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, March 25, 2010

Spring has Sprung

I've been super busy with work lately and haven't had a chance to climb or blog much. I did get out to a couple of spots over the weekend to do a little bouldering, but nothing major.

Friday, we took a trip up to Dixon boulders at Crowder's Mtn State Park below Charlotte. This was my 3rd trip up there, so I was a little familiar with the spot. On this trip though, I noticed that the old boulder trail that started at the road, which I thought was closed to foot traffic, was now open to access the boulders. This makes for an easier and more enjoyable approach up through the boulders instead of hiking to the top of the hill to access them. I climbed a bunch of easy fun stuff down closer to the road, including a sweet face that had 2 1-finger pockets up to a slopey top out...maybe a V2 or V3 at the tops, but a fun climb none-the-less. We then chased a few routes up the hill until we connected to the boulders we had climbed before. After repeating some of the routes we had already sent, we packed it up and headed out.

Saturday, we took a trip up to Cashiers and Highlands and climbed at Granite City on our way back. Cashiers has one of my favorite restaurants around, Cornucopia, that serves up traditional American and southern food. Cornucopia is also a nice place to take a bottle of wine or some beers with you to enjoy with your meal (Cahiers is a dry town, so you have to bring it with you if you want to drink). After cramming one of the best cheeseburgers in the world in, we loaded up and headed to Highlands to shop, and pick up dessert at the homemade candy store...the pecan pralines and caramels were incredible! From there we dropped down into the Horse Cove/Whiteside Cove area and hit Granite City. Granite City is usually a good choice for summer bouldering, at least in the morning and evening, and then you can spend the hot of the day in the Chattooga headwaters cooling off. After climbing the usual warm ups and local classics, I tried one of my favorite routes, a relatively easy, V1/V2, dyno seen in the above photo. When I stuck the jug at the top though, I partially dislocated my wrist, something that has happened a couple of times before. I hopped off and shook it back into place and refired, sending the dyno in a little pain. After a few more routes, we packed it up and started to head home. On the ride home, my wrist started pounding and feeling much worse than when this had happened before. Later on that night, I could barely move my wrist without terrible pain. Now, after a few days and some home wall therapy, its feeling better...but I think this may have effectively shut me down from climbing anything hard for the rest of the spring.

Earlier this week, I got a chance to visit a set of chossy boulders near my house, that I've dubbed the Voltage Boulders (they are either under or just beside some of the giant powerlines). Nothing too special, pretty chossy with some downed trees on the best routes to be honest with you...but I still enjoyed checking out some new stuff. There was one really fun V1 sit start on a bunch of hollow huecoes that went up to a fun easy slab that sticks out to me. I also got to check out a slabby rock face, with a handful of boulders at the base, on the same day. There were a few good lines, but the bear evidence made us think twice about hanging around too long.

Next week, I have the week off from work, so I have had big plans of hopefully hitting Boat Rock, Little Rock City, HP40, Pisgah and possibly Boone...but I'll have to see how the wrist feels and may have to rearrange my plans if it feels too bad. Either way, Spring Break has always been the time of the year that I wrap up the bouldering season and start to focus on mountain biking and eventually kayaking for the summer...I just hope I can end the season with some good bouldering.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rainy week and Table Rock

Last week was pretty rainy, so I didn't get much bouldering in. Now that the time change has occurred though, a new window in the evening opens up for me to hit some local boulders after work. I have a few V3 projects, that I have neglected all season, that I want to get finished with before it gets too hot. Hopefully today I'll get a chance to finish up a few of them.

Yesterday, I took a 10 mile hike through Table Rock, looking for good boulders that the CCC could ask for in the new climbing proposal. I have been told about some good boulders on one of the trails and was surprised to see the quantity, quality and variety of the boulderfield...longer hike than most approaches, but well worth it. Hopefully this will be the first officially legal bouldering area in SC very soon! Stay tuned for info about Table Rock and a new post very soon on how to make a brush kit, that includes a great idea (I stole from George:)) on how to make an inexpensive extendable stick brush, out of a monopod that can also be used as a hiking pole!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bouldering and Access Lately...

