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Archive for the ‘Climbing’ Category

Many of the Thanksgiving traditions of my family are over 30 years old: the meal with the brothers at the oldest’s house, the flag football game, the day after hike, guests from near and far. Many of the children who are now parents don’t really remember Thanksgiving any other way. But as spouses have been added, which means extended families, the traditions have had to flex and bend to traditions and schedules of other families. The day after hike used to be on “Black Friday”, sort of a rejection of the shopping madness for a stroll in the mountains and conversation with family. But this year and last the big meal was on Friday, and this year the hike was on Thursday. Rather than brothers and spouses and children and cousins, it was trimmed down to my oldest brother and me.

We explored a few ruins and cemetery in the Sugarlands of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There was once a thriving community on this gentle slope below Bulls Head of the Mt. LeConte. The sugar maples upslope were a source of sugar and the name of the community. There was Pi Beta Phi settlement school begun there in 1920 with a stone house for the teachers and later a CCC Camp for workers in the young National Park.

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Catching rays in the leafless Autumn before the dim winter days

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The main school house? The boarding quarters or dining room?

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Rest under the plush carpet

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Emma

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Creek crossing

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Teacher’s House

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Kitchen

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Living Room

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Beech and Sourwood juxtaposed

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Bedload scouring

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Both lively and peaceful

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Double Duty- cleared land and separated

After the hike I went to visit my 3rd born. Arriving just before dark, we went down to Kingston to see the sunset. Having already set, we walked the concrete “boardwalk” enjoying the fading colors and good conversation.

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Too late and just in time

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On Saturday I went bouldering at Lilly Boulders at the Obed Scenic River climbing area. I was by myself at first but met up with another climber with whom I enjoyed the day. I was climbing exceptionally well, and truth be told, the grading of climbs seems easy here than at home. The day was perfect for climbing: crisp, dry, sunny.

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One wall at Lilly Boulders

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Lots of good climbing

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Approach Pose

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One of the climbs on my bucket list has been climbing the Sitting Bear spire just below Ginger Cake Mountain. It was a beautiful day. However, I have been sick for quite some time and felt generally exhausted and very out of breath by the time we made the short, but steep approach. Every climb on this rock starts off with an overhang. In fact I would not at all be surprised to one day hear that it has become Laying Bear. The head of the bear makes it appear to be not only top heavy, but also weighted to one side. But not today for I climbed it. Truth be told I was sore and tried to lead the 5.9, “Original Route”, but could not make it over the overhang setting trad gear. So, I told my partner that I wanted on top. He tied an etrier (he pronounced it long “a””tree””a” suggesting that the word is French). With my handy stick clip I aided up a set of bolts to the last two moves before the top. I cheated my way to the top then set it up on toprope. The “Original Route” was not that hard without the hanging out to set pro. On the way up I was amazed at two of the old bolts. I referred to them as tool shed protection because they looked like someone had cut out a piece of mower deck, bent it at right angle, drilled a round hole, and afixed it with whatever small bolt they had on hand. In fact, the lower of the two appeared to be about a 3/16 inch bolt. Perhaps the old climbers climbed more by faith than by sight. The view on top was beautiful, relaxing, aesthetic (as one blogger put it). The head of the bear is just above treetop so that you can see quite well but at the same time feel like part of the forest. The view toward the South Mountains was reasonably clear, not quite what you would need to see the buildings in Charlotte which I have on rare winter days. The angle on the gorge allowed you to see all of the main points and straight down the river to the exit at Shortoff. We tried another 11d to the left reaching the rather blank looking face. It wasn’t the best climbing day I’ve had but doing something I’ve wanted to do on such a beautiful day with good conversation was quite refreshing.

Foot of Sitting Bear

Overhung Starts

Aiding Sitting Bear2

Etrier Arete

Ading Sitting Bear3

A bright and glorious day

Gorge from Sitting Bear2

Aesthetically Pleasing Linville Gorge

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Tool Shed Pro

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It’s a pity when life gets in the way of blogging (just kidding!). But I have so many thoughts and experiences from the summer that I could blog for quite some time. It is not likely to happen as I see more things happening soon, but that’s OK.

