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Category Archives: North Carolina

Tweakend for the Weekend

Tweakend for the Weekend

“Mommy, what’s ‘bolt to bolting’ mean?” my 9 year old son asked me.  I hadn’t realized he had been listening to my conversation.  I was lounging at the base of the cliff, trying to summon the energy to give my project one last go before hiking out.  I was exhausted.  It had been a roller coaster of a day, hiking in to find ourselves in the midst of a foggy, misty drizzle that had made our slab warm-up a lot more exciting than we’d wanted.  Surprisingly enough, however, conditions on the 12 wall were primo.  The routes were steep enough…Read the rest of this entry →

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Spring: Here’s Where Things Stand.

Spring: Here’s Where Things Stand.

Spring climbing season is always a little more finicky than fall. The weather is more of a gamble, and conditions are decidedly better at the beginning of the season (when you’re at your weakest) versus the end (when you’re at your strongest.) This is the opposite of fall, when conditions are steadily improving at (hopefully) the same pace you are. That said, completing your spring projects before the summer heat sets in usually becomes a race against rapidly deteriorating conditions. This is typically the point in the spring where I realize there are so many good routes, and so little…Read the rest of this entry →

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Spring Has Sprung!

Spring Has Sprung!

I generally don’t write blog posts for a ho-hum day trip to Pilot Mountain.  Nothing personal against Pilot Mountain, it’s just that by this point, most of the lines there fall into one of three categories for me: done it and already written about it, done it but it’s not worth writing about, or still working on it with nothing new to report!   But this weekend I got to try a line that, for some reason or another, I’d skipped over back in the day when Pilot was among our regular weekend haunts.  It’s actually just an alternate start to…Read the rest of this entry →

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(Spry) Look, it’s Winter!

(Spry) Look, it’s Winter!

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

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Spring Climbing Grand Finale…and Time for a Break!

Spring Climbing Grand Finale…and Time for a Break!

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

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A Weekend Escape to the NC High Country

A Weekend Escape to the NC High Country

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

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Hawksbill Round 2: A New Personal Best!

Hawksbill Round 2: A New Personal Best!

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

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New Project at Hawksbill Mountain

New Project at Hawksbill Mountain

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

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

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

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

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Big C’s First Slab Climbing Adventure

Big C’s First Slab Climbing Adventure

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

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A Crag-Date in the High Country

A Crag-Date in the High Country

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

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

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

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

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Gettin’ High Off the Ground in Linville Gorge

Gettin’ High Off the Ground in Linville Gorge

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

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Hidden Wall and a New Camera

Hidden Wall and a New Camera

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

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3 Climbing Milestones in 1 Weekend!

3 Climbing Milestones in 1 Weekend!

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

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Sauratown and The Amazing Joe (5.12b)

Sauratown and The Amazing Joe (5.12b)

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

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A “Fashion-able” Day of Climbing

A “Fashion-able” Day of Climbing

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

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MLK Weekend Climbing

MLK Weekend Climbing

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

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Family Climbing to End/Start the Year

Family Climbing to End/Start the Year

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

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Two Random Climbing Adventures

Two Random Climbing Adventures

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

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Adventures in the High Country…and First Postpartum 5.12!

Adventures in the High Country…and First Postpartum 5.12!

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

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Hound Ears Competition: Bouldering and an ER Visit

Hound Ears Competition: Bouldering and an ER Visit

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

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Crowders Mountain…and an Ode to an Old Blue Backpack

Crowders Mountain…and an Ode to an Old Blue Backpack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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First Experience Craggin’ as a Family of 4!

First Experience Craggin’ as a Family of 4!

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

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

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

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

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Holiday Crankin’ at Rocky Face Park – 30 Weeks Pregnant

Holiday Crankin’ at Rocky Face Park – 30 Weeks Pregnant

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

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Another Round of Pilot Mountain – 22 Weeks Pregnant

Another Round of Pilot Mountain – 22 Weeks Pregnant

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

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Spring Egg-stravaganza at Crowders Mountain!

Spring Egg-stravaganza at Crowders Mountain!

