Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blog Is Moving

WOW! It's has been a loooooooong time since I last posted here. To tell you the truth, I've lost most of my blogging zeal. When I started this blog 4 years ago I was 19 years old; a lot has changed since then. I'm now only a single day away from college grad status and I'll be getting married in January. In the mean time I've grown tired of writing (and reading) meaningless climbing jibber jabber. I want to hear about real climbers doing really cool stuff. Having said that, I've decided to move my blog. You can find the new one here: The new blog will focus on photos and videos. Hopefully I'll be able to update it more often as well.

I hope you enjoy it,


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Triple Crown 2011: Hound Ears

Ok you've probably read nineteen other accounts of how the Hound Ears comp went down. Rain and snow. Cold. Delays. Blah blah blah. The real story at this event has little to do with climbing or weather and more to do with camaraderie among climbers. This is the real value of the Triple Crown - the sense of community that it creates among varied individuals.

 Nate Draughn on Kratos (v12)

Rami Annab on Random Man (v11)

For the first year in several I was freed from the bonds of the competition itself, loosed from the shackles that constrain my perception and distort my reasoning. For the first year in several I was able to stop and take a look around. What I noticed was that in spite of the cold, in spite of bleeding fingers, in spite of crowed boulders, climbers were determined to enjoy the 1 in 365 days/year that bouldering is allowed at Hound Ears. Jimmy Webb and I were both excited to check out some projects that aren't on the comp circuit.

What we found was astonishing! As it turns out climbers haven't focused much attention at establishing difficult boulders at Hound Ears. After all, trying a project on comp day means that if you don't send you'll have to wait another year before trying again. Luckily Jimmy and I were able to clean and climb two amazing projects. The first I named Subject to Change (v11) and the second Jimmy dubbed Projections (v12). We captured both boulders (second ascents) on film along with my ascent of Kratos the previous day. I can't wait to get back to Hound Ears to check out more of the potential there.

For full competition results click here. The Triple Crown Stone Fort competition is coming up on Saturday. I wonder if competitors will get enough rest. See everyone there!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2nd Annual Stone Summit Crushville Competition

If you live in Atlanta, or any other big city for that matter, you're familiar with traffic. Mathematicians may explain it using Chaos Theory, civil engineers attempt to minimize it, and average humans may recognize its variety of forms. They range from simple congestion to a complete standstill and somewhere in between is the traffic variety termed slow-and-go. The same term could be used to describe Saturday's competition at Stone Summit.

I admit, I'm not an avid competition climber  and I also admit that I am not the foremost expert on rules and proceedings at ABS, SCS, or other events; but I did recognize a serious flaw in the competition's format. With nearly 200 registered competitors and only one climber allowed per 10-20 horizontal feet of wall, huge lines formed. If you didn't flash the boulder the wait time to try again could be 15-20 minutes. It made for a seriouw flash pump and quite a bit of stress. In the comp's 4 hours, I only made it on the wall 15 times. That's less than 4 times an hour! You can check out results here.

Not resting, just waiting

 My favorite comp boulder

I would like to draw your attention to several other things as well.

1. Outside Magazine ranked Chattanooga, TN the best city to live in. See the October issue for more details.


2. Urban Climber Magazine has ventured a guess at the 100 best boulder problems in the USA. The Shield at Little Rock City tops the list at number 1. It seems that the folks at UCM got this one right - The Shield, no doubt, earns the title "best boulder in America." Other boulders in the Southeast made the cut as well including Golden Harvest and Crocbloc at Rocktown and Millipede, God Module, and Slider at Horse Pens 40.

3. The annual Hound Ears competition and the first leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series is coming up this weekend. If you haven't seen the weather forecast take a look! I can't wait to climb on real rocks for the first time in months!

See you out there!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Beta - Hole 18

After 9 consecutive years, the Triple Crown Bouldering Series is throwing a couple change-ups. If you haven't already noticed, the competitions at Hound Ears, Stone Fort (Little Rock City), and Horse Pens will be taking place on October 1st, October 7th, and November 5th respectively. In previous years each of the three competitions has occupied the first weekend of each month from October to December. Now, with only a week or two between competitions, competitors already faced with the daunting task of climbing 10 boulder problems at their limit will have to do so on consecutive weekends. The other primary difference this year will be the closure of Montlake Golf Club on October 7th for the Stone Fort competition.

Not only does this closure mean that climbers will be able to drive to and park at the Montlake Golf Club but it also means that boulders along the 18th fairway, normally off-limits, will be fair game. For competitors, this will mean more boulders to choose from and even first ascent potential. Check out the video Andrew Kronylak shot to promote the event.

The relationship between climbers, golfers, and landowners at Stone Fort/LRC has been a real success story thanks to the hard work of many at the SCC and in the local climbing community. As for me, I won't be competing in this year's Triple Crown but I will be around. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Nature of a Boulder

Today is the second day in the fifth week of my last semester of school. Most days my mind functions like a huge clock moving continuously and forcefully toward the time of my release. From this torturous tic-toc I have few escapes. An hour here, a few hours there, time for a little rest, a meal, time for a quick session at TBA. This is what I live for.

My body has neglected to cooperate fully with my demanding schedule and the heart of its resistance is located in the tissue of my fingers where several tweaks and strains have manifested themselves. Some days the pain seems to pin me to the ground, my motivation fails, and I retreat feeling broken. Most days are still good though. On the weekends I find my rest bumbling around the hills of Tennessee in search of new boulders. Sometimes I even find one.

It was just a couple weeks ago that Nate Draughn and I climbed a new boulder at Deep Creek. I decided to call it Lost in the Mourning in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (the day we climbed it). The boulder itself is a triangle shaped protrusion not unlike the shape of a nose. All in all the climb consists of about 7 compression moves on slopers and pinches along the bottom of the feature. I can honestly say that this is a GREAT boulder and that climbing it felt quite like a gift.

To me this is the nature of boulders: they are small gifts of the earth which a climber may claim only for only a brief moment. I have heard several times that climbing new boulders/routes is like a form of art. I disagree. Climbing a new piece of rock is not an act of creation, merely an expression of something already created. Whether climbed or not boulders remain unchanged and will remain thus long after our own departures. Here is a photo albeit a poor one.

 Nate on Lost in the Mourning

It's worth mentioning that Deep Creek (yes, the sport climbing area) has some potential for boulder development as well. If you are feeling adventurous take a little hike - you don't need to go far.

That being said, I would like to draw your attention to a couple other things.

1. Joe Kinder, Andrew Bisharat, and Whitney Boland have all written reviews of A Fine Line. I'm stoked on the feedback and I can't wait for everyone to see the movie! The premier will be in Atlanta at Patagonia on October 6th. It will be screened again at Montlake Golf Club on October 7th after the Triple Crown competition. See Andrew Kornylak's blog for more info. A screen shot from the vid:

2. Several Chattanooga hard men have been busy bolting new routes at the local crag, Deep Creek. And, while I'm not going to name names, these guys deserve some serious props for all their work. Thank you!

3. Stone Summit is hosting a competition this Saturday (September 24th). It should be a fun time! Click here for the comp details.

If this post is any indication, I'm going to try out a new format on the blog. It will be more centered on reporting regional climbing activity (first ascents, repeats, access, etc.) in order to present climbers in the Southeast a clear picture of what is going on. I'm looking forward to a little change-up - I have to admit I'm extremely bored of the traditional blog format which involves relating incredibly boring days for the sake of spraying about some insignificant send.

I hope everyone enjoys and if you have any suggestions please feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Fine Line: Official Trailer

Here is a trailer for the video I (and others) shot with Andrew Kornylak and Josh Fowler. It will be released in October on - keep your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Coolest

I haven't been posting much and I haven't been traveling much. I did make a trip to the beach with Jo Beth and her family but as far as climbing goes I've been sticking to the gym, battling the heat, and honing my skills. Always honing...

Photos I took in Apalachicola, FL:


It's cool in the mornings now. And by cool I mean 65-70. It feels nice anyway. School has started again and I'm thankful that this will be my final semester. As it is, I'm having quite a difficult time staying motivated in classes like American Women Writers. I've started back at my job as well.

Now its kinda funny but at the time it was demoralizing; I had this horrible day at the gym. Feeling weak, climbing like junk, my execution was in the toilette and I went off on this horrible tangent about school and work and whatnot. Ruined my whole day thinking about it. But I got over it and I've been climbing better lately.

That day is the reason I'm writing this post right now. Climbing is always waves of strength and relative weakness. But summertime in the South has the ability to accentuate the highs and lows. Small dips, normally unnoticeable, become huge mental barriers to personal progression. I just wanted to remind everyone that a few bad days, or a bad month even, doesn't mean a lack of progression. On days when you are feeling especially unmotivated or tired, concentrate on simple things like technique or endurance. Keep in mind that the summer is coming to an end. I can't wait!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Cool

TENNESSEE! I am so happy to be HOME. Of course it's hotter here than the sun itself, but I don't care. I enjoy working up a good sweat in the gym anyway. My time in Colorado this year was amazing. It was filled with good friends, good food, and good climbing all around. I even surprised myself with ascents of boulders that I thought were beyond my ability. Now it's time to step up the game in preparation for a month long trip Fontainebleu, FR in February of 2012. I'm also considering Switzerland in March and South Africa in July. Any suggestions?

