MAR
20-25
2017

Category: North Carolina
      Trip Report #: 240
Partner: Jenny Abegg
Rock Types: Granite, Quartzite, Gneiss, Metasandstone
Elev: 4,000-4,600 ft

Spring Break 2017!
 
Climbing with my sister
 in North Carolina

Climbs 1-2: Looking Glass Rock: Sundial Crack (5.8, 4p)Dinkus Dog (5.10b, 2p)
Climbs 3-5: Linville Gorge: Lost in Space (5.10b, 3p), White Lightning (5.8, 2p)North Ridge Table Rock (5.5, 2p)
Climbs 6-12: Rumbling Bald: Fruit Loops (5.7+); Frosted Flake (5.9+); Breakfast of Champions (5.10d); Cap'n Crunch (5.10d); Shredded Wheat (5.11a); Comatose (5.8+); Pull the Plug (5.11a) 
Climb 13: Laurel Knob: Groover (5.8, 6p) 
Climbs 14-18: Ship Rock: Edge of a Dream (5.7); Lost at Sea (5.8); Boardwalk (5.8); Hindu Kush (5.8); Harpoon (5.10a)
Climbs 19-22: Rumbling Bald: Gunboat Diplomacy (5.10c); Flappin' in the Breeze (5.10a); Granola (5.8+); Whiskey for Breakfast (5.10d) 

Intro

For Spring Break 2017, instead of heading to Red Rocks as had been my usual pattern over the past few years, I flew across the country to Asheville, North Carolina to visit my sister Jenny. Jenny had been living there for half a year, and had grown to love the area not only for its relaxed southern ambience, but also for its status a climbing mecca. For six full days, Jenny tirelessly showed me some of the best climbing areas in the southwest end of the state. I was amazed at the quantity, quality, and variety of climbing in the area. I had never thought of North Carolina as a place to climb, but it truly is a climbing mecca. The day I arrived we drove straight to from the airport to the rock, and climbed granite "eyebrow" in-cuts at Looking Glass Rock. Day 2 we climbed ledgy quartzite to the sweeping views at the top of a couple of summits in Linville Gorge; Day 3 we cragged on cracks splitting the beautiful banded gneiss at Rumbling Bald; Day 4 we stemmed up wild multi-pitch watergrooves on Laurel Knob; Day 5 we cragged on juggy and steep metasandstone at Ship Rock; and Day 6 we returned to climb a few more routes aRumbling Bald. And this was only a small sampling of the climbing highlights of North Carolina (for instance, a forest fire kept us away from the popular juggy climbs of Shortoff Mountain and weather kept us away from the towering cliffs of Whiteside Mountain.) Over the course of our trip, we never drove more than 2 hours from Asheville.

To the right is a map image I found on climbing.com showing climbing areas in southwest North Carolina, including the five different locations we visited. Asheville is ideally situated at the junction in the middle of the image.)

Thanks Jenny for the amazing and special week! I had a blast. I hope to be back someday to climb here some more.

This page gives a list of the climbs we did and some photos from each climb.

Climbs We Did

DAY 1 - MARCH 20: Looking Glass Rock (granite)

DAY 2 - MARCH 21: Linville Gorge (Hawksbill Mountain and Table Rock) (metasandstone & quartzite)
CLIMB 3: Lost in Space (5.10b, 3 pitches, 170'), Hawksbill Mountain
CLIMB 4: White Lightning (5.8, 2 pitches, 200')Table Rock
CLIMB 5: North Ridge (5.5, 2 pitches, 250')Table Rock

DAY 3 - MARCH 22: Rumbling Bald (Cereal Buttress & Comatose area) (gneiss)
CLIMB 6: Fruit Loops (5.7+, 2 pitches, 140'), Cereal Buttress
CLIMB 7: Frosted Flake (5.9+, 1 pitch, 80')Cereal Buttress
CLIMB 8: Breakfast of Champions (5.10d, 1 pitch, 80')Cereal Buttress
CLIMB 9: Cap'n Crunch (5.10d, 1 pitch, 80')Cereal Buttress
CLIMB 10: Shredded Wheat (5.11a, 1 pitch, 80')Cereal Buttress
CLIMB 11: Comatose (5.8+, 1 pitch, 100'), Comatose Area
CLIMB 12: Pull the Plug (5.11a, 1 pitch, 125')Comatose Area

