Easy/Kid Friendly Top Rope Around Asheville, NC


Original Post
Tim Lau · · Hendersonville, NC · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 20

My 9year old has spent 2 days with Fox Mountain Guides (Cody is the man!) climbing Chimney Rock and Looking Glass (Nose and Sun Wall). He's stoked about continuing to climb but the guide service is kinda spendy to do more than every couple months or so.

At this point, I'd be very comfortable venturing out on our own for some easier routes if we're able to walk to the top to set a rope. IOW, I'm not going to lead him up.

I've picked up Mike Reardon's "Cedar Rock" and "Rumbling Bald" Guides, but am looking for some more direct info.

Where can we hike in, set a solid top rope and let the kid get a couple decent climbs in? Anywhere from Brevard to Boone is within reach.

Looking Glass

Tim Lau · · Hendersonville, NC · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 20

so...my first post to the forum clearly illustrates the weakness of my google-fu.

I just stumbled on this thread:
https://www.mountainproject.com/v/top-ropes-near-asheville-nc/111994038

That being said, I'd still love to hear suggestions for kid friendly climbs in the area!

Cheers,
Tim

Scott Phil · · NC · Joined May 2010 · Points: 196

Good suggestions on the wedding party thread.

In addition, you can set up a top rope on Short Man's Sorrow at Looking Glass. You can access the ledge through a short scramble on the right side.

Pickens Nose is further away, but also has some top rope possibilities. After climbing you could visit The Creamery (near the Georgia line) for some excellent ice cream.

Mike Reardon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 960

Tim, it's great you are getting out with kids and thanks for picking up the guides! In Bald Guide; all routes at West Slate Rock are easily top roped since you access from the top. Set an anchor in trees and lower climber down 200 ft. Top belay. Fun climbing back up! Bradley Falls "lightning corner" 5.6 and others in that area can be top roped. The hike is a bit involved for a 9 year old but I have seen younger there. At the Bald, routes on the left side of Doggy Day Care can be top roped and are 5.7's. Tree anchors 90 ft. Still at the Bald, routes on the left side of Flakeview can be TRd but are mostly over 100 ft. Best to wait on the Bald till Fall. In the Cedar guide, Lower West Right area can be top roped but are 130 ft tall so top belay is mandatory.
Chimneys in Linville Gorge are an easy TR set up.
Ground Up Publishing will release Hidden Valley Rock Climbs in 3 months and many of the 475 routes have top access.
I'd recommend knowing how to equalize anchors from gear or trees or two bolt anchors, and fully understanding top and bottom belay techniques. Also knowing if gear directionals are needed will save your rope and potential swing if the route traverses at all.
Feel free to email with questions; mikereardon80@hotmail.com. Enjoy!

Tim Lau · · Hendersonville, NC · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 20
Mike Reardon wrote:Tim, it's great you are getting out with kids and thanks for picking up the guides! In Bald Guide; all routes at West Slate Rock are easily top roped since you access from the top. Set an anchor in trees and lower climber down 200 ft. Top belay. Fun climbing back up! Bradley Falls "lightning corner" 5.6 and others in that area can be top roped. The hike is a bit involved for a 9 year old but I have seen younger there. At the Bald, routes on the left side of Doggy Day Care can be top roped and are 5.7's. Tree anchors 90 ft. Still at the Bald, routes on the left side of Flakeview can be TRd but are mostly over 100 ft. Best to wait on the Bald till Fall. In the Cedar guide, Lower West Right area can be top roped but are 130 ft tall so top belay is mandatory. Chimneys in Linville Gorge are an easy TR set up. Ground Up Publishing will release Hidden Valley Rock Climbs in 3 months and many of the 475 routes have top access. I'd recommend knowing how to equalize anchors from gear or trees or two bolt anchors, and fully understanding top and bottom belay techniques. Also knowing if gear directionals are needed will save your rope and potential swing if the route traverses at all. Feel free to email with questions; mikereardon80@hotmail.com. Enjoy!
Thanks Mike!

Sounds like we may need another day or so of guide service with a focus on teaching me top belay and "gear directionals".

I've enjoyed your books...but would love to have a "Climber's Thesaurus" companion to get up on all the lingo!
. · · Asheville NC · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 485

Tim, do some reading in the school of rock section of mountain project, top belays are fairly straight forward and only require a "guide belay" style ATC. Gear directionals are also fairly straight forward and will likely be in the school of rock.

Freedom of the hills is a book you should pick up and read, it will also have info on both of those.

Good luck have fun!

Charles Ciaffone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 275

You are also welcome to come hang with us. I have a Facebook group called Reuters Climbers that I created to help coordinate climbing trips with several friends. There are a couple other families with kids in addition to my own 10-year old grandson.

As for top belay, that just means that you belay the climber from the top like in lead climbing.

As mentioned above, the Chimneys at Linville Gorge are great top-roping, and have large steel eyebolts driven into the top of the cliff.
The west end of Cedar Rock has some good 5.6s that can be set up from the top for bottom belay with a 70m rope.
The Dump out on 221 between Grandfather Mountain and Blowing Rock has some harder climbs, but you can access the bolts at the top via a goat trail above the ladder.
Depending on how strong a climber you are, most of the routes at Pilot Rock can be easily free-soloed so you can set up the 1st pitch bolts for top-rope without having to worry about the lead belay.

Happy climbing, and good for getting your son into the sport.

