*Get the new GHSP Bouldering Guidebook today! 160 full color pages of awesomeness, and over 360 select park problems. Incredible photography from Dan Brayack and concise directions and descriptions to GHSP's best blocks: www.brayackmedia.com/publishing/index2.html
For park news, MORE VIDEOS, a live weather webcam, grade & guidebook updates, and much more please check out the GHSP Bouldering Blog at graysonhighlandsbouldering.com/
New trails! The Contact Station Area now has an official state park maintained bouldering trail (the only of its kind in VA, possibly in the southeast) called the Split Rock Trail, which connects the Contact and Alchemy Boulders together. A Huge thanks to the Access Fund and all the volunteers who came out to the 2013 ghsp trail days event to help make it happen! The Middle & Right Boneyard also have finished black blazed marker posts and timberline trails to follow past nearly every major boulder in those fields. Read more about it on the Boneyard page and Contact Station page here on MountainProject.
Officially approved! GHSP has become the first state park in Virginia to officially approve bouldering as a sport. The park says that before the meeting held in March 2011 they certainly allowed bouldering, but the activity hadn't been formally advocated. Now the sport is not only allowed, but the park can actively embrace and manage bouldering as an approved activity within the park. Exciting stuff on the way for bouldering in GHSP!!!
The park now carries TWO Misty Mountain Highlander crashpads for day rentals! Rent the whole GHSP bouldering package which is the Highlander pad, a full Misty chalk bag, and a GHSP brush for $5 a day. Also the park has climbing chalk for and new Misty Mountain chalkbags for sale! Be sure to pick up a Grayson Highlands Bouldering brush (that come in crazy bright colors and bold GHSP letters) to better that summer time friction.
Winter is in full swing here at GHSP. Ice capped boulders with several feet of snow, high winds, brine ice, closed gates, and impassable roads are fairly normal, even when 30 minutes away there is very little evidence of fowl weather. BE SURE to check the webcam for conditions, and expect the gate to the LRT and Picnic Areas to be closed until Spring, regardless of snow. If you are an intrepid Winter boulderer however, you can find quiet, solitude, and tons of boulders sporting legendary friction. Just be sure to bring a carton of Hot Hands, Alaskan insulation, and possibly some snowshoes.
Weather Webcam!Be sure to take a close look at the Friends Of GHSP webcam that is stationed at the park office (1min walk from the Contact Station Area) for real time weather footage and a dependable and accurate current and extended weather forecast: graysonfriends.org/pages/ww.html
Grayson Highlands State Park is the uncontested crown jewel of bouldering in the state of VA, and possibly the best summer bouldering in the southeast. Grayson Highlands State Park (GHSP) is best known however, for being the best of the best for all things scenic, hiking related, and basically for every facet of outdoor mountainous recreation in the state of Virginia. As a state park, GHSP is home to 4,822 acres of pristine recreational opportunities and mountain solitude and is attached to an even larger Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.
There are over 850 listed boulder problems ranging from easygoing to advanced (VB-V12), and there are plenty of super difficult projects pending. The rock type found here is Rhyolite (in the highlands) and a unique, varying conglomerate or metasandstone (elsewhere in the park). The metamorphic sandstone is a sharp, geometric stone (hello Hound Ears fans) so you can be sure to find ultra steep, powerful, handsome faces on many of the boulders, blades, and fins protruding from the ground. On them will be crimpy rails, flakes, edges, pinches, and picturesque angular features. Slopers are found here as well, but definitely aren't the signature or defining holds typical in most boulder fields of the region.
GHSP's boulder fields have the highest altitudes in the southeast with the majority of the bouldering found in the 4,900' range and the Highlands Area reaching past 5,000' (the lookout at Grandmother Mountain in Boone is 4063').
Historically, bouldering has taken place in the park for many years, but with the recent discovery and further development of multiple other boulder fields tucked away in the forests within the park, the potential for GHSP bouldering was quickly realized. The most popular areas in the park are now centered on the more easily accessible boulder clusters. These areas are often packed full of amenities such as postcard worthy lookouts and close indoor restrooms. The majority of the boulderfields are along super easy hiking trails with close-by parking lots. Some areas are even located right beside picnic areas, charcoal grill pits, and vending machines.