I did want to share a few thoughts and pictures. I don’t often suggest books for several reasons. I do more technical reading than reading for pleasure, and frankly many books don’t meet my high standard of what I would unreservedly pass on to those I call friends, or enemies for that matter since I want them to one day be friends. A book that I can enthusiastically suggest is “The Book That Made Your World, How the Bible Created the soul of Western Civilization” by Vishal Mangalwadi. Because of his culture and his faith he simultaneously looks at the West as an outsider and insider at the same time. I keep having the feeling that he is correcting much error from lies our culture has fed us about how we got to where we are. He uses personal experiences and copious quotes to show the deep imprint of the Bible on western culture. I think that you will hear more about it here once I am finished with it.

My friend, colleague, and climbing partner, CC, took me to two boulders I’d never been to before. In fact, he had only been there a few days before with another climbing buddy for the first time cleaning about ten problems, laying a thick base of branches in a wet spot, and clearing part of a large fallen tree. I was privileged to try out the new rock. I like to go back to old familiar routes, but there is a particular excitement about trying new routes, and particularly ones that haven’t been climbed before. I was definitely not climbing at the top of my game, only topping out on a V1 and 3 V2’s. I tried two V4 and got shut down. Both problems involved a gaston with my left hand that I could not stick. It has challenged me to train that weakness. On the second one I discovered that if I did a side pull with my right hand instead, I could top out to the left much easier. We both agreed that it would rate as a V2. I decided to name it “Easy Out”. The two pictures are of me on the right sidepull and the topout. We saw several Cardinal Flowers in the wet, rich spots by the creek. I definitely want to go back, and hopefully clean some problems on new rock myself. (Photo credit: CC with his phone)

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Lobelia cardinalis

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Taking it “Easy..”

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“Easy Out”

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Best Laid Plans

Every now and then I try to video myself climbing, almost always bouldering. I went climbing with three guys two weeks ago who are about 30 years old, much better than me and working on a V-10. One of them almost completed it, falling after the crux (hardest part). I was working on a V-4 immediately next to the V-10 and completed it after about 4 tries. I was pleased with myself and thought I could do it again and video it. When I watched the replay I laughed quite abit. I showed it to the guys for a laugh. Check it out at V-4 called “Put Your Back Into It”

The sequence of photos below gives a vague idea of the process of working a problem. It’s about planning, cleaning holds, training for crux moves, practicing different sequencing, and trying again and again. It may take one session or several years. This group had already been working on it for several sessions. A week later the guy without a shirt completed it. Everyone progresses at their own rate. I guess that is why they put up with me and even cheer me on. There is considerable competition between these guys but they are more challenged by someone else getting to the top.

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Arrival Inspection

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Cleaning Holds

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Remembering Sequences

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The Bouldering Buddies

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Stack Carefully

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Photo Op before working the problem

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Some say, “Grow up”. Others say, “Never grow old.” If both are an attempt to bring balance to people’s lives then I say, “Work hard and play hard so you can keep balance.” I was privileged to go climbing with some friends on my birthday. I wasn’t taking the pictures so the only ones I got from the cameraman were all of me. The day was sunny and warmer than expected. An indication that climbing has gone mainstream is that a county park with paved trails and parking lot, bathrooms and picnic pavilion and ranger office are set up with bolted routes at an old quarry for rock climbing and families with small children climbing made up half of the crowd. 

Leading a 5.7 with an audience

Leading a 5.7 with an audience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting in the Groove

Getting in the Groove

Beautiful Day for a Topout

Beautiful Day for a Topout

I am so thankful to God for friends to work with and play with and for work and play to do.

The key to usefulness is not to work harder, but work at what God has given you to do as unto Him and enjoy the gifts He has given with thankfulness unto Him. Oh that we would do so in this new year.

 

 

 

 

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I kept wanting to go to the mountains but people, responsibility, and other priorities kept preventing it. Seeing my repeatedly frustrated efforts my wife said that I should go tomorrow. I wasn’t going to second guess the cessation of chores and her encouragement to go. Besides, after taking a walk with her early on this August 1st I knew that it was an exceptionally clear, low humidity, and cool day. (65 degrees was enough for several people to say it felt like the first Fall day- wishful thinking with August and September ahead.) So a hasty breakfast and quicker packing job and I was gone. I like solitude but I like company, too, but the whole reason I was going alone was because I couldn’t find anyone and one had even backed out. 

