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

Category Archives: Climbing

Posts about…you guessed it – climbing! Trip reports, anecdotes, and musings about my favorite recreational pasttime.

(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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Breaking the 5.13 Barrier!

Breaking the 5.13 Barrier!

This past weekend I hit a huge personal milestone for me.  Though my climbing journey has more or less featured slow and steady improvement over the last decade (“more” during times of focused training, “less” during times of pregnancy/newborns), it has been FIVE WHOLE YEARS since I have broken into a new number grade.  But that all changed this weekend!  It actually started this past spring on our kid-free anniversary weekend at Hidden Valley, VA.  We had decided that sans kids was the perfect opportunity to test out the hardman(woman) waters, so we went project shopping.  I was drawn to…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

A Weekend of Firsts at the New River Gorge

A Weekend of Firsts at the New River Gorge

This weekend was our second on e in a row spent at the New River Gorge, and it represented a game-changing milestone for our family – WE WENT BY OURSELVES.  Just us – mom, dad, and two kids.  To those not familiar with the logistical nightmare that comes with climbing with kids and might not see this as a big deal, let me break it down for you.  It has been 7 and a half YEARS since we have been able to climb without having to nail down any logistics with other people… Of those 7+ years, the first 3/3.5 were spent needing…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

(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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Spring Climbing Season Has Sprung!

Spring Climbing Season Has Sprung!

This past weekend represented the official “start” of spring climbing season for us.  The CragDaddy and I both came into the weekend with somewhat mixed emotions.  On the one hand, we were SO PSYCHED about the chance to get back on a rope, back up to the New River Gorge, and start spending our weekend on the rock again.  Ordinarily there are plenty of opportunities to get some climbing in during the winter on clear, calm days at south-facing crags (sun’s out, gun’s out!)  But this winter it seemed like it rained on just about every free weekend we had, and as…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Climbing Gym Workouts for Improving Endurance

Climbing Gym Workouts for Improving Endurance

January is a pretty popular time to start a training program for many people, what with the combination of New Year’s resolutions and falling off the exercise/healthy eating wagon over the holidays.  And for climbers, this time of the year is the perfect time to start building a training foundation with which to get ready for spring season.  A year ago at this time, I was starting my first training cycle with the Rock Climber’s Training Manual.  I saw great results from the program not only during the spring, but throughout the year, and I’m optimistic for similar gains this year. For…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Climbing in 2015 – The Year in Review

Climbing in 2015 – The Year in Review

For many of us, the end of a year marks a time to reflect on the goals we had for the previous year, as well as make new ones for the next year.  With regards to climbing, I’d left my goals for 2015 fairly open-ended, so as not to get bogged down with all the crazy logistics that go hand in hand with family craggin’.  I basically had 3 items on my list – take a “big” family climbing trip, find some 12c/d routes that played well to my strengths, and send some 12a/b’s that forced me to work on my weaknesses. Overall I’d…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Tenaya Demos: Triangle Rock Club and Stone Summit

Tenaya Demos: Triangle Rock Club and Stone Summit

One of my responsibilities as an athlete for Trango/Tenaya is providing shoe demos for various climbing gyms.  Most recently, I spent a Sunday in Morrisville, NC at Triangle Rock Club, as well as an evening at Stone Summit in Atlanta, GA. For me personally, the TRC demo marked the longest I’ve been separated from Baby Zu, who’s still nursing several times a day.  She did just fine at home with her brother and Super-Dad!  Both kiddos came with me to Atlanta, along with my mother-in-law.  While I was at the gym, they got the chance to spend time with an…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Big C’s First Project: Big Emotions, Little Body

Big C’s First Project: Big Emotions, Little Body

“BUT I WANTED TO SEND IT!!!!!!!!!”  A distraught Big C let out while fighting back big crocodile tears.  He was trying to put up a brave front on the way out of the climbing gym, but the waterworks let loose once we got to the car. It was the end of Day 2 of Big C’s very first “legit” bouldering project (ie, only using holds that are “on.”)  For a while now he’s been able to climb the easier routes in the gym using the intended holds, but bouldering had always been a free for all “rainbow” session, using any holds…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

How to Make Reachy Moves

How to Make Reachy Moves

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been shut down by a crux sequence because of a hold that is juuuuust out of reach.  Unless you are 7 feet tall, most of us should have our hands up at this point.  While it’s probably safe to say that a climber who is 5 feet tall probably deals with this more than one who is 6 feet tall, learning how to make long reaches is a skill that can benefit all climbers. Standing at 5’5″ tall, I’m certainly not short by female standards (average height for adult American female is 5’4″), although…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Hidden Valley Fundraiser!

Hidden Valley Fundraiser!

Tuesday night was a great one for the Charlotte climbing community.  It proved to me once again that NC climbers are a special group of people!  A few weeks ago, Garrett Gossett from the Charlotte Chapter of the American Alpine Club invite me to attend their next “Pint Night” to promote my new guidebook.  Once we put our heads together, we decided to take things a step further – why not turn this shindig into a fundraiser to benefit the Hidden Valley land acquisition? Sycamore Brewery was kind enough to host our event, and the Bleu Barn Bistro’s food truck was…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Rock Climber’s Training Manual: Performance Phase (aka RESULTS!)

Rock Climber’s Training Manual: Performance Phase (aka RESULTS!)

