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Whiteside Mountain

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Left of main southeast face 
North Face 
Southeast Face 
Southwest Corner 

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Whiteside Mountain 


Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 4,930'
Location: 35.0798, -83.1432 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 113,325
Administrators: saxfiend, Edward Medina, Ryan Williams, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Jeff Mekolites on May 22, 2007
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Whitesides, NC
Seasonal Falcon Closure MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Whiteside Mountain, located between Highlands and Cashiers NC, is considered by many as the biggest, "baddest" cliff on the east coast. It offers stout free climbing routes, wild, run-out routes and aid routes all with tremendous exposure all around. Whitesides also has a reputation for loose rock, skimpy gear and unpredictable weather and because of this Whitesides remains among the most feared, respected and involved climbing areas in North Carolina and the Southeast. All the routes here required a level of commitment and seriousness because of the objective dangers and Whiteside's reputation as the "local flight school". As Thomas Kelley, author of The Climber's Guide to North Carolina, writes, "Whitesides is undeniably bold. Whitesides is immense, scary and the closest thing to big wall, run-out adventure climbing you'll find in the south. This is the place for you if you wish to avoid the crowds and soil your drawers." Eloquently put.

Route development at Whitesides began about 30 years ago with most of the development taking place in the last 10 - 20 years with names like Bayne, Cartwright, Corbett, Gaskin, Ilgner, Lassiter, Rotert, Stegg, and Whittemore to name a few; names that read like a who's who of North Carolina climbing.

Whitesides is broken up into a couple of different climbing areas: the Southeast Face and the North Face (aka Devil's Courthouse). The southeast face, about 700 feet in height, sees most of the traffic especially on the Original Route (aka Gom Jabber), (III/IV, 5.11a or 5.10c, A0) and Traditions (III/IV, 5.11c). There also many other considerable routes on the southeast face including The Matrix (IV, 5.12c), Warrior's Way (IV, 5.12c), Arm and Hammer (IV, 5.12a), Whipping Boy (III/IV, 5.11d) and Catholic Girls Direct (III, 5.11a) to name a few. The Devils Courthouse, visible from US 64, hosts a number of 2 - 4 pitch routes including Crystal Creme (5.11d) and Conquistador (5.11b).

Other Details
� Directions: From downtown Highlands, go east on US 64 for 5.5 miles to the Whiteside Mountain Road sign; turn right on paved road NC 1600 and go .6 mile; bear left at the Wildcat Ridge Road sign and go .35 mile; turn left into a gravel parking lot.
� Fee: There is a $2 fee.
� Facilities: Parking lot, toilet.
� Rock Type: Igneous rock commonly called "Whiteside granite", actually a quartz diorite gneiss.
� Hike: Visitors can hike part or the entire 2-mile loop trail to the 4,930-foot summit for a view of the valley floor, lying 2,100 feet below the surrounding mountains. The Whiteside Mountain Trail is designated a National Recreation Trail and is a component of the National Trail System.
� Seasonal Peregrine Falcon Closures: Typically from early January until late summer routes left of Traditions are closed for falcon nesting.
� Gear: A lighter version of a "standard" rack will typically do. Double check route descriptions for more details.
� Rating: Most routes ratings at Whitesides could/should have an R or X added to them.
This is by no means a complete history of climbing or routes located at Whiteside Mountain, for additional valuable information pick up a copy of Yon Lambert & Harrison Shull's Selected Climbs in North Carolina or Thomas Kelley's The Climber's Guide to North Carolina or pick the brain of a North Carolina local.


Getting There 

From downtown Highlands, go east on US 64 for 5.5 miles to the Whiteside Mountain Road sign; turn right on paved road NC 1600 and go .6 mile; bear left at the Wildcat Ridge Road sign and go .35 mile; turn left into a gravel parking lot.


40 Total Routes


['4 Stars',17],['3 Stars',20],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',1],['5.9',2],['5.10',6],['5.11',19],['5.12',12],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Whiteside Mountain:
Grouse Call   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 70'   North Face : Catwalk
One Pitch Wonder   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Left of main southeast face
New Diversions   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13     Trad, 10 pitches, 700'   Southeast Face
Original Route (aka Gom Jabber)   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R     Trad, 10 pitches, 800'   Southeast Face
pussyfootin'   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   North Face : Catwalk
Traditions   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 8 pitches, 700'   Southeast Face
Ramp Dinner   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 80'   North Face : Catwalk
Bloody Bolts and Brown Trousers   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a A0     Trad, Aid, 8 pitches, 700'   Southeast Face
Flaming Lips   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   North Face : Catwalk
Whippin' Boy   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 6 pitches, 650'   Southeast Face
Arm and Hammer   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, Sport, 7 pitches, 700'   Southeast Face
X70   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 50'   North Face : Catwalk
The Matrix   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 8 pitches, 800'   Southeast Face
Browse More Classics in Whiteside Mountain

Featured Route For Whiteside Mountain
Scott reaching for the flake with the pin, pitch 2, Whippin' Boy, Whitesides, NC.

