About

Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Justin Cucciare. I am a Linux / Network 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, October 22, 2014

Bishop - 2014



So ends another trip to Bishop.  Danica and I have made it a tradition we do every fall, to kind of close out the climbing year.  This year was unlike last year (I will get to that later on in this blog post) but was still amazing none the less.  This year we decided to go down a day early so we could have an extra day in paradise.  We left on Thursday and came back home on Sunday.  The drive down to Bishop was beautiful except for the fact that we took a wrong turn at the 88 / 89 junction near south shore and ended up driving almost all the way back to the valley! No bueno.. All in all it added about another 2 hours to our drive but by far had no adverse affects on our trip.  The psych was still very much high!  And now we know:  from 50 take a right on 89 and a LEFT on 88 followed by another right on 89 to get to 395 mono basin.  :) 

We still made pretty decent time and got into our campsite at about 2pm on Thursday.  If you have never camped at Mill Pond I suggest you check it out.  They have a ton of campsites available.  Each campsite comes with its own parking spot, fire pit, water spigot, etc..  And the campgrounds have bathrooms and pay-showers!  Pretty bad ass and much better than 'the pit' from what I hear.  Here is the link for Mill Pond.  As a word of advice if you try and call ahead of time to book a reservation and no one picks up the phone have no fear.  As I said they have a ton of campsites and rarely fill up so you can drive down there w/out a reservation with no issue.

After we setup camp we headed over to the happy's to get some late day climbing in and I am super glad we did.  We got to the happy's at about 3:30pm.  There was a ton of shade and hardly anyone there.  We pretty much had the place to ourselves which was awesome.  I managed to get up a few V1's which was a huge improvement for me from last year where all I could send was some V0's.  I know V1's dont sound like much (I climb V6 in the gym) but anyone who's bouldered at Bishop before knows that V1's are super hard.  At least for me they are.  A standard V1 in Bishop has little to no foot holds and tiny 2 finger crimps or single mono's for hand holds.  A problem like that in the gym would be V5-V6 for sure..  

On Friday we decided to take a rest day and go investigate the hot springs situated around Crowley Lake we've heard so much about.  The picture at the top of this blog post shows me at one of them.  It was absolutely amazing and I HIGHLY suggest checking them out if you have time.  They are warm, very secluded, and have some of the best views Bishop has to offer.  What more could you ask for? ;)

By the time Saturday rolled around Danica and I were itching to climb.  Our plan was to head to the Buttermilk's for a full day of bouldering.  Plus, it was Danica's birthday so I wanted it to be extra special and figured whats better than bouldering at the Buttermilk's on your birthday??  Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.  We rolled up to the Buttermilk's at about 10:30am (which we thought was early) and to our shock it was PACKED.  We counted at least 34 cars and more were rolling in every few minutes.  Every boulder was packed with crowds of at least 15-20 climbers.  I think we counted almost 100 people!  We didn't even turn the ignition off... We just turned around and headed back to camp.  Completely bummed of course!  There was no way we were going to sit and wait 20 minutes or so between climbs while everyone takes their turn.  The lower-grade boulders were especially packed so wait times Im sure would have been even longer.  This was so different from our trip to the Buttermilk's last year where we climbed on a Saturday and saw hardly anyone there.  I think this really illustrates how much the sport has grown just in this past year.

Our experience at the Buttermilk's highlights the rise in popularity of the sport.  Which, is both good and bad.  Don't get me wrong... I just started climbing about 3 years ago so I am definitely part of the 'new generation' of climbers and would classify myself as a 'gym-baby' no doubt.  I think the rise of the sport is good but at the same time crags are going to increasingly become crowded so you have to adjust your plans to account for that.  Next year we've decided to plan our trip exclusively for a week day.  No more weekend climbing at Bishop.  This point was highlighted by the fact that the happy's on Thursday were a ghost-town.  Two days later on Saturday the Buttermilk's were packed.  We ended up salvaging our climbing trip on Saturday by heading to a lesser known spot we found in the guidebook called 'Pocketopia' located up the 395 close to Crowley Lake.  It took a fair amount of time to get there and the climbing was so so.  But it was empty so at least we could get several routes in before calling it a day.

All in all the trip was still amazing.  Any day I can spend in Bishop is a good day regardless of what we are doing.  And to get to share that experience with my amazing fiance Danica makes it that much more special.  Oh thats right, for any of you who actually read this, I got engaged over 4th of July weekend!  I am so lucky to have found someone who shares my love of the outdoors.  Even without that commonality she would still be the most amazing woman I've ever met.  But that fact that we can enjoy the outdoors and climbing together just makes it that much more special.  

Our trip to Bishop this year was full of ups and downs and a fair amount of surprises but it was still fun none the less.  All in all I think this pic pretty much sums it up:


I'd love to hear about other people's experiences down in Bishop so feel free to sound off in the comments section!

~ Justin

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.

Cheers!

~ 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.  

Cheers!

~ Justin