I even enjoy the drive up on a very curvy rode in a small, good cornering car with a clutch and adequate power. The air was crisp, the sky totally blue, and my heart was light. Bouldering by yourself is considered to be quite risky by some, but I have observed others doing it with care. You only attempt climbs that are straight up over the pad with no barn door potential. The weather meant exceptional friction, almost unheard of in the humid South in the summer. I was climbing well, but I can’t say if I was climbing exceptionally well because I couldn’t try anything really hard because of the ground rules for climbing alone I’d set down. During rest breaks I took pictures of fern and tree leaves.

Rockcap Fern (Polypodium virginianum) I believe

Rockcap Fern (Polypodium virginianum) I believe

Frazier Magnolia

Frazier Magnolia

I set up several videos of me climbing (I just admitted to a selfie! I will not let this become a regular event and certainly not an addiction. I must keep this under control.) You may check them out by clicking on the names below. It will be immediately obvious that I’m no rockstar, but I enjoy the challenge, nonetheless:

Disc and Throw

Chainsawleft

Trillium fruiting

Trillium fruiting

American Chestnut "bush"

American Chestnut “bush”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After bouldering around until my forearms were quite tired, I walked up to the top of the ridge, sat down, took in the view, ate lunch, and read my Bible. Actually, when I first arrived up top I lay down on the bouldering pad a prayed for awhile. There was such a rest in telling my Father all my burdens about work, family, and internal stress. I have been enjoying, not just tolerating reading Leviticus and Numbers. Numbers 2 and 3 seem like lists of camp arrangement and numbers of fighting men, and numbering religious servants, but they reveal several things about God’s character. He is orderly and efficient and given to detail.  The arrangement of Levites reveals His concern for His holiness among the people and grace to not destroy them with His fierce justice. The taking of the Levites in place of the firstborn and the redemption of 273 additional Israelites by a gift of five shekels each reminds us of the depth of our sin problem and the gloriousness of God’s solution in salvation. The more I read the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy) the more I feel like Jesus is repeating Himself when He points to God’s holiness and the Law. As a man did He have “aha!” moments of learning the Word from His parents or the synagogue teachers, moments when He said, “I remember saying that.”? All of His Word speaks of His character and what is important to Him. Are we bored with it because we have little passion for knowing Him and what He cares about? Knowledge of Him is our ultimate goal here. Beautiful days in the mountains and hard days of difficulty or frustration are profitable and meaningful if we allow them to direct us to knowing Him more. Yeah, I prefer one over the other but I am slowly learning to muse, “Hmm, I wander how this situation may draw me closer to Him?”

House Fly

House Fly

 

Evergreen groundcover

Shining Clubmoss (or Shining Firmoss) Huperizia lucidula (Thanks for the ID help Sister L)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view up top increased my enjoyment of my time concentrating on God. He created all of the beauty around us to remind us of His beauty and the enjoyment we may have from these gifts from His good hand.

Left to Right: Table Rock, Hawksbill, Gingercake

Left to Right: Table Rock, Hawksbill, Gingercake

Exceptionally Beautiful August Day

Exceptionally Beautiful August Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About a year and a half ago in late August just before school started a newly hired teacher at my school was helping his brother move a heavy chest of drawers down a set of steps. The soon to be Science Department colleague of mine was bravely leading down the stairs backwards while his brother held onto the bottom plate of the piece of furniture, bent over double struggling down. Part way down the bottom plate broke off and the weight of the chest of drawers came down on the lead brother’s leg just below the knee, snapping the bone. Major reconstructive surgery ensued followed by 3 months in a wheelchair and 3 months on crutches. For a 26 year old who was used to running and was passionate about rock climbing it was a significant blow. School started the next week and he toughed out the first year in public school lesson preps, navigating among students in a wheelchair, severe pain, discouragement about the possibility of not walking right and not climbing at all, the humility of having to be bathed, and more. Not at all a quitter he began to do physical therapy as soon as the doctor allowed it. I can only imagine what kind of pain and discouragement he underwent to try and get his active life back. After he began to walk again just before Christmas, he also began to hope that he might climb again. His friends began to banter that they were training and would take him on when he returned to the rock because he had always showed them how beforehand.

