November 5, 2010

Little Bit

With the weight of nursing school off of my shoulders, I decided to take a little trip before I have to buckle down in January. I have orientation November 16th. I am leaving the next morning for the Red. I plan on staying there till it gets to cold. Probably around December 15 or so.

4 weeks would be great. If your a weekend warrior, having a month to climb is around 8 days. If the weather is perfect both days, and believing there will be nothing in the way. Now take the same weekend warrior and take away their job and put them in the best sport area in the states.... That is like a 4 month jump start comparing the the 8 days the normal weekend guy gets.

Once I get back, I don't believe I can continue working at my job. I plan on helping the Birmingham climbing gym out, first avenue rocks , a few days a week. I'm gonna try and transfer my love for climbing over to school... well a little bit of it.

I hope to see you guys at the RED!

Vote NOW!!

This will raise 250,000 for the SCC. Vote on here, then text 104071 to pepsi (73774). We are 23rd!!! in the race. Unreal. Help make this happen.

October 26, 2010


I was scared to death. Imagine yourself looking at the next sequence, excessively chalking and slapping your legs. The chalk doesn't seem to be sticking like it does off the ground, you focus on your heart rate lowering which makes your heart beat faster. You question your breathing, is it to hard, to slow... You know the next moves better than anyone as your way to get to sleep is imagining the sequence in your head over and over. Your skin hurts, but you don't feel ready to leave the rest. Then with a little hesitation you go, almost in autopilot, and start climbing.

That is exactly how I felt when I got home from a weekend in Little River and found a letter from my school. It wasn't suppose to be here for another 3 weeks, and it caught me off guard. I slowly opened the sticky envelope not knowing what words I was hoping to read. They read accepted!!! I was accepted into nursing school. A feat that wasn't hard a few years ago, has become very competitive. Especially in community colleges that have an over run campus anyway. The slow economy brought back many unemployed and it seems like everyone you run into is going into the nursing profession.

I never expected to go to college as my parents own a sign company installing and servicing commercial signs. I had worked there for 2 years out of high school and made a deal with my mom. I would go to school if I could have a 2 month leave and go to the Red River Gorge. I had been climbing for almost a year, and wanted to get out and see life on my own terms. I quickly realized I wanted a career, not a job. Nursing seemed to be the most applicable profession after meeting people from all over having time off, with a sustainable bank account. I'm close to my dirt bagging roots as we all are, but I don't want to wake up in a van in 10 years out of obligation, but by choice.

Now I have been in college for 3 semesters doing all of my pre recs for nursing and taking care of all the classes I need to graduate. Last semester I heard they had over 600 apply and only took around 100. I have been thinking about the 1 in 6 odds since, with very little confidence, I turned in my application. Receiving that letter was a feeling that no route or boulder has given me. I start school in January.

October 11, 2010

Too legit to quit

Fall hasn't fell as we are still breaking record highs for October in Alabama. Sick. Not only did we have the wettest season last year and the hottest summer I have ever imagined, the shit weather has yet to let up. Just like my psyche!!!

I have not stopped all summer and the progress is slowly coming together and not just with my climbing. I have some things that I hope get supported starting this year. I don't have a name for it yet, or even any dates set for events. My plan is for no one in the southeast to pay for bolts or hangers for NEW development ever again...

To my knowledge the SCC will supply you with bolts, hangers, and anchors to certain people and only for re-bolting of existing routes. While existing routes should never be forgotten about as I have been re bolting and replacing rings this summer, new development is also something I have been playing with and I have learned a lot.

I have learned that bolting routes (especially new ones) is amazingly hard on steep routes. The investment of a drill just to begin the bolting is very expensive. The bolts and hangers average around 8 bolts, 8 hangers and 2 anchors.. Depending on your hook up, it's average of $55-65 per route. Now throw in drill bit's. The quick trip to Lowes will leave you $8.00 short of what you came in with, just to be dull and praying after a dozen holes are drilled that the bolt will still fit. That's $75.00 a route. . .Finally if you add in the price you pay of being a weekend warrior and spending the only time you have to climb bolting.... It's freaking epic.

