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It’s called Blowing Rock for a reason

July 10, 2012

4th of July on a Wednesday = perfect excuse for a 5 day climbing trip.

The climbers: Eric, Max, and Jackie
Guests: Ehrin, Jen, Erich, and lots of other Boone-area climbers (a great crew, by the way)
Hydration: Victory Prima Pils, Victory HopDevil IPA, Victory Golden Monkey, Victory Headwaters Pale Ale, Troegs Hop Back, Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat, Troegs Pale Ale, Troegs Perpetual IPA, Troegs Sunshine Pils, Odell IPA, Victory Old Horizontal, New Belgium La Folie, Boulevard Tank 7, and 2 growlers of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Boone is a region full of boulders, but it is also a place without a guidebook or an online topo.  So when we got hooked up with some locals to show us around, the three of us jumped at the chance to spend 4th of July in North Carolina.  After spending most of Wednesday making our way down to NC, we met up with Erich and some others and headed to Grandmother Mountain’s Valley of the Kings area.  We got the quick tour, and decided to get some climbing in before dark.  All three of us sent Valley Arete (V3), and then Max and Jackie sent Darkman (V5), a fun short classic with a tricky topout.  Valley of the Kings turned out to be the perfect place to spend the 4th of July.  Grilling and beer on top of a rock on a mountain, and then a view of 3 or 4 fireworks displays around the region.

Jackie on Valley Arete (V3)

Max sending Darkman (V5)

This is Jackie’s pissed at Max face.

That night, we camped at a pulloff at the side of the road and lit a some sparklers.  After that night, we realized why the nearby town was called Blowing Rock.  The wind was so loud and powerful that Jackie had to vacate her tent to sleep in the car.  Good thing too, cause the tent totally blew over during the night.

The next day, we me up with Ehrin, Jen, and some others at the main area of Grandmother Mountain.  After warming up at the Chainsaw Boulder, we got shut down by Big Guns (V5) and then the slabby Decepticon (V3 or 4, depending on who you ask).  The crew headed higher up the mountain to the Mighty Mouse boulder for the Boone superclassic V5.  Mighty Mouse proved to be pretty difficult for the grade, and we soon decided to head to other problems.  Erin and Jen also made good progress on Lennox Lewis (V4).  Ehrin, Max, Eric, and Jen did a easy highball on the Mighty Mouse boulder, and Max, Jackie, Eric, and Ehrin sent Biggie Smalls (V3) around the corner.  Max used his “I think I’m gangsta” power to send Notorious N.I.G. (V7).  Too bad we didn’t get video – there would be a perfect song for that!

Even as a storm sounded like it was brewing (there’s apparently a lightning rod on the top of Grandmother, so the top of the mountain is not a place you want to be during a t-storm), the APW crew kept climbing in hopes that it would pass.  Eric sent The Nose (V4) and then Max and Jackie worked on Ebonics (V6).  The topout was pretty sketchy looking and looked like it warranted more pads and less tired climbers, though.  Eric then sent Pulling Teeth, a V4 that seemed so much harder.  We actually thought it was a 7 until we looked it up.

Eric sending Pulling Teeth (V4)

On Friday, we headed to the Blowing Rock boulders with Mountain Project as our guide.  Unfortunately, the MP app only had a few problems listed and we weren’t getting service to get on rockclimbing.com where more problems were listed.  That’ll teach us to not look stuff up before we get somewhere.  Still, we found enough problems to work on for a day.  We started out by warming up on the 5.10 Boulder.  Jackie found a super short one move problem that only she could do.  We headed around to the 5.10 Boulder backside to work on Harvester Sit (V5).  After working it for a bit Max sent and Jackie and Eric just kept practicing falling on their ass.

We next went up to the super sweet looking 45 Degree Wall.  Eric and Max sent Center 45, one of the super classic V3s at Boone.  Max also sent Stonehouse (V5).  Everything else on the boulder looked pretty hard.  We went back around to the Mushroom Boulder and consumed thhe hydration that we brought for the day.  We climbed some of the easier routes, and Max sent a problem that we can’t seem to figure out what it is.  The day ended with lots of screaming for no reason.

Max sending Center 45 (V3)

Eric sending Center 45 (V3)

Max sending Stonehouse (V5)

Look Ma, No Hands! At the Mushroom Boulder.

Our last day at Boone was spent back at Grandmother.  Eric conquered Decepticon (V3/4) after clawing his way over the top as only Dr. Claw can do.  Jackie spent a lot of time attempting Nintendo Thumb (V8) since she could actually get her butt off the ground.  It is confirmed that the problem is V8.  Max got back on Mighty Mouse (V5) and almost sent it, but the top out will have to wait until next time.  Eric sent Lennox Lewis (V4).  Jackie went back up to give another go on Ebonics (V6), but was too weak and tired.

The Claw emerges to top out Decepticon (V3/4)

Jackie works on Nintendo Thumb (V8)

Eric sending Lennox Lewis (V4)

Max works Mighty Mouse (V5)

Max sent the HopDevil

Saturday night we drove to Grayson Highlands and took every wrong turn (or didn’t take the right turns) possible to meet up with Esten and Art.  But more on that later.  After experiencing Boone for the first time, we decided that we definitely wanted more of that (That’s what she said).

Trip this fall?

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