Still not released by the doctor for full activity he longed to begin getting back in shape. I suggested that since I did pull-ups and hangs on my hangboard while waiting for the fire in the stove to get hot, he could join me. In January we started getting together to exercise and get stronger for climbing. The pull-up bar I installed in my basement is nothing more than a sledgehammer handle that had broken off. I mounted it to the floor joists:

AHT5As we trained each week we would come up with new ways to strengthen our core or work muscles we knew to be used in some movement in rock climbing. I installed a clamp to the joists beyond the sledgehammer handle so that we could raise our legs up to it for core development and keep our feet on it for horizontal pull-ups. Gimpy had to stay off of his leg early on. He kept trash talking with his buddies and began to tell them that he was training so that he could climb in the Spring. They wanted to know what kind of training he could be doing in his condition. He retorted that he was doing axe handle training (sounded tougher than sledgehammer handle) in the basement of a colleague (Old Man) and would be ready to take them on. Frequently as they texted or talked he would tout the merits of Axe Handle Training. First thing in the late Spring when he was able to get out climbing he did better than all of them. How could it be, 6 months out of commission after major surgery? They couldn’t believe it! He would just say, “It’s that Axe Handle Training. You should try it!” So one evening this last Fall during a session he Tweeted some pics to his friends of the Old Man and Gimpy hard at the training.

 

Old Man preparing to do an offset pull-up

Old Man preparing to do an offset pull-up

Old Man executing an offset pull-up

Old Man executing an offset pull-up

 

Moral of this story: Use what’s available, don’t give up,

work with someone else, work hard,

don’t accept the expected outcomes

 

 

 

 

 

Gimpy works his core

Gimpy works his core

 

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We had said that when they settled into a house we would give them my father’s piano. We wanted to visit children and grandchildren anyway, but delivering a piano via the back of an open pick-up truck in winter north of the Mason-Dixon Line is a challenge, especially when it is fine mahogany and the forecast calls for intense rain. We made the first leg of trip and got the instrument under cover for two days of intense rain without any hitch, visiting with my daughter, grand-daughter, and son-in-law. We started off on the second leg of the journey from Virginia to Pennsylvania thinking the rain was over and met with some light showers but the covering repelled and the padding softened. It was good to hear it sing again at the hands of my daughter-in-law and their church pianist, albeit out of tune from the long temperature, humidity, and vibrational changing delivery. We had all of the family present but the youngest who was at the a Georgia beach with his girlfriend and her family. The possibility of getting them all together in one place at the same time diminishes as the years pass. On Tuesday my second-born son and I went to Chickies Rock on the Susquehanna River. Afterwards we went down to Muddy Run Preserve and walked around the lake. On Christmas day I ran 9 miles, the most distance for a continuous run I have ever done. I may be able to run a 1/2 marathon in the Spring.  The next day we had a totally unexpected snow of 2-3 inches that was only forecast to be a snow shower. That prevented a trip to Gettysburg but we went to Reading Rocks indoor climbing wall in the afternoon. The next day we visited Valley Forge and many of the historic sites downtown in Philadelphia. Before the day was over we collected two pieces of furniture from my son-in-law’s grandmother to take to Virginia on the way back home. On Saturday we had all of the family, save the youngest son as I have said, over for lunch and a visit. On Sunday after church we visited with some friends, a family of 11 children. They are so pleasant and well behaved. In the evening the pastor, who is also my eldest son’s father-in-law, and several of his children came to visit. It was a full but enjoyable day. I was able to run several times over these days and my second son gave me a Garmin satellite watch that I can register distance, pace, course, and time. The watch is fun and allows for further goal setting but all of this technology reminds me how easily we may be watched. I am thankful that my Father up above is watching, directing, correcting, and providing. Submission to such a kind and benevolent Authority is restful and I wander why I ever resist it. I desire to submit and succeed by His grace in the coming year. A blessed New Year to you all.

