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Routes in Stone Mountain South Face

Anchor Rode T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Another Alternative T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Autumn Speaks T,S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Banana Breath T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Between The Ways S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Block Route T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
Blood On The Tracks T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Bombay Groove aka Yankee Go Home S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Captain Crunch T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Closer to the Heart T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Crystal Lizard T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Direct Start to Arch T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Dirty Crack T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Discipline, The S 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Dixie Crystals T,S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Dream On T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Dream Waves T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Electric Boobs T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Entrance Crack T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R
Face Value T,S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a X
Fantastic T,S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Father Knows Best T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Fleet Feet T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Fuddy Mucker/Deception Crack - 5.9 T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Grand Funk Railroad T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Great Arch, The T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Great Brown Way T,S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13
Great White Way T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Impossible Dream T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Mcgrady's route T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Mercury's Lead T,S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
No Alternative T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13
P.F. Flyers T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Pandora's Way T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Peer Pressure T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Pulpit, The T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Purple Daze T,S 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
Purring, The T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Rainy Day Women T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Rice Krispies T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Scimitar S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Sermon, The T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Storm in a Teacup S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Strawberry Preserves T,S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13
Taken For Granite T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Toilet Bowl T,S 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
U Slot T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
WOSL T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Wahoo Start T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
White Way Direct T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Yardarm T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Zoo Love T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Unsorted Routes:
Type: Trad, 400 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Bill Chatfield, Fess Green - 1965
Page Views: 37,747 total, 281/month
Shared By: saxfiend on Nov 15, 2006
Admins: Ryan Williams, Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry

You & This Route


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Description

The Great Arch is probably the most prominent and noticeable feature on the face of Stone Mountain. It's a huge right-facing dihedral that arches almost to the summit of the mountain from the Tree Ledge. It's also one of the earliest routes here, put up in the days before cams and sticky rubber climbing shoes.

Unlike the typical runout Stone Mountain friction climb, The Great Arch is one of the few climbs here that has plentiful protection. A real classic, it's very popular and guaranteed to be crowded on weekends -- so arrive early to avoid long waits.

P1 -- starting at the base of the arch, climb the dihedral using the hand/finger crack and good friction footwork to a bolted belay. 5.5, ~150'.
P2 -- continue up the crack and dihedral, slinging trees for pro if you like, to a bolted belay. 5.5, ~150'.
P3 -- follow the diminishing arch to its end on easy ground. Clip a single bolt and finish at the final bolted anchors. 5.3, ~120'.

Location

To get to The Great Arch, gain the Tree Ledge using any of the approach routes. The start is easy to locate at the left end of the Tree Ledge. Rap off with double ropes or walk off the trail from the summit.

Protection

As noted, this route is easy to protect with a standard rack (medium cams or passive pro) and some slings for the trees that grow out of the crack. Belays and anchors at the top are bolted.

Photos

Becky Borden
Columbus, OH
  5.5
Becky Borden   Columbus, OH
  5.5
I don't think any of the pitches are as long as the description claims. We ended up linking the first two together with a 70m.

It's a fun climb, worth getting on once, but like everyone else is saying, it makes your back sore. Same movement over and over again. Jun 13, 2017
1st pitch took a single size 1 BD cam and walked it up the whole pitch, and tying a sling around the first tree. 2nd pitch took some smaller nuts, a tricam and a .75 BD cam. 3rd pitch took a few bomber nuts.

3rd pitch was a bit damp despite no recent rain, but totally navigable without too much sketch.

SUMMER BETA: If you can't get there early in the morning, wait until the mid to late afternoon when the crack is in shadow.

With a 70m rope was able to combine the first two pitches, but another group who had a 70m had to simulclimb for like 5 or 10 feet to make the stretch.

Beware if you have any potential for a lower back injury. If you're not sure, try this simulation in your living room before committing: get about 40 pounds of weight at your feet, bend at the waist while bending your knees just enough to reach the weight, and then pick up the weight using only your back without coming to a full standing position before returning to the floor. Do this 200 times in a row without rest. This is essentially the same motion you will be doing for 500 feet or however long the climb is.

Best views of the state that I've found yet, and a very cool rock feature. The rock is good enough quality and the moves are all easy enough that you could solo without fear of breaking holds or feeling insecure on any move. Jun 4, 2017
Michael Stemkovski  
  5.5
A note on etiquette for people climbing the Great Arch: please be mindful of the size of your party.

