The “New” Rules of Belaying, or: How Not to Be a Jerk

Recently, Andrew Bisharat posted an article called The New Rules of Belaying.  The title was something of a joke – these have always been the rules of belaying.  This article did the rounds on my Facebook feed, and as I read it, I found myself getting a little defensive.

“I talk while I’m belaying, I guess,” I said to myself, “but I always keep an eye on my climber.”  And it’s completely acceptable to interrupt a conversation on the ground to talk to my climber.

“Of course I wear flip-flops when I’m belaying,” I think.  “It doesn’t affect my ability to move around.” And it doesn’t – or it hasn’t, yet.

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A Very Peak Thanksgiving

Peak member Jonathan Hamilton and his friends took some time to be thankful for rock climbing.

There's always time to squeeze in that tension training.

There’s always time to squeeze in that tension training.

A Peak Thanksgiving

Peak members gathered around the table despite the chilly weather to share some good gear and good cheer.

Cornucopia of Gear

Follow Jon on Instagram @jonham64 for more awesome photos, and be sure to keep up with us @peakexperiences!

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Clif Bar Drops Sponsored Climbers, But They’ll Probably Keep Climbing

Clif Bar is a brand you’ve heard of, I bet.  The image on the packaging is of a climber on a steep rock face, and even the name evokes our weekend destinations (though it’s actually named after the founder’s grandfather, Clifford).  Clif Bar has exploded in the last few years, filing the performance-food niche completely.  Everyone has at least heard of them, even if they don’t love their products.

Rock and Ice broke the news that Clif has released five climbers from its roster of sponsored athletes – Alex Honnold, Dean Potter, Steph Davis, Timmy O’Neill, and Cedar Wright.  The last three names may not have much meaning for the average consumer, but Alex Honnold has become the face of climbing for a layperson, and Dean Potter has been pushing the boundaries of the sport since before most people knew where the boundaries were.

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Ueli Steck and the Burden of Proof

Ueli Steck – sometimes called “The Swiss Machine,” is a giant in the sport of alpinism.  I know this isn’t an alpinism blog, but when I first saw the movie about Ueli’s ascent of the North Face of the Eiger in Reel Rock 2010, I was captivated by the man and his accomplishments. 

Last October, Ueli summited Annapurna, a Himalayan peak over 8000 meters tall.  He did it by himself, lost his camera in an avalanche, and returned to his friends.  Other than his word, this is nothing to prove whether Ueli actually stood on the summit or not.  Two Sherpas came forward several months later to say they saw his headlamp approximately 200 feet below the summit sometime around midnight.  Controversy has swirled around the ascent, and Ueli’s receipt of a Piolet d’Or award last month have heightened attention on that controversy.


Annapurna, Nepal. Photo: wikipedia

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Bouldering Competition Tips and Tricks

Peak Experiences is having its annual American Bouldering Series competition tomorrow, and the gym is heating up for the event!  If you’re a gung-ho competitor, or maybe just a casual comp-goer, it’s kind of exhausting to climb for 6 hours straight.  Now, I’m not a doctor, but I’ve done a comp or two, so here’s some last-minute thoughts on how to maximize your competition experience.

Boulder Cave | Peak Experiences

This is not what the cave currently looks like. Current problems are top secret, but trust me, they look awesome.

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Triple Crown Bouldering: Hound Ears

It’s fall again, which means turning leaves, schoolbuses getting in your way on your drive home, and sick conditions for outdoor climbing.  It also means the inevitable return of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series.

The Triple Crown in 2014 looks a little different than it did at its inception.  It consists of four bouldering competitions in the Southeast – Hound Ears in Boone, North Carolina; Stone Fort (aka Little Rock City) in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Horse Pens 40 in Steele, Alabama; and Rumbling Bald in North Carolina.  Thousands of people come from all over the country to pull down and cheer and play outside, and all of the money goes to access for even more climbing.

Hound Ears | Peak Experiences

Rocks that way.

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Guest Post: Connie Lightner – Part Mom, Part Coach, All Awesome

Kai Lightner has been a fixture on the USA Climbing field for years now, and has continued to grow as a climber and representative of the youth climbing movement.  And if you’ve ever seen Kai at a climbing competition, you’ve seen his mother, Connie, camped out in her lounge chair, cheering on her son and the other competitors, making the competition more fun for everyone around her.  Connie is no stranger to competitive climbing, and takes an incredibly active role in Kai’s training: she’s his coach and biggest cheerleader, as well as his mom. Recently, Connie took the time to talk to us about her role in Kai’s life.

As Peak’s Pro Team holds its tryouts this week, we wanted to share her story with you.  After all, youth climbing teams wouldn’t exist without the parents who support the climbers, coaches, and gyms.

Connie and Kai |

Quick coaching session at a climbing competition.

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