Pisgah North Carolina boasts a wide variety of rock climbing areas. During any season of the year, you may find yourself balancing up smooth water grooves, jamming your hands into deep cracks, or pulling on jugs that could hold a truck. There are adventures for all skill levels!

Panoramic view of the Looking Glass Rock Nose in North Carolina

Looking Glass Rock

An impressive granite dome containing lines varying from low angle slab to steep Yosemite-style crack systems.

Featured Climbs:

The Nose 5.8, a worthy classic and one of the most popular multipitch climbs in NC (and for good reason!).

Second Coming 5.7, a featured moderate on the South Side of Looking Glass that serves as a perfect introduction to multipitch trad climbing.

The Seal 5.10a, from thin cracks to balancy slab to powerful undeclings, the clean granite on this climb will give you a run for your money.

Similar in style to Looking Glass, but with a more adventurous approach. The main wall is west facing, so it’s relatively cool in the summer and somewhat warm in the winter. Cedar Rock’s Stone Depot face boasts some great first multi-pitch climbs that offer some real NC adventure climbing!

Featured Routes:

Oh! Mr. Friction 5.6, allegedly Cedar Rock’s first climb!

One of the best areas to climb in the winter because it stays relatively warm when it’s sunny. Tucked away in the Hickory Nut Gorge, the technical face and crack climbing alike lead to beautiful views of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure across the gorge.

Featured Routes:

Fruit Loops 5.7, a perfect intro to crack climbing on the first pitch and a fun pitch of chimney climbing in the second pitch!

Family Wall 5.6-5.7, a good group area with fun featured face climbing.

Drivin’ and Cryin’ 5.10a, if looking to challenge your thin technical face climbing skills, the small edges on this climb will test your balance the whole way.

Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” the Linville Gorge is one of the most rugged gorges in the eastern part of the country.

Featured Areas:

Table Rock - probably the most easily accessible area in Linville Gorge, Table Rock offers lots of easy to moderate single and multi-pitch climbs on quartzite stone.

The Amphitheater - while the actual climbing in the amphitheater is relatively easy, the approach makes the day feel very adventurous. If a big adventure or an alpine style day sounds appealing, climbing the Mummy, Daddy, and the Prow would be up your alley.

Shortoff Mountain - positioned at the very end of the gorge, Shortoff offers a lot of multi-pitch trad climbing in a variety of styles: Moderate cracks, pumpy overhangs, and steep face climbing.

Hawksbill Mountain - known for containing mostly harder climbing, Hawksbill has a variety of multi-pitch trad routes and steep sport climbing.

If you’re feeling extra ambitious and want to climb in every area Linville has to offer in one day, you should ask about the LINVILLE CRUSHER .

Laurel Knob The tallest wall east of the Mississippi is nothing to take lightly! This wall not only boasts the tallest continuous rock climbs on the East coast but also some of the scariest runouts! Likely the best slab route in the country is climbing Have and Not Need to Fathom Direct where nearly all the pitches are in-your-face climbing at the 5.10 level.

The better routes to cut your teeth on are Groover and Seconds. Seconds comes in at just over 1000 ft. of climbing making it an awesome experience for the 5.8 climber.

Featured Routes:

Groover 5.8

Seconds 5.8+

Fathom Direct 5.10+

Ship Rock is located along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway and near Grandfather Mountain State Park. The climbing at Ship Rock is wonderful on hot summer days as it sits tucked in the shade and around 4000’ vertical feet of elevation with amazing views of the surrounding landscape. The quartzite provides good holds on vertical to overhanging terrain that has great moderates and some harder routes to push your skillset.

Featured Routes:

Edge of a Dream 5.7

Boardwalk 5.8

Airlie Gardens 5.9

Linn Cove Lullaby 5.10

An intimidating wall known for its stout grades, wild exposure and risky runouts between protection. Climbing this wall would certainly be an accomplishment.

Featured Routes:

The Original Route 5.10c A0,

Save the Shrimp, 5.9

Located near Sunset, SC, Big Rock is one of the better winter rock climbing destinations in the Southeast. The South Carolina sun provides warmth in the winter months to make great outings in mild temperatures. There is great sport climbing as well as some good trad for mastering your crack climbing skills.

Featured Routes:

Nose Over Your Toes 5.6

Flakey 5.8

Black Bug 5.10+

The Red River Gorge is one of the top sport climbing destinations in the U.S. and is located just south of Lexington, KY. Slade is the closest town and sits in the “hollars” of the gorge. The Red has the most sandstone arches east of the Rockies and its pocketed cliff faces provide easy beginner climbing to some of the most advanced climbing in the world.

Muir Valleyis a privately owned climbing area that was developed by Rick and Liz Weber specifically for climbing. Pisgah Climbing School operates in the Valley where we run beginner to advanced trips as well as teach many of our SPI programs.

While visiting the Red make sure you check out the world famous Miguel’s Pizza. Stop by and enjoy the pizza or stay longer and camp in the campground for the full climber experience.

The Mount Washington Valley is home to some of the best quality waterfall ice climbing in the lower 48. From the quaint town of North Conway, there is convenient access to a wide variety of frozen terrain. The Mount Washington Valley is also home to the MWV Ice Fest.

This area offers introductory flows to more advanced routes that will test your limits. The most popular ice climbing hub is Frankenstein Cliffs, and it’s popular for good reason: easy access and thick, high quality ice. For a more full-on experience, look to Mount Washington, the home of “the world’s worst weather.” Despite its relatively modest elevation, Mount Washington offers ice, alpine climbing and ski mountaineering in an unforgettable mountain setting.

Hwy 215 is right next to the road and provides some quality vertical ice climbing that is a great introduction to North Carolina Ice climbing.

Sam's Knob is a great moderate area with some WI1-3 climbs and even offers multi-pitch. It provides a little bit of North Carolina “rhodeneering” to get to it and is a great intro for some of the bigger ice in the Black Mountains.

Celo Knob in the Black Mountain Range has one of the longest WI routes in the East! Left Wishbone is nearly 2000’ long with some WI3 climbing on it. This is a great longer day outing and is also good training for objectives in bigger ranges.

Whiteside ice climbing is comparable to any big ice anywhere when it comes in. It has mixed lines and WI5 lines that will put you to the test. Whiteside also offers some great moderate and beginning ice climbs as well as the well known WI3 Starshine.