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Triangle Rock Club Arrives on RVA Climbing Scene

There’s a new player on the Richmond climbing scene.

Triangle Rock Club opened it’s first climbing gym outside of North Carolina in late March in the former Richmond Athletic Club building at 4700 Thalbro St. It also has gyms in Raleigh, Morrisville and Fayetteville.

Triangle Rock Club offers climbing and so much more. Credit: TRC

But Triangle aims to be more than just a place to practice rock climbing. The 24,000-square foot facility boasts a dedicated yoga room, a 2,400-square foot fitness center (with Rogue rack, cardio machines, free weights, and more), separate sauna and steam rooms and a hot tub. On the climbing side, there is 5,000 square feet of bouldering terrain, “Walltopia” climbing walls with 8,000 square feet of top rope and lead climbing, a Hydraulic Systems wall (which angles to 45 degrees), a premier climbing flooring system from Futurist, and a full retail shop.

And all of that is just Phase 1. Triangle hopes to complete Phase 2 of its build-out before the end of 2018, which will bump the total climbing terrain up to 15,000 square feet. When complete, TRC RVA will be the second largest indoor climbing center in the state of Virginia — second only to Earthtreks Crystal City.

The time is right for the indoor climbing industry, and TRC RVA hopes to take advantage. Industry publication Climbing Business Journal reports that 45 commercial climbing gyms opened in 2017, bringing the total number of commercial climbing gyms in the U.S. to 457. Forty-six gyms announced they will open in 2018.

“What’s allowing our business to grow is that indoor climbing has become more mainstream. Climbing walls have become regular features of college campuses, and rock climbing is now an Olympic sport,” said managing partner Joel Graybeal. “People are drawn to climbing because there’s something special about the experience: it’s community-oriented.”

“Our members are our greatest advocates,” said fellow managing partner, Andrew Kratz. “Climbers bring their friends to visit, and then they’re hooked.”

The industry shows no signs of slowing down, and neither does Triangle Rock Club. With a newly announced fifth location to open in 2018 in a repurposed Walmart shopping center in Durham, NC, Triangle Rock Club is poised to ride the rising tide.

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Triangle Rock Club Arrives on RVA Climbing Scene

There’s a new player on the Richmond climbing scene.

Triangle Rock Club opened it’s first climbing gym outside of North Carolina in late March in the former Richmond Athletic Club building at 4700 Thalbro St. It also has gyms in Raleigh, Morrisville and Fayetteville.

Triangle Rock Club offers climbing and so much more. Credit: TRC

But Triangle aims to be more than just a place to practice rock climbing. The 24,000-square foot facility boasts a dedicated yoga room, a 2,400-square foot fitness center (with Rogue rack, cardio machines, free weights, and more), separate sauna and steam rooms and a hot tub. On the climbing side, there is 5,000 square feet of bouldering terrain, “Walltopia” climbing walls with 8,000 square feet of top rope and lead climbing, a Hydraulic Systems wall (which angles to 45 degrees), a premier climbing flooring system from Futurist, and a full retail shop.

And all of that is just Phase 1. Triangle hopes to complete Phase 2 of its build-out before the end of 2018, which will bump the total climbing terrain up to 15,000 square feet. When complete, TRC RVA will be the second largest indoor climbing center in the state of Virginia — second only to Earthtreks Crystal City.

The time is right for the indoor climbing industry, and TRC RVA hopes to take advantage. Industry publication Climbing Business Journal reports that 45 commercial climbing gyms opened in 2017, bringing the total number of commercial climbing gyms in the U.S. to 457. Forty-six gyms announced they will open in 2018.

“What’s allowing our business to grow is that indoor climbing has become more mainstream. Climbing walls have become regular features of college campuses, and rock climbing is now an Olympic sport,” said managing partner Joel Graybeal. “People are drawn to climbing because there’s something special about the experience: it’s community-oriented.”

“Our members are our greatest advocates,” said fellow managing partner, Andrew Kratz. “Climbers bring their friends to visit, and then they’re hooked.”

The industry shows no signs of slowing down, and neither does Triangle Rock Club. With a newly announced fifth location to open in 2018 in a repurposed Walmart shopping center in Durham, NC, Triangle Rock Club is poised to ride the rising tide.

