As we continue to lament over the never-ending winter, we remember some fall 2013 bouldering trips to PA:
Here’s the rest of Art’s photos:
And for some more entertainment, here is some ridiculous screaming from a recent day of climbing at Northwest Branch:
Mid Atlantic Climbers (MAC) is having their annual Rockfest weekend at Coopers this year! Clear your calendars for the weekend of April 26.
Click on their Save-the-Dates below to share on Facebook:
To support Rockfest and other climbing community events in the mid-Atlantic region, remember to get a joint MAC/Access Fund membership. Click here to join.
When we got back from Hueco, we got to witness some hard sends on snow covered Maryland rocks.
First, John crushed Moby Dick Classic (V10) at Rocks State Park. Photos courtesy of Katelyn Dolan.
Then, Dana cruised up Curtain Call (V10) at Northwest Branch:
And Katelyn got it too the next time she went out!
Maybe MD is not such a bad place to live (rock-wise) after all. Now if only we weren’t about to get a big snowstorm tomorrow…
We knew our first trip to Hueco would be hard to top. But somehow we managed to do it.
The climbers: Max W, Erica, Max M, Esten, Art and Jackie
To celebrate Shark Max’s 30th birthday, we all escaped the awful northeast winter and went out to Texas. Things that happened:
- Being our typical selves, we were dumb and climbed til we were almost dead – 6 days in a week (not a record – we once climbed 7 days straight in Joe’s). The Maxes sent a bunch of stuff as usual, Esten got revenge on a bunch of problems from the last trip, and the rest of us left with a lot of projects. Photos at the end of the post.
- We were lucky enough to have a guide for East Mountain and East Spur that could deal with and even match our ridiculousness. Thanks for an awesome trip Adam!
- The meaning of the name “Max” is now “Person who must be Sharpied.” This was not even the full extent of it:
- Erica and I got into some major brawls with some rock:
- Has anyone tried to hang glide using a crashpad? The wind one day picked me right up by the crashpad sail and dumped me right into a cactus. Ouch!!!
We interrupt this blog post for a public service announcement!
As many of you may know, there are a lot of restrictions at Hueco – only 70 people at a time on North Mountain and guides needed for the other areas. Hueco is a state park managed by the state of Texas, and they could impose even more restrictions if us climbers do not show the environment the utmost respect. Even with the required guides, we still picked up a bunch of trash on East Mountain that was left behind, such as all these pistachio shells right by Dragonfly.
Please remember to try your best to practice Leave No Trace so that climbing access can be continued. Thanks in advance!
And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post:
- We learned that “No Hoops in the Barn” at the Hueco Rock Ranch does not mean bball. And people there are amazing at hula hooping. (Don’t worry, they were hooping outside!)
- The Straw-ber-rita from the last trip was replaced by Blk Berry (although plenty of Straw-ber and Cran-brrr ritas were also consumed). Art is about to unfriend Max because of this.
- We kind of threw the best going away party ever for ourselves. Van up to the campfire, DJ Max Miller, hoops, flaming hacky sacks, and lots of pure ridiculousness. This photo does not do it justice.
- We really need to learn to actually pack up and get going when we need to. It was a true miracle that we didn’t miss our flight. Sickest send of the trip!
- P.S. Despite what your internet might tell you, there is NO Ben & Jerry’s at the Atlanta airport. 😦
Look, we climbed!
Here are the rest of Art’s photos:
If you’re a mid-Atlantic pebble wrestler, then you’ve probably heard the good news: the 2014 climbing season at Governor Stable is on. To celebrate, a bunch of us were somehow able to make it up to PA the next day after our NYE festivities.
In case you were unaware, Governor Stable is located on private property. Thanks to the Friends of Governor Stable, the boulder field will remain open to climbers from Jan. 1 – August 31 of 2014.
A few things to know before you go:
1) Make sure you purchase a membership ($60 for the season) or a day pass ($10). Click here to purchase. This is important, as these fees help pay for the lease.
