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Routes in Laurel Knob

'Shimer Down T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
A Second Way (Variation Finish to Seconds) T,S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Aloha slab T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Annie Get Your Guns T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Arrested Development T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Before the Settlers Arrive T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Better late than never T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Biopsy T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Black Flag T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Buried Treasure T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Canyons of Laurel T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Central Pillar Direct Finish T,S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Central Pillar of Laurel T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Clippidy Doodah... S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Clowns to the Left of me T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Cotton Pony T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Cruising with the Top Down T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Defective Sonar T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Dike hike - Monster Groove T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Dillard Arete T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Don't call me surely T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Dry streak T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13
Fathom T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Fathom Direct T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
Fathom Escape Hatch T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A2
Finger Lickin' Good T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Friction Addiction T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Frolictown T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Fruit of the Poisonous Tree T,S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Funky Chicken, The T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Get it while it's hot T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Gibbet , The T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Girl friend route T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Groover (Gaskin Finish) T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Groover Variation (Fischesser Finish) T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Groovin' in the name of the Laurel T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Have and Not Need T,S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
High & Dry T,S 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Hone Ranger T 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c X
Hypocrite's Corner T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Jokers to the right T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Keel Hauled T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Laurel's Girdle T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Laurel's Snake Dike T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Legendary "F" Bomb, The T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Manatee Fluid T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Manatee Left T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Mechanical Bull T,S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Mirage T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13
Mirage Direct Finish T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Monster Groove Direct Start T,S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b A0
Monster Groove Reject Start T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Mutiny T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Nana's Bananas T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Nanna Gets Her Groove On T,S 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
O.K. Corral T,S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Oasis T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Old Times' Sake T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Permission Granite T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Pirate's Cove T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Pirate's Cove direct finish T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13
Pirate's cove Alt start T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Puff The Magic Dragon T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Quantum Mechanic's Arete T,S 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Rejected Radar T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a A0
Rock Eating Tree T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
Route Of The Living Dead T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Seconds T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Squirrely man T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Steep in the Teacups of Laurel T,S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Stegg, Roy Fathom ALT. T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Stellar Sonar T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Stemming Laurel T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Stingray T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Two Rattlers in Your Face T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Unfathomable T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c A1 PG13
Use It Express T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Use It Or Luge It T,S 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Use it or Luge it Direct Start T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Walkin' Da Plank T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13
Wild Turkeys T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Wild Wild West T,S 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Wormhole T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Elevation: 1,200 ft
GPS: 35.15, -83.056 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 128,286 total, 952/month
Shared By: andjoely on Nov 17, 2006
Admins: Ryan Williams, Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry

Description

For many years, Laurel Knob was The Un-named Crag, a secret destination known to the chosen few. Climbing was illegal here, but that didn’t stop the determined climbers who saw the imposing granite dome rising out of Lonesome Valley near Big Green Mountain. They thrashed and bushwhacked for hours through thick rhododendron to the base of the cliff, looking up in awe at an expanse of rock so tall they couldn’t see the top.

Undeterred, these hardcore climbers began the first ascents of the exposed, water-grooved face, putting up routes of up to 10 pitches. And they made do with what they had: leaders who came later would arrive at the next bolt and discover with horror that it was a carriage bolt hammered into the wall with loops of rusty bailing wire to clip to.

Because it was a secret crag for so long, documentation on the first ascentionists and even route names isn’t easy to come by. But that won’t be the case much longer; in 2006, the Carolina Climbers Coalition pulled off the stunning achievement of purchasing Laurel Knob, with the help of donations by climbers all over the world. Now the 1,200-foot dome is open to all climbers, and the CCC has replaced the old hardware on most of the well-known routes like Fathom and Groover.

Some important points of information about Laurel Knob:

  • This is one of the tallest (if not THE tallest) crags in the eastern US.
  • LK is a remote area with serious multi-pitch climbing. It is not a place for inexperienced climbers.
  • Regarding access, Laurel Knob is owned by the Carolina Climbers Coalition, which is working hard to maintain good relations with neighboring landowners. If you're going to climb here, you MUST respect and follow the CCC rules, which can be found at carolinaclimbers.org.

Getting There

Laurel Knob is in the Cashiers Valley. Make your way to the town of Cashiers and take US 64 east of the town. Continue two or three miles to Cedar Creek Road and take a left (north). Follow this winding road into the hills until it intersects with Breedlove Road; take a right here and continue past Christmas tree farm fields for several miles. The road changes to gravel and ends in the Panthertown trailhead parking lot. This is the starting point for the long and strenuous hike in to Laurel Knob. Allow about two hours for the hike in and up to three hours for the hike out.

NOTE: This trail is the only legal access to Laurel Knob. If you come in from the valley below -- no matter who you're friends with -- you are trespassing!

