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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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Rumbling Bald Fund Drive...Please Help The CCC Out!!!

I'm sure everyone checks the CCC page everyday to catch up on all of the good local climbing news...if you don't, you should make it a daily habit. As most folks in the climbing community know, the CCC purchased an incredible tract of Rumbling Bald that's chocked full of some of NC's most classic boulders and lines. The CCC would like to get this paid off as quickly as possible so they can move on to other projects and possible acquisitions, and have been asking for every one's help in doing this. There was recently announced a fundraising push for the try to get another $1000 paid off on the loan before the fall arrives. We need anybody and everybody to take up this cause with us. I personally think $1000 is too little, I'd love to see the debt drop by $5000 by the end of the please consider donating whatever you can to help pay off and preserve this incredibly important piece of NC and US climbing! I would like to challenge everyone that reads my blog to go donate $5 (or more...hopefully more:)) to help this cause! If you think about this awesome area that is available to anyone for FREE, $5 is a minor drop in the bucket to keep this place in climbers hands. Heck, you spend more than $5 just to go boulder at a gym...or to pay for the Gatorade and snacks you eat while you're at the gym. You invest $200 on a crashpad, $120 on shoes, and $30 on a chalk bucket and chalk so you can go bouldering at the Bald...why not spend a minor fraction of that to pay for the rocks you love to climb!!!

Rumbling Bald Boulder Project from Matt de Camara on Vimeo.

Obviously, I feel a strong connection to these boulders...these particular boulders were a major part of my "coming to age" as a real boulderer almost 10 years ago. I've asked everyone to give to this cause in the past, and greatly appreciate what everyone has been able to donate so far, but if it wasn't so important, I wouldn't be asking for everyone to donate again! Here are some links to past posts about this purchase...if you aren't very familiar with the situation and whats going on, please read through these to help familiarize yourself. Your donation goes a lot farther than you might think!! Thanks for your help!!!

Save The Boulders

Rumbling Bald Boulders Still Need Your Help

If you haven't checked out the CCC Shop, stop by and pick up a t-shirt or water bottle. Most of the money made from the sales also helps to pay for these boulders. Show people you care by sending in a sweet CCC shirt or hoody!

And while you're at it...if you haven't seen it, check out Doug CRUSHING at the East Side of the Bald. Thanks again for helping us protect this incredible area of boulders!!!

Doug Ianuario at the Bald from George Evans on Vimeo.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Little Eastatoee...Superman and Long Shoals

I've been trying to balance all of my activities this summer and rest up my climbing muscles by doing more biking and paddling. I'm attempting to get at least 25 biking miles in every week, and at least 1 or 2 paddling trips each this close to Lake Jocassee makes it easy to get a great flatwater trip in almost any day of the week. I am really trying to have a lull cycle before the fall so I can recuperate and then be fresh to build back up...but my bouldering addiction keeps me looking for sends, even when the mercury keeps rising.

Saturday, I woke up early and sprinted out to Little Eastatoee trying to beat the heat and send a project that has been constantly on my mind...Superman Crack, a V4-ish lieback finger crack with a couple of weird moves at the bottom and at the top. I have known about this route for almost 20 years, but haven't focused on it until just recently when I started developing in the Indian Rock House area. Here is a picture of the route, before the send, with my dog Butter peaking out from behind a small rock mound at the base.

It was honestly one of the ugliest sends I've had in a while, lots of flailing and desperate moves that luckily went. As you can see, there is way too much moss on this route...and if it was cleaned off, it might bump the route down to a V2. But it felt every bit of a V4 when I finally sent it.

After this, I headed over to the Long Shoals area to check out a couple of routes I saw while I was sliding down the shoals recently. George had checked these guys out last year, but we went in a different direction with development at that time. The most obvious line faces the pool at the bottom of the shoals and climbs a broken series of crimps and thin high feet up to a slightly slopey top edge and a fairly easy top out. Here is a blurry shot of the boulder and the route...Long Shoals V2/3.

