Sunday, January 31, 2010


Holy frigging crap. After over 80 hours of work, countless hours of route-setting, countless hours of fore-running, 6 thai meals, 7 packs of CRANK FOREARM FUEL, and at least three days of actual real craziness the Heart of Steel 2010 comp is finally done. Over 170 competitors entered the arena on January 30th to try their hands at the boulder problems. There was free food, drink, pumping beats, free shirts and racebags for each competitor, and more climbing than you could shake a stick-clip at. AND THAT'S JUST THE QUALIFYING ROUND.

After the qualifiers were done, it was time to relax, enjoy throwing out thousands of dollars in gear, raffles, and more. And to watch the premier of Taylor De Lench's climbing film "SICK. Climbing in New England". There was a super finals to determine a tie-break between Zeb Engberg and Michael Bautista. In the end, Michael made it to the finals round to compete against Rob D'Anatasio and Vasya Vorotnikov. For women, it was Sidney McNair, Sasha DiGiulian, and Francesca Metcalf.

Never being one to do anything less than totally and completely off the wall and insane, we filled the gym with about 400 spectators, blasting industrial and black metal music, and eerie red lighting and smoke. The center-piece of the event was "The Dark Crystal", a 6.5' x 3' swinging/spinning feature that I designed in collaboration with the guys at Brewer's Ledge. This feature literally blew the minds of the finalists, and the onlooking crowd. It was pretty awesome to watch it all unfold. In the end, here is who took away the most money:

MEN:1st Vasya Vorotnikov, 2nd Michael Bautista, 3rd Rob D'Anastasio.

WOMEN: 1st, Sasha DiGIulian, 2nd Francesca Metcalf, 3rd Sydney Mcnair.

I'll let these amazing shots from George Lucoozi/ASA Photographic tell the real story.

Sasha DiGiulian flashing her benjamin at the top of Women's #2

Sasha DiGiulian Reaching for the cash on Women's #1

Michael Bautista flying on Men's #1

Francesca Metcalf trying to decipher what the hell to do on The Dark Crystal.

The Victorious.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


One other reason I have been so out of touch lately is because my primary job The Boston Rock Gym is hosting our second annual HEART OF STEEL bouldering competition. I have been putting unreal amounts of work and thought in to this. It's my baby to be honest. I have the help of some seriously talented individuals to bring the climbing community what I'd (perhaps foolishly?) like to think is the most exciting climbing comp around. If you live anywhere near Boston, or even if you don't I highly recommend coming. We have thousands of dollars in gear to give away, free food, fun, excitement, and more surprises. Here is the official press release that has made the rounds all over the climbing world. It was written by my good friend Kaleigh. She is the best.


Climbing enthusiasts everywhere, mark your calenders: on January 30th, 2010 the Boston Rock Gym and Evolv will host the second annual HEART OF STEEL bouldering competition. Flaunting a $2,400 cash purse in addition to a gorgeous line-up of prizes provided by a flock of industry leading sponsors, the HEART OF STEEL appeal speaks for itself. And, believe it or not, this year's sequel is guaranteed to upstage last year's inaugural jaw-dropping throwdown.
"Big cash prizes and good competition mixed with incredible event organization make this one of the most well run and unique climbing competitions going on," explains one of last year's HEART OF STEEL finalists Jon Glassberg, "HEART OF STEEL is setting the standard and breaking the mold for competition format and style. Period." Glassberg's thrilling performance earned him third place overall in the men's Open division last year. Glassberg is shifting his focus this year by joining forces with the Boston Rock Gym's elite team of route setters rather than entering the arena as a competitor.

HEART OF STEEL's distinction as New England's premier indoor climbing competition was imminent in its countless hours of preparation the first time around. But within the dawning moments of its preliminary competition, HEART OF STEEL proved itself capable of revolutionizing the face of indoor climbing competitions not only in its district, but nation wide. The triple digit turnout was littered with strong, revered climbers; the routes were as futuristic as the concepts that breathed life into the HEART OF STEEL brainchild; Manowar's 'Heart Of Steel' (the song after which the competition earned its appellation- a reference appreciated by fans of metal music) pumped adrenaline into the iron-clad veins of every participant, climber or otherwise. The tone had been set and a vision had been realized. "I love it when a competition has a style and a theme and becomes something that spectators and non-climbers can latch on to and really associate with," says Glassberg. And this year, we can only expect a fine-tuned version of something that was nearly perfect to begin with. But overshadowing the many aspects of HEART OF STEEL leading up to its main event is the highly anticipated game show style finals round that really awards this climbing competition its rightful badge of honor.