Hike down the road toward Panthertown valley. At the first intersection with another old road, take a right and continue about 10-15 minutes to a creek crossing (Frolictown Creek). Ford the creek and hike another mile or so to a fork. Take the right fork (the smaller trail) and after another 10 minutes or so, be on the lookout for a trail that angles up and right from the main trail. This should be marked by a small wooden sign saying "Laurel Knob."

Continue on this winding trail through the woods, crossing a stream on a log and past the marked corner of the property line between the CCC property and that of the forest service. Follow pink and/or blue flagged markers and cross over a mossy slab. Before long, you'll see a gravel road and buildings to the left; this is private property. Stick to the trail; continue past the CCC kiosk and down a steep 600' series of switchbacks to the base of the main Laurel Knob face.

At this point, you should come out on a well-groomed trail put in place by the Lonesome Valley development. Continue along this trail until you reach the small clearing at the base of the direct start of Seconds. From here, the Lonesome Valley trail goes down and left; the climbers' trail goes uphill from Seconds and continues along the cliff base.

83 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Laurel Knob

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Groover Variation (Fischesser Finish)
Trad 9 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Groover (Gaskin Finish)
Trad 6 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Seconds
Trad 7 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Fathom
Trad 8 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Central Pillar of Laurel
Trad 5 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Have and Not Need
Trad, Sport 4 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
Fathom Direct
Trad 8 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Finger Lickin' Good
Trad 3 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Dike hike - Monster Groove
Trad 6 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Oasis
Trad 6 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
The Funky Chicken
Trad 2 pitches
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c X
Hone Ranger
Trad 5 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Canyons of Laurel
Trad 6 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
The Legendary "F" Bomb
Trad 4 pitches
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Steep in the Teacups of Laurel
Trad, Sport 6 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Groover Variation (Fischess… 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 9 pitches
Groover (Gaskin Finish) 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 6 pitches
Seconds 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 7 pitches
Fathom 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 8 pitches
Central Pillar of Laurel 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 5 pitches
Have and Not Need 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Sport 4 pitches
Fathom Direct 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R Trad 8 pitches
Finger Lickin' Good 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad 3 pitches
Dike hike - Monster Groove 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 6 pitches
Oasis 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 6 pitches
The Funky Chicken 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 2 pitches
Hone Ranger 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c X Trad 5 pitches
Canyons of Laurel 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad 6 pitches
The Legendary "F" Bomb 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad 4 pitches
Steep in the Teacups of Laurel 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Trad, Sport 6 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Laurel Knob »

Weather Averages

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Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Thought you guys might like the video I made of "Seconds", a 5.8+ at Laurel Knob.

youtube.com/watch?v=A6tklea… Feb 1, 2017
Grant Gibson
Cincinnati, OH
Grant Gibson   Cincinnati, OH
Hats off to the FA folks who have developed LK over the years. We climbed Seconds via direct and it was awesome! LK will for sure see me again.

On a side note, my buddy left his blue scarpa approach shoes at the Salt Rock Trailhead. If anyone finds them message me please. Will gladly pay for shipping. Jan 29, 2017
Grant Gibson
Cincinnati, OH
Grant Gibson   Cincinnati, OH
Thanks, nbrown. Greatly appreciated. I read a post about the ice bombs. A little more forgiving that having a party above kicking down rocks but still something to keep an eye on. Last question for the locals. Best place to camp nearby? We are planning on leaving Cinci early Friday morning, arriving about noon. Climb a few single pitches (first pitch of a few lines) to scope things out and then hammer it with an alpine start Saturday morning. Super pumped to say the least. LK has been on my list for a while. Weather is looking clear and sunny but on the colder side. Jan 25, 2017
nbrown
western NC
nbrown   western NC
Grant, those conditions are fine - just be prepared for ice bombs on groove routes once the sun comes around, as well as extended dry times. Because the water has to melt first, grooves that may be dry initially could start running after you've started up. Laurel is a funny place sometimes. Jan 24, 2017
Grant Gibson
Cincinnati, OH
Grant Gibson   Cincinnati, OH
Anyone climb when temps hit mid to low 20s at night and a high of 40 during the day? Considering LK this weekend. Not concerned about cold air just if the rock will be seeping more than usual and/or the grooves might be frozen which would make things a little spicy.

Just noticed on Mike's topo where it states dangerous rappels when grooves are wet in cold weather so my guess that includes the FF rap as well. Jan 24, 2017
Yesterday I did the mountain bike approach to the kiosk at the end of the Deep Gap Trail...took less than 20 minutes for about 2 miles. From there it was an additional 25 minutes to the base of the wall. The riding was mainly gravel with some moderate single track. Very enjoyable and a large climbing pack wouldn't be a burden.

