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The Booty Crew

Submitted by j_ung on 2006-01-08

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If you’re not flyin’… you’re not really composing a coherent opinion about your gear, either.

If the Booty Crew, the orneriest bunch of cusses ever to sling a keyboard in the name of quality climbing gear, had a motto, that would be it. This assortment of eclectic folks is the official gear review team. They take a licking so you don’t have to. They log hours upon hours of crag and screen time to bring you the most informed, lucid and diverse gear reviews possible. From Jay and Phil H. in the Southeast US to Phil Box down under, the Booty crew spans the globe to bring you the thrill of sparkly shiny things and the agony of ideas that are only good on paper.

Trust the Booty Crew. Obey… obey… obey…

The Booty Crew is:

Jay Young (j_ung)

Jay Bio Pic

Jay has four jobs, but don’t feel sorry for him. Three of the four he does out of love, including his role as editor of the Gear Guide and leader of the Booty Crew. His other jobs include freelance journalism and route setting at his local gym. The job that pays most of the bills, however, is that of copywriter for a corporate ethics and compliance consulting firm… yaaaawwwwwn…

Jay began climbing almost 20 years ago in and around DC, where he grew up, but his first real climbing experience came as an Outward Bound student in Colorado. After that course he began to buy climbing equipment with gleeful reckless abandon. The formative years of his climbing career were spent at the Gunks of NY and Seneca Rocks of WV, which is why his first love will always be trad. These days, Jay prefers “sport tradding,” which is essentially steep, easily-protected single-pitch trad. He has also been known, however, to frequent such bastions of runout slabbiness as Stone Mountain, Cedar Rock and Looking Glass, NC. Despite his trad roots, Jay also loves a good clip-up and isn’t averse to bolts. He hopes to boulder much more this year, as well.

Jay puts almost as much love into cooking as he does climbing and writing, though according to him, he’s only average in all of the three. His wife and dog, Wendy and Louis, respectively, also climb.

Kate R. (holdplease2)

Kate Bio Pic

Kate started climbing while living in Chicago and traveling to Red River Gorge and Devil’s Lake on weekends. Thankfully, the commitment that kept her in Chicago (a job) also made it possible to travel. These days she lives in her RV and travels with the weather…mostly between Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Zion, and Red Rocks, though she’s also spent time in Arizona.

Kate will get on any kind of climb to spend time with a partner or partners that she enjoys, but her first love is climbing big walls. “If I had the choice,” says Kate, “I’d spend every night on my Metolius Bombshelter eating Tasty Bites and waiting for the moon to rise.”

John Wilder (vegastradguy)


John started climbing about four years ago in the gym, but within a few months, he discovered multipitch trad in his back yard, Red Rock, NV. Indeed, although he's been known to dabble around with bouldering, sport, and single pitch trad, his true passion is long free routes -- so much so that his primary focus in Red Rock is establishing new lines for others to enjoy. John travels regularly around the southwest, spending a few weekends every winter in Joshua Tree, and he tries to spend at least a week or two in the summer in Yosemite. His goals are to put up more new routes around Red Rock, do a big wall or two in Yosemite and travel to more climbing destinations around the western U.S.

Dingus Milktoast (dingus)

Dingus Bio Pic

Dingus Milktoast has climbed since 1973, when he first borrowed his mom's clothesline to rappel off a disintegrating bluff in Tennessee (seriously). Recognizing that cotton wouldn't quite cut it, he quickly graduated to his pop's polypro boat rope,

Says Dingus, “Those first 10 years in the sport were largely done in a vacuum, with a little help from Royal Robbins Beginner and Advanced Rockcraft. I taught everyone of my partners to climb… if you want to call what we were doing 'climbing.' In the fall of 84 my buddy Jr. and I were toproping at Bee Rock near Cookeville and ran into some dude just back from a stint in Wyoming... Arno Illgner. I didn't climb with him all that much, 3 or 4 outtings I reckon. But this was my first exposure to a Real Climber and the lessons I leaned were more attitudinal than technical.”

Dingus immigrated to California in January of ‘86 and never looked back. He enjoys all forms of climbing (some more than others) and pursues them all as opportunity allows. Dingus is as interested in having a fun day climbing as he is ticking a project or sending something new. The Sierra Nevada is his preferred playground though he’s climbed a bit throughout the West. He has summited more than 100 peaks there and feels blessed with hundreds of ascents and several lifelong friends and partners.

