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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Friday, December 23, 2011

Annual Winter Portland Bouldering aka Climbing On Snot

The annual voyage out to Portland Oregon to spend time with my wife's family is in full swing...but this year has been sunnier than any of the previous, giving me hope of finding some dry boulders to pull down on. I made my way 30 minutes outside of Portland to the local boulderfield at Carver today (you can see the main Carver cliff in the background of the above picture), expecting to find at least a few routes to climb. I was treated to...the usual snotty conditions.

Most of the holds on most of the routes were still pretty slippery and especially on the footholds, it felt like I was trying to get friction on a wad of snot. I looked around and found a few climbs that had dry enough holds to pull on and ended up sending more than I thought I would.

I started out sending Left Arete, seen above on the Super Cool boulder, a V0 that felt more like a V2 with the slippery conditions.

From there I went around the corner to the Columbia boulder and sent another V0, Jugs, seen climbing the arete on the bigger boulder on the right side of the picture below.

After that I was feeling somewhat warmed up and hit the Carver Classic boulder and sent Go Again V1, and followed that up with a surprise send of Even More Classic V3. Go Again follows the chalked holds on the boulder to the left in the above picture and Even More Classic starts on the boulder just to the right of Go Again and moves low into the start of Go Again and climbs that same route. Both were good routes, but once again, the snotty rock conditions made these routes feel much harder than their ratings.

Almost dejected and thinking about heading out of the boulders, I decided to check out a few chalked up routes around the corner on the Dig Out boulder. I climbed the fun V0 Maintenance Men and then climbed the V1 traversing extension called Rally On Traverse.

On my way to the Dig Out boulder, I caught a glimpse of a sweet looking route on the Wrecker Anchor boulder that seemed to have perfectly dry feet (at least until the upper section) and was begging to be climbed. So I went back to the route and thumbed through the guide to find out it was Barfly Betty, one of the classic V3's at Carver. After pulling onto the starting moves and seeing that I could make my way past what seemed to be the crux, I loaded up for the send. After moving off of a low jug under a slight overhang, I matched on a sloping and slippery lip and made my way out to fall into some big sidepulls/pinches. At this point, I thought the route was over, but found myself towards the top of the route cruxing hard on some slimy holds...but I focused on a single small mushroom growing near the top out and pushed for the send. I barely snatched the top before I almost slipped off and onto a bad landing (I only have a 2'x1'x.5" start pad out here, so I really didn't want to fall). I truly enjoyed this exhilarating route and was psyched for the send...especially in such bad conditions. You can see the whole route in the above picture and the top section of sidepulls/pinches and the little shroom in the picture below.

Despite the off conditions, I really enjoyed today's session and climbing some new routes I hadnt done before. I love spending time out here with family, but it always makes me thankful for the perfect wintertime sending conditions we have in the southeast, and the plethora of great boulders we have to climb on!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Horse Pens 40 Triple Crown Video

George just recently put up a great video of the Triple Crown comp at Horse Pens 40 this past November...if you haven't checked it out over at his blog, then feast your eyes on the sends below!

Triple Crown HP40 2011 from George Evans on Vimeo.

I'm out in Portland on our usual Xmas Northwest trip...the weather might actually cooperate for me to hit some outdoor bouldering while I'm here this year, I'm psyched! I hope that everybody gets a chance to pull down on some boulders over the holidays and get their psyche on as well!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pictures From Table Rock Adopt A Crag

Matt Riley took some fantastic pictures of the Adopt A Crag and quiet a few pictures of the boulder session at Jedi...
Click here to check out the entire photo album!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Table Rock Adopt A Crag Was A Super Success!!!

This past weekend was a very successful Adopt A Crag at Table Rock South Carolina! With nearly 40 volunteers, the trail work took half as long as expected and included quiet a bit more work than originally thought. After meeting around 8am, the volunteers were split not 3 teams of workers to maximize the man group went all the way up to the saddle between the East Face and the Stool and worked their way back towards the beginning of the trail, another group started in the middle of the trail and the final group started at the beginning of the trail and worked towards the group in the middle. One major task was relocating the start of the trail as to avoid interrupting the cabin users when approaching the cliff (originally the trail started beside the parking for cabins 15 and 16 in the park...please use the new reroute to minimize complications between climbers and cabin users). The crew made short work of this new .1-.2 mile reroute by trimming trees, levelling trail sections and installing a fence to separate the climbers trail from the back yard of the cabins. The middle group cleared the trail as they made their way closer to the saddle and the steepest and most eroded part of the trail. With incredible efforts by all involved (especially 5 year old Phineas) a series of 20 or so rock steps were installed to minimize erosion and make the steep hike a little easier on the way in and out. If you get a chance to go up there before the season ends (December 31st), I highly recommend checking out the steps! The last group trimmed trees, removed downed trees and park staff used a chainsaw to clear the larger trees that weren't able to be carried.

After clearing the trail, installing the fence, finishing the steps and the park staff cleared out the big stuff with the chainsaw, it was only 12 noon...and everybody was treated to some incredible SC climbing! Several groups headed up to the East Face to climb some of the heady face climbs that characterize Table Rock, while another group loaded up and headed just a few miles down the road to go bouldering at both Jedi and the Bearfields. Good times were definitely had by all, and the stories around the dinner table and fire confirmed it! Around 6pm, BBQ and veggie chili was served and soon after, a raffle full of killer prizes was held, raising almost $400 and culminating in a nice North Face jacket and Mammut Rope as the 2 big prizes. A South Carolina climbing slide show and video were shown after the raffle and then the festivities started to wrap up. The park graciously donated the White Oaks campground for the weekend so all of the volunteers would have a place to stay...many thanks goes out to the park for this nice gesture! Several folks stayed around for the incredible climbing weather on Sunday as well, ending a perfect weekend of events and climbing. The climbers trail has never looked this good, and the hard work we all put in is sure to let the state parks know how much climbers love and care for their crags, approaches, and the parks that allow us to enjoy these awesome natural playgrounds. So the trail day was a HUGE success...and on top of the almost $400 raised at the raffle, Sunrift Adventures from Travelers Rest donated another $300 to bring the total raised for the CCC to around $700! A GIANT thanks to anyone that came out and worked hard to help efforts were greatly appreciated and mean more for future access than you may know! Here is a quick write up about the event from the SC rep of the CCC, Stephen Scoff...

BOO-YAH! SC TRSP Adopt A Crag!


Nearly 40 participants warmed up a sharp and frosty Saturday morning by really shaping up SC Table Rock's climbers' trail. Deadfall removal, fence and step installation, and general grunt work were cranked out by all. Thank you volunteers and park staff!!

A few remaining daylight hours allowed for some quick cragging and bouldering. (STAY TUNED: Pics coming soon!)

The complimentary BBQ and vegi chili hit the spot and we raised nearly $700 for the CCC thanks to our gear raffle and a generous cash donation from Sunrift Outfitters!

The slide show and a bit of exciting video brought the evening to a close with a great tour of NC/SC classics and obscurities.

I'd like to especially thank:

Poll Knowland and all of his park staff

Brad Caldwell, Partner in Crime

Mark Hinen, Palmetto Pig

Laurie Aker, Earth Fare The Quality Supermarket

Sunrift Outfitters

The Access Fund

The Backpacker Quality Gear

Recreational Equipment Incorporated

Matt Riley, Riles Images (Plus his wife's brownies)

Andrew McDowell and Marvin Dawson (topo creators)

MY Mom, (Awesome oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies!)

And of course all the volunteers!!

Thanks again and I look forward to seeing everyone next year!

