Whirlwind.. and Happy New Years!

The last month has been eventful.
After climbing at the Holy’s we went down to Alabama and met up with some old friends of mine, Jesse Bonin and Kenyon Smith. We stayed in a cabin in Mentone, Alabama, thanks to the graciousness of Jesse’s parents, who own it. Mentone is very close to a couple smaller satellite areas and not too far from Rocktown, The Hospital Boulders, or Horse Pens 40…

The forests are beautiful.. Erin Ayla Photo

The forests are beautiful.. Erin Ayla Photo

Most of the time Erin and I would go to the same area as those two, though sometimes we would branch off. Throughout the trip the weather mainly cooperated, though I gotta say more times than not the friction was not that great, which is too be expected down there. The south can be a fickle place to climb sometimes as a lot of the problems can be very friction dependent, and it rains frequently and many days are very humid.
We ended up mainly going to Rocktown, as we both had fun things to do there. Erin was psyched on the Orb and Golden Harvest and put some time in on both. I was psyched just to clean up shop and do stuff I hadn’t done. I was pretty darn successful, though a couple problems did elude me..

Iron Claw Sit (V9/10) at Rocktown was one of my favorites of the trip.

Iron Claw Sit (V9/10) at Rocktown was one of my favorites of the trip.

Erin didn’t get the Orb or Golden Harvest and had to settle with some fun and easier classics instead.. We definitely have some things to go back for at Rocktown.
I put a couple sessions into a cool climb at the small area very close to the cabin, Zahnd, called The Wave. The second day I tried it with an old friend from Bishop that now lives in Chattanooga, Wills Young. The Wave is a pretty one, and maybe one of the better harder lines in the south? It starts on a perfect jug the climbs up and across a striking and overhanging wall on crimps. It has a few hardish moves in a row, with the last hard move being the hardest. After that the top out eases. We both did all the moves quickly, then repeatedly pulled through the first two hard moves only to fall on the last one.. After a few good goes from the start something weird happened with conditions and all the holds started feeling like garbage and we began sliding on them. Soon after we called it a day. I never returned to the Wave, so next time..

The Wave.. maybe next time.

The Wave

We did manage to get down to Horse Pens for a day. Erin had never climbed there and mainly got used to the style. I had a heck of a day. My first good send was a V10, Great Dane. It has a very powerful move utilizing a mono-ish pocket. I was psyched to do it and psyched not to blow out a finger. Next I did the Litz Pocket Problem (V8), which was pretty fun. From there we went over to an elusive and beautiful mantle problem, Stingray (V9). I had tried it every time I’d been to Horsepens and always walked away empty handed. Today was different and after a handful of tries I found myself on top of the boulder. After that I did one more V8 I hadn’t been on before, Hugs and Kisses, then we called it a day.
I made a video of some of the things I climbed in the south..

After that day the weather collapsed and we bailed back up towards Wisconsin. We stopped in Southern Illinois for a couple days, but it had just rained heavily and there wasn’t much dry rock. We did do an amazing highball at Jackson Falls though, Yosemite Slab. I think it’s a V2, and the way we did it the crux was right at the top. It’s a beautiful and huge boulder!

Erin walks up Yosemite Slab

Erin walks up Yosemite Slab

Now I write this from Bishop, California where we will at least be spending the rest of the winter. Exciting times! Happy new year everybody!

The cross country drive had it's moments.

The cross country drive had it’s moments.

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