|Our wonderful hosts John and Carrie.|
As you can see, John is also part T-Rex. Late one evening I decided to pull out my Velociraptor impersonation... this in turn brought out John's alter ego, the T-Rex.
I've never had a better time waltzing around, pretending to be a prehistoric lizard. Thanks T-rex!
John 't-rex' shown to the left in our suite. Look at those feral eyes, that claw like mini arm, and the saliva drooling grimace.
There were many nights of group cooking as well. Carrie Bohmer is a wonder in the kitchen, and served up some mean vittles; most of which were not only delicious, but organic and healthy!
|John's 5$ haircut. Apparently, the best deal in the South.|
Late last night John and Carrie returned from a weekend in Virginia Beach; where they not only wrapped up some business, but put the hurt on a secret ops, special forces training type of obstacle course. To prepare himself mentally, John dropped into a Norfolk "Barber", advertising 5$ dews. Sitting in the hot seat, like a deer in headlights, he came to the realization that the black barber had probably not ever cut a white boys hair before. But, we all agree that his new bangs could be a trend setter here in Fayetteville. Now, if we could only get that beard a little thicker.
One of our favorite hangs here has been Summersville Lake. Perfect sandstone cliffs adorn the shores of this magnificent pond and the sun always seems to be shining in abundance. The crowds were also non existent (even on the weekends) here. Yep, everyone must be at the Red River Gorge.
We spent 3 days climbing here over the past two weeks and each one of those found us stripping down to shorts and t-shirts. The rock is similar to the New, and there are loads of interesting 8's and 9's that Tiffers got to sample. Two of those days we warmed up at an area called Whippoorwill that normally sits underneath the lakeshore. But, at this time of the year the Army Corps of Engineering does a major water release on the Summersville Dam, and conveniently, the Whippoorwill area surfaces out of the murk; its flawless white sandstone, and sun drenched cliffs beckoning.
In addition to the lovely ambience of created by sun and water, I was more than stoked to sample the Coliseum wall. Although the New is better known for technical masterpieces... there are a few steeper walls where endurance, wash board abs, and raw rock wrestling are the general rule. Once off the ground in the Coliseum, be prepared for battle, and the sickening pump that will likely ensue. My buddy Patrick had recommended a route called Apollo Reed 13a. This line tackles the longest, steepest section of the cliff, and was developed by none other than Porter Jarrard. I launched up into the abyss. Sequences that appeared reachy from the ground ended up offering just enough holds for me to creatively navigate my way to the summit anchors first try. The dyno described in the guide which initially caused much apprehension was overcome with an intermediate and a high foot. Whenever I'm trying to Onsight routes I get nervous about jump moves and deadpoints; because once set in motion, there is one chance to stick the hold. Pulling out the final hero jugs on Apollo I meat hooked a right hand chickenhead the size of a coke can, kicked my legs loose into the void, and felt for a brief instance like a rock star. Later in the week I was also able to do the Pod 13b and gave a solid OS effort at Mercy Seat 13a. After falling off the latter I spent 25 minutes trying to figure it out. No dice.
Yesterday we went back down to the Cirque so that I could give the Proper Soul rigatoni some last try effort. The pre climb jitters were in abundance; knowing the following day we'd be headed away from the New and into other parts. Though a weekend day, we found nobody at the wall. There was an eerie silence that was only broken by the plummet of dead leaves, that echoed off the cliffs and spoke of change. And then, it started to Rain.
|The dreaded dyno.|
Earlier in the week I had fallen up much higher. And now, I was regressing; falling lower, and forgetting important details. Pulling back up on the rope to recheck the dyno, I was surprised to notice that my right foot was being positioned lower than before; which accounted for my misfires. After sticking this a couple times from the dog, I lowered off, and took a breather.
Proper Soul is the first 14a that I have redpointed outside of Little Si, WA. And, it has me fired up to try some other climbs of similar difficulty. With no outstanding NRG projects, I'm leaving quite happy, and ready for the Red River Gorge! Thank you New River Gorge. We love ya!