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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Monday, December 27, 2010

Pacific Northwest 2010-Wrapping It Up

So, the rain moved in and the slight peeks of sunshine lasted only for an hour or so...meaning no more outdoor bouldering for me out here in the winter rainforest. I did get a chance to visit The new Circuit Gym in downtown Portland and climb all of the easy (V0-V2) routes and a big handful of V3's and 1 V4. The 2 GIANT top out boulders are absolutely amazing centerpieces to the gym and something any boulderer would fall in love with! I still cant believe how good the route setting is at this gym, and the route turnover keeps the place from getting stale! I guess they have to make up for the lack of outdoor time by having some of the best indoor facilities in the country. It really encourages me to get into the gym and train more when I get back home. Besides a muddy hike in the largest city park in the US, 5100 acre Forest Park, the holidays have been about good food and even better beer and wine with family and friends...a closet glutton like myself could really get used to this:) I hope the holidays have treated you just as well as they've treated me! Now that I feel as bloated as the Michelin Man, I'm really looking forward to getting home and back on the local boulders as soon as the snow allows. I'm also looking forward to what 2011 has to offer...for me and every other SC boulderer. Stay tuned for more info!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pacific Northwest 2010-Carver Bouldering

Our yearly voyage out to the Northwest is always a nice time to sit back, relax and enjoy family and different amenities that you just cant find back home. There are so many breweries in Portland to enjoy and the cuisine is absolutely incredible! Last night we had some of the best tacos in the world at Porque No and chased it with a great local Amnesia brew...perfect after a day of struggling to climb at the Carver boulders.

If you know anything about the Northwest, then you know that winter is NOT the season to try to boulder outside...and yesterday was no exception. I've visited the Carver boulders at the Carver cliffs on the side of the Clackamus River before, but the conditions yesterday were so wet and the rocks were seeping from under the thick patches of ferns and mosses that almost nothing was dry enough to climb. That's one of the biggest differences between bouldering back home and here near home we have drier hardwood forests and here they have more of a rainforest environment, rich in nonvascular plants (mosses and liverworts) and ferns. Similar to Little Rock City, Carver has gone through some changes over the years and being on private property creates a unique situation that requires a unique management. Over the past year, the crag was closed due to unruly climbers and then reopened with the continuing help of the Carver Climbing Club. In order to climb here, you must be a member of the club, which requires an $8 fee, and have your membership card on hand while you climb (I dont have a card though because I signed up a few years ago...and I need to get that fixed while I'm here). There is also a small website that post up info about the bouldering, click on over and check out the saga that has unfolded.

I was lucky enough to find a copy of the old out-of-print bouldering guide to Portland and the Columbia River Gorge at Powells Bookstore a couple of years I feel lucky to actually have a topo and route list when I visit. After walking around the boulders trying to find anything dry enough to climb, I found myself at the base of the cliff on a boulder called the Standard Overhang, seen in the photo above. I climbed the stand start to the Standard Overhang route which went at a V1 and was a pretty fun route. Then I added the SDS to it and linked through for the V3 version of this Carver classic. I was shocked I found anything to climb and was stoked to pull hard enough to send a wet and slippery V3!

From here I roamed around looking for anything else that was dry and finally came upon a boulder seen above and is labelled as the Warm Up boulder on the new map. I sent an easy V0 flake/lieback arete on the left side of the boulder and then focused on a fun SDS route that followed up the broken spine on the middle and right side of the boulder. After a few tries, I finally sent the route and felt it was right around a V2. Super fun problems, even though you had to deal with some slippery moss at the top!

After this, I roamed around checking out routes in the guide for future sessions, since I couldnt find anything else that was dry. Overall it was a bad day to climb, but I felt like I had made the most out of it by "climbing for the cycle" of a V0, V1, V2 & V3. After visiting the NW a few times, I'm so grateful for what we have back in the Southeast...great boulderfields with great weather almost all winter long! Carver is Portlands local boulder crag, but couldnt hold a candle to even our worse boulderfields back home. I cant tell you how thankful I am to live in such a kick ass place in the US for bouldering!!!