I was at Stone last Saturday climbing No Alternative and witnessed an outrageous situation on Great Arch. There was a party of 5 making a painfully slow ascent of the route and dragging a haul bag behind them. They were spaced out over 2 pitches at any given time and were holding up a huge line of other parties behind them. We (party of 2) were able to go from the ground to the summit, eat lunch, and start rappelling down all while they were still on the 3 pitches of Great Arch. This must have resulted in at least a 3 hour wait for the parties below them. As the cherry on top, I overheard them talking about bringing 10-15 people out next time.

I talked to the party and explained that Great Arch is by far the most popular route on the mountain and that climbing with a party of more than 3, especially on a weekend, is just being jerks to the people below you. So, to anyone who's planning to climb here, please be considerate. Apr 5, 2017
JRJones  
P2 is definitely a little more fingery with the recent flake departure, but still secure and protectable. Wonderful NC classic! Enjoyed climbing it on passive gear this past weekend, sews up just as good as with cams, just a little more careful looking. Seemed like P1 and P2 could be linked to me, although I didn't try it. Probably will next time.

This route is especially classic if you minimize the leg/back situation by (1) STRETCHING before you climb, (2) moving steadily, and (3) not letting your second/third pack the kitchen sink. Feb 20, 2017
Eric Chung
Rockland County, NY
  5.5
Eric Chung   Rockland County, NY
  5.5
Recently swapped leads on The Great Arch with my dad. A super classic, easy climb with unusually bomber trad placements on slab with great stretches of fun laybacking. Would totally recommend if you're visiting the area like we were. Jun 12, 2016
Nate Thompson
Columbia, SC
  5.5
Nate Thompson   Columbia, SC
  5.5
A couple of weeks ago my buddy and I tried this as our somewhat ambitious first trad leads. We entered in on u-slots and felt good about this route. It is certainly a great 5.5 friction climb and we were nervous, but the grade is so easy that we felt good about it. Returned for a second trip yesterday and got some more practice in placing pro in the Great Arch's nice crack. Great route for taking a beginner to train or teaching yourself if you're brave. Apr 24, 2016
Adam Fleming
Moab, Utah
  5.6
Adam Fleming   Moab, Utah
  5.6
If you don't want to take two ropes and happen to have an 80m, you can do 4 raps to tree ledge. If you decide to do this TIE KNOTS! My partner and I just barely made it to one of the belay stations. Mar 8, 2016
Benandstuff
Winston-Salem, NC
 
Benandstuff   Winston-Salem, NC
 
I climbed this yesterday, hearing that Stone dries out very quickly. There was heavy seepage on certain parts of the arch (and below the crux of Block Route), and made some parts very stressful for a new trad leader like myself. Avoid this route if there have been steady rains for the past week or so. In a "it rained hard- but only yesterday" situation I bet coming up here would be fine. Nov 9, 2015
Nathan Stegenga
Spokane, WA
  5.5
Nathan Stegenga   Spokane, WA
  5.5
Climbed the Great Arch for the first time this week, and while P2 was likely the crux, the left crack above the missing flake is great for passive and small cams. Some parts of the route were a little dicy where the crack was wet from recent rain, but it still protects and you can just rely on some friction moves to get past the wet stuff. ...Or just wait a few days after it's rained for the rock to dry out.

Oct 8, 2015
My friends and I climbed here in early 70s last time I did the arch in 1980 I free solo and in two yrs I would like to do it again on my 60Th bday its an easy route w beautiful exposure that and grand funk Sep 3, 2015
Johnny O
Wilkesboro, NC
  5.5
Johnny O   Wilkesboro, NC
  5.5
I don't usually bother with the Arch, it is a little mundane and hard on the back. I was sitting on the tree ledge a few weeks back and overheard a couple of guys talking about bailing on the route due to the missing flake and the grade being higher so I decided to see for myself. I headed up on 8-16-15 with a kid that had climbed just a few times in his life. I didn't find there to be any increase in difficulty even though the crack was wet from a heavy rain the day before. There still is, and always has been, a crack on top of what is left of the flake that provides not only holds but good pro. My climbing partner enjoyed the climb and stated that it turned out to be much easier than anticipated. Don't get me wrong, it is a decent climb and perfect for beginners but there are much better options at Stone that aren't as painful.
Aug 24, 2015
Climbed this a few days ago with my son, cool and sobering to see where the split flake was pried off and sent down the mountain. Thanks to those who reported it and to those who removed it; it was easy to imagine what might have happened to a belayer at P1.

