Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Category Archives: Adventures

Stories of adventures, both big and small – from epic destination trips to simple backyard fun!

(Spry) Look, it’s Winter!

(Spry) Look, it’s Winter!

What do you do when climbing season goes straight from summer to winter?  Give up on the New River Gorge and follow the sun!  After yet another forecast of cold drizzle in Fayetteville, WV a couple of weekends ago, I got the green light from CragDaddy to make my own climbing plans.  A lot going on for him at work plus a minor knee injury meant his motivation was pretty low.  To take full advantage of flying solo, I decided to put out some feelers to see if anyone would be up for joining me at an area that is…Read the rest of this entry →

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This Just In – Conditions Matter…A LOT!!!!!

This Just In – Conditions Matter…A LOT!!!!!

Were you aware of that?  You probably were.  For some reason, I’d forgotten.  Maybe because it’s been so long since I’ve touched rock as dry and crisp as it was this past Saturday.  Or maybe because I’d never experienced such a direct one to one comparison before on such a hard route.  But before I get ahead of myself, let’s rewind it back a few months to where this story actually begins.   I initially got on Death by Chocolate partly because it looked kinda cool and mostly because it was the only thing dry over Memorial Day.  Then, as usual…Read the rest of this entry →

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NRG Rounds 1 and 2…aka “Hey Fall, No One Likes A Tease.”

NRG Rounds 1 and 2…aka “Hey Fall, No One Likes A Tease.”

Our first fall forays at the New a couple of weeks ago actually ALMOST felt like fall.  Then this past weekend was back to summer.  Autumn is such a tease here in the Southeast.  I’m over it.  It’s hard on the psych.  And it’s hard on the skin. Considering conditions the past couple of months can be summed up by the phrases “hot,” “wet”, or “hot and wet,” CragDaddy and I both came into the NRG with low expectations.  Aside from a sweltering Labor Day weekend at the Red in Amazonian rainforest conditions, we’ve pretty much been gym rats since…Read the rest of this entry →

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Ten Sleep Canyon Part 4 – Superfly 12c/d

Ten Sleep Canyon Part 4 – Superfly 12c/d

So after a patriotic day at the rodeo on the 4th, the next day was back to the canyon for business as usual.  As I said in Ten Sleep Recap Part 2, the 3rd day on in our 3 day chunk was spent scoping out the moves on Superfly 12c/d at the Slavery Wall, so let’s rewind back to there for a minute.  The main difference we noted between Slavery Wall and everywhere else we had climbed was that it was WAY hotter in the morning, due to the lack of tree cover at the base of the cliff.  Thankfully…Read the rest of this entry →

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Ten Sleep Canyon Part 3 – Rest Days and Rodeos

Ten Sleep Canyon Part 3 – Rest Days and Rodeos

Despite being a town with a population of 260, the town of Ten Sleep, Wyoming is actually a pretty good base camp for fun family rest day activities!  And for once, the weather cooperated really well with our plans!  Saturday dawned cold and dreary in town, which meant the canyon was no doubt frigid.  So what would have been a pretty yucky climbing day was actually perfect for exploring, geeking out over nature stuff, and picking up groceries, all while resting our tendons.   REST DAY ~ Our first stop was the the Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site, where we had a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Ten Sleep Canyon Part 2 – Superratic

Ten Sleep Canyon Part 2 – Superratic

Our typical “vacation climbing” (ie, more than a weekend) strategy involves a smattering of rest days in addition to climbing days, so that we can climb as close to our best as possible whenever we are on the wall.  We generally try to avoid crowds by planning rest days for a Saturday, when the crag would be most crowded from local day trippers.  For this trip we also wanted to make sure we were in town for the 4th of July celebrations, so we ended up climbing in 3 “chunks” – 2 days on, 1 day off, 3 days on…Read the rest of this entry →

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Ten Sleep Canyon, Part 1 – French Cattle Ranch and Valhalla

Ten Sleep Canyon, Part 1 – French Cattle Ranch and Valhalla

Not sure about your summer, but ours has been nuts – especially the month of July. Last Friday I had vocal cord surgery (don’t worry I’m fine), and the week before that we were at the beach with extended family. So it’s hard to believe that it was just a little over 3 weeks ago that we were living the climber’s dream out in Ten Sleep, Wyoming! Since Ten Sleep is one of my very favorite places in the world, I could go on all day about it, but I’ll spare you the day’s work, and try to limit myself…Read the rest of this entry →

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Death by Chocolate and Coming Up Short

Death by Chocolate and Coming Up Short

As much as I would love to have this post be a final “send”-off trip report (see what I did there? ;)) before we head west to climb in Ten Sleep, it just didn’t happen for me this past weekend at Hidden Valley.  Certainly not for lack of trying.  Maaaaybe for lack of good conditions.  But I think more than likely I’m just mid-way through the process and it’s not my time yet.   Let me back up – my last post mentioned a route that CragDaddy and I played around on called Death by Chocolate 12d.  It’s only 40 feet…Read the rest of this entry →

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In Jungles and in Floods…Trying Hard

In Jungles and in Floods…Trying Hard

Spring in the southeast has gifted us with just about the absolute worst weekend warrior climbing weather we could have asked for.  But we’ve got not choice but to go with what we’ve got, right?!?  Whether it’s Amazon-level heat and humidity at the New, or monsoon flood warnings at Hidden Valley, our cragfamily has been out there trying hard the past few weeks!   Our Mother’s Day spring-that-felt-like-summer weekend ended up being a lot more profitable than we’d first anticipated.  On our first day we went to Area 51 at the Meadow.  Amongst several moderate lines, CragDaddy and I were classy…Read the rest of this entry →

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Kid-Free at the Red!

Kid-Free at the Red!

I have never been to the Red River Gorge without a child –  there’s either been one on the inside of me (like on our first trip in 2009), or one (or two) clinging to the outside of me (like EVERY other trip since then!)  So when CragDaddy’s parents graciously gifted us with a 3-day kid-free climbing weekend this spring, it was a no-brainer to head to Kentucky!  We had 3 PERFECT weather days…PERFECT.  It was so good I’m tempted to go on and on about it a little more, but I don’t want to jinx this upcoming weekend, so…Read the rest of this entry →

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Friday is the New Saturday

Friday is the New Saturday

What do desperate climbers do when the past umpteen weekends have had a crap-a-delic forecast?  Play hooky and make Friday the new Saturday!  While our last-minute decision to leave a day early made for a hectic start to our earlier-than-normal weekend, it was well worth it for us all – and we got plenty of rest on the back end of the weekend to prepare for the upcoming week…I think I could get used to this strategy! While the New was beckoning to me like a singing siren to a delirious sailor, we ended up going to Hidden Valley so…Read the rest of this entry →

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Spring, then Winter, then Spring at the Red

Spring, then Winter, then Spring at the Red

So it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve written on this blog.  While I never write as often in the winter, usually I can at least put together a post or two, but apparently not this time around!  The intention was there.  We did some cool stuff worth writing about – skiing, snow tubing, hiking, a kid climbing day at Rocky Face, and even a daytrip date with CragDaddy to Rumbling Bald.  But that whole “time-to-write” thing kept eluding me.  However, with the beginning of spring season upon us, it’s time to find the time again. It’s only fair to…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Ruchert Motion 5.13a – Grand Finale at the NRG

The Ruchert Motion 5.13a – Grand Finale at the NRG

This fall has featured some pretty goofy weather conditions.  October was hot, November was wet, and December is…perfect?!?  Our NRG season typically wraps up before Thanksgiving.  After that, the days are so short, with frigid mornings and evenings, and nighttime temps that drop below our enjoyable-camping-with-kids threshold.  It’s also not uncommon to contend with snow, so even a stray warm day can end up wet.  Not to mention the holidays are coming, and we want to focus on that!  But Thanksgiving  weekend brought fantastic weather we couldn’t pass up…and we both put good work in on The Ruchert Motion 13a.  And…Read the rest of this entry →

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NRG at Thanksgiving

NRG at Thanksgiving

Did your post-Thanksgiving plans include shop til you drop or #optoutside?  As you might have guessed, ours involved the latter.  The forecast was beautiful for the early part of last weekend, so we squeezed in a quick visit to our favorite east coast climbing destination for a half day Friday and full day Saturday.   All we had time for on Friday afternoon was a couple of pitches each at Bridge Buttress, and despite our best efforts, we just couldn’t pull anything together.  I tackled an old nemesis of mine – Stretch Armstrong 12a, while CragDaddy tried his hand at Team…Read the rest of this entry →

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Mom Guilt and Type 2 Fun…aka Making Lemonade

Mom Guilt and Type 2 Fun…aka Making Lemonade

“Well, this sure is some slip-sliding fun!” I said with my best fake smile to both of my kids as we made our way down the gully to the base of the cliff.  We’d been hiking for about an hour along a trail that featured a steep incline, several hundred wooden steps, and LOTS of wet leaves.  Our pace had been slow but consistent, in a cold, misty drizzle that didn’t look like it had any intention of letting up any time soon, despite what the radar/forecast showed on my phone.  We were on our way to meet up with…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hidden Valley Sendage

Hidden Valley Sendage

Lately the Southeast has felt more like “June-tober” than “Rock-tober,” much to the chagrin of every climber that I know.  What’s up with this?!?  This is supposed to be our prime time, with conditions cool and crisp…but instead we all feel like gorillas in the mist.  That said, we knew that the elevation at Hidden Valley would make for cool(er) temps than the surrounding areas, and considering we’ve spent the past four weekends at the New, we figured we could use a change of pace.  And it turned out to be awesome! Our plan for Day 1 was for CragDaddy…Read the rest of this entry →

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This Time it’s Endless, Not Sendless…

This Time it’s Endless, Not Sendless…

Ah, Endless Wall season.  There’s nothing like it.  Endless Wall is definitely my favorite climbing area at the New River Gorge, though on paper I’m not sure why.  From a climber perspective, the grades are stiff, the bolt spacing is spicy, and cruxes require committment from body, mind and soul all at once.  You’d better bring your try hard if you wanna climb here.  From a mama perspective, the hike is long, and giant ladders make for a difficult approach with kids.  You’d better bring your hiking bears if you wanna climb here. As a family, it’s logistically always been…Read the rest of this entry →

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SEND-tember Kickoff – Red River Gorge

SEND-tember Kickoff – Red River Gorge

Ordinarily when I see rain in the forecast for a climbing weekend I’m pretty bummed.  But when it’s Labor Day weekend and we’re going to the Red, I’m actually psyched.  That’s because I know rain actually means that all the fair weather holiday climbers will bail on their plans, leaving the dry rock for those of us that don’t mind a little bit of mud.  And ironically, despite the deluge we drove through Friday night, the only rain we saw was a bit of drizzle Saturday afternoon!  Day 1 was spent at Muir Valley’s Solarium, one of our fave spots to…Read the rest of this entry →

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Photos at Hidden Valley with Fixed Line Media

Photos at Hidden Valley with Fixed Line Media

A couple of weeks ago, we were excited that despite it being August, climbing conditions were not unbearable.  THIS weekend, however, we were shocked to find that conditions were down right good.  The mornings were cool, the air was crisp…I can’t believe this is happening in August, but I’m gonna call it – It’s Fall Ya’ll!!!!  Bring on Sendtember and Rocktober!   But first, this weekend.  It was awesome because we had a great crew of people and got to work with Bryan Miller of Fixed Line Media.  Bryan is a rad adventure photographer that does his best work dangling…Read the rest of this entry →

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Great American Eclipse 2017

Great American Eclipse 2017

For months I’d been looking forward to my 37th birthday…not because I’m anxious to be another year older, but because this year my birthday fell on one of the craziest weekends of the year – Solar Eclipse 2017.  My one request was that I wanted the whole family to drive to the path of totality to witness this celestial display together.  Considering that our home town of Charlotte, NC was only about 50 miles outside of the edge of the path, it wasn’t a hard sell.   Rather than fight through the traffic on either side of a day trip, we…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Bit of “Pre-Season” Climbing…

A Bit of “Pre-Season” Climbing…

Wow.  It has been TWO months since I last posted here…I think that’s a record!  Our summer has been busy, but mostly with family beach vacations and pool/water park adventures.  Exciting and fun?  Of course!  But fit for a climbing blog – not so much.  Speaking of climbing, fall is quickly approaching, and WE. CANNOT. WAIT.  Those first few fall trips are always like a bird being let out of a cage to see if its wings really work.  We’ve been gym rats all summer – hangboarding, core work, and even an impromptu bouldering comp.  Soon it’ll be time to get…Read the rest of this entry →

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(FINALLY!) Back at the NRG

(FINALLY!) Back at the NRG

It only took us until the middle of June this year, but we FINALLY made it back up to one of our favorite places in the entire world this past weekend.  All spring it seemed we had one logistical issue after another – weather, partners, schedules, you name it.  The only other time we’ve gone this long without climbing at the New River Gorge was the year Little Zu was born, when we skipped spring/summer up there entirely and waited til fall.  But now all is right in the world.  It may be too little too late when it comes to…Read the rest of this entry →

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Low Gravity Days at Hidden Valley

Low Gravity Days at Hidden Valley

For anyone that is interested in beta for sending the steeps at Hidden Valley, VA, here it is – 1.  Climb back to back 3 day weekends at the Red River Gorge.  2.  Go to Hidden Valley and try hard.  You won’t walk away empty-handed, I promise! Our climbing schedule this month was planned out in detail very far in advance completely impromptu based on the weather, but it seemed to really work for us.  After all the steep climbing we’ve been doing lately, I decided I wanted another shot at Gristle 12a, a route I’d tried once before back in April.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Rainy Red River Gorge Adventures…Round 2.

Rainy Red River Gorge Adventures…Round 2.

If I could pick one word to sum up spring climbing season this year, it would be “rain.”  We just can’t seem to buy any sun around here.  The good thing about that is that we haven’t had grueling hot temperatures.  The bad thing is that we’ve been limited as to our climbing destinations.  For example, we have been to the New exactly ZERO times in 2017.  Meanwhile, we just got home from back to back 3 day weekends at the Red, which we have never even considered doing before.  Don’t get me wrong, the Red is awesome…but the 6+…Read the rest of this entry →

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Rainy Red River Gorge Adventures!

Rainy Red River Gorge Adventures!

If there’s one thing you can count on when planning trips to the Red River Gorge in the spring, it’s rain.  While rain doesn’t generally equate to the best climbing conditions, there is thankfully one other thing you can count on at the Red – there will be dry rock NO MATTER WHAT.  And not just 5.12 and up dry rock – but dry rock at all grades.  So when we saw rain percentages hovering in the 80-90% ranges, we just tossed the rain gear in the van and hit the road as planned.   Thankfully, skies were clear when we set…Read the rest of this entry →

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Mother’s Day Kayaking Adventure

Mother’s Day Kayaking Adventure

“I want to do a family adventure but I don’t want to pack food, clothes, or gear.  I just want to show up and have fun.”  That was my request to the CragDaddy when asked how I wanted to spend my Mother’s Day this year.  Originally we’d planned to go climbing, as that’s pretty much always Plan A this time of year.  But we had trouble finding partners (story of our lives of late), and no one was psyched to get back in the car again after just returning home from the beach. So we opted for Plan B, which ended…Read the rest of this entry →

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Camping, Climbing, and Salamanders!

Camping, Climbing, and Salamanders!

