I have been away from the computer for much of the summer, including the last month or so that I haven't been posting much. That is not to say that I haven't been climbing during that time though. I usually take the summer months off of climbing...but with the trip to Europe and all of the climbing I was able to get in, it kept that climbing fire burning inside for the entire summer. Most people around here shrink into the gym during the summer to avoid the heat, but I really didn't want to spend my summer days cooped up inside. So, I have been hitting the North Face boulders at Looking Glass, at least once a week, and a couple of other local spots in between. One of my focuses on these trips has been to topo the boulders and routes to have them as references and possibly for a guidebook in the future. I've been keeping a topo of the Bearfields since ~2002, about 100 routes, and a topo of the Jedi field since about 2005, currently at about 150 routes, but I haven't really topo'ed many of the other places that I like to boulder. The North Face is one of my favorite places to boulder, and even though it doesn't seem to have too many routes, once you poke around you find that there are more routes than realized. I'm up to about 100 routes topo'ed at the North Face and every time I go back, I keep finding more problems...and many of them are 3 star. Starting to collect these topos has become a different facet of bouldering that, for me, has become very fulfilling. It's nice to be able to go bouldering without all of the focus being on getting in as many problems as possible or ticking that tough problem I've been working on for a month. Its good to sit back and think about the boulders when I get home and dream about the new route I found on the last trip...its really motivating for just sitting on the couch day dreaming. But it also helps me to think back on the last session and appreciate everything that was around me, from the weather to the smells and sounds of nature. Bouldering is so much more to me, and many other people, than simply climbing or chasing numbers. Its an outlet from the "real world", its a mini-vacation every time I go, and its always a way to connect with nature and recharge my mental batteries. I know sometimes I may blog about where I went and what I climbed, its not like I'm bragging (most of my toughest sends are in the V3-V5 range, I'm barely even an "average" boulderer) but its always a way for me to look back and appreciate the trip that I had and remember what felt good and helped to recharge my batteries. I hope that this blog site has been able to help you locate local upstate bouldering resources, but also to motivate you and excite you to get out and "carpe some diem" by climbing and enjoying nature.
We are heading up to the Boone area, this weekend, to do some climbing and to see some great music at the Music on the Mountaintop festival. Hopefully the weather will cooperate enough to let us boulder at Granny's and possibly Blowing Rock on Friday and then do some multipitch at Table Rock on Sunday. With fall slowly rolling in, we are also making plans to hit some of the other big boulderfields in the south in the next few months...Lilly and Obed in Sept, Dixon in Charlotte in Oct, HP40 hopefully in Nov, Little Rock City in Dec, and Boat Rock in Jan. I was planning on climbing in the Triple Crown events this year, but some things have come up for the first 2 comps at Hounds Ear and HP40. I hope to still make the big party at LRC to wrap up the Triple Crown...I used to climb at LRC a lot when my wife was finishing up at UT in Knoxville so it'll be awesome to get on some of those classic problems again. As long as the format and pre-comp party stays the same for Float the Boat, I'll be making that comp every year too. Last years Float the Boat was so much fun, I cant wait to go back and eat, drink and be merry with the ATL folks. I am not very competitive, but Float the Boat seemed more like a big fun boulder session than a cut throat competition...definitely my kind of fun. If you've never climbed in a comp, you should. They are great fun and an awesome way to get to know a boulderfield. It's a good way to get beta on that problem you cant get or see someone climb a problem you never realized was there. I cant climb a V10, but its a lot of fun to cheer on the other guys while their trying to pull the hard problems. Best of all, you get to meet like minded people and enjoy a day or 2 in the climbing world and forget about work and everything else stressful in your life.