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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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

July Roadtrips

The time is almost here for my July road trips! I'm so stoked to get back up to Grayson Highlands in Virginia...if you have no clue what I'm talking about, then fill yourself in with some beta:) We're gonna spend this Sunday through next Wednesday up there soaking up the perfect weather and awesome bouldering! I cant wait for Lily to see the wild ponies...she may not remember it, but we'll have some great pictures to remind her! Towards the end of the month, I'm planning another trip, hopefully, up to Grayson Highlands and Boone...if weather doesn't permit, then I'm gonna hit whichever southeastern boulders will have the best weather. Summer is usually a down time for me, but I'm so happy to be taking a few trips to some stellar bouldering areas instead of just getting fat and old:)

Here is a link to last years trip report and the video I threw together to intro the place to new folks...check it out!
2010 Trip Report
2010 Video

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

That Hooker Left Me With Something I Didn't Want!

Just a quick post...
So, almost two weeks ago was the Lilly Boulders trip and what I didn't mention in my trip report post was that I thought I might have tweaked my ring finger on my left hand while I was pushing hard to send Hooker. I've had a few sessions since at Big Eastatoee Wall, one DWS session on Lake Jocassee, a fun trip up to Granite City where I almost repeated Moonshine Still V4/5, and a sweaty trip up to the Bearfields...and each session seemed to make the finger hurt more and more. Its now hurting to the point that I can barely get my wedding ring on without a little pain, and it is the same pain I had when I popped a tendon in the pinky right beside it last August on Hades V3. I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to admit that I'm sick or injured until I really have to shut it down, and i was hoping it wouldn't get to this, but it looks like I'm gonna have to take a few weeks off to let this thing heal up a little before the summer road trips really start up. Once again, we have reserved a cabin up near Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia, about an hour north of Boone, for the July 4th break. We had such a great time up there last year and we're super psyched to be able to take Lily with us this time:) Then later in July, I'm planning another trip up to Grayson and Boone and maybe over into Tennessee if the weather looks good. Until then, keep a look out for upcoming reviews of a few Flashed Pads and a big review of 8-10 brushes!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Evolv Shaman Climbing Shoes Review

I'm not usually one to buy into the hype of the newest and latest climbing shoes. I've been climbing long enough to know that its more than a shoe that makes the biggest difference in performance. But I have also learned over the years that shoes have the ability to pull your performance down, if they are not the right shoe for the right type of climb. When I first started climbing, I wore La Sportiva, and went through 3 pairs before I switched to Five Ten due to what I thought was the stickiest rubber in the business. I wore through many many pairs of a variety of Five Ten shoes before Evolv finally came out and the Defy's became my shoe of choice. The Defy shoes were comfortable and in my opinion had stickier rubber than any other shoe out there. I have blown through more pairs (somewhere around 6 or 7) of Defy shoes than any other shoe I can think of...and sent some of the hardest routes I've ever sent in them. The areas I mainly climb tend to be more slabs than overhangs, so I wasn't in direct need of an aggressive shoe that would hook me to a tiny overhanging nub like a bat. But when a half price deal came up on the Optimus slippers, I bought them up and learned that even an aggressive shoe can also be a good slab shoe. Since then, I've mainly climbed in the velcro brother of the Optimus, the Optimus Prime. Before I move on any further, let me say that I have a large foot, long and wide, and this has caused trouble from time to time when I look to buy climbing shoes. I am a huge fan of the wide toe box and the more rounded than pointed toes. These shoes fit like a dream and still climb slabs better than any other shoe I've ever tried. So recently, when the Shaman came out, I was reluctant because I felt like I had already found the best climbing shoe for me in the Optimus Prime.

The Shaman is an aggressive shoe that's closer to the design of the La Sportiva Solutions than any other shoe I've seen...this shoe is obviously intended to be Evolv's answer to the Solutions. Solutions have been the gold standard with many climbers for years now, but once again, due to the size of my foot I have yet to find a pair that fit me (I've tried on the biggest size and still need some room). So when I was recently looking for a new pair of Optimus Primes to replace my stinky and slowly wearing out old pair, I decided to go out on a limb and for once try the hype of the new shoe design. I've been able to session with these shoes in a variety of conditions and types of climbs and have found some great qualities and a few not so great.

