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Jocassee Gorges Bouldering

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Jocassee Gorges Bouldering Rock Climbing 

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Location: 35.0006, -82.8647 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 3,589
Administrator: Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brad Caldwell on Aug 27, 2013


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BETA PHOTO: Overlook near the crest by the parking lot.


The Jocassee Gorges are a remote and secluded 250 square miles of southern appalachia found in the mountains of Pickens and Oconee Counties of South Carolina. Within the Jocassee Gorges are numerous boulderfields, some big and some small, with a variety of problems to choose from. Bouldering is the only legal climbing related activity, as roped climbing is specifically mentioned as illegal in the Jocassee Gorges Management Plan...a meeting with the CCC and SCDNR state leaders around Thanksgiving 2010 verified that bouldering IS NOT the same thing as roped climbing and therefore will be managed as hiking/scrambling around (actually DNR called it "hiking on rocks") and not climbing!

Among the bigger boulderfields in the Gorges are the Bearfields and Jedi Boulders, each with around 300 problems and Lighthouse with 150 routes or so...followed by Little Eastatoee, Beasley Gap, Sasquatch, Pow Wow, Waterfall and Ghost Town. In total, there are well over 1000 established routes, from Vb-V9, in the Gorges (not including the 100's of deep water bouldering routes on Lake Jocassee and Lake Keowee)! Not only is this the best kept bouldering secret in the Southeast, but the area also provides incredible mountain and road biking, whitewater and flatwater kayaking, backpacking, camping and all around wonderful outdoor experience. For more details on routes at Little Eastatoee, Beasley Gap, and Sasquatch in the Jocassee Gorges and Granite City, North Side of Looking Glass and Nowhere Boulders in Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests...check out the Upstate Bouldering Guide (second edition will be printed before winter ) and for current news on new areas, routes, access and trail days, check out!

Getting There 

Various boulderfields have various directions, but in general, most boulders are within 15-20 minutes of the intersection of Hwy 11 and Hwy 178 in northern Pickens County.

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 9.2 miles from here

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By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Nov 11, 2013
Check out Southern Appalachian Bouldering, the newest guidebook to bouldering and deep water bouldering in the Jocassee Gorges, along with several other great bouldering destinations like Yonah, Pisgah, 107 Boulders and Corner Rock.
Rock Climbing Photo: Cover of Southern Appalachian Bouldering guidebook
Cover of Southern Appalachian Bouldering guidebook
By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Nov 11, 2013
And here is updated information about the Upstate Bouldering Guide, which covers several bouldering spots in the Jocassee Gorges, along with Granite City, and selected routes at the North Side of Looking Glass and Nowhere Boulders in Pisgah.

Rock Climbing Photo: Cover of Upstate Bouldering Guide
Cover of Upstate Bouldering Guide
By Michael J Yarros
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Dec 16, 2014
Went out here to try and find some bouldering as I'm visiting the area for work. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything that looked 'climbed'. I did find the bridge and a walking path to some fishing spots along the river. But any extra beta on getting to specific spots would be nice for the occasional traveler like myself.

Thanks :)
By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Dec 17, 2014
Sorry to hear you came up empty handed! Which bouldering area in specific were you looking for? Many routes see little use at times and start to grow over with moss, lichen and weeds at the base. If anyone ever has problems finding areas or problems, please get in touch here on MP.
By Mitch Redford
Sep 27, 2015
what is the name of the boulders across the road form the long shoals wayside area? I was exploring there a saw a few signs of people climbing there, are there many established problems there?
By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Sep 28, 2015
Hey Mitch...the spot you're referencing is called Little Eastatoee. It has nearly 100 established routes from Vb-V7/8 and it is covered in the Upstate Bouldering Guide in details. There is a lot of poison ivy there, so usually folks wait until it dies down to start bouldering there in the fall. There are some really good problems, along with really bad ones just like anywhere else, and there is still room for development of harder routes. There is a small trail that was built through the boulderfield at the parking lot, but it has slowly overgrown over the last few years. There are also other smaller boulderfields and single boulders dotting the landscape on the trail down to the junction of Little Eastatoee and Big Eastatoee Creeks.

From LE/Little Eastatoee, there are upwards of 1500+ boulder problems within a 15 minute drive!!!
By Mitch Redford
Oct 4, 2015
Thanks for the info Brad! What area would you consider to be the best in that general area?
By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Oct 4, 2015
Best overall may be Big Rock, followed closely (if not tied with) by the Bearfields, then Jedi and finally Lighthouse. The only one of those areas with a published guidebook is Big Rock. The new edition will be out before Halloween, a few copies of the old edition may still be available at Sunrift in Travelers Rest. Little Eastatoee and Beasley Gap both have a handful of really great routes in the V0-V5 range and Sassafras has some really great routes in the V4 and up range...these 3 are all smaller boulderfields, but have short approaches unlike the 2 mile average hike in to each of the first 4 I mentioned. Shoot me a message and we'll try to coordinate a boulder session.
By westry whitaker
Jun 30, 2016
Hey Brad... my parents live on Lake Keowee and we'll be visiting over the holiday weekend. I'm hoping that you may be able to provide some beta for a DWS sesh or a decent lap or two (clear of poison ivy if possible). If you'd like to meet up on Saturday or Sunday that would be cool, too. Hope to hear from you!
By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Jul 2, 2016
Sent you an email Wes...enjoy the area!

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