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

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Hidden Wall: Where the Party’s At…

Hidden Wall: Where the Party’s At…

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

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An Equal Opportunity Climbing Weekend

An Equal Opportunity Climbing Weekend

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

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A Little Bit of Holiday Crankin’

A Little Bit of Holiday Crankin’

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

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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 →

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

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

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

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Little Wilson – A Mid-Summer Cragger’s Dream

Little Wilson – A Mid-Summer Cragger’s Dream

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

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Trad is Rad at the North End of Moore’s

Trad is Rad at the North End of Moore’s

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

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Good Times at The Dump

Good Times at The Dump

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

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Pilot Projects – aka The Day of Reckoning

Pilot Projects – aka The Day of Reckoning

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

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The Art of Projecting (Continued)…

The Art of Projecting (Continued)…

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

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A Weekend of Projects – Part 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 →

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

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

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

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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 →

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Guidebook Update…Sans Boot!

Guidebook Update…Sans Boot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Mid-Week Respite at Crowder’s

A Mid-Week Respite at Crowder’s

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

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Down and Out at Asheboro

Down and Out at Asheboro

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

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Real Rock Tour de Charlotte

Real Rock Tour de Charlotte

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

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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 →

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4 Weeks Off = First 5.12a!

4 Weeks Off = First 5.12a!

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

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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 →

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A Slab-tastic Thanksgiving at Stone Mountain

A Slab-tastic Thanksgiving at Stone Mountain

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

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A Classic, A Project, and a Classic Video Project

A Classic, A Project, and a Classic Video Project

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

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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 →

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A Day at Dixon

A Day at Dixon

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

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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 →

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In the Name of Climbing…er, Research!

In the Name of Climbing…er, Research!

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

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From Gym Rats to Rock Hounds…

From Gym Rats to Rock Hounds…

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

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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly…and a new Facebook Group.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly…and a new Facebook Group.

Our original weekend plans included a climbing trip to Boone, but unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans.  With all of our family travels and such it had been almost a month since we’d gotten outdoors climbing, so we were definitely itching to get out.  But because the forecast was so sketch, we ended up just staying in town and climbing locally at Hidden Wall.  Considering the weather reports from friends in other parts of the state, it seems like it was the better choice, although conditions were still mediocre at best. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly… THE…Read the rest of this entry →

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

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

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

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A Day of Hot Flashes

A Day of Hot Flashes

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

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Hidden Projects

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

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Crowder’s Mountain – Our New Local Crag!

Crowder’s Mountain – Our New Local Crag!

We’ve been in Charlotte for a little over a month now, but hadn’t had a chance to explore any of our new local rock until this weekend.  We’d been to Crowder’s Mountain before two other times when we were relatively new climbers, but not since 2007, so it felt like a new area.  Crowder’s Mountain is located near Gastonia, NC, and is only 35 minutes away from our new digs!   I can see why Crowder’s doesn’t always have the best reputation among NC climbers. It can get overrun with red-helmeted boy scouts and biting flies during the summer, hikers stand in amazement gawking at those “crazy folks…Read the rest of this entry →

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Pilot Mountain Trip Report

Pilot Mountain Trip Report

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

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Pilot-Palooza aka Cragbaby: Scene 2

Pilot-Palooza aka Cragbaby: Scene 2

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

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Lights, Camera…FRICTION!!!

Lights, Camera…FRICTION!!!

  My writing focus these days has been mostly on the Creating a Cragbaby series, so I’ve been a little slack on the trip reports…but a couple of  weekends ago we enjoyed yet another wonderful weather weekend bouldering (and I’m glad we were able to squeeze that in before all the cold and rain set in…)  It was the usual suspects – me, Steve, Canaan, Christie…but this time there was a twist.  Enter Jan Balster, a professional photographer / cinematographer.  We’d worked with Jan before a few years ago as guinea pigs for a promo-shoot at Pilot Mountain.  Well, about a month ago he contacted me…Read the rest of this entry →

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Falling Up and Falling Down at Asheboro

Falling Up and Falling Down at Asheboro

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

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One Last Friction Fest of 2010

