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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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Local Spot-Rich Mountain Road Boulders

On a tip from an old school Clemson climber, I went to Buzzard's Roost Heritage Preserve yesterday, looking for boulders. We hiked the trail up to the top and around the loop and back, but didn't see any signs of boulders or outcrops. If anyone has any info on boulders at Buzzard's Roost, please send me an e-mail or comment below. On the way out we decided to drive around and look for what seemed to be a set of marble boulders off on an adjacent hillside. Along the way, we noticed a small set of chossy boulders off to the side of the road (FS744) right past the left turn for Buzzard's Roost (FS7441) and at the junction with the right turn for the Cedar Creek Falls hike (FS744C). It was getting dark, but we had enough time to snap a couple of pictures and take a couple videos of some short V0's...anyway its a start. The Rich Mtn Rd Boulders are only a few minutes outside of Walhalla and are surrounded by other hiking and exploring opportunities...they may not become a destination, but for someone that's nearby it could be a great bouldering resource. I will comment that there was one very striking route that is destined to be an Upstate Super Classic...maybe checking in at a V3/4 for the stand start and a V7/8 for the sit. You can see it heading under and over the right side of the rounded overhang, moving up to the right corner and a layback sidepull crimper crack to a slopey sketchy topout. I put all of the directions, along with a few pictures and vids into a little intro video, here it is...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Afternoon at Little Eastatoee

Since I've been back, I havent let the jet lag slow me down too much...I've been foaming at the mouth to get out and climb. I'm spoiled having a few bouldering areas so close by where I can climb 3-4 days a week, without too many problems, and missed getting out as often while I was out west. I've been out to Little Eastatoee the last 2 days and got to catch up a little on my bouldering time. Here is a video I shot with my Christmas gift, a Sony HD video camera...Enjoy!

Pacific Northwest-The Circuit and Carver Cliffs Boulders

To wrap up my trip to the Pacific Northwest, we headed south from Seattle to Portland to spend the rest of our time. While in Portland I got to climb at The Circuit Gym and sample some of the BEST plastic routes in the world. There are always a big variety of different styles of climbs and in grades from Vb-V11 or so. I was humbled by a slopey V3 that was incredibly fun and left without topping it out, but the routes were amazing none-the-less and I sent enough to feel it for a couple of days. If you're ever in the area, sample what I consider to be the best climbing gym I've ever been to!

On the 26th, I finally got to stop off at Carver Cliffs, Portlander's local boulderfield, and sample the basalt boulders. I sent a few V0's and V1's and then focused on sending a V3 called Sugar Cube, a burly double on a couple of opposite facing crimps that throws to a sloper on the corner and some strong moves over the arete and to the top. Here are a few shots of the send...




What a fun time in the Pacific Northwest...I got to visit my wife's family and get fed so much I feel out of shape:), and I got to visit 3 outdoor climbing areas and a sweet gym. No better way to spend my Christmas break!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pacific Northwest-Sehome Hill & Squamish


Over the Christmas holidays, we usually visit my wife's family in the Portland and Seattle area. We're about halfway through our visit and the NW has been very wet and rainy so far...but that hasn't stopped me from trying to visit a few new bouldering areas and send some (wet) routes. This visit we have been mainly in Seattle, but over the past few days we took a trip up to Vancouver, British Columbia, and then up to Squamish to check out this legendary climbing and bouldering area.

On our way up to Canada, we caught a quick break in the rain and stopped off in Bellingham, Washington, the home of Western Washington University and a little bouldering area called Sehome Hill. Sehome Hill is a sandstone area in an arboretum above the college. The boulders can be pretty tall, as they jut out from the steep evergreen rainforest hillside, and the routes may not be of the best quality...but I love to check out new places and send a few routes to experience something different. I climbed a few warm up routes and started to notice a big difference compared to back home...the grades are off by as much as 2 V grades. I got on a couple of V0's that felt like 5.5's and then I sent a wet V2 in my hiking shoes that really felt like a V0. I almost sent Brain Cancer, a V4, in my hiking shoes, but finally needed to put my climbing shoes on to top it out. I enjoyed visiting this area, but it made me miss the sweet southern boulders and the solid grades I'm used to.



After a rainy day in Vancouver, we took the hour drive north to Squamish and the giant vertical cliffs of the Stawamus Chief. The main boulders at Squamish are located under the Chief, in the enchanting evergreen forest that makes you feel so small in comparison to the giant conifers. The place was still pretty soaked, but I had to at least climb a route or 2. After checking out the area and getting familiar with the different sets of boulders, we made our way to Titanic, a popular V4. This was the route that I was hoping to climb, but due to the rain I had to settle for a couple of easier routes instead.



Here is a shot of me sending a V0 right beside the Titanic boulder, and I also got to send Twister, a pretty easy V1. Once again, I thought these routes were a little too easy for their grades...but then again, I've always thought that Rumbling grades (what I tend to compare everything to) can be stout compared to other places I've visited. It was tough to be in one of the proclaimed meccas of bouldering and not be able to pull down at my limits, but it was nice to see this amazing place and experience it as much as I could. We plan on taking a trip out here in the summer sometime soon and hopefully I'll be able to climb til my tips are bruised and bleeding.

It looks like we're about to catch a break in the weather over the next few days, as we travel down to Portland for the second half of our trip. I'm hoping to be able to check out a few bouldering spots near Portland and on up into the Columbia River Gorge and actually climb some dry rock. Every time I travel away from my home bouldering areas I get to experience new and different bouldering spots...but they all remind me of how awesome we have it in the South and how even some of our worst boulderfields are still better than what most people have to climb on! Check out the guestbook/messageboard for the first question of the week...What's your favorite bouldering area that you've ever been to?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Space Together and the Pacific Northwest


I haven't posted much about what I've been climbing lately, because I have been so busy with work, and when I got a free minute, it was raining. Over Thanksgiving, I was able to climb 9 out of 12 days and send a lot of routes that had been on my tick list...for a total of 25 new FA's (mainly lower grades, but a handful of V4's and V5's). Since Thanksgiving, I have only been able to climb sporadically and I tried my best to start winding down the "Fall" climbing season, and rest for a couple of weeks over Christmas to prep for the "Spring" season. Before I left for my yearly west coast swing for Christmas (my wife's family live in Seattle and Portland), I was able to tick off a project I had been working on for a little while, Space Together (named after a feeling many Deadheads had when they had too much too fast and were trying to gather their wits...for example, "I'm trying to get my Space Together before I head into the show."), a weird feeling V4 or V5 out at Little Eastatoee. This is another great addition to the area and is right next to another project, Best Feeling, that is much harder than it looks. Space Together starts with a great rail/slot and an odd compression move under a small overhang, and moves up a weird slab with stretchy delicate moves. I was barely able to stick the moves at the bottom and the top was touch and go during the entire send...it wasn't pretty, but it was sent:) I really need some folks to head out there and repeat it so I can get another opinion on the grade...it may be easier or harder than what I've listed, but it felt like it was at my limits, which right now are around V4/5.

While I'm out here over Christmas, I'm hoping to get some bouldering in, but if you know anything about the Pacific NW, you know that it rains A LOT during the winter months. Being in Seattle, I wanted to hit Leavenworth, but some folks warned me that it was already snowed over and not climbable. We are heading up to Vancouver, BC for a couple of nights and I'm hoping to get a couple of sessions in at Squamish, the Hueco Tanks of the summer months, made a little more famous by the Rampage video and Sharma's sendfest. Above, I posted a sweet Squamish video from some locals for everyone to check out and enjoy. After we leave Vancouver and Seattle, we are heading down to Portland and hopefully some bouldering up in the Columbia River Gorge.

No matter what, the only gym I actually look forward to climbing at is in Portland...The Circuit. Above is an image of the sweet free hanging boulder with another bouldering wall in the background...I'm a big fan of their top out boulder also, feels like you're climbing an actual boulder! This is a bouldering only gym, and actually one of the first boulder only gyms that popped up years ago. The older I get, the more I hate climbing gyms...such an artificial environment for such an organic and nature oriented activity, and it breeds bad ethics and morals into an impressionable group...but this gym is by far my favorite anywhere. They try to guide folks into proper bouldering etiquette, indoors and out, and encourage folks to use the gym as a step towards getting outside and not an end in itself...I mean come on, why climb indoors if you don't want to head outdoors? This gym, along with a couple more in Portland, also has a lease to an outdoor climbing area, Carver Cliffs, and encourages folks to head out there and use good ethics while climbing on real rock. Its good to see a gym taking responsibility for "raising" good climbers, instead of encouraging a free-for-all like most gyms. Stay tuned for some hopeful trip reports on Squamish and the Columbia Rover Gorge...and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

ps...if you haven't been checking out George Evans's blog, you should. He's down in Columbia and is working on some info for a sandstone bouldering area in SC...Peachtree Reserve Heritage Preserve. Hopefully he'll be able to put together a topo and mini-guide to this area to share with everyone. As he mentions, ethics and etiquette are crucial at this spot, so if you visit, please be responsible.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Do It Yourself Project-Highball Spot Pad/Carpet

Something that is lacking in most newer model crashpads is the great carpet that was characteristic of the 1st generation pads. Nowadays, to save a few bucks, most crashpad manufacturers use the same nylon/cordura on the landing zone as they use in the rest of the shell of the pad...this makes it so much harder to clean your shoes off before that send that needs those critical feet. To remedy this problem, I recommend a quick stop by Lowes or Home Depot and buy a 1-2'x1-2' section of outdoor carpet. I recommend at least a 1'x1' section of carpet and I prefer a 1 1/2'x1 1/2' section...it seems to be cheaper to buy the carpet off of the bigger roll, by the foot, if there isn't a premade carpet in the size you want. If you buy it off the roll, you have enough to chop up a few carpets to leave in your different pads or an extra in your car with your chalk canister:).

