In August, once I got back to the states after worlds ended, I went back to Philadelphia for another week and a half to finish up my internship at the University of Pennsylvania. The internship was a great experience, and taught me a lot about what I would like to do with my future. During this time back at the internship, I decided to take a short break from climbing, just to avoid any potential injuries. I do this at the end of every summer when the comp season is over for a while, and it has really helped me jump back into bouldering healthy and psyched. I didn’t climb for about two weeks, and started back up just as school was starting up. Senior year has been insanely busy for me, and I’ve been juggling school, college apps, climbing, community service, and a social life like crazy in order to get everything I need done in a semi-timely manner. I spent September focused on schoolwork and general training to get back to the level that I was climbing at around the end of last bouldering season. I stuck with training and schoolwork for about six weeks, then decided to take a week-long trip down to the red during Rocktoberfest to do some climbing in the cool fall weather.
Fall at the RRG - Zoe Steinberg
My flight down was pretty uneventful, and I got to Miguel’s Pizza Shop and Climber Campground late on the Wednesday night before the event. On Thursday, some friends and I went over to Solar Collector and Gold Coast, where I quickly warmed up before jumping on Golden Boy, which has been one of my longest projects. It’s a great route, and I love the movement on it- it easily lives up to the five stars the guide gives it. I managed to one-hang it twice, and since it was my first day, I felt pretty optimistic that it could go down this trip. While we were there, my friend Jon asked if he could shoot some video of me for his new short video about the red. The “interview” he conducted with me turned out hilarious, so I’m psyched to check out the video once it’s all pieced together. The next day, Friday, we went to the classic Motherlode, where I jumped on another project of mine, Cutthroat. I was not feeling great and didn’t have a terribly productive climbing day, but the event that night was awesome. The Red River Gorge Climbing Coalition (RRGCC) puts on a great event, and I’m looking forward to going to many more of them.
On Saturday I woke up kind of exhausted from the late night, and spent the morning helping out with the Five Ten shoe demo. I always enjoy this event because I get to help the company out. They are super generous and supportive of me, and I like to repay the generosity however I can. That afternoon, we ended up going out to a new area out at Miller Fork with Brittany Griffith, Russ Clune, Whitney Boland, and Andy Salo. I had a blast climbing with them all, so if any of them are reading this post, thanks so much for taking me out there; I had a great time! We headed out slightly earlier that night to get to the event, and crashed late again. The next day, a friend and I went out to the Motherlode again, and I got back on Cutthroat. It felt a bit warm, and the crux crimp seemed a little slimy, but I went bolt to bolt on it once to hang the draws, fell twice at the second bolt, then managed to send on my next go! Cutthroat was my first 13b, so I left that day feeling really satisfied.
After sending Cutthroat, I had basically completed my goal for the trip, so anything else I managed to do was extra. On Monday, we went out to Funk Rock City. I had never been to Funk Rock, and the climbing there was awesome. I got on this really cool route called Appalachian Spring, and managed to send it second go. It has some really cool, bouldery throws in the middle, making it somewhat atypical of the red, but still a classic route. I also got on Prime Directive, which runs up probably one of the coolest and most intimidating lines I have ever seen. We got back late and hung out for the rest of the night, and then got up earlyish to go out on Tuesday, which was my last climbing day there. We went back to Solar and Gold Coast, but Golden Boy was soaked, so we hung out at Solar for a bit figuring out what to get on. My friend Jeff managed to hike his project, Blue-Eyed Honkey Jesus, while we were there, which was inspiring enough to get us over to Bright Side. I had never climbed there before, and ended up flashing Golden Brown and Bush League, both of which are really cool routes and made for a solid last day.
I headed back home that Wednesday night, and after an airplane mishap and several last-minute flight changes, I made it home around 11 pm. I got right back into school, which gave me more than enough to think about, but I was still bummed about leaving the red. I want to thank everybody down there who helped me out, gave me a ride or belay, or anything. I also want to thank Five Ten for their support. I start up bouldering season in a couple of weeks, so now that I am caught up on schoolwork, it is back to training again.