Inform and Inspire

Welcome to Upstate Bouldering, designed around bouldering in the Upstate region of South Carolina. This website is intended to inform the reader of local spots in SC, Western NC and Northeast GA, as well as a blog of my experiences climbing at these great spots. I hope everyone learns of a new place to climb or is inspired to climb somewhere close to them. If you have any comments, please send me an e-mail.

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Tuesday, 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!