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Areas in Grayson Highlands State Park

A.V.P. Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 41 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 41
Boneyard Area 0 / 0 / 0 / 199 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 199
Highlands 0 / 0 / 1 / 66 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 67
Bearpen Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 19 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 19
Cabin Creek 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Campground Area 0 / 0 / 0 / 23 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 23
Contact Station Area 0 / 0 / 0 / 57 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 57
Crooked Road Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
Haw Orchard 0 / 0 / 0 / 221 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 221
Listening Rock Trail 0 / 0 / 0 / 210 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 210
M.R.N.R.A. 0 / 0 / 0 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Moonlight 0 / 0 / 0 / 68 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 68
Picnic Area 0 / 0 / 0 / 97 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 97
Twin Pinnacles Trail 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Upchurch Area 0 / 0 / 0 / 51 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 51
Whitetop 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Wonderland Block 0 / 0 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
~Need To Know Info~ 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Elevation: 5,089 ft
GPS: 36.612, -81.491 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 184,539 total, 1,795/month
Shared By: Aaron Parlier on Jul 1, 2009
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Jake Jones, Shawn Heath

Description

  • Get the GHSP Bouldering Guidebook today! 160 full color pages of awesomeness, and over 360 select park problems. Incredible photography from Dan Brayack and concise directions and descriptions to GHSP's best blocks: brayackmedia.com/publishing…
  • For park news, MORE VIDEOS, a live weather webcam, grade & guidebook updates, and much more please check out the GHSP Bouldering Website at graysonhighlandsbouldering.…
  • New trails! The Contact Station Area now has an official state park maintained bouldering trail (the only of its kind in VA, possibly in the southeast) called the Split Rock Trail, which connects the Contact and Alchemy Boulders together. A Huge thanks to the Access Fund and all the volunteers who came out to the 2013 ghsp trail days event to help make it happen! The Middle & Right Boneyard also have finished black blazed marker posts and timberline trails to follow past nearly every major boulder in those fields. Read more about it on the Boneyard page and Contact Station page here on MountainProject.
  • The park now carries FOUR Misty Mountain Highlander crashpads for day rentals! Rent the whole GHSP bouldering package which is the Highlander pad, a full Misty chalk bag, and a GHSP brush for $5 a day. Also the park has climbing chalk for and new Misty Mountain chalkbags for sale! Be sure to check out the GHSP Bouldering T-shirts for sale through VA State Parks in the park office too!



Weather Webcam! Be sure to take a close look at the Friends Of GHSP webcam that is stationed at the park office (1min walk from the Contact Station Area) for real time weather footage and a dependable and accurate current and extended weather forecast:
graysonfriends.org/pages/ww…


GHSP Beta:




Grayson Highlands State Park is the uncontested crown jewel of bouldering in the state of VA, and arguably the best summer bouldering in the southeast. Grayson Highlands State Park (GHSP) is best known however, for being the best of the best for all things scenic, hiking related, and basically for every facet of outdoor mountainous recreation in the state of Virginia. As a state park, GHSP is home to 4,822 acres of pristine recreational opportunities and mountain solitude and is attached to an even larger Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

There are over 1000 listed boulder problems ranging from easygoing to advanced (VB-V12/13). The rock type found here is Rhyolite (in the highlands) and a unique, varying conglomerate or metasandstone (elsewhere in the park). The metamorphic sandstone is a sharp, geometric stone (hello Hound Ears fans) so you can be sure to find ultra steep, powerful, handsome faces on many of the boulders, blades, and fins protruding from the ground. On them will be crimpy rails, flakes, edges, pinches, and picturesque angular features.

GHSP's boulder fields have the highest altitudes in the southeast with the majority of the bouldering found in the 4,900' range and the Highlands Area reaching past 5,000' (the lookout at Grandmother Mountain in Boone is 4063').

The main boulder fields in GHSP are the Listening Rock Trail Loop (LRT), the Boneyard areas, and the Highlands Bouldering Area. For many visitors, the LRT has the best bouldering in the park. It has hundreds of problems, amazing lines, a very short approach, and the trail meanders through most of the main boulders. The Highlands Area is without a doubt the poster child of the park and is the most beautiful bouldering area in VA (if not the southeast). Vast landscape settings with a near endless view and cool breeze… and little wild ponies….

The smaller areas easily hold some of the very best GHSP has to offer. The Contact Station Area is only a minute walk after you park at the Park Office just as you drive past the pay booth (if you look left as you drive up to pay you can see the True Grit Boulder). It has “True Grit” which is one of the most sought after V5s in the park, and many other amazing lines that you shouldn't miss. The Picnic Area has the massive Olympus Boulder which is worth the drive down just to see, and the Rock House Boulder. Both are literally seconds away from where you park.

For food, there are only a few places to eat but my personal recommendation is "The Grayson Highlands General Store" with awesome food and beer options, and further down the road is "The Log House" with burgers and fries. You can also drive a few minutes more toward Marion to the Fox Creek General Store for delicious sandwiches or the daily special and beer. If you’re looking for a warm mom & pop country kitchen, or general store type of place than these locations wont disappoint. If you time it right during the summer on Friday and Saturday nights the Log House sometime has live bluegrass music on the back deck. All the store/resturants offer small selections of groceries so you can pick up some supplies if you're camping.

Grayson has great trails to hike, horseback riding, beautiful waterfalls, and cool mountain streams to fly fish, breathtaking views, wild ponies, great camping, live music festivals, and relaxing nearby local cabins to rent. The Appalachian Trail also runs through the park. There is also a great gift shop and many historical sites and cabins within the park, so if it does rain you out, you will still have things to do and see.