Overall, the Shaman is designed for overhanging and heel hooking routes. Straight out of the box, they fit very comfortably for my foot, and the 3 strap system pulls the shoe tighter to your foot than any other velcro shoe I've used. The middle strap did add a little bulk to the top of my foot, but I thought it was this strap that really locked my heel into the heel cup like no other shoe ever has. The downturn is as expected, a little odd feeling, but the "love bump" and extra room in the knuckle area form my forefoot into a comfortable downturned shape that feels a little less forced than other aggressive shoes I've tried. I was a little surprised at the level of comfort before I had even worn them on the rock, and was looking forward to giving them a few test drives!

Of course, the first test I gave them were some of the classics in the Jocassee Gorges! I tried some classic slabby routes on the Meat Grinder boulder in the Bearfields first and found out that these guys don't really have a slabby secret like the Primes do...bummer in that aspect, but then again I was expecting a different shoe to compliment the weaknesses of the Primes, so for me, it's just fine. From here I went to the delicate face climbing of Best Feeling at Little Eastatoee...they performed about as well on this route as the Primes, pretty much what I was expecting. I think that I have gotten too used to the rounded toe box of the Primes and the more I climb delicate faces in the Shamans, I'll start to pick up the nuances and find them to be possibly a better shoe for this type of route. I then worked some of the only overhanging stuff around on the Batman boulder at Little Eastatoee...this is what they were obviously designed for, hooking and sticking into the smallest numbs so you can focus more on your hands. This is when I started to like them a little better, but I was still a little reluctant about my purchase.

I wanted to try the shoes on some plastic also to see if they are designed for gym rats instead of outside boulderers. I hopped on my home woody in the back yard for a couple of sessions and was treated to some of the stickiest shoes I've ever climbed plastic in. These guys stuck to newer holds with good texture like a dream and performed almost as admirably on 15 year old slicker holds. From the slopers on my Font wall, to edges and crimps on another wall, and the overhanging features on the 45 degree wall and roof, these shoes gave me all the confidence in my feet to push hard for the send on some project routes. I noticed a big difference in HIT training also...almost making it feel like I was cheating with the feet instead of struggling with them late in the training session when they become more problematic. Overall, I was very pleased with the performance of these shoes in a gym setting!

Luckily, I had just received a copy of The Obed: A Climber's Guide to the Wild and Scenic from Greener Grass to review and so a trip to The Obed would really give me an idea of how effective these shoes are in their perfectly intended environment. The Obed is notorious for huge overhanging roofs that require precise and powerful footwork to save your arms for the real cruxy parts of the route. I was hoping to see how comfortable they were on some longer sport routes, but having our newborn Lily with us made it a little difficult to rope up...but the Lilly Boulders provided an awesome proving ground for the Shamans. The first routes I hit were on the Beer boulder, which is severely overhanging with big reaches between incut edges...the Shamans ate it up! The toes hooked into the incuts and stuck like glue to allow me to move out the roof with much less effort than ever before. After sending a few routes I hadn't expected to on some other overhanging boulders, I put the heel hooking to the test on the area super-classic Hooker. Hooker moves out the edge of an extremely overhanging boulder, heel hooking the whole way on some slightly sloping blocks and edges that leads to a tougher move to the lip and finally a mantle. I've never been a good heel hooking climber, I always prefer to turn it into a toe hook and I tend to lose the send many times because of that. I loaded up at the base of Hooker and was extremely shocked at how good it felt to move through the series of heel hooks and out to the lip...what once was a crux for me was now nullified and I could focus on other parts of the route that challenged me instead. After not being able to send first go, I put it together and sent second try...and I give much of the credit to these shoes!

