Elevation: 3,049 ft
GPS: 37.455, -79.62 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 150,070 total · 1,259/month
Shared By: Travis Melin on Dec 31, 2011
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Shawn Heath
Access Issue: This area is on national forest and blue ridge parkway land. Details

Description

This south-west hillside is covered in hundreds of 5-30ft tall gneiss boulders. The views are amazing, and the approach is easy. Mostly untouched until recently....

The Good:

This is a low grade south/west facing hillside with occasional wide gullies. It is covered in 100s of gneiss boulders. Most have great flat landings.

To hike from bottom to top of the hill takes about 5-10 minutes so the approach is short as long as you know where you are going. The problems done thus far (approx 100 V0 - V8) are very good, unique lines. The problems often feature very subtle crimps, slimpers, and slopers, with bad feet, which lends its self to more difficult problems overall.

Want a FA? Heaps of boulders exist for new routing for those who enjoy that.

The Bad:

Poison Ivy, and ticks can be found if you get off the established boulders and trails, though I haven't found any yet this year...and I've been out a lot. Thus I see this as being on par with most southern crags : ie not good in the summer d/t heat and thick foliage, but great for fall, winter, early spring.

History: as far as I can tell, at this point, a lot of the obvious lines in main areas such as "The Stones" been climbed, but beyond the most obvious there is still much to be explored. The stuff right off the trail most likely has been done to some extent.  There was some evidence of earlier climbers (One spot of chalk under an overhang, one reinforced landing, nothing more), and have spoken with few who have climbed there as far back as 20+yrs ago.

Access Issues

Please understand that Harkening Hill and a few satellite areas are only tenuously open for climbing access through the lens of the land management, which is the National Park Service, and the neighboring Sharp Top is clearly defined as off limits to climbing and posted as such. Do your best to be low key, please do not climb at Sharp Top, and don't be a jerk when parking. Access is only "tolerated" at Harkening and it would be a shame if you were the reason that changed for the worse.

Getting There

The Hill is generally located (uphill) from mile marker 87-89 on the BR Parkway. Nearby peaks sharp-top and flat top also have some climbing. But it is off limits within 100ft of the trail. Specific directions are poster under each area, but some poking around may be necessary your first visit.
The hike in on the main trail takes about 20 min for Egg basket, 25 for Tipping, and 30 for upper limits.
The faint climbers trail to the stones takes about 5-10 min.

From Roanoke: 45 min
From Blacksburg 65 min
From Lynchburg 40 min

Parking Issue

Parking issue!!! Everyone please refrain from using the grassy knoll pull out for the time being. Someone has turned it into a muddy mess. Park in the paved lot at the visitor center until the knoll heals.

225 Total Climbs

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