Elevation: 2,400 ft
GPS: 36.34, -80.481 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 182,291 total · 1,326/month
Shared By: Orphaned on Oct 8, 2007 with updates from Blue Ridge Mountain Guides and 1 other
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry
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South-facing quartzite cliffs with plenty of shade. Mostly toproping with bolts/trees/rocks for anchors at the top (bring webbing/slings), but there is also sport/trad/mix available. Climbs vary from slab to overhanging with several roofs. Rock quality varies.

Can get busy on the weekends, especially around Three Bears and Middle Walls, and hot in the summer. Find the well-maintained trail in the SW corner of the parking lot and follow down through woods. Climbing area will be to your left with approach times from 2-10 minutes. Rappel down from the top or follow trail down to Three Bears gully (climber approved) to access the base of the cliff.

Climbers must register at the box in the parking lot for each vehicle in their party.

Getting There

Take I-40 to business I-40 in Winston Salem. From Winston Salem take Hwy. 52 north for about 20 minutes. Follow signs for Pilot Mountain State Park and follow road up to the top parking lot.

Guide Services

Guide Services that can show you the ropes in this location (and many more).

Rock Dimensions

Blue Ridge Mountain Guides,

Granite Arches

Fox Mountain Guideshttp://foxmountainguides.com/

99 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Pilot Mountain

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Crackin' Up
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Mild Mannered Secretary
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Howdy Dude
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Pole Dancing
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Pilot Error aka Right Chicken Bone
Sport, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Chicken Bone
Trad, Sport, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Turkey Shoot
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Black Rain
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Pump Street
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Mama Bear
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Devil in the White House
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
The Herculean Test
Trad, Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Overhang Hangover
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Any Major Dude
Sport, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Crackin' Up Amphitheater
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Mild Mannered Secretary Amphitheater
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Howdy Dude Three Bears
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b TR
Pole Dancing Amphitheater
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Pilot Error aka Right Chick… Parking Lot
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Sport, TR
Chicken Bone Parking Lot
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Sport, TR
Turkey Shoot Amphitheater
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Black Rain Black Rain Wall
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Pump Street Amphitheater
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Mama Bear Three Bears
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b TR
Erocktica Little Amphitheater
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Devil in the White House Devil in the White House
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
The Herculean Test Devil in the White House
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Sport
Overhang Hangover Amphitheater
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Any Major Dude Three Bears
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport, TR
More Classic Climbs in Pilot Mountain »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


Chuck Parks
Atlanta, GA
Chuck Parks   Atlanta, GA
Pilot Mountain is not covered in the Selected Climbs in North Carolina guidebook, and the old Kelly guidebook is out of print. Fortunately, Jeff Dillon has created a new, free guidebook for Pilot Mountain. It is now available for download at the Carolina Climbers Coalition web site. Feb 4, 2008
If you're going to Pilot from Charlotte (or south or west of Statesville), the following route will get you there in the same amount of time without having to drive through Winston-Salem.

Go north on I-77 to exit 85 (268 Bypass). Make a right and follow this for 3 miles to a stop sign. Go left at the stop onto Rte. 268. Follow this for 20 miles to U.S. 52. Go south on U.S. 52 for about 4 miles to the Pilot Mountain exit.

I'm not a fan of driving through cities and found this to be a nice alternative. It takes about 5 minutes longer, but the speed limit is 55 mph. and you get to see some rural Cackalacky. Mar 21, 2008
Crisco Jackass
Grand Junction, CO
Crisco Jackass   Grand Junction, CO
FYI - CCC hosted download of the guide has moved here. Feb 24, 2010
Winston-Salem, NC
Rmsyll   Winston-Salem, NC
The pocket guide is offered free, with an alternative one-page selection, at the Park office when it's open. The second edition has an improved map and notices of two route closures and closing of Big Gully to all entry. There is also ClimbPilotNC.us which is always open, with fuller descriptions and photos of anchors, bolts, walls, climbing, and boulders May 3, 2011
Joey Daoud
Santa Monica, CA
Joey Daoud   Santa Monica, CA
Here's an updated link to the guidebook from Carolina Climbers' Coalition. May 17, 2016
Steve Lineberry
Charlotte, NC
Steve Lineberry   Charlotte, NC  
I've fixed the link in the guidebook section and also added Erica Lineberry's new guidebook for pilot. Thanks. Jul 14, 2016
Nate Ball
Portland, OR
Nate Ball   Portland, OR  
Amazing rock, amazing setting, with some weird local character...

We spent a couple days here this past week and really enjoyed the area for the most part. The convenient access from W-S makes it a popular destination. The first day was a cool sunny Sunday and the place was quite literally teeming with people and their babies. Hikers, climbers, dogs, cats, it was a very happy and well-mannered circus. Be aware of this reality and enjoy the outdoor gym in harmony.

On the first day, somehow we managed to snag a couple routes at the Three Bears to start then finished on some sport at the Amphitheater. The second day was windy and gray. Also being a weekday meant we were alone. We did the three long lines below the parking lot and then had to head out. These were all fantastic climbs on mostly stellar rock. Seriously, quartzite is so much fun to climb.

For all its beauty and convenience though, there are a couple strange things to note.

For one, the standards for bolting... It seems that the old-school establishment ethics have been drowned out by the gym-bred mentality of today, which has created a shift towards making routes more accessible. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this, except that there is no standardization for what is bolted and what's not. In general, longer routes that cannot be completely protected with gear are completely (or mostly) bolted. Sometimes a single piece of gear is required to keep the route safe. This is really silly, in my opinion, as gear is otherwise not necessary at Pilot.

Along with this, and probably more importantly, is that fixed hardware is also not standardized. For some reason I saw a wide variety of fixing types (5-piece, wedge, stainless, plated, etc) often all on the same route. The bolt placements, especially on routes like Black Rain and the Parking Lot area, are in places that require long reaches or seem to force you into contrived climbing. The bolts are often not tight (hanger spins), are slightly blown out in the hole, and have mixed material types - like the carbon steel bolts with stainless hangers and plated quick-links on Mild Mannered Secretary. This problem seems to be in the process of being resolved with glue-in bolts. Hopefully the area will receive more of these to replace those that were improperly placed in the first wave of re- and retro-bolting. Sep 14, 2017
Austin Goff
Winston-Salem, NC
Austin Goff   Winston-Salem, NC
Poor bolting and variety of bolts is mostly due to the fact that the work was done by someone who does not have a clear understanding of proper technique and does not know the difference between bolt types. It's unfortunate.

Glue-ins should have been standard at Pilot a few years ago when it was retro'd. Lots of issues to be solved in the near future. Sep 14, 2017
Here is the climbing access map: files.nc.gov/ncparks/maps-a… May 16, 2018