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Cooks Wall Trail and Rebolting?
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By Noah.J
From Carrboro, NC
Jul 11, 2014
Breithorn ski descent

I posted this at the CCC page too, but the forum there is just barely alive, figured the idea would get more attention here.

Having been out to Cooks several times it's clear that not many people climb there, probably in no small part due to the difficulty finding the climbs. There's no clear trail now, and getting there requires bushwhacking. I uploaded a photo with what I believe to be the easiest access, but it's no trail.

Once you're there, some of the climbs are bolted with 20 year old mixed metal bolts/hangers. With only an easy 1hr hike in, and weather that makes it a great destination when Moore's is too cold and Pilot is too hot, this place should get some more love. Not to mention it's got more 5.9-5.11 sport climbs than any other crag in the region.

Any interest in approaching the park administration with some kind of organized trail building and rebolting effort?


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Jul 11, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

Noah.J wrote:
I posted this at the CCC page too, but the forum there is just barely alive, figured the idea would get more attention here. Having been out to Cooks several times it's clear that not many people climb there, probably in no small part due to the difficulty finding the climbs. There's no clear trail now, and getting there requires bushwhacking. I uploaded a photo with what I believe to be the easiest access, but it's no trail. Once you're there, some of the climbs are bolted with 20 year old mixed metal bolts/hangers. With only an easy 1hr hike in, and weather that makes it a great destination when Moore's is too cold and Pilot is too hot, this place should get some more love. Not to mention it's got more 5.9-5.11 sport climbs than any other crag in the region. Any interest in approaching the park administration with some kind of organized trail building and rebolting effort?

I haven't been there since last year, but every time I have been there (only 3-4 times)there was a nice trail going right to it. It was a little hard to spot the start of the trail coming off of the main trail, but once found it was a nice trail and no bushwacking was required. It broke off of the main trail near some boulder and there was a ribbon and/or a cairn marking it in the past. Has it really changed that much? Despite what the directions on RC.com say, I have never had to go down a gully, rappel, or bushwack. I do agree about some of the bolts and that it is a fantastic winter alternative since Sauratown closed. Good luck...I no longer live in the area.


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By Noah.J
From Carrboro, NC
Jul 11, 2014
Breithorn ski descent

I think there may be a decent trail to the eastern side climbs, but the stuff on the west side doesn't have a clear trail. Even the cliff base has just a faint foot track that's broken between climbs.


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Jul 11, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

My memory is pretty poor but I think that the trail I used dropped down off the ridge and went below Breakfast Wall, Tang, and the left end/Cooke's Fin (western areas). There was a fairly nice trail that passed along the bottom of those areas. From that trail, there was a more faint trail that went over to the lower wall and EMLA (eastern areas). So when I have been there, I had the easiest time getting to the west side climbs...but like I said, it has been over a year and a few down trees and some overgrowth are all it takes to change trails that are not used all that often.


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By ABG
From Winston-Salem, NC
Jul 11, 2014

Honestly, if you aren't going down a wide open valley you probably haven't gone far enough on the trail. There is a really straightforward trail that leads down to the tang wall and the majority of the other routes. From there it is a minor bushwack back east to the cookbook area.


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By Neil Rankin
From Greensboro, NC
Jul 11, 2014
Looking down from the top of pitch 3 on Rights of Spring, Pine Creek Canyon, CA.

Noah.J wrote:
I Any interest in approaching the park administration with some kind of organized trail building and rebolting effort?


No, that would be a terrible idea for several reasons:

1) Climbers do not have permission to climb at Cook's Wall and it is not contained within the Hanging Rock State Park climbing management plan. Partly this is due to the fact that it is not clear who owns the land where a portion of Cook's is located. Part of it is likely on private property, and the park couldn't give us access anyway.

2) The Park has no idea about the climbing at Cook's Wall. Involving the Park with the area will only create work for them, and fears of liability on an unmanaged resource. I can tell you, there first inclination will be to say, "No climbing at Cook's Wall until we can assess the are and figure out a management strategy."

3) It's a good thing that there are areas that are not frequented. I certainly don't want more people climbing at Cook's. The trail work would be immense, the erosion on that terrain horrendous, and quite frankly, most people don't want anything to do with the vast majority of the routes up there.

In short, Cook's is really cool, and I can understand your interest in the area Noah, but it's probably best just left in it's current state. Please do not approach the Park about the climbing up there, because it will almost certainly accomplish nothing other than shutting the area down. And while I know there are Cook's routes listed here on Mountain Project, as someone who wants people to climb up there, I'd be more comfortable if there were no routes at all. Some areas are best left to those in-the-know who are motivated and talented enough to seek out the unbeaten paths.

If you want to discuss it, please feel free to contact me on here. I'm actually the CCC rep for the area, and would be happy to shoot the shit with you about it.

Cheers,
Neil


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By nbrown
From western NC
Jul 11, 2014
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai

Neil,

I thought the park officially allowed climbing over there? Could've sworn there was even Park info on the place at some point -- thought only Hanging Rock proper was out. It's been a while since I've been out there so maybe I'm confused and just made that up. Or, perhaps the rules have changed.

Anyway, if the info on this site has negative consequences for access then I'd urge someone to consider taking it down.

It's a shame -- so much good climbing (and mtn biking) in that region, and so little access. But a big thanks to you guys for doing your best to improve the situation.


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By Neil Rankin
From Greensboro, NC
Jul 12, 2014
Looking down from the top of pitch 3 on Rights of Spring, Pine Creek Canyon, CA.

Hi Nathan, technically you can climb over there, but the Park doesn't really own all of that property, so it's not quite legit. In that case, I guess the Park doesn't have the right, or would be unwilling, to exclude us from any of it. I will look into this at the beginning of the week, and see if I can clarify. Regardless, it's best to keep a low profile up there in my opinion.

-Neil


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By Noah.J
From Carrboro, NC
Jul 12, 2014
Breithorn ski descent

Thanks for looking into this Neil. I agree with Nate that if having the info up here looks like it could compromise access, then we should pull it. Hopefully that's not the case, but I think we'd all like to keep climbing there open a priority over widespread knowledge about the area.


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By Brian Payst
Jul 14, 2014
grayson highlands

Like Neil said, the ownership at Cook's is a little uncertain. The park does list "climbing at Cook's and Moore's walls" as an activity in the park so it's officially allowed on the land they own. The CCC board was discussing a rebolting effort up there a couple of years ago when we found out that the property boundaries are a bit unclear and the park may not own all of the cliff line. We were all set to pull the trigger on it when that made us rethink things and pull back. Neil will check up on this and see if there are official options we can follow, he's the man when it comes to that area.

Brian
President, Carolina Climbers Coalition


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By ABG
From Winston-Salem, NC
Jul 14, 2014

I know in one of my discussion with the Superintendent, Robin she mentioned that they found that the park owned more of the area on the west side than they had previously thought. What are this affects i'm not sure.


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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Jul 14, 2014
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.

I would think access would be threatened more by somebody dying as a result of a bad bolt than replacing them, if done discretely.


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By David Barbour
From Longmont, CO
Jul 15, 2014

M Sprague wrote:
I would think access would be threatened more by somebody dying as a result of a bad bolt than replacing them, if done discretely.


Yeah, if access is already dubious, I can't see how replacing some bolts would change anything.


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By Brian Payst
Jul 16, 2014
grayson highlands

Depends on who owns the land. If the park owns it, any bolting would need to be cleared with them. I don't think there would be any problems replacing them, but still would have to check with the rangers. If it's private property and the land owner doesn't care then that's cool. I learned that the park sent out a GPS crew to map out that section, so we may be able to clear up the ownership question. Good part is no one in their right mind is climbing at Cook's in the summer so we have some time to figure out what the options are.


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