Monday, January 26, 2009

Outdoor Retailer and the American Contingency

I am now in the Front Range of CO after hitching a ride up to CO from TX. I met up with some friends and carpooled out to SLC for the winter installment of the biannual Outdoor Retailer(Trade Show). This was my first experience at the trade show and I found my experience to be all over the board. It was very exciting at times, coma inducing at times but a very worthwhile and engaging experience with the world that I find myself in.
The highlights for me were truly the people and vision that some companies were rigidly pursuing despite the current economic state(aka-recession). The idea that a company can make an American product and continue to do so and that a constituency will value this was very good to see despite the obvious extra cost involved. This is the model that I created with A-Balm and to see that some people still emphasize quality and domestic commerce was inspiring. Especially in times of economic turmoil when every dollar counts it allows us to realize that 'WE' the consumer hold the power and with every dollar spent we vote on the future we want in our consumer and political reality.
Darn Tough really blew me away. Both of these companies make a product that is superior in quality to anything that I have ever seen all while keeping every facet of their production with in the united states.
Darn Tough is a sock company out of Vermont. Thats right they have stuck to just socks and it shows because I had never really considered this to be a necessary component to managing an adventurous and traveling based lifestyle but since I put my first pair on I am a believer and supporter. Despite the competition Darn Tough has maintained it entire operation including production line in the United States, their company is also full of personality and excitement as you can only find or deal with someone that has genuine psyche for their product the ethic that goes into it.
FiveTen has also acted with great environmental and performance emphasis with their Stealth Paint which is a recycled rubber program that that one can now apply to their shoes in a custom manner for improved toe hooking and other trixy foot work. The other exciting part of this program is that FiveTen has chosen not to patent this method in an effort to excite the rest of the climbing footwear industry to utilize there rubber waste for something productive.
Organic Boulder Mats has also continued to impress me with the commitment to quality and the ethic that has become inherent in their product name and line. I was fortunate enough to stop by the HQ in Laramie, WY, which is actually just a one car garage. Everything that comes out of this operation is all coming from this garage in the prairie. This is how the quality can remain so high on all items released. Don't be suckered in by the imitators who now slap bright colors on their pads, Organic is the original and the only company committed to unique individual items and soy foam which helps us escape yet another petroleum based product.
A-Balm also had a good showing at the OR in that we gained a few more accounts and received a great deal of praise, compliments, and suggestions from friends and strangers alike. Thank you all for the support with A-Balm and I hope that no one is a stranger as we appreciate all feedback and business. A-Balm has remained staunchly domestic in its production and demands that quality remain just as rigid.
Perhaps the best part of the entire experience was seeing great friends in the tribe from all over and even making some new ones. Thanks to good friend Justin Wood for all his hospitality and positivity. Ciau.AnderRockstad

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Smiles and Boulder Problems-Past, Present, and Future

So it has been quite some time, but not owning a computer will have that effect on ones blog. Since we last spoke I finished a great couple weeks in Bishop where I was able to experience such hospitality and if-ie conditions. But despite snow and ice dispersing itself amongst the beautiful boulders I was able to climb some amazing problems. 'Toxic Avenger V10' which at the time of send was actually half in ice which I think makes this the hardest mixed climb ever!!!, also in the table lands was the amazing 'Disco Diva V8' which felt plenty tough for me. Then to the ButterMilks to stake my claim on the ever evolving Cave Boulder. The holds involved in the Forgotten problem had recent significant breakage and where ripe for a new sequence, quasi FA and just some new territory in an old play ground. After pumping off the end a few time I was able to revive the radical 'Little Forgotten V10'. The topout was the first n the cave boulder in a few days because of the ice and snow, but due to raging motivation by my spotter(Friend; Walker) and myself i pulled myself over the snow and ice with my first hand jam ever!! What a boulder!!
Then it was ringing in the new year with my Austrian friends and to pick-up a climber in LA to start the 2009 with a drive on out the incredible Hueco Tanks of TX. After some serious driving time and a cargo drop in New Mexico we arrived in Hueco, actually the Rock Ranch to welcome of Bros from the past and current. In the morning it was hot but I was in my original geo-playground so psyche was brimming to say the least. I was able to fire off the 'Fern Roof V10?' with the original burl beta(Read: no kneebar) and this is a favorite climb of mine now. But Hueco was so unfamiliar in how physical it is from Yosemite and Bishop that I was forced into a rest day almost instantly after arriving. 'Smooth Move V8'(in my Daesents), 'Roughage V7R'(Best in Hueco?), 'Stanage on Holiday V8', 'No Wonder V7', 'Hector in a Blender V7', 'Dry Dock V7' and 'Something Different V8' are among my new favorites in Hueco. Wow, I feel like a total spray lord...maybe that fitting because iI have been in Hueco, lol.
Yesterday, I climbed a radical and obvious physical line in the Martini cave called 'Martini Hotbox V9' and then had to boogy to catcha ride to the front range which was delayed but eventual delivered me to Colorado Springs a 4A.M. And now I sit in friend Hayden's room which ironically I used to live in and will session at Eleven Mile today. More to come. Lots of Love.