This was my second Float the Boat event ever – the first being many many years ago when I had less of a neck beard than I do now and a pair of orange Mad Rock Flashes which cost 69.95. Boat Rock was one of the first boulder fields appearing in my lexicon of boulder fields and holds a special place in my heart, as it does for so many people who consistently attend and assist in this event every year. I started climbing as a scrawny high school senior in Atlanta - and continued intermittently every Summer and Christmas break from my first two years of college. I would drive down for summer night sessions when the cicadas were loud and the air was as thick as the Atlanta traffic preceding it. Waves in Motion was my first V3 (now its V2 but who cares right?), and Yellow Arete was my first V4. I lost quite a bit of rubber and even more skin back in those days. What I remember most however were two things.
One being the uniqueness of both the style and geographical location of these martian boulders. The fact it existed constantly dumbfounded me both then and now. The fact that there were ways to climb seemingly holdless eggs of granite still dumbfounds me.
Two is how it humbled me from a confident underage who just climbed the red/blue problem back in 2006 and seems to do the same to everyone it encounters. Everyone who climbed there on a regular basis seemed to possess this uncanny ability to practice humility, laugh at themselves, then climb hard. Climbing is hard, pretty dumb and pointless when you actually think about it. Laughing and trying hard are not mutually exclusive I learned.
Its been years since I have returned. Events like this and organizations such as the Southern Climbers Coalition are the reasons this boulder field was not bombed off the map from suburb-mongering developers. In fact, the saving of Boat Rock was one of the leading factors in the inception of the SCC and is one of the oldest outdoor climbing competitions in the world - starting in 1984.
My day was much like I remembered almost 12 years ago when I first started frequenting the place. The problems were as hard as I remember them. The weather was balmy at best. And the psyche was higher than a competitive eater at a Golden Corral. Time was limited for me due to helping out with the event and of course the desire to repeat problems I climbed many years ago. But the things that made me love the place years ago existed more than ever today.
The next SCC climbing event is at Hospital boulders in Gadsden, AL. We will be there cheering yall on and supporting this amazing group of people we have who call themselves climbers down here in the Southeast.