Inform and Inspire

Welcome to Upstate Bouldering, designed around bouldering in the Upstate region of South Carolina. This website is intended to inform the reader of local spots in SC, Western NC and Northeast GA, as well as a blog of my experiences climbing at these great spots. I hope everyone learns of a new place to climb or is inspired to climb somewhere close to them. If you have any comments, please send me an e-mail.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Finally...Bouldering From Portugal

After being shut down for almost a week, over here, I finally got my hands on some Portuguese rock. I took a trip out to Cascais, about an hour subway then train ride from Lisbon, today and bouldered till I was sore and red from the intense sun. The area is called "Baia Do Mexilhoeiro", which translates into the "Bay of Mussels", very appropriate due to the abundance of mussels in the tidal pools. The rock was a very porous limestone with tons of sea washed mini-huecos....some super rough and some polished smooth into perfect slopers. I felt like I was climbing at Crowder's, due to the rough rock that liked to grab your skin...and just like Crowder's it eventually turns your hands into near ground beef. The boulders were completely exposed to the sun, on a rock platform right on the edge of the sea. It provided a beautiful setting and picturesque background for a boulder session. The morning started out a cool 18'C, but heated up quick to 28'C before I finally felt like I was getting baked by the rays.
I didn't expect much from myself, due to the fact that I haven't really climbed in over a month. Despite this, I tried to psyche myself up and had high expectations...if I failed to climb hard, I wanted it to be due to lack of strength and not a mental barrier. The first few routes felt really hard, even though they were down in the 5's (font grade, this converts to V1-V3 according to the guidebook). After a few routes though, my body remembered how to move on the rock, and I started to feel a little more normal, and I started to try a few 6's (V4-V6) and eventually a 7a (V7). I ticked about 15 routes, including a powerful roof problem called Bikini, a 6b, which I'm exiting the crux in the above picture. When I was topping it out, I got a round of applause from a local climber and his girlfriend, which almost startled me off the rock, because I thought I was alone in boulders. I was so happy to top out, I didn't think I could climb anything this hard, this quick, after such a long layoff. The locals helped me find my way around the area, and then I started working on a dyno problem called Doggy Style, a 7a I had seen pictures of in the guidebook. This ended up being my project for the day...I had little problems with the crimps down low, to some small slopers about waist level, then came a slippery dyno to the top, about 10 ft up. After about 15 attempts and sliding off the top hold every time, I finally latched it with my left and quickly doubled on it, while my legs were flailing around beneath me. The top out was easy, but I was nearly attacked by a nearby nesting gull on the down climb. After cruising a couple of cool down 3's and 4's (Vb-V0), I packed it up and walked the 3km back to the train station...completely satisfied and honestly surprised with how well I climbed today.
Hopefully, I can make it to Sintra, and the boulders around the Moorish castle, before we take a trip up in the mountains to Pedra Do Urso this weekend. Stay tuned for more Portuguese bouldering...

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