Let me preface this blog post with a confession. I’m a pretty superstitious person. I firmly believe that an article of clothing can possess luck and I plan my outfits accordingly. I also like to do things in a particular order. In climbing this is easy to explain away because having a routine for tying in and double-checking yourself is the safe thing to do. But I must admit that safety does not explain why I always put my left shoe on first, and not until after I’ve tied my knot. I’ve never been seriously injured while climbing and I’ve always put my left shoe on first. Why test it?
Jen Vennon is Out With the Old, In With the New
Because of the above mentioned “superstitions” (and I do realize you could just as easily describe these tendencies as neurotic) I NEVER change climbing shoes mid-project. The shoes I learn the moves in are the shoe I will send in. No exceptions.
Last year I received a brand new pair of Anasazi LVs, a shoe I affectionately refer to as “the purple velcro shoe”, in my Christmas stocking. I’d just spent a few months wearing non-5.10 shoes and couldn’t have been happier with my Christmas gift. 5.10s are the only shoes that work for me and the Anasazi LV is my favorite of the bunch!
Those purple velcro shoes immediately became my only climbing shoe. And I mean that literally. Warm-up, project, redpoints, limestone, sandstone, plastic. I did it all in that one pair of shoes. At the six month mark they were looking good and managed to be just the luck I needed to send a long standing project of mine, Simply Read, in Rifle Colorado. Check out a video of the climb at DeadPoint Mag.
As summer turned to fall I began work on the hardest route I’ve ever attempted, The 7 P.M Show. After a few weeks on this route, and eight months in my Anasazis, my shoes were beginning to show signs of wear, most notably with a huge gouge in the sole of the shoe, right beneath my big toe. But, as I mentioned before, I do not believe in switching shoes mid project. I also did not have the resources to order a new pair of shoes and get them to Carbondale in time for the perfect weather. (This was all before I became a proud member of team 5.10!!) What could I do but send the hardest route of my life in a pair of shoes I’d been wearing for eight solid months.
At that point I began to think that I could make these shoes last a full year. They are obviously lucky shoes, so I figured I try to get all the luck out of them that I could.
I was determined to make it happen. That was until I arrived home to find a box of brand new Anasazi LVs. It would have been really cool to wear that same pair of shoes, exclusively, for an entire year. But not quite as cool as getting a brand new pair just in time for winter bouldering!
Still, eleven months in a single pair of climbing is pretty good.