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Chicken Head City

5.9, Trad, 100 ft,  Avg: 2.6 from 51 votes
FA: unknown
N Carolina > Rumbling Bald > Screamweaver Area


Heads out a steep and pumpy right to left hand crack. Rope drag can definitely be an issue. There is a small area tucked in a corner where you could belay if you think you will catch drag. Head around to the left on massive chicken heads then a short run out up the steep head wall. Super fun climbing and much better than it looks from below!


Right of screamweaver past a 3rd class gully.


Some big pieces useful but not needed at the start. The guide book says long slings for the chicken heads but after turning the corner there aren't many that can be slung.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Mary at the bouldery start
[Hide Photo] Mary at the bouldery start
aaron on the low half
[Hide Photo] aaron on the low half
Eric at the chicken heads, don't forget the lasso
[Hide Photo] Eric at the chicken heads, don't forget the lasso

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Not a bad route. There are some wild moves near the top. After climbing the dihedral, look for the chicken heads over the roof. Pull over the exciting roof and run it out on easier slab climbing to the pine tree above. A set of camalots from 0.5-3, a set of stoppers, and some long slings are needed. Definitely a rope drag nightmare. Jan 18, 2010
Clemson, S.C.
[Hide Comment] 2 slings are definitely needed for chicken heads. Very easy to sling from the stance and provide the only decent pro before the easy runout slab. #3 and #4 camalots can both be very handy. Jan 1, 2011
Javier L
Asheville, NC
[Hide Comment] A BD C3 #1 works really well on the slab section. If you look for it you will find it from a good stance and feel a tad safer going through the run-out to the anchor.
Slinging all the pro down low is the way to go. You'll appreciate it when you're on the slab. Feb 24, 2011
Raleigh, NC
[Hide Comment] Chossy start leads to really fun exposure up top. Sling all your gear until you turn the corner. Bring 2 slings for chickenheads. Tricams were helpful for me. Red C3 or a good nut on the final slab is essential. Nov 7, 2011
Jon Lane
Asheville, NC
[Hide Comment] Have always climbed the standard finish, but friend suggested going right, past the large chickhead section. Found a C3 placement and small knobs to climb to the top. The finish is a little shorter, but fun and good on the head. Jan 14, 2013
Jon Lane
Asheville, NC
[Hide Comment] I have never climbed the Bald this late in the season, but the rope climbing conditions have been stellar! Upon hiking up the trail to Scream weaver, I hopped up upon a rattler right in the trail. He was 4 feet long and looking full. Had he not been next to some rocks on the trail, he would have blended in perfectly with the leaves. He didn't shake his rattle at me (hence why I think he just ate), but I didn't stick around to hear it.

I walked up to Chicken Head City and saw a huge dead mouse at the base of the climb. I didn't notice any chew marks on him, and assumed that he may have fallen off the cliff. As I led Chicken head City, the area where you normally sling the large chicken heads I "discovered" a perfect .5 placement and went with that. As I patted myself on the back for finding a great gear placement, I saw something to my left. I looked over and gasped at a 5 foot long black snake wrapped around the horizontal crack near the chicken heads! I immediately cranked up to the upper chicken heads to gain composure for the final run out section to the anchors. My mind was seriously distracted for the final moves, but I sucked it up and danced to the anchors. As I got to the tree, I noticed the anchors were covered with hundreds of red ants. Upon further inspection, I saw the loop of the purple rope that is used for part of the anchor was chewed into the core. I had an extra sling and looped it around the tree for a backup. I lowered down and saw that the snake was indeed very big and hanging out in the horizontal crack next to my gear.

My partner followed up with fair warning that a snake was close by. As she approached the bottom section before climbing out the chicken heads and where a #3 cam is in a vertical crack, apparently another snake, possibly a rattler, came waving out of the crack where the cam placement was and stuck his forked tongue out at her. We lowered and re evaluated the situation and I decided to climb back up there, place a cam direct into me, lower rope and haul up a long stick to fling the snake out the crack. I climbed up there and could not find the snake. Cautiously, I grabbed my #3 cam and slings and stepped back again to inspect the crack. No snake could be found and that definitely"rattled" my nerves thinking that it could be anywhere. I couldn't believe that just 15 minutes, I earlier placed both hands all over the crack without looking, but this time I was so nerved up to try and go and grab my .5 placement. I sacked up again and hung on to that large chicken head and did a pull up to see what I could find. Alas, still no snake, so quickly I yanked my gear out and leaped to the upper chicken heads like a frightened child. I looked down and saw no snakes.

I added more slings to the tattered anchor to alleviate the bad situation and once again gained composure. As I lowered down near the crack, YIKES!, the black snake was lingering around the crack looking all agitated and fussy. I quickly yelled dirt me and never looked back. I never knew if their were indeed 2 snakes or if the same snake was slithering around pissed off about his mouse that he had dropped or what.

I have a history of choosing mentally taxing warm ups by accident, but didn't think this was going to be one of them. All I can say is that I can't wait for the winter season at the Bald! Good luck and be extra careful on the new creatures coming out that we don't normally see in the winter May 11, 2013
Cameron Cassan
Asheville, NC
[Hide Comment] Pink rappel cord almost worn through on back of anchor tree. Left a yellow one Dec 11, 2015 Dec 13, 2015
Russ Keane
Asheville, NC
[Hide Comment] Cool climb. Felt tricky the first time but once you get a feel for it, it's easy. Nov 29, 2018