Triple Crown – Hound Ears

This weekend marked the beginning of the 2014 Triple Crown Bouldering competition series, and also the first weekend that was super friggin cold! It feels like one of those middle school nights where first you soak in a hot tub, then plunge into a frigid swimming pool while shrieking with delight, and then pop back in the hot tub and do this over and over again. Except that the hot tub just closed for six months and you have to stay in the pool until then. Yes, winter has arrived this weekend and it’s here to stay, so you better learn to enjoy it.

(If you didn’t do that hottub/pool thing in middle school, sorry, but you missed out big time.)

We were both psyched to help out during Hound Ears as judges, arriving at the campground at 6:45am on the day of the comp, only to wait around for a couple extra hours for the morning drizzle to dry off the rocks. Thea from Footsloggers provided free coffee for the masses (thanks!), and after five cups it was time for me to do… something! Anything! So I very excitedly helped herd people onto shuttle busses and made awkward caffeine-fueled conversation with folks as I collected their waivers, and despite a bus break-down, all 400ish people finally made it up to the boulder field!!!

I was really looking forward to running around climbing at Hound Ears with my friends. That was the game plan at least. Then last weekend, after getting my ankle kicked out during a soccer game, plans changed and my  new goal became walking slowly, cheering my friends on and having as much fun as possible signing other peoples’ scorecards with a big red J for Judge.

Olivia’s recent blogposts have been super inspirational about having a positive attitude while injured.  It also helps that the world is a beautiful place (especially in the fall) so my view of people climbing looked like this:

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Not a bad view of fall foliage… and Julie really got to get up close and personal with nature as she ascended this sketchy v3 into lichen, moss, trees and leaves.

More photos? Okay!! Excuse the iPhone crappy quality… and the sparsity – it was so cold all I wanted to do was keep my fingers in my pockets. I DO have a couple videos of Jephree cheering in that really intense special way that he does – if anyone asks, I will post. If not, enjoy the few pics I managed to capture:

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With Brennen Bull star-chasing all over the place, we saw a lot of this view. It all paid off, because Brennen and his bright blue pants went home as winners!
Hound Ears Blade Julie
Julie Hwang and her crazy strong fingers on the classic Blade V6.
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Lisa Hummel slicing her way through the Blade V6. (Like buttuh.)
Hailey racking up some points with Woody’s v3 (a V5 with a misleading name).
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Dan Horne wanted to be cool like Hailey, so he hopped on Woody’s v3 and crushed the pants off of it.
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The Clawwwwwww V4. (It’s hard to say the name of this problem without thinking of Toy Story.)
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Julie was chosen to ascend The Claw V4. (Oooooooohhh.)
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Ian Rogers having a power struggle with The Controller V6.
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Cold widdle Rumi made a new friend and crawled inside Al’s puffy jacket. So crazy to bump into a dude we met in Arkansas back on our road trip!

People turned in their scorecards and meandered back to the campground to eat some subpar chili. Slowly but surely, the sky darkened and things got more interesting. There was a pad-stacking contest, winners were announces, and some numbered balls were thrown into the audience. I was busy cuddling with a shivering puppy in the minivan, but Drexel and his brother Carson caught ALL THE BALLS and won some legit stuff, like a new chalk pot, down jacket, and framepack. These are not your average door prizes…

Looking forward to Stone Fort at the end of this month, and crossing my fingers that my sprained ankle will be healed up by then, or I might just have to cut it off and nub my way up I Think I Can V9. Cutting off an appendage is the best way to drop some quick poundage, right?

I realized while posting photos that I never put up any photos from Locals Day at Hound Ears back in June 2014. So keep your eyes peeled for epic photos of dynos, ninjas, and crate stacking. (Spoiler alert: Thor wins.)