Filmmaking has been a passion of mine equal-to-or-greater-than climbing. I prefer to shoot Super 8 film over digital for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is a “home” connection I feel to the medium. Harkens back to childhood and those things I remember about the film camera my Dad had. The projection screen, the projector, and the shows I used to put on using the film projector and the slide projector. Later I would play around with multiple VCRs chained together, figuring out how to mash-edit generation over generation on tape, the quality of each new dubbed over version a little bit grainier and fuzzy than the one before. Video cassette recorders took hold and consumer video cameras (VHS-C, 8mm, and beta!) became more affordable. Even editing became more-and-more achievable – with a little bit of inventiveness. But the roots of film never vanished for me. And when I rediscovered the JC Penny Sanyo Super 8 camera from my childhood days, and found some un-shot black and white super 8 film, and shot a test roll of some trains in Tulsa sometime in 2001, I was reconnected. I recall the train footage not turning out that great but it didn’t matter.

I say all of this to make a point about coming full-circle back to what you “know” and back to what you have connections to. Regardless of money, and time, and really even regardless of reason, there are those passions inherent to us that we shouldn’t let go of – and in essence – can’t let go of. But these are the things that makes our selves our self.

So I say, keep shooting film. Keep climbing. Keep writing. Keep doing art. Keep pursuing your goals, who you are and whatever it is that you contribute. Go for it.

From

Art On the Mother Road from Aaron Gibson on Vimeo.

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If you haven’t already heard through some other avenue, here it is for those of you that still check Fusion47:

The SILO ART PROJECT is this massive public art endeavor taking place at Rocktown Climbing Gym in downtown OKC. Artist Rick Sinnett will be painting a giant mural of his work called THIS LAND on the silos. We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign and it’s already met the Funding initiation goal of $16,000 but we still have many days left in which to raise as much as possible to make this thing a reality!

Please check it out and donate if you can.

 

 

 

 

 

John mixing it up For those of you that have followed this site or one of the other iterations of this site (going back to the late 90s), you might recall some stories (dare I say legends) about ice climbing in Oklahoma. Stories about ice climbing in the Wichita Mountains, Avery Drive, even Turner Falls. Those stories are true, or at least base on truth.

Then in 2010 and 2011 I went a bit further and pursued farming ice on the silos of Rocktown in Oklahoma City. It worked the first time I tried it – just using a series of old static lines and running water, the temperature was cold enough to create an ice climb that lasted for a few days. Based on that experience I took the next step and installed a chain-link fence along with a better designed irrigation system and produced a fantastic wall of ice measuring 50 feet tall and about 10 feet wide. The ice lasted for over a week and provided an opportunity for dozens of Okies – and even a championship rodeo cowboy – to try ice climbing for the first time. It was pretty cool.

AaronGen1IceClimb Ice Climb 2nd Generation

Last winter was pretty much a bust. And unseasonably warm winter ensured great temps for rock climbing but no chance for farming ice. We took the chain link fence down from the front of the silos and I’d pretty much swore off any possibility of trying to farm ice again.

This summer I began to think about it more. The idea of having the perfect facility and knowing that if the conditions happen to be right that we could produce an ice climb again was calling to me. But I needed another place to put the ice climb rather than the front of the building.

Now here we are about to enter the 2013 ice season. We are in the process of constructing an ice corridor between the two sets of silos. This allows for an enclosed area away from the parking lot and better secured and keeps ice out of the parking lot (which was a major issue). The ice climbing wall is 3 times as wide and equally as tall as the previous years. Sixteen feet wide by fifty feet tall, that measures up to 800 sq. feet of climbable WI5-6 terrain! There are three top-rope stations and we may be adding the possibility of lead climbing as well. The corridor is secured with a gate and will has a small deck at the entrance and steps down into the “pit” area.
Ice Corridor FencingIce Corridor Gate

The irrigation system is a modified version of what we previously had and is further enhanced with a heated water supply hose and electric heat wrap on the sprayer line just in case of a freeze-up.

Of course this all continues to be a big experiment and ultimately it comes down to the actual weather conditions to make it all work. But at least we’ll be ready. Now we’ll keep an eye on the forecast….

There’s a winter storm on the horizon.

boots-crampons

ice-chris1

Ice Climber and Belayer

Ice Climber In Red

Nic's First Ice Climb

There’s a lot of stored material on my hard drives, in my photo albums (I’m talking about actual photo albums, not the online version), and on little 8mm video tapes that documents a history of Oklahoma climbing. I’m in the process of getting some of that good stuff either online for the first time or, as in this case, back online.

The webpage about the Quarry was online about a decade ago. That’s pre-Facebook for those of you that recall those days. Back then there may have even been a pay phone or two around at your local 7-11. Yes, that far back.

To the Quarry Webpage

The Quarry is one of those areas that is veiled in mystery and secrecy like some fraternal order. But unlike some of those mysterious entities that abound with exaggerated stories of varying degrees of truth, this place actually exists and in the majority of cases the stories passed down among generations are true.

A climbing area like the Quarry just seems unbelievable. Impossible. Especially from the standpoint of a person in smooth-soled rubber shoes and a dusting of magnesium carbonate on their hands. For it seems, from this perspective of a climber looking up at granite as clean as giant tombstone, that it would take more than these basic utilities to make any upward movement whatsoever. It would take suction cups for fingers and toes.

Nothing so steep asthe front side of the Quarry can be labeled “slab climbing.” A misnomer to say the least. But much of it is just that; less than vertical. The Quarry is a conflict of interest by every account. It wasn’t intended to be climbed but a place as scarred as this ran asunder from rules the moment the first dynamite bore hole was drilled. Now, anything might go. For instance, The Back Room, a place where experiments in glued on rocks, chiseled holds, and multipitch tiered-traverse climbs on slick-as-glass stone exist.