It's epic enough just to be rapping off or bolting on lead. Fighting off all the critters who hide on the untouched stone. Carrying an extra 30 pounds of gear. Dealing with a harness the amount of time typical to a normal month. More importantly finding someone to go out and belay with the ground up ethics. Ripping off loose blocks. Getting way more tired than your hardest day of climbing. .... ... the list goes on and on.
Joe Kinder doing it proper as always.

I live in an area that has very little possibilities for new development. However our close friend Chattanooga has ample and a hand full of really psyched guys out busting their balls. Very few bham climbers know how to turn a wrench, but they do know how to party.

Every event I host will have a large percentage going towards bolts and hangers to people who are developing. Including small parties that will raise enough to get those guys the most help that bham can do. I fully believe within the next two years we will have enough to supply towards no one going out of pocket to bolt a route. If anything, I want to take away the excuse from lots of people not bolting because it is expensive.

It will be more legit in the up coming months, I will make it legit with a name, pay pall account to donate to, and a bolt count of how many has been bought. For now, that is enough rambling to make the Allman Brothers turn a head.

July 3, 2010

High Country

Driving up to Chattanooga on Tuesday I just had that feeling... feeling of good. I knew it was going to be good. I was singing and dancing to every song that came on the radio. Looking off in the distance, wondering if anyone has checked out that cliff or boulders. No where to be at any time until the following Tuesday at school.

I drove in just in time to meet up with my buddy Matt Ginley at the Terminal, a local brewhouse that serves one of the best IPA's I have ever let my taste buds mingle with.

We had a few beers and talked about the plans for the week. More like ideas. We were both just ready to climb. Looking at the forecast for North Carolina, we were set. But first we had to drink more beer and talk more shit.

The next morning we decided to get our route climbing on in Chatt as we are waiting on Matt's car to get tuned up. Turned out to be a fantastic day with great people. Love checking out all these new areas around TN there is just so much rock, and plenty of motivated people to tend to it.

After the shit show of waiting around the next morning to get the dealership to call us. We were packed and on the road for the High Country. On our way to Banner Elk staying with a local Pat Goodman. We got there just in time to meet Pat and get some mexican. Two pitchers of SUGAR margaritas and I was dreaming all night of the infamous NC bouldering.

Pat Goodman

We loaded the van with unlikely July 1st gear. Bouldering pads, chalk buckets, and jackets. It was 55 degrees and windy. It was a mighty big difference the morning before with temps in the 90's around AL and TN. We parked off the side of 221 to see how "splitter" the conditions were gonna be. In the back of our minds, knowing it's July, it can't be that good. But it was. Completely dry and kinda crisp. My excuse list started diminishing.

The day was brutal, filling our tips with some of the best stone in the South East. The soft skin from plastic pulling just wasn't up for the task on this sharp stone. These routes don't have many tricks to them, just straight pulling. We finished the day with a GIANT sirloin and a ton of sauteed vegetables. Not to mention great beer. By the way, Pat almost burnt the house down using "white gas". A little more flammable than the standard lighter fluid.

The next morning I woke up almost 11 hours after I had been to sleep. In a bouldering coma I guess, very VERY unlike me to sleep in. It really didn't matter as we all rolled out of bed a little late, we all decided we were out of shape for bouldering. Skin hurt, shoulders, back... well everything hurt. But the unreal temps were still here and a trip to Grandmothers was in need.

Warming up nice and slow, we started jumping around from problem to problem. More unique than the last. EVERY problem in NC looks easier than it is, don't let that fool you. It was such a good change to jump into the bouldering game 3 months earlier than I ever expected. The companionship you get from people you have known for minutes is unreal and some thing that is truly hard to beat.

"Have guns will travel" Grandmother Mountain

After a long day at Grandmother. We set at the highest point (kinda) and looked off at one of the best views I have ever seen. Drank a beer and headed out for another night of sitting on the porch telling stories and drinking PBR. Making yard art after every can.