Stephen Scoff

I have a few pictures still in my camera of the evening festivities and Matt Riley will also be posting some pictures soon that I'll link to in a future post.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick Trip To The Bald

With the end of the semester comes a few opportunities for me to get away a little early from work and head up to the Bald for a chill afternoon session...and yesterday was a great day for it! I've had a hit list of routes I've been wanting to tick off for a long time and one of my main goals at the Bald has been to climb all of the V0-V2 routes there (which is around 300+ routes) and to send all of the 3 star classics that are V3 and below. My last 3 star classic V3 was Red Clouds Above in the Southeast area on the East Side, which can be seen riding up the oblique seam/crack in the pictures. I've worked this problem a few times before and honestly couldn't make ANY headway on it, even from a stand just seemed to perplex my body as to which way to move and pivot to stay on the rock. So, with that goal in mind, I took off to the Bald ready to test out the healing tweaked finger and hopefully mark Red Clouds off of my hit list!

I first headed over to the Eight Ball and Winter Of '99 boulders to warm up, and I sent all of the routes (Winter Of '99 V0, Winter Of '06 V1, Eight Ball V1, Corner Pocket V2 and a V1 traverse that went out left below Corner Pocket) on both of these boulders first try. I felt strong warming up and had high hopes heading over to Red Clouds Above. Once at the Red Clouds boulder, I flashed Lizard's Lounge V2 first and then felt like I could flash Red Clouds...until I sat for the start and fell soon after making the first move or so. Its at that point that I realized I was getting seriously pumped! So I started working the stand start and sent the top half of the problem a few times before I tried the sit start again. Being confident that I could send if I could just get my feet under me instead of under the roof, I flailed and flailed on the SDS for about 30 minutes before it just came together and I linked into the stand start and topped out...I was so stoked to finally send this fun and classic problem! I put a couple of bad pictures in this post, I only had my phone for a camera and the sun was setting fast, so the lighting was bad...or at least that's my excuse for putting up such fuzzy pictures;) After the send I noticed my hands were practically numb from pulling so hard and not giving up on the final send, and then I noticed that I had a nice big pinky flapper (on the middle phalanx, below the top knuckle). After taping it up and feeling near spent, I decided to just hit a few cool down routes at the Breakfast area and take off. While sending the Unknown V2 on the Warm Up boulders, right at the entrance to the Breakfast boulders, I realized that I had put my crashpad in some dog poo:(

I was furious that some moronic boulderer or hiker would allow their dog to take a shit right in the middle of a landing zone and not have the decency to clean it up...knowing that if they didn't clean it up that other boulderers would end up putting themselves or their gear in it!!! I'm not one to let too much shenanigans go on in a boulderfield and not say something to the idiots causing the problems, its called taking personal responsibility...and I expect that out of everyone that boulders at the Bald. If you just HAVE to take your dog to the Bald (pretty much a bad idea from the get go due to all the reoccurring problems dogs have created over the last 5 or so years at the Bald), then please keep them under control, on a leash and for god's sake, please clean up their poo and pack it out with you...leave no trace applies to boulderers and their dogs! If you see some moron letting their dog cause problems, then don't be afraid to stand up to whomever it is and let them know that is not acceptable...even if it was John Sherman, John Gill or Chris Sharma is all of our responsibility to tell folks that are jeopardizing all of our access to straighten up or get the hell out!!! I have 2 dogs myself, and love them to death and enjoy taking them with me on hikes and the occasional boulder session, but I always have my dogs under control and never allow them to cause these sorts of serious general though, I just leave them at home to avoid any problems all together. If you are not willing to take personal responsibility for your dog, and realize that you will have to sacrifice part of your bouldering experience in order to do so, then just don't bring your dog with you...its that simple! If you aren't prepared to keep them on a leash and pick up after them, then leave them at home or just don't show up at the local bouldering areas!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Slowly Getting Back On Track

So I've finally started to dip my toes back into bouldering after taking a few weeks off due to the finger tweak. Aaron Parlier, the guy that's getting the Grayson Highlands Bouldering Guide together, came into town last week and sessioned with George and myself at Bearfields and Jedi. I ended up just climbing a few slab routes, but the finger felt like it was time to start pushing it a little. Aaron had a great time at the hidden boulderfields, sending a low start to an established problem and bumping it up a grade to V5 and then he FA'ed a very odd bulging roof problem he called Graysland V7/8. This adds another higher grade problem to these areas, which lack very many problems over V5. Getting back out to one of my oldest and most favorite haunts got me yearning for more rock I made a couple of trips out to the Bearfields and Jedi to see exactly where I was at. I played it safe and mainly stuck to slabby problems, FA'ing a sweet slab problem, that felt like it was straight outta Boat Rock, that I called Lost V3, on my first solo visit out. And I ended up sending some crimpier stuff on my next trip out to Jedi...Turtleneck V2, Turtlehead V2 and then I shocked myself by linking the 2 for the send of Fear The Turtle V4, a real shock since it was very crimp dependent. After FA'ing a few more V0-V1 routes and sending a few more slabby V2's, I felt like I was getting back on the right track!

We also went up to Asheville to see one of my all time favorite bands, String Cheese Incident, last Friday night and had an absolute blast! They haven't played Asheville in 4 years or so after breaking up and only playing limited shows last it was awesome to reconnect with the music and people that make the Incidences so unique and extremely enjoyable, and the 20 minute Best Feeling to open it up was amazing! Here is the link to the show that you can download...but one of the highlights for me, a 12 minute Black Clouds, is free for the listening!

I hope everybodies Thanksgiving was grand and you had a chance to get out and boulder or climb as well...and DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE TABLE ROCK SC ADOPT A CRAG COMING UP THE WEEKEND AFTER NEXT, MAKE PLANS TO BE THERE FOR THIS AWESOME EVENT!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Videos to Keep The Psyche Up

So...while I'm sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the finger to feel better, I've been catching up with a slew of videos from the Southeast to keep me psyched. There are some great vids of some classics at Dixon School Road and several from the Bald to begin with, and then there's a little tour of some of the best boulders elsewhere in the Southeast...and in case you're craving a serious road trip instead, I included the absolutely incredible full length movie of Rocklands called "Tomorrow I Will Be Gone" I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

Rumbling Bald - A Three Star Day from Joshua on Vimeo.

Rumbling Bald - Crowbar from Joshua on Vimeo.

Rumbling Bald -- The Uplifter & More from Joshua on Vimeo.

Mount Yonah Bouldering Sesh #1 from Joshua on Vimeo.

Shaking Rock Bouldering -- Lexington, GA from Joshua on Vimeo.

The Beta - Alabama Spring from Andrew Kornylak on Vimeo.

The Beach - V4 from Daniel Steele on Vimeo.

Stone Fort Triple Crown 2011 from Zachary Lesch-Huie on Vimeo.

Lilly Boulders Fall 2011 from Jimmy Webb on Vimeo.

Rocktown - Sherman, Skin Graft, Tooth, Little Bad from Jonathan Carter on Vimeo.

Tomorrow I Will Be Gone from Outcrop Films on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Busted Finger

Just a quick post about what I've been up to lately...
I have not been able to get out and boulder lately, like usual. One reason is the time change, another is having a 6 month old little daughter, but most disappointingly is the fact that I somehow snapped a pulley without knowing it:(

A couple of weekends ago I was only able to get out for a super quick, less than an hour session on a boulder on private property. I ended up FA'ing Totem Pole V0, The Sandman V2, Slam Dunk V3 and Rampage V4...all in all, a good hours' worth of work sending some really fun problems. But after I packed it up and headed home, I started to notice a problem with my ring finger on my left hand, like I had popped the pulley/tendon near the proximal knuckle. The most odd thing is that I didn't hear it pop or even feel it tweak while I was climbing...but then again, I was "Rampaging" through the routes due to my lack of time and aggressive nature of climbing at the time because of being pent up too much lately. I thought it was just an acute pain and that it would go away quickly, or at least in a couple of days, but instead it has only gotten worse. Now it is to the point that I cant even put my wedding ring on my finger and the knuckle and tendons around the knuckle are constantly throbbing. Needless to say, this is going to take me away from bouldering for a little while...maybe even until the new year:( I finally felt like I was regaining some sort of bouldering form with the end of summer and the fall, and was looking forward to crushing in a couple of comps (btw, Dixon Crushfest at Crowders Mtn State Park in NC has been cancelled for this weekend also), but instead, I feel like I've been set back to square one. I'm trying my best to approach this from a positive standpoint and instead of seeing it as not being able to boulder, I've tried to convince myself that this is a good time for me to get back on the mountain bike and enjoy one of my first outdoor loves a little more...but no matter what, I'm still a little bummed letting a day with perfect sending conditions go by without getting any bouldering in....I hope that everyone that reads this post is not in my same situation, but instead in crushing mode on their projects!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Afternoon Delight: A Guide to a Few Quick, Local Bike and Boulder Sessions

This past weekend Daylight Savings Time ended and the afternoon sunlight has now dwindled to only a short window after work. If you're like me, and have a day or 2 during the week that you finish work a little earlier, you want to get your bouldering fix without touching any plastic. Little Eastatoee and Beasley Gap are great places for a quick hour long afternoon session if you're near the Jocassee Gorges. Both of these spots have a short approach, Little Eastatoee is less than a minute to the Bridge boulders and Beasley Gap is a fast 5 minutes, and a nice circuit of fun problems to satisfy the afternoon craving. Here are a couple of recommended 10 problem circuits at these spots...if the easy circuit is too easy and the moderate circuit is too hard, then mix the 2 as you make your way around the boulderfields.

Quick Little Eastatoee Circuits:
Easy Circuit:
Kang Solo V0->Super Scooper V0->Dread Scott V1->The Finger V1->One Hit Blunder V0->Sock Puppet Smile V1->Ragdoll V2->Peking Wing Left V2->Just A Little Light V0->Pigface V0

Moderate Circuit:
Space Together V4 or Space Feeling V3->Best Feeling V4->West LE Fadeaway V4->Elephant Back V5 or Elephant Back High Start V3->Outta Sight V3->Two-Face V3->Scarecrow V3->Bruce Wayne V3->The Dark Knight V4->Yeti Areti V4

Quick Beasley Gap Circuits:
Easy Circuit:
PBR V0->Bob's Place V2->Hang Loose V0->Beasley Bulge V1->Beasley Bowl V2->Crystal Crymps V2->Old Bolt V0->Lower Beast Traverse V2->Middle Beast V2->Sweatin It V1

Moderate Curcuit (may be one of the best set of 10 problems of any boulderfield in SC):
Bob's Place V2->Eastatoee Trail V2/3->Roadkill Grill V3->Scatterbrains V4->Beasley Gap Traverse V4->Crimpy Sidepull V3->Sassafras V3->Rocky bottom V3->Crystal Crimps V2->Early Bird Direct V3 or Early Bird Special V5

As for the bike rides...this area has plenty of double track loops on gated fire roads for mountain biking, and perfect slightly hilly road bike loops too! Here are a few of my favorites of each.

Mountain Biking...for these loops (at least the last 2), I recommend using a map of the Jocassee Gorges (free at Keowee State Park) and a GPS or bike computer so you know your distances and turn down the wrong trail or road.

1) Little Slickrock Loop 6-7 miles: I suggest parking at the bridge on Highway 11 at the Little Eastatoee boulders, simply to add the heinous uphill (downhill on the way back) on the road to the true trailhead...if you park at the true trailhead instead, the ride is around 4-6 miles, depending on which way you finish the loop. From the parking, turn right (west) onto Highway 11 and pedal about 1 mile up the steep but not too difficult hill. At the top of the hill, look for a small turn in on the left with a red fire hydrant nearby, and turn left into this turn in (this is the true trailhead). Go around the red gate to the left, after turning into the small parking area, and follow this next to the road for 100 yards before turning right into the woods. Soon after this turn into the woods, the road forks with one fork heading uphill to the left and the other staying fairly level to the right...turn right here and start a fun little descent. After approximately 1/2 mile and after a couple of wildlife cuts/openings, turn right onto a downhill, slightly grown over road (if you miss this turn, you'll continue downhill to an area that has been recently logged and is completely've gone too far), and follow this down and around the corner and over an old wooden bridge (if you don't see this bridge within 1/4 mile of turning right off of the main road, then you're on the wrong path). Stay on this road through a slightly swampy area and around to a big loose gravel uphill...try to ride to the top, but you may have to get off and push when it gets another wildlife opening at the top of the hill. Just past this opening is a short section of slickrock, similar to Big Rock and Cedar Rock at DuPont. Go to the right of the trees at the other side of the slickrock to stay on the trail, and at the next fork just up the hill a little bit, stay to the right. From here, a fun gradual downhill takes you deeper into the woods and winds its way past several roads that branch off of the main road. Continue on this road, following the main road (there's really only 1 more confusing fork that you stay right at instead of heading down a hill) for another mile or so until you come to a clearing with some old equipment and a red gate about 100 yards farther past the clearing. From here, you can either turn around and backtrack to the original trailhead (longest way and most off road miles), or you can go around the gate and turn right onto Highway 133 for about 100 yards before turning right onto Highway 11 and riding back down and up the big hills to your car. As I mentioned, I like to park at Little Eastatoee, ride this loop/lollipop from there and then return to the car where I don't have to drive anywhere else to boulder.

2) Cane Creek Loop: 4 miles with option for more smaller loops
This ride, and the next one, starts at a different trailhead...the Shooting Tree Ridge Trailhead. To get here, turn left from the Little Eastoee Parking are onto Highway 11. Follow this for around 2 miles and turn left onto Roy F Jones Hwy. Follow Roy F Jones for around 2 miles, past the parking for the Big Eastatoee Wall, up the big hill, under the powerlines with the good views and take the next right onto the road the the Vineyards Fire Department is on. At the stop sign at the end of this 1/4 mile road, turn right onto Cleo Chapman Road which drives through the Eastatoee Valley (a beautiful area if you've never visited). After about 1/3 mile, turn left at the obvious sign for Shooting Tree Ridge and the green gate (green gates are open during hunting season and red gates are always closed and just used for fires) and park on the gravel to the side of the gate.

Bike around the green gate, past the very informative kiosk on the left, and continue on this gravel road for 2 miles and a major intersection in the road. Turn left onto Cane Creek Road (there's a sign near the junction) and ride on this road for another 3/4 mile or so to the red gate. Go around the red gate and get ready for some of the most fun steep downhills around! Stay on this road, past all of the other roads that fork off, for another mile or so, up and down some great hills, to another red gate. Go around this red gate and turn left onto Cleo Chapman Road and bike about 1/2 mile back to your car. You can add some fun extra shorter loops by taking any of the dirt roads to the left (there's one at about .3, .35, and .5) off of the main gravel road and you will come out at a different red gate on Cleo Chapman, just make sure you turn left off of the dirt road you choose and then at the red gate, turn left to go back to your car. The first dirt road loop comes out to be about a 1 mile loop and has some fun downhill sections that make it a worthy addition/warm up to any ride. There is also a red gated road to the left around 1.5 miles up the main gravel road, that will connect back near the end of Cane Creek Road for a loop of around 3 miles...using all of these trails and loops, you could easily put together a 10 mile off road ride just within this area.

3) Mill Creek Loop: 10 miles or so
From the parking are at Shooting Tree Ridge described in the previous ride, go around the green gate and stay on the gravel road past the left turn for the Cane Creek Loop. A little before the 5 mile mark on this gravel road, you will come to a huge designated campsite, mainly used by hunters, and a bridge and a ford over/through Cane Creek...go past this and head up the steep hill for another 1/2 mile past a grown over fork to the right to a better used fork with a red gate on the right. Turn right here onto a fun double track and follow it over a mile, down the hillside and eventually to a small stream crossing. Cross the stream and continue following the main double track around to the right and past a left hand less than 1/2 mile, you'll go around a red gate and onto the end of Mill Creek Road (many times the dogs at the house at the end of the road are barking and sniffing you as you ride by, but they have never tried to bite or threaten me before...the owner is very pleasant and has always tried to keep his dogs up most of the time, so please don't start any trouble if the dogs scare you.) Follow Mill Creek Road for a little over a mile to the stop sign at Cleo Champman and turn right. Bike a little less than a mile back to your car to finish up this great bike ride. This one is much more remote, so make sure you know how to handle yourself if there is an emergency!