The main boulder fields in GHSP are the Listening Rock Trail Loop (LRT), the Boneyard and AVP areas, and the Highlands Bouldering Area. For many visitors, the LRT has the best bouldering in the park. It has hundreds of problems, amazing lines, a very short approach, and the trail meanders through most of the main boulders. The Boneyard/AVP area is the other contestant for best area in the park. The Boneyard/AVP houses one of the largest amounts of boulders in GHSP and the climbing is scattered all across a mountain slope with a blazed climber trail to lead you through it. The Highlands Area is without a doubt the poster child of the park and is the most beautiful bouldering area in VA (if not the southeast). Vast landscape settings with a near endless view and cool breezeÖ and little wild poniesÖ.
The smaller areas easily hold some of the very best GHSP has to offer. The Contact Station Area is only a minute walk after you park at the Park Office just as you drive past the pay booth (if you look left as you drive up to pay you can see the True Grit Boulder). It has ďTrue GritĒ which is one of the most sought after V5s in the park, and many other amazing lines that you shouldn't miss. The Picnic Area has the massive Olympus Boulder which is worth the drive down just to see, and the Rock House Boulder. Both are literally seconds away from where you park.
For food, there are only a few places to eat but my personal recommendation is "The Log House" which has great burgers and fries, or for better food, drive a few minutes more toward Marion to the Fox Creek General Store for delicious sandwiches or the daily special (and beer). No they donít offer ďSparkling Pellegrino Mineral WaterĒ but, if youíre looking for a warm mom & pop country kitchen, or general store type of place than this wont disappoint. Another plus to Log House is that if you time it right during the summer on Friday and Saturday nights they often have live bluegrass music on the back deck. Both offer small selections of groceries so you can pick up some supplies if you're camping.
Grayson has great trails to hike, horseback riding, beautiful waterfalls, and cool mountain streams to fly fish, breathtaking views, wild ponies, great camping, live music festivals, and relaxing nearby local cabins to rent. The Appalachian Trail also runs through the park. There is also a great gift shop and many historical sites and cabins within the park, so if it does rain you out, you will still have things to do and see.
*This site along with the development in GHSP is a slow work in progress so please be patient. The grades are all fluid (as they should be in any area) and they depend on YOU giving feedback to gain a consensus. Let me know of any discrepancies and please vote to adjust the grades on the problems accordingly... Keep in mind that some problems in GHSP have seen only one or two ascents and the person who FAd that line may think it is way harder/easier than you do. Thatís why a consensus is needed, so feel free to post or vote your opinion to help GHSP have the most accurate grades possible.
-Here is an amazing film shot by Andrew Kornylak showing a few of GHSP's finest lines and several proud ones from the Boone area (which is ~an hour from GHSP). If this one doesnít get you psyched nothing will.
-This is a fantastic 2011 Sampler filmed by Daniel Caudill showcasing a handful of fun GHSP moderates. Awesome work Daniel!
-a great documentary about GHSP bouldering that Daniel Caudill filmed over 2010/2011. Enjoy! >
My blog: Its not the best but I write about GHSP and a few other areas. Check it out if you have an extra moment. edgestoledges.wordpress.com/
Check out the new "Select Boulders of GHSP" print by Aaron Parlier:
The park is on U.S. 58 midway between Independence and Damascus and is reached from I-81 at Exit 45 in Marion; turn south on Route 16 and travel 33 miles to US 58 in the community of Volney. Turn right onto US 58. Travel eight miles to the park's entrance.
From I-77, take Hillsville Exit 14 to U.S. 58. Travel west on U.S. 58, 40 miles to Volney. Turn left to stay on U.S. 58 and go eight miles to the park entrance.
Drive Time : Northern Va., 6.5 hours; Richmond, 5.5 hours; Tidewater, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, 7.5 hours; Roanoke, 2.5 hours; Winston-Salem, 2 hours; Charlotte, 3 hours; Raleigh, 4 hours
-Periscope Boulder-Sit Start in the crimpy lines and connect into the rail. follow feet and hands across the protrusion, using whatever feet feel good and make fun moves to transfer and traverse to the next side of the boulder to your right. as you transfer around you will trend higher and up above the slab of rock that will now be under you. top high on good hands and feet....[more]Browse More Classics in VA
As someone interested in visiting Grayson (GHSP) in the near future, I have a quick question about the star designations for the area. I notice that there are a large number of problems that are given 3 and 4 star ratings. I am curious if these ratings are in relation just to other GHSP boulder problems, or in comparison to national bouldering standards of a similar grade? For example, is Bi-Lingual's 4 star designation in comparison only to other V1 problems at GHSP, or is it 4 stars because it stands shoulder to shoulder with a problem like the Hueco Tanks V1 classic "Backscratcher?"