I’m writing this climbing-related post from just about as far away from the mountains as I can possibly get.  Hubby’s out of town on business, so me and the kiddos are taking the opportunity to hang out at my in-laws beach house in Sunset Beach, NC.  It’s the perfect way to enjoy my week of rest after wrapping up my very first Rock Prodigy training cycle. To catch up any new readers, since January I’ve been using the program outlined in the Rock Climber’s Training Manual, written by my fellow Trango athletes Mark and Mike Anderson.  This periodized program took me through 4…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Rock Climber’s Training Manual Part 2 – Power/Power Endurance

Rock Climber’s Training Manual Part 2 – Power/Power Endurance

A few weeks ago I posted about how things were going for me in first two phases (Base Fitness and Strength) of the Rock Prodigy Training Program.  Now that I’ve completed the latter two training phases (Power and Power Endurance), it seems appropriate to share another progress report. Power has never been my strong suit.  When I get shut down on a route/problem, it’s generally because I just cannot execute a particular move.  On the flip side, however, if I CAN do all the moves on a route, linking them together *usually* comes fairly quickly.  Bouldering at the gym has helped, as well…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Climbing with a 5 month old (Reader Question from Megan D.)

Climbing with a 5 month old (Reader Question from Megan D.)

When it comes to logistics of climbing with young kiddos, I’ve written about every age in the 5 and under set, sometimes more than once. But as my kids are growing (sigh), it’s easy for those posts to get lost in the archives, especially the itty-bitty-baby ones. So I thought I’d try something different with a question I received recently from Megan D out of Seattle, WA, about getting back into climbing with her 5 month old.  As I was digging through old posts, I realized that it might not be a bad idea to share her question with the masses –…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Crag-Daddy and the Morton’s Neuroma…

Crag-Daddy and the Morton’s Neuroma…

This title sounds like it could also double as a children’s book…but the illustrations would be disgusting and decidedly UN-kid-friendly, so I’ll keep it as a blog post only.  The idea for this blog post came to me about a month ago when my husband had what appeared to be a jalapeno pepper removed from the inside of his foot.  Yup, you heard that right.  In fact, here’s a picture of it… The “pepper” was actually a Morton’s Neuroma, and it turns out this condition is fairly common.  So I asked him to share a little bit about his experience…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Petzl MACCHU + BODY = Perfect Climbing Harness for Growing Kids (and GIVEAWAY!)

Petzl MACCHU + BODY = Perfect Climbing Harness for Growing Kids (and GIVEAWAY!)

It’s been a little over a year since Big C began to “for real” climb on our family outings.  While he’s still a little hit or miss in the outdoor realm (sometimes there’s not a suitable route for him to try, other times it’s more fun to dig in the dirt than put his harness on), I’ve made it a point to try and get him to the climbing gym at least once a week.  We don’t stay long – usually no more than 45 minutes or so, and that includes gearing up and down, and getting Baby Z situated…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Climbing Goals for 2015

Climbing Goals for 2015

Now that our family of 4 has settled into a new “normal,” it’s  tempting to try and make up for lost time with a mile long tick list for 2015.  But I still want to make sure my life stays balanced.  Family climbing time involves FAMILY first, CLIMBING second.  That means that when it  comes to planning climbing trips, there are far more logistics to consider than my own tick list.  That being said, here’s what I personally would be delighted to accomplish in 2015. Since we almost always climb as a party of 5+, (mom, dad, 2 kids, and 1 or…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

How to Keep Warm on Winter Climbing Days

How to Keep Warm on Winter Climbing Days

Contrary to popular “non-climber” belief, the best weather conditions for climbing often occur during cold weather.  The crux moves on your project on a hot (or worse yet, hot AND humid) summer day can easily feel several letter grades harder than it would on a cool, crisp winter day.  With that in mind, sending odds can sometimes be dramatically increased for those that are willing to brave the cold.  And while how cold is “too cold” to climb varies from person to person, here are some ideas for turning miserable, finger-numbing weather into perfect sending conditions.  (Unless of course you’re a mountaineer…in…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

The New Tenaya Tarifa is Here!

The New Tenaya Tarifa is Here!

I’ve found a new favorite shoe.  It’s called the Tenaya Tarifa.  It. Is. Awesome.  This shoe takes the term “versatility” to a whole new level.  It really can do it ALL…and comfortably! Let me back up a bit.  I first got a crack at these shoes a little over a month ago.  Although the addition of a 4th family member caused me to take a step back from working events and demos for the time being, the folks at Trango/Tenaya thankfully still love me enough to send me a care package of their newest products for fall – most notably,…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Climb Time for the Whole Family (What Works for Us!)

Climb Time for the Whole Family (What Works for Us!)

It’s my theory that eavesdropping on a family’s Sunday night dinner conversation is one of the quickest ways to figure out what’s most important to that family.  The weekend is over and everyone is setting their sights onto a new week, planning out the logistics of who’s doing what, when and how.  Which activities/events are the first up for discussion?  You know, those things that you want to MAKE time for, despite how busy you are?  Each family’s discussion will be different of course, but the logistical conversations are often the same – how to make sure ______ gets to…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Cragmama’s Featured #Kidcrushers (Issue 4)

Cragmama’s Featured #Kidcrushers (Issue 4)

The summer may be drawing to a close, but the crushing still continues for kids all around the country!  This month’s featured climbers are an impressive bunch.  Read on to be inspired by folks a fraction of your own age, and to hear more about this month’s sponsored prize from Bearded Brothers.  This little lady (who also happens to be part of the Bearded Bros family!) recently tied in for the very first time outside! Next up is Sage, gettin’ it done on Loch Ness Monster (5.11b), at Bath Rock, Idaho. Check out @TeamMesaRim kiddos Sebastian (climber), and Adam (up…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

