Monday, March 24, 2008


I just returned from honeymooning in the mountains of North Carolina, and while I didn't do any climbing while honeymooning, I did hike around and investigate Whitesides, one of the largest and certainly one of the most intimidating cliffs on the east side of the country. The rock that I saw was almost Rumney-esque in texture and friction, but certainly not in features - much of the wall is slabby to vertical, with very few weaknesses into which gear or hands might fit. I guess this is why most of the routes here are so difficult and so bold - N. Carolina is a pretty traditional-minded state, and on the biggest, baddest cliff in N. Carolina you're expected to come prepared with technique and a cool head. Just to give an idea, the first pitch of the Original Route is a 140 ft. long 5.7 slab with just one bolt, according to Mountainproject (descriptions at the cliff itself said no bolts; I don't know which is accurate). The route then goes free at 5.11, although you can french-free the crux moves to bring it down into the 10 range. Pretty inspiring stuff.

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