Drew Johnson has been a friend of mine for a little over a year now. He is one of those guys that just likes to stay active and aside from his passion wakeboarding tries a lot of other sports on the side. He had been climbing with me a few different times, and finally I think the bug stuck and he got a gym membership to the climbing gym in Gainesville and started climbing a couple of times a week. When I heard this I told him that on my next outdoor climbing trip he had to come along.
The southeast can be really unpredictable in the spring time, and it is always best to have a couple of different weekends to work with because you might get rained out of your whole entire trip. The forecast was looking favorable at the beginning of the week, but dramatically changed by the middle of it. It was the only weekend we both had to work with so we just decided to go with it.
The weather we did not get on Saturday.
We left after work on Friday and about seven hours into the drive to Horse Pens in Gadsden, Alabama we decided to just get a cheap hotel for the night at two a.m. and finish the drive in the morning since we were going to get rained out anyways.
Saturday was a complete washout! We managed to set up camp before the rain came it, but once it started it did not stop for about twenty hours straight. Thankfully it was the weekend of Horse Pens 40 rocks and there were some other people there to hang out with. It was still fairly miserable either way.
The rain stopped at about 4am and with the heavy wind all of the rock was dry and ready for the Sunday morning session. I am sure Drew hated me by this point because he slept in the car with the engine running because he almost froze to death in the tent (he neglected to bring a down sleeping bag). Not having spent much time at Horse Pens, I used the day to get on some harder climbs and find some things that I was psyched on. Drew did a few of his first rock climbs, including a fun little V0 on the side of the Bumboy Boulder. My consolation prize for the day was a flash of Cuts like a knife (V5).
Scoping out all of the wet rock the day before.
We decided to move onto Chattanooga for the last day of our trip. I had unfinished business there that I could not wait to get back to and I know the area much better. My last trip in December I came agonizingly close to sending The Wave (V6). It is one of those climbs I thought I would never be able to do, but was really surprised when I was able to put it all together in one day. The hard part for me is spreading my body weight between both of my legs, compressing, and getting both hands on the arête. It is a move that never gets any easier and you just have to try really hard. It really made me use my prosthetic leg in ways that I never have before. After about twenty go’s I manage to link the move and make it on top! It really all just came down to executing and believing in myself. Drew had a good time climbing around and even did his first outdoor V3, Toucan Sam on the slice and dice boulder.
My hope this works/trying really hard face on the crux of The Wave.
Greenlife parking lot grabbing food on our way home.
We left the boulder field at 5pm on Monday and managed to get back into Orlando by 3 am. Work the next day was a blast! It is always worth it for climbing! It was really cool to get a chance to go climbing with Drew and he made this little video of our trip. Check it out!