Road Bike Loops: I recommend using Little Eastatoee as the start for all of these rides.

1) Eastatoee Creek Loop: 6-7 miles
From the parking area at Little Eastatoee, turn left onto Highway 11, using the bike lane to stay out of traffic. Follow Highway 11 for around 3-4 miles, past Little Eastatoee Road on the right and the nearby first turn for Eastatoee Creek Road on the right and turn right onto the second turn for Eastatoee Creek Road. Stay on Eastatoee Creek Road until it loops back to Highway 11 and turn left onto 11 to start heading back to your car. You can add a 4 mile out and bike on E Preston McDaniel Road (up to Nine Times Road and back), near the end of Eastatoee Creek Road that rides through the Nine Times Tract Nature Preserve owned by the Nature Conservancy.

2) Holly Springs Loop: around 15 miles
From the parking are at Little Eastatoee, turn left onto Highway 11 like you are riding the previous loop. At the first turn for Eastatoee Creek Road, turn right onto the road and then turn right again less the 1/2 mile later onto E Preston McDaniel. Ride through the Nine Times Preserve and past Big Rock (the big rock face) on your left and take a left turn onto Holly Springs School Road at around the 3 mile mark on E Preston. Follow this twisted road for a few miles to its end at Holly Springs Elementary School and turn left onto Highway 178...follow 178 for a couple of miles to the junction with Highway 11 at Holly Springs Grocery and the 4 way stop. Turn left onto Highway 11 and ride about 7 miles back to your car at Little Eastatoee.

3) Eastatoee Valley Loop: around 15 miles
This is my favorite road ride around...From the parking area at Little Eastatoee, Turn left onto Highway 11 and ride for around 4 miles or so just past the Sunset Post Office on the left and take a right onto Sunset Community Road. Follow this slightly hilly road for 2 miles until it comes to a stop sign on highway 178, and turn left onto 178. Ride up 178 for a couple of miles until you get to Bob's Place bar on the left and the end of Cleo Chapman Road...thurn left onto Cleo Chapman and get ready for a fun twisting downhill into the Eastatoee Valley. Stay on Cleo Chapman, through the Valley and past the Shooting Tree Ridge trailhead for the last 2 mountain bike rides, and turn left to go past the Vineyards Fire Department. Immediately past the Fire Department, turn left at the stop sign onto Roy F Jones Highway. Follow Roy F Jones under the powerlines and down the super fast and steep downhill (I've hit over 55 mph going down this on a bike before), over the bridge and past Big Eastatoee and eventually to it's end at the stop sign on Highway 11. Turn right on 11 and bike around 1 1/2 miles back to your car.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rumbling Bald Updates

Some big news has come out this week about the CCC's purchase of the tract of classic West Side boulders...IT'S PAID OFF!!! If you've been following this blog for long, then you've noticed the push to help out with events or donations that can get this loan paid off...and now these absolutely awesome boulders belong to us, the climbers! Follow the above link to the official CCC release on their website for full details and a personal thanks to the CCC for getting some of my favorite boulder routes in the word saved in perpetuity!!!

And the bad with the good...the daylight is getting shorter and shorter as we race to the winter solstice, and so the hours of the Bald are changing with this lack of afternoon daylight too. The park has just announced that it will be closing the gates at 6pm sharp until the end of spring. Follow the previous link for the full details, but please don't be the douche bag that doesn't follow this rule and gets the rest of the climbers/boulderers in trouble!!! Otherwise, be mindful of the busy weekends and get there early, before 9am, to guarantee that you'll be able to climb on a Saturday of Sunday...and enjoy the great sending conditions that have started moving in:)

New Video of a Few Classics From Jedi!

George and I hit Jedi last Sunday and sent til our hands were screaming at us! Here's a little video he put together of the day and 3 of the area classics...that's me climbing Lightsaber, one of the best V1's around! If you havent been following Georges new blog, click on over and check it out. He's been posting some great videos of recent trips and sends. Enjoy...

Hiking on Rocks: A Few Upstate Classics from George Evans on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Upstate Bouldering is now on Facebook and on T Shirts

There's now a new way to keep in touch with Upstate Bouldering...on Facebook! You'll notice the new Facebook gadget over on the left side of the screen where you can simply "like" Upstate Bouldering from this webpage, or you can search for Upstate Bouldering while on Facebook. I plan on using this as a way to keep everyone in touch with recent posts, new areas, access updates, suggestions for where to boulder in/near the upstate of South Carolina on each weekend and FAs as they happen in the boulderfield!

I also had some emails asking if there were Upstate Bouldering t-shirts available, so I opened a Cafe Press store with a variety of items for sale. Check out the hoodies and water bottles, I've really been digging mine, and the stickers are sweet too! Here's the link to the gear.
And as you can see in the picture above of Lily working her baby Rock Rings...there's even something for the little ones:)

Also...don't forget to attend the Table Rock Adopt-a-crag on December 10th. I promise that the boulderers that attend and either join the CCC or renew/extend their membership, will be treated to a sweet day of bouldering in the Jocassee Gorges the following day, December 11th!!! I'll be posting more about that real soon, so stay in touch!

Otherwise, the sending conditions in the Gorges are getting much better...if you haven't checked out some of the local boulders, download a mini-guide from one of the links to the left and go check em out!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Projects

After having such a great day at the Bald a few weeks ago and sending a few projects I had been working on for years, I've kept that sending flow going by ticking off other projects at various boulderfields lately...and the Lily project at the bouldering wall at the local park in Pickens, seen in the above photo;)

A few weekends ago, we made our way down to one of my all time favorite boulderfields in the Southeast, Boat Rock. One route that has always eluded me, for various reasons, is Lost Digits V3. This is a great problem that is much easier if you have a longer reach, but for me, the crux hold has always been just out of reach, and my shoes never seem to stick well enough to help me elevate up to it...until this trip. As soon as I got to Boat Rock, I headed straight to Lost Digits and started working the only took about 5 tries and I had finally snatched the crux sidepull near the top and I was topping out. It was so good to mark this one off the list, and I almost sent another project while I was there too, Watermelon (Bob's Arete) V4. I didn't snap a photo or anything after the send, but I did find this fuzzy video showing the route on the internet:

I also made another trip up to the North Face of Looking Glass and some of my personal favorite boulders in the area. I have long been infatuated with a thin crimpy arete just above the Warm Up Wall that some old schoolers have called V4/5. I have attempted this route for years and just couldn't ever seem to put it together for the send, but it all came together on this trip and the slabby bulging arete with some finger chewing crimps finally went was so nice to finally top out after so long (honestly, I'm still savoring this send)! While I was there, I also sent a highball-ish V2 problem on the Loose Flake boulder that I hadn't sent in years. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I was more focussed on sending than anything else that day.

On more of a local front, I've been sending a few FA's and projects in the Bearfields and Jedi lately too! These incredible boulderfields seem to keep giving up awesome routes, even after I start to think the areas are tapped!

In the Bearfields, I FA'ed Anklebreaker V3, Pumking V1, Jack-O-Lantern V1, Simon SDS V4/5 and Jump...Mantle...Good Dog V4/5 and finally sent Walter V4, a sweet problem I've been trying to send from the original lower start holds than an easier, higher start. Simon SDS was a long time project to an older problem, Simon V2, that I had named after one of my felt really good to make the odd beginning moves and link into the stand start problem. Jump...Mantle...Good Dog is a variation of Simon SDS that uses a deadpoint to a lip to the left of Simon and a tough mantle to finish it up. In the picture below, you can see Simon SDS following the thin seam up into the scoop to the right and Jump...Mantle...Good Dog deadpoints left to the lip once you hit the well lit hold in the middle of the face.

