I think most climbers can empathize with the yearning to be at the cliffs or boulders or at the base of a huge big wall climb with the anticipation of the ascent. For some people, the feeling is so strong that you abandon, for lack of better terms, your “regular life” to hit the road, to be at the cliffs, the boulders, the big walls. After a year of working two full time jobs my partner and I hit the road, nothing to do but drive and climb. Have you ever told your parents that you were going to quit your job and live in your van? It’s quite the experience, lots of head shaking, lots of questions … lucky for me, my parents are avid and traveled golfers, I explain to them “it’s like going to Florida to golf, but except for going for a month, we are going for a year”. That seems to sink in for them, and since I’m not looking for funding, they accept.
A lot of non climbing friends don’t really understand #1 why anyone would want to live in their van, #2 how I can afford to do something like this and #3 what the big deal is?? But, they also think that life without work and full of traveling is glamorous (and I will let them believe this ;). People often write to me looking for updates, wondering what we are up to … and really the only answers I have for them are “ we’re great, loving life, we eat, drink coffee, climb and sleep”. This pretty much sums up the last six months of my life, and, it has been amazing!
We are not alone on this journey; we have had friends along for the ride from day 1. We’ve also had support from Outdoor research, evolv and flashed, thanks guys!
It’s been a while, but enjoy the next series of photos from our travels; falling off of boulders!!
It’s pebble-wrestling time!
Not that I don’t like sport climbing, I just like bouldering better, or should I say I like falling off of boulders better :)
I was definitely excited to pack up the ropes and move onto pebble wrestling for the next few months! First stop, Chattanooga!
I love Chattanooga; it reminds me so much of home. It’s small; there are neat stores and cool coffee shops all around, local breweries and great food. What it does have to offer that my home doesn’t is tons and tons of climbing within an hour radius of the city!
Stacey, Alex, Josh and I packed up from the red and moved onto Chat where we spent a few days bunking with a friend, Todd Clark. We spent some time in the city, celebrated Josh’s Bday, and headed out for some bouldering at Little Rock City. Due to weather, we only got one day out on the boulders but it was definitely fun!
We all got on a few classics and burned through some skin that day :)
Ok, so the weather wasn’t cooperating in LRC, why not head to HP40???
Horse Pens 40 is this unique area of sand stone boulders that are so weathered most of the holds are rounded. Totally unique climbing compared to anywhere I had been and really have been since! We had heard not to expect much from ourselves out at HP40, it’s notorious for giving the ol’climber a good ass-spanking … so we approach with caution. The V3 sloper problems gave us more grief than other problems with holds and a higher grade, but you know, they were the most fun!!
What we weren’t warned about, and I wish we were, was the potential for a meet-and-greet with the HP40 owner ….
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no bad feelings form HP40, we had an amazing time, we were just locked into listening to a several hour monologue by the owner of the property … he told us the most hilarious stories that went on and on … most of the stuff I can’t even repeat (nor do I want to) so if any climbers read this and are headed that way, here’s the warning :)
We ended up climbing in HP40 7 days on!!! My finger tips have hardly forgiven me .. and this was the beginning of the end for Stacey’s finger tips …
The boulders were so close to the camping we were able to leisurely head out, come back for lunch (make a hot lunch) and even go out for a night bouldering session. All in all, great fun, amazing climbing, I would have stayed longer had we #1 had the cash and #2 had the time, but alas, we were off to Horse shoe canyon ranch for a few days before hunkering down in Hueco.
A two-day drive took us from HP40 to HCR in Arkansas!! We had heard good things of this place so we figured we were in the “area” we better check it out. You know what’s funny when you are on an extended climbing trip, the term “in the area” takes on a whole new meaning … Arkansas was actually not in the area at all, hahahahah, it was however in the south eastern USA :)
I must say, eastern climbing destinations differ totally from what I’m used to (really, only having been to Vegas, Squamish and Bishop to boulder before). HCR was again a privately owned property in the shape of a horseshoe. The walls surrounding the property were covered in sport climbing routes while boulders lined the walls. HCR is in fact a ranch. There are horses, goats, and dogs roaming the property. We camped up near some cabins / boulders and in the mornings there would be dogs there to greet us and sometime even horses made their way up there to check out what we were having for breakfast :)
It’s a short walk to the boulders from the camping. We spent 3 days climbing in different areas around the property. We were chaperoned by the working dogs on the ranch and sometimes even the goats came to check out what we were up to … sometimes they even bouldered themselves :) We got on a bunch of easier classic lines, and really enjoyed our time there. If you ever go, say hi to my favorite dog, Chili, she hung out with us every morning and evening while at the ranch, such a sweet heart!!
It was actually pretty cool (temperature wise) in HCR … the four of us made the executive decision to head south to Hueco! It’s early December now … we have plans to stay in Hueco until mid Jan!
Stay tunned ….