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Chickies Rock

Chickies Rock

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Muddy Run Preserve

Muddy Run Preserve

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Washington's Headquarters at Valley Forge

Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge

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Great Blue Herron

Great Blue Herron

Washington Memorial Chapel

Washington Memorial Chapel

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City Hall

City Hall

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Christ Church

Christ Church

Ben Franklin's Print Shop

Ben Franklin’s Print Shop

Carpenter's Hall

Carpenter’s Hall

Independence Hall

Independence Hall

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

Philadelphia Train Station

Philadelphia Train Station

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Full On

Recently I posted a reflection by my son called “Bouldering is Like Life”. Discussion of this reflection in my family prompted them to ask why I had never written a poem about climbing. The answer is “I don’t know”. I took it as a challenge; this is my first attempt. It is in no way intended to be an answer to my son’s reflection which is far more profound and in freeform. Rather it gives voice to two of the ways I like climbing- challenge and rest. It will not be of much interest to those who do not climb since the jargon will confuse and the draw of climbing will perplex, but perhaps climbers may relate.

Hang on the crimpers
Smear on the face
No place to rest
The challenge embrace

Gastones and side pulls
Muscles opposed
Fear a whipper
Relish how exposed

Arêtes and corners
Barn door and stem
Build up your core
Engage every limb

Hand jams, finger locks
In off-width cracks
Knuckles may bleed
Struggle with lay backs

Overhung boulders
Then feel the burn
Heel hook, mantle
The hard moves not spurn

Balance on tiny
Friction toe hold
Body tension
Feel the flow, don’t fold

Sequence and effort
Focus so hard
Worries all gone
Against stress you guard

So I like climbing
Work body tone
Relax the mind
Challenge full on

 

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Enthusiastic Learners

A new crew of climbers made a start today. This group of friends decided to explore rock climbing for their Senior Projects. They were the best first time climbers I have ever mentored. They wanted to get to the top, showed little fear, tried really hard, and truly seemed enthusiastic and grateful for the opportunity. They are also funny and articulate. All in all, this promises to be an enjoyable project. They climbed a 5.6 and 5.5 and then we attempted a 5.8. They were trying to learn technique on the crux move and didn’t want to give up until they could not hold on anymore. I had been off from climbing for most of the summer, hanging weekly to not lose everything. I struggled leading a 5.10a but didn’t fall. Not only do you lose strength when you lay off climbing but also moxy. Careful confidence is the way to proceed. 

It was so good to be out. The temperature ranged from low 50’s to mid 60’s with partly cloudy to occasional mostly cloudy, no insects, very few other climbers, dry rock, enthusiastic learners, progress made. 

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Rockin' First Timer

Rockin’ First Timer

Tandem belay

Tandem belay

Toughing it out in new shoes

Toughing it out in new shoes

Move over, please

Move over, please

How about some beta?

How about some beta?

Time to step it up- 5.8

Time to step it up- 5.8

 

Too long away- feels good

 

Good Crew, Good Day of Climbing

Good Crew, Good Day of Climbing

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What might the following pictures have in common?

Digital Native

Digital Native

Cornwall Iron Furnace

Cornwall Iron Furnace

Busted Bus Replacement

Busted Bus Replacement

The Angle

The Angle

Flood Remnant!?

Flood Remnant!?

