This leg of the trip was the chance to visit somewhere that I’d been hearing about for a long time. Daniel, being the southern boy that he is, would tell me about the Triple Crown bouldering series that was held down in the South. Near Tennessee and Georgia, on the Southern Sandstone boulders, they’d have some of the best short-route climbers in the world come and show off.
So, I’m driving all the way down to Oklahoma and Arizona already… may as well hit Tennessee, right?
I’m not getting up early today. It’s raining out… it’s almost pouring out. It does both, actually – alternating between drenching rain and just enough of a break to make me think that it’s finally over.
I do finally get out of bed, but it takes a while… and even then, it’s not a particularly pleasant morning. Putting the Vermont Pepperoni that Marla gave me into the Oatmeal is really the thing that keeps me motivated to get moving.
Once I do though, I get myself out into the rain quickly. Jacket and rain pants are put on at camp, and I work through the 80min drive out to Rocktown Boulders slowly but surely… until the last 10 miles or so. Those last ten miles are… in a word? Terrifying. It’s POURING out by then, and the road up to this area is just as steep and winding s the road up to Little Rock City was last night.
But this road isn’t completely paved – the rain keeps the dust and rocks on the ground, which is nice, but it still takes me a while to manouver the Mustang through the side roads and around the potholes… but I succeed, and soon enough I’m parked at the trail head, and walking out toward the boulders.
I left my shoes and crash pad in the car, thanks to the heavy rain. My plan was to scout everything out first, then bring the gear if I needed it… and if the rain held off long enough.
Well, scouting went pretty well – It actually just turned into full-on climbing after a pretty short bit.
I never did get my shoes or crash pad; the rain kept falling, so I never really did any routes that were hard enough to really need either. I just stuck to the hueco areas (Note: Huecos are pockets in the rock… think the holes in Swiss cheese), specifically a section called “Hueco Simulator” that was huge bucket holds that, while sometimes full of water, still worked fine when wet.
And since the holds were large and positive, climbing shoes wouldn’t really have helped… so I clambered around in boots, enjoying the powerful moves and clean lines that went up around, and through the area.
Driving back to camp was a process in and of itself – the road wasn’t pleasant coming up, but going down it was even worse. I never actually lost traction, but I sort of always felt that I was on the cusp of it… so I don’t think that I broke 20mph the whole way back to the main highway.
But that meant that when I finally got back, I was famished and exhausted – so I made an excellent dinner of onions, chicken and pasta, and read until I couldn’t keep my head up anymore.