In early January, while out of school for the holidays, Zach Edwards, Darden Shadrach, Alex Wiseman and myself made the drive to Stone Fort in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. As many of you who are more familiar with climbing know, this time of year is the prime season for bouldering. We set off with dreams of pulling on cold and dry limestone. The weather on this day did not disappoint. The temperature stayed in the low-to-mid thirties and the sun stayed focused right upon us. This meant two things: it was time to try new problems and send existing projects. Adding to the excitement of getting outside, it was also a very special trip because it was my friend Darden’s first time experiencing the splendor of outdoor rock climbing.
After a lot of indecision as to what Darden’s first problem should be, we ended up at the classic V0 Brian’s Brian (Brian’s Brain depending on which you believe to be the true name). Darden quickly acclimated to the limestone and was able to top-out the problem in no time at all. The smile on his face resonated with all of us. It perfectly emulated the joy of getting outside and experiencing true climbing.
With the temperature staying comfortably in the thirties, the condition of the rock was just perfect. As any seasoned climber would tell you, warm weather and slabby top-outs don’t exactly compliment each other. With perfect conditions in tow, each of us were able to complete a few problems that we had our eyes on. I was able to send Pocket Pool (V4), Toucan Sam (V3), and work on The Art of Vogi (V4). Darden completed a slew of V0-V1s. and Zach completed The Eliminator (V7), The Art of Vogi (V4), and put in some hard work on Spanky (V8).
There are not many things that are quite as enjoyable as being able to spend time with positive and encouraging friends and climbing up rocks. This was one of those days that reminded me why we struggle through broken skin, hurt tendons, and sore arms. We do it the pure joy of pushing past your limits to finish a project and feeling the rush of excitement that follows.
I think its safe to say #iloverockclimbing.