Growing up close to Grayson Highlands State Park (GHSP) I have always known that it is a special place. I knew GHSP was home to the highest mountains in the state of Virginia, cool temps, wild ponies, a popular section of the Appalachian Trail and the most beautiful scenery in the Old Dominion. What I didn’t know was that later in my life it would become known to house the steepest, densest boulderfields in Virginia, and the best summer bouldering in the Southeast. I never avidly climbed until becoming a Paratrooper at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After touring Afghanistan I returned to find Southwest Virginia lacking much of a climbing scene or well documented bouldering areas within a two hour’s drive. Exploring, developing, and first ascents were a necessity first, but quickly became my passion. I remembered seeing big boulders in Grayson Highlands State Park as a kid. With every consecutive trip I stumbled upon entire new areas and some of the most beautiful boulders I had ever seen.
Through college at Virginia Tech and now here at Appalachian State in Boone, NC I developed and documented well over 600 new boulder problems in Grayson Highlands. While assisting GHSP’s staff concerning access and impact issues, Grayson eventually became the first VA State Park to write the sport of bouldering into its master plan. The park also became my second home. Over the course of three summer seasons I lived in a historic log cabin as a GHSP naturalist through AmeriCorps. During the last three years I have constantly explored, projected boulders, designed the first VA State Park Bouldering Trail, finished authoring the GHSP Bouldering Guidebook, and helped put together rakkup’s GHSP Bouldering App.
Now with ~1000 documented problems in GHSP, the prospect of a continuously updateable guidebook app is very exciting, especially with projects and new boulder problems being climbed every week. With the natural progression of boulder problems being upgraded, downgraded, holds broken and new beta found, having an instantly updateable guide is certainly a welcomed feature. Obscure access trails are now easy to locate with the superb navigation system the app offers. With the ever growing popularity of GHSP bouldering, both national and international, the navigational aid this app provides is an incredible utility to visiting climbers. I couldn’t be more excited to see what the next several years hold for bouldering in Grayson Highlands State Park, VA.