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North Carolina Rock Climbing 


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Location: 35.6037, -79.2773 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Ryan Williams, Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: saxfiend on Oct 14, 2006
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Hawksbill Mountain, Linville Gorge

Description 

You could probably make a strong case for North Carolina as the home of the best rock climbing in the south. No other southern state has the variety or sheer volume hosted here. From the multi-pitch quartzite of Linville Gorge, to the eyebrows and hard aid of Looking Glass, to the exposed granite scarefests of Cashiers Valley, North Carolina has it all.

In addition to great rock and lots of destinations, North Carolina has a reputation for tradition that is not to be trifled with. Most routes in the state were established with ground-up techniques using whatever protection the rock affords, placing bolts only on lead and only when absolutely necessary. Anyone unwise enough to rap-bolt a route will usually come back to find their work erased by the locals.

What this means, at least in anything above an easy-to-moderate grade, is that you need a good lead head if you’re going to climb in North Carolina. Long runouts between pro or bolts are taken for granted here, and even moderate and/or well-protected routes can be stout for the grade.

For beginners and new trad leaders, Table Rock is a great destination. Fun leads in the “easy” range (5.3-5.5) abound, and there’s good opportunities for toproping at the nearby Chimneys. More experienced leaders will enjoy the airy multi-pitch moderates at the neighboring Amphitheater in Linville Gorge, or the granite crack climbs of Rumbling Bald.

If you’re ready to raise the stakes, take a trip to Stone Mountain, a huge granite dome with great friction climbing and wild runouts. And for the ultimate in NC climbing, head for Whiteside Mountain or Laurel Knob; only the seriously adventurous need apply.

Bouldering: There is an unbelievable amount of bouldering areas in North Carolina, some of which are world-renowned. The Boone region is host to myriad and historically established bouldering areas. Rumbling Bald has phenomenal bouldering and a wonderful Full Color Bouldering Guidebook . The Linville Gorge is loaded with boulders and Joey Henson's Linville Gorge Bouldering Map beautifully illustrates that. Hound Ears, near Boone, is host for the first leg of the celebrated Triple Crown bouldering competition (unfortunately, that is the only time Hound Ears is open to climbing). Along with these areas Moores Wall, Asheboro, and many other wonderful bouldering locations can be found scattered throughout the Old North State.

Getting There 

The climbing in North Carolina is spread across the state and divided into several distinct regions. From the tobacco fields of the Piedmont to the dramatic gorges in the High Country to the granite walls of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains; if you are west of Raleigh you are probably close to amazing climbing. See individual areas for directions.

Access Issues 

The USFS temporarily closes many areas in North Carolina for Peregrine Falcon nesting. The Carolina Climbers Coalition does a great job of keeping their site up to date regarding closures.

Also, it seems that the CCC is always working on opening access to new climbing areas around the state. They have been invaluable in opening areas like Asheboro, Rumbling Bald, and Laurel Knob, just to mention a few. If you climb in North Carolina, think about donating time or money to the cause and/or joining the CCC.

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 12.1 miles from here

2,357 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',282],['3 Stars',1016],['2 Stars',734],['1 Star',215],['Bomb',5]
['<=5.6',148],['5.7',112],['5.8',179],['5.9',201],['5.10',449],['5.11',428],['5.12',200],['5.13',31],['>=5.14',3],['',0],['<=V1',129],['V2-3',91],['V4-5',159],['V6-7',91],['V8-9',33],['V10-11',11],['V12-13',2],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in North Carolina

