Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Hound Ears 2010
This past weekend was the first leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series at Hound Ears in the Highcountry of North Carolina. This was my first chance to get to Hound Ears, which is only open for climbing during this one competition every year.
My wife and I headed up towards Boone on Friday and had enough time before check in to stop off and warm up at Beacon Heights, near the Grandmother Boulders. If you haven't been to Beacon Heights, its a great spot to climb easy routes and was perfect to stretch my aching pinky tendon out and see how it would perform at the comp. As I mentioned in my previous post, I got a chance to go to the Bald for the first time this fall and ended up retweaking my pulled pinky tendon on what I think were the crimps on Shady Grove. The rock at Beacon is similar to Granny's, being only a few miles down the Parkway, but with more jugs and edges. There is a great climbing tall wall there and a handful of smaller boulders also, and most of the routes are down in the V0-V1 range. So after warming up, I noticed that the finger wasn't really giving me anything on the crimps and pinches, but I could still run a jug haul...not good for the comp where crimps and sharp edges are notorious.
After checking in at the condo (I'm getting way to old to camp out in the freezing cold:)) we went to preregister and see what goodies were up for sale or demo. There were quiet a few shoe companies demoing their new models and La Sportiva had a sweet fundraising t-shirt for sale, with all of the proceeds going to the SCC and southeastern access.
The Carolina Climbers Coalition fall meeting was held at 7:30 and had a pretty good turn out. Carolina climbing access and agenda was discussed and kept everyone informed on whats happening in the Carolina's and with the Rumbling Bald Boulder purchase. At the meeting I snagged another great t-shirt, with all of the proceeds going to save the Bald Boulders...
If you see these t's around for sale, don't hesitate to pick up a couple...they are some of the most comfortable and best wearing shirts I've gotten in a while, and of course you'll be helping out a good cause!
After a restful night, the madness began early by cramming crashpads in the back of the U-Haul's and competitors into the shuttle vans and whisking them away to the comp site. After everyone arrived, and sat around for a while (thanks Adam Johnson for the above picture of me and Katy checking out the guide before the comp started) and the clock struck 10 am, the competitors were unleashed on the rarely climbed boulderfield. So many folks had been there before and had a good plan of action ready, and others were just left to wander around and find what looked good. My wife really wanted to rope up and try some of the easier routes, so we started out by sending Baby Bear 5.8 and Mama Bear 5.9 before we really even bouldered anything. From there we wandered around hitting some V0-V2's and sampling some of the sharp routes the Ears had to offer. I realized that my finger was not going to let me climb hard or much, so I settled in for a day of easy sends. The hardest thing I sent was a V2 all day, but I still had a blast. It was a lot of fun to roam around the boulders and meet up with friends old and new and see what they were working on. I got a chance to chat and climb with Ben Newton and his girlfriend/wife(?), Rachael, as well as hang out with Matt Paden of Frixtion was a treat and definitely made the comp more fun. Running into the Clemson Crew going all in on They Call Me Nobody was another highlight...as well as seeing Doug Ianurio running around like a madman (congrats Doug on 2nd place in the Mens Advanced category...way to represent the Upstate fool!). Matt Paden has a great slide show available on his website...you should check it out if you haven't already seen it on Climbing.com...nice work Matt! Zach Lesh-Huie, one of the nicest and most motivated access dudes I've met, also had a great write up of the comp on Climbing.com you should check out too. I felt a little defeated when I turned my scorecard in and was immediately bumped down to the Recreation division, I had signed up for Intermediate which is generally where I compete, but after the finger injury held me back, I knew it wasn't due to my lack of effort or motivation. I still had a great time, no matter where I placed or what division I was in, and I look forward to hopefully being full strength at Horse Pens in a month!
That night, after the comp, the rewards shindig was rocking...loads of loud obnoxious music and drunken competitors cheersed their efforts and celebrated another fun day of climbing. Awards and door prizes were handed out by the handfuls and most everyone got to go home with something more than they came with. The Triple Crown raised a lot of funds during the comp and they graciously contributed $6000 to the Bald Boulders right then and there...HELLS YEAH!!! So I would have to count the comp a big success...everybody got to climbed on some great boulders, the camaraderie was thick in the air and there was a big chunk of money earned to help fuel Southeast climbing access! Now its on to the second leg of the Triple Crown in November down at Horse Pens!
I want to thank everyone for such a great event, from the Triple Crown itself to the climbers that contributed to your favorite organization and the friendly folks that helped us feel right at home...we really had a fun time and enjoyed every minute of it!