Today is another typical Portland day with rain in the forecast...hopefully I'll get a chance to go back to another little area in town called Rocky Butte. It looks like the Columbia River Gorge is getting some snow over the next week, so Beacon Rock and any of the other boulder areas within an hour and a half are out of the question for this trip. It would be nice to make it to Smith Rock, but we'd have to drive over the snowed in Cascades in order to do that...something I'm just not willing to do. No matter, I'm planning on hitting Portland Rock Gym and The Circuit too in the next couple of days to try to get my send on! I hope everyone is out getting on some rock somewhere and appreciates how nice it is to have what we have in the Southeast!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Local Sessions and Future Local Sessions

I've been slammed lately trying to finish up the semester, focus a little on helping out with SC access and then I've tried to slip a few sessions in between. As mentioned in previous posts, I've been helping the CCC work with the State Parks to try to expand climbing opportunities in South Carolina. We have had very pleasant meetings with both DNR and the Mountain region State Parks (Keowee-Toxaway, Table Rock and Jones Gap) and hope that we have set some positive wheels in motion. Over the last 2 days, I have been out early in the morning, with temps in the single digits to low double digits, working with some of the best rangers to identify areas that are of interest to SC climbers. Its been great to meet these guys, walk in their woods and inform them exactly what we're all about. All of the rangers have been receptive to our ideas and willing to find out if there are any hurdles that might stop access from happening in the near future. I'm a big fan of cooperation and forces working together so both succeed in their missions of conservation and recreation. Things are in the works and I hope to be able to tell you in the next couple of months that we will have expanded access and more places to enjoy climbing. If you are in SC and have been "scalping" some of these areas, please realize that this could really jeopardize the legitimate access work we are doing and could bring things to a complete halt. Please try to relocate your sessions to other legal areas until we can get this figured out and you'll be greatly rewarded in due time! The picture from above is taken from the Table Rock over there and take a look every now and then to see how the park changes with the seasons. There should be some snow in the picture sometime soon!

I am also getting ready to take our yearly pilgrimage to Oregon to visit my wife's family. It looks like there might actually be a break in the usually wet weather to get a few days of bouldering in while I'm out there...I'm really looking forward to that! Otherwise, the best bouldering gym I've ever been too, The Circuit, just opened a new gym in Portland that's even closer to our even more chances for me to get some crush on while I'm out in the Pacific Northwest! I'll hopefully post up some pictures while I'm out there of some bouldering at Carver Boulders and possibly Beacon Rock. Here's a sweet shot of Beacon Rock from across the Columbia River...

And here is a video of some bouldering at Carver...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Urgent!!! Help the CCC with the Chimney Rock Master Plan!

A few months ago, there were 3 different proposals (1 very conservative, 1 mid ground and 1 very liberal with our climbing resources) for what will eventually become the new Chimney Rock State Park. These were made available to the public to vote and comment on and the state was supposed to take these comments into consideration when forming the Master Plan. This park will cover a lot of land and includes the existing Chimney Rock Park and Rumbling Bald, as well as tons of other cliffs that have been climbed for decades. In the recently released proposal, of which the state plans to use unless there are major complaints (hint-hint), only the south side of Rumbling Bald, what most folks just call Rumbling Bald, is the only cliff that will be allowed to remain open...and the only roped routes that are recognized are the ones in the guidebook. Now, unless you are under a rock somewhere, you know that there are more routes at the Bald than whats in this 20 year old guide (and the updated Selected Climbs book doesn't include very many new routes for the Bald, so its pretty much still the routes listed in the old Kelly guide). Besides these unlisted routes being off limits, the plethora of other smaller crags, that have seen action for over 20 years, are to be closed and climbing is to be disallowed. This doesn't make sense, nor does it sit well with those that have been using this land for way longer than the state has owned it. PLEASE do what you can by checking out the CCC Alert and clicking at the bottom and filling out the Access Fund letter to those that need to hear our voice. This IS a pivotal time in the planning and future of our climbing resources. We know that our resources are limited and not allowing climbing in all areas of the park that have traditionally allowed climbing is a deep cut into these resources. It only takes a few minutes (no lie, just a couple of minutes) to fill out the info needed to send a great form letter to the folks in charge to let them know that we wont stand for this! Together we CAN affect a change in the plan and get our resources back...please do what YOU can to help!!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Lot Going On Lately

I have been so busy with the holidays, climbing and access meetings that I haven't had a chance to post up in a while...

Since my last post I've been able to climb at Dixon, a couple of local spots and the Bald a couple of times.

