Posted on 06. Jan, 2008 by in The South


On Jan 2 Angela and I left for the first leg of our roadtrip, and the sweet sandstone of the South. After a quick stop in Tennessee to check out some old Litz problems we made our way to Horse Pens 40, outside of Steele, Alabama. Horsepens is one of the best bouldering areas in America, and it is also one of the smallest and most concentrated. It is world reknown for the amazing texture of the rock and locally known for its notoriously stiff grades. So called “elite” climbers claim that the South doesn’t have hard problems and that’s why they aren’t interested in going. It’s not that there aren’t hard problems here, they just don’t have big numbers. Genetic, a V10 put up some 10 years ago by James Litz remains unrepeated. Millipede a classic problem that feels full value V7, is a V3 for the locals. I have seen V11 climbers spend half an hour trying to warm up on the classic V4 Bum Boy. And Great Dane, another “V10” put up by Litz, would probably get V12 if it was put up in the Park last summer. However, all of this becomes irrelevant when you realize just how amazingly, incredibly fun it is to climb here.
When you go to Horse Pens 40, the most coveted problem in the area is God Module. This is certainly one of the best V11s (although originally graded V10) in America, and a classic power testpiece. I climbed this several years ago and this trip was just psyched to go back, climb some easier things and just enjoy the Southern experience.

No Tranquility V10, 2004

We woke up to perfect conditions and first on the list was Slider. I gave a good flash go but fell when my foot popped. I worked out the upper moves and then climbed it. This was one of the problems I was psyched to go back and send. Very classic. I rested a bit and then we walked over to Landslide. Landslide has some of the best rock I have ever climbed on. It also looks like a tennis shoe problem until you try and pull on. The difficulty revolves around a gym-like sloper and culminates in an amazing rock over and mantle.

The perfect rock of Alabama

Lee Payne first climbed it and he deserves a lot of respect for having the vision and talent to establish this outstanding problem. I was psyched to have the chance to climb it.
With the weather warming up this week we are heading north to Georgia and Tennessee.

Hopefully more new video and photos will be up soon.

9 Responses to “HP40”

  1. Lee

    06. Jan, 2008

    Thanks Jamie, but some of that vision credit goes to John Barr. I was just a kid, John Barr was an expert slab climber that I’ve seen levitate on a number of occasions. He told me that one day there will be a line there. I just figured out the levitation trick (still on lockdown!).

    btw – No tranquility is v9


  2. climbingnarc

    07. Jan, 2008

    So what’s the deal with Genetic? It sure doesn’t look like anyone ever tries the thing based on all the moss on the rock compared with insane amounts of chalk on everything else.

  3. the bpc

    07. Jan, 2008

    definitely more psyched on an eventual hp40 trip than hueco.

  4. jamie

    07. Jan, 2008

    Genetic is completely clean. Granted its not amazing, but I’m pretty sure it has seen attempts by many strong climbers, including Paul.

  5. jamie

    07. Jan, 2008

    I guess starting three moves in probably does make it V9. HA!

  6. climbingnarc

    07. Jan, 2008


  7. wes powell

    08. Jan, 2008

    you should have hit me up while you were down here. SOOO many new areas and new problems that havent been done….or seen repeats. Its crazy.

  8. Elio

    09. Jan, 2008

    Chosscrush .. do you have any plans for a trip this spring?? I’m looking but haven’t settled on an area yet. Joe’s? Hueco? Southern Sandstone?? Even Chosslorado are possibilities.

  9. Sam Anderson-Mangai

    20. Jan, 2009

    Hi Jaime. Just want to thank you for your site, it is a great source of info and motivation for me (even if I’m miles away in New Zealand) After reading this post I think you would love Castle Hill, NZ’s answer to HP40. Keep up the great work bro.

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