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Monsoon Rains Cause Changes to Riverrock Schedule

The mud run will go on as scheduled. Credit: Sports Backers

In light of the drenching, equatorial, Amazonian, monsoon rains Richmond has been and is currently experiencing, I emailed the Sports Backers’ PR maven Pete Woody about the status of Riverrock. Here’s what he, and event director Megan Schultz, had to say:

“Participant safety is extremely important, as is protecting the integrity of the trails in the James River Park System. We’ve worked closely with event staff and trail managers to come up with new courses for each event and believe they will offer great experiences for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy,” said Megan Schultz, event director for Dominion Energy Riverrock.

The festival is on rain or shine, and the complete schedule can be found at www.riverrockrva.com.

-The Mountain Bike Time Trial, originally scheduled for Friday, May 18, at 6:30pmhas been canceled. Registered participants have been notified by email, and full refunds will be offered.

-The James River Scramble 10k Trail Run and Urban Assault Mountain Bike Ride, scheduled for Saturday, May 19 at 9:00a.m. and 1:30p.m., respectively, will take place as scheduled with rerouted courses. The James River Scramble map can be found here, and the Urban Assault map can be found here

-The course for the Sierra Nevada Down River Paddle, taking place on Saturday, May 19, at 11:30am, has been moved and will now go from Pony Pasture to Reedy Creek, rather than Reedy Creek to the 14th Street Takeout. 

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Sierra Nevada, Sports Backers to Unveil Limited-Edition IPA at Riverrock

Richmond beer/outdoors lovers take not: Sierra Nevada has come up with a brew especially for you. Dominion Energy Riverrock, Sports Backers, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. have partnered to create ‘Let’s Go RVA IPA,’ a session IPA brewed exclusively for the three-day sports and music festival set for May 18-20 at Brown’s Island and Historic Tredegar.

Sierra Nevada describes the Let’s Go RVA IPA as “light and refreshing, yet packed with hop flavor. Expect a burst of bright citrus and tropical fruit aromas, followed by a crisp finish that keeps you coming back for more.” The name is based on the Sports Backers slogan ‘Let’s Go RVA!’ which is meant to inspire and motivate active living and celebrate the region’s outdoor recreation opportunities.

Let’s Go RVA IPA Facts and Figures
4.8% ABV 34 IBU
Grist: Pale, pilsner, oats, wheat
Hops: Magnum, Citra, El Dorado, Loral, Nelson Sauvin, Mandarina Bavaria, Huell Melon

Let’s Go RVA IPA will be available during Dominion Energy Riverrock as well as at the 5PT Adventure Film Festival presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. on May 17 at The Broadberry. The film festival will feature an evening of inspirational adventure films followed by live music from the Larry Keel Experience. Sierra Nevada is donating a portion of beer sales during the 5PT Adventure Film Festival to rvaMORE, a local nonprofit whose mission is to enhance trail experiences through people, tools, and advocacy. Advance film festival tickets are on sale now for $10 and can be purchased online at https://ticketf.ly/2H6D3sC.

In addition to the 5PT Adventure Film Festival, Let’s Go RVA IPA can also be found at various locations around Richmond, including Boulevard Burger and Brew, Capital Ale House (Main St. location), Colonial Kitchen & Market (New Kent), Dash In Dash Out, Fat Dragon, Heritage, Independence Golf Course, Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint, Kroger (14101 Midlothian Turnpike), Salisbury Country Club, Southern Railway Deli, Strawberry Street Café, The Caboose (Ashland), The Hop Craft Pizza & Beer, Toast, Whole Foods Market (11173 W. Broad Street), Wong Gonzalez, and Zzaam Fresh Korean Grill.

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New Events Highlight 2018 Riverrock

(Home page image courtesy of Riverrockrva.com)

Every year the Sports Backers have the challenge of keeping Riverrock, the annual outdoor recreation and music festival, feeling fresh for the 100,000 or so Central Virginians who will descend on the Brown’s Island area in mid-May. This year is no different. The three-day event will feature several new events and challenges over the course of the May 18-20 festival weekend.

Bouldering at Riverrock. Credit: Sports Backers

New events taking place on Friday, May 18, include the Mountain Bike Time Trial and Belle Isle Blitz. In the Mountain Bike Time Trial, participants will set out to get the fastest finishing time on a rugged course on the James River Park System trails. The time trial starts at 6:30 p.m., and riders will go off in one-minute intervals. At 7:15 p.m. on Friday, the Belle Isle Blitz is a chip-timed race over a roughly 5k course that will offer a fun and unique challenge to hard-core trail runners. Starting on the south side of the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge and finishing in the Belle Isle parking lot, the Blitz also features a dog wave for participants who want to take on the trails with their four-legged friends by their side.

