Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Unfamiliar Territory

We found a house!!  A house we had previously deemed too pricey dropped $200.  It's a small three bedroom house, comes with washer & dryer, fridge, and stove.  Me, Matt, and one of Matt's old friends, Travis are moving in a week from today.

On another note, Me, Matt, and three new acquaintances sped to the crag for a late day session at Wild Iris on Monday.  Rachel, one of the new folk steered us toward her project Winchester pump 5.11a; not a bad route.  Then after putting in a few belays I got ambitious and decided to get on Give My Love to Rose 5.12a.  I sent with one hang (fall) and lowered back to the ground to try for the red point (Routes are not counted unless led from the ground up hanging your protection and/or rope as you go.  The absolute maximum difficulty one is capable of climbing is referred to as a red point.)  With day light fading I hopped back on the route.  A short lived attempt, I fell on a hard move right after the first bolt, once again lowering to the ground to attempt a clean send.  Tossing on the head lamp I gathered myself for one more burn on the route.  Finding a two finger hold I'd previously missed, I moved past the section that had stumped me before.  Pushing through the remaining pockets I pulled to the anchors for my first 5.12, a grade viewed by many as a barrier to the standard of hard climbing.  It's exciting to be progressing in both the sport I love and life in general.  I'll get some photos of the house on here as soon as we move in.  Take it easy  folks.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tennessean @ Altitude

Over the weekend I made a trip over to the Wild Iris, a local climbing area that sits at 9000 feet.  About 8 of us camped out Saturday night waking early Sunday morning to head over to the crag.  A clear view of the Wind River Mountains and a panoramic view of the Wyoming desert plains made for some incredible scenery which was only half as good as the climbing (left my camera in the car).  The routes are made up of great lime stone with a sustained grade of difficulty in almost every move.  Hot Tamale, the last route I got on for the trip,  is thus far the crown jewel of Wyoming climbs.  You run into the crux right in the middle of the wall. This dynamic move to a small hold sends your feet flying out into nothingness as time slows down and you think of nothing but latching that hold, lest you take a 10' plunge to the last bolt.  This move almost shut me down, but after 4 attempts I pushed past the series of crimp rails to a good hold to clip the next bolt.  I haven't worked that hard to send a route in a long time; it's an amazing feeling.  Still no promising lodging but I'm getting a bit more comfortable living out of my least I'm saving money.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Adventures of a Climbing Hobo

Monday marked the begginning of my employment at Gannet Peak Sports.  The fact that I got the job is either a testament to my outstanding resume or to my incredible luck (I'm going with the later of the two).  Most of the work right now consists of bike repair, making me about as useful as a chimp unless a tire needs to be changed.  After work I received a proper introduction to wyoming; we went to the middle of nowhere and shot holes in old cans...MERICANS likes R GUNS.

By another stroke of luck I managed to finagle a ride up to Ten Sleep, Wyoming Sunday morning with a recent acquaintance.  The rock here is Sharp!  Techy slaby faces with limited footholds is the name of the game out here.  I'm 100% biased, but it sure is hell doesn't compare to southern sand stone.  Being a rock snob  didn't keep me from setting a project though.  Kielbasa 5.12c crazy hard but I made it halfway.  Vance, my ride, is about as cool as they come and climbs a good bit harder than me.

Today was spent in the search for proper housing.  After checking with a couple of realtors and cruising the streets for anything with a "for rent" sign, we found a place with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths for $700 a month...then I called the realtor back and found out it had been rented out 2 days ago.  Climbing, you are a fickle mistress.  On a brighter note one of my co-workers has offered to let me use her shower and kitchen.  I remain optimistic that I will find a place before the week is out.  Otherwise it may be off to the ski resorts to find employee housing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Warp Speed Is Cooler With Caffeine

Just two days in town and things are falling into place like crazy magnetized puzzle pieces.  Yesterday I scoured the town for employment opportunities recieving a call within just a few hours.  Long-story-short, I am now employed at Gannet Peak Sports where I will begin work tomorrow morning.  The job description given to me entailed assembing bikes, waxing skis, testing said bikes and skis, and yeah, selling bikes and skis.  One Major perk included...PRO DEAL...Already set my sights on a couple of the road bikes in the shop (single speed or multi-gear?)  It's only a matter of time before I full around with one of the long boards too; sure to be followed by a damaged ego and a few bottles of ibuprofin.

The search for housing not made of nylon and aluminum continues.  My 3 days are up at the park and I will be relocating to sinks canyon this evening.  Matt has a sore on his bicep which I suspect is a brown recluse bight...amputation is surely imminent.

