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M.R.N.R.A. Rock Climbing 

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Administrators: Aaron Parlier, Shawn Heath, Jake Jones, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Aaron Parlier on Jul 9, 2009
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This is the backside of Rhododendron Gap (looking ...


-Not in Guidebook-

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (MRNRA) is the longest approach that you will experience in the Grayson area and it is limited only by your motivation to hike in. The actual hike to the Highlands Area on GHSP property isn’t very long (30min if you’re going slow and playing with ponies), but the walk past the gate into the MRNRA is a bit further, rocky, and all uphill on the way in (on the upside, it's all downhill on the way out!). The distance is ~2mi but once you hike a little into the MRNRA you pass boulders and blocks continually.

I haven’t covered this area well at all yet on this website but it is a focus that I will continue improving well into the future and as more folks explore the area. This place is vast and the directions will be quite vague, but the landscape is open and obvious. I will only cover the most obvious and straight forward lines and areas as of now, but know there are lots of already explored and established lines throughout. When you go, you will no doubt find awesome obscure blocks. Just have fun and climb everything you can!

There are three "peaks" described here (they aren't real "peaks" but they are visually prominent off of the mountain ridge horizon in three distinct areas): Feral, Rhododendron, and Paradise... Feral and Rhodo comprise the popular destination called "Rhododendron Gap" which is an open saddle in the landscape between the bouldery clusters on either end which I have called Feral (the first cluster) and Rhododendron (the second). After Rhododendron Gap you will pass through another low, grassy saddle in the landscape (lots of ponys congregate here, and you cannot see the third peak from the first peak) and then you will hike further to reach the third bouldery cluster called Paradise Peak. Rhododendron Peak is the tallest (over 5,000ft of elevation), middle peak. All three peaks have many amazing boulder problems to choose from.

Don’t start into this area if you are limited by time. This place will encompass an entire day or more. You can camp ANYWHERE in the MRNRA and this is a spectacular area to do so. You will find breath-taking views, ponies, wonderful trails and a vast amount of bouldering. There are many highball lines, steep & vertical faces, slabs, and all around awesome climbs.

If you don’t want a long approach however, stick to the endless fields and easy approaches in GHSP proper. If you’re spending a while in the park though, take a light pad and pack, food, some water, and enjoy the place... it’s an area that you won’t soon forget.

Getting There 

stay straight on the trail past the intersection to the horizon area. hike to the walk-through fence. hike up the mountain trail to the rocky natural bald on top.

The Appalachian Trail meanders throughout, around, and nearby these three peaks and crests and allows for easy access once you arrive. There are a myriad of other side trails and pony paths that facilitate access to many boulders and faces. Take time to explore and climb on the many blocks and boulders and enjoy your time while you’re up here.

Climbing Season

For the Grayson Highlands State Park area.

Weather station 6.8 miles from here

11 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For M.R.N.R.A.
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron James Parlier on the FA of Earthly Paradise

Earthly Paradise V4-5 6B+  Virginia : Grayson Highlands State Par... : ... : Paradise Boulder
Stand start on the left portion of the back, highball face. Work up long, delicate, often reachy moves to subtle holds until the slab upper portion becomes easier and walk/slab to the top. This one can be a little sketchy without a few pads and spotters but the landing is alright....[more]   Browse More Classics in Virginia

Photos of M.R.N.R.A. Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Grayson Pony
Grayson Pony
Rock Climbing Photo: Field, ponys, boulders. Paradise Peak, GHSP
Field, ponys, boulders. Paradise Peak, GHSP
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron James Parlier on "Swept Away" (V6F...
Aaron James Parlier on "Swept Away" (V6F...
Rock Climbing Photo: Puzzler and Chiral Boulders, Paradise Peak, GHSP
Puzzler and Chiral Boulders, Paradise Peak, GHSP
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron James Parlier on "Earthly Paradise"...
Aaron James Parlier on "Earthly Paradise"...

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