Elevation: 3,470 ft
GPS: 35.15, -83.056 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 199,511 total · 1,203/month
Shared By: andjoely on Nov 17, 2006
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry
Access Issue: Potentially Closed Due to COVID-19 - Please check for closures before going and DO NOT TRESPASS! Details
Access Issue: Falcon Nest near Fathom Details

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.

84 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
 28
Groover Variation (Fischesser Fi…
Trad 9 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 62
Seconds
Trad 7 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 26
Groover (Gaskin Finish)
Trad 6 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 56
Fathom
Trad 8 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 24
Central Pillar of Laurel
Trad 5 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 9
Have and Not Need
Trad, Sport 4 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
 14
Fathom Direct
Trad 8 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 5
Finger Lickin' Good
Trad 3 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 4
Dike hike - Monster Groove
Trad 6 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 10
Oasis
Trad 6 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 4
The Legendary "F" Bomb
Trad 4 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 7
The Funky Chicken
Trad 2 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 11
Canyons of Laurel
Trad 6 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 11
Permission Granite
Trad 5 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 6
Nana's Bananas
Trad 4 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Groover Variation (Fischess…
 28
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 9 pitches
Seconds
 62
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 7 pitches
Groover (Gaskin Finish)
 26
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 6 pitches
Fathom
 56
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 8 pitches
Central Pillar of Laurel
 24
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 5 pitches
Have and Not Need
 9
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Sport 4 pitches
Fathom Direct
 14
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R Trad 8 pitches
Finger Lickin' Good
 5
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad 3 pitches
Dike hike - Monster Groove
 4
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 6 pitches
Oasis
 10
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 6 pitches
The Legendary "F" Bomb
 4
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 4 pitches
The Funky Chicken
 7
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 2 pitches
Canyons of Laurel
 11
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad 6 pitches
Permission Granite
 11
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad 5 pitches
Nana's Bananas
 6
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad 4 pitches
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