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 tall...it 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 purchase...you'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 Boulders...so please don't hesitate and donate today!