The CCC works on a variety of different types of projects ranging from land acquisition to policy to climber education. Here's a sampling of some of our work:
Located at the far end of the North side of Rumbling Bald, Eagle Rock is the first area opened to climbing after the creation of Chimney Rock State Park. A partnership between the CCC, Conserving Carolina and the park led to the construction of a spur trail to access the cliff and boulders and the creation of a parking area for easy access. Part of this work was funded by a grants from REI and the American Alpine Club. More info about this exciting addition to climbing in Hickory Nut Gorge can be found here.
Little Bearwallow Falls / Jon Myers Rock & Ice Climbing Area
Jon's vision for expanding recreational opportunities in the Hickory Nut Gorge is likely unparalled in NC. Thanks to his foresight and philanthropy, this unique area is open to the public. Several CCC board members were honored to be present at the dedication ceremony just a few months before Jon passed and we were thankfully able to recognize his contributions to the community. Home to some of the most consistent ice in the mountains of NC, there are also a number of moderate rock climbs in a beautiful setting. The CCC's partnership with Conserving Carolina made this success possible. Full details on access to the cliff can be found here.
Our latest acquisition is a 55 acre tract which protects the Buckeye Knob boulders and will includes access easements for the Barn Boulders and a trail system. Located just North of Boone, this area has long seen development by locals and visitors, but has always been privately owned. The tract was recently acquired by Highland Forestry and Timber and they worked with us to protect not just the boulders, but the watershed and forests in this special place. The project is financed by a $120,000 loan from the Access Fund Climbing Conservation Loan program and we need your help to pay for this purchase!
Working with a group of private backers, we successfully acquired the largest cliff in the East and opened it to everyone. This effort was the inspiration for the Access Fund's Climbing Conservation Loan program , which has led to the protection and continued access of numerous climbing areas across the country. This transacation was valued at $250,000 and we have completely paid off all of the loans and hold the deed to the property.
Southwest Virginia is not (yet) known as a climbing destination, but the cliffline at Hidden Vallley once was one for climbers in NC, TN, and VA. Closed for several years, after almost 2 years of negotiations we acquired a 20+ acre critical piece of the cliff that provides access to several hundred sport and traditional climbing routes. Hidden Valley has been recognized by the state of Virginia as a recreational treasure and is part of a larger effort to develop a recreational economy in this part of the state. Stewardship by CCC volunteers has resulted in updates to fixed anchors on several dozen climbs and has included the use of more sustainable legacy bolts, which will allow us to more easily replace fixed gear in the future. Thanks to individuals and organizations like REI and Rock & Rave we paid off the loans in under a year and were able to build a new parking lot to accommodate the growing user community.
Once a popular winter area for many climbers, Sauratown was closed for many years. We successfully negotiated an access agreement and lease with the land owner that has grown from 3 weekends a year to 2 months a year and now stands at 4 months per year. We have replaced numerous pieces of fixed gear and thanks to grants from REI and the American Alpine Club are investing in an improved access trail that will benefit climbers and visitors to the YMCA camp at the base of the mountain.
South Carolina has lot of opportunity in the Northwestern corner of the state and perhaps the most obvious of these was Big Rock. Working with Naturaland land trust, we wrote a grant that provided funds to acquire the new parking area that will be used by climbers, hikers and other visitors. Big Rock is home to 40 or so routes and hundreds of boulder problems and is the only roped climbing area open year round in SC.
The Piedmont of NC holds several climbing treasures, and perhaps none quite as unique as Asheboro. Within an hour's drive of the Triangle, Asheboro is a fantastic spring/fall/winter area and boasts hundred of problems on high friction granite. Our lease with the land owner allows climbing access year round and protects access to this previously closed area.
Rumbling Bald West Side
The boulders of Rumbling Bald are well known in the climbing community and draw thousands of visitors each year. When 6 acres of the West side came on the market, we moved quickly to obtain an appraisal, make an offer and acquire the land. After more than a year of negotiations we were able to secure this prized area and keep it open. Because it adjoins Chimney Rock State Park, this parcel not only benefits climbers, but it protects the park from encroaching development. The loans have been paid and we own 6 acres of prime bouldering real estate.
National Forest Planning & the Blue Ridge Parkway
The CCC is not just about acquistions, we also work on policy and have been involved in the planning efforts for the Pisgah/Nantahala forests and have signed an MOU with the National Park Service for managing climbing resources along the Blue Ridge Parkway. By representing climbing as a legitimate and historic use of the land we are able to ensure that access continues and that resources are managed in ways that benefit climbers.
Accidents are a critical access issue and can and have caused areas to be closed forever. We have opened up relationshops with several rescue teams and are developing climbing rescue plans with those teams for several areas in the Carolinas and Virginia. Recently, we partnered with the local fire rescue squad in Abingdon, VA to improve rescue access at Hidden Valley and we have been working with the Burke County rescue squad to develop plans for Linville Gorge. The Climber Rescue Committee is developing a set of guidelines and best practices that we plan to share with other local climbing organizations across the country.