‘Hey Girl’ Memes for Climbing Mamas…

‘Hey Girl’ Memes for Climbing Mamas…

Unless youv’e been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you’ve probably seen a few Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” memes.  (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here.)  Well, I had to laugh out loud last week when I was browsing through my RSS feeds and stumbled across a gem of a post from Brendan Leonard over at Semi-Rad.com – “‘Hey Girl’ Memes for Outdoorsy Women.”  It kept a smile on my face the rest of the afternoon, and from the response on Cragmama’s facebook page, you all enjoyed it as well!  Yet while…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Bouldering Circuits: A Quickie Power Endurance Workout

Bouldering Circuits: A Quickie Power Endurance Workout

 Thanks to a loving husband and a (for the most part) cooperative baby, I’ve been able to consistently get to the gym 2-3 times per week starting around 2 weeks postpartum.  But when I go and how much time I have is always up in the air.  Sometimes I know up front that I only have 45 minutes to acquire a good pump…other times I go in thinking I have an hour and a half, only to have my workout cut short by a screaming baby.  If efficiency was an important component to my climbing workouts with just one kiddo,…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Cragmama’s Featured #KidCrushers – Round 1

Cragmama’s Featured #KidCrushers – Round 1

A couple of weeks ago I sent out an “all call” for parents to send in inspiring photos of their children gettin’ it done on the rocks.  The response was amazing! Within just a few days time, my email inbox and instagram feed was overflowing with shots of some outrageously cool kids. Don’t believe me?  Check’em out for yourself! Here’s 11 year old Jacob M. from Charlotte, NC seconding his way up Hidden Cracks (5.7) at Table Rock, NC. And 7 year old Ella R. recently took to the sharp end for her first lead on Pro-wire (5.5) in Guadalest, Spain…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Crag Naps 101: Sleeping Tips for Outdoor Climbing Adventures

Crag Naps 101:  Sleeping Tips for Outdoor Climbing Adventures

During those early months, a baby can only be awake for so long before turning into a cranky pumpkin.  That’s why it’s no wonder that the number one way to ensure more outdoor climbing time is to figure out how to get your tiny bundle of joy to crag-nap effectively.  But that, of course, is easier said than done!  So for those of you who want to spend a family day at the crag but are intimidated by all of the sleeping logistics, read on… Some parts of a climbing day lend themselves to napping better than others, so use…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

New Blog Series: #KidCrushers (with Prizes from ClifKid!)

New Blog Series: #KidCrushers (with Prizes from ClifKid!)

As the weather warms up, it seems like a lot of climbing moms and dads are starting to get their kiddos out on the rock more and more.  And more time on the rock means more quality family time and adventure milestones.  Whether it’s first leads, first multi-pitches, or just a first time tying in, there’s been a lot to celebrate recently.  And I’m sure that this “kid-crusher” phenomenon isn’t limited to my own network of friends and acquaintances.  So since the whole premise behind the Cragmama blog is about encouraging “adventures big and small,” I’d like to start recognizing…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Easter Egg Huntin’ at the Climbing Gym

Easter Egg Huntin’ at the Climbing Gym

Last year we spent the Saturday before Easter hiding eggs for Big C within the pocketed walls of Crowders Mountain, while the grown-ups got their climb on.  (And ironically looking back at that old trip report, I see that Big C is wearing the exact same Thomas the Train jammies…)  Now that Big C is a bona fide roped climber in his own right, our plan this year was to move our egg hunt higher than 5 feet off the ground, hiding his eggs within the nooks and crannies of actual climbing routes.  We’d been looking forward to it all…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Interview with Fellow Cragmama Melissa Love

Interview with Fellow Cragmama Melissa Love

Through this blog, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to interview a lot of really strong and inspiring mamas out there – today’s interview with fellow Trango athlete Melissa Love is no exception!  And since HER family dynamic is similar to what OUR family dynamic is going to be in just a couple of weeks, her story is especially interesting to me.  Read on to find out how cool she is… Name:  Melissa LoveCrag-kiddos:  Two sons, 4 and 1.Currently in: Boulder, COClimbing for: 20+ years Favorite Climbing Area:  Rifle Canyon, CO.  It works out great that Rifle happens to be…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Slab Climbing Lessons – Both Literal and Metaphorical…

Slab Climbing Lessons – Both Literal and Metaphorical…

Ah, slab climbing.  Levitating your body up a lower-angled section of rock while relying almost entirely upon the friction created between the rock and the rubber on your climbing shoes – actual holds are few and far between, and after a hard day of slabbin’ it’s your calves that are sore rather than your guns.  Most people either love it or hate it, but regardless of which side of the spectrum you fall in, everyone can usually agree that there’s no better teacher for learning to trust your feet. As for me, though I don’t want a steady diet of…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

New Offerings From Trango: Antidote Rope Bag and Cord Trapper (and GIVEAWAY!)

New Offerings From Trango: Antidote Rope Bag and Cord Trapper (and GIVEAWAY!)

In the past 2 years I’ve been signed on with Trango, one of the things I’ve come to love about this company is their innovation and creativity in product design.  They see a problem, and they devise a product to fix it in a practical way.  If you want an auto-locking belay device that also feeds rope smoothly, the Cinch is for you.  If you want a pair of aggressive shoes that can still smear once you pull over that burly roof and onto the face, the Oasi’s are a perfect choice.  And this “problem-solving” mindset is not just limited…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

The Mountain Mama by Mad Rock: A Pregnancy Climbing Harness!

