If you've ever climbed in Boone, North Carolina, you’ve likely seen Anthony Love crushing. He’s established problems like Preferential Treatment (V10, Blowing Rock Boulders) and climbed classic Boone routes like Pigs in Zen (5.13a, The Dump). More than just a Southern hard man, though, A-Love, as he’s commonly known, spends at least 20 hours a week as the president of the Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC), a position he’s held for three years. Living in Boone since 1994, he got involved with the Boone Climbers Coalition in 2000, and, as he says, “Basically, when you get involved with one of the climbing organizations, they’ll ask you do anything.”
Love grew up in Dallas, Texas, and began climbing in 1987, and now his love of rock extends to his day job as the research operations manager in the geology department at Appalachian State University, his alma mater. (He was a 1999 graduate, with a bachelor of science in geology.) “I went to App State specifically for the rock climbing,” he says. “I was amazed and enthralled at the same time.”
Why do you love Boone? There’s a really nice, close climbing community. It’s a small, friendly town where there’s a good local population and a decent amount of culture. It has a wonderful character as part of Appalachia with its own identity.
Where’s your favorite place to climb in Boone? Probably Blowing Rock Boulders. It’s about six miles from my house, and there are stacks of awesome boulder problems. I think it represents the quintessential Boone bouldering area. Some people like other areas more, because they think Blowing Rock is rough on your skin and is just hard [in general], but that’s what I like about it.
Any proud sends recently? I just did Turkey Beard, a two-pitch 5.12a in Linville Gorge [North Carolina]. It just took me a lot of tries over a long period of time, and it’s a little bit harrowing and scary. I had to tune my strengths to the moves in order to feel more confident going into the crux. If you fall, you might break an old bolt and rip out an old pin.
What is your work like with the CCC? Any struggles?It makes me feel good to do something for the climbing community that helps preserve access. The biggest hurdle is trying to come up with ways to help involve all climbers. Everyone wants to play a specific part, and it’s not always possible to make that happen. In general, I do a lot of fund-raising, and I work with state park and park service land managers to help maintain good relationships between them and climbers. There’s really a myriad of things, such as setting up fund-raising events to organizing trail days.
What have been some of your recent projects? I spearheaded the fund-raising campaign for our most recent acquisition of the West Side boulders at Rumbling Bald, North Carolina. We purchased the land in January 2010 using the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign [a revolving loan program]. It encompasses about six acres that contains some of Rumbling Bald’s classic boulders. We’ve raised about $40,000 and have about $35,000 left.
How do you make fund-raising successful? Do one project at a time. It’s not a good idea to get in over our heads with borrowing money unless we’re absolutely certain we can pay it back.