Some may say I have a mild addiction to rock climbing. In my defense, I work the rock wall at UNCW so I spend all my free time surrounded by other climbers. But climbing indoors isn’t quite the same thing as traversing real mountains. For one thing, you have to set up all the equipment yourself to insure that you can safely get up and then back down. The feel of real rock is also a lot different then what you will get in a gym, and your hands don’t fare quite as well in the rugged outdoors. Because I enjoy rock climbing so much I have started getting Casey a little more interested in it, and we have both been dying to try our luck on a real mountain. Lucky for us our friends Kati and Stephen are really into rock climbing and own all the hard-core gear needed. So the four of us took a trip to Pilot Mountain, NC.
I had been looking forward to this moment all week. We woke up at the crack of dawn, maybe even a little earlier, and after the 2 hour drive rocked up, first ones in the parking lot! We grabbed all our gear and made the quite convenient 20 minute approach to an area named the Pool Hall. The whole hike in I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had seen this all before, but I was so excited that I just forgot about it. Once we reached the Pool Hall we set up shop and Stephen and Kati went to go set up the top-rope. All of the sudden it hit me why everything looked so familiar. I had taken a rock climbing and repelling trip with the Boy Scouts to this exact spot about 7 years earlier. Crazy.
After the gear was all set up we climbed our first route. It was nice to start off easy and get all the jitters out. I’m not gunna lie, I was pretty nervous. But we all made it to the top which was a great way to start off the day. We set up about 4 more routes throughout the next couple hours with one that was pretty gnarly and included some dynamic moves off of a heel hook. As the day went on more people showed up and it became pretty crowded. Everyone was super friendly though, and one man even let us borrow his top-rope as he was taking a break. Unfortunately, we had to wrap up early so I could get back for work. It was an awesome day though and I would highly recommend Pilot Mountain for beginner or advanced climbers. There’s quite a few easy routes with solid holds and a bunch of overhangs and crimping for those of you who are a little more experienced. Just make sure to go with someone who knows how to set up all the gear because there really aren’t any people around to ‘supervise’. And if you don’t have any interest in climbing at all, Pilot Mountain is still an awesome place for camping and hiking.
And here is just an awesome link of how we’re gonna be one day. Okay not actually, but this guy was still pretty baller.