Unfortunately, I'm in very poor shape at the moment. Loss of fitness is the "dark side" of climbing outdoors for months on end. I'm not the most talented climber. My success hinges less on natural ability and more on the hundreds of days a year I spend preparing in the gym. Two-a-day workouts aren't uncommon for me. It's very disheartening therefore to witness the loss of my hard-earned gains. What's amazing though is how quickly it occurs. Over the course of my trip (5/18-6/25) I didn't visit the gym a single time. In that time my fitness and power levels dropped to about 60% of my "in-shape" max. Now I feel locked in a physical and mental battle to regain my former position.

I also start work on Tuesday and I can't wait. Work and school act to balance my life and, while I have less time for climbing, it's much more productive. Here are a couple photos that I had left over:


John's cat Diego

I don't really know when I'll have something to post next. Have a great summer everyone!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Photo Update

Well I don't have a whole lot to say but I do have quite a few photos of things we have been trying lately.

Me on Little House on the Prairie
photo: Nate Drolet

Brad on Little House
photo: Nate Drolet

Preston on Little House (check out that try hard face!?)
photo: Nate Drolet

What are you doing Brad????
photo: Nate Drolet

The first grip on the Honey Badger

Uncovering The Mote In God's Eye
photo: Brad Weaver

Brad on Mote In God's Eye

Brad on Mote in God's Eye

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mt. Evans Update

I feel very lucky. Almost everyday for 3 weeks now I have been fortunate enough to enjoy the beautiful scenery, incredible boulder problems, and the company of good friends at Mt. Evans. On top of that I have been climbing very well which is always nice. I'm feeling worn out now and today is the first of 2 well deserved rest days, but I'm still hoping to scrape out a couple more boulders while I'm here. Here are a couple shots John got of me on things I've been trying:

Big Worm (v14)

Me on Vanilla Sky (v13)

Friends have been climbing well too. Here are some photos I took:

Preston on the Great War for Civilisation (v13)

Brad on Phobos (v10)

Also, here is a super nice shot that Ivo Penchev took of me on To You Scattered Bodies Go. You can check out Ivo's awesome website for more.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Moving Forward

Well I'm up at 5 am because my skin is on fire. It's really incredible that this is the first time in 3 weeks of intense bouldering that my skin has given me any trouble. I'll probably be taking a couple days off to heal it up before heading back out to the boulders. I think I need a couple days to recover mentally as well. I've found that trying boulders at my personal limit is more exhausting mentally than physically, and recently I've been feeling a little under the weather in this respect. I've also been thinking of home more and more. I am not one of those guys that can just live for months and months on the road. I need a home, a place to stretch my legs, and something apart from climbing to focus on.

More than climbing in Colorado, the future of climbing in the South is the subject of this blog post. I would speculate that the next few years are going to be a renaissance for climbing there. By comparison, the South is behind in terms of popularity of the sport and in terms of climbing difficulty (the two are probably highly correlated). Of course, access issues have always stunted the growth of climbing there, but gyms like Stone Summit in Atlanta and TBA, the local gym in Chattanooga, (among other organizations and businesses) are attempting to advance climbing throughout the region. Youth programs are growing, outdoor sports are gaining acceptance, and a motivated group of climbers is bringing the area out of it's self-imposed dark-age and into the mainstream. Climbers in the region are strictly divided on whether this movement is good or bad.

It certainly means more people at climbing areas, and again, access is a huge concern. Also at stake though is the old school feeling - peace, solitude, and friendship. I've had extended contact with both sides. My first climbing experiences were filled with secrecy, intrigue, and close friends. I remember sneaking in to Little Rock City when I was 15 and I remember the great days I had at the satellite areas around Chattanooga in complete solitude. I've also experienced several alpine seasons in Colorado, competitions, sponsorships, and new school gyms. Whatever happens in the next few years will be O.K. with me - I'm not fighting anything - I'm just excited about some new boulders. Jimmy Webb and I have a couple good leads and there I feel strong enough now to really push difficulty in the region.

I have another week in Denver before heading to Rifle for a couple days and then back to Chattanooga.

