This past weekend I traveled to New York City to compete in the EMS Pro bouldering competition, speak at the Outdoor Nation Campfire Conversation, and help out at both the NYC Adventures and Outdoor Summer Fun Day events.  As expected, the last few days have been non-stop, fast-paced, and high energy.

The bouldering competition was a huge success, with thousands of people gathering in Central Park to watch the finals.  Unfortunately, I placed 9th in the semi-finals and did not qualify for finals, but I was pretty pleased with how well I climbed.  After bouldering for the past two weeks, I definitely feel like my power has increased.  And the best news is that Angie Payne won for the women, gracefully flashing all three finals problems along with comp-killa Sasha Digiulian, but count back to semis left Ange as the winner. Overall, it was a fantastic event, and a real milestone for competition climbing.  Congrats to all of the organizers, route setters, and competitors for putting on an excellent show 😉

Ange flashing #3 for the win (Tim Kemple photo)


 I attended the Campfire Conversation in Brooklyn on Saturday night, a gathering of several hundred youth ambassadors who traveled to Brooklyn to participate in a youth summit on behalf of the Outdoor Nation movement.  Throughout the weekend, they brainstormed strategies for encouraging America’s youth to get outside and experience nature.  The ON movement has been growing ever since its infancy last year, and I am proud to be a part of it.  Together with Conrad Anker and Juan Martinez, I spoke to these youth leaders around a campfire.  I told them my story as a climber, my personal connection with the outdoor world, and how important it is to me.  They were genuinely interested and inspired by our words.  Several of them even approached me later, expressing their sincere gratitude for coming to speak to them.  I was so impressed.  Most of them are city kids, born and raised in urban neighborhoods with little or no access to outdoor activity; and yet they all expressed a deep and passionate desire to connect with the natural world, and to educate and encourage others to develop that same appreciation.


Juan, myself, and Conrad on the picnic table

NYC Adventures in Central Park

Brook at the Planet Explore booth

I also had some rather entertaining nights out in the city.  Angie and I connected with Matthew Barney one night, visiting his studio in Long Island City and going to a barbeque at his home in Brooklyn with some of his friends.  Once again, we were thrown into an unknown and fascinating world, just as eclectic and tight-knit as our own little sub-culture of climbing.  I was pleased to see that he had lined the hallway in their house with climbing holds so that his 8 year-old daughter could climb through the hallway and into her room – Ha.

 View of the East River from MB Studio

I was fortunate also on this trip to be able to spend time with good people from The North Face and other friends in the outdoor industry.  They are an awesome crew, passionate about what they do, and always psyched to have some fun….

I am completely worn out and exhausted from the past few days.  I had a great time, but the hectic schedule and late nights have taken their toll.  Only two weeks until I leave for Arco, Italy for World Championships.  It has come up so fast and I certainly don’t feel prepared, but will have to do everything I can in the next two weeks to get fit enough to compete on the world stage.  I am feeling the urgency and stress creep into my consciousness, while still trying to keep my expectations in perspective, and focus on the tasks at hand.


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