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A Crag Less Traveled, But Deserves More Love

November 30, 2011

Adventures in Pebble Wrestling finally made it down to a new area that features a countless number of problems on overhanging and crimptastic boulders.

Climbers: Esten, Art and Pepper

Guest Climbers: Aaron

Hydration: Ardbeg Alligator, Highland Park 12, 21st Amendment/Ninkasi Allies Win The War Ale, Stone Ruination IPA, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Black Diamond Jagged Edge IPA, Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Imperial Ale, Black Diamond Rampage IPA, Firestone Walker Double Jack IPA

For several months now Art has been looking through Mountain Project after Robin initially mentioned Grayson Highlands State Park, in Southern VA just above the NC border, with a desire to visit, but the distance from DC has kept the group away.  However, in an effort to escape Turkey Day and the added benefit of an extended 4-day weekend, Esten, Art and Pepper, decided to check out a new area.  Arriving late Wednesday night, the campground was closed so they found a empty parking lot in the park and squeezed into the back of Esten’s Jeep Cherokee and snuggled with Pepper.

A.V.P. Boulder

Arthur working Front Man (V5)

Blockade (V1)

Esten sending Blockade (V1)

After being woken by the park ranger for sleeping in the parking lot, the group set up and camp and headed to Listening Rock Trail and warmed up near the Tigerside boulder before meeting up with Aaron James Parlier.  Aaron, who’s writing the GHSP guidebook, graciously took them to the A.V.P. Boulder Area and showed us the various problems including Front Man (V5) which turned into our weekend project. While at A.V.P. they sent Volatile (V4), Blockade (V1), Pocket Shot (V1/2) and thanks to Aaron’s effort to clean off the Low Blow Block, Arthur FA’d a fun arete problem, now aptly named Ardbeg Arthurgator.  With the sun quickly disappearing, they thanked Aaron and headed to their camp for a tasty turkey dinner.

The next day, the guys headed to the Contact Station area to work on some more fun, but crimpy problems on the True Grit and Ranger Rick boulders. Warming up, the guys quickly sent Ranger Rim (V0/1) and Ranger Rick (V0/1)  before making several attempts on Ranger Danger (V5) which hasn’t seen a 2nd ascent after Aaron’s FA. The guys next moved onto the Periscope (V3) problem before moving over to the True Grit boulder to send Choad (V4).  The guys ended the day with Art’s several attempts on the very sharp and crimpy True Grit (V5) before heading back to camp from a delicious ribeye steak dinner and some tasty, tasty IPAs.

Arthur sending Choad (V4)

Arthur sending Choad (V4)

Esten on the Roadside Boulder

Esten on the Roadside Boulder

The next morning the guys headed to the Boneyard to check out and explore the area which is divided into 3 areas left, middle and right.  The guys started off warming up on the Cap-Gun Boulder and working through various traverse and sloper problems (yes, there are slopers in GHSP) before heading off to find the next boulders.  After what felt like several hours of hiking around looking up the hill and pointing at a boulder saying “that looks fun, there must be some problems on there” the group finally stumbled upon the Thews Boulder which had a hard V5/6.  With the sun heading down, Esten and Art, headed back down the hill for a final search for problem before making a complete circle and ending back near Esten’s Jeep and the Roadside Boulder.  With the sun setting they guys played on some fun V3s and V4s and commented that it was strange that they haven’t seen any other boulderers in the park. The weather was perfect and there are so many problems.

Esten on Carmine (V2)

Esten on Carmine (V2)

The last day had a good chance of rain, so the guys made one last trip to the A.V.P. area to work their project, Front Man (V5).  After warming on some fun problems, Carmine (V2) and Resurrection (V1) they proceeded to work on Front Man with Esten make a valiant send late in the afternoon. Art continued to work it out, but it remains a project until next time.

Grayson Highlands State Park is an amazing bouldering location with tough overhanging problems and more crimps than Jackie could stand.  There’s more problems here than at our regular crag, Coopers Rock, and there appears to be so much more to be developed and discovered.  Once Aaron publishes the guidebook next spring, hopefully more people will visit and give it a little love.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2011 7:10 am

    Looks like a great trip. Can’t wait to get down there and try Ardbeg Arthurgator!

  2. December 1, 2011 10:16 am

    Yeah, it was a lot of fun. This place is definitely worth checking out, just some places are a little hard to navigate and find problems, like the boneyard.

  3. December 1, 2011 11:15 pm

    Beautiful photos! I can’t wait to make my return to the east coast and explore some crags beyond my usual southeast circuit. Keep climbin’ bud!

  4. December 4, 2011 8:38 pm

    Nice seeing you guys at Gretna today! I read the article about Grayson Highlands in the most recent issue of DPM. I am super psyched to get the new guidebook and check it out. Looks amazing!

  5. December 5, 2011 3:20 pm

    Adam tt was good seeing you at Gretna yesterday. Graysons is a really cool place, similar style to Hound Ears and pretty much everything is overhung and sharp. We just need more extended weekends to make it down there.

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