Grayson Highlands Bouldering Update: Interview and Video

Now that the contest has settled down I've gotten the chance to revisit the short Facebook interview I had with Aaron Parlier, who has been developing the boulders at Grayson Highlands State Park. (For my original post on Grayson Highlands, click here.)

Frixtion: What's the rock like at GHSP?

Aaron: The GHSP boulders are Volcanic Rhyolite, which is completely unique in my experience, but several friends of mine have frequented Hounds Ears and say that its very comparable to the stone there. Most people say that Grayson is sharp at first, and then you tend to learn how to climb on the edges and it feels much better.

F: Where should a visitor go on their first day?

A: For someone’s first day I would recommend the Listening Rock Trail area if it's during the summer, as well as the Contact Station Bouldering area since they’re at a higher altitude and since the LRT is closed in the winter. Also, if they want the full value experience, I would recommend the Highlands Area during the summer (or anytime for that matter) because not only is there a constant breeze, but its exposed bouldering with wild ponies running around, and its epic up there. The Boneyard bouldering area is phenomenal but there isn’t a developed trail (yet, but it’s in the works) through its sub areas and it can be grown up in some places in the summer. In the fall and winter you can see all the boulders and then it’s great and I would recommend it first. The AVP boulders great year long and is fully developed with a trail.

F: Have you been one of the primary developers of the boulders?

A: Yes, I’ve bouldered in GHSP for about 4 years now, but didn’t fully realize its full potential until 2008 and that is when I started developing the area. I’ve been the only developer there and have established the large majority of the 220 boulder problems since '08. In the recent few months there has been a huge influx of interest in the park and I’ve seen a welcomed amount of boulderers there repeating the lines I’ve cleaned and sent. It’s really helpful to have a consensus on the grades. I’ve had help from my climbing partner Steve Lovelace in cleaning recently as well. I know James Litz climbed in the AVP area a long time ago while he lived in Jonson City, TN but he’s declined to claim FAs since he can’t remember the exact locations... I’ve documented the FAs on everything to the best of my knowledge and it seems to be pretty accurate.
F: Anything you want people to know before they come for a visit?

A: I would like people to know that dogs are allowed in the park. Also I am in the process of writing a full color guidebook on the park, so be looking forward to that. 

Also, here's a video by Matt Bielejeski, who recently visited highlands and put together this nice look at some of the boulders (thanks, Matt).


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