Our family has been eagerly, yet anxiously awaiting the start of the spring camping season.  Eager because we love waking up in the woods…anxious because there’s one member in our family that loves being awake in the woods so much that she refuses to go to sleep.  However, now that nighttime temps have gotten up in the 50’s, staying in a cheap motel seems like an unnecessary expense.  So off we set on Friday afternoon, aiming for Hidden Valley Lake, a serene gem hidden high on a ridge above the town of Abingdon, VA.  We got there with plenty of…Read the rest of this entry →

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Tuck Fest 2017: Deep Water Solo Competition

Tuck Fest 2017: Deep Water Solo Competition

It probably goes without saying that this week’s “Tuck Fest” post is far more fun to write than last week’s “Puke Fest” one. It’s an understatement to say that my days leading up to the Tuck Fest DWS comp consisted of a lot more “momming” than training.  By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I really didn’t know what to expect, but while I was a bundle of nerves, I was pretty thankful no one in our family was throwing up. The DWS facility at the US National Whitewater Center is the first and only permanent structure of it’s kind in the WORLD.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Easter Eggs, Climbing, and the Car Ride from Hell…

Easter Eggs, Climbing, and the Car Ride from Hell…

This week has been a rough one as I have been nursing a toddler with a bad case of the throw ups (see below), while trying to manage some bad spasms in my lower back.  That being said, writing a trip report has been fairly low on the priority list, but the blogosphere has granted me about an hour to bang one out tonight, so here goes.  Our weekend can be summed up pretty easily in 3 distinct parts, as noted in the title.  I’ll tackle them in order… Easter Eggs – It’s been our family tradition since 2013 to have…Read the rest of this entry →

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Anniversary Trip to Hidden Valley

Anniversary Trip to Hidden Valley

Although there have been a handful of daytrips scattered here and there along the way, the last time the CragDaddy and I were able to get away together for an entire kid-free weekend was almost 5 years ago, back when Big C was 2 and a half, and Little Zu was just a twinkle in our eyes.  Considering that the latter turned 3 a month ago on the same day we celebrated 15 years of marriage, we were overdue for an escape!  Our original plan was to stroll down memory lane at the New River Gorge, a place that we have…Read the rest of this entry →

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Sending Spree at Hidden Valley, VA!

Sending Spree at Hidden Valley, VA!

This time of year in the Southeast, planning weekend climbing trips can be a bit of a gamble when it comes to the weather.  It’s especially hard when a too-long-for-a-day-trip destination looks perfect one day, and sketchy the next.  We all had our hearts set on a round 2 at Hidden Valley, VA this past weekend, but while Saturday looked splitter, Sunday looked, well, pretty wet.  However, we’d heard from multiple people about how the bad weather often “hops” right over the mountain, even when surrounding areas are soaked.  That combined with numerous rainy day route recommendations from the new guidebook was…Read the rest of this entry →

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Winter, Spring, and first 5.12 of the Season

Winter, Spring, and first 5.12 of the Season

The climbing at Hidden Valley has been on our radar ever since the Carolina Climbers Coalition purchased the land at the end of 2014.  Early reports from friends sounded appealing – short approach, winter sun, summer shade.  But somehow we never managed to get up there until this past weekend.  A couple of times we did make plans to go – but then kids got sick, or the weather was yucky, etc.  But mostly, it’s just hard to get us away from the New during prime climbing season.  I guess we’re just spoiled that way!   Anyway, after lots of…Read the rest of this entry →

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KidORCA: Our New Favorite Toddler Mud Boot!

KidORCA: Our New Favorite Toddler Mud Boot!

Not sure about yours, but our household never has a shortage of mud.  While some seasons of the year are decidedly more notorious than others, I find myself battling muddy feet, clothes, shoes, hair (yes, hair!), sometimes on a daily basis.  It’s like every mud puddle has an irrestisible gravitational pull around it that my kids are destined to become one with.  Which is why, in our household, there is also never a shortage of mud boots.  Many times we happen upon free boots in exchange for an honest gear review – you can find our previous love for STONZ…Read the rest of this entry →

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2016: Tis the Season for a Year in Review

2016: Tis the Season for a Year in Review

In my tick list for 2016 I stated that one of my main goals was to “focus more on the process than crossing something off the list.”  And by that I meant that I wanted to be more picky in the routes that I invest extra time on, choosing quality over quantity.  At the end of 2015 I found myself easily frustrated at the amount of routes I had “unfinished business” on.  Our family’s climb time is at a premium, and the logistics of getting back to certain climbs with an extra partner often ends up being a crux.  So this year I made…Read the rest of this entry →

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Red River Gorge in November

Red River Gorge in November

While my heart will probably forever belong to the New, I do really like the Red, and I so wish the Red was a lot closer.  I also wish it was a lot less crowded.  But one thing we didn’t have to wish for this past weekend was better climbing conditions…because it was darn near perfect! Our first day was spent at Funk Rock City.  Yes, our motivated crew of 3 adults and 3 children (two of which are under 3) did the 45 minute slog across the creek and up the mountain side just so that I could finally try…Read the rest of this entry →

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NRG: Flashin’ or Thrashin’

NRG: Flashin’ or Thrashin’

Sometimes on a climbing trip, you have a “day of reckoning,” where you try hard and it pays off with a send.  Other times, you flail your way through a weekend and come out without any new notches on your sending belt.  This past weekend for me was one of those weird in between weekends.  I was either flashing…or thrashing.  There was no middle ground. Being that it was November and we FINALLY got those crisp, cool, fall conditions we’ve been waiting for all year, the only destination for us this weekend was Endless Wall.  Since I’d sent my project…Read the rest of this entry →

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Jesus and Tequila = SENT!!!

Jesus and Tequila = SENT!!!

“…I’m not sure when, but one of these days I will pull the crux on Jesus and Tequila and not take the swinging whipper.  I’ll stay clean through the dihedral and nail the deadpoint move.  I’ll teeter out across the roof and plant my foot exactly where it needs to be, and execute the final sequence.  I’ll stand at the top and savor the magnificent view of the river below…” I wrote that exactly 6 months ago in a blog post…And guess what you guys – Saturday was the day!!!  I am absolutely giddy with excitement!!!  Back in January I’d told the…Read the rest of this entry →

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The 2016 Craggin’ Classic

The 2016 Craggin’ Classic

It’s the middle of September, and that means it’s time for two things – migrating north for the Craggin’ Classic at the New River Gorge…and my kids getting sick.  Last year, it was a mysterious fever for Little Zu.  This year, it was a tummy bug that left its mark on several family members before heading elsewhere…but that’s probably all you need to know about that. Anyway, by the time the event was underway, everyone was (mostly) okay, and our logistical plans (always the crux when climbing with kids) went off without a hitch.  The kids and I had headed…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Fort Bragg Spartan Race

The Fort Bragg Spartan Race

It all started earlier this summer with the new NBC TV show “Ultimate Spartan Challenge.”  My ninja warrior wanna-be son was all about it from the minute he saw it.  Add to that the fact that we actually knew a few of the competitors…and his mind just exploded week after week.  He began “training” everywhere – in our backyard, on the playground, at the crag, insisting that he was going to be a Spartan when he grew up (and that he was going to be on the Ninja team, because first he was going to be the next American Ninja Warrior.)…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Gorge: It’s Fall Ya’ll!

New River Gorge: It’s Fall Ya’ll!

I’m baaaaaaaack!  (In case you haven’t been missing me, this is the longest stretch of blog silence I’ve ever had since the dawning of “Cragmama” back in 2011!)  With weather too hot for climbing, and revving up our homeschooling again for the year, there has been too little to write about in not enough time anyway, so everything just went on the backburner.  But now that Zu (no longer Baby Girl Zu!) is at preschool a couple mornings a week, and fall adventures are upon us (!), I’ve got plenty to write about, and hopefully juuuust enough time to do…Read the rest of this entry →

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Gluttons for Punishment at the New River Gorge

Gluttons for Punishment at the New River Gorge

Contrary to what most of my non-climbing friends assume, summertime is NOT ideal climbing weather.  In fact, when it comes to actual climbing conditions, heat + humidity is a pretty miserable combination.  And if we’re being honest, this formula applies to more than just climbing.  This time of year in the South is pretty much only good for activities involving cold beverages and water.  That being said, every now and then we forget what it feels like to smother ourselves in a wet oven, and we go out climbing anyway. Without fail it always ends in a sweaty, stinky mess,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Cragfamily in Niagara Falls!

Cragfamily in Niagara Falls!

At first glance, the largest waterfall in North America sounds pretty awesome, but also sounds a little random as far as family vacations go for us.  It’s a looooong way away, and there aren’t even any rocks nearby on which to climb.  However, I have an aunt, uncle, and several cousins that live in upstate NY, one of which got married just a couple of weeks ago.  When we were planning our trip,we couldn’t help but notice that Niagara Falls was a mere 30 minutes away from the Buffalo airport.  It seemed a shame to get so close to such…Read the rest of this entry →

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Spring Climbing Grand Finale…and Time for a Break!

Spring Climbing Grand Finale…and Time for a Break!

If you’ve been hanging around this blog for a while, you may be aware that our family generally takes a break from climbing twice a year, during the “off season.”  I put that in quotes for the term off season because here in the Southeast, it’s actually pretty easy to climb year round, so long as you chase sun/shade effectively.  In fact, some of my best  climbing days have been on a sunny winter day, or a cool cloudy day in late summer.  But generally speaking, prime conditions for climbing on a rope tend to happen during spring and fall.  That means…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Weekend Escape to the NC High Country

A Weekend Escape to the NC High Country

Although we’d had plans made for the past few weeks already, I was pretty pleased when I saw that our weekend getaway to the NC mountains aligned with Charlotte’s first (of what will hopefully not be TOO many) 100 degree days. This particular escape was one of my favorite types of trips – a hybrid family/climbing/hiking weekend that makes for all sorts of fun and variety. After enjoying a gorgeous Grandfather Mountain view with our morning coffee, the CragDaddy and I headed up to the Linville Gorge for a “crag-date” at Hawksbill Mountain.  (Thank you to Bebe and Papa Joe for…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hawksbill Round 2: A New Personal Best!

Hawksbill Round 2: A New Personal Best!

Though my spring climbing season got off to a slow-ish start, these last few weeks have been unseasonably cool, and have allowed me to string together some hard (for me!) sends.  Since the CragDaddy had spent most of the previous week in NY on business, our family opted for the day trip this past weekend.  After accumulating some sending momentum at the Red the week before,I was psyched and ready to try hard on my project at Hawksbill Mountain. I wrote about Tips Ahoy 12d a couple of weeks ago , when I hopped on it while a friend of mine was…Read the rest of this entry →

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Spider Lilies at Landsford Canal

Spider Lilies at Landsford Canal

  I know it’s a little bit late, but my Mother’s Day was so cool I just had to share!  Ever since I took the kids to Landsford Canal back when Baby Zu was only 3 months old I have been wanting to go back.  Specifically, I’ve been wanting to kayak along the river through all of the spider lilies.  Every year for 6 weeks between May and June, the flowers put on a spectacular show on a small section of the Catawba river.  The quarter-mile stretch of blossoms is not only breathtaking, but it also happens to be the largest…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Red River Gorge Sending Spree!!!

A Red River Gorge Sending Spree!!!

“Some weekends everything falls together and you send.  Other times you work your ass off and walk away empty-handed.  But those “work” weekends are what make the “sending” weekends so magical.” Those were my words exactly one month ago, after a hard-fought battle with Jesus and Tequila 12b, one of my (many) unsent projects from the New River Gorge last fall.  The “moral” of that post was that investing hard work into a project will EVENTUALLY reap successful dividends, even if you currently have nothing “on paper” to show for it.  That particular weekend was a “work” weekend.  So was the…Read the rest of this entry →

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New Project at Hawksbill Mountain

New Project at Hawksbill Mountain

For our family, the month of May marks perfect sending conditions at one of our favorite crags – Hawksbill Mountain in the Linville Gorge. The sending season here is short – if you come in April your hands will for sure numb out due to a frigid combination of chilly temps, shady rock, and brutal wind gusts. But if you wait much past early June, the humidity makes for pretty manky crux holds, especially by late afternoon once the sun comes around. Although we can be at the crag parking lot in 2 hours flat, the hike is pretty intense, especially…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Gorge: The (Almost) Day of Reckoning

New River Gorge: The (Almost) Day of Reckoning

If you follow our family on instagram (@cragmama1), you may have noticed a family photo taken along the Endless Wall Trail on Saturday morning, with a caption entitled -“Today is a day of reckoning out the NRG…let’s do this!”  It was my first (and potentially only) chance this spring to send Jesus and Tequila 12b, the mega classic sandbag that I’d came heartbreakingly close to ticking off last November as the fall season closed out.  After some annihilating circuit work in the gym, along with recent success at both the New and the Red in recent weeks, I was feeling…Read the rest of this entry →

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Spring(?!?) Break at the Red River Gorge

Spring(?!?) Break at the Red River Gorge

When we started planning our spring break trip to the Red a couple of months ago, we decided to reserve a cabin in lieu of camping, just because the weather can be a bit of a toss up this time of year.  Turns out that was a pretty good decision, because 4 days straight of high’s in the 40’s mixed with clouds, rain, and even a little bit of snow is not my idea of fun family camping.  To be perfectly honest, it’s not exactly my idea of fun family climbing either…but we decided to go for it anyway…and I’m…Read the rest of this entry →

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Family Climbing: Big C’s First Multi-pitch Adventure

Family Climbing: Big C’s First Multi-pitch Adventure

It was an epic day for our family at Stone Mountain last weekend.  Well, for three of us anyway.  We left Baby Zu with the grands, and whisked Big C off to Stone Mountain for his very first day of multipitch climbing. Up until this point the highest Big C had ever been off the ground was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 feet.  But on a previous trip to Stone Mountain a few weeks ago, he had astonished all of us at how well he had scrambled up the friction slab, and the CragDaddy and I left wishing we could…Read the rest of this entry →

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Big C’s First Slab Climbing Adventure

Big C’s First Slab Climbing Adventure

If you’ve noticed that our family has been fairly quiet both around the blog as well as social media, it’s because there are big changes in the works!  Our family is about to open up a new chapter in our lives, and we’ve been pretty busy getting ready for it. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you the whole story in the next week or so.  And to slow the wheels of the rumor mill a bit, I’ll go ahead and give you a hint that our news has absolutely NOTHING to do with adding any new family members 😉 But with that said, just…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Tick List for 2016

The Tick List for 2016

For our family this year, the holidays have involved sharing a little more with each other than we had intended – our winter break started with a stomach virus that violently ransacked it’s way through our entire household in a matter of hours.  The next two weeks were a blur of family, friends, and Christmas cookies…LOTS of Christmas cookies.  As far as climbing goes, we did manage to squeeze in a few days at the gym here and there, as well as a laidback day outside on the first day of 2016.  But overall the ratio of Christmas cookies to climbing…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Blessings of Jesus and Tequila

The Blessings of Jesus and Tequila

A lot of people tout that Jesus and Tequila 12b (aka “J ‘n T”) is the best 5.12 in the New River Gorge (and I wouldn’t disagree.)  Some people even argue that it’s the best route in the Gorge, period. I’ve even heard more than one person say it is the best route they have EVER touched. Well, with that introduction, you know it’s not gonna be a gimme for the grade, right? While grades are of course highly subjective, J ‘n T has a pretty solid consensus that 12b is a big fat sandbag (unless you are my one friend that downgrades…Read the rest of this entry →

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Sendless at Endless

Sendless at Endless

Catchy title, but will probably make for a rather lackluster trip report!  Conditions were prime for sending…I guess my only excuse is myself!  Fortunately, however, our weekend in West Virginia was still “wild and wonderful.” Saturday was spent at Snake Buttress.  After warming up on Muckraker 11a, I had hoped to tick New World Order 12a, which I had started working on a few weeks ago.  To be honest, heading into the weekend I’d been feeling less than confident, and with questionable motivation. The crux for me on New World Order is a big deadpoint move that requires (for me, anyway) a LOT of precision…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Crag-Date in the High Country

A Crag-Date in the High Country

This past Sunday the Crag-Daddy and I got a chance to do something we hadn’t been able to do since some time in 2012 – climb outside together without kids!!!  We’d been looking forward to out crag-date for months (years?), and we actually ended up having to wait even longer than anticipated.  The original plan was for us to climb together sans kiddos at the Hound Ears Bouldering Competition on October 3rd…but then that, as well as the make-up day on October 4th got rained out.  No worries, it was rescheduled for a month later, on November 7th…but as the…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Gorgeous Fall Climbing!

New River Gorgeous Fall Climbing!

It’s been 7 years since the CragDaddy and I first visited the New River Gorge (way back in the pre-kid era of our marriage.)  Since then we’ve spent hundreds of weekends up there, in all seasons of the year and all kinds of weather…but NONE were as beautiful as this past weekend!  The intensity of the fall color this year was absolutely breathtaking – vivid yellows, vibrant reds, and spectacular oranges.  It was as if Someone, in the 5 days we’d been back in Charlotte, had taken a paintbrush to the entire landscape. Even just hiking in to Endless Wall had a…Read the rest of this entry →

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NRG Round 1: Endless (Not Sendless) Wall

NRG Round 1: Endless (Not Sendless) Wall

After a month of unseasonably wet and humid conditions, we were starting to think fall climbing season would never get here.  But this past weekend was about as good as it gets, condition-wise.  The air was cold and crisp, but the rock was still warm – one of those magical times where you can climb pretty much wherever you want, without having to chase sun or shade.  In other words, any excuses for not sending are your own fault! Now when it comes to climbing grades at the New River Gorge, there can be some inconsistency, but the general consensus is that…Read the rest of this entry →

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Red River Gorge: Rocktoberfest 2015

Red River Gorge: Rocktoberfest 2015

Every time our family makes one of our biannual pilgrimages to the Red, we always vow to spend more time there the following year…but somehow we never manage to drive past the New more than twice.  (That being said…2016 is the year!)  But what we lack in quantity we usually make up for in quality, and this year’s Rocktoberfest weekend was no different. We rolled into town Thursday night with just enough light to make camp, which we set up at the very back corner of the property, as far away from the event shenanigans as possible!  On Friday we split time between Driveby…Read the rest of this entry →

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NRG Craggin’ Classic

NRG Craggin’ Classic

Last weekend was the first official weekend of fall, and for climbers in the Southeast, that means it’s time for the Craggin’ Classic at the New River Gorge!  This NRG event is actually just one of a series of climbing festivals held across the country each fall.  The Craggin’ Classic Series (organized by the American Alpine Club), is a chance for climbers from all over to get together and play around on world class rock, all in the name of community, education, stewardship, and fundraising. This was my 2nd time working this event for Trango/Tenaya (first time was back in 2012),…Read the rest of this entry →

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Humidity + Humility = Reality at the New River Gorge

Humidity + Humility = Reality at the New River Gorge

This weekend marked our first climbing trip back on the east coast since our big Wyoming adventure (summed up here, here, here, and here.)  And while it felt good to be back on familiar stone, the CragDaddy and I both took a giant dose of humble pie (served dripping in humidity!) “You know we’re going to get pummeled at the New this weekend, right?” I’d joked to Steve last week.  After a week of rest and a couple of bouldering sessions at the gym, we were still talking about the glory days of our vacation, where both of us had climbed harder…Read the rest of this entry →

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Every Trail Connects…

Every Trail Connects…

Recently I joined forces with REI to promote their #everytrailconnects campaign.  Their campaign will provide $500,000 towards trail projects at 10 different locations across the country.  For my part, I’ve been asked to reflect on my own experience with trails, and why they are meaningful to me.  (For REI’s part, keep reading!) I sort of hesitate to admit it, but I haven’t always been “all about trails.” As a rock climber in my pre-kid era, I always thought of trails as merely a necessary mode of transportation to get to the base of the cliff (where the adventures would REALLY…Read the rest of this entry →

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Wyoming Adventure Finale (aka the part that happened in Utah)

Wyoming Adventure Finale (aka the part that happened in Utah)

After one last wonderful climbing day in Ten Sleep (summed up here), we dragged our tired but satisfied bones back down to the car, and drove west back to Lander.  The next morning we made tracks to Bear Lake, UT, which is probably one of the most beautiful bodies of water I’ve ever seen.  CragDaddy and I had visited there once back in the pre-kiddo days of 2009.  The lake is situated at the end of Logan Canyon, which offers some great roadside craggin’.  Only an hour and a half from the airport, it was the perfect final stop on…Read the rest of this entry →

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Wyoming Adventure Part THREE – Last Days in Ten Sleep

Wyoming Adventure Part THREE – Last Days in Ten Sleep

On our last trip to Ten Sleep (in 2012), we only had 3 consecutive days in on which to climb (and we were so beat on Day 3 that we only made it til lunchtime.)  So this time around, we allowed more time.  After two incredible days at Sector Shinto and Superratic (summed up here in case ya missed it), a rest day was most definitely in order. We started with a drive high into the Big Horn mountains to West Ten Sleep Lake, where we enjoyed gorgeous views as well as a short morning hike down to the Ten Sleep…Read the rest of this entry →

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Wyoming Adventure Part Deux: First Days at Ten Sleep

Wyoming Adventure Part Deux: First Days at Ten Sleep

If you’re new around here, I’m recapping our family’s recent exploits in Wyoming, a few days at a time.  If you missed Part 1 (the Lander edition), click here to catch up!  For the deets on our first few days in Ten Sleep, read on! After an easy Saturday drive from Lander to Ten Sleep, we awoke on Sunday morning psyched and ready to crank out the long hike to the Sector Shinto wall in the French Cattle Ranch area.  After a quick warm-up on an uncomfortably sharp 10a (Great Green Gobs…), we turned our sights to the main objective for…Read the rest of this entry →

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Wyoming Adventure Part 1: Around Lander

Wyoming Adventure Part 1: Around Lander

If you’ve been regularly following this blog, you may have noticed that it’s been pretty quiet of late.  That’s because our family spent 10 days frolicking around in the wilds of Wyoming.  And then recovering from said frolicking.  And now finally getting around to writing about said frolicking.  Since summing up the whole trip in one blog post would probably make my head explode, I’ve decided to break it down by area, starting with our first stop in Lander. Day 1:  Wild Iris and Popo Agie Falls  With so much climbing looming before us, we’d intended this day to be somewhat of a…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Belated New River Gorge Recap

A Belated New River Gorge Recap

With a shoe demo in Atlanta last week (more on how cool demos are next week!), I was too busy to do the write-up for our New River Gorge trip the previous weekend, but I figured better a week late than never! The New was forecasted to be hot…and humid…but not QUITE as hot and not QUITE as humid as the southern crags in our neck of the woods, so we made the trip.  Summer conditions at the New (or pretty much anywhere in the Southeast) are never all that great, but our main goal was to get plenty of mileage…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Weekend of Waterfalls (and Climbing) in the High Country

A Weekend of Waterfalls (and Climbing) in the High Country

We may have had a cool and pleasant spring this year, but summer in the Southeast is shaping up to be H-O-T!  Here lately the thermometer has hit 90 before lunchtime and the humidity has felt downright smothering.  That meant that the only logical place for weekend adventures was the higher elevation areas in the western part of the state, where daytime highs were literally 20 degrees cooler than back home. Our agenda was pretty open-ended.  We really just wanted to escape the heat and get some good family time together.  The past few weeks have been very hectic, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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From 1 Kid to 2…How Outdoor Adventures Have Changed…

From 1 Kid to 2…How Outdoor Adventures Have Changed…

A couple of weeks ago I received a question from reader Patricia T. that really made me stop and think.  She basically wanted to know specifics about how life has changed for us since adding another child to our family.  In her words – “…I’ve had so many people tell me that the second one really shuts your life down.  Now, I’m trying to take that with a grain of salt, b/c I think we (I’m assuming she meant outdoorsy folks) are cut from a different cloth.  But it still worries me.  What’s your take on this?”   I wrote a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Gettin’ High Off the Ground in Linville Gorge

Gettin’ High Off the Ground in Linville Gorge

This past weekend our family did an overnight in the Linville Gorge.  If you’ve never been to the Linville Gorge, it’s pretty spectacular!  If you like being outside at all, you will fall in love with this place, as it is top-notch at pretty much whatever outdoor endeavor you like.  On this particular occasion, we had planned a 24 hour quickie of hiking, climbing, camping, and lazing around in the hammock.  Thankfully it’s only a couple of hours from our house, and we arrived on Friday evening a little bit after 6 – just enough time for a short hike/picnic…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Family Sunday “SEND-day” at Kaymoor

A Family Sunday “SEND-day” at Kaymoor

Our good luck with good climbing conditions has fortunately continued into late spring (which probably means we’ll be smothered by a hot blanket of humidity any day now.)  And while 80’s may not be ideal sending temps, the weather felt darn near perfect for June in the Southeast…so off to the New we went! We decided to climb in the shade at Kaymoor on Day 1.  Steve was psyched to work Lost Souls (5.12a), and I figured it was probably about time for me to give that one another try.  I’d been on it several times before Baby Zu (most notably of…Read the rest of this entry →

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Ups and Downs Climbing at the OBED

Ups and Downs Climbing at the OBED

Last weekend was Memorial Day Weekend, which meant it was time for our 5th annual climbing trip to the Obed Wild and Scenic River.  Usually this trip marks the start of the humid sweatfest that is otherwise known as summer  climbing in the Southeast…but we actually lucked out with a spring-ish weekend.  Nights were cool, and midday highs were in the low 80’s with very little humidity.  Definitely the best Memorial Day conditions we’ve ever had! But when the whole family is involved in the climbing experience, there’s a lot more to great “sending conditions” than just weather.  Without wasting too…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hidden Wall and a New Camera

Hidden Wall and a New Camera

This past weekend’s adventures were pretty low-key – a Saturday spent at Hidden Wall.  We started late, ended early, and kept things simple.  Our main objective actually was trying out the new camera we’d purchased the week before – a Sony Alpha a6000.  For years we’ve been pretty dissatisfied with our point and shoots, but we had a hard time justifying the bulk of a digital SLR in combination with all the other gear we have to carry into the crag.  But recently we’d been hearing a lot about the mirrorless system, which is a lot more compact.  So after reading…Read the rest of this entry →

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4 Days of Pump at the Red River Gorge

4 Days of Pump at the Red River Gorge

Spring.  One the two times per year that our family heads to the Red River Gorge with the sole intention of obliterating our forearms.  For those of you not familiar with the Red River Gorge, the climbing style is the polar opposite of the climbing we typically engage in at our favorite weekend crag, the New River Gorge.  “The New” is all about technical face climbing – long, intricate, well-defined crux sequences involving tiny crimps and great footwork.  In contrast, most routes at “the Red” lack a distinct crux – the difficulty comes not in the individual moves, but in linking them all…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Gorge, Round 2!

New River Gorge, Round 2!

Another beautiful spring weekend means another trip to the New River Gorge.  And another trip to the New means another great weekend of family, friends, laughs…and of course climbing!  This was the second week of my Rock Climber’s Training Manual “perfomance phase,” and after the inconsistencies from the first week, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  Here’s how it went… Michelin Man Original Finish (5.12b) – After one-hanging this one last weekend, sending this was my primary goal for this trip.  I was hoping that hopping on it fresh as a daisy on Day 1 would feel a lot…Read the rest of this entry →

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Performance Week 1: New River Gorge

Performance Week 1: New River Gorge

This past weekend marked the first trip of my “Performance Phase” in my first training cycle using the Rock Climber’s Training Manual.  There were a few ups and downs, but overall I am very pleased with how I climbed, and am optimistic about how the next few weeks will go.  I’ll start with the downs, so I can end on a good note! DOWNS On the routes I’d previously been on (and thus already worked out the moves for), I got shutdown.  I failed miserably on Techman (5.12c), which had been my primary goal for the weekend.  The crux went…Read the rest of this entry →

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3 Climbing Milestones in 1 Weekend!

3 Climbing Milestones in 1 Weekend!

We finally had an entire weekend free to head up to the New River Gorge, which of course meant it was going to be snowing and in the THIRTIES (after highs in the 60’s the weekend before…).  But at least the weather was good in our neck of the woods, even if it did feel more like a warm winter day rather than spring.  And even though we had to settle for Plan B, it ended up being a weekend filled with important milestones! The whole family marched up to Red Wall at Crowders Mountain on Saturday morning.  Steve had his sights…Read the rest of this entry →

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Ain’t No Party Like a Super Hero Party!

Ain’t No Party Like a Super Hero Party!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous this weekend, but we didn’t spend it on the side of a mountain.  Instead, our family took an unconventional opportunity to channel our inner superheroes in celebration of Big C’s 5th birthday! As a pretty laidback kind of a guy, Big C didn’t request a lot of fanfare.  But he DID have two very specific requests – he wanted his guests in super hero attire, and he wanted a Batman cake. We may not have spent a lot of money, we didn’t rent out a giant playspace, and we relied on our own imaginations for…Read the rest of this entry →

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Disney World Highlight Reel

Disney World Highlight Reel

March will always and forevermore be a hectic month for our family.  Not only do we celebrate mine and hubby’s anniversary and Baby Zu’s birthday at the beginning of the month, but with the first day of spring also comes Big C’s birthday.  And THIS year in particular was even more crazy, since we celebrated Big C’s milestone 5th birthday (a couple of weeks early) in Disney World, courtesy of my parents (aka “GaGa and Paw Paw.”) We packed so much stuff into a 6 day trip, I could easily write a separate blog post for each day.  But, unless you are…Read the rest of this entry →

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Snowtubing at Jonas Ridge

Snowtubing at Jonas Ridge

I can’t believe this is the second post in a row that I’ve written about snow!  It might lead you to believe that our family lives somewhere that actually sees a true winter.  But this is North Carolina everyone, which means those single digit temps from Snowpocalypse 2015 were quickly followed up with highs in the mid 50’s.   But last week’s snow and freezing temps combined with comparatively spring-like temperatures over the weekend made for great snowtubing conditions!  While it had been on our radar for a while now, we decided to go somewhat on a whim.  It was…Read the rest of this entry →

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Ice, Ice, Baby in the Southeast…

Ice, Ice, Baby in the Southeast…

Earlier this week we Southerners got pelted with our annual “snow storm.”  Every now and then (like last year) we actually get a little bit of snow out of it.  This year was more typical, in that a few inches of snow were initially predicted…which of course led to frenetic grocery store runs for bread and milk…and then all we ended up with was about an inch of sleet and freezing rain.  But to kids (and grown-ups..) who only see snow once a year, any white stuff that attempts to cover the ground is considered snow, no matter how crunchy (and slippery!)…Read the rest of this entry →

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Sauratown and The Amazing Joe (5.12b)

Sauratown and The Amazing Joe (5.12b)

After hangdogging my way up The Amazing Joe a few weekends ago, I’d been chomping at the bit to get back on it before I forgot all the beta. Thankfully I only had to wait a few weeks, and my patience was rewarded with a beautiful sunny day in the 50’s! Sauratown is a unique crag in that it is only open for climbing during the months of January and February (click here for more info), and it’s guarded by a hike that i can’t bring myself to make my 4 year old tackle, which means there’s a child care logistic that…Read the rest of this entry →

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A “Fashion-able” Day of Climbing

A “Fashion-able” Day of Climbing

Great times were had this weekend as we celebrated the Crag-Daddy’s birthday!  Our usual modus operandi is to gather as many folks as we can to climb at Dixon by day, then come back to our house and party by night.  After 4 consecutive years, however, this is the first time that the weather didn’t cooperate, and our day plans turned into a gym day for Steve, and a get-ready-for-the-party day for me (cue sad trombone.) Thankfully the weather dried up in time for Sunday though, which allowed us to enjoy a beautiful, albeit short, afternoon on local rocks at Crowders…Read the rest of this entry →

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MLK Weekend Climbing

MLK Weekend Climbing

Last weekend’s adventures almost came to an abrupt end before they even began, thanks to a weird tummy bug that was indiscriminately making the rounds through our house.  It started out innocently enough with a mild case of upset tummy for Baby Z (which initially we thought could be teething-related), then climaxed in the middle of the night on Thursday when both Big C and the Crag-Daddy were doing a synchronized barf bucket routine.  Amazingly enough, the bug was apparently extremely short-lived because everyone, though weak as kittens, was finished with the involuntary stomach emptying by Friday morning. That meant that by Saturday…Read the rest of this entry →

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Family Climbing to End/Start the Year

Family Climbing to End/Start the Year

Last week there were two gorgeous sunny days in a row smack dab in the middle of the week, which amazingly enough fell on days that the Crag-Daddy had off work – New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. And what better way to spend the END of 2014 and the START of 2015 than at the crag with family and friends? NEW YEAR’S EVE: We wrapped up 2014 with a day at Rocky Face, which was an outdoor staple for our family during the latter stages of my pregnancy .  For obvious reasons – the routes start less than 50 feet from…Read the rest of this entry →

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Climbing Hit List for 2014 – Year in Review

Climbing Hit List for 2014 – Year in Review

Considering that I was a large and in charge, 30+ weeks along pregnant mama last year at this time, my climbing goals for the year were pretty low key.  I wanted to find that balance between motivating myself and overwhelming myself!  Anyway, I ended up choosing 3 broad goals that seemed doable with a little bit of work and committment.  Here’s how I fared… 1.  ESTABLISH A TRAINING ROUTINE It took some trial and error, and those first few months we were all flying by the seat of our pants, but at nearly 10 months postpartum, our family feels pretty…Read the rest of this entry →

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5 Tips for Family Geocaching

5 Tips for Family Geocaching

Recently our family has adopted a new outdoor hobby (because you can NEVER have to many, right?)  While I wish I could say it involved snow, it’s something that can be enjoyed with nothing but a smart phone and some enthusiastic explorers – geocaching!  For those of you that may not be familiar with the term, geocaching is basically a real-life treasure hunting game, played outdoors with the use of GPS.  Lately my oldest explorer has really been into searching (and finding!) type games – everything from traditional hide and seek to random, “easter egg hunt” type activities.  One day…Read the rest of this entry →

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Two Random Climbing Adventures

Two Random Climbing Adventures

This past week our family did two things that we rarely get to do, which made for some really fun (albeit random!) climbing adventures. Mommy/Daughter Day On Saturday my boys had an all-day father/son event at a local air show, leaving me and Baby Z at loose ends.  My original plan was to just have a boring relaxing day getting stuff done around the house. But the weather was far too tempting to stay indoors, and after a few last minute plans (as in, 6:30 am the day of), Baby Z and I were off on our first ever Mommy/Daughter climbing…Read the rest of this entry →

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Highlights from Halloween

Highlights from Halloween

Considering our 4 year old frequently chooses to dress in costume for everyday activities (I once counted 16 days straight with his “Larry-boy” costume), it’s no surprise that Halloween is a big hit at our house.  We don’t do much of the scary stuff – our decorations consisted of pumpkins, ghosts made out of recycled plastic bags, and a “franken-door.”  But we do tend to go all out for costumes.  I keep hoping one of these years I’ll be able to convince everyone to dress up together in a common theme, but for right now we all do our own…Read the rest of this entry →

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A New River Gorge-ous Weekend!

A New River Gorge-ous Weekend!

After about a dozen failed attempts to return to our favorite climbing area on the planet, we FINALLY managed to get ourselves up to the New River Gorge for the first time as a family of four!  Climbing conditions were near perfect, and we had a great crew of folks to hang with.  Our first day was spent at a family favorite, Endless Wall.  The Crag-Daddy and I love the style of climbing there, and Big C loves going up and down the approach ladders. After warming up on Stim-o-Stam (5.11c), we got down to business.  The Crag-Daddy had his…Read the rest of this entry →

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Adventures in the High Country…and First Postpartum 5.12!

Adventures in the High Country…and First Postpartum 5.12!

So far it’s been a pretty wet autumn here in the Southeast…so our family was psyched to see good temps with no rain in the forecast this weekend.  We cut out of town just after lunch on Friday, bound for the High Country – that beautiful stretch of the Blue Ridge mountains that lies in the western part of NC.  We arrived just in time to set up camp and enjoy a hike to the summit of Table Rock.  With breathtaking views of the Linville Gorge wilderness as far as the eye can see, it was the perfect backdrop for a family picnic…Read the rest of this entry →

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If Babywearing Was Like Car Shopping…A Comparison Post

If Babywearing Was Like Car Shopping…A Comparison Post

Over the past 4.5 years I’ve logged a lot of mileage with tiny people on my back, front, and shoulders (and in my belly for that matter, but that’s a different post entirely!)  I’ve worn a baby everywhere from weddings to pools to mountaintops (but never while climbing…which is what so many insane misinformed people tend to assume…)  Babywearing has been something near and dear to my heart for so many reasons.  Along with a laundry list of physical/emotional benefits, it’s arguably one of the best ways to bond with baby…and hands down the easiest way to get things done…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hound Ears Competition: Bouldering and an ER Visit

Hound Ears Competition: Bouldering and an ER Visit

With a title like that, I should probably start this weekend recap with a SPOILER ALERT: Everyone is fine!!!  That being said, our weekend in the mountains was filled with excitement of both the good and bad variety. For those of you not familiar with “Hound Ears,” it’s the site of the first of usually 3 (but this year 4!) legs of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series Competition.  The boulderfield, which in my opinion is one of the best in the region, is situated inside a private, gated community, so this competition is one of the few times during the…Read the rest of this entry →

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Crowders Mountain…and an Ode to an Old Blue Backpack

Crowders Mountain…and an Ode to an Old Blue Backpack

This past weekend’s trip to Crowders Mountain was an important milestone in our adventures as a family of four – Baby Z has FINALLY gotten big enough to transition into the Kelty Kid Carrier we used for Big C (our older model is reviewed here).  While her brother started using it just shy of 6 months, my tiny Baby Z hasn’t been able to fit into it until now, a few days away from 7 months. Our agenda for the day was pretty open – we mainly just wanted to enjoy a beautiful fall day out on the rock as a family.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Labor Day at the Obed River

Labor Day at the Obed River

If you read last week’s trip report from Grayson Highlands, you may remember that lately we’ve been struggling with bad weather woes, as well as securing climbing partners.  Climbers sans kiddos can wait until the last minute to make their plans, and just head out the door on a whim to wherever conditions look best…we can’t!  For us, no partners means no climbing, so we’ve got to be proactive and plan ahead.  This time around, we ended up with a good-sized group for 2 out of the 3 days.  The weather forecast wasn’t stellar, but it ended up being a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Grayson Highlands State Park, aka “Why Nature is Good for the Soul”

Grayson Highlands State Park, aka “Why Nature is Good for the Soul”

Up until this past weekend it had been a record breaking 9 WEEKS since we’d been to the mountains for a family adventure.  Between beach trips, rainy weather, and various other obligations, we had somehow turned into gym rats over the summer.  We’ve done our best to squeeze in pockets of adventure here and there, but it’s just not the same as getting out and away from everyday life for a couple days at a time.   Which is why we were psyched last week to have secured climbing partners with a reasonable weather forecast in Grayson Highlands, VA.  But as the…Read the rest of this entry →

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8 New Things About Sunset Beach (and Sunscreen Giveaway!)

8 New Things About Sunset Beach (and Sunscreen Giveaway!)

This summer marks our family’s 4th beach trip with the Crag-Daddy’s extended family.  One week out of every summer is “come one, come all” at a giant house at Sunset Beach.  Over the years we’ve developed a few traditions about how our family “does” the beach, but this year in particular brought a lot of newness.  Here’s just a few of the “new” highlights we enjoyed… 1.  3 NEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  Last year I, along with BOTH of my sisters-in-law, were pregnant…2 of us in the exhausted, nauseous early weeks, and 1 in the uncomfortable latter stage.  Energy levels were at…Read the rest of this entry →

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“Type 2 Fun” with a Four Year Old…

“Type 2 Fun” with a Four Year Old…

“Is this the same way you went with Daddy?” I asked with raised eyebrows as the undergrowth got thicker and taller, leaving nothing but a narrow sliver of trail beneath it.  Big C nodded uncertainly, and we pressed on, pushing our mountain bikes further and further into the thicket, along what must have been a (seasonal) game trail. Then we hit the blackberry patch, or rather it hit us, in all of its thorny glory.  (Why had I decided to wear Chacos for this “cas ual” afternoon bike ride?!?)  Big C got snagged a few times, but I took the brunt of…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Blackberry Biking Bonanza

A Blackberry Biking Bonanza

Our family traditionally celebrates the 4th of July in Winston-Salem with both sets of grandparents.  We have homemade ice cream, ping pong and corn hole tournaments, and of course the biggest, most badass fireworks display in the neighborhood!  As the Crag-Daddy’s parents have gotten bitten by the biking bug in recent years, the past couple of Independence Days have also featured a biking adventure – last year we spent a day on the “rails to trails” system in Virginia’s New River State Park.   So much has changed since then!  Not only has Big C graduated from balance bike to…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Best Vehicles for Adventure!

The Best Vehicles for Adventure!

As much as I despise car shopping, I’ll be the first to admit that the right vehicle can make road trips a dream, whereas the wrong one can turn it into a nightmare.  We learned this lesson firsthand a couple of months ago on a family camping/climbing adventure to Grayson Highlands State Park, VA.  Our previous adventure-mobile (which I LOVED prior to Baby Z’s arrival) was suddenly glaringly inadequate with the addition of a newborn.   Luckily, we were expecting this to happen, and we’d already done a bunch of research on what would be best for our newly expanded…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Hike/Camp/Climb Kind of Weekend in the High Country

A Hike/Camp/Climb Kind of Weekend in the High Country

After enduring a week of daily 90+ temps at home, our family was more than ready to head to the mountains for the weekend!  An indecisive weather pattern kept our plans in limbo until the very last minute, but Mother Nature was on our side, providing us with a delightfully refreshing escape from the heat! HIKE:   Our objective was the Boone Fork Trail, a 5 mile loop through surprisingly diverse terrain.  We made our way through rolling meadows teeming with beautiful fritillary butterflies, then dropped down into the “dark forest” (Big C’s words.)  There were more than a dozen very…Read the rest of this entry →

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Adventures at Landsford Canal State Park

Adventures at Landsford Canal State Park

Although traveling far and wide for an adventure fix is always exciting, I for one am equally delighted to find fun places to explore that are close to home (ie, day-trippable for me and the kiddos mid-week.)  Even though we’ve been in the Charlotte area for over 3 years now, I’m pleased that we are no where close to crossing off all of the interesting places to discover off of our list.  One such place that had been on my radar for a while was Landsford Canal State Park.  I’d found out about it last summer when we bought our…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Wild and Scenic Weekend at Obed River, Tennessee

A Wild and Scenic Weekend at Obed River, Tennessee

Family tradition mandates that we spend Memorial Day weekend climbing and camping at the Obed Wild and Scenic River, an area just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, and this year was no exception.  Despite my excitement to get on a rope again, I was a bit apprehensive about the logistics.  It was only our 2nd time roping up with Baby Z, and roped climbing can be a lot harder to manage than bouldering at this age since I can’t always just hop right down to get to her (although if I’m not there someone else always is.)  Additionally it would be Baby Z’s…Read the rest of this entry →

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Highlights from the Jocassee Gorges (and Adventure Package Giveaway!)

Highlights from the Jocassee Gorges (and Adventure Package Giveaway!)

I am really excited about this week’s trip report – first of all because I love reporting on new places to explore and play, and secondly because I love giveaways!  Jocassee Gorges in Upstate South Carolina is a hidden gem filled with lakes, boulders, trails, and one of the largest expanses of roadless wilderness on the East Coast!  Seriously, if you’re a southerner trying to find a Sasquatch, this might be the place!  I’d known about the area for a while now through fellow climbing blogger, Brad Caldwell (who also happens to be one of the co-sponsors of the giveaway!)…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hot Shots at the Giordana Velodrome

Hot Shots at the Giordana Velodrome

 Last week I wrote about the joys of mountain biking as a family activity.  This week I’d like to spotlight a local facility that’s provided another avenue for cycling fun for Big C in recent weeks.  The Giordana Velodrome was built in 2012 as part of the Rock Hill Outdoor Center.  It’s one of many outdoor recreation offerings in the gorgeous Riverwalk community in Rock Hill, SC.  In addition to hosting several national and UCI caliber events at the track throughout the year, the facility also provides programs geared towards educating thae local community about the sport of track cycling.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Why Mountain Biking is an Awesome Family Activity

Why Mountain Biking is an Awesome Family Activity

About a month or two before Baby Z’s arrival, my then 3 year old son transitioned from balance bike to big boy bike.  I cannot sing the praises of balance bikes enough, as the skills he learned there made for a seamless switch to pedals, without the need for training wheels.  And while we’ve undoubtedly done about a zillion laps around our neighborhood, the local mountain bike park has been the best outlet we’ve found for channeling his “inner ripper” while keeping the rest of the gang content (whether it’s a 9 month pregnant Mommy or a Mommy/newborn babywearing pair.)…Read the rest of this entry →

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Grayson Highlands Bouldering and Baby Z’s First Camp-Out

Grayson Highlands Bouldering and Baby Z’s First Camp-Out

As Baby Z gets bigger by the day, the weather has gotten more and more beautiful and enticing, causing our family to come down with an increasingly worsening case of spring fever!  Hubby and I have been chomping at the bit to hit our favorite spring climbing areas, and Big C has been psyched to try out the new sleeping bag he got for Christmas.  So when a friend of ours suggested we hit up Grayson Highlands State Park for some bouldering (thanks for the nudge, Michael Chickene!), we decided there was no time like the present for 8 week…Read the rest of this entry →

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First Experience Craggin’ as a Family of 4!

First Experience Craggin’ as a Family of 4!

When it comes to new babies, it seems like the topic du jour always involves developmental milestones.  Is she sleeping through the night yet?  When did he start walking?  And, have you started with solid foods yet?  But I like to think that each family has their own unique milestones to achieve as they grow and develop within a changing family dynamic.  For us, one of those milestones is “first outdoor climbing trip.”  With Big C, that happened at 6 weeks, on a bluebird spring day at Pilot Mountain.  Since Baby Z was born in the same month (this not…Read the rest of this entry →

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How to Make Hiking Fun For Kids

How to Make Hiking Fun For Kids

My little guy (almost 4) has been a great hiker since around the age of 2…when he wants to be, that is.  Some days he can run circles around us with endless amounts of energy, other days all he wants to do is snuggle with mommy in the carrier.  So far it hasn’t been a big deal – when he wants to hike, we hike at his pace, and when he wants to hitch a ride, we happily oblige.  But with baby #2, all of that flexibility is about to change.  In the coming weeks, climbing approaches will now involve…Read the rest of this entry →

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Introducing the Newest Cragbaby!

Introducing the Newest Cragbaby!

Our family was delighted to welcome Baby Z to this world on Sunday, March 2, at 3:08 pm.  That day also happened to be me and the Crag-Daddy’s 12 year anniversary – so what special and unique way to celebrate!    Labor and delivery went smoothly without complication, and we were able to bring her home yesterday morning. At only 5 pounds, 12 ounces, our sweet girl is just a little peanut, but she’s just bursting with life, and our hearts are overflowing with love at our little miracle.       That being said, while I’ve got some blog…Read the rest of this entry →

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Third Trimester Update: (Weeks 33-38!)

Third Trimester Update: (Weeks 33-38!)

Woo-hoo, any day now!  The nursery is (mostly) ready, there’s a few meals in the freezer, and I am certainly tired of being pregnant…so baby Z, the ball’s in your court now!  Here’s the skinny (that’s a joke since I am definitely large as a barge at this point ;)) on how exercise has been going lately…(previous updates found here, here, here, and here.) Week 33:  This has been a surprisingly strong week.  I cranked out a hard route at the gym after just a couple of tries and beta refinement.  Then on Monday we spent a day craggin’ at…Read the rest of this entry →

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SNOWMAGEDDON (and Ducksday Giveaway!)

SNOWMAGEDDON (and Ducksday Giveaway!)

