Tag Archives: bouldering

A day of fun with 21

“We don’t know who we are until we see what we can do.”
-Martha Grimes

There have been countless climbing challenge ideas thrown around amongst Boone climbers, ranging from the stupid (e.g. “the 24 challenge”) to the silly (e.g. naked climbing), but last weekend, wearing his new big-boy “I’m 21 mofo years old!” pants, Carson decided to lay down the hammer on 21 of his favorite v5 boulder problems around Boone.

Can you name all of these climbs?
Test yourself: Can you name all 21 of these climbs? Click the image and zoom to make it reeeeaalll big so you don’t have to be all squinty-faced while you play the guessing game..

The Bakker boyz managed to wrangle two Zachs and a hobbit (that’s me!) to follow them on their grand undertaking. After eight days on, I have no idea why Zach Briggs decided to spend his rest day driving us around to various crags and cheering us on, but if you see him, give him a high five or pat on the back for an out-of-this-world psyche level. The crew would not have been complete without the highly missed face of Zach Silberman who was in town for the weekend and kept me entertained with awesome stories from his adventures in Colorado. With a puppy in tow, we set off, unsure of our chances of success, but determined to spend a beautiful day among trees, rocks, and friends.

The final numbers at the end of the day were 21 climbs completed in 11 hours, with ~10 miles total hiked up and down and around virtually every single area of Blowing Rock, 221, and Grandmother. We left around 8am and made it back to Boone a little after 7pm. Carson and Drexel day flashed every single boulder except for two, and each one of them blames the other for bad beta. Still struggling with a finger injury and with soft gym skin, I felt accomplished for keeping up with the boys and at least touching every single problem. Climbing doesn’t always have to be a competition – it can just be plain silly fun that just coincidentally happens to help grow big beefy veiny forearms.

I was impressed by Carson’s commitment to staying true to the goal of exactly twenty-one v5s. Besides our initial warm-up, he did not lay a finger on a single other grade. I don’t know how doable this venture would have been if we had picked a higher grade or if Carson had just turned 50 years old instead of 21, but it surprised all of us how easy this was. Okay, maybe not “easy” but it certainly wasn’t as brutal as we had imagined. I only spotted a couple chicken wings and the guys actually cruised through the last few boulders of the day pretty smoothly, versus the dramatic pumping out and screaming and grunting one might expect after a long circuit day.

Highlights of the day, according to Drexel, were Cocaine Highway (that sh*t is TALL and SCARY! Carson giggled like a little schoolgirl at the top!) and finishing the day on the Long Wall classics.

The weather was perfect all day. Fall called and said she had a good time visiting and will be back in a couple weeks for a longer stay. I can’t wait to spend many more weekends in Boone getting my skin and psyche ready for prime climbing season! Don’t forget to register for Hound Ears!

Check out the photos of our day (that big thing above) and see if you can name every single one of the climbs. Is there a v5 you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Four Less Traveled Southern V10’s

Me: “Drexel, what would you like to say about your video?”

Drexel: “This is me. I climb’did a rock.”

[pause, he glances at the screen to see what I’ve written]

Drexel: Oh. Please don’t post that.

Me: Okay. [click]

More info, as written by Drexel on vimeo: This year I tried to escape the crowds of the Big 3 (Rocktown, LRC, HP40) and explore some of the smaller satellite areas. What I found blew me away. Although the quantity couldn’t match up to the big 3, the quality of the stone and the climbing kept me coming back again and again. It was extremely rewarding to figure out a few climbs that aren’t done very frequently and showcase them here. The South is a truly magical place and I know I will be back for years to come. Big thanks to Organic Climbing as usual and thanks to everyone I met along the way for the good times.

Featured Climbs:
-Capoeira V10
-Bubba Gump V10
-Chattanooga Powerhouse V10
-Breadloaf Factory Low V10

Southern Comfort XVI

This past weekend Appalachian State University’s climbing team hosted their spring climbing competition, Southern Comfort XVI.

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It was a BLAST!!!! I haven’t competed in ages, and I thought it would be a fun excuse to visit all my friends in Boone. I didn’t climb as well as I had hoped, and didn’t make it to finals,  but placed #1 in Women’s Advanced and came home with two sweet Organic bags!!!!!

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OMG BAGS!

When I first got into the gym and started feeling out the problems, I’ll admit that a little bit of rage started bubbling up. I feel like there’s a lack of understanding in most gyms about how short a short-person is. So (a) I want setters to start being more creative in how to make a problem more difficult, aside from just putting in big moves, and (b) I need to figure out a way to channel that frustration into training harder, because I’ve been sorely slacking lately and that’s totes my fault for making poor life choices (chocolate > climbing?).