Little Round Top

Little Round Top

General Longstreet

General Longstreet

Cabela's

Cabela’s

Stroll Forest and Glade

Stroll Forest and Glade

Painting on Turkey Tailfeathers

Painting on Turkey Tailfeathers

Proud Grandparents

Proud Grandparents

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

Firstborn Son

Firstborn Son

Reading Rocks

Reading Rocks

The indoor climbing wall in Reading is challenging! I bouldered, topropped, and even led one climb in nearly 4 hours of climbing. The pegboard climb was most challenging, using only arms to move pegs up a pegboard you are hanging from.      Surveying the history of time measurement and timepieces and how they work, the difference in time measurement by period and country, and displaying some amazing and rare examples, The National Watch and Clock Museum is a worthwhile destination.    Nature art we saw at an art show, I realized, is most amazing and best when it best copies the beauty God instilled in nature. He is the Ultimate Artist we all try to emulate.    It is quite the sales strategy to make your store a museum for what your customers love best. Cabela’s draws people in to their museum of mounted large mammals and fish tanks so they are near outdoor equipment they sell.                    The High Water Mark of the Confederacy occurred at this battlefield. Do you know which one it is?     The Cornwall Iron Blast Furnace clearly details the importance of iron/steel in our history, the process of mining it and producing iron stock, and the importance of this particular Furnace and to American history.  Electrical work provides a consistent living. You can’t imagine us never needing electricians.    What these pictures have in common is our visit to see our grand-babies, family, and sightsee along the way. Adding also a play called “Acts, the Three Man Show” and two church services with excellent preaching, it was a whirlwind tour.

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After so much rain, I really wanted to go climbing. It turns out that I did twice this week, which was a surprise to me. Showing a former student the ropes was fun and the conversation coming and going was substantial. A grigri is a very handy device for climbing with a first time climber since I would not have a safe belay otherwise. I think this new climber will come again since he didn’t have much fear of height, proceeded carefully, and wanted to challenge himself, needing only the slightest encouragement to continue trying confidently. But isn’t that true for all of life? Where do you obtain lack of fear, care, and confidence to try? Common grace allows that people can muster some awareness within themselves but for the challenges of life that really count, living in a way that is pleasing to God, the manifold grace of God is the only sure, lasting source for overcoming. 

First outdoor climb, 5.6

First outdoor climb, 5.6

Say what?

Say what?

Topping out

Topping out

Rappell

Rappell

Progress

Progress

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I had a good day of bouldering on Tuesday with my son returned from college. I was just not strong enough to make the crux move on an otherwise easy problem. A stranger came along and told me to turn my hip in, dropping my knee. What seemed beyond my strength with my left hand so low suddenly seemed not very difficult. Technique won the day on this problem and two others.

It is so beautiful at this site in general but with the wildflowers and low humidity it was a sight to behold:

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)

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Table Rock, Hawksbill, Gingercake

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Mount Mitchell through the Spruce

 

Practical Physics

Practical Physics

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Fiddleheads

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Doug, Chris, and I spent a beautiful afternoon climbing mostly new routes for us at Black Fork. The sky was deep blue with low humidity and the sunshine, breeze, and temperature were excellent for exertion. I am thankful to God for health and strength and friends to enjoy the outdoors with. Enjoy the climbing pictures.

Lighting the way to higher places

Lighting the way to higher places

Ledges are good

Ledges are good

Stretch, Doug

Stretch, Doug

A New Challenge

A New Challenge

Chris showin' us how it's done

Chris showin’ us how it’s done

I'm glad one of our belayers pays attention

I’m glad one of our belayers pays attention

What did you say?

What did you say?

Observing how it's done

Observing how it’s done

Most excellent MLK Holiday!

Most excellent MLK Holiday!

3 Turkeys went climbing

3 Turkeys went climbing

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The weather allowed and the schedules cooperated for a nice day at the crag.

100_7034    It is important to have a belayer who you can trust. This one is looking laid back. The “cool” sign is a bit disconcerting  though.  Is his hand on the rope in brake position?  And I hope that he made a better grade in belaying than science class.  Oh yeah, I’m tied in at the shuts at two points. I’m OK for the moment.  This place is great for winter time climbing because it is south facing and fairly low elevation. The forest fire actually assisted with that but it is regretable for the forest and eliminates shade for summertime climbing. 100_7036Rope management at the cold shuts is imperative. Checking and double checking and  triple checking if distraction or any degree of uncertainty is present are necessary. After leading an easier route to these shuts, we tried straight up where the footholds were thin. We moved on to a climb that I had not done before that seemed more serious upon inspection that it did to actually climb. Finally, we worked on a climb that used all of our technique and strength to get onto. We both made progress but neither pulled through the 3 or 4 move sequence of the crux. It involved an overhang, slopey footing, an undercling for me (my partner has 7 inches height on me), 100_7033and a reach to a blind hold all in the first move followed by a campus to the next rail. I had actually done it before but it was too much for the limited time on the rock I have had lately.  The climbing included toprope, sport, and trad. We had some friction, face, overhang, and bouldery heel hooks. The protection was bomber; the conversation was substansial; the weather was agreeable. The sun and breeze came and went so that we found ourselves adding and peeling layers but all in all is was, as you can see, a beautiful day. I actually had the camera passed up to me via the rope to get this shot of the distant view. It was an enjoyable way to end the year.  For those of you somewhat mistified by my vocabulary I include a dictionary: http://www.rockclimbing.com/Articles/Introduction_to_Climbing/Climbing_Dictionary_528.html