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for North Carolina:
The Prow   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   Linville Gorge : Amphitheater
North Ridge   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 3 pitches, 250'   Linville Gorge : Table Rock
The Great Arch   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   Stone Mountain : Stone Mountain South Face
The Mummy   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 3 pitches, 350'   Linville Gorge : Amphitheater
The Daddy   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 5 pitches, 500'   Linville Gorge : Amphitheater
Wailing Wall   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   Moore's Wall : The Amphitheater
Fruit Loops   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 160'   Rumbling Bald : Cereal Buttress
Zoo View   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 220'   Sentinel Buttress : Circus Wall
The Nose   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   Looking Glass Rock : Nose Area
White Lightning   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Linville Gorge : Table Rock
Air Show   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 180'   Sentinel Buttress : Circus Wall
Dopey Duck   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 350'   Linville Gorge : Shortoff Mountain
Titties & Beer (aka "World's Hardest 5.8")   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 5 pitches, 500'   Looking Glass Rock : Sun Wall
Frosted Flake   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Rumbling Bald : Cereal Buttress
Straight and Narrow   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 340'   Linville Gorge : Shortoff Mountain
Invisible Airwaves   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A2     Trad, Aid, 3 pitches, 240'   Looking Glass Rock : North Side
Shredded Wheat   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Rumbling Bald : Cereal Buttress
The Womb   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 250'   Looking Glass Rock : North Side
Quaker State   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Moore's Wall : The Amphitheater
Original Route (aka Gom Jabber)   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R     Trad, 10 pitches, 800'   Whiteside Mountain : Southeast Face
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in North Carolina

Featured Route For North Carolina
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo Topo. I ripped the photo from one of Nathan'...

Mirage Direct Finish 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b  North Carolina : Laurel Knob
This is a good direct finish to mirage with pumpy overhanging terrain with good holds for LK (including a few jugs on an overhanging wall!). I'd consider it a good intro to the harder routes at Laurel Knob. Since it is climbable when the groove is running, it is a great year round route.As described below, it starts from the top of pitch 3 of mirage. Though very good, Pitches one and 2 of mirage are usually wet so an alternative way to get to the start of this direct finish is to climb to the to...[more]   Browse More Classics in North Carolina

Photos of North Carolina Slideshow Add Photo
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Happy Log...
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A nice view of the south face with several climbin...
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KK Gregory pulling hard on the perfect sandstone a...
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Doc Bayne on one of His Serious Adventures First A...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tim leading the classic crack five ten 'eh at Ghos...
Tim leading the classic crack five ten 'eh at Ghos...
Rock Climbing Photo: Hwy. 64 Whitesides Overlook in October
Hwy. 64 Whitesides Overlook in October
Rock Climbing Photo: Tim climbing a sweet roof crack at Gost Town in Hi...
Tim climbing a sweet roof crack at Gost Town in Hi...
Rock Climbing Photo: somewhere in Pisgah Forest
somewhere in Pisgah Forest
Rock Climbing Photo: Did somebody say granite?  NC.
Did somebody say granite? NC.
Rock Climbing Photo: Big Green 09/08
Big Green 09/08
Rock Climbing Photo: FA on the Hebron Rock Colony Line! Slack Liner: Mi...
FA on the Hebron Rock Colony Line! Slack Liner: Mi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Josh Bittner taking the new way up p2 of Hindu Kus...
Josh Bittner taking the new way up p2 of Hindu Kus...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rumbling Bald Rock Climbs guidebooks are now in st...
BETA PHOTO: Rumbling Bald Rock Climbs guidebooks are now in st...
Rock Climbing Photo: Local fauna
Local fauna
Rock Climbing Photo: From Looking Glass looking west.
From Looking Glass looking west.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rappelling at Crowders Mountain. Photo Creds: Jaro...
Rappelling at Crowders Mountain. Photo Creds: Jaro...
Rock Climbing Photo: FA at secret crag early 1990's
FA at secret crag early 1990's
Rock Climbing Photo: Near the top of Grandmother Mountain, Boone area  ...
Near the top of Grandmother Mountain, Boone area ...
Rock Climbing Photo: FA of  Hebron Rock Colony Line Slack Liner: Mike H...
FA of Hebron Rock Colony Line Slack Liner: Mike H...
Rock Climbing Photo: The late Lee Carter on Zen face in Zen canyon.  Go...
The late Lee Carter on Zen face in Zen canyon. Go...
Rock Climbing Photo: Marvin pulling the crux of Tunnel of Love (Sams Kn...
Marvin pulling the crux of Tunnel of Love (Sams Kn...
Rock Climbing Photo: Johnny Quest at Asheboro. Photo credit Brian Payst
Johnny Quest at Asheboro. Photo credit Brian Payst
Rock Climbing Photo: near whitesides.
near whitesides.

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