On Saturday, May 19, the inaugural Sierra Nevada Down River Paddle takes place at 11:30 a.m. Using their kayak, canoe, or SUP, participants will take off in one-minute intervals, starting at Reedy Creek. They will battle some of the river’s most challenging rapids as they race to the finish at the 14th street takeout, with the fastest male and female times winning.

On May 20, the Sunday Funday Ride allows bike riders of all ages to take part in a casual cruise while exploring the best of RVA. Setting off at 1:30pm, the Sunday Funday Ride features a 10-mile and 25-mile course option, and, for those still in need of a little friendly competition, the ride will feature several timed segments through Strava, where riders can compete for bragging rights. Both courses will start in the Belle Isle parking lot and will include one on-course aid station.

These new additions to Dominion Energy Riverrock will also help form two new weekend-long challenges: the River Rumble and Trail Trio. The River Rumble, a combination of running, paddling, and biking, is comprised of the James River Scramble 10k trail run, the Sierra Nevada Down River Paddle, and the Urban Assault Mountain Bike Race. A male and female will be crowned River Rumble champion based on the fastest combined time in all three events, and the Rumble will challenge participants’ endurance on Richmond’s signature trails and rapids. River Rumble participants will also receive a discount on their overall entry and a unique River Rumble participant shirt, while the champions will earn additional, and well-deserved, bragging rights.

The Trail Trio, incorporating the Belle Isle Blitz, James River Scramble, and Bust the Banks trail half marathon, will be a true test of trail running skill over a three-day span. The Trail Trio offers challenges at a variety of distances and takes participants to the North Bank Trail, Buttermilk Trail, Belle Isle, Potterfield Bridge, and Brown’s Island in pursuit of the special Trail Trio finisher medal and legendary status, among other finisher items.

Registration for all Dominion Energy Riverrock events and challenges is currently open. Click here for more information and to register.

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Two New Climbing Gyms Open in RVA

The original Peak Experiences in Chesterfield County. Credit: Peak Experiences

Check out the piece in today’s Times-Dispatch by Tammie Smith about the two new rock climbing gyms in Central Va. Triangle Rock Club near Staples Mill Road and West Broad Street opened in March, and locally-owned Peak Experiences is opening a second gym later this month at the Sports Center of Richmond complex on Overbrook Road. Peak’s first gym, in Chesterfield County, has been open since 1998.

What’s interesting about the piece is how both gyms offer far more than rock climbing. Smith describes them as the new breed of commercial climbing gyms…In addition to walls with climbing routes marked by color-coded holds jutting out, each has an area for bouldering…as well as weight rooms, fitness centers, rooms for yoga and other group exercise classes. These centers have places to sit and mingle and grab a snack and event space for climbing-themed gatherings.

Click here for the rest of the article.

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Colorado Adventure Takes Local Climber to New Heights

De Jarnette begins his ascent of the Petit Grepon.

A week ago, my friend Grant and I met in Colorado with an alpine climbing objective in mind: the Petit Grepon. Grant was in Colorado because of a conference; I was there to celebrate a family anniversary. This fortuitous alignment was too good an opportunity to pass up, and we quickly made plans to get into the mountains for a day. Both of us are competent, experienced climbers, so we were looking for something accessible but “full value.” We got it.

Made famous by its inclusion in the book Fifty Classic Climbs of North America, the Petit Grepon is a stunning blade of rock ascending 1,000 vertical feet within the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s summit, perhaps the width of an economy-sized car, tops out just over 12,000’ elevation, which is essentially two vertical miles above Richmond. At this altitude, the air’s effective oxygen is reduced from 20% to 13%. While 13% is a far cry from the diminished oxygen experienced by those who climb a mountain like Denali (~9%) or Everest (~7%), the difference is still palpable.

Aware of altitude’s effect, we planned to hike up, climb the spire, and hike back down in the same day.
Accordingly, we woke at 3:30 a.m. in Boulder, Colorado and immediately drove to Rocky Mountain
National Park. Our excitement was muted. While John Muir famously stated, “The mountains are calling and I must go,” I prefer the slightly revised version: “The mountains are calling…but first coffee.”