I really enjoyed sussing out the moves and working to get the send, but I didn't like the nice bloody flapper my right pinkie got on the final send. Well, looks like my wish of shutting down for a little while has now been forced upon me with a bare pinkie pad, and a plethora of minor tweaks that are now starting to haunt me. After the send, and just before the masses of red necks arrived to take over the area for the heat of the day, I cooled off with a couple of nice slides down the shoals...a perfect way to end a hot bouldering morning.

I'm super psyched to be heading up to Grayson Highlands State Park in 2 weeks to check out some great new summer bouldering areas. I mentioned this a few posts back, and have been building with anticipation ever since we made our cabin reservations. Matt Bielejeski, the guy that's putting together a guide to Dixon (near Charlotte), will also be up there at this time, so hopefully we can both get a good taste of whats around and have incredible stories to tell on our return. If you haven't taken a look at what this place is becoming, check out the Mountain Project page for Grayson Highlands.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Granny's and Table Rock

As I mentioned, I had a chance to run up to the Highcountry this weekend. Friday, after wrestling with a stomach bug all night and morning, I headed up to Grandmothers boulders to meet up with George, Doug & Adam. (...check out their trip report and pictures here) One of my main focuses was to climb a few of the routes on the Chainsaw Boulder that thwarted me last time I was here. By the time I finally got to Granny's, the rest of the crew was already at a different set of boulders, so I decided to just climb the Chainsaw routes by myself and catch up with the afterwards. I started out by repeating The Pocket Problem V1 and then moved on to work a couple of other warm up variations towards the left of the boulder. After that, I wanted to focus on one of the harder (at least for me) routes on the boulder and started working Big Guns V5...why Big Guns, I don't know, it was just the first one I thought I might could send.

I have seen this problem in a video and knew that it was a big throw/dyno out to the nice pocket...and I knew I didn't have that throw in me. So I started working the lower part of the problem backwards from the pocket to see if I could send it static. After figuring out a sequence that might work, I pulled off of the big starting jug and crammed myself up into the overhang, grabbed a hold of a few crimps (the underclinging crimp under the overhang being the most crucial!), got some better feet out wide and barely caught the pocket and doubled on it before I lost all of my core strength. Looking on, I guess that I did it using the "rose" hold, but I am so unfamiliar with the place, I don't know for sure. Soon after sending Big Guns, I realized that I had done more damage to my body than just the usual torture of bouldering. I was feeling a pain in my collarbone, which still has a steel plate in it from a bad car wreck almost 10 years ago, along with a tight back from contorting too much. So I thought I should take it easy and make sure I hadn't really torn something. Then I met up with George and the crew at the Collective Boulder and we headed down to the Mad Skills Wall.

George's most recent video has a clip of him sending Cock and Balls V3, but when he made the video, he thought he was on a different route. He had been talking up this route and really enjoyed climbing it, so of course I wanted to see what he was talking about. When we got down to Mad Skills, Caleb, a local boulderer, pointed out that indeed the route in question was Cock and Balls...George was stoked, because that was one of the classics he had been told to try and he was happy to have sent it last time. I gave it a few tries, but I was feeling some acute pain and didn't want to push myself too hard yet. The rest of the crew worked a variety of problems, including Zen Master V8, Commando Crack V3, Center Crack V2 and Toxic Box V6. After Mad Skills, we headed down towards the Third Rail and Long Wall. I checked out a few problems with the guys and then decided that I was in enough pain to call it quits for the day. On my way back to the car though, I couldn't go by Cock and Balls, seen in the above picture, and not give it one more try. After a quick warm up try, I sent the route with little difficulty, and minimal pain. I thought about hanging around and catching back up with the guys, but decided I didn't want to push an injury and make it I headed on to Table Rock to set up camp and wait for the trad climbing crew to get there.

After setting up camp and catching a nap to try to regain some strength, I had a session on the Parking Lot boulders at the Table Rock Picnic area. I've climbed around on these guys for years but I wanted to climb some of the tougher lines this time instead of just goofing off after doing some multi-pitch.

If you haven't seen these boulders before, there are tons of flakes and cracks to come up with plenty of different variations and problems. I started out by sending a sweet V2-ish route, seen above, that sit started on a low jug, went up to the left facing flake and then to the top.

