Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

A Sunny Corner in the Linville Gorge (and GIVEAWAY from CLIF!)

Scoping out the rock

We’d originally planned on spending our Saturday climbing in Boone, but when we got the offer for a grand tour of a newly developed area in the Linville Gorge, we jumped at the chance.  The stomach bug had made a couple of passes through our house last week so we were more than psyched to get out and enjoy some fresh, new scenery.

After a pre-dawn start, our posse convened just outside of town and made our way to the crag.  After taking in some gorgeous views along the ridge on our approach, we arrived at our destination a little before 10:00.  We were delighted to find a cliff base with sun-drenched rock that was well-sheltered from the wind.

After a quick run-down of the area classics from our tour guide, we got started on Small Wonder (5.10a), a short, pumpy line that followed some interesting rail features.  Next was Black Water (5.10b), which I thought felt pretty stout for the grade based on the reach required to get through the crux.  Clippity Doo Da Day (5.9) had a couple of nice moves down low, but the real fun was the instant exposure from rocking onto the angular blocks up high.  Red Carpet Arete (5.10a) was next on the must-do list, a nice mixed line that followed an arete and finished on a techincal slab.

Red Carpet Arete (5.10a)

At that point Cragbaby’s eyelids were a little droopy, so we hiked him to sleep on our way to the technical slabs of the Michael Jackson Wall, where all the route names are (you guessed it), Michael Jackson related.  This wall was amazing, and I think Mike Grimm summed it up best when he remarked that if the walls were any steeper they’d ridiculously hard, but if the angle were any lower they’d be a walk up.  We started on Nose Job (5.10a), which followed the thin arete at the end of the wall.  My favorite moment of the day was hanging the draws on Man in the Mirror (5.10c), a balancey high-steppin’ tech fest with just enough foot rails scattered throughout to give your screaming feet a break every now and then.  I ended the day on Moonwalk (5.11d), which I’d debated leading, but decided against since my ankle is still not up for any big whippers.  After I flashed it on toprope, however, I kinda wished I’d tackled it on the sharp end, but I’m certain that I would have probably hung a few times on lead (I’ll keep telling myself that to make myself feel better anyway…).  The uber-thin crux down low was well-protected, but there was still a decent runout in a really sequency section up high to contend with.  Had my feet not been screaming bloody murder from spending all day on my toes in too-tight shoes I would have pulled the rope and gone again, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk for a week if I spent another minute laced up in my Miuras.  I guess it’ll have to wait til next time.

It was nice to be able to explore a new (to us) area that was still day-trip worthy.  The climbing there was very unique, mostly technical slab with a lot of geometric, blocky features.  Almost all of the routes there are in the 5.8-5.11- range, save a few harder ones (which all happened to be seeping).  The majority of the routes had bolts, although a good many of them needed a few pieces of gear as well.  It was also nice to spend a relaxing day on (mostly) moderate terrain.  Another interesting part of the day was being able to sample an entire collection of CLIF CRUNCH granola bars, provided to us from the kind folks at CLIF Bar.  These bars are a lot tastier than the regular CLIF Bars, which I have always thought had a weird aftertaste, just like most other energy bars with lots of protein.  The CRUNCH bars are much lighter, and while they provide only half the protein as their chewy counterparts, one CRUNCH bar boasts an entire serving of organic whole grains.  Our family especially liked the fact that the bars came two per package, since that worked out really well for sharing with our little vulture cragbaby.

If you’re interested in trying out some CLIF CRUNCH bars on your next family adventure – you’re in luck!  CLIF Bar has offered to giveaway a box of CLIF CRUNCH to 4 lucky readers!  To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on the blog about your family’s favorite go-to snack on the trail between now and 6:00 pm EST on Sunday, February 5th.  Looking forward to reading the comments and best of luck!


17 Responses to “A Sunny Corner in the Linville Gorge (and GIVEAWAY from CLIF!)”

  1. Our family is a big fan of Clif as well. We like to get Z-Bars for our son, it’s a special pre and post climbing gym snack, he also likes the Z-Ropes. For the adults we usually stick to Clif bars, Luna bars, fiber bars, apples, and energy beans.