The Mountain Mama by Mad Rock: A Pregnancy Climbing Harness!

With my first child I was blessed to have a relatively easy pregnancy, and was delighted that I never had to stop climbing.  My original plan had been to climb until it became uncomfortable and stopped being fun…but that never happened, and my last session ended up being at the gym less than 48 hours before my son was welcomed into the world!  That’s not to say that I was climbing at my pre-pregnancy intensity, or that I didn’t make any changes to my routine.  I listened to my body and took it easy when I needed to, and stopped…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Climbing Mantras From a Toddler

Climbing Mantras From a Toddler

Sometimes as climbers it’s easy to get bogged down with training philosophies, number chasing, or even just overzealous trip planning.  All of those things have their place, but too much focus on any of them can lead to burn-out pretty quickly.  Every now and then it’s good to take a step back and remember the basics of climbing… 1.  Climbing should be fun.  If it’s not, pick a another route.  Or do something else different entirely.2.  Sometimes climbing is easy.  When it’s easy, relax and enjoy it.  3.  Sometimes climbing is hard.  When it’s hard, you have to try hard.…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

2013 Year in Review and Climbing Hit List for 2014

2013 Year in Review and Climbing Hit List for 2014

This time of year in my climbing journey always involves a lot of reflection.  I look back on how well I accomplished my goals for the past year, and I look forward to setting new goals for the upcoming year.  But as soon as I saw two lines on a pregnancy test last June, it’s fair to say that my list of climbing projects got put on the backburner.  Pregnancy is obviously not the time to explore your limits.  That being said, I “failed” miserably at crossing off even half of what I set out to do on my 2013…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Rock Climbing and Pregnancy: What Changes to Expect

Rock Climbing and Pregnancy: What Changes to Expect

A lot of folks assume that rock climbing and pregnancy go together about as good as ants and a picnic.  However, with one pregnancy under my belt, and well on my way to completing a second, I can honestly say that climbing can be a healthy and enjoyable prenatal activity.  That being said, just as not all women should attempt to run/bike/yoga during pregnancy, climbing is not for everyone.  But if rock climbing is an activity that you engaged in on a regular basis before becoming pregnant, it’s an activity that is perfectly acceptable to continue for most women.  (Disclaimer:…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Our Family’s 15 Minutes of (Local) Fame!

Our Family’s 15 Minutes of (Local) Fame!

 Some of you may recall a Cragmama facebook post a few weeks ago that mentioned our family being interviewed by our local NBC TV station at our climbing gym, Inner Peaks.  The producer’s idea was to create a hopefully endearing story about how climbing has been a family affair for us – first as a couple, then as a family of 3, and now as a soon-to-be family of 4.   The shoot took a little over an hour on a weekday morning, and entailed us all being interviewed individually (including a chat with C as he was tying in…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Pregnancy Update: Weeks 19-26

Pregnancy Update: Weeks 19-26

Today marks 27 weeks of pregnancy, aka the 3rd (and final!) trimester.  Although I certainly hope she stays cooking in there for at least another 2 months or so, if my little girl were to be born now, she’d have a 90%  chance of survival – wild, huh?!?  Anyway, here’s a look back at the last 8 weeks of my 2nd trimester, from an activity/training perspective… Week 19 – I found myself partner-less at the gym this week, and since I’m past the stage where I feel comfortable bouldering, I had to get creative on the auto-belays in order to get…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

The Murky Ethical Waters of Onsight Climbing…

The Murky Ethical Waters of Onsight Climbing…

Nothing earns you more street cred in the climbing world than an onsight near your limit.  Because let’s face it, figuring things out on the fly is hard!  Odds are good that on your first time through, you’re gonna botch a few sequences, or at the very least, do them less efficiently than you would if you were more familiar with the route.  Once you’ve touched all the holds you start to piece the route together in chunks, and can usually make a better plan of attack (figure out clipping stances, find rests and shake-out spots, etc).  Not to mention…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

The NEW Tenaya Oasi: Comfort + Performance = Climbing Shoe Perfection!

The NEW Tenaya Oasi: Comfort + Performance = Climbing Shoe Perfection!

It’s been almost a year to the date that I traded in my La Sportiva Miuras for a whole fleet of Tenayas – Tatanka for overhanging terrain, Masai for technical edging, and Ra for everything in between.  To be honest, I’ve never looked back.  My experience with the product as well as the company has been nothing but top-notch, so I’m thrilled that Tenaya is adding yet another great shoe to their line-up!   At this point I’ve done a wide variety of demo’s – at the New, at the Red, and at various climbing gyms across the Southeast.  And…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Crag-Family Interview: A Family Affair!

Crag-Family Interview: A Family Affair!

If you’ve been following the recent kid-crushage that’s been happening up at the Red River Gorge this spring, you might recognize one of the names in today’s family interview.  In fact, Deadpoint Magazine recently wrote an article on this family after 12 year old Harry ticked his hardest send to date – Southern Smoke (5.14c).  Fortunately, the Edwards’ also agreed to answer some of my questions about family life at the crag as well.  Here’s what they had to say when I caught up with them via email… Names: Rob (44), Jennifer (37), Samantha (15), Harry (12), Preston (9) From:…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Keeping Elbow Tendonitis at Bay with Armaid (plus a GIVEAWAY!)

Keeping Elbow Tendonitis at Bay with Armaid (plus a GIVEAWAY!)