It’s always a spectacle to the rest of the country when the Southeast gets some winter precipitation, but last week was about the most ridiculous I’d seen in a long time.  Our forecasts started calling for the white stuff around lunchtime, with expected accumulations of 3-4 inches in our area.  At noon the sun was shining and not a cloud was in the sky…then the weather app on my phone shifted to snow at 4:00…then 5:00.  Finally around 6 a fine mist started swirling around outside.  I’m not sure you could even call it snow, as it was more like…Read the rest of this entry →

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Rocky Face Park (Again…This Time 35 Weeks Preggo)

Rocky Face Park (Again…This Time 35 Weeks Preggo)

It was Rocky Face, Round 4 for our family this past weekend.  This little quarry crag has become our local hangout of late.  Even though it’s a farther drive than other local crags, the zero approach factor is quite appealing at this point in my pregnancy.  Add that to the fact that it bakes in the sun and even has routes easy enough for my 3 year old to enjoy, and it’s the perfect winter destination for our family right now!   After one trip to get our bearings, and another two trips to tick off the classics on the…Read the rest of this entry →

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Sauratown Mountain Access Day! (34 Weeks Pregnant)

Sauratown Mountain Access Day! (34 Weeks Pregnant)

Anyone who’s climbing journey has survived multiple life phases (career changes, marriage, kids, etc.) probably has fond recollections of their first “home crag.”  Each visit was filled with onsight potential, and you actually NEEDED the newest edition guidebook, rather than just buying it because it’s good bathroom reading.  Some of us still climb at our first local crag, with a familiarity and sense of hometown pride that is obvious to everyone – even if you can’t climb “the testpiece,” you know just about everyone who has and exactly how each one’s beta differs from the next.  Others have moved on…Read the rest of this entry →

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MLK Climbing Weekend! (33 Weeks Pregnant)

MLK Climbing Weekend! (33 Weeks Pregnant)

Tradition states that every year we MUST go climbing on the Crag-Daddy’s birthday with as many people as we can round up, followed by a big party at our house afterwards.  Usually the wide range of abilities represented and the sheer amount of people means we wind up at the Dixon School Rd boulderfield.  It offers decent winter conditions, and is just down the road for all the local folk.  We usually also end up with a few out-of-towners that crash at our house for the night.  Steve’s birthday is not actually until the 23rd, but the past couple of…Read the rest of this entry →

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Greatest Hits 2013 (and Taking Requests 2014)

Greatest Hits 2013 (and Taking Requests 2014)

The past couple of years on this blog I’ve designated the week of New Year’s as “Highlight Week.”  In addition to reflecting on last year’s goals and next year’s goals (that post will be up on Thursday…), it’s a chance to revisit posts that were particularly popular (that’s this post!)  For those of you that are relatively new Cragmama readers, here’s some goodies that you may have missed throughout the year.  And for those of you that have been reading for a while, it’ll be a stroll down memory lane!  Posts were selected based on initial visitors, long-term traffic, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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Holiday Crankin’ at Rocky Face Park – 30 Weeks Pregnant

Holiday Crankin’ at Rocky Face Park – 30 Weeks Pregnant

It’s not every day that our family gets to try explore a new climbing area within a day’s drive.  Our original plan for a midweek holiday climbing escape involved local rock at Crowders Mountain.  But when my friend Tonya, (who happens to be 32 weeks pregnant herself), suggested a day trip to a “new” area that’s been getting a fair amount of buzz recently, our ears perked up.  When we saw that it was just under an hour and a half away and that the approach time was literally ZERO, it was music to our preggo ears!  Much more enticing…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Gorge Climbing – 24 Weeks Pregnant

New River Gorge Climbing – 24 Weeks Pregnant

For the past few weeks we’ve had our eye on our schedules and the weather, with fingers crossed that the stars would align and we’d get one last chance to hit up the New River Gorge once more before cold weather, holidays, and new baby prep begin to overwhelm.  Towards the end of last week we finally saw a weather window that looked promising, so we made tentative plans, solidifying them on Friday just a few hours before we left (not recommended, as the mad dash to pack was a bit hectic…) Despite the fair skies advertised for Saturday, it…Read the rest of this entry →

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Another Round of Pilot Mountain – 22 Weeks Pregnant

Another Round of Pilot Mountain – 22 Weeks Pregnant

Another beautiful fall weekend, another day trip to Pilot Mountain.  Only this time the leaves were in spectacular color, making for a gorgeous backdrop the entire day.  While I didn’t accomplish anything noteworthy, I certainly enjoyed myself.  I got to try out several new pieces of gear, including the latest Phase Quickdraws and Cord Trapper Rope Tarp from Trango. I was even able to get on a few newer routes that were recently bolted.   Pole Dancing (5.7) – A great new addition to the cliff, and a much better option for a beginning leader than other nearby routes at similar grades.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Craggin’ at Pilot Mountain – 20 Weeks Pregnant

Craggin’ at Pilot Mountain – 20 Weeks Pregnant

Pilot Mountain brings about a mixed bag of sentiments for most North Carolina climbers.  Most  beginners LOVE it, and it’s easy to see why – the approach is short, top-roping access is easy, and there are heavy concentrations of routes in the 5.5-5.9 range.  However, once climbers get a little bit of experience under their belts, it’s not uncommon for them to suddenly start sneering their nose up at the crag that taught them how to climb.  It’s crowded, often overrun with large groups of boy scouts, youth groups, and outdoor meet-ups that may or may not share the same…Read the rest of this entry →

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Pregnancy Update: Weeks 12-18 (And the Gender Ultrasound!)

Pregnancy Update: Weeks 12-18 (And the Gender Ultrasound!)

While I’ve been pretty consistent about posting climbing trip reports, I’ve been relatively quiet about the daily ins and outs of my pregnancy with Baby #2.  Here’s a sum-up of how things have been going from a training perspective… Week 12:  I’m noticing that my body is taking longer and longer to recover from multiple days with high-intensity exercise (ie climbing trips.)  C started preschool again (twice a week in the mornings), which meant I got back into the routine of biking him there in the Chariot.  Depending on the route I take, it usually ends up being in the…Read the rest of this entry →

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Fall at the New River Gorge – 17 Weeks Pregnant

Fall at the New River Gorge – 17 Weeks Pregnant

After rain, rain, and more rain botched our plans to head up to the New last weekend, a high of 70 without a cloud in the sky was a welcomed sight this weekend!  We had a rather large crew, with a wide range of ability levels and agendas, so the real crux of the weekend was figuring out where to go!  We ended up deciding on the Upper Meadow for Day 1, and Endless Wall for Day 2, which seemed to work out well – all parties involved sent a little, flailed a little, and of course laughed a lot!…Read the rest of this entry →

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Crag-Kiddo’s First Wedding (and Other Shenanigans at Natural Bridge, VA)

Crag-Kiddo’s First Wedding (and Other Shenanigans at Natural Bridge, VA)

The prelude for this weekend might have started last weekend at the Obed when the groom-to-be came home a day early due to a possible chip fracture in his wrist, after the bride-to-be specifically told me to bring him back unharmed.  (In my defense, he brought it on himself – when I informed him of my charge to keep him unscathed, he laughed and said, “Yeah, I don’t usually get hurt though.”)  For C, this story started several weeks ago when I took him to the mall to find a dress shirt and he had the biggest meltdown I have…Read the rest of this entry →

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Obed, Tennessee Trip Report – 13 Weeks Pregnant

Obed, Tennessee Trip Report – 13 Weeks Pregnant

If I had a dollar for every time one of our crew said the word “manky” this weekend, I’d have plenty of money for a nice date-night dinner with the hubs.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with this highly technical term, “manky” is generally an accurate descriptor of summer climbing conditions in the Southeast.  The rock feels greasy, palms are sweaty, and chalked up holds feel like they are coated in a layer of slimy toothpaste.  Not to mention that smothering wet blanket of humidity Mother Nature tosses over your head while hiking in and out of the…Read the rest of this entry →

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Urban Adventure Ideas for Fall

Urban Adventure Ideas for Fall

Just because summer vacation is over, doesn’t mean the adventures have to stop!  You may not be able to jump in the car for a family road trip to the mountains, beach, or a national park for a week at a time, but unless you live 25 miles south of nowhere’s-ville, odds are good that there are plenty of day-trip opportunities for a weekend excursion or on a day off from school.  The following is a list of general activities available in most large cities across the US, along with specific links for Southeasterners.   1.  WATER PARKS –  Depending…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Gorge – 12 Weeks Pregnant

New River Gorge – 12 Weeks Pregnant

To celebrate my fading nausea from the 1st trimester, we decided to take advantage of some unseasonably fair weather at the New River Gorge, West Virginia.  With daytime temps hovering around 80 degrees, and nights dipping into the 50’s, their was a crispness in the air that was much more reminiscent of the beginnings of fall rather than the end of summer! I found that I had a mixed bag of emotions with this trip.  On the one hand, I’m feeling great – my energy is coming back, and the icky nausea is gone. Although I can clearly tell that…Read the rest of this entry →

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1st Trimester Update – The Secret Weeks

1st Trimester Update – The Secret Weeks

I suppose in some ways, even “planned” babies are still a surprise…We’d been in the “not TRYING but not NOT trying” stage since the spring, so seeing two lines on a pregnancy test shouldn’t have been such a shock.  But I probably stared at those test results in utter disbelief before walking out of the bathroom and putting my harness  on (because of course I’d stopped to pick up a test on my way to the climbing gym…and then of course I couldn’t wait til I got home to take it…)  I won’t lie, my initial reaction involved a lot…Read the rest of this entry →

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(Another) Baby on Board!!!!!!

(Another) Baby on Board!!!!!!

Yesterday I posted a picture on facebook that attracted quite a bit of attention.  It was a simple image – a hot dog bun inside of our oven.  But it represented a life change that will be anything but simple… That’s right folks, our crag-family is expanding once more!  I’m currently 11 weeks, and so far things have been going well.  I was blessed to have a happy, healthy, and by comparison to many, EASY pregnancy the first time around, so fingers crossed that number 2 will be as smooth. With C, I thankfully felt well enough to climb all…Read the rest of this entry →

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5 Essentials for Eas(ier) Family Road-Trippin’

5 Essentials for Eas(ier) Family Road-Trippin’

The following piece was adapted from a piece I wrote for another site several weeks ago, but with those last fleeting weeks of summer on the horizon, it seemed relevant to post here for families looking to do one more trip before school starts!  Not to mention, Diono has offered to sponsor a giveaway of not one, but TWO of the items featured on the gear list!  So get comfortable and read on… Ah, the family road trip.  There’s nothing like an 8 hour car ride to get your family vacation started on the right (or wrong) foot!  If your adventuring…Read the rest of this entry →

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Planning a Family Beach Trip

Planning a Family Beach Trip

 If you were wondering about the lack of posting from last week, I had good reason – we spent the whole week at Sunset Beach with my hubby’s extended family!  And after a week of sun, sea, and sand, I realized that a lot of our logistics were learned by trial-and-error over the past few years.  But for those of you just venturing into the “beach with kids” phase of your life, here’s a few strategies that might prove useful when it comes to planning… CHOOSE YOUR VACATION PARTNERS –  This could be a make or break factor, so think…Read the rest of this entry →

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Being Patient with Toddler Fears…

Being Patient with Toddler Fears…

 Sometimes fear happens because of a traumatic event, such as a scary fall, or otherwise bad experience.  But other times fear can creep in without warning and show up suddenly – like at the first swim lesson of the summer for your 3 year old! Let me back up a bit first – as a 2 year old last year my son knew no fear in the water.  Dunking himself underwater, cackling with laughter as his Daddy tossed him high into the air, and gleefully jumping super man style into the water (with my outstretched arms close by, of course!) …Read the rest of this entry →

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Family Bike Day Along the New River Trail

Family Bike Day Along the New River Trail

Regular readers of this blog know we are big fans of the New River in our household.  During prime climbing season, the New River Gorge is like a second home, as we head up there almost every weekend.  But as wild and wonderful as the gorge is, the river itself is even bigger, extending down through Virginia and into western North Carolina.  Actually, I guess it’s more accurate to say that it extends UPWARDS into West Virginia, as the New is one of the few rivers of the world that flow north!  Anyway, one of the best parts about the…Read the rest of this entry →

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Cragmama T-Shirts Are Here!!!!!

Cragmama T-Shirts Are Here!!!!!

It’s official – the moment you’ve all been waiting for!  (Well, I suppose that might be a little strong…but hopefully a few of you have been at least looking forward to it?)  After I got a lot of positive feedback from various social media outlets, along with some good old-fashioned word of mouth, I decided to move forward with the Cragmama t-shirt idea.  The idea was first planted in my head by David Lithman, owner of Adayak, an online clothing company specializing in outdoor lifestyle wear.  The goal at Adayak (a combination of the words “adventure” and “kayak”) is “to…Read the rest of this entry →

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Ever Thought About an Inflatable Kayak? Maybe You Should!

Ever Thought About an Inflatable Kayak?  Maybe You Should!

This summer our family added some paddling gear to our already overflowing adventure closet!  Though our purchase was made on a whim after some extra writing gig money came in, the idea has been brewing for a long time – as in, since the pre-Cragbaby days.  Steve and I had always enjoyed paddling in its various forms – we’d sea kayaked in New Zealand, rafted numerous rivers including the Upper Gauley (with a guide), and even had an epic backcountry canoeing experience in the Everglades (probably SHOULD’ve had a guide…).  Our biggest deterrent was that we could never decide on…Read the rest of this entry →

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Pooping in the Woods, Broken Bones…oh, and a little bit of climbing too.

Pooping in the Woods, Broken Bones…oh, and a little bit of climbing too.

Despite how crazy it sounds, that title pretty much sums up our Father’s Day weekend trip to the New River Gorge.   Here’s the specifics: POOPING IN THE WOODS:  (Ok, so non-parents you might want to just tune out for this first paragraph…)  For the past two weeks we’ve been kickin’ it local style while we went cold turkey with big boy underwear with C, and this was our first weekend trip sans diapers (maybe “sans” isn’t entirely accurate…I did have a large stash of pull-ups in my bag “just in case”).  But I am so proud to say that…Read the rest of this entry →

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Toddler Bikes and the GOOD Kind of Peer Pressure…

Toddler Bikes and the GOOD Kind of Peer Pressure…

While most of our family’s recreational pursuits tend to revolve around rock climbing, it’s probably also fair to say we’re pretty avid bikers, especially in warm weather.  With that in mind, a balance bike was one of the first things on C’s birthday list when he turned 2.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with balance bikes, the concept is quite simple – just a bike frame and two wheels – no gears, brakes, pedals, or training wheels.  The rider propels the bike forward with his/her feet – at first just standing over the bike and walking, and gradually…Read the rest of this entry →

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Sending Projects (Finally!) at Obed Wild and Scenic River

Sending Projects (Finally!) at Obed Wild and Scenic River

Historically if the weather is good (or often times even if it’s not), 90% of Southeastern climbers migrate to one of two world-class hot spots for Memorial Day Weekend – either the New River Gorge in WV or the Red River Gorge in KY.  But for 3 years running our family has chosen to head in the opposite direction to the Obed River – a smaller (but almost just as good) climbing area just west of Knoxville, TN.  Generally speaking, a “crowded” weekend at Obed is about the same as the average non-holiday weekend at the the New or the…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Rendezvous X – A Recap of the Rollercoaster

New River Rendezvous X – A Recap of the Rollercoaster

After skipping a year for the first time in 10 years, the New River Rendezvous was back and better than ever this past weekend!  For those of you not familiar with it, the ‘Vous is a climber’s festival that raises money for the New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC).  It’s also a great excuse for the climbing community to get together and celebrate living near some of the best stone this country has to offer!   Though it was the 5th Rendezvous for Steve and I (and Cragbaby’s 2nd), it was my first time attending as an athlete for Trango,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Highlights from the Red River Gorge – and a “Giddy” Giveaway!

Highlights from the Red River Gorge – and a “Giddy” Giveaway!

Over the past few years it’s been tradition in our family to head to the Red River Gorge twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall.  While we’d love to make it up there more often than we do, it’s hard to justify such a long drive when we can get to the New River Gorge in half the time!  Last spring I got cheated out of our spring trip due to a rather unattractive ankle boot, so this year a trip to the Red seemed like the perfect kick-off for the spring climbing season!…Read the rest of this entry →

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Spring Egg-stravaganza at Crowders Mountain!

Spring Egg-stravaganza at Crowders Mountain!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a trip report.  That’s because it’s been just under a month since I’ve climbed outdoors.  Between cold and wet weather, a little guy’s birthday, and a (hopefully minor) knee injury, our weekends of late have been occupied with activities other than climbing.  So when the stars aligned just right last Saturday, our whole household was psyched!  For me, the tick list was non-existent.  My main goal was to test the knee out on some local rock before galavanting off to the Red River Gorge later in the week.  Oh yeah, and I wanted to do…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Trip to the Zoo!

A Trip to the Zoo!

