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Shortoff Mountain

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Appalachain Chuffer T 
Appalachain Runt T 
Between The Lines T 
Big Arete, The T 
Bonsai T 
Built to Tilt T 
Change Up T 
Comfortably Numb T 
Construction Job T 
Dancing Outlaw, The T,S 
Desp-arete S 
Dopey Duck T 
Early Times T 
Energizer T,S 
Enterprise, The T 
False Paradise T 
Finders Keepers T 
Fly By T 
Footloose T 
For The Birds T 
Full Tilt Boogie T 
Golden Rule T,S 
Help Mr. Wizard T 
Humdinger T 
Julia T 
Just Another Pretty Face T,S 
Last Straw, The T,S 
Learning to fly T 
Little Corner T 
Lost and Found T,S 
Made in the shade T 
Maginot Line T 
Maginot Roof T 
Paradise Alley T 
Paradise City T 
Paradise Lost T 
Pinball Wizard T 
Saddle Up T 
Sleight of Hand T 
Stopperhead Arete T 
Straight and Narrow T 
Supercrack  T 
Trick Or Treat T 
Turn and Burn T 
Twist of fate T 
White Corner T 
White Russians Gone Bananas T,S 
Unsorted Routes:

Shortoff Mountain 

Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 35.8314, -81.9026 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 79,156
Administrators: saxfiend, Edward Medina, Ryan Williams, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Joe Forrester on Apr 2, 2007
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Partly Cloudy
81° | 61°
86° | 65°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
84° | 65°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
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91° | 65°
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View from Construction Job, a classic 5.9
Seasonal Falcon Closure MORE INFO >>>


Shortoff Mountain is a beautiful adventure climbing locale at the southern end of the Linville Gorge in NC. The southwest exposures are perfect on autumn and spring days when you can look across the gorge and see the reds and yellows or greens and whites. There are rarely other climbers there, the most crowded weekend I have seen is two other parties. The climbing as far as I know all requires an ability to place gear and build your own anchors. If you just clip bolts, you might want to freshen up on your gear skills first. The rock is characterized by crack systems interspersed with wild horizontals. On many routes, a hug horizontal jug is just far enough out of reach to make it exciting. The rock is clean in most places, but there is a fair bit of lichen on the rarely climbed routes, giving the climbs an increased sense of adventure.

Shortoff North/Shortoff South 

The approach gully is the main landmark for locating routes at Shortoff. For convenience, route descriptions in this section will include the designation Shortoff North for lines north of the approach gully, and Shortoff South for climbs to the south of the gully.

Getting There 

Take exit 90 (Nebo/Lake James) to the north. You will be on Harmony Grove Road. You have two options, left or right. If you go left, take a right when you hit NC 126, if you go right take a left. Either way, get to NC 126 and follow it North. You will pass through some farmland and golf course as you pass around Lake James. After you cross a small one lane bridge a ways down the road (10 miles) start looking for Wolf Pit Road (it is dirt). Follow this road up until it dead ends. There is camping at the end of the road. However, you have to pass through private property in your car so respect that. Keep the music down and don't camp on someone's property.

Approach by taking the logging road at the north end of the turn around. At one point you will cross the Mountain to Sea trail. keep Going straight (west). You will eventually reach a spring. This is the approach gully. If you have climbed in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, your option will seem fairly obvious. Drop down the gully and be ready to climb out. Oh, the water should be OK coming from the tap.

Climbing Season

47 Total Routes

['4 Stars',9],['3 Stars',26],['2 Stars',10],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Shortoff Mountain:
Little Corner   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   
False Paradise   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 4 pitches   
Maginot Line   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 4 pitches, 300'   
Paradise Alley   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 450'   
Dopey Duck   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 350'   
Construction Job   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   
Straight and Narrow   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 340'   
Built to Tilt   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   
Julia   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   
Just Another Pretty Face   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 210'   
Humdinger   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   
The Dancing Outlaw   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 400'   
Paradise City   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   
Help Mr. Wizard   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   
Golden Rule   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 130'   
Pinball Wizard   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   
The Big Arete   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   
Paradise Lost   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 300'   
Maginot Roof   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Trad, 3 pitches   
Supercrack    5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   
Browse More Classics in Shortoff Mountain

Featured Route For Shortoff Mountain
2nd Pitch of Maginot Line, Shortoff, NC.

