Type: Trad, 500 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Art Williams, Mike Holloway - 1972
Page Views: 41,088 total · 273/month
Shared By: Chris Chaney on Nov 6, 2006
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry

You & This Route

269 Opinions

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


Long, steep and exposed. For the east this is a big route for the grade.

The second and last pitches are the best. The first pitch is so-so, the third pitch is short, and the fourth pitch is a route finding conundrum.

But the views are amazing, the rock is solid. The belays are all natural and the top out is absolutely fantastic.

I was so frazzled after leading this that I had to back off a 5.5 later that day.

This is definitely a classic route.


Across the Ampitheater from the Prow. Head down the Ampitheater and keep toward the southern face. Go past the Mummy and around the corner until you can see a wide, left facing flake above the treeline. This is the top of the first pitch. Start on easy ground below the flake/crack.

Walk off to the left.


Standard NC rack. No fixed anchors.


scoTt Millbern
Langenfeld, Germany
scoTt Millbern   Langenfeld, Germany
P4 is a little runout, but easy climbing. P2 and P3 can be linked if you are very careful about rope drag and don't put any pro in on the 5.3 P3.

This is one of my favorite climbs. Awesome climb to take a new climber on. Not too exposed, great gear, fun moves, beautiful views!
scoTt Apr 30, 2007
Decatur, GA
saxfiend   Decatur, GA  
This is truly a phenomenal route, not to be missed. Rock quality is great and the climbing is fun from start to finish. The views from the upper belays and topout will stay with you.

If you want to make the climb even more exciting (and avoid some boring traverses), take the direct line on P3 -- go straight up from the belay ledge. This short variation goes at 5.8 and it lives up to the grade. It also makes linking P2 and P3 a very easy proposition. Jun 4, 2007
Joey Wolfe
  5.6 PG13
Joey Wolfe  
  5.6 PG13
A must do for the leader of any level(well at least 5.6 leaders and up). Real adventure climbing with views big enough to swallow you whole. Don't forget to belay while drooling over the Gold Coast. Go as light as possible and plan to climb out unless you are doing a link up. This climb is alot of fun. Jan 6, 2009
well worth the hike. if you decide to descend the gully after topping out then it is much easier to climb back out on "The Prow" as opposed to hiking back up the gully. Nov 17, 2009
Clemson, S.C.
TomCaldwell   Clemson, S.C.
Nice setting, but not much climbing. The Mummy is a much better line. May 7, 2010
Columbia, SC
rock-fencer   Columbia, SC
Going to agree with Tom Caldwell. A better day that would keep things interesting would be to Climb the Mummy and rap down to the Ledge at the end of pitch 3 of The Daddy and climb out...just follow the trail along the ridge to get back.

Pitch 1 -3 are uninteresting if you are a more experienced leader IMHO

As of 6/13/2010 there is some cord at the end of Pitch 2 with 2 biner's for what i presumed was someone bailing off. I left them there.

T Jun 15, 2010
Christopher Snipes  
Very fun climb with some of the best views to be had in the east (save for Whiteside Mtn). Last two pitches were the best and made the whole climb. P5 made the climb. I did not like belaying from "the pod" at the top of P4, but the it was a safe belay.... Just me

There was a sling and a biner around a tree about 30 ft up the first pitch. Used it but left it behind. There was also a cam just below the crack on P5. It was pretty frayed, and I payed no attention to it. My partner placed a cam right next to it and moved on.

The exposure was vast and the views of the gorge and surrounding ridges were great! Jul 5, 2010
David Logan
Tuscaloosa, Al
David Logan   Tuscaloosa, Al
For the approach from the Sea To Summit trail, the book Selected Climbs in North Carolina says to look for a pine tree with a white dot on it, and take the trail to the right. There is no tree with a white dot. Just look for a BIG white quartzite rock on the trail. The rock is probably the size of a small cooler. The next turn off is a left next to a huge rock you hope about 3 feet to get on top of, where the first view of the Amphitheater is. As of 8/14/10 there was some rocks stacked neatly on this rock. The trail is to the left and very overgrown and exposed. This trail takes you right to the top of The Daddy. Aug 20, 2010
Can be done as three long pitches if you manage the gear and rope well. Pitches 2 and 4 are my favorites if you're doing it the five pitch method. Also, the direct variation on pitch three saves a lot of time and rope drag and is probably only 5.7ish. Take the arete instead of the gully on pitch 4 for some pretty thrilling exposure. Apr 5, 2011
Kai Troester
Pepperell, MA
Kai Troester   Pepperell, MA
I did this climb in 2005. I intended to climb the 5.8 shortcut for P3, not realizing that I started on the belay atop P3 (P3 is really short, IMO). I kept going and soon realized that I might be off. The climbing was run out 5.8. I passed a sling, where someone likely bailed. Eventually I reached the top. I then realized that I climbed a line parallel to P4 and P5.

