The Underworld cave sits just below Sunshine Point on the Gold Coast/West side of the Linville Gorge. It is also across from The Tarantula Ledge (between the NC Wall/Amphitheater). Rediscovered by Ben Sachs in the summer of 2009, the crag had one established route from the 80's, but had seemingly been abandoned. Along with a few others, we established several new climbs during Winter and Spring 2010. Welcome to the steepest sport routes in the High Country.
1) Drive Kistler Memorial Highway on the west side of the gorge. Continue on Kistler HWY past Wiseman's View. Keep driving 1.3miles to Conely Cove Parking. Other options do exist.
2)Take the Rock Jock Trail from Conely Cove to Sunshine Point Trail. This is directly south of Moonshine Canyon, a prominent drainage across from the Prow (roughly). There is a 4-trunked tree of the east side of the RJ trail just north of the intersection. At this intersection there is a black stick (charred rhodo) with a pink flag on it when to turn onto sunshine point from the Rock Jock.
3)Several pink marker flags have been put up to guide to the end of sunshine point by an unknown source. You will get an excellent view of the NC Wall, Tarantula Ledge, The Amphitheater, etc.
4)Once you make it to Sunshine Point there are two ways to descend into The Underworld. The first is setting up a rappel from the easy to find rap anchors on the left side of Sunshine Point. You will need at least a full 60m rope to do this in one rappel, but there is an intermediate station. Otherwise start walking left from sunshine point along a faint trail on the rim. After walking 100ft or so (from rap station) you will see a large Hemlock trunk with a static line tied around it. Hand over hand down to the bottom. Follow one of two muddy slab down-scramble options to the climbs. Both trails bring you to the route Cerberus.
This route has great variety. A crimpy face leads to a tough, steep roof. Sequential climbing on the headwall leads to pumpy jugs. This route is fun and sustained with good flow on great rock. It has some technical steep face climbing, a bit atypical for the cliff. A personal favorite. ...[more]Browse More Classics in NC