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, October 26, 2011

Fall Projects

After having such a great day at the Bald a few weeks ago and sending a few projects I had been working on for years, I've kept that sending flow going by ticking off other projects at various boulderfields lately...and the Lily project at the bouldering wall at the local park in Pickens, seen in the above photo;)

A few weekends ago, we made our way down to one of my all time favorite boulderfields in the Southeast, Boat Rock. One route that has always eluded me, for various reasons, is Lost Digits V3. This is a great problem that is much easier if you have a longer reach, but for me, the crux hold has always been just out of reach, and my shoes never seem to stick well enough to help me elevate up to it...until this trip. As soon as I got to Boat Rock, I headed straight to Lost Digits and started working the only took about 5 tries and I had finally snatched the crux sidepull near the top and I was topping out. It was so good to mark this one off the list, and I almost sent another project while I was there too, Watermelon (Bob's Arete) V4. I didn't snap a photo or anything after the send, but I did find this fuzzy video showing the route on the internet:

I also made another trip up to the North Face of Looking Glass and some of my personal favorite boulders in the area. I have long been infatuated with a thin crimpy arete just above the Warm Up Wall that some old schoolers have called V4/5. I have attempted this route for years and just couldn't ever seem to put it together for the send, but it all came together on this trip and the slabby bulging arete with some finger chewing crimps finally went was so nice to finally top out after so long (honestly, I'm still savoring this send)! While I was there, I also sent a highball-ish V2 problem on the Loose Flake boulder that I hadn't sent in years. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I was more focussed on sending than anything else that day.

On more of a local front, I've been sending a few FA's and projects in the Bearfields and Jedi lately too! These incredible boulderfields seem to keep giving up awesome routes, even after I start to think the areas are tapped!

In the Bearfields, I FA'ed Anklebreaker V3, Pumking V1, Jack-O-Lantern V1, Simon SDS V4/5 and Jump...Mantle...Good Dog V4/5 and finally sent Walter V4, a sweet problem I've been trying to send from the original lower start holds than an easier, higher start. Simon SDS was a long time project to an older problem, Simon V2, that I had named after one of my felt really good to make the odd beginning moves and link into the stand start problem. Jump...Mantle...Good Dog is a variation of Simon SDS that uses a deadpoint to a lip to the left of Simon and a tough mantle to finish it up. In the picture below, you can see Simon SDS following the thin seam up into the scoop to the right and Jump...Mantle...Good Dog deadpoints left to the lip once you hit the well lit hold in the middle of the face.

In Jedi, I FA'ed a LONG time (like nearly 10 years) project called Anakin Skywalker V5...this is one of my favorite sends in a while! It starts high on a 1/4 pad, 3 finger crimpy sidepull with a high foot and makes a powerful pivot move to get your other foot on and then follows a thin seam to an easy top out. After looking at this route and trying it off and on for years, it was awesome to send it finally! I also FA'ed (could be a Alzheimer FA...after sending it, it seemed like I had sent it before, years ago) Mace Windu V3 that starts on a pair of crimps with bad feet, to the left of Anakin, and throws high for a good arete. You can see the seam that Anakin climbs to the right of the crashpad in the picture below, and Mace Windu on the two spread out crimps above and to the left of the crashpad...and while you're looking at this picture, you can see Use The Force V2/3 to the right of Anakin (it climbs the seam in front of the small tree), Lightsaber Crack V1 following the crack to the left of the tree on the left side of the picture and the Padawan Arete V0 behind the biggest tree in the picture. All of the routes on this boulder are super classic and super fun!

I also FA'ed R2D2 V2 and Boba Fett V3 in Jedi, both being slopey and slabby problems with a few crimps on the other side of this same boulder...and I finally sent another project of mine, Luke Skywalker V3/4 similar to and in between R2D2 and Boba Fett.

On a little bit of a sadder note:
I am very close to my dogs...we have 3, 2 (Luna and Simon) are around 14 years old and I have raised from puppies or young dogs, and the other (Butter) is around 9 or so. Luna and Simon have been my best buddies through more shit than I can describe and helped pull me through a lot of the bad times. Both have been through hell themselves...both have had heart worms and were successfully treated and both have had their bouts with cancer. Recently, Luna's cancer has come back and is overtaking her very fast...and soon we will have to put her to sleep:( She is the reason I've been climbing with more determination and visiting Jedi more lately, its one of her favorite places to sniff around while I boulder. She has been my "warrior princess" in the woods for years and here companionship and ferocity to defend me from whatever we may encounter (bears especially) will greatly be missed! Here is a shot of Lily, myself and the dogs in Jedi.

And here is a picture of Luna giving me a good spot while I'm sending Obi Wan Arete V4...I renamed the easy, bailout version of the route Luna Wan Kenobi V2 in honor of her:)

Thanks for being the best dog in the world Luna!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Table Rock State Park Adopt-A-Crag!!!

So the official info release for the upcoming Table Rock State Park Adopt-A-Crag has come out and the CCC and Upstate Bouldering are super excited about this event in our own back yard! Check out the flyer, post it on your Facebook page, e-mail it to all of your climbing buddies, repost it on your blog...we are wanting as big of a turn out as possible!!! The trail day, slideshow and free food is set for Saturday December 10th and the climbers day is scheduled for Sunday December 11th...come help with the trail, camp out and check out the incredible climbing at Table Rock or take a tour of some local boulders near the park instead the next day! If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at the link at the top of this webpage or e-mail the SC representative of the Carolina Climbers Coalition, Stephen Scoff at If you haven't seen the official release on the CCC website, click on over and check it out!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Sasquatch Boulders Mini-Guide

So I've finally finished my initial development of the newest bouldering area in the Jocassee Gorges, the Sasquatch Boulders. I havent sent anything harder than a V4, so there are still plenty of projects, as well as many unclimbed boulders up in Shangri-La to clean and FA. Why Sasquatch you may ask? Download the mini-guide and read the bizarre story that dominated so many conversations between me and my friends when I was younger and exploring the Jocassee Gorges! Sasquatch is not an area for everybody, especially beginners. There are a few easier routes, but the isolation of the area, coupled with the desperate feeling on some of the top outs and the bad landing zones overall make this a place the experienced boulderer can get away from the crowds and truly experience more of a wilderness bouldering adventure. If you have any questions, or add any FAs to the area, please feel free to e-mail me for answers or so I can update the guide with your new route info.

