Survived the First Week

This was the first week of classes for my Master's degree in Speech Therapy at ASU. So far, so good, but it's gonna be a hell of a semester. Both Melissa and me are taking 17 graduate hours and we have jobs as GAs 10 hours a week. Luckily, Boone is loaded with tons of closeby climbing. I've already been overdoing it, especially since I can walk to a few boulders from my house. (It doesn't get much better than that!) In the last week or two we've been pretty slammed with getting organized and unpacked and getting to class and all that, but we've made it to Ship Rock and Table Rock for roping up, and we've hit some bouldering areas when we have a free hour or so, along with ASU's amazing climbing gym (which they didn't have when I was an undergrad, the wankers!). It's been a lot of fun, but last night I was seriously using 4 ice packs. One for each shoulder, one for my right elbow, and the last for moving around between my strained ab muscle and my neck and my right middle finger. Yeah, it's that bad. But I might have come out of my summer climbing "retirement" a bit too hard. But now that the initial excitement has worn off I'm realizing I need to pace myself a bit!

Here are a few pics from the recent trips out. I haven't been taking quite as many pics lately. But now that we're settling in I plan to get back into shooting again. These are from a trip to Ship Rock, where we climbed Edge of a Dream (5.7); a return trip to Grayson Highlands where we got rained out; and a hike up the Grandfather Mtn. Profile trail, where we also got rained on at the end of the hike.


Armenian Climbing Video

It's nice to see that Rock & Ice is starting to jump into the multimedia game more. You should check out this video just to see the crazy geometric rock formations on some of the cliff's in Armenia. It looks like Devil's Tower on speed.

Amazing Armenian Rock Climbing from Rock & Ice on Vimeo.



Grayson Highlands State Park

I'm a bit behind getting this post up since we went to Highlands last Sunday. One thing I've noticed about not sitting at a desk for work anymore is I have a lot less time for messing around on the internet and updating the blog. I've actually been enjoying getting away from the computer these last few weeks though. It's a good thing to do every once in awhile.

Anyway, Highlands was a blast. I always love checking out new areas and this place was really different and fun. It doesn't compare size-wise to someplace like Horsepens 40, but it makes for a fun visit nonetheless. In fact, I debated with myself about posting these images. One thing I really liked about Highlands was that it's still so pristine around the boulders (especially in the lower elevations not up in the Highlands area). If you visit, please tread lightly and keep gear sprawl to a minimum. This place is beautiful and we should work to keep it that way. Especially beautiful is the Highlands area itself...you hike for about 15 minutes uphill into terrain that looks like it belongs out west somewhere. It's above the treeline and you can see forever, and there are rock outcroppings popping out all over the horizon. I'm looking forward to going back with just a light daypack and shoes to do some exploring.

The climbing is reminiscent of Hound Ears in many places, but not as sharp. I'm climbing around V2-V3 right now and I had a blast in that grade range. But there's certainly harder stuff I was tempted to get on (but restrained myself so I could avoid more injury). There are some really classic highballs that lend to the adventure climbing feel of the place. My favorite was Highlands Highball, a fin that is maybe V2 and about 20 feet tall. (see the slideshow for pics of it.) (Also, if you want more info, check out my longer post on the area here).

Here are about 30 pics from our day:



Climbing Ranked as Sexiest Sport

Well, it's about time. Climbing has finally been proven to be the most attractive sport to women in a recent study by a British researcher. Now my main motivation for climbing is finally substantiated. We even beat out soccer players. Somehow, climbing also edged out "extreme sports" in the study. Huh? Oh, well. I won't let one minor detail tarnish this important (perhaps even groundbreaking) study.

From matadorsports.com:

A study by a University of Hertfordshire professor suggests that women are especially attracted to men who rock climb.

Working with fitness expert Sam Murphy, Prof. Richard Wiseman polled over 6,000 people to find out which of 15 sports they thought would make a member of the opposite sex more attractive. Climbing topped the list for women with 57%, edging out extreme sports, soccer, and hiking.

Somehow, golf finished second to last, just ahead of aerobics. Go figure.



Bad Day for This Guy...

I laughed my ass off watching this video...this hungover kid gets stuck in an offwidth and then actually craps himself. Poor guy. I can't help but repost it, though.



So Long Asheville, Hello Boone (again)

Okay, I've finally got some time to get caught up here on the blog. In the last two weeks I had to finish finals for sumer classes, move everything to Boone, drive back and clean the house for new renters, drive back to Boone with more stuff, then drive back to Asheville for my last days of work at Lark. It was busy. I did get to go out to the Walker Creek boulders one last time before I left Asheville, though. Thanks to whoever has been cleaning the place up. Someone has been doing the much-needed work of pulling off all of the loose stuff there, and they've opened up a few good holds on the overhanging face. The hard lines are actually looking climbable now! Please let me know if you've been out there sending any lines...just curious about any development. I'm glad to see that the place is getting some traffic, though. It has some good potential, even if it's small. Also, the scenery is hard to beat.

I've had a little bit of time to climb since moving to Boone, though we've mostly been unpacking and organizing and running errands. It's a bit strange to be back in town and on campus...a bit of a time warp. But it's awesome to be back. I've really missed the ability to go bouldering on short notice, and now I've got a couple of boulders in walkable distance from my house (and a swimming hole!). It's perfect for when you have a short window and want to get a quick workout in. Aside from still dealing with injury, I'm basically in heaven here. We even live on a gravel road that's perfect for going on short jogs. I didn't realize how much I didn't like living smack in the middle of the city until I got here and moved back into the woods.

We also got to take a day trip with a bunch of cool folks from Charlotte, DC, and Columbia to Grayson Highlands this past Sunday. I'll post about that soon, but I was psyched to climb a couple of V2s and V3s, which is a good bit harder than the V1s I've been climbing all summer. And after icing, stretching, and ibuprof-ing, the shoulder felt pretty good the next day. So here's to hoping that taking basically the whole summer off climbing has helped turn the corner on this lingering injury.

Some pics from my last visit to the Walker Creek boulders: