Micah Gentry learned to climb in New Hampshire during the 1990s and now spends many of his days replacing ancient hardware on Tennessee routes. For the past few years, Gentry, 33, has helped distribute gear to bolters through the Southeast Climbers Coalition (SCC). He became involved with ARI to help the SCC save money on gear replacement. Replacing gear isn’t for everyone, Gentry says, and he notes there are other ways that climbers can get involved. “I suggest people educate themselves about the organizations that support their areas and start supporting those organizations, either through donations of time and work or money,” he says. When he isn’t replacing bolts or climbing around his home base of Chattanooga, Gentry is teaching Spanish, coaching soccer, and growing a wicked mullet and mustache for 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell in late September.
What is most rewarding about working with ARI? I am just grateful that ARI exists. Rebolting is thankless work that few engage in, and I am motivated by the few guys here in the South who have replaced so much shoddy gear. It’s great to have the support of ARI and its sponsors to keep efforts like this going until everything is safe.
Why is anchor replacement important in your neck of the woods, especially in Laurel Falls? Laurel Falls and its neighbor, Buzzard Point, are beautiful areas with amazing stone that are under-appreciated. If the hardware weren’t rusted out on a high percentage of the routes, these areas would receive a lot more traffic. Anchor replacement helps breathe some life back into these crags. At least here in the South, most of the bolts that still remain from the initial equipping need replacing. Luckily, there are also a few highly dedicated rebolters here.
When did you start climbing? I hung out in New Hampshire for a few summers in the 1990s and just learned the ropes. I toproped for a couple of years until really getting into it while out working in Big Sky, Montana. I moved to Chattanooga for the climbing and outdoors, and it has controlled my life since then.
Visit climbing.com/community/ari for more info on the Anchor Replacement Initiative.