Just as a quick ruler idea from Drexel: when setting a move that is not intended to be a dyno, check the span from one fingertip to the opposite elbow. This may seem ludicrous, but that is actually my span compared to his.

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THIS ^ IS MY LIFE!

So I went around and decided to give everything a three-go limit, starting with the hardest problems and working my way down. I’ve learned from previous comps that sieging is not the way to go. It quickly became apparent that all the advanced problems and most of the higher level intermediates were not feasible. I thought about getting upset. I saw other short girls getting upset. I actually saw one girl cry! But I didn’t want to go there. I wanted to climb hard-ish and have fun. So I just gave up on expectations and focused on problems that were more short-person-friendly. And that was fine. It was my attachment to a certain outcome that was the problem, not the outcome itself. If the ultimate goal is happiness/inner peace/what-have-you, then winning a comp should really be just a middleman, which means it is completely arbitrary. I shouldn’t need to “win” to have fun and feel good about myself.

I had left the competition early to answer my phone, went back inside to turn in my scorecard, and then finished up dealing with some really ridiculous situations going on back home — one of the plights of being an on-call therapist is that I have to stop whatever I am doing, 24/7, and deal with a client who was, in this situation, pooping all over the place as a power move against their parents. And then I got another call about a person trying to kill herself and had to somehow wave my magic wand and fix everything.

Sometimes I wonder why on earth I would choose to work in this field. Why didn’t I just stay in the minivan with Drexel, where everything was clean and calm and poop-free?

why god

I took a walk to clear my head, ate lunch, cuddled my puppy, and still ended up scoring a front row seat to watch FINALS!!!! I got super excited watching Melise, Rose and Kelsey cruising through all the Women’s Finals problems!!!! I thought it was neat that they changed the comp structure this year to allow for 3 females and 3 males, versus just top 3 coed competitors as they have in the past. Everyone took their seats and the heat was on!

Southern Comfort Girls
You can’t see it, but that dude on the right looked super jealous of Melise’s guns.
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Carter was able to make that cool face in the split second after noticing I was take a photo. That takes some mad skillz.

The highlight of the finals was most definitely catching Melise flying through the air in slow-motion and completing potentially the hardest single move of the day. (Don’t mind the creepy demon chanting.) Carson and Jeph got PSYCHED!!!!!!

When everything was said and done, it was a great competition and a great weekend. Everyone went home with something cool, whether or not they placed, because of the insane amount of raffle prizes. AND I got to eat Cha Da Thai for dinner two nights in a row with my friends. AND some ladies took the plunge and bought themselves a pStyle! AND we (minus Carson) had a really nice group hug slash kumbayah circle. AND don’t forget those Organic bags!! How could life get any better than this?!

pstyle
Photo stolen from http://cruxcrush.com. This could be you!

Comment below and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win your very own pStyle!!!!

Dik-diks, Dixon, and Dilly-Dallying

Drexel is still on the road, doing his best to keep the cross country crimpers alive and crushing projects left and right. He claims his fingers are so sore from climbing that he’s unable to write any of his own entries, so here’s a quick list of his latest sends: Osiris V10, Bubba Gump V10, Bread Loaf Factory V10, and the most epic, Western Gold V11.

I mainly know about these sends because I’ll be at work, in my “big kid” job as a therapist, in a session with a client who is yelling or crying or throwing things, when my phone will blow up with ten texts consisting primarily of exclamation points and excited emoji faces. My first thought when I hear the continuous earthquake vibrations of my phone is, “Uh oh, someone else is in crisis!” so I’ll find some excuse to check the screen. Lo and behold, Drexel has triumphed again! “I did it! I did it! I did it!” he texted.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to join Drexel, Carson and Jeff on a lovely outing to Dixon School Boulders. If you’ve never heard of this place, check out this neat video starring Zach and the Bakker boys talking about Dixon and sending some of the classics. As Zach says in the video, it’s definitely worth checking out, spending a day amongst the trees and rocks on a beautiful, quiet mountainside with gorgeous views.