Wrecked after 4 days of climbing. We went back to the brutal 221 circuit. This time we headed for the dump. After the dump we checked out a problem Pat put up about 6 or 7 years ago called bedaphile. 3 or 4 moves out the roof to a weird clam shell hold. Matching that as an undercling and throwing down and out a roof... odd. The jug you throw to isn't so juggy. After countless attempts of throwing my beaten body and tips, we left with something to come back to in the fall.

One more night on the porch, another case of PBR, and more BBQ. We felt more American than ever with a full belly and fire works lighting the sky up all around us. Since we were on the mountain it wasn't hard to see.

Monday morning waking up, feeling like a 90 year old man after a triathlon. Me and Ginnley went to the long wall at Lower Grandmother. A great warm up wall with plenty of nice holds to hop around on. The skin couldn't take much more as we walked around and dreamed of feeling fresh. We closed the day down at the Mad Hatter, and decided to head back to Chatty.

Recap on North Carolina Bouldering.

The shit is hard. No doubt.
Top outs seem to all be scary and dirty.
People are great and the locals have all the party tricks in the field.
Lowes has the best pre made sandwiches on the planet.
Masochist and instinct are two of the most impressive boulders I have seen.
Pat's home wall is better than most peoples dream wall. . . Un real.
Wearing a jacket in July is a new experience to me. Traditions start this way.
I can't roll a cigarette even if I wanted to. I don't smoke but every man should know how to roll.
PBR isn't that bad after all.
Thanks Matt for the trip and Pat for the tour!!
I love NC.... Going back in September.

June 27, 2010

I guess I will post my training log on here too. (lame) I haven't started it yet, but since there isn't much going on in the deep south when the humidity is higher than the hottest day in Boulder, CO. The gym is what I have to do. It's hot, hot enough where I can't find many people to go out with. Usually when we get there, the rock is soaked from the constant rain/humidity.

I just started bolting my first route, it's at Adam Henry's house going out the steepest part of the second shelter. One of the longest steep roof's in the deep south, not many that steep have holds.. This one does!! Can't wait to have a dry day to go out and suss out the beta. This is a brand new experience to me and there is a new psych building up. Being the first person to touch holds on new stone is amazing, something I give great respect to the guys who worked there ass off in the beginning. (Porter)

Looking forward to the next few months. My first time to train, so far it's been a beat down.. But i know the rise will be right at the start of the good weather. Hopefully I can stay healthy between here and then.

My body is covered in poison oak, I can't get a cortisone shot every week! Any body have some working remedies?


April 26, 2010

Bon Iver - Skinny Love (lyrics)

Mike Tucker

There is no question that climbing is a dangerous sport. But the system does work. It has been tried and tested for many years. It's terrible to see someone going out to do something that they love, and get injured or killed from it.

Last Saturday, April 17th a good friend of mine, Mike Tucker, took a terrible fall while climbing in the Red River Gorge. Mike was helivaced out of the Gorge and was in ICU for 7 days. Mike passed away on Saturday, April 24.

I was with Mike when he fell, and was by his side until we put him into the ambulance. This experience shook me up enough to question allot of my ethics. Climbing has exploded in the past few years and the need to enforce safety and evacuation plans are at an all time high. I would like to schedule a sport climbing "refresher" course. People get to comfortable on a rope and we are all guilty for not taking it seriously.

I drove Mike's car from the accident to the place where he was camping. When I got into the car the cd he was listening to was Bon Iver. He had the song "Skinny Love" playing and this was the last song Mike listened to. I drove the thirty minutes playing this song over and over. I think everyone should hear it.

Keep your thoughts and prayers with Mike's family. Not only did we lose a great climber we lost a great friend. He will be dearly missed.

March 15, 2010

The First Year

This is the first year I haven't route climbed through the winter. In the past two years I bouldered, but was never bouldering. I always did it on the REALLY cold weekends, or times where I couldn't find anyone psyched enough to numb out on the bitter cold routes.

