Friday, April 16, 2010

Team America

Among the plethora of scattered crags to be found in the Green Mountain State, a few in particular stand out far above all others. The 82 crag is one such outstanding crag and ranks among one of my favorite sport climbing hangs anywhere. The routes start off a large ledge accessed by a fixed rope making the crag feel exposed for Vermont and offering amazing views of the Bolton valley. Despite it's relatively small size, the crag boasts several 5 star 5.12's and now 2 5.13 pitches with the addition of Team America .13a.

At the rest on a previous attempt (Steve Potter photo)

About 4 years ago my friend Dave Vuono had bolted the right most arete of the wall and had never gotten around to trying it. The route remained un-attempted until recently when myself, Parker Weber, and John Tomb began checking it out. I quickly realized that the route would need some adjustments and began by moving the anchor to a more logical spot and than moving a couple other bolts as well. The new-routing process is by far my favorite thing to do in climbing. Figuring out beta, dealing with broken holds, equipping, and all the other work that goes into a new route makes the experience incredibly rewarding.

Last Thursday I headed up to the 82 with my friend Chris for an after work mission. After a quick warm-up, I jumped on the route and dogged up it to re-figure a couple of parts. I had taped a split on my left index finger from a previous go and on my second go I fell off the last hard move of the route, slicing the pad of my right middle finger wide open! With the light fading fast and a bleeding tip I lowered and was pretty sure I was done for the day. Chris took a top-rope burn real quick and suddenly the psyche hit me and I was re-taped and climbing through the first crux of the route in the dark with my headlamp.

Many small crimps!

Initially the new split on my right hand stung with every one of the many tiny crimps in this route but that pain quickly subsided as I got into the flow of the route and found myself at my previous high point. Pumped and greasing off the left hand sloper, I latched a small right hand edge and pasted my right foot on the dubious smear. With a quick breath to focus in on the hold I threw for the two finger side-pull and caught it. Breathing hard, I flew through the following good holds to the anchor.

Pretty awesome positioning!

I decided to call this route Team America after the team effort that went into it with Dave initially equipping it and then Park, John, and I figuring out the beta for it. This route is totally unique in comparison to others around New England. For the 82 it's relatively long with 11 bolts and is super technical with sustained crimping through a large portion of the route. I'm psyched to have made an addition to this already amazing crag.

Mummy hands

Monday, April 12, 2010

Slideshow Wednesday Night!

Wednesday night I'll be giving a slideshow at Plymouth State University in Plymouth NH. Come on down if your in the area! Show starts at 8pm in Boyd Hall on the PSU campus.

The show will give a glimpse of some of the northeast's strongest climbers getting after it on mixed, ice and rock terrain. There will be a amazing raffle with tons of cool swag including a 60m Sterling rope and other gear! All proceeds benefit the Kismet Rock Foundation. This is an awesome non-profit that several of my friends are involved with. Kismet creates opportunities for economically-disadvantaged children to experience all the amazing experiences rock climbing has to offer in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Brian Bittner is a super strong climber from Burlington Vermont who, as a member of the 5.10 Athlete Team, has for many years focused solely on bouldering and indoor competition. This fall with a trip to the Red River Gorge to get him psyched, Brian started diversifying his climbing with some sport climbing and expressed an interest in started to train with me. Six months later Brian sent his V11 project and his hardest sport route yet Dodge the Lemons (.13c) both in the span of 3 days. He is crushing!

Brian wrote a short piece below on his thoughts about the training we've been doing and his recent sends. Check it out!

"Over the past few months I have been training closely under Matt McCormick's supervision. I have been cycling in and out of strength, power, power endurance and endurance training. I have seen improvements in all aspects of my climbing, not just in how I feel, but also in tangible results, in the past two months I climbed my hardest boulder problems (Diesel Dreams V11 and Fred's Roof V11) and also my hardest redpoint (Dodge the Lemons 5.13c), not to mention flash and redpoint bests. These results are especially refreshing as I have been climbing for close to 12 years. During the past few years I felt I had reached a plateau, I am now confident I have broken through that plateau. With my new training plan I have no doubt I will continue to improve to levels I had once dreamed of. If Matt's own climbing successes are not enough, his ever growing wealth of knowledge, his openness to disucss new ideas, and his willingness to hear your wishes and concerns make it an easy choice only few would not benefit from."