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Southern Shenanigans

December 2, 2013
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It seemed like a perfect trip.  Weather was fantastic, everyone was named Max, everyone was strong enough to send Razor Arete at Coopers, fingers were sufficiently wrecked after a couple days of whirlwind climbing on HP40’s famous sandstone slopers.  There was even a beautiful morning of sending some Stone Fort classics.

But then…

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Enter two more climbers, bringing the percentage of Maxes on the trip down to 50 .  Having recently returned from a rainy week in Font, I did not realize that some soaking wet boulders had snuck into my luggage and followed me to the South.  I’m not sure what Erica’s excuse for bringing the bad weather was.

Okay, so it was not all a wash – I might just be exaggerating.  However, the not-so-perfect half of the trip started off on the wrong foot as our dreams of climbing for multiple days in Rocktown were shattered when we found out that there were hunting closures for the next three days.  Take note: for a few weekends in the fall (exact dates change every year), Rocktown is closed to climbing.  Don’t be dumb like us – look it up before you go!

On to Stone Fort/Little Rock City we went.  The Maxes had already done The Wave (V6), Genghis Khan (V5), and some other problems before going to pick me up at the airport.  We did get one more good weather day of climbing there, although unfortunately before Erica arrived.  The Maxes did Tristar (V4) and we joined Walker in working on some other problems in the Main Area.  Then Shark Max wrecked his hands on The Pinch (V7), and Ehrin showed us some fun easy stuff on the Your Sister’s Boulder.  The day ended with Super Mario (V4/Extension V6) and working on Redhouse (V7/Extension V8).

The next morning we woke up to a weather report forecasting rain after 4pm, so we thought we’d still get a good amount of climbing time in.  We went back to the Super Mario Boulder, and General Max sent Redhouse Extension:

Erica also sent Underfling (V3).  But, the climbing was short-lived as the rain began to pour down much earlier than predicted.  We instead spent the afternoon eating pizza and drinking beer at The Terminal Brewhouse, and then played some games of Wits and Wagers in the car before the rain stopped and we could start a fire at the campsite.  The weather the next day looked to be free of rain, so we were hopeful.

But, it was not to be.  Even though it wasn’t raining, a dense fog encased the area and prevented the boulders from drying.  We attempted to get out and climb, but mostly we just walked around and looked at problems we wished we could try.   The only dry rock we could find was a V1 that didn’t top out on the Boulder Problem from Hell Wall.  Oh well, at least we sent something!

The next day was total pouring rain.  After huddling in our tents all morning, we went out to eat at Aretha Frankensteins and then went to the YMCA to take showers (ended up being free! – good beta to have).  And then we spent the rest of the day and night playing pool.  Without planning it, we were perfectly dressed for the occasion – girls in stripes and guys in solids.

On Monday we woke up to SUN!!  We weren’t sure whether the rock would have dried out, but we started the 1 1/2 hour drive to Rocktown anyways.  It turned out that the rock was completely dry and the day was beautiful, wahoo!  Soon we found ourselves in sensory overload with too much to see, too little time.  We went to The Orb area first to warm up.  Shark Max quickly found out that Soap on a Rope was pretty hard for a V4.  We worked on The Orb (V8) for a bit but the top out is a beast and we didn’t want to waste all our energy in the first area, so we forced ourselves to move on.  The Orb is on Shane’s master list though, so we’ll have to come back when we have more time to work it.

Next we worked a little on The Vagina (V8) and Isle of the Beautiful Women (V4), which seemed a bit sketchy.  We continued our tour by trying Nose Candy (V6), Sherman Photo Roof (V7), and the Maxes sent a 4 next to Sherman Photo Roof.  We finished the day working on Good Roof (V5 or 6 depending on the exit).  I went to look at the Helicopter Boulder and the Idiot Roof, but it was starting to get dark.  So basically we went to Rocktown to find a lot of projects.  Hopefully next time we’ll have more than 1 short day.

The whole time in the Chattanooga area we camped at Prentice Cooper State Forest.  It was free, and for the most part perfect for some dirtbag climbers.  On the weekends, though, it might not be the best place to camp if you don’t enjoy being woken up by the continuous sounds of dirt bike engines revving.  Saturday morning was pretty awful.  All the other mornings and nights were good though.  And also, the place must be right on the time zone line.  Our phones couldn’t keep the time straight.  So, we just (as in we were only 10 minutes late) missed our flight back on Tuesday.  Luckily for us, there was another flight with plenty of room only 1 hour later.  Phew!

I’m sure the Maxes will put together some footage of stuff they sent before the weather turned bad.  Next time I join a trip halfway through, I’ll definitely check my bags for any rain that tries to sneak in.

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