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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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Upstate Update

I haven't been Tweeting or posting much over the last few weeks, mainly because I have gotten very little climbing in lately. I have been able to get out to Little Eastatoee a couple of times, along with one good trip up to Rumbling last week, where I sent a bunch of V0's-V2's that I hadn't done yet...nothing of incredible note to mention really, but a fun time hanging out with George none-the-less. I'm planning on finishing up a big chunk of my '09-'10 bouldering season tick list this weekend, with a couple of trips to the Bald and possibly a trip to some local boulders to finish up a couple of FA's I've had on my mind for a long time. Mostly, I have been hounding new rock and trying to work on access issues for areas that have current problems.

I'm working with the CCC to form some important relationships with many of the land managers in the Upstate, that will hopefully lead us to a legitimate climbing area. Most state managed land has a "no climbing" provision somewhat written in, but we are trying to get some of these areas changed to provide the SC climber with opportunities that we currently don't have. As of yet, there hasn't been a major breakthrough with access, but we have begun approaching some important managers about climbing on their land. For example, The Nature Conservancy has been very nice and trying to work with us to figure out possible access to a new piece of land they have acquired in Northern Pickens county. The climbing on this property isn't the best, but the climbing on an adjacent piece of land may be the best climbing, besides Table Rock, in all of South Carolina. This is going to be brought up at the upcoming CCC meeting this Saturday up near Rumbling Bald. We also have another meeting set up for next week to discuss climbing opportunities at one of the State Parks nearby. Hopefully this will eventually lead to some expanded and new access for SC climbers.

We are at a pivotal point with this access push...either we're about to start uncovering some new climbing spots, or the generally attitude of "No Climbing At All" will prevail. We need every SC climbers help in making sure that these access pushes are not in vain! The best thing you can do is join the CCC and while joining, mention that you want to help out with SC access, or if possible you want your donation to go towards SC access. I have always been of the mind set that ANYTHING is possible if you want it enough and work hard for it...and I think its very true in this instance! Responsible use of existing climbing areas and volunteering to help out with other efforts, like trail days or clean ups, will go along way for SC climbers. Let folks know that you want more climbing opportunities in the state also...mention it to park rangers, DNR or anyone else that is a land manager with potential climbing areas. Let your actions, as well as your voice, speak volumes about the incredible stewardship that climbers bring to an area and how vital we can be to these areas! Every single one of us, taking small steps together, will eventually gain the access we desire and have a very tangible reward for all of our hard work! Don't forget to come out to the CCC meeting this week and show your support for SC climbers and the endangered climbing areas that we are fighting for!

By the way, if you havent seen George's new video of Doug from Clemson, crushing 2 V10's at the Bald...where you been?!. Check it out!

Doug Ianuario at the Bald from George Evans on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rumbling Bald Boulders Still Need Your Help

So...every time I check the CCC website, it seems that the amount owed on the new Rumbling Bald Boulder Purchase doesn't change very much or very fast. I want to challenge everyone out there to donate at least $5 to help out with the purchase. Here are a few videos and a map of the tract to get you psyched about what you're buying!

Carolina Climbers' Coalition - Rumbling Bald Project from Thomas C. Webb on Vimeo.

Adopt-A-Crag: Rumbling Bald from Matt de Camara on Vimeo.

Rumbling Bald Boulder Project from Matt de Camara on Vimeo.

Please do what you can to help us make sure that this property gets paid off ASAP! Don't forget about the CCC Spring meeting up at Lake Lure on Feb 27th...come climb all day and then enjoy some Italian food and beverages, with all of the CCC folks afterwards!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weather, Sickness and Local Climbing

Over the last week, we have seen the gamut of weather...from sunshine and 50's to snow and 20's. I have also been fighting one of the worst colds that I have had in years, and have hopefully put that behind me. George and I are up to our usual bouldering and hounding around the area in hopes of finding new rock and the mythical Shangrila/boulderfield of the gods that we all hope is right around the corner. We have found a couple of pockets of boulders here and there, but nothing major to report. We did get a chance to check out some land that is in a new nature preserve, or has the potential to be included in this nature preserve, that has possibly the best roped climbing and bouldering in SC. The good news is that this land is not owned by the state, which tends to disallow climbing no matter what, but is owned by another important conservation group, The Nature Conservancy. Hopefully, after a meeting this Thursday night, we will have some progress made on this area and something to report to all of us SC climbers starving for any rock to pull down on.

Despite all of this, I have also been able to get out a couple of times and work a few routes here and there...mainly at Little Eastatoee. I have been trying to resend Yeti Areti, the latest V4 that was added to the area, but I have been sent back down to the crashpad every time. I thought that I remembered my beta from the FA just a week ago, but when I got back on it, it just keeps spitting me off...pretty frustrating! I know that this cold has made me weaker over the last few days, but I'm beginning to wonder if I just fluked it for the FA and the problem may be more of a V5 than a V4. I've also noticed some other folks' chalk out at Little Eastatoee and some of the other boulders we stumbled along this past week...if you're out there reading this, get in touch. We can get together and compare notes on boulders in the area.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate for a few Rumbling visits over the next couple of weeks...I'm planning on hitting the Eat side up on Friday and the following weekend, I plan on spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday up there finishing off my tick list. I haven't been able to get out to the Bald as much as usual this year, but I feel much more accomplished this year than ever. Instead of spending a lot of time driving to and from Rumbling, I've been sticking closer to home and spending more time developing areas. This has been the most productive year for me, as far as SC boulder development, compared to any of the past 10 or so. I have had my hands in good FA's at 3-4 different bouldering areas, along with finally getting Little Eastatoee somewhat developed. Don't get me wrong, I love the Bald and climbing all of the classics, but I feel more accomplished to create my own classics and expand the climbing opportunities here in the Upstate. But, spending most of my time at these local boulderfields has also made me miss travelling and seeing the boulderfields I used to hit all the time. Hopefully I can use these next couple of weeks to re-connect with the Bald and send the routes that have been on hold for a while. I'm really looking forward to getting back to Rumbling, the new Southeastern mecca of bouldering!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Little Eastatoee This Week

I had a couple of chances to get out to Little Eastatoee, over the last week or so, and was able to add a few new climbs to the area. During the first visit, my wife was able to FA a new V0 and Vb that worked her crimp strength and balance. I told her she needed to come up with some girly names for the routes and she came up with some of the best route names ever...Sunshine Cupcake and Unicorn Daydream! That same session, George worked Two-Face V3 to an almost send, even though it was a little wet in places. Eventually, Adam showed up and we all headed down the trail to Rhodorete. Since he had recently injured some tendons and couldn't join in, Adam took some shots of George and I on Rhodorete V4/5 (which I posted above). We didnt put a send on Rhodorete, but it was fun to work the route.

Yesterday, I felt absolutely awful from a cold, I sat around all day and eventually got cabin fever and needed to get some fresh air. I thought I'd just take a little hike around Little Eastatoee and look for new routes for about 30 minutes, but while I was there, I had to check on my current project, Yeti Areti V4. I still hadn't been able to get on the route while it was completely dry, and as luck would have it, it was drier and cleaner than ever. I still felt terrible from the cold, but I couldn't resist at least 1 attempt. After almost sending on the first and second attempts, I was finally able to get the FA of the just took some drier conditions and a better thought out sequence to finish it up. Yeti is a great route, maybe not as world class as I first thought, but a good fun send none-the-less. Thanks again to Adam for the pictures of Rhodorete!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Floating Since Float the Boat...

Since Float the Boat, the Upstate of SC has been inundated with rain, sleet, ice and snow...making it much tougher to get out and boulder. Added with the fact that there isn't very much afternoon sunlight to climb after work, my sessions have been shortened or non-existent. Generally, I've only had an hour or so in the afternoons to climb, so Little Eastatoee, and its drive up and boulder convenience, has been my main spot over the last month or so. I've really became a little more endeared to LE in this time...what I used to think was just a big choss pile, has suddenly had a few super classics pop up and make the place more inviting.

