We wrote the last entry almost two months ago and there is so much to tell! So, where to begin? Probably it’s the best to begin with Bishop.
We were still in California and finally arrived in Bishop, some kind of Eldorado for climbers. You only enter the city by car and know immediately that this little town is completely full of climbers: Puffy coats, colorful clothes, woolen hats, and so on…just dirtbag style. After we got a little overview of the town and the surrounding area, the Happy and the Sad Boulders, we went to our new home for the next three weeks. It is called the Pit and it doesn’t look much prettier than the name indicates. But you had this awesome view on the snow-covered Sierra Mountains and a stunning sky full of stars in the night. We spent the following days in the Happy Boulders, where we both had a lot to do and many problems to solve. It was nice for Julia to see that she grew stronger and Kai could give his first tries on a V10 called Acid Wash. Of course we went several times to the famous Buttermilk Boulders ….
It was easy to decide, what we could do on rest days. There are several natural hot springs around Bishop and near Mammoth Lakes. So we just got some coffee at the Black Sheep Café in Bishop, got some good bread in the Belgian bakery and went straight to the Keough or the Hilltop hot springs. The Hilltop Hot Springs were not that easy to find and a little far away but definitely worth it! It was a natural looking Hot Tub made out of stone, located lonely on a large field in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by the High Sierras. The best time to go there was sunrise!
One thing we loved about Bishop were the people we got to know and at this point we have to say ‘Thank you’ again. We spent some unforgettable days and nights with you all and hope that we will see you again someday.
One example for the great hospitality we experienced is Christmas Evening.
Since a long time, Julia was looking for a ranch where she could do some horseback riding and discover the local nature by horse. Finally, she found the Millpond Equestrian Center where she could go on a ride and where we met Janet Titus, who led Julia for some time through the outback of Bishop. Julia told Janet, that Kai and she were kind of worried how Christmas Eve is going to be without our families. Surprisingly, she invited us over to her house to celebrate with her and her family and friends. We were overwhelmed and so happy that we had a nice place to go and celebrate the ‘Silent Night’. We got to know Janet’s and her husband Dave’s friends Rebecca and Marc Farrell whom we spent another awesome evening with!
It was time to leave Bishop on the 30th December to make it to famous Las Vegas in time for New Year’s Eve. We got together with six other people on the 31th and decided to rent a room at the fabulous Wynn Hotel. The five stars were just too tempting and our desire for a hot shower and waking up in a heated room was more than we could wish for. All of us. We went for a hike to explore the Kraft boulders afterwards and discovered the “Baconland” and went straight back to the hotel afterwards. It was time to walk the strip after all of us toke their round of showers. The Strip was just amazing! Thousands of people out on the streets acting drunk, weird and crazy. We enjoyed just walking down the road and watch the craziness going on.
Even though Vegas was a lot of fun the Red Rocks were a quite different experience. It was pretty much the same as Vegas: crowded! We spent just a few days there before we decided to move on. We still enjoyed the company we had! We still hope to see all of them again in one point, some already made their arrangements to come to Europe. For others it is on their bucket list.
It was just a short ride from Las Vegas, Nevada to St. George, Utah. Only 2 1/2h. Next to St. George was the Zion National Park where we hiked to Angels Landing on a totally ridiculous trail. You have to hike a very thin trail with steep cliffs to both sides, the only help you get are chains in some spots. A lot of people did not do it that day because they considered it as too dangerous, but since we only planned one day for it we had to do it. It was sketchy at least, probably more than just that…but we made it back and forth safely and the view was just amazing! The snow on the red sandstone cliffs made it even better! We spend the next few days in Moe’s Valley bouldering where Kai got close on Bazooka Tooth (V10) but again wasn’t able to finish it. Julia worked her first V3 but was not rewarded with it. She made good progress, though. With some hints of Brian we went on to see the sunrise in Bryce and the sunset in Arches National Park. It rained the next day and hung out in a coffee shop in Moab, where we decided to move on and see the Grand Canyon. The weather made it a little disappointing with all the rain and clouds that hung in the canyon, but it also made it a unique experience. From there it took us only one hour to go to Flagstaff, Arizona. It was completely covered in snow and we were not able to get some outdoor bouldering scheduled, but we went to a gym. Kai was ashamed that he climbed plastic the first time in the last ten month, but it felt good after so many hours driving the last few days.
Our next destination was New Orleans, Louisiana. We had to cross Texas, which took only us two days of driving and one day of fixing our old car because we lost the driveshaft on the interstate and had to get towed to the next car shop in the middle of the night. That was f***ing expensive!
But when we finally arrived in New Orleans we forgot all the sorrows we had about the car immediately. Although we were a bit exhausted because of all those days travelling from West to East, we had an awesome day in the city. After walking through the famous French Quarter and discovering all the nice little shops we arrived at Jackson Square in the center of the district where you could walk through an uncountable amount of stands of local artists and watch street shows of magicians, dancers, singers and so on. The evening ended in a small music club called ‘The Spotted Cat’ where we listened to jazz bands until late in the night.
Because it was time to move on and the weather conditions were perfect for climbing we decided to leave the crowded city again and go to Rocktown near Chattanooga. We arrived there in the afternoon and walked through the boulders in order to get an overview of the area and Kai just decided spontaneously to do a Makin’ Waves (V2 Highball) in his approach shoes without any crashpad where the top out turned out to be ‘kind of tricky’. In general, everything looked so small after climbing several weeks in Bishop, so we were really looking forward to the next day. The next day was awesome and we enjoyed the calm and empty boulderfields. Kai was looking for a V10 project but unfortunately he couldn’t work on it…he got ill. There was nothing else to do than resting for some days in the van but the good thing was that he had someone caring for him.
After two days it began raining and looked like it will never stop again, so the best was to take an Ibuprofen and head out to Greenville, South Carolina to catch up with Bryan and Hannah! It was a great encounter. We all went to get some sushi and after drinking two beers, the ibuprofen helped even more. Two days later we both felt great again and we all left to go climbing in Rumbling Bald, North Carolina.
The nights grew cold again and we both were worried to get sick again. So we looked for a nice and warm place where we could spend the rest day. We found a pretty coffee house in Chimney Rock where we sat the whole day and watched the cold wind blowing outside. Just at the moment we wanted to leave we got to know the owners who are incredibly nice. We began to chat and they offered us to stay overnight because the forecast promised a horribly cold night. We found shelter at their restaurant for the next few days where we could escape the winter nights after we climbed in the daytime. Thank you again, Barry and Linda, for the warm place to stay and the amazing cake!