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Areas in Whiteside Mountain

Left of main southeast face 14 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
North Face 9 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Southeast Face 18 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 18
Southwest Corner 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
Access Issue: Seasonal Falcon Closure Details

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.

57 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Whiteside Mountain

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
 10
Save the Shrimp
Trad 6 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 5
One Pitch Wonder
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 4
Bat Shit Crazy
Trad 2 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
 71
Original Route (aka Gom Jabber)
Trad 10 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c R
 5
Catholic School Girls Direct
Trad 6 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 10
Boulder Problem in the Sky
Trad 2 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 4
pussyfootin'
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 3
Spooktacular
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 17
Traditions
Trad 8 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 3
Ramp Dinner
Trad
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 10
Whippin' Boy
Trad 6 pitches
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
 5
Flaming Lips
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 4
Arm and Hammer
Trad 7 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 4
X70
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 4
The Matrix
Trad 8 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Save the Shrimp Left of main southeas…
 10
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad 6 pitches
One Pitch Wonder Left of main southeas…
 5
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Bat Shit Crazy Southwest Corner
 4
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad 2 pitches
Original Route (aka Gom Jab… Southeast Face
 71
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad 10 pitches
Catholic School Girls Direct Southeast Face
 5
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad 6 pitches
Boulder Problem in the Sky Southwest Corner
 10
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 2 pitches
pussyfootin' N Face > Catwalk
 4
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Spooktacular Left of main southeas…
 3
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Traditions Southeast Face
 17
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad 8 pitches
Ramp Dinner N Face > Catwalk
 3
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad
Whippin' Boy Southeast Face
 10
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad 6 pitches
Flaming Lips N Face > Catwalk
 5
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13 Sport
Arm and Hammer Southeast Face
 4
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad 7 pitches
X70 N Face > Catwalk
 4
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
The Matrix Southeast Face
 4
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Trad 8 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Whiteside Mountain »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
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
stevecurtis
Petaluma California
stevecurtis   Petaluma California
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. Jun 6, 2007
Joe Forrester
Palo Alto
Joe Forrester   Palo Alto
Does anyone have any current info on any raptor closures? Mar 15, 2009
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. Mar 25, 2013
There are actually a bunch of "new" lines on Cow rock...

Actually the original (Cherokee) name for Whiteside mountain is Sanigilâ'gĭ. Just some food for thought... Mar 25, 2013
sam england
Seattle, WA
sam england   Seattle, WA
Watch out for flying ropes. Cavers will throw 700' static lines off the top with no announcement. The typically lines are over Warrior's Way/Great Ahha as well as Volunteer Wall/Arm and Hammer. Aug 21, 2016
Free tent camping within 6 miles of the trail parking lot, just a 10 minute walk to downtown Highlands and dogs welcome. Looking to meet interesting people. Willing to get involved with projects as third man on a team. My specialties are packing in, hauling gear, big SRT, rescue and overnights (gotta single and double ledge; you haven't really experienced Whiteside without a bivy) . Imagine that...Bob 828-526-1777 Feb 17, 2018

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