In Jedi, I FA'ed a LONG time (like nearly 10 years) project called Anakin Skywalker V5...this is one of my favorite sends in a while! It starts high on a 1/4 pad, 3 finger crimpy sidepull with a high foot and makes a powerful pivot move to get your other foot on and then follows a thin seam to an easy top out. After looking at this route and trying it off and on for years, it was awesome to send it finally! I also FA'ed (could be a Alzheimer FA...after sending it, it seemed like I had sent it before, years ago) Mace Windu V3 that starts on a pair of crimps with bad feet, to the left of Anakin, and throws high for a good arete. You can see the seam that Anakin climbs to the right of the crashpad in the picture below, and Mace Windu on the two spread out crimps above and to the left of the crashpad...and while you're looking at this picture, you can see Use The Force V2/3 to the right of Anakin (it climbs the seam in front of the small tree), Lightsaber Crack V1 following the crack to the left of the tree on the left side of the picture and the Padawan Arete V0 behind the biggest tree in the picture. All of the routes on this boulder are super classic and super fun!

I also FA'ed R2D2 V2 and Boba Fett V3 in Jedi, both being slopey and slabby problems with a few crimps on the other side of this same boulder...and I finally sent another project of mine, Luke Skywalker V3/4 similar to and in between R2D2 and Boba Fett.

On a little bit of a sadder note:
I am very close to my dogs...we have 3, 2 (Luna and Simon) are around 14 years old and I have raised from puppies or young dogs, and the other (Butter) is around 9 or so. Luna and Simon have been my best buddies through more shit than I can describe and helped pull me through a lot of the bad times. Both have been through hell themselves...both have had heart worms and were successfully treated and both have had their bouts with cancer. Recently, Luna's cancer has come back and is overtaking her very fast...and soon we will have to put her to sleep:( She is the reason I've been climbing with more determination and visiting Jedi more lately, its one of her favorite places to sniff around while I boulder. She has been my "warrior princess" in the woods for years and here companionship and ferocity to defend me from whatever we may encounter (bears especially) will greatly be missed! Here is a shot of Lily, myself and the dogs in Jedi.

And here is a picture of Luna giving me a good spot while I'm sending Obi Wan Arete V4...I renamed the easy, bailout version of the route Luna Wan Kenobi V2 in honor of her:)

Thanks for being the best dog in the world Luna!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Table Rock State Park Adopt-A-Crag!!!

So the official info release for the upcoming Table Rock State Park Adopt-A-Crag has come out and the CCC and Upstate Bouldering are super excited about this event in our own back yard! Check out the flyer, post it on your Facebook page, e-mail it to all of your climbing buddies, repost it on your blog...we are wanting as big of a turn out as possible!!! The trail day, slideshow and free food is set for Saturday December 10th and the climbers day is scheduled for Sunday December 11th...come help with the trail, camp out and check out the incredible climbing at Table Rock or take a tour of some local boulders near the park instead the next day! If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at the link at the top of this webpage or e-mail the SC representative of the Carolina Climbers Coalition, Stephen Scoff at If you haven't seen the official release on the CCC website, click on over and check it out!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Sasquatch Boulders Mini-Guide

So I've finally finished my initial development of the newest bouldering area in the Jocassee Gorges, the Sasquatch Boulders. I havent sent anything harder than a V4, so there are still plenty of projects, as well as many unclimbed boulders up in Shangri-La to clean and FA. Why Sasquatch you may ask? Download the mini-guide and read the bizarre story that dominated so many conversations between me and my friends when I was younger and exploring the Jocassee Gorges! Sasquatch is not an area for everybody, especially beginners. There are a few easier routes, but the isolation of the area, coupled with the desperate feeling on some of the top outs and the bad landing zones overall make this a place the experienced boulderer can get away from the crowds and truly experience more of a wilderness bouldering adventure. If you have any questions, or add any FAs to the area, please feel free to e-mail me for answers or so I can update the guide with your new route info.

I hope you enjoy!!!

Click here for the Sasquatch Boulders Mini-Guide

Hound Ears Comp Video...Another Good One!

Matt De Camara has a great photo gallery of last weekends Hound Ears competition over on his Cruxn on over and check out the eye candy! If you havent seen this great video he and Zach Lesch-Huie put together of the comp, then check it out as well...

Hound Ears 2011 (Triple Crown Bouldering Series) from Far From Home Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Rumbling Bald Trip Of The Season!!!

I'm so psyched that the temps have finally fallen to the point that bouldering is no longer super sweaty with 100% humidity! I like to schedule the classes I teach easch semester so that I have at least 1 afternoon off during the week that I can go climbing during. I usually like to hit Rumbling Bald on these half days, but the weather hasnt cooperated with the temps that are better for sending until this past week. So, the first chance I got to head up there with the thermometer below 70, I took it in a heartbeat!

I got up to the Bald around 1:30 Monday, packed my Behemoth crashpad (I like to bring the BIG one when I'm flying solo) and slowly meandered up to the West Side boulders. The breeze was pleasant and despite the poison ivy still covering many boulders and landing zones, the rock felt sticky and easy to grope. I headed straight up to the Terraces to work on Liza Minelli, a V3 I always seem to hit at the end of a long day and always seem to almost send but never really top out. It only took me 3 attempts to send and finally get that monkey off my back. You can see a shot of Liza climbs up the short dihedral and out to the right onto the bright hanging block in the picture.

From there I went over to another long term project of mine, Shinister 2 V5. This felt even tougher than it ever has and might just be marked off of my project list for something a little better. While I was near the Run and Jump boulder, I sent some of my favorite warm ups at the Bald, Short Arete V1 and Short Face V2. I had passed by boulder 25 for so long without trying either of the V4's on it, so I decided to finally see what these routes were about. As soon as I started the moves on the Unknown V4 (problem 25a in the guidebook) I knew this problem was for me. The first moves are tougher and lead to a BIG jug halfway up the route and another good rail above it. It took me about 10 tries to send it, but this problem may just be one of my new favorites at the Bald! You can see the line climbing out the short roof and up to face below...

Feeling a little ahead of where I thought I would be, I pulled out the project list and headed out to some other problems I've been working on.

I headed to the Cluster and the French Maid area to send a couple of problems that climb slightly slanted fins of rock. The first went quick...Wooly Sacketh V4. I've worked this problem before and swear that I've sent it before, but I dont have it ticked off in my guide, so I thought I'd send it just to make sure. It was a fun problem and very similar to its tougher cousin next door, Ameliorated Anomoly V5. I didnt really think I'd have anything for this route, but after making a few grunting and grovelling moves to get higher on the route to some better holds, I sent the V5 with more ease than I expected. I'm a firm believer that some problems fit some peoples style better than others...and these 2 fin problems seemed to fit me very well! Ecstatic with the last 3 sends, I worked the top out to Ameliorated Anomoly a few more times to get it dialed, when "California Joey" walked up looking lost and confused. I had met Cali J at the bouldering tour of the North Side during the WNC Climbers Weekend...only a few days after he had arrived in the Carolina's from the left coast. So from here, feeling pretty pumped anyway, I decided to give him a quick tour of some of the better warm ups in the area. We hit the Simpsons Boulder first and sent Marge V1, Lisa V1 and worked Bart V1 before we moved on to the Classic Overhang Boulder and sent the Classic Overhang Traverse V2, a fun and classic traverse. From there we toured around the West side and I pointed out some great problems he should check out on his next visit...and we eventually made our way to the main trail and out of the boulders to our cars. I'm so used to bouldering solo, and that solitude and time to think and decompress are actually part of the reason I enjoy climbing by myself, but its always good to boulder with someone else that's psyched, motivated to send and have a good time!

