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Laurel Knob
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A Second Way (Variation Finish to Seconds) T,S 
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Annie Get Your Guns T 
Arrested Development  T 
Before the Settlers Arrive T 
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Biopsy T 
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Buried Treasure T 
Canyons of Laurel T 
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Cruising with the Top Down T 
Defective Sonar T 
Dike hike - Monster Groove T 
Dillard Arete T 
Don't call me surely T 
Dry streak T 
Fathom T 
Fathom Direct T 
Fathom Escape Hatch T 
Finger Lickin' Good T 
Friction Addiction T 
Frolictown T 
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Get it while it's hot T 
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Girl friend route T 
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Groovin' in the name of the Laurel T 
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High & Dry T,S 
Hone Ranger T 
Hypocrite's Corner T 
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Laurel's Girdle T 
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Permission Granite T 
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Pirate's cove Alt start T 
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Quantum Mechanic's Arete T,S 
Rejected Radar T 
Route Of The Living Dead T 
Seconds T 
Squirrely man T 
Steep in the Teacups of Laurel T,S 
Stegg, Roy Fathom ALT. T 
Stellar Sonar T 
Stemming Laurel T 
Stingray T 
Unfathomable T 
Use It Express T 
Use It Or Luge It T,S 
Use it or Luge it Direct Start T 
Walkin' Da Plank T 
Wild Turkeys T 
Wild Wild West  T,S 
Wormhole T 


YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 8 pitches, 1000'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Peter Young, John Whisnant, Greg Siren - 1972
Page Views: 8,871
Submitted By: Jeff Mekolites on Aug 26, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (28)
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Fathom, Laurel Knob, NC.


Fathom climbs a huge right leaning dihedral, right in the middle of Laurel Knob, to what some have called the ultimate water groove.

Pitches 1 - 5(ish) climb along the leaning dihedral sometimes using the crack and sometimes using the face. Along the way there are a couple of bolted anchors and a couple of gear anchors. I have heard some say the climbing is no more than 5.6, I have heard others call it 5.9. I think it depends on the line you take. And depending on the line you take you may find little gear. Note: when I climbed this route, April 2006, we came up about 15 feet short of the anchors located at the start of the water groove pitch, so we did some simul-climbing.

The money pitch climbs up through the water groove with bolts for protection. I heard a story about the belay for this pitch...something about a position belay...

From here, the easiest thing to do is rap. Several double rope rappels straight down will lead you to the ground. There are other options as well. One is heading up and right. The other is, I believe, the Hone Ranger finish which goes straight up. I haven't done either of those finishes.


Find the huge right arching dihedral.


Rack: doubles up to 3.5 or 4, long slings, double ropes, water, headlamp, jacket,

Photos of Fathom Slideshow Add Photo
Fathom - 4th belay
Fathom - 4th belay
The Late Ralph Fickel on The Fathom 1985.
The Late Ralph Fickel on The Fathom 1985.
Crux pitch
Crux pitch
Somewhere on Fathom.  Maybe 3rd pitch?
Somewhere on Fathom. Maybe 3rd pitch?
Crux moves above...all two of them. Super fun casual route. Paul Barnes' photo.
Crux moves above...all two of them. Super fun casu...
Mike Holley Starting off the second pitch, or is it the first?!
Mike Holley Starting off the second pitch, or is i...
Rob Karge on the 5th (?) pitch.
Rob Karge on the 5th (?) pitch.
Going right around the flake on the last pitch before the crux yields good pro and more exposed climbing.
Going right around the flake on the last pitch bef...
Laurel Knob with Fathom center late Sept 2011
Laurel Knob with Fathom center late Sept 2011
'Yep, that's that bullshit...'
'Yep, that's that bullshit...'
Paul in the traverse to the anchors at the top of the 4th pitch as we did it.
Paul in the traverse to the anchors at the top of ...
Mike HOlley starting off the crux pitch (bolted)
Mike HOlley starting off the crux pitch (bolted)
Comments on Fathom Add Comment
Show which comments
By Ryan Williams
From: London (sort of)
Oct 7, 2011
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

Second route I've done on LK and it did not disappoint. First three pitches go for 400 feet or so and are no harder than 5.6.
P4 has a few moves on it, but still pretty easy.
P5 is a short traverse to a ledge below the crux pitch. Get gear under the arch and then traverse to the bolt and past it to anchors.
P6 is techy 10-, bolt protected and safe. Placed a tricam or two.
P7 is 5.9 if you ask me and is very fun. Spicy, but protects well, gear in all the right places.

We took a big rack, doubles from Green alien up to BD #3. One 4. If your OK doing 30-40 foot runs on easy ground you could get away w/ much less. DEFINITELY take tricams pink to blue and a few medium and large nuts. Placed a Tricam on ever pitch I think.

From: The Deeper South
Nov 17, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a

Single set of cams 0 TCU to 4 Camalot doubled up with tricams to blue and one set of stoppers smallish to large will sew this route up. Take lots of slings and use nearly every piece on every pitch.