Monday, April 18, 2011

What makes a classic?

The Goal:
3 guys
5 areas
30 V5's
1 day

The Reality:
2 guys
3 areas
10 hours
100 miles
1 ego kept in check (maybe 2, I can't speak for Zack)

I'm sure it's an idea that many people have toyed with, but I have never heard of anyone actually following through (with good reason, as I would find out).  The Idea:  I heard from Dalen Gray and Zack Silberman about a plan to drive around the Boone area and do all of the classic V5 boulder problems (in a day)!  So, I set about compiling a list of all of the V5's in the area and came up with a list of 31.  While maybe not all of these were considered "classic," I liked the idea of 30 problems in a day.  In typical fashion, I whimiscally decided on a Friday and got in touch with Zack and Josh Shepherd.  Of course, it was the only day that Josh couldn't go climbing.  So, with a 30% chance of rain all day, Zack and I set out.  We got a slightly later start than we planned, due to a bank stop, Wal-Mart stop, 2 gas station stops (had to look for a deal on Monster engery drinks), and a dog on a roof. 

Dog on a roof
We finally reached Blowing Rock around 10:00am and started our day at the Mushroom Boulder.  We finished it off quickly and headed down to the lower area.  I had picked Blowing Rock as the first stop because of Roof of Death.  I had only done it once before and felt like I could have died.  I really wanted to knock this one out while fresh.  Fortunately, we both did it first go and moved on.  The plan was to be out of Blowing Rock by 11:30am, but that was wishful thinking.  Even though we did every problem in one or two goes, the hiking, unpacking, and packing took much longer than expected.  So, we set out to The Dump and a couple other random spots on 221. 

Zack on Low Boy.  It was moist.
Zack finishing up Stonehouse.
At the Blowing Rock trail-head.  Come on guys, how does this happen?
We thought we were moving quickly, but apparently not, as we reached Granmother around 4:00pm.  We also thought we were making good progress on our list, but apparently not, as we had only done 11 problems.  Up to this point, Zack had been filming our ventures, but his camera ran out of memory after a couple climbs at G-mom.  This was about the time when desperation set in and we had to change up our plans.  We had planned on going to Lost Cove and the Backyard Boulders, but we didn't really know our way around the Backyard, and it is still a rather obscure spot.  Unfortunately, it has about 7 V5's that we had planned on doing.  Lost Cove only has 2, so we decided to just do as many as possible at Grandmother and go to Lost Cove if time allowed.  Still, I wanted to do a full 30 problems, so I decided to add in a few more climbs to the list.  I obviously wasn't thinking clearly at this point, as most of them were harder than V5.  My body started shutting down at a more rapid pace as we made our way from the top to bottom of G-mom.  A day like this takes its toll both physically and mentally.  I felt sick and hungry and tired and wanted to quit climbing very badly by the end.  Finally, it got too dark to climb any more and we called it a day at about 8:30pm.  It felt so good to be done and driving back home!  In the end, I only did 24 climbs, but they were all so damn good!  That was the most that I've ever been beaten down by climbing, but when it was all done, we were pretty amazed at the day that just taken place.  Totally worth it!

Delays WILL happen.  Plan on it.
Zack on Doug Reed Roof at The Dump.
Me firing 6 Pac For Shur after a foot dab ruined my first go.
Zack wasted his energy campusing through most of Biggie Smalls. 
And a super punt off the last move of Undertoe to cap off the day.  It was wet.
If you'd like to plan a similar adventure, I would recommend the following:
  • Pick a grade that you are comfortable climbing within 1 or 2 tries
  • Compile a list of all the climbs of that grade at major areas using and
  • Convince a couple of people that climb at the same level as you to go with you (I wouldn't go on this adventure with more than 2 other people or it will simply take too much time)
  • Plan on an early start!  Or bring a lantern.  You will want more time than you think.
  • Bring a lot of food and water.  Snack food will not cut it for a day like this.
  • Pack light and move quickly.  You will want more time than you think.
  • Have a super fun time experiencing as many of Boone's boulder problems as physically possible!

So, what makes a classic?  Is it the history of the climb, the highball factor, the fun factor, the aesthetics, the level of sandbagging?  Probably.  The best way to find out is to go and climb it yourself.

The Final List:
(*=classic to me)
  1. *Low Boy V5
  2. The Fin SDS V5
  3. *Stems and Caps V5
  4. *Roof of Death V5
  5. *Raw Terror V5/6
  6. *Right Maddox V5
  7. Left 45 V5
  8. *Stonehouse V5
  9. *Doug Reed Roof V5
  10. *Undercling Undercling V5
  11. Sign of the Times V5
  12. *Darkman V5
  13. *Have Guns, Will Travel V7
  14. *Mighty Mouse V5
  15. 6 Pac For Shur V6
  16. Biggie Smalls V3
  17. *Throttle V5
  18. *Nitrous Oxide V5
  19. Big Guns V5
  20. Scottish Arete V5
  21. *Shinister V6
  22. *Zen Master V8
  23. *Crimping Nickels V5
  24. *Joey's Arete V5
If we forgot any 5's or simply weren't able to get to them, lemme know!