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Finding Johnny Cashew

July 17, 2012

A mid-week July 4th is the perfect reason for an extended trip to Grayson.

Climbers: Esten, Art and Pepper
Just on the Last Day Climbers: Max, Jackie and Eric
Guests: Aaron Parlier and Johnny Cashew
Hydration: Talisker 18, Glenmorangie 10, Stone Ruination, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout, Shafly Coffee Stout, Southern Tier 2X Stout, Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, 21st Amendment Back in Black, Oskar Blues Deviant Dales, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Flying Dog El Dorado, Green Flash Imperial IPA and Tröegs Nugget Nectar

While the rest of the group headed down to Boone, Art and Esten decided to head back to Grayson Highlands State Park to do some more exploring and sending (problems and hydration.) When they finally arrived, they met up with Aaron and headed off to the Luminary Area, which is part of the Middle Boneyard, although they parked at Listening Rock Trail, which meant they had a long hike down hill — and a long hike back up on the return.  Aaron hadn’t been back to Luminary in a few months and during that time, the area was overgrown with stinging nettles which the guys had to work their way through to get to the boulders.

What’s the stinging nettles’ favorite band? The Shins.

– Esten Abell

Shorts aren’t the right thing to wear when hiking through stinging plants. They started on some highball slab problems, but Art couldn’t manage the first problem since one of the moves was a bit too reachy. On top of the second problem, Aaron discovered an abandoned small baby animal, which turned out to be a baby squirrel. He had been dreaming about a pet squirrel for a long long time. Now, dream fulfilled.

Johnny Cashew

Johnny Cashew

After playing with the squirrel, the guys worked on Aaron’s project, which turned out to be difficult in the slightly humid conditions.  They need to go back when it’s cold. With the day winding down, the guys hiked the long way back up the hill to their cars.  Aaron headed off to buy pedialyte and formula for his new baby and Art and Esten headed to the Stable area to setup camp and cook some dinner.

The next morning, they woke up early, normally the crew usually wakes around 9ish, eats and gets to the rocks around noon, but today, it was 6a with some black forest bacon and a couple of breakfast beers. Since Aaron had work that afternoon, they wanted to get some climbing in with him. After eating, they met up with Aaron at his cabin before heading back to the Listen Rock Trail to check out the new trail he’s been working on leading to the Moonlight and Ginseng areas.  The trail branched off just before the Shanghai boulder and without Aaron leading the way, they would never have found it — but that’s the intention since the the trail was still a work in progress and he was still setting the black blazes leading to Moonlight. Along the way they stopped at a cool overhung boulder and decided to clean if off for some FAs.

Aaron's FA on Unnamed

Aaron’s FA on Fringe Traverse (V3)

Starting from the right side, they worked the arete, finishing on the far left side for an circus trick-style mantle top out.  Aaron was the first to send this problem, Fringe Traverse (V3,) followed by Esten.  Art had a hard time getting past the first couple of slopers and only managed to get to the end once, but wasn’t able to get the mantle.  Aaron, needing to get to work showed the guys the way to Moonlight and Ginseng and watched Art try to get the Fringe Traverse, before packing up and heading off. Art tried the problem a few more times, but could not manage to get to the end again, so he and Esten packed up and tried to decide whether to hike down the hill for the new areas or head back to Listening Rock Trail. LRT won, so they packed up and headed back to the main trail and hit SLS Roof.

The SLS Roof has a couple of fun lines, they ended up hitting that area 3 times during the trip. They started with Johnny Appleseed (V1) before working on Lock Smith (V3) which Esten worked several times before sending and declaring that it’s the hardest V3 he’s ever done (Max later showed him that he needed to reach further to a better hold.) Art tried a couple of times, but couldn’t manage a long throw without further tweaking his shoulder, so he just spotted. With an impending storm moving in, they started to work on Nancy with an E (V7) which was a stout problem with the guys not being able to move past the matched hands on the pinch.

Art working Nancy with an E (V7)

Art working Nancy with an E (V7). Photo by Esten Abell

With the storm clouds now overhead and the clouds starting to take a tinkle, they headed back to the car to throw the canopy over the firewood and table. They were also out of water, which was a recurring theme throughout the trip, so they needed to go to the store for some H20 and propane, since they only brought an empty canister for the stove. With the rainfall, the air was cold and the guys didn’t bring much for warmth. They could actually see their breath in the air, while back at home it was 100+. After retiring to their tents for a nap, they woke back up for a late night  dinner — grilled panini anyone? — and some more hydration before heading back to sleep.