DAY 4 - MARCH 23: Laurel Knob (granite)
CLIMB 13: Groover (Gaskin finish) (5.8, 6 pitches, 900')

DAY 5 - MARCH 24: Ship Rock (metasandstone)
CLIMB 14: Edge of a Dream (5.7, 1 pitch, 70')Upper Tier
CLIMB 15: Lost at Sea (5.8, 1 pitch, 70'), Upper Tier
CLIMB 16: Boardwalk (5.8, 1-2 pitches, 130'), Main Tier
CLIMB 17: Hindu Kush (5.8, 2-3 pitches, 180'), Main Tier
CLIMB 18: Harpoon (5.10a, 1 pitch, 50'), Main Tier

DAY 6 - MARCH 25: Rumbling Bald (Flakeview/Nuclear Arms area & Cereal Buttress) (gneiss)
CLIMB 19: Gunboat Diplomacy (5.10c, 1-2 pitches, 160'), Flakeview Area
CLIMB 22: Whiskey for Breakfast (5.10d, 1 pitch, 70')Cereal Buttress


Photos

DAY 1 - MARCH 20: Looking Glass Rock
CLIMB 1
Sundial Crack (5.8, 4 pitches, 430')
on Looking Glass Rock, Nose area (rock type: granite)
A great line overshadowed by the popularity of the Nose, but it is every bit as good. The route features a 20-foot long "crack" on the third pitch.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.5)
1.   
2.   
1. Looking up from the base of the route. This photo was taken after we rappelled the route - another party had started up. It's one of the more popular routes, but not quite as popular as The Nose next-door.
2. Looking Glass Rock is known for its famous "eyebrow" features; these horizontal in-cuts often make for great cam or tricam placements. I am curious to know the geologic explanation for these in-cuts, but could not find any explanation in any of the guidebooks...

PITCH

2
(5.8)
3.   
4.   
3. Jenny starting up Pitch 2.
4. Steph nearing the top of Pitch 2, with the rolling Blue Ridge mountains in the distance (Photo by Jenny).

PITCH

3
(5.7)
5.   
5. The 20 foot water groove at the start of Pitch 3. 

PITCH
4
(5.6)
6.   
6. Jenny high on the route, with the rolling Blue Ridge mountains in the distance.

OTHER PHOTOS
7.   
7. On the 10-min hike to Looking Glass Rock.
CLIMB 2
Dinkus Dog (5.10b, 2 pitches, 200')
on Looking Glass Rock, South side (rock type: granite)
One of the best traditional 5.10 face climbs in the state. The route climbs in-cut eyebrows on bomber gear.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.10a)
1.   
1. Pitch 1, up past a roof and up a dark streak to a gear belay. Fun climbing. There are just enough holds to make it 10a climbable.

PITCH
2
(5.10b)
2.   
3.   
2. Looking up Pitch 2, an aesthetic pitch up a water streak and Looking Glass Rock's famous in-cut "eyebrows". This photo was taken while rappelling the route. 
3. Steph nearing the top of the route, Jenny having fun with my camera while belaying.


DAY 2 - MARCH 21: Linville Gorge (Hawksbill Mtn & Table Rock)
CLIMB 3
Lost in Space (5.10b, 3 pitches, 170')
on Hawksbill Mountain in Linville Gorge  (rock type: metasandstone) 
The poster route of Linville Gorge, featuring a fantastically exposed roof crux. And the summit of Hawksbill is hard to beat.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.8)
1.   
2.   
3.   
  

   
   
1. Jenny starting up Pitch 1. It was a bit moist at the start.
2. Good climbing on Pitch 1. Got to trust the feet on tiny holds, which made it seem a tad desperate for 5.8.
3. Awesome corner at the end of Pitch 1. 