One way or another, GHSP sounds like a really amazing place (and the pictures are phenomenal) and I hope to check it out as soon as possible. Thanks also for all the work on this area, it is very informative and appears to have been done by people who are intimately knowledgeable about the area.
Im stoked to hear you might come out to Grayson! The star rating is about to be fixed, among other aspects of the web page. Not to say that all of the four-star ratings don't hold true, but you must understand that the problems were added to the pages as soon as they were developed. as a matter of fact, Im going to start redoing them now.... when you get this it should mostly be fixed.
Grayson is absolutely fantastic. I have never had the opportunity to go to Hueco, but I have seen a significant amount of east coast climbing, and my favorite place is still Grayson. Hands down.
The star rating is within Grayson, since I don't know every classic problem from Yosemite to Pawtuckaway. Just know that any four-star will be awesome.
Aaron--Thank you so much for taking time to respond to my question, and there can be no doubt about it--I am stoked to come and check it out. I am currently stuck in Blacksburg working on a graduate degree dreaming of the day I will have the time to come down. Thanks for all you hard work on this.
PS-Myself and a number of my friends have commented on how the picture you have posted on the home page looks strikingly like Hueco Tanks. Really, if you just showed the picture to someone, chance are they would guess Hueco. It definitely seems to be a positive omen . . .
No way, that's awesome that you're going to VT, I was just accepted and will be going there starting in the fall semester (small world)... I just did the comp at "the rock", were you able to go to it?... anyway, send me a message or look me up and I'll give you the tour for sure, along with everyone else ill be climbing with from B-Burg. the spring send-season should kick off in another couple of week for this area, so be ready!! -I had never noticed it, but now that you mention it, the picture does bear a striking resemblance... thats crazy, lol-
I was at the comp at the rock the other night. I'm president of VT's climbing club but won't be after this semester because I'm graduating. Anyway, I'm trying to head down there with COEveryman (Jordan) soon to check the area out. Hope it's as good as you say, the pictures look totally awesome.
Sam Stephens, Im really excited about joining the climbing club myself. At the comp I placed second in advanced, I don't know if that helps put name-to-face or not. I wish I had more/better pictures of the place. The ones here are a vast understatement, and the there are entire areas without representation...Im working on it I swear. Anyway, I can guarantee you'll love the place. I hate you wont be there next semester (congrats on graduating soon though), but I would like to show you guys around. there will be some really exciting bouldering going on there this coming season, so stay in touch. It's going to kick off soon hopefully, and the more hands and pads the better the climb!
Stanley, Unfortunately I dont know of anywhere in sova with rental pads... the regular hikers in the park are just now getting used to seeing "pad people". Still yet, there are a growing number of boulderers with pads here, and I know i personally would be glad to throw in a pad/spot if you came to GHSP to boulder.
Also Stanley, Im going to pitch the idea to the park service about keeping a rental pad or two the contact station. Hopefully in the future this will be an attainable commodity at Grayson Highlands. Thanks
awesome video! im glad you guys had a good time up here. there are only two small corrections i want to list. "Bi-Lingual" (v1/2) goes from the sit, (which I think you did just not in the video), and "Jaws" in the video is actually "Benadryl" (V0+). I think the ponies were for sure the highlight of the whole thing though. Nice job!!
Thanks Aaron... I didnt think it was Jaws, but I couldnt remember what else it could have been, thanks for the clarification. I did send Bi-Lingual the correct way, but the video of the SDS was only a partial and the stand version was unfortunately better. Thanks for the comments and the awesome time up at Grayson!
AAron, I tried to keep this area low key for more than a decade, I was planning a trip this weekend with some friends and decided to see what was on the net, much to my surprize I saw our old areas posted. It was just to good to keep in the bag. We have establised hundreds of problems in the area of Listing Rock Loop, Wilson Creek Wilburn Ridge and Pine Mountain. There are many more areas hidden in the back country. I will do my best in the future to post the problems we establised in the main areas. Some of them are Thunder Arete, Hoot Owl Roof, Flight of the Butterfly, May Fly Cave, Lightning Bolt Crack, Double Runnel, Shotgun Wedding, Hot Wings, just to name a few. These problems were established from the late 90's to the present. It is a great area, please be respectful of the pristine natural environment, thats what makes the area.