2) Remember to sign in at the front.
3) Sadly, the boulders beyond the Pyramid Boulder are closed indefinitely. But if you haven’t been there before, there are still plenty of other problems to climb.
4) As with all climbing areas, please remember to be respectful of the environment. It’s the right thing to do, and it helps preserve access for the future.
Anyways, we came to GS prepared to celebrate the new year and new lease. Art being Art brought champagne flutes for the occasion. Esten kept trying to tell him that they were inevitably going to break, but luckily for Art that did not happen.
Back in 2012, I put up a climb at The Acre called “Someone Get Her a Tiara” after Esten made that comment about me. A year and a half later, Esten finally got me a New Year’s tiara, which remarkably stayed on throughout the whole day of climbing at GS.
A photographer from the local paper even caught our ridiculousness on camera:
We even managed to get a few hours of climbing in:
Cheers to another year of pebble wrestling! Next stop – Hueco!
Here are some more of Art’s photos:
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.
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.
Font is that magical place that every pebble wrestler needs to visit during his/her lifetime. Thanks in part to frequent flyer miles, it became APW’s second bouldering trip out of North America.
The climbers: Shane, Art, Esten, Jackie, Bob, and Pierre
Hydration: Wine, wine, wine, wine, Belgian beer, and Talisker Storm
With rain in the forecast for much of the week, we were eager to get out to the rocks as it was sunny on our arrival day. After making a quick stop at Pierre’s place in Melun, checking into our gite for the week, and eating some yummy croissants and baguettes that Pierre brought, we headed to the 95.2 area to get used to the slopey, technical rock. This would, sadly, be one of our only days without any rainy or damp conditions. However, Pierre hadn’t climbed all season because every weekend was rainy, so in a sense we were lucky to have some moments of sun.
We were soon introduced to the concept of the Font circuits – orange, blue, red, white, black in easiest to most difficult order. Since we only had an afternoon, we just picked an area and played on problems from all the different circuits. It didn’t help that we were all pretty exhausted from not really sleeping on the plane the night before, but it was still a good session.
Esten’s gift to Pierre from the States was a chapeau d’hélicoptère (helicopter hat). I can’t think of any better present, can you?
After stocking up on plenty of meat, cheese, wine, and foie gras in a jar, we headed back to the gite, which was equipped with a full kitchen, grill, sauna, and cabinet full of DVDs. Combined with our rental car, this was definitely the most high rolling pebble wrestling trip we’d ever been on.
The next day Pierre took us to Bas Cuvier, one of the most classic areas because you can basically roll out of your car and be staring at a boulder. It is also one of the quickest drying areas, so because of the rain we ended up here on 3 separate days. Most of the time, the rock was quite damp, but still somewhat climbable. Even though you might see blue skies in some of these photos, don’t be fooled – this was usually short lived. On our last day in the forest, we awoke early after a night of downpour to see blue skies. With cooler temps and sunlight, the rock was at its driest. But as soon as we started making some progress on harder problems, the sky turned gray and opened up.
The crew also spent a day at Rocher Fin.
The one upside of all the rain was that we had the opportunity to spend two days in Paris without feeling like we were missing out on climbing. Don’t be fooled by the blue skies in the photo below – the rain came back soon after.
All in all, the trip was a great first taste of Font, but there is still much, much more to see. There are thousands and thousands of problems in the many guidebooks, and a lifetime of bouldering. It is definitely a unique bouldering location, with such a major international city at our fingertips. And, with pain au chocolat for breakfast everyday, cheap but good wine, and escargot and duck breast readily available at the Walmart-like superstore, it wasn’t a bad place to hang out for a week.
Thanks to Pierre for showing us around, teaching us that “douche” is French for shower, and steering us in the right food & wine direction! Hopefully the weather will improve so he can start crushing more slopers out there.
Below are more of Art’s photos from the trip. More to come from others! You can also view them on Facebook here.