Not much to add that hasn't already been said, but I want to mention that I found the second pitch the hardest and the most run-out, and it was the area around the removed block that seemed the most so. Maybe that pitch used to be easier to protect, maybe not. And maybe I just completely missed good placements.

Still, a fun route. And the walk back down is not long as someone mentioned earlier. It took my 44-year-old butt and my 10-year-old son less than 30 minutes to walk back to the car. Jun 27, 2015
Ross Purnell
Palmyra
 
Ross Purnell   Palmyra
 
Thanks to everyone involved! I think lives were potentially saved with this. I know rock climbing is inherently dangerous, and we need to deal with loose rock all the time, but on such a popular and easy climb, this was a ticking time bomb. I'm sorry to see the flake and the tree go, but there was too much else at risk here. Apr 9, 2015
Hey Everybody -

Many thanks for the heads-up and patience while we got that loose slab solved on the Great Arch. A particularly big thanks goes to Jake Jones for notifying the park so that we knew there was a problem and to Brian Payst for helping to spread the news that the route was temporarily closed.

The Arch is now open for business as usual, but there is a lot of new loose rock at the base of the route now, and watch out for the sharp edge at the top of the fracture. Bummed that the little pine bit the dust after hanging on for so many years.

Glad to help, stay safe, and have fun.

Thanks -

Marshall Ellis Apr 9, 2015
Brian Payst
Carrboro,NC
Brian Payst   Carrboro,NC
Only the Great Arch route was ever closed, but it is now open again. Marshall took care of the flake today

"It was a whopper, but surprisingly easy to push off with a pry bar. Gave it a couple of nudges, and whoosh - away it went. It was about 6-8 feet long and also took the small pine above the first belay. Made a hell of a noise! Looks solid now above where it popped off, so I think that everybody ought to be good to go, and we've reopened the route. There's a little bit of a sharp edge now at the top end where it popped off, so folks ought to be on the lookout for that." Apr 8, 2015
Jake Jones
Richmond, VA
  5.5
Jake Jones   Richmond, VA  
  5.5
***NOTICE***

This is the response that I received to the email that I sent to the State Park yesterday:

"Hi Jake –

I am the mountain region biologist for NC state parks (and a long time Stone climber), and your email got forwarded to me. First off – many thanks for reaching out to the park on this. I know that flake very well, and I really appreciate the heads up. I’ve told the guys at the park to post notices that the Arch is closed for the time being due to unsafe conditions, and I’ve also asked Brian Payst at the Carolina Climbers Coalition to get something posted on the CCC website. In the meantime, I think that this spell of wet weather is in our favor, as it ought to keep traffic down, and allow us to get up there and take a look. I’d like to get this handled before the nice weather returns this weekend.

I’m working on getting someone up there in the next 24 hours to rap down to that flake and take a look, with an eye toward trundling it off. We’ve done that with other broken slabs at Stone, and I will keep you posted.

Thanks again for the heads up, and stay tuned for an update. Any questions, give me a holler.

Best –

Marshall Ellis"

Looks like they're on top of it! Expect a large portion (if not the whole Southern face) to be off limits until they get this thing trundled/removed. Apr 7, 2015
Brian Payst
Carrboro,NC
Brian Payst   Carrboro,NC
The arch is temporarily closed as of 4/7/2015 due to this potential loose block. The Carolina Climbers Coalition is working with the rangers to assess it and trundle if necessary. Apr 7, 2015
Jake Jones
Richmond, VA
  5.5
Jake Jones   Richmond, VA  
  5.5
Awesome Ross. Friends of mine were there last weekend. They are Stone veterans and were telling me about it yesterday. They said didn't touch it or place under it. Apr 6, 2015
Ross Purnell
Palmyra
 
Ross Purnell   Palmyra
 
Ross Purnell
Palmyra
 
Ross Purnell   Palmyra
 
Jake,
Thank you. I'm sure you know the flake I'm talking about, it's really the only deviating feature on the whole route. I have left a voice mail with Ranger Jeffrey Jones. I guess he's the climbing ranger there. Apr 6, 2015
Jake Jones
Richmond, VA
  5.5
Jake Jones   Richmond, VA  
  5.5
I'll contact the State Park and see what they say. I would imagine they need to suspend access for a few hours and would want to oversee the trundling- in whatever way they deem necessary. If this is the block that I'm thinking of, that thing is gigantic and could very well change the character of a couple of routes below it when it comes off; to what degree- who knows.

