Thursday, August 23, 2012
Summertime Chattanooga Roadtrip: Rocktown and Little Rock City
When we got to the parking lot, we were greeted by a couple of dads and their sons (all non-boulderers) that had just got back from a long hike through the boulderfield and upon returning to their car, realized that they had lost the car keys and were locked out…with no more water, no cell phone reception and no way of getting back home to Atlanta. So, we decided to help these guys out, and my wife shuttled one of them down the mountain, so they could make a call for help, while I packed Lily, my crashpad and gear into the boulders. Not the best situation for bouldering, but I’ve always had a dream of taking Lily on a bouldering trip with just the 2 of us, and this was as good of a time as any!
So we hiked in to the legendary Hueco Simulator area, I unloaded Lily and the gear and got her playing with some toys before I shoed up and set the pads for the first sends. I climbed all of the fun V0’s along the perfectly featured wall and turned around to my daughter eating a fist full of dirt…so we decided to just do a little recon of the area together instead, until my wife caught back up to us. Once I could focus again on the sandstone giants and their perplexing puzzles all around me, we headed to one of the poster routes for the area, The Scoop V2. The Scoop climbs a slabby scoop to a slabby top out with a couple of good holds…needless to say, not a warm weather problem. But this is one route that everyone has always recommended to me, so I had to give it a good effort to say I at least tried. I love slabby boulder problems and thought The Scoop would actually not be that bad, even with diminished friction due to the heat…I mean it is just a V2 slab…I can send that in my sleep…right?....NOPE! I was able to send The Scoop Left V1, an easier version of the V2 classic, The Scoop Right V3, a harder version of the V2 classic, and Imaginary Pathway V2, a slab around the corner from the V2 classic…but I just couldn’t pull off the V2 classic. I was happy to have a reason to come back as soon as the weather cools off though!
I had poured a lot into trying The Scoop, and along with the intense heat, I was getting pretty wiped out at this point, even though I had only seen 2 boulders, but I didn’t want to leave until my fingertips were screaming at me, so on the way out I hit the Lucky 7 boulder at the beginning of the boulderfield. Lucky 7 is a nice beginners or warm up boulder with plenty of V0’s and a couple of harder routes. I was able to squeeze my remaining strength out on the top section of the problem Lucky 7 V2 and sent Squat Low V3 with a lot less effort. Because of its size and complexity, Rocktown is not an easy boulderfield to navigate, but the whole time I was in the boulderfield, the guidebook kept me on track and if I found myself confused, it didn’t take very long to use the book to reorient myself and get to where I wanted to be. The maps and topos are very user friendly and with minimal effort, even the newest bouldering gumby can find their way around the maze of boulders in this amazing boulderfield. Once to the boulders, the photo topos make it super easy to find your route and before you know it, you’re topping it out! There will be a lot more about the Rocktown Guidebook in the next post, coming very soon!
From there we headed to Chatty and our lodging for the night…the Chattanooga Choo Choo. We rolled the dice on the Hotwire hotel deal where you pay a really cheap rate, but you don’t know which hotel you’ll stay in until you pay. The Choo Choo is the reconditioned train station of the famous train, the Chattanooga Choo Choo. With old trains on the premises, some you could even stay in, a great pool and hot tub and clean rooms, the whole family had a blast! And The Terminal next door has some great food and beer and makes for a fun place after sending all day.
I had plans of heading to the Lily Boulders and to Boat Rock on this same trip, but the weather didn’t cooperate enough for me to make it to Lily, and it was 100 degrees during the time frame I had to hit Boat Rock…so I ended up passing on sessions at both spots and just savoring the taste of the send of Vogi more! I hope everyone has had a chance to get out and climb lately…if not, get off the internet and go send something fool!!! Just make sure to check back real soon for the Rocktown Guidebook Review!