Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Upcoming Adopt-A-Crags and Summer Trips
Wow...I didn't think it would take this long to get this post out, but having a kid really does change your life (and free time)! Now that the Fall semester has begun, I should have a little more time, while Lily is hanging out with Nanna, to get posts out a little more regularly...and there are lots of things happening this fall to post about! If you haven't heard about the Western NC Climbers Weekend/Looking Glass Trail Day and Pisgah Boulder Tour or even more local, the first ever Table Rock, SC Adopt-A-Crag, then save some dates and join a bunch of like minded hooligans in helping out with some trail work and then enjoying some climbing/bouldering and good times afterwards! I am also trying to find out if anyone would like to get together on a few Sundays in September and October, tour some of the boulderfields in the Jocassee Gorges and clean up litter and do some minor trail work. If you would be interested in meeting up one Sunday, doing trail work for a couple of hours and then bouldering for the rest of the day, get in touch with the e-mail link at near the top of the page or just leave a comment on this post, and we'll get something organized. I thought this would be a good way for folks that dont have much experience bouldering in the Gorges could get a tour of some of the boulders and give back at the same time!!!
This summer has been focused on my daughter Lily more than anything else...and with that and the unbearable heat, I lost a good bit of muscle and gained a few unwanted pounds. So I'm really looking forward to the cooler temps and chances to steal away to the local boulders and get back into bouldering shape!
Besides a few bouldering day trips to Granite City, the North face of Looking Glass, and the Nowhere and Roadside Boulders, my big trip this summer was to Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia, last month. Only an hour or so north of Boone, NC and just a hog snort north of the NC/VA border, Grayson Highlands is an incredible summer destination for the Southeast boulderer. Aaron Parlier has put the place on the map with his voluminous work on Mountain Project, and is in the process of writing a guidebook to this scenic area. We made the 4 hour trip last year and stayed at a sweet cabin only 3 miles from the gates to the park…so we went with the same plan this year too. Highlands Hideaways has some reasonable prices for a variety of lodgings with all the luxuries a climber needs. We stayed for 4 days and despite the daily rainfall, I got to boulder for 2 sessions each day!
We arrived at Grayson in the early afternoon, and after dropping the wife and sleeping baby off at the cabin, I headed straight to the Contact Station Boulders to check out True Grit, one of the ultra-classics in the park...turns out that unless you have some damn strong pulleys and tendons, the crimps on this route feel like hell and flow very oddly. After not wanting to tweak a tendon, I stepped around the corner to the Periscope and Ranger Rick Boulders and ran into Jim Horton, one of the Triple Crown Bouldering Comps Co-Organizers, and some of his friends.
I was still pretty cold and needed to warm up a little, but I jumped in with them anyway and was barely thwarted by Periscope V3, Bombsight V3 (both of which can be seen on the photo above...Bombsight goes up and left while Periscope heads out and right to finish on the top point) and Ranger Rock SDS V4. Jim and pals sent these with style, while I sent some V0's and V1's to warm up, and then we headed down to the Contact Boulder where I repeated Copperhead V3. From here the other guys took off and I headed up to the Listening Rock area and sent some more easier warm ups. After feeling warm and ready to pull harder, I headed back and sent Periscope V3 & Bombsight V3 without a hiccup. I sat under Ranger Rock SDS V4 looking up at what boils down to a 1-2 crimpy move V4. After a few tries and feeling like it wasn't going to go, my shoes stuck the starting holds just enough to allow me to bump up to and past the bad crimp and send what would be my hardest route of the trip. I felt on top of the world, right out of the gate and had high hopes for more quality sends for the other 3 days. Below is the Ranger Rick Boulder...
The next 3 days were not as productive as the first...
I climbed at the Listening Rock area a good bit and sent some fun lines like The Hive V3 (seen in the above photo) and Lingual Arete V2/3 (seen in the photo below).
We went up to the Highlands Area, hung out with almost 20 wild ponies at one time, and sent a few fun routes while we were up there. This was the first time I hit the Highlands Welcoming Boulder and I actually really enjoyed these odd, shorter routes. The other area that I enjoyed was the Fantastic Four area, near the entrance to the park. I enjoyed sending Quartz Caterpillar V1 and the lower start version of the route, Metamorphosis V3 on the Thing Boulder. Besides these highlights, I also checked out the Campground Area and I went back to explore a little more in the Picnic Area, but I didn't send anything worth a mention there.
Overall, it was a great getaway from the oppressive heat of the South Carolina summer, and I was glad to tick off a few fun routes I hadn't sent before!
As I mentioned, hopefully my posting wil pick up and I'll be putting out some more content a little bit more regularly. I've still got some reviews coming of Flashed crasphpads and a variety of brushes...they're taking a little longer than I expected, but they should be out here soon:)