Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Not a whole lot of climbing lately, however started a great new job and moved to a shack!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Dawning of Summer in the High Country

Summer is almost upon us here in the High Country of North Carolina. To those of you who are fortunate enough to be in the know this brings to mind a few things every year. First of all, Florons begin to clog up every major thoroughfare from now until the time the leaves fall in late October. Secondly, route climbing season begins here, at least for me and my friends. Finally, its the time to hike into the gorge to get the beatdown bouldering on the Linville River. Number one on this list is a necessary evil bringing both commerce and aggravation to the local population. The other two, well those are what this rock climber first thinks of when summer rolls around in Boone. My recently married best friend Josh came to visit this week. Congratulations on the nuptials Shepherds and a big thanks for bringing the psyche needed to cajole Cody and I into an impromptu gorge bouldering and camping expedition. Josh decided that God's Country was the area he was most excited about so we packed up the truck and headed into the gorge. God's Country is located on the Linville River trail located right off of the Babel Towers trail on the west side of the gorge. This time hiking in took us 50 minutes with a 70 minute exit hike. Now, the three of us have quite the history with gorge boulders since Josh and I first visited in 2008 spurred on by vague descriptions on Rockclimbing.com and this enigmatic username "paleolithics." We had to know, was the bouldering any good, and who is this mystery man? The answers were yes, the climbing is unique and varied in a beautiful setting with not only bullet rock but amazing lines. And the second answer was Mike Stam, a name that would become synonymous with Linville gorge bouldering. Mike along with Joey Henson and company has established over 1500 boulder problems in the bottom of the gorge. After we met Mike this area really opened up a new world of climbing possibilities home not only to thousands of blocs, but more importantly an element that I find lacking in the modern day incarnation of our "sport." This element is adventure, and send or no send every trip into the Linville Gorge is an experience. The sometimes brutal hikes and the fact that a lot of things in the gorge have a way of becoming epic make this no mere jaunt to the mushroom boulder. Aside from the fact that insects, giant rats, and raging whitewater are all things to consider this only enriches the entire experience. As skiers so aptly put it, in the gorge you have to "earn your turns." Despite the fact that I have been working the problem in the next video since sometime in 2009, I still have yet to send. At least sixteen miles of hiking, one spring break, and over four years have passed since the beginning of my saga with "Stranger than Friction" and I'm still hooked. I know I'm crazy, maybe this just proves it. So there you have in, in the last several years I don't think I have sent more than a handful of problems down in the big ditch. That's okay by me though, going down there isn't for the faint of heart but it does pay dividends. I really do believe that it is a privilege to climb in relative solitude in a such an amazing boulder field. If one enjoys a good epic adventure check out the gorge this summer for a bit of bouldering and swimming. It may not be for you but at least it's something different. Plus, you'll never know unless you check it out for yourself. If you want a better picture of the climbing in the gorge than my words can do justice look up T.C. Webb's video on Mike Stam. Go to vimeo and look up "Fear of Commitment."
In other news I have been working out a new project at our beloved "Backyard Boulders" that people have been eyeing for years. This obvious arete perched in what we have called "the amphitheater" was and is one of the first lines one sees when approaching this particular area. Despite a few suitors having rappelled the line, no one had decided it was going to go free. That is until last week. Since then I have gone down and cleaned for several days and have sussed out gear and moves. Due to the strange climbing and small gear I did dumb the climb down and have toproped it twice now. However flawed the style of ascent I am super amped to try and lead said line next week. I mean let's be real, Goodman probably soloed the rig back in 04'. Who knows how it will go, but until then I will leave you with a picture of the route and a photo of Cody attempting an undone dyno project. In other news my girlfriend Madeline Irion is graduating from the nursing program at ASU and that is more badass than any rock climb. Congratulations Maddie!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Boulders?

Well, things are heating up here in the High Country bringing us to the end of yet another bouldering season. After spending all winter coaxing incremental progress out of our projects in the cold now we can bask in shorts and lazy days. That being said its also the time to not necessarily try so hard but maybe try to find some new stone in the transition between bouldering season and the time to rope up. Some of the photos you don't recognize are a reflection of this current psyche. In other news, despite being at the ever present disadvantage, I have been mining out some V5's and currently are one up on Mr. Purpur at 184. Your move Erich.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Kangaroo Challenge

"Damn, we're out of beer, who's going to drive to the kang?" Little did Mr. Brys realize the the utterance of that mere question would lead to what happened next. " I bet you $20 that you can't run to the kangaroo, get beer, and be back in less than ten minutes." Of course once the challenge was issued Cody was off and running, making the initial dash in 6:58. Then, the challenger Brennen responded with a time of 6:02 and the challenge was born. Since this first night 21 people have run what has come to be known as "The Kangaroo Challenge." Rules 1. Start from 632 Queen St. exiting the back door and run to the Kangaroo on 421 2. Retrieve a PBR Tallboy from the Kangaroo as proof of your visit. 3. Return to the Queen St. house as quickly as possible. So there is a lot more to this run than one might initially think. Running down to the Kangaroo demands a solid strategy as well as running prowess. If you get stuck in line or the conditions are terrible its going to be tougher to post a solid time. However, the record tying time was set after a Thanksgiving meal, at night, in the rain. So buck up, Buttercup. Currently Nick Pendergrast and Peter Grill hold the record at 4:29. It has been speculated that a sub 4 minute kang can be run. So to that I ask, who will be the next, is it you?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Bag's Photo Gallery

Currently I am looking for a camera so that some updated content will be featured. However, here is a selection of photos taken over the last few seasons. Most photo credit to Dalen Gray.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blog Revival and Fall of the House of Purpur

Well, I imagine that most of you have never even heard of this drivel. Partially due to the fact that this particular blog only ran for roughly two months. Slated to run for much longer this effort was truncated due to complications beyond my control. This project slammed to a halt in February of 2010 due to my being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes while climbing in Hueco Tanks, TX. As a result of this misadventure I found myself living in Eastern, NC with my mother. To add insult to injury the next ten weeks were spent working in a chemical packaging plant. Spare you the details, right? Anyways, long story short, the mountains are now my home again, most likely forever. The desire to continue the blog never struck me until Erich Purpur relocated to Reno, NV leaving quite the gaping void in Western NC climbing propaganda. So, here we are again for better or worse. The idea is to fill said void and give some idea of what is going on in our local climbing community. Let's get down to business, shall we? In 2011 Erich realized that we were both nearing a milestone in our personal climbing. What was that, you may wonder? 5.13? V10? Laughable I say. What Erich and I were questing for was the holy grail of mediocrity... 100 V5 boulder problems. Long story short, Erich narrowly defeated me while living in the bastion of soft V5's, Chattanooga, TN. (see www.erichpurpur.blogspot.com for more details) Now that Erich and I are both approaching the 200 mark we have re-ignited the competition on the road to this next milestone. Today marked number 177 for myself meaning that Mr. Purpur is now trailing by one. I'm coming for you purp....