Ok, I know that a ton of club gear went out this weekend, so bring on the Labor Day trip reports! I'll get things started. Marshall, Elise, Shannon and I drove out to the Linville Gorge in North Carolina and met up with Kevin and his friend Ryan to get high doing easy multi-pitch trad climbing. We had great weather and climbed every route we wanted.
Shannon and I climbed with Marshall and Elise with Marshall and I leading. On Saturday we went to Table Rock, and managed to find the east face after misreading the guide book and bushwacking through rhododendrons and thorny vines for an hour or so (what do you expect, it's North Carolina). We started on My Route (5.6), which is five pitches from the base of the east face to the summit of Table Rock. The first two pitches are shared with Cave Route and are an easy way to get off the ground but not particularly memorable. These take you to Lunch Ledge where My Route continues in three more pitches to the summit. These pitches are steep and exposed and fantastic for the grade (a theme for the weekend). From the ledge you climb up a steep featured slab with lots of horizontals that becomes a face that you traverse right on around an exposed arete and then up into a comfy belaying a corner. From this belay you make an awkward move up onto a shelf in a corner and then make an exposed step back left around a corner/roof system and then head up another slab to a natural belay. The final pitch is easy,but tons of fun. Make a few lie back type moves up a low angle slab/corner till you pull over an exposed roof on jugs then head up easy ground to the summit.
We hiked down from the summit and then did the North Ridge (5.5). This line is far more exposed and windy and had the most mountaineering-like feel of any route I have done in the Southeast. Shady and windy. The first pitch is intimidating for 5.5 and involves a steep crack through a roof and corner system, but with enough jugs to keep it at 5.5. At the top of this pitch there is a fixed pin belay (the only fixed gear on the route). The final pitches to the summit are great for their exposed position, but the climbing was so-so. I would probably rap from the p1 anchor rather than hike off the summit twice in the same day again.
On Sunday we hiked into the Amphitheater in the Gorge proper and climbed the Mummy (5.5). This route deserves its classic status and is worth your time no matter how hard you climb. After the prerequisite getting lost on the approach, we located the line. Marshall went first today. He linked the first two pitches with a 70m rope from the club an made good time from there, Shannon and I didn't catch up 'till the summit. The first pitch is a slab that leads into a steep crack. The pro is good, but the steepness and exposure make this an exciting line. I misjudged how far I could go with my shorter rope and stopped at a hanging belay right above the steepest section of the crack. Turns out there was a comfy ledge out of sight about 20ft higher, oh well. After the steep crack there is a super mellow 5.3 slab section to a good ledge. From the ledge I moved out right over easy slab around an arete from the shady amphitheater side of the buttress to the exposed sunny gorge side. Super easy, but ton's of exposure and fun movement.
We drove home on Monday, stopping at the Mellow Mushroom in Knoxville for pizza on the way back.
Submit Your Trip Reports