Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Best Post-Climbing Footwear Ever is More Awesome than You Think

They aren't soled with sticky stealth or otherwise rock-tastic rubber. They dont snug tight with laces or velcro. There's no aggressive down-turned camber. These are straight up classic western boots with a modern twist of style and color. I spent the big bucks last fall on a pair of Ariat Boots hoping to find ideal jeans/skirt/dress footwear. What I ended up with were beautiful purple Showbabys with round Fatbaby toes followed shortly thereafter by Sara's hot-as-hell pink Rodeobaby Rockers. Now... 2 pairs of cowboy boots might seem like a lot for one Little Green House and you're probably wondering what this has to do with climbing so here's the secret: These are THE ultimate post-climbing shoe option. And with two climbing girls in the house we each need a pair, of course.

After a good day on Silent Running, Darrington, WA
These boots are some of the most comfortable, supportive footwear I have ever worn. That they are shiny, sassy, versatile and PURPLE and PINK! is bonus. Well, so what, you say, they're cute but why are these the best post-climbing footwear? Honestly, I prefer flipflops. And my goal is to wear them May through November. Most years I don't make it that far and some mid-summer days in Washington just aren't that warm. But when barefoot just isn't an option, these boots provide a fully covered flipflop feel, but with more support and a style that looks better with a kickass skirt on the way in to the B&G for a G&T.

I have a narrow foot from the mid to the heel, but a wider ball and when I step my arch turns to mush which makes my feet tire out fairly quickly without good support. The width of the round toe Showbabys fits my foot best, but the more classic toe of the Rodeobaby's is also comfortable for all day.

Both pairs of boots are built with Advanced Torque Stability Technology (aka ATS(r)) which is a fancy schmancy way of saying the footbeds of these boots are constructed to provide support and help with better posture. All things I need, especially after a long day in not so comfortable rock shoes. Ariat claims this type of construction also helps reduce fatigue, which I'd support - I can wear them all day without getting achy.

The no-slip rubber soles feel secure and stable on slippery rock at trailheads (or on frosty grass fields while walking Maile the Great). I've come unprepared to hike at the spur of the moment and ended up halfway uphill doing just fine on loose dirt and rock with these boots.

The leather has maintained a well-kept, undistressed look with a little shoe polish help despite the dusty, dirty, muddy conditions I've put them through. They've also been comfortable post-climb in Nevada's foot-swelling desert heat, the City of Rocks in June, and in Washington, well, anytime. I wear them after climbing, all-day at work and they even dressed up my brown wrap dress just fine last year at the AAC's annual "black tie" dinner. Could I ask for a better pair of boots? No.

Yes, I'll be getting a new pair his winter. 3 pairs of boots, excessive? Borderline but some fanaticism is worth it. Y'all git yer own pair now, ya hear?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Less Adds Up To A Lot

Room with a view.
Did we get lazy, or did we realize we were on the wrong road to our respective happy places?

Its really not hard to cross that first possibility off the list. Spend 5 minutes in the Little Green House and, other than the occasional night to veg out and watch Alias, there are few nights during the week that aren't filled with activity and even fewer weekends not packed to the gills.

But every action is a choice. So when did we start choosing to not stay our course of "crushing"? Did we get lazy making excuses because we were just too busy? Maybe it was that tough day back in Leavenworth this spring that left us both a little ego bruised and fearful. Or maybe it was individual personal muck that emerged in spring that - if I can speak for Sara too - rattled nerves and found its way through the cracks to our softer selves. Maybe, over time and with the new perspective we gain each day, we simply realized a number is not what makes happy. (does this sound redundant? I'm sensing a theme here...)

I would like to make a bajillion dollars, but the decent salary I'm paid for a position I worked good n' hard to earn at company I really enjoy working for is more important than any higher paying alternative.

Sure, it would be great to have a bit more stretching room in the Little Green House; at 768sq feet, its smaller than most people's kitchens or garages. But its cozy, comfortable, easy to clean!, has a kickass gear-age, and friends and family feel welcome to come over..whenever.

And yes, I wouldn't mind a couple extra inches to my 5'4" frame, but I duck less often under low tree branches, fit easily on planes, and never feel put out when someone else claims shotgun first.

Maybe less is more? Maybe less = happy...?

Its been a long time since either of us posted. For this first one back, in some ways, I wish I could report that we did make it up Outer Space, Lovers Leap, The Perch and are on our way to the Creek. But we didn't do any of those things. Instead, for me, the summer was filled with plugging gear into 6's and 7's at Smith, finding a new edge in the Sawtooths on a sketchy 4th class boulder field before we even made it to the single pitch of 5th class, and laughing and cursing through my first experience of finishing a climb in the light of a headlamp. It included bailing off of a number of sub-6 routes for milkshakes and pedicures instead. And taking a good friend up his first multipitch route and down his first rappel. All of these, with new climbing partners. Nothing was part of that original plan. And it was all really, really good. So good, it was better than I'd planned.

With fall just beginning, there is no end to good days of rock in the near future. I'm currently in Chattanooga and am eager to try the rock here though I dont anticipate getting on anything above an 8 or 9, sport. Whatever the number, I will be happy and count it as a success as long as its like all those other experiences this summer its somewhere near five point fun.