Articles for May 2017

Climbing at a Rock Near You! (approximately 7.5hrs)

Sand Rock (Cherokee Rock Village) and Horse Pens 40 are both just north of Birmingham, AL. It’s early April and it’s a gorgeous weekend to #geauxoutthere!

Sand Rock is a maze of cliff sides, pinnacles, chimneys and boulders over looking the Coosa River.  There’s plenty of Sport and Trad to be had here, along with some bouldering. The park has developed a good bit over the years, and there’s a fairly new restroom and shower facility along with a large pavilion area. It’s also easy access; you can park and camp right on top the cliff, and there’s sure to be a route right at your camp site, so watch where you put your tent. And because you’re at the top of the cliff there’s a number of places where you can set up a top rope too. We started our weekend here to get some sport climbing in before we headed back down Hwy 59 for a bit to boulder at Horse Pens 40 the following day.

Carolina led Pigs In Zen 5.10d! Really fun; I highly recommend this one!


Here’s Lindsey strutting her stuff on My Dog Has Fleas, 5.8+ in her Prana Meme pants!


And then there’s me finishing up First Black In Office 5.9.

When the sun starts to go down and it gets a little cooler and you still have plenty of time to be active, I throw on my Smartwool 250 top to stay comfy and keep my body temperature just right.  And when I’m chillin’ at the top cleaning up gear for a rap down or just hanging out mid route to take a breather, the Black Diamond Primrose harness provides just enough comfort. If you’re about to head out on a climbing trip and realize you need a few more slings, an extra quick draw or a random footage of cordelette for a prusik or anchor, we got ya covered; come swing by the store and tell us all about your trip!

Day two at HorsePens40 (home of one of the Triple Crown Bouldering Competition.) With over 400 routes on sandstone the variety is incredible, from cracks to slabs, jugs to crimps, and plenty of slopers in between.  Also, extremely easy access, not only do you get to camp amongst this city of boulders, you’re also only a few yards from Lookout Point, the best place to watch a sunset or do some early morning stretches.

After our early morning stretch, Matt came to grace us with his presence, on his drive out to Greenville, SC where he is moving after 5 years at The Backpacker! If you’ve ever been to The Backpacker in the past five years, you’re sure to have met Matt. He’s that guy; that guy that showed you how to pack a pack, that guy that helped you fix your broken stove, or schooled you on what you need and don’t need for that trip to Philmont or the slopes in Colorado. He’s that guy that biked from Saint Francisville to work and back on a regular basis. He surely spent more time educating you than you may have expected but it was probably worth it. I just wanted to give a shout out to his big butt, and if his can fit in the Prana Zion short, so can yours!


Matt on Contraband V1


Another view of Contraband. I’m rocking the Prana Halle pant here; they are able to stretch and twist with me and are still durable enough to take a beating from the rock; hands down my favorite pant. And the TASC Core Racer Tank is so soft and comfy you won’t want to take it off; made of about 50% bamboo, naturally wicking and anti-odor.

As far as shoes go, La Sportiva’s Finale is my new go to climbing shoe, just the right balance of performance and comfort. The Vibram XS Edge rubber outsole and a tensioned heel rand allow for higher-end technical performance than say the Tarantula or Mythos. While at the same time, they aren’t super aggressive; I can keep them on for more than just a single climb.


The Stranger V2

Goal Zero makes tons of great products to keep you charged up while out on your adventures. I like the Torch 250: solar recharge panel built in to give your phone or camera an extra boost, and it doubles as a flashlight and flood light if you get caught on the trail after the sun goes down.


Need approach shoes or a can crusher? Matt’s got ideas.


Lindsey flashing Merlin V1


Cool rock formations make for some fun scrambling.


Meanwhile, Carolina crushes this V3+, Panty Shields. Look out y’all!

Hi my name is Shelly and I’m addicted to Prana, Smartwool and Climbing. I’ve been working at The Backpacker for over 2 years. I love hearing about our customers adventures and sharing photos; come by and see us before you #geauxoutthere!