“I saw an alligator.  He was sleepytime and he did NOT say RAWR!”  Just one of the many snippets of conversation I overheard between my toddler and and a random woman sitting beside us on the tram.  It all started when she asked him if he was having fun at the zoo…she then got a full dissertation on every animal we’d seen so far that day.  I kept my mouth shut and just listened to his renditions of our experience, as his perspective is always fascinating.  He informed her that the baboons had pink-bottoms, the elephants have dirty ears, and that he saw camels…Read the rest of this entry →

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Strategies for Rainy Day Climbing (with a Toddler!)

Strategies for Rainy Day Climbing (with a Toddler!)

In just a few short weeks it’ll be springtime again.  I can picture it now – buds will begin to sprout up in the garden, the birds start singling a little louder, and the days start getting a little longer.  Oh yeah and it rains.  All the time.  Actually that’s not true.  It doesn’t rain ALL the time.  The typical m.o. in the Southeast is for the skies to be bright and sunny all week, with clouds moving in on Friday afternoon, just in time to thoroughly soak your newest objective at the local crag.  But before you’re tempted to cancel that…Read the rest of this entry →

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Adventuring with Toddlers – In a Nutshell Why It’s Worth It

Adventuring with Toddlers – In a Nutshell Why It’s Worth It

A lot of times I get asked what makes it worth it.  Why do I put forth so much effort to continue down such an adventurous path now that I’ m a mom?  Maybe because it seems so natural to me that I can’t imagine life any other way, but I sometimes have trouble finding the words to answer that question on the spot.  But as I look back and reflect on how much our family has been able to share together, I know that those memories speak louder than any words ever could…so here’s my attempt to (briefly) address…Read the rest of this entry →

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Guidebook Update – With a Sneak Preview!!!

Guidebook Update – With a Sneak Preview!!!

  After turning in a giant lump of manuscript to Earthbound Publishing at the end of the summer last year, my work on the guidebook has been pretty sporadic the past few months.  Mostly I’ve just tweaking a few revisions here and there and wrapping up some interviews.  However there has still been one large item on my punch list that had remained unchecked for a long time, mostly due to logistics…The North Face.  Not the jacket company (although one of those would have come in handy!), but the North Face of Stone Mountain.  For most climbers, it’s always been…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hidden Wall: Where the Party’s At…

Hidden Wall: Where the Party’s At…

A lot of folks climb for years at Crowders Mountain without ever venturing over to the “dark side.”  Accessed from a completely different parking lot than the Main Area, Hidden wall is a small sport crag with a handful of short, classic lines, along with about a dozen link-ups and variations.  Most of the routes feature bouldery cruxes with long, burly moves on barely-there feet.  Local developer Wade Parker likes to refer to these scrappy grunt-fests as “blue-collar routes” – ie, for the working man (or woman 😉 ).  No room for dainty, tiptoe-ing technique – you’ve gotta be willing to fight for a…Read the rest of this entry →

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An Equal Opportunity Climbing Weekend

An Equal Opportunity Climbing Weekend

“I have a dream that one day bolt-clippers, boulderers, and tradsters will come together on my birthday and climb and eat pizza,” – The Crag Daddoo Well, maybe those weren’t his EXACT words, but in the spirit of the MLK holiday weekend, it was a reasonable paraphrase…and with that in mind we invited our friends from far and wide to celebrate Steve’s birthday this past weekend.  And we couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather – highs in the 50’s without a cloud in the sky!  DIXON:  We kicked the 3 day weekend off on Saturday by converging at the Dixon School…Read the rest of this entry →

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Jetflow Hydration System: Hydration Evolved

Jetflow Hydration System: Hydration Evolved

There’s a lot of different types of hands-free hydration systems out on the market now – with the grandfather of them all being the well-known CamelBak.  Of course there are plenty of companies that design special backpacks with the purpose of hydration in mind, and they can come in a wide variety of forms (over-the-shoulder pack, “fanny pack,” under-the-bike-seat pack, etc).  But the common theme of these specialty hydration “vehicles” is that the method by which they deliver water is always the same.  A soft, polyurethane bladder is connected to a tube that is secured somewhere close to your mouth, usually via a shoulder strap…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Gorge (in January?!?) and Climbing “Tall”

New River Gorge (in January?!?) and Climbing “Tall”

  The cool thing about living in the Southeast is that rock climbing can be a year round endeavor.  In fact, some south-facing, friction climbing areas are pretty much only good in the winter (Stone Mountain, Rumbling Bald, and the Asheboro Boulderfield come to mind).  If the sun is shining and the wind is calm, you can have a very pleasant day with relatively warm rock even with high temps in the low 40’s.  But despite the abundance of winter climbing opportunities, our family always makes a definitive shift into “cold weather climbing mode.”  We spend more time jumping down onto crash pads than…Read the rest of this entry →

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Two Happy Hikers on a Simple Adventure

Two Happy Hikers on a Simple Adventure

“I don’t want Daddy to go to work tomorrow,” said a sweet little Cragbaby the Sunday after New Year’s.  He’d grown quite  comfortable with the idea of having Daddy around to play with him all day over the holidays (and to be honest, I had too!)  I knew that the good-bye at breakfast Monday morning had the potential to be kinda rough.  So I decided to plan a fun adventure for just the two of us, hoping that any lingering sadness about Daddy being gone would be counteracted by enthusiasm about our special day.  Since C has had so much fun trekking…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Little Bit of Holiday Crankin’

A Little Bit of Holiday Crankin’

Back in my pre-kiddo days, I was an elementary school teacher, and was accustomed to having a lot of time off over the holidays.  My hubby is blessed to get a decent amount of  vacation days at work, so he grew accustomed to taking off the same days that I had for Winter Break.  Now that I’m not working outside of the home anymore, he’s STILL accustomed to getting lots of time off at Christmas, so he saves up enough vacation days every year to take a full two weeks off over Christmas/New Year’s.  That means we have plenty of…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hit List for 2012 – The Year in Review

Hit List for 2012 – The Year in Review

Well, another year has come and gone, which means another Hit List has drawn to a close.  This was the second time I’ve put my year-long goals out there in cyber space (for 2011 Hit List click here), and once again, it was a wild ride, with plenty of bumps (and bruises) along the way!  After an unexpected injury started the year off on the “wrong foot” (sorry, couldn’t help myself…), I found a lot of my mental battles this year revolved around fear.  Fear in trusting my ankle again, fear in getting my lead head back, along with an…Read the rest of this entry →

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Cragbaby Highlights for 2012

Cragbaby Highlights for 2012

It’s been a big year for C, who went from a curious, craggin’ toddler to a big boy with his own agenda at the crag (which may or may not have anything to do with  climbing…).  So in honor of Highlight Week 2012, here’s a look back at some of C’s favorite moments from this year (from his perspective, of course!)… 5.  Big Boy Climbing Gear – This year I had my very own climbing gear – shoes, chalkbag, harness, and helmet.  Just like Mommy and Daddy!  Even though I don’t always use all of it, having my own gear…Read the rest of this entry →

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Tis the Season to Try Something New! (How about Ice Skating?!?)

Tis the Season to Try Something New!  (How about Ice Skating?!?)

When most people think of the holidays, they think about the familiar comfort of family traditions.  In fact the predictability of such traditions is probably one of the reasons we are drawn to them – after all, nothing lets you settle into your comfort zone quite like doing the SAME thing at the SAME time EVERY year, right?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not insinuating you do something crazy like having Christmas LUNCH instead of DINNER, or bringing a new fruit cake recipe to Great Aunt Sally’s soiree.  Rest assured, your traditions will most certainly be honored here.  This post…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Rendezvous in Red Rock Canyon Sans Toddler

A Rendezvous in Red Rock Canyon Sans Toddler

What do you get when you combine the lights of Vegas with the sandstone of Red Rocks?  A perfect weekend with just me and my hubby!  I flew in to meet Steve late Thursday night (he’d been at a conference all week for work…so he says anyway 😉 ).  One of our main objectives for this trip was to take advantage of being sans toddler and do some multi-pitch trad routes.  (Non-climber note: Routes that are longer than one rope length are divided into smaller chunks, usually around 100-150 feet apart, called pitches.  Sometimes each pitch will vary in difficulty,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Surviving a Toddler’s First Overnighter

Surviving a Toddler’s First Overnighter

This post could just have easily been titled “Surviving a MOMMY’s First Overnighter,” because I feel like this milestone was just as hard for me, if not more so!  As many of you know, my husband and I just recently took our very first trip away from Cragbaby last week…and since our family never does anything halfway, we decided to spend it enjoying the sandstone of Red Rock Canyon, just 30 miles outside of Las Vegas!  (Stay tuned for the trip recap in a couple of days…) We did a lot of different things to prepare C for our time…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hey Baby Let’s Go To Vegas…Without the Baby!!!

Hey Baby Let’s Go To Vegas…Without the Baby!!!

We’ve got a big milestone coming up in our household.  Any guesses?  Nope…not potty training (unfortunately).  You probably won’t guess, so I’ll just tell you – my first overnighter away from Cragbaby!  For the past 2 years and almost 8 months I’ve woken up every morning in the same house as C (and for a good bit of that time, in the same bed!)  And except for the occasional date night for New Year’s Eve and extended family vacations where C’s grandparents give us a night off from the bedtime routine, I’ve been there to give a good night kiss…Read the rest of this entry →

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An “Experience Gift”…and the Need for Speed

An “Experience Gift”…and the Need for Speed

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the type of person that values a meaningful experience more than tangible luxuries.  I’d rather have a giant birthday bash with friends than open a ton of presents.  Family vacations rank higher on the to-do list than replacing kitchen countertops.  And gift cards are always more enjoyable to spend on a shopping date with the giver.  That being said, when Cloud 9 Living introduced themselves to me as a company that offered “experiences rather than stuff,” I knew this was my kind of company.   Founded in 2005 in Boulder Colorado,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Tenaya Shoe Demo and Family Craggin’ Program

Tenaya Shoe Demo and Family Craggin’ Program

 A couple of weekends ago we got the chance to head back to our oldie (but a goodie) climbing gym – Triangle Rock Club!  Although we came up Saturday afternoon to get in a little climb time with some dear friends, the main events were scheduled back to back on Sunday – a Tenaya Shoe Demo, and a Family Craggin’ Workshop.   For those of you non-climbers out there, a “shoe demo” is just like it sounds – it’s a chance for Tenaya to “demonstrate” what their shoes can do.  For three hours only, the entire fleet of Tenaya shoes…Read the rest of this entry →

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Cragbaby’s Photo Shoot: Anatomy of a Good Jump

Cragbaby’s Photo Shoot:  Anatomy of a Good Jump

As many of you know, I posted up some of the leftover photos from some of the recent Trango shoots last week…but what you probably didn’t know is that during one of those Trango shoots, Cragbaby was involved in a photo session of his own!  My favorite climbing photographer (who also happens to be one of my favorite people period!) knows firsthand just how much my little guy enjoys hamming it up for the camera.  So when she started snapping photos of C jumping off a boulder, his efforts went from casual to full throttle in about 1.4 seconds!  …Read the rest of this entry →

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Some Climbing Pics…plus VOTE FOR CRAGMAMA!

Some Climbing Pics…plus VOTE FOR CRAGMAMA!

I posted last week about the highlights from ROCKtoberfest, the annual climber’s festival that benefits the Red River Gorge Climber’s Coalition.  In that post I mentioned the fact that the whole scene was so busy I hardly had time to even think about taking any photos, never mind actually digging my camera out of my pack.  Ironically, however, part of the reason I was being pulled in a million directions was because of photos – one of my fellow Trango teammates, Dan Brayack, was hard at work shooting images of all of us climbing routes.  The photos will be use…Read the rest of this entry →

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Red River Gorge ROCKtoberfest…aka TRANGO-fest!

Red River Gorge ROCKtoberfest…aka TRANGO-fest!

When it comes to the age old climber’s debate between the Red and the New, our family has always sided with the New – for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it is 3 hours closer to our house.  But that’s not to say we can’t have fun at the Red every now and then.  Usually we make the trek up to ole Kentucky once or twice a year, when we’ve got an extra day or two to climb tacked onto our weekend.  This past weekend was one such weekend, although it was…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Gorge: The SEND Train has left the station…

New River Gorge:  The SEND Train has left the station…

And I managed to hop on it this time.  (It’s about time…) SEND TRAIN:  The extreme sending phenomenon that occurs when a group of climbers are projecting together and one person finally has a breakthrough – the rest of the crew feeds off of that psych, and all of a sudden everyone is crushing left and right. In last week’s trip report I alluded to the fact that I had felt like I had been in somewhat of a climbing slump for the past few weeks.  It seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I was always coming up…Read the rest of this entry →

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The NRG Craggin’ Classic…

The NRG Craggin’ Classic…

This weekend marked an exciting milestone for the American Alpine Club, as well as any climber frequenting the New River Gorge (which is probably the majority of us in the Southeast…)  The “Craggin’ Classic” event gave climbers a chance to get a sneak peek at the latest progress on the new AAC climbers’ campground.  It’s pretty bare bones right now, but from the sounds of it, it has the makings to become a staple part of the NRG!  The crowd was small, but the camaraderie was high, and it seemed as though everyone was relieved to finally see some fall temps again!…Read the rest of this entry →

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Dixon Bouldering: All’s Well That End’s Well

Dixon Bouldering:  All’s Well That End’s Well

  This weekend marked 7 months (almost to the day) since I broke my ankle on a funky lead fall last winter.  I paid my dues in a boot for 6 weeks, worked my butt off on the hangboard, and got back on the sharp end of a rope the second I was given the green light.  I waited a good long while before bouldering in the gym again, and when I finally got back to it I mostly kept it to problems I had wired and could use for 4×4 training sessions.  Because the hubs and I take turns…Read the rest of this entry →

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Progress (Not Perfection) at the Obed

Progress (Not Perfection) at the Obed

The Obed Wild and Scenic River is our family’s favorite crag to hit over Labor Day weekend – it’s nice to have an extra day with the longer drive, and we’re able to avoid all the crowds that are swarming at the New and Red River Gorges.  However this time probably could have been talked into going just about anywhere  had the forecast been any better, but it appeared that the entire Southeast was being held hostage by Hurricane Isaac.  We weren’t too worried about the climbing – because of the steep terrain and enormous roofs, the Obed is a…Read the rest of this entry →

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10 Things You’ll Find at Ocean Isle…

10 Things You’ll Find at Ocean Isle…

Most people have a firm allegiance to either the mountains or the beach.  Although our family casts a no-brainer vote for the mountains, I think its healthy to change things up a bit every now and then, especially for Cragbaby.  That being said, when the grandparents planned a coastal rendezvous for the whole family, we were all in and looking forward to a good time! And a good time we had indeed!  In fact, we encountered a good many things at the beach that we never would have run into in the mountains.   So rather than bore you with…Read the rest of this entry →

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Cragbaby Gets a Camera!

Cragbaby Gets a Camera!

Ok ok I know everyone is probably tired of hearing about our family’s trip out west. But it didn’t seem fair to end the trip reports without mentioning Cragbaby’s newfound perspective – behind the lens of a camera.  Even though he hadn’t seen her in months due to business travels, C certainly hadn’t forgotten his favorite climbing partner, Manuela, and he stuck to her like glue for the entire trip.  It’s a good thing that she’s a beautiful person and I don’t mind him imitating her, because he wanted to do EVERYTHING that she did – which of course included…Read the rest of this entry →

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Back to the New River Gorge

Back to the New River Gorge

My affair with Ten Sleep Canyon sure was great while it lasted, but like so many good things, it had to  come to an end.  Lucky for me I had the world-class climbing of the New River Gorge to come back to.  And this weekend was not just any old weekend at the New – one of our partners in climb just moved up there a couple of weeks ago, and our crew descended upon his new digs in full force.   Day 1:  Endless WallOrdinarily Endless Wall would not be what I would consider a “go-to” area for summer,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Custer State Park for Non-Climbers

Custer State Park for Non-Climbers

Our whirlwind tour through South Dakota and Wyoming was our first “big” climbing trip with Cragbaby.  And although we definitely maximized our climbing time, we also managed to squeeze in a lot of non-climbing activities as well.  Pre-Cragbaby we would tend to try and climb all day – a good m.o. for us would be 2 days sport, 1 day long (easy) trad, and then alternate from there.  Since we used the trad days as “active rest” days, we could usually end up climbing 7 or 8 days in a row, at which point it was time to go home…Read the rest of this entry →

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Nothing Like the Needles…and Our Moves Like Jagger.

