Looking Glass Rock

Photo of Looking Glass Rock
Photo uploaded by Hazel Erikson

Although a 3.1 mi. hiking trail leads to the summit-- and is well worth time-- it is technical rock climbing for which Looking Glass is best known. The South Face is a moderate trad paradise with two-pitch routes in the 5.6-5.9 range. Harder routers are also available, but be sure you know how to undercling as this face is notorious for its "eye-brow" pockets. Imagine a piece of Pita bread, cut in half and tilted downward; that's a classic brow! Sloper on the bottom, undercling as you move upward, and cams placed in horizontal slots; that's climbing at the Glass. Also, be confident in your ability to smear, as the excellent granite lends itself to this type of footwork. Oh, and by the way, the crack systems on this face are continuous, but tend more toward being water grooves than true cracks; there is the occasional fingerlock, but don't tape up for jamming! This wall, due to its exposure, is an excellent place hang-out during the winter. It is possible to climb on this wall year-round, although during the summer the granite slab is somewhat like a vertical parking lot. The Nose area is home to longer classics, such as the Glass's original line, the eponymic Nose route. As at the South Face, the climbing is on steep slab perforated with brows and periodically channeled with a watergroove/"crack." In addition to being the home of true multi-pitch routes, this wall is also a better choice than the South Face during the heat and humidity of July, August, and September. The scene here is also a little less boisterous, as summer camps, school groups, Outward Bound parties, and the miscelaneous guided groups that frequent the South Face are rarer here.

If you like aid climbing, check out the North Face. Home to such classics as "Glass Menagerie" and "Invisible Airwaves," this is one of the Southeast's premier (and only) places to break out the aiders, RURPs, and hooks. The left-hand side of this wall also has classic free climbs-- "Safari Jive," for instance. Even more secluded is Hidden Wall. Approached by the same trail as that leading to the North Face, this wall has some excellent, remote free climbs. Both the North Face and Hidden Wall are excellent places to beat the summer heat, but can be cold as the proverbial witch's titty during the late fall, winter, and early spring.

Elevation (feet): 3,969
Elevation (meters): 1,210
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Blue Ridge Mountains
State: North Carolina
Latitude: 35.3036
Longitude: -82.7936
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Sep, Oct, Nov
Year first climbed: 1966
First successful climber(s): Steve Longnecker, et al (by technical route-- The Nose)
Nearest major airport: Asheville, NC (AVL)
Convenient Center: Pisgah Forrest, NC

Thanks to Travis Sutton Byrd for adding this peak.

Trip Reports

There are 2 trip reports for Looking Glass Rock.

  • Log #14236 - by Scott Lyter on Feb 16, 20013.00 stars
    Topped out on the Nose, bailed on Glass Menagerie. The route was crowded, we were overpacked, and we got a late start on the wall. Anybody up for a spring shot at the Glass? Scott
  • Log #14237 - by Travis Sutton Byrd on Dec 07, 20003.00 stars
    I began leading trad routes at the Glass, many years ago, and so this peak holds a favorite place in my heart. Anybody who prefers slabby granite to overhanging sandstone should plan a jaunt! I also...