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,