Dingus’ wife, Nancy Milktoast, has always been supportive of his climbing affliction. The two have never once argued about its impact on their family. “I have two wonderful daughters,” reports Dingus. “Milktoasts through and through.”

Mike Anderson (rockprodigy)

rockprodigy pic

Mike has been climbing for 15 years, and enjoys all aspects of the sport. Originally from Oregon, he started out climbing at Smith Rock and scrambling up the nearby Cascade volcanoes. Since then, he has lived in Ogden, Utah and Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he currently resides.

Above all else, Mike loves exploring new places. Such wanderlust has led him up big mountains from Denali’s Cassin Ridge, all the way down to Pico de Orizaba in Mexico. His past pursuit of the “Fifty Classic Climbs of North America” led Mike up many fine alpine routes. But unfortunately, his obsession with peak bagging forced him to learn how to climb ice, and he eventually got hooked. He has climbed ice all over Utah, Colorado and Wyoming and was recently featured in the mixed climbing film “Comfortably Numb”.

Mike has climbed rock all over the western US. His favorite sport climbing destinations are Smith Rock and St. George, UT. He has established well over 100 of his own routes in Ogden, St. George, and the newly opened Castle Rock Ranch where his route “The Rising” was the first all natural 5.13 in the City of Rocks area. As a trad climber, Mike seeks out hard finger cracks and desperate slabs, so not surprisingly, his favorite trad venue is Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT.

Mike is committed to pushing himself as a climbe; his obsession with training is evidence of this. He can spend hours swapping training theories, and he has occasionally skipped a day of climbing outside to work out on his hangboard. Such psychotic dedication recently paid off with a virtual flash of El Cap’s Freerider, and the First Free Ascent of the Lowe Route on the North Face of Angel’s Landing.

Kristin McNamara (maculated)

Kristin Bio Pic

Maculated, aka KMac, spends her non-Internet life as Kristin Tara McNamara. Lacking, as she says, “the gifts of good genetics and a set of brass cojones,” she makes up for her “mediocrity” by being the quintessential climbing Renaissance woman. While she prefers long multipitch days in remote areas, she’s been known to clip bolts, pebble wrestle when coerced, and finds that she also enjoys suffering in the cold (ice climbing) and for long periods of time (aid).

Kristin lives for the road and spends a total of three months a year on climbing trips. She has perfected the camp stove calzone, car bivvying, and changing in and out of a sports bra in mixed company. Her favorite places to climb are Red Rocks, for its pristine sandstone cracks and maculated rock formations; the Red River Gorge, for its tropical climes and Southern hospitality; and the High Sierra, because she enjoys the magnitude of its wilderness and the views from the top.

When she’s not climbing, she’s a college lecturer in composition and argument, web master, professional dog trainer/handler, and writer. She’s won awards for her short stories and artwork, held regular columns in local and national periodicals, and served on yearbook staff in Junior high. A little known fact is that when she was about ten, for a brief moment in history, she was the Nintendo world champion.

A lifer Californian, she speaks quickly and peppers her language with liberal use of “like” and “dude”. She has lived near San Francisco, in the eastern Sierra, and currently resides on the central coast. Life on the idyllic left coast has caused her to believe in the truth of honesty, the goodness in her fellow man, and doing good deeds. Her favorite beer is Boont Amber Ale, she’ll kill for a good crème brulee, and witty repartee makes her day.

Phil Hoffman (tradlodyte)

PhilH Bio Pic

During Phil’s college years at Catawba College, climbing shared time with lacrosse and playing guitar in a working band. After school, however, it soon became clear where his true love lay and climbing took over.

Phil is AMGA trained but schooled on Carolina trad routes. He works the North Carolina crags as a guide and heads up the instructional program for Inner Peaks, a climbing center in Charlotte, NC. Phil’s ass-deep involvement in the Carolina climbing scene has instilled in him a love of tradition, respect for local ethics and a desire to push his own limits on bold NC granite. Recently however, Phil has come to know and love much of the bullet-hard southern sandstone that is within weekend striking distance of his home. He has rented a house in the stunning New River Gorge of West Virginia and expects to spend boo-koo time there, playing where the craggin’ is simply the best on the East Coast.

Though Phil’s love of traditional climbing is obvious in everything he does, he also enjoys clipping bolts and bouldering – a true eclectic climber of the East.

