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Just Another Pretty Face

5.10b/c, Trad, Sport, 210 ft, 2 pitches,  Avg: 3.2 from 10 votes
FA: Nathan Brown et al
N Carolina > Linville Gorge > Shortoff Mountain
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure Details
Access Issue: All climbing routes between and including C.O. to and including Paradigm Shift are closed. Details


Great slabby face climbing with a fun roof pull at the top for good measure. One of the best thin faces in the Northern Blue Ridge (in my opinion!). A pretty involved approach, but well worth the effort!
P1: Climb up an easy left-facing corner to a ledge. Angle up and right on the face towards the bolts. Crimp and highstep on excellent edges through the section of two or three bolts (crux) and continue up to a roof. Traverse a bit left under the roof and pull on awesome jugs. End at a fixed anchor. GEAR BETA (read no further if you want to preserve the "onsight"!) Look for a sideways #6 Stopper placement if 5.10b/c, 150'
P2: Head up easy terrain to a tree anchor. 5.7, 60’
NOTE: Easily combined with a 70M rope.


The route is just left of Bonsai (described in Shull and Lambert's guidebook). I have never approached the route from below and have heard that it's kind of a 'shwack to get over there. I've always utilized an approach/rap in from above.
After doing the final steep climb on the Shortoff approach, the trail levels out a bit (you're now on the clifftop). Look for a small (chest-high) boulder on the left and a larger one on the right. At this small boulder, look for a faint trail leading to the left towards the cliff. Follow it down to a short gully which deposits you below an overhanging ampitheatre with a driplike waterfall. This is a good place to stash packs. From here, continue down and left over some 3rd class scrambling terrain, aiming for a grassy ledge with a tall tree. This is your first rap. There are no slings—I've always just thrown the rope around the tree. This short (50') rap takes you to a fixed hex/nut anchor. From here, you can
a) do a 60m double rope rappel or
b) do two single 60m raps. Be aware that on your second rap, you'll have to rap off of a single bolt (one of the protection bolts on the pitch—they're bomber).
Complicated, but like I said, well worth the effort.
IMPORTANT NOTE: One can rap all the way to the ground with twin 70M ropes from the tree anchor. This is by far the most expedient and straightforward option.


Blue TCUs-#2 Camalot, with doubles in the small/medium range. Fixed anchor on top of P1, tree anchor on P2.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The funky crucial stopper at the start (below the first bolt).
[Hide Photo] The funky crucial stopper at the start (below the first bolt).
Above the crux.
[Hide Photo] Above the crux.
F.W. climbing
[Hide Photo] F.W. climbing
A different View.  Dennis M. following the first section.
[Hide Photo] A different View. Dennis M. following the first section.
another shot
[Hide Photo] another shot
Jon on Just Another Pretty Face
[Hide Photo] Jon on Just Another Pretty Face

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] More people need to get on this under appreciated climb. Awsome thin face climbing with exciting exposure. I found the rap in and I must say I will use it from now on if I plan on hangin around the south end. Sep 13, 2014
Clemson, S.C.
[Hide Comment] This is a great addition to Shortoff. Crimpers delight! I enjoyed the technical thin edges and feet. We did the approach from the bottom. It is only a short distance past Construction Job. It was also cold enough that the vegetation hadn't grown back, so it was an easy bushwack. We found the start to be at a short/shallow right-facing dihedral. It leads you right up to the pod for that nut before the first bolt. Getting to the first bolt will be exciting if this climbing is near your limit. We did the entire climb in one long pitch by simul-climbing the easy first 30' or so with a 60m. You will have your partner on belay before you start the business. A #3/4 camalot is nice below the roof, but not mandatory since you can get other gear after the juggy roof pull. Be sure to back up the pin. Mar 30, 2015
[Hide Comment] Could someone elaborate on the location of the fixed hex/nut rap anchor? I rapped off a lone tree on a grassy ledge and made it down to the roof where I could see the route bolts below, but I never found a gear anchor. There was a little grassy ledge with a small dead tree on it that seems like a good point of reference. Hopefully this isn't another case of someone bootying fixed rap gear at Shortoff. Nov 12, 2017