Esten working Shang-High Knight (V6)

Esten working Shang-High Knight (V6)

The next morning, everything had dried off from the previous day’s rain, so the guys headed back to LRT do some climbing and search for Art’s missing flip-flop.  On the way to SLS they found Art’s shoe, so they continued on to the Pit Boulder and warmed up on Bicentennial Arete (V0) and Pit Fall (V1) and on the Mike-N-Ike Boulder, Ballad of Love and Hate (V3) before moving around the corner to SLS Roof to give Nancy with an E a few burns before heading further down the trail to the Shanghai boulder.  They setup for their pads to work Shang-High Knight (V6) a crimpy compression problem. The guys worked the problem several times before managing to stick the first crimp rail.  It was another several tries before they made the next move. They were nearly able to bump their right hand up to the next crimp, but they couldn’t make that move.  They need to get in shape for their next trip to Grayson. Saving the problem for next time, they packed up and headed back towards the car, stopping to work on some easy looking problem, which were harder than they looked, or the guys were just beat and de-hydrated.  They were out of water, again. So they got back to the Jeep and went to the store for some water and, for Esten, ice cream, before heading back to camp for some USDA Prime rib eye steaks.

On their third day, they decided for a change of scenery and did not go to LRT, instead, they decided to explore something new, the Crooked Road Boulder. From the picture, it looked impressive, although there wasn’t anything terribly difficult, it offered some easier problems for some weary fingers and bodies.  Art had glanced at the problems and topo when looking through a draft of the guidebook and thought he could navigate to the area, so they parked at the park entrance and decided to look for the boulder first, before hauling their gear up the hill. An hour or two later, they we’re still looking for the boulder and finally decided to head back to the car, since they had hiked all the way to the Right Boneyard Area.

Esten starting Vapor (V5-6)

Esten starting Vapor (V5-6)

Back to the car, they decided to head to the Alchemy Area. After the long hike earlier in the day, the approach to Alchemy was nice and short, but not as short as Contact Station.  They started off at the Earth Boulder where Esten sent Frosted Flakes (V3-4) before they moved to Biggie Good (V0) and Art tried Biggie Good SDS (V4) which had a tough start, so the guys moved up hill to the Air Boulder where they sent Pillar Arete (V1-2,) and Esten broke the right hand start hold during his send, so Art had to use an easier right hand start. They then headed back to the car, but along the way, stopped at the Water Boulder where Vapor (V5-6) caught Esten’s eye. Although he gave the problem many tries, he wasn’t able to get this problem.  Maybe next time … and they headed back to camp.

Around 11p the Boone group made it to Grayson, a few hours later than planned, apparently, at every turn, they went the wrong way. So, they enjoyed some more hydration before heading to sleep.

The next morning, Esten and Art woke, made breakfast, had some breakfast beers wondering if the other guys were going to wake. They didn’t so, Art woke them up and they packed up camp and headed back to LRT to show them around. They started at the Pit and Mike-N-Ike Boulders before working down to the SLS Roof.  This is where Max showed Esten that he needed to reach the higher hold on Lock Smith to make the problem much easier.  Eric also sent that problem. They all worked Nancy with an E several times, before giving up and heading to the Contact Station.

Jackie working Nancy with an E (V7)

Jackie working Nancy with an E (V7). Photo by Esten Abell

At the Contact Station, they started on Ranger Rick Boulder where they sent Ranger Rick Sit (V4,) which gave Art some problems the day before. After Ranger Rick and Periscope (V3) they moved to True Grit, which was Art’s project for the trip.  Although, they were in the area the other day, he didn’t give it a try.  This day, Art hit the high hold on his first go, but progressively got worse and worse. Sharp crimps are not the best on the last day of a climbing trip. Max and Eric managed to send True Grit, which at the top Eric declared that it was not worth the effort it was a cool problem, after the fact.  So, battered, beaten and tired, they packed up and headed home.

Some remaining projects and some new projects that will be conquered next time …

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. DrClaw permalink
    July 17, 2012 7:11 pm

    Now that my fingers are no longer throbbing I take back my remark that True Grit wasn’t worth. It is a cool problem.

  2. July 17, 2012 7:19 pm

    Love the shadows. Great photos as usual.

  3. Aaron Parlier permalink
    July 17, 2012 7:36 pm

    Awesome stuff as usual Art! I wish I could’ve stayed out with you guys longer. Great photos, and that is the usual -fingers throbbing- response to True Grit… And that’s why I named it that. Fitting right? Thanks again for Johnny Cashew’s name Esten, hope to see you guys soon!

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