Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Travels: Bouldering trip to Stone Fort

So I've been talking about this semi-spur-of-the-moment trip for a week now...which is about how long Matt and I had known about it before we left, haha. Our friends had been planning it for some time, and we kind of hopped on the bandwagon in a moment of spontaneity. All I can say is how thankful I am to have two amazing bosses who don't mind me leaving for a long weekend at the drop of a hat.

(Monday morning) "Hey Angela, can I have this Friday afternoon and next Monday off to go on a climbing trip?"

"Sure, Emma. Have fun!"

Counting. Dem. Blessings.

Anyway. I've already briefly discussed the difference between sport climbing (which is what I've posted photos of here in the past) and bouldering (which you're about to see photos of in a moment). But to re-summarize, bouldering is climbing rocks with no ropes. It's (usually) not as terrifying as it sounds, because the routes are lower to the ground and you always have crash pads and spotters to break your fall. So where a sport route could be anywhere from 30 to 100 feet or more, a bouldering route is usually 10 to 30 feet or so--and those 30-footers are not for the inexperienced.

Being the nerd that I am, I decided to take my DSLR out and get some much-needed practice shooting in Manual for something other than my outfit photos (which, let's face it, are stupid-easy to shoot). Below are some of my favorites, but there are more! Check out my Flickr album, which has something like 150 more photos, or my Instagram, which has iPhone shots of some of the routes I did and some of the damage to my hands (haha), if you want to see more :) (Disclaimer on the Flickr album: It is taking for-ev-er to upload these high-res images, so if you try to click through it on Wednesday afternoon, you might not see much. Sorry for slow internets.)

Stone Fort is a bouldering field next to a golf course on top of a mountain in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. That might be one of the coolest/most random sentences I've ever typed on this blog. This picture is taken at the top of the trail head, which leads into the woods on the left there.

Jay climbing Fire Crack Flake (bottom and right) and Spare (top).

Bobby on Spare. This photo actually was horribly over-exposed (it took me a while to remember to check my settings for every new location/angle) and I couldn't fix it in Photoshop. I could, however, make it look like a straight-up advertisement photo. Not bad?


Me on Needless Things (left) and Marcy and Matt on The Wave.

Bobby, Marcy and I on Brian's Brain, aka the bane of my existence. My new summer goal: train and get stronger so I can tackle this stupid problem. I was so close...and everyone else got it.

No idea who that woman is, but she was freaking badass. She climbed Tristar, which is nothing but a crack and teeny finger crimps, like it was nothing. See her audience? Matt, who's a pretty good climber, couldn't get it. On a non-climbing sidenote, this photo got some really cool editing. I think I'm going to use it in a mini editing tutorial on correcting exposure and noise in Photoshop RAW.

Bobby, Jay and Marcy on Graham Crackers, the biggest pile of NOPE I've ever seen. That sketchy mofo was something like 25 feet up, by my guess, and hard. Marcy decided to jump down from about 3/4 of the way up when she realized she might not make it to the top.

Just a cool face in the rock.

One of my favorite shots from the whole trip, mostly because I achieved the exact look I was trying to get. Hooray for figuring camera stuff out!

Sunrise on the lake by our campsite on the second day.

I wish I knew what I did to capture these awesome rays...

Matt working on These Feel Like Your Sister's up top. (I don't know who named that one, but I'm seriously worried for his/her acquaintance's sister.) Bottom is Marcy, Nick and Bobby doing a fun dyno to that jug up top. (Dyno = dynamic move, typically a jump that forces you to catch yourself at the apex. Jug = a nice, big, friendly hold that you can hang on for dayssssss.)

More goofing around with focus.

Matt and Nick working on Swingers. They and Jay worked this problem for something like five or six hours total, and they got reeeeally close to getting it. Something tells me I won't have to twist too many arms to fanangle a return trip :)

Marcy, killing it on the last climb of the trip on the third day. The Swollen Goat--another problem that I don't really understand the name of, haha.

Bottom line: I didn't think I'd be a big fan of bouldering, for some reason. I've never been more happy to be wrong in my whole life. My fingertips are still a little rough/cracked, but I'm already looking forward to our next trip!

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