At Dixon, I climbed a bunch of fun easy stuff on this boulder...

After warming up, I sent 2 super fun routes, the route up the right side felt like a V1 and the left side felt like a V2/3, on this boulder...

And then sent a sweet slab problem from a big sidepulling sit start on the downhill side of the Classic Overhang boulder, felt around a's a shot of that route.

After sending a few more routes, I packed it up and met with Stephen Scoff, the SC CCC rep, and Larry Hyde, the superintendent of Crowder's State Park, for an informative overview of how Crowder's manages climbing. If you are a long time follower of this blog, you might remember earlier this year there was a push for better access in SC. Since then, I've been working with Stephen to try to open up more bouldering and roped climbing in the state. This was one of the many meetings we have had, or going to have, to push for more access. Larry was an incredibly nice guy and a great asset for climbers in NC and at Crowder's. He helped us out by giving us a lot of information we can use to demonstrate the advantages of climbing for our meetings with a couple of SC parks. Nothing makes a day of bouldering better than doing something to give back to the climbing community!

I'm stoked that I've had a chance to hit the Bald so much this fall, and each trip I seem to finally bag a route or 2 that has hassled me for a while. On one of my recent trips, I finally headed back to the Middle East and Far area I don't visit too often. I sent a few fun easy routes, and Fire V3, on the Fire boulder seen here...

After flailing like a little sissy on Silver Platter V2 (is this thing really a V2?), I headed over to my real targets...The Forbidden City V2 and Rift V4. After working the upper moves of Rift and finding the best foot beta for me, I loaded up and worked the SDS until I had linked it all together for the send. This has to be one of my absolutely favorite routes at the Bald...especially due to the fact that it was named after a Phish song! Check out the beautiful music on this boulder...

From here I went out to the Forbidden City V2 and took a couple of tries to send this wonderful route. What a great boulder problem! Listed as being similar to Dime Crack, but easier, the movement felt like it was set in a gym and put a big smile on my face after the send. A sds traverses out left to a series of edges that goes up the short face to a pretty easy top out...check out the picture.

After sending a few more easy routes, I called it quits for this session...ticking off Rift was big for me, its always been a project of mine...but climbing The Forbidden City was just as fun and rewarding!

Besides our meeting with Larry Hyde at Crowder's, Stephen and I have had, and will be having, more meetings with some of the SC state parks and DNR about climbing access. We have had some successes in some of our recent meetings, and hope for the same with the next meetings. I'll fill everyone in when everything gets ironed out and this will hopefully give SC climbers a new climbing landscape in the coming year.

Besides all that, I want to wish George Evans good luck at the last leg of the Triple Crown at Little Rock City/Stonefort. George has finally (kinda) gotten back up to speed from his broken ankle and I hope he pulls hard and has a good time finally being able to boulder like he used to! I also want to wish Adam Johnson (take loads of pictures for your website) and Doug Ianuario a great comp and trip to Hueco afterwards...I'm so damn jealous:) If you haven't checked out Adam's awesome photos and your hiney on over there and check it out. Bro man got some skills!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

G-Vegas Represent!

If you havent seen the newest DeadPoint Magazine video of Eric Singleton climbing Waste Not, Want Not 5.12b/c at Looking Glass...check it out! Nice work on the send and way to represent the old school Rocks and Ropes gym crew (that was the gym I climbed at 2-3 times a week, back in the day) and Looking Glass Outfitters.

Click here to go to DeadPoint and watch the video

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Slave Driver...Finally

This past Friday, I had a chance to run up to the Bald and work on one of the last real "haunting routes" I have at the Bald...Slave Driver V3. The leaves were incredible and with the sun shining bright, it felt like I was wrapped up in the color yellow.

Slave Driver has been another off and on project for me over the last few years, very similar to Shady Grove/Basketball Mantle, and so I decided I had to finally take it serious and project the route until I sent it and got that monkey of my back. I've sent a lot of V3's, at a lot of different boulderfields, but this is by far one of the hardest, if not the hardest V3 I've ever sent...and quite a few strong folks have mentioned that Slave Driver might be a little sandbagged at a V3 too.