(1)Coffee shops are essential to Tennesseans traveling to Wyoming.  If you don't like coffee, stay out you won't survive the drive.
(2)If you don't know what lies down dark hwy's off random exits, don't go there. You will drive into the Twilight Zone.
(3)If you just drove 1800 miles, ignore the noise you think you hear coming from the engine and drive another couple hundred miles; It's for the best.

My new address is P.O Box 1112 Lander, WY 82520

Happy Trails and Play nice kids.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I rolled into Lander, Wyoming about 4PM Mountain time yesterday.(remember I'm 2 hours behind you guys before any AM phone calls).  The drive in was almost too much to process at one time.  We passed by Vedauwoo on the way...beautiful. Lander sits at the foot of the Wind River Mountains and may be one of the coolest towns I've ever been to.  After setting up camp I went streight to Wild Iris Mountain Sports and scoped out the possibility of snagging a job there.  Although they are full at the moment, they were kind enough to refer me to some other businesses around town and mentioned they may have an oppening later in the fall.  Matt found a job with an old friend of his within the first 2 hours of being in town (networking mastermind).  We are set up camping in City Park for the moment but as there is a 3 day limit, we will shortly be moving over to Sinks Canyon right outside of town.

I'm excited to finally be here. Photos to come soon. For those interested, there is a link below each post for you to leave comments.  I will check and reply to these more often than I will be able to call.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Downhill Racing

Today was predecided to be adventurous.  I rested yesterday in order to attempt my project at the Zoo, one of many different cliff lines, or crags, here at the Red River Gorge.  Hippocrite, given the grade of 5.12a is a short beautiful line consisting of powerful moves between good holds.  Mentioning the Zoo around Miguel's brought a stiff warning and a few horror stories of bees along the trail.  This, however, was not enough to deter me from my route seeing as it will most likely be several months, if not more, before I return to climb at the Red.  I woke up around 8:30 as I have most mornings this past week and joined in a communal breakfast buffet scraped together from all the ingredients the three of us (Matt, Brea, and myself) had at hand.  Then it was on to the Zoo. Despite the massive number of bee casualties reported to us, I was the only one stung on the way up the trail...We kept going.  My ambition had got the better of me and I'd rushed out of camp without warming up on the hang boards mounted by the picnic tables 'round back.  My first two burns on Hippocrite reflected my time away from climbing throuhout the rafting season.  I finnaly pieced the route together, giving it a total of four attempts...still a project.

Hiking out brout our predestined adventure to fruition.  Once again I was towards the back of the line a few paces behind the rest of the group when I hear, "AH, Hornets!"  Having already been bothered by the vile creatures earlier in the day, I froze immediately.  I looked at the small buzzing objects before me and then back at Matt who was following a few feet behind me.  We looked at each other and charged forward to meet out fate (pain).  Only three steps into my poor decision my legs were on fire and both Matt and I were cursing up a storm.  I then tumble headlong down  the steep hill, pack and all.  Rolling three times end over end with matt not far behind, my friends ahead of us can't help but laugh at the site they are wittnessing.

A few benadryl and a long stent in the hammok later, I can see the humor and stupidity in it all.  We are all still moving with nothing seriously damaged except for our egos and that can only be for the better.  I've read it and heard it repeated all my life that any great adventure is only made more memorable by the bad experiences.  Here's to adventures of every kind, may they be extremely forgettable.

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Don't Try Slab, That's Stupid"

We hit the Millitary Wall and Left Flank today (those are the names of cliff lines) and all stepped up our game a notch.  After warming up on some FUN routes I went and chilled in my hammok for a while trying to get my head game together for Tissue Tiger 5.12b, the hardest thing I've ever attempted. making it up four out of five bolts I was shut down at the crux of the route.  This wasn't unexpected and I counted it as a success for having made it as far as I did.  The others picked out some stout lines as well including Hairy Undercling, Aquaduck, and Henry, all 5.11b.  I lead all of these climbs myself but Henry, being a slab was a new experience for me.  The face was almost entirely blank and produced some of the most desperate moves I've ever made!  Holding on to edges only a quarter inch wide while 6' above your last bolt is one of the craziest feelings I've ever had.  We are all pushing our limits on this trip to the Red River Gorge and I can only hope by the end of the week I will be as strong as I was in May. One way or the other, this is only the training ground for what waits for us in Wyoming and Colorado and I am anxiouse to get back on the road.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hanging out in the Cave

Just droppin in to give you folks back in Chatty an update on what's going down up in KY...It's HOT!  Me, Matt, and Brea all made it up here without too much of a hassle. Matt is, however, somewhat traumatized from his bus ride.  The heat has made it a little hard to get motivated to climb hard, and we spent the most part of today lounging around Miguel's and running to town for AC. Tomorrow's weather conditions are suppsed to be really nice and we are planning to hit the rocks before the sun.  The magnitude of what I'm getting into still hasn't hit me.  Enjoying the days as they come.  More insight later...