View Full Version : Rock climbing and the AT

01-30-2011, 19:56
I was wondering if there are any spots on (or near) the trail that have good rock climbing? I'm on the fence about bringing some of my gear to do some bouldering along the way. Its something I love to do and am willing to take days off to enjoy myself, I just can't imagine the 6 months without some good rock lovin' :sun

01-30-2011, 20:20
Both the Pinnacle and Pulpit Rocks (near Hamburg, Pa.) are good places to do a little rock work. (I've done a little rappelling at Pulpit Rocks - the rock faces are more nearly vertical than some of those at the Pinnacle - also, the Pinnacle has a resident copperhead population that doesn't take kindly to visitors! :eek: )

The Pinnacle also has a SMALL set of caves (well, one short fissure cave and a connected chimney), but I haven't been in these in decades...probably because of the copperheads....

If you mail your gear ahead to Port Clinton, you won't have to carry it for too long - less than 10 miles to Pulpit Rocks, and another 2 or so to the Pinnacle. If you're an avid climber, you'll likely be bored after a little while at either location, but it's better than 6 months without climbing at all!

01-30-2011, 20:27
Pickens Nose is just down from the AT at Mooney Gap around mile 95 or so (south of Albert Mt). Was there in November, 3 vanfulls of kids with equipment went all the way to the end of the trail, and then down to where they start climbing. So it must be a good spot for that sort of thing.

Table Rock at Linville Gorge is a well known climbing area, but not walkable from the AT. I'm sure there are places like this along the way that you could keep your equipment in a bumpbox, get a ride from someone in town and climb on a zero day.

Pedaling Fool
01-30-2011, 20:42
I got to find where I have some pics of a guy rockclimbing right on the AT. It's on one of these discs (changed out computers).

It was some where near Harpers Ferry, I'm pretty sure south of there, I think somewhere really close to Bear's Den Hostel http://www.bearsdencenter.org/hiking.html

01-30-2011, 22:09
The summer my wife and I did a section hike past the Pulpit and Pinnacle we played a small part in helping a climber who had fallen while climbing the Pulpit. The climber was eventually carried up to the AT by the local fire department and then helicoptered out from the nearby observatory field.

01-31-2011, 10:43
I thru-hiked with climbing shoes and a chalk bag in 2002. It was awesome, there were three others who did the same and we found great boulders weekly. We actually had to bypass a ton of stuff because we already climbed that day.

there was one spot...in vermont maybe that had NICE boulders overhanging some tent pads near a shelter. If you can find out where that is, plan on an overnight. Also, bring from the south, I hitched into North Conway and spent a weekend at White Horse/Cathedral Ledge and it was very nice. Finally, the Falls.... also in New Jersey, near the fire station...Iron Mt falls maybe? There is stuff all over than including a nose problem that swings you out over the falls itself...very difficult but awesome.

01-31-2011, 11:02
Blood Mountain in GA has some great rocks at the summit

01-31-2011, 11:17
AT climbing is lousy and far and few bettween . carrying gear is silly. there are no rapells of any value. the types of things to climb are small and good for kids to learn on. pinical cave dosnt have copperheads nor is the pinnical known for them. it has rattlers and even a den of baby rattlers most springs directly on the pinnical.blood has friction walking.
tinker cliffs has traversing and mcafees knob has small face climbs but all are done safest free. the types of anchors and the traffic of non climbers at most on trail rappel oppurtunitys combind with their run outs witch are hard to get a spotter or a balayer into, make for the poorest of fun.your best bet is to hike as normal, dont seek out climbs. let them find you. on any old rock face drop your pack and traverse back and fourth till your pumped and wooped. up and down climbing just dont go nowhere fun on the AT. but traversing around free on any old boulder or face is lots of fun and needs no forthaught or gear, save for tightening your laces and maby placeing your pack as a crash pad. whale rock in georgia is fun.its best to make a challenging route up a small face than to look for one that is only challenging.

