North Side/North Face boulders:
Here is the first western North Carolina addition to local spots...the boulders at the base of the North Side of Looking Glass. I've been bouldering here for about 5-7 years and always enjoy visiting this small serene boulderfield whenever I can. One note...in the past some boulders at the base of the North Side have been closed (any boulder you pass on the way in and to the right of the final uphill part of the trail are usually closed when the North Side is closed), along with the cliff, for peregrine nesting. To be safe and not jeopardize access, please stick to the boulders detailed in this post...they are to the left of the closures and have never closed due to peregrines.
How to get there:
If you are anywhere near familiar with climbing in the Carolina's, then you are sure to know about Looking Glass in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC. Looking Glass is a traditional climbing area with a few sport routes. There are boulders at nearly every roped climbing area, but the best concentration is found at the base of the North Side. From Brevard, follow Hwy 64 to the junction of 288, right in front of the entrance to the forest. Turn left and follow Hwy 276 past the Ranger Station and turn left towards the Fish Hatchery, at the obvious fork. Follow this past the Fish Hatchery and take the first gravel road to the right (FR 475-A). Follow this road about 4-5 miles, past the parking for Slick Rock Falls and the South Face climbing area, past the parking for the Nose climbing area, and finally to the parking for the North Side trail. You get a great view of the North Side and the Nose of Looking Glass from the parking spaces.
Follow the North Side trail for almost a mile to the base of Looking Glass. The very last part of the trail makes a dip down into the boulder area before it finally makes the last uphill to Looking Glass. The boulders are located up, and to the left, as you begin up the final uphill.
You will first notice a long, not too tall, boulder that makes a great Warm Up boulder. I have counted about 30 different variations from V0-V2 on this boulder, and there is a tough slopey V3 SDS on the far right side of the boulder. One of my favorite routes on this wall is the crimp/dyno, right in the middle of the boulder...you can dyno to the left or right of the railed peak, I think left is a little tougher. After you warm up on this boulder, move over to the tougher stuff past the Warm Up boulder. At the top left of Warm Up is a great boulder with a variety of tougher routes ranging from V2ish-V6/7ish. There are some shallow diagonal seams on the left side of the boulder, a great slightly blunt arete (looks V5ish), and a tough slopey shelf/mantle problem facing the top of Warm Up. After you climb on these 2 boulders there are plenty more pebbles around to wrestle on...to the left of this boulder, the trail heads down into another group of about 5 boulders with some great highball routes and solid V3-V7 ranged problems. This is enough to get you started and still leave a little mystery and surprise for what you might find there.
Being in Pisgah is always a serene, almost spiritual, experience...and bouldering there is no exception. The North Side is usually less crowded and not as loud, compared to the other climbing areas on Looking Glass. The hike in is a great warm up and helps to clear your head for the great bouldering ahead. I think the North Side is a great place year round, even though sometimes it gets cold in the winter, but I like to save it for warmer days when its too hot to boulder elsewhere. It tends to stay a little cooler in the summer, especially if you can get there in the morning...so you can climb till you get too hot and then head down the road to one of the many awesome swimming holes in Pisgah to cool off!
Not too much here, but might still be worth look.