If you've honed your slabbing skills enough that routes like the Nose and Peregrine seem tame, maybe it's time to move along to the Sun Wall. The infamous Titties and Beer is described by the guidebook as the "easiest way to the top of the Sun Wall," but it's not for the faint of heart -- and things only get harder from there. The Sun Wall offers an abundance of steep and intimidating climbs ranging up to the 5.12 level.


From the road fork, continue up the gravel road for about two miles, passing the Slickrock Falls trailhead, and park in a small lot with a kiosk; this is the Sun Wall trailhead. Hike up the trail as for the Nose Area, then take a smaller trail off to the right after passing a switchback above a granite slab. Continue winding through the rhodos to finish at the base of Legendary Nuclear Bomb. Most of the Sun Wall routes are further to the right along the cliffside trail.


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Grade Route
  1. (5.5/5.6) Easy climbing to get up to the double bolt anchor from the ledge.

  2. Aim for the crack, cams can go into some shallow placements. Fire through the early moves and don't get too pumped - - this is probably the crux of the climb and I'd say it does feel 5.10a - - the crack is super fun and backs off in hardness as you go up - about 50' up trend left onto the face and then up another 40' or so of easier slabby face climbing to get to the belay spot - save some medium wired stoppers and a couple of cams for the gear belay.

  3. You can go right or left but most go (climber's) left. You can protect right below "the move" - this move probably is 5.9 but it does feel hard. Be sure to protect your second so if they fall they don't cheese grater the rope across the rock - this is important. Trend up and right to a great belay spot.

  4. Keep going out to your right to gain the obvious water groove about 40' right of the belay - it's a one step move into the groove (5.7?) and then things get easy. Go up the groove for about 40' and then go right to another good belay spot - - all the hard climbing is now over.

  5. This isn't really a "pitch" but it avoids Southender Gully which is a PITA. - traverse right about a full rope length - don't go up too much - aim for what looks like a totally loose bolder sitting on a ledge (it might be - don't mess with it) go under it to a giant ledge and find two shiny stainless rap anchors (these are roughly on top of Irish Jig and Ruby Tuesday) - - one rappel (2 ropes) gets you on the ground with plenty to spare. If you can't find the aformentioned bolts you can go up and right and eventually hit trees - this is Southender Gully - - a bungle in the jungle for sure but you'll make it down.

This section of the Sun Wall is quite intimidating with some intense hand jamming. Aerospace Cadet is one of the easier routes up through the bulges.

Weird climbing on the second pitch. Big bulgy slopers moves and mantles. Good pro when you need it.

Location: Starts about 50 left of Out to Lunch, right side of an apron.

Protection: Typical Glass Rack

FA: Jeep Gaskin & Don Hunley, 1978

Climbs a sustained crimpy face past a bolt and piton. Then breaks out left under a roof heading towards fixed gear. Then heads up and gently right from bashy past more gear to a two bolt anchor.

Location: 20 feet right of Out To Lunch.

Protection: Small and mid size cams. A small (grey or purple) C3 may be used to back up the bashy above the roof.

Best route name ever. This is a beautiful piece of stone and one of the coolest routes in North Carolina. This climb requires a nice mix of power, finesse, and a bit of boldness. MUCH harder to lead than toprope, fall above the crux and its pretty much a mandatory 20 footer with slab smacking potential. The top eases off technically but pro is scant and thin.

Location: Located on the Sun Wall, down and right from the Nose area, this climb is the obvious arching right facing corner. NOTE: This is the first pitch of Psychedelic Delusions of the Digital Man done free.

Protection: Lots of RP's, small tcu's up to .75 camalot

FFA: Douglas Swords

FA: Jeff Burton, Mark Stroud & Bill Tennent, 1985

Steep 'brows with techy gear and good holds make this a worthy outing on the far right of the Sun Wall.

