The next stop on my summer exploits was Chattanooga. Tiffany and I drove from Dallas to Chatt to meet up with my family and hang out for two days. We went climbing at Foster Falls the first day and the second day we did a last training session before we headed out to Miami for Divionals.
The Drive to Miami wasn’t particularly fun. A pleasant 13 hour drive with two little siblings who like to fight and talk a lot. We finally got there and had an amazing dinner of delicious Cuban food. The next day we meet up with Dalan Faulkner and Phil Symons at South Beach. We had fun playing around, burying people and swimming around. We also had a shark warning and had a nice conversation with some topless women.
Finally the competition started. It was two days of sweaty fun climbing. After the first day I was in first place. It came down to this one section of the second climb where everyone was slipping off. I tried some beta that involved skipping a couple moves that worked very well. The second day we had a longer, pumpier climb. I pumped out and fell on this strange section that involved climbing down on a big stalactite then climbing up the other side. I tried the more obvious campus method which didn’t work from me. I ended up in second behind Dominic LaBarge. He did much better beta than me and sent the climb! It was a fun comp with fun people. Good job everyone!!!
We picked up Joe Gifford and Dalan on our way back to Chattanooga. They would be joining us on our trip across the nation. On the way back to Chatt we stopped at the beach for a day and played in the water. We made a giant hole, Joe made a throne out of sand, and we found a mermaid.
Finally we arrived back in Chatt. Our plan was to go to The Red, climb for a while, go to Atlanta and train, go back to Chatt to chill and then finally go back to Atlanta compete at Nationals. So the first step was going to The Red.
Our entire trip at The Red was spent trying everything. We went to a different crag every day and most of the time I only got on a route once. We didn’t do very much sending, but we did get on a lot of stuff. It was a really fun way to approach the trip. Finally once I did try stuff more than once I started sending. Joe and I did a really cool climb called Silky Smooth. It is a new 5.13c at the Chocolate Factory. All the climbs at Purgatory were amazing! I tried all of them once and they were super fun!!! We took turns taking big whippers off the extension of Paradise Lost. Dalan took the biggest fall which was almost as big as the climb was tall! It was very fun to watch.
Along with climbing we made new friends. We meet this awesome French guy named Cédric Morel. We also meet some Ecuadorians who were pretty awesome! On the last day we meet up with this Israeli guy we meet in Rodellar. His name is Tomer and he is a pretty awesome dude. I hadn’t seen Tomer in two years, so it was cool seeing him again.
On the whole The Red trip was great. We all climbed a lot, got on some really hard climbs, meet new people and had sooooo much FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nationals was coming in soon, so we drove to Atlanta to train at Stone Summit for a few days. We spent long days trying everything at the gym and getting the feel of plastic back. By the end of our stay we all felt very good with our abilities. We were ready to CRUSH!!!
So now we are at Nationals. This year Nationals was four days of climbing. Each day we had one climb, slowing working our way towards finals. Qualifiers, which is composed of two routes, was broken up in two days. 22 people flashed the first route. I was very easy until a very tedious last move. The second route was much harder. It ran right up the main wall with some crazy flair added in. On the first roof section it had a 360, on the next over hang it had a dyno and coming around the second roof it had a big feet cut. I fell off the second to last hold which put me tied for first with Dylan Barks.
Now it’s time for semifinals. This route looked significantly harder than our previous climbs. It had no good rests anywhere up the climb. People were moving out of iso fast and finally my turn came. The climb was very resistive the whole way up and I popped off trying to move around to a crimp thing. It was not my best run, but I was in 6th place. Nobody finished this beast.
Down to the top 11 climbers finals were was under way. We went out for our preview and the first second of the climb look very easy. Usually when I think that it is harder than I thought which can psych you out, so I tried not to think about it much. The top second look very difficult considering you will be tired by the time you get there.
Soon enough I was tied in ready to climb. I was right though. The first part of the climb was very easy. It was a jug haul until the lip. When I got to the lip I suddenly felt very tired and I wasn’t sure why. I still felt strong. The move pulling the lip was a big pull to a sloper and I didn’t have enough to do it. I hit the sloper and fell. This was a bad run for me. I ended up still in 6th place, but I should have down much better. I think I wasted time in the beginning section.
Even with a disappointing finish on my part I had a lot fun. I still have another year of youth climbing, so now it’s time to redeem myself. Yet again another comp well run by Stone Summit.
After Nationals I finally had time to work on my project in Little River Canyon. Southern Comfort is definitely the hardest route I have worked on. I fell of the last move last time I was on it, so I was feeling confident. Unfortunately it was raining a lot, so the climb was damp, but still climbable. That day I fell of the last move two more times! This was the only day I had to get on it too until we went to Colorado. Now I know for sure it will go next time!
Now we are in Boulder, Colorado until we head to Rifle. I will try to write more often, but it is a little bit harder to do on the road.