Groover (Gaskin Finish)
Trad, 900 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III,
Avg: 3.8 from 25
FA: Jeep and Julia Gaskin - July 1980
> Laurel Knob
Groover is one of Laurel Knob's signature moderate routes. It has the distinction of being established in a single-day first ascent by noted NC climber Jeep Gaskin and his wife Julia -- on their honeymoon! For much of its length, Groover follows a nice arching crack system with great protection; toward the top, it uses the carved water grooves that are a hallmark of Laurel Knob. Don't let the 5.8 rating or the fact that there's "only" six pitches fool you; this is a long and committing climb with serious runouts on the upper pitches. Start early and bring plenty of water.
For anyone wanting to experience North Carolina climbing at its finest, Groover is not to be missed.
P1 - starting at a large pine tree, climb a right-facing crack system up and slightly left to a ledge with another pine tree and belay (NOTE: this pine is the only place to bail without leaving gear until you reach the end of the fifth pitch). 5.7+, 190'
P2 - Move right from the tree and continue up a left-facing crack that will merge into the arching crack system that is Groover's main feature. Follow this for another full rope length and find a comfortable spot to build a gear anchor and belay. 5.7, 190'
P3 - Continue up the arching crack to a steep bulge; tiptoe over the bulge to the right and onto a sloping platform that makes a comfortable belay station. 5.7, 180'
P4 - Prepare yourself mentally for climbing high above your protection. From the belay, climb high into the crack and place a medium-to-large cam, then downclimb until you can move out right on a bulge with quartz dikes for footing. Continue traversing right about 30' to reach the second of two deep water grooves, then look for gear before heading up (there's supposed to be a distinctive quartz hole in the groove somewhere). Head up the groove for about 100' or so (you may find a gear placement along the way), until you reach some spacious solution pockets and a welcome crack to build an anchor. 5.8, 160'
NOTE: If you were doing the Fischesser variation, you'd continue up the arching crack from here.
P5 - Move left about 15' to the obvious continuing groove; climb this steeper groove past three bolts and one good pro placement in a finger pocket. Finish at a narrow tree ledge with a bolt just below. 5.8+, 100'
P6 - Continue up on easier ground and arc out right to an obvious tree island for a full rope length; after bringing up your second, continue to the right end of the tree island and look for a bolted rap station (the top of P6 on the Groover Fischesser finish). 5.6, 200'
The double-rope rappel off Groover is complex enough to get a separate description. Missing some rap stations is easy and can have serious consequences; knot your rope ends.
Rap 1 - from the anchors at the tree island, rap down and pendulum way left to the bolted anchors for P7 of Forbidden Fruit (FF). This is also the P5 belay for the Groover Fischesser finish. 140'
Rap 2 - rap down the groove to the P6 anchors for FF. 170'
Rap 3 - continue down the groove to the P5 anchors for FF. 130'
Rap 4 - continue down FF past the P4 belay bolts (no rap rings) and past a prominent roof. Not far below these bolts and off to the left are the P3 anchors for FF that will be your next rap station. 180'
Rap 5 - trend left as you rap down to find the FF P2 anchors a good ways out to the left of the plumb line; be careful not to pendulum back right. 120'
Rap 6 - finish the descent with a rap straight to the ground. 140'
Groover starts at the far left end of the face. Follow the cliff trail to a point where you'll curve around right and back up above the trail at a large pine tree. From here, you'll know you're in the right place if you can see the tree ledge at the top of the first pitch (much higher than it looks).
Bring a full rack of active and passive pro; cams up to 4" are useful/necessary. Double ropes are a real asset on the traversing pitches.
1st pitch of Groover looking up First belay at the tree is about 12 foot shy of a 60 meter rope. (original photo by xfloors)
A 40' lead fall on P5, and all Denmark has to show for it is a scraped elbow. I'd be smiling too . . .
Looking up P1 of Groover Tree is belay point (original photo by EverydayExplorer)
About half way up
Up high on groover
Looking up P2 of Groover on Laurel Knob. The route goes up and right from here following the crack shown above for the next two pitches. P4 involves a facey traverse across and up water grooves unt…
Johanna finishing up the last pitch of Groover, Laurel Knob, NC.
The water groove on P5 is often wet, adding to the difficulty. Photo by Denmark.
Denmark follows on P2 of Groover.
Groover, P3 Slabtacular!