Type: Trad, 250 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Bob Gillespie, Bob Mitchell - 1970
Page Views: 25,862 total · 173/month
Shared By: Chris Chaney on Oct 15, 2006 with updates from Andy Thorsell
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


Pitch 1: Climb the left wall through some steep ground to a belay slightly back to the right.
Pitch 2: Follow a series of cracks up a nice, easy low angle and exposed face to a belay ledge. Belay or combine this with the next pitch.
Pitch 3: From the ledge head up and right around a roof to a vegetated ledge. Belay up and continue to the summit roped or unroped depending on your comfort level.

Fantastic route! I always recommend this route to anyone visiting Table for the first time. It can be a bit windy. While not the longest route in the area, it has the best position, high over a saddle between Table Rock and Hawksbill. You get great views of the upper gorge, Hawksbill and Grandfather Mountain to the north.


Hike past the east face, then the walkdown from the routes that top out on the ledge. Continue up to a ridge that is exposed. Look up, on the corner is this amazing line.


Small to medium gear.
No fixed anchors except at the second belay there is a 2 bolt anchor.
Rob Dillon  
Best route on Table Rock! 3 pitches sounds like a lot for a 250-foot route, unless you're looking to make a day of it. Oct 18, 2006
Jonathan Petsch
Chattanooga, TN
Jonathan Petsch   Chattanooga, TN
Fun route, but easily done in two pitches with a 60 meter rope. the first pitch ends at a large belay ledge with 3 good pins pre-strung with rope. the next pitch is a rope stretcher, but once i finished the crack and came to the trail i continued on to the top and belayed on a large rock that i slung, a little sketchy but ok. nice view. the first pitch is the best Nov 25, 2007
Hardest 5.5 at table rock, with more strenuous gear placements than it's sister routes. I would make the sketchy rappel at pitch 2 on the fixed pins instead of topping out so you can easily access more routes! Nov 17, 2009
Harrison Dreves
Denver, Colorado
Harrison Dreves   Denver, Colorado
For the second pitch, go right. Do not go up the crack system on the left side of the headwall above you unless you enjoy climbing through a bird nest filled with droppings. Ew. Feb 17, 2011
Me and my friends tried to find this route a few days ago and failed miserably. We walked up both trails, past what we KNEW was white lightning, and could NOT find this ridge. I dont know what we were doing wrong, but just be warned, 3 climbers couldnt find this climb and ended up circling the entire table rock formation. May 2, 2011
Matt Westlake
Durham, NC
Matt Westlake   Durham, NC
I can relate to having trouble finding this. I blame the topo in the selected guide; it's pretty bad. The book makes it look like things are all right next to each other but in reality the base of the cliff is a bit messier. White Lightning is your best landmark to start keeping your eyes open as you continue on the trail staying pretty close to the cliffline. When you are almost at the base of the route there's a sort of obvious point where you can climb up about 10 feet that puts you where you need to be. May 3, 2011
Really fun route. Great view, fun climbing. First pitch should be sup to the fixed pins. Second pitch around the arete of to a cool little vegetated ledge. Third pitch is somewhere around hard 4th class / 5.0 and can easily be scrambled. Had some trouble finding the route, bring a compass, walk way past the eastface, if you follow the cliff line you will get up a boulder and there will be a clear NE facing ridge. May 8, 2011
John Saunders
Cornelius, NC
John Saunders   Cornelius, NC
Onsighted first pitch, followed on 2nd. Both pitches felt quite sandbagged for the grade. If compared to routes in the area, I think our path could go at least 5.6. Definitely harder than Skip to My Lou or My Route which are both 5.6. Great view!! Oct 9, 2011
Climbed this one back in November. Was going to do some of the more standard lines but wanted to teach some more about gear placements to my follower so this seemed like the opportune route.

Finding the climb was relatively easy, you have to climb up about ten feet from the trail onto a boulder and the climb begins right in front of this.

P1 - Took the right option on the first pitch. Apparently the section to the left goes at seven, looked very fun as well. Depending on how your second climbs, the first pitch could be awkward in a pack. Protection was plentiful and good. I don't think this pitch felt any harder than peek-a-boo's first pitch, and has much better protection IMO.

We anchored at the three pins, backed up with a bomber cam. You could probably rig a wide gear anchor here if you don't like the pins, they're getting pretty rusty.

P2 - The start definitely surprised me for a five, but it was fun. Good gear the whole way. I recommend stopping as early as possible and building an anchor where you can. My guidebook describes a third pitch that most people seem to combine with the second. After moving around the corner early in the second pitch, rope drag and communication both suffer. As soon as you get to a big ledge plug some gear and bring the follower up. Then it's just a quick and easy scurry to the top.

My favorite route at Table Rock, definitely less crowded than most of the stuff, all gear, and with some phenomenal views! You can see all the way to Roan Mountain in TN if you look carefully! Dec 25, 2011
Mike Holley
Boone, NC
Mike Holley   Boone, NC
Stellar route! Great exposure, excellent gear and just an overall fun climb. The entire route can be well protected on passive gear. So if you just bought that set of new nuts and tricams, I would say go for it! Beautiful route best done in the morning or at midnight with a full moon!! Sep 16, 2012
Jonathan Dull
Boone, NC
Jonathan Dull   Boone, NC
Excellent route and perhaps the best easy route on Table Rock. Offers steep climbing (for 5.5) and some fun meandering cracks. Great views, great climb and great pro! Nov 21, 2012
Easily the best route on Table. Feb 5, 2013
Will Copeland
Will Copeland   Driggs
Loved this route. The views are amazing, the climbing is smooth, and the gear is bomber! Can be done with a handful of cams, a few draws and one cordalette. Topping out can be done in a variety of ways. Nov 22, 2013
Curtis Baird
Johnson City, TN
Curtis Baird   Johnson City, TN
Excellent route! This one eats passive pro. Very steep for a 5.5 but good holds the entire way. Lots of exposure on all pitches. The pins on top of the first pitch were good when I climbed earlier this month. The cord is showing signs of wear but still good. Just backed it up with a .75 cam. 2nd and 3rd pitches can be tied together put if you have time break them up. Plenty of solid rock to build total passive anchors on. Highly recommend to the aspiring trad climber. Jun 18, 2014
Adam Paashaus
Greensboro, NC
Adam Paashaus   Greensboro, NC
I would agree this route begs for passive gear. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned doing in a singe pitch with a 70. I didn't but next time I would. Both pitches were less than half a rope length with a slight exposed scramble to the top, and it seems to run direct enough to keep drag from being an issue. I found a fun alternate on the last pitch that went left into some exciting and exposed roof pulls that push it into the 7+/8 range. I replaced the core shot tat at the pins on 7/11/14. Jul 12, 2014
Jed N
Raleigh, NC
Jed N   Raleigh, NC
One of coolest NC climbing locations overlooking Gorge. Climbing is fun and varied. Great for first trad lead. Aug 6, 2014
Charlotte, NC
b.t.miller   Charlotte, NC
What a great climb. Steep with smile-producing moves throughout. How often can you say that on a 5.5? Consistent movement as well which also seems fairly rare at this grade.

Beta: We rapped off White Lightning P2 (fixed pins) which puts you at the base of N. Ridge start. Aug 5, 2015
JohnnyRemein   Asheville
Phenomenal first trad lead with awesome views and exposure. As others have said, passive pro sets very easily and frequently. Whole thing can be climbed with one 70m. Nov 1, 2015
Adam Fleming
Adam Fleming   Moab
There are now bolted anchors with rap rings at the top of p2 (shared with p2 of White Lightning).
I haven't climbed North Ridge from the bottom, so feel free to correct me if I got the wrong pitch number. For what it's worth, this station is a huge ledge that is rocky to climber right and mossy to climber left. The bolts replace a rat's nest that used fixed pins.