While there are any number of items you might expect to see passed around a campfire on a chilly spring evening in the middle of the Red River Gorge, a wacky-looking contraption designed to massage one’s forearms is probably not first on the list.  But that’s just what happened at our campsite on our most recent trip to the Red.  Why?  If you assumed it was due to overindulging in one of the many other items that are more commonly passed around a campfire, you’d be wrong again.   Let me back up.  Steve and I first discovered the Armaid…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Sending a Family Project: Flash Point (5.11d)

Sending a Family Project:  Flash Point (5.11d)

This weekend the hubby and I had the unique opportunity to send a project together, one that was equally meaningful to us both, but for very different reasons.  For Steve, Flash Point was about redemption.  After a pretty successful toprope run this past January, he tied in on the sharp end with no expectations and shocked everyone (but probably himself the most!) by making it through the first two cruxes clean before pumping out one move before a good rest 80 feet up.  After jugging back up he found some better holds that probably would have kept him on had…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Fellow Cragmama Charmagne Cox: Inspiration Multiplied!

Fellow Cragmama Charmagne Cox: Inspiration Multiplied!

A lot of times I wonder if the only reason our family has remained as active and adventurous as we have is because we have just one child…Then I met Charmagne Cox.  Her inspiring story leaves no question as to whether or not its possible to continue recreational pursuits with multiples…and by multiples I don’t just mean multiple children, I mean MULTIPLES.  As in TRIPLETS.  Let that sink in for a moment – 3 kids to carry in to the crag (in addition to all of your climbing gear), 3 kids to get down for a nap at the base…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Rocks For Research – An Inner Peaks Fundraiser

Rocks For Research – An Inner Peaks Fundraiser

This past weekend I had an awesome opportunity to participate in Rocks for Research, a fundraiser event at Inner Peaks Climbing Center.  In a matter of hours, we raised more than $10,000 dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)!  As volunteer coordinator,  I had the chance to work behind the scenes with an amazing crew of hard-working folks.  I also got to represent Trango/Tenaya with a shoe demo, which is always fun (shout outs to Steve Lineberry and David Barbour for helping get shoes on stinky climber feet!).     Despite an emergency evacuation inside due to rain, the…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Indoor Climbing vs. Outdoor Climbing

Indoor Climbing vs. Outdoor Climbing

“I finally sent that green route in the lead cave!” I announce to the fam gleefully over dinner.  After a few rounds of high-fives and “cheers” (C’s favorite dinner pastime of late), I proceed to re-enact my crux beta over my plate of  chicken, while Steve nods in understanding and C spills his water accidentally on purpose.  This conversation is actually not unlike the ones we have after a day outside cranking on real rock, either on the hike out or with our climbing partners over an outrageous amount of food.  Both contain elements of  challenge, perseverance, and hopefully success every now and then.  But…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

How to be a Great Belayer

How to be a Great Belayer

There’s a whole host of resources available online and in print aimed at how to successfully climb harder, stronger, higher.  However, there’s only a fraction of information available for another crucial, yet often overlooked skill that is vital to every good send: the art of belaying.  Sure, most climbers, even newbies, have a basic knowledge of how the belay system works, and understand how to use a belay device of their choosing.  They can most likely pass a belay test at their local gym and can handle the number one priority for a belayer – keep the climber off the ground.  That’s good. …Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Life Lessons You Can Learn From a Rock Climber

Life Lessons You Can Learn From a Rock Climber

The writer in me loves metaphors and analogies, which is one reason why I love writing about climbing.  Time and time again I’ve been able to apply concepts from the rock climbing world to my life as a mother, wife, and friend.  What a lot of non-climbers don’t realize is that there are actually several different disciplines, or styles, of climbing – some of us may have an end goal to climb Mt. Everest, whereas others of us may aspire to touch every piece of local rock that we can.  Each discipline has a different set of values, ethics, and…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

3 Ways to TRY HARDER So You Can CLIMB HARDER!

3 Ways to TRY HARDER So You Can CLIMB HARDER!

This just in: If you try harder, you can climb harder!  At first glance, this might seem glaringly obvious, but it was rather eye-opening for me a few weeks ago after my hubby (tactfully) pointed out that it looked like I “gave up before I even tried” on a route that was giving me trouble at the New River Gorge.  That statement prompted a very reflective and enlightening discussion on the drive home that caused me to develop a new mantra for pushing my limits on the rock.  And though simple, I’ve already seen improvements from it, so it seemed worth sharing!  Basically it all boils down to the mantra of…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Hit List 2013

Hit List 2013

With 2012 in the archives, it’s time to look forward to another year…and another Hit List!  Each time I write out a year’s worth of climbing goals, I get a little bit nervous.  What if I fail?  What if I am nowhere close to any of these goals by the end of the year?  The truth is, that could easily happen.  Maybe the logistics don’t cooperate for me to be able to put in the time needed to cross some of these routes off.  Or worse, maybe I’m able to invest plenty of time into a project, and still come up short!  Goal-setting can be…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Finding Success in Failure (aka No More “Whining”)

Finding Success in Failure (aka No More “Whining”)

This past Sunday marked Day 3 of work on my most recent climbing project at my local crag, Crowders Mountain.  This route was one that I had picked out for my Hit List for 2o12 – The Whining (5.11d).  I chose it not only because it’s an area classic, but because it specifically plays to my weaknesses – a one-move wonder, go-go-gadget-reach style crux.  The route only officially goes at 5.11d, but the running joke is that for every inch you are under 5.8, it’s a letter grade harder.  Most are able to make the long reach by utilizing a…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Twelve 5.12’s in 2012 – and Fashion Makes it a Dozen!

Twelve 5.12’s in 2012 – and Fashion Makes it a Dozen!

