Well, we got a late start after a late night in Chattanooga. Nick and I thanked Mark and Cindy for their hospitality, packed our gear back into the car, and headed for a place to eat.
Parking Lot Picnic
We had enough food packed for the week, so we decided to find a big parking lot to setup kitchen. There was a nice big Bi-Lo’s just outside of downtown that had a quiet loading area. We parked the Civic there and unloaded our cooking gear. We had a Coleman PerfectFlow 2-Burner Stove for cooking our egg, cheese and mushroom omelets, and a Coleman 1-Burner Propane Stove for boiling hot water for tea and coffee. We also slapped together some peanut butter sandwiches.
We had a few passers-by that gave us funny looks, and one group that jokingly asked if they could join us for lunch. This was our first parking lot picnic and it was a success! No one tried to kick us out, and our fresh cookin’ was quite tasty! Thanks Bi-Lo.
Back to LRC
It was some time after noon when we finally made it back to Little Rock City. We hurried up, checked in, and ran back into the boulder field like little kids. We decided to walk further into the field, knowing that we had a lot more time to explore this time around. We found a couple of problems that we identified by chalk markings. We gave them a go, but we were unable to get very far :( We were still unsure of the problems, and we didn’t know if we were on a V1 or a V16…
We ended up searching around and trying a few other problems. Eventually we decided to head back to the entrance of the boulder field to retry the problems we worked the night before. I managed to get three quarters of the way up one of the high problems, but nearing 15ft high and unsure of where to go next I ended up backing down 2 times. I never realized how high some of the boulders could get. You never get to top out at the indoor rock wall, and I think the highest you ever get is about 10ft above the mats.
We found another group of climbers and worked a hard problem with them. The one guy was a local and he nailed this V5 like it was nothing. It’s amazing to watch the way experienced climbers move. Their motion is very fluid and purposeful. I know I catch myself jerking around a lot trying to force moves instead of using my balance. I guess this will come with practice.
My First Flash
Later in the day we came to a nice high boulder with tons of good holds. I’m not even sure if there was a set problem. If there was it was probably a V0, but I was tired of not getting in more than a couple of moves so I gave this bad boy a go.
The start of the problem was easy. There were a bunch of sharp jugs that went in a diagonal up the rock face. About half way up there were some slopers and pinch holds. When I was about 5 feet from the top most of the obvious holds ran out. I wasn’t sure where to go next and I was starting to tire out. I looked down at Nick and realized I was pretty high up. I didn’t want to jump from where I was, so I thought about down climbing for a second.
Nick encouraged me and I just went for it. I’m not even sure what I grabbed onto. I slapped my hands onto some slopers that didn’t look like they were possible to hold onto, but I managed to stick. Those last few feet gave me a nice adrenaline rush. If I would have slipped at that point I would have dropped close to 20ft. Our little crash pad didn’t reassure me that I would have a safe fall. Well, I managed to pull my self to the top and I was psyched! I finally topped out my first boulder and flashed a problem. Like I said, it was probably a V0, but it was a high one :)
Nick ended up getting to the top of the same boulder from another route. But when he got to the top he was worn out. His arms were on the top of the boulder in front of him and there was nothing to grab onto. I was doing my best to spot him, but there was not much I could have done if he fell other than try to push his body onto the crash pad. Nick managed to down climb several feet and he launched off and landed safely on the pad.
We worked a few more routes before it got dark. We left exhausted but hungry for more. I can’t wait to climb outdoors again!
Q: Do any of you climbers out there remember your first time bouldering on real rock? What was your experience like? Was it what you expected or were you surprised?
Wal-Mart Parking Lot
We ended up avoiding one night in a Wal-Mart parking lot, thanks to Mark and Cindy. But on our second night in Chattanooga, TN we decided on giving the parking lot a shot.
It turned out to be a good night. We played some Scrabble Slam and Boggle, and after reading Urban Climber Magazine we wend to bed. I was a little uncomfortable at first, but after covering my head with a sweat shirt I fell fast asleep. Thanks Wal-Mart!
And so closes Day 2…