Mcafee's Knob is one of Virginia's premiere bouldering areas. The knob is also one of the most breathtaking hiking destinations in Virginia, and holds the the reputation as having the most photographed point on the Appalachian Trail (which you use to get to the bouldering). The climbing at M-Knob is comprised of free standing and channeled sandstone blocks and labyrinths. He holds vary from crimps to slopers, and from kind to aggressive. The developed bouldering at M-Knob is all on quality stone, and you likely wont find choss unless you go looking for it.
The hike to the top can be lengthy, being 3.5 miles long and taking an hour and a half, but the pay off is substantial. the best time to climb at M-Knob is in the cooler months (especially the late fall). The summer can be quite hot and buggy, but still enjoyable if you time it right.
From I-81 take exit for Rt. 311 just south of Roanoke. Follow 311 S and park at the top of Catawba mountain, where the AT crosses the road. There is a large gravel lot on the left.
For roadside and approach boulders cross 311 at the southern most corner of the gravel lot and walk up fire road until it joins with the AT at approx 2.5 miles. You will see the roadside boulders immediately on the right as you start up the fire road. You can also walk the AT from the northermost corner of the gravel lot to the summit boulders. Please refer to guidebook on Dr. Topo for more details concerning the problems.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for McAfee's Knob:
To the left of the big highball boulder is a boulder face with a massive flake at its base. Start on the right arete, sitting on the boulder at the right. climb entire arete, topping out through slopers, same as leg breaker....[more]Browse More Classics in VA
Thanks for the heads up Travis! sounds horrible... hopefully that will soon pass.
By Jay Shultis Administrator From: Blacksburg VA Apr 26, 2011
We tried to climb on Saturday the 23rd and the gnats or whatever they are were pretty horrible at the top... really it was the wetness that made us quit because evrything is seeping, but we managed to get on a couple things. The prime season has ended pretty early it looks... wet spring now bugs, hopefully fall will be better for you guys!