I also discussed these shoes with a climbing buddy that works at an outfitter and has had a little experience selling these shoes. He is very critical of shoe performance and felt that these shoes are perfect for larger volume feet, but are also just as effective for narrower footed individuals too. He has an average sized foot that is slightly a little narrow and he mainly climbs in Solutions. After wearing the Shamans for a few sessions, he felt that he didn't lose any performance and sent at his top level. He's been frustrated also on the business side of things due to the lack of larger sizes being available in the Solutions, but thinks his customers have been very satisfied when they've purchased the Shamans instead.

I haven't had the shoes long enough to find out if they get the same "dead dog" stank as many other Evolv's or if they are built for longevity, but most everything else about these shoes impressed me. If you are like me and prefer to have a few shoes to climb in for different circumstances, the Shaman can fill a big void and help you to push your limits without falling short due to less effective footing! They may not be designed for V5 slab, but they eat up the V5 overhangs and roofs. If you have a larger foot and have had trouble finding a comfortable fitting aggressive shoe to send hard in, I highly recommend the Shamans!

Here is a link to the Evolv website and more info on the Shaman

Outdoor Guidebooks Now Available In The Greenville Tech Library!

I have worked at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, SC for the last 10 years as an Anatomy and Physiology professor. I love my job and seeing the new opportunities in life I'm able to provide my students by helping them progress on towards their degree goal. I also like to encourage my students, along with most anyone I meet, to get active and's always been the easiest method for me to decompress from work and the sometime difficult times in life. I'm also very passionate about the environment, sustainability and conservation while I was working with the librarians at my campus (Northwest campus in Berea, SC) on a project to order eco-topic items for the library, I had them order some of the local guidebooks for rock climbing (Selected Climbs of NC), bouldering (Rumbling Bald Bouldering Guide), kayaking (Carolina Whitewater), mountain biking (Off the Beaten Track: Pisgah), and hiking (Hiking South Carolina and NC Waterfalls). More books are going to be ordered soon also! I wanted to make this aware for any Tech students in the area that may be interested in checking these books out and experiencing a new outdoor activity. Thanks to Adele Webb and Michele Rubino, the Northwest campus librarians, for ordering these books for everyone to enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Obed: A Climber's Guide to the Wild and Scenic Guidebook Review

Andy Wellman over at Greener Grass Publishing has been so awesome to hook me up with a pre-release copy of the new The Obed: A Climber’s Guide to the Wild and Scenic guidebook by Kelly Brown, and I was not disappointed! If you’ve not seen the other 2 guidebooks released by Greener Grass, Horse Pens 40 Bouldering or Stone Fort Bouldering, what pebble have you been hiding under? These guidebooks have set the precedence for future bouldering guides, and now, Andy is bringing this same vibrant, eye catching style to trad and sport climbing guides. The Obed Guidebook is designed around the plethora of incredible sandstone sport and trad routes found in this beautiful area of Tennessee, but also delivers the first easy to understand guide to the Lilly Boulders, one of my all time favorite boulderfields.

Outline of the Book:
Starting out with the forward from Rob Turan, long-time Obed Ranger and route developer, the tone is set for the guidebooks verbal presentation…respect and reverence for such an amazing climbing and outdoor recreation area. The Introduction that follows walks you through climbing the best routes at the best areas for each different time of the year…I really enjoyed this method of introducing each area. The history lesson that followed was rich with details of development and those that pushed the standards and grades. I assume this history was written by Kelly, but another developer’s, Chris Jones, view of the history is included later in the book to provide more info and insight. Plenty of info for the travelling Obed climber is presented next, including airplane and driving beta, a satellite image overview of the climbing areas, yearly weather info, and amenities in the area, with a spotlight on the Lilly Pad climbers camp and the Obed Hostel. After a take on The Obed from the perspective of one of the Lilly Pad’s dogs and some important climbing ethics all Obed climbers are asked to follow, the Best of the Best routes for each area are laid out in a ticklist format to give you all the motivation you need to plan your next road trip. Scattered throughout the rest of the book are perspectives of Obed experiences by Brad Carter, Frank Harvey, James Gose, Glenn Ritter, and James Litz that helps to bring different views of the Obed from different times during development.

The Obed:
If you’ve never been to or heard of The Obed, you may not be alone. This awesome little climbing secret, hidden on the Cumberland Plateau in northeast Tennessee, has seen development since Southeast legends Bob Cormany and Craig Stannard first laid into the Lilly Boulders and Lilly Bluff back in the early 70’s. Since these early adventures, more and more southern climbers have held Obed in high regards for its impeccable sandstone, steep walls and incredible roofs. I have never seen the sheer quantity of amazingly featured roofs at any other climbing area I’ve traveled to in many different states and countries! If you want powerfully pumpy, overhanging endurance routes, look no further. The 478 trad and sport routes are laid out into the different climbing areas, North Clear Creek, South Clear Creek, Lilly Bluff, Little Clear Creek, Y-12, and The Obed itself. With incredibly sharp and vivid photos and photo topo’s and approach info, it’s finally easy to find your way to each area…especially compared to the previous guidebook beta of The Dixie Craggers Atlas. This guide includes a few new routes in each area, compared to the most recent Dixie Craggers, and with more than line drawn topo’s and fuzzy black and white photos from far off distances, getting to the crag and to the route you want is now easier than ever. At the beginning of each area, photos of the cliff, parking and approach guarantee that you are at the right place and on the right route. Hiking time to the cliff, best season to visit, sun/shade info and if this is a rainy day crag info is also included to help plan your visit.

The Lilly Boulders are a miniature version of the nearby cliffs and are a little bouldering oasis in practically any season you visit. As a boulderer mainly, I have visited the Lilly boulders many more times than the different roped areas around the Obed. In the past, a slightly off (OK, way off) Dr Topo guide was all most folks had access to in order to guide themselves around these boulders…and if you dug deep enough on the internet, you might find a copy of the much better, old hand written competition guide Kelly put out years ago. This kept the traffic down in the boulderfield for a while and kept people at the more popular bouldering destinations in the Southeast…I have a feeling that the volume of boulderers is about to increase now with this updated and easy to use guide. 164 problems from V0-V13 are listed, and just like the HP40 Bouldering guidebook, there are plenty of easier warm up routes that still aren’t listed (I honestly think there’s probably 50 more V0’s or V1’s scattered around the area that have never made it to a topo, so beginner boulderers, don’t think it’s for hardmen only). A correctly oriented and displayed overhead topo finally guides you right to your boulder and the photo topo of most routes reassures that you’re not climbing the wrong route. A few boulders and problems have had name changes, and as with bouldering grades from guide to guide, some grades were adjusted also. No matter what though, the classics remain the same…KB ArĂȘte V2, Buddha’s Belly V4, Hemlock ArĂȘte V4, and Hooker V4 are some of my all time favorite routes I’ve ever sent in any boulderfield.

The only problem I could find with the guide is minor at best…a handful of the routes were left off of the ticklist in the back. But as long as they weren’t left out of the guidebook, I think most folks will be fine with just checking the box beside where the route is listed and not doing it on the ticklist in the back. It doesn’t matter if you are a local or travelling from far away, an old school tradster, new school sport climber or boulderer of any grade, this guidebook is an awesome purchase and guaranteed to get you to the best routes in the Obed, or what many folks think may be the best routes in the world!

Besides a minor ticklist mistake, The Obed: A Climber’s Guide to the Wild and Scenic is a homerun of a guidebook. With more pages of info than the HP40 or LRC Guidebook, and the first trad, sport and boulder guidebook offering by Greener Grass, this guidebook is destined to find its way to every Southeastern climber’s bookshelf! Don’t forget that now is the time to order your copy of this incredible tome…the pre-sale special gives you $5 off the purchase price, enters you in a drawing for the $200 road trippin’ gift and as Andy has become known for, 5% of the proceeds will be donated to a great cause, the East Tennessee Climber’s Coalition! Thanks again Andy and Greener Grass for putting together another great guidebook, for giving back to the community that these guidebooks service and for hooking this Upstate Boulderer with a copy for review...keep up the good work and I'm always looking forward to the next Greener Grass release!