Steven Pope, First and forearms, Id like to say thanks for being cordial and not up in arms about my posting this incredible bouldering area. I've run into a handful of climbers other than yourself who blew up at me before hearing what I've had to say... that being said, Ill be up front with you and tell you that Im smack dab in the middle of authoring a full color guidebook about GHSP. Im always stoked to hear about people who have climbed in the area, especially the pioneers of the place. Im from the area, and having been born and bred in these mountains I can assure you that I want nothing more than to preserve them. Im working very closely with the park service to ensure there are no access issues, and to be positive that everything I've developed is okay. I know that there are TONS of other areas around GHSP that are comparable, but Im not interested in posting them. GHSP is a state maintained area that is open to bouldering, and because of the amenities in close proximity to the boulders and the maintained trails and the other attractions in the park I think it is a true gem in Virginia for the sport. I would rather keep the satellite areas and smaller spots obscure, but that's not my call. I only focused on the park as far as posting problems and boulders. If you would like to send me pictures of your FAs in GHSP I would be stoked to list them! I know James Litz and friends climbed at a couple of spots in GHSP in the 90's but he wasn't sure what he had done and claimed nothing. There have been others that were claiming FAs as well but it was more or less speculation and scrambles on slabs in the Highlands Area. Im only listing Problems within the park boundaries, but would love to know about other spots (through messages to keep them low key preferably). Ill put out this apology not only to you, but to everyone else who held onto GHSP as a secret spot. IM SORRY!!! but the bouldering here is phenomenal and in my opinion the best in the state. the hoards of smaller "secret spots" will still be there, but no one kept the fly fishing, the waterfalls, the unique natural balds, the hiking trails, the bike trails, the cross country skiing, the views, or any of the other fantastic things the park has to offer a secret... it was just a matter of time. Thanks again for contacting me, and please do send me some photos of you on some FAs or message me with some cool spots. hope to see you out there Steven.
If anyone doesn't know Dan I'll just say he's been nearly everywhere you would really want to go in the U.S. and is a perfect source for comparisons on places to climb... I havent been many other places other than Hueco and the east (and I dont really feel comfortable comparing places and grades) but I certainly agree with this. Thanks for the insight Dan. What would you think about Beastmaker or Thews for instance?
Thews....is hard. I <3 it but I can't really do it, so its hard to say, but I think about it every night before bed. Right after I stop thinking about Raina and right before I start thinking about "Iron Man Traverse" in Bishop. Its hard to say.
But seriously, I think Thews would be 3 or 4 stars probably anywhere.
Beastmaker same thing - never been on it/can't do it so I couldn't say.
star ratings are all really objective of course. Like Julia (Statler) hated "True Grit" I wouldn't give it four stars either, but our friend Ryan loved it and was like "best problem Eva' "
I think its important to realize that, when doing a guidebook, especially bouldering, its hard to get FA information. For all we know, the kids who used to own the farm used to hike Thews....We'll mention development history in the "history" section but won't be given FAs for problems etc etc.
I have no doubt in my mind that Aaron is sending a bunch of new stuff and its pretty obvious when you clean something if its been done before, but that's just the nature and mystique of bouldering. I hope we're not treading on your names and if you have "names" for stuff that you've done in the past, we'd LOVE to document that as well.
You should totally be like...yeah we did "True Grit" 15 years ago, but called it the "Happy Happy Sugar Blade Sprinkle Dance" or something...
I have heard lots of negative talk about this place. So after my first visit I would like to completely disagree. First of all, the lowball stigma is completely misplaced. Most of the boulders were at least 20ft tall. The Olympus boulder basically the M1 boulder with significantly more lines. The quality of the rock was similar to Hound Ears, just like I was told. The top outs are generous, and its nice to get some air while not trying to determine the co-pay of my insurance provider. The summer temps are cool and there is plenty of shade. GHSP is less than an hour from Boone, it would be a shame to miss out on this place.
Jonathan Holofchak: I laugh at the lowball thing... but hey, save your breath man, when this full color guidebook comes out (soon)with 400 of the best GHSP boulder problems in it people will recognise. Until then enjoy the peace and quiet up here and let the haters sweat it out elsewhere... Glad you enjoyed youself bro, it was nice meeting you!