Whippin' Boy 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a  NC : Whiteside Mountain : Southeast Face
Probably the best route right of mainline. All the pitches are good and it follows a direct line up the good white rock for a ways. It is well protected except perhaps for a few sections of 5.8 but in classic Doc Bayne style you actually have to free climb the harder parts of the route to get up it. P1: Climb the 5.6 standard variation to the 1st pitch of the OR to the tree.P2: climb straight up past a fixed pin and a hangerless bolt with a rivet hanger to a left facing corner. Continue climb t...[more]   Browse More Classics in NC

Photos of Whiteside Mountain Slideshow Add Photo
A nice waterfall not far from Whitesides.  It (among 2 other's) is located just off hwy 64, between the towns of Highlands and Franklin.
A nice waterfall not far from Whitesides. It (amo...
Shannon starting up Starshine, March 2013
Shannon starting up Starshine, March 2013
Whitesides 09/08
Whitesides 09/08
Looking down past my old school Habeler Superlight boot and Lowe footfang, from the P1 belay, Starshine, March 2013
Looking down past my old school Habeler Superlight...
Whitesides 09/08.
Whitesides 09/08.
The SE Face is only a small part of the equation.
The SE Face is only a small part of the equation.
Mother Russia and Starshine, zoomed from the guardrail, March 2013
Mother Russia and Starshine, zoomed from the guard...
Lost somewhere on New Diversions
Lost somewhere on New Diversions
Shannon disappearing over the bulge, P2, Starshine, March 2013
Shannon disappearing over the bulge, P2, Starshine...
Southeast face on a rainy day.
Southeast face on a rainy day.
Shannon up high on P1, Starshine, March 2013
Shannon up high on P1, Starshine, March 2013
Closer shot of part of the face, WHitesides 09/08
Closer shot of part of the face, WHitesides 09/08
Whitesides Ice.
Whitesides Ice.
Another view of Shannon on Coyote Ugly or maybe this one should be called "if you're not the lead dog the view never changes":)
Another view of Shannon on Coyote Ugly or maybe th...
Looking down the face of Whitesides 09/08
Looking down the face of Whitesides 09/08
Mother Russia and Starshine from the valley, March 2013 <br />
Mother Russia and Starshine from the valley, March...
Almost to the P1 belay, Starshine, March 2013
Almost to the P1 belay, Starshine, March 2013
Mother Russia and Starshine from the guardrail, March 2013
Mother Russia and Starshine from the guardrail, Ma...
Whitesides 09/08
Whitesides 09/08
Shannon on Coyote Ugly. Check out the blowing snow at the top of the pitch. Its a much longer pitch than this pic indicates.
Shannon on Coyote Ugly. Check out the blowing snow...
To the best of my knowledge, complete beta for the available ice climbing at Whiteside Mountain, NC.  Feel free to contact me with additions/corrections.
BETA PHOTO: To the best of my knowledge, complete beta for the...
Comments on Whiteside Mountain Add Comment
Show which comments
By stevecurtis
From: Petaluma California
Jun 6, 2007

Traditions route:

The start is hard to find. Indeed, it is 50 Ft rt of the black streak that looms above. Bolt is hard to see, then there is gear under the arch. 10A R. Above is 5.7-5.8 RX
11 A pitch is Juggy and fun. Above is 5.7 RX, some of the bolts are missing. Meander to crux. There are three very hard moves. All are well protected. Head right 60 Ft--5.5 Then up the ramp 5.8 R, then a jug over hang 10 A fun, to nastiness before the trees--5.8 RX, through the hole in the trees, and then 5.8 R up face and on to top. I had fun.


We did another route 100ft right that looked like it should be traditions. It was 5.9 RX and ended in wet nastiness--traverse to original route trees.

By Joe Forrester
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Mar 15, 2009

Does anyone have any current info on any raptor closures?

By Localboy
Mar 25, 2013

There is a new climb opened in Lonesome Valley, toward Sapphire, NC on Cow Rock.

Also, the name is "Whiteside" Mountain, not Whitesides. Whiteside is a family name from the early 1800's. Just trying to show some respect and clear up misinderstandings. Things of this nature are what upsets locals and causes them to buck up against visitors. Just another way we can LNT.

By Good ole boy
Mar 25, 2013

There are actually a bunch of "new" lines on Cow rock...

Actually the original (Cherokee) name for Whiteside mountain is Sanigilā'gĭ. Just some food for thought...