  1. Head up Southender and get gear high and right of the eyebrow infested wall. Drop back down and blast left over the bulge with good holds and some TCUs. Follow the path of least resistance to a large ledge with a belay on the left side.

  2. Crank a bulge to a horizontal and climb great holds to a the bolt belay. Probably will be dirty so bring a brush.

Location: Right of Ruby Tuesday at Southender. One Rap with two ropes.

Protection: Standard Looking Glass stuff. Med. cams in the belay. Extra TCU's in smaller sizes helpful. Double ropes.

FA: Andy Kluge, Bruce Burgess & Sat. Patricks Day, 1998

This route shares the first pitch with Aerospace Cadet. If I recall correctly it was done in 81/82 . It starts about 50 feet left of Out to Lunch.

  1. Climb up a light-colored streak of rock. Mantel up and right over a bulge to a gear belay. Rating was around 9+.

  2. Second pitch traverses up and left across orange rock to a bolt, backed up with natural gear for a belay below a multi-tiered overhanging water groove. Which is left of the Aerospace water groove. Rating was about 10-.

  3. Third pitch goes straight up the overhanging tiered water groove which is juggy initially. However getting over the lip into the water groove above is cruxy. It then climbs about 50 feet on up the water groove to a natural belay. 4. Last pitch finishes up easy ground to the top.

Location: On the Sun Wall left of Out to Lunch

Protection: Standard Looking Glass Trad rack. Cams and Stainless Steel Testicles...

FA: Bob Rotert & Jeep Gaskin, 1982

Much steeper than it looks; the pump is good the moves are better! The route climbs up and left through steep eyebrows with good pro and a couple of bolts to ease the mind. The crux comes after the second bolt. After these moves you head out right to the anchors of Out To Lunch.

Location: This route is on the Sun wall 150' left of Tits and Beer. It is 10' to the left of a broken crack (Out to Lunch).

Protection: 2 bolts; micro cams to .75. Rap rings at the top.

FA: Jeff Lauschey & Monty Reagan, 1987

The best water groove ever. With TCU's (which they didn't have on the first ascent) the route may or may not deserve a solid R rating depending on how brittle your bones are / how lucky you are, but for all the cruxes you are a above your pro making for commiting climbing. The final crux bulge is a potential ankle breaker due to the fall onto a 65 or 70 degree slab from a vertical bulge when your feet are about 6 feet above gear.

  1. (5.10d) Climb steep groove past numerous horizontals to an easy roof, then climb groove past 3 bolts to a gear belay with hand sized cams in a horizontal - The crux of this pitch is potentially the hardest single move on the climb.

  2. (5.11a) Climb groove and then the face left of the groove past 3 bolts. After the 3rd bolt a small hybrid alien or probably a small TCU in a horizontal in the groove protects what used to have been a runout to the 2 bolt anchor.

  3. (5.11b) Climb sustained laurel knob style stemming groove past 2 bolts until the terrain eases. Continue up to a steep bulge protected by gear in a horizontal at the base. Though you are not especially far above your gear, this bulge might be the most dangerous part of the climb due to the slick rock and potential ankle breaking / ankle spraining fall. The bomb flake is no longer there. Continue up to 2 bolt anchor to the left atop which is part of prey (the route you rappel to get down) (5.11b)

  4. Continue up easy groove to top (5.8)

Location: Obvious steep water groove just left of the Odyssey

Protection: Doubles of cams to #2, one #3 including hybrids if you have them. may want some tricams too though I don't recall any key placements that only take tricams. many of the horizontals take bomber nuts too.

FA: Jeep Gaskin, Monty Reagan & Whitney Heuerrman, 1986

Not actually dangerous except for one or two heady moves at the start of P1.

  1. (5.10a, 70'). Spicy moves lead to a pin and a bolt. Trend up and right on "eyebrows" to a deep horizontal 15" below a bulge system and belay on 1 to 2" gear. (or link P1 and P2).

