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Rumbling Bald

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Cave, The 
Central Boulders 
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Hickory Nutcracker Area 
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Rumbling Bald Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 35.449, -82.2143 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 161,124
Administrators: Ryan Williams, ShockSLL, Aaron James Parlier, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: saxfiend on Nov 28, 2006


76° | 56°

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81° | 62°

82° | 61°

81° | 62°
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With all the breakfast-sounding names associated with Rumbling Bald (Hickory Nut Gorge, Cereal Buttress, Frosted Flake), you might think the place was a theme park dreamed up by General Mills. In fact, Rumbling Bald is an excellent winter climbing destination in North Carolina, featuring a mix of granite/gneiss crack and friction climbs, trad and sport styles.

The history of climbing here is a little hazy, but the first ascents were apparently done in the early 1970s in whatÂ’s now known as the Flakeview Area. In the mid-70s, route development began at the Cereal Buttress, with first ascents like Shredded Wheat being made by Jeep Gaskin. Other RB pioneers include Grover Cable, Don Hunley and Sean and Shane Cobourn. The 80s were a time of big growth at areas like Hanging Chain Wall; the 5.12b route of the same name was at one time the hardest line in North Carolina.

In the 90s, Rumbling Bald was closed for several years due to access issues with neighboring landowners. In the late 90s, however, the crag was reopened, with bouldering gaining a predominant popularity among climbers. Most recently, Sean Cobourn and partners have been busy exploring and establishing new routes on Rumbling Bald's north face. At present, land purchases by the Carolina Climbers Coalition, combined with state plans for a Hickory Nut Gorge State Park, make the outlook excellent for continued access.

Camping is not allowed at Rumbling Bald, but there are private campgrounds nearby in the Chimney Rock area. The town also hosts B&Bs and motels for those not wanting to camp, along with good places to eat along the scenic Broad River. And if you get bored with climbing, you can join the tourists across the river at Chimney Rock Park (there is actually climbing in this state-owned park, but only if you hire an authorized guide service).

Getting There 

Rumbling Bald is located just outside the town of Chimney Rock. From points west (Asheville, etc.), pick up US 74A and go east to where 74A combines with US 64 and SR 9 near Bat Cave. From points east (Charlotte), exit I-85 south of Charlotte for Kings Mountain and US 74; follow 74 west to Forest City and veer off on US 74A west to Bat Cave.

From Bat Cave, follow the signs for Chimney Rock Park and pass the park entrance as you go through the town of Chimney Rock. Not quite a half mile past the park, turn left on Boys Camp Road (SR 1305). Follow this for about a mile and a half to a dirt access road on the left; take the dirt road to one of two parking areas for Rumbling Bald.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.5 miles from here

322 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',50],['3 Stars',131],['2 Stars',112],['1 Star',25],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Rumbling Bald

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Rumbling Bald:
Silver Platter   V2 5+     Boulder   East Side Boulders
Dime Crack    V4 6B     Boulder, 15'   Trailside Area : Trailside Boulder
The Northcarolinian   V5 6C     Boulder   East Side Boulders
Rotator Cuff (SDS V6 Stand V5)   V6 7A     Boulder, 15'   West Side Boulders : Cave Boulder
Pit BBQ   V6+ 7A     Boulder, 15'   East Side Boulders
French Maid    V7 7A+     Boulder, 12'   West Side Boulders : French Maid Area
Patio Roof   V8 7B     Boulder   West Side Boulders : The Terraces
Brackish Water   V8 7B     Boulder   East Side Boulders
Clear Water   V9 7C     Boulder, 13'   East Side Boulders
Fruit Loops   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 160'   Cereal Buttress
Comatose   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Comatose Area
Granola   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Cereal Buttress
Frosted Flake   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Cereal Buttress
Flappin' In the Breeze   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 300'   Flapping.../Nuclear arms ar...
Capt Crunch   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 80'   Cereal Buttress
Shredded Wheat   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Cereal Buttress
Wild Hickory Nuts   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 160'   Cereal Wall
Walk This Way   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 150'   Hanging Chain
Screamweaver   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Screamweaver Area
Spry Look   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 100'   Hanging Chain
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Rumbling Bald

Featured Route For Rumbling Bald
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of Flappin' in the Breeze, Rumbling Bald, NC...

Flappin' In the Breeze 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  NC : Rumbling Bald : Flapping.../Nuclear arms ar...
Three pitches of excellent Rumbling Bald face climbing.P1> Climb up the left side of the giant flake or romp up the wide gash that forms the right side of the feature. Move left and climb up to the first bolt. Trend left on easier ground aiming for a double bolt belay. There are slight variations on this pitch making it feel easier or harder. 100 ft.P2> Climb straight up to a bolt. Move left then up and traverse right. Climb up and left following a seam which changes in...[more]   Browse More Classics in NC

