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Elevation: 1,650 ft
GPS: 36.3916, -81.0473
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Shared By: saxfiend on Oct 14, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Steve Lineberry, Aaron Parlier

Description Suggest change

Like its more famous namesake near Atlanta, Stone Mountain is a huge granite dome, rising from the North Carolina foothills. But instead of carved Confederate generals galloping across its face, this Stone Mountain swarms with climbers on the some of the finest and most exposed friction climbing anywhere.

Though there's climbing on the north face of the mountain, most people go for the better-known South Face. The most obvious route here, [The Great Arch]105887520, is visible for miles, but it's actually the least typical of Stone Mountain climbing.

Unlike the Arch, most multi-pitch routes here have sparse opportunities for protection. Stone Mountain is notorious for long and scary runouts: 30 feet or more between placements or bolts is commonplace. Climbing here is as much mental as physical - you've got to trust the friction.

Stone Mountain climbing goes back more than 40 years, when intrepid pioneers began making the first attempts at routes like the Arch and [No Alternative]105887729. As Rich Gottlieb has observed from first-hand experience, climbing this 600-foot dome in the mid-60s was a whole other world. The first ascents were made without sticky rubber shoes, cams and other tools we take for granted these days. In spite of the difficulties, many of the classics, including the 5.10 Rainy Day Women, were established by 1975, using the strong North Carolina tradition of ground-up ascents and bolting on lead. Some of the early pioneers included George DeWolfe, Tim McMillan, Jim McEver and Bob Rotert.

More recently, Stone Mountain received a facelift of sorts when the Carolina Climbers Coalition sponsored a major rebolting of the dome's routes and belay stations. Hundreds of old bolts were replaced with stout new ones, making the long runouts a little easier to bear.

Because of its southern exposure, the South Face is in full sun all day. Granite has the peculiar feature of having maximum friction in chilly weather and a somewhat greasy feel in heat; combine this with the blast-furnace atmosphere of summer, and you can see why Stone Mountain is most popular in the winter months.

A 60-meter rope is a must at Stone Mountain; better yet, two of them. Many rappels (including some from the Tree Ledge, where most of the face climbs begin) are best managed on double ropes. You can also use the walk-off trail from the summit. In terms of protection, a light rack should be more than enough for most routes other than the two well-known crack lines, and bolted anchors protect all belays.

Camping is available both in the park and at private campgrounds nearby. For a good meal - and a motel if you don't feel like camping - head back down US 21 to Elkin.

Getting There Suggest change

Stone Mountain is near the foothills town of Elkin, which is about 70 miles north of Charlotte on I-77. After crossing the Yadkin River and exit signs for Elkin and Jonesville, get off on the US 21 exit. Go north on 21 for about eight miles and turn left on Traphill Road (NC 1002). You should see signs for Stone Mountain Park at this turnoff. Continue another four miles or so to John P. Frank Parkway (again noting park signs) and take a right. This continues about two miles to the park.

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77 Total Climbs

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Location: Stone Mountain Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Stone Mountain

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 367
The Great Arch
Trad 3 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13
 136
No Alternative
Trad 3 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 109
U Slot
Trad
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 174
Block Route
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 94
The Pulpit
Trad 5 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 61
Dirty Crack
Trad
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
 54
Grand Funk Railroad
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 32
Mercury's Lead
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 62
Great White Way
Trad 3 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
 24
Fantastic
Trad, Sport 4 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
 24
Bombay Groove aka Yankee Go Home
Trad 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
 30
Rainy Day Women
Trad 4 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
 23
Storm in a Teacup
Sport 3 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 4
The Purring
Trad 2 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
 10
Captain Crunch
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Great Arch Stone Mtn S Face
 367
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 3 pitches
No Alternative Stone Mtn S Face
 136
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13 Trad 3 pitches
U Slot Stone Mtn S Face
 109
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad
Block Route Stone Mtn S Face
 174
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad
The Pulpit Stone Mtn S Face
 94
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 5 pitches
Dirty Crack Stone Mtn S Face
 61
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Grand Funk Railroad Stone Mtn S Face
 54
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Trad 5 pitches
Mercury's Lead Stone Mtn S Face
 32
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Great White Way Stone Mtn S Face
 62
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
Fantastic Stone Mtn S Face
 24
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13 Trad, Sport 4 pitches
Bombay Groove aka Yankee Go… Stone Mtn S Face
 24
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Rainy Day Women Stone Mtn S Face
 30
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R Trad 4 pitches
Storm in a Teacup Stone Mtn S Face
 23
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13 Sport 3 pitches
The Purring Stone Mtn S Face
 4
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Captain Crunch Stone Mtn S Face
 10
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13 Trad
More Classic Climbs in Stone Mountain »

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