Author Archives: Steve Schultz

Son of the Irish

Son of the Irish

In May of 2004 I made the decision to move to California to climb. I had good friends in Madison and Menomonee and was overall pretty happy with life in town. I wasn’t exactly sure where my life was going or what I wanted to do but I could have seen staying in Madison for a long time.

More and more though I started to think about what it would be like to live near an area like Bishop. I made the choice and decided to go for it. I was going to move to Mammoth Lakes, an hour north of Bishop. Having merely lined up one interview and a possible place to live I loaded up my Mazda MX-3 with everything I could and drove for three days to get there.

As soon as I got to Mammoth I found my pad and made my way down to the Buttermilks. It was beautiful. I couldn’t have been happier to have these as my local boulders.

I spent a couple weeks trying to line up a job and a place to live. With a little bit of luck I was able to secure both. I was set.

On one of my first few trips down to the Buttermilks I was working the Cave Problem on Grandpa Peabody and a man and his wife came around the corner. He started to fondle the start holds for Evilution and muttered something about them being greasy. I was, and still am, enthralled with this line. Jason was one of my climbing hero’s and I was in awe of the problem. I couldn’t believe that this man could do the moves and I went over to him and scoffed something like “You gonna try it?”. I tried to be as sarcastic as I could since I saw the man as inferior to the perfect climb.

I was wrong, obviously, and very naive. I learned more about climbing, trying hard and so much else that afternoon climbing with this mystery man. He took me around the Buttermilks showing me classics, must do’s, what not to do’s and future projects for me. He insisted that I needed a tour and that he was the man to do it. Off we went.

He first showed me the Birthing Experience which is hands down the craziest problem I’ve ever done. You start by crawling into the start hole and sitting in a giant hueco. He gave me no beta and told me to just “get in it!”. After humiliating myself thoroughly he relented and showed me how it was done. I followed after him.

He took me over to the shrimp boulder and really started to teach. He said I should get on Perfectly Shrimp. It was a V6 and therefore out of my league. After I said that he laughed and told me that if I can fall on a V4 I can fall on a V6! I started to get the painful moves and couldn’t believe it! I was climbing on a V6!!!!! It was mind blowing.

After a while I was falling at the crux, just slapping at a sharp crimp. It’s funny that I can pinpoint such a major point in my climbing to this period. It’s exact. He changed how I climbed with two simple pieces of advice.

“Look at the hold and just grab it!” he said. “Don’t slap the hold, you gotta grab it with your fingers! And stare at the thing. Don’t let it out of your sight. Ever.” I came back a couple days later and did just that. It was almost liberating to climb the problem and realize that there should never ever be ceilings with climbing. I wish he had been there to enjoy it with me.

My mystery mentor, his wife and myself continued on to the Buttermilk Stem and we both climbed this amazingly fun problem. He of course did the sit and I did the stand. It was there that I finally learned their names.

Marci and Michael Reardon.

It was months later that he had his massive soloing day in Joshua Tree and his name would become synonymous with free soloing. I truly enjoyed following his exploits and looked up to him in most everything he did. He had strict ethics and I respected that even if I couldn’t abide by them.

Without him knowing it he changed how I climbed and how I looked at so much of life. We exchanged a random e-mail here and there for a while until his untimely death. I’ve still got the last exchange saved and I look at it every now and then. He ended with the phrase below. I wish I had another chance to climb with him.

“See you out there, just remember to never say, “Take!”

All best,

Michael”

I wish nothing but the best for the families of the Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson. Climb safe everyone.

Wisconsin Driving


A few weeks back Katie and I took a short trip up to Taylors Falls to climb for a bit. The climbing itself was a ton of fun and we had a blast. I’d been wanting to boulder there for a while now and it was good to finally get up there.

On the drive up to Taylors Katie and I kept on noticing large animal statues on the side of the road. At each one, Katie would proceed to freak out a tiny bit, get really excited and insist that we stop on the way back to take a picture with said animal statue. After a little prodding I got into it and figured that we’d stop at three exits on the way back to take pictures with the animals. I figured it’d break up the drive a little bit but I had no clue how many we would actually find. I’m still in some amount of shock about it. Wisconsin is an interesting state, to say the least.


Katie and the Tin Man, just outside of Taylors Falls, at a Junk Yard, I think.




One of my personal favorites. The cul-de-sac with a stop sign. Love it!




Katie and the giant Cowboy Mouse near Tomah. Mind you that this “welcome” sign is well over an hour from ANY Wisconsin border.




And the backside, for anyone who was wondering…




For those of you that don’t know, the Cow Pie is a chocolate-y treat.




These next few are all from a furniture store in between Baraboo and the Dells. Yup, that’s a bear with a gun.




And a Moose……




Katie isn’t quite that small. I actually think this bed may be bigger than our current apartment. Scary.




Another Bear and another Moose just for good measure.




We found this little guy by accident when we got off the highway for a Dairy Queen. No wonder I don’t climb any harder than I do.




The Tilt-A-House nearby Portage. Many thanks to Katie for seeing this one at 70 MPH on the highway. Almost missed it!




How could you possibly guess what’s coming next?




Yup, a giant Elephant with eyeglasses….




At a Citgo, nonetheless.




And then we took a wrong turn and didn’t get back on the highway. What should we find?? A big ol’ cow at a cheese haus. Obviously.




Hard sit start on the udders to a brutal topout over the slopey bulge.



And there you have it. Mind you, this is WITHOUT stopping at another exit in Black River Falls that would have gotten us another 3-4 giant animals as well. I wrote down the wrong exit number. Oh well.

Rattlesnake Mound



It’s like Where’s Waldo, just with Katie…can you find her?


