Linville Cavern Boulders

02.07.09. What a day! Going to a new area defines the climbing spirit, which in a nutshell comes down to exploration. I'll never deny that Rumbling Bald is awesome, but going to a new, remote, relatively unclimbed area really gets the climbing psyche freshened up. Somehow it gets you beyond just pulling hard and helps you get back to why you started climbing in the first place--for the adventure and the challenge. And with one of the worst approaches and hikes out of just about any boulderfield I've ever been to, it certainly was adventurous. Combine this with great, sunny weather and a crew of good friends, and it's hard to ask for more. It might just have been one of the best days climbing I've had in over a year. By the end of the day, there was a pretty big crew from Asheville and Boone: Zach (who showed us they way!), Ehrin, Melissa, Ben, Chris D., Howie, Robert, Jon, another Ben, and me.

The Linville Cavern Boulders are on a mountainside in the valley bisected by Highway 221 on the way up to Boone, near the Linville Caverns (hence the name). To access the boulders, you have to park at the top of the mountain, off the Kisler (sp?) highway in National Forest, and hike straight down the mountainside for over a mile. If your knees can make the approach, you'll be rewarded by sweet sandstone-like rock and an adventure bouldering experience, complete with small, windy trails, undeveloped problems, and a waterfall. And for now, no crowds!

We spent the day in 3 areas. I have no idea what the names of these areas are, or most of the problems' names for that matter. And that's just fine by me. I like to wander around and just get on what looks good. With no preconceptions, possibilities are limitless. I beta flashed a V5 because I thought it was a V3 when looking at it. Sweet! This place has everything from really nice v0-v2 warmups, to undeveloped lines that are just waiting for suitors.

The end of the day brought the last adventure. Melissa's dog got sick, like puking sick, on the way out and we had to carry it almost all the way out. Add to this Melissa's delirium and singing at the moon, and the hike out turned out to be the crux of the day. By the time we got to the parking lot, we had been hiking under the light of a full moon for twenty minutes. The day was celebrated in true climber style with a PBR toast (thanks, Robert!) when we all finally congregated at the top. Ben wins the day's Burl prize for carrying the biggest F'in crash pad up the mountain.

As for pictures, the camera got passed around all day, which was sweet. Zach and Robert did most of the additional shooting. Thanks to them, I got some awesome viewpoints I never would have shot, and even a few pictures of me in there. This is by far the heaviest shooting day I've had--we filled up my 2 gig card. That being the case, I decided to post in quantity to show the climbs and the area. I've spent no time working up the photos in Photoshop.

More to come soon from others' cameras that were used that day.

Here are some pics from Chris Dorrity: