Scrambling Around on Hawksbill Mountain

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Trip Report
North Carolina, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
May 19, 2012
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Scrambling Around on Hawksbill Mountain
Created On: May 26, 2012
Last Edited On: May 26, 2012

Hawksbill Scrambling

I recently made a quick weekend trip to Linville Gorge with my brother Jim and my nephew Dave. One of the main things I wanted to accomplish on this trip was to get in some scrambling somewhere on the cliffs of the Gorge. Fortunately Dave and I were able to get in about a good hour of scrambling on the cliffs of Hawksbill Mountain, and what follows is essentially a photo trip report of us having a great time on Hawksbill on a beautiful North Carolina Saturday morning. Happy Trails!

Since we planned on hiking up Sitting Bear in the afternoon we parked at that trailhead and used the Jonas Ridge Trail to get to Hawksbill. We made the quick hike up to the summit and I immediately started looking for some cliffs to go exploring on. It wasn’t difficult to find some. As we would discover, there are a large number of cliffs and ledges on Hawksbill that allow for good scrambling opportunities. As for you climbers, Hawksbill offers a number of what I would assume are some challenging technical routes.
The Cliffs of Hawksbill MountainHawksbill Cliffs viewed from the Ledge Trail

Cliffs of Hawksbill MountainHawksbill Cliffs viewed from the Ledge Trail

My brother Jim was content to just enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Gorge high up on a summit perch. And the summit of Hawksbill is a great place to do that. Actually, Hawksbill’s summit offers one of my favorite views of the Gorge, particularly looking south.
Looking South From HawksbillLooking south...

Looking North From HawksbillLooking north...

So while Jim relaxed on the summit, Dave and I went exploring. First, we headed down some cliffs on the west edge right from the summit proper. We unfortunately didn’t get too far down. We found ourselves on a narrow ledge that offered some good exposure. Eventually the ledge narrowed enough to make us a little uncomfortable so we retreated back to the summit.
Go or No Go?Evaluating...


Cliffs Below HawksbillDave retreating...

The summit proper was a little crowded on this Saturday morning so we moved to another quieter viewing location. This spot was great as we had the view all to ourselves, and we saw what looked like a good set of rock outcroppings to try and scramble down to.
The Path Ahead!

For the descent we used the narrow ledges to our advantage, making much of the descent more of a hike than a scramble. Descending some of the cliffs would have been a little rich for our blood so we also did some bushwhacking to avoid some downclimbing.
Heading Down

Heading Down

Hawksbill Cliff BandWe bushwhacked to the right to reach the break in this cliff...

Hawksbill Cliff Band...which was a safer alternative.

Reaching Our Final DestinationAlmost to the bottom.

Eventually we reached a point where it made sense to turnaround and head back for the summit. Dropping any further would have put us into the woods.
Final Destination

For the ascent we chose more of a frontal assault of the cliffs. There were a few in particular that made for some excellent scrambling.
Hawksbill Ledges

Hawksbill ScramblingDave heading up our first good challenge.

Hawksbill Scrambling

Hawksbill ScramblingLooks a little awkward but there was a really good hold here...

Scrambling on Hawksbill...which allowed me to finish this move.

Hawksbill ScramblingDave thinking about how to solve our next challenge, and does so in three easy (???) steps.

Hawksbill ScramblingOne...

Hawksbill ScramblingTwo...

Hawksbill ScramblingThree

Hawksbill ScramblingI was less adventurous, and chose to use the tree branches to my advantage.

Wiseman's View Scrambling

On Sunday we finished up our trip with a quick drive over to Wiseman’s View. Dave and I again did some exploring. We did find an interesting looking chimney to the N/NW of Wiseman’s View. I was curious to see how far we could scramble down. I didn’t get far, as the ledge narrowed not too far below. I made it down about 20 feet and literally, turned for home. I’m sure a technical climber could have a good time on this one.
Chimney at Wiseman s View

Chimney at Wiseman s ViewDebating...

Chimney at Wiseman s ViewAbout as low as I would go.

Chimney at Wiseman s ViewHeading out...and then home.



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lcarreau - May 27, 2012 11:28 pm - Voted 10/10

Outstanding adventure!

Mark ... did you happen to run into any Poison Oak or Ivy, or
is that only found in California and parts of Colorado?

I've been "itching" to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway for decades ..

In 1977, I visited Myrtle Beach and saw an ELP concert in Charlotte.

Why do they call them the "Tar Heels?" Just wondering ..


MarkDidier - May 28, 2012 10:23 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Outstanding adventure!

Larry, there is plenty of poison ivy in the east and fortunately I didin't pick any up on this trip. As for the Parkway, it's a great area. My favorite road I have ever driven (or bicycled - which I did back in '82). Lots of beautiful scenery and plenty of short (or long) hikes to start right from the road.

Not sure why they call them Tar Heels, but hey, I'm a Hoosier and no one can give me a straight answer about that one either.


lcarreau - May 28, 2012 11:18 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Outstanding adventure!

Well, I googled it and here it is for anybody interested :

"The moniker is rooted in the state's earliest history, derived from the production of naval stores-tar, pitch and turpentine-extracted from the vast pine forests of the state.

Early explorers from Jamestown pointed out the possibilities for naval stores production along the Chowan River. Eventually, Parliament offered a bounty for their production, and North Carolina became an important source of tar and pitch for the English navy ..."


Kiefer - Jun 2, 2012 1:52 am - Voted 10/10


Are you, no, you're not, doing a little climbing in these shots! :o) Awesome dude! That's what we like to see!
These pictures look so alien! Everything is so GREEN!
The rock 'looks' good. Was it?

Thanks for posting this! Haven't talked to ya or seen anything from ya in a while. Glad you're getting out!


MarkDidier - Jun 3, 2012 12:17 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Mark!

Yeah, I would like to think this qualifies as climbing. But actually, the YDS is a total mystery to me, so I just call it scrambling. If a rope isn't involved, I tend to call it scrambling.

The rock in Linville Gorge is VERY solid. Not like that choss in the Elks or San Juans! As for the GREEN? The scenery out East is much different than in Colorado. I love the spring green in Carolina!

Will be heading to Colorado the week of Labor Day. Plans for now are base camps at Lake Constantine and South Colony Lakes. I'll touch base with you before then. Thanks for all the great feedback. Happy Trails, Mark

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Scrambling Around on Hawksbill Mountain

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