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, July 14, 2012

WNC Local Spot - Stony Bald

Stony Bald


Perched around 4200’ up, off of the Mountains to Sea trail and Blue Ridge Parkway, Stony Bald is a nice addition to Pisgah Bouldering. With slightly cooler temps and some fun routes, Stony makes a nice stop while driving along the Parkway or a good addition to mountain biking or trail running at Bent Creek or the North Mills River area. There are a variety of boulders in the area, but slightly overhanging tends to be the trend for most of the Unclimbed and First Boulders, with many fun slightly pumpy routes.

Stony is a relatively new bouldering area in Pisgah and has seen minimal development. There is still plenty of loose/hollow rock that can send you off onto the pads unexpectedly, so be careful pulling on anything that doesn’t seem super solid. Unlike the bouldering in the forests surrounding Looking Glass, Stony seems to dry fast and is south facing, generally exposed to the sun and making this a place preferred in colder weather, but doable in summer weather also due to the elevation. While I was sending routes on the Unclimbed Boulders recently, a bad thunderstorm was pummeling Looking Glass while I was enjoying the views above the storm clouds and seeing the lightening torment the forest below!

Check out a quick video of El Swiper V2, possibly the most classic problem in the area so far…



Driving Directions:

From the epicenter of Upstate Bouldering (junction of Highways 11 and 178 at Holly Springs Grocery Store), follow highway 178 north for a curvy 25 minute drive, out of the Jocassee Gorges, past the SC/NC line, eventually into Rosman NC…and hang a left at the first red light. Past the Rosman Community Pool on the left, turn left at the stop sign, drive about a ½ mile to the junction with Highway 64 and turn right. Drive another 10-15 minutes into Brevard NC, stay on Highway 64 (either of 2 ways through Brevard) past the Ingles, all the cheap fast food and hospital to the junction with Highway 276 at Pisgah Forest. Turn left into the forest on Highway 276, drive past the Davidson River pay campground, the Ranger Station (worth a stop if you have never been in before), Coontree picnic area (great swimming hole for all ages) and stay right on Highway 276 at the fork for the Fish Hatchery and North Side Boulders. Follow 276 past Sliding Rock (pay CLASSIC sliding and swimming hole that you’ve got to slide down at least once), the other turn for the North Side Boulders, and the Cradle Of Forestry, to the junction with the Blue Ridge Parkway…turn right, north, on the BRP. Drive past a few tunnels and the Mt Pisgah area (lodging, camping, restaurant and country/convenience store) to Elk Pasture Gap, where highway 151 intersects the BRP on the left and park at this intersection in the small gravel parking lot. Many different groups of outdoor enthusiasts use this parking area, so try to park in an organized manner so as many other cars as possible can park beside you.

Approach:

From the gravel lot at the intersection of the BRP and Hwy 151, cross the road and walk with the traffic about 100 feet to pick up the white blazed Mountains To Sea Trail, which is also the Shut-In Trail, on the right. Hoof it over a small hill to a view of the BRP (and a possible side approach trail) on the left and very soon after will be the Unclimbed Boulders. To get the main bouldering trail and First Boulders, continue down the MTS/Shut-In Trail after the Unclimbed Boulders another 2-3 minutes to a small low slabby rock on the left and the best marked trail so far on the left…bust a left up the trail 20 or so feet to the Wake And Bake Boulder on the left. Don’t forget to “leave no trace” while approaching and at the boulders.

Season and Route Recommendation:

I only started climbing here recently, in the summer of 2012, and find it a little steamy in the middle (1-4pm) of the day and actually somewhat tolerable around these times…but being exposed to the sun on the side of the Blue Ridge makes it a warm spot to climb, especially when the air temps are hot. The temps and friction would obviously be best in the fall to spring (minus when the BRP is closed for icy/snowy winter weather). Stony has a small circuit (15 or so problems) of routes that are great for beginners-intermediate. Not to mention, with some grooming and care, this place could produce a few more classic crimpy & slightly overhanging routes. I think there is at least one route in each grade worth sending at Stony Bald (but you might as well climb all 18 routes listed on Mountain Project while you’re there): Pack It Up V0, Bottle Rocket War V1-, Hollow Prow V1/2, Wake And Bake V2, El Swiper V2, Unclimbed Arete V3, and White Squirrel V4/5 are my personal favorites.

Day Trip Recommendation:

If you’re heading this way, you might as well add a mountain bike ride at Bent Creek or North Mills River beforehand and if you’re getting hot after that, then grab some hydration at the Pisgah Country Store, and a dip at Skinny Dip Falls before either heading down into the Cradle Of Forestry, Looking Glass Falls and all of the Looking Glass and Nowhere Boulders…or stay on the Parkway to take a great hike, dip in some swimming holes and have a mellow second session on the couple of boulders at Upper Falls of the Graveyard Fields. Check out some basic info on the Graveyard Fields Boulders in the 2 submitted photos on RockClimbing.com

Stony Bald Mini-Guide:

Cut and paste the topo and route list below to a Word document and print it up for a hard copy mini-guide to the area…or simply use the Mountain Project app or website from your smartphone to access the beta and pictures of Stony Bald.


Stony Bald Route List:Unclimbed Boulders:

A. Unclimbed Lowball Boulder

   1. Unclimbed Lowball V1/2

   2. ULR V0

B. Unclimbed Highball Boulder

   1. Unclimbed Highball V1

   2. Unclimbed Arete V3


First Boulders:
1. Wake And Bake Boulder

   a. Pack It Up V0

   b. Wake And Bake V2

2. Hollow Prow Boulder

   a. Hollow Prow V1/2

   b. Hollow Prow Warm Up 1 V0

   c. Hollow Prow Warm Up 2 V0-

   d. Hollow Prow Warm Up 3 Vb

3. White Squirrel/El Swiper Boulder

   a. Blind Justice Slab V0

   b. White Squirrel V4/5

   c. El Swiper V2

4. Fireworks Boulder

   a. Bottle Rocket War V0/1
   b. Roman Candle V0/1

   c. Sparklers V0

   d. Jumping Jacks V0

 


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