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Paradise Alley 

YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 450'
Original:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Tom Howard, Bill Newman - 1979
Page Views: 9,666
Submitted By: Jesse Morehouse on May 31, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (61)
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BETA PHOTO: nice look at the roof traverse of P2 start

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  • Description 

    A great route with the first 3 pitches offering spectacular climbing and great protection. A Shortoff classic! This is not a recommended climb for aspiring 5.8 leaders.

    P1 (crux). Climb the hand-sized crack through the overhang and continue to the obvious belay in an alcove. 5.8+, 120'

    P2. Trend left and up to base of gently overhanging wall. 5.7, 100'

    P3. Climb the incredible wall on insanely positive incut holds with a vertical crack that eats gear. Bushwack up beyond the top to large level area. 5.7, 70'

    P4. Surmount large block accross gap. Easier on right. 5.8, 60'

    Hike back to trail, turn right then back to camp or descent.


    Turn right at base of descent gully and hike for a while. The trail leaves the base of the cliff then returns near it. Keep a lookout for the hand crack through an overhang close to the ground that starts the route.


    One of everything. Large cams will be helpful on P1 but not necessary.

    Photos of Paradise Alley Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: This is the start to Paradise Alley..
    This is the start to Paradise Alley..
    Rock Climbing Photo: P4 from top of P3 buttress platform
    P4 from top of P3 buttress platform
    Rock Climbing Photo: Alex heading up P1
    Alex heading up P1
    Rock Climbing Photo: Alex heading up p3
    Alex heading up p3
    Rock Climbing Photo: Paddling up pitch 3!
    Paddling up pitch 3!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Holley Pulling the roof on the last pitch of ...
    Mike Holley Pulling the roof on the last pitch of ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: My buddy Ryan at the belay at the top of pitch 1. ...
    My buddy Ryan at the belay at the top of pitch 1. ...

    Comments on Paradise Alley Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By rock_fencer
    From: Columbia, SC
    Oct 24, 2011
    rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Variation: Climb P1 as described. P2 heads straight up from belay stance and cuts out right under roof onto a lichen covered face with jug hauling for a full 170 feet or so up to a large ledge. P3 head up and left for 40 feet or so to top of buttress- could be linked with P2 possibly. P4 move left on top and climb another 40 feet to top of cliff. Good fun and exposure
    By Peter Pitocchi
    Apr 23, 2012

    Lots of hand size pieces on pitch 1 Burly, sustained lots of layback, deserves the +. Start of pitch 2 protect the traverse or set up your belay left on ledge. Sharp edges on some of this route. A great climb first pitch memorable.
    By Mike Holley
    From: Boone, NC
    Sep 16, 2012

    Fantastic route all the way north on Short Off! It is quite a bushwhack to get out there, but it it totally worth it!! I would say this route was noticeably stiffer then its cousin Maginot Line, but worth the work! Bring as doubles of c4 1',2's and perhaps 3's if you want to stitch up the first pitch, which is deceptively steep! The business is the first pitch but every other one has its fun sections, its mostly a vertical jug haul with splendid views into the gorge!

    • *Highly Recommend**
    By b.t.miller
    From: Charlotte, NC
    Aug 18, 2014
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Update - climbed this route a 2nd time and still feel like P1 is 5.9. My crack skills are novice for sure and maybe that contributes to the struggle but P1 seems quite stout for 5.8+. Toxic Shock is a different style crack but overall that pitch seems far more mellow than this.

    Agree with M. Holley regarding this route being considerably stiffer than Maginot. P1 wastes no time and fires up straight off the jungle-dense vegetated gorge floor. From there P1 remains relatively sustained right up to the start of the crux which seemed to start in earnest as soon as the dihedral leaned left. Crux seemed pretty sustained for my noodle arms. I do think the crux is 5.8+ but I also don't think anyone would raise an eyebrow if this pitch was listed as 5.9. It seemed unrelenting for about 15-20' with the finishing moves being the hardest (sort of flaring off-width section).... the gorge and your gear are a fair bit below you at that point.

    Loads of old slings at P1 belay, however there is solid opportunity for pro just a few feet above those slings.

    P2 - posted a photo of the traverse off P1 belay (traverse climber's left under and around roof, and then generally up path of least resistance to P2 belay)

    P3 - is short but packs a good punch as you motor-boat the jugs.

    P4 - thank goodness you can protect this short pitch well because it's steep and the thought of becoming a temporary chockstone between 200' deep buttress walls seemed as fun as being a dingleberry.

    GEAR -- tricams (used red, brown and blue), 1 set of nuts seemed sufficient (4-13), and doubles of BD cams 0.5-2.0 were big handy. Took and used singles of 0.2, 0.3 and 3.0 BD cams.

    By Russ Keane
    Jul 12, 2016

    +1 for the 1st pitch being "burly" -- It's very steep, sustained, and pumpy. The crack juts out left at the end, and offers you a critical crux at 100 feet off the ground. But this pitch is SO classic. It's excellent rock climbing.

    The rest of the climb is so-so. Not bad by any means, but not as good aesthetically as the first pitch. It remains steep and positive, but the route finding gets a little tricky, with no obvious path amongst a massive display of broken up cliff/rock, and weird ledges with shrubs. I tried to lead the 5.7 portion and got freaked out. It's kind of intimidating at the grade because of how steep it is. But 5.9 leaders will be fine.
    By .
    From: Asheville NC
    Feb 6, 2017

    I got off route on P2 lead and went right from p1 belay to the right of the large obvious roof and then slowly trended left back and connected back into the route. Super fun on overhung jugs pretty solid at 5.8 with a sweet mini roof that protected with gold DMM offset nut and green C3. That same pro ended up causing rope drag so sling it long if you go that way so you dont have to stop short of the true P2 belay ledge. ~60ft to intermediate ledge if you don't sling it.
    By LewisL
    From: Asheville, NC
    Jul 10, 2017

    This is a great route to do if it's been really wet. Last time I was out there, the descent gully was a complete waterfall and most of the main face was soaked. The detached buttress kept this one pretty dry. A little seepage below the first belay, but it is past the crux and easy to avoid if you're willing to climb 20 feet of lichen.

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