|Permatorque - 26 (I think), Little River Canyon. Photo: Johnny Lightning|
Red River Gorge Closes the Doors:
|Selfie number one: sad face, last day at Red River Gorge and even more upsetting: no more Miguels food.|
So come December everything closes up shop around The Red, literally. Everyone clears out and all the shops and eateries close for the winter. You can still climb apparently but it gets super chilly.
Six weeks can go really fast and I before long it was time to move on and head out of town.
I already had a vague plan to check out Chattanooga in Tennessee. I had heard it was a really nice town and had some great climbing around the area as well as some wilderness hikes and what not. So December 1st I said a sad goodbye to everyone at Miguels as they were doing the final cleaning up and made my way to Chattanooga.
Chattanooga Choo Choo:
I rolled into town at night and made my way straight to The Yellow Deli Café for some eats. It’s pretty much exactly the same as the one back home in Katoomba and everyone there is really nice and made friends pretty quick with the guys.
|Its yellow and a deli.|
|Finally got to try the famous long awaited Yellow Deli chilli, it didn't disappoint. And the cornbread! Foodgasm.|
I only had one day in town before meeting the Rockhouse Crew in Alabama so I went for a quick hike around Lookout Mountain. The Mountain stands above Chattanooga and as you could guess has some amazing lookouts over the valley and the huge rivers below. The weather was pretty crap but still made for a nice day of walking.
|Chattanooga is down there, somewhere.|
Another night and another Yellow Deli Meal and then I headed to Little River Canyon about an hour south in Alabama for some more climbing with the guys.
I met up with Hal and Johnny Lightning, two rad guys that I was working with at the Rockhouse in The Red. Steve Awesome, a Canadian strong man joined us for the trip as well. We had some blow ins from time to time, Johnny’s GF Sarah joined us for a few days which was great and another Rockhouse employee Steve Sandman came for a couple days as well. Had so much fun hanging out with these guys!
|Left to right: Top - Hal, Sarah. Bottom - Steve, Johnny, Retard.|
But the River is Big:
Little River Canyon is just awesome. Very beautiful indeed. A canyon close to 120 meters deep (maybe, I have no idea actually but I'll go with that) with quite a (surprisingly) large and fast running river in the bottom. Ten to forty meter cliffs run nearly the whole way down both sides, the rock is pretty endless and its bomber! How is this place not more popular.
|Selfie number 2: happy face, more rock climbing.|
|Did I say fast running?|
|Hal getting suited up below Lizard Wall.|
I'm going to put it out there that it could be better than The Red, just sayen’. Amazing blocky featured sandstone with edges ranging from big rounded blocks (lookout for the 'rock dildo' kids) to small perfect crimps. The rock is bullet hard and smooth but still with friction. I just loved it. Lock-off on perfect edge, high step to reach another edge and repeat, with some delicate face moves thrown in. Couldn't ask for more really. We spent most of our time at a crag called Lizard Wall, about fifteen degrees overhung, eighteen meters tall and stretching for a few hundred meters. And there was no one there, every day we climbed it was perfect conditions and we were always the only group at the cliff. I managed to climb a couple of routes from 22 – 27 in the few days we were there, all classic!
|Long Doug - 27. Photo: Johnny Lightning.|
|Steve Sandman on Robyns Route, one of the best 25s I've ever climbed. Photo: Johnny Lightning.|
|Steve Awesome being awesome on Robyns Route. Photo: you guessed it, Johnny Lightning|
Camping was great too, for a couple bucks a night we stayed at a local RV Park with free showers and wifi. Every night after a days climbing we would head to the laundry room to escape the cold and participate in the funniest Starwars movie marathon out of the few I've participated in, we even watched the Phantom Menace that’s how committed we were. The place even had a dam with a duck named Captain Quack (due to waking us up early with god-damn quacking) who mysteriously disappeared/flew south/was eaten by local hunters a few days after we got there.
|Hal and Steve enjoying our luxury accomadation. Not pictured: Captain Quack.|
After the world class climbing in Little River Canyon we decided to get amongst some local boulders, spending a day each at Hospitals Boulders and Sandrock, both pretty nice sandstone bouldering. Hospital Boulders reminded me of Sydney Boulders, but with more slopers. Sandrock was good to, amazing featured rock corridors about 10 meters high and some great views from the top.
|Hal rocking the Cosby Sweater on Reeds Roof - V5 I think, Sandrock. Photo: Johnny Lightning.|
|having a play on GTO - V7, Sandrock. Photo: Johnny Lightning.|
Rocktown - The Town of Rock:
Next up we headed back north back towards Chattanooga and Rocktown Boulders. This place is just quality. Sandstone again but a bit grittier and more like gym climbing. Classic problems everywhere you looked. Photos can tell it better than I can.
|Hal on the super weird Helicopter - V5, Photo: Johnny Lightning|
|Some guy on Brown Hole - V8(slash 6). Photo: Johnny Lightning.|
|Gotta love the sweater, Hal on Sherman Photo Traverse V8. Photo: Johnny Lightning|
I felt good on my first day, managed a couple of flashes up to V7 and did a very soggy V8 in a couple tries (might be a Grampians V6 though). After the first day I crashed and couldn’t find any more power for the next few days we were there, that’s what I get for eating to much fatty food I guess. Still had a great time though fooling around on easier stuff. So many classics.
After spending a week destroying boulders (or egos in my case) and skin in equal measures it was time again to hit the road. We sayed goodbye to Johnny at the campsite and then me, Hal and Steve hit up another small bouldering field down the road for a final session. My skin was on fire at this point so after a couple problems I sooked out and bailed. I hugged the fellas goodbye and started heading north for Ontario.
So that might do there, it was all a while ago now but I’m a slow typist, sorry. Ill try and have another up soon with Christmas shenanigans, short version though: it was great. Thanks for all the photos Johnny.
Big hugs everyone.
Big hugs everyone.