Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Little Eastatoee: Spotlight On The Best Feeling Boulder
With the rise in temps and loss of perfect sticky bouldering weather, I have almost stopped climbing completely and started mountain and road biking more and more. I like to take a little time off from climbing each year to try to heal up a few nagging injuries and focus on muscles that aren't overused, but out of shape from lack of use. Biking always helps me to shed a few pounds and mountain biking especially helps to firm my core up in order to hop and navigate the bike around and over obstacles. But after a week of riding all my favorite trails at Isaqueena, DuPont, Bent Creek, the Jocassee Gorges and the Swamp Rabbit Rail-to-Trail, I really started to miss bouldering and the challenge of sending new routes. That's always been one of the most attractive aspects of bouldering to me...progressing and climbing new routes (FA's or just new to me). I've grown so accustomed to being focused on projects and developing new areas, that I have yet to get bored with bouldering in over 10 years. Even when I'm not climbing my best, I still like to get out and climb something different or clean up a dirty route I've overlooked before. I almost forgot about that zest that bouldering gives my life over this past week of biking...and after a great road ride on and around Highway 11 the other day, I stopped off at Little Eastatoee at sunset to send a few of my favorites and work a few projects. After this short bouldering session, I felt so rejuvenated and excited again...and 2 days later I'm still excited. Ahhh...the power of bouldering!!!
One of the better boulders at Little Eastatoee is the Best Feeling boulder, seen above with routes drawn on it. There are a few slabby warm ups on the right side of the boulder and then there are 2 area classics climbing up each side of the bulbous arete. Space Together was a route I sent a couple of years back, and at the time I felt it was around a V5...but it felt like I was sending the line incorrectly and there was probably an easier way. After dialing the stand start in with a few sessions, I ticked off the sit start again and felt that it was more like a V4 than a V5. Another upstate boulderer sent the route a month or so back also and thought it was a 3 star V4...if you are in the area you should definitely take a stab at Space Together V4! A squatty sit start leads to a full length reach/deadpoint out to a small 2-3 finger, half pad crimp...get your left hand established on the slopey edge and your feet pasted to the rock perfectly and go to a small crimpy sidepull before deadpointing up to a small 2 finger divot/pocket near the top, before finishing on a pretty easy top out. After ticking off Space Together, I turned my attentions to the unsent route to the right of it...Best Feeling. Named after a Keller Williams song, and covered by String Cheese Incident, Best Feeling V3/4 is a tough stand start route that climbs similar territory as Space Together. Start with a right hand crimp on the face and left hand around the corner on a shallow, slopey crimp...get your feet established under you and super highstep your right foot onto the sloping edge below the right hand crimp. Ratchet yourself up to a couple of bumps and a slopey sidepull for the left hand and a slopey crimp below the mini-lip of the boulder for your right hand and then on to the same 2 finger pocket on Space Together and finally the top out. After goofing around with this route for a couple of years, I finally put it together for the send, and it felt so good.."it was the Best Feeling in the world"! Both of these routes are super classic feeling and climbing routes and absolutely amazing to be this accessible and close to the road! If you haven't visited Little Eastatoee yet, get out there early in the morning or around sunset and climb a few of the worthy routes at this outdoor bouldering gym!
I will be finishing up the second edition of the Little Eastatoee Bouldering Guide here soon and will make it available on this website as soon as I can get it ready. Until then, here is a route list for the photo topo of the Best Feeling Boulder seen above.
1) Space Together V4
2) Best Feeling V3/4
3) Super Scooper V0
4) Kang'Solo V0