Pisgah beta: planning a trip


Original Post
Patrick · · Chicago, Il · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Planning a trip down to NC slated for the second week of October. Just trying to dig up anything I can about the area to better understand my plans. This is my first climbing trip that isn't my "home" crag and given what I'm able to find on here it sounds like I could spend a lifetime and still not get everything. All info, be it routes, areas, approaches, weather, conditions, food, beer, etc is super welcome. Thank you all in advance.

Brian Payst · · Carrboro,NC · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 10

Pisgah is a big area. Any crags in particular? What kinds of climbing? 

Sean Sullivan · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 65

Make sure you stop at the Pisgah Tavern. A bar located in a bike shop that only serves to members  (free membership) in an otherwise dry town.  

Also, visit sliding rock,  a natural waterslide.

 I really enjoyed Looking Glass. Climbing eyebrows is a really unique experience. Maybe dust off those tricams. I did, and they dangled uselessly off my harness most of the time.

Patrick · · Chicago, Il · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0
Brian Payst wrote:

Pisgah is a big area. Any crags in particular? What kinds of climbing? 

No, nothing in particular. It is a giant area I guess that's why I'm looking for help. Plan so far allows for climbing both Thursday and Friday October 12-13. I'm plenty used to frictionless, bullet hard, purple guartzite and pretty excited about granite. I've peeked a bit at looking glass rock. We were considering doing a Guided day on Thursday to get our feet wet and then explore on Friday. I'm going to drive down with the rack and both ropes. Super open to explore and have a great time, car will put us where ever we need to be.

Tacoma · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 10

Mind the timber rattler living in the rocks at the base of The Nose.

Bob M · · Alpharetta, GA · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 45

Looking Glass is great!  Keep in mind everything is multi-pitch, with a few exceptions, and you need two ropes to get down from most routes.  Give us an idea what you climb, and I'm sure the suggestions will start coming out of the woodwork.

October is a great month in the area and the area gets busy on weekends, but weekdays shouldn't be a problem.  Free camping in the national forest, but close enough to Brevard to go out for dinner and avoid cooking.

Travis Weil · · Brevard, NC · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

Pisgah is really fun. Looking Glass alone offers some variety in climbing though most of it is on your feet. The Nose and Sundial are classic and must do. The south face of Looking Glass offers great moderate climbs with some cracks. You can get single or multi pitch climbs there.  The north face has many crack features and is steeper. If you are looking to do some techy face climbing the main wall of Cedar Rock is super fun and generally less crowded. 

Also, not too far away are other great climbing areas. Laurel Knob is awesome if it hasn't rained for a day or two. Linville is also not too far away. It offers great climbing on more exposed terrain. 

The Brevard/Asheville area has lots of places to hang out on rest days and plenty of craft breweries.

If you need any other beta, I live in Brevard and know the area well so feel free to contact me. 

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

"All info, be it routes, areas, approaches, weather, conditions, food, beer, etc"

That's a lot for someone to summarize.

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 483

Your profile shows you leading 5.4 and following 5.7. If that is accurate, your best bet is Table Rock in Linville Gorge:

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/table-rock/105873288

Google Maps will get you to the parking lot. From there, walk south out of the lot for a couple hundred yards to the easiest and most obvious camping areas. If you stay Friday night, you technically need a free camping permit with information here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recarea/?recid=48974

There is no water available, so take a few gallons with you.

Temperatures will be absolutely perfect that time of year, though rain is always possible

The approach from the campsite to Table Rock is: hike back across the parking lot and take the Summit Trail. You will pass a climbers' trail on the right after a few hundred yards at a sort of step up near some rocks. This trail wraps all the way around the base.

The best brewery in western NC is Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone. Everything from their porters to IPAs is really quality. Legit wood-fired pizza, too. 

