The Joy Trip Project | Reporting on the Business, Art & Culture of the Sustainable Active Lifestyle
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Climbing, Music, Podcast, Special Events / 24.06.2010

One of the great pleasure of putting together this podcast every week is finding those amazing individuals whose work bring art and culture together to tell the story of adventure. Unfortunately it’s not often that I can make a more direct connection to the active lifestyle through the performing art of music. But more two years ago I became acquainted with the work of climber and rap artist Kris Hampton, a singer known as O-Dub. His name was derived while a blending his love for music with his passion for climbing wide cracks on rock walls commonly called off-widths. “I was recording songs in a studio in a bad neighborhood in Cincinnati. I was the only white that recorded in the studio,” O-Dub said. “And I came out of the booth one day to record a song…the song “Off-Widths.” And these thugged-out guys with white T-Shirts down to their knees are all staring at me like I’m an idiot. Like what is this guy talking about? “They understood the spirit of the song, but they didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. So they caught onto the word off-width and started using it like ‘off the hook’ or ‘off the chain’ like ‘Man! That was off-width.’ So they used it all week while I was in there recording. And they started calling me off-width and then someone shortened it to O-Dub and it just went from there.” With topical lyrics and bouncy jams authentic to his own experience Kris O-Dub Hampton brings the art of song writing to the sport of climbing. Through his rap songs he’s creating new anthems to both inspire and chronicle the life of adventure but with a modern twist that still’s reminiscent of the poets and ballad writers in the classic style of the mountaineering tradition.
Film Review, Fun Film Friday / 18.06.2010

This film by Julie Gautier from Bluenery Productions puts free diving in the same adventure category as BASE jumping. Nothing before filmed under water gives you the same thrill as Steph Davis soaring through the air in wingsuit or Andy Lewis hurling himself off a bridge. Shot in 4 minutes 18 seconds you'll hold your breath right along with free diver Guillaume Nery as he descends 663 feet to touch the bottom of Dean's Blue Hole, the world's second deepest underwater sinkhole in a bay west of Clarence Town on Long Island, Bahamas. Gautier describes this feat as underwater BASE Jumping. But since this environment is neither a bridge, antennae, span nor earth we're going to need another letter.
Climbing, Interview, Podcast, Special Events / 16.06.2010

Once you reach a certain point in your career it’s great to be able to sit back and reflect upon what you’ve accomplished. It’s gratifying to see in hindsight how far you’ve come and this vantage point you can also look forward to what you have yet to achieve in the future. At the age of 29 professional climber Chris Sharma is in a good position to see the route his life has taken so far and start making plans to a forge a new line, a course of travel into the years that lie ahead. Known as one of the strongest sport climbers in world today, Chris Sharma continues to set the curve for aspiring and professional rock monkeys alike. Appearing in several feature films he first came to my attention back in 2007 during a pre-release screening of the movie King Lines. In this production from Sender Films Sharma introduced audiences to the emerging discipline of deep water soloing where climbers scale incredibly hard routes on rock faces high above ocean pools. In King Lines he works a particularly difficult problem whose crux is a 7-foot dyno to be stuck or risk a 60-foot fall to sea below. Combining athleticism and a profound appreciation for the natural world Chris Sharma is a climber of both strength and grace that defines the lifestyle and passion of a man comfortable in the profession he loves.
Commentary / 14.06.2010

It just wasn’t going to happen. Shamane and I turned the newly built chair every-which-way, but there was no getting it up the stairs and through the narrow door from the basement.

“I hate to tell you this hun,” she said. “But I think you need to take the arms off.” My wife is every bit as smart as she is beautiful. Twelve years of marriage has taught me not to argue. Repeatedly muttering a single syllable expletive, I backed us down the steps and skulked over to my workbench. The precision Japanese handsaw I cherish would make quick work of this. After two solid weeks on an extended Joy Trip I spent my first Saturday at home building an Adirondack chair. The simple but classic design is a one-day project I could knock out in 8 hours from first cut to finish. The practice of woodworking is a wonderfully active meditation that frees the mind while transforming thought into reality. Ironically, the creation of this comfy lawn chair was a roundabout way of settling my overloaded brain to contemplate and then report on the many adventures I discovered in my recent travels.
Assignment Earth, Environmental Protection / 11.06.2010

“Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – Winston Churchill. When it comes to oil spills no one knows this better than Native Alaskans.  Indigenous Arctic tribes learned their lesson during the Exxon Valdez debacle of 1989. In this edition of Assignment Earth several leaders of the Inupiaq Tribe came south to tour the devastation of the recent British Petroleum disaster that continues to spew toxic crude into the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast. “We had many miles of our beaches like this,” said Alaskan native Earl Kingik. “ A lot of our shore birds fly away and don’t come back to Point Hope due to this kind of oil activity, this oil spill.” [caption id="attachment_3336" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="Native Alaskan/Exxon Valdez survivor Earl Kingik tours the Gulf Oil Spill"][/caption]
Environmental Protection, Film Festival, Mountain Film / 03.06.2010

[caption id="attachment_3322" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="Moving Mountains symposium on the extiction crisis"][/caption]

I’m sure it wasn’t just the altitude. Over Memorial Day weekend I nursed a raging headache at Mountain Film in Telluride. There was also a deep churning at the pit of my stomach that made me feel a bit uneasy. But at 9,000 above sea level I believe the symptoms I felt were less due to a lack of oxygen than it was the sudden and intense onslaught of complex ideas, passion stirring images and ire-raising conversations that are typically part of the Mountain Film experience. As passionate artists, athletes and activists come together to share their particular view of life on Earth, most who attend are roused to an emotional reaction they can feel in their hearts and minds as well as their bodies.