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 230
Charles Ciaffone wrote:You are also welcome to come hang with us. I have a Facebook group called Reuters Climbers that I created to help coordinate climbing trips with several friends. There are a couple other families with kids in addition to my own 10-year old grandson. As for top belay, that just means that you belay the climber from the top like in lead climbing. As mentioned above, the Chimneys at Linville Gorge are great top-roping, and have large steel eyebolts driven into the top of the cliff. The west end of Cedar Rock has some good 5.6s that can be set up from the top for bottom belay with a 70m rope. The Dump out on 221 between Grandfather Mountain and Blowing Rock has some harder climbs, but you can access the bolts at the top via a goat trail above the ladder. Depending on how strong a climber you are, most of the routes at Pilot Rock can be easily free-soloed so you can set up the 1st pitch bolts for top-rope without having to worry about the lead belay. Happy climbing, and good for getting your son into the sport.
5.4 / 5.5 slab climbing is probably not what someone who I am assuming doesn't climb wants to free solo to setup a top rope for their kid! If they can solo that there are probably a few routes they could lead at table rock and top rope / rappel from.
Charles Ciaffone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 275
ViperScale wrote: 5.4 / 5.5 slab climbing is probably not what someone who I am assuming doesn't climb wants to free solo to setup a top rope for their kid! If they can solo that there are probably a few routes they could lead at table rock and top rope / rappel from.
I was not clear on the OP's climbing experience.
waldo · · Knoxville, TN · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 30

Tim,

I also have kids who love to go climbing. My oldest is 8. I take them as often as I can, not as often as I would like to. I have been wanting to take a trip to NC for quite a while. He will have a fall break and I think we are going to take a camping/climbing trip. If you and your family want to join us you are more than welcome to. If your ever in TN send me an email maybe we can set something up. Also the National Park has an awesome climbing program called Climb With a Ranger at Obed. Its free, safe and fun. It may be a fun trip for you and your son to head out to Obed. I would recommend taking a few more trips out with someone who has more experience, someone you can learn from.

Tim Lau · · Hendersonville, NC · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 20
Robbie Meyer wrote:Tim, I also have kids who love to go climbing. My oldest is 8. I take them as often as I can, not as often as I would like to. I have been wanting to take a trip to NC for quite a while. He will have a fall break and I think we are going to take a camping/climbing trip. If you and your family want to join us you are more than welcome to. If your ever in TN send me an email maybe we can set something up. Also the National Park has an awesome climbing program called Climb With a Ranger at Obed. Its free, safe and fun. It may be a fun trip for you and your son to head out to Obed. I would recommend taking a few more trips out with someone who has more experience, someone you can learn from.
Thanks for the invite!

NC appears to be a hot bed of climbing activity, so come on over!
Charles Ciaffone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 275

I can come to TN, too? I have been taking my 10-yr old, plus a couple other kids and adults, in NC for the past few years. We have discussed a trip to Obed.

waldo · · Knoxville, TN · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 30
Charles Ciaffone wrote:I can come to TN, too? I have been taking my 10-yr old, plus a couple other kids and adults, in NC for the past few years. We have discussed a trip to Obed.
You should come to TN and climb. Obed has some great sport routes and their climb with a Ranger program is a great for kids.
Erik Olsen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 5

Ok checking in here, the father of twin 8yo girls. Camping at Davidson this week and planning to get on the south wall at Looking glass. lil 5.5 action.
Tim I wish I could offer more Top Rope walk off but all the ones I used in the past are farther away. Curahee, Yonah, Crowers. Glad you are out side with the boy! Keep it FUN for him. encourage and don't be critical.
Remember boys have fun when they win and girls win when they are having fun.

Nick Matney · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

I just stumbled onto this thread and wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the great tips and advice. My wife and I just moved to Asheville and have been looking for pure sport or top rope routes to play on. We are slowly building a trad rack, but in the meantime were looking for options other than trad.

I would highly recommend you check out rocky face park above hickory. It is an old granite quarry that has everything from a 5.5 to 5.13 and the vast majority are top ropable. We got stuck on a couple of routes and used a second rope from the top to clean up our gear, so feel free to challenge yourself.

Happy climbing

Tim Lau · · Hendersonville, NC · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 20
Nick Matney wrote:I just stumbled onto this thread and wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the great tips and advice. My wife and I just moved to Asheville and have been looking for pure sport or top rope routes to play on. We are slowly building a trad rack, but in the meantime were looking for options other than trad. I would highly recommend you check out rocky face park above hickory. It is an old granite quarry that has everything from a 5.5 to 5.13 and the vast majority are top ropable. We got stuck on a couple of routes and used a second rope from the top to clean up our gear, so feel free to challenge yourself. Happy climbing
First I've heard of Rocky Face! Looks like a great spot for kids - easy access, top rope, plenty of 5.5-5.7 routes.

THANK YOU! Looks like our next destination.

How busy does it get?
AField · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2011 · Points: 25

It can get fairly busy, but it won't be right now. The park is definitely better in the winter, since the cliff faces the sun and there are zero trees for shade. You're better off at the Chimneys, and even that is very hot right now.

Nick Matney · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0
Tim Lau wrote: First I've heard of Rocky Face! Looks like a great spot for kids - easy access, top rope, plenty of 5.5-5.7 routes. THANK YOU! Looks like our next destination. How busy does it get?
During the week it is usually dead, the weekends can get busy if the weather is nice though. Usually the easier routes will get mobbed after lunch, but early in the morning they seem to stay clear.

The entire rock is south facing and will get super hot in the summer, so either wear sunscreen or cover up.

As a side note, don't trust the website calendar. Call and make sure there aren't any events going on. We drove up one Saturday and couldn't climb because they were doing search and rescue training.
Charles Ciaffone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 275
Nick Matney wrote: As a side note, don't trust the website calendar. Call and make sure there aren't any events going on. We drove up one Saturday and couldn't climb because they were doing search and rescue training.
Thank you for this. I heard about Rocky Face in Winston-Salem, but have not been out yet, since it is a bit of a drive from Asheville. I'm thinking of checking it out later this year, maybe as part of a trip to Stone Mountain.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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