This is the first year to do any competing. It's been a change that I really like. I was very skeptical towards the comps until I went to Triple Crown. Some of my funniest times carrying a boulder pad around. I'm still in the mid range of Advanced and Open range, so maybe next year I hold a chance to place.

This is the first year to climb in a gym. First Avenue Rocks opened late this summer and has changed the climbing scene in Birmingham. People are getting to know each other, hanging out outside of the boulders and crags.

This is the first year to have a camper to travel in. The ability to have a good nights sleep and good food is easy to do. No more excuses for not climbing my projects.

This is the first but not the last. I can't wait for the many other firsts to come.

The Red River Gorge's steep lines full of perfect pockets is only 3 days away. I will get there the 18th and come home the 28th. A spring break trip like this is huge for me, I will be able to kick off the route climbing game and really get back into my fitness. I'm anxious to see what the power from hard bouldering has done once my endurance comes back. No better place to get fit besides the Red.

To get fit I have come up with a must do circuit. A circuit that I believe will be used for the next 2 years by pretty much everyone. It's the 2012 circuit. I am planning on doing 20 new 5.12's during my stay at the Red. It will not be my main focus as there are plenty of hard routes to be done in my grasp. But just so I don't get sucked into the project mode, I will have to get the mileage in on 20 new 12's. I don't know what my rules are yet, but I would like to on sight at least half of the circuit. Throw this in on every route climbing trip, and guarantee some good endurance when you leave. You can also use this as a weekend warrior for the month or even for the year. I think making goals is a huge part of any success.

Hope everyone has a good spring break!


March 9, 2010

It's not eazy being squeezy!

It's one of those times I sit and stare at the screen trying to remember what all happened. I lost track of time 3 days before the hprocks climbing/music festival started...

Hprocks, or as we all know it as Sloperfest, is not your normal climbing event. It's a laid back time hanging out with friends and hearing the different bands echoing through the boulder field. As soon as you fall off problem in comp mode and your cuss words start flying, you can't help but laugh at the guy who slept by the stage and woke up drinking. It's that kinda event.

The comp started at 10:00 A.M. with the format being all the problems you can do in your category. Open was v7 and up.

I had a good day comparable to last year, but a bad day comparable to what I should have done. But like I mentioned before. It's just not one of those comps. It really puts climbing events into perspective when you attend a sloperfest. Not to mention we had some bullet weather. Sunny and high 50's.

After the comp was called off at 5:00 P.M. the fun really started. First Ave Rocks was selling Good People high gravity beer for dirt cheap. The music still playing through out the park. Everyone came over to grab a BBQ sandwich and a beer. It seemed like no one was talking about the comp... at all. It was all positive, fun conversations among a group of friends and family.

We had thrown the idea around to raise cash for the Alabama Bouldering Fund by soliciting something. I had decided to use my bushy Jew fro as a donation. I got the macgyver Joe Ortega to pull out his handy knife and make the better than bought box for donations. We had 6 different hair cuts to choose from. They where each drawn up and posted next to the slot on the box. The money stayed separated inside the box, and the one with the most money in the end, was cut onstage that night.

At first, people were skeptical. I had a few quarters and many laughs. After the high gravs kicked in and the speeches got better, I ended up raising around $55.00 cash money.

And the embarrassment began, the hair cut that won by a land slide. Was just the front bangs staying.

I ended up taking third in Open.

The problems I fell off at the top is bigger than the my actual tick list.

Sadly this is all I did.

Short Long v7

Ghetto Super Star v8

Chattanooga Plow v7

Hugs And Kisses V8

Megatron v8

Slabalicous Low V8

Slush Puppy Low v7

Litz Pocket v7

Cuts like a Knife Low v7

Boomslang Low v7

Slider v9

kiss v7

Don't rock the boat v7
I am bald.

Can't wait till next year.

February 28, 2010

The Showdown

Moss Rock preserve is a little boulder field in Hoover, Alabama. Located about 25 minutes from my house it's an easy after work/school destination. I have been probably 10 times in the past year or so, since the weather has been so bad, HP40 is only 25 minutes past that, and I really don't have the feelings for bouldering as I do roping up.