Maginot Line 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  NC : Linville Gorge : Shortoff Mountain
Maginot Line is a climb that unfolds with each move. Each moves links with the next in a way that keeps you thinking and on your toes. It is truly a classic with great climbing in a great location.Maginot Line climbs the huge left facing corner that is located to the right of Little Corner. It will be marked by a large pine at the base and another pine about 20 feet up the route.This route can be done in 3 or 4 pitches.P1 - climb the dihedral to a comfy belay below a chockstone.P2 - continue ...[more]   Browse More Classics in NC

Photos of Shortoff Mountain Slideshow Add Photo
Mr Brown, all smiles, following the last pitch of his line, "Tall Order".
Mr Brown, all smiles, following the last pitch of ...
A view down Shortoff with climbers on Straight and Narrow.
A view down Shortoff with climbers on Straight and...
Seasonal bird closure area topo.  This is a good cooler weather area. Also, these routes are longer than they appear in this pic and are easily accessed from top via a 200' rap from a pine with slings.  The rap in goes directly over "Learning To Fly".
BETA PHOTO: Seasonal bird closure area topo. This is a good c...
Jon following pitch 2 of "Tall Order"
Jon following pitch 2 of "Tall Order"
Looking into Tilted World
Looking into Tilted World
The down climb into Shortoff Mtn, Linville Gorge, NC
The down climb into Shortoff Mtn, Linville Gorge, ...
Looking out from the top of Shortoff at Lake James
Looking out from the top of Shortoff at Lake James
Shortoff Mountain seen from Old NC 105.
Shortoff Mountain seen from Old NC 105.
View of Lake Glenville from the trail up to Shortoff.
View of Lake Glenville from the trail up to Shorto...
View of Table Rock Mountain as seen from Shortoff
View of Table Rock Mountain as seen from Shortoff
View north from Shortoff.
View north from Shortoff.
North section with a few routes drawn in
BETA PHOTO: North section with a few routes drawn in
Love this view, love Linville Gorge!
Love this view, love Linville Gorge!
View from Paradise Alley
View from Paradise Alley
Comments on Shortoff Mountain Add Comment
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By Bob Underwood
From: greensboro
Nov 13, 2007

About the Wolfpit road turn off of 126: it is about a quarter mile west of the shoreline view of lake James. With the directions given - if you see a big lake on your right, you have gone 1/4 mile too far.
The road is now in good shape all the way to the circle at the end. Camping here is ok. But if you want privacy, better hump it up the mountain about 1 hour hike.

The path you want from the Wolfpit circle goes uphill and turns right uphill.

Water is scarce on Shortoff. gives maps and waypoints for the two springs.

The north end of Shortoff has less dramatic rock but is relatively unexplored.

Bob Underwood

By Jesse Morehouse
From: CO
May 31, 2008

One of the most fantastic crags in one of the most fantastic settings imaginable. You camp on top of the cliff with views over the gorge. Most routes are free of fixed gear or anchors, sandbagged, and follow spectacular lines. There are classic lines from 5.6 on up to 5.11. On holiday weekends you might need to share the place w/2-3 parties. A small slice of heaven.

By Bob Underwood
From: greensboro
Sep 14, 2008

Before the 2000 fire there used to be a trail from the Wolfpit trail which cut south and followed the 2200 contour line, crossed the MST and tied in to the base of the Shortoff cliffs. To follow this old trail was even more demanding than to hike all the way to the top of the mountain and reach the same area by scrambling down thru the Descent Gully. I wonder if this old trail still exists?

By John Matthew
Dec 24, 2008

Climbers should be aware that evac'ing out of Shortoff is a serious endeavour. The descent gully has two fifth-class sections, one with a fixed rope. Any type of injury, especially to a lower extremity, could require the support of a rescue squad. Take the grades seriously.

By mbuntaine
From: Durham, NC
Nov 9, 2009

On the approach trail: In order to walk to the top of Shortoff, you need to take a 90 degree right hand turn about 1/4 mile down the trail that comes off the back of the parking lot. After taking this turn, follow the trail up the switchbacks. After another 1/2 mile, there is a four-way intersection. Continue straight across on the Mountain to Sea trail, blazed white. Another 1/4 mile will lead to the obvious spring and descent gully.

If you miss the 90 degree right turn 1/4 mile along the entrance trail, you will end up way down in the valley in a maze of ATV tracks. Easy to do at night - ouch!!

By Drew Hayes
From: Charlotte, NC
Aug 19, 2014

Can someone post the beta for rapping in (or PM it to me)? Is it possible with one 70m rope? Thank you!