I worked the stand start until I finally had it a little dialed (am I the only one that has to bump through the little crystal at the top to reach the small "thank god" knob with my right hand?), then I gave one good solid effort on the sit start and ended up linking through it. To say the send pushed me to my limit was an understatement...I literally felt blown up afterwards and decided to call the day a success, despite originally planning on climbing for a lot longer. It felt good to send another route that has been taunting me every time I walked by it, and that satisfaction was enough to keep me smiling all weekend!

Here's a sweet video of the East Side, from a couple of years ago, that Matt Christie put together. Slave Driver is climbed at the 40 second mark and Matt makes it look easy! You can also see Crystalline Entity in this video, a sweet V5 slab that I was also working on Friday...I think this should go next time, with a spot.

Saturday I woke up early and shuttled some friends to Whitewater Falls so they could do an overnighter on the Foothills's a shot of the beautiful morning view out over Lake Jocassee.

While I was there, I had a quick session on the small set of boulders next to the bathrooms. There are really only a handful of routes worth climbing, but I've always found them to be fun. Here are a few photos of the boulders. The first is a shot of the Slab boulder as you approach it from the parking lot. The other 2 shots are of the Snapping Turtle boulder behind it. Most of the routes on both boulders have some solid slopey crimps that make for some fun climbing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Triple Crown: Horse Pens 40

So, this past weekend was the second leg of the Triple Crown, down in Steele, Alabama. The weather was cold in the campground, but the sends were awful hot in the boulderfield! I was able to head down early on Friday and climb a little with the Clemson Crew before the comp on Saturday. Here's Autumn Parham sending Dope...

Bumboy is one of the legendary boulder problems in the world, one of my all time favorites, and I was able to send it easier than ever on Friday, with some crucial beta from Adam and George making all of the difference. On Saturday, the place was packed and hyped! Competitors were everywhere in the park, giving their all on some of the best sandstone routes in the Southeast. No matter if you climbed V0 or V10, everybody was cheering for everybody else and the smell of comradory was in the air more than the smell of competition. I was able to send a few 3's (Bumboy, Orca & Double Groove) and the rest of my scorecard was filled out with some of the most fun V2's around (Dope of course being one of my favorites)...needless to say, I was nuzzled deep in the Intermediate category with no chance of placing, but I definitely had a blast climbing!

The real competition was for the Mens Open division, which Jimmy Webb dominated. Here's a couple of shots of Jimmy climbing Skeletor V10 and God Module V11...2 routes that helped him claim first.

Brion Voges wasn't too far behind Jimmy for 2nd in Mens Open. Here's a couple of shots of Brion on Cadillac Thrills V9 and Slider Sit V10...

And rounding out the top 3 was Brad's a shot of him on Illusions V11.

The top 3 getting Crowned...

Angie Payne won the Womens Open's a shot of her on The Flow V7.

Here is Deadpoint Mags Coverage of the event...and also some great photos and coverage by Clemson climber Adam Johnson over at Adam Johnson also has a great set of photos over at his website that I stole for this post...thanks a million Adam for letting me use your incredible images! You can get the full lowdown on the winners of each category at the Triple Crown Bouldering website, and the complete results with everybody's score should be released soon too.

Also...Here is a great video of Adam and some other climbers at the comp, check it out courtesy of George Evans.

HP40 Triple Crown 2010 from George Evans on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Help the SCC Win A Grant To Invest In Southeast Climbing!

For some reason, the vote button wont show up on the above widget here to go to the SCC's page to vote if the button isnt available!!!

If you havent heard yet, the SCC is competing for one of the Pepsi Refresh Grants to help maintain and aquire more climbing areas in the Southeast.

The SCC's Goals for this project are...
•Purchase and preserve 40 acres in AL currently closed to access
•Purchase and preserve 38 acres in TN currently closed to access
•Build new and maintain existing hiking trails throughout southeast
•Responsible land stewardship and inspirational team building
•Community outreach: Promoting the joys of climbing AND preservation!

In order to help the SCC win this grant, they need everyone's help with voting. You can vote everyday and the SCC encourages you to do so...the most votes wins, so help makes this a reality for all southeastern climbers!

Here is the great video the SCC put together to promote their bid for the grant...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Haunting Bald Routes

Over the Halloween holiday, I had a chance to run up to Rumbling Bald a couple of times and work on some routes that have continually haunted me over the past 8 or so years. The leaves were still turning nice colors and the Beauty Berry was out to remind us that its fall and winter is on its way.

The first session I was able to knock out 3 routes that have been like giant monkeys jumping on my back...Shady Grove/Basketball Mantle V3, Unknown V4 on the Brevard Fault boulder in the Central Boulders, and Unknown V2 (problem 10f) on the Gateway boulders in the West Side. Each one of these problems has given me fits for years, and it was so nice to finally send all of them...especially Shady Grove, seen in the above picture. Shady Grove was what most folks I knew called the problem for years, but the guidebook came out and said that the real name for the problem was Basketball Mantle...either way, it and Slave Driver have been 2 V3's that have never gone for me, no matter how much time and effort I have put into them. I wasn't even looking to send Shady Grove, but after walking by it and avoiding looking at it like it was an ugly ex-girlfriend for so long I thought maybe I should pick the project back up. I had put a couple of tries on it during a session last month, but during this session, the problem flowed better and the crimps were much stickier and easy to yoke up on. After getting the high right hand sloping crimp to feel good, it was just a matter of the sketchy top out onto the delicate slab...which made my knees shake, but I still was able to top it out.

From here I went out to the Brevard Fault, seen above, and sent the tricky V4 to the right of it...a sds on some crimps leads to a short crimp traverse and a delicate move to and over the sloping lip leads to the top out. Here's a picture of the V4 route...

Brevard Fault is one of my favorite Bald V2's and so I've always put a little extra time on the V4 beside it, every time I hit the Fault...and it finally paid off.

The other problem seems so benign, but for a V2, it has haunted me for years and years and always felt like it was sticking its tongue out at me everyime I walked by. On my way out of the West side, I stopped by for my usually token attempts, but surprisingly had no problem with the crimp on the lip that usually gives me trouble. So the first session was one of my better Bald sessions in a while, and it was especially rewarding to finally send Shady Grove!

Yesterday I got a chance to head back up to the Bald and finish off a few more monkey-on-my-back-routes. I've sent Crescent Crack V2 before, but it has been years and years since I have sent it was nice to get on it and send it first attempt. It always seems that loud idiots gather near this route and I am not one to send routes with a lot of distractions around...if I wanted to climb with a bunch of morons, I could of just went to the gym! One of the last times I was trying to climb it, a couple of kids were throwing their toy cars at me as I climbed and their mother refused to get them under control...I couldn't even believe that the mom was that stupid and had such little respect for other climbers nearby!!! So, needless to say, it was nice to get the resend out of the way when it was chill and relaxed. From here I went over to the Cluster and sent the short Unknown V3 on the Top Rope boulder, across from the Silliness boulder. This is another route that I have tried off and on for a few years, but never really spent enough time on it to send it right. On a previous visit, Adam Johnson made it seem like such an easy I was a little motivated to actually work on it to try to make it look as easy as he did. From here I went up to the Terraces and got shut down on Big Crimpin (more like Big Limpin for me), but I did get a chance to see Doug and Dale from the Clemson crew send a couple of awesome classics out at the Patio Roof...Dale sent the crazy hanging-from-one-foot problem Terminator Exit V6, and Doug sent the incredible route Kamikaze V10. Here's a shot of him getting ready for the big dyno...

Some of their friends were able to video both of their sends and hopefully I can link to their video when they get it polished up and available...definitely worth a watch or two! After hanging out and having some fun with those guys, I headed on over the Central boulders again to try to finish up a route that I was working on my previous session, Azimuth Coordinator V4.

Azimuth Coordinator, seen above, is kind of a crimp route, but really its mostly a tall favorite:) So, I loaded up on the big sidepull flake and smeared my way up to the small pinch/crimps and barely to the top just before I was about to lose it and fall off. This ended the second of my 2 Halloween sessions...I was completely happy with the routes I had sent and felt like I got more treats than tricks in my bag this year!

Here is another photo of Shady may notice the sign on the tree informing boulderers that this is part of the property just recently purchased by the CCC. The loan is still far from paid off...please do what you can and give as much or as little as you feel comfortable giving to help us get this property paid off and permanently keep it in the hands of the boulderers that really enjoy it!

The Triple Crown is heading to Horse Pens 40 this all you sloper buffs, get your open hand on! I'm really looking forward to a big party with a whole bunch of like minded people!!! If you havent seen the newest installment of Andrew Kornylak's Beta it is.

The Beta - Branch Bacardi from Andrew Kornylak on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meeting Bob Cormany

So, the LRC trip was tons of fun...but one event stuck out a little more than others in my mind, and it wasn't one of my sends. As I mentioned in my last post, I stopped off at Boat Rock in Atlanta on my ride home from Chatty. While I was at Boat Rock and working the super sweet slab problem The Surgeon, I ran into one of my heroes...Bob Cormany. Bob is a near famous Southeast boulderer/climber, he's one of the old school originals of the game and has blazed the trail for many to follow. He's climbed spots out before others even knew they existed. He is one of the folks that helped to save Boat Rock, an in essence, he has had his hand in saving many more SE crags than most people might realize. In both of the new bouldering guidebooks to Horse Pens and Little Rock City, there are some nice little essays by Bob to help give his perspective of these areas. I've seen him at different events, but never had a chance to actually meet and talk to him until now. It all started out with a little beta for The Surgeon, one of his routes, and turned into a wonderful conversation on many topics.

We had a great conversation about many of the boulderfields in the south...Lilly, Little Rock City, Boat Rock, Horse Pens and several secret spots I had never heard of were discussed. I have been climbing for about 15-20 years and have seen many places change over time. ..I think we all have our own history of our favorite crags and snapshots of specific climbs or moments. I always enjoy getting this perspective from someone that's been at it much longer than I have, its humbling and helps us remember the roots of the places we love. Bob's perspective and discussion about southeast climbing and bouldering was awesome and refreshing. But what really impressed me more was our discussion of physiology. If you don't know, I'm an Anatomy and Physiology professor at a local college, this is not only my life, but one of my passions being able to talk more than just climbing shop with Bob was really cool. He talked about some of the research he helped out with at UT, while he was up in Knoxville. We went into a long discussion of the intricacies of the corpus luteum in female pig ovaries and the amazing ability of scar tissue to become an endocrine gland and control a major component of reproduction...yeah super thrilling to only the physiology geeks:) It was pretty neat to connect with him on more than just a pebble wrestling platform, and learn a lot about who he was and is.

I left the Boat with not only a sense of accomplishment from the previous days at LRC, but also with a valuable experience that will remain fresh in my mind for many years to come.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Little Rock City aka How I Fell Back In Love With Sandstone

I want to start with an apology for not having any good pictures of my trip...I stole all of these pics and videos of other folks on some problems from the net.

So, I finally got a chance (I've been floored all week at work) to write up a quick post about my visit this past weekend to Little Rock City in Chattanooga. I headed over to Chatta-boogie on Friday and hit LRC with enough time to send plenty. I started out with a couple of warm ups and immediately jumped on Kingpin V6, a route I was working/projecting on my last visit. At first I didn't think there was anyway I could send it this trip, but the friction and foot holds finally became familiar to me and I sent it after about 20 minutes of work. This was a great route and wouldn't have taken hold of me and made me project it if it wasn't so much like Fontainebleau...I really enjoyed figuring out the tricks to Font routes last summer and it gave me that same psyched feeling! I was stoked to send my project at the beginning of the trip so I could then run around sending other stuff. Feeling like I was on cloud nine, this was my first V6 of the fall bouldering season, I wandered around until I found Adam and Doug over at Tristar and Celestial Mechanics. They had been there since like 8 that morning, so they were running out of steam and getting ready to pack up and take off...but not before Doug made us all look bad by practically campusing Tristar. After hanging out and sending some easy routes with Adam, they took off and I started focusing on some tough slabs. My pinky has been feeling better since I've been trying to only climb once a week, and so I wanted to climb slabs mainly Friday to keep it from getting tweaked and ruining my main session on Saturday. So after Kingpin, I climbed Jupiter V3 and Humpty Dumpty V4, two slabs on the wall beside Kingpin. Fun routes, but not as fun as Crystal Ball V5 and Clarence Bowater Survival V3 on the Two Shoes Jack boulder. I had high hopes of sending a V5 slab this trip, and Crystal ball looked doable last time I was here and sent Two Shoes Jack V4. I was stoked to finally get to the sloping rail towards the top and have sent a super fun and delicate slab! Clarence Bowater Survival was right next to Crystal Ball and had a few sketchy moves towards the top that got my blood moving. After these routes, I was getting a little tired and wanted to start cooling down, so I climbed a bunch of V0-V1's...but on my way out, Hairy Underclings V3 caught my eye and sucked me in. Hairy Underclings ascends a bubbly sloper wall reminiscent of Horse Pens and the Bumboy area. The satisfaction of climbing Kingpin was definitely a highlight of the day, but I'd have to give Hairy Underclings the props for being my favorite route of the was that much fun to send! Friday went much better than expected & I ended up sending at least 1 route in each grade from V0-V6, which is always a stellar day for me!

