Pisgah has been a special place to me for over 3 decades, and to my family for well over 100 years. Well before I began hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing in Pisgah, my great grandfather emigrated from Italy, to work for George Vanderbilt as one of the first foresters in the forests near Looking Glass. My grandmother was born at the Biltmore House, and when she was 6, they moved to one of the little wooden houses in the Pink Beds, that is now on display at the Cradle Of Forestry. My grandmother lived within sight of Looking Glass, in the truly pristine old growth forests, for much of her life, before moving to a house in downtown Brevard, where she lived the rest of her life. When I was younger, we would visit her and Pisgah often and we enjoyed family reunions in the forest a couple of times a year.
The smells of Pisgah are unique and take me back every time the earthy musk rushes into my nostrils! I really started to understand how much I appreciated Pisgah when I was in high school...I started hiking, swimming and camping in the forest pretty regularly and soon after started riding my mountain bike across some of the worst goat paths in the forest. I became strongly connected to the forest in these years, with it feeling like a welcoming family member every time I walked across its doorstep! Towards the middle of my undergrad college career, I started climbing and bouldering around Looking Glass, and I still consider this area to be one of my home crags. For me, real bouldering in the forest began around 1996 or so, when I first visited The Nose and North Side of Looking Glass with my first pair of climbing shoes. I bouldered around the base of the cliffs and on nearby boulders, and I especially enjoyed the boulders beneath Glass Menagerie. After a few years of focusing mainly on roped climbing and not really bouldering much, Pisgah and the North Side became one of my favorite summer bouldering areas, and has remained so for the last 10 years or so.
Beside the North Side, there are plenty of other boulders planted along the base of Looking Glass, John Rock and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the backdrop too...including boulders at the Nose/Sunwall, South Face, East Face, Nowhere/Horse Cove and Stony Bald. Over these 12 or so visits I've been able to put in lately, I stopped off at least once in each of these areas and spent multiple visits at a few of these spots, including 4 sessions at Stony Bald, 4 sessions at the North Side, and a couple of sessions at the Nose/Sunwall. Each of these areas have some incredible problems and it has been a ton of fun touring through familiar boulderfields and sending some of my favorite routes!!! It helped me to reconnect with the land, the sounds and smells that recall such incredible memories from throughout my life, and the awesome bouldering that is hidden amongst the hardwoods and evergreens. Thanks Pisgah for always being there for me with open arms:)
Be on the look out early next week for the review of the new Rocktown Guidebook! I've had this review almost finished for the last month, but have been too busy with my mom to get everything wrapped up...but this weekend should give me a chance to finalize the review and get it up next Monday or Tuesday!!!