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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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!

1 comment:

  1. Brad, glad to see you're back out there climbing with the newly-expanded family in tow!