I finally put several project routes together and sent some good FA's...including, Clown Prince Of Crime V4, the High Start to The Joker, and only 1 UGLY complete send of The Joker, a new V6 (needs a consensus) classic, and now the hardest problem at LE. The Joker has really been my main focus over this last month or so. It sit down starts, on the slightly overhung Batman Boulder, with 2 super low crimps and really bad feet. From there, it goes up to a bad barndoor on a short arete, followed by a strong toss to the top, where a tough, slopey mantle awaits. Its not an easy problem, to only be 5-6 feet packs a big wallup! I'm still trying to wire The Joker and send it smoothly, but I've already picked up a new project too...Yeti Areti, a sweet V4-ish hanging arete with some fun classic feeling moves. After hanging on the start holds, you have to get your body high on the overhung arete and throw for some bad slopers, to set up the big heel-hook-into-a-tough-mantle top out. It has a super classic feel and may be one of the best (not hardest) problems that LE has to offer. It's gonna take a dry spell to completely dry out the cruxy slopers to get a real feel for the route and its grade though.

This past Wednesday, I was able to slip away to the Bearfields and see George make a little SC bouldering history. One of the most classic lines around is Meat Grinder, a V3 high ball slab problem that has been established for almost 10 years. The project dream line on the boulder has always been on the far left side of the same slabby face. It had been worked by several different people for several different years, until George Evans recently took it on as a project. After putting only a handful of sessions on the route, George had uncovered beta that no one had seen before and linked a series of tough, balancy, delicate slab moves to the point where he was almost about to send. During this past session, George calmed all the mind jitters, that come with climbing this highball, and put everything together to snatch the slopey, high stepping top out, and the FA. The project had been nicknamed Ground Chicken for years, but George gave it a final name, Grind of Sound Mind, and gave it a V5 (I agree with the grade...technically and mentally a V5). I had worked this same problem, but with futile results, many times over the last 8 or so years…but after seeing George send it, I knew that it was actually possible. I put my mind to it and squeezed every bit of beta out of George, but still couldn’t top it out…or so I thought. I had already taken my shoes off and was ready to pack up and go work a new project when I threw my shoes back on and gave it one more go. After getting up about 10 feet or so, to the point that had bucked me off many times before, I somehow willed my foot to stick to a non-existent foot hold on a steep slab, and was able to bump up to the “thank god” hold at the top that had been the target the whole time. I thought it was over at that point, 15 foot off the deck, but it wasn’t yet. It’s at this point that the angle of the slab goes near vertical and my mind went near blank! There seemed to be next to nothing to hold onto, and with my mind racing, it made what was easy to hold, seem tougher than it was…but after a couple of faith leaps on some slopers, I found enough at the top to get the high step needed to top it out. I usually hate folks that are loud and scream after their sends, but this one felt bigger than just one send and I let out a hoot and holler like I never have before! Thanks George for the FA, a sweet new route, and the vision to stick to it when so many other have failed in the past! Check Georges site for an upcoming video of his send.

Besides bouldering a little at LE, I've also been putting together a thorough and complete guide to the LE area...including info on camping, eats, groceries, mtn biking, road biking, flatwater and whitewater kayaking, backpacking, hiking, and other climbing around the area. It includes all sent routes and any current projects at LE, maybe a total of 75 or so, with a topo of each area to get you around to the different areas successfully. I have been making all of these mini-guides available for free download on the website, but I want to sell the new guidebook for $5, or more if you'd like to help out more, and I will be donating 100% of the money raised to the Rumbling Bald West Side Boulder'd get some new beta and help purchase some of the best boulders in the Southeast at the same time! If you are interested in donating and receiving the new 20 page guidebook, please e-mail me for more information. When I make the donation to the boulders, I will also insert your name and amount donated to make sure that everyone knows you donated to help save one of the most important area of boulders in the entire Southeast! My goal is to sell at least 20 of these to raise a minimum of $100 for the Bald please don't hesitate and donate today!