Alec: I've posted some info under the "need to know" info tab on the left side of the screen under the areas portion on the main page above... Click on :need to know info" then click on "Camping" and you'll find hopefully what you need to know on camping. If not, please ask me any further questions and Ill be happy to help in any way!
Rick: Entrance fee is $2.00 for the weekdays, $3.00 at peak season/weekends, however that may have changed to 2 dollars now that school is back in. Camping is 25 dollars for the campsite, but you can have several people on one site and it includes water and hot showers/nice restrooms. You can also hike up into the highlands into the MRNRA area and camp for free but its a 30 min hike pretty easy though). I like the campground. Lemmi know if you would like a tour of the place! Glad youíre gonna check it out!
I have looked over the State Park website and this section of Mountain Project - let me just say thanks for putting forth so much effort in developing GHSP for the rest of us. Well done sir!
I'm planning on coming down for the weekend soon (maybe even tomorrow) and I wanted to know where to set up camp that is nearest to that picture of the somewhat highball problem (the contrasted picture with the person standing on top, hands high)? Essentially, where should my GF and I stay that is near showers/toilets...etc and also allows for a reasonable hike to those big boulders? Thanks!
VACLIMBER: Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner, Ive been doing the Triple Crown bouldering comps, and I just returned from Chattanooga. The best place to camp nearest the boulders (I think youre referring to the Highland Area, which encompasses the Wilburn Ridge region of the park, and continues into the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area "MRNRA"). If you hike up from the parking area for Wilburn Ridge, just follow the trail up and stay on the Appalachian Trail (dont turn right to the first huge cluster, you will pass through a wooden hiker/pony gate. Once you pass through that you can camp anywhere for free... And its beautiful out there!!! Again, sorry it took me a couple days to reply, usually Im quick about it. Hope you got out there! -Aaron James Parlier
Hey Aaron! Jody Johnston, Mark Mellette, and a few other buddies went to Grayson a few weeks ago and we got rowdy. Here is a video that some friends and I made from our most recent trip. Unfortunately, there are a few errors in the video. Parliers Problem is a V8 and the FA in the video is actually a problem called Finger Confusion. Is this correct?
Nicholas: Yes on both counts, Par's Problem is an 8 and Finger Confusion is/was a 7, but its just grades man, I loved the video! I cant wait for warmer weather to come back and for some spring time sessions... I guess its the south for the winter for now. Again, nice video and Im glad you guys got to climb some fun problems, they're all really good lines!
I appreciate it Aaron. Yea they're just grades, who cares! I'm looking forward to some warmer weather as well. I have some projects at GHSP that I need to get back on! Also, a lot of buzz has been created about Grayson and a lot of people are talking about getting out there in the spring. Keep up the great work Aaron!
Steve: Im watching the weather for this week as well... Historically its cold and wet, but this winter has been very out of character. Its hit or miss. I bouldered nearly all day long in a t-shirt this past Saturday. Two days later it snowed, and the snow was followed a couple days of rain. My best advice for you is probably what you would be doing anyway, which is just to watch the weather channel and hope for the best. Wish I could be more helpful!
Thanks for the info Aaron. Also I see your the one putting together a guide book. Will it be published by march? and if not where do you recommend climbing at if im only their for 2 or 3 days? I boulder around V4 right now
Steve, No problem on the info! I am finishing up the guide as we speak, but, no it will not be for sale by that time...
I do recommend that you check out the LRT and Picnic Areas if they are open at that point in the year (its been a very mild winter so chances are good)...
In addition to these areas or if the gates are closed to the aforementioned areas, the Boneyard/AVP is amazing but sometimes they can be hard to navigate without a local or some prior knowledge. That being said, lots of people find their way around the place okay just by MP directions... Still yet, to get the full GHSP experience, I always recommend checking out the Highlands Area, especially on your first visit... its phenomenal and is an experience you can only really find in Grayson. Also be sure to stop by the Contact Station since its one of the most straight forward areas to climb at and it doesn't disappoint. Hope this helps! And be sure to keep an eye on the weather!
steve: The areas are pretty self explanatory if you follow the directions off of MP. The boulders in picnic, Contact Station, and even AVP are smaller clusters (4-8 big boulders), and the LRT boulders aren't too hard to navigate... Shoot me an email when you plan on visiting and I would be glad to try to meet up and show you around some of the areas you're interested in since the guidebook isn't out yet. I have no doubt you could find you're way around without a problem, but having someone that is familiar with the place makes things easier for sure. If that sounds good just let me know! Otherwise, print off the pages here and you'll do fine.
