Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cold Weather

Over the last week the weather has been, let's say, less than ideal.  With a tornado warning, below freezing temps, perpetual overcast and full on snow flurries, we decided it would be a good time to take an extended rest and move into a motel for a few days. We headed up to Pigeon Forge again, not because the town itself is very interesting (it's like a family rated version of Las Vegas), but because the motels are cheap.

We also had another errand to run up in Asheville. Last year I was invited to be on one of a series of trading cards featuring various LEGO artists. I was being sent 25 of 'my' card to sign and return, but with us being on the road, I had them sent to a post office in Asheville to pick up.  Here I am signing my cards in a cafe across the street from the post office.

Pigeon Forge wasn't all bad though. In addition to all the run of the mill clothing outlet stores, it also happened to have a Coleman outlet store. We bought this cool collapsible stove-top oven for our camp stove. In the past we have had various degrees of success in trying to bake on the stove or in our small barbeque.  Here is Kristal with some awesome fresh-out-of-the-oven corn bread. Delicious!

We also did manage to get some bouldering in over the last week. Here I am honing my inverted off-width technique on Aunt Fanny's Amazing Ass Crack, V5.

Today we decided to check out another nearby bouldering area called Zahnd.  Due to the snow and cold we decided to leave the climbing gear behind, but still couldn't resist pulling onto a few cool problems.

On the way back into town we stopped by to check out the Blue Hole, a really nice looking natural spring and swimming hole. If only it was about 30 degrees warmer we would have jumped right in.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Our next stop was another classic south east sandstone bouldering destination: Rocktown, Georgia. The last time we were here was almost three years ago, just as we were beginning our first big road trip, and we were excited to get back. We were also excited to move into our brand new big tent!

Our old big tent finally saw the end of its days last fall when we were camping in the Adirondacks, and over the winter we kept putting off buying a new one. We finally ordered one two days before we left, and had it shipped to the REI in Asheville, where we picked it up after our cabin weekend in Pigeon Forge.

We've met a lot of great people as usual, and ran into Marcie again before she reluctantly made her way back to Ottawa. We'll miss you Marcie!

The biggest excitement so far was seeing the aftermath of a brush fire as we made our way back to the parking lot one day.

Had the wind not been blowing away from the boulders it may have made for an interesting climbing day. We still haven't heard anything about what may have started it.

Aside from that the bouldering has been awesome as usual.  Here's Kristal on Jug Surfin', V4.

Me about to embark on the heinous slopers of Tau, V8.

Kristal airing it out on the aptly name El Classico, V0.

Me pulling onto the classic Paint Can, V2.

And again on Alien Writing, V3.

Which gets its name from these really cool iron bands in the rock.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Enough of Winter!

So a couple of weeks ago we decided we’d had enough of winter, and that a climbing trip was in order. We packed up the car and headed south down to Tennessee. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks bouldering in Stone Fort which has been, as always, amazing. And to make things even better we ran into Dave and Julie from Montreal and have been climbing and camping with Marcie.

Marcie on the balancy Fortune, V6.

Jason on Pancake Mantle, V2. This photo was stolen from Marcie, completely without her permission.

Me, warming up in the Back Nine while Marcie spots attentively.

It’s been a bit chilly, but thankfully we found out that Chester Frost State Park is actually open in the winter (despite what the original guidebook says) and has an awesome cook shelter, internet, and heated bathrooms.

Our typical post-dinner routine.

Last weekend, we drove up to Pigeon Forge to meet up with Sharon, an old friend from undergrad. She and her friends had rented a super posh cabin for the weekend. We thoroughly enjoyed the hiking, board games, moonshine, and company. Thanks for your hospitality, Southerners!