A few weeks ago, the day after Christmas, I left for a week long trip to Chattanooga, TN, and Rocktown, GA. I had had a pretty crazy couple weeks of school before Christmas break, so I was excited to get to hang out and climb with some of my friends. I left at crack of dawn on December 26 with my friends Jesse and Maddy Grupper to meet up with the other three people coming, Solomon Barth, Brooke Weil, and our guide, Dave Rowland, owner of the Philadelphia Rock Gyms. He runs a few trips for young climbers to places like the Red, the New, and the Adirondacks over the summer, and to Chat over the winter, and they are all really fun. I encourage any kid looking to get outside for a week or two to check them out. We killed most of the 12 hour drive (14 hour for Maddy, Jesse, and I) by having some pretty interesting discussions about dyslexia, climbing, and Harry Potter, until we were pretty close to the city. We crashed at a pretty crappy motel for the night (the people running the place didn't like us, and the rooms smelled like a mix of something dead and cigarettes), and entertained ourselves for a couple hours by playing Jungle Speed, which involved a lot of tackling and hitting each other. We got up the next morning and it was raining, so we got breakfast and drove to Rocktown to set up camp and pick up supplies at Wal Mart, and hoped that the rain would stop by the time we were finished. It had quit raining by the time we got back from Wal Mart, so we went out and messed around on the damp boulders for a couple hours before we went back, made dinner, and played poker before bed.
We spent the next two days at Rocktown as well. When we came down last year, the weather was cold and miserable most of the week. This time around, it seemed like the weather gods must have wanted to pay us back with great weather. It was sunny and in the 40s and 50s the rest of the week. Aside from a few mishaps with some Robutussin and a propane stove, everything went pretty smoothly. We got on a bunch of the classic problems like the orb, Soap on a rope, the bads, the stuff in Sherman's Roof, and lab rats and a few other problems in the maze. Jesse had a great trip, and sent big bad, Superbad, did nose candy and Sherman's Photo Roof quickly, and then got the orb, which he had been projecting, and Sol re-sent also, after getting it for the first time last year. I tried all the stuff we got on, and was close on a lot of it. Sol and I sent Sherman's Roof on our last day at Rocktown. It was a fun climb, and pretty reachy, so I was really psyched on it.
The next two days, we went to Stone Fort in Chat. The climbing was great there, and we got on Cinderella, Cleopatra, space, spanky, Super Mario, the wave, and a lot of others. I was really psyched, I finally sent a problem called Jerry's Kids that I had been struggling with for two years. I was really happy about it. On New Year's Eve, our last day, we packed up before we went climbing and then left on the drive back to try to knock out a couple of hours of the return trip before we had to sleep. We stopped at a hotel, and I think everyone was most excited to get their first real shower in a week or so (almost getting kicked out of Wal Mart for taking sink showers in the bathrooms didn't quite qualify as real showers). We watched the ball drop, then found an...interesting...show on TLC called the Virgin Diaries until we had to get to sleep. I got back home around 9:30 at night the next day. It was a great trip and I can't wait to go back next year and finish up some old projects. Two days after, it was back to school and training. I have a few more comps coming up this month, starting this coming weekend, and a lot of schoolwork, so it should be pretty busy for a while. Thanks to Five Ten for the great shoes and support!