If topping out on p3, climb/walk over the dirt and some more rock until you reach a boulder that will take a bomber #1 and #3. Belay from here with your feet in the crevice. Mar 19, 2016
Here and there.
Shadrock   Here and there.
Just a quick note to correct @Adam Fleming: the new 2 bolt anchor w/ rings replaces the pin nest at the top of P1 of North Ridge. It would be P2 of White light. Apr 4, 2016
Scott Phil   NC
Actually, both Adam F. and Shadrock are correct.

The bolts are at the end of the second pitch of what was originally a 3 pitch route (and how it is described on this page).

Many climbers now combine the 1st and 2nd pitches as described in Jonathan P's comment above. If you do this, the bolts are at the end of your 1st pitch.

Regardless of how you do it, this is a fun climb! Apr 6, 2016
BJ Null  
The best way to find this route is to take the climbers trail about 15 minutes past Jim Dandy. Just keep going, going, until the trail climbs up and stops at a big rock ledge with a drop off. As one person put it, if you can't hike anymore and you can see the gorge, you are there.

The route was terrific. We could not tell if you are to go right or left from the crack at the beginning. We went right. Climbing was fine to the right. 2 bolt belay station at the end of pitch 1. Pitch 2 is great as well, but it is over pretty quick once you turn the corner. It is very easy to run it out through the trees and rock ledges to make this a 2 pitch route. Jun 23, 2016
Easy to find start by following comments made by other users. Did not see any hardware at the top of "short rope" P1. At the top of P2 there are 2 bolts and old-time Italian piton. Follow the crack above it going up and slightly to the right which leads to vegitated ledges/.
Nov 6, 2016
Mark Wenzel
Charlotte, NC
Mark Wenzel   Charlotte, NC
Not sure of a single 60m would make it to the ground from the rings at the top of "The big pitch one", but should you need to bail, no worries, there is a bomber thread at the little ledge 60 feet up. I.e. you could escape the route with one rope. The last long scramble off pitch is a mountaineering exercise (out of view in the post above and best done barefoot), is not half bad... May 19, 2017
Chris Little
Albuquerque N.M.
Chris Little   Albuquerque N.M.
One day back in the early 90's, we decided to replace the decrepit old bolts on this route. There were 4 of us. I distinctly remember Sean Cobourn, I'm pretty sure Dan Flowers, and one other guy. The other guy led it. I came next and pulled the old bolts. They were much harder to get out than I expected. Sean drilled new holes with his new gas-powered drill. Dan came last and put in the new bolts. Leave a quarter in the cup at the base to pay for them. This was about 25 years ago, so another 4 people need to step up soon. Oct 18, 2017
Jonathan Dull
Boone, NC
Jonathan Dull   Boone, NC

There use to be bolts on the North Ridge? Am I reading your comment correctly? Oct 18, 2017
Sean Cobourn
Gramling, SC
Sean Cobourn   Gramling, SC
I have zero recollection of replacing bolts on North Ridge. But I did have a cool gas powered drill....
??? Nov 3, 2017
Chris Little
Albuquerque N.M.
Chris Little   Albuquerque N.M.
Oops.... Was it My Route we re-bolted??? I distinctly remember replacing bolts on a Table Rock route. I'm old and senile now, (I always was) so I got the route name wrong. Nov 17, 2017
Dan Flowers
Boone, NC
Dan Flowers   Boone, NC
Hey Chris & Sean! Yeah, it was My Route that we re-bolted, not North Ridge. I still have some of the manky, 1/4" bolts we pulled off of it. Some of them would almost pull out by hand. The first belay on the North Ridge did get bolted once by a couple "to-remain-unnamed" folks from Outward Bound. I chopped them and filled the holes with epoxy and rock dust. Jul 30, 2018
Dan, in what era did the Outward Bound folks place the bolts on the N. Ridge? I've been re-bolting most of the Table Rock over the last few years and have compiled a pretty good history in the process. I know there are bolts on the N. Ridge now, but those just went in in the past two years, and before that I wasn't aware of any on that route. Just curious the history. Thanks. Oct 31, 2018