If for no other reason, you won't want to miss HEART OF STEEL for its outstanding display of a finals round. The event's most notable distinction is its groundbreaking strategy for distributing cash prizes to the top female and male athletes of the day. Exponentially increasing denominations of cold hard cash are taped along the course of each finals problem, baiting each competitor to shamelessly duke it out amongst the others in an outrageous episode of sheer plastic-pulling pandemonium. Bathed in spotlight, each competitor is challenged to pull as many bills as possible off of the wall, creating their own personal cash pot. "Instead of being awarded a check for finishing in a top position, you can complete a finals boulder problem and have the cash in your hand as a direct result of climbing well in the moment. A tangible reward that is very motivating to climbers," Glassberg said.

In addition to the generous cash prizes, there's a whole slew of killer swag provided by some of the climbing industry's top sponsors. Just some of the loot up for grabs this year include three crashpads; two Nemo tents; sleeping bags, packs, and softshells from The North Face; Evolv shoes; rope from New England Ropes; Petzl harnesses, and more. Additionally, there will be free coffee and hot chocolate, free food, video games, and sponsor tables to take advantage of during down time.
The HEART OF STEEL competition is quickly becoming a benchmark for innovation in the competitive climbing circuit, and everyone made up of the industrial-strength vital organs to handle it is encouraged to be a part of it. "The Boston Rock Gym knows how to throw a party," Glassberg assures us.

All photos courtsey of ASA Photographic


Sorry everyone. This month has been bananas. I have not been climbing, but I have been training like crazy. I took a second job and as a result have not had a day off since early December. 7 days a week, brutally windy and cold weather has kept me mostly indoors, huddled up. Although I have been getting on my bike a lot. As it turns out, if you are dressed right, riding in single digit weather with double digit winds is honestly not that bad.

That said, for most of the winter, I was trying to figure out what the hell to wear for shoes. I needed something for cycling that would be waterproof, warm, and ride-able. While preferably not looking like total shit. Oh, and I'm vegan, so no leather. Quite a tall order. I had looked at some clipless shoes. LAKE makes some awesome ones. But I don't want to have carry extra fucking shoes with me everywhere (work, etc.) and the reality is that as soon as I get off my bike on to the icy sidewalks, I will be skating all over the damn place.

Well, as luck would have it. The Swedes come through. Just like they do with EVERYTHING. Anyhow, TRETORN makes some amazing gore-tex kicks that are also insulated and look absolutely great. They fit perfectly in to toe cages, and ride really nice. They are waterproof, windproof, insulated, and comfy as hell. I picked these buggers up and have not taken them off since. Unbelievable warmth. All I need is a pair of regular socks underneath in even the most brutal of conditions. I got the black hi-tops. Which keeps the laces out of the way of my chain ring, and provides a little extra coverage and integration between the bottom of my pants. They are not cheap. But definitely worth it. They are on sale at Sneakerstuff, check it.
The other must have item for me, is my Arc'teryx Fission SV. I had the pleasure of working closely with the brand for a while when I was the outerwear buyer at The Tannery in Harvard Square. And I got this baby for free, which is nice since they retail for something nuts like $650. However, with 500 grams of primaloft insulation inside of Gore-tex waterproof, windproof exterior shell it's worth it. I have had mine for about 4 years and it still kicking. Perfect for riding, ice climbing, mountaineering, etc. The fit is awesome, the hood fits over a helmet. This thing is unreal. Get you one!

The only thing left really is something for my legs. I have some OUTLIER pants that I love, but I can't reasonably wear those every single day. I have just been rocking jeans with base layers underneath and that seems to work fine. Anyone have any suggestions?