A.H.S.L. (Adam Henry Southeast Legend) has released THE Alabama guidebook. In it, he published insight from a variety of hands that helped shape the style of southern climbing. He did an amazing job bringing together their voices and spirit of the South, even though it is a guide 🙂
The thing that stood out to me the most (you can stop reading now if you don’t like sappy childhood stories or delusions of grandeur) is that I actually had a mention in ‘A Brief History’ of bouldering in the southeast. I remember reading a similar intro ‘History’ in my very first guidebook (The Dixie Cragger’s Atlas). Noted inside that guide’s testament to those who had come before, it referenced an unknown super strong mofo coming along and sneaking away with the last few plumbs of the area where I learned to climb. That ended up being Jeff Wales, a well deserved climbing partner of mine growing up. What I’m trying to say here is that seeing my name in print listed among those who have created so much happiness for the climbing world was rather rewarding.
In addition, Adam requested a few words from myself to include in the guidebook as a ‘perspective’ piece. After writing it, I half thought it would get left out of the final printing, but sure enough, it was in there directly after ‘perspectives’ from a few rather prolific southern gentleman–Bob Cormany, Jake Slaney and Brad Mcleod. As a teaser, because you should all go out and purchase the guidebook, I have posted my story below. Enjoy…
I have had more fun wrestling the pebbles of Alabama than doing anything else in my life. What’s key is the spirit of the climbers in the Deep South—that spirit truly holds the grit of the stone together. A healthy dose of passion, positive attitude, and respect keeps the heartbeat of Southern grappling in good rhythm…
Passion is most evident at the lip of a hilltop mushroom boulder, where beta hasn’t been gleaned any further, and you’ve out-climbed your energy and spotter. Your buddy is standing on top pointing at dimpled grips you should use, but willpower is the only real motivator. Here, you try harder than you’ve ever tried before, because, despite better reasoning, this summit is the most important thing in the world. The rock is grateful your instincts care so much!
A sincerely jovial attitude will be the key to the first ascent of the Consumption Challenge–Horse Pens 40’s hardest project: Climb all day at the Pens. Don’t just dillydally, if you aren’t sending your project, then circuit hard. When you’re completely exhausted, head to the restaurant and order some chicken tenders. Eat them with you fingers. Then, when you’re fatigued and your stomach is weighted, go directly to Consumption, and give it your best! With as much purpose as a blindfolded dyno, savor the moment, and forget about the summit. The rock is grateful you enjoy its creative nature!
Southern humble can be defined as talking mad shit while holding respect for whomever and whatever is the manure on trial. Respect and tradition are an ingrained part of good Southern style. Years of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into the routes in this guidebook. Because of that dedication, no good sixth sense about what will be possible in the future can be trusted until it has been well cultured on the grit of the South. So respect Alabama’s summated boulders as well as those who have summated before you. The rock is grateful you appreciate its depth of character!
…The stone of the South will continue to reward its wrestlers as long as a good attitude, passion, and respect are among the chosen sequence for scaling. Getcha some!