Before the race:
After the race:
Before the race:
After the race:
I set off with Elodie Reed, a reporter at the St. Albans Messenger, in search of signs of spring way up in Northern Vermont. My biggest hope was that we could find some kids out “mudding” or “mud bogging” but all the kids told us to come back next week for the real action. It was also the first day of trout season in Vermont and a big day for getting outside.
Photos from a late night ice climbing trip to Worcester. All photos are lit with headlamps and available light.
A series of portraits with yoga teachers Christine and Emma at Prana Power Yoga in Central Square. I lit the portraits mainly with the window light, but had a little help from the new Genaray SpectroLED Studoio 500 lights and a fill-in flash bounced off the ceiling.
This has been an amazingly long and cold winter in Boston and I needed a break. Luckily, my housemates Piers and Elliott both had to go down to South Carolina, for a frisbee tournament and a wedding respectively. I decided that was enough of a reason to take a week off work and see if my winter indoor climbing skills work on real rock. Road trip time!
The first stop was NYC to hang out with our friend LA and climb the incredibly sharp rock in Central Park. Worthless Boulder on the North end of Central Park is pretty awesome if you are in Manhattan. There are a few bigger boulders lower down, but Worthless did the trick.
Piers topping out on his first outdoor boulder problems:
The next day we woke up late and decided to go to Birdsboro Quarry in Pennsylvania. I’ve never climbed anywhere like this… The rock was great, but incredibly brittle because duh it was a quarry(glued holds and loose blocks are everywhere), there were a million bolted lines because who is going to care if you bolt a quarry, and it was really really cold. I’d go back if I was on my way somewhere else, but wouldn’t make a destination of Birdsboro.
Piers learned to lead belay, lead a sport route, and clean a sport route. Kind of a lot for 2 hours.
The one big plus is you get to cross two cable bridges:
We only planned the first day of the trip, which was a lot of fun, but also meant we didn’t look at the weather or maps or climbing guides or really anything useful before we set off. We got stuck in the worst highway snow I’ve ever been in. I think Virginia doesn’t know how to deal with snow. I took this photo below when the highway came to a complete stop just after midnight:
We stopped and snoozed in a rest area because there was no way my Yaris was going to make it until they actually plowed the roads. Continuing South, we decided to head to Mount Yonah in Georgia to try our first multi-pitch climb. It looked like the easiest and friendliest climbing mountain in the world and had some good looking boulders on the approach trail.
Mount Yonah is half in the town of Helen, Georgia, “Georgia’s Alpine Village.” The town mandated Bavarian architectural style for every structure in 1969 as a way to grow the tourist economy, while the logging industry was in a decline. It was hard to tell how well the village was doing, but we only paid $40 for a room at a hotel with an indoor pool and hot tub. That’s probably cheaper than camping at a KOA.
Mount Yonah is also an Army Ranger training area so as we approached the cliff, hundreds of Rangers emerged through the mist, whispering in small groups and learning how to climb and rappel. It made join the Army look like a ton of fun.
It was cold and wet in Georgia so we continued our search for better climbing conditions. Tennessee sounded like fun so we continued onwards and camped out at Raccoon Mountain near Chattanooga. The campground supposedly had some great views and mediocre caves, but only Piers checked them out while we slept in.
Foster Falls seemed like a good destination to try some harder sport climbing. I did my first outdoor leads since I broke my rib right before graduation 2 years ago. I was petrified to say the least. Real rocks are so tall and confusing after climbing on only brightly colored plastic holds. We did all right here, but it’s not a place for 5.9 climbers. We would have had a lot more fun if it was sunny and warm or we could lead 5.12.
We debated going back and climbing at Foster Falls again, but we would quickly run out of new climbs and continued on to new ground. Boat Rock in Atlanta, Georgia had a ton of routes of all shapes and difficulties and was sort of on our path to South Carolina. It’s an urban climbing area and is being threatened with increasing development on all sides as Atlanta sprawls further and further out. We finally hit our stride climbing at Boat Rock and the sun came out for the first time in the trip. What’s a spring break without tanning?