No Bald trip report would be complete without mentioning the amazing quality and quantity of boulders found in the newly purchased CCC property on the West Side! As you can see in the photo above, many classic boulders (this is a shot of the Fun-Filled Boulder) are included in this property and signs are posted near the boundaries of the property to inform boulderers of the land their on. If you enjoy these boulders, please consider donating to the CCC to help pay them off. Right now, every spare dollar that is sent to the CCC is used to pay down this debt...that's what the WNC Climbers Weekend was all about, raising money to pay for these boulders (and it raised $4000!!!)

Also...I didnt want to let this new video of Hound Ears (and a Lost Cove route) from Brion Voges pass by without posting it up. Its impressive to see these southern boys tearing up the boulders no matter where they go...keep crushing fellas!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hound Ears Video and Results

Last weekend kicked off the first leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering Competitions at Hound Ears, near Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. The comp was rained/sleeted/snowed out on Saturday, but that just made for cold and crisp conditions on Sunday. If you havent caught this video of the comp and the results...check it out! Evidently Ben Newton was just getting warmed up at the bouldering tour of the North Side of Looking Glass during the WNC Climbers Weekend the weekend before, because he took 3rd in the Advance division...way to go Ben and everybody hopes Chewie gets well soon!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WNC Climbers Weekend Was A Success!!!

Here is the updated write up from Fox Guides...The event raised $4000!!!

For those that made the pilgrimage to Looking Glass this past Saturday, and for those that didn't, the event seems to have been a big success!!! Trail work was taken care of in the morning on the main approaches to the Glass, and climbing followed for those that could find dry rock.

The Bouldering Tour was a ton of fun! We didn't connect with Ron Funderburke, the guy who was giving the tour from Fox Guides, until we were almost finished bouldering, but that didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves! All but 1 of the winners couldn't make it to the tour, but Ben Newton was able to get in touch with 2 of his friends, Colle and Mike, and we all had a blast sending some fun routes. I was able to send a couple of V3's and made progress on a V4/5 project (I made it past the crux but didn't top it out for some stupid reason) I've been working on for a while now. Colle went on a rampage sending everything in sight and gave us all the psyche we needed to do the same ourselves. After tearing the North Side up, we headed back to Fox for the festivities.

The BBQ and silent auction were a big hit! There seemed to be 3 times as much stuff at the silent auction as there was last year and plenty of goodies for whatever style of climber you are, and for the ladies as well. I snagged a sweet circuit mat from Misty Mountain along with a great bouldering tote from Tsuga and a snazzy water bottle from the Access Fund (and I got my wife some nice yoga pants...couldn't forget a gift for her letting me go play all day). I cant wait to put all of the new gear to work soon!

If you follow Misty and Fox on Facebook, then you've seen their posts about how successful the event was...

Misty Mountain wrote...
"Misty Mountain
We want to give a big thanks to Fox Mountain Guides and everyone that came out for the Western North Carolina Climbers Weekend!! With your help, Misty was able to raise another $240 for the Carolina Climbers Coalition!! Thanks everybody!!!"

and Fox hinted at the success with this post...
"Fox Mountain Guides
It’s looking like the WNC Climbers Weekend made over $3,700 for the Carolina Climbers Coalition! Whoop whoop! Good Job everyone! Just waiting for some final $$ to come in for the grand total. Thanks to ALL involved, full report coming soon...."

I'm proud to announce that Upstate Bouldering also donated a total of $175 to the weekend and the CCC and I couldn't have been happier doing so...I know that money will be well spent!!!

If you were unable to get out to this event, keep your eyes peeled to the CCC site for all of the upcoming trail days and events (The Scene is being shown at several locations soon too)...and mark your calendars for December 10th and 11th for the Table Rock Adopt-A-Crag and SC Climbers Weekend!!

Here's a video of Travis Gray sending some of the routes we ticked off at the North Side...check it out!

summer tour of the northside boulders from Travis Gray on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Events Coming Soon...

There are quite a few events planned in the next few weeks for the Southeast climber and boulderer...

1) This weekend (September 24th and 25th 2011) is the WNC Climbers Weekend at Looking Glass, North Carolina. Come on out early and pitch in with some trail work on one of the approaches to the South Face, North Face and the Nose...and then stay for the climbing/bouldering, food beer, and tons of fun. As I've mentioned over and over lately, there will be an awesome silent auction where you can get some incredible gear for just a little coinage!!! Even if you don't help out with the trail day, you can still attend the climbing/bouldering and pay $8 for your dinner (dinner is free if you did trail work) and good time afterwards!

2) Triple Crown is coming up in 2 (Hound Ears is on October 1st) and 3 (Little Rock City/Stone Fort is on October 8th) weekends from now...if you haven't signed up yet, you might want to get on it before slots run out (which they usually do for Hound Ears and LRC). Here is a link to last years post about the comps with the older Beta videos from the amazing Andrew Kornylak...and here are a few new ones for this year. Anybody got what it takes to send a project on the golf course?:)

The Beta - Clinch Knot from Andrew Kornylak on Vimeo.

The Beta - Hole 18 from Andrew Kornylak on Vimeo.

Here is a link to all of the Beta videos on Vimeo also

The Horse Pens 40 comp is scheduled for November 5th get ready for that one as well.

3) Last but not least, some new or revamped blogs have popped up lately. If you haven't check out Eddy Ramirez's blog "Climbing Edventures", then click on over there and check it out. Eddy lives in Columbia, South Carolina and blogs about his adventures in the SC/NC area. He also keeps folks up to date on whats happening in the Columbia climbing scene, as well as the Western North Carolina scene.

And home boy George Evans is shutting down Huckleberry George and starting Press It Out instead, so make note on your blog rolls and follow George on his adventures as well.

Keep an eye out for the new Sasquatch Boulders Mini-Guide to pop up on Upstate Bouldering any day now! And the good news is that the problems listed are only the tip of the iceburg...literally...I have found an even bigger set of boulders past the Sasquatch Boulders, that I'm calling Shangrila, that are sure to provide some of the best routes in SC (the place reminds me a little of Jedi from what I've seen so far!)

I hope that everyone is stoked about the cooler temps down south and getting themselves ready for the best sending days of the year here soon! If not, then get out this weekend and find yourself in a boulderfield near you:)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bouldering Tour Winners For This Week's Adopt-A-Crag!

I have calculated the winners of the bouldering tours for this coming Saturday's (September 24th) Looking Glass Adopt-A-Crag they are:)

-Erich Purpur:
My favorite boulder problem in western, NC would have to be “Roof of Death” v5 at Blowing Rock Boulders.

-Eddy Ramirez:
A long endurance route, reminds him of longer roped routes, at Peachtree Rock Preserve in SC.

-Matt Bielejeski:
Favorite boulder problem - Hooked on Chronic V3, Grandmother Boulders, Boone, NC Why - Overhanging, committing crux, heady topout, but the grade makesthe moves accessible to many boulderers. Even if you are crushing V-sick testpieces, H.O.C. is a great problem worth doing, especially since it's just to the left of the uber-classic Ebonics V6. 80% of the moves on H.O.C. stay dry in the rain, so even if most of G-ma is wet, you can probably work on H.O.C.

-Benny G:
My favorite problem in NC just might be Chapter 13 at Lost Cove- fairly overhanging with super positive (and fairly small) crimps makes it difficult to latch the upper slopers and the huck to the odd hook move up top. One of my favorite things in a problem is when its techy feet with one of the key beta pieces being to let your feet cut just gently enough to maintain an overhanging sloper.

-Erica Lineberry:
The Claw V4 at Hound Ears - Tall but not too tall. Long moves to beautiful sharp crimpers. Technical face climbing at its finest!

I'll be sending you an e-mail with information about the tour, meeting time and other important info for this Saturday...dont forget its 1:30-5 and then beer, food and fun at Fox's place! Congrats to everyone and I look forward to having a killer time on some killer blocks!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dixon School Road Boulders Guidebook Review and Author Interview

I've been posting often recently about the new Dixon School Road Boulders Guidebook...and for good reason! This was a great project to help out ALL Western North Carolina provides solid info and history about Dixon and takes some of the impact off of Rumbling Bald by providing an alternative for the pebble wrestlers. I wanted to do a quick review of the guidebook, but I wanted to mainly spotlight the author, and his efforts to help not only local climbers, but the CCC also. Thanks Matt for all of your hard work!