We started our approach just before 5 a.m. and made swift progress up the Glacier Gorge trail. Limited to the light of our headlamps, we were treated to a spectacular array of stars, including a stunning view of my favorite constellation, Orion, whom I have counted as a friend and guide, albeit it an impersonal one, for many years.

I admit, I didn’t think it would feel so cold. The weather forecast called for a high in the mid 50’s, slowly ascending from the low 30’s early in the morning. But the wind! It blew almost continuously, whipping each lake we passed with fury. At one point, next to Timberland Falls, I watched a powerful gust of wind drive the waterfall upwards, before the stream returned to its natural trajectory. Grant and I shared an unspoken thought: would it be safe to climb an alpine tower in these conditions?

Our concern was justified. In the late 90’s, a climber was blown off the summit ridge on the Petit Grepon
by a powerful gust of wind. With inadequate incremental points of protection in place, he fell 70 feet
and instantly died on impact. We were determined not to share a similar fate and joked about how
much fun it would be to go bouldering in the canyon instead of climbing our objective. As at many other
times, humor is a wonderful counter to stress. It’s a useful tool to diffuse tension and make decisions
with a bit more objectivity.

On the way up.

The sun rose and with it emerged a magnificent alpine cirque. Massive rock walls surrounded us with mountain faces containing snow from the previous winter plus a dusting from a few days prior. Fortunately, our climb was situated on the south face, leaving it snow free and exposed to the first rays of sunlight.

Encouraged both by the wind patterns closer to the rock wall and the sun’s appearance, we agreed to head up the first few pitches (rope lengths) of the tower, “keeping the conversation open.” The first pitch was an easy semi-scramble up varied terrain to a grassy, exposed terrace. Grant led (i.e., was the
first to climb, belayed by the second climber) the next pitch up a wide chimney with easy climbing that put us level with some of the surrounding mountain faces. They were smiling, and we smiled back.

Encouraged by our easy progress, we agreed to continue the journey. I led the next pitch up and around a large chock-stone at the top of the chimney. The rock quality improved as Grant led the first semi- strenuous pitch, a left-slanting crack that required a strange mix of climbing techniques, all complicated by the added burden of wearing multiple layers of clothes, backpacks, and the need to place our own incremental points of protection in the rock to guard against lengthy falls.

Above this point, finding the right route became slightly more complicated. Grant led the next pitch as
well because we had misestimated the length of the previous pitch. This positioned me well to lead the
“crux” (i.e., the hardest) pitch of the climb. While not particularly difficult, climbing this pitch required
perfection. The first 30 feet or so afforded few opportunities to place protection against falls. This,
when combined with the wind, meant I had to climb at my best.

It’s popular nowadays for athletes and business people alike to talk about the “flow state.” I personally think the term is over-hyped and rarely achieved; yet, in this moment I experienced it’s equivalent. My mind was 100-percent focused. There was no fear. Only complete engagement with the task at hand. People have described an experience where it feels as though you are objectively observing yourself from the outside. This was similar.

I’d love to say this incredible sensation continued. Unfortunately, it didn’t. In fact, I think it’s fair to say the whole experience went downhill from there! The remaining pitches transitioned to the east face,
which was completely shaded from the sun. The wind was relentless, with occasional gusts that left you shivering against the anchor hoping for a brief reprieve.

At this point, I was deeply cold and our energy lessened. The external motivators of the climb basically disappeared. What was left? The imperative to reach the summit, for the fastest way to reach the bottom was, ironically, a path over the top.

Accordingly, both Grant and I dug deep and continued our ascent as an exercise of will. I took over
leading a pitch when our direction became muddled. In a similar exchange, Grant took over the ascent
of the final ridgeline, carefully placing protection to guard against falls in such an exposed and windy
place.

We reached the summit three hours later than anticipated. Deeply grateful to be back in the sunlight,
we took a few minutes to take pictures and relish the warm, sunbaked granite. Only a few minutes later,
we began the first of six rappels down the shaded east face. Given the wind, we took appropriate
precautions and loosely coiled the ropes to our harnesses during the rappels to mitigate the risk of them
blowing uncontrolled in the wind, potentially snagging rock outcroppings and getting stuck, a hassle for
every tired climber that can quickly become a nightmare of effort.