PITCH
2
(5.10b)
4.   
5.   

4. Jenny on the roof crux, about to go for it.
5. Jenny above the roof crux. Hurrah! Nice work!

PITCH
3
(5.8)
(I did not take any photos of this pitch, but it continues up the juggy steep crack system to the top. I think I only placed 2 cams so this pitch could be combined with Pitch 2.)

THE TOP!
6.   
7.   
 
6. Jenny on top of Hawskbill. This summit is well worth any climb up there.
7. Me on top of Hawksbill (photo by Jenny).
CLIMB 4
White Lightning (5.8, 2 pitches, 200')
on Table Rock in Linville Gorge (rock type: quartzite) 
Two fantastic corners connected by some fun face.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.8)
1.   
2.   
3.
1. The fun corner of Pitch 1. This is my sort of climbing, so I opted to lead it. It was a bit wet but quite good climbing.
2. Jenny nearing the top of the corner.
3. I had stopped at a small ledge at the top of the corner, so Jenny led the short section of face to the usual ledge belay at the top of Pitch 1.

PITCH
2
(5.8)
4.    4. Pitch 2. I led this pitch as well. Super fun.
CLIMB 5
North Ridge (5.5, 2 pitches, 250')
on Table Rock in Linville Gorge (rock type: quartzite)
An awesome vantage point and steep for its grade.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.5)
1. 1. Jenny leading up Pitch 1. Steep juggy climbing make this a great 5.5 route to the top of Table Rock.

PITCH
2
(5.5)
(I did not take any photos of this pitch, but it features more of the same steep juggy rock as Pitch 1. We swung leads so I led this pitch.)

DESCENT

(walk off)
2. 2. We didn't read the part in the beta about "walk off" and neglected to bring our approach shoes. We hiked back to our packs in bare feet. A good way to toughen up the feet after a winter spent in socks and shoes.


DAY 3 - MARCH 22: Rumbling Bald (Cereal Buttress & Comatose Area)
CLIMB 6
Fruit Loops (5.7+, 2 pitches, 140')
on Cereal Buttress on Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss)  
A stellar climb featuring a beautiful crack, wild chimney, and featured face.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.7+)
1.   
2.   
  
1. How can you not want to climb this crack?
2. Jenny following Pitch 1. Photo taken from the bolted belay inside the base of the chimney.

PITCH
2
(5.7+)
3.   
4.   
   
   
 
   
   
 
3. Looking up the chimney. Unlike many chimneys, it takes great gear the whole way up.
4. Rappelling, taken from the belay inside the chimney.
CLIMB 7
Frosted Flake (5.9+, 1 pitch, 80')
on Cereal Buttress at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss) 
A strenuous lead up a beautiful flake.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.9+)
1.   
2.
1. Looking up the awesome flake. Fun lead! This route reminded me of climbing at Index back home.
2. Looking down midway up the route.
CLIMB 8
Breakfast of Champions (5.10d, 1 pitch, 80')
on Cereal Buttress at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss) 
Great, thin crimpy climbing with a crux at the 2nd bolt.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.10d)
1.  2. 1. There is a committing crux move to get to the second bolt, with a potentially nasty fall over the flake. Jenny gave it a go but backed off after a couple of tries.
2. =)
CLIMB 9
Cap'n Crunch (5.10d, 1 pitch, 80')
on Cereal Buttress at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss) 
Overhanging crack through some blocks and finishing up a headwall on great jams.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.10d)
1.   
2.   
3.   
4.  
1. This crack just begs to be climbed.
2. Jenny starting up the crack. Awesome lead Jenny!
3. Underneath the "belayer slayer" blocks (which seem pretty solidly wedged in....).
4. The overhanging jam crack up the headwall.
CLIMB 10
Shredded Wheat (5.11a, 1 pitch, 90')
on Cereal Buttress at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss) 
One of the most classic finger cracks in North Carolina.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.11a)
1. 1. Awesome finger crack.
CLIMB 11
Comatose (5.8+, 1 pitch, 100')
on Comatose area at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss) 
A classic climb that follows an arching and widening crack and then pulls a roof onto a knobby face.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.8+)
1.   
2.   
3.
1. Starting up Comatose.The first half of the pitch is an awesome sustained undercling that takes great gear.
2. Fun.
3. The crack widens at the final section of undercling. Pull the roof onto the knobby face above.
CLIMB 12
Pull the Plug (5.11a, 1 pitch, 125')
on Comatose area at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss) 
Climbs a thin slabby face and joins with Comatose at the roof.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.11a)
1. 1. Just enough features to make it work. If you can actually climb slab, that is...


