Tag Archives | climbing

To Know a Place: 7 Years of Climbing Point Dume

When I would casually tell  new climbers (unfamiliar with Malibu) that we would soon be climbing “Point Dume,” their eyes would widen with mild terror.  I forget that this spot, pronounced “DOOM” might have another, more menacing meaning to it.

Jay sport climbing sunset - adjusted

In my mind, it has a meaning all its own.  Point Dume is a special place to me.  Of all the places throughout the world that I’ve climbed, it’s my very favorite route.  Why?  For starters, it’s incredibly beautiful.   The arete, a relatively easy route, hangs over the ocean.  Above you, seagulls and hawks swoop.  Below you, the waves break on the rocks and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot dolphins, seals, or even whales.  Yet, above it’s beauty, I know the place intimately well.  I’ve taught hundreds of new climbers here and I suspect the number of times I’ve climbed it may be edging close to triple digits.

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Beginner’s Guide to Rock Climbing

If you’re like me, you come to a cliff face or mountain and you have to climb it.  There’s the challenge–a puzzle really–of getting to the top and then there’s the joy of exploration and discovering what awaits at the peak.  That’s why I found myself drawn to rock climbing.

Jay sport climbing at Point Dume

I’ve been rock climbing for more than a decade.  A few years after I started, I began guiding groups at college, then taught climbing lessons regularly throughout grad school.  I suspect I’ve taught hundreds and frequently get asked how someone can take up the sport.

I’ve read various beginner guides, most of which are too complex.  I wanted to share my advice for getting started in one of the greatest sports on earth. Continue Reading →


Launch of www.ClimbWorthington.com

Jay, Lisa, and Renae on top

This weekend was the launch of http://www.ClimbWorthington.com.  If you haven’t seen my previous posts about our proposal to renovate the abandoned grain elevator in Worthington, Minnesota, into a region indoor climbing facility, then please check out the website.  We would appreciate your support in spreading the world.  And, yes, this photo is standing on top of this 110+ foot monolith tower over the prairie!!  Hopefully you too will get to see the view!


One Man’s Treasure: Part 3 – History of the Grain Silo

We have received early encouragement with the Worthington grain elevator project.  The concept of a renovating the facility for a regional climbing center is appealing to many, but not without reservations.  The grain elevator is, in a word, embattled.  Legal battles over the elevator proceeded all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court (which did not grant cert).  I alluded to this checkered history in my first post, but chose to reveal little and allow the process to unfold on its own.  Many stories and viewpoints surround the history of the site and I did not want to share any inaccuracies.  This week I came across an article originally printed in the Worthington Daily Globe, which I wanted to share beause it summarizes the history as was made known to the general public. 

View from Diagonal

I anticipate that this will be my last post about the grain elevator for a while.  I look forward to making the next round of presentations to the city in about 2 1/2 weeks.   Also, see my photos from the top of the grain elevator in my previous post.

Appellate Decision Issued 

January 04, 2010

WORTHINGTON, MN — A decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals disappointed city leaders last week when appellate judges affirmed the decision made by Judge Jeffrey Flynn to grant summary judgment to New Vision Cooperative, dismissing the city’s claim regarding the grain elevator on 10th Street.


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One Man’s Treasure: Part 1

Today, I made the first in what I hope will be a series of presentations about this structure:

Wgtn Grain Elevator - Low Res

It's an abandoned grain elevator built, we think, in the early 1940s.  The 65' tall grain elevator, located in downtown Worthington, Minnesota, has been mired in a sea of controversey.  "It should be torn down, it's an eye-sore," some say.  The city wants it demolished, but the ownership and responsibility has bounced around.

Like the adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," this is a treasure that I hope the city does not lose.  Rather, I see holding the potential to become one of the city's main attractions.  As a rock climber, tall cement structures look like gold to me.  And, there has been a trend among throughout the U.S. to convert abandoned grain silos into climbing gyms.  Upperlimits in Bloomington, Illinois, and Oklahoma City Rocks are two that have set the bar high.  Not only are their facilities amazing, but they attract tourism from around the country.  The experience of climbing a grain silo is unique.

For me, this endeavor is a new adventure–seeing how we can leverage the city process to hopefully preserve this site and make it an attraction for the city of Worthing.  Relatively few of these single-pour cement silos still exist around the U.S, so the opportunity is rare as it is unique.  I look forward to updating my blog with progress as we (hopefully) make it.  For now, the plan I wrote I wrote and specifics of the proposal are getting into the right hands in the city.  To allow the integrity of the process and proper channels to proceed, I'll spare those details for now.  

Hopefully, if my vision is caught and championed by the right people, we will all be able to celebrate a great achievement in rennovation and redevelopment.


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