Nothing Like the Needles…and Our Moves Like Jagger.

We  couldn’t have scripted a better ending for our trip than the spindly little spires surrounding Custer State Park, also known as the Needles.  The tiny, airy summits provided more than enough reward and motivation for 4 (and a half…) climbers to get off the ground one more day.  And the long runouts over moderate terrain was ideal at the end of the week when lead heads were secure but our bodies were tired.  The word that best sums up the climbing at the Needles is FUN!  For me, it was an experience with a distinctive child-like quality to it.…Read the rest of this entry →

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An Affair With Ten Sleep Canyon

An Affair With Ten Sleep Canyon

Dear Ten Sleep Canyon,Thanks for the amazing time.  Were it not for geography I would definitely make cheating on the New River Gorge a regular occurrence with you.  But the long-distance thing is gonna be hard, so we’re gonna have to settle for a rendezvous every year or two.   Love you long time,Cragmama     Over the top?  Not really.  This place was that good – a summer sport climbing paradise I tell ya.  First of all, the canyon was ridiculously impressive, making Spearfish look like nothing more than a small trench in the foothills.  The approaches were long but rewarded…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Devilish Rest Day: Devil’s Bathtub and Devil’s Tower

A Devilish Rest Day:  Devil’s Bathtub and Devil’s Tower

After 2 days of  crankin’ in Spearfish Canyon, our crew was ready for something a little more low-key.  The only must-do on our agenda was to make our way 3 hours west to Ten Sleep, Wyoming, but nobody said a rest day had to be boring…We had found out from some locals about a surreal swimming hole along Sunshine Creek in Spearfish Canyon, which seemed like a great way to pass by the morning.  It was about a 2 mile hike round trip, along a well-worn trail that was mostly flat and often meandered back and forth across the creek.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Wild West Whirlwind Round 1 – SPEARFISH CANYON

Wild West Whirlwind Round 1 – SPEARFISH CANYON

As most of you already know, our family just got back from a whirlwind climbing trip to South Dakota and Wyoming.  To say that the trip was a success would be an understatement – we had a fabulous time, and as I look outside at my droopy, hot backyard as I type this, my only regret is that we’d had more time to spend out there!  This trip was a far cry from our usual weekend excursions, and in a lot of ways, it was somewhat of a “luxury trip” (for us anyway…though it probably doesn’t fit most people’s definition…Read the rest of this entry →

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Little Wilson – A Mid-Summer Cragger’s Dream

Little Wilson – A Mid-Summer Cragger’s Dream

So after spending the past two (unseasonably mild) weekends catching up around the house and enjoying time with family, the heat was back in full force this weekend.  Our original plan was for the New River Gorge, but with temps hovering at 100 and humidity almost as high, no one was psyched on sleeping in a tent in a pool of sweat.  We instead opted for a day trip to a shady little crag off the beaten path in the western part of the state – Little Wilson.  This was actually our first time going there.  We actually attempted to…Read the rest of this entry →

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Messy Marvins Art Camp: Indoor Fun!

Messy Marvins Art Camp:  Indoor Fun!

Every now and then Cragbaby and I do play inside. A couple of weeks ago C spent a week at Messy Marvins Art Camp at The Art Room, a kids art studio in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte.  The best part for Cragbaby was that he got to get messy with one of his favorite people, Miss Liz.  The best part for me was that it was a drop-off class – which meant I got to play the role of brooding, introspective writer at a coffee shop in the mornings – and it was pretty well-timed actually since my guidebook…Read the rest of this entry →

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Trad is Rad at the North End of Moore’s

Trad is Rad at the North End of Moore’s

Out of all the areas I’m covering in the Piedmont Guidebook, Moore’s has been one of the trickiest for hands on research.  Although I climbed at Moore’s quite often pre-Cragbaby, pregnancy and a baby made for a too-long hiatus.  (Due to the nature of the typical descent options we’ve found other areas to be much more kid-friendly, since a day at Moore’s means a day at the cliff sans Cragbaby).  Thankfully we have two sets of grandparents nearby, but we certainly can’t take advantage of them every weekend (nor do we want to – climbing is a family activity for…Read the rest of this entry →

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Say It Loud! The New Doesn’t Get Old.

Say It Loud!  The New Doesn’t Get Old.

But I do.  And it sucks.  Not sure why, but this weekend made me feel old.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I twisted my ankle (the one that I used to consider my “bad” ankle until I broke the other one…) just hiking into the crag on Day 1.  Thankfully it seems to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience, along with an annoying,  rainbow-colored reminder that my Earth-Suit ain’t what it used to be.  Or it could possibly be related to the fact that I realized that not one but several of my climbing…Read the rest of this entry →

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Good Times at The Dump

Good Times at The Dump

There’s a small collection of bolted lines right off highway 221 coming out of Blowing Rock in Western North Carolina.  It goes by several other names besides The Dump, but regardless of what you call it, conditions were darn near perfect for it this past Saturday.  Most of the climbing there hovers just less than vertical and features very technical and sequential moves on itty bitty holds.  Although the cliff sees sun for the majority of the day, the elevation generally puts it a good 10 degrees cooler than us down here in Charlotte, making for a sweet escape from…Read the rest of this entry →

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Obed: To Crush or To Be Crushed?

Obed: To Crush or To Be Crushed?

If that were the question, then the answer would most definitively be YES to both, which is great since our plans almost got squashed before we even left the house because of a poor, sick Cragbaby. Thankfully though he started feeling better just in time (when we asked him if he wanted to get in Mommy’s car and go sleep in in a tent he started jumping up and down shouting, “TENT!  TENT!”).  Despite a later-than-planned start, we made it to Tennessee only slightly worse for the wear.   This trip was an interesting balance of both success and failure…Read the rest of this entry →

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Pilot Projects – aka The Day of Reckoning

Pilot Projects – aka The Day of Reckoning

If you’ve been following the blog for the past few weeks, you’ll probably remember that my friends and I have all been on a search for significant sendage on some of the best lines at Pilot Mountain.  My climbing partners have thankfully been gracious enough to allow me to pick their brains a bit so that I can share multiple perspectives on projecting strategies.  Since Steve (aka Crag-Daddy) was the only one that scored a send on our last visit to the area, the rest of us couldn’t stay away.  So two weeks later we returned with guns blazing, ready…Read the rest of this entry →

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A 5.12 for Mother’s Day (and a bunch of other awesome stuff…)

A 5.12 for Mother’s Day (and a bunch of other awesome stuff…)

The build-up to this weekend at the New was admittedly a bit chaotic.  But despite last-minute partner bailing, a forgotten ankle brace, and a moody weather forecast, this Mother’s Day ended up being the best yet!  I had two goals in mind – to send as many hard .11’s as I could, and to get redemption on a 5.12 project from last summer… Day 1 Routes (Butcher’s Branch and Seven-Eleven Wall): The Greenpiece (5.10b):  I’d only been to Butcher’s Branch one other time, and it was almost exactly 4 years ago.  I remember having an epic almost-onsight of this route…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Art of Projecting (Continued)…

The Art of Projecting (Continued)…

Last week I went into detail about the art of projecting a route, and included the perspectives of three of my climbing friends who were also on the quest for a meaningful send.  Well, our crew reconvened again, same time, same place, this past weekend, each of us ready for a rematch with our own personal nemeses.  Here’s how we fared… OVERHANGING HANGOVER (5.11b) Steve: I got right down to business and warmed up on my project.  I was feeling a little jittery before starting but once I got going I was locked in and felt really strong.  The lower section…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Weekend of Projects – Part 1 (Moore’s Wall)

A Weekend of Projects – Part 1 (Moore’s Wall)

This weekend was pretty varied on all counts – weather, climbing, accomplishments (or lack thereof).  But regardless of what sort of hodgepodge it was, it was certainly fun as well as productive, and a good one-word sum-up would be PROJECTS.   Our journey began Friday night at my parent’s house (aka Paw Paw and Gaga) near Winston-Salem, where Cragbaby hung out all day Saturday so Steve and I could get our gear on at Moore’s Wall.  This is my second time at Moore’s in the past 2 weeks – the last time I spent the day in the Hanging Garden, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Gorge: Round 2 (aka Let’s Stop Playing Games)

New River Gorge:  Round 2 (aka Let’s Stop Playing Games)

Considering our history with rainy weekends and the New River Gorge, we are all too aware of how fickle spring weather can be – so another weekend of sunny ad 70’s was too tempting to pass up, even though we were just there last weekend!  It also didn’t hurt that our family has been in real rock withdrawal over the past 6 weeks due to me and that ugly black boot (which is currently perched high upon a shelf in the garage, hopefully to never be resurrected again!)  So once again, we loaded up the car (this time we weren’t as rusty!), and hit the…Read the rest of this entry →

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A New Season at the New River Gorge

A New Season at the New River Gorge

 As we packed up our climbing and camping gear as a family on Thursday afternoon, I realized that it had been quite a while since we’d done this.  Our last family camping trip had been at the New last October, our last day multi-day climbing trip had been at the Red just before Thanksgiving, and our last day trip at the crag as a family had been at Hidden Wall 8 weeks prior when I fractured my ankle.  To be honest, I was feeling a bit rusty.  Family Packing Hour used to work like a well-oiled machine – but this time…Read the rest of this entry →

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Just a Touch of Redneck

Just a Touch of Redneck

Dear Trango, “Sorry I haven’t been able to send in any videos yet.  I’ve been too busy catching cutting edge footage of my 2 year old son being hauled by a giant radio-controlled truck.”  This post shows that our family can have fun doing more than just climbing.  Unfortunately it also proves that our family also has a bit of a redneck side, which I hadn’t really been all that aware of until I found myself agreeing that this seemed like not only a great family activity, but also a perfect video opportunity.  But what can I do?  I might…Read the rest of this entry →

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Guidebook Update…Sans Boot!

Guidebook Update…Sans Boot!

 Well, it’s been quite a while since my last guidebook update, but rest assured it’s not from lack of progress.  Since a fractured talus and a walking cast put my vertical research on hold for a while, I’ve chained myself to my computer the minute Cragbaby falls asleep, fervently finishing up route descriptions and working in all of the creative anecdotes so many folks have been so kind as to send/tell me.  But there’s only so much work I can do without actually touching the rock, so as soon as my doctor officially de-booted me I hit the ground running…well,…Read the rest of this entry →

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No Send Saturday (aka How I Scored a Sexy Black Boot)

No Send Saturday (aka How I Scored a Sexy Black Boot)

At the risk of spoiling the suspense, I’m just gonna go ahead and tell you that this story doesn’t have a happy ending.  What started off as a jovial weekend with good friends ended pretty abruptly for me with a hard smack against the wall and searing pain in my left foot.  The bad news kept rolling in over the next few days as my foot expanded to almost elephantitis status, and several X-rays showed a small fracture on my talar dome (or in layman’s terms, the pointy top part of my ankle bone that meets up with my lower…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Sunny Corner in the Linville Gorge (and GIVEAWAY from CLIF!)

A Sunny Corner in the Linville Gorge (and GIVEAWAY from CLIF!)

We’d originally planned on spending our Saturday climbing in Boone, but when we got the offer for a grand tour of a newly developed area in the Linville Gorge, we jumped at the chance.  The stomach bug had made a couple of passes through our house last week so we were more than psyched to get out and enjoy some fresh, new scenery. After a pre-dawn start, our posse convened just outside of town and made our way to the crag.  After taking in some gorgeous views along the ridge on our approach, we arrived at our destination a little…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Mid-Week Respite at Crowder’s

A Mid-Week Respite at Crowder’s

One of the perks of having local rock is the ability to get out mid-week, so whenever any of my climbing partners can arrange to get out on a weekday, Cragbaby and I try our best to join in on the party.  I was pretty psyched to be able to get out two days in a row last week, especially since by the time the weekend rolled around the unseasonably warm fair weather had turned frigid and rainy.  We spent our first day at Hidden Wall, and our second at Crowder’s Main Wall.  Oh…and sorry for the lack of pictures,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Down and Out at Asheboro

Down and Out at Asheboro

I apologize ahead of time for the lackluster content of this trip report…but I’ll claim the weak and injured excuse. This past Saturday marked our first trip of the season to the Asheboro boulders.  I arrived psyched to explore some new problems as well as hop on some old favorites.  After a quick warm-up, I hopped on Lightning Bolt Crack (V3/4), a unique finger crack that is (ordinarily) so fun that I make it a point to tick it every time I’m there.  Sometimes it takes me a few tries to remember the right hand sequence, and this particular time…Read the rest of this entry →

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Real Rock Tour de Charlotte

Real Rock Tour de Charlotte

Well, after a day at Pilot and a couple of days at Stone, we decided to round out our Holiday stay-cation by giving some dear friends from our old stomping grounds in Raleigh a tour of what our new locale had to offer, rock-wise.  So last Friday we all took on Red Wall at Crowder’s Mountain.  After warming up on Opinionated (5.9+), Steve and Sam explored Scramble My Feedback (5.10a), while Caleb and I tackled an unknown, obscure line that as far as I know isn’t listed in any published guide (yet…).  Everybody took a lap on this one, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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Cragbaby’s Year in Highlights!

Cragbaby’s Year in Highlights!

With all of the end of year Highlight Week talk that’s been going around our house, Cragbaby wanted in on some of the action as well.  But considering that his verbage is rather limited still (actually its more untranslatable than limited….), I thought it would be easier to share his highlights in the form of pictures and captions… 5.  An Adventure Suit – This spring Mommy got me an Adventure Suit so that I can play all day in the rain and not get wet! 4. Photography Lessons – Manuela let me be her special assistant. This will come in handy…Read the rest of this entry →

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Highlight Week Continues…with the 2011 Highlight Reel!

Highlight Week Continues…with the 2011 Highlight Reel!

Our family is grateful to have had the opportunity to get a lot of time out on the rock this past year.  In fact, we managed 5 trips to the New River Gorge, 2 trips to the Red River Gorge, 2 trips to the Obed River, 2 trips to Grayson Highlands, and of course numerous day trips to various crags across North Carolina. Its no wonder that loads of fun were had by all as 2011 played out.  In keeping with the “Highlight Week” theme, and in honor of our family’s time-honored Highlight Reel tradition, our family decided to wade through…Read the rest of this entry →

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4 Weeks Off = First 5.12a!