Dixon boulders is a small bouldering area owned by Crowders Mountain State Park near Kings Mountain, NC. It’s maybe 1.5 hrs from Asheville, 2.5 hrs from Boone. It’s a metaconglomerate rock, which might mean nothing to climbers except that the grain size and quality changes drastically from one end of the boulder field to the other. There are maybe 40-50 total climbs, with only 20-25 being high quality and a couple big projects still waiting for a strong climber to give them a name.

dixon

We first warmed up at a large chunk of rock containing countless fun v0-v3s and also a tricky barndoor problem courtesy of Ian Rogers called Barnyard Banshees v5. From there we moved up the hill to Classic Overhang v3 and Beelzebub Roof v5. Zach makes this climb look easy in the video and Jeph flashed the pants off of it, but I struggled pretty hard to gain momentum to reach certain holds and still have enough power to clamp down on the pebbles up top. I flailed a bit, grunted, sighed, told the group we could move on, started to pack up, and then had a sudden burst of angry determination that I was able to ride to a final send. WHOOSH. Sometimes there really is power in a “last go, best go” gritty determination.

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Image captured from Dixon School Boulder video of Zach on Beelzebub v5.

We tromped our way up and over to one of the best boulders at Dixon, Atlas v7. It starts with a really fun traverse leading up to a tricky face slab. Lil Bakker projected the poop out of this boulder back in the day, and now he’s a lean mean climbing machine who eats v7s for breakfast.

Atlas v7
Drexel showing us all how to gently pat-pat-pat a teensy widdle crimp. “There there…. there there….”
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Jeph claims he doesn’t do a lot of yoga, but he hand-foot matched like a regular downward dogger and said, “Namaste? Nah, mus’ go!” as he flowed to the top of Atlas v7.

 

Let me say for the record that I have NEVER felt so supported in my entire climbing life as I did on Atlas. After everyone else sent, Carson, Jeph and Drexel became the world’s best support crew. They showered me with compliments and offered wild incentives that tapped into my deepest desires. I have never wanted a boulder so bad, and been so frustrated by tired fingers. After finally linking all the moves together and figuring out that I could indeed complete the top part through slow suspenseful weight-management and arms stretching at full span so I looked like a gloriously awkward starfish, I just…. I just couldn’t do it. Here I was on the brink of complete life satisfaction, and…. nothing. This might be my biggest deathbed regret.

Next up was Drexel’s biggest project, the terrifyingly tall Leaning Tower v8.  It’s arguably one of the best lines at the park, but is also extremely tall and intimidating and has a very committing last move that Drexel was mentally unable to make himself go for. He’s worked this problem enough times to pretty casually move up the arete and get himself in position to dyno to the top, but the idea of doing a big throw at that height and falling was too big of a fear factor.

tower
Even scrolling through the photo takes a long time!

 

We ended the day on Venom v5 and Venom Direct v6, completing Jeph’s Dixon circuit experience.  We marched back to the Crowders Mountain State Park parking lot with smiles on our faces. We all agreed that the pebbles hurt, but our skin looked a lot better than it had before. My gym skin definitely needed some good pebbly scraping to get it ready for next weekend’s trip to Rumbling Bald.

Back at home, we had a lovely night with Drexel and Carson’s family. We even got Nana to add her vote to “Cutest Baby Animal”! But we need your help!!!! DESPERATELY!!!! We narrowed it down to top five contenders: Dik-Dik, Slow Loris, Wallaby, Wolf, or Panther. Please vote in the poll below so we can figure this out once and for all.

 

dik-dik
My vote was for Dik-Dik! It’s tiny, it’s awkward, it has oddly tiny ankles, what’s not to like?
dik-dik2
I won’t lie. I’m biased. So Dik-dik times TWO!

 

slowloris
Adult Slow Loris look like Pokemon.
slowloris
SEE!?!?!? POKEMON!!!!
wallaby
Willaby wallaby woo, an elephant sat on you!
wolf
Peekaboo, peekaroooooo!
panther
TIL: Even black panthers have spots.

 

 

 

Bringing in the New Year at Rocktown

Last week a giant awesome crew of Booners and Knoxvillians made their way to Rocktown to herald in the new year. For me, it was a vacation! For Drexel, it was just another day in the life. (Sigh.)

Words cannot describe the pure childlike glee of watching people casually crush their long-time projects like it ain’t no thang. Trey (seen below) walked Sherman Photo Roof V7 the way you can brush your teeth with your eyes closed. It takes a lot of confidence and tenacity to come back to a climb that caused so much heartbreak the previous year (he consistently made it to the last move multiple times). By now, he could probably do all the moves in his sleep. I think many people would just throw in the towel and say “F*ck it, I’m never touching this rock again!” But not Mr. Ronald Worley the Third. No, not him. This is a shining example of what a positive attitude can do.

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“My positive attitude is overflowing.”

Another example would be the tall, indescribable Mr. Ryan. He drove all the way to Rocktown, shivered himself to sleep in his tiny car (scientists are puzzled how an 8′ man fits inside a 6′ car), and hiked around in the miserable mistiness. I had assumed everyone who dealt with the elements did so because they were determined to climb. It wasn’t until I had already left that I realized Ryan hadn’t climbed at all! Dealing with a shoulder injury and potentially needing surgery, he came out just because he was psyched to hike around outside and cheer on his friends. He never once mentioned his shoulder. He never complained or seemed disgruntled with his lot in life. So HIGH FIVE Ryan. I know plenty of people, including myself, who have let an injury completely crumple their world. They become angry and embittered, slaughtering gallons of ice cream and muttering curses to the rock gods. Or worse, they try to climb through an injury, realize it hurts or is getting worse (no duh), and throw a temper tantrum. So next time you’re griping about your sore fingers, just think, “What Would Ryan Do?” (WWRD).

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WWRD? Look sensual on a rock.

Another remarkable feat of tenacity was Carson’s return to Big Bad Right V8. Last year he took a bad fall and severely sprained his ankle on this very climb. This year, without even breaking a sweat, he cruised through the powerful moves and did a little dance at the top. Ian, not to be outdone, stole Carson’s beta and sent, riding high on his previous sends of Brown Hole V8 and Triple Threat V9, and then later got way too excited on Price is Right V8. For those of you who haven’t met Ian, he’s one of those annoying guys who can hop off the couch after not climbing for months and then crush your project into tiny little pebbles. He is also really good at dancing with his head pressed against the roof of a car (fun fact of the day!).

golden
Carson working out the moves of Golden Harvest V10.

My day at Rocktown was a success, despite not sending any new boulders. I was able to stick a difficult move on Sherman Photo that I had never done previous, and I tickled the top of The Tao V8. Since I’m not getting any taller, my only hope is to keep getting stronger. Spending a day climbing outside was an excellent motivation to keep training during the week and trying harder to be a weekend warrior. (Definition: a “weekend warrior” is a person with a big-kid job during the week who only gets to go climbing outside on the weekends. Yay life.) 

tao
Experimenting with some barely existent intermediates on The Tao V8.

Oh yes! And of course it was great fun to take first-timers to Rocktown and show them all the fun classics! Macee did her FIRST OUTDOOR v3 with the heart-pumping Mario (or is it Luigi?). HURRAY!!!! Rocktown has something for everyone!! (And if you are scoffing at this, please brush up on your invisible ethics of climbing.)

After a hard day of climbing, we were all looking forward to stuffing our faces with Mexican food. Everyone knows one of the best perks of Rocktown is the nearby Los Guerrero’s. Alas, it was closed! As was the Italian place across the street! What were we to do?!?!? In a small town like Lafayette, there’s really not much else except good ole trusty McDonalds. I’m sure locals were confused by the sudden conglomeration of six cars in one tiny empty parking lot. I know I was. Luckily our noses (slash smartphones) led us to a chinese buffet down the street. It wasn’t amazing, but it was food, and they had seating for all 12 of us. And an entire array of American fried foods (with ranch!) right alongside their greasy lo mein and peanut chicken.

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Do you see Ian massaging his meat down there?
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Kyle getting down and dirty with some noodles.
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“MMM! CHEEEKAN!” (Name that movie for a free block of chalk!)

When we couldn’t fit any more fried donuts and ice cream in our bellies, we lined up at the register to pay. They must have miscounted our party number, because when the last person was lined up they demanded payment for two. Flustered and unsure of themselves, the person said, “Oh, there’s someone still in the bathroom” and quickly beelined for the door. And as the last car squealed out from the parking lot, a little Chinese lady ran after them, screaming and waving her hands in the air.

Happy 2015.

Melise Edwards Hits the South

Drexel here, I just finished up this video of my good friend and fellow crusher Melise, climbing in Boone and Tennessee. Enjoy!

After finishing school, Evolv athlete Melise Edwards hit the road with the intention of climbing in all the best areas the South East has to offer. After a very successful stint in Boone, NC, Melise visited some Tennessee sandstone at LRC, Dayton Pocket, and Rocktown. She had a blast and looks forward to the next opportunity to explore more fantastic bouldering spots. In this video she climbs Klamper V8, Changing Lanes V9, and Portobello V9, in Boone, NC. She also quickly puts together River Dance V9, one of the most beautiful and classic boulder problems the South has to offer.

Keep up with Melise on her blog: itsajurg.blogspot.com/

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:

Hound Ears
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:

Hound Ears
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.
Hound Ears Blade Lisa
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.)
Hound Ears Julie
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.)