Tison, Glad you came out! The LRT is still closed (I think I mentioned that at the top of the page here) and it is normally the most frequented area for people who have not been to the park before. Itís the same situation for the Picnic Area. Without a guidebook or a local to show you all around itís going to be hard to find a lot of the areas even though they are very close to the parking areas. MP is good for a reference in well known areas but for GHSP it can be hard to navigate with if you arenít at all familiar with the park. The boneyard is often the most difficult area to find for new visitors and I wonít try to describe it over a comment but Iím always glad to show people around. GHSP is a big place and the areas are spread throughout the park in clusters. If you go there and only know of one or two places it will seem as if it offers much less than the 650ish boulder problems that are presently there. If you want to meet up and check out the boneyard/AVP area that would be great, or wait for a bit as the guidebook is in its final stage and should be out for the late summer/fall season.
The park is open, its only three areas in particular that are closed. LRT, Moonlight, and Picnic are gated off. I would say that late April/May they will be re-opened permanently, but my guess is that if the weather continues to be awesome as it has been that they will re-open earlier than normal. They may be open mid April, but historically the average is the first week of May.
The Contact Station Area, AVP, Boneyard, Crooked Road, and Highlands Areas all are open year long though, and with those areas you would have several days worth of bouldering to explore. Hope you make it down!
Bigdan, Its easy to find Highlands and Contact. Really easy in fact. But AVP and Boneyard have proved somewhat difficult for new visitors to the park. AVP less so than Boneyard, but the two are practically in the same place. I know many people who have navigated the area without a hitch but others who were desperately confused. Keep me posted on when you'll be in the area, just shoot me a message or two closer to time, and I will be happy to give you a guide around (maybe even get into the LRT if we're lucky) if youre interested.
I'm going to be down there this Tuesday and Wednesday to hike Mt.Rogers, but I'd like to get some bouldering in and I'll be bringing my pad. What trails or parking areas are the Boneyard and Highland bouldering area near? Thanks for the help, appreciate the effort that went into this page.
Fish: Thanks! Highlands are the first main cluster of boulders you will see (cant miss them honestly) when you come to the Rhododendron Gap/Massy Gap parking along the main road or for the overnight parking lot... I would honestly recommend checking out the Contact Station Area while you are there as they are SUPER easy to locate as well. Boneyard is a bit harder to find but if you follow directions that I have listed on the boneyard page you should be alright (same goes for AVP), but Im not going to try to elaborate further directions via comments on here to avoid writing a novel. Visitors have equally found them and not found them by the posted location on the Boneyard page, but the boulders are haphazardly scattered across the hillside. Sorry! Highlands & Contact are my best recommendations for straight forward bouldering in the park without a bit of direction following and some adventure... Until the guide comes out anyway.
Aaron, some friends and I are going to be coming up to climb for Easter weekend and we just have a few questions. Since we're college students we can't afford much and would just like some more information on the "Budget Camping" as you call it haha. Where would you suggest parking inside the park for the easiest access to camping in the MRNA? About how much is it to park in the park overnight? What is the name of the trail to get to the "pony gate" you mention and about how far of a hike is it from parking?
Thanks a lot! Sorry its a lot of questions, I just can't find much information on the internet other than what you have here on this site. If I think of anything else I'll be sure to ask.
Thomas, Hey man, glad to hear you guys are heading up this way! The "budget camping" is in the MRNRA and you get there by parking in the overnight lot (as far as I know itís a 3 dollar fee to park in GHSP, but overnight parking may be a couple bucks more, Iím not 100% sure, but if it is an additional fee it shouldnít be much). Park in the overnight lot and then hike up the hill via the "Rhododendron Gap Trail". Once at the top of the hill (obvious when youíre there I assure you) you will link onto the Appalachian trail toward Mount Rogers. Follow it to the "Pony Fence" (also very obvious as itís the only fence you come to) and once you are on the other side (on MRNRA land) you can camp anywhere you want.
The hike there, depending on how much gear you have with you and how many ponies you decide to stop and admire, should take approximately 30min.
Hopefully I'll run into you guys out there (I drive a green Jeep Compass with a bunch of stickers on the roof wind faring thing if you want to session/say hello/ask where something is). Also just shoot me a message if you have any other questions, Iím always stoked to help out!