Yesterday came the Shades Crest Show down (moss rock). An endurance style comp with all the problems that you can do in your category. My category was v7 and up. Since the recent guidebook has emerged for moss rock, the Adam H. down grades have taken place. Needless to say there wasn't allot of things to do above v7. All the problems v9 and up I hadn't done until these past 3 weeks. So the comp was scary, I had done most of the hard things, but only once. Repeating them all in a day would be a challenge.

After slowly warming up I did a few v7's and hopped right onto Reignition Sit. It's probably the best line at the boulder fields for the grade. The thing use to be called v11 for many years, it hadn't been done but a half dozen times until this year. Me and Casey Culp made quick work of the sit. I found some sneaky knee bar beta that makes the hard move, well... sporty.

I had only done this rig once, and that was 4 days prior. I was psyched to dispatch this thing first try and with in 30 min of the comp start. Then came the rest of the cave, God Father v10 and reignition reverse v9. Reignition reverse is a really cool movement (non classic) problem. I had never tried it and was psyched to put it out on the 3rd go. Then onto God Father, I had also done this line a few weeks prior, but I am intimidated by this problem for some reason, it's long and powerful and at the end it has a nasty iron cross that seems to spit me off right onto my back. Not a good one to waste time, energy, and most of all SKIN in this horizontal cave.

I fell three times off the last jug of God Father and decided to give up. Knowing Casey had already done these problems I was realizing beating him would almost be impossible. There just isn't that many hard problems to do.

Then we see Jimmy Webb and Brion Voges come into the cave and kill every problem. They both flashed God Father, Both killed Reignition sit with a few miss haps on the 25 move beta intensive problem. And then decided to cool down on a project going out the left of the cave. It's hard, and reachy. Super core intensive, and well... just hard. Jimmy put a few ticks on it and almost flashed it, with just a foot pop going to the jug. Second go, he pissed on it! So sick to watch. Very little effort. Voges came in and got the quick second ascent. I know it was no test piece, but still sick to see a project done at such a small boulder field. Feel like the thing is tapped out. Jimmy Decided to call it "Out Of Touch" v10 for the southern legend him self.

The project put jimmy and Voges way ahead of the game. 3000 points to be exact. We all new it was now a race for 3rd place. Since first and second was secured with the proj send. The race was on. I ran around using other peoples pads and hopping on what ever had the tag with a v7 or higher on it. Doing just about everything first go. Psyched.

As always, I was down by allot of points knowing my only chance was redemption on God Father. I had fallen off the jug 3 times that morning and only had 10 minutes until the comp was over. Casey new he had won. Me and Joe cranked up some music opened a beer and relaxed. We had both decided to give it one last go.

Joe killed it first, I got on as he was topping out and walked it as well. So proud to do it that late into the day and my last problem. That might had put me on the podium!

I ended up beating Casey with only 50 points taking third in open.

All in all it was killer to sample all the problems I do and forget about in a day. With the motivation to win some cool stuff. I ended up taking third place behind Jimmy and Voges.
My prize was a killer 9.5 sterling rope with a couple odds and ends. Most notable prize was a Adam Henry Magnet that will for ever be on the center of my pull up bar. As I do my pull ups I will be able to look into the eyes of the legend, and that will be all the motivation I need.

My Comp Ticklist

Tree Problem V7
Reignition Sit V10
Reignition Reverse V9
God Father V10
Beef It Direct V8/9
The Process V7
Teseract V7
Hoop Dreams V7
Serenity Now V7

February 24, 2010

Vitamin D Deficiency

The lack of sun shine has made my bones weak. Finally, we see a good week ahead. Going out to HP tomorrow afternoon, Boulder Fields Comp on Saturday, and the HP40 Rocks (sloper fest) the following Saturday. Lots of good things on its way.

Not to mention the Red is in 3 weeks or so. Hopefully be there for 2 weeks!!! Up my game big time. Enduro!

Psyched, get back at you after J Webb kills my home town crag comp on Saturday.

January 23, 2010

To play the lottery....

