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Airlie Gardens 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 130'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Tom Howard, Dan Perry (1982)
Season: Summer
Page Views: 4,721
Submitted By: TomCaldwell on Jun 21, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (58)
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BETA PHOTO: Notice the v-crack. This is the easiest way to id...


One of the best 5.9 in the entire state. It has great movement, tons of exposure, and bomber gear. Both pitches have unique features that are hard to beat anywhere.

P1 begins next to a tree in a shallow right facing dihedral. Follow this to a short unprotected face. Continue up to the left side of the arete. Be sure to place the crucial piece of gear here before pulling around. Pull around the sharp arete to the right and up. There is an optional piece of gear out right, but can cause a lot of drag if not on double ropes. Continue up the arete to the short slab. Pull the short slab into another dihedral. Plug up the left side of the V-crack for the crux. Move out left, either rest on the ledge or continue up the dihedral pulling the roof. Move left after the short dihedral and belay on a sizable ledge with trad gear.

Option 2, start 20' to the right of said dihedral. Climb up jugs and mail slots with many more gear opportunities. Move up and left onto the slab and into the steep v-slot. This is my preferred method due better protection and reduced rope drag.

P2 moves out right up the ramp and to a crack on the face. Follow the crack to where it is capped by the large roof. At the roof traverse left in the large horizontal until you can step back onto the face (crux). Move up the short face and belay on gear again.


This route shares the same start as Linn Cove Lullaby. Go up the hill past Boardwalk and notice the "V-crack" in a large roof. Rap from the rings on Linn Cove Lullaby. A two rope rappel will reach the ground.


Nuts, TCU's, Tri-cams, and double Camalots to .75 if you want to sew it up. All belays are on gear. Two ropes to rappel or a single 70m from Linn Cove anchors.

Photos of Airlie Gardens Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Entire route
Entire route
Rock Climbing Photo: This pic shows my partner at the fixed gear rap st...
BETA PHOTO: This pic shows my partner at the fixed gear rap st...
Rock Climbing Photo: Partner sussing out the P1 crux... not necessarily...
Partner sussing out the P1 crux... not necessarily...
Rock Climbing Photo: At the first pitch belay
BETA PHOTO: At the first pitch belay
Rock Climbing Photo: David following P2 of Airlie.  The exciting traver...
David following P2 of Airlie. The exciting traver...
Rock Climbing Photo: Me leading P1 of Airlie
Me leading P1 of Airlie

Comments on Airlie Gardens Add Comment
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By Jeff Mekolites
From: ATL GA
Jun 30, 2010

A great option for finishing this route is the 5.11 overhang with the double cracks straight above the belay.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Oct 4, 2011

Can't say enough good things about this climb! Both pitches have fantastic sequences. The first pitch is a bit runout to your first placement but great pro after that. Second pitch is short but dizzying exposure! Beautiful Climb, great exposure and great pro!!
By Adam Paashaus
From: Greensboro, North Carolina
Oct 12, 2011

I'm with Mike, this climb is great. Easily one of the best 9's I've done anywhere!!! Great exposure, great movements, great stone, great views, just great all around!
By Cody Bradford
From: Boone, NC
Jun 18, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Be careful with your gear on the first section. Blowing it while trying to pull up on to the face with bad gear could be nasty. It is there, just take time to find it. Stellar climb all the way.
Be sure to stop and take in the air beneath your feet for the near entirety of this climb!
By Stuart Parker
From: Missoula, MT
Apr 26, 2014

Is it just me, or is the first pitch of this thing nerve wracking? ooof.
By TomCaldwell
From: Clemson, S.C.
Oct 30, 2014

Stuart, try the right variation start. It is much more well protected and moderate. It will take a lot of the sting out of that direct start runout.
By Jeff Dunbar
From: Charlotte, NC
Jun 12, 2016

Nice route with lots of variety, but its hard to imagine this is the best 5.9 in the state. Also, as my partner discovered, the P1 crux is MUCH harder for shorter people (<5'3"). Next time I'd do this in one pitch using lots of long slings. We rapped straight to the ground off the adjacent anchors for Linn Cove Lullaby with a single 70M.
By Russ Keane
3 days ago

Very fun route! The direct "R" start is a little heady, but worth it for the cleaner line. Should be easy for anyone leading 5.9.

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