On September 27th me and Laura crammed our temporary belongings into the compact Saturn/Benz and began the trek out East. Nearly 30 hours later, after driving across no man's land, we arrived at our home base in Chattanooga. Once we had winded down from the drive we quickly spurted another 5 hours Northeast to the first leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series in Boone, North Carolina. The weather was on the fringe of disaster. Regardless of the treacherous conditions, we along with many other brave soldiers decided to stick it out. The day of the competition was miserably cold and wet. We received random blurbs about how the boulders had been slaughtered by sleet and torrential douching from the rain. The organizers made a great call by postponing the comp to the following day, which barely turned out to be climbable. As we arose from our light sleep, into a brisk competition day, we piled onto the shuttle bus and headed up the mountain. After unloading from the bus and grabbing our crashpads we stumbled up the steep ass hill, partially awake to the starting line of the comp. The good words were released as hundreds of climbers scurried to try and warm up in the freezing, wet conditions.
Normally I feel completely at ease in these sorts of conditions but after so many hours of driving with barely any sleep, my body ceased to function that of a ninja warrior. The pressure of the comp was rapidly on, I knew exactly what I needed to do to stay up to par with the local strongmen. I was off to good start by flashing my first few of the ten problems I needed, but around midday my body began to bonk and the skin suddenly deteriorated leaving me covered in blood with numerous split tips. You'd think climbing 10 hard blocs in 6 hours sounds easy right? Hahahahaaa, I thought wrong.
After all was said and done, I finished in 5th place and completely in shock as to how good the locals climbed in the shit conditions. One thought came to my mind, I need to jump start my training regime with da quickness and get my ass in gear, cause these guys don't mess around out here in the South. With one week until the 2nd competition and horribly injured fingertips, I was feeling a bit doubtful as to my performance at the next comp which was held at one of the most amazing areas of all, THE STONE FORT!
Going from one extreme to the next, I found myself one week later with partially recovered tips along with my worst climbing nightmare.... Friction climbing in 85 degree weather, in the South east. I really was feeling at a huge loss here, but either way I was going to give it my all and try my best not to split any more fingertips. Feeling a bit better then the comp before, I kept my skin together and ended up in 4th place.
Now with 3 weeks to prepare and having the small opportunity to be accustomed to the rock and humidity, I'm feeling a lot more confident in my future at the Triple Crown and in the Southeast. I have had one good day down at Horse Pens 40, which is where the 3rd comp will take place and I will have many more before the next battle. The ninja warrior shall prevail! None-the-less, I have nothing but good things to say about the time we have spent out east, there is so many good new problems to have at.
After all my experiences with traveling to new and already developed areas, I am completely dumbfounded by the shear quality and quantity of the rock that the Southeast has to offer. If words could only explain how amazing the rock is out here, I would never shut up. I really don't understand why anyone, in their right mind would ever leave this place. When I say "This Place" I mean Chattanooga and the surrounding area. Apart from the lack of good climbing conditions, my experiences here thus far have been nothing but SUPERB! Between the Stone Fort, Rocktown and Horse pens, there seems to be endless clusters of perfect rock in the most pristine setting imaginable.
Above: Laura on Croc Block V5 Rocktown, Georgia