I doubt this was a FFA, though, but I'll keep my eyes open if tis variation ever appears in a guide. Aug 1, 2011
this climb is a ton of fun! first multi-pich for me Oct 6, 2011
Fantastic climb. The description is correct, pitches two and five are clearly the best. Pitch three was quite a disappointment, only two or three grade five moves, no need to protect. I ran a little short trying to link pitches two and three with my 60m rope.

I belayed just below the corner after pitch four, not sure if this is the typical belay spot but was very secure. Pitch four is actually pretty good rock as well, I took the left face and enjoyed it. There's a fixed cam (purple metolius?) up there on pitch four if someone's particularly bored... The pitch five corner is beautiful. Oct 25, 2011
Benjamin S.
Fairview (Nashville), TN
Benjamin S.   Fairview (Nashville), TN
I climbed The Daddy again on Monday, and noticed a few blocks and flakes that used to be solid sounded very hollow, or even moved on this trip. One block in particular after the 4th pitch traverse used to be my last placement before a little runout bulge...but not this time; I almost pulled it off with my hand. Just a reminder, to myself, that even placements that I've used a dozen times should still be scrutinized...or my belayer could be wearing a microwave size rock on his/her head.

On a side note, whoever took a dump, mid-trail, this weekend on the "pitch 3" grassy traverse(as opposed to the direct 5.8 variation)...I have your DNA on my climbing shoe. I'm having it tested and will find out where you live, and return the favor in the floorboard of your car. Oct 25, 2011
Mike Holley
Boone, NC
Mike Holley   Boone, NC
By Far the Best route of its grade in the state!! Linville Adventure climbing at its finest!! This was one of my first big multi-pitches long ago, came back and rope solo'd, and lastly free solo'd it (23 minutes from base to summit). Full Circle! A wonderful route which definitely has a place in many NC Climbers hearts!! Highly Recommend it for anyone visiting the Nc and looking for some true old school backcountry climbing!

  • **CLASSIC***
Apr 10, 2012
Nick Byrd  
Great fun! Really felt exposed but the climbing was really solid and there was lots of pro. The flake on pitch two was my favorite part of the climb. Had lunch in the belay 4 pod, should have taken the break at 3rd belay. As for Pitch 4, just look at the topo several times so that you don't get lost... we had no issues after others warned us. Apr 16, 2012
Cameron Kahill  
Great route I absolutely loved it. The hike in is awful, but it is worth it. Also try doing it in two pitches. It just makes it that much better. May 19, 2012
photocodo mcclung
Hendersonville, NC
photocodo mcclung   Hendersonville, NC
excellent climb. The decent down the gulley was a nice scramble and totally worth it. Took us about 1.5hrs from parking lot to base of climb and about 1.5hrs from top of climb back to parking lot. Do your research when it comes to the approach if you havent been there before, its kind of tricky. Sep 2, 2012
Cres Simpson
Cambridge, MA
Cres Simpson   Cambridge, MA
Did the Daddy, the Mummy, and the Prow back-to-back on Sunday (10/14). It was a bit overcast but other than that amazing weather and an absolutely awesome day of climbing.

I decided to do the 5.8 direct variation of P3 since I had been on it before and traversing the ledge seemed less fun. It's really only 2-3 moves of well-protected 5.8 and then it becomes easy 5.5 to the P3 belay. That said, there wasn't any pro for me above the 5.8 section, so be careful not to misstep and fall close to the P3 belay -- you'll end up decking back next to your partner on the P2 ledge.

