Stone Mountain Lead Clmbing Help/Partner For Son And I


Original Post
Dustin Aycoth · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

I am planning on going up there over the Christmas break when I have him sometime on December 21st, 22nd or 23rd. I have never done lead climbing outdoors and would love to have someone share this adventure with us who is familiar with lead climbing outdoors and perhaps also familiar with Stone Mountain. Of course, I am not planning on going 200 feet off the ground (I know it is not straight up and down) and I am certainly not planning on having him go way up the slab. However, we are looking to get an introduction to lead climbing and would love to do so at Stone.

I've been climbing off and one for about 17 years and have gotten back into full time exactly a year ago this month. We have done numerous trips to four climbing places between here (Fort Bragg area) and the Raleigh/Morrisville area. We have climbed at Pilot Mountain four times and loved it.

And our next adventure will be some lead climbing.

I can be reached easily at dustinaycoth@gmail.com

And I have a Facebook account so you can see that I am not a made up person :)

Any help that day would be appreciated! We are always looking to learn more from other climbers who have more knowledge and experience.

Dustin L. Aycoth

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 5

I think you folks would be best served by a guide!

-ensured that they are safe and follow best practices
-maximize your time as they know the area very well
-teach with the most clarity as they do it for a living

Obviously this requires shelling out some scratch, and that can be unappealing for some, but I think based on your situation it would be a really good avenue to take.

I am betting this sediment will be shared by quite a few other people on the forum, as this type of topic shows up quite frequently. I'm not sure of specific guiding companies for the area, but I'm sure someone can offer a quality recommendation.

my .02, Have fun regardless!

Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 45

I would second finding a guide. Stone isn't really a place to toprope or learn how to lead climb. Most of the routes are very long, runout, multipitch climbs and you'd probably need an 80m rope to toprope even the first pitch up to the lunch ledge. There is no easy toprope access. If you hire a guide to take you up the Great Arch it would be an excellent and exciting outing, with a wonderful summit.

DaveBaker · · Durham, NC · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 8

Don't learn to lead at Stone.

A guide to take you up the great arch is exactly what your first trip to Stone should be.

Maybe I don't understand what you're saying - you don't want to climb 200 feet? The tree ledge (where the classic climbs (the easier ones) start) is 150 feet up.

Ernest W · · Camarillo, CA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

Ditto the other comments here. Stone is definitely NOT the place to learn to lead climb. Following a guide/competent partner up the Great Arch would be a good intro to Stone. But just getting to the Tree Ledge involves some runout climbing before you even get to the start of the Great Arch.

Dustin Aycoth · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Thank you all for the insight and information!

Any ideas on where official guides can be located? We are looking to start on the ground and just go a little ways up. I guess what I mean is that the emphasis will be getting him used to placing nuts and/or cams and also getting used to looping the rope through the draw (correctly, of course). Plus we have been to Stone numerous times ever since he was in diapers and we just love that place anyway. And if I could have an adult to belay for me just one time then that would be great, too.

Again, the emphasis for us is not climbing way up any part of the slab, but rather to start getting used to putting nuts and cams in. And my hope is that this would be an easier way to introduce him to lead climbing as it isn't straight up and down. Is that a good way to think of Stone?

I have the "Carolina Rocks" book for Piedmont-area climbing in NC and it was a big help at Pilot and the write ups for Stone are very good as well (interestingly, the author of that book and I actually grew up as next door neighbors in Winston-Salem...small world).

Beth Santoro · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

Go with guidedclimb.com

DaveBaker · · Durham, NC · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 8

Look up Fox mountain guides as another option.

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165
Dustin Aycoth wrote:Thank you all for the insight and information! Any ideas on where official guides can be located? We are looking to start on the ground and just go a little ways up. I guess what I mean is that the emphasis will be getting him used to placing nuts and/or cams and also getting used to looping the rope through the draw (correctly, of course). Plus we have been to Stone numerous times ever since he was in diapers and we just love that place anyway. And if I could have an adult to belay for me just one time then that would be great, too. Again, the emphasis for us is not climbing way up any part of the slab, but rather to start getting used to putting nuts and cams in. And my hope is that this would be an easier way to introduce him to lead climbing as it isn't straight up and down. Is that a good way to think of Stone? I have the "Carolina Rocks" book for Piedmont-area climbing in NC and it was a big help at Pilot and the write ups for Stone are very good as well (interestingly, the author of that book and I actually grew up as next door neighbors in Winston-Salem...small world).
Sounds like this is your kid you are wanting to learn to lead not yourself. Stone is a great place to follow for your first multi pitch. All the anchors are really solid etc. However if you want to lead something stone would probably be a terrible place to start. The first pitch to get to the tree ledge are all extremely run out or something rated harder than you would want your first lead.

