May 19, 2008

east coast

Last week i flew to Burlington Vermont, rented an RV and traveled with Peter Kamitses and Ian Conner to West Virginia. Our destination was the New River Rendezvous which is one of the largest east coast climbing events Mammut supports. This year Team Mammut was well represented with three athletes - myself, Peter, and Brian Williams from the southeast. Ian is Director of Marketing for Mammut North America and rallied with us to oversee the event also. Brian drove up from North Carolina to hang out with us.

Typical with most events i attend, many of the other athlete and industry friends were there in force. A few of my favorites include Britney Griffith, Devaki Murch, Chis Linder, and Andres Marin. These guys and gals have become the great friends i get to spend time with at these events. New for me was spending time with Peter Kamitses and watching the 5.14 master get after it. He taught me a few tricks and got me really psyched to try hard. I'm excited to get home and finally have some time with Heather to get after our summer climbing plans.

Peter and I got a few pitches in the day we got there. It rained the next day. The day after that, Ian, Devaki, Lee Means, Ronnie Jenkins, and a few others bouldered at Hawks Rest in West Virginia. Bouldering in the Southeast is pretty cool. Sport climbing in the Southeast is pretty cool. Crack climbing in the Southeast is pretty cool! The more i spend time in other areas, the more i can understand why folks have manufactured routes back home. We have some of the worst stone on the planet. It's is understandable to me the reasoning behind it now as i see what good stone is. I truly believe our local climbing area would be better off if we accepted the act of manufacturing. Keep in mind, this isn't about reducing the route to a climbable grade, it's about opening routes where they would otherwise not exist. Twenty feet of blank limestone or choss basalt is not something for future climbers... in my opinion. Blank is blank. Choss is choss. We've done more damage cleaning the routes to make them safe than what someone would do to provide a worthwhile climb in both length and movement. Rant off...

Okay, back to being out east. I taught a crack climbing clinic on Sunday in the pouring rain. I discovered that it really doesn't matter here. People would rather climb in the rain that in the summer heat. It's pretty damn hard to climb 5.10 cracks with torrential rain blinding you and turning an otherwise good splitter into a funnel of water! All the while keeping your composure in front of the clinic participants.

We partied the nights away. Folks down here can drink as much as it rains! It's not for me, but i still have fun hanging out. It did get a bit crazy Saturday night but folks tell me that's how they do it down south. I'll leave it at that!

The weather has been problematic for a desert boy. Rain is pretty unmotivating for me and mostly unproductive when it comes to climbing on wet rock. Peter and I were able to find some super steep sport climbing yesterday after my clinic and i got to sample some of West Virginia's ultra classic endurance routes like Apollo Reed.

I'm back in Vermont this evening and was looking forward to climbing in Idaho mid week. Apparently i missed the best rock climbing weather of the season so far back home. I just checked the forecast and its suppose to rain and be cold when i get home. Perhaps I'm the problem and not the weather. It seems where ever i go the weather is terrible and wherever I've been it's good...