South. I love you. Truly.
Bryan and I set out on our little road trip on Monday, February 22nd. Destination South, Chattanooga Tennessee.
He picked me up from my house; we loaded up on coffee and started driving.
“Still wanna go?”
“No. Let’s not. Are you fucking crazy LETS GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!!”
And so we did.
Mother ship was in a top-notch shape, loaded to the rims and purring all the way to Virginia’s Roanoke. We were in no rush and stopping in for the night in a hotel seemed to be a splendid idea.
Second day, we made it Chatty, passing all sorts of huge well-lit crosses and confederacy flags along the way. Bryan and I made up a game of counting UPS trucks that passed us. We almost drove off the road trying to spot them.
In Chatty, we popped into Sticky Fingers for lunch and a victory beer for reaching our destination. (I went for a bloody Mary) Apparently Chattanooga has the sweetest aquarium in the world, because at least 5 people told us that we needed to see it. We did, but much later, and yes, it is indeed pretty damn sweet. I want to be a seahorse.
Our dump asses brought so much food for all of the camping that we were planning to do in peoples living rooms, that 1.5 weeks into our trip we gave it all away to a loud mouth kid in Alabama, when we went to play on hot sloppers of HP40. We did one day worth of camping, and the rest of the time we got super lucky to stay with FRIENDS!!! Who are awesome and rad and we are so thankful for ‘ya’ll’ to be such great hosts. Thank you for making our trip so cushy and fun!
Climbing down south is splendid! It’s totally overwhelming, exciting and insane!
I had a busted finger going out to our road trip from the Feats of Strength V at the Cliffs (which was a BLAST!), so I advised myself to stay off crimpers or anything that could potentially worsen my situation. Thank rock South has got plenty of knee bars, slopers, pinches and shit that will make me forget about crimpers and only miss them a little bit at night.
Our first stop was LRC (Little Rock City) that is locates on a huge golf course. Climbers are required to sign in and “behave” while on the property. Needless to say, both Bryan and I were completely overwhelmed with the amount of rock and mazes at the place. So much to see, do and not enough time. That’s ok; we will just have to come back.
People were friendly enough to orient us a little bit around the area, but coming back a few more times definitely helped us to get a better feel for the place.
We got on “classic” problems, explored and ran around like two kids in a big candy store.
Tommy, our wonderful ghey host, took Bry and I to Rock Town in Georgia. I was instantly in love. Seriously. Beautiful day, amazing rock, quiet and we only saw one person. If i could date Rock Town, I think i would.
Unfortunately, we only got one day in that Rock Wonderland, and I’m so itching to come back and explore more.
I miss you Rock Town, you’re so sexy.
Week one almost done; climbing, Champy’s (best fried chicken and 40s ever!), Olympic skating, Tommy, who never stops laughing and chuckling, Chatty is sweet.
On Saturday, or was it Friday, we decided to take off to see Atlanta Georgia and visit my friend Hope.
Hope Hilton is a great host, amazing artist and great friend. I love her.
Atlanta is pretty cool, very spread out for my taste, but we had fun checking out small hip neighborhoods and eating awesome tacos in a small busy place with delicious margaritas and snaking long lines.
Bryan and Hope stayed up talking at her cozy house, while i struggled to make fire and finally settled in to read a collection of letters from WWII that a wife wrote to her husband station in China. A year worth. A letter for every day. That’s some love.
Sunday we picked up our buddy Andy, who after flipping his truck sideways into a ditch and getting fed up with snow in NY, flew out to play down South.
He gave us an awesome tour of HP40 in Alabama and dealt with me getting pissy because the place, even though with great climbing, was so crowded with people spitting out beta, that I almost blew a fuse.
I hated slopers before Horse Pens and I met. Now I’m a big fan and we are friends.
Funny thing, Alabama doesn’t sell liquor of any kind on Sundays. We didn’t know, didn’t remember, and didn’t care until after we couldn’t get any.
Bryan as a champion, scored some beers from near by campers and oh man, it was so awesome.
Monday we headed back to Chatty to hang out with now FRIENDS and to met Andy’s friend Dough Toth. Hello friend.
Dough housed our rowdy bunch for a whole week and put up with our shit the whole time. Thank you Dough, you are rad!
We saw a place we’ve never been before, Laurel Falls. I think that must have been Bryan’s favorite place, I had a hard time picking one, all were so special.
Andy gave us a great tour of the area and we had a play day on the roof, saw some sweet boulders and crossed the river to spend an hour to try and cross it back. Beautiful spot, amazing rock, sick holds and a mining tunnel that i will get into next time. Dark, wet, scary and cold. I want in there.
The roof at Laurel Falls gave me a huge bloody flapper, an awesome gushing hole in a finger and way to much fun to not wanna come back, so we will be back.
Bryan destroyed a problem called Reconciliation and i finally dialed in Standblast and tried Sandblasting skin. Holy shit People! AHHHHHH! So much Fun!
Oh yeah, we also saw a very strange white turkey looking goose chilling on the road both times we visited the area.
Bryan on Standblast
The next day we were forced into a rest day, because it snowed and rained, so we checked out the aquarium. Super chill. Did i say i like seahorses? I do.
We spent one more awesome day in LRC, had a huge dinner with a lot of friends, gave everyone a typewriter and the next day, after saying our good byes ,left Chatty to start via home bound, but we had one more stop to make.
Chris, another awesome host down South showed us this amazing area 20 minutes outside of his house, with enormous beautiful faces of untouched rock, generous boulders and untapped climbing potential of his backwoods playground.
I took some photos and tried to capture that place on video, but it’s almost like trying to explain to someone what it feels like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Impossible.
I think that spot was my favorite place, if i would really have to pick one, just because it was quiet, enormous and belonged to no one but the woods. You can pick any rock you want, any line you desire, clean it, climb it and move on.
No crowds, no beta, so pure. So overwhelming and real.
I learned so much stuff by climbing in all of those amazing areas down south and rediscovered what i love so much about the sport.
We all have stories and back stories, there are way too many UPS trucks and not enough Tacomas on the road, climbing is pure and beautiful, I get frustrated by crowds of people in the woods and Bryan wants me to wear a mumu, friends are the best thing ever.
I love climbing and I wish i could marry it.
I think i just proposed.
more photos and videos later.