4 Weeks Off = First 5.12a!

I know I said I’d be taking a break from blogging until after the New Year…but our climbing trip yesterday was particularly noteworthy…This past week marked the end of our self-imposed 4-week climbing hiatus…we celebrated by promptly getting spanked at the rock gym on both Tuesday and Thursday.  On Friday, however, it was a different story and we had a different reason to celebrate – my first 5.12a send!  To be honest, my expectations hadn’t been very high – after 2 days of solid rain, we weren’t even convinced anything would be dry enough to climb.  But the morning dawned…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Slab-tastic Thanksgiving at Stone Mountain

A Slab-tastic Thanksgiving at Stone Mountain

  While the majority of the country was up at 4am (or never even went to bed…) for Black Friday sales, our household instead celebrated “Slab Friday” at Stone Mountain.  Cragbaby’s Grammy graciously agreed to let him hang with her all day so that Steve and I could not only hit up the area that I am definitely the least familiar with guidebook-wise, but also have the chance to get our multi-pitch on together for the first time since an excursion to the Linville Gorge back when I was 5 months pregnant or so. Stone Mountain is one of those areas…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Classic, A Project, and a Classic Video Project

A Classic, A Project, and a Classic Video Project

We’d been looking forward to the Dixon Crush-fest Bouldering Competition for a few months, and although we were disappointed when it got cancelled, we didn’t let it stop us from having our own crush-fest this past Saturday.  Besides, Cragbaby and I were both sporting new gear from Icebreaker  and we were anxious to put it to the test (more on that exciting partnership later!). What started out as a chilly morning turned into a great day – what we lacked in sunshine was more than made up for in friction!     We spent the morning in the Lower Area,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Red River Gorgeous…

Red River Gorgeous…

Last week our crew made a pilgrimage north across state lines, where we spent 4 days frolicking around on Kentucky sandstone.  This marked our family’s third trip to the Red, but only the first in which we didn’t get rained on every single day.  In fact, aside from a few passing showers in the car on the way up, we didn’t even see a drop!  Since we had a fairly large group, we decided to all go in together and splurge on a cabin – considering that the lows were in the upper 20’s, it was well worth the extra…Read the rest of this entry →

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Rocktober-fest at the New River Gorge

Rocktober-fest at the New River Gorge

After a small string of crappy weather trips a few weekends back, I was starting to think our rain curse was back…but au contraire!  Despite both nights plummeting to a frosty 35 degrees, the daytime temps went from frigid to an ideal 60 degrees within a couple of hours of the sun rise, much to everyone’s delight.  Although we had a pretty big crew with a wide range of skill levels represented, I think everyone managed to get their fair share of pump and exposure, along with a healthy dose of fall color. We spent Saturday at Endless Wall, which is probably…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Day at Dixon

A Day at Dixon

We had a few things to get done this weekend (not the least of which involved taking Cragbaby to a pumpkin patch), but the weather was too good to pass up – so we ended up spending Saturday at our local bouldering area – Dixon School Road Boulders.  We actually had spent a quick evening session there once back in the summer of 2009 – Steve was in Charlotte on business, and since I was teaching at the time and out of school for the summer, I’d gone with him.  (It turns out I was also pregnant with C at…Read the rest of this entry →

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Morning Drizzles in the Highlands: AKA Life in the Clouds

Morning Drizzles in the Highlands: AKA Life in the Clouds

From wallowing in the sunny, upper 90’s of the Obed a mere 3 weeks ago to bundling up with foggy mornings in the 40’s at Grayson Highlands this past weekend, one would think we skipped over autumn altogether and moved straight into early winter.  Though the forecast across the Southeast was looking pretty grim, it appeared as though a lone bright spot was hanging over Grayson Highlands State Park with a mere 20% chance of morning drizzles.  However,we soon learned that a lack of actual rain doesn’t necessarily equal dry conditions.  It seemed as though the higher we drove in…Read the rest of this entry →

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In the Name of Climbing…er, Research!

In the Name of Climbing…er, Research!

This weekend’s mission was all about guidebook research…and by research I mean lots of climbing.  On Saturday Steve, Cragbaby and I met up with knowledgeable local Eddy Ramirez, who was kind enough to give us a tour of some of the lesser traveled areas of Crowders Mountain – namely the Resurgance Walls.  While sitting at home writing about climbing can get tedious at times, the cooler temps and low humidity levels have made my “research missions” a delightful escape.  As if I’m not already motivated enough to explore my new local crag, Crowders is probably the one area out of…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Perfect SEND-tember Combo: Tall Rock and Deep Water!

The Perfect SEND-tember Combo: Tall Rock and Deep Water!

  With Hurricanes Lee and Katia closing in on all sides, we were extremely lucky to get 2 days of great weather on our Labor Day climbing excursion to the Obed Scenic River.  This was substantial improvement over our last Obed trip, when we dealt with thunderstorms every few hours for the entire weekend.  Our posse ended up being a fairly large group, with a wide variety of climbing abilities and goals represented, but what very easily could have been a logistical nightmare turned into a weekend filled with adventure, laughter, and of course – some serious sending!  ***Note for…Read the rest of this entry →

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From Gym Rats to Rock Hounds…

From Gym Rats to Rock Hounds…

It seems like a lot of our climbing recently has revolved around projecting some harder stuff, so it was nice to take a step back for a day with some local craggin’ on more moderate terrain with a couple of gym rats.  The forecast was for temps in the mid-90’s, but with Hurricane Irene baring down on the east coast, it also called for lots of cloud cover and 25 mph gusty winds, which we figured would neutralize the heat a bit.  Considering what folks just a few hours east of us at the coast were (and still are) dealing…Read the rest of this entry →

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Birthday Bonanza at the New River Gorge!

Birthday Bonanza at the New River Gorge!

  Its that time of year again where I get older and wiser, which in our family means we fly north to the New River Gorge to celebrate.  In years past we’ve hit Summersville Lake (for the trip report on last year’s bash, click here), but this year we decided to stay in the gorge and climb away from the crowds.  The weather was (for August), spectacular – temps below 90 with decent cloud cover, and the only rain was in  quick passing showers on Sunday afternoon.  Had we been able to lift off that smothering blanket of humidity, conditions…Read the rest of this entry →

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Northern Michigan Road Trip: Great Lakes! 3 out of 5 Ain’t Bad!

Northern Michigan Road Trip: Great Lakes! 3 out of 5 Ain’t Bad!

Despite two toddlers on completely opposite nap schedules and many miles and hours driving, not to mention a very special wedding, I think our family did pretty darn good to hit three out of the five Great Lakes over the course of our week in Michigan.  Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior are no longer on our bucket list – all we have left for another time is Lake Eerie and Lake Ontario. Lake Michigan – We spent a night in Traverse City on our way out to the Sleeping Bear Dunes , and decided to take advantage of…Read the rest of this entry →

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Northern Michigan Road Trip: Mackinac Island

Northern Michigan Road Trip: Mackinac Island

Pronounced “MackiNAW,” this quaint little island that separates not only the upper and lower peninsulas but also Lake Michigan and Lake Huron was the next stop on our way to Marquette for the wedding.  One of the unique things about the island is that motorized vehicles are not allowed, so we left our cars at the dock, and boarded the ferry with just our luggage.  It was the first ferry ride for both Cragbaby and his cousin E, so the whole 20 minutes were filled with enthusiastic pointing and exclamations. Our accomodations were at the Hotel Iroquois, and it was absolutely…Read the rest of this entry →

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Northern Michigan Road Trip: Sleeping Bear Dunes

Northern Michigan Road Trip: Sleeping Bear Dunes

I’ve posted before on “fun-ctional vacations” – you know, the kind of travel where you take advantage of wherever your pre-set plans have taken you.  Well, on July 30th our family had a date in Marquette, Michigan to celebrate my brother-in-law’s wedding – but we decided to make the most of our family time by flying up a week early and enjoying all of the natural beauty that Northern Michigan had to offer.  Our journey began in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after an early morning of chaos in both the Charlotte and Cincinnati airports (and as expected, Cragbaby was uber-excited to finally get to ride in…Read the rest of this entry →

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The New Never Gets Old

The New Never Gets Old

Well its about time.  We went to the New this past weekend and we had….wait for it….NO RAIN!!!  The Lineberry Rain Curse is officially broken!  Sure we’ve had a few sunny day trips here and there, but its literally been a year since we’ve roped up on a completely rain-free weekend.  Conditions could not have been any better – low humidity, cloud cover, temps just barely hitting 80!  And though I would never in a million years wish rainy conditions upon any of my climbing peeps, after hearing of two other crags that got dumped on (one with only a 10% chance of…Read the rest of this entry →

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Over the River and Through the Woods…to Grandmother’s Boulders We Go!

Over the River and Through the Woods…to Grandmother’s Boulders We Go!

Slowly but surely I’ve been whittling away at my 2011 Hit List, and finally dragging my crash pad up to the Grandmother Boulders in Boone brings me one step closer to crossing off #7 from my list, which was about exploring new climbing areas.  These quality boulders are sitting around 5000 feet or so, making for a welcome summer respite for NC climbers drowning in humidity at lower elevations across the state.  There’s not guidebook of course, because thats the way NC bouldering rolls, so we were delighted that our friend Matt was up for showing us around.  The temps were in the 70’s, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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Tennessee = Thunderstorms and Composting Toilets

Tennessee = Thunderstorms and Composting Toilets

We set off late Friday afternoon on another weekend climbing trip, this time to the Obed River, in Eastern Tennessee.  The forecast called for a 30% chance of afternoon showers on both days – so of course that meant storms the majority of the day on both days (yet again).  Although I’m relieved that we always manage to make trips more than worthwhile (thankfully once again we were still able to crank hard both days), I’ll be honest that the rain is starting to get old…fortunately this time we didn’t have to spend our evenings hanging out in a soggy campsite. …Read the rest of this entry →

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A Day of Hot Flashes

A Day of Hot Flashes

Don’t worry, this post has nothing to do with skewed hormones and ticking biological clocks.  For those readers who are non-climbers, here’s a quick little lesson in climbing linguistics… Onsight – Completing a route from bottom to top with no falls or rests on the rope the first time you attempt it, without any prior knowledge about the route. Flash – Same as an onsight except that you had some helpful beta (info/tips) before attempting the route – such as observing someone else climb the route, reading someone else’s ascent notes, etc. Redpoint – Completing a route from bottom to top with…Read the rest of this entry →

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Memorial Day Madness at Grayson Highlands

Memorial Day Madness at Grayson Highlands

After spending the first part of the weekend hanging out with family, we met up with some friends late Sunday morning up at Grayson Highlands State Park for some bouldering fun.  It was the first time we’d been back to GHSP since last fall, and I’d almost forgotten what a spectacular setting it is!  The weather was pretty warm both days, but I’m fairly certain cooler than the majority of climbing areas in the Southeast. Our first day consisted of a high volume of moderates.  We started out at the Picnic/Rock House Area before ending up at the Cap-Gun Boulder…Read the rest of this entry →

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New River Rendezvous Recap

After skipping last year’s ‘Vous b/c Cragbaby was still really new on the scene, we were back this year, this time as a family that was bigger (and I like to think C has made us better…) than before!  The weather was great – the driest trip to the New we’d had in a really long time!  We had a whole posse of friends that met us up there, ran into tons of folks we hadn’t seen in a long time, and of course met lots and lots of new friends! We rolled in just before dark on Thursday night…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hidden Projects

After a long week of working our tails off unpacking boxes, moving furniture, hanging pictures, and organizing shelves and drawers, we decided to reward ourselves with some climb time at the crag on Sunday afternoon.  One of my favorite parts about our new location is that we now have a local crag that is actually “local,” instead of 2 hours away!  So Sunday morning we got up leisurely, headed to church dressed in our climbing clothes (which by the way I also love – a church without dress codes…), and then were out at the crag by 1130 or so. …Read the rest of this entry →

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Rain and Rivers Raging at the Red!

Rain and Rivers Raging at the Red!

Considering that the last time we climbed at the Red was when I was 11 weeks preggo and under a self-imposed toprope restriction, it was great to finally get back there, and this time on the sharp end!  We headed up on Thursday afternoon to meet our crew of climbing partners at Lago Linda’s.  The weather forecast was not good.  In fact, it was downright bad.  But I’m so thankful we didn’t let a few rain drops get in the way of our having a good time!  Obviously with a large posse of climbers with  varying abilities, no two people had the same tick list,…Read the rest of this entry →

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All Sorts of “Newness” at the New River Gorge

All Sorts of “Newness” at the New River Gorge

I’ve been to the New a countless number of times over the past few years, and the best part about it is that it never gets old!  No matter how many times we head up there, no two trips are ever the same, and this weekend was certainly no exception.  In fact, our weekend was chock full of “newness” – a new climbing season, a new drive, a new friend, lots of new routes, new gear, and of course a new hit list to work with.  Our trip started on Friday afternoon, when Cragbaby and I picked Steve up at…Read the rest of this entry →

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Pilot Mountain Trip Report

Pilot Mountain Trip Report

The weather was stellar this weekend, so guess what we did – we went rock climbing! Surprise, surprise… Oddly enough, our first crag day since the move to Charlotte was NOT spent at local rock. Our plans were with a Raleigh partner as well as a Charlotte partner, so it made more sense to head to a halfway point, and since we just had one day free this weekend, Pilot Mountain got the winning bid! Even though the parking lot was pretty crowded and we saw lots of other climbing parties hiking around, the only route we had to wait…Read the rest of this entry →

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Pilot-Palooza aka Cragbaby: Scene 2

Pilot-Palooza aka Cragbaby: Scene 2

Sunny, highs in the 50’s in February…thats enough to draw a crowd at just about any crag.  We’ve been doing a lot of bouldering recently, but this weekend we decided to rope up at Pilot Mountain.  Incredibly enough, it was the first we’d done any roped climbing since October when we spent several days at the Obed in Tennessee.  Today turned out to be a darn near perfect day – despite how much I enjoy bouldering, I’d forgotten that nothing beats tying into the sharp end of a rope!  We met up with Jan and his wife Crystal in the parking lot. …Read the rest of this entry →

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Skedaddle Kids “Adventuring Moms” Blog Series…

Cragmama

A few weeks ago Lia Keller from Skedaddle (based out of Alaska) contacted me about participating in their new blog series on Adventuring Moms.  She provided me with a list of questions relating to connecting kids to the outdoors.  Since this is something I’m very passionate about, I of course didn’t hesitate to jump right in.

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Falling Up and Falling Down at Asheboro

Falling Up and Falling Down at Asheboro

  Our house went on the market last Monday, and after a smattering of showings towards the end of the week, we got slammed with 5 requests for Saturday showings.  We figured since we were banned from our house for all but an hour here or there, we might as well get outside and enjoy the weather.  We decided to meet up with a few folks at Asheboro.  Since it was a gorgeous day, lots of other people had the same idea, so we ended up making several new friends as well as a Charlotte connection!  We didn’t get on…Read the rest of this entry →

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One Last Friction Fest of 2010

One Last Friction Fest of 2010

Until this past week, it’d been over 2 years since we’d gotten our friction on at the Asheboro Boulders – last winter I was pregnant and relegated to toproping, and the winter before that I had a bum shoulder.  But with a couple of breaks in the cold and wet weather streak we’ve been having, we managed to hit the ‘Burl twice – a few days before Christmas, and once more on New Year’s Eve. Our pre-Christmas trip was timed so that it was a pit stop on the way to my parents house in Winston-Salem for the holidays.  It…Read the rest of this entry →

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Let’s Get Ready to Rumble…

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble…

I think most non-climbers probably assume that picking your climbing destination for the weekend is pretty straightforward – what kind of climbing do you want to do?  What distance are you willing to drive?  Pick out a place that answers those questions, and go there, right?  Au contraire my friends.  If only it was that simple.  Yes those questions are important ones to consider, but the most important factor of all is totally out of your control and only mildly predictable – the WEATHER.  For the weekend warrior, watching the weather forecast and planning around it can turn into quite…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Perfect Fall Weekend in the Highlands

A Perfect Fall Weekend in the Highlands

Great friends, stellar rock, and perfect weather all add up to a wonderful weekend in Grayson Highlands, VA!  We arrived late Friday night to the campground, and were pleased to find out that it didn’t get nearly as cold overnight as the forecast had predicted.  After enjoying a nice breakfast with Manbert, we met up with a hodgepodge of folks at the Contact Station before heading to the Olympus/RockHouse area. We warmed up on Cherokee Dihedral (V1), which felt kinda heady for a warm-up, but was a really pretty line up a dihedral with an interesting transition onto the right…Read the rest of this entry →

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Four Days of Dirtbaggin’ in Tennessee

Four Days of Dirtbaggin’ in Tennessee

With Canaan’s arrival this spring, Steve and I were way too busy to plan a big summer climbing trip like we usually do – so when our friend Christie said she had a few days off from grad school coming up in October and wondered if we’d be up for heading somewhere to climb, we jumped on the opportunity!  Steve had a business trip to Charlotte planned for the beginning part of the week, so on Wednesday afternoon, Canaan and I hopped in the car with Christie and Doris and made our way to Hickory, where we met up with…Read the rest of this entry →

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Hound Ears Competition 2010

Hound Ears Competition 2010

The beginning of October marks the start of one of my favorite times of the year – fall.  Warm days, cool nights, pretty leaves…and the Hound Ears Bouldering Comp!  For those of you that don’t know, Hound Ears is a private resort in Boone, NC filled with giant vacation homes.  The woods surrounding these gorgeous homes also just happen to boast some of the best bouldering in the region.  Though seldom taken advantage of by the residents, this rocky playground sits mostly untouched for every day of the year except for the first Saturday in October – when over 400…Read the rest of this entry →

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