Tag Archives: climbing gym

Protein Granola Bites


As an alternative to buying and eating packaged protein bars like Cliff and Luna Bars, we started making these protein granola bites to refuel after outdoor activities. Depending on how much peanut butter and honey you use, you can adjust the consistency and either create a looser granola or a more dense texture that keeps its shape in bars or balls. These snacks taste really, really good and use natural ingredients – nothing mysterious or unnecessary! I can find most of the ingredients in the bulk food section of our local grocery store. 

Ingredients like peanut butter and chia seeds already contain protein, but to add extra protein to this recovery snack, I’ve used a natural whey protein powder. These are so easy to make – no baking required. Just stir it all together! Plus, it’s really easy to pack on hiking, camping, or climbing trips.

Recipe adapted from Easy No Bake Protein Energy Bites.


Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • I cup oats
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (no salt or sugar added)
  • ½ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup cacao nibs (or mini chocolate chips)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • 2 tblsp vanilla whey protein powder (optional)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

And here’s the method of preparation:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.
  • Shape into balls and store in the refrigerator in air-tight container. 


If you leave the mix as a loose granola, it tastes great eaten in a bowl with a little milk. 

Hope you enjoy making and eating this healthy and less expensive protein bar. Happy adventuring!

Climbing Barn: Foundation and Footer for the Expansion

IMG_3592This week’s climbing barn update will focus on the concrete foundation and footer. Josh is building an expansion on the existing barn that will become a bouldering, yoga, and general training space, and the first steps of the expansion included digging, framing, and pouring the foundation and footer. In case you’ve missed the previous posts about the climbing barn, you can visit them here: Plans for the Barn and Climbing Barn: Ledger Boards and Framework.

To begin, Josh measured out the dimensions from the engineer’s drawings and marked the future footer on the ground with surveyors flags. Let the digging begin! He dug out the footer to a minimum of 18″ below grade as per Nelson County code so the footer is below the frost line. Once the footer trough was prepped, he and friends (thanks, Jake and Stephen!), built the internal framework out of #4 rebar and the concrete mold out of 2×4 lumber and 3/4″ plywood.

Here’s a detailed step-by-step (with lots of pictures) for building the rebar and wooden mold:

Take proper measurements for the rebar lengths and for the wooden mold dimensions.


Then mark the rebar using a wax crayon and bend the rebar using a rebar bender to create the necessary shape for the footer.



Rebar “chairs” sit on the ground and ensure that the rebar remains suspended in the concrete, offering support to the footer and protecting them from rust and corrosion that can be caused by water in the ground.



Connect pieces of the rebar using bar ties and a twister tool. The twister tool makes tying the rebar together a snap!



Below is an image of the shaped and connected rebar, suspended in place by plastic chairs.


Next step is building the wooden mold for the footer. Using the measurements for the foundation footer, cut the lumber and assemble the frame with screws.



Connect the corners of the wood frame in place to make sure that everything fits properly in the dug footer. Use straps of wood to prevent the mold from pulling apart once the heavy concrete is in it. After the rebar and wood frame are installed, fill the dirt back in, surrounding the mold on the outside (don’t fill in the interior of the mold).


Next is a pretty exciting part – concrete! Josh hired a “ready-mix” concrete company to deliver concrete, and while the concrete was poured, he guided the concrete to make sure it was evenly dispersed. He also vibrated the concrete in layers to remove air and level the footer.



I helped out by evening out the surface of the concrete with a trowel to make the texture smooth and level. It’s helpful to mark the level line on the mold or use a string level at this stage.


Almost done. After the concrete cures (this depends a lot on the temperature and the mix but it is usually hard enough to break it out in a day or so), clear away the surrounding dirt from the outsides of the frame so that the wooden mold can be removed. Once the wood is removed, the dirt can be replaced. Beautiful! After all those steps, we now have a sturdy concrete foundation and footer for the climbing barn expansion.

To prepare for the next steps of the climbing barn expansion, which will include framing out the expansion, Josh demolished the existing wall (saving all the wonderful “reclaimed” hardwood for future projects).

all barn images

Stay tuned for more updates on this project in the next few months! We are so excited just thinking about climbing and bouldering in the barn.













Plans for the Barn

Good news everyone! Josh has started cleaning up the barn and is converting it into our very own small climbing gym. Over the last year or so, we’ve both gotten into rock climbing and found that we really, really enjoy it. The old barn on our property seems like a great space to practice.

IMG_2080To begin, Josh pulled off all the vines that were covering the sides of the barn. It looks so nice already.

IMG_2561For the structural work and to help plan for the surface angles that will become the overhangs, faces, cracks, and aretes, he’s developed a three dimensional model using Google Sketchup.

digital climbing barn photoshop with space copy

Next, Josh cleaned the inside of the barn (it was used for old storage of lumber and other materials) and installed some new tin panels on the roof.

IMG_2535He replaced the roof nails with secure screws, and he also sealed and insulated the inside of the barn to keep out rain and wind.

IMG_2569Next, with the help of a few good friends, Josh used 3″ deck screws to install extra support-beams and footer boards, linking the roof joists into the load-bearing structure of the barn. The barn wood is very hard, and screws were broken left-and-right making this no easy task!

IMG_2650We’ll have more posts coming up that will detail future phases of the construction. The progress on this project seems to be going quickly, but Josh has spent many long days out in the cold working incredibly hard! For a little teaser of what’s to come, here’s a look at some of the climbing holds we’ve collected so far:

IMG_2737Check back for updates and photos as we keep you posted on the development of this exciting project.