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The Dark Side

N Carolina > Closed
Access Issue: Temporarily closed. Details

Description

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.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Cougar Crag (left) Main Wall (center)<br>
Desperado Wall (right)
[Hide Photo] Cougar Crag (left) Main Wall (center) Desperado Wall (right)
Cougar Crag (far left) Main Wall (left)<br>
Desperado Wall (center)
[Hide Photo] Cougar Crag (far left) Main Wall (left) Desperado Wall (center)
part of The Main Wall from the Cougar Crag.  Eagle Rock is in the background.  There are six more areas between the two cliffs.
[Hide Photo] part of The Main Wall from the Cougar Crag. Eagle Rock is in the background. There are six more areas between the two cliffs.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
[Hide Comment] I was wondering when somebody might post up on this. I've heard rumors... Oct 1, 2007
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
[Hide Comment] The rumors are true..... Oct 1, 2007
BirminghamBen
Birmingham, AL
[Hide Comment] How would this place be in January? Good work on all the new climbs. Nov 22, 2007
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
[Hide Comment] 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
[Hide Comment] Any word on when this area will be open and whether or not there will be vehicular access? Nov 11, 2010
[Hide Comment] Is this place closed or do you just need to hike in from the other side? Feb 27, 2013
nbrown
WNC/Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] Unfortunately it's still closed. Bummer since it's an excellent face climbing destination... Feb 27, 2013
[Hide Comment] 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
[Hide Comment] 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
[Hide Comment] I vote Black Bear the best cliff on this side of the mountain Nov 17, 2017
nbrown
WNC/Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] 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
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
[Hide Comment] Good Lord ! This place is a post-apocalyptic Hell-scape since the fire. Hiked into Cougar Crag and Mail Wall yesterday and it was virtually impassable due to all the downed trees. Prior trails are non-existent. Yellow jacket nests and poisonous vipers abound. The park needs to let climbers back in to fix this fabulous area and get it restored to its former glory. 2 days ago