A couple weeks ago, Gaelyn and I spent the week climbing at Linville Gorge and at the Red River Gorge. We started our week down at Linville cruising some sweet multipitch lines at Table Rock. Fall was in full swing and the place is beautiful. If you ever get a chance to climb at Linville, do it. We did a bunch of easy lines just to enjoy the weather and work on our multipitch skills. To our surprise, most of the lines are bolted as the pro is minimal. We learned all about “North Carolina runouts” on that trip. On some very easy pitches (5.2-5.6), you will get about 2 bolts in 60 feet. One local gave me a tip: “Welcome to North Carolina….If it’s easy, it’s runout.” What a great place. We spent a couple rest days in Ashville and in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park being tourists… then on to the RRG!!
I wanted to get on Random Precision (11b) while I was still fresh and my tips weren’t shot. We went to The Gallery at PMRP on Thursday and started with a quick onsight of The King Lives On (10b) to warm up. Then on to Random Precision… I quickly botched the first two moves of the tricky start, came down, regrouped, and sent!! On, more or less, (minus the first move) my first go, Random Precision was a success and I now had my first 5.11 redpoint! WOOO! It felt a little desperate, as the beta wasn’t fresh in my head, but I was psyched! I figured at this point I should go for the flash of Jonny B. Good (11a), and I got it! Then went to onsight A Brief History of Climb (10c) too. We went over to The Playground and almost got the onsight of Balance Beam (11a) but grabbed the anchor at the top to avoid the scary fall at the cruxy finish….shouldn’t have done that! Next time, it’s going down too. What a great day one at the Red with two firsts: First 5.11 redpoint and flash!
Friday we went to The Hideout at Muir Valley. It was the consensus that the grades at Muir felt soft as we climbed a 9, 10a, two 10b’s, 10c, and a 10d. Had one fall on the crux of the 10d. Another great day, but we were beat and our skin hurt. The stone at Muir felt much sharper than other areas of the Gorge.
Saturday we climbed three moderates at Phantasia Wall in the North Gorge. We were very sore from several days of climbing and our finger tips were rebelling. After Pogue Ethics (9+), Creature Feature (9), and Overlord (10b), we decided to call it a week.
So I finally made a breakthrough into 5.11. It feels really good and I can’t wait to go back to the New River Gorge on Halloween weekend. I’ve trained hard this year at the gym and have climbed outside a lot this fall. It’s a welcomed change to get out and climb some real stone frequently. I finally feel like my hard work is starting to show and I’m psyched more now than ever!