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Climbing at Iron Gate, VA?

Original Post
Chase Flint · · Lexington, Virginia · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0

Does anyone know about the status of public access to Iron Gate? I've climbed there several times in the past 9 months or so and have never had any problems, but was told by a local store owner that the land has been (somewhat) recently purchased and is now closed off to the public.

From what I've gathered, the land was actually bought several years ago (2009 I believe?) but apparently the land owner has started having people arrested for trespassing in the past few weeks. The store owner told us that a few people that had been "mushrooming" were arrested within the past two or three weeks and that another local man serves as the caretaker for the land owner and patrols the area somewhat regularly. We spoke with the caretakers wife, who told us she doesn't believe they give permission to climb because of liability.

Does anyone know how accurate this information is? I've been a number of times in the past year and have only ever seen people out there once, but this is apparently a somewhat recent development.

Halljt3 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 5

I would also be interested in any further information. In addition, I've heard "Rainbow Rocks" across the river from Iron Gate no longer has access issues; has anyone had any recent issues climbing here as well?

The Farley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 30

While I have not climbed at Iron Gate in over 15 years, I can imagine liability concerns from a private land owner due to the location of the crag above the road.

The location of the crag above the busy highway has always been a bit of an issue.

Chase Flint · · Lexington, Virginia · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0

Halljt3, I've never tried climbing across the road, as I've always been told Rainbow Rock was off limits to the general public unless you got specific permission.

Chase Flint · · Lexington, Virginia · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0

The Farley, I think the issue is just someone falling and getting hurt, whether it's on the approach or the crag. The road definitely makes it worse though.

ze dirtbag · · Tahoe · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 50

so, there's climbing on both sides of the road. there used to be a pdf file on with some topos. the uphill side has a lot of climbing....but the rock is shit. it's called choss gate for a reason. the other side of the river has some semi developed routes as well, i never really found any literature on it though. access is definitely a gray area there, i only tried rainbow twice. the first time i took a trash bag and tried to do a little bit of pr work on the way in and out. the second time, i did the same and the landowner flagged me down on the way out. we talked for a bit, he didn't sound too stoked on me being there but appreciated the cleanup. i figured it was better to leave it like that than push the issue.

it's a cool spot if you're super close....but i was in roanoke, it was worth it for me to just make the drive to bozoo or the gorge.

The Farley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 30

If i was the landowner I would be greatly concerned with climbers causing a rockfall issue in the road. Sounds like a conversation with AF might be in order, however i dont think the crag is particularly worthy of a bunch of work to maintain access... IMHO.

Chase Flint · · Lexington, Virginia · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0

Ze_dirtbag, just so we're on the same page, choss gate is road side? I've never had too bad of an experience with the rock there, and its the only sport within 2.5 hours. I know the river side is definitely private property (the area with the flag on top) but he is known to give permission if you ask nicely I believe.

Farley, I definitely agree that its really not much, but again, its the only really convenient sport for me, as I'm a full time student in Lexington. Not sure its entirely worth it, but I might try and get in contact with the landowner first. Looking at Allegheny's gis, it looks like his property might only encompass about a third of the crag, being the closest third to the town of Iron Gate. I guess we'll have to see.

The Farley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 30

On another note; how is the hardware holding up out there or has it been maintained?

Evan Lukow · · Roanoke, VA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 0

I am new to the area. Just moved to Roanoke. Was hoping to spend afternoons at places like Iron Gate and longer times at the Gorge. Any info would be appreciated and I would be more than happy to help in the search for answers if someone has any good leads. Agree it might be an AF issue.

Any other crags nearby for early afternoons?



ze dirtbag · · Tahoe · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 50

i put up quite a few routes at tinker cliffs 6 or 7 years ago, everything from ow roofs to finger cracks. it's all top out or sling a tree and rap in for tr. pretty fun climbing, but a pretty stout hike in.

Chase Flint · · Lexington, Virginia · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0

Farley, as far as I know it's holding up pretty well. Haven't seen anything too sketchy yet.

Dirtbag, how many routes are out there? And where exactly is Tinkers Cliffs? That sounds like some fun climbing! That might even be closer to us than River Rock!

ze dirtbag · · Tahoe · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 50

you can see tinker cliffs from the top of mcaphees knob. access is from catawba rd just past lord botetourt hs on 604/81 alt. you can probably find some info on hiking sites. we cleaned 10-11 lines and there's potential for more.

Philip Schuchardt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 425

Are you going to upload tinker cliff stuff to mountain project? Make sure you add pictures so people can find the things. If you guys are going back out to tinker cliff, I won't mind tagging along.

The Farley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 30

In regard to cleaning lines at Tinker, you are probably going to to want to take brushes on every trip. Folks have been climbing lines up there for decades, which eventually fall back into obscurity until the next "FA." The hike in has simply been a deterrent for most people so the lines don't ever really get enough traffic to stay clean.

@ Jake Jones: Iron gate is about a 2 hour haul to the NRG.

ze dirtbag · · Tahoe · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 50

probably not going to upload. like farley said, we did enough cleaning to feel like an fa.....but we figured someone had been on them at some point. take some brushes and clean off what looks fun then put the rope up. (re)discovery is pretty cool.

The Farley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 30

Probably wouldn't hurt to add the area if folks are interested, which seems they are. Cool to see energy on the ROA climbing front. Have really been enjoying River Rock and the current stoke in the community to get out on Rock these months I have been in VA.

ze dirtbag · · Tahoe · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 50

there's definitely some shit rock up there, but there's some good stuff really worth pulling on too. talk to matt at river rock, that's his neck of the woods and he might be able to give you some beta. i'd like to help more, but i'm living in tahoe these days and probably won't be back on the east coast till october. this thread has me kinda stoked to go back up there and give some projects a burn.

Benny G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2014 · Points: 5

im also interested in Tinker Cliffs. Looking to head down there this wwekend

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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