The next few months are going to be flying by. I base my months on the weekends (thats when I get to climb). So I have been looking at my next few weekends for climbing.

Today is the First Avenue Rocks climbing comp.
Tomorrow is 95% chance of rain.

Next weekend is my Birthday.
Friday night at Casey's lake house.
Saturday Tuscaloosa climbing comp.
Sunday..... The day after my 21'st birthday... I'm gonna need to rest.


I'm starting to feel that my days are numbered for hard bouldering ascents.
There is no time to project anything when you can only work it once every month or two.

Not to mention Sloper Fest (Hp40 Rocks) will be coming up march 5th. So soon!!

I need ample money, and a degree in nursing. . .

Or just win the Lottery!

January 11, 2010

Somethings are better said, not written.

This past post has caused more of an up roar in the Birmingham community since they realized John Gill didn't put up "The Gill" at Moss Rock Preserve.

I am in NO way a good writer, even a decent one. I don't take pictures, video's, or even think of different posts to write for my blog. I will every now and then have something that strikes up a question or point that I would like to see answered or noted. Not a serious blogger...

My last post was not read in the same text as I intended. Ironically, it was written as a motivator.

I got fired up to write about dragon slayers while I was on a hunt for climbing videos. What I quickly realized is there are no "new" video's surfing the web, from anyone around our area. But a lot of them where climbing in "our" area's.

Now, you wouldn't believe the amount of NEGATIVE feedback I received for the past post. I left for the weekend with out checking any of the comments and had my phone turned off. When I turned my phone on Sunday night, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I honestly thought people had read the wrong thing.

Quickly clear up some points about Slaying Dragons.

When I talk about Birmingham, I am talking about me as well.

I will be the first to help a new climber out. Show them beta, cheer them on, spot, what ever. Might be bad form to some southerners, but if your passionate about something, thats motivating to me.

You don't have to be flashing v13 for me to want to climb with you, or even want to know you for that matter. With out question, a majority of the people enjoy setting goals and trying to achieve those goals. If that goal is to regress, thats your goal. My goals are to progress in the sport. With out that, these beautiful places we all climb out would not be developed.

I hear about people climbing things the "LOGICAL" way. Well logically climbing things and not using the giant holds to the left or right isn't logical. . . This is a dictionary long topic that will be frowned upon more than politics and religion.

So we are all clear... I have never been judgemental towards anyone because of how hard you climb.

January 7, 2010

Good Day Alabama!

To slay dragons, you must hang out with dragon slayers.

-Brooks Walker
Climbing is a lot like slaying dragons. There are plenty of people who excell on their own, but climbing with dragon slayers will no doubt speed up the process.
What I'm saying is, if you climb with gumbies all day, how hard are you really gonna climb?

Swap those gumbies out with guys who climb harder than you, it's gonna be a stronger day. Hands down, it's like having a personal trainer. You see how it is done, you believe you can do it, and the pscyh is usually high. The stronger guys generally have more knowledge, advice, and BETA!

Not to mention secret stash crags, people to stay with, and places to camp/eat/whatever. EVERYTHING!!!

Now take Birmingham, there are plenty of climbers. There are very little of them climbing hard. I know I will get shit about grades and what not. But for my own personal wants and goals, I want to climb harder grades. ESPECIALLY ROUTES! I can't name 3 people who climb 5.13 in birmingham. You can't meet someone who doesn't climb that hard in Chattanooga. . . Or any where really. The routes are here, and in great quanity and quality.

What needs to happen? Why the lack of motivation? Why the lack of strong climbers? We have a great climbing gym now, that is no longer an excuse. .

Deano told me the other day there are 300 spots to climb at within 3 hours of birmingham. He pulled out his fancy phone and showed me abunch of stars he had on google maps where he has climbed at. He was as nice as any showing me how to get there, where to park, and what the boulder problems are like. . . Hell, I feel like I have climbed at some of these places now!

I dunno, we need to step it up Birmingham, and Alabama for that matter. I'm tired of those TN boys warming up on our projects!