Photos of Rumbling Bald Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Problem w/ a BIG dyno swing move (V3?)
Problem w/ a BIG dyno swing move (V3?)
Rock Climbing Photo: FA'ing in fine style
FA'ing in fine style
Rock Climbing Photo: Willy trying the V5 campus problem @ the trailside...
Willy trying the V5 campus problem @ the trailside...
Rock Climbing Photo: Kung Fu Grip (V5)
Kung Fu Grip (V5)
Rock Climbing Photo: Classic Rumbling Bald sloping topout (V3)
Classic Rumbling Bald sloping topout (V3)
Rock Climbing Photo: Moby Dick (V4)
Moby Dick (V4)
Rock Climbing Photo: Dime Crack (V4)
Dime Crack (V4)
Rock Climbing Photo: Alison Spatz climbs an obvious arete at the Breakf...
Alison Spatz climbs an obvious arete at the Breakf...
Rock Climbing Photo: aerial of Flakeview area and vicinity
aerial of Flakeview area and vicinity
Rock Climbing Photo: trail to the bald
trail to the bald
Rock Climbing Photo: Aerial View of The Bald
Aerial View of The Bald
Rock Climbing Photo: on the drive in
on the drive in
Rock Climbing Photo: Cool boulder crack that is taller than it looks.  ...
Cool boulder crack that is taller than it looks. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rumbling Bald Rock Climbs guidebooks are now in st...
BETA PHOTO: Rumbling Bald Rock Climbs guidebooks are now in st...
Rock Climbing Photo: Eowyn slappa da bass
Eowyn slappa da bass
Rock Climbing Photo: aerial of Hanging Chain area
BETA PHOTO: aerial of Hanging Chain area
Rock Climbing Photo: Not telling where!!   Some may know.  If you've ve...
Not telling where!! Some may know. If you've ve...

Comments on Rumbling Bald Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 9, 2015
By Jarred Cleerdin
Jun 11, 2010
What a spot! Must see for any climber. I consider this spot the hueco of the east.
By Dan Petty
From: Wheat Ridge, CO
Nov 11, 2010
I'm relatively certain that the Lat/Long for the South-facing side of Rumbling Bald is: 35.45025, -82.21559

The one listed for this area is not off of Boys Camp Rd, has no north side, and is small in comparison.
By Dan Petty
From: Wheat Ridge, CO
Nov 11, 2010
The road to the parking lot has also been improved and is no longer dirt.
By John-Michael Judson
Dec 22, 2010
it should be noted in regards to Dan's comment above, that "improved" means limited. The state (as far as i'm aware) stepped in to pave the road, but in doing so also put in posts which significantly limit the size of the parking area, and put in a gate barring access to the lower parking lot.

carpooling efforts should be stepped up if at all possible when visiting
By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Dec 27, 2010
Actually, there are more parking spaces than the old dirt lot, but there are exponential amounts of people now that it seems "more" accesible. If you want to guarantee your climbing access on the weekends, get there early (before 9:30) or else plan on going somewhere else. I usually go during the week and dont have any problems with parking, even on Fridays. Make sure not to park on the side of Boys Camp road or anywhere not allowed in the parking lot to ensure we dont have issues with the state park. Check out for up to date info on the Bald.
By russellHOBART
From: Durham, NC
Feb 18, 2012
Is it kosher to boulder after hours here? And if so where do you park? Thanks
By Edward Medina
From: Ridgway, CO
Feb 18, 2012
Russell, the park definitely does not want people on the premises after the gate has been locked. Those who do so may be jeopardizing future access for others. Also, it should be noted that the Division of Natural Resources is keeping a chary eye on boulderers in particular as a user group that they consider to be 'high impact'
By Eric T.
From: St. Augustine, Florida
May 4, 2012
Anyone have any beta on free camping in the area?
By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
May 4, 2012
There is no free camping around the Bald...and please don't jeopardize access by camping at the Bald itself. If I were you, I'd climb somewhere else until the beginning of winter...Rumbling gets super hot in May and the flies and poison ivy get seriously bad in the boulders and on the cliff (flies not ivy). Head to the Highcountry, near Linville Gorge, during the hot months for a better NC hot weather climbing trip.
By Eric T.
From: St. Augustine, Florida
Jan 14, 2013
Can anyone help me figure out the best place to camp near Rumbling Bald?
By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Jan 16, 2013
Creekside up past Bat Cave might be your best bet.
By John Braun
From: Hendersonville, NC
Nov 7, 2014
Permits are now required for climbing and bouldering. From "A new climbing policy at the Rumbling Bald Access has been put into place. All climbers must fill out a free climbing permit before rock climbing or bouldering. Permits are available at the parking lot kiosk. Organized groups of climbers must register at least two weeks in advance by submitting a Special Activity Permit application to the park superintendent."
By Dan Horseman
Nov 8, 2015
Anyone have any info on the new RB guidebook? Found a place to order it and shipping says expected Fall 2015. Is it finished? Has anyone found one?
By Brad Caldwell
From: Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Nov 9, 2015
The bouldering guidebook is being finished up right now and should be in print around the beginning of spring, from what I've heard. You can always message Dan Brayack either on here or on Facebook and he'll get back to you with a more definite answer. The climbing guidebook has been out for a while now and is available from Ground Up Publishing at

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