De Jarnette surveys the Petit Gripon.

Fortunately for us, no such complications arose. Approximately two hours after leaving the summit, we completed the final rappel to the base of the tower. Back on the ground, a sense of relief and accomplishment flooded over me. The uncertainty was over. All that was left was the hike back down the canyon to the car.

Our ascent certainly did not break any speed records! It was a 15 hour day that started in the dark and ended in the dark. It required our best energy and complete engagement, which is exactly the reason I climb. During these moments, partnerships that are forged and lessons are learned that pay forward into other relationships and areas of life.

One of my favorite quotes is from Rene Daumal, who wrote, “You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”

We have descended and are back in Virginia. But we have seen, and we still know.

Rick is the owner of CapRock Venture Guides, a management consultant at
CapTech, and an athlete-ambassador for Väsen Brewing Company. He chairs the Richmond Chapter of
the American Alpine Club and serves on the board of the Blue Sky Fund.

Grant Price is the owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Guides, which
provides rock climbing courses, instruction, and guiding in Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

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A Brief History of the Manchester Wall

Climbers begin the ascent of the Manchester Wall at the south end of the new Tyler Potterfield Bridge.

If you’re among the tens of thousands of people who have ventured across the newly constructed T.
Tyler Potterfield Bridge over the past few months, you’ve likely seen a “Mayan Ruin”-looking bridge
abutment on the south side of the James River. This is the Manchester Wall, one of Richmond’s most
uniquely utilized historic features.

The Manchester Wall is the principal remain of the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad Bridge, which was chartered in 1836 and constructed of granite quarried from rock in and around Richmond. The bridge was intentionally burned down during the evacuation of Richmond in 1865. While rebuilt in 1866, it burned down again in 1882 after sparks from a passing locomotive ignited the supporting timbers, leaving only the granite abutment and pillars intact. This confirmed the foresight of a Richmond newspaper circulated between 1862-1865, which wrote, “The whole structure was designed with…a just regard to strength and durability. [The] piers of imperishable granite will remain as proud monuments.”

For over 100 years, the pillars and abutment stood as a quiet vestige to Richmond’s history, with regards to both wartime and industrial strategy, for no additional efforts were made to reconstruct the bridge after the second burning.

Then, something unlikely happened. In the 1980’s a small group of people categorically considered on
the social fringe – rock climbers –realized a new vision for the wall, namely, to create a climbing haven within Richmond’s urban core. They cleaned the wall and pillars and carefully added hardware in increments up the wall to protect fellow climbers against ground falls.

The back of the Manchester Wall during construction of the Potter Bridge.

In the ensuing 30+ years, several generations of climbers have climbed and been stewards of the wall.
Astride this effort, climbing has transitioned from a fringe lifestyle to a mainstream sport. Two additional indoor climbing gyms are coming to Richmond: the first Virginia location for Triangle Rock Club and a second location for Peak Experiences. Beyond this, various forms of climbing will be represented in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Why is this important? Because the tremendous expansion of interest in climbing creates a
corresponding and proportional impact on the climbing resources we enjoy, including the Manchester
Wall.

Currently, climbers enjoy the majority of the Richmond’s outdoor climbing areas via the James River
Park System, which has sole jurisdiction over the area. Organizations and businesses, including the
American Alpine Club, James River Outdoor Coalition, Peak Experiences and Passages Summer Camp, the VCU Outdoor Adventure Club, and numerous volunteers have played a role in maintaining and advancing opportunities to climb.

Most of these efforts have been successful, though not all without controversy. However, the unified
core of these efforts is a desire to maintain this unique and historical space in Richmond for current and future climbers. For, as one climber wrote, “climbing is a way to express my love of life in the grandest form and on the grandest scale possible.”

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Focus On Friction, Footwork This Fall

Author Rick DeJarnette is an experienced climber, the owner of CapRock Venture Guides and an athlete ambassador for Vasen Brewing Company. This piece is part of an occasional series by Vasen’s athlete ambassador’s. (Haven’t heard of Vasen? They just opened in Scott’s Addition in July. Click here to learn more about their beer and commitment to RVA’s outdoor scene.)

 

Have you felt it yet? That first moment when, late in the summer, you step outside and realize it feels a
bit like fall.