Saturday I was able to climb for a while...and I ended up sending a lot more than I expected. I went to LRC with 2 goals, climb (or at least get a little closer to sending) Kingpin and to try to send a V5 slab problem. Since I had accomplished both, surprisingly, on Friday, I decided to just roam around and climb what looked good. I had sent Mystery Machine V3 years ago, but I wanted to send it again, since its one of the ultra-classic V3's, so I started out here and had to work pretty hard to get the send. After Mystery Machine, I climbed Ruby Roo V2, which was a bunch of fun and seemed like an easier version of Hairy Underclings, and then sent Mutiny V2 right around the corner. From here I thought I'd aim high and try a few more harder routes, or at least for me. Adam had shown me the moves to Fat Cat V5 the day before and mentioned that he thought I might could send I sat underneath the jigsaw like face and pulled onto the chalked crimps and sidepulls and flashed Fat Cat. Here is a video from YouTube of Fat Cat...

I was super surprised and stoked to send another solid route. After climbing the easy routes on the Blind Spot boulder, beside the Frumundathunda boulder, I headed around to the Main area to work the dyno problem Trailer Hitch V5. I had this route in mind before I got here, because I thought I could send it without my pinky getting too tweaked...and I sent 2nd try. Here is an older video of Trailer Hitch...

From here I ducked into the Cell to finish up the day by sending Green Lantern V3 and Jump V3. I only had 1 route left that interested me, Fixer V4. Here is a video with Fixer at the 2:08 mark (and Mutiny V2 is the first route, but its referred to as the After School Special)...

I had tried to work Fixer earlier in the day, but a crew of loud obnoxious guys came up and ruined the experience with a radio blaring really bad pop music. When I came back at the end of the day, I was barely able to send it with the last little bit of strength I had left. This ended Saturdays sendfest, and I couldn't have been more satisfied with Saturday and the whole LRC trip...3 V5's and a V6 was much more than I thought I could send and made me remember how much I really love sandstone and its comfort and ease to climb. I spend most of my time on the east side of the Appalachians, and granite routes that aren't as forgiving, so it was good to feel like I had accomplished something.

On my way home, I ruined that feeling by stopping off at Boat Rock in Atlanta and getting my butt handed to me:) I sent the usual routes on the Easy Crack boulder and added a new V3 send with Kashmir Crack, seen above. Besides that, I just felt spent and weak and like I had left everything on the boulderfield back up in Soddy Daisy...but that was the goal of my trip anyway!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hanging Chain Boulders

Adam Johnson and myself got a chance to run out to the Bald last Friday and check out the Hanging Chain Boulders. If you haven't had a chance to get on the Rumbling Bald Blog and see the great photo gallery, click on over there and check out the new routes. There isn't a topo of this area yet, but the captions to the photos will let you know the name and grade of each you can use these as a photo topo until the new guidebook comes out. Chris just recently posted directions and a little beta on the Bald Blog about these is a repeat post to help anyone that might not of seen it.

"Directions and information about the Hanging Chain Boulderfield -

Once at the Patio Roof, continue hiking West along the Hanging Chain Wall (roped climbing) trail. This trail starts off pretty good and obvious, but then quickly gets overrun by downed trees. Step over and duck under the trees and keep hiking West. Do not go uphill or downhill. Stay on the flat area. After about 4-5 minutes from the Patio Roof, you will come to 3 cool boulders. These have all been climbed 10+ years ago. They are pretty cool, especially the backside of the left one (Southernmost boulder).

Keep hiking West for about 5 more minutes. Here the trail improves. Cross over a shallow creekbed and view 2 boulders to the right. The left one is called the Slash Boulder and problems have been done. The right one has not been climbed to my knowledge, but it is good looking.