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South end of Lunch Ledge on Table Rock looking toward the Chimneys

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

  I like climbing because

  -I’m out in God’s beautiful creation

  -It challenges my body

  -It takes tremendous concentration that clears the mind of stress

  -I share this beauty and challenge with others that can bring about conversation on significant things

It has been awhile since I’ve been 200 feet up. The view is tremendous. Check out the the next picture of a climber on the a cliff behind me. See the vegetation on the rock just left of my right hand in the picture? This will give you an indication of scale:

On a Sea of Rock

The climbs we did were    
      -the first pitch of Cave Route   
     -first two pitches of Jim Dandy   
     -Slipping in the Darkness (5.9)   
     -What’s Up Doc (5.10d) 
 
I only fell once on the 10d first time I’ve ever climbed it. It had small crimpers and balanceyface climbing, perhaps what I’m best at. There were two teenagers along with me- one experienced and one who was out the second time:

 

 

 

 

Senior Project Student belayed by an Experienced Young Climber

           I give praise to God for the beauty of the day, the safety oftrip, the health of our bodies and minds to be able to climb,and the abundance that allows me to participate.

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It took many hours last Saturday but we three found a new climbing area.  The rock type is quite different from any other we have encountered here and somewhat reminds me of rock at the Obed in Tennessee minus the large overhangs.  The site is literally in the corner of our county with thirty minutes of gravel roads and 20 minutes of fast walking.

Preparing to climb

 

Getting down to business

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 This climb looks as though it should be easy because of the angle, but the holds get smaller and smaller as you approach the top so that it ends up being friction climbing at the top.  There would be more pictures of the other two climbing if I hadn’t been belaying so much.
 

Full On

 
 

A Move Too Hard

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There is no lack of challenge here for me.  So I think I’ll be back for more.  The lack of roads and trails and people makes this climbing site decidedly more remote than most I’ve been to.  I reminds me of a site I sought out for a threatened wildflower recently.  I mountain biked about seven miles beyond the gate on gravel. It’s a pity that I didn’t find the flowers.  They’ll bloom next year and perhaps I’ll try again.

Topping Out

 
I must confess to liking the challenge of climbing, but it also gives me a physical and mental release from much  I have to deal with in teaching in a  public school.  Being successful at climbing and making progress on difficult climbs requires focus, a focus that wipes worries and distractions away.  Sitting under the rock and talking to your friend 

Sport Climb Protection

and belayer is relaxing and encouraging, while climbing is invigorating and intense.  For me it’s a good combination.  Oh, and the view is great, too.  The mountain laurel and galax were blooming this time out, but the bugs were biting, too. I came home tired but relaxed of mind.  I had a question recently about knowing if the anchors in sport climbing are secure and about who installs them.  Two things immediately came

 
 to mind about this subject, one faith-based 
 and one pragmatic.  Pragmatically
 speaking, the newer 3/8″ stainless bolts and
 hangers don’t seem to ever corrode, and
 the method of installation is consistent
 because they have an automatic torque
 setting. The way this works is the bolt was
 longer when installed and broke off at a pre-
 set torque as it was tightened.  For it to hold
 the hanger tight, as can easily be seen upon
inspection, the bolt must be the right depth and the right torque.  From the other point of view, we trust people not to run us over on the highway or as we cross the street, not to gun us down in our own yard, etc.  We should not rely upon this trust in an unquestioning and careless way, but ultimately it is God who we are trusting to preserve our lives and warn or redirect us when we are in danger.  A constant conversation with Him, I believe, is the best precaution for any situation.  He alerts our hearts to potential physical, emotional, and spiritual dangers if we will but listen. So climb, drive, relax, or work with alertness and confidence. We last not one minute longer than His plan nor one minute shorter. He is the preserver of our soul and body.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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