Since I've last posted, I have been trying to finalize a few routes that have been on my to do list for a little while. After the weekend extravaganza at the Bald and Jedi, I have been keeping it pretty low key and bouldering only a little here and there. I ran out to Little Eastatoee one afternoon and added about 5 more V3 and below climbs to the area, to bring the total number of problems up to 70 established and almost 100, including the projects that haven't been sent. I also made a couple of trips, one with George, to the Bearfields last week to work a couple of projects that we've been focusing on...Final Frontier Slab V4ish and Alley Oop Scoop V4+/5-. We worked the tall slab problem, Final Frontier, to the committing point, but neither of us had a cool enough head to punch through for the FA. We then went to work a route that I've been thinking a lot about, Alley Oop Scoop. You start out by throwing to a small crack, basically the only hold on a big 3 foot vertical scoop. After latching onto the scoop, you have to fight for some decent feet, so you can match your right foot to the starting hold and push past a tough outward compression move to balance up on the hold and stretch far for the slopey top out. We couldn't top it out, but I was getting close on the first crux move (the foot hand match), so I ran back out there last Friday and luckily sent for the FA. This is one of my favorite climbs of the Spring season and almost claimed half of my finger and part of my rotator cuff when I sent it. I am still sore and having trouble with my shoulder from the tough, cruxy compression moves. This will probably be my last "hard" (or at least for me) route of the Spring.

I'm starting to feel the need to put the climbing shoes and crashpad down for a while and focus on some other outdoor activities for a little while, especially biking and kayaking. I've had a great, possibly the best ever, climbing season (fall-spring) this year, but I like to take a break every summer, so I don't get burned out on climbing. I still hope to make it down to Horse Pens and up to Dixon before things heat up too much, and even then take a couple of trips up to Boone this summer...but I've been thinking more about biking and zooming through the woods at break neck speeds seems to be calling me right now:)

I was also lucky enough to be involved with a meeting involving a couple of the administration at Table Rock State Park. The superintendent was very nice and considerate enough to listen to the CCC and help us, to help them, increase the use of the rocks in the park. Not only did they listen, but they encouraged us to help out and to submit paper work for new and further access. One of the most important things that has come out of the meeting is that we are about to start taking actions here in SC to try to get better access situations. The first big action will be a giant trail day to rework the climbers trail at Table Rock. We will need massive amounts of volunteer work, so please be ready to help when we put the call out. Hopefully, this time next year, we will see the results of some positive changes for climbers and the park alike. The superintendent also has his hands in many of the other recreation and conservation efforts in the upstate that can benefit us climbers, so our efforts in the park can have giant impacts on some areas that may become available to climbers very soon. In summary, we may have just made a very powerful ally in the fight for SC access...we want to prove that we are capable and confident to help out and be the backbone of this eventual movement. Please help when called upon and give your time and effort to help procure access in the upstate! Until then, get out and enjoy the last good month (maybe even weeks if it keeps heating up so fast) of climbing weather...and send those projects before you get weak over the summer:)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Toons, Bond, Jedi & the Southeast...and a great CCC meeting too!

Sounds like a weekend on the couch, but it wasn't:) This weekend has been on my radar for quiet sometime wife was out of town and I had a chance to climb til I couldn't see straight. That worked out good, because I've had a few routes, in couple different boulderfields on my mind lately. I only got photos or video of Saturday and Sunday and I havent had an opportunity to work the files up yet, check back for footage very soon.

Friday started out good...I was able to hit the Bald early and I wanted to tick off some of the harder climbs that had been on my mind. I headed straight for Toon Town, in the Far East, to work on Underdog V4. I had worked this route some with George last week, and thought that it was within my reach. Overhung climbing is not really my strength, but mantles are, so Underdog was a challenge, but doable. I tried to prime myself with some HIT and Rock Ring training over the last week, a quick fix trick that has seemed to work in the past for my weaknesses. I warmed up a little and then sat under the roof on that HUGE jug flake, threw up to the huecoes under the roof and finally reached high for the top...and fell right on my back. Dang, this thing still felt pretty hard for me! I sat back down on the jug flake again, powered past the point I just fell on, and mantled out the send. This was one of my main focuses for the day, so feeling fulfilled, I got a little ambitious and sat on the starting holds on Thundercats, a new V5 Chris Dorrity mentioned on the Bald Bouldering Website. I got a foot under the roof and another on a crystal on the lower edge of the face, and pulled up onto my left hand in the slot...and immediately fell on my back again. Surprisingly, the start felt very doable for me, so I gave it another shot, powered through the start to latch onto the arete and sent second try. Latching onto the hold at the bottom of the arete and swinging out almost threw me off, but after gaining some feet, I headed for the top out. I was so psyched & I couldn't believe it...this is only the 3rd V5 I've sent at the Bald, so it was a nice treat. Another V4 nearby, and the last route I needed to clean out the Toon Town area, was Transformers. I had tried Transformers the week before, and thought that the mantle was the hardest part. I sat under the roof, sent the traverse, loaded up big for the mantle, and wrestled it over for a quick send. I had only been there 20 minutes and had finished 3 of my 5 big goals for the day, the rest of the day would just be gravy on top. I had actually went there hoping to send most of the Bond routes, which are very near Toon Town, but didn't mind "watching cartoons" all morning either (needless to say that Transformers and Thundercats were 2 of my all time favortie cartoons when I was a kid)! I'm such a Bond fan, have been for 25 years, so I at least needed to attempt them all, to see what would happen. I headed to the 007 Boulder first and sent 007 V2, Dr. No V0 and From Russia With Love V0, and then I had a flash send on You Only Live Twice V3 on the Bond Boulder. By that point, I had finally burnt myself up on the harder stuff and didn't have much left for the other V3's and the V5. On the way back to take a break under the Toon roof, I stepped in a deep hole, between some talus, and cut and deeply bruised my knee and lower leg. I laid there on the ground like a little boy or Peter Griffin after he banged the snot out of his knee (you know the episode I'm talking about). This pretty much put an end to my day, and I could barely walk out of the East Side. Feeling pretty high from sending some hard routes for me, I left feeling pretty low and wondering if I needed to go see a doctor.

After driving the hour and a half back home, I took some ibuprofen, got some lunch and realized I wasn't as bad off as I originally thought. Feeling ansy and still somewhat full of energy, I headed out to Jedi to work on a few projects, Fear The Turtle V3, Turtle Arete V3 and Terrapin Station V5. The last time I went to Jedi, I was chased out by some bears, so I was somewhat apprehensive about even going in the first place. I took one of my dogs, as an early warning signal and protection, but didn't have any problems. I was able to send Fear The Turtle and worked the top moves to Terrapin Station, but no complete send. Finally feeling exhausted, I packed it up and pointed myself towards home.

Saturday, I wanted to get up to the Bald early and avoid some of the crowd, so I got there around 9:30 and headed back out to the East Side. Feeling somewhat worn out from the day before, I made it my goal to send as many V0's and V1's as possible, and see all of the boulders I haven't yet seen. I went straight out to the Cereal Area, sent a few easy routes and then I heard some familiar voices coming from Pit BBQ. I made my way down and met up with Andy and Caleb from Clemson, just in time to see them both send Pit Bar-B-Q coming soon. Afterwards, Robert, one of my old climbing buddies, called and happened to be on his way to the Bald. I went to meet him in the lot and we ended up sending some V0's-V3's around the Breakfast Area and the South East, a spot I hadn't really been to before. The only new route of mention was The Continuum V3, a neat route that starts in a deep hole and follows some crimps to jugs, to a somewhat easy topout. Around 4:30, he had to head back home and I headed for the CCC meeting to help represent SC climbers. The meeting and people were great and everything seemed to be productive and focused towards fundraising and more access. Check out the minutes of the meeting to see what is going on in the Carolina's. Once again, its the highest priority that we help get the Bald Boulders paid off, as soon as possible, so please try to help out as much and as often as you can...if you can only give $5 a month, its still helping to pay off this incredible set of pebbles! If you are not a member of the CCC, please consider it. One of the great perks is the ability to climb at a CCC member only boulderfield in Asheboro NC...check it out!

Sunday, I was planning on taking it easy and maybe hitting Little Eastatoee after I took a bike ride, but George, back from an overnighter at Horse Pens 40 (check his blog for a report and a video of Doug doing Slider V9) and Caleb got in touch and wanted to hit Jedi. I still wanted to work Turtle Arete and Terrapin Station, so I was totally game for a session. We got there, looked around, and we all picked a project to work for a little while. I finally put a send on Turtle Arete, a slabby V3 arete, Caleb worked a V5 problem on one of the Looking Glass boulders, and George and I sent Ticklish Innards a fun V2 deadpoint/dyno from so small crimps. We ended with George resending Use The Force V3 for a new video he's working on, and then headed out to recoup before Monday.

I had a great weekend climbing! I got to send a few hard routes and projects and tick off some easy new routes too. I was able to hang out with climbing friends old and new, and attend a CCC meeting in support of expanded access. I couldn't have been anymore satisfied!!!