Rumbling Bald Closed to Climbing

Well, it was going to happen sooner or later. But starting on the first of Feb the Bald is closed so the state park service, which now owns the area, can do road maintenance (much needed!) and other official bizness. Everyone is saying this is to the long-term benefit of climbers, and it's a short-term closure, so we should definitely keep climber/park relations friendly and respect the closure.

For more info, check out: http://www.carolinaclimbers.org/


Rumbling Bald-A few from the West side

1.25.09. Even though my shoulder's still being a wanker, I had to get out this weekend. Saturday looked killer (from inside my house, where I was cleaning) and the forecast for today, Sunday, looked even better. The forecast was dead on--perfect temps in the 50s or so.

Howie and I met up with Zach, Ehrin, and Ben after we warmed up and climbed Red Sleigh Down (soft V6). It wasn't too bad on my shoulder b/c of a knee bar and then a heel toe jam at the crux took a lot of weight. After that, we were around the Shady Grove boulder with the crew, and finished the day at dusk at the boulder whose name I'm spacing--but it's got the KK Corner on it, a fun, high v4-ish thing.

I borrowed an off-camera flash from work and tried experimenting with real flash photography for the first time. I don't really know what the hell I'm doing--the flash was mostly on Auto, but I did get some cool shots. I've also been shooting in RAW lately, which allows for a lot of color and exposure correction on the image file. I think it has helped some of these shots have a bit more punch.

This is also the first time I've tried using the flickr slideshow to display the pics you see here. It seems like it's easier to do than the slideshow creator i was using, plus the pics can be viewed full screen. This aspect was key as I wanted to display the pics bigger. Click on the arrows in the bottom right of the slideshow to go to fullscreen mode. Also, click the Show Info link once you are in full screen mode to see notes on the images.

Off to take some Ibuprofen...


Private Stash

So my brother bought a house and some land in Marshall a couple of years ago, and I pass by this boulder every time i drive to his place. It's like 20 feet tall (or taller), overhanging, and 20 minutes from town. it's also on his "crazy" neighbor's property; apparently she worships the rock, has given it a name, or something along those lines (this is all info from my bro). So I haven't gotten up the nerve to ask if I can climb on it. I thought I'd share my frustration with the rest of you. And sadly, my bro's property is boulder-free. Though he probably wouldn't allow climbing either; he's crazy in another way...


Bad Shoulder=Buzz Kill

I tweaked my shoulder about a month ago in the gym--I guess I was just pushing it too hard with training and climbing on the weekends, too. It's a real downer that climbing in the gym once a week and hitting the boulders once per weekend is too much training. I used to climb like 4 days a week in Boone (which is, really, what got me into this mess). I guess I just need to stay on top of the PT and stretching more to keep a good equilibrium.

It's hard staying motivated when you're in pain. It's hard to get psyched on a project or even getting out at all if it's just going to feel like climbing kid stuff. But then you've got to remember why you climb in the first place. It really is about more than pulling hard; in fact, a little time away from the rock only reinforces this. I've been dreaming about bouldering in my sleep. The action of it is totally hard wired in my brain, whether it's v1 or v8.

So I've been hitting the PT bands and the pushups hard, and throwing in some stretching for good measure. It's hard to be out at the top of the season here in WNC, and especially rumbling bald. Hopefully by this weekend I'll be getting back up to speed...


Rumbling Bald-good weather for pics

1.11.09. Even though it rained like holy bejebus on Asheville on Saturday nite, the conditions were good on Sunday, and the weather was perfect for pictures. Low sun=even lighting.

My shoulder was still feeling so-so; therefore, I kept it pretty easy for most of the day. We caught up with a big crew of folks on the East side, and spent most of the afternoon in the Slave Driver area.

The Bald seems to be growing in popularity. When I showed up at noon-thirty, the parking lot was packed out in a way rarely seen. But the east side was fairly low-key. It was a pretty killer winter day at the height of the Bald season.

To see all of the pictures, click on the 2 below the image thumbnails:


Twitter Conditions Report Info & Instructions

The Conditions Report uses Twitter (which is free) to create an easy way for all of us to get updated on our phones as to the conditions at different climbing areas. Here's how it basically works and can save everyone a lot of driving time and gas: Say it just rained on Saturday. So Sunday morning we're all sitting around wondering if it's too wet at the Bald to go climbing. If Chris happened to drive down there early, he'd only need to send one text message out to the number #40404, and everyone on the Twitter list would get it on their phone and on their Twitter page.

Now expand this idea to beyond just a small group of friends, and eventually it can grow to the point where we can be getting conditions reports for boulders in Boone, climbs at Looking Glass and Linville Gorge, and bouldering at Barnardsville, etc on any given day if people from all over WNC sign up. It seems like it has a lot of potential. And the best part is, you can turn the feature off for your phone if you don't want to get too many text messages. Then, you only need to check your Twitter home page on the days you want to go climbing and need to see conditions updates.

Also, if you haven't heard a conditions report but want to know what's going on at a particular place, you can just send a text to the number listed above and write: "Does anyone know if it's dry at the Bald?" Anyone who is networked to you and happens to be there can let you know. No more calling around or wondering!

Here's how it works, as far as I know now:

1: Sign up at for Twitter.com. It will prompt you to see if contacts from your email address are already on Twitter. Do this and add any climber you want to follow.

2: Add your phone. This step can easily be found on the links to the right of the page. This will let your phone receive updates and allow you to send them to the climbers while you are out at the crag. (This feature can also be turned off easily at any time.)

2: Go to the page at: http://twitter.com/frixtion and click 'Follow'. You will now be following Frixtion's posts and you will show up as someone following this profile. The Frixtion profile can be the "home base" to see everyone who has joined the report; they will all appear under "Followers" on the right side of the page.

3: Click on each of the Followers you'd like to get updates from, and click on the Follow button on their profile page. This will allow you to receive their updates.

And that's it--you are all set to get weather and condition updates from everyone you are following. I'll add more posts as I learn more about the process. Let me know if you have questions!

SE xmas trip Part 3: Horse Pens 40

Coming soon...


SE xmas trip Part 2: Little Rock City

A day of warmups in LRC because my shoulder was still all wacked out. Melissa did great though, and climbed hard, scary stuff for her experience level. Wish i had gotten some pictures of her, but i was too busy spotting!


SE xmas trip Part 1: Chattanooga/Rough Start

Melissa and I were going on a weeklong SE climbing roadtrip and I had everything packed up the nite before. Then, when i packed the car, i forgot to put the bin full of climbing gear into my truck. Genius. And i didn't realize it until 2 hours down the road! No climbing shoes, no gear, chalk bag or harnesses. I did have the crash pad tho and my truck smelled strongly of burning oil. I thought it better to just get to where M was staying with her parents to save my car climbing back up into the mountains.

On the 28th we had to buy climbing shoes at Rock Creek Outfitters so we could climb at all. It rained hard the nite before but the afternoon was clearing up nicely. A sales guy at the store told us about some boulders 10 minutes outside of town, so we headed there for a short afternoon session. To add to the good times, my shoulder has been feeling like crap lately, so climbing was limited to v2/v3 and below. But there was some cool stuff at this place, and it's literally right next to an apartment complex. Lucky apartment bastards. Chattanooga is definitely the home of close-proximity climbing in the southeast.

More to come soon, on Little Rock City.

Pictures of Chatty at nite and the Mountain Brook Boulders: