Its been almost a full year since I’ve been to Rocktown. Mostly because I blew my A-2 pulley on the problem Helicopter (V6) right in the middle of the season and by the time I was healed, it was out of season!
It was nice to go there and just climb, instead of being worried about my guidebook checklist. Of course, I always take lots of photos on trips; this comes second nature to me and for the most part, does not infere with my climbing.
A little over a year ago, a gym opened here in charleston, the Energy Rock Gym http://www.energyrockgym.com/ which has been one of the single best things that has happened in my life here in charleston. I’ve definitely lost a lot of weight and gotten significantly stronger, which is nice! We have a really awesome crew of boulders now and 3 of them joined me for our trip: David Statler (who owns the gym), Matt Jones and Dustin Canterbury. We met up with our now BFF Jenny Siegrist who lives in Chattanooga.
Our first day, we started at the back and worked our way forward, warming up at the Hueco Simulator area and doing the classics there, including all the Mario Variants (V3-4), Belly Button V3, Making Waves V1, and Ripple V2. Then we hit the comet boulder and worked a few of those problems, including the 4-star classic, Comet Arete V1 and Standard Variation V5. I didn’t get to do “Standard Variation” because I hit my knee pretty bad on the start of it. ’DOH!
Next, we spent time on both the Idiot Roof V6 and Helicopter V6, before heading over to the dugout, where we tried Splashback V6 and Tunnel Vision V6. By then, I was pretty beat up and my shoulder hurt (I’ve been having a little trouble in my right shoulder for a few months now.) We finished the day at the Scoop area, climbing all the Scoop variations; I had never been on the Anti Scoop before (V4) and LOVED it!! What a good problem, though it is not as impressive as the Scoop feature.
My second day was tragic. I totally left my shoes back at Jenny’s house and was FORCED to climb in Mad Rock shoes . It was horrible. And I saved all the techy slab projects for day 2. (These being Campus Punks V5 and Blue V6.) I did make considerable progress on another of my projects, Little Bad Boulder V5, though I feel like I need to gain some specific sloper power before sending this (or get a real pair of shoes on my feet darnit!)
We spent some time warming up at the Campus Punks area, where I did the classic Slabs there (V0s) and two problems in the Wedge corridor. I did “Paint Can” V2 in my 5-toe shoes, then we hit up the bads, where I failed to send “Little Bad Boulder” though both David and Dustin did.
Next we spent considerable time at “Blue” where, once again, having butterball shoes made the problem almost impossible for me!! ugh!! I’ll get back to that thing for sure.
We finished up the day climbing at the Crock Block Area. I was pretty spent myself, and we were definitely working the thing in the dark, so no sends…..I’ve already done the problem (Center Crock Block V5) so I wasn’t really trying that hard!
|Jenny Siegrist – Inspired by an Idiot V6.|
|David Statler – Soap on a Rope – V4.|
|David Statler – Soap on a Rope – V4|
|David Statler – Pocket Rocket – V4|
|Dustin Canterbury – Pocket Rocket – V4|
|Matt Jones – Pocket Rocket – V4|
|Dustin Canterbury – Paint Can – V2|
|David Statler – Blue – V6|
|Dustin Canterbury – Blue – V6|
|Matt Jones – Police Brutality – V5|
Today was the next day’s our trip and that i was super psyched to test “Planet from the Apes” again.  My previous session, I’d exercised the majority of the moves coupled with a higher point by touching although not adhering the ultimate crimp.  At first, I’d quite a hard time around the problem today.  I handled to really make it to my high point several occasions, as well as the existence of me, couldn’t stick the final crimper.
|Planet from the Apes (V7).  Photo Aaron Parlier.|
I’d Aaron and Vera assist me, stacking pads and so i could try the final move after a number of different beta goes, I determine clutch beta!  I stored dead pointing towards the crimper and my ft cut.  I just could not keep my ft on.  Well, I wasn’t really punching far for that edge and recognized that the top boulder was just about 5 more inches (easily stickable) though I wasn’t sure how good it had been.
Well, in the pad stacks, I stuck it and recognized I hit gold.  Not only maybe it was a great sloper, however it were built with a nice divot inside it!!!!!  I am excited.  I wasn’t confident that the issue would go today, however i understood (the very first time onto it) which i could get it done.  I rested about 15-20 minutes after which following a feet skitter in the beginning, handled to transmit it!!!!! I had been so excited!!!!  I beach whaled the topout (standard beta) then went to the top boulder and sitting lower for some time to savor an ideal view and also the perfect temps.
|Vera Varmbumm on Two Finger Variation V9 – New Joes.|
They say that life goes fast, but for me, especially on climbing trips, time goes incredibly slow. Only a week ago, I was climbing at Ten Sleep Canyon in Wyoming. But heck….that seems like forever ago! Not only were the temps better at Ten Sleep last week (opposed to the first two weeks of July), but the bugs were a lot better (more like non-existant) and there were less people!!
My whole drive back, I was thinking about going to the “Other Place” at the Meadow at the New River Gorge and cleaning up a couple of sport routes there and adding one or possible two new routes (and a link-up maybe too.) So, after 26 hours in the car, I came home, took a shower, charged the drill batteries and then drove to the Meadow. I arrived to meet a group of my friends at like 9pm and convinced my one friend Neal (it wasn’t that hard) to accompany me up to the top of the “Area 51″ cliff so I could fix a bolt on a project I have over there.
We sorta got lost in the woods, but after a failed rap and ascend, I managed to find the top of the route. I fixed the crux bolt, which though safe, was drilled crooked and was spinning madly. Drilling and bolting in roofs really sucks, but I got a good solid bolt.
The next morning, I went up and did a warm-up burn at Area 51, then headed over to the “Other Place” and bolt a new route to the right of “Depth Charge.” Its a classic New River route. Big moves between good holds through a small roof which leads to a PISS-HARD slab move. DARNIT! I was really hoping it would be like a mid-11 but I think its going to be at least 12c or 12d, though I was pretty beat up from bolting it and the conditions (compared to out west) were hot and miserable.
I added a bolt to the route “DD” – a classic, but frightening 5.10a and also fixed the anchor on “Pooh’s Thought Spot” 5.11b which was the first route I developed at the Meadow. The original anchor was way out of the way of the route and silly, so with some help from some pittsburgh climbers, I moved the anchor to a much better spot.
I love my life so much sometimes. Especially so on climbing trips. To me, these trips stretch time almost to infinite. Its only been what…5 climbing days (and 0 rest days) so far out here and I forget that I have like a normal life, a mortgage, a real job…a lawn to cut. I really love it.
The climbing here has been great!! The conditions have been a bit cooler than my last trip out here about a month ago and I’ve been losing weight and climbing well! The first day, the elevation hit both Matt and I pretty hard, but I feel great now.
My last trip, I was going around trying to onsight all the classic routes, but this trip, I’ve been focusing more on projecting or working “harder” routes. The grades here tend to be all over the place; some 12ds feel like 12as and some 12bs feel like 13as! Its kinda nuts, but all good climbing!
Some routes that have really stood out for me are “Happiness in Slavery” 5.12b which would be 12b at just about any crag in america (at least.) Insect 5.12d ditto for Happiness. That thing is hard!
I feel good that I can consistently onsight or flash 12a here (depending on whether Matt or I go first) and happy to clean up on those, but I’m starting to run out of classics at that grade! I’m definitely going to come back here again next summer, so I’ve been sampling a lot of the 12+s to see which I like and which are worth putting the time in.
|Godfather 2 5.11a|
|Godfather 2 5.11a|
|5.12a on Godfather Boulder|
It hasn’t really hit me yet, but I’m leaving tonight after work for a week trip to Ten Sleep Canyon in Wyoming!!
I liked it soooo much that I managed to put together another week vacation out there! Its about 26 hours of actual driving which is about 30 hours in the car based on passed experiences. Its a new drive for me though. The last time I went out (a month ago), I had to stop in Denver both ways, so we drove the Kansas RT 70 route.
This time, we’re driving the best route according to Google Earth which takes me through TWO NEW STATES FOR ME!! Minnesota and North Dakota!
Summer has been going well for me, as stated in a couple blogs ago. I’ve been losing weight, more due to healthier eating, though I have been climbing.
My last trip to Ten Sleep focused on onsighting or second-going routes….to get a good feel for the area and at that, I was successful. I am not sure, this trip, if I want to project some harder stuff or continue to sample the easy 5.12s…..I will be trying to blog daily on the trip.
Trango has always been a company that brings out innovative climbing equipment. Their best example in my opinion is the Squid, an “outside the box” stick clipping device which I LOVE. The Cinch is another example of an “outside the box” belay device. Being an avid boulderer, I’ve been taping tooth brushes to sticks for years, though when Trango introduced the “Beta Stick” I knew that once again, Trango had filled a need for me. I think every gym needs at least one of these and any serious boulderer definitely needs to get one of these!
Though the Beta Stick is both a stick-clip and brush device, I prefer the Squid for clipping, though the Beta Stick is an incredible extendable brush. The Beta Stick comes with the standard machine-gun brush that most boulderers use, however, I have modified a boar’s hair brush for mine so I can switch between the two.
I used a little bit of tape on the tip of mine to stiffen it up a bit (I am a really vigorous brusher!)
The extended brush is great for working new problems. With the brush, you can “feel” how good an unreachable edge or pocket is, also, its really good for cleaning nasty and otherwise unreachable holds.
At the gym, the Beta Stick is convenient; instead of bouldering up another problem to brush a hold, you can brush it from the ground!
I love mine!
Its been a Hooooooot summer. A hot and humid summer. I’ve been climbing, but not really as much as “on” season since my trip out to Ten Sleep Canyon in Wyoming. I climbed a few days a Coopers Rock and have been doing some gym climbing since the Energy Rock Gym in Charleston is ACed.
Its been raining pretty much every day here, which has kept things steamy and I have been working a lot, mostly SCUBA diving doing underwater bridge inspection which was quite fun!
I did climb two weekends ago at Grayson Highlands! What a good summer crag!! I went from slimy hot summer climbing to nice fall-feeling, low humidity and decent temps climbing! I’m getting ready to leave Thursday for another week at Ten Sleep Canyon since I liked it so much!
After 2 days of crankin’ in Spearfish Canyon, our crew was ready for something a little more low-key. The only must-do on our agenda was to make our way 3 hours west to Ten Sleep, Wyoming, but nobody said a rest day had to be boring…We had found out from some locals about a surreal swimming hole along Sunshine Creek in Spearfish Canyon, which seemed like a great way to pass by the morning. It was about a 2 mile hike round trip, along a well-worn trail that was mostly flat and often meandered back and forth across the creek.…Read the rest of this entry →
As most of you already know, our family just got back from a whirlwind climbing trip to South Dakota and Wyoming. To say that the trip was a success would be an understatement – we had a fabulous time, and as I look outside at my droopy, hot backyard as I type this, my only regret is that we’d had more time to spend out there! This trip was a far cry from our usual weekend excursions, and in a lot of ways, it was somewhat of a “luxury trip” (for us anyway…though it probably doesn’t fit most people’s definition…Read the rest of this entry →
This is the second time in under a month that I have had to post about the loss of a North Carolina climber. It’s definitely not getting easier, and I certainly don’t want to make this a habit. This one really hits me hard because Lloyd Ramsey is someone whom I knew very well. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve climbed at Pilot Mountain and haven’t ran into him. Lloyd was a staple figure at the park, and anyone who has climbed in the area with any amount of regularity would recognize him. Not…Read the rest of this entry →