Beta: parked at the end of Breedlove Rd at the Saltrock Gap Trailhead. Rode down the Panthertown Valley Trail TR474 and took a right on Deep Gap Trail TR449 all the way to it's end. Locked the bike to a tree near the FOPV (Friends of Panthertown Valley) kiosk and continued onto the Laurel Knob approach trail as described above. Jan 17, 2017
Drew Hellams
High Point, NC
Drew Hellams   High Point, NC
Any consideration for or against mountain biking the forest service part of the trail to make better time? Usfs says it's allowed on designated trails. Oct 25, 2016
Jonathan Dull
Boone, NC
Jonathan Dull   Boone, NC
Per the CCC Laurel Knob Climbing Management Plan, "5.1. All routes must be rappelled to descend; there is no walk-off. The top portion of Laurel Knob is owned by another property owner. Please help us be a good neighbor by rappelling all routes." carolinaclimbers.org/sites/…

That should answer your question. Be ready to rap. Mar 7, 2016
Colonel Sandbag
Boston, MA
Colonel Sandbag   Boston, MA
Is it possible to walk off of the Fischesser Variation of Groover? I'd rather not get so involved in that rappel. Mar 6, 2016
Jeff Mekolites   ATL GA
I think if you plan for a week, you should be good. Rain could be bit hit or miss. But if you factor in Laurel, Whitesides, the Glass, Cedar, etc. you should be able to climb something, somewhere. The only problem would be a longer rain period. That might shut down some of those options. Fly fishing - not sure about. I think there are some good option around Brevard. Feel free to send me a message for more details. Dec 1, 2014
Thinking of doing a week trip end of March/ first week of April. Is that time of the year too rainy to be worth it? Might hit the Glass or Whitesides as well. If there are rainy days, is there decent fly fishing near any of the aforementioned cliffs? Dec 1, 2014
Morrismc
Portland, Or
Morrismc   Portland, Or
Just had a great first day at Laurel. Snow in the parking lot didn't perturb as we knew with a south facing cliff, warmth was not far away.

The approach seemed relatively straightforward and only took us just over an hour to the base of seconds and 1.25 hours on the way out.

Here's an idea, a mountain bike would shorten the approach significantly.... Just a thought... Nov 5, 2014
carolinaclimbers.org/sites/…

William; see the management plan above. Per the Management Plan, Camping is not allowed on CCC property, which includes the rock.

On a side note, the kiosk has fallen. We attempted to resurrect it but it may need to be rebuilt. This may take a few seasons.

The good news is, a new side trail has been built to the Biopsy/ Girdle area. Thanks CCC volunteers! Jan 18, 2014
William Turner
Carmel, Indiana
William Turner   Carmel, Indiana
Can you camp on Laurel Knob if your on a portaledge 50+ feet in the air? Jan 16, 2014
TomCaldwell
Clemson, S.C.
TomCaldwell   Clemson, S.C.
Instead of hiking the gravel road from Panthertown Parking Lot, make the first right onto Wilderness Waterfall Trail, which is now marked with NSF signage at the trail heads. This is a much more enjoyable trail with a great view. You end up meeting up with Deep Gap Trail right before the Frolicktown Creek crossing. This trail may be slighly longer, but on a hot day is much more shaded than the awful gravel road. FYI, make sure you don't lose the trail when you reach the slabs before the waterfall. Head down the slab to stay on the trail, do not traverse to the right. The trail to the right eventually turns into private property. May 10, 2010
BirminghamBen
Birmingham, AL
BirminghamBen   Birmingham, AL
If it's clear and the sun is out, you shouldn't freeze to death. Camping will be mighty cold as will the face if it is overcast and windy, but conditions are variable that time of year and it could make for some great friction. Nov 10, 2009
Drew B.
SLC
Drew B.   SLC
Is the climbing here in Febuary/March doable? Nov 10, 2009
Some of the new routes with topos and beta pictures can be found on this thread:
carolinaclimbers.org/compon… Jul 27, 2009
Paul Shultz
Hudson, Ma
Paul Shultz   Hudson, Ma
Check out the Alpinist 25 article on it! May 14, 2009
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
Sean Cobourn   Gramling, SC
The CCC met its goal of raising $250,000!! LK is now owned by the CCC on behalf of climbers everywhere. Thanks to all who helped make this acquisition possible.
As an aside, the CCC still has annual expenses such as insurance and property taxes for the cliff. Comes to around 3-4k per year. Donations are appreciated. More info can be obtained at carolinaclimbers.org. Feb 10, 2009
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
Sean Cobourn   Gramling, SC
The CCC is still trying to pay for this awesome cliff. Cost $250,000. We still owe around $25,000. Thanks to everyone who has donated. Help us get over the top by making your tax deductible donation today. Go to carolinaclimbers.org for details on how to help. Apr 1, 2008

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