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2006 Hound Ears Report from Chad Wykle

Chad Wykle, former Rock/Creek employee, co-founder of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series and current sales rep for Chaco and Marmot, gives us a rundown of last weekend’s Hound Ears competition in Boone, NC on October 7, 2006. The first stage of the three-part competition, Hound Ears is located on private property and is only accessible one day a year, for this comp. This was the 13th year for Hound Ears and as usual the event sold out well in advance. Chad gives us a detailed report on the weekend’s events, from the bad omens Friday afternoon all the way through to a spectacular first– and then SECOND- female ascent of the challenging ‘Fuc Yo’ V9 problem. The event also raised an impressive $1200 toward the acquisition of the Boat Rock bouldering field in Metro Atlanta, GA. 


Triple Crown rolled in to Boone on Friday afternoon with all the trappings of an impending disaster.   Despite the bluebird conditions that held sway overhead, a change in the forecast called for rain on Saturday and Sunday-


Hound EarsCould it be that the organizers (Jim Horton and Chad Wykle) had taken things one- step too far?  After all, it was year number 13 for the event, and the two refused to follow the obligatory rules regarding the “unlucky” number.  Go to any hotel and scroll through the floor numbers, or any long standing event and look over the years-you won’t find a 13th floor or “the 13th annual” anything.  


Instead of following “good luck” protocol, the two actually billed the event as the 13th annual “Lucky 13” Hound Ears Bouldering Competition, complete with classic flaming skull logo and a judge tee shirt that depicted former president Richard Nixon with a red face and devil horns. 


“I don’t subscribe to that crap (belief in the occult), said Horton, “…but it kinda’ puts a funny twist on things, huh.”  It appeared for a time that the two finally had pushed things too far–the skies began to turn milky white and gave way to low gray clouds as Sportiva kicked-off the event with the 2nd annual BBQ/Pre-registration dinner late Friday afternoon.  The BBQ ribs and tasty beverages pulled competitor attention from the sky, but by early evening, the clouds could no longer hold back their load, and a few showers fell on to the campground.


Seasoned judges and competitors alike exchanged concerned glances-the weather was looking bad, and the forecast had gotten no better.  “Gonna’ be a game-time decision,” said Horton and Wykle several times, with a surprising lack of concern.  As the evening drew to a close, climbers made their way back to tent city with only desire for a clear sky for comp day-


Any hopes for that ‘splitter day” appeared to be dashed at dawn.  Dark gray clouds hung low and obscured the tops of the high country mountains, and dulled the beautiful fall colors-there was even an occasional mist.  Registration began, though, just before 8 am and competitors quickly grabbed their comp packets complete with area map, SmartWool socks, Metolius Chalk, and Clif Bars and headed for the buses.  After two quick caravans, the competitor count swelled to over 400, and everyone gathered at the top of the boulderfield.  Horton made a few short announcements, and kicked-off the event with the usual judge swag toss that included a swarm of Clif bars and bags of Metolius chalk.  Competitors snatched the goodies, and bolted for the boulders to check the rock for themselves….it was ON!!


Hound EarsCompetitors nabbed problem after problem, and began to fill their scorecards amid a frenzy of bouldering, spotting, and shouts of encouragement.  And suddenly, as 13th annual luck would have it, the sun tore a line through the clouds, and the splitter conditions that everyone had hoped for arrived.


As the afternoon wore on and climber finger- tips began to shred, it became apparent that there were some amazing scorecards developing, and standards being set.  One example was found under the Three Star Roof that houses the often-sought after tick ‘Fuc Yo.’ This classic roof problem was originally sent in the early 90’s at the grade of V7 by the infamous John Sherman, but in the late 90’s a key hold was broken from the problem, and the grade soared to V9.  It became a must-do for all Elite male competitors at the Hound Ears Competition during every event since.  Despite many strong female comp attendees over the years including such notables as Lisa Rands, the imposing problem had seen no females sends going in to this year’s comp, and very few attempts.


Local female powerhouse Jessa Goble, set her focused sights on ‘Fuc Yo’ at this year’s comp, though, and amid many surprised on-lookers, nabbed the first female ascent of the problem.  Then, as if that was not enough, Kate Reese, reigning queen of Triple Crown 2005, followed Jessa and scored the women’s second ascent.  Two VERY strong statements for the power of female bouldering!


Not to be outdone, New England’s own Paul Robinson more than “represented” the men with a nigh impossible send of a long-standing project.  Ironically, the Thursday before the competition as the boulderfield problems were being cleaned and tagged, Wykle made this statement about the problem to head judge Robert Semple:  “Dude…this thing may be a waste of paper and duct tape….the damn thing may be impossible…it’s been a project for years.”  With just a few simple mile-long pulls on tiny holds through a gray roof and over a bulge, Robinson proved the statement false, quickly sending the project, and later compiling a massive score of over 12,000 points.