From there I went to another section of the wall and sent an easier V1-ish problem, which can be seen to the right of the above picture. It starts with hands matched, double gastoning in the dark vertical pocket, and then goes up through a series of slopers and flakes to the tricky top out...a fun classic for the area. After the V1, I started to work on a V4 deadpoint problem from some crappy crimps, which can be seen to the left of the above picture. The problem starts doubled on the low crimps and throws up to a deep sidepull pocket and a fun slopey mantle halfway up is the last hard move. I've worked this problem every time I come to Table Rock, but this is the first time I've actually sent it. It felt great to send and I was super stoked! Saturday I woke up feeling so I really getting that old?...and thought about roping up for a bit before I took off early to try to recuperate from the pain. After making it to the crag and seeing how slow things were going, I realized it would take at least another hour or so before I could get even 1 pitch I decided to just pack it up and whimper home like a beat dog. I felt a little defeated, because I didn't cram as much into the trip as I wanted to, but I took solace in the fact that I had ticked a few great routes this weekend...better than if I had just stayed on the couch!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Climbing Lately...LG's North Face Boulders & Upcoming Trips

I haven't been posting very much lately because its been so dang hot down here in SC, therefore little to no climbing. I did get a chance to slip away to The North Face of Looking Glass and boulder a little last weekend. I was so stoked to finally send a V3/4 route on the boulder right above the Warm Up Wall, that I've been working at for years! I had sent it from stacked pads before, but I couldn't, for the life of me, send from the real start. I've been trying hard to get more cardio and lift more weights during the summer, in an attempt to get in the best climbing shape for the I was feeling a little stronger and fresher than usual. You start doubled on the lowest crimp rail in the middle of the boulder with your feet on a big ledge under the slight overhang, go up to a small knobby crimp with your right, get a high right foot onto the other lower ledge and turn this over with a mantle to the point that you can snatch the sloping top edge and wrestle it out. A picture of the boulder with a chalk trail heading up it is above. I have always thought it was a good quality route, but after the send I finally felt justified to say it was:) If you didn't catch the first post last year about the North Face Boulders...check it out.

I'm also about to go on 3 road trips over the next month that I'm super stoked about. This weekend I'm heading up to Linville Gorge and plan on doing a little trad climbing with some old buddies, as well as, hitting up some of the primo bouldering in the area. Hopefully I'll get a chance to torture myself with the hike in and out of the Linville Gorge Boulders , and climb some of these incredible routes. I also plan on hitting Grandmothers Boulders and maybe check out Lost Cove...there are a few routes on the Chainsaw boulder I almost sent last time that I want to finish and then just wander around climbing whatever looks good.

Coming up around July 4th, my wife and I are taking a trip up to Grayson Highlands, about an hour north of Boone, to hit up this pretty new bouldering area. Aaron Parlier has been doing a massive amount of development up there and says its the perfect summer bouldering getaway. He's been kind enough to offer to show me around to the main areas and some of the classics. I'm REALLY looking forward to this...the place looks AMAZING! And they have wild ponies in the park too:)

Also, in the middle of July, I'm planning on taking another weekend trip up to the Highcountry and climb at Granny's and the Blowing Rock Boulders...if the weather cooperates. I'm the kind of person that looks to the next adventure to keep me motivated at work and in life, and the next month's road trips are just one giant carrot, right in front of my face. I'll post a trip report next week about Linville, I'm really excited about the Gorge Boulders! Hope everyone else out there has something to keep them motivated and a cool place to climb in this summer heat!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Granite City Mini-Guide

Updated Granite City Mini-Guide
For those that live in Pickens and Oconee counties in South Carolina, you know how easy it is to get to a variety of climbing spots. We tend to watch the weather a lot and then head to where the desirable conditions are...Georgia, Tennessee or Alabama in the winter and North Carolina and the Virginia's for the summer. One of the easiest and quickest spots for me to hit in the summer is Granite City, near Cashiers and Highlands NC. When I first started bouldering and climbing around here, there was very little chalk and overall, I never saw another climber out there for the first 5 or so years. Over the past 2 years, I have seen more folks bouldering and top roping than ever before. I have been keeping a topo of the area for quiet some time now...and I have recently updated this topo to reflect some new routes and areas that weren't in the first one I made available on this website. Now the area is up to about 70 problems, with about 4 projects out of the 70, and the quality of bouldering there has increased with these newer problems. I am by no means the GC expert, but I do feel that I have just as much experience here as most anybody else. I've climbed all of the routes listed except for a few with question marks after the grades. Of course, everybody is a little different and grades and climbs problems a little differently, but I feel that the beta and grades I've listed are pretty accurate.