Some of you may be familiar with my quest for “Twelve 5.12’s in 2012” this year.  For those of you that aren’t, here’s the skinny…At the tail end of last year I managed to eek my way through my very first 5.12a (TKO at Crowder’s Mountain) for the “send.”  (Non-climber translation: leading a route from the ground-up with no hangs or falls on the rope)  With one under my belt, the next logical step was to establish myself a little more firmly within the 5.12 grade.  I figured averaging one per month would be a reasonable expectation.  Plus, twelve 5.12’s…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

H.I.T Hard, Crank Harder…

H.I.T Hard, Crank Harder…

I’ve had a number of requests recently for some more posts about training, especially from fellow female climbers.  So it seemed fitting to share about my somewhat recent experiences with HIT Strips.  A little late, but better late than never!  HIT Strips, aka Hypergravity Isolation Training, are a training protocol developed nearly a decade ago by guru Eric Horst, author of numerous training for climbing books.  What prompted me to hop on the strips?  Summer in the Southeast, as you are probably aware, is not known for it’s sending conditions.  Heat and humidity is at an all-time high, causing both…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

A Pilot Mountain Legend: Lloyd Ramsey…

A Pilot Mountain Legend: Lloyd Ramsey…

This is the second time in under a month that I have had to post about the loss of a North Carolina climber.  It’s definitely not getting easier, and I certainly don’t want to make this a habit.  This one really hits me hard because Lloyd Ramsey is someone whom I knew very well.  In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve climbed at Pilot Mountain and haven’t ran into him.  Lloyd was a staple figure at the park, and anyone who has climbed in the area with any amount of regularity would recognize him.   Not…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Trango in da House – and on the Trad Wall!

Trango in da House – and on the Trad Wall!

I’ve probably said it before, but one of the best parts about climbing is the people who do it – they tend to be pretty fun to hang out with.  Thankfully our local climbing gym, Inner Peaks (IP for the cool folk…), figured this out a while ago, as evidenced in the member parties they have several times per year.  Even though our family has only been in Charlotte for a little over a year, we’ve had a chance to check out the party scene at IP more than a few times, and we’ve never come away disappointed.  This one…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

TRANGO Cinch – A Belayer’s Best Friend

TRANGO Cinch – A Belayer’s Best Friend

So let’s say hypothetically that your favorite climbing partner’s birthday was coming up, and you were looking for the perfect gift to give to the person that holds your life in their hands week after week.  You could probably be successful with the token REI gift card or treat them to a post-climbing feast – climbers generally aren’t that hard to please.  But if you wanted to be a little more selfish efficient in your gift-giving, you would do well to consider the TRANGO Cinch, as odds are it’ll make you both happy.  Why your belayer will like it… –…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Lessons Learned from the Fifth Planeteer – aka Groove is in the Heart

Lessons Learned from the Fifth Planeteer – aka Groove is in the Heart

For those of you readers that are on the other side of 30, you may remember a TV show called Captain Planet.  The heroes of this kid’s series were 5 environmental good guys, known as “planeteers,” each possessing a magic ring that controlled an element of nature (earth, wind, water, fire) that they would use in their valiant battle against pollution.  Then there was the fifth guy – his magic ring supposedly gave him the power of “Heart.”  As kids we always thought this guy was dorky – the other planeteers were all much more suave and cool.  In fact I…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

RokRok Chalkbags Review

RokRok Chalkbags Review

Want an example of perfect timing?  I was contacted by Leilani Pierson, the beauty and the brains behind RokRok Chalkbags, just a few days before our climbing trip to Tennessee.  She asked if I’d be willing to choose any bag I wanted from her collection of gorgeous, handmade chalkbags, to review here on the site.  Begrudgingly, I said yes.  Just kidding.  Of course I jumped at the chance, especially once I saw how amazing and unique each bag was – I had a really hard time deciding on just one, so I listed a couple of favorites for Leilani to…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Cameron and Jonathan Horst – aka the Send Brothers!

Cameron and Jonathan Horst – aka the Send Brothers!

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve done any interviews, so I figured the best way to make up for lost time was to bring you two interviews for the price of one!  Prepare to be absolutely amazed (and also a little bit sheepish, since these boys are more than likely hiking laps up your projects for their warm-ups…)  Cameron and Jonathan Horst (or Cam and Jon for short) are the sons of training guru Eric Horst, author of numerous books on climbing-specific training, including the well-known titles “How to Climb 5.12,” and “Training for Climbing.”  I first met…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

The Smoo(oooooo)th Quickdraw from TRANGO

The Smoo(oooooo)th Quickdraw from TRANGO

Trango has a new quickdraw called the “Smooth Quickdraw.”  To be honest, my initial thought was that their marketing department must not have been trying very hard. I mean, when you call something “smooth,” all you’re really saying is that said object has a continuous, even surface, free of bumps or ridges, right? If that’s our working definition, then every quickdraw I’ve ever owned would be considered “smooth.” It seemed like Trango’s naming system was similar to those people that name boulder problems based on some obvious, over-used characteristic (“The Arete,” “The Egg,”, or “Big Crack.”)  Descriptive, yes.  Creative, not so…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Indoor Training Tips: Triple Intervals

Indoor Training Tips:  Triple Intervals

I’ll be the first to admit, it’s hard to get in a good (and efficient) workout at the climbing gym with Cragbaby flitting around like the social butterfly that he is.  The days when we could time our gym time with a nap in a stroller are long gone, as are the days when we could barricade C with crash pads under an overhang.  To be honest, I’ve been pretty indifferent towards the climbing gym for the past year or so.  Yeah it’s a fun place to go, but out of the 4-6 hours that I spend there every week, how…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