Hey Aaron, me and my friend are coming down from Madison, WI on a little climbing trip and I was wondering if you could show us around. We are coming down the night of June 5th and will be staying in Grayson for 4 days. feel free to call or texts us or let us know how we can contact you. 2629024257. thanks
I was thinking about heading up to Grayson this weekend, but the weather looks wet. Which areas dry out the fastest, and what are some approximate dry times? Stoked to get up there, if not this weekend then soon!
The Highlands Area has the best dry time in the park. Within an hour of rain some of the stuff up there is dry and ready to climb. Within two hours and providing there is a steady breeze (there almost always is) you should be good to go on most every line up in the highlands.
Outside of that, the rest of the park takes a bit longer to dry off. Possibly AVP would dry off in a few hours and the Contact Station seems to dry off pretty quickly... But my highest recommendation for a rainy day would be the Highlands.
Psyched you coming out! There is a rental crash pad and chalk for sale in the park office just past the pay booth if you need supplies. Spread the word! Leave a comment on how your trip goes!
Thanks for this place Aaron(and all others involved) awesome weekend in-spite of some bad weather. Love all the good feelings about bouldering and all the development put in a true gem of a destination.
Ryan, Thanks so much for the comments Ryan! Itís awesome to get some feedback about peoples trips. I'm really glad to hear you had a good time despite the storms. Last week was a rough one as far as the weather goes but the Highlands areas are a great place for that. About an hour after the rain hits up there the boulders usually dry out. The park staff really is amazing and without them none of this would ever be possible. Hope you get to make it back up soon! -Aaron
Aaron, I thank you for developing boulders, trails, and information on this terrific area. The park officers think very highly of you which means a lot for the climbing community. I've done multiple of the classics in my last couple visits (True Grit, Frontman, Athos Arete) and made projects of others (Thews, Spaghetti Monster, Horizon Line). One of my mates leads backpacking expeditions on the AT through the Highlands and has thoroughly enjoyed seeing another side of the park.
Cameron, Thanks a lot! It's been a long rewarding process and so much fun along the way. I'm happy to hear youíve climbed a bunch of the classics too! I love that section of the AT and there are hundreds of amazing boulders throughout the MRNRA to check out. Be on the lookout for the guidebook when it comes out this winter, it will make navigation to some of the other classics super easy. Hope to see you all out there!
Hey, there. I'm interested in spending a week or two in the park this August or September, is it hellishly hot around that time? I'd love to network with some locals who could show me the ins n' outs. Thanks!
Isa, Hello! August/Sept is pretty hot, although it is seemingly very cool by comparison to any other southeastern bouldering area. September is generally pretty perfect and one of the best months to visit. Even in the dog days of early/mid August itís climbable with the nice temps in the late afternoon and all day climbing in the Highland Areas. The steep faces provide shade all day but mid day it can be muggy. You should be fine to climb here in the timeframe you are talking about. Glad to hear you may come out! Be sure to pick up one of the guidebooks too -Lots of good info and even better photos-! -Aaron
By DoNstamos From: SLC/Detroit/Dragons Feb 18, 2014
Hey Aaron, I was just wondering what the weather is going to be in ghsp around first or second week of march? I'm not familiar with the area, though from what I've read it may be good just cold? No problem there as I'm used to climbing in the wasatch year round. Also I was wondering what if any camping was available? I will be car camping and leave no trace. Lastly, are dogs allowed in ghsp? Thanks for all the info you post. -DoNstamos
DoNstamos, There is great camping within the park, but it is pretty costly if you are by yourself. I would recommend some of the national forest areas surrounding the park (you can find maps and locations on line with ease) that would be free to park and camp. The conditions are fairly temperamental during the spring, but with luck it will be a dry season and the climbing will be good. If you are used to the cold you'll be fine. The holds are pretty thin and most of the climbing is steep, so if it is chilly out it can feel pretty sharp (but the friction will be superb). Dogs are allowed for sure, but there is a 6ft leash regulation. Hope this helps! Let me know if I can help out with any more info.