Over the last 2 visits, I sent Claim Jumper V5, the pure version of a problem that has been called "Burnt Popcorn" or the variation called "Extra Butter". Many have started the problem and used the slab under the roof as a foot dab for much of the problem...I always felt this was not the pure line and cheated the grade down to a V3. Claim Jumper may be one of the best problems at GC, when you wrestle it from the real start and don't use the foot dab (just find the impossible foot under the roof and go with it instead of neutering the problem with foot dabs)! Its powerful and technical at the same time. On my last visit, I finally sent a route in another area of GC that I've referred to as "The Moonshine Still" V4/5 for some time now. It starts as a SDS on some bad feet and thin hands, moves through some small crimps, and makes an exciting top out mantle on a sloping lip around 15 feet up...another GC super classic! Along with The Still, I also resent a few older routes that had gathered some dirt and moss...Drunk Tank V3, Town Marshall V2, The Bartender V3, and The Bouncer V2. Drunk Tank and The Bartender are some other classic routes at GC...Drunk Tank being more of a powerful heel hook problem and The Bartender is one of the most fun routes here. For those looking for some great projects, check out The Moonshiner, which feels and looks like it could go around a V6-8 or so, or the Outlaw Arete, which seems to fit in around a V5-6. The Moonshiner is tall and has its tough moves start about 5 feet from the top, and Outlaw Arete is an overhanging arete with just enough holds to get to the top...both are on my hit list for this summer, and if you are anywhere around GC, they should be on yours too:) GC has always been a favorite summer haunt, but new routes and more to develop always keep me coming back to a boulderfield, no matter how small or insignificant.

To print the guide, click on the link below the above picture. Save the file to your computer to get better resolution, and then print it in booklet form, front and back. It will print up on 2 pages front and back and folds down the middle to create the booklet. If you have any problems with printing, please let me know.

I hope everyone has settled into their summer climbing habits and has found their sweet spot they intend to keep heading back to. If you need some tips...head north and higher in elevation. Looking Glass has some good boulders, and Granny's/Blowing Rock are in prime season right now too. When it gets super hot, just drive another hour past Boone to Grayson Highlands State Park and its 5000 foot highcountry...its sure to be cooler than down here in the SC sweat factory!

Here is the link to the first post about Granite City with directions and other information.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Final Entry and WINNERS of the HP40 Bouldering Guidebook Giveaway!!!

So there was one more entry submitted before the contest closed...

19. George Heib: Copa Cabana and Hammerhead at HP40

Once again...Thanks to everyone for entering this contest! I live and breathe bouldering, and I can tell that many of you guys do to! Its good to see the excitement and enjoyment that people get out of it! Hopefully the 2 lucky winners of the HP40 Bouldering Guidebook will have even more excitement and enjoyment in their lives...or at least when the temps back off and bouldering season picks back up. In order to determine the winners in the most fair and random manner I could think of, I visited a random number generator website and put the possibilities between 1 to 19 (representing the numbers for the 19 different entries), and clicked the generate button twice...the first number was a 3 and the second number was a 1.

So, without further adieu...THE WINNERS ARE....

3. George Evans who voted for Grind of Sound Mind at the Bearfields here in SC

1. Aubrey Wingo who voted for Lost Digits at Boat Rock in Atlanta, GA

Congrats to these 2 folks for winning a new copy of the HP40 Bouldering Guidebook!!! It will be in the mail to you ASAP! I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about some of the classic routes in the Southeast and found a new project to obsess about and road trip to until its sent:)

Keep checking back for info on Southeastern bouldering and also other contests...I'm cooking one up right now that includes a copy of the Ultra-classic Boone bouldering video "Witness This", along with a new Krieg Chalkbag and chalk, and some other fun booty!