Monday, February 6, 2012

Climbing Trips of 2011

By Kayla Baker

It’s time for a new year of climbing trips and what better way to stay motivated than to reminisce over last year’s adventures? Climbers from all over Aiguille have taken part in trips of 2011 and now we can hear a little bit about some of them and the awesome climbing memories that were made.

Let us start with two of Aiguille’s very own: Jesse Falcon and Joey Moy. In December of 2011, they traveled to Rocktown, located on Pigeon Mountain in Georgia, with only two cars to fit 10 people, crash pads and climbing gear. Talk about cramped!! Their group did not have a guidebook with them, so they just hopped on anything that looked fun!! Some may say that having a guidebook is a horrible thing, but sometimes it can make climbing trips a little more spontaneous, like this one. The Scoop (V3) seemed to be a popular project for the next trip to Rocktown. When asked if there were any daily routines on this trip, Jesse responded with, “Cuban coffee with creek water every morning.” Talk about living on the wild side!!

Now, some of you may remember this familiar face from Aiguille about a year or so ago. Now, graduated from UCF with a degree in Anthropology and in the Army Reserves, Justin Heiser resides in Houston, Texas. Though he is very far away from Aiguille, his climbing adventures have not ended. “Since leaving Florida, between interning with Rice University’s Outdoor Programs & Education and my work in the Army Reserves, I have managed to have a few day trips to some of the smaller local Texas climbing destinations.”

Justin discovered Rogers Park (one hour north of Austin, TX) with some short, overhanging, crimpy boulder problems. Justin has not only set out on climbing trips, but he has also lead groups of climbers to Reimer’s Ranch for sport climbing. “There, I would lead the routes and set them up as top rope for our climbers to be able to experience the rock. Those have been my favorite trips because I always like to see the look of success on a first time climber’s face when they successfully meet their goal and complete a climb.” There are more trips to come for Justin in 2012. He is looking forward to upcoming trips to Horse Pens 40, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, and Red River Gorge.

JD Borgeson is a climber from NW Arkansas. Although not an Aiguille member, he is definitely part of the climbing community. Over winter break, he came to our gym to get his climbing fix since he had been away from Arkansas for so long. When he saw “The Tongue” boulder (part of the “The Wave”), he realized that it looked a lot like an actual boulder from his hometown called La Beak (V4). It is located at Fountain Red in Cowell, Arkansas. You can see from the pictures that we have officially found our Tongue Twin.

Bryce Lord is, in fact, an Aiguille member. Not only is a member of our gym, but he is a member of the UCF Rock Climbing Club. The UCF Club took their Winter Break trip to Horse Pens 40 in December of 2011. One the first day there, everyone started off at Ten Pins to warm up and then made their way to Copa Cabana (V2), The Spirit (V3), Low Down (V4), and Night Fever (V1 Slab). It wasn’t until that night that Bryce actually realized how many climbers were from Aiguille. “Out of the 50 climbers at Horse Pens, at least 20 or 25 of them had to be from Aiguille. It was fantastic; there were climbers of all levels. Some were making their 6th or 7th trip to Horse Pens, and some were first timers.” With the variety of climbers, there was definitely no lack of enthusiasm or helpful beta to go around. The next day, the club got on Genesis (V3), Lay It Down (V2), Bumboy (V3), Hammerhead (V5), The Beach (V4), and Green Lantern (V4). Near the end of the night, the climbers were introduced to Mulletino (V6 with a V5 Variation). “It was love at first sight for all of us.” After working it all night, the climbers rested up for the next day’s hopeful sending! Right before leaving to head back to Orlando, “some of us headed back to Bumboy, where a few climbers were able to send it, just in time to pack up and get ready for the long trip back. It was a fantastic trip.”

Another Aiguille climber who took this same trip was Viet Nguyen. His favorite route was one that went along the outside of Redneck, underneath the overlook. “The reason it is my favorite route is [because] it took everyone’s beta and style of climbing to finally achieve the first ascent. Everyone had a little bit of beta to add until we finally got the send.” This route is known throughout the club as Beta Quilt.

With all this talk about bouldering trips, it’s time for sport climbing adventure! Sandra Chun and Howard Sherman took one of their 2011 climbing trips to Moab, Utah in December. Moab is “We got to try crack climbing for the first time, and these pictures were taken on Wall Street.”

I’m sure that most of you spend the holidays with your family or close friends. But there is one trip in particular that differs from this common similarity. Mark Mercer, along with Tommy Terrell, Evan Jones, Brian Lacey and others, celebrated their 2011 Thanksgiving a little bit differently. On a trip to Horse Pens 40, not only was their much sending, but there was also much eating. Evan Jones cooked a turkey that will never be forgotten among these climbers, and “everyone pitched in to make the meal a bigger, better feast than I get at my parents’ house.”

One of the climbers who met up with Mark and the gang at their trip is Cody Seibert. Two of his favorite trips of 2011 were to Rumbing Bald, North Carolina and to LRC, Tennessee/Horse Pens 40, Alabama. While at Rumbling Bald, two memorable sends were French Maid (V7) and Karma Police (V8). At Horse Pens over Thanksgiving, Cody’s most memorable routes were Litz Pocket Problem (V7), Consumption (V7) and Thugs and Itches (V8). His favorite problem, though, was Step Child (V7). At LRC, Cody sent Grimmace (V8) and finally Castaway (V7), which he had been working on for the past three trips!! King Pen (V6) continues to be his favorite route at LRC, though. While on his climbing trips, his favorite food to eat was Chef Boyardi Beef Ravioli… cold, of course. Every morning, to warm up and eat breakfast at Rumbling Bald, Cody and his friends spent some time at Ingles Grocery Store before heading off to climb.

Kreg Dobzinksi, an Aiguille employee, visited Stone Fort (LRC) in Tennessee in February 2011. His most memorable route was Super Mario. He explained that the quality of rock at Stone Fort and variety of holds is “superb,” and that “Chattanooga as a city is incredible as well.” Not only is there amazing climbing, but the aquarium is an all-day adventure in itself! “Tons of food, but my vote would have to be simple breakfast at Aretha Frankenstein’s. Can’t go wrong with grits, coffee and biscuit before you go crush those rocks.”

I, too, took a couple of trips this past winter of 2011 to Rumbling Bald, North Carolina and LRC, Tennessee. My trip to LRC was one of the most fun trips I have ever taken. These Feel Like Your Sisters (V3) was my favorite boulder problem and a lot of fun. On the last day of climbing, I even ran into some more fellow Aiguille climbers! My most eaten meal was probably chicken corn chowder and bananas. My favorite part of all my climbing trips, though, was just being with my friends and enjoying nature and climbing.

I hope that everyone had a very wonderful Climbing Trip Year in 2011 and I can’t wait for us to all experience even more this year!!
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