By DoNstamos From: SLC/Detroit/Dragons Feb 19, 2014
Aaron, Thanks for all the info, I certainly plan on spending a few days here. Any thoughts on weather I should get a guidebook if it's only for a few days? I was wondering how ambitious it would be to try and climb stone mountain and possibly rumbling bald as well. I will have roughly 7 climb/travel days. I will be with a buddy and my dog, are there any restrictions on dogs at stone or rumbling? I hope I'm not blowing up your spot at ghsp, I will certainly respect the area/rock. Thanks again for all the info. -stamos
Stamos, For dogs, I see them all the time at the bald, but I don't know the policy for Stone. As for the GHSP guide, I always recommend it. The areas are somewhat spread out in clusters within the park, so it can be really handy as opposed to trying to navigate only by mountain project. There are 350 classic lines shown in the guide, and almost 900 listed on MP, so it can make it much easier especially if you have never visited before. It will be pretty ambitious trying to fit in all 3 locations, the bald is over 3 hrs away from ghsp, but do-able if the weather is really nice (the bald is like an oven too, so if it is nice and chilly at ghsp, it will be super warm/hot at rb, probably nearing the end of the balds climbing season). You are in no way blowing up the area! the park encourages climbing and Im stoked when folks travel to visit ghsp! let me know how iit goes, and I would be happy to recommend areas/climbs in ghsp if you all would like a short list of must-do problems.
By Jake Jones From: The Eastern Flatlands Feb 19, 2014
Don, dogs are ok at Stone. Leashed is probably best, but most climbers will be on the slab and not bouldering so use your best judgement. Climbers pass through the boulder field on the south face to get to roped routes though, so there's that. As far as the book, I try to support an area and all the establishment and documenting efforts when I can- one of the best ways to do that is to buy the guidebook. Aaron and Dan B. have put tons of work into it and it's a quality publication. Not to mention, my buddy ordered one not too long ago, and it shipped out with a tracking number and a friendly email within ~1 hour of ordering. It's difficult to find service like that nowadays, so it's very worthy of support. Just my opinion. Enjoy GHSP.
Jake, Great to hear you like the guide! Thanks for the info on dogs/climbing at Stone too, the bouldering looks really good there (as well as the beautiful routes!). I need to make it out that way soon.
By DoNstamos From: SLC/Detroit/Dragons Feb 20, 2014
Jake/Aaron- Thanks for all of the input. My stoke factor is through the roof right now, two weeks and counting! Where would be the best direct source to obtain the ghsp book? Aaron a list of must do's would be stellar * I can't boulder past V6 and am not too keen on high balls* if that helps. Thanks again guys, I fucking love MP. I'm sitting in a library in Detroit right now watching it snow. Any opinions on weather I should go to stone or rumbling bald? I'm open to suggestions. I would love a good traditional line in the 5.5-5.10 range. Thanks gents!
Don, here is a short list of 25 must do lines for V2-V6, keeping highballs -mostly- out of the equation: V2: "Highland Highball"(Highlands Area) "Bi-Lingual"(LRT) "Cap Gun"(Boneyard) "Presidents Problem"(Boneyard) "Cannonade"(Boneyard) V3: "That's My Money"(AVP) "Indian Outlaw"(Picnic) "The Hive"(LRT) "Periscope"(Contact) "Copper Head"(Contact) V4: "Crazy Horse"(Picnic)(Kind of Highball) "Billy Budd"(Boneyard) "Front Man-Stand"(AVP) "Foot Kaput"(Highlands) "Ranger Rick Low"(Contact) V5: "Front Man"(AVP) "True Grit"(Contact Station) "Tigerside"(LRT) "Strength In Numbers"(LRT)(Highball, but last 6ft are jugs) V6: "Thews"(Boneyard) "Horizon line"(Highlands)(Highball, but too good not to get on) "Last Action Hero"(Boneyard) "Frisky Monkey"(LRT) "Shanghai Knight"(LRT) "Paladin"(V6)
Get after it!
By Jake Jones From: The Eastern Flatlands Feb 20, 2014
I'm planning a trip to Grayson in April and I have one quick question. What is cell phone service like? I really just need to let my wife know if she will be able to get into touch with me or not. haha
The service at GHSP is dependent on your provider. If you have Verizon you can get decent signal at the entrance to the park, and at a few other spotty locations. Other providers have similar, or absolutely no signal anywhere in the area. I have heard from a few of the rangers that a new tower was put in near the park and that some signal (still Verizon) has improved, but I cannot speak to this as I was there a few days ago and the signal was still spotty. I hope this helps, and I'm happy to hear you like the guide! If you have any questions at all feel free to message me at any time!