Climbing in the South

Welcome to another great climbing trip! Climbing in the South is fun. After one normal flight and two of the most miserable flights I have ever been on, I finally made it to Atlanta. And the first thing we do guessed it: Drive. Again I can make fun of my East Coast friends since they drive soooooo much. It wasn't a bad drive though and stopping in the center for Mexican food is always a great way to break up a drive.

The trip started at Horse Pens 40 which is right outside of Steele Alabama, which is East of Birmingham. It was in the middle of nowhere! This has to be the prettiest place I would have liked to climb...but it had to rain the whole time. I really need to get back here and get on the crazy, yet beautiful rock. I forgot I had my camera at this point so I didn't get any pictures, but I will definitely be back here at one point.

It rained all day Saturday so we drove to Chattanooga, TN. It was a little late to climb once we got there so we went to the Aquarium. It was a pretty good aquarium for a random place like Chattanooga. We pet Sting Rays and other random creatures. The Jellyfish exhibit was amazing like they always are. I always stare at them wondering how they survive. It seems there is nothing to them. They also had a huge Salt Water Aquarium with ginormous sharks and other interesting fish. It made me want to throw on some scuba gear and get in the water. Again I forgot my camera so I don't have any pictures.

The next day we did a little climbing at Stone Fort (aka. Little Rock City). This was right on a golf course which was pretty interesting to see. I asked the old man in the Pro Shop what the ratio of climbers to golfers was and he said yesterday they had 175 climbers and 18 golfers. It is funny how the climbers are the ones keeping the golf course in business this time of year and to think at one point they only allowed 30 climbers a day. Crazy anti-climbing folk!

Stone Fort was nice and COLD. Because of the frigid weather I didn't get on as many things as I would have liked, but I got on a couple really cool problems (and didn't finish any of them). I got on Tristar (v4), Two Can Sam (v3), Gina's V2 (v5) and a few others I don't remember the names of. No surprise here, but I forgot my camera again...maybe I will remember tomorrow! I would really like to get back here when I am a little stronger and it is a little less cold.
Monday we headed to Foster Falls in Tennessee; another beautiful place in the South. We followed a guidebook from 1993 and needless to say, a lot has changed since then! We hiked in on the 'old' trail which was the craziest hike I have ever had to do to get to a crag. Scaling down six foot wet rocks and walking on steep cliffs were the easy parts of the hike. We later found out there was a new trail which is how we hiked out and it was much more pleasant. The hike out also had a view of a beautiful waterfall and a bridge that reminded me of the one from Indian Jones where they cross the gorge (not as high, but not very sturdy). Because of the recent rain, water was flowing everywhere! Many of the climbs were engulfed in small waterfalls making them unclimbable.

We got on three routes here and I thought they were all really hard for their grade. We started on Narcissism (10b) which I lead but did very poorly. There was horrible stemming/scumming with not great holds you should never have to do on a 10b. I am so glad Gina put up the draws or I probably would have not made it! The next climb we got on was So What (11b), but we thought we were getting on a 10b. This made it a little interesting and very exciting at the same time. I TR'ed it and was glad I did with the really scary last move where you make a long move from a small sloppy crimp to a small gaston right below the anchors. Then we got on The Hoosier (11c) and I didn't even get to the top on TR. I got to a point where you have to make a big move off a sharp crimp but I was pumped and dead by this point. This was the only day I remembered my camera so all the pictures posted are from Foster Falls.

We spent the evening driving back to Durham, NC with a nice Indian dinner stop in Ashville. The next day I got a chance to check out the Triangle Rock Club, the local climbing gym. It was fun to see another gym, but it made me appreciate mine. Momentum is a great gym and it would be hard to go anywhere else after being able to climb at a world class gym.

Now I am back home and it's time to get back into Ironman training. It is gonna be hard after these 2 weeks of Daria and Climbing and travel, but I think I can do it! Hopefully I'll post with a little bit of my progress in the next few weeks or so!


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