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Areas in The Dark Side

Black Bear Buttress 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 22
Cougar Crag, The 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 10
Desperado Wall 16 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
Eagle Rock 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Main Wall, The 23 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 24
Mini Cougar, The 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Survivor Wall, The 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Un-named wall - - Right of Desperado (middle wall) 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Access Issue: Temporarily closed. Details


Most southern climbers are familiar with Rumbling Bald, one of the best winter areas around due to its low elevation and south facing aspect. The cliff seems to stretch on for a mile or more when viewed from the tourist meccas of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. However, the other side of the mountain has just as much rock and is climbable in the summer when the south side is a blast furnace. 99% of routes were done in ground up style. Let's keep it that way please.
I like secret places. I am not posting this stuff due to ego. The north face has no publicly documented history. Since most of this rock is now in the newly formed state park I felt it important to finally document areas so we could show the powers that be that there is a long rich history of climbing here and that climbing should be an allowed activity once the management plan is in the works.  Edit 2018: The good news is that Eagle Rock area is now open for climbing!  In 2016 before the fire a group of climbers and the park superintendent scouted a trail to the Main Wall area.  There is hope it will be available in the future as well. 

Getting There

Currently there are limited ways to get there. Either know someone who lives in the gated Fairfield golf community at the base of the walls or hike around or over the top from the south side. This situation should change over the coming years as this area is now inside Chimney Rock State Park.

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Dark Side

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
I was wondering when somebody might post up on this. I've heard rumors... Oct 1, 2007
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
Sean Cobourn   Gramling, SC
The rumors are true..... Oct 1, 2007
Birmingham, AL
BirminghamBen   Birmingham, AL
How would this place be in January? Good work on all the new climbs. Nov 22, 2007
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
Sean Cobourn   Gramling, SC
Thanks Ben. Answer is... pretty darn cold. This is a spring/summer/fall area. Sun does not hit it in winter. Go to the other side. Dec 4, 2007
Dan Petty
Wheat Ridge, CO
Dan Petty   Wheat Ridge, CO
Any word on when this area will be open and whether or not there will be vehicular access? Nov 11, 2010
Is this place closed or do you just need to hike in from the other side? Feb 27, 2013
western NC --> Broomfield, CO
nbrown   western NC --> Broomfield, CO
Unfortunately it's still closed. Bummer since it's an excellent face climbing destination... Feb 27, 2013
what is the current situation at the dark side? Are people still trying to reopen it? What is the reason it is not open? Dec 30, 2016
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
Sean Cobourn   Gramling, SC
the reasons for closure are too convoluted to get into here, but yes, efforts are continuing to open this fabulous area. NC State Parks are receptive to it but the bureaucracy moves at a glacial pace. It boils down to the need for a trail. We scouted the most feasible one out with park staff earlier this year. Then the fire hit. Hopefully the new year will bring favorable news. Dec 30, 2016
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
Sean Cobourn   Gramling, SC
I vote Black Bear the best cliff on this side of the mountain Nov 17, 2017
western NC --> Broomfield, CO
nbrown   western NC --> Broomfield, CO
BBB is definitely cool but the Desperado Wall has some of the best face climbing I've ever done. That one gets my vote, hands down! Nov 17, 2017

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