A Weekend of Projects – Part 2 (Pilot Mountain)

A Weekend of Projects – Part 2 (Pilot Mountain)

I mentioned in my last post that I’d be separating the weekend out into two posts, since each day was so different from the other.  I thought it would be fun to change things up a bit, so rather than the typical play-by-play trip report, I thought I’d focus on “projects.”  For those non-climbers out there, the term “projecting” is used to describe the process that one goes through to successfully redpoint a route near or at their limit.  A route is considered “sent” (aka redpointed) when the climber is able to lead the route from bottom to top (bringing the rope up with them…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Slabster’s Lament 5.12a/b – The Lament is Over…

Slabster’s Lament 5.12a/b – The Lament is Over…

Every now and then a route deserves to be memorialized by a post all to itself. In the case of Heresy (5.11c) out at the Obed, it was because of my first impression of it when I first laid eyes on it, several years before I was strong enough to even think about sending it. With Dave the Dude (5.11d), it was because the line was just that good – not only was it a classic in every sense of the word, but it was a culminating finale to a fantastic trip in the Red River Gorge, and thinking about…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Tales of a Broken Talus – 7 Lessons Learned.

Tales of a Broken Talus – 7 Lessons Learned.

So it’s been 75 days since my ankle went snap, crackle, pop on an otherwise delightful winter afternoon at the crag.  Since then I have been on a rather emotional roller coaster ride of thoughts, feelings, and mental processing.  Thankfully for me however (as well as everyone who has to put up with me on a daily basis…), that roller coaster has slowed down substantially in the last few weeks as my life has slowly but surely crept back to “normal.”  Looking back throughout the recovery process, Ive realized that this whole ordeal has been quite a learning experience for me, so I…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

PETZL Helmet Campaign – Round 2!

PETZL Helmet Campaign – Round 2!

Those of you that have been loyal readers for a while now may remember a post I did last October about my stance on helmet usage, as part of a Helmet Campaign from Petzl and their marketing guys over at Pemba Serves.  It certainly got quite the response – 107 comments even!  While I’d like to assume it was my literary prowess and creative wordsmith-ery that compelled such a reaction, in truth I must admit that it probably had more to do with the fact that Petzl was giving away a free helmet to one lucky commenter.  Excerpts of my post were melted into…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Cragbaby Crushes -“Up the Down”(V0-)

Cragbaby Crushes -“Up the Down”(V0-)

Just because I’m stuck in a boot and restricted to three-limbed toproping doesn’t mean Cragbaby is taking it easy.  In fact,  this past Saturday he’s taken his projecting to a whole new level!  C had been working on the down climb from the free-standing boulder at Inner Peaks off and on for a while now, but at best his motivation could be considered sporadic.  His usual modus operandi was to get a couple of feet off the ground and then announce that he was “All Done.”  He would then go back to his other favorite climbing gym activities – brushing off holds,…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Misty Mountain Threadworks: A Review

Misty Mountain Threadworks:  A Review

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Mike Grimm, owner of Misty Mountain Threadworks.  He asked if he could make me a harness, and after hemming and hawing for a while, I told him I’d have to think about it…Just kidding, of course I jumped on the offer!  Misty Mountain is a well-respected local company that has been around for quite a while.  They have a reputation for not only developing superior products, but also for a committment to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. After a few emails back and forth followed by some detailed instructions regarding…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

2012 Hit List

2012 Hit List

Although a large part of what makes crag days special involves the amazing people I’m with and the spectacular setting we’re in, another big part of it for me is the personal satisfaction that comes from working towards and achieving goals that I’ve set for myself.  Sometimes those goals revolve around specific routes, grades, and/or areas, and other times they are more vague (ie, getting better at _______ technique).  Other times they are things that are personally applicable to me in my current life phase.  For example, during my pregnancy I challenged myself to see how many weeks into my…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Guidebook Update – Stories from the Stone Age

Guidebook Update – Stories from the Stone Age

In between bouts of Familial Invasions, I spent the majority of Christmas Break working on the Stone Mountain section of the guidebook – confirming topos, writing descriptions, researching previous guidebooks, and of course, squeezing in as much climbing as possible.  After a cloudy day at Pilot that never quite warmed up enough, I was relieved to drive into the parking lot at Stone the next day under a beautiful blue, sunny sky.  Publisher Bill and I got to work on photographing routes and double-checking the lay of the land for the topos on the South Face for the first couple…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

The Hit List for 2011 – The Year in Review

The Hit List for 2011 – The Year in Review

I mentioned before Christmas that the first week in January was going to be celebrated as “Highlight Week” here at Cragmama.  It seemed appropriate to kick things off with the Hit List.  Some of you may remember  my 2011 Hit List that I published last March, where I listed 10 goals (some very specific, some rather general) that I had my sights set on for the year.  I remember at first being a bit hesitant about posting them for the world to see, since I wasn’t entirely sure that some of the objectives were even in my realm of ability.…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Guidebook Update: Pilot Progress

Guidebook Update:  Pilot Progress

Although my attempts to work on route descriptions at Stone Mountain were waylaid by the storm front that moved in on Thursday night, my day spent at Pilot Mountain on Thursday was well worth the drive on a variety of levels!  Originally Bill Webster (aka guidebook publisher) asked me to join in on a meeting he had lined up with the park staff to talk about access.  He figured some of the information discussed would be prudent to the guide, and also said we could work together on double-checking my descriptions and taking pictures when the meeting was finished. I’ve…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Somebody Broke the Off-Season Rule…

