns
4] The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
5] The Jesus and Mary Chain
6] Doves
7] Tesla Boy
8] Editors
9] Lola Angst
10] Frankmusik
11] Discovery
12] Infadels
13] Fugazi
14] Third Eye Blind
15] Misfits
16] Paint it Black
17] No Friends
18] Doomriders
19] Watain
20] Air

A few notes:

a] Yes, that IS a Third Eye Blind song stuck right between Fugazi and The Misfits. No, I am not trying to be ironic. I love that band.

b] Tesla Boy is by far the greatest thing to happen to synth music since THIS RECORD came out.

c] No Friends are the best thing to come out of Florida since the Averkiou album. If you are unlucky enough to be trapped in Gainesville, FL for "The Fest", No Friends are playing. Go see them. And make fun of all the assholes in flip flops drinking PBR.

d] Doomriders "Darkness Come Alive" gets my vote for greatest album of 2009. Go buy it.

e] The Jesus and Mary Chain *still* kick ass.

f] This video for Air's "Sing Sang Sung" makes me want to die it's so good.



Thursday, October 22, 2009


I love my friends. And I love climbing. The fact that I get to hang out with the goddamn geniuses involved in this video makes me the deepest and most sincere kinds of happy.

Max: BRG V13 from David Wetmore on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


That's me out front. BECAUSE I AM SO FAST.

I meant to get some of this stuff up earlier this week, but the week has turned in to some kind of evil beast that I have no control over. So here it is late Wednesday night and I am talking about last weekend.....At any rate, this past Saturday, I awoke to a splendid fall day. Crisp air, sunshine, light breeze. Holy wow. What to do, what to do? Go to Rumney*** with Max and Dave to potentially make my injury worse? Or do a 50 mile ride out to Holliston with some homies to the A.N.T bike open house. For reasons I will not go in to here, I opted for the ride. It was absolutely fantastic. The New England foliage is totally bangin' right now.

There were at least two hills that my poor little legs did not want to ride up. But I soldiered through and even kept up with the people on Geekhouse's new cyclocross bikes. Upon arriving at A.N.T., we were greeted with plates of vegan brownies, little containers of candy corn (gross), hot apple cider, and friendly smiles. Mike really has an amazing shop, full of character and nice bikes. After some mingling, we all stuffed our faces with indian food and then returned to the plates of cookies and brownies.

The real festivities got underway when the tricycle race and trackstand competition began. The Geekhouse posse threw down with Marty taking 1st in the tricycle race (I came in 2nd), and with Greg, Tom, and myself taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the trackstand comp. Greggles and Marty both had the burden of lugging trophies home in their bags. Sucked for them. The glorious burden of victory I suppose.

After arriving back in to town, we all went straight to The Fringe Movement open house. Because really, what else is there to do besides open house-hop all day and get free drink and food. And maybe even win A COUPLE FUCKING TROPHIES while you're at it? The Fringe Movement is essentially a giant warehouse of awesome. Some good friends have all managed to bring together the most radical and talented and creative people all under one roof. Which is inspiringly insane to me. That lasted most of the rest of my night.

Ian builds really REALLY amazing bikes.

Brian Hollingsworth of Royal H cycles. He makes great bikes. Like this next one in the works with THE MOST BRAZE-ONS of all time ever on any single bike.

***Oh, and max broke his ankle trying to free solo Super Nova (5.14b) at Rumney.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I totally screwed my back up about three weeks ago falling from the final moves of my project at Rumney up in New Hampshire. I also exploded something in my wrist. Naturally, I made the smart decision and went to Bradley the next day and sent The Prow (V10) and tried hard on Suspect Device (V11). Then trained hard in the gym the next week. End result...Maxim woke up early this morning and headed to Rumney with Dave and I sat it out because my back feels like hell on a stick.

After a long and beautiful ride in the breezy Autumn weather, I came home and made the universe's largest salad and toyed around on the world wide interwebs for a while. I came across a video of pubescent phenom Adam Ondra doing boulders in South Africa. These problems are fan-frigging-tastic, and the video quality is awesome. It makes me miss South Africa. Watching these videos made my fingertips sweat for another go on Caroline (7c+).

Rocklands Season is well over with at this point, which means (in my head) that we are on the downside of the hill before Rocklands season of 2010. Max, Dave and I are definitely heading for the boulders next year. And I expect it will be an amazing trip. I can't wait to get back and send some unfinished business.

In other news, Ray of Light in this video....for all intensive purposes looks like it's the Something from Nothing of South Africa. Seeing as how Something from Nothing in Great Barrington, MA is my favorite boulder problem of all time, Ray of Light looks enticing to say the least.

Me on Something from Nothing days before I sent. Photo by Glassberg.

Head over to DEADPOINT MAG to watch the video of Ondra in South Africa in all of it's hi-res glory.

Friday, October 9, 2009


This one comes from my friend Justin at THUNDERLIZARD. Some amazingly fun and energetic old school hardcore from....Florida? Ha! There is little information out there about this band or this record. All I can tell you is that it's fucking awesome melodic hardcore. Here are some facts I managed to dredge up: The singer went on to play with another great band Clair-Mel and the guitarist went on to play with End Of The Century Party. Apparently, Steve Heritage from legendary band Assuck drew the cover for this EP.

Regardless, download it here and enjoy it time and time again:

AWAKE!-Beliefs 7"


Ok, so this video has essentially made the rounds at this point. I think even HYPEBEAST has it. But it's really excellent. An exciting idea that appears to have been well coordinated, well filmed, and well executed. This concept appeals to me because I think this is something fairly new to the (already fairly young) fixed gear scene. As a climber, I have traveled all over. Even to other countries to meet complete strangers. And that common bond of climbing has brought us together and held us together like glue. There is little weirdness, and whatever cultural differences there are become merely an aside to the fact that we love to climb. So it's good to see this being showcased in the urban cycling scene. Not to say it has never been brought to light before, but if NIKE is on board, you know this is pretty huge.

At any rate, enough from me....check out the trailer:

LONDON TO PARIS from Amazing Grace on Vimeo.