The Review
After the dedication to Shane Cobourn, the table of contents, and a nice intro to the Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC), a colorful first hand history of Dixon is presented by “Uncle Gus” Glitch, one of the Dixon old schoolers. Beginning in 1983 and taking you through the years and influential climbers, Gus fills the reader in and entertains at the same time. Anthony Love, the CCC president, gives a detailed geology of the area before the usual driving directions, area description, and approach info. The guide uses detailed topos generated with super accurate GPS data, and makes it easy to navigate between boulders and to each route. Beginning with overview topos and proceeding to close up topos of the 2 main areas, Upper and Lower Dixon, then each boulder and each problem are presented in an easy to use spreadsheet format. After some notes on Lower Dixon, the first boulders and routes are introduced. With high quality black and white photo topos, the guide makes it easy to find you way to the correct route and not get lost along the way. Action shots, thrown in between the photo topos and route descriptions, get you psyched! 3 different indexes (alphabetical, by grade and by star quality) make it easy to find the route info you’re looking for in the guide.

Last, but not least, is some info and a map of the CCC’s purchase of 6 acres of SUPER classic boulders at Rumbling Bald. Including incredible problems, on amazing boulders like the Washing Machine, the Classic Overhang, Shady Grove, The Simpsons Boulder, Liza Minelli, and the French Maid Boulder, this tract of land has more classic problems concentrated in one area of NC than anywhere else…folks, this is the crème de la crème of NC boulder problems. This purchase is still not paid off and needs to be as soon as possible so the CCC can pursue other purchases and opportunities to provide Carolina climbers with new and further access. Part of the entire reasoning behind this guidebook is the Bald…to help pay for it and to help provide an alternative for those super busy weekends when the Bald seems to get way too much attention. If you weren’t around toward the end of last Rumbling season, the parking situation got to the point that if you didn’t get there by 9:30 on a Saturday or Sunday, you were turned away by the ranger who was enforcing the parking limit. Instead of taking the chance of not getting into the Bald on the weekends, Dixon makes an incredibly awesome substitute…especially if there isn’t a difference in driving time! Not only has Matt Bielejeski donated his time and effort to create a nice guidebook and donate ¼ of the profits to the CCC, but he has also helped to relieve the biggest issue most western North Carolina climbers have during the winter months, the Bald parking problem! I’ve climbed with Matt a few times and have always wondered what motivates Matt and the answer to a question I’ve always wondered…what’s pumpin through those headphones he wears while he’s sending? So, I got in touch with him for an interview…

Bio stuff…name…age…occupation…years climbing
Matt Bielejeski, 33, Recording Engineer and Studio Producer for Davidson College
16 years climbing

Favorites…music…bands…boulder area…boulder problemsMusic - Underworld, Trentemoller, Timo Maas, The Martin Brothers, Steve Lawler, Angel Alanis, Umek, Quivver, Plump DJs, Meat Katie, Loco Dice, Leggo Beast, Lee Coombs, Koma & Bones, General MIDI, Funkagenda, Dylan Rhymes, Dopamine, Diplo, Dave Clarke, Darren Emerson, Claude VonStroke, Circulation, Booka Shade, Bassnectar, Bassbin Twins, Bingo Players, Atlantic Connection, Carl Cox, James Zabiela, Tiga, Slam, Stanton Warriors, Joris Voorn, Deep Dish, Behrouz, Hernan Cattaneo, Coldcut, Crystal Method, Mark Farina, LTJ Bukem, Scott Allen, Dave Seaman, John Digweed, Sasha, Medway, Nick Warren, Luca Bacchetti, Oliver Klein, Pan Pot, Paul Woolford, Riva Starr, Tania Vulcano
I don’t listen to bands that much anymore - I’m usually listening to and buying tracks for ammunition in my DJ mixsets.

Boulder Area - Grayson Highlands, no question.

Boulder Problems - Highland Highball V2, GHSP; Classic Overhang V3, Blowing Rock Boulders; Hooked on Chronic V3, Grandmother Boulders; Haptos V4, Grandmother Boulders; Classic Arete V4, DSRB; Throttle V5, Grandmother Boulders;

How long have you been climbing and where did you cut your teeth/build your skills?
I started climbing in 1995 at Vertical Edge in Durham, but when I lived in Boone from 1996-2002, I got into bouldering so much that I sold my rope.
I hadn’t done loads of roped climbing up to that point, but I had done the requisite climbs at Pilot, been to Sauratown twice, followed at Moore’s three times, and been to the NRG three times.
With the quality and quantity of good bouldering in a 30-minute radius from Boone, bouldering meant more time on the rock, especially on days during the week when I could get in a 2 or 3-hour session.
2002 began 5 years of living in Orlando, 8 hours away from real rock.
Although I worked at the local climbing gym for awhile, it was really tough to get motivated while in Florida.
Upon relocating to Raleigh, NC in 2007, I returned to Grandmother Boulders, 221 Circuit, Blowing Rock Boulders, and smaller, lesser-known areas.
When I moved to Davidson (north of Charlotte) in August of 2008, I was much closer to real rock, and started exploring new bouldering options, including Grayson Highlands State Park in VA.

How did you find out about Dixon and long have you been climbing at Dixon?
I found out about Dixon through the CCC website, a few months before the official opening in April of 2009. I’ve been bouldering there since May of 2009.

How long have folks been bouldering at Dixon? And give me a little history of the place?
According to Gus Glitch, who wrote the history section of the DSRB Guide, Eric Zschiesche had done some problems there before Doug Reed explored the area.
In 1983 (the pre-bouldering pad era), Gus Glitch, Shane Cobourn, and Diab Rabie began developing DSRB through gritstone tactics - toprope to get the sequence wired, then the first person to solo get the FA and the naming rights.
Unless I could get definite name info for known FAs, the names in the guidebook are all provisional.

What made you want to do the guidebook to Dixon?
After discovering that I had a “home court” bouldering field, I poked around on the CCC forums to see if a guide would be kosher with the climbing community.
At the time, the only NC bouldering guide was the Rumbling Bald guidebook by Chris Dorrity (grab one if you don’t own it!).
I posted a specific question on the CCC forums - would it be OK to publish a guide since legal access was no longer an issue?
Valid discussion points were raised with regard to the extra traffic a guidebook creates, and how the extra traffic can affect future access.
At the time, the Rumbling Bald parking lot was seeing a lot of use, with cars parking illegally outside of the designated parking lot.
Ultimately, it was agreed upon that if anything, having increased traffic at DSRB could possibly lessen traffic at Rumbling Bald, which is a win-win for everyone.

How long did you spend making this guidebook?
From the day I got the idea “blessed” by the climbing community via the CCC forums, a little over 2 and a half years.

What are the classics at Dixon?
It really depends on how hard you’re pulling. There’s something for everyone. In ascending order:
• Classic Overhang V2
• Galvatron V3
• Which Came First? V3
• Venom V5
• Hard-Boiled V6
• Leaning Tower V8
• Incinerator V10

What’s your favorite problem?
Final Thought V1 is my favorite warmup. Classic Arete V4 is the favorite mid-grade for my difficulty. Shoulder Jam V5 is my favorite personal project.

Tell me a little about the upcoming bouldering Crushfest comp.
Saturday, November 19th - mark your calendars. Dixon Crushfest is sponsored by the CCC and Inner Peaks. Chip Ratteree from IP and Anthony Love from the CCC will be heading up the comp. I’ll be there selling books and taking some pictures, and Gus Glitch will be competing in his own special “Father Time” division, and still plans on sending many of his old problems. Stay tuned to the Facebook Group page for DSRB for more info.