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

With only two days, I would focus on places with easy approaches. Less hiking = more climbing
--Table Rock has a great selection of multi-pitch climbs on well-featured quartzite (5.4 and up). It can be challenging to find the start of some climbs and the routes can wander. Convenient camping nearby, but a longer drive to restaurants. It should be relatively quiet during the week.
--Rumbling Bald, great selection of climbs, many are 1-2 pitches (5.7 and up) and are mostly granite. Reasonable drive to restaurants and not too far from Asheville. Also a popular bouldering destination.
--Looking Glass, Yes, it is as good as everyone says, 2-5 pitch routes (5.7 and up) on a granite dome. A nice mix of friction, some cracks, and those infamous eyebrows. Convenient camping and easy drive to Brevard for food.
--Stone Mountain is an acquired taste. Routes of 1-5 pitches of run-out friction on incredible granite. It is home to what many consider the hardest 5.4 in the state, but most routes are 5.8 and above. Good camping, moderate distances to food.
--Ship Rock has a handful of routes at 5.6 and 5.7, with many more at 5.9 and above. Steep, single pitch climbs in metamorphic rock. Great area for photographs. Very easy access and convenient to camping and food.

Patrick · · Chicago, Il · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0
Brian Abram wrote:

Your profile shows you leading 5.4 and following 5.7. If that is accurate, your best bet is Table Rock in Linville Gorge:

Thank you for that recommendation. My lead/follow information is a little skewed. I climb at Devils Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin just about every other Sunday. The routes there are ultra sandbagged, or feels that way, due to the characteristics of the rock and the unique climbing style. Cruxes are typically within  the first 15 feet with little to no gear and regardless of grade footwork has to be precise because you can't smear on DL purple quartzite.

Patrick · · Chicago, Il · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Thank you Scott for that detailed list as well. Without getting too personal, this whole trip stemmed from the kindness of a friend and planning is still young, hence the broad range of questions. I was born with kidney disease and everything hit the fan for me in 2015, have been on dialysis ever since. Nothing stops me from climbing though. I got a friend started last summer and with my dialysis schedule we can only get up to Wisconsin every other Sunday. She decided she couldn't handle seeing me not be able to get out more so she set up a go fund me aimed at me being able to go spend time in the mountains wherever I wanted. Figured with finding a treatment center and drive time the Smokys was the best bet, and I've backpacked the area several times. Hopped on Mtn Project and looked for climbing nearby, found Linville Gorge, my eyes lit up, and here we are.

Patrick · · Chicago, Il · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

In continuation due to character limit, since the unfortunate part is I have to be at a treatment center for 2 of the days I'm down there it only allows for 2 days of climbing. The closest I could find is in Morganton and we will probably be staying in or immediately near Asheville. There's going to be a ton of driving involved and I'm not worried about that at all since I want to squeeze every last bit of awesome from those 2 days that I can. Guide service seems to highly recommend looking glass, we can do that with them. It's Friday I really want to get around and find some gems

Bob M · · Alpharetta, GA · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 45

Fox Mountain Guides will hook you up.  I haven't used them, but I see them at LG regularly.  They seem nice and very professional.

http://foxmountainguides.com/

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

It's your trip, so maximize your time but to stay in Morganton wouldn't change your trip that much, especially since Table Rock is 1 hour from town. Plenty to do on rest days too. 

Patrick · · Chicago, Il · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Just scored an Air BnB in Black Mountain. That will be home base October 12-14. 

Jim Corbett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 10
Patrick wrote:

Thank you for that recommendation. My lead/follow information is a little skewed. I climb at Devils Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin just about every other Sunday. The routes there are ultra sandbagged, or feels that way, due to the characteristics of the rock and the unique climbing style. Cruxes are typically within  the first 15 feet with little to no gear and regardless of grade footwork has to be precise because you can't smear on DL purple quartzite.

Yeah, Devil's Lake is quite the sandbag. You will be pleasantly shocked at how well that good NC granite grabs your feet and won't let go. Sorry to hear about your medical issues, but inspired that you're still getting after it. I was going to suggest that if you wanted a taste of home check out Tallulah Gorge in NE GA. Bullet quartzite that is the closest to Devils Lake that I've ever seen, but 200'+ climbs vs. 40'-50' at Devils. But sounds like you won't have the time or interest in that kind of drive, and that's okay--NC granite, you'll love it. Almost as good as the 'Daks.   

Patrick · · Chicago, Il · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0
Jim Corbett wrote:I was going to suggest that if you wanted a taste of home check out Tallulah Gorge in NE GA. Bullet quartzite that is the closest to Devils Lake that I've ever seen, but 200'+ climbs vs. 40'-50' at Devils. 

I'll keep the location in mind. I'm pretty certain I'll love climbing in the southeast and will definitely return to take more rad experiences in.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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