Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Justin Cucciare. I am a linux systems administrator, climbing enthuisiast, world traveler, and lover of all things cheese. I tried climbing for the first time back in 2011 at a local climbing gym and I've been hooked ever since. I am a native to the Bay Area however I currently reside in Sacramento, CA. On my blog you will find my general musings about gear, crags, gyms, travels, and much more. Feel free to stay a while. If you need to contact me I can be reached via email jcucciare@gmail.com, tweet @ justincucciare, or IG jcucciare. Thanks for reading and enjoy your stay!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Evolv Nexxo Pushed Back to May

Unfortunately it looks like we will have to wait a little bit longer for the Nexxo to hit the shelves.  I spoke with an employee at Evolv who said that the original release date was pushed back to accomodate some last mintue tweaks to the shoes before they hit the production line.

Chris Sharma has been photographed wearing these as far back as last summer (this picture is more current):

My assumption is that they developed a prototype, let Chris use them for a few months, then go back and make adjustments to the shoes per Chris' feedback.  The original release date was supposed to be Jan of this year, then April, and now May.  My contact at Evolv said they are in production now so hopefully we wont have to wait too much longer to try these out!

Rest assured I will monitor this closely and will provide a full review of the shoe as soon as its released.


~ Justin

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Goals, Obstacles, & Perseverance: My First V6

At the start of 2014 I set fourth a goal to climb my first V6 boulder problem (indoors).  Last year I was able to climb up to V5 so it seemed completely plausible that I *could* get a V6 done this year.  Last night at Pipeworks my goal was realized and I took down my first V6!  I had been working on this problem for almost 4 weeks and I was in some what of a do or die situation with it because the route was getting old and I feared it was going to be taken down soon.  Also, the problem has a very thin foot chip that you need to spring off of for the finish.  The longer the problem was up the more 'greasy' the foot chip became making sending that much more difficult.  

I had almost given up on the problem to be honest.  I made a lot of progress on it in the first 2 weeks when it was fresh almost touching the top on multiple attempts.  But as time went on I actually started going backwards in terms of progress, unable to even touch the top let alone make a controlled shift towards it.  I had pretty much written the problem off as un-doable (at least for me) however last night I became inspired to give it another shot after watching someone else make the attempt.

The crazy thing about this boulder problem was that initially it seemed impossible.  Then as time went on I was able to figure out the sequence move by move.  Things started progressing...  I felt like it was a puzzle that was slowly unlocking before my eyes.  The final move was a small dynamic jump for the finish with minimal balance on unsteady footing and having only one side-pull for a hand hold.  It was all about trust and overcoming fear.  I kept thinking, how can I make a jump for the finish if I don't trust my footing?  The answer is, you cant.  The thing I realized last night is that sometimes while climbing things don't feel secure.  Things don't feel OK.  How do you deal with that unsettling feeling?  The answer is trust.  More specifically, trust yourself.  I kept thinking, I know the sequence, I know the move, I know what needs to be done.  I just need to DO IT.  Finally, I was able to put the fear aside, clear my head, and just focus on the movement.  Each move felt secure and I felt strong.  I made it to the final move and without hesitation jumped for the finish.  I made it!  

The look on my face must have been priceless.  A combination of surprise and joy.  It felt so good to finally make it to the top of a V6.  It felt even better to start something that initially felt impossible and see it all the way to completion.  Hopefully I can take out a few more V6 problems before the year is up.  


~ Justin

Monday, March 24, 2014

Touchstone Climber Series 2014

Shout out to my local climbing gym, Pipeworks Sacramento!  This is where I train, laugh, and sometimes cry..  Check out the video below for a peak at the Touchstone Climber Series 2014 Competition.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Evolv Nexxo Coming in April 2014

The Nexxo by Evolv drops in April.  I can't wait for these shoes to come out.  Partially because I'm excited to see how they perform against the shaman (which I love) but also because my current pair of evolvs smell like death's armpit.  As much as I love my shaman rock shoes they smell so horrid my girlfriend is threatening to burry them in the backyard if I don't do something quick!  

I'll have a full review up of the Nexxo once I can get my hands on a pair.. 

Check out the link below for a sneak peak.  

OutDoor 2013 - Evolv Nexxo from UKClimbing.com TV on Vimeo.



Monday, January 13, 2014

Rasta Shaman 2.0

After just over a year of steady use my Chris Sharma designed Rasta Shaman rock shoes by Evolv were finally starting to show some wear, but not where you would think.  The rubber on the midsole and the rand was completely in tact on both shoes.  Which, is surprising, given how often I have bouldered in them over the last year.  I've left a considerable amount of rubber on the walls of my local climbing gym and honestly the rubber on my shoes looks as if it's still brand new!  Pretty amazing.  The one place on my shoes that really took a beating was on the 3 hook and loop (Velcro) straps.  As you can see from the photo above the Velcro lining was literally separating from the straps themselves.  I tried super gluing the Velcro back onto the strap which provided a temporary fix however after a week or two of sinching them down they would start pulling apart again.  It was at this point that I decided it may be time to get a new pair of shoes.  

I prefer a really aggressive shoe for bouldering so the only other shoe in my opinion that fits the bill is the Solutions by LaSportiva.  I tried them on at my local REI and found out that the heal cup is really deep on the solutions.  So much so, that even with a really tight pair the heal still had about a 1/4 inch of dead space.  Not good, especially for heal hooks.  I looked at a few other brands but nothing looked / fit as good as my shaman's.  I thought about holding out for the Nexxo's which are the new Sharma designed shoes by Evolv however those haven't been released yet and I needed something to wear in the mean time.  This is where Evolv's stellar customer support came into play.  As a last ditch attempt I decided to contact Evolv to see if they could repair my shoes.  

I emailed services@evolvesports.com and explained my situation to them.  I received a response from a very helpful gentleman by the name of Jeff Kenyon who instructed me to put them in the mail and send them back to Evolv.  So, I did just that.  Within a week and a half they had my shoes fully repaired and back to me!  Not only did they replace all of the Velcro on both shoes but they also gave my shoes a full cleaning.  My shoes were returned to me looking almost brand new.  And the best part... It was all free minus the cost of shipping!  Now that's what I call good customer service!  It is so rare these days to find a company such as Evolv that stands by their products and provides top notch customer support.  They easily could have told me that this was standard wear on the shoes and that it wasn't covered under warranty. And honestly, if they did, I wouldn't have argued that point because after all, they have been heavily used.  But instead, they brought my shoes back to life and in doing so, have made me a faithful customer for life.  They have extended the life of my shoes at least by another year or so.  And, if the rubber holds up as good as it has, maybe I can get them serviced again at some point in the future so I can keep using them.  Below is a picture of my shoes after they were serviced by Evolv.

I love my Shaman rock shoes so much that I decided to purchase a second pair in case they stop making them at some point.  I was unable to find the 'Rasta' limited edition shoes so I opted for the standard pair.

I can't say enough good things about Evolv.  They put out stellar products and provide amazing customer support.  They are truly a model company.  You can tell that they are passionate about the products they put out and genuinely care about their customers.  As I said before they have made me a faithful customer for life.  So, if you haven't already, go out and get yourself a pair of Shaman's before they are all gone!!


~ Justin