While Eric is back on the road and doing sweet things like climbing Devil's Tower in Wyoming and living at The Red in Kentucky, I'm back in a chair at a desk. Fortunately, I've taken full advantage of autumn in the Appalachians by biking, hiking and climbing through this most perfect of seasons. The air is cool and dry, the leaves absolutely explode with color and energy is in the air. One of the best parts has been the discovery of my own personal outdoor training gym. My neighbor, a very cool man by the name of George, has a set of boulders in his backyard that possess a number of pretty fun boulder problems. They don't sport the classic quality of routes up at Coopers Rock, but for being 100 feet from my door it's surprisingly good. George is a traveler and a doctor. He's been all over working with Doctors Without Borders as well as other NGOs. Currently, he's in Syria doing medical work - I can't imagine leaving the tranquil fall in West Virginia for war-torn Syria, but I have great respect for him. He's also a climber - he drilled a bolt into the top of a large boulder right off his back deck so he can self-belay and top rope it. He's really enjoyed my eye for spotting boulder problems that he never would have contemplated.
my backyard - fall in wv
Currently, I've sent eight fun routes and have eyed up a few more that are way above my ability - but it's something to work towards. My best accomplishment was finally topping out a highball problem that took me three weeks to figure out. I'll consider it my greatest and only true first ascent - I was extremely stoked to send it clean. It's definitely made me stronger and has improved my technique quite well. Now that the leaves are off the trees, the relentless overcast and grim forests look like they are ready to succumb to the cold grip of winter. With a few great weekends remaining, climbing season will come to a close, save the occasional 60 degree winter day we always have in the Mid-Atlantic. With one last big trip to the Red planned for mid November, I'm crushing as much as I can at my backyard crag to stay strong for next spring.
Here's the sequence for the highball that took my several weeks to get beta dialed in: