Upper Tier Rock Climbing
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Access Issue: All climbers must use existing rappel stations for descent. Details
Rappel stations are located atop the routes: Boardwalk (for main section of cliff) and Edge of a Dream (for upper tier routes). Please see accessfund.org/regions/news/NC for more info
The Upper Tier has a limited number of climbs, but makes up for that in exposure and quality. There are four described climbs in the N.C. Selected Climbs Guidebook. The Upper Tier also has some of the best views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Linn Cove Viaduct. Well worth the hike just for the views. The rock quality is similar to the Main Tier, solid quartzite. Nothing larger than a #2 Camalot is needed for these climbs. Bring plenty of nuts, TCU's, and finger to hand sized cams.
Park at the Rough Ridge trail head parking lot. Hike the Blue Ridge Parkway south back towards the Linn Cove Viaduct. Follow this for about five minutes until you cross the first bridge. Immediately after the bridge there will be a faint trail on the right that drops down into the drainage and then back up onto a slabby boulder. Follow this rock gully, staying close to the wall on the right for a few minutes up hill. At a large ledge, in front of the Gumfighter and Borrowed Time hike right on the ledge. Borrowed Time is the obvious corner with a hand-sized crack that stretches its length. Follow this narrow trail around some rhodo's and up the hill, through a small rock tunnel until you reach a landing. The first climb you come to will be Lost at Sea, the sharp arete. Do not use the Rough Ridge Trail to access any of the Ship Rock areas as it is now closed at the cliff tops.
Classic Climbing Routes at Upper Tier
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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