Rock of Ages: Looking Glass
Western North Carolina offers more rock climbing than any other state east of the Mississippi River, with more variety, diverse rock types, and climbing styles to boot. And Looking Glass Rock is the King Daddy of them all.
Fortunately, Transylvania County is home to a number of professional climbing outfitters, most notably Fox Mountain Guides and Climbing School and Pura Vida Adventures. Any one of them would be an ideal starting point to arrange guide service and instruction, buy or rent equipment, or just get pointed in the right direction.
In the mean time, here’s a brief introduction to North Carolina climbing and its most famous monolith, Looking Glassby veteran climber Ron Funderburke:
“Once a climber has spent enough time seeking instruction and mentorship, they will probably learn to lead climb. In North Carolina, the sport of climbing did not emerge at our most prominent crags; it was, in fact, intentionally eschewed when climbs could be naturally protected. So, the North Carolina lead climber must learn to lead traditionally protected routes. But that’s okay, because there are hundreds of such routes, at all difficulties. You can stand in a 500 foot sea of eyebrows, jam and stem your way up long corner systems, or grapple endless edgy face climbs at Looking Glass Rock.”
Directions to Looking Glass: “From Brevard, take Hwy 276 North into the expansive Pisgah National Forest. A left turn on Forest Road 475 will wind its way past the hiking trail to Looking Glass’ summit and the Fish Hatchery until a right turn can be made onto the Forest Road 475B. The three prominent parking areas for Looking Glass’ South Face, Nose, and North Face areas will sequentially pop up on the right.”