Eye of the Tiger

This afternoon, we said goodbye to Lafayette, GA. Now we find ourselves in the Whole Foods in Chattanooga, TN and I feel completely overwhelmed. There are bright lights, hundreds of people, this oddly dramatic music (“It’s the FINAL COUNTDOWN!”), and every single organic, not-tested on animals, vegan, gluten-free product you could dream of.

Compare this to Lafayette (pronounced luh-FAY-yuht by locals, despite being named in honor of the Marquis de LaFayette, a French nobleman who fought in the American Revolutionary War). Lafayette is home to just about 7,000 people. It has one grocery store, one Mexican restaurant (which is AMAZING), one Pizza/Pasta/Steak restaurant, a McDonalds and a Hardee’s (Farmer Dave’s favorite – free coffee refills!)…. and…. that’s about it. McDonalds also seems to double as a childcare, if you don’t mind your kid staring at a hand-held video game all day while humming to himself as his brain slowly rots.

DSC_0144Speaking of, this is Carson in a morning chalk haze.
Photo credit: Kyle Rhoads.

Climbing.  Yes. That’s what this blog is supposed to be about. So Rocktown the last two days was chilly, but everyone sent their big project. Drexel put on his big-boy pants and finally sent Iron Claw Sit (v10). He also smashed Brown Hole (v8) this morning with a wet sloppy top-out (video on its way once Julie Ann uploads it). Also this wet morning, Jeff persevered on the super damp Sherman Photo Roof (v7). Yes, look at him go!

DSC_0185Photo credit: Kyle Rhoads.

Carson and Jeff both got Pray Like a Mantis (v9) at Zahnd. Andrew slam dunked The Orb (v8), and everything else at Rocktown. Ian ran laps on everything. Kyle broke grades and did his first outdoor v4 (El Bano Direct)!!! Julie Ann got strong on Idiot Roof but fumbled on the jug (until next weekend, when she’ll finish it). Dawn also needs to come back for Blue and Guillotine. I fell off Nose Candy again and again, bled a lot, made progress, figured out the best possible short-person beta (with Juliet’s help!), and then… fell off three different times after hitting the sharp jug. Yes, my name is Meira and I am a chuffer.

DSC_0151Carson jumping like a white boy as he skips the soaking
wet bellybutton that is the namesake of this problem.
Photo credit: Kyle Rhoads.

Not sending a problem is like having a splinter right under your skin. It itches. You fall asleep at night visualizing the moves. You dream about it. You wake up and you eat a big breakfast because you want to send it. You warm up and plan your entire day around this problem. When you don’t get it, you might throw a quick temper tantrum, but soon you pick yourself up and maintain a quiet determination to keep climbing, to get stronger, to figure out better beta, and to eventually come back and crush it. Just as overcoming obstacles in life can make you a stronger person, having a tough climbing project might drive you crazy, but it makes you a better climber.

“A strong man is born from strong enemies.”

DSC_0187Meira making progress on Nose Candy (v6).
Photo credit: Kyle Rhoads.

Altogether, it’s been a lovely first leg of the trip. Our van organization is still holding up, although the floor is covered in leaves and dirt (one quick visit to a gas station with a quarter vacuum and we’ll solve that issue). We’re dirty and exhausted and thoroughly satisfied with life at the moment. I’m looking forward to a solid one or two rest days as we explore Chattanooga, and then we’ll be hitting up Little Rock City (aka Stonefort) and maybe daytripping to Dayton (to climb with Olivia, Ryan, and maybe Ronald Wayne Worley III, also know as Trey). I need my skin and muscles to heal, so next week, after everyone else leaves for the first day of Spring semester, we can return to Rocktown and I can face off with Nose Candy again.  Half of our crew left, but we’ve been joined by Jeremy and Rose. I just spent over an hour resizing photo files so I could email them to myself and add them to this blog for your enjoyment. (So please enjoy.)

DSC_0085Watching in awe at Olivia’s strong frog-fingers hopping up Standard Deviation (v6).
Photo credit: Kyle Rhoads.

DSC_0121Andrew Pulling Tubes (v6) like it’s his job.
Photo credit and personalized crash pad: Kyle Rhoads.

We are thinking of writing a couple blog posts that aren’t daily narrations of our trip, but more along the lines of advice for road trippers, or perhaps overviews of the different climbing areas. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Ask us questions and we’ll write posts answering them! 🙂

DSC_0219A solid hug (v12).

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2 thoughts on “Eye of the Tiger”

  1. You are all amazing! I love to see the pictures and videos. Watch with my mouth hanging open! Thanks for giving me the chance to travel vicariously on this experience. Love and prayers for all of you. Drex and Carson’s grandma

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  2. Wow, I’m breathless reading your blog and looking at your incredible photos and videos. What an amazing workout you all have when climbing. Now I know to call you all spidermen and spiderwomen. Take care and be wise.

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