Hope to see you out there,


Monday, June 6, 2011

Back in Colorado

Well there has been a lot going on lately and I haven't been posting much. I did do several posts on the 5.10 blog as Ronnie Jenkins and I traveled around doing shoe demos and such. You can check them out here if you feel so inclined. Now I'm in Denver hanging out with John Gass. We have been climbing almost every day for a week now and I'm very pleased with how it's been going. Thus far, most of our time has been spent at Lincoln Lake enjoying the boulders established by Dave Graham and Daniel Woods last summer. Here are a couple photos that John took of me:

We Can Build You (v14)

The Exfoliator (v12)

We've also spent some time cleaning some new boulders. One in particular is really nice. The boulder is slightly less than vertical with a line of crystal holds leading to the top. We decided to call it Another Tomorrow (v5).

Another Tomorrow (v5)

Tangerine Man (v8)

We will be heading back tomorrow and I'm already excited about it - I love alpine bouldering!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer Plans

Well my summer plans have finally come together. I'm heading out on Thursday to the New River Rendezvous with Ronnie Jenkins to rep 5.10. I've only been to the New once before and I've never been to the Rendezvous so I don't know what to expect but I would really like to try a route there called Still Life (5.14b). This one will be the hardest route I've ever even tried but it's short and bouldery looking so maybe I stand a chance. I just hope it doesn't rain. Then Ronnie and I are gonna be heading on a little road trip doing some 5.10 shoe demos and hanging out. You can follow our trip on the 5.10 blog here where I'll be posting a bunch of PHOTOS and WORDS that you will NEED TO READ.

My ULTIMATE DESTINATION will be the couch at John Gass's apartment in Denver - a place that seems to have become my home-away-from-home in the past couple years. I'm really looking forward to climbing at altitude again. A bunch of guys from THE SOUTH are gonna be around too so it should be an awesome time. My goals for the trip are 1) remain uninjured 2) climb boulders. I think it will be quite a successful trip!

See you out there,


Monday, March 21, 2011

Colorado Bouldering Video

Here is the short we have been working on, it turned out really well. Enjoy!

I'm embedding this from the Denver airport; I don't have much else to say.



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Front Range Bouldering

I have a lot of stuff to post. First of all, big thanks to 5.10 and Organic for making this trip happen. When Brad and I showed up in Denver I had a brand new pad waiting for me. I opened her up and took the box out to the trash chute. It didn't really fit...

Secondly, John, Brad and I have been working on a video showcasing most of the boulders we have been climbing on here in CO. It should be on the web by mid-week so look out for it. Here are some screen shots:

I've also been shooting some photos - probably not as many as I should. Here they are:

Now my skin is thrashed and we head home tomorrow. It has definitely been a good trip and I'm looking forward to coming back out in June for the alpine season. Until then I'm gonna try to climb some routes. One of my all time climbing goals is to climb 5.14 - a goal I believe is well within my ability. All I need is some endurance. Stay tuned for the video...


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quick CO update

We've been chillin' in Denver for the last week and things have really been going down. So far I've been able to climb Fantasia (v13), Dark Waters (v12), Bambi (v11), Elegant Universe (v11), Elegant Infinite (v10). It's worth mentioning that Fantasia, after my ascent, has reached a consensus grade of v13 - not v14. Brad and John have been climbing really well too. We are heading up to Fantasia again today so that Weaver can finish it off, then back to Eldorado Canyon tomorrow morning so I can finish Suspension of Disbelief (v13). I managed to fall off the last move on Tuesday and I can't wait to top it out. So far we have captured every ascent on film so be on the lookout for some video soon. I guess that's about it...


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dont post videos of boulders in access sensitve areas!

Recently several videos have been posted online featuring boulders in access sensitive areas around the Southeast. I'm posting this in the hope that it will stop. The bottom line is that videos mean more traffic, more traffic means greater impact, and greater impact may lead to closure of the area. Don't undermine the work everyone has done to gain access at these, and many other, climbing areas. Please, feel free to shoot video and show it to your friends; DO NOT POST IT ON THE WEB!

Alright, that being said, here is a video of me climbing the Litz line Manic Aggression (v13) and Ben Tsui climbing a new one he called Too Big to Fail (v7). Enjoy!

I'm heading to Colorado tomorrow and I can't wait!



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Arkansas/Epic Journey Recap

I'm back in Chatt after another weekend in Arkansas. I can't even begin to describe how epic the trip was. Arkansas got 8-12 inches of snow last week and I-40 was literally a sheet of ice. Runaway 18-wheelers were wrecked in the median and traffic was stacked up for at least 50 miles. It ended up taking us 8 hours to drive the 120 miles between Memphis and Little Rock! I guess that's like 15 mph.

