Southern Hospitality in Chattanooga, Tennessee
We have just finished our second full day bouldering at Little Rock City just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee and are settled down in the Walmart parking lot to call it a night. We could go and camp, but we’re planning on taking a rest day tomorrow and visiting the aquarium here in the city. Not to mention camping costs money, and we try to be frugal when we can.
When we were staying at Miguel’s in the Red, we met this girl named Hannah who lived in Chattanooga and was in Kentucky for the weekend with her college’s climbing team. She immediately fell in love with Denali, and would come over to play with him every morning at breakfast. When she left she had me add her on Facebook, shortly thereafter we followed each other on Twitter and stayed in touch. I knew we were coming to Chattanooga and asked her if she had any recommendations on where to stay. She immediately invited us to stay with her. I didn’t want to impose, as we planned on being in town for about two weeks. But I thought it would be good to crash with her for a bit just so we could get settled.
Hannah is super sweet, really friendly, and completely adorable. Faye was a little unsure about staying with her, since she didn’t really know her at all. I guess neither of us really knew her, but I may have felt like I did simply by seeing her Facebook and Twitter feeds all the time. Hannah made us feel absolutely welcome, and really opened up her home to us. We went to Little Rock City our first couple of days. Little Rock City (or LRC) is located on private property. To be more specific, it’s located out-of-bounds at a local golf course. It’s pretty surreal to sign in at the clubhouse, walk out past a green, and into this vast boulder field with endless problems.
Once we got into the boulders we met Hannah’s friends Ben and Heather. They had both been to LRC on multiple occasions and knew the area. It was nice to have people be able to show us around. After warming up we went into the Main area and Ben got really excited about retrying a problem called Dragon Lady (V4). He made it look really casual, and as it was an area classic, I wanted to try it. You start scrunched up under a low roof, and have to make a long move behind your head to the lip. Your feet are way under you, and then you have to try to move up to jugs and make your way to the top. I probably tried it about four or five times that first day, but could never quite make it to the jugs. On the second day I wasn’t feeling all that strong. My elbows started to hurt from tendonitis and I thought I was going to be sitting out most of the day, just watching everyone else climb. But after a bit of a break, and a little green tea, I was feeling renewed. We went back to the Dragon boulder, and Hannah’s friend Max wanted to try Dragon Lady, so I decided to get on it again. My first go on the second day I was able to get to the jug, but fell off it. After a few more tries I wasn’t able to get any closer. But then my friend Jamelyn’s friend hiked it, and he did it a little differently. I tried it with his beta (going up to the jug with the left hand) and was able to send it! It probably took me about nine to twelve tries overall. It was a milestone for me in a couple of different ways. To start, it was my first outdoor V4. Secondly, and what I think is more important, it’s the first problem that I’ve really spent some time on. Usually I’ll move on after not being able to solve a problem in the first couple of tries. This is something that I saw the really good climbers in the Red doing, and something that I’ve wanted to also be able to do to improve as a climber.
I’m really looking forward to being here in Chattanooga. In addition to our friend Hannah, a girl named Stella that we became friends with in West Virginia is living here as well. I wondered out loud on the way to LRC our first day if we would run into her while we were in town. It just so happened that she pulled up with Ruth and Ryan (who we also met in West Virginia) moments after us. I gave her a big hug and caught up on how she was doing. Then the second day we ran into Jamelyn, Amy, and Joe, all of whom we met at Miguel’s. It was nice to hang out and climb with them a bit as well. On Monday night our friend Ian will be down for a week. It’s really exciting how many people we’ve become friends with, and will continue to see on our travels.