*This site along with the development in GHSP is a slow work in progress so please be patient. The grades are all fluid (as they should be in any area) and they depend on YOU giving feedback to gain a consensus. Let me know of any discrepancies and please vote to adjust the grades on the problems accordingly... Keep in mind that some problems in GHSP have seen only one or two ascents and the person who FAd that line may think it is way harder/easier than you do. That’s why a consensus is needed, so feel free to post or vote your opinion to help GHSP have the most accurate grades possible.

-Here is an amazing film shot by Andrew Kornylak showing a few of GHSP's finest lines and several proud ones from the Boone area (which is ~an hour from GHSP). If this one doesn’t get you psyched nothing will.


-This is a fantastic 2011 Sampler filmed by Daniel Caudill showcasing a handful of fun GHSP moderates. Awesome work Daniel!


-a great documentary about GHSP bouldering that Daniel Caudill filmed over 2010/2011. Enjoy!
Bold Text

Check out the new "Select Boulders of GHSP" print by Aaron Parlier:
GraysonHighlandsBouldering.com Graysonhighlandsbouldering.com


Getting There

The park is on U.S. 58 midway between Independence and Damascus and is reached from I-81 at Exit 45 in Marion; turn south on Route 16 and travel 33 miles to US 58 in the community of Volney. Turn right onto US 58. Travel eight miles to the park's entrance.

From I-77, take Hillsville Exit 14 to U.S. 58. Travel west on U.S. 58, 40 miles to Volney. Turn left to stay on U.S. 58 and go eight miles to the park entrance.

Drive Time : Northern Va., 6.5 hours; Richmond, 5.5 hours; Tidewater, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, 7.5 hours; Roanoke, 2.5 hours; Winston-Salem, 2 hours; Charlotte, 3 hours; Raleigh, 4 hours

1,088 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Grayson Highlands State Park Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Grayson Highlands State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V0-1 4+
Ranger Rick
Boulder
V1 5
Cherokee Dihedral
Boulder
V2 5+
Highland Highball
Boulder
V3 6A
Periscope
Boulder
V3 6A
Indian Outlaw
Boulder
V3 6A
The Hive
Boulder
V4 6B
Billy Budd
Boulder
V4 6B
Ranger Rick (Sit)
Boulder
V4 6B
A Boy Named Sue
Boulder
V5 6C
True Grit
Boulder
V5 6C
Front Man
Boulder
V5 6C
Never Have I Ever
Boulder
V6 7A
Horizon Line
Boulder
V6 7A
Thews
Boulder
V7- 7A+
Flying Spaghetti Monster
Boulder
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Ranger Rick Contact Station Area > Contact Station B… > Ranger Rick Boulder V0-1 4+ Boulder
Cherokee Dihedral Picnic Area > Picnic Area Boulders > Rock House Boulder V1 5 Boulder
Highland Highball Highlands > Horizon Area > Highland Highball V2 5+ Boulder
Periscope Contact Station Area > Contact Station B… > Periscope Boulder V3 6A Boulder
Indian Outlaw Picnic Area > Picnic Area Boulders > Rock House Boulder V3 6A Boulder
The Hive Listening Rock Trail > 1. Overlook Area > Hive Boulder V3 6A Boulder
Billy Budd Boneyard Area > Right Boneyard > Belgrano Blade V4 6B Boulder
Ranger Rick (Sit) Contact Station Area > Contact Station B… > Ranger Rick Boulder V4 6B Boulder
A Boy Named Sue Haw Orchard > Wild Wood > Big Rig Boulder V4 6B Boulder
True Grit Contact Station Area > Contact Station B… > True Grit Boulder V5 6C Boulder
Front Man A.V.P. Boulders > A.V.P. Boulder V5 6C Boulder
Never Have I Ever Haw Orchard > Luminary Area > Equinox Boulder V5 6C Boulder
Horizon Line Highlands > Horizon Area > Horizon Boulder V6 7A Boulder
Thews Boneyard Area > Middle Boneyard > Thews Boulder V6 7A Boulder
Flying Spaghetti Monster Picnic Area > Picnic Area Boulders > Olympus Boulder V7- 7A+ Boulder
More Classic Climbs in Grayson Highlands State Park »

Weather Averages

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Prime Climbing Season
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Photos

When does hunting season usually end for the park? As well as the opening of the upper parts of the park. I called them up and they told me that part of the park may be open for bouldering this upcoming weekend but couldn't really tell me whether or not hunting season had ended. I checked the Virginia state huntin dates but it didn't go into 2017 and someone on the phone saI'd that they would be having some open hunt dates for this year.
Thank you Mar 5, 2017
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
David,
You can use the rakkup guide to substitute the physical guidebook. Its pretty cool and is a cheaper option for sure. The physical guide is awesome if you think you will ever return in the future and Dan Brayack's photography is top notch. The park office carries and sales the GHSP Bouldering guidebook, and you can find it at a couple of stores in Boone NC as well. May 3, 2016
Has anyone used the Rakkup app as a substitute to the guide book? I will only be in the park for 2-3 days so I'm not sure it would be worth it to fully purchase the book whereas on the app is says you can rent it. OR does anyone know where I could get a physical copy near the park? Thanks! May 2, 2016
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
geoffjNC,
It all revolves around the weather after the rain. If its windy and rains only in the morning, most everything at the start of the LRT and everything in the Highlands will dry out by the afternoon. After a full day of rain, expect not to climb until the following day. The Picnic Area, Contact, Boneyard and AVP boulders all take a full day to dry. No special concerns really! The climbing here is very crimpy and steep so be sure your skin is in good shape. If you have any specific questions feel free to message me! Apr 29, 2016
geoff jones
Asheville, North Carolina
geoff jones   Asheville, North Carolina
Maybe I've overlooked this somewhere on the page, but how long does Grayson stay wet after several days of weather? Any area in particular that's better to check out post-rain? Any other concerns that I should know about? Itching to check this place out next week when I'm in the region Apr 29, 2016
Aaron:

Thanks for the info! It would have been quite disappointing to drive down from Lexington, KY only to find the park closed. I guess I'll have to wait to experience what is by all accounts some stellar bouldering.

Also, thanks for the weather info.

Quinn Oct 29, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Quinn Hill:
I hope you get this before you head out to GHSP this weekend! GHSP will, aside from the Highlands and Mt Rogers Area, be closed for the annual deer hunt in the park. The dates the park will be closed for the hunts are: Saturday, Nov 1st, Monday Nov 3rd, Tuesday Nov 4th, Friday Nov 17th, and Saturday Nov 18th. Also, Saturday looks like it may snow... For the most part Volney is a good bet for checking the weather. You can type in Grayson Highlands State Park on weather.com for more specific forecasts, and also on Graysonhighlandsbouldering.com there is a link to a live weather webcam at the Park Office. Oct 28, 2014
Anyone have any info on this weekend's weather? Judging from the comments, the weather here can be tricky due to the altitude. I know that the forecast is around 33 in Volney on Saturday, and warmer on Sunday/Monday. Anyone know if the Volney forecast is pretty accurate for GHSP? Oct 28, 2014
Drew Meyer
Charlottesville, VA
Drew Meyer   Charlottesville, VA
Hey Thomas G88,
I was there last october and lost a small bag of sd cards i think those might be mine. they were full of wonderful footage i shot of a bunch of classics at grayson as well as some rad photos aka a lot of memories. please send them to 610 fortwood place apt2, chattanooga, tn 37403 or email me at drewbmeyer@gmail.com.

I am so happy you found them i thought they were lost for ever!

-Sincerely,
Drew B Meyer Oct 7, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Samir,
Hello! Thanks a lot, it's been (and still is) a ton of fun up here at GHSP. As for the V0-V3 grade range, there truly is a TON to choose from and I will include some of my favorites here. Dont feel limited to these however. I could take up pages worth of problems that are great in that range. I did a quick MP search for problems from 0-3 and over 600 problems showed up for GHSP. Still yet, here are a few that I like:
-Highland Highball
-All Things Considered
-Thats My Money
-Façade
-Robot Love
-Life is a House
-Narcolepsy Crack
-Periscope
-Ranger Rick
-Foggy Mtn Fin
-Ballad of Love and Hate
-Bicentennial Arete
-Moonlight Sonata
-Cherokee Dihedral
-Indian Outlaw
-The Hive
-Honey Comb
-Anything located on the "Warm Up Wall" at the LRT

That should keep yall busy for a while, and there are so many more too! Hope this helps and your trip up is awesome.
-Aaron Sep 21, 2014
Samir Hazboun
Greensboro, North Carolina
Samir Hazboun   Greensboro, North Carolina
Hey Aaron,

First off wanted to commend you for investing a tremendous amount of energy in making such a gem of a natural resource accessible! I'm sold on spending at least a weekend or two at GHSP by mid-October and two of my good friends are on board as well. Thing is we're all very new to climbing and trying to figure out which are the most doable boulder problems in the park and how to make the best of our time there.

My question is what do you think are the easiest boulder problems to put on our to-do list that would be worth checking out? I can't see us doing anything over a V3 as we struggle enough on those at the gym. We're going to be trying to boulder at least 3 times a week for the next few weeks to try and get at least a little stronger but I still think considering the difference between the gym and outside that we should still be shooting for the easiest of the boulder problems. Hoping you can help us out, thanks!

Sincerely,
Samir Sep 20, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Thanks so much Jake! I'm glad to hear that you had a great time. Get back out here whenever you get the chance! Jun 17, 2014
Jake Jones
Richmond, VA
Jake Jones   Richmond, VA  
I was blown away by the quality of not only the rock and problems in this park, but the aesthetic quality, ambience and manicured nature of the park itself. Thanks for all your effort and hard work with regard to establishment, documentation and access, Aaron. This place is a gem. Jun 17, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
John,
GHSP has the guidebook for sale at the park office (where you park for the Contact station Area). The next closest place they can be picked up is in Boone NC. Hope you trip is awesome! Apr 21, 2014
Does anyone know where I could pick up this guide in a shop near by? I'm going on a trip soon, and probably wont have time to order it online. Apr 20, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Michael,
Conditions may be great, but the roads/gates to the LRT and Picnic might still be closed for the season. Mid April is usually the earliest the park opens the gates for the rest of the year. If the winter was mild, sometimes it can be earlier, but it is never guaranteed. Mar 18, 2014
Anyone know how conditions are? Thinking of heading up sunday, wondering if roads will be too bad, and if picnic area will be open. Mar 17, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
JordanB

