Happy New Year to anyone who is reading this! I’m sorry this is up so late, but I hope everyone had good holidays, and hopefully a good vacation from school or work. By the time Christmas vacation rolled around I was up till past 1 am just about every weeknight, so I was beyond grateful for the two weeks off. I was even more excited to get started the annual trip I go on every year after the holidays, bouldering down south in Chattanooga and Rocktown. After a long Christmas day with a lot of family and even more food, I packed my clothes and climbing stuff and crashed pretty early. I was up at the crack of dawn the next morning to drive down to Pennsylvania to meet my friends Jesse Grupper, Jacob Woods, Brooke Weil, and Gabby and Leilani Peralta, and we ended up getting out of there at about 8:30 in the morning. The drive to Chat from my house is normally between 11-12 hours, but we had some bad luck and got caught in a snowstorm somewhere in Virginia for a few hours. That set us back a while, and we didn’t end up getting out of the car till for the night until about 11:30. I learned the hard way that 16 hours straight in a car stuck in stop-and-go traffic is definitely one of the less enjoyable parts of a climbing trip.
I passed out quickly, and woke up to a crisp, sunny day- great bouldering weather! We drove down to Rocktown and went over to the main area by the Orb. I warmed up (I was too excited to get on everything else to do more than one V0), and then jumped on the Orb. It’s a great, hard climb, and I always get really, really psyched on it, but after about 15 minutes it gets super greasy and the psych kind of drops a little. That’s what happened this year, and after we spent a while on that, with Jesse sending the direct version of it in like 20 minutes (V9), we headed to the Dugout and Hueco Simulator areas. I was psyched to keep climbing, but the time went by quicker than it seemed, and before I knew it, the sun was dropping and I could barely feel my toes. Everyone else felt the same way, so we called it a day and went to Walmart to pick up some premade, and thankfully hot, food. We ate in the parking lot in the heated car, and then headed back to camp. We watched some TV on a computer, and then went to sleep. The next day when we woke up, the weather was looking a little iffy; it was overcast and humid, and the forecast for the day didn’t look promising. We drove down to Stone Fort, but it started drizzling around the time we got there, and since none of us were too psyched to try to grovel our way up slopey top outs while they were dripping with runoff water, we decided to call it a semi-rest day. We drove into downtown Chattanooga and went to Tennessee Bouldering Authority to climb for a little while, then out for dinner and a movie before we headed back to camp for the night.
When I woke up the next morning and stepped outside, I was about as excited to climb as I was on the first day. It was sunny, and even felt like it was getting warm out. We grabbed some breakfast and stopped quickly at Walmart, and that’s when the weather turned to crap again. By the time we got to Rocktown (it was only like 11 am too), it was snowing. But not the good kind of snow either, the kind that that melts really quickly and soaks the already damp rock. We tried to climb for a few hours, and Jesse even pulled off a send on Super Lab Rats (V8), but eventually people were getting cold, so we headed in. Finally, on our second-to-last climbing day of the trip, genuine good weather hit! It was about 50 degrees and sunny, and I could not have been happier. We drove to LRC, and after my amazing one-climb warm up, I went over to try a project from last year called Spanky (V8). I started to get a bit frustrated that I couldn’t remember my beta from last year, but I figured it out again soon after, and then I sent it next go! I hung around that area for a while, and watched Leilani and Gabby both send Latin For Dagger, and after that, I wandered over to the Cleopatra/Cinderella area to try Cleopatra (V8), which was another project. I got all the moves I was previously unable to do in about half an hour, and then managed to send that as well. After that I didn’t care what we did for the rest of the day; I had sent my two projects in about 45 minutes each, which was good enough for me. We went over to the Chattanoogan area at the end of the day, and I started messing around on Midway (V7), and ended up sending it kind of on accident my third try. Finally, we ended what was probably the best single day of climbing that I’ve ever had by getting on Shotgun (V6). I sent that pretty quickly, although I think it was the hardest 6 that I’ve ever done, and then we headed back to camp for the night.
We managed to kind of luck out in terms of the weather on our last day climbing. Nothing was falling from the sky, but it wasn’t the warmest day either. We went back to LRC, and went to check out the Now and Zen boulder. Jesse sent Dr. Atkinson (V8) pretty quickly, but the rest of us were having issues climbing/swimming up the dripping wet boulder, so we headed down to the Sternum area. Here, Jacob and I both worked and sent Grimace, which was Jacob’s first V8, which he managed to do in about 30 minutes! Finally, we went over to the Sternum and Ribcage boulder, where Brooke, Gabby, and Leilani all sent both climbs (V5 and V3, respectively). It was beginning to get dark out, so we called it a day, got dinner, and managed to kill a bit of the drive back. We drove for about four hours, and then crashed at a hotel for New Year’s Eve. We watched the ball drop, got real showers, and passed out afterward. We finished the drive back on New Year’s, and got back around 6:30 at night. I had a really successful trip, and it was a really good time. I have divisionals coming up tomorrow, and I feel like I’m climbing really well at the moment, so hopefully all goes well there and I qualify for nationals. I’ll put up a post about it soon!
Thanks to Five Ten for their shoes and support! They were great on the wet rock down in Chattanooga, as well as the most durable shoes out there.
The pictures are from previous years in Chat, hopefully I’ll have current ones up with my next post.