Click here to pre-order your copy!

Check out a sample of the guidebook here

Stay tuned to Upstate Bouldering for the next review coming this week…the new Evolv Shaman climbing shoes!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lily's First Trip To Lilly

With the arrival of The Obed: A Climber's Guide to the Wild and Scenic Guidebook this past week, a road trip was in order! We left Thursday morning and were in Knoxville by around 2-3pm...but as soon as we hit the exit for UT and downtown, the skies opened up and down poured the first day session away. My hopes were to get 2 days of climbing in, but now I was thinking I would be lucky to find dry rock on Friday. I've been to Lilly plenty of times when it was wet, and thankfully the plentiful roofs always provide some dry routes, but I was looking forward to some of the slopier routes there. Unlike the sandstone at Horse Pens 40 or Little Rock City, Lilly tends to be overhung and blocky, with the occasional Fontainebleau full hand sloper thrown in for good measure. I had recently bought a bunch of new gear I was looking forward to trying out, including some Evolv Shamans, a new Flashed Toolbag chalk bucket and a couple of new Flashed brushes, one with boar's hair and another that looked like the usual Metolius brushes. I've tried the Shamans out at Little Eastatoee once, but the heat and slabs were not the best combination to get a feel for some new shoes. Keep an eye out in the next week or so for some reviews of all of the above products, including the new Obed Guidebook also!

When we got there Friday, the ground was still wet from the storm the day before and many of the topouts were wet too. I had my ticklist ready and my plan was to climb all of the V2 and below routes I hadn't climbed before and I had a few V3 and V4 targets that would be the icing on the cake if I could send any of them. I haven't been bouldering all that much lately because of the heat and the fact that new babies require a lot of attention, so I wanted to be realistic with my expectations and I thought a few V2's would probably be about the best I'd send. I started out on the Beer Boulder, warmed up on the easy V0's facing the trail, and then had at the roof problems High Life V2 and PBR V2. I gained a little inspiration from a Red Eft I saw climbing on a mini-boulder nearby...

After flailing for a little while every time I hit the lip and then finally remembering how to boulder again, I sent both of these great routes! Check out High Life below...

I was feeling pumped already, but that satisfaction of sending some new routes pushed me on to an area I hadn't checked out much before, The Maze behind Jr's Corner. As you are approaching the intersection at the end of the first corridor, this incredible arete/prow, with a drawing to the left of it, jumps out at you and begs to be climbed. Here's a shot of the drawing...

Across from the prow, I sent the Corridor Arete V1 and Stashbox V0 to warm up and looked in the guide to find out the prow was called Pow Wow V4. It wasn't on my target list for the day, but Pow Wow was too much to pass up. It took a few tries, but after a couple of power moves to bump up to a big greasy slopey sidepull, I got my feet up, tossed my left hand for the skinniest part of the arete, barndoored my left foot out into the air and finally brought it back in to be able to finish up the route and an incredible unexpected treat for the day! Below is a sequence of 3 shots from what I felt was a cruxy barndoor...

From here, my photographer and Lily decided to head for the hammock and leave me to myself to finish the session. I headed to the Backdoor Boulder and sent Sidedoor V2 and then bounced over to the Transformer (Turansformer after Rob Turan an amazing ranger and route developer) Boulder and sent Sideview V1 and Olive Oil V1 before getting a few futile tries in on Iron Man V3. Iron Man is listed as one of the area's best V3's in the guide, but this thing is way too reachy for me! I was able to get a send of Autobots V3, that went to a big undercling and then on up a short section of overhanging route. With that send, I "sent for the cycle" by sending a new V1-V4 in the same session, always a goal of mine on a road trip! Feeling a bit winded and wearing out quick, I headed back to the hammock for a break, check out the happy baby below:)

