March Break Adventures

I’ve spent a couple weeks in the Chattanooga area every winter for the past 4 years, mostly at Little Rock City, as its myriad of tricky slab problems fit well with my strengths. Last year I sent my two hardest boulders to date at LRC, “Grimace”, an absolute 5 star line, and “I Think I Can”, the most contrived crimp ladder I’ve ever split a tip on. Facebook keeps suggesting I repost some of those memories, which is nice, but really it’s only reminding me that my 8a bouldering scorecard is about to tank. (#spoileralert)

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Who cares about climbing. Here’s Willow, the cutest puppy ever.

Anyway, this recent trip was mostly spent in Rocktown, Georgia. Although it was pretty darn cold most of the week, the last few days were positively tropical. Actually, that might be an exaggeration, but it was pretty warm in the sun. I even climbed a few times in a tank top, but put my sweater back on after my lily-white arms blinded the rest of the crew.

We arrived late Saturday night and woke up Sunday morning to a snow-covered campground. Not to be deterred, we saddled up and headed into the boulders anyway! The day turned out to be perfect – nothing was wet, and it was sunny and cool. I like to spend my first days in a new area climbing classics, so even though I’d been to Rocktown before, we spent most of the day on a whirlwind tour of the boudler field, climbing all sorts of amazing problems and lining up some projects for the week.

On Monday the weather was foul, so we headed back into Chattanooga and spent the day exploring. First stop was the Chickamauga Battleground museum, which was really more of an information centre on the Civil War combined with a gargantuan gun collection. I took some photos, but I think I might be added to a watch list if I post them here. Suffice it to say that when the zombie apocalypse breaks out, anyone holed up in that museum should be good.

After stopping at the Whole Foods for some wifi, I had an amazing lentil burger at a vegan restaurant called Sluggo’s. I highly recommend it for your rest days. This isn’t a food blog, though, so moving on…

In the evening Diva and I had a nice walk along the river catching Pokemon, and a delicious dinner of shrimp tacos at the amazon lady’s abode. We spend the night laughing at the folks up north who were getting royally dumped on by Jack Frost. I think I was punished karmically for this the next day when it was -4°C. Needless to say, I ended up taking a double rest day.

Not Bar Fly, oops… Photo by Matt McCormick

On Wednesday it was warm enough to take my mittens off again, so we went in search of the climb called “Bar Fly”, which we were told was a pretty sweet vert-slabby V7. The book wasn’t very clear about where this climb was supposed to be, or maybe we’re just bad at interpreting diagrams, so we ended up on some unknown V7/8 right next door. Eventually our friends arrived to offer some guidance (thanks, friends!) and we all hopped on the Bar Fly send train.

It only got warmer from there, so I ended up going three days on, climbing Thursday and Friday as well. A few cool climbs went down, but I was a little disappointed to not send Lab Rats, an ultra-classic V6 at the very end of the boulder field. I came pretty close, slapping the final crimp a few times, but unfortunately the power just wasn’t there and there was no time to take a rest day and come back to it. Until we meet again, Lab Rats!

By Friday afternoon my tips were raw, my toes were killing me, and elbow tendinitis was a-hurtin’. Happily I was able to end the trip on a high note with a send of my nemesis from last year, Golden Showers (that topout is not trivial!) and its slabby neighbour, Ace (spooky topouts seem to be a theme for this boulder).

Unfortunately, as with most good things, this trip had to come to an end. By Saturday we were well on our way back to Ontario and the gym climbing life. I’m pretty done pulling on plastic, though. I’m ready – bring it on, spring!

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