There was about a foot of snow on the ground when we finally arrived. It was pretty obvious that the boulders were gonna need some work if we wanted to climb. Check out this pic of Brad shoveling snow from the landing at the warm-up boulder:

When we finally rolled in Jo Beth and I headed straight out to Wood Grain Grippin' to try and dry it up. After about an hour of work I had the topout mostly clear of snow. I wasn't even planning on trying it but after watching snow melt drip from the top I got a little nervous and decided to go for it. I felt good, the friction was incredible, and after battling numb toes I was able to pull it off. Back in December I decided that finishing this boulder would be my one remaining goal for the season. I'm incredibly happy to have accomplished the task.

The next day I was also able to climb Southern Lean (v11), Shadow Jumper (v11), and Typhoon (v10). Good couple days...

Nate on War Bonnet (v5)

The epic trip continued the following day as we were forced to clear parts of the road (with a single shovel) from Fred's Cave back to the highway after stupidly driving a couple miles on mud and melting snow. It wasn't until the late afternoon that Brad and I were back at the ranch trying Welcome to Fight Club (v13), a crimpy traverse line. You can watch a vid. of Paul Robinson climbing it here. Small edges are difficult for me right now with my finger at less than 100% but I still did some good work and Brad made a few very good links.

I should have some video soon (though unfortunately none of WGG). Stay tuned...


Monday, February 7, 2011

Gettin' Back to It

So I've been getting outside a little more recently. My finger is feeling stronger and the end is in sight - almost. Unfortunately, with a job and school my status is more akin to weekend warrior than I would like. Anyway, Jimmy and I went out to Dayton yesterday with Hugh, Rami, AJ, and Andrew Kornylak to check out this roof project (now dubbed Foundation). It turned out to be sick - tension with a heal-hook through gastons, a stab to a three finger edge, a jump, and an awesome v8 finish. I think it checks in somewhere around v11 and a little harder if you're short. It was super fun to clean up and after figuring out all the beta I punted from the end like a million times - so classic. I actually ended up doing it once but dabbed on Hugh. Whatever... I'm gonna try to get back out there Wednesday before work to finish it. Until then I've got some studying to do - writing this is just another form of procrastination.

There is a big crew heading to Arkansas this weekend and I'm so psyched to get back to Wood Grain after almost doing it back in November. Stay tuned...


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ben Shoots Video

So Ben shot this video of our day at Horse Pens. Problems are Bum Boy (v3), Crystal Tips (v8), Slider (v9), and Skywalker (v8). Thanks to Ben for the work. Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I had a great session in the gym last night - it was almost like old injury-free times. A month after I hurt it, my finger is finally doing a little better. I still can't climb on small edges but I'm hoping that in a few weeks it will be good to go. For now I'm trying to stick to good holds and slopers.

Ben Tsui and I went down to Horse Pens last weekend to slope it up. Despite snow melting off the topouts, we had a great time and I was even able to do a new boulder - Crystal Tips (v8). It's a balancy slab with a jump-start, a heinously high foot, and a mantle. FUN! I did some others as well and took some photos. Here's one:

I've come a long way in the past few years but I will always I remember climbing Bum Boy for the first time, stopping for a Coke and Doritos on our way home from Rocktown with Mr. Gass, climbing half way up the Shield and wishing the holds kept going, and having sessions at 1 AM because we were just too psyched. A day at Horse Pens with no agenda reminded me of these simpler times - when climbing was just a fun thing we did. Over the years it has somehow changed and it was nice to get back to my roots. This is why we all love climbing!

Hope everyone is lovin' it as much as I am!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Help the SCC

Happy 2011 everybody! I haven't posted lately because I haven't been up to much - just training, hiking, and trying to heal my finger. I don't really know how the finger is coming along, I just know that I still can't grab crimpers. Anyway, I'm hoping that one of my hiking expeditions will yield a new cluster of boulders but so far I've found nothing worth mentioning. Private property boundaries, rabid dogs, and hunting season just complicate the matter. I snapped these shots in about 5 minutes worth of hiking:

Signs like these make you appreciate what our local Southeastern Climbers Coalition has accomplished. And speaking of the SCC, they recently announced fundraising for Deep Creek - a sport climbing crag about 25 minutes from downtown Chattanooga. If you can/want to help out, even a $5 or $10 donation would be greatly appreciated. For more information about donating just click here or the link above.

I guess that's all I have to say. Enjoy the good weather and the new year!