It’s a fleeting feeling, of course. The heat of summer will drag on for several more weeks at least. And yet mentally you’ve made the shift. Fall is approaching.

For a rock climber, fall has nothing to do with prodigious sales projections of pumpkin-spice lattes. No, it’s all about cooler temperatures and less moisture, both of which maximize the friction between you and the rock.

In climbing, friction is as important a factor as gravity. The friction between your climbing shoes and the rock enables you to stand on the smallest of features, while the friction (or lack thereof) between your fingertips and the rock features (“holds”) can make the difference between a successful ascent and failure.

Climbing on Old Rag. Credit: Mountain Project

When the leaves begin to change, the holds you clung to so desperately during the humid summer
months now feel a little more positive, inspiring new-found confidence to say, “Perhaps I can do this
difficult climb after all.”

Regardless of the heat and humidity, most people can dramatically improve their climbing by focusing on skills that maximize the friction associated with each movement, especially so with foot placements.

Whereas most beginning climbers focus almost exclusively on their hand placements, more advanced
climbers recognize that excellent footwork and technical precision are as important – if not more so –
than upper body strength alone.

Here are a few skills drills from The Rock Climber’s Training Manual that will help you maximize the
friction between the rock and your shoes:

To Reduce Foot Slips: Climb as though your toes become “frozen” to the wall as soon as they
land on the foothold (no pivoting, rotating, or sliding allowed). Focus on establishing a wide
contact area between the shoe and hold, and try to maintain that contact area throughout the
hold’s use. Have a partner observe and correct you.

To Maximize Weight on Your Feet: Focus on maintaining steady force on the footholds while
attempting long reaches to the next hand hold. As the handhold nears, it will distract you, but
stay focused on the feet. The mind will try to focus exclusively on guiding the reaching hand, but
also focus on the opposing foot, which drives the movement. You should feel consistent
pressure through your foot throughout the move.

To Overcome the Hand Bias: On any terrain, climb down in addition to climbing up. Deliberately
select footholds, guide your feet to them, and don’t look away until they “land.” Focus on maximizing weight on your feet and relaxing your grip accordingly.

Fall is coming and with it the opportunity to make good use of the weather to maximize your chances of climbing better. Over the next few months, I plan to revisit a few favorite climbs in Richmond as well as nearby areas, including the splitter granite cracks on Old Rag Mountain.

What do you have planned?

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Got a Climbing ‘Problem?’ Try Bouldering

Editor’s Note: Author Rick DeJarnette is an experienced climber, the owner of CapRock Venture Guides and an athlete ambassador for Vasen Brewing Company. This is the first in a monthly series by Vasen’s athlete ambassador’s. (Haven’t heard of Vasen? They just opened in Scott’s Addition in July. Click here to learn more about their beer and commitment to RVA’s outdoor scene.)

 

You’ve probably seen them: people walking along the Buttermilk Trail with large, sketchy-looking
mattresses strapped to their backs. As you pass by, on foot or by bike, you may even unconsciously
acknowledge that they look like a walking deck of cards. The question may fleetingly pop into your head:

“Is there camping along the Buttermilk Trail?”

No, my friend. You just passed a boulderer.

A what? A boulderer. Someone who climbs boulders. The mattress is called a crash-pad. It’s designed to absorb and disperse the impact of a boulderer’s fall should she come careening off the piece of
rock she was attempting to climb. Why risk a fall? Because bouldering, more so than other disciplines within the larger genre of climbing, is about the difficulty and purity of climbing movement. In bouldering, falling is a prerequisite to success. The crash pads, along with “spotters” (people who support and direct a climber’s fall) help to mitigate the risk of injury.

Bouldering requires both precision and power, two elements that make the activity intrinsically rewarding, as well as great training for other types of climbing. Bouldering is most fun when the rock is high quality and the moves are almost impossible, but achievable.

Some of Richmond’s highest quality rock are the boulders just off the Buttermilk Trail. Look around and you’ll see them. Over 40 different routes (in bouldering they’re called “problems”) have been climbed, and more are in the works. Many routes have been documented on Mountain Project, as well as in a short guidebook developed by Peak Experiences a few years back.

The next time you’re on the trail and see a deck of cards walking through the woods, stop and ask what
they’re climbing. Who knows, they may even ask you to spot!

Click here for more on bouldering in Richmond. Or shoot Rick an email at rick@climbtolearn.com.

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