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Shortoff Mountain
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Unsorted Routes:

Dopey Duck 

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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 350'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Tom Howard and Jim Okel
Page Views: 9,022
Submitted By: Danny Inman on May 29, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (63)
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Luke catching air on the Duck, Shortoff, NC.
Seasonal Falcon Closure MORE INFO >>>


P1-(100') Two options: (a) 5.8 : scramble to the top of the large detached block (roughly 20' off the ground) and climb the crack to a belay alcove about 10' above a dead stump in the crack (b) 5.9 : Take the first pitch of Toxic Shock, this is a highly recommended and more direct start that follows a right-leaning crack to the same belay as mentioned above. This "finger-crack" is deceptively steep and sustained for the 100' to the belay.

P2- (100') 5.9: From the belay, follow the crack up a short ways and cut left at the first opportunity to a shallow right-facing dihedral. At this point the holds are jugs and the face is dead vertical, however, as one climbs higher the holds become smaller and the face gets steeper to just past vertical. The face begins to turn back down just below a small roof, pull the roof on monster jugs and head to a large ledge to belay. This pitch is definitely in my top 5 of the best 5.9s that I have done anywhere.

P3- (150') 5.6 Climb a short headwall and follow the least lichenous way to the top.


From the bottom of the descent gully take a right and follow the trail to the base of the cliff at the first opportunity. The route begins either just left of or on top of a large detached block with some rhodo growing between it and the wall.


Standard rack up to #2 Camalot. Emphasis on finger-sized cams.

Photos of Dopey Duck Slideshow Add Photo
Elizabeth pulling some of the last moves on the crux pitch.
Elizabeth pulling some of the last moves on the cr...
Party finishing up pitch 2.
Party finishing up pitch 2.
BirminghamBen cruising the crux pitch of Dopey!
BirminghamBen cruising the crux pitch of Dopey!
Dopey Duck 5.9, Shortoff, NC follows the steep lichen free path through incredible horizontals.
BETA PHOTO: Dopey Duck 5.9, Shortoff, NC follows the steep lic...
Mike Holley cruising through the pumpy horizontals on the second pitch of Dopey Duck. Steep!!
BETA PHOTO: Mike Holley cruising through the pumpy horizontals...
Dopey Duck, Shortoff, NC.
Dopey Duck, Shortoff, NC.
Mike starts up the second pitch of Dopey Duck.
BETA PHOTO: Mike starts up the second pitch of Dopey Duck.
John and I at the First belay ledge!
John and I at the First belay ledge!
Barry in the Business, killer climbing
Barry in the Business, killer climbing
Comments on Dopey Duck Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 28, 2013
By Rob Dillon
May 30, 2007

The Duck rules!

Toxic Shock is a pretty good way to start, if you're both leading 5.9.

A 60m got me to the top on p2 last time, but I could feel it.

By Nick Stayner
From: The Magic City
Jun 5, 2007

I've never placed a piece in the "finger crack". Great horizontals every few feet!

By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Oct 10, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a

I saw a quote online supposedly from Doc Bayne...something to the effect of "if that thing was anymore 5.9, it would be 5.11..."

By Luke Alford
From: Atlanta, GA
Nov 19, 2007

That was absolutely an awesome route, definitely a must do for Shortoff. I also liked toxic shock as an aesthetic first pitch, though many folks seem to disagree. Jeff, thanks for catching that shot of me taking the ride. That's the best looking picture I've ever seen of me climbing, err... falling.

By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Nov 19, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a

Luke, I have more pictures from that weekend...I will get a disk to y'all.

By Mike Flanagan
From: Boone, NC
Mar 26, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

Amazing route. It's a shame I didn't get out to do it sooner.

By charlie collins
Nov 3, 2008

thanks for the toxic shock suggestion for the first pitch. it was really nice. the whole route was amazing.

By cshuey77
From: Asheviile,nc
May 27, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

N.C must do!!

By Ryan Williams
From: London (sort of)
Oct 21, 2011
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

Can't believe it took me so long to do this thing. Excellent!

We did it in two pitches to the big ledge and then soloed the last "5.6" pitch. No real 5.9 moves on this climb, but it sure packs a pump. We did the Toxic Shock start which also felt more like stiff 5.8 to me... either way, a 5.8 climber would probably not do well on the second pitch, hence the 5.9 grade.

By DrewF
Nov 16, 2011

I agree with Ryan's last post. I was sort of nervous about climbing it because of all the talk about the rating being possibly sandbagged. I would call it 5.9 for the pump. Toxic shock was an awesome suggestion for the start, great crack to climb up. Entire route takes good gear and was the best climb I did at the gorge.

By Dustin Stephens
Jul 27, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a


By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Sep 16, 2012

Phenomenal Route! If you have a chance, get on it! This route has got it all, super fun from beginning to start. The second pitch is fantastic, no shortage of great holds and excellent placements, though making placements will surely pump you out so plug and go! Great exposure, great pro, great moves, Great Route!!

Make sure to bring a handful of c3's for the second pitch!!

  • *Must DO**

By sanz
From: Raleigh, NC
Nov 5, 2012

Fun route. No hard moves, but for a while, those horizontals aren't quite as juggy as they look! Definitely packs a pump. Also recommend the Toxic Shock start. I do disagree that this is "the" 5.9 at Shortoff... I thought Construction Job was better.

By Neil Rankin
From: Greensboro, NC
Apr 22, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

Do the more aesthetic first pitch of Toxic Shock to the ultra classic 2nd pitch of Dopey.

By Drew Hayes
From: Charlotte, NC
May 28, 2013

I find myself daydreaming about this route all of the time. The second pitch is absolutely perfect rock climbing.