Tag Archives: southeast

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.

beelzebub
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….”
jeph
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.

 

 

 

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).
Hound Ears
Dan Horne wanted to be cool like Hailey, so he hopped on Woody’s v3 and crushed the pants off of it.
IMG_0158
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.)
Hound Ears controller
Ian Rogers having a power struggle with The Controller V6.
Hound Ears cold
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.)

Top 5 Climbs Across the USA!

We thought this might be an interesting experiment:
We asked ourselves, “What have been our favorite climbs of the trip?”

It was difficult to narrow it down, but here are our five favorite climbs in each area (with heights and ape indexes shown to potentially explain preferences). Top five are listed in order of increasing grade, not order of favoritism. If someone of a more “normal” height would like to submit their favorites, please do so. Or just add your own can’t-miss climbs in the comments below! What are your favorite climbs in these – or other – bouldering areas?

tall short
The Southeast
(Rocktown, Little Rock City, Middle Creek, Zahnd)
1.Full Circle V5 (Rocktown)
2. Harvest Moon V8 (Zahnd)
3. Deliverance V10 (Middle Creek)
4. Golden Harvest V10 (Rocktown)
5. Iron Claw Sit V10 (Rocktown)
1. Asphalt V4/5 (Rocktown)
2. Little Bad V5 (Rocktown)
3. Nose Candy V6 (Rocktown)
4. Standard Deviation V6 (Rocktown)
5. Jerry’s Kids V7 (LRC)
Arkansas
(Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Cowell)
1.Le Beak V4 (Cowell)
2. Kung Fu V8 (HCR)
3. Jeff’s Prow V9 (HCR)
4. Ab Lounge V10 (Cowell)
5. Off the Rails V10 (Cowell)
1. Dirty Bitch V3 (HCR)
2. Le Beak V4 (Cowell)
3. Campus Card II V7 (Cowell)
4. Electrolica V7 (Cowell)
5. Orb Weaver V8 (HCR)
Joe’s Valley
1.The Angler V2
2. Notting Hill V8
3. Playmate of the Year V9
4. Eden V10
5. Ghost King V11
1. Stumble Bum Traverse V5
2. Low Tide V6
3. Planet of the Apes V7
4. Spam V7
5. Tug Boat Complex V9

Lowdown on Climbing and Camping in the USA

We have created a Lowdown on Climbing and Camping page which will be continuously updated as we travel, and should be a valuable resource for anyone else who plans to camp out near climbing crags. Or rest. Or just climb in a new place.

As of Feb 20, 2014, this page covers Horseshoe Canyon Ranch and Cowell in Arkansas, Rocktown and Little Rock City (aka Stonefort) in the Southeast, and Joe’s Valley, Utah.

By the end of our road trip, this page will also have info about various places between here and there that tickle our fancy (e.g. Colorado, Squamish, maybe Leavenworth).

So check it out!

And feel free to contact us if you have information to share about these – or other – climbing locations!

Back in the Southeast (D)

Carson, Ian, and I woke up bright and early on the 26th and after an amazing breakfast with the family we hit the road and began the 2 hour drive to the bright sandstone boulders of Rocktown Georgia. We drove straight to the boulder field and hiked/ran up the trail to the back side of the field. Even though we visit the southeast every winter we were all blown away once again by just how amazing the rock is. Beautiful rounded orange sandstone with iron stripes crisscrossing throughout. After ecstatically warming up we set our sights on the proud and scary Hueco Simulator, a 25 foot overhanging prow that finishes in a harder than you want it to be top out. It was fun to start the day by getting a little adrenaline going and getting focused. Continue reading Back in the Southeast (D)