Any other similar areas you’ve bouldered at before?
The main quality I noticed about DSRB was the sharpness of the rock. In my opinion, it’s on par with Hound Ears or Grayson Highlands boulders.

Why did you decide to give 25% of the proceeds to the CCC?
It was really kind of a no-brainer. The CCC provided legal access to the boulderfield, and as a way to thank the organization for access, donating a significant portion of proceeds from the book just made sense, especially with the recent West Side Rumbling Bald boulders purchase. Every dollar counts!

What else about the CCC do you like?
They’re a local climbing advocacy organization that does projects which directly impact my climbing experience.

Tell me a little bit about your musical preferences and the music you create.
In 1995, I started listening to EDM (electronic dance music), the larger umbrella genre which is home to all sorts of sub-genres (house, drum and bass, techno, breakbeat, dubstep). is handy if you’d like explore the differences in more depth.
After returning from 2 weeks of behind-the-scenes club photography in Glasgow, Scotland, I bought my pair of Technics 1200s. I began DJing locally around Boone, NC and maintained a popular 6-month residency at an underground club in Hickory, NC.
In 2002, I moved to Orlando to learn audio engineering, studio recording, and music production.
The music I produce is mostly dance music tracks, although I’m finishing up a downtempo 7-song project with Sanskrit vocals by Charlotte yoga instructor Christine Navarro.
You can listen to these tracks here:

Give me a link to a website folks can go to and download/listen to your favorite “techno bouldering” (as you so often post on Facebook) setlist that you have created.
6 downloadable mixes are located in the lower right-hand corner of the page. Throw them on the iPod and try crushing to tech house, electro, breakbeat, and techno.

Final Question…My moment of Zen came when…
I realized that my technique and power allow me to boulder on par with some of the skinmonkey types, even though I’m a big guy at 6’1”, 210lbs.

Matt is currently enjoying working on V4s and 5s, helping Aaron Parlier with grade confirmation for lower-grade problems at GHSP, cursing while doing any kind of crack move, and occasionally clipping bolts just to throw everyone off :-)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bouldering Tour Giveaway Entries and Videos To Get You Psyched!

I'm shocked that only 3 people have e-mailed me their entry for the chance to win a bouldering tour of spots that rival Rumbling Bald and Boone, but just don't get the hype these other spots get. If you haven't seen or heard of these boulders before then you're not alone...but trust me when I say that the quality of routes and the atmosphere of being in Pisgah make for some pretty amazing boulder session! There is still one week left to get your entries in and at least give these 3 guys a run for the money:)

-Erich Purpur:
My favorite boulder problem in western, NC would have to be “Roof of Death” v5 at Blowing Rock Boulders.

-Eddy Ramirez:
A long endurance route, reminds him of longer roped routes, at Peachtree Rock Preserve in SC.

-Matt Bielejeski:
Favorite boulder problem - Hooked on Chronic V3, Grandmother Boulders, Boone, NC Why - Overhanging, committing crux, heady topout, but the grade makesthe moves accessible to many boulderers. Even if you are crushing V-sick testpieces, H.O.C. is a great problem worth doing, especially since it's just to the left of the uber-classic Ebonics V6. 80% of the moves on H.O.C. stay dry in the rain, so even if most of G-ma is wet, you can probably work on H.O.C.

I'm looking forward to seeing some boulders that I regularly climb on in a new light and also seeing some new boulders I've never seen with this tour! Here are some videos to get you psyched on the bouldering in Pisgah...the first 3 are of the North Face/Side of Looking Glass and the last is of the Nowhere Boulders at Johns Rock...enjoy and send your entry in today!

The video below doesnt want to play all of the time...if its not working when you load this page, either reload the page or go to this link to see it on I really dig this video a lot!

This isnt the best video, but you can see some of the boulders...

And one of the godfathers of southeast bouldering, just crushing the North Face Boulders granite!!!

Nowhere Boulders...much less known, but still plenty of fun routes!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dixon Crushfest Competition, Crowder's Adopt-A-Crag, Training & A Great Amenity Lost To Upstate Boulderers

This post is covering a few odds and ends and setting the stage for my next post, which will be a review of the Dixon Boulders Guidebook and an interview with Matt Bielejeski, the author of the guidebook.

First thing, Matt Bielejeski posted recently on Facebook that The Dixon Crushfest Bouldering Competition has just be set for November 19th! This adds excitement and another great stop to the Southeast fall bouldering comp season...Hound Ears on October 1st, LRC on October 8th, HP40 on November 5th and now Dixon on November 19th! This works out well with Adopt-A-Crag days in places like the Obed (9/10), Looking Glass (9/24), Crowder's Mtn (10/1) & Table Rock SC (12/10) plan on cramming your fall weekends with tons of climbing related activities, either by working on a trail or flailing in a competition!!!

Matt has also announced that the first bacth of Dixon Guidebooks has sold out! He is getting ready for the second batch of guidebooks, but I recommend if you want to get one, you go ahead and preorder one before they get here and sell out also. Click on this link to take you to the previous post about how to order the guidebook.

And that brings me to another new piece of info...there will be an Adopt-A-Crag at Crowder's Mountain State Park on October 1st. The focus is to clean up some graffiti that has popped up on some of the rock faces, and there will be some anchor replacement on the Red Wall and Resurgence Walls. Donations are being accepted in order to purchase the new equipment and folks are being asked to "sponsor a bolt" by donating $5 each. Even if you have only climbed here once, $5 is a minor cost to help keep this incredible resource in safe shape. If you are interested in helping out or getting further information, then check out/ask to be added to the Facebook group "Belayed Gratification and Palmetto Pebble Wrestlers Columbia, SC" or "Dixon School Road Bouldering". Both of these FB groups are great for keeping in touch with locals, learning about upcoming events and meeting new climbing partners...check em out!

With the onset of fall and the fact that the leaves are finally giving up their chlorophyll and falling from the trees, that means bouldering season around here is just about to get cranking! I've been trying to make up for all of the time I've been spending inside with our new family lately by getting as many bike rides and bouldering training sessions in as possible. I've been biking between 10-15 miles a few times a week and then pulling down at Big Eastatoee afterwards. I haven't really "trained" for bouldering in a couple of years...I've always seen it as something I just jump back into when the season gets here and bouldering will train me back into shape. But after taking my focus almost completely away from bouldering for a few months, I realize that I need to get back into reasonable shape or I cant enjoy my time on the boulders as much. I've been doing sets of boulder problems...5 of the same route (with 1 minute rest in between each) followed by a 2-3 minute rest before I jump on the next harder problem. I've typically been climbing 5-7 different routes, from V0-V3 in a session for a total of 30 or so routes in less than an hour. When I first started doing these sets, I couldn't make it through 4 problems and I would flail on many problems I used to send in my sleep...but now, after about 10-12 training sessions, I'm feeling a little more like normal. I'm still not that strong, but I feel like I'm a little better prepared for the upcoming season and I'm getting really excited about sending some projects from last season and developing some new stuff along the way!!! I hope you've been getting yourself ready for the cooler sending temps and you're as stoked as I am about this fall:)

On a little bit of a sad note...for someone like me that spends A LOT of his time up on Highway 11 enjoying the plethora of outdoor activities, The Market At Keowee Towne has been my go to spot for incredible quality food, beer and wine. They are famous for their Blue Plate Special for lunch that Lee and crew always cook up to perfection. They always had fresh organic veggies and fish, the BEST tenderloin you could ever sink your teeth into, and they always had a nice specialty beer that made me smile even more while I was eating lunch there after a good boulder session. The Market sent out an e-mail last night informing its loyal customers that they will be shutting down on September 6th, only a few short days from now! I for one will miss the class, awesome variety and quality they always provided...thanks for treating this dirty, chalk covered hooligan with the same respect you gave the obnoxious golf crowd (if not more)! You will be greatly missed in the local community (and by this boulderer especially) and we hope that you can find a way to reopen soon!