Shortoff Mountain Rock Climbing
A view down Shortoff with climbers on Straight and...
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Shortoff Mountain is a beautiful adventure climbing locale at the southern end of the Linville Gorge in NC. The southwest exposures are perfect on autumn and spring days when you can look across the gorge and see the reds and yellows or greens and whites. There are rarely other climbers there, the most crowded weekend I have seen is two other parties. The climbing as far as I know all requires an ability to place gear and build your own anchors. If you just clip bolts, you might want to freshen up on your gear skills first. The rock is characterized by crack systems interspersed with wild horizontals. On many routes, a hug horizontal jug is just far enough out of reach to make it exciting. The rock is clean in most places, but there is a fair bit of lichen on the rarely climbed routes, giving the climbs an increased sense of adventure.
Shortoff North/Shortoff South
The approach gully is the main landmark for locating routes at Shortoff. For convenience, route descriptions in this section will include the designation Shortoff North for lines north of the approach gully, and Shortoff South for climbs to the south of the gully.
Take exit 90 (Nebo/Lake James) to the north. You will be on Harmony Grove Road. You have two options, left or right. If you go left, take a right when you hit NC 126, if you go right take a left. Either way, get to NC 126 and follow it North. You will pass through some farmland and golf course as you pass around Lake James. After you cross a small one lane bridge a ways down the road (10 miles) start looking for Wolf Pit Road (it is dirt). Follow this road up until it dead ends. There is camping at the end of the road. However, you have to pass through private property in your car so respect that. Keep the music down and don't camp on someone's property.
Approach by taking the logging road at the north end of the turn around. At one point you will cross the Mountain to Sea trail. keep Going straight (west). You will eventually reach a spring. This is the approach gully. If you have climbed in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, your option will seem fairly obvious. Drop down the gully and be ready to climb out. Oh, the water should be OK coming from the tap.
Weather station 7.1 miles from here
52 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',9],['3 Stars',29],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Shortoff Mountain
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Shortoff Mountain
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Shortoff Mountain:
Toxic Shock 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, 3 pitches, 360'
Dopey Duck 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, 3 pitches, 350'
Julia 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, 3 pitches, 300'
Humdinger 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
PG13 Trad, 2 pitches, 250'
Golden Rule 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 130'
Supercrack 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad, 3 pitches, 300'
Featured Route For Shortoff Mountain
Built to Tilt 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b North Carolina
: Linville Gorge
: Shortoff Mountain
An incredible line with the 3rd pitch being one of the proudest pitches of 5.10a trad anywhere.P1 (5.7) Climb right arching feature to hanging island of trees and shrubbery. Belay then move belay up and climbers right to spot below diehedral way up above you.P2 (5.8). Climb to base of diehedral. I remember long slings being nice.P3 (crux). This is why you climb this route! Climb diehedral to its top (5.9) which is actually the top of a pillar under a large horizontal roof. Keyhole a nut in...[more] Browse More Classics in North Carolina
By Bob Underwood
Nov 13, 2007
About the Wolfpit road turn off of 126: it is about a quarter mile west of the shoreline view of lake James. With the directions given - if you see a big lake on your right, you have gone 1/4 mile too far.
The road is now in good shape all the way to the circle at the end. Camping here is ok. But if you want privacy, better hump it up the mountain about 1 hour hike.
The path you want from the Wolfpit circle goes uphill and turns right uphill.
Water is scarce on Shortoff. linvillegorge.net gives maps and waypoints for the two springs.
The north end of Shortoff has less dramatic rock but is relatively unexplored.
By Jesse Morehouse
May 31, 2008
One of the most fantastic crags in one of the most fantastic settings imaginable. You camp on top of the cliff with views over the gorge. Most routes are free of fixed gear or anchors, sandbagged, and follow spectacular lines. There are classic lines from 5.6 on up to 5.11. On holiday weekends you might need to share the place w/2-3 parties. A small slice of heaven.
By Bob Underwood
Sep 14, 2008
Before the 2000 fire there used to be a trail from the Wolfpit trail which cut south and followed the 2200 contour line, crossed the MST and tied in to the base of the Shortoff cliffs. To follow this old trail was even more demanding than to hike all the way to the top of the mountain and reach the same area by scrambling down thru the Descent Gully. I wonder if this old trail still exists?
By John Matthew
Dec 24, 2008
Climbers should be aware that evac'ing out of Shortoff is a serious endeavour. The descent gully has two fifth-class sections, one with a fixed rope. Any type of injury, especially to a lower extremity, could require the support of a rescue squad. Take the grades seriously.
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Nov 9, 2009
On the approach trail: In order to walk to the top of Shortoff, you need to take a 90 degree right hand turn about 1/4 mile down the trail that comes off the back of the parking lot. After taking this turn, follow the trail up the switchbacks. After another 1/2 mile, there is a four-way intersection. Continue straight across on the Mountain to Sea trail, blazed white. Another 1/4 mile will lead to the obvious spring and descent gully.
If you miss the 90 degree right turn 1/4 mile along the entrance trail, you will end up way down in the valley in a maze of ATV tracks. Easy to do at night - ouch!!
By Drew Hayes
From: Charlotte, NC
Aug 19, 2014
Can someone post the beta for rapping in (or PM it to me)? Is it possible with one 70m rope? Thank you!