At this point, the Hanging Chain Wall trail cuts directly North (right) and heads straight up the steep hill, just to the left of the Slash Boulder. For the main Hanging Chain Boulderfield, continue straight (West) on the well worn and wide path. Head uphill and once over the rise, the boulderfield is in plain view!!!

This is the beginning of the area, and we are calling it The Library. All problems have been done here already. They range from V0 to V6. The Classic, Butch Seamstress, V6 is in this area. For the other areas and boulderfields, continue through and to the left (downhill side) of The Library area. After 1-2 minutes, you will be at The Laboratory. All problems have been done here except some hard projects. The classic, Scientific Method, V7 (cover photo on the blog) is in this area.

We have developed several boulder beyond The Laboratory, but from here on out (West) most of the boulders (40+) have not been touched! Go get em'!!!

See you all out there and happy FA's!"

I have to say that right now the trail is overgrown and sometimes difficult to follow, but keep your eyes out for the rock cairns (small stacks of rocks) here and there and they'll keep you going in the right direction. As soon as the first freeze hits, this vegetation should die back and make travelling out in that direction much easier.

Before we could get out to the Hanging Chain area, we stopped off and warmed up at the Terraces. After sending some easy V0's, Adam flashed Liza Minelli V3 like it was a V0-...impressive send. We took a look at some of the other classics in the area like The Sail, Big Crimpin and Crimpin Aint Easy but decided to head on out to the Hanging Chain Boulders instead of wasting our fingers on other stuff.

When we got out there, we found the Library Area first, obvious by the complex of multiple fins that cant be missed. We sent all of the fin routes...from left to right, Scarlet Letter V1, Grapes of Wrath V3 & Robinson Crusoe V3. I also sent a couple of more easy fun lines on the face of the uphill fin, and a couple of fun easy slabby problems on the boulder facing the fins. From here we went and checked out the boulder that Butch Seamstress V6 and Remember The Future V3 were on. We didn't send either of these, didn't even realize that Remember the Future was a route really, but we did send a fun route to the left of these, with a tricky slabby top out.

From there we checked out the Twin Peaks boulder and sent Cooper's Dream V1 and Adam sent The Mystery V2. At that point, my pinkie was killing me and so we decided to call it quits and head back. I think it was a good intro to the area and it's always good to climb new stuff! I look forward to getting out there when the trail dies back a little and sending more in this new area. A big thanks to Chris Dorrity for cluing us in on the new stuff and sharing the pictures and beta to help us find our way around these new classics!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Since the Comp...

So I've been trying to lay low and let me pinkie heal for the last few days. I got a nice, long mountain bike ride in Monday over at Isaqueena in Clemson...still one of my all time favorite places to ride! I turned down the chance to run out to the Bald for the day to ride, but I think my pinkie appreciated it. Even though I'm resting the finger, I did get a chance to climb some fun roped routes on some private property here in SC I took it. Above is a shot from the bottom, which has a fun 5.7, 5.8+ and 5.10+/11-, and below is a shot of the top out after the last pitch. It was a nice day to climb with 2 of my climbing buddies that I don't get to climb with much anymore.

I'm also amped about the Reel Rock Tour coming to Clemson this Saturday. If you haven't checked out my previous post, get informed and come join the fun!

Another somewhat new development is the updated Rumbling Bald Blog. If you haven't clicked over there and seen whats new, you should. Chris Dorrity is always trying to keep folks in the loop and let them know about the major happenings and new routes at the Bald. I'm looking forward to heading out there tomorrow and checking out some of the new stuff out at the Hanging Chain Boulderfield! Above is a shot of Chris, from the above linked photo album, of a new classic V7, Scientific Method. Jared, one of my buddies I climbed with yesterday, has seen it and said its incredible! I'm gonna have to take it easy on the pinkie so I'm in as good of climbing shape as possible for my visit to Little Rock City next weekend. I am going to a Forensic Anthropology conference in Chatty and plan on hitting LRC as much as possible in between talks and events.

And finally, I registered for the next leg of the Triple Crown at Horse Pens 40. I don't think that my pinkie will be 100% by then, so I was satisfied to sign up for the Recreation Category and just climb for fun again. I'm really looking forward to hanging out with a bunch of climbing hooligans and soaking up the Alabama Autumn!