Michael Reardon (michael)

Michael Bio Pic

Michael has made a climbing career of freesoloing, including several onsight ascents. The list includes five routes of 5.13, one of them onsight, but Michael also goes for quantity – how does 280 routes freesoloed in a single day sound? Impossible? Not for this J-Tree local. That exhaustive 18-hour period involved roughly two miles of vertical distance.

About freesoloing, Michael’s philosophy is surprisingly simple: "It's obviously a sport with few participants,” he says. “Because like big wave riding, training happens every day in hopes for those rare times when the stars line up and genuine moments of purity occur. The only competition is yourself in this game of life. And once in a while, someone touches the imagination and sparks the dream.”

Though it might seem as though Michael is the worst person in the world to review equipment – what equipment? Shoes? Chalk bags? – Michael also logs more than his fair share of hours on rope.

When he isn’t climbing, Michael is part family man and part Hollywood movie producer. His involvement in successful endeavors such as “Cabin Fever,” have given him enough freedom to enjoy the things he most wants to. Though formerly the CEO of, Michael is currently involved with another film project. He resides on the coast of Cali with his daughter and wife of twelve-plus years.

Phil Box (philbox)

PhilB Bio Pic

Note: Phil’s bio is written in Australian. Seek translation if necessary.

Phil Box started climbing at the tender age of 6 months old, or so his mum told him. He climbed the clothes hoist before he was two, and then it was on to every tree in the district. He finally found roped climbing about 14 years ago and now, he’s an Australian Climbing Instructors Association (the Aussie equivalent of AMGA) lead climbing instructor.

Phil climbs recreationally most weekends and has been involved in putting up many new routes around SE Queensland and northern New South Wales in Australia. “My first love is crack climbing,” as Phil tells it, “which I do as often as I can at Frog Buttress, a world-class crack destination. I pretty much like any style of climbing, though.”

Phil and his mates are instrumental in the development of Mt. Tibrogargan in the Glasshouse Mountains, which is mostly multi-pitch sport climbing on steep volcanic fused blocks. “I love developing new routes,” says Phil, “particularly on steep terrain where lots of jiggery pokery is involved to get oneself into a position where one can actually work.”

Phil is also a member of the local mountain rescue squad, for which he is a rescue leader and trainer of other squad members. He holds a seat on the board of an adventure education group. In fact, his status with the ACIA entitles him to instruct any aspect of climbing in Australia, which he does with enthusiasm.

Currently, Phil owns and operates a roofing-plumbing business for which climbing is an integrated part of every workday.

The Adams City Climbing Eagles


Open to any and all interested ACHS students, the Adams City Climbing Eagles participate in the Denver Climbing League, hosted by Paradise Rock Gym in Denver, and in the American Bouldering Series in addition to climbing outdoors at various local areas. The team is active in the Colorado climbing community, participating in every Adopt-a-Crag day they can and organize one of their own in cooperation with Castlewood Canyon State Park, the Access Fund, and Leave No Trace, Inc.

The Climbing Eagles are fortunate enough to have received support from a wide range of organizations including Evolv, La Sportiva, Rock and Ice Magazine, Falcon Books, Petzl, Nalgene, Gaiam and many others.

According to Todd Mayville (phaedrus), the Climbing Eagles’ leader and coach, the goals and objectives of the team include:

• Introducing students to the sport of rock climbing.

• Acquainting students with outdoor ethics (i.e., low impact/Leave No Trace), thus encouraging environmental conservation and wilderness preservation.

• Exposing students to a positive, healthy after school activity they will be able to continue to practice throughout their adult lives.

• Through having a diverse team of mixed gender, age, orientation, religion, heritage, ethnicity and race, deconstruct myths and stereotypes based on race, gender, creed, etc.; preparing students for careers in a diverse society and workplace.

• Encouraging students to pursue post secondary job trainings in order to better prepare them for life and work in the 21st century.

• Establishing a college scholarship fund to provide financial assistance to members of the team who wish to attend post secondary educational institutions.

• Through climbing, demonstrate and teach the skills necessary to be successful adults in the workplace and in their daily lives: accepting personal responsibility as individuals, as students, and as climbers; making choices and accepting the consequences for those choices.

It sounds like a lot of business, but these guys love to play as much anybody on the Booty Crew. On any given warm, sunny day, you can expect to find members of the Climbing Eagles out on some crag, climbing some boulder or walking some sick slackline.


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