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Airlie Gardens 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 130'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Tom Howard, Dan Perry (1982)
Season: Summer
Page Views: 2,102
Submitted By: TomCaldwell on Jun 21, 2010
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (19)
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Me leading P1 of Airlie
2013 Closures MORE INFO >>>


This could possibly be the best 5.9 in the entire state. It has great movement, tons of exposure, and bomber gear. Both pitches have unique features that are hard to beat anywhere.

P1 begins next to a tree in a shallow right facing dihedral. Follow this to a short unprotected face. Continue up to the left side of the arete. Be sure to place the crucial piece of gear here before pulling around. Pull around the sharp arete to the right and up. There is an optional piece of gear out right, but can cause a lot of drag if not on double ropes. Continue up the arete to the short slab. Pull the short slab into another dihedral. Plug up the left side of the V-crack for the crux. Move out left, either rest on the ledge or continue up the dihedral pulling the roof. Move left after the short dihedral and belay on a sizable ledge with trad gear.

Option 2, start 20' to the right of said dihedral. Climb up jugs and mail slots with many more gear opportunities. Move up and left onto the slab and into the steep v-slot. This is my preferred method due better protection and reduced rope drag.

P2 moves out right up the ramp and to a crack on the face. Follow the crack to where it is capped by the large roof. At the roof traverse right in the large horizontal until you can step back onto the face (crux). Move up the short face and belay on gear again.


This route shares the same start as Linn Cove Lullaby. Go up the hill past Boardwalk and notice the "V-crack" in a large roof. Rap from the rings on Linn Cove Lullaby. A two rope rappel will reach the ground.


Nuts, TCU's, Tri-cams, and double Camalots to .75 if you want to sew it up. All belays are on gear.

Photos of Airlie Gardens Slideshow Add Photo
Partner sussing out the P1 crux... not necessarily a spoiler as I don't know if  this was the way he ended up pulling the move. There were three of us and I think we each did something different.
Partner sussing out the P1 crux... not necessarily...
Notice the v-crack.  This is the easiest way to identify Airlie.
BETA PHOTO: Notice the v-crack. This is the easiest way to id...
At the first pitch belay
BETA PHOTO: At the first pitch belay
David following P2 of Airlie.  The exciting traverse under the roof.
David following P2 of Airlie. The exciting traver...
This pic shows my partner at the fixed gear rap station/swaged cable with ring at the top of BOG Man. We used this to skip P2 of Airlie and (with some backing up and directionals) set up a TR on BOG Man.  <br /> <br />Pic should be handy for locating the anchor as it's pretty much due left and up from the V-crack. You may not see it when climbing Airlie P1 as you climb up and over it but it's easily reached via a belayed downclimb (10' or so). Nice way to just do Airlie P1 if you want.
BETA PHOTO: This pic shows my partner at the fixed gear rap st...
Comments on Airlie Gardens Add Comment
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By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Jun 30, 2010

A great option for finishing this route is the 5.11 overhang with the double cracks straight above the belay.

By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Oct 4, 2011

Can't say enough good things about this climb! Both pitches have fantastic sequences. The first pitch is a bit runout to your first placement but great pro after that. Second pitch is short but dizzying exposure! Beautiful Climb, great exposure and great pro!!

By Adam Paashaus
From: North Carolina
Oct 12, 2011

I'm with Mike, this climb is great. Easily one of the best 9's I've done anywhere!!! Great exposure, great movements, great stone, great views, just great all around!

By Cody Bradford
From: Boone, NC
Jun 18, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

Be careful with your gear on the first section. Blowing it while trying to pull up on to the face with bad gear could be nasty. It is there, just take time to find it. Stellar climb all the way.
Be sure to stop and take in the air beneath your feet for the near entirety of this climb!

By Chris Massey
Apr 13, 2014

Do yourself a favor. Do this route. I have climbed at Ship for years, always opting to climb Linn Cove right next to Airlie. Climbed Airlie for the first time yesterday, and enjoyed it much more that Linn Cove. Definately a contender with Dopey Duck for best 5.9 in NC.