One Last Friction Fest of 2010

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

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Let’s Get Ready to Rumble…

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble…

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

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Hound Ears Competition 2010

Hound Ears Competition 2010

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

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Free to Climb! Independence Day at Pilot Mountain

Free to Climb!  Independence Day at Pilot Mountain

We decided to take advantage of the fact that we were in Winston-Salem by hitting up Pilot Mountain on Monday before heading back to Raleigh after the 4th of July festivities.  We met up with our friends Danny and Tracey in the summit parking lot at 9, surprised to find that it was virtually empty!  It was quite refreshing to be able to get on the routes we wanted without tripping over any red-helmeted boy scouts!  We didn’t even have to endure any wild rapelling shenanigans from the amphitheater from the meet-up groups! This is what our day looked like!…Read the rest of this entry →

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Craggin’ with the C-Squatch

Craggin’ with the C-Squatch

So if our hiking trips the past few weekends have improved my mental health dramatically, its probably safe to say that our first day out climbing with Canaan skyrocketed my psyche into the next stratosphere.  A little fresh air, great company, and real rock sure can go a long way – if only there was a way to bottle it for future use during times of injury, sickness, or on rainy weekends! Anyway, after 9 months of “observation” in utero, and 6 weeks of training outside the womb, Canaan was finally ready to participate with Mom and Dad in one…Read the rest of this entry →

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Showers and Surprise Alpine Conditions

Showers and Surprise Alpine Conditions

Steve and I headed west Friday night for the start of our fun-filled, but exhausting weekend.  On Saturday morning our parents threw us a baby shower.  There were about 50 people there and we got LOADED down with gifts! Speaking of gifts do check out these things to send boyfriend at office, which I recently found thamnks to one of the people at the shower.  I got to catch up with lots of folks I hadn’t seen in a long time, including my roommate from college, as well as some old family friends. I feel like I ate my body weight…Read the rest of this entry →

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Spring in January?

Spring in January?

What are the odds that a sunny January day in the 50’s would line up with a day off???  We had no choice but to go climbing!!!  We headed west before the sun came up and met up with our friends Marc and Marie, who we met at Triangle Rock Club.  Steve had taken Marc on his first outdoor climbing excursion about a year ago at Pilot Mountain while I was rehabbing my shoulder, so it seemed only fitting that we also were there for his girlfriend Marie’s first time roping up outdoors!  We had a cold start to our day –…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Hodgepodge of Fun!

A Hodgepodge of Fun!

Our Thanksgiving holiday was a whirlwind of fun, filled with some traditions, a few new tricks, as well as some unexpected surprises!  I guess I’ll start at the beginning.  On Wednesday, me and the Bean had a prenatal appointment in the morning.  I peed in a cup, got my vitals taken, my belly measured, and then we got to listen to J-bean’s heartbeat on the Doppler.  For those of you that don’t know, the doppler is a nifty little piece of machinery that probes around the belly to detect the fetal heartbeat – once the doctor finds the right spot,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Ode to Pilot Mountain…

Ode to Pilot Mountain…

This just in – rock climbing is more fun than staying home raking leaves…even if it is at Pilot Mountain.  For those of you that are not in the know, Pilot gets somewhat of a bad rap sometimes…okay a LOT of times.  The rock quality can be questionable in places, the routes are short, and the base of the cliff is generally overrun by swarms of red-helmeted boy scouts and other groups of people on their first “extreme rock climbing adventure.”  Not to stereotype or anything, but these newbies generally have entirely too much testosterone pumping through their veins, and they love to proudly grunt…Read the rest of this entry →

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Briars and Scrambles and Gullies, oh my!!!

Briars and Scrambles and Gullies, oh my!!!

Finally the weatherman got the order right – an absolutely gorgeous weekend followed by a dreary, cold, and rainy Monday morning! This was the first weekend out of several that hasn’t been a washout, and Steve and I were not about to let it go by without taking advantage of it! We invited our friend Huck to go with us – one of the new folks we had climbed with at the Red a few weeks ago. Huck is somewhat of a new climber, and was eager to try out some new crags he’d never been to. Also, he’d never…Read the rest of this entry →

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