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The Search for My Little Ponies

May 29, 2012

Esten and Art have been talking about GHSP for the past several months since their first experience last Thanksgiving and they were eager to head back over the long Memorial Day weekend to send their projects.

Climbers: Esten, Pierre, Robert, Danny, Aaron and Art
Hydration: Talisker 18, Tyrconnel Irish Whiskey, Stone Ruination, Green Flash Palate Wrecker, Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, Oskar Blues Deviant Dales, 21st Amendment Back in Black, Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale, Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, Long Trail Coffee Stout

The week leading up to the Memorial Day weekend, the group was undecided on where to go and where to stay — Coopers, the Gunks or Grayson were all options discussed.  But, on Friday night Art and Esten made the decision to make an early morning drive down to Grayson with Pierre. So they woke up around 3AM to pack and hit the road by 5AM with their food and hydration.

Esten sending Ranger Danger (V5)

Esten sending Ranger Danger (V5)

After the 6 hour drive, they finally made it to Grayson and still, without a clue as to where they were camping. The campground was full, so they figured they’d have to hike up the Highlands to camp on the AT or find another nearby campground. With that sort of figured out, they started warming at the Contact Station where they had a few projects to tackle.  Starting on Ranger Rick (V0) and Periscope (V3) before hitting Art and Esten’s first project, Ranger Danger (V5.) Pierre started the send train followed by Esten and Art.  And either they are stronger and better than their last trip or during their last trip they were fat and weak (having hydrated constantly while eating Black Forest Bacon) — in the first hour they had taken care of their first project.

They then moved over to the True Grit boulder and their other project in the area. Art and Esten worked True Grit (V5) while Pierre made quick work of that problem and moved over to work Lynch Mob (V8). While the guys were working on their problems, Aaron Parlier drove by and yelled that he’d see us in a moment. Pierre, getting hungry, headed back to the truck to grab some trail mix and as he was walking back, ran into Robert and Danny as they drove into the park. They had more sensibly left around 8, so they had an afternoon to climb. With everyone now gathered at True Grit, Robert and Danny warmed up on True Grit before moving a little right to work on Palisade (V7) and Pierre’s variation of that problem which will never see a second ascent since the left hand start broke. On their drive down Robert had rented a vacation house near Whitetop Mountain, which solved the question about where to camp. Meanwhile, Esten sent True Grit after making many attempts, while although Art made most of the moves, this remains a project for next time (over July 4th, anyone?)

Pierre sending Lynch Mob (V8)

Pierre sending Lynch Mob (V8)

Ready to check out another area, they packed up and headed over to the Picnic Area to play on the Olympus Boulder, a nice overhung highball with some tough problems.  Oh, and a random guy they found in the parking lot came along. They started on some easier problems on the boulder, while Pierre setup his pads and sent Athos Arete (V5) before moving down the boulder to get a FA on Frites & Cassoulet (V9) while Danny and Robert worked on Flying Spaghetti Monster (V8) and Robert eventually got the send. With everyone exhausted, they headed off to check out their vacation rental, eat, rest and hydrate.

Pierre sending Frites & Cassoulet (V9)

Pierre sending Frites & Cassoulet (V9)

The next day, they decided to search for the little ponies at the Highlands.  Last time Esten and Art were there, they saw a herd of ponies, but never made it up to the area. And with all the fetishized talk about ponies the day before, a few of the folks were strangely excited about the visit … for the highballs, really. Making it up to the Horizon boulder, they looked around the boulder and warmed up on slabs before hitting up Horizon Line (V5) and with the bright and nearly cloudless day, everyone was baking in the sun. After many attempts Pierre and Danny managed to send the problem while the other guys made a few attempts, but didn’t get far enough.  With the sun draining them, they packed up and headed back to the cars to hit up A.V.P. Boulder which was shaded under trees. Alas, no ponies were found.  Maybe next time …

Danny sending Horizon Line (V5)

Danny sending Horizon Line (V5)

Frontman (V5) was Esten’s proud send during the last trip, essentially spending a day and a half at the A.V.P. Boulder to work on it and Art had made many attempts but never managed to get it.  So, Art was ready to take it down. They threw down their pads at Frontman and Pierre, Robert and Danny made quick work of it and moved to Casual Tees’ (V5) which starts on the same holds as Frontman, but moves left. Esten worked Frontman a few times before resending the problem, while Art continued to work on it, but not quite able to reach the high left hand. Pierre and team moved around the boulder to work on Sigouney Weaver (V9) while Art continued to work on Frontman, finally able to to stick that move and send his project with some Scotch reward on top.

Scotch Me! on Frontman (V5)

Scotch Me! on Frontman (V5). Photo by Esten Abell

Wrapping up the night, they headed to the Log House for some dinner which was not quite up to Art’s standards. The first clue that the food might be poor is that the waitress was a 10 year old girl. They also didn’t get any orders correct, some got lettuce and tomato and some didn’t, etc.  However, the highlight of the meal — Pierre was one that didn’t get lettuce or tomato, so he picked up his plate and walked backed to the kitchen to ask for the missing items. Art also asked for Pellegrino, but unsurprisingly, they didn’t carry it. After dinner, the crew headed back to the park for a bluegrass concert, while Art napped in the Jeep.

Aaron on Thews (V6)

Aaron on Thews (V6)

Their last morning at Grayson, they met Aaron at his cabin before heading to the Middle Boneyard area. Although that area has a large number of problems, they are spread out over a large area, so it’s hard to find problems which Art and Esten discovered.  Fortunately, Aaron was there to guide them and they headed to the Thews Boulder. After walking up the hill, they warmed up on the various problems in the area.  Esten and Art worked an easy problem on a boulder opposite of Thews before moving over with the other guys on a long traverse variation of Alive Arete. Pierre made it the furthest on the traverse, but as with the other guys, his body was pretty beat, so this problem will remain a project for next time. They all worked Thews (V6) but, as expected, their bodies were beaten and battered, so they packed up and headed into town for some lunch before heading home.

It was another fun trip to Graysons and while the temps at home were sweltering, the guys enjoyed good weather and good sends.  Next time, they need to plan more in advance and reserve a campsite, but we’ll see if that happens.

Pierre working Alive Arete Variation

Pierre working Alive Arete Variation

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