I hope you enjoy!!!

Click here for the Sasquatch Boulders Mini-Guide

Hound Ears Comp Video...Another Good One!

Matt De Camara has a great photo gallery of last weekends Hound Ears competition over on his Cruxn on over and check out the eye candy! If you havent seen this great video he and Zach Lesch-Huie put together of the comp, then check it out as well...

Hound Ears 2011 (Triple Crown Bouldering Series) from Far From Home Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Rumbling Bald Trip Of The Season!!!

I'm so psyched that the temps have finally fallen to the point that bouldering is no longer super sweaty with 100% humidity! I like to schedule the classes I teach easch semester so that I have at least 1 afternoon off during the week that I can go climbing during. I usually like to hit Rumbling Bald on these half days, but the weather hasnt cooperated with the temps that are better for sending until this past week. So, the first chance I got to head up there with the thermometer below 70, I took it in a heartbeat!

I got up to the Bald around 1:30 Monday, packed my Behemoth crashpad (I like to bring the BIG one when I'm flying solo) and slowly meandered up to the West Side boulders. The breeze was pleasant and despite the poison ivy still covering many boulders and landing zones, the rock felt sticky and easy to grope. I headed straight up to the Terraces to work on Liza Minelli, a V3 I always seem to hit at the end of a long day and always seem to almost send but never really top out. It only took me 3 attempts to send and finally get that monkey off my back. You can see a shot of Liza climbs up the short dihedral and out to the right onto the bright hanging block in the picture.

From there I went over to another long term project of mine, Shinister 2 V5. This felt even tougher than it ever has and might just be marked off of my project list for something a little better. While I was near the Run and Jump boulder, I sent some of my favorite warm ups at the Bald, Short Arete V1 and Short Face V2. I had passed by boulder 25 for so long without trying either of the V4's on it, so I decided to finally see what these routes were about. As soon as I started the moves on the Unknown V4 (problem 25a in the guidebook) I knew this problem was for me. The first moves are tougher and lead to a BIG jug halfway up the route and another good rail above it. It took me about 10 tries to send it, but this problem may just be one of my new favorites at the Bald! You can see the line climbing out the short roof and up to face below...

Feeling a little ahead of where I thought I would be, I pulled out the project list and headed out to some other problems I've been working on.

I headed to the Cluster and the French Maid area to send a couple of problems that climb slightly slanted fins of rock. The first went quick...Wooly Sacketh V4. I've worked this problem before and swear that I've sent it before, but I dont have it ticked off in my guide, so I thought I'd send it just to make sure. It was a fun problem and very similar to its tougher cousin next door, Ameliorated Anomoly V5. I didnt really think I'd have anything for this route, but after making a few grunting and grovelling moves to get higher on the route to some better holds, I sent the V5 with more ease than I expected. I'm a firm believer that some problems fit some peoples style better than others...and these 2 fin problems seemed to fit me very well! Ecstatic with the last 3 sends, I worked the top out to Ameliorated Anomoly a few more times to get it dialed, when "California Joey" walked up looking lost and confused. I had met Cali J at the bouldering tour of the North Side during the WNC Climbers Weekend...only a few days after he had arrived in the Carolina's from the left coast. So from here, feeling pretty pumped anyway, I decided to give him a quick tour of some of the better warm ups in the area. We hit the Simpsons Boulder first and sent Marge V1, Lisa V1 and worked Bart V1 before we moved on to the Classic Overhang Boulder and sent the Classic Overhang Traverse V2, a fun and classic traverse. From there we toured around the West side and I pointed out some great problems he should check out on his next visit...and we eventually made our way to the main trail and out of the boulders to our cars. I'm so used to bouldering solo, and that solitude and time to think and decompress are actually part of the reason I enjoy climbing by myself, but its always good to boulder with someone else that's psyched, motivated to send and have a good time!

No Bald trip report would be complete without mentioning the amazing quality and quantity of boulders found in the newly purchased CCC property on the West Side! As you can see in the photo above, many classic boulders (this is a shot of the Fun-Filled Boulder) are included in this property and signs are posted near the boundaries of the property to inform boulderers of the land their on. If you enjoy these boulders, please consider donating to the CCC to help pay them off. Right now, every spare dollar that is sent to the CCC is used to pay down this debt...that's what the WNC Climbers Weekend was all about, raising money to pay for these boulders (and it raised $4000!!!)

Also...I didnt want to let this new video of Hound Ears (and a Lost Cove route) from Brion Voges pass by without posting it up. Its impressive to see these southern boys tearing up the boulders no matter where they go...keep crushing fellas!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hound Ears Video and Results

Last weekend kicked off the first leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering Competitions at Hound Ears, near Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. The comp was rained/sleeted/snowed out on Saturday, but that just made for cold and crisp conditions on Sunday. If you havent caught this video of the comp and the results...check it out! Evidently Ben Newton was just getting warmed up at the bouldering tour of the North Side of Looking Glass during the WNC Climbers Weekend the weekend before, because he took 3rd in the Advance division...way to go Ben and everybody hopes Chewie gets well soon!