Hound EarsAt 5pm, competitors turned in their scorecards and returned to the campground for vittles from Black Cat Burritos of Boone, and tasty adult beverages from Sweetwater Brewery.  Kurt Smith and Odub pumped the volume with music, and as the scores were tallied, Kurt began to promote the goal of the Triple Crown 2006-raising cash for Boat Rock.  Kurt put together a great speech and climbers responded-donating $1,200.   With the help of Rock/Creek Outfitters and Chaco sandals, the Triple Crown hopes to raise enough cash to pay-off the remaining $11,600 on the note of this unique Atlanta metro boulderfield and greenspace.


As nighttime descended on the campground, Jon Glassberg presented a fantastic slideshow of great pics from the event–complete with music.  Competitors knew that the infamous Triple Crown awards ceremony was about to begin, and Jim and Chad did not disappoint.  With tons of fantastic offerings from Rock/Creek Outfitters, Marmot, Chaco, Mammut, The North Face, Prana and many others, the event provided fantastic prizes for all category winners including $600 checks for the king and queen of Hound Ears-Paul Robinson and Kate Reese.   As usual, there were also awesome door prizes (over 25 separate prizes) including bouldering pads from Misty Mountain, Metolius, and Black Diamond. 


At the awards ceremony a special thank-you was delivered to the Platinum Level Sponsors-Rock/Creek, Chaco, and Marmot.  These are perennial sponsors who have worked tirelessly to support the Triple Crown and the efforts of the Southeastern Climbers’ Coalition in a region that is riddled with climbing access issues.


The very impressive sponsor list was also fully presented and included:


Platinum Level Sponsors

Rock/Creek Outfitters, Marmot and Chaco


Gold Level Sponsors

Rock&Ice, Mammut, The North Face, Prana, and Clif Bar


Silver Level Sponsors

La Sportiva, Mountain Hardwear, Metolius, Five Ten, and Black Diamond


Bronze Level Sponsors

Misty Mountain, Topo Ranch, SmartWool, Powersox, Montrail, Urban Outpost (High Country Birmingham), Mountain Khakis, and Footsloggers


Triple Crown will now roll on to Steele AL for the Horse Pens-40 Competition on November 4 and will make the final stop on December 2 in Chattanooga TN for The Stone Fort Competition (aka Little Rock City)-


For more information on the upcoming events in the series, check www.triplecrownbouldering.org and The Southeastern Climbers’ Coalition website at www.seclimbers.org


The list of category winners from Hound Ears is below. 


Junior

1. Jordan Earle       3349

2. Carlo Nasisse     2937

3. Asya Grechka     2757

4. Alexis Vanover     864

5. Allie Borden         761


Beginner Women

1. Allison Williams              1926

2. Jennifer Lee Hall            1902

3. Magalie Laniel                1816

4. Bobbie Rae Erickson      1746

5. Stacy Duncan                 1685


Beginner Men

1. Andrew Dow        2003

2. Simon Bishop      1973

3. C.P. Santos         1616

4. Chris Carver        1612

5. Mike Nahouraii     1607


Intermediate Women

1. Caitlyn Jensen      2895

2. Kati Hetrick           2882

3. Ashley Hamilton    2736

4. Danielle Berger     2723

5. Maggie Sibley       2513


Intermediate Men

1. Thomas Cunningham      3882

2. Travis Vaughn                 3725

3. R. Scott Johnson            3690

4. Joey Staebell                  3643

5. Ryan Patterson               3610


Advanced Women

1. Kim Fuelling           4777

2. Julia Smith             3584

3. Michele Conn        3083

4. Nancy Jackson      2799

5. Christina Austin     2267


Advanced Men

1. Nick Vosbein            7803

2. Ian Gleason              7291

3. Dave Fulton              7266

4. Brian Antheunisse     6648

5. Matthew Behrens      6466


Ancient

1. Jason Young      6253

2. Dave Wood        4961

3. Dave McLaurin   4516

4. Jeff Leads           4340

5. Joe Rosewall      3635


Open Women

1. Kate Reese            7817

2. Claire Bell               6860

3. Sasha DiGiulian      6235

4. Jill Church              5746

5. Kasia Pietras         4563


Open Men

1. Paul Robinson         12,495

2. Max Zolotukhin         8,930

3. Ben Gerhardstein      8,417

4. Chris Sierzant           7,939

5. John Reger               7,731