What's even better is to find somewhere that sells dense 1" closed cell foam, and buy at least a 1 1/2'x1 1/2' section (I like a 2'x2' section for better coverage) to glue onto the carpet to make an inexpensive highball pad. If you're around the upstate of SC, you can pick up a king mattress sized sheet (7'x7') for about $15 at the Pickens Flea Market on Wednesdays or some weekends. If you're having trouble finding the foam, send me an e-mail and I'll try to send you what you're looking for, for a cheap price. Just use a good spray-on adhesive on the back of the carpet and on the top of the foam pad, stick 'em together, and you've got the best, cheapest, carpeted highball pad you can find! Stack the highball pad on top of, or tuck it into, your crashpad to give you a little extra protection for those taller problems. This is also a cheap alternative for taking a crashpad on an airplane...pack a highball pad (or 2), shoes and chalk in your suitcase and you can always send a few problems wherever you end up travelling!

Little Eastatoee Topo and Guide

Happy Holidays From Upstate Bouldering! Here is a great gift for everyone that boulders in the Upstate of South Carolina...a new UB mini-guide!



The Little Eastatoee Mini-Guide (Updated 1-15-10)


I've been busy over the last few weeks and haven't been able to post much about the development at Little Eastatoee. I, along with George Evans, spent around 8-10 sessions climbing and reclimbing some routes, trying to get more beta and a closer idea of grades, but some of these may still be a little off. For example, I originally put Sitting Duck at a V4, but after reclimbing it, I felt it might even be soft for a V3...just really exposed and a little heady. There are still some fun projects in the V0-V2 range, but there are plenty of V4-V7 projects that are waiting for folks to come and FA, especially the routes on the Spicy Boulders...if you see a ? beside the grade, it hasn't seen an FA yet, but has been worked as a project. This is the first edition of the mini-guide and will be revised as FA's come in. Please use this page as the place to list new climbs you might send that aren't listed in the guide...just post a comment and I will verify the route and add it to the mini-guide, which I'll update afterwards. Include your route description and FA info, along with any links to pictures or videos and I'll make sure to add them for everyone to enjoy; I see this area and mini-guide as a co-op effort with all those that boulder there.

Don't forget that there are other routes around this area, and some well hidden spots to find seclusion and first ascents. I've been posting a lot of the routes on RockClimbing.com, including some routes in areas that aren't listed in this mini-guide, but hopefully you can use the descriptions here and on RC.com to find your way around to everything in the area. There is plenty of opportunity for exploring and finding great new FA's here at the Bridge, or at one of the other areas. If you want some seclusion and some incredible FA chances, hike down either the fishing trail or old trail up past the Bridge Boulders, past the Bubbles, and up the drainage to the Indian Rock House Area and into a small mecca of tough FA's. There are some other bouldering spots tucked away in a holler or down the riverside that I haven't mentioned yet, but if you're adventurous, bushwhack around and see what you find:)

Upstate Bouldering Video Contest Winner!



I wish there were more entries for the Upstate Bouldering Video Contest, but George Evans was the only person to submit a video. That's not to say that his video wouldn't of won the competition if others would have entered...I enjoyed the music and it was a nice variety of good looking routes. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look above...and if you haven't been following his blog or his YouTube videos, you really should! Congrats George, enjoy your prizes and keep doin whatcha doin...and way to send that sweet V5 the other day!!!

Be on the lookout for an upcoming spring season video contest that covers any videos from routes you shot anywhere in the Southeast!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Save The Boulders!!!

Alright...so if you follow this blog, you are obviously aware that possibly the best place to boulder in the South is Rumbling Bald, NC. The Carolina Climbers Coalition has been able to purchase a 6 acre tract of land that contains most of the classic boulders in the West Side, including many of the boulders in the Cluster, Washing Machine, Terraces, and Hull areas of the guidebook.

Everyone's help is needed to finalize the purchase of this amazing tract of boulders...please visit the CCC website to make a donation of money or time (there is an adopt-a-crag coming up on 1/23/10 focused on the cleaning out the boulderfields of downed trees). Enjoy this sweet video and empty your pockets (or help all you can) for the cause:)

Rumbling Bald Boulder Project from Matt de Camara on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More Development at Little Eastatoee

I've been heading out to Little Eastatoee almost everyday and adding more and more routes to the area. Right now, most of the development is just taking place at the Bridge Area, but we have been visiting some of the other areas and climbing other routes too. One of the other areas we've recently climbed at is Rhodorete...here are a couple of pictures of George high up on the arete. As mentioned, I've mainly been climbing at the Bridge Area, and have added quiet a few routes to the tick list...including yesterday's FA's of Sitting Duck V4, Peking Wing V3, Outta Sight V3, Just a Little Light V1, Step Up Slab V0, and the Vb Slab. Here are a couple of pictures of Sitting Duck...
And here is a not-so-good video, the field of view is too constricted, of me FA'ing Outta Sight...

Stay tuned for the first edition of the Bridge Area Topo, which will be posted in the next few days. We have a couple of more problems to work on there to finalize the grades and then it'll be posted. Enjoy!