There is very little that is nice about this place. That is to say, aesthetically pleasing. Layers of lame graffiti. Clanging remnants of sheet metal bent around stone. Whipping of rusted cables strung overhead to steel towers. Blue-green water pits the depths of which contain unknown wastes. Tons of symmetrically cleaved blocks strewn across a hillside – the insides of a once innocent mountainside evacuated. “The Best Granite on Earth,” they say. It may be. But in the oddest of forms now.

There’s hardly a stone that is harder than this.

But what entices the climber to even begin to approach such a place? Pure and simple: the challenge.

The Quarry is a place where success is measured in the smallest of movements. The technical aspects of climbing come alive. Climbing here is a hybrid of climbing rock and structures – sure it’s stone, but it’s man-made.

In the page added here I’m reintroducing the climbing world to part of Oklahoma climbing – a hidden gem. A rough-cut gem, but a gem nonetheless. It’s worth noting that the Quarry is private property and trespassing can carry consequences. I’m not advocating visiting the Quarry. I’m only wanting to share some history of it with you.

Maybe one day a band of climbers can get together and help acquire the Quarry as a climbing reserve. It just so happens that it’s perfect for that.

To the Quarry Webpage

PRODUCTION ANNOUNCEMENT

F47 Productions, LLC announces the production of a feature length documentary motion picture about climbers and the history of climbing in Oklahoma. Research and principle photography for the documentary has begun and will take place over the course of 2012.

I am currently seeking information about historical milestones in Oklahoma climbing, central figures that have influenced Oklahoma climbing, and other individuals that might hold a place in Oklahoma climbing history.

This film (title forthcoming) is a documentary about climbers and the history of climbing in Oklahoma as told through the voices of first ascensionists and those that have followed. It’s a look at the personalities, the areas, and the routes that have etched themselves into Oklahoma climbing lore. These tales, told in personal interview format, are about routes climbed, trips taken, lessons learned, and legends created. It’s a look at the lifestyle of climbers who’ve cultivated a niche in the most unlikely of places for rock climbing, a place often overlooked as having any stone at all.

In the coming days there will be further announcements, including a website and Kickstarter page.

This is a big project, a worthwhile documentary, and a part of Oklahoma history at climbing history at large – I’m hoping to have community support to see it through. All keep you posted.

For inquires, questions, etc. please contact:
Aaron Gibson

 

 

EmergencyClosure_CharonsGardenWA_0711

Due to the extreme heat conditions in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, the Refuge has decided to temporarily close the Charons Gardens Wilderness Area until further notice. Recently, there has been a number of heat-related incidents due to hikers and other day users that have resulted in Refuge personnel having to perform rescues. Rescues in this heat put a significant toll on the Rangers as they have to subject themselves to the heat in order to perform these rescues.

For the safety of the public and Refuge personnel we ask that everyone please respect the temporary closure during this excessive period of high temperatures.

If visiting other areas of the Refuge please take extra caution to ensure that you are prepared for the heat; plan your day, spend plenty of time in the shade, bring plenty of water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Know how to recognize the sign and symptoms of heat-related illnesses (http://american.redcross.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ItsHotOutHere) and treatment.

Adidas is jumping feet first into the bouldering competition world with the Adidas Rock Stars event at Area 47 in Austria. This event drew my attention for several reasons – first because it looks like it will be a high profile event with some serious climbing talent. Adidas is sponsoring it which means some good financial backing and very professional. The venue, called “Area 47″ is at the entrance of Tirol’s famous Oetztal valley – and features a number of outdoor recreational sports besides climbing. It looks like a giant playground to do all kinds of crazy stuff.

Again, just another way of climbing becoming a little more recognizable to some heavy hitter brands. And it’s events like this that help sustain our sport, allow others to appreciate it, and make it possible for more people to support themselves through climbing.

Adidas Rock Stars Event

The event will also feature live music during the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was recently announced that climbing made the short list of 8 sports to be included in the 2020 Olympic games.

You can read more about it here.

This is the closest that climbing has ever been to becoming an Olympic sport. Given the number of recent World Cup competitions in the USA it’s no surprise that climbing is finally being looked at as a significant contender. In the past three years we’ve hosted a World Cup bouldering competition in Vail, CO and this year we’ll see the first World Cup sport climbing competition since the 1980s!

Competitive climbing (bouldering, speed and sport) has positioned itself as a growing youth sport – which makes it that much more attractive to the Olympic committee.

So what can WE do to promote climbing and get it in the Olympics? Well, USA Climbing Executive Director, Keith Ferguson said that first and foremost we can attend the World Cup events hosted here in the USA, and if we are unable to attend, we should log-in, whenever possible, to watch the live feeds of climbing competitions. This can be done through the USA Climbing site and through the IFSC website. The number of viewers or hits that a live or recorded feed is used to show popularity. And those numbers are part of the equation to demonstrate how many viewers climbing can generate.

It’s going to be important to start a buzz about climbing becoming an Olympic sport. We need to support our local USA Climbing teams – like the Oklahoma Climbing Team – and those organizations that support competitive climbing – like USA Climbing.

It’s also worth mentioning, on a local level, that Rocktown Climbing Gym is positioning itself to becoming the location of a world-class venue suitable for Olympic level events and an Olympic training facility. More on this in future postings.

For the time being, let’s keep focused on elevating climbing to the level it deserves – let’s push for seeing it in the Olympics – wherever that may be – in 2020.