Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Hound Ears Competition: Bouldering and an ER Visit

With a title like that, I should probably start this weekend recap with a SPOILER ALERT: Everyone is fine!!!  That being said, our weekend in the mountains was filled with excitement of both the good and bad variety.

For those of you not familiar with “Hound Ears,” it’s the site of the first of usually 3 (but this year 4!) legs of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series Competition.  The boulderfield, which in my opinion is one of the best in the region, is situated inside a private, gated community, so this competition is one of the few times during the year the boulders are open for climbing.  For background: the last time our family had participated in the event was in 2010. Big C was just a few weeks younger than Baby Z is now, and I had surprised myself by snagging 3rd place in Women’s Intermediate.

Comp is delayed...but first, lemme take a selfie!

Comp is delayed…but first, lemme take a selfie!

While Steve and I definitely still fall more in the roped climbers camp when it comes to outdoor climbing (it’s pretty obvious if you’ve ever seen us try to mantle…), we’ve been doing a lot more bouldering in the gym lately, so we came in feeling a lot stronger than last time.

Big girls get to ride on the shuttle bus!!!

Big girls get to ride on the shuttle bus!!!

If there’s one thing you can count on for Hound Ears, it’s that it’s going to be COLD! And sure enough, despite hitting low 70’s the previous day, Saturday never got above 45, with 20 mph winds.  And while our family loves to camp, it sure felt nice to have a warm bed in a little mountain cabin both nights!  Some friends of Steve’s parents have a cabin that is literally 2 miles away from the boulderfield, and they were kind enough to let us use it. And not only that, Steve’s parents volunteered to endure Tweetsie Railroad for the day with Big C, which meant we only had one kiddo to wrangle on Saturday!

In light of the deluge of rain and lingering fog that had poured in on Friday afternoon, the comp was delayed.  We didn’t get started until just before 11, which didn’t exactly work in our favor since everything seems to take forever with Baby Z, but what can ya do!  We started over on the Air Jesus Wall, where I second go’d Air Jesus Low Start (V5).  In hindsight, we should stayed around and tried some more of the problems over there, but Baby Z was getting fussy and we felt like we needed to keep moving.

Crag-Daddy demolishing The Claw V4

Crag-Daddy demolishing The Claw V4

We then walked back up to the top of the hill, where I was very pleased to send Damage Inc (V5) without losing too much skin in the process. I also day-flashed The Claw (V4), which is one of my favorite problems in the field.  The next problem to go down was Ripper Traverse (V3), and I also spent some time working Woody’s V3 (V4), and The Glove Traverse (V6), but was unsuccessful for both.  Again, there are a host of other V2-V4 problems that we should have hopped on before moving, but neglected to because the area was so darn crowded.  We then waded through the mob to get to the Pocket Boulder, where I was very pleased to finally send the namesake Pocket Problem (V4), which had given me fits (and taken a lot of skin!) last time.

"My Daddy just sent The Claw, he is AWESOME!!!"

“Bouldering is superfun, guys!”

From this point our day started getting a little hectic.  We spent a lot of time wandering around trying to figure out what to climb amidst the crowds and an at times fussy Baby Z!  All of a sudden it was 5:00 and we were running out of time!  In a mad dash I flew up Cracker Backs (V2), The Slatherine (V2), and Warm-Up Arete (V0), right before the comp ended.  And just like that, the day was over!

Looking back on the day as a whole, I am very satisfied with how I climbed.  I had a lot of fun, and sent several problems that had completely shut me down in previous years.  It was also the first time I’d ever sent two V5’s in one day before!  AND, it was also the first time I got to try out the brand new Tenaya Tarifa shoe.  VERDICT = AWESOME!!!  Expect a full (glowing!) review in the next few weeks!

But from a competition standpoint, Steve and I planned things out rather poorly.  Even though we both climbed a lot stronger than we had before, my finishing score was a full 300 points lower than my previous year’s (and Steve’s was about the same), so it was a little disappointing that our improved efforts weren’t reflected on our score cards.  Our fatal mistake?  Not getting in the full 10 problems…and also me forgetting to actually record one of the problems I did at the end, which would have bumped me up to my previous high score (doh!)

Opening moves of Damage, Inc V5...and Tenaya Tarifa doing it's job!

Opening moves of Damage, Inc V5…and Tenaya Tarifa doing it’s job!

Amazingly enough, just lingering at each area long enough to log another problem or two, even if just in the V1-V3 range, would have given me close to 1000 more points!  But the late start combined with a needy Baby Z made time fly faster than usual, and before we knew it, the day was almost over and our score cards were only half full!  (Hence the absent-minded climbing frenzy in the last 15 minutes!) Oh well, competition climbing has never been our “thing” anyway.

My Daddy just sent The Claw, he is AWESOME!

“My Daddy just sent The Claw, he is AWESOME!”

Oh yeah…so where does the ER come into play?  After playing his heart out all day at Tweetsie with no signs of illness whatsoever, Big C woke up at 2 am completely panicked and struggling to breathe.  Based on the wheezy noises he was making with every breath, it was evident that his throat was swelling up, though we of course had no idea whether it was from an illness or some sort of allergy.  Getting him to relax and calmed down did help stabilize him a bit.  But he was still pale and his breathing was very labored (stridor), and we had no cell service to get a call in to the pediatrician, so off he went with his Daddy and grandmother to the local hospital in Boone.  (And to all the mamas out there, I know I don’t even need to tell you how difficult it is to watch your sick little boy whisked away into the night, even if it is by two people that love him as much as I do!)

He was MUCH improved by the time they got to the ER, and he was diagnosed with croup – that cold night air works wonders!  His O2 levels were at 90% when checked, but to be on the safe side they gave him a liquid steroid…and would you believe he was absolutely fine the next day?  Tired, of course – he slept in til 9:15, took a 2 hour nap in the afternoon AND still went to bed on time at 7!  That night we cranked the monitor up to full volume Sunday night and went to bed on high alert just in case, but I heard exactly ONE singular cough!

My poor, sweet boy...

My poor, sweet boy…

So even though our weekend took a scary turn, all’s well that ends well.  Big C is a pretty tough little guy, and so far Baby Z seems to be in the clear.   As far as climbing goes, next year we will definitely change up our strategy and pace ourselves a little better…and who knows by then we may be able to convince the grands to take BOTH kiddos for the day…to Tweetsie that is, not the hospital! 😉


1 Response to “Hound Ears Competition: Bouldering and an ER Visit”

  1. Poor C – so glad he’s okay! I still get croup as an adult (which is just plain bizarre) and the #1 trigger is cold night air and the #1 relief steamy shower air. Stay healthy!


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN