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Routes in Pilot Rock

400 Foot Rope T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13
Chopped Route T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13
Ledge Slant T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13
Slab Solo T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R
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Elevation: 3,311 ft
GPS: 35.385, -82.732 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 4,006 total · 121/month
Shared By: Charles Ciaffone on Feb 26, 2016
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry
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Close to Looking Glass, this is a great place to learn lead and friction. The routes are easy, but some are run-out in exciting places. Most are bolted.

It is rarely (if ever) crowded, and the rock is solid. If there are people above you, be careful since the top is chossy and small rocks could be dislodged.

Getting There

The Pilot Rock Trail starts on FS 1206 (Yellow Gap Rd), 3 miles northeast of US Hwy 276. FS 1206 turns right off 276 just above the Pink Beds. From the other direction it is a long and miserable drive from the N Mills River campground.

Beware of speeding dirt bikes on the road.

Follow the Pilot Rock Trail for about 3/4 mile, crossing an old roadbed near the bottom. After the second switchback the Pilot Rock Base trail leads right (be careful of yellow jackets near the beginning of the trail). This trail winds across the top of the ravine and along the base of the slopes. It then descends a built staircase that may be scarier than any of the climbs.

The first route is on the face before the steps, and the second two at the bottom of the steps. The rest are farther on around a corner and down.

4 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Pilot Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13
Chopped Route
Trad 4 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Chopped Route
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13 Trad 4 pitches
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I am a little torn about seeing Pilot Rock on the site. I have going there since 2010 and have only ever seen one other party on the rock. Great solitude, fun slab climbing and great views. If you want to learn North Carolina, run-out slab climbing, this is your place. Jul 28, 2016
I highly recommend the Reardon/Wolfe book, "Cedar Rock and Satellite Crags". Great information on the area. I wish all guide books were that thorough. The bike shop in Brevard sells it - you'll pass right by the shop on your way to Pilot! Jul 28, 2016
Charles Ciaffone
Asheville, NC
Charles Ciaffone   Asheville, NC
The Cedar Rock write-up is good, but the one in the Rumbling Bald guide is even better, and includes the Slate Rock faces. It is also an excellent guide to the Bald.

I was actually surprised when I moved back after 15 years to find that the slab I had been messing around on 1994-97 had been bolted and listed on climbing sites. I first saw it from Pounding Mill overlook, and collected the TVA maps to home in on it, being unfamiliar with the Pink Beds region of Pisgah NF at the time. We hiked up several times over the years, but either did not have the right team, or the weather was not on our side each time. I have been climbing there several times since then, and while I am generally not a fan of bolts, I do appreciate the bolted belay stances that have appeared across the cliffs of WNC. Jul 29, 2016
Charles - pretty cool update and interesting history. I found a reference to it in 2009 on some guys personal website. He had posted pictures that intrigued me. I cannot locate the site anymore, but the idea behind climbing someplace obscure was exciting. It was pretty easy to find on the Forest Service maps once I knew what to look for. I agree about both the bolted belays and the use of restraint in placing bolts! Jul 29, 2016
Winston-Salem, NC
Benandstuff   Winston-Salem, NC
The bolted anchors for entry slab/entry crack are currently hangerless. I added some cord and rap rings to the one dead thick tree and two live skinny trees at the top left corner of the crag. It is not an appropriate long term solution to rap from there, the dead tree is going to come down at some point and who knows if it will take the smaller trees with it. Someone else had run into the same problem as there was a sling and locking biner up there already.

Those bolts need their hangers back, especially since they service the two easiest and better protected climbs here. Sep 5, 2017

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