DAY 4 - MARCH 23: Laurel Knob
CLIMB 13
Groover (Gaskin finish) (5.8, 6 pitches, 900')
on Laurel Knob (rock type: granite) 
One of Laurel Knob's signature moderate routes, following a nice arching crack system and finishing on carved water grooves that are a hallmark of Laurel Knob. Combined with the 1.5 hour hike in, this makes for a nice day of exercise. 

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.7+)
1.   
 
   
   
   
1. Pitch 1 as seen from the base of the route. The route starts on the left end of Laurel Knob.

PITCH
2
(5.7)
2.   
3.   
  
2. Looking up Pitch 2, which goes right at first and then up into the long corner system above. This was probably the most mellow pitch of the first five pitches.
3. Looking down at Jenny climbing up Pitch 2.

PITCH
3
(5.7)
4.   
5.   
6.
4. Looking up the corner at the start of Pitch 3.
5. The bulge at the end of Pitch 3.
6. Jenny climbing up Pitch 3.

PITCH
4
(5.8)
7.   
8.   
9.   
10.
7. This pitch involves placing a piece up high and then downclimbing 30-50 feet (depending on how high your piece is) until you can move out right over a bulge with a quartz dike for footing.
8. We downclimbed a bit lower than Jenny is in the photo.
9. The water groove (second one over) on Pitch 4 was nice and dry (the first one was wet). I'd never climbed a water groove before so this was a fun pitch to follow.
10. The final section of Pitch 4 before the belay. There are 2 bolts to protect the water groove.

PITCH
5
(5.8)
11.   
12.   
13.
11. Jenny at the start of the water groove on Pitch 5. The pitch starts with about 15 feet of traversing from the belay at the top of Pitch 4.
12. The water groove had a steady stream of water running down it, so climbing it involved stemming on the edges. The only protection on this pitch is 4 spaced-out bolts (and apparently a good cam placement in a finger pocket).
13. Not every day you get to climb something like this!

PITCH
6
(4th)
(After both of us backed off of the wet runnout water groove midway up Pitch 5, we rappelled from the third bolt. So we never did climb Pitch 6, which continues up on easier ground and arc out right to a tree island, from which a bolted rap station can be reached.)

DESCENT

(Rappel with 2 ropes)
14. 14. Double rope rappels off of bolted stations get you down. Most of the stations are difficult to see until you are almost at them.

OTHER PHOTOS FROM THE DAY
15.   
16.   
17.
15. On the hike to Laurel Knob. It took us roughly 1.5 hours to get to the base of the route.
16. A sign marking the climber trail turnoff to Laurel Knob. 
17. A ghost tree hovering in the forest.


DAY 5 - MARCH 24: Ship Rock
CLIMB 14
Edge of a Dream (5.7, 1 pitch, 70')
on Upper Tier at Ship Rock (rock type: metasandstone)  
Big holds with big exposure make up for the short climb. A good warm-up!

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.7)
1.   
   

