I'm so psyched that the temps have finally fallen to the point that bouldering is no longer super sweaty with 100% humidity! I like to schedule the classes I teach easch semester so that I have at least 1 afternoon off during the week that I can go climbing during. I usually like to hit Rumbling Bald on these half days, but the weather hasnt cooperated with the temps that are better for sending until this past week. So, the first chance I got to head up there with the thermometer below 70, I took it in a heartbeat!
I got up to the Bald around 1:30 Monday, packed my Behemoth crashpad (I like to bring the BIG one when I'm flying solo) and slowly meandered up to the West Side boulders. The breeze was pleasant and despite the poison ivy still covering many boulders and landing zones, the rock felt sticky and easy to grope. I headed straight up to the Terraces to work on Liza Minelli, a V3 I always seem to hit at the end of a long day and always seem to almost send but never really top out. It only took me 3 attempts to send and finally get that monkey off my back. You can see a shot of Liza below...it climbs up the short dihedral and out to the right onto the bright hanging block in the picture.
From there I went over to another long term project of mine, Shinister 2 V5. This felt even tougher than it ever has and might just be marked off of my project list for something a little better. While I was near the Run and Jump boulder, I sent some of my favorite warm ups at the Bald, Short Arete V1 and Short Face V2. I had passed by boulder 25 for so long without trying either of the V4's on it, so I decided to finally see what these routes were about. As soon as I started the moves on the Unknown V4 (problem 25a in the guidebook) I knew this problem was for me. The first moves are tougher and lead to a BIG jug halfway up the route and another good rail above it. It took me about 10 tries to send it, but this problem may just be one of my new favorites at the Bald! You can see the line climbing out the short roof and up to face below...
Feeling a little ahead of where I thought I would be, I pulled out the project list and headed out to some other problems I've been working on.
I headed to the Cluster and the French Maid area to send a couple of problems that climb slightly slanted fins of rock. The first went quick...Wooly Sacketh V4. I've worked this problem before and swear that I've sent it before, but I dont have it ticked off in my guide, so I thought I'd send it just to make sure. It was a fun problem and very similar to its tougher cousin next door, Ameliorated Anomoly V5. I didnt really think I'd have anything for this route, but after making a few grunting and grovelling moves to get higher on the route to some better holds, I sent the V5 with more ease than I expected. I'm a firm believer that some problems fit some peoples style better than others...and these 2 fin problems seemed to fit me very well! Ecstatic with the last 3 sends, I worked the top out to Ameliorated Anomoly a few more times to get it dialed, when "California Joey" walked up looking lost and confused. I had met Cali J at the bouldering tour of the North Side during the WNC Climbers Weekend...only a few days after he had arrived in the Carolina's from the left coast. So from here, feeling pretty pumped anyway, I decided to give him a quick tour of some of the better warm ups in the area. We hit the Simpsons Boulder first and sent Marge V1, Lisa V1 and worked Bart V1 before we moved on to the Classic Overhang Boulder and sent the Classic Overhang Traverse V2, a fun and classic traverse. From there we toured around the West side and I pointed out some great problems he should check out on his next visit...and we eventually made our way to the main trail and out of the boulders to our cars. I'm so used to bouldering solo, and that solitude and time to think and decompress are actually part of the reason I enjoy climbing by myself, but its always good to boulder with someone else that's psyched, motivated to send and have a good time!
No Bald trip report would be complete without mentioning the amazing quality and quantity of boulders found in the newly purchased CCC property on the West Side! As you can see in the photo above, many classic boulders (this is a shot of the Fun-Filled Boulder) are included in this property and signs are posted near the boundaries of the property to inform boulderers of the land their on. If you enjoy these boulders, please consider donating to the CCC to help pay them off. Right now, every spare dollar that is sent to the CCC is used to pay down this debt...that's what the WNC Climbers Weekend was all about, raising money to pay for these boulders (and it raised $4000!!!)
Also...I didnt want to let this new video of Hound Ears (and a Lost Cove route) from Brion Voges pass by without posting it up. Its impressive to see these southern boys tearing up the boulders no matter where they go...keep crushing fellas!!!