  2. (5.10, 120'). Crank straight off the belay into the bulge system with a #1 camalot for pro. Pull the bulge with a sloper or two to great incuts and great pro. Fight the pump and head for stacked pins. As the angle changes slab up to horizontal and belay with small to med gear.

  3. (5.8, 100'). Climb off the belay heading up and right for bolted anchors on Irish Jig.

Rejoyce in your send of this Sun Wall Classic.

Location: 100 yds rock right of Tits and Beer. 100 Yds rock left of Southender. Start at a low angle slab look for a slight left facing corner looking for a pin and a bolt. Rap from Irish Jig with two 60m ropes.

Protection: Doubles in #1 and #2 cams are helpful. Double sets TCU's very helpful as well. Tri-cams are a great bet as well. P1 and P2 anchors are gear. Bolts at the top of P3. This is the rap station. 2 60m ropes to descend.

FA: Jeep Gaskins & Peter White, 1982

This route is an Odyssey, and seems right on par for what a Sun Wall route should be. This is probably one of the easier routes on this wall to start out on.

  1. The Shull/Lambert topo shows a gradual rightward rising traverse to get to the crack. Don't do this. From the rack-up spot below Prey traverse straight right on a 3rd class slab until you are directly below the crack, then go straight up on eyebrows. You'll have to make a couple committing slab moves with gear at your feet, but you shouldn't hit the slab if you fall. If it seems dangerous, you're in the wrong spot.

  2. Climb the obvious and well protected crack. It takes lots of hand sized pieces. When the crack ends, exit to the right (a little spicey) to a bolted belay on a sloping ramp.

  3. Traverse left back to the crack from the belay. Do a hard high-step/layback to get back in the crack (harder for short folks)...this was a little scary with gear at your feet and a slab below. There are 2 hammered hexes in the crack you can use for pro once established in the crack. Clip a bolt then traverse left into the water groove. This is the crux if you're tall, I thought the move right at the start of the pitch (liebacking up to the crack) was harder than this section. Once in the water groove, climb up and then to the right to belay in an obvious scoop.

  4. (5.7) Climb easy eyebrows on the right until the rope runs out. The topo calls this "5.9", but it's much easier.

Descent: Rap down Prey with 2 ropes. At the top, look for two bolts to the left of the Odyssey near two dead trees. I can't remember if it was 2 or 3 seems like 2, but I could be wrong.

Location: On the Sun Wall. Take the Sun Wall trail, branching left off of the Nose trail at the appropriate time. The trail will hit the wall at a large apron, go left through a tree tunnel up to a nice little ledge under the "raven's roost" that the hard route "Prey" climbs over. This is a nice spot to rack up, but we saw a timber rattler here once, and another large snake. Take note of where Prey is (locate a line of bolts) then Odyssey is the second water streak to the right with a long crack starting about 50' up.

Protection: Standard rack. I find extra .5's and .75's to be especially useful in the eyebrows, which there are a lot of on this route.

FA: Bob Mitchell, Art Williams - 1972 FFA: Jeep Gaskin & Don Hunley, 1977

Great crack climbing up a steep wall. 3rd pitch may be sandbagged at 5.10d.

Location:20ft Right of Le Pump

Protection: Standard NC Rack

FA: Henry Barber & Ric Hatch, 1985

  1. (5.10, 80') Slab up to a right leaning hand crack. Jam crack to it's end and climb face past two bolts. At the 2nd bolt, place gear out left and crux hard left to a great belay ledge with #1/#2 Camalots.

  2. (80') From the belay, move back right 10 feet to a slick/featured grove. Place gear at your feet and climb straight up the groove to more gear and better holds. Continue up the groove for 20 more feet and move 10/15 feet left under the bulge into a clean groove aiming for a bolt at the top of the groove. Crux up the steep groove to the bolt and climb 40 feet to a belay under a bulge. 5.10. 80 feet. (I promise its not 150' as mentioned in the guide.)