Edit: Just sent an email to the .gov site of the state park. Will update if/when I hear anything. Please be careful and try to get the word out about this separating feature in the meantime. Thanks to everyone that has mentioned it. Apr 6, 2015
Ross Purnell
Palmyra
 
Ross Purnell   Palmyra
 
I'd like to add to what Devin said (above). I've climbed this arch many times, the flake above the belay on p1 was always a solid and wonderful feature, but now there is a fresh split in the rock near where the flake attached to the mountain. My guess is that this unusually cold and icy winter resulted in expanding ice under the flake, which broke it.
This piece of rock is hundreds and hundreds of pounds, and would be fatal for the belayer directly below, and whoever may be waiting in line on tree ledge. it is possible to climb around it without touching it, but I predict someone will put a cam behind that thing and it will come off.
It needs to be trundled with a crow bar immediately but who would do it?
Anyone climbing there needs to be warned. When this things falls, the area at the bottom of U slot becomes a bombing range. Apr 6, 2015
Devin Farkas 1
Brunswick, Maine
Devin Farkas 1   Brunswick, Maine
Hey Y'all,

Potential loose rock on the Great Arch

P.2 of the Great arch. Within the first half of the pitch there is a large flake between the main slab that makes up the entire south face and the wall that meets it to form the crack of the arch. there is a crack that looks pretty recent that slices the flake down the middle. Before we started the arch we heard the party above us say something about the same feature. When I got there it made me feel pretty nervous just to touch it. Not wanting to risk knocking it off I did touch it...so I don't know how loose or hollow it is.

I'm not sure if this is a new feature since this was the first time I've been up the Arch.



Anyone else know what I'm talking about? is it new? if it is, be warned, there is a couch cushion sized chunk of rock on the great arch that may be moving towards detachment... Mar 30, 2015
Adam Paashaus
Greensboro, North Carolina
 
Adam Paashaus   Greensboro, North Carolina
 
Fun as a simulclimb if you have the gear and the route to yourselves. Feb 27, 2015
Will Bradford
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
 
Will Bradford   Winston-Salem, North Carolina
 
You can just link the first two pitches with a 70 m rope. Doubles of 0.5 through 2 BD camalot offer great protection the entire way up. Feb 19, 2015
A beautiful climb, and fairly fun. Slightly repetitive, same move over and over and over and over ... and again Oct 7, 2014
Jeff Gregory
Columbia, South Carolina
 
Jeff Gregory   Columbia, South Carolina
 
Look for a recently (and unintentionally) fixed a Size 8 Yellow BD Stopper on pitch 3. Finders keepers. :) Cool Climb. Dec 1, 2013
Emil Briggs
  5.5
Emil Briggs  
  5.5
I'm with P. Sully and cfuttner. The Great Arch is really boring. Worth doing once and for a new leader it's the safest way of topping out but not something I feel any desire to repeat. Oct 15, 2013
Jonathan Dull
Boone, NC
 
Jonathan Dull   Boone, NC
 
After numerous trips to Stone Mountain and many crowded weekends we finally had the entire place to ourselves and racked up for this state classic. For a brief moment I thought I was back in Yosemite (minus the very less than vertical grade), laying back a splitter corner for 100's of feet with an abundance of gear options. As far as gear is concerned, you only need a single rack up to three (although I never placed a #3; a #4 BD may help protect the first 25 ft or so), and C3's are really helpful. Also, bring a good set of buff calves and a good back!! Feb 18, 2013
cfuttner
Chicago, IL
cfuttner   Chicago, IL
Wow, what can I say that hasn't already been said. Well let's see. How about don't bother, tedious, monotonous, and how about back pain. Oh wait, Sully said that. Bending over to grab a corner at my feet for 3 or 400 continuous feet is not my definition of fun. This one makes it into the book of Classics only due to the fact that it is such a striking feature on the face. If your comfortable with harder stuff at Stone, this is one to skip. We had a much better time on Rice Crispies and Fleet Feet. Nov 9, 2012
Joe Virtanen
Asheville, NC
 
Joe Virtanen   Asheville, NC
 
If you're looking to save time on a busy day, link pitches 1 and 2 from the tree ledge. You'll BARELY be able to do it with a 60 and it's no problem with a 70. Have your belayer step up!

1's and 2's on the first, mostly .75 and smaller on the second, which makes linking convenient. Jul 29, 2012
P. Sully  
 
This climb is over-rated and a pain in the back in my opinion. I have climbed it many times and seem to enjoy it less as a climb every time.

It is a beautiful architectural feature on a mostly blank slab though.

No Alternative is a better climb at this grade, IMHO.

Luckily though, it keeps all the Noobs busy and leaves many other routes open. May 9, 2012
Walt Barker
Reno NV
  5.5
Walt Barker   Reno NV
  5.5
One of the most pleasurable climbs ever....medium to small gear with placements everywhere. We did plug one #3 Camalot at the top of the 3rd pitch. Decided not to rap and walked back to the base...figured we could do that faster than setting-up rappels. We were there one day after rain and the rock was mostly dry. The sun was out and temps in the 60's. Unbelievably, we had the whole mountain to ourselves. Truly a classic climb in a stellar setting. Apr 7, 2012
Jake Jones
Richmond, VA
  5.5
Jake Jones   Richmond, VA  
  5.5
The park gates don't open until 8. So if you stay in the park, get there about 7:30 and haul ass up to the tree ledge. Unless a bunch of other people have that same idea, then you should be ok and not have a line behind you when you get to the first belay station. Awesome route!

First pitch isn't 150 feet. Neither is the second. You can rap back to the tree ledge from the bolts on pitch 1 with a single 70. Second pitch is shorter than the first. I would estimate each pitch to be roughly 110 feet or so. No longer. Nov 28, 2011
Mike Holley
Boone, NC
Mike Holley   Boone, NC
Who Can say a bad thing about this climb?!! Classic Feature all the way up and it only gets better each and every time you do it, yes yes, climb it like six times in one winter and you will see what I mean!

A Stellar intro lead for the beginning trad climber and a wonderful moderate for the seasoned pro. Layback the firs two pitches and work your way up the slab/fingercrack on the third.

Be sure to wake up early for this classic because on crowded days this one can be a class A cluster Funk! Oct 18, 2011
wlashgraham
  5.5
wlashgraham  
  5.5
Great climb for the grade. Did not realize that you had to climb a committing pitch to even get there though. Adds some more fun. I would say try to stay off the tree at the second belay as much as possible. looks like it gets a ton of wear and tear and that would not be a fun spot to have a dead tree. May 22, 2011
Shawn Heath
Forchheim, Germany
  5.5
Shawn Heath   Forchheim, Germany  
  5.5
The second time I got on this route I let my friend lead it since he really wanted to do the climb. Then I practiced doing nothing but face climbing. Great way to get used to nothing but friction climbing and get your head into it for leading something like Mercury's Lead, which is right next door and pretty much the exact same angle and friction. Aug 18, 2010
Shawn Heath
Forchheim, Germany
  5.5
Shawn Heath   Forchheim, Germany  
  5.5
Great climb! When rappelling off this climb, you should go to a different route's anchors. Walking on the slab at the top from these anchors to another like No Alternative is super easy and doesn't require a belay, but you can use one just to be on the safe side. Aug 18, 2010
Rodger Raubach  
  5.5
Great climb; hardest part is getting to Tree Ledge. The walk off the back is LONG! Jul 20, 2010
Will Copeland
Driggs
  5.5
Will Copeland   Driggs
  5.5
This is some classic climbing. When you look up layback in the dictionary, this is the climb. Wish this route went forever, so much fun. Apr 13, 2010
jay.kalamazoo
kalamazoo, mi
jay.kalamazoo   kalamazoo, mi
I would climb this route every day for the rest of my life. Absolutely essential climb at this grade in the south east. Tons of fun, easy to protect and the view is great. Oct 8, 2009
Brad "Stonyman" Killough   Alabama  
Awesome looking climb. Deffinatley do this climb when I get up that way. Nov 18, 2008