My Two Southern Loves – Alabama and Tennessee

March 4, 2008

At 6pm, 2 hours ago, I returned from an awesome 3 day weekend in Tennessee. This was the second weekend that I left Gainesville for a climbing trip, last weekend being Horse Pens 40 in Alabama, and most probably the last weekend of this climbing season. So sad to be living so far from rock – a 7 hour drive for what normally ends up being 1 day of climbing and you’re never sure of the weather conditions.

These past two weekends were a blessing in that the weather was perfect (!!cold!!) and the climbing 100%. This past weekend was particularly especial since it was a more intimate trip with an awesome friend (as opposed to the normal trips with at least 20 people from Gainesville going to a climbing competition), it was chill, relaxed, and exploring a new area in Tennessee called Dayton.

Dayton lies only 20-30 minutes from Downtown Chattanooga (visit Green Life and Lupis!) and is a relatively new climbing area. I was told that world-class climbers such as Jamie Emerson and Toni Lamiche had been there but the place mainly sees traffic by the local climbers. It also sees plenty of traffic from hikers and local couples who go there to enjoy the rad scenery – a river accompanies the footpath, creating abundant waterfalls, and the boulders lie to either side of this river.

Close to the entrance one finds what some call the warm-up roof which contains perhaps 1 V0 climb, one or two V2/3s, at least one V5, a couple of V7s, at least one V9, and a few in the V10 – V12 range (I lose interest once the numbers get too high). You can read more about this roof on Jamie Emerson’s blog entry 1, Jamie Emerson’s blog entry 2.

I had been on this roof a few months ago and felt weak on it and this time everything felt solid and both the 5 and the 7 went first try. I was feeling much more confident after climbing in Hueco and noticed that I was still climbing good last week in Horse Pens 40 so I wanted to find some lines to challenge myself before the end of the season – and after seeing the videos of Ronnie Jenkins climbing River Dance on Emerson’s blog and of Webb sending the River Dance sit version on Caleb Calhoun’s site I was decided!

River Dance is located on a boulder perched a foot away from the beautiful river, the location is first-class. The climb is not an eliminate and only has that line (and the sit version).

I knew that both Ronnie and Jimmy were much stronger climbers so my plan was that I would have 3 climbing days in Tennessee and working the climb a little each day would put it within my reach. As Joe and I scoped out the climb we were joined by two other friends Chris Hale and Lee Friedlander and the four of us worked out each of the moves, all of which are strong and on point and after an hour I surprised myself by twice reaching (and falling off) the end move. Giving myself one last burn and I was at the top on the first day of working this awesome climb!

We spent the rest of the day checking out several boulders with still undeveloped and proud lines and topped out the day with a fine Indian dinner!

The following day we went to the well-known Little Rock City (aka The Stone Fort) for another day of climbing on classics in gorgeous, perfect weather with awesome people.

Definitely Hueco gave my climbing a new life and since my climbing season is over until October I may as well start training for Hueco – New Years 2009 – See You There!!!!


One comment

  1. i was waiting for this update…you are finally realizing your potential, B! many congrats! that problem looks so good, can’t wait to get back there.

    why no climbing till october?

    p.s. pencil me in for a massage either friday or sunday DUDE

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