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 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.


  1. Nice topo! I'd like to check this place out soon. Maybe I'm missing it, but did you post directions to GC?

  2. I just updated this post with a link to the first "Local Spot" post I made last year. Also, if you go to Google Maps and search for "Granite City, Highlands, NC" it should pull it up and be able to give you the best directions.

  3. Great, thanks for posting the beta. It's great getting to check out new areas. Can't wait to go there and possibly hit some of the waterfalls nearby. Cragging and swimming...summer sho is nice.