I think linking P2/P3 with the direct variation would make for a great line and will plan to do that next time. Oct 16, 2012
Here and there.
Shadrock   Here and there.
Noticed that there were a lot of rap slings on the route (e.g. tree on top of P2, tree on P3 ledge, tree at top...) and I'm wondering if you can link these to the base on a single 60m. I've got a few long training days coming up and would love to avoid the standard "slot canyon" rappel. Nov 26, 2012
Cary, North Carolina
RebeccaJD   Cary, North Carolina
Great route. I was glad to have the route description onhand to make sure I was going to right way on a few pitches. (But I have a crappy memory.) The walk-off is not entirely straightforward. It wanders a bit, and is brushy in spots, and takes you very close to the edge of the cliff in places. I personally would not want to do this in the dark and ALWAYS bring a headlamp to the Ampitheatre area. Another tip: If you hike in with a pack that you are going to leave (so you don't have to hike in with your harness and rack on), and you are going to top out and hike out, don't bring your pack all the way down to the start of the descent gully. Instead, leave it higher up, like within a few hundred yards of the first campsite on the descent trail to the Ampitheatre. The reason why is that after you top out, the trail doesn't take you back to the descent gully, but rather higher up. If you leave your pack higher up the main descent trail to the Ampitheatre area, you don't have to hike back down to it. Also update from Shadrock's last comment: I didn't see any rap slings. Someone must have taken them. Apr 15, 2013
Laurens, SC
mattjohnson   Laurens, SC
Be careful when topping out on the last pitch, there is some loose rock up there Jun 6, 2014
Curtis Baird
Johnson City, TN
Curtis Baird   Johnson City, TN
This is a classic route! Climbed it last Friday in the fog. We thought we were on the mummy until we saw the crack on the last pitch. Got a late start and climbed the last pitch in darkness. This is a great route! Good gear and lots of passive placements! Hexes in the larger cracks and flakes! Approach is terrible but worth it! Dec 8, 2014
Winston-Salem, NC
Benandstuff   Winston-Salem, NC
This is a good climb. We linked P3 (direct) and most of P4, which made for some rope drag, but it was definitely manageable and made the stellar last pitch even longer. The second pitch has a really fun flake right off the ledge.

If you're worried about route finding, just aim for the big V-notch near the top that marks the end of the 4th pitch. Follow the big holds and good gear. Nov 21, 2015
Does this route get crowded on weekends? May 4, 2016
Jonathan Dull
Boone, NC
Jonathan Dull   Boone, NC
@ KyleHeckler - Yes, If the weather is nice you will probably see others in the Amphitheater. Sometimes the route can be crowded and other times empty, luck of the draw really. May 4, 2016
Linked together pitches 3 and 4 with a 60m rope, making this 4 pitches total. Absolutely stunning climbing and views. Autumn officially began at 10:21am on the day we did this, and we started the route at 9:45am. Therefore, we technically climbed this over two seasons...sweet! Sep 25, 2016
Kurt G.
Reading, PA
  5.6 PG13
Kurt G.   Reading, PA
  5.6 PG13
did this on 10-6 with my buddy. first time doing a route this tall and it was amazing! definitely some adventure climbing approach required but fun getting in. following the selected climbs in NC guide book we went around the back of the gully and came down but it looks like a new trail has been cut that goes straight down the gully instead of tracking around the back of the gully first.
The Climb was fantastic, nice and exposed without being crazy. a few run-out spots but nothing crazy. if you take the trail after topping out be ready for some scrambling and a little bushwhacking but the trail was always there.
so glad to be able to put this beautiful climb on my tick list. Oct 10, 2017
Ryan Foy
Belmont, NC
Ryan Foy   Belmont, NC
Scared the crap out of me. Pitch 4 was terrifying. Great views and awesome exposure though. Think I'll just follow next time Oct 12, 2017
Seth Hogan
Frisco, Co
Seth Hogan   Frisco, Co
If you're planning on OSFS this route, solid 5.6+ in a few areas. Also, not the worst, but mildly easy to get off route into 5.7 maaaayyybe 5.8 terrain. Nice, long, and mostly secure. Oct 23, 2017
Ted Reed
Hickory, NC
Ted Reed   Hickory, NC
This can be climbed in two pitches by linking one and two then three, four, and five with a 70m rope and climbing the direct variation on P3. If you opt for this option, best to climb the beginning traverse section of P4 unprotected to avoid rope drag. Apr 22, 2018
Being an easy to moderate climber I found this route not just an easy sight seeing walk up the rock. Mostly P4 had some tricky gear on the traverse and you have to climb over a seriously hollow block. There were a few other spots too that made me really climb for a bit. Just felt like maybe 5.7 to me over all and like everyone said the setting and the views were great. as far as the easy so called boring pitches, I was glad to see them so I could relax for a bit. Just wanted to give a bumbly man's take on the CLASSIC. Jul 2, 2018
Jared Chrysostom
Charleston, SC
Jared Chrysostom   Charleston, SC
I climbed this for the second time a few days ago, and accidentally went right past the P1 belay ledge. Turns out you can link P1 and P2 on a 60M with ~6' of rope left over. Oct 1, 2018
Trad Dad Atlas
charlotte, nc
Trad Dad Atlas   charlotte, nc
As of 9/29/2019, the rap station was in good shape (2 cords / slings in excellent condition and 1 which is partially worn through) and it appeared that somebody generously donated another sling in the past weeks / months. We linked the daddy into 3 pitches with a 70m and shoulder length and above slings, which made the rope drag not too bad. Oct 1, 2018
Skyler Scruggs
Mountain Brook, AL
Skyler Scruggs   Mountain Brook, AL
Dropped a #2 off the top of this. Looked like it fell down climbers right. If anyone happens across it and wants to return it please contact me on here 4 days ago · Lost & Found