  3. (5.9, 150') Traverse right 30 feet to a deep water groove. Stem up the groove until the terrain backs off and move right 100 feet until you can belay from two bolts above Irish Jig.

Location: Third route left of Southender on the Sun wall. Start at obvious hand crack. Approach from South Face parking area or Nose area. Former is easier.

Descent: One two rope rap with 60s from P3 anchors gets you down.

Protection: Singles from 00 to 0. Doubles from .1 to #2 Camalots. Single set stoppers. Long runners or double ropes. All belays are gear except for end of P3.

FA: Jeep Gaskin, Julia Gaskin & Whitney Heuermann

A super testpiece of "brow" climbing. The crux is down low pulling a move off the "spoon" hold but things stay exciting all the way to the top as each hard move comes just before clipping the next bolt.

Beautiful moves but may need a bit of brushing off before a send can take place since its rarely climbed and the water streak may be a little dirty.

Location: Park as for the Nose. Down and right from the Nose. Immediately right of the Psych Delusions/Acid Test corner is a black water streak with bolts.

Protection: Bolts and maybe a couple of tcu's

FA: Whitney Huerman

Really, really cool water groove/face climbing. This route was originally rated 5.10R. Its still pretty R (P1) but probably PG13 with small gear.

  1. (5.10, 60') Business starts pretty soon on this pitch. Not much warming up. Start directly below the obvious, beautiful black water groove. Climb directly up to a stance at a cool, horizontal crack feature. Get a good .3 or .4 C4 here and move directly left below a steep groove. Carefully climb up the groove looking for a yellow TCU out left in an eyebrow. Move up to a right leaning crack with good gear. Wander right to a stance and get more good gear. Step back left into the groove and climb hard 5.10 friction up to the belay. This part is probably PG13. Belay at the obvious horizontal w/.5 to #2 cams below a steep bulge.

  2. (5.10, 140')This pitch is positively amazing. Climb the steep water groove left and then back right up in to the groove. Get a good .75 and then dance back and forth across the groove on amazing edges, knobs and slopers searching for gear. Its all there. Exit on to a lower angled slab under a bulge. Fire the bulge with good gear to a large sloping ledge and climb some of the coolest holds on the glass for 80 or 90 feet to a big horizontal belay. Belay here with .5 to #2 cams.

  3. Climb up and right 40'to the bolt anchor on Irish Jig and rap with two 60s to the ground.

Location: First route left of Southender on the Sun Wall. Approach from South Face. Rap Irish Jig with two 60s from bolts. One rap will get you down. Beautiful black water groove.

FA: Jeff Burton & Peter White, 1982

A var. of Patrick Ewing. Belay at the base of the P. Ewing hand crack. Climb the hand crack to the 2nd bolt of PE. For Scotty Pippen, go straight up past the 2nd bolt to a 3rd bolt at very crisp positive crimps. Power over the bolt thru shallow bulges and good gear being careful with the "potato chip" hold. Mantle thur another bulge at the base of a final bulge. Clip the bolt and make a long reach to an eyebrow and step over on the low angled face. Climb 5.6 'brows to a good .4 C4 and traverse back left to the gear belay at the top of PE P2. Two #2 camalots are nice at the belay. Finish on PE.

Location: In between Pat Ewing and Nick Danger. Rap the Ruby Tuesday anchors with two 60s.

Protection: Two bolts and gear. 4 bolts total counting the two on PE. Gear belays.

FA: Phil Hoffmann & Brian Williams, 2010

A long over looked classic that deserves a go! Climb eyebrows with gear and sculpted edges. Watch the rock change from polished granite to pebbly sand paper ending at a two bolt anchor.

Location: Immediately left of T and B on the Sun Wall apron. Starts on a steep black face.

Protection: Small cams, nuts and gear up to a one inch. Two bolts on pitch

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