01-31-2011, 11:27
as a kid i hiked from the water gap to the doyal a few times with a 8lb 165foot dry rope and a full rack. took my ice axe and shovel in winter! but in all my miles of carrying my gear, i only ever used it on the pinnicle and dans pulpit. and it sucked. tons of edges and lousy anchors and runouts that cant be stood on for more than a minute without pain from the slopping scree of razor rocks. their is no jumaring. there is no pendulum swinging, and a helmit lasts about 3 climbs!lol.its a crap filled exsperience. where as bouldering is allways a pleasure and we have a fair amount on our trail.

01-31-2011, 11:58
At the moment Race Brook Falls in CT is a great Ice climb

01-31-2011, 12:04
okay someone may have said this before but the people I hiked with would boulder almost every day. Tinker cliffs and Macfee's knob in Virginia are two really cool spot and there is Beauty spot in Hot springs NC. I recommend bringing climbing shoes if you like to climb. you could always send them home if you decide against it.

01-31-2011, 17:23
St. John's Ledges in Kent, CT gets a little climbing traffic. The upper ledges have some slab/friction work and you can find a few short problems to work out on the lower ledges.

01-31-2011, 19:10
Not too much climbing adjacent to the trail. In NY the Gunks are about 1/2 hr drive from Bear Mtn. In NH you've got Cathedral and White Horse, outside of NConway, and across from Mt Washington, there is a place called Square Ledge that'll give you a good workout, but not much else. If you could afford the travel time, both the Gunks and Cathedral ledge are outstanding.

01-31-2011, 21:45
this is all sounding very promising. thanks for your input, it seems like i'll just be bringing my shoes and chalk for bits of it. time to start getting back in shape :-O

01-31-2011, 22:19
the nature of rock on alot of the old mountains we love give lend to lots of opurtunitys to play a cool climbing game me and freinds made up as 9 year olds in the woods. really we played two games both of the same kind. first we would warm up with a game of smallest tree. in the game of smallest tree, one must climb both the highest and the smallest tree. so we scrambled like 25 feet up 5 inch saplings till we were clinging to twigs bent with our weight far over. it was silly fun. the second game was the same in a way. we climbed up boulders like only a foot off the ground and tryed to turn upside down. it was who could get into the hardest position , closest to the ground on a rock game. lol. both still a riot of laughing to play.

02-01-2011, 00:24
The cliff across the river from Harpers Ferry.


Minsi Mountain, Delaware Water Gap.


02-01-2011, 00:39
I learned to rappel on a rock face a bit south of the summit of Lamb's Knoll, in Maryland. Pretty good face climbing opportunity there as well.

02-01-2011, 01:27
the foot powder add painted on the rockface to the left above the train tunnel was done by a man in the 1800's in a bosins chair alone over the course of a summer or two, with witewash for 50 dollars. as a child on family trips to gatlinburg we stopped here and the add was fully visible and much more undamaged. since its been repainted, covered in vines and attempted to be removed all at different times.

02-01-2011, 03:00
the foot powder add painted on the rockface to the left above the train tunnel was done by a man in the 1800's in a bosins chair alone over the course of a summer or two, with witewash for 50 dollars. as a child on family trips to gatlinburg we stopped here and the add was fully visible and much more undamaged. since its been repainted, covered in vines and attempted to be removed all at different times.

The sign reads (or read) Mennen's Borated Talcum Toilet Powder, and it was painted some time between 1903 and 1906.



02-01-2011, 11:08
i heard it was painted just after the civel war. i remember when buildings in harpers had mud marks from the floods and they were protected and not allowed to be removed. cant find any high water marks anymore but im sure they exist on someones house. didnt know it wasnt foot powder. allways remembered the brand mennens though. harpers has one problem, its a town on a slant. kinda like the sceens in batman where the jokers hideout was allways shown on a slanted camera angle. hate the hills. love the folks.