Honestly if you want to learn to lead trad moore's wall would be a much better location. Pilot has a few easy trad leads but moore's would probably be better imo because at most you will be 250ft off the ground and some well protected easy routes.

I am not 100% sure with guides around here but somehow I don't think they would let you lead anything trad if you are this inexperienced. I have only climbed a few times with guides when I was on company trips and just wanted to get out for a day, I have been told by more than one of them that I was the first customer they have ever let lead since a good portion of their customers are probably inexperienced first time climbers.

That said I would recommend finding a guide or another climber interested in helping new climbers to take you to the top of stone's great arch (500ft climb so if you are set on not going over 200ft stone is probably not where you want to go). From the top you can rappel down or hike down but it would be a good first multi-pitch climb where you can clean and learn some basics. Gear placement for any first pitch at moore's is extremely bad, talkin 30ft runouts or gear that you question if it will hold in some areas. The first pitch of the arch which would be the 1st pitch after you get to the tree ledge will take gear almost anywhere in it and wouldn't be a bad pitch for a new leader. The 2nd pitch of the arch is kinda questionable now not terrible but with the piece that broke off you now have small gear at the start kinda at the places you want your hands etc, probably would want a little experience before jumping on it. 3rd and final pitch of the arch if you have small gear is really simple, bit of a run out at the end but you are talking about alot of areas you can almost stand straight up with no hands and be fine.
Brian Payst · · Carrboro,NC · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Another good guide option in the area: rockdimensions.com/multi-pi...

Jon Powell · · LAWRENCEVILLE GEORGIA · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 5

use guideclimb.com

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 763
ViperScale wrote: The first pitch to get to the tree ledge are all extremely run out or something rated harder than you would want your first lead.
While I agree that Stone probably isn't the ideal place to break into gear-protected leading, not all of the pitches that end on the tree ledge are run out. Dirty Crack, for example, is one of the shortest pitches going up to the tree ledge, and is well- protected. You have a small but bomber nut or small cam just below your feet at the crux, and bomber gear almost anywhere you want it up to that point. That was my first Stone lead, and I chose it because it was well protected- unlike most of the other routes there. And I fell off it too haha. That's how I know the gear is good.

ViperScale wrote: Gear placement for any first pitch at moore's is extremely bad, talkin 30ft runouts or gear that you question if it will hold in some areas. The first pitch of the arch which would be the 1st pitch after you get to the tree ledge will take gear almost anywhere in it and wouldn't be a bad pitch for a new leader. The 2nd pitch of the arch is kinda questionable now not terrible but with the piece that broke off you now have small gear at the start kinda at the places you want your hands etc, probably would want a little experience before jumping on it. 3rd and final pitch of the arch if you have small gear is really simple, bit of a run out at the end but you are talking about alot of areas you can almost stand straight up with no hands and be fine.
Did you mean Stone? I don't know of many pitches at Moore's that start with runouts and bad gear. Also, I don't know of many pitches at Stone that have "questionable" gear as the first piece. On most routes, there's either a solid bolt as the first piece, or bomber gear. Generally I agree though, a new leader just beginning to place gear combined with runouts and catastrophic consequences if gear isn't placed well- is a bad mixture. Getting guided there the first time would be awesome though.
ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

Yea my bad i meant stone for the runouts. Dirty Crack isn't exactly a route I would probably put a new leader on. Most of the gear I remember on it is really small once you get towards the end and I don't think I would want a new leader going up that small crack and trying to place gear.

You would be much better going to pilot and doing something like cracking up for a first lead.

Compare that to entrance crack (maybe ok if you have really big gear, when I climbed it I had nothing that would fit the top half), U-slot after you pull that first small roofish thing is kinda runout with some flaring cracks I don't think I want a new leader placing gear on, block route really runout but most of the gear is good, dirty crack from what I remember is a finger tip crack at the top without a great stance that could cause a new leader to panic while trying to find placement (been years since I last climbed it could be wrong). I can't think of any other pitch that isn't 5.9+ and alot of it is bolted runout.

The first pitch after you get to the tree ledge would be a decent first route for a new climber I think. Non-stop bomber gear but depending on what you are used to climbing could be pumpy.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 763
ViperScale wrote:Yea my bad i meant stone for the runouts. Dirty Crack isn't exactly a route I would probably put a new leader on.
Yeah, me either, which is why I said this:

"While I agree that Stone probably isn't the ideal place to break into gear-protected leading..."
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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