Katie and I took a day off yesterday and went up to Rattlesnake Mound. It’s a fairly new area and is pretty cool. A tornado came through a couple years ago and took out most of the trees in the area. Everything felt wide open but it got really windy at times. Made for a cool atmosphere though.

We warmed up on the House Boulder and got warm pretty quick. In the sun it was perfect out and we were down to t-shirts and sweating. After packing up our stuff we went over to Chaos. It is on my list for the year and I wanted to give it a good flash go since it was very much my style. I promptly blew the flash by missing the first hold and went to work on it for real. I was able to get all the moves worked out pretty quickly but my skin was suffering badly from a solid month of not climbing more than once a week.



Chaos is about 6 moves long and is full on power crimping. For me the crux is going to be bumping from the first tiny crimp to the second, bigger, crimp. I couldn’t quite put it together yesterday but we may be going back tomorrow for more. It should go down then. The moves are all really fun and it was a good effort by John to put it up last year. Well done sir!!!



After getting completely cold at Chaos we went over to the sunny side of the bluff again to explore a little. We found a nice little boulder with about 5-6 really fun warm ups. There is potential for some more but it’s a nice little boulder and has cool exposure to it. The setting is unique and was a great way to cool down after a great day.




I approve!!!

Bedwetters

Katie and I are leaving in one week for a trip to Little Rock City in Chattanooga, TN. We both can’t wait to leave and are very very excited about getting out of Madison. We’ve got a list of problems that we want to get on and cannot wait to get on real rock. Plastic is getting real old right now.

I found this video of a climb called “Bedwetters” on www.B3Bouldering.com. Jamie runs a fantastic site and always has worthwhile and fun stories on there. Definitely check it out for a few minutes and take a look around. He has a very refreshing outlook on hard climbing both in and out of Colorado. I also like that he’s a Michigan boy at heart.

The problem itself looks phenomenal and I can’t wait to try it. While it might be a bit over my head I’ve always been a proponent of trying things that are “too hard” for me. It’s good to have goals and i’ve surprised myself more than once.

If anyone has any recommendations for climbs we need to do while we’re down in Chatty let us know.

Inspired by the past

After reading Brian’s last few posts about some of the more obscure, harder lines at Devil’s Lake, I wanted to post some old pictures I had of both of the climbs he wrote about.

First up is Jenga. It’s towards the top of the west bluff talus field at Devil’s Lake and is really hard to find. Peter was taking us all around the west bluff one day and we stumbled upon it. He looked at it for a second and remembered that it was, in fact, Jenga. He’d done the FA a few years prior. The name comes from all of the rocks at the base that he rearranged to make a better landing. Said it took him hours to clean up the landing, but the line is completely worth it.


The next couple of shots are of Hefty on the Keymaker. This problem was done in 2003 by Brian Sandona and is still unrepeated. He gave it a tentative V11 and it’s a great contender for hardest climb at the lake. The crux involves a bad left hand crimp and a waist level lockoff. There seems to be more interest in this year(Brian, Nic, Me??) so maybe we’ll see a repeat soon.


Every year around this time I start to get antsy to get outside and start climbing again. This year is no different and I’ve already planned out a couple of trips. I should have my list of 2009 goals next week or so. Hopefully I’ll complete more of the climbs this time….

12/13/08

There are certain dates that stick in your head. This is one of them.

Last saturday Katie and I went to the Vilas Zoo to walk around and play for a little bit. At the first exhibit, the buffalo, I asked her to marry me. She said yes, thankfully, and we had a fantastic day at the Zoo. One we’ll never forget.

I love her. More than I ever imagined I could. She complements me and makes me a better person when I’m around her. It’s perfect.

I feel very lucky that I get to spend the rest of my life with someone that makes me so happy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We still smile and giggle when we call each other our fiance’. The whole thing has been very surreal for both of us and I hope that everyone gets to experience this feeling.

Needless to say, I’m very excited to have another “Schultz” in the family….

The Last Day


It’s always sad. Especially when you know that it’s the last one.

The last day of the season is a bittersweet experience. You ride the fine line of wanting to finish up your projects before the snow sets in and yet you still want to just sit back and enjoy the day.

While there will be other days and trips throughout the rest of winter, the Wisconsin rock season is all but over now. We’ve got anywhere from 6 inches to a foot and a half of snow on the ground now. There are more than likely going to be a couple of frigid outings full of tarps, brooms and space heaters. Chances are that if the snow sticks around until February I’ll get frustrated with the gym and try to do another Southern Illinois trip over a weekend. Maybe I’ll even camp in a Wal Mart parking lot again. Just to get the full experience.

Until then, memories and pictures of the last day will have to suffice. This fall season has been one of my most rewarding yet. Not because of any particular sends, in fact very few took place. In terms of numbers, Fall of 2007 was my best ever, but it wasn’t even close to being my favorite. This year stuck out because every single day that we went to the boulders we had fun. There wasn’t a single day that I didn’t have a good time. I spent time with friends and was able to let go of pressures that used to bog me down.

It was perfect. I really couldn’t have asked for a better fall. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this much fun climbing.

It’ll be a new year soon with new goals and dreams. More than anything I’m excited to see what next year has in store for me. Maybe I’ll finally step up to the plate and finish off Sandstone Violence. Maybe…

Vacation

It was awesome. Not a whole lot to say other than it was the best vacation I’ve ever been on. Relaxing, fun, enjoyable. You know, all the things a vacation should be. We had perfect weather and fantastic climbing conditions. We only had to drive an hour, which was a nice bonus. Plus, now Katie has a new found love for the PCS.







Have you scheduled your preview yet?

Operators are standing by…




A little bit of Canoelover in me…

I know it’s not an Odonate, but it kept me entertained when I was too tired to climb on vacation last week. Thanks for the inspiration Canoelover



I’ll have more on said vacation later on this week.