The service at GHSP is dependent on your provider. If you have Verizon you can get decent signal at the entrance to the park, and at a few other spotty locations. Other providers have similar, or absolutely no signal anywhere in the area. I have heard from a few of the rangers that a new tower was put in near the park and that some signal (still Verizon) has improved, but I cannot speak to this as I was there a few days ago and the signal was still spotty. I hope this helps, and I'm happy to hear you like the guide! If you have any questions at all feel free to message me at any time! Mar 5, 2014
Jake Jones
Richmond, VA
Jake Jones   Richmond, VA  
Don, you can order a copy of the GHSP guidebook here:
brayackmedia.com/publishing… Feb 20, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Don, here is a short list of 25 must do lines for V2-V6, keeping highballs -mostly- out of the equation:
V2: "Highland Highball"(Highlands Area)
"Bi-Lingual"(LRT)
"Cap Gun"(Boneyard)
"Presidents Problem"(Boneyard)
"Cannonade"(Boneyard)
V3: "That's My Money"(AVP)
"Indian Outlaw"(Picnic)
"The Hive"(LRT)
"Periscope"(Contact)
"Copper Head"(Contact)
V4: "Crazy Horse"(Picnic)(Kind of Highball)
"Billy Budd"(Boneyard)
"Front Man-Stand"(AVP)
"Foot Kaput"(Highlands)
"Ranger Rick Low"(Contact)
V5: "Front Man"(AVP)
"True Grit"(Contact Station)
"Tigerside"(LRT)
"Strength In Numbers"(LRT)(Highball, but last 6ft are jugs)
V6: "Thews"(Boneyard)
"Horizon line"(Highlands)(Highball, but too good not to get on)
"Last Action Hero"(Boneyard)
"Frisky Monkey"(LRT)
"Shanghai Knight"(LRT)
"Paladin"(V6)

Get after it! Feb 20, 2014
Donovan Allen
Subaru
Donovan Allen   Subaru
Jake/Aaron- Thanks for all of the input. My stoke factor is through the roof right now, two weeks and counting! Where would be the best direct source to obtain the ghsp book? Aaron a list of must do's would be stellar * I can't boulder past V6 and am not too keen on high balls* if that helps. Thanks again guys, I fucking love MP. I'm sitting in a library in Detroit right now watching it snow. Any opinions on weather I should go to stone or rumbling bald? I'm open to suggestions. I would love a good traditional line in the 5.5-5.10 range.
Thanks gents! Feb 20, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Jake,
Great to hear you like the guide! Thanks for the info on dogs/climbing at Stone too, the bouldering looks really good there (as well as the beautiful routes!). I need to make it out that way soon. Feb 19, 2014
Jake Jones
Richmond, VA
Jake Jones   Richmond, VA  
Don, dogs are ok at Stone. Leashed is probably best, but most climbers will be on the slab and not bouldering so use your best judgement. Climbers pass through the boulder field on the south face to get to roped routes though, so there's that. As far as the book, I try to support an area and all the establishment and documenting efforts when I can- one of the best ways to do that is to buy the guidebook. Aaron and Dan B. have put tons of work into it and it's a quality publication. Not to mention, my buddy ordered one not too long ago, and it shipped out with a tracking number and a friendly email within ~1 hour of ordering. It's difficult to find service like that nowadays, so it's very worthy of support. Just my opinion. Enjoy GHSP. Feb 19, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Stamos,
For dogs, I see them all the time at the bald, but I don't know the policy for Stone. As for the GHSP guide, I always recommend it. The areas are somewhat spread out in clusters within the park, so it can be really handy as opposed to trying to navigate only by mountain project. There are 350 classic lines shown in the guide, and almost 900 listed on MP, so it can make it much easier especially if you have never visited before. It will be pretty ambitious trying to fit in all 3 locations, the bald is over 3 hrs away from ghsp, but do-able if the weather is really nice (the bald is like an oven too, so if it is nice and chilly at ghsp, it will be super warm/hot at rb, probably nearing the end of the balds climbing season). You are in no way blowing up the area! the park encourages climbing and Im stoked when folks travel to visit ghsp! let me know how iit goes, and I would be happy to recommend areas/climbs in ghsp if you all would like a short list of must-do problems. Feb 19, 2014
Donovan Allen
Subaru
Donovan Allen   Subaru
Aaron,
Thanks for all the info, I certainly plan on spending a few days here. Any thoughts on weather I should get a guidebook if it's only for a few days? I was wondering how ambitious it would be to try and climb stone mountain and possibly rumbling bald as well. I will have roughly 7 climb/travel days. I will be with a buddy and my dog, are there any restrictions on dogs at stone or rumbling? I hope I'm not blowing up your spot at ghsp, I will certainly respect the area/rock. Thanks again for all the info.
-stamos Feb 19, 2014
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
DoNstamos,
There is great camping within the park, but it is pretty costly if you are by yourself. I would recommend some of the national forest areas surrounding the park (you can find maps and locations on line with ease) that would be free to park and camp. The conditions are fairly temperamental during the spring, but with luck it will be a dry season and the climbing will be good. If you are used to the cold you'll be fine. The holds are pretty thin and most of the climbing is steep, so if it is chilly out it can feel pretty sharp (but the friction will be superb). Dogs are allowed for sure, but there is a 6ft leash regulation. Hope this helps! Let me know if I can help out with any more info. Feb 18, 2014
Donovan Allen
Subaru
Donovan Allen   Subaru
Hey Aaron, I was just wondering what the weather is going to be in ghsp around first or second week of march? I'm not familiar with the area, though from what I've read it may be good just cold? No problem there as I'm used to climbing in the wasatch year round. Also I was wondering what if any camping was available? I will be car camping and leave no trace. Lastly, are dogs allowed in ghsp? Thanks for all the info you post.
-DoNstamos Feb 18, 2014
Brad Caldwell
Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Brad Caldwell   Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Check out the review of the new Grayson Highlands Bouldering Guidebook...
cruxn.com/grayson-highlands…

Great book! Jul 20, 2013
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Alex,
Hey, glad to hear you’re excited to come up! The guide is finished and will be available, fingers crossed, May 10th (prime climbing season for GHSP)! Apr 11, 2013
Hey,
Is the guide available yet? Im super excited to come check this place out! Apr 11, 2013
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Isa,
Hello! August/Sept is pretty hot, although it is seemingly very cool by comparison to any other southeastern bouldering area. September is generally pretty perfect and one of the best months to visit. Even in the dog days of early/mid August it’s climbable with the nice temps in the late afternoon and all day climbing in the Highland Areas. The steep faces provide shade all day but mid day it can be muggy. You should be fine to climb here in the timeframe you are talking about. Glad to hear you may come out! Be sure to pick up one of the guidebooks too -Lots of good info and even better photos-!
-Aaron Feb 21, 2013
Isa Lulu
VA, NC, TN
Isa Lulu   VA, NC, TN
Hey, there. I'm interested in spending a week or two in the park this August or September, is it hellishly hot around that time? I'd love to network with some locals who could show me the ins n' outs. Thanks! Feb 20, 2013
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Cameron,
Thanks a lot! It's been a long rewarding process and so much fun along the way. I'm happy to hear you’ve climbed a bunch of the classics too! I love that section of the AT and there are hundreds of amazing boulders throughout the MRNRA to check out. Be on the lookout for the guidebook when it comes out this winter, it will make navigation to some of the other classics super easy. Hope to see you all out there! Oct 28, 2012
Cameron Cassan
Boone, NC
Cameron Cassan   Boone, NC
Aaron, I thank you for developing boulders, trails, and information on this terrific area. The park officers think very highly of you which means a lot for the climbing community. I've done multiple of the classics in my last couple visits (True Grit, Frontman, Athos Arete) and made projects of others (Thews, Spaghetti Monster, Horizon Line). One of my mates leads backpacking expeditions on the AT through the Highlands and has thoroughly enjoyed seeing another side of the park. Oct 28, 2012
Aaron,

Is the guide book out yet? Coming down to check the place out Friday before triple crown... Place looks sick!

- Nathan Sep 17, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Ryan,
Thanks so much for the comments Ryan! It’s awesome to get some feedback about peoples trips. I'm really glad to hear you had a good time despite the storms. Last week was a rough one as far as the weather goes but the Highlands areas are a great place for that. About an hour after the rain hits up there the boulders usually dry out. The park staff really is amazing and without them none of this would ever be possible. Hope you get to make it back up soon!
-Aaron Jul 20, 2012
Ryantdf  
Thanks for this place Aaron(and all others involved) awesome weekend in-spite of some bad weather. Love all the good feelings about bouldering and all the development put in a true gem of a destination.

Ryan Jul 19, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Dan,

The Highlands Area has the best dry time in the park. Within an hour of rain some of the stuff up there is dry and ready to climb. Within two hours and providing there is a steady breeze (there almost always is) you should be good to go on most every line up in the highlands.

Outside of that, the rest of the park takes a bit longer to dry off. Possibly AVP would dry off in a few hours and the Contact Station seems to dry off pretty quickly... But my highest recommendation for a rainy day would be the Highlands.

Psyched you coming out! There is a rental crash pad and chalk for sale in the park office just past the pay booth if you need supplies. Spread the word! Leave a comment on how your trip goes! Jul 10, 2012
Dan P  
I was thinking about heading up to Grayson this weekend, but the weather looks wet. Which areas dry out the fastest, and what are some approximate dry times? Stoked to get up there, if not this weekend then soon! Jul 10, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
The guidebook is projected to be published by the end of this summer. Hopefully in time for the good fall temps! Apr 26, 2012
DavidT  
Just wondering when the guide book is coming out Apr 26, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Thomas,
Hey man, glad to hear you guys are heading up this way! The "budget camping" is in the MRNRA and you get there by parking in the overnight lot (as far as I know it’s a 3 dollar fee to park in GHSP, but overnight parking may be a couple bucks more, I’m not 100% sure, but if it is an additional fee it shouldn’t be much). Park in the overnight lot and then hike up the hill via the "Rhododendron Gap Trail". Once at the top of the hill (obvious when you’re there I assure you) you will link onto the Appalachian trail toward Mount Rogers. Follow it to the "Pony Fence" (also very obvious as it’s the only fence you come to) and once you are on the other side (on MRNRA land) you can camp anywhere you want.

The hike there, depending on how much gear you have with you and how many ponies you decide to stop and admire, should take approximately 30min.

Hopefully I'll run into you guys out there (I drive a green Jeep Compass with a bunch of stickers on the roof wind faring thing if you want to session/say hello/ask where something is). Also just shoot me a message if you have any other questions, I’m always stoked to help out! Mar 29, 2012
Thomas Briley
Davis, CA
Thomas Briley   Davis, CA
Aaron, some friends and I are going to be coming up to climb for Easter weekend and we just have a few questions. Since we're college students we can't afford much and would just like some more information on the "Budget Camping" as you call it haha. Where would you suggest parking inside the park for the easiest access to camping in the MRNA? About how much is it to park in the park overnight? What is the name of the trail to get to the "pony gate" you mention and about how far of a hike is it from parking?

Thanks a lot! Sorry its a lot of questions, I just can't find much information on the internet other than what you have here on this site. If I think of anything else I'll be sure to ask. Mar 29, 2012
Awesome, thanks for the info. I'll be there Tuesday/Wednesday afternoon if anyone wants to join. Spotter and and an extra pad would be nice. Mar 21, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Fish: Thanks! Highlands are the first main cluster of boulders you will see (cant miss them honestly) when you come to the Rhododendron Gap/Massy Gap parking along the main road or for the overnight parking lot... I would honestly recommend checking out the Contact Station Area while you are there as they are SUPER easy to locate as well. Boneyard is a bit harder to find but if you follow directions that I have listed on the boneyard page you should be alright (same goes for AVP), but Im not going to try to elaborate further directions via comments on here to avoid writing a novel. Visitors have equally found them and not found them by the posted location on the Boneyard page, but the boulders are haphazardly scattered across the hillside. Sorry! Highlands & Contact are my best recommendations for straight forward bouldering in the park without a bit of direction following and some adventure. Mar 21, 2012
I'm going to be down there this Tuesday and Wednesday to hike Mt.Rogers, but I'd like to get some bouldering in and I'll be bringing my pad. What trails or parking areas are the Boneyard and Highland bouldering area near? Thanks for the help, appreciate the effort that went into this page. Mar 21, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Bigdan,
Its easy to find Highlands and Contact. Really easy in fact. But AVP and Boneyard have proved somewhat difficult for new visitors to the park. AVP less so than Boneyard, but the two are practically in the same place. I know many people who have navigated the area without a hitch but others who were desperately confused. Keep me posted on when you'll be in the area, just shoot me a message or two closer to time, and I will be happy to give you a guide around (maybe even get into the LRT if we're lucky) if youre interested. Mar 19, 2012
bigdan  
Aaron, I will definitely be down that week. Is it easy to find the Boneyard and the AVP areas. I am stoked to check it out. Mar 18, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
The park is open, its only three areas in particular that are closed. LRT, Moonlight, and Picnic are gated off. I would say that late April/May they will be re-opened permanently, but my guess is that if the weather continues to be awesome as it has been that they will re-open earlier than normal. They may be open mid April, but historically the average is the first week of May.

The Contact Station Area, AVP, Boneyard, Crooked Road, and Highlands Areas all are open year long though, and with those areas you would have several days worth of bouldering to explore. Hope you make it down! Mar 18, 2012
bigdan  
When does the park usually open? I am thinking of heading down that way during the first week of April. Mar 18, 2012
righton, I live in Asheville, NC so I don't know if I'll be making it back real soon, but I would like to check out some new stuff. I'll be in touch if we head back up. Mar 12, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Tison,
Glad you came out! The LRT is still closed and it is normally the most frequented area for people who have not been to the park before. Its the same situation for the Picnic Area. Without a guidebook or a local to show you all around its going to be hard to find a lot of the areas even though they are very close to the parking areas. MP is good for a reference in well known areas but for GHSP it can be hard to navigate with if you arent at all familiar with the park. The boneyard is often the most difficult area to find for new visitors and I wont try to describe it over a comment but Im always glad to show people around. GHSP is a big place and the areas are spread throughout the park in clusters. If you go there and only know of one or two places it will seem as if it offers much less than the boulder problems that are presently there. If you want to meet up and check out the boneyard/AVP area that would be great, or wait for a bit as the guidebook is in its final stage and should be out for the late summer/fall season. Mar 12, 2012
Hey man, Went out there with some friends that had talked with you about the area. We climbed some pretty cool stuff, but not what we expected. Where is this "bone yard". Mar 11, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
steve:
The areas are pretty self explanatory if you follow the directions off of MP. The boulders in picnic, Contact Station, and even AVP are smaller clusters (4-8 big boulders), and the LRT boulders aren't too hard to navigate... Shoot me an email when you plan on visiting and I would be glad to try to meet up and show you around some of the areas you're interested in since the guidebook isn't out yet. I have no doubt you could find you're way around without a problem, but having someone that is familiar with the place makes things easier for sure. If that sounds good just let me know! Otherwise, print off the pages here and you'll do fine. Feb 18, 2012
SteveBSU
Muncie, IN
SteveBSU   Muncie, IN
This is awesome. Thanks for the info aaron. Do you know of a place where I can find a map of where the areas are? Feb 17, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Steve,
No problem on the info! I am finishing up the guide as we speak, but, no it will not be for sale by that time...

I do recommend that you check out the LRT and Picnic Areas if they are open at that point in the year (its been a very mild winter so chances are good)...

In addition to these areas or if the gates are closed to the aforementioned areas, the Boneyard/AVP is amazing but sometimes they can be hard to navigate without a local or some prior knowledge. That being said, lots of people find their way around the place okay just by MP directions... Still yet, to get the full GHSP experience, I always recommend checking out the Highlands Area, especially on your first visit... its phenomenal and is an experience you can only really find in Grayson. Also be sure to stop by the Contact Station since its one of the most straight forward areas to climb at and it doesn't disappoint. Hope this helps! And be sure to keep an eye on the weather! Feb 14, 2012
SteveBSU
Muncie, IN
SteveBSU   Muncie, IN
Thanks for the info Aaron. Also I see your the one putting together a guide book. Will it be published by march? and if not where do you recommend climbing at if im only their for 2 or 3 days? I boulder around V4 right now Feb 12, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Steve: Im watching the weather for this week as well... Historically its cold and wet, but this winter has been very out of character. Its hit or miss. I bouldered nearly all day long in a t-shirt this past Saturday. Two days later it snowed, and the snow was followed a couple days of rain. My best advice for you is probably what you would be doing anyway, which is just to watch the weather channel and hope for the best. Wish I could be more helpful! Feb 9, 2012
SteveBSU
Muncie, IN
SteveBSU   Muncie, IN
Does anyone know what the conditions will be like here during the first week of March? Thinking of stopping for a day or 2 before I go to the New Feb 9, 2012
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Good to hear! Just in time for the guide:) Dec 14, 2011
I appreciate it Aaron. Yea they're just grades, who cares! I'm looking forward to some warmer weather as well. I have some projects at GHSP that I need to get back on! Also, a lot of buzz has been created about Grayson and a lot of people are talking about getting out there in the spring. Keep up the great work Aaron! Dec 13, 2011
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Nicholas:
Yes on both counts, Par's Problem is an 8 and Finger Confusion is/was a 7, but its just grades man, I loved the video! I cant wait for warmer weather to come back and for some spring time sessions... I guess its the south for the winter for now. Again, nice video and Im glad you guys got to climb some fun problems, they're all really good lines! Dec 12, 2011
Hey Aaron! Jody Johnston, Mark Mellette, and a few other buddies went to Grayson a few weeks ago and we got rowdy. Here is a video that some friends and I made from our most recent trip. Unfortunately, there are a few errors in the video. Parliers Problem is a V8 and the FA in the video is actually a problem called Finger Confusion. Is this correct?


vimeo.com/32239559 Dec 12, 2011
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
VACLIMBER:
Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner, Ive been doing the Triple Crown bouldering comps and I just returned from Chattanooga. The best place to camp nearest the boulders (I think youre referring to the Highland Area which encompasses the Wilburn Ridge region of the park and continues into the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area "MRNRA"). If you hike up from the parking area for Wilburn Ridge just follow the trail up and stay on the Appalachian Trail (dont turn right to the first huge cluster) you will pass through a wooden hiker/pony gate. Once you pass through that you can camp anywhere for free. Its beautiful out there! Again, sorry it took me a couple days to reply, usually Im quick about it. Hope you got out there! Oct 9, 2011
I have looked over the State Park website and this section of Mountain Project - let me just say thanks for putting forth so much effort in developing GHSP for the rest of us. Well done sir!

I'm planning on coming down for the weekend soon (maybe even tomorrow) and I wanted to know where to set up camp that is nearest to that picture of the somewhat highball problem (the contrasted picture with the person standing on top, hands high)? Essentially, where should my GF and I stay that is near showers/toilets...etc and also allows for a reasonable hike to those big boulders? Thanks! Oct 7, 2011
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Rick: Entrance fee is $2.00 for the weekdays, $3.00 at peak season/weekends, however that may have changed to 2 dollars now that school is back in. Camping is 25 dollars for the campsite, but you can have several people on one site and it includes water and hot showers/nice restrooms. You can also hike up into the highlands into the MRNRA area and camp for free but its a 30 min hike pretty easy though). I like the campground. Lemmi know if you would like a tour of the place! Glad you’re gonna check it out! Aug 25, 2011
Rick Carpenter
Kenai, Alaska
Rick Carpenter   Kenai, Alaska
How much is the entrance fee?Camping permit? I'll be heading up for a few days sometime soon. Aug 25, 2011
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Hopefully within a years time, and for sale. Jun 25, 2011
Hi,
I was wondering when the guidebook is set to be released?
Also, will it only be for sale or for free online?

Cheers,
DA Jun 24, 2011
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Alec:
I've posted some info under the "need to know" info tab on the left side of the screen under the areas portion on the main page above... Click on :need to know info" then click on "Camping" and you'll find hopefully what you need to know on camping. If not, please ask me any further questions and Ill be happy to help in any way! Jun 22, 2011
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Alec Beard:
No problem, Ill post more info in the next day or so! Jun 20, 2011
Thanks so much for all the great information. You mention there is camping. Could you possibly post more info on that? Can you camp anywhere? Designated spots? Free?

Thanks Jun 20, 2011
I have heard lots of negative talk about this place. So after my first visit I would like to completely disagree. First of all, the lowball stigma is completely misplaced. Most of the boulders were at least 20ft tall. The Olympus boulder basically the M1 boulder with significantly more lines. The quality of the rock was similar to Hound Ears, just like I was told. The top outs are generous, and its nice to get some air while not trying to determine the co-pay of my insurance provider. The summer temps are cool and there is plenty of shade. GHSP is less than an hour from Boone, it would be a shame to miss out on this place. Jun 14, 2011
Dan Brayack
Marmet, WV
Dan Brayack   Marmet, WV
Thews....is hard. I <3 it but I can't really do it, so its hard to say, but I think about it every night before bed. Right after I stop thinking about Raina and right before I start thinking about "Iron Man Traverse" in Bishop. Its hard to say.

But seriously, I think Thews would be 3 or 4 stars probably anywhere.

Beastmaker same thing - never been on it/can't do it so I couldn't say.

star ratings are all really objective of course. Like Julia (Statler) hated "True Grit" I wouldn't give it four stars either, but our friend Ryan loved it and was like "best problem Eva' " May 26, 2011
Dan Brayack
Marmet, WV
Dan Brayack   Marmet, WV
About the "star" rating at Grayson.

