An ode to the every day adventurer


Table Rock - Linville Gorge, North Carolina

The second weekend in February was beckoning for an adventure. The forecast in Linville Gorge called for sun and temperatures in the 60's and low 70's. I found a climbing partner on Mountain Project for Saturday and was going to wing it on Sunday.

After leaving work at 4pm and making a quick stop for dinner in Knoxville, I made it to the gate to Table Rock around 10:30. Overall, it took about 5-5.5 hours of driving. When I drove in there were other cars parked around the gate. I promptly found a space for my car and went to sleep.

I met up with Michael who likes climbing long easy trad routes just like me. He was a good sport and I knew it was going to be a good day. On our way up we missed the climbers trail and took this deer trail that looked like somewhat of a path. Well, we ended up going farther up the mountain and soon realized we were well above the cliff we were supposed to be climbing. Luckily for us there was an easy enough way for us to bushwhack up to the summit and take the trail back down to find the climbers' path.

Soon enough we found the start of Jim Dandy (5.4 - 3 pitches). The first pitch was short and nothing really memorable. I took the lead for a fun pitch two. On Jim Dandy there are enough bolts you really don't need to place any gear. Michael took the lead for pitch three and we found ourselves on lunch ledge.

Following a quick water/food break we decided to head up to lightning ledge via a 5.6? pitch with good bolts and a little bit of gear. After lightning ledge we decided I was feeling strong and went to lead Champs Route (5.7). The crux of Champs route is this roof you pull to the right of and continue up a water gully to bushes where you can top out. I was nervous before pulling the ledge, but managed not to fall and was able to place a number 4 c4 after gaining a good footing. The rest of the route was run out, but easy enough on wet moss/rock to make things interesting. The rope drag ended up being so bad I slung a bush to make a hanging belay. (not the smartest idea, but I survived and I learned) Michael then made his way up and belayed me a short bit to where we could again bushwhack up to the top.

At this point it was around 2pm. The goal was to make the hike to the amphitheater to climb the mummy and the daddy. However, the weather had other ideas. On the southwest side of the gorge the wind was blowing hard and started to rain. The decision was made to go back to the east face of Table Rock and climb The Cave Route (5.5, 3 pitches), where we would be protected from the elements for at least a little while.

I led the first pitch of the cave route, and Michael combined pitch 2 and 3 to again reach lunch ledge. Pitch 2/3 was a dream and really fun climbing.

Sunday came and I was fortunate two guys named Chris and Nate decided to let this stranger climb with them. The day was started again on the east face of Table rock with a 150 foot single pitch route called The Honeymoon (5.8+) there were bolts but a couple pieces were used to sew it up. We rapped down with two 70m ropes. It was a really fun route with thin holds through the middle section.

Next the objective turned towards reaching the top. We decided on taking the Hidden Crack (5.7, 4 pitches) to the top. Chris led every pitch on this and was really good with all of the fundamental skills. It was really good learning and cleaning from an experienced climber. Pitch 1 and 2 were combined, but barely. We were then on a ledge where we took Rip Van Winkle (5.7) to the top because we missed trending right on hidden crack. It worked out though and we made it up with out a hitch.

Two really solid days of climbing and my first days of multi pitch. I can't wait to get back on the rock.