Somebody Broke the Off-Season Rule…

…and it wasn’t me.  I’ll give you a hint – he’s just over 2 feet tall and 25 pounds of sheer energy.  Yep, that’s right.  While hubby and I have both been very diligent and committed to our 3 weeks of rest, Cragbaby has been literally climbing the walls, flaunting his young muscles that have yet to discover the need for rest days. Household bouldering is anything but a new phenomenon for C.  He’s been projecting various items around the house such as chairs, stairs, tables, and shelves since he was around 5 months old.  In fact, I even found…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Choosing an Off-season – aka The Importance of Rest

Choosing an Off-season – aka The Importance of Rest

What’s the best part about being a climber in the Southeast?  Climbing is a year round sport!  What’s the worst part about being a climber in the Southeast?  There’s no off-season… I grew up in a family that followed multiple sports – baseball, basketball, volleyball…pretty much everything but football.  (And thankfully my hubby never got into football either – which works out well since football season also brings some of the best weather weekends of the year!)  I remember that my “favorite” sport would always be whatever sport was currently in season at the time.  I remember anxiously awaiting the…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

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 →

Share

Dave the Dude 5.11d – From a Dudette’s Perspective…

Dave the Dude 5.11d – From a Dudette’s Perspective…

While every climbing trip we take involves fun and uniqeness, not every trip contains a moment like this one.  It’s 5 days later as I write this and my heart still skips a beat when I think about this line.  When I first sat down to write up my trip report from last week’s trip to the Red, I knew Dave the Dude deserved way more love than a brief mention in a weekend recap, so I decided to memorialize it as a Classic Climb. Just like the old adage that says you can’t judge a book by its cover,…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Guidebook Work Day: Enjoyment High, Productivity Low, Sans Cragbaby!

Guidebook Work Day: Enjoyment High, Productivity Low, Sans Cragbaby!

While admittedly that title might be a little extreme, the Moore’s Wall Guidebook Photo Extravaganza certainly did not go as planned. The original plan was to meet up with my favorite photographer, Manuela, on Thursday morning at Moore’s Wall. Our goal was to photograph as much of the cliffline as we could and spend the night with family in Winston-Salem, so that we could not only wrap up route photos on Friday, but also walk the cliff with Carolina Climbers Coalition president Scott Gilliam so that he could show us some undocumented lines. Our plans started unraveling long about Wednesday…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

The Highlight Reel…

The Highlight Reel…

If you’ve ever climbed with our family, then you’ve probably experienced the end of day mental pat on the back otherwise known as The Highlight Reel. It’s a long time tradition that Steve and I established years ago, back when we first started climbing. At first it was just something we talked about with each other on the way home from the crag. We gradually introduced it to our other climbing partners and it just sort of took on a life of its own… Here’s how it works. After a hopefully long and fun-filled day at the crag, each person…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

How to Use Your Stick Clip (a Collaboration with the Crag-Daddy)

How to Use Your Stick Clip (a Collaboration with the Crag-Daddy)

For those of you that remember my recent post a few weeks ago regarding the DIY stick clip, you may also remember that I promised a subsequent post on how to use your handy dandy new pole.  (Or you may have forgotten all about it since it’s taken us so long to finally take these videos…sorry about that).   Anway, since my hubby prides himself in his mastery of stick clip tricks (and while I have no trouble hanging a draw, compared to Steve my “trick” skills are that of a mere apprentice), an instructional post like this was right up his…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

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 →

Share

Cold, Sleet, Snow, and Generosity…but No Bouldering.

Cold, Sleet, Snow, and Generosity…but No Bouldering.

Ah, fall.  Always ushered in for our household by the first Saturday in October, where we head up to the High Country of western North Carolina with the other “pad people” to pretend that we are pebble-wrestlers (aka boulderers).  Even though roped climbing is more of our “thing” (as is evident by anyone seeing hearing me on a mantle topout), we like to get our boulder on occasionally as well, and ALWAYS on this particular Saturday for the Hound Ears Bouldering Competition.  This annual shindig is the first in a series of 3 comps collectively known as the Triple Crown. …Read the rest of this entry →

Share

Helmets – Heck No or Essential Pro? (and a GIVEAWAY!!!)

Helmets – Heck No or Essential Pro? (and a GIVEAWAY!!!)

This is a post about brain buckets, aka helmets.  And guess what – in honor of Petzl’s October Helmet Campaign, I’ve been authorized to sponsor a free giveaway of a Petzl Elia  or Elios (winner’s choice) to one lucky reader, courtesy of the folks over at Pemba Serves.  Interested?  Read on… The majority of climbers have helmets – the real question is does it ever end up on your head, or is it merely dead weight in your backpack?  The subject of helmets can be a controversial one for some climbers – it seems as though there are two extremes,…Read the rest of this entry →

Share

To Stick or Not to Stick (Clip)…

To Stick or Not to Stick (Clip)…

What is long, collapsible, assembled from a seemingly random assortment of items from the local Home Depot, and always within arm’s reach of most bolt-clipping sport monkeys?  If you answered stick clip, you’d be mostly correct…add in the word MACK-DADDY and you’d be right on!  For my non-climber readers who think I’m talking about a strange way to interact with zoo animals, here’s a quick primer in Sport Climbing 101… A route is designated as “sport” if the line is protected by bolts every so many feet all the way to the top.  The first climber (leader) ties into the…Read the rest of this entry →

Share