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Category Archives: Travel Beta

Trip tips and beta for specific family adventure areas

Best Hidden Valley Sport Climbs 5.11 and Up

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Time for the final round of Hidden Valley recommendations – this time for 5.11 and up.  And guess what – fall sending is almost here!  So if you are in the market for some good projects, this list might be a good place to start.  While the moderate routes can get quite crowded on good weather weekends, you’ll find that the queues drastically decrease as the grades increase. GREAT “FIRST OF THE GRADE” CANDIDATES ROADKILL 11a – A little pumpy, but straightforward, and you get a good rest once you pull the roof. GRISTLE 12a – I know lots of…Read the rest of this entry →

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Best Sport Climbs Hidden Valley – 5.10 and Under

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Now that you’ve got the basic crag beta down for Hidden Valley, it’s time to decide what routes you want to try.  The best part about Hidden Valley (aside from that 4000′ elevation!) is the wide variety of grades spread all around the cliff.  This post will zero in on the lower grades – those of you looking for 5.11 and up recommendations will have to wait!  But for now, here’s plenty to get started on. GREAT FOR NEW LEADERS STALLION 5.5 –  Both of my children like this one! BUTT FACE 5.6 – Easy slabbin’ with plenty of bolts. LEISURE SUIT…Read the rest of this entry →

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CRAG PROFILES: Hidden Valley

CRAG PROFILES: Hidden Valley

Well, if you follow me on Instagram (@cragmama), you may have noticed the poll that went up last week about which crag to feature on the blog next – Hidden Valley or the Red?  It was a tight race, with the winner going back and forth numerous times before finally settling on Hidden Valley.  If you were hoping for the Red, have no fear, that Travel Beta guide will hopefully be up before your fall projects start calling.  But for now, read on for the travel beta for family climbing at Hidden Valley. First off, let it be known that…Read the rest of this entry →

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NRG Sport Climbing Superlatives – 5.12 and Up

NRG Sport Climbing Superlatives – 5.12 and Up

If 5.11 is where things really start to get good at the New, then 5.12 land is nothing short of heaven.  Whether you’re looking for one-move wonders or sandbagged classics, spooky slab or straight up roof thuggin’, the New has more than a few 5.12’s for you! GOOD “FIRST OF THE GRADE” CANDIDATES LOW BROW 12a (Meadow) – First NRG 5.12 for both CragDaddy and me.  It is a slab, which not everyone likes, but if you have good footwork it shouldn’t be too bad.  Great rests + lower angle means there is not a big pump factor, although there’s…Read the rest of this entry →

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NRG Sport Climbing Superlatives – 5.11

NRG Sport Climbing Superlatives – 5.11

Ah, 5.11.  While the New has some of the best climbing on the planet at any grade, 5.11 is where it really starts to get good.  Whether you are looking to bag your first one, rack up a list of classics, or avoid crowds, look no further, because this post can help. GOOD “FIRST OF THE GRADE” CANDIDATES WILD SEED 11a (Fern) – The business section of this one is about as gym climb-y as you’re gonna get at the New.  The opening slab moves will keep you honest if you are a true gym rat, but are probably only…Read the rest of this entry →

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NRG Sport Climbing Superlatives – 5.10 and Under

NRG Sport Climbing Superlatives – 5.10 and Under

Welcome to Part 2 of my new Travel Beta series focusing on the NRG!  If you missed last week’s Crag Profile of the New, catch up here. Some crags might be able to get through a superlative list in one post…but not this place!  There’s just way too much goodness here, so I’ll have to split it up.  For our family’s fave 5.11’s and 5.12’s, you’ll have to wait.  For 5.10’s and below, read on!  Routes were chosen based on a few factors, most of which were entirely subjective, so I won’t be offended if you disagree with my choices! …Read the rest of this entry →

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CRAG PROFILES: New River Gorge

CRAG PROFILES: New River Gorge

This post marks the start of a new Travel Beta series that will hopefully eventually include all of the Southeastern crags our family climbs at on a regular basis – starting with the family favorite of course, the New River Gorge! The first post for each area will include general beta for the area, as well as a breakdown of the family-friendliness of all the major crags within the area.  Subsequent posts for that area will include our family’s top route picks for each grade.  None of this info is intended to be used in lieu of a guidebook –…Read the rest of this entry →

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Great American Eclipse 2017

Great American Eclipse 2017

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

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Cragfamily in Niagara Falls!

Cragfamily in Niagara Falls!

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

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Spider Lilies at Landsford Canal

Spider Lilies at Landsford Canal

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

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A 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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Snowtubing at Jonas Ridge

Snowtubing at Jonas Ridge

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

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Adventures at Landsford Canal State Park

Adventures at Landsford Canal State Park

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

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10 Things You’ll Find at Ocean Isle…

10 Things You’ll Find at Ocean Isle…

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

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Custer State Park for Non-Climbers

Custer State Park for Non-Climbers

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

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

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

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

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Northern Michigan Road Trip: Mackinac Island

Northern Michigan Road Trip: Mackinac Island

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

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Northern Michigan Road Trip: Sleeping Bear Dunes

Northern Michigan Road Trip: Sleeping Bear Dunes

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

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