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 boulderers...it 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!
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).
http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide/ 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 :-)