After resting up a little, and sending Europa V3 (awesomely fun sloper top out that totally reminded me of Fontainebleau) right around the corner from the hammock while the ladies were napping, I headed out to the Lilypad Boulder and the Dungeon Boulder to try to tick off most of the rest of the V1's and V2's that were left on my target list for the day. These boulders were soaked and seeping so even the V1's were unclimbable...oh well, its always good to have something for the next trip! So I headed over to the last few routes I wanted to work at the Leper and Hooker Boulders. Hooker V4 was one of my main targets for the day, because its one of only 3 routes in the guide below V10 that gets 5 stars (the other two were Hemlock Arete V4, which I've already done and Jr's Corner V6, which was out of the question). I got the blood flowing again with Missing Finger V0 and Banished V2 on the Leper Boulder and immediately jumped on Hooker to spend anything I had left in the tank trying to capture the send. Hooker is one of the poster child routes for Lilly for sure...very bouldery with overhanging heel hooking to an OK shelf and then a mantle made tougher by the fatigue factor. Surprisingly, I almost made it out to the shelf at the tip of the boulder first go, so I loaded up big for the second attempt. I'm not usually a heel hook fan, and don't feel secure in most shoes heel hooking, but the Shaman's heel hooking ability is absolutely amazing and stuck me to the slopey blocks like glue! After barely reaching the lip on my second try, I mustered every bit of strength I had left to toss for the higher hold and turn it into a mantle to top it out. I got back down to my pad with the biggest grin on my face and my body feeling like it was refuse left on a battlefield. While I was packing up and trying to beat the next round of thunderstorms rolling through the area, I felt so satisfied with the day and the 2 V3's and 2 V4's I had unexpectedly sent! Grades aren't everything, thats for sure, but achieving a goal you originally didnt think was attainable is so satisfying and always the cure for a bouldering drought!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Clymb Members Only Sales Events!

I've just recently joined The Clymb and love how they send you deals on some of the best climbing and outdoor stuff. The Clymb is a new member only shopping site that focuses on good quality outdoor equipment...and right now they have some great deal on Revolution and Pusher gear. The crash pads are at least 1/3 off and if you join using the link below, you will be given $10 off your first purchase! I've been wanting one of the new Pusher Spot pads, and I was able to order one just now for $80...what a deal! They also have a good variety of Revolution pads for around $100, some chalk bags for $15 and the best brush kit you can buy for only $12! If you are stocking up for the summer or getting gear slowly for the return of cool temps, The Clymb is a great way to save some money that you can use to fill up your tank for the next road trip!!!

Click here to join The Clymb and receive $10 off your first purchase!

Update (6-11-11)...Looks like the $10 off offer is over now, but there's still a little while to snag the good deals on the Revolution and Pusher products and all kinds of other good gear, clothes and shoes!

Monday, June 6, 2011

New WNC Local Spot: Whitewater Falls Boulders

So, this is not really a spot that you would travel to visit, but if you're already in the area, this makes a nice stop for a picnic, sight seeing and a quick boulder session. I've played around on these boulders for many years, well before they built the "new" bathrooms and "new" parking area, and have always had a smile on my face on the way home. There are around 10 routes worth climbing, from V0-V4 or so, and quite a few of these are pretty fun routes...Lightning Arete V4 is the best problem here and well worth climbing! Combine this stop, with a visit to Granite City, a dip in the Chattooga to cool off and then Cashiers for lunch or dinner for a great day of bouldering, outdoors and food in the upper Jocassee Gorges!

I've put together another photo topo mini-guide booklet that you can print out and take with you to the it is. Hope you enjoy!!!

Whitewater Falls Paking Lot Boulders Mini-Guide

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The New Obed Guidebook Is Smokin!

I got an advance copy of the new Obed Guidebook in the mail Friday (Thanks Andy!) so I could review it for this website and an incredible guidebook!

I've already compared the Lilly Boulders section in the book to the old topo's (old comp topo and the Dr Topo version also) I used for years, and finally the overhead topo to these amazing boulders is easy to follow and then the photo topo's help you figure out what route you just sent! Same goes with the sections of North and South Clear Creek, the sport climbing areas I'm most familiar with in the Obed...easy to figure out topo's and now some great photo topo's to make sure you're on route. This is the thickest guidebook so far from Greener Grass, and delivers more beta per page than any of the other two. With boat loads of roped routes and half as many boulder routes as the Horse Pens Bouldering Guidebook, this is a value packed volume of sandstone delight! We're taking a road trip to Knoxville and the Obed next weekend and after that, I'll be posting my full review of the book and its nuances. Below is a link to the pre-sale...order now, save some dough, help out the East Tennessee Climbers Coalition and get a chance to win some road trip cash!