    Personally I recommend the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif Crunch bars……extra special tasty!


  2. I am normally a big fan of dried fruit and nuts. Our family has never tried the Clif bars but would LOVE the opportunity to do so. Thanks to Clif & CragMama for the generous offer! 🙂


  3. Geeze, “cragging”, “babies” and “Linville Gorge” are three words I never thought I’d hear in the same blog post! I thought the area was only full of beautiful epic bushy trad lines. In fact, the guy who taught us how to climb grew up in North Carolina, and used to tell stories of climbing “The Daddy” with his 2 year old in his climbing backpack. Yikes! 🙂 Glad to see so much new development going into such a beautiful area.


  4. Trail mix is definitely out favorite to-go snack. Although I think the kids just like the raisins and M&Ms.


    • I would totally be right there with your kids, sifting through the trail mix for the raisins and M&Ms (peanuts are nice too), haha!

  5. Our favorite snacks are Clif bars. I love the pb builder bars for myself while out climbing and my kids love the z bars! I should buy stock in them with the amt my kiddos go through, lol.


  6. Jayson – The White Choco Macadamian was my fave out of the bunch too!

    Kate C – Climbing with a baby in a backpack, yikes! I have a lot of fond memories of The Daddy as well, including one when I was 5 months preggo. Its such a beautiful area!

    Alyssa and Kate – Agreed, the M n M’s make it worth eating, but at least if I put the healthy stuff in there I feel obligated to eat it!

    Haley – Nice! Never tried the Builder bars, maybe I should!


  7. Confession: my favorite climbing trip snack is totally peppered beef jerky. But know that the ONLY time I can justify noshing on those thick slices of dried meat is while I’m out climbing – gotta get my protein somehow! If we’re talkin’ Clif Bars, the oatmeal raisin walnut variety takes the cake.

    Another great snack I was recently introduced to is raw green bell peppers. A lady friend whipped a pepper out during a climbing trip, started slicing up little slivers, and surprisingly, it was really refreshing. Almost like a savory watermelon.


  8. My favorite climbing snack is anything chocolate! I love S’mores Luna Bars and Clif Mojo bars (peanut butter pretzel and trail mix being my favorite.) Oh, but those white chocolate macadamia nut ones are awesome too.


    • Katie – So long as that’s the only time I guess that’s okay. 😉 Raw peppers, huh? Did she pack them separately? (I’d be afraid that all my gear would end up smelling like peppers!)

      Aimee – Ditto on the chocolate 😉

  9. April Mafturak

    I’m a huge fan of the strawberry-flavored Clif Twisted Fruit (fruit bar) — It’s an instant glucose-fix for me, especially on multi-pitch alpine climbs where you don’t have much time to eat big meals or snacks. The Blueberry Bliss Luna Bars are my next most munched-on “to go” meals during long hikes or climbing days. (They are perfect for breakfast!) Other than that, trail mix and PBJ sandwiches fill the void 😀


  10. In the summer I like dried fruit & meat but I make my own since I just got a dehydrator!


  11. Left over organic flatbread from our local Flatbread Pizza Co. Nothing taste better year round!


  12. Brandy Walters

    little vulture cragbaby – that made me laugh Erica!!! We love Clif granolas & mojos, but there are only a few varieties without dairy, eggs or nuts. We have been making our own beef jerky! I got a recipe from a coworker and it is delicious – and none of those creepy chemicals!!! The whole family loves it, even Lukas.


  13. Sara Floyd

    My family’s favorite snack is Clif or Luna Bars. They are the best!


  14. Trail mix with M&Ms! 🙂


  15. My sister and I have survived on Clif Bars & Luna Bars during past backpacking trips. Her favorite is the Carrot Cake Clif Bars and mine the LemonZest by Luna. We also dig on some trail mix our mom has made us 🙂


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN