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Laurel Knob
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
'Shimer Down T 
A Second Way (Variation Finish to Seconds) T,S 
Aloha slab T 
Annie Get Your Guns T 
Arrested Development  T 
Before the Settlers Arrive T 
Better late than never T 
Biopsy T 
Black Flag T 
Buried Treasure T 
Canyons of Laurel T 
Central Pillar Direct Finish T,S 
Central Pillar of Laurel T 
Clippidy Doodah... S 
Clowns to the Left of me T 
Cotton Pony  T 
Cruising with the Top Down T 
Defective Sonar T 
Dike hike - Monster Groove T 
Dillard Arete T 
Don't call me surely T 
Dry streak T 
Fathom T 
Fathom Direct T 
Fathom Escape Hatch T 
Finger Lickin' Good T 
Friction Addiction T 
Frolictown T 
Fruit of the Poisonous Tree T,S 
Funky Chicken, The T 
Get it while it's hot T 
Gibbet , The T 
Girl friend route T 
Groover (Gaskin Finish) T 
Groover Variation (Fischesser Finish) T 
Groovin' in the name of the Laurel T 
Have and Not Need T,S 
High & Dry T,S 
Hone Ranger T 
Hypocrite's Corner T 
Jokers to the right  T 
Keel Hauled T 
Laurel's Girdle T 
Laurel's Snake Dike T 
Legendary "F" Bomb, The T 
Manatee Fluid T 
Mechanical Bull T,S 
Mirage  T 
Mirage Direct Finish T 
Monster Groove Direct Start T,S 
Monster Groove Reject Start T 
Mutiny T 
Nana's Bananas T 
Nanna Gets Her Groove On T,S 
O.K. Corral T,S 
Oasis T 
Old Times' Sake T 
Permission Granite T 
Pirate's Cove T 
Pirate's cove Alt start T 
Pirate's Cove direct finish T 
Puff The Magic Dragon T 
Quantum Mechanic's Arete T,S 
Rejected Radar T 
Rock Eating Tree T 
Route Of The Living Dead T 
Seconds T 
Squirrely man T 
Steep in the Teacups of Laurel T,S 
Stegg, Roy Fathom ALT. T 
Stellar Sonar T 
Stemming Laurel T 
Stingray T 
Two Rattlers in Your Face T 
Unfathomable T 
Use It Express T 
Use It Or Luge It T,S 
Use it or Luge it Direct Start T 
Walkin' Da Plank T 
Wild Turkeys T 
Wild Wild West  T,S 
Wormhole T 


YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 8 pitches, 1000'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Peter Young, John Whisnant, Greg Siren - 1972
Page Views: 11,131
Submitted By: Jeff Mekolites on Aug 26, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (31)
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Fathom, Laurel Knob, NC.


Fathom climbs a huge right leaning dihedral, right in the middle of Laurel Knob, to what some have called the ultimate water groove.

Pitches 1 - 5(ish) climb along the leaning dihedral sometimes using the crack and sometimes using the face. Along the way there are a couple of bolted anchors and a couple of gear anchors. I have heard some say the climbing is no more than 5.6, I have heard others call it 5.9. I think it depends on the line you take. And depending on the line you take you may find little gear. Note: when I climbed this route, April 2006, we came up about 15 feet short of the anchors located at the start of the water groove pitch, so we did some simul-climbing.

The money pitch climbs up through the water groove with bolts for protection. I heard a story about the belay for this pitch...something about a position belay...

From here, the easiest thing to do is rap. Several double rope rappels straight down will lead you to the ground. There are other options as well. One is heading up and right. The other is, I believe, the Hone Ranger finish which goes straight up. I haven't done either of those finishes.


Find the huge right arching dihedral.


Rack: doubles up to 3.5 or 4, long slings, double ropes, water, headlamp, jacket,

Photos of Fathom Slideshow Add Photo
Fathom - 4th belay
Fathom - 4th belay
The Late Ralph Fickel on The Fathom 1985.
The Late Ralph Fickel on The Fathom 1985.
Crux pitch
Crux pitch
Somewhere on Fathom.  Maybe 3rd pitch?
Somewhere on Fathom. Maybe 3rd pitch?
Crux moves above...all two of them. Super fun casu...
Crux moves above...all two of them. Super fun casu...
Mike Holley Starting off the second pitch, or is i...
Mike Holley Starting off the second pitch, or is i...
Rob Karge on the 5th (?) pitch.
Rob Karge on the 5th (?) pitch.
Going right around the flake on the last pitch bef...
Going right around the flake on the last pitch bef...
Laurel Knob with Fathom center late Sept 2011
Laurel Knob with Fathom center late Sept 2011
'Yep, that's that bullshit...'
'Yep, that's that bullshit...'
Paul in the traverse to the anchors at the top of ...
Paul in the traverse to the anchors at the top of ...
Mike HOlley starting off the crux pitch (bolted)
Mike HOlley starting off the crux pitch (bolted)

Comments on Fathom Add Comment
Show which comments
By Ryan Williams
From: London (sort of)
Oct 7, 2011
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Second route I've done on LK and it did not disappoint. First three pitches go for 400 feet or so and are no harder than 5.6.
P4 has a few moves on it, but still pretty easy.
P5 is a short traverse to a ledge below the crux pitch. Get gear under the arch and then traverse to the bolt and past it to anchors.
P6 is techy 10-, bolt protected and safe. Placed a tricam or two.
P7 is 5.9 if you ask me and is very fun. Spicy, but protects well, gear in all the right places.

We took a big rack, doubles from Green alien up to BD #3. One 4. If your OK doing 30-40 foot runs on easy ground you could get away w/ much less. DEFINITELY take tricams pink to blue and a few medium and large nuts. Placed a Tricam on ever pitch I think.
By UncleBen
From: The Briar Patch
Nov 17, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Single set of cams 0 TCU to 4 Camalot doubled up with tricams to blue and one set of stoppers smallish to large will sew this route up. Take lots of slings and use nearly every piece on every pitch.
By Pulldownfrenzy
From: Visalia, CA
2 days ago


Be careful and pay close attention to landmarks on the approach and the descent/hike back. Coming from the Deep Gap TH is straightforward until you get close to the base - then it becomes a rabbit warren of use trails heading up and down which are probably not that difficult for locals but proved challenging for this out-of-stater.

Descending we ended up rapping a short (40 footish) slab to save time to get to the base vs. retracing our steps. Easy, but time consuming and frustrating.

We got off in late twilight (it was late November). No problem rapping off to the base, but even with headlamps blazing on the hike out we became quickly hopelessly lost and ended up across a gap from our car. After hiking for what seemed like an eternity (something like 5 miles up and down several hills) in 30 degree temps we asked for directions at one of the mansions and they took pity on us and offered to drive us the 12 miles by road back to the TH.

Don't be stupid like us. -DD
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