The Obed: A Climber’s Guide to the Wild and Scenic
Including a complete guide to the Lilly Boulders
By Kelly Brown

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-SALE! All Pre-Sale copies are $5 off the retail price and will be shipped on the same day they arrive at the warehouse. The bulk shipment is expected to arrive around the beginning of July. All Pre-Sale purchasers will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win $200 for a climbing road trip from Greener Grass Publishing!

Don't forget to follow Upstate Bouldering on your e-mail by simply entering your e-mail address above...I promise there is no spam involved and you will only receive up to date posts, and the occasional chance to win special prizes and top secret topo's!

Besides this guidebook and the new Dixon Guidebook review that's coming soon, I'm also going to give some reviews for the new Evolv Shaman climbing shoes, 3 different crashpads, a side-by-side review of 4 different brushes, and a chalk bucket that any boulderer would drool over! I'm also going to start the "Dirt Baggers Delights" series of posts with some of my el cheapo tips on good gear for less. Keep you eyes peeled for all of this to start in a little over a week!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Local Spot- Big Eastatoee Bouldering Wall

One of the spots in the Jocassee Gorges that I've been bouldering at the longest, 20 years or so, is a small mini-cliff on the side of Big Eastatoee Creek. The Big Eastatoee Bouldering Wall, Big Easy or Big E, a chossy mini-bouldering wall, always provides enough routes to get a good pump in and still cool off quick if you get too overheated! Odd for Jocassee Gorges Bouldering, Big E is more of a late spring, summer morning/evening, or early fall spot. Big E is easiest accessed by crossing the creek from the Dug Mountain Fishing Access, which is located only minutes from highway 11, the Little Eastatoee boulders and the Beasley Gap boulders. I recommend going in a swim suit and sandals and packing your important stuff in a dry bag, just in case you take an unexpected dip while fording the creek. Most of the routes here are sit starts on slopey crimps, that follow small edges to a top edge and then downclimbs back to the sitting position…for the full grade difficulty on all of the routes (except the traverses), you must get both hands on the uppermost point of the route and then downclimb back to the starting position. Climb all 21 of the routes in a session for the Big E Circuit, then cool off with a dip in one of the swimming holes upstream or downstream of the bouldering, before grabbing a good beer with some good lunch down the road!

Directions: From the 4 way stop at the junction of Highways 11 and 178, drive west on Highway 11, towards Lake Keowee and Walhalla, for approximately 5 miles and then turn right onto Roy F Jones Road. Follow Roy F Jones for approximately 1.3 miles, over the bridge, and turn right into the Dug Mountain Fishing Access parking lot, just after the bridge. The bouldering wall is located immediately across Big Eastatoee Creek, past the gate in the parking lot used by DNR to stock the creek with fish.

I've also included some ideas on other summer time activities to enjoy while you're in the area. Enjoy!

Big Eastatoee Bouldering Wall Mini-Guide

I had a little trouble printing this guide, but here is how I figured it out so it would print into a nice little booket format...
1. Click the above link,
2. Click "File" on the webpage under the Google Docs logo, not on the main toolbar for the browser
3. Click "Print (PDF)"
4. When the print window comes up, under the Page Handling section, change "Fit to printable area" to " Booklet Printing"
5. Make sure that the booklet Subset is set to "Both Sides", the "Auto-Rotate" button option is checked and "Left" Binding is selected.
6. Hit "OK" now to print
7. Do not rotate the paper when asked to while flipping the paper to print on the back side of the pages...if you rotate the paper, it will print the backs of each page upside down and out of order.
8. After its printed, fold the paper in half to make an 8 page booklet!