Hey y'all, how's the climbing in North & South Carolina?


Original Post
Chick on Crack · · Superior, CO · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 0

Howdy folks. I currently live in Colorado, kind of burnt out on the climbing scene here (except Shelf Road). As the cost of living and traffic quickly squeeze me out of my home, I'm thinking of moving back south (I'm from Florida).

How's the climbing in North and South Carolina? I currently live with Eldo as my backyard and prior to that, North Table & Clear Creek were my front and back yards. It sounds like Charleston, SC has climbing, but it's a drive. How close is climbing if I live in a city in NC?

I'm looking to live near a beach and the mountains, around kind hearted & genuine folks, with climbing as a priority.

I posted something similar on the Salt Lake City forum and received tons of great advice.

Thoughts?

Chris Whisenhunt · · Fayetteville, WV · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 955

Charleston, SC has absolutely no climbing. The closest decent rock is 4 hours from there. The best rock for sport climbing is around 6-7 hours from there. If you want to be close to NC climbing I'd recommend Boone or Asheville.

For harder sport climbing I'd recommend the New River Gorge in WV.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

SC has very little climbing legally accessible. Charleston is very far from rock.

NC is vastly better. Lots of great climbing throughout the western part of the state. Look at Asheville as a home base if you want the best climbing access. Or Boone. Be warned that there is very little sport climbing in NC, so if Shelf is your scene you may not like NC.

Also look at TN, especially Chattanooga. More sport climbing there.

RobG814 · · Wilmington, NC · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 335

I live near the beach in Wilmington, NC. Can surf before or after work but this is not the place to live if climbing is top priority. At least 4 hours to get to any rock. The western part of the state has great crags, I would suggest Boone or Asheville as well.

ChrisN · · Morro Bay, CA · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 25

Asheville or Chattanooga.

No easy ocean access though - you have to choose one or the other.

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 140

"I'm looking to live near a beach and the mountains, around kind hearted & genuine folks, with climbing as a priority."

Tough criteria. Hard enough to find mountains and ocean near each other.... then get rid of the jerks and idiots ...... and add a bunch of climbers .... You seek Heaven, or possibly New Zealand, that's all I can think of.

AField · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2011 · Points: 25

Climbing in the Blue Ridge in western North Carolina is extensive and varied. There is also climbing in the Piedmont region of the state, but the closer you get to the beach, the rock dwindles until all you have is gyms. South Carolina is much the same, except with even less legally accessible rock and fewer gyms. If I were to live in a city in the Carolinas, I think I'd choose either Charlotte, Asheville or Winston-Salem. All are relatively close to several crags, and good hubs for bigger, multi-day trips. That being said, the small town scene in WNC is excellent, and can get you closer to climbing. Places like Boone, Black Mountain, and Swannanoa are for the most part affordable, and have wonderful communities.

The climbing community here is close knit, and kind. Folks don't always like to publicize their routes on here or elsewhere, which is sort of understandable given the access issues inherent to climbing in the South. That being said though, if you show up to a crag or boulder, people will show you around. The best way to get to know people and places around here is basically just to show up.

Ultimately, I'd recommend taking an extended trip to get a feel for the area. It can be hard to get a real sense of the climbing or the living of a place through online research.

JohnWesely · · Red River Gorge · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 595

Move to South Africa.

Mark O'Neal · · Nicholson, GA · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 1,285

Hope you like slab

Benandstuff · · Winston-Salem, NC · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 488

The climbing is great, and you can climb year-round if you seek shade/altitude and don't push grades in the summer. We have steep quartzite and slabby granite, and not a whole not in between, but you can always take weekend trips to the Virginias, Tennessee, or Kentucky to mix it up with great sandstone. Most crags have really solid rock.

As far as getting a crag in your backyard, that is a whole lot tougher. Most rock is on public land and has significant approach times. Not a lot of roadside stuff.Boone (The Dump, Ship Rock, and lots of boulders), and Winston-Salem (Pilot Mountain, Moore's and Asheboro bouldering) are your best bets for short approach, after work stuff. You may find that the crags near Asheville are a little too far to drive/hike to get anything in on a work day afternoon/evening. If you are just looking for day trips though, nearly everything is accessible as long as you live West of Greensboro.

TomCaldwell · · Clemson, S.C. · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 2,563

I don't mind living in Upstate SC, but you better like trad and bouldering. I am about 2 hours or less from most spots in NC except Linville and Moores. There are good opportunities to climb all year. Not all of our granite is slabby, rockhouse knob, north side of LGR, Cathy's to name a few. There is the newly developed Big Rock which is only 30 minutes away. Some of the best face climbing around is on schist like Whiteside. We don't have the ocean, but we make up for it with lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. I used to want to live in Chattanooga, but the summer climbing there is very limited. From here, I can be at 5000' climbing in 1.5 hours. I'm not going to exclaim anymore about the climbing around here, I've seen the influx to Chattanooga from every magazine stating it's the place to be in the East. Now most of the popular spots are a zoo. The best advice is to start traveling. We are having one of the driest falls on record.

Chick on Crack · · Superior, CO · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 0

I actually love slab. And growing up in Florida, I've spent a lot of time in the Carolinas either vacationing or visiting friends who moved out to some of the areas mentioned. Some friends who started a climbing gym in Orlando warned me about the secrecy yet close knit kindness of the southern climbing scene. I get it. When we find untouched areas to climb in Colorado, we definitely don't talk much about said areas...and often are jerks to newbs who crash our party. That's the part I want to get away from...climbing has turned into cat fighting with the influx of 10s of thousands of newbs to Colorado.

So Heaven, New Zealand, & Africa aren't currently options...North Carolina for climbing, Salt Lake for climbing, or work on my tan while attempting to climb sand castles in Charleston?

This decision sucks!

(And if you're wondering why the heck I don't just stay in Colorado, think about the long lines to get on Space Mountain...that's the wait time for most crags here now).

Chick on Crack · · Superior, CO · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 0

What about Brevard, NC? I'd take mountains, climbing, waterfalls & lakes over the beach. I should probably not make my decisions based on House Hunters and breweries.

Bill M · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 321

There is plenty of uncrowded rock in Colorado. Tons of stuff in RMNP. Same for Lumpy. And these are the big name places. Sure if you try to pull into Eldo or Boulder Canyon at 9am on a Saturday your screwed.

There are plenty of reasons to move back closer to home and I grew up climbing in Eastern TN and Western NC. I get it. But it is possible to in Colorado without crowds.

AField · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2011 · Points: 25

Brevard is nice, but it's small, and the population skews older. It is central to alot of the trad though, with Looking Glass and Cedar Rock right there. I didn't mean to leave the impression that locals are tight lipped to prevent newbs from getting to the climbing, it's more that the SE has faced access challenges that the West hasn't, and the impact of crowds on areas (trash, erosion, etc) can erode already fragile relationships between the climbing community and land managers. All that being said tho, people are really nice here, you just have to get out and meet them.

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

If you want beach and climbing the best you will get is probably in the middle somewhere (like Raleigh) with climbing and beach both around 2-3 hours.

Chick on Crack · · Superior, CO · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 0
Bill M wrote:There is plenty of uncrowded rock in Colorado. Tons of stuff in RMNP. Same for Lumpy. And these are the big name places. Sure if you try to pull into Eldo or Boulder Canyon at 9am on a Saturday your screwed. There are plenty of reasons to move back closer to home and I grew up climbing in Eastern TN and Western NC. I get it. But it is possible to in Colorado without crowds.
I've been in Colorado for far too many years and have climbed most areas. Yes, this is paradise for people looking to move to a new state, but it's just not for me anymore. I will always love the Colorado climbing scene; some of the nicest folks when you get to the heart of the true scene. But CO is too green for me. I'm ready for a change.
Chick on Crack · · Superior, CO · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 0
AField wrote:Brevard is nice, but it's small, and the population skews older. It is central to alot of the trad though, with Looking Glass and Cedar Rock right there. I didn't mean to leave the impression that locals are tight lipped to prevent newbs from getting to the climbing, it's more that the SE has faced access challenges that the West hasn't, and the impact of crowds on areas (trash, erosion, etc) can erode already fragile relationships between the climbing community and land managers. All that being said tho, people are really nice here, you just have to get out and meet them.


Totally understood what you meant! When you are part of the crew that sets routes, cleans/clears crags, builds access roads/trail, and just builds trails in general, all as a volunteer, there is a certain pride that you'd rather someone not douse with their starbucks cups and boombox. Y'all have to fight a hell of a lot harder for your climbing land. And we all, the whole of the climbing community, appreciate what you do to preserve new areas. I was fortunate to run a climbing group on the book-of-faces a couple years ago...had over 500 "friends" from 3 different states. I realized just how connected we all are, for the cause of going up. Cheers!
waldo · · Knoxville, TN · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 30
ChrisN wrote:Asheville or Chattanooga. No easy ocean access though - you have to choose one or the other.
Agreed, or put yourself somewhere in between the two places.
calebmmallory · · Seattle, N.Carolina, &Hong ... · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 405

Last I checked, there's no climbing here....hehe

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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