Kicking Off the Season In Style.

Since I've been sitting at home, with a crazy sinus infection that swelled the right side of my face up to Elephant Man proportions, I thought that I could at least be productive.  I had tons of footage from last bouldering season that I never got around to editing... so now's the time.

First off, let me give you the brief update on my recent 2 day trip into the Dirty South to wrestle with some gorgeous pebbles. This trip was meant to be something of a tune-up, to get back in the mindset of outdoor bouldering.  I spent both days at Stone Fort, in Tennessee.  After a good warm up, I went straight to a problem that had repelled my end of day efforts last year, "Right Wing", v7.  I unexpectedly fired it first try, wondering what had happened to the hard moves!  I knew that was the "gimme" on my list, so I headed to the "Back Nine" to work on one that I knew was gonna give me fits... "Deception" v7.   "Deception" is a beautiful, dead-vertical face, with those characteristic southern seams running through it.  Occasionally those seams open up enough to create small sloping sidepulls and slippery crimps.  I had never been able to do the first move.

"Deception".  Photo by Ryan Puckett.

After 5 minutes, I still hadn't done the first move, which felt at the limits of my reach.  Then two girls, both shorter than I, ask if they can work on it with me.  Both do the first move.  So do I.  Girl Power!  With running beta, I proceed to get to the high crux, which I still haven't come close to doing.  It's tall, a little scary, and I'm going to send it this season.

Pat Goodman off "Space".  Photo by Luke Laeser.

On the way out of the boulderfield a climber passes right by a short, wide corridor that houses a must-see line.  "Space", v8, is a slabby arete, with a few ripples around the right side, and one sloping dish on the left, 15 feet up, 5 feet below the top.  I'd tried it before, just for the unlikeliness of it, and had touched the dish a time or two.  A gang of people were trying it, so I joined in.  Got to the dish solidly on my first go... but that's as far as my efforts would get me.  Getting your foot into the dish and standing up seems to be the crux, and I'm excited to give it another go soon.

All in all, a successful trip.  Crossed one off the list, made progress on two that I knew could stop me, and did a couple of other new-to-me v6's and v7's in the process.  Most importantly, it got me even more psyched, and more focused on my goals, knowing that I chose some incredible lines.

I'm heading back toward the south tomorrow, assuming the swelling in my face continues to go down!

On that note, I'll leave you with the video of a v7 that took me far too many tries last season.  I stuck the crux move on my 2nd or 3rd try at that move.... then didn't stick it again for a LONG time.  I had gotten it in my head that it would be an easy tick, and always arrived at the end of the day with successful expectations.... and left wondering what the hell had happened.  When I gave it the respect it deserved, it allowed my passage.  And so it goes...

I'll be taking the video camera with me on this trip, and hope to get some send footage. On the docket: "The Orb" and "The Vagina".   Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and if you're getting out there on the rocks soon... be safe and have fun!


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