 
  
1. Looking down the arete from the top.

OTHER PHOTOS FROM THE DAY
2. 2. Approaching Ship Rock via a short hike along the shoulder of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
CLIMB 15
Lost at Sea (5.8, 1 pitch, 70')
on Upper Tier at Ship Rock (rock type: metasandstone)  
Juggy and steep with awesome exposure.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.8)
1. 1. The climb goes up the corner in the center of the photo and pulls over the sharp arete and then continues upward on juggy holds.
CLIMB 16
Boardwalk (5.8, 1-2 pitches, 130')
on Main Tier at Ship Rock (rock type: metasandstone)  
A classic 5.8, one of the best routes of its grade in the High Country.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH(ES)

1(-2)
(5.8)
1.   
2.   
   
1. Awesome rails and exposure on Boardwalk.
2. Jenny climbing the face near the top of Boardwalk.

TOP & DESCENT

(Awesome view; 2 single-rope rappels)
3.   
4.
3. From the top of Ship Rock, there is an awesome view of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. 
4. Two single-rope rappels get you back to the ground.
CLIMB 17
Hindu Kush (5.8, 2-3 pitches, 180')
on Main Tier at Ship Rock (rock type: metasandstone)  
Another classic Ship Rock moderate - big jugs and lots of exposure!

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.8)
1.   
2.     
1. Jenny pulling the roof move on the first pitch of Hindu Kush.
2. Steph on the 5.9 variation start of Hindu Kush. The easier start is up a ramp to my right. (Photo by Jenny.)

PITCH(ES)
2(-3)
(5.7)
3. 3. Steph leading off Pitch 2. This can be broken into two short (~70') pitches or one pitch.
CLIMB 18
Harpoon (5.10a, 1 pitch, 50')
on Main Tier at Ship Rock (rock type: metasandstone)  
A short and sweet finger crack that packs a punch.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.10a)
1.  1. Jenny surmounting the final roof move after a smooth lead up the fingercrack below.


DAY 6 - MARCH 25: Rumbling Bald (Flakeview/Nuclear Arms area & Cereal Buttress)
CLIMB 19
Gunboat Diplomacy (5.10c, 1-2 pitches, 160')
at Flakeview Area at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss)   
A thoughtful venture up a steep bolted face on small ledgy holds.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH(ES) 

1(-2)
(5.10c)
1.   
2.   
    
3.

   
   
   
   
   
1. Jenny starting up the route.
2. A good cam placement before the first bolt.
3. Looking down the steep crimpy face. 
CLIMB 20
Flappin' in the Breeze (5.10a, 3 pitches, 270')
at Nuclear Arms Area at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss)  
Three pitches of excellent and varied face climbing with the pro and bolts spaced just enough to make it exciting.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.9+)
1.   
2.
1. Looking up the route from the base.
2. Climbing through the wide groove in the previous photo.

PITCH

2
(5.9+)
3.   
4.
3. Leading off Pitch 2. The crux move is right away. The key is to go left....
4. The latter half of Pitch 2, which climbs into a finger crack in a corner.

PITCH
3
(5.10a)
5.   
6.   
7.
5. Looking up at the steep face that makes the exciting finish.
6. Steph nearing the top of the climb. Look at all that nice gneiss below!
7. Pulling the final moves to the belay.

OTHER PHOTOS FROM THE DAY
8.    8. Climbers on Flappin' in the Breeze, as seen while climbing Gunboat Diplomacy.
CLIMB 21
Grape Nuts (aka Granola) (5.8+, 1 pitch, 70')
on Cereal Buttress at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss)  
A fun undercling/crack route with the crux move right at the start before the first piece.

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.8+)
1.   
2.   

1. Steph at the end of the undercling and about to launch into the crack above.
2. The crack above the undercling. Type 1 fun.
CLIMB 22
Whiskey for Breakfast (5.10d, 1 pitch, 70')
on Cereal Buttress at Rumbling Bald (rock type: gneiss)  
A powerful move into the thin flake above. A good toprope from the Granola anchors. Guidebook: "Leading this route makes most folks as nervous as a dog pooping peach pits."

Photos: Photo descriptions:

PITCH

1
(5.10d)
1.   
2.
1. Looking up the thin flake, which we climbed on toprope. 
2. A view down.This would be a spicy lead on RPs...