North Carolina Rock

North Carolina has some of the best rock east of the Mississippi. Cathy's family reunion in the Smokies was a perfect excuse to sample this legendary stone. Our Anchorage friend Billy Finley gave us a North Carolina summer cragging list to avoid the crippling July heat: Moore’s Wall, Ship Rock, Linville Gorge and Looking Glass. 

Cathy and I spent our first two days in the high shade at Ship Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone. 

 

Then we went to Linville Gorge. Here's Cathy down climbing a fixed line to the base of a beautiful four-pitch route. The rock looked like the Gunks in New York: steep with horizontal breaks. But thunder boomed and black clouds sagged with rain. 

 

So we bailed and thrashed back out of Linville Gorge with no route. 

 

We then spent three days climbing at Looking Glass near Brevard, North Carolina. Here's Cathy leading Sundial Crack, a 400-foot 5.8-. The horizontals are called eyebrows. Leading slabs at Looking Glass involves micro-route finding up a sea of eyebrows. 

 

Some eyebrows ate cams and nuts. Other eyebrows were rounded and wouldn't take gear. But you didn't know until you looked into the eyebrow. That's what makes Looking Glass so famous. 

 

Sundial Crack was our favorite route of the trip. We also climbed The Nose, a nearby route rated 5.8. The Nose might be the most famous route in North Carolina. We upgraded it to 5.8+ because the crux felt a bit rowdy, us coming from Alaska and all. 

 

The bike shop near Looking Glass served beer! Cathy and I spent a lot of time at the bike shop. 

 

Flanagan family reunion at Fontana Village! I'm so lucky to be married to the Dream Woman and into this super fun and nice group of people.