I would say Front Man at Bishop would be 3 stars (out of 4), but would be 4 star at HP-40/LRC/South East.

"True Grit" would be probably 4 star at Hueco or maybe a high 3, but probably a 2 or 3 star in the south due to sharpness.

Both are 4 star problems at Grayson.

SLS would be 3 or 4 star anywhere.

just from my experiences.... May 25, 2011
Brad Caldwell
Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Brad Caldwell   Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Thanks Aaron...
I didnt think it was Jaws, but I couldnt remember what else it could have been, thanks for the clarification. I did send Bi-Lingual the correct way, but the video of the SDS was only a partial and the stand version was unfortunately better. Thanks for the comments and the awesome time up at Grayson! Jul 12, 2010
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
awesome video! im glad you guys had a good time up here. there are only two small corrections i want to list. "Bi-Lingual" (v1/2) goes from the sit, (which I think you did just not in the video), and "Jaws" in the video is actually "Benadryl" (V0+). I think the ponies were for sure the highlight of the whole thing though. Nice job!! Jul 10, 2010
Brad Caldwell
Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Brad Caldwell   Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Here's a video of our recent trip to Grayson Highlands. Thanks Aaron for showing us around and helping us have the best bouldering vacation since Fontainebleau! Amazing place!


youtube.com/watch?v=iLgJz3M… Jul 10, 2010
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Stanley, There are four rental crashpads available at the Ranger Office where the trailhead to the Contact Station Area is. They are Misty Mountain Highlander pads, standard sized pads, so its a good idea to rent two at a time if you arent bringing any pads up with you. Good luck out there! Jun 5, 2010
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Stanley,
Unfortunately I dont know of anywhere in sova with rental pads... the regular hikers in the park are just now getting used to seeing "pad people". Still yet, there are a growing number of boulderers with pads here, and I know i personally would be glad to throw in a pad/spot if you came to GHSP to boulder. Jun 4, 2010
Is there a rock climbing store in SoVA? Can you rent bouldering pads anywhere down there? Jun 3, 2010
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Sam Stephens,
Im really excited about joining the climbing club myself. At the comp I placed second in advanced, I don't know if that helps put name-to-face or not.
I wish I had more/better pictures of the place. The ones here are a vast understatement, and the there are entire areas without representation...Im working on it I swear. Anyway, I can guarantee you'll love the place.
I hate you wont be there next semester (congrats on graduating soon though), but I would like to show you guys around. there will be some really exciting bouldering going on there this coming season, so stay in touch. It's going to kick off soon hopefully, and the more hands and pads the better the climb! Feb 21, 2010
Aaron,

I was at the comp at the rock the other night. I'm president of VT's climbing club but won't be after this semester because I'm graduating. Anyway, I'm trying to head down there with COEveryman (Jordan) soon to check the area out. Hope it's as good as you say, the pictures look totally awesome. Feb 20, 2010
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
No way, that's awesome that you're going to VT, I was just accepted and will be going there starting in the fall semester (small world)... I just did the comp at "the rock", were you able to go to it?... anyway, send me a message or look me up and I'll give you the tour for sure, along with everyone else ill be climbing with from B-Burg. the spring send-season should kick off in another couple of week for this area, so be ready!!
-I had never noticed it, but now that you mention it, the picture does bear a striking resemblance... thats crazy, lol- Feb 20, 2010
Aaron--Thank you so much for taking time to respond to my question, and there can be no doubt about it--I am stoked to come and check it out. I am currently stuck in Blacksburg working on a graduate degree dreaming of the day I will have the time to come down. Thanks for all you hard work on this.

PS-Myself and a number of my friends have commented on how the picture you have posted on the home page looks strikingly like Hueco Tanks. Really, if you just showed the picture to someone, chance are they would guess Hueco. It definitely seems to be a positive omen . . . Feb 20, 2010
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Oh, and COEveryman... check the weather if you are coming here in the winter, lol... Feb 6, 2010
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Im stoked to hear you might come out to Grayson! The star rating is about to be fixed, among other aspects of the web page. Not to say that all of the four-star ratings don't hold true, but you must understand that the problems were added to the pages as soon as they were developed. as a matter of fact, Im going to start redoing them now.... when you get this it should mostly be fixed.

Grayson is absolutely fantastic. I have never had the opportunity to go to Hueco, but I have seen a significant amount of east coast climbing, and my favorite place is still Grayson. Hands down.

The star rating is within Grayson, since I don't know every classic problem from Yosemite to Pawtuckaway. Just know that any four-star will be awesome. Feb 6, 2010
As someone interested in visiting Grayson (GHSP) in the near future, I have a quick question about the star designations for the area. I notice that there are a large number of problems that are given 3 and 4 star ratings. I am curious if these ratings are in relation just to other GHSP boulder problems, or in comparison to national bouldering standards of a similar grade? For example, is Bi-Lingual's 4 star designation in comparison only to other V1 problems at GHSP, or is it 4 stars because it stands shoulder to shoulder with a problem like the Hueco Tanks V1 classic "Backscratcher?"

One way or another, GHSP sounds like a really amazing place (and the pictures are phenomenal) and I hope to check it out as soon as possible. Thanks also for all the work on this area, it is very informative and appears to have been done by people who are intimately knowledgeable about the area. Jan 31, 2010

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