This weekend a few friends and I ( Rami Annab, Kasia Pietras & Taylor Mcneill) took a trip to a couple old areas that I haven't visited in years. Beautiful, remote granite boulders nestled in the thick green foliage of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I first visited these areas 6 years ago and haven't returned in 4. Needless to say I was psyched for another peek. What I recalled most about the area was that the boulders were granite, unlike the majority of rocks that litter the southeast. Also, i remembered the boulders being relatively blank. Little to no features, no jugs, and small crimps. A recipe for hard boulders, yea? Saturday morn we woke up early and drove 45 minutes to the 'roadside bloc' that hosts a single amazing project on a perfect 40 degree overhang. This boulder was strange and quite difficult. Essentially the boulder consists of a hard v9 bottom, to a v9 or v10 dyno at the finish. Temps were not the best that day but I was lucky enough to snag the FA dubbing the line Bushido V11.
After this we were all psyched to take the 15 minute hike up the mountain to the next cluster. This area I remembered well, and I knew there were at least 2 nice projects waiting to be climbed. One of which being a simulator of LRC's slab testpiece Space. I got the rope out, rapped down the thing and started cleaning. Rami got out his assortment of brushes and started scrubbing as well. 30 minutes later we had the problem prepped and ready and only 15 more minutes after that the boulder was climbed for its 1st and 2nd ascents. Spaced and Dissonant V6 is her name.
While all this was going on Taylor was over at the other project basically mowing grass off the top. He eventually got it cleaned up nicely, and we were able to climb the problem. I called this one Spitting Cobra V8, and though it's a small(ish) problem, it packs a powerful punch!
Overall the smokies exploration was a success, and I am very confident that this area holds more amazing projects to be climbed.
Me (4 years ago) on a project in the Smokies
Needs some cleaning
Big butt looking boulder up the road
Sunday we all decided to head out to the Lilly Boulders and spend the day trying some new boulders and getting in some mileage. 77 was the high so we were a bit skeptical at first but the day proved to be decent. I was able to complete all the moves but one on Chinese Arithmetic V13, while Rami and Taylor both put in super efforts of Testify V12. I was also fortunate enough to discover a brand new project on the Recluse roof! I am so psyched on this thing, and I am positive that once it is completed it will be somewhere in the v14/15 range. Can't wait for the cold weather!!
Here's a short video from the weekend.