8/10 – lengthy recap from first trip to the gorge:
Friends and I woke somewhat early this morning after a good deal of of route-setting the days before (cartoon of the route setting experience coming soon…) to climb at Linville Gorge. With The Tallest Man on Earth playing to a scenic drive through our lush mountains, we arrived and hiked down to this incredible area.
I can’t say it enough — the Linville Gorge area is breathtakingly beautiful. Coming out from the trail to a bridge with massive boulders littering the banks of the river as far as the eye could see got me pretty durn psyched. It turned out to be nothing like what others had mentioned (“too hot!” “buggy!” “waa”..haha just kidding) It was a bug-free, overcast, breezy day and as good as you can get for summer climbing.
These were some highlights from each area of the day:
-First stop after warming up on some unknown slab and a great v2ish climb was the sea of love boulder (?) to look at Sea of Love and the sit. Brennen and I flashed the v5 version (sea of love stand?) and Drexel and Brennen looked really close on the v7 sit. Too bad you have to crawl out of a mini cave for the entry moves. Still a sick looking problem though!
-Glory Days and Glory Nights. Brennen did the v7 Glory Days 2nd try while Drexel went for the repeat. It’s an awesome problem and at first it looked height dependent–but definitely not. Just gotta cut feet on the crimps and campus to the jug. Can’t wait to go back here! Drexel and Brennen crushed all the moves on the v8 with the wildest looking swing I’ve ever seen. This boulder is fantastic. Some especially exciting highlights were: 1)Drexel getting hurt in every imaginable place on his body, with 2 body-rock-contact falls and one d-spot; 2)brennen has wildman beta; 3)brennen is somehow able to go all Ip Man with his spotting and avoid a foot to the chest just by looking at it
Pure wonder boulder
This boulder is so beautiful! Too bad Helter Skelter was put up by a six foot samsquamsh. (note: I have no idea who put this up..) If you’re short this problem gets burly. Favorite parts:
-swimming and jumping off the boulder, amazing!
-swam out to the proudest line in the gorge and mantled the moss to a dyno over the water. king line for sure
-drexel continues to crux on the ground yet regains his strength to do all the moves of wonderful arrete easily
-brennen doesn’t flash helter skelter mantle but does it anyways and also cruises moves of neighboring v7/8s
Mothership (v7/8) and this whole boulder is really interesting. We saw it from the trail and thought we saw crimps. upon closer look the boulder problem literally looked impossible and super blank. a little clean up job went a long way and we gave a few tries. Highlights:
-Psyche goes from low to hi after we realize the climb that looks impossible goes
-all 3 of us did the first move a different way
-the boys get to the slopey lip every time
-brennen hangs onto quarter pad crimps dynamically and campuses the middle section
This video of the gorge shows the area quite well. The Glory boulder is at around 3:30 and everything else just gets me psyched to watch!! Can’t wait to go back!
8/13 – return to the Gorge!
One cook-out milkshake (Reese’s cups, m&ms, heath bar, peanut butter and fudge) later and I feel amazing. Moreso from the day of climbing than from the overload of sugary goodness I just dumped into my system. We made a last minute switch from Grandmother to Linville Gorge and set off this morning. It was Kelley and Flannery’s first time going on the Spence Ridge Trail down to the gorge. We basically did the same circuit of boudlers, but everyone sent something new and it was awesome! Kelley and I did the Sea of Love sit V7 while Flannery did the stand after not climbing much in a long time. Go Team!
Afterwards we headed back to the beautiful Glory boulder where epicness occured! Drexel did Glory nights,v8, twice basically but fell once going to the last hold and once mantling the shit out of the finish hold. FUHRK it was so close!! With Kelley’s motto, “Give ‘em hayull, do it for Dale!” how could you not try super hard?! I got back on the v7 Glory Days and managed to hold the swing multiple times before trying to throw out to the jug. I found a perfect foot after trying it one too many times and was too wrecked to see if it could work, but I’m still excited to one day do this climb!
Went to Helter Skelter boulder next where everyone minus me did Helter Skelter. I almost reached the pocket by getting a super high left smeary foot while crimping my face off on a hold everyone else skips. needless to say I am practically dying to get back on this climb………..(dramatic overuse of periods to display sarcasm*) the coolest part is jumping off the boulder to swim, then swimming out to my super proj where you mantle moss and do a double hand dyno. It’s the future.
We ended with Drexel crushing the crap out of the Mothership, v7/8? Saw v8 on the handdrawn map. Tiny little crimps and delicate feet. Beautiful climb! We later decided that for people who are active and just climbed for a solid day…..fast food once in a blue moon probably won’t kill you. The decision after that was instantaneous. Cookout. I got my 5 flavored milkshake and ate with the biggest smile on my face. Ahhhhh :) Onto a push-up pyramid, ice bath, then 7 minute planks before route-setting tomorrow. Woohoo!
Nope, no photos, didnt feel like hiking with a heavy camera. Saw some new flowers to add to the species list page though.
I’m rambling and tired. Hope everyone gets to enjoy some rain-free climbing days! All the best,