Rumbling Bald is Open

Although the thought of climbing at Rumbling Bald right now may conger up visions of intense poison ivy and sunburn, please note that it is currently open for climbing. Camping is not permitted.

More info on Rumbling Bald Climbing Access here

Gearing Up for Yosemite

A big thanks to Todd and Gigi, LGO customers who sent pictures from their recent trip to Yosemite. Todd found us online from Charlotte in search of a pair of Scarpa Kailash GTX Boots for his trip. Although not very well known in the South, Scarpa is an outstanding Italian footwear maker that excels at both climbing shoes and hiking boots. We have had more than one serious hiking aficionado and gear junkie head to LGO in search of this award winning Gore-Tex hiking boot.

Looks like a great trip!!

Nice Mountain Hardwear Wicked Tee Gigi!


Brevard - Land of Waterfalls

If you follow this blog much or live in western North Carolina- well, lucky you. But, it does mean you are familiar with rainy days. The climate here is often compared to a rainforest. So, Sunday when rain showers seemed to make climbing out of the question, we headed hiking. If you know Phil, you know it is rare indeed for him to hike, but we ended up having fun exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Graveyard Fields Ridgeline.

We parked at the Looking Glass Overlook and hiked on the Mountains to Sea Trail, eventually ending up at the first Graveyard Fields Parking Area. This section of trail seems less frequented than those that start at Graveyard Fields, yet it was nicely shaded and included a fun waterfall where swimmers were enjoying an evening dip. Check this area out for a great taste of why the Brevard area is dubbed The Land of Waterfalls.


New Arrivals at Looking Glass Outfitters!

Warm weather in Western NC means a host of outdoor opportunities are at your fingertips! Check out our latest arrivals at Looking Glass Outfitters to keep you comfortable, active, and stylish as you head for the woods!

Mountain Hardwear Pacer Short
Great for afternoon trailruns up the North Slope or Coontree Gap

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Anorak
At an amazing 4 ounces, this lightweight, wind and water resistant anorak is easy to slip in your pack for fleeting rain patches in Pisgah National Forest.

Metolius Port-a-Cord
At $55.99, this rugged crag/ rope pack will keep your rope and goodies protected without breaking the bank!

END Trail Thong
These sporty flips a perfect for hopping amongst rocks at a Davidson River swimming hole, yet look great for a casual summer dinner in Brevard. If you buy organic food, try to minimize your carbon footprint, and recycle, why not go green with your flip flops too??


Linville Gorge, NC

Despite a sketchy forecast, we headed to Linville Gorge on Saturday and enjoyed a great day of climbing at Hawksbill. Linville Gorge is one of North Carolina's true gems and a great place to climb in the summer thanks to North facing cliffs. I was struck by the comparison between Grandfather Mountain, NC and The Sleeping Indian near Jackson, Wyoming. Eventualy the rain did set in- so I will blame that for spitting me off of a steep, crimpy sport climb. Photos below include Phil pulling the crux on Swing Your Partner- a fabulous three pitch route.


Back from the 'Vous

What a fun Lucky 7! Despite a yucky looking forecast, Rendezvous attendees got to do plenty of climbing each day, and lots of fun times at night. It did manage to rain, but mostly in the evenings, making for a nice, muddy environment for slog fests like the tug-o-war and the popular Crash-Pad Sumo wrestling. Still, the Saturday night band whooped it up and there were lots of climbers shaking it on the dance floor into the wee hours. The Waterstone and NRAC crew did their usual fantastic job hosting the East Coast's favorite climbing festival. See you next year!

The super full Subaru with: 10x10 Mountain Khaki Tent, 150+ Pop Tarts, lots of MK's, Climbing Packs, a Drill, 2 large but stuffed dogs & More

Kris "Odub" Hampton on The Mercy Seat at Summersville
A DC Climber on Tobacco Road at Summersville (His first day leading outside ?!)

Lynn Hill Slinging Eggs

The Tent Village at Burnwood

Climbers Stick Clipping Narcissus thanks to a now absent first bolt

Our gracious hosts: Jay & Wendy Young


Lucky 7

Get ready for New River Rendezvous #7! Phil and I will soon be leaving for our annual pilgrimage to the New River Rendezvous. If you have never gone, give it a try! It is a ton of fun for climbers of all styles and abilities and the Rendezvous is always chock full of fun people, incredible climbers, tasty food, and excellent scenery. Many of your favorite brands will be representing at the trade show and Jessica will be helping to host the Mountain Khakis Pants Wars on Thursday night. I have attached a few photos from scouting new lines at last year's Rendezvous. Hope to see you at the New!

NRR #7 Must Haves:

Reusable Cutlery & Plates to support the No Waste Initiative
A Warm Jacket for late night Slacklining
A Raincoat- let's hope you don't need it
An Up-to-date Harness for the Send Train
Joshua Tree Climbing Salve to keep happy hands


A Weekend Full of the Glass

Looking Glass was full of activity this weekend, despite an uncertain forecast. We headed to the Nose area Saturday and got a fun morning on classics like Sensemelia Sunset and Hyperbola before a brief rain shower sent us packing up and heading to the Laurel Knob Pay Off Party put on by the Carolina Climbers Coalition at Camp Merrie-Woode. If you have ever been to Camp Merrie-Woode, in Saphire, NC, you know it is an absolutely stunning camp with a Laurel-Knob-esque rock face right on the property. A crew of climbers celebrated the CCC's achievement and swapped war stories amongst frogs, rainbows, and plenty of beer.

I think most people were spending quality mom time on Sunday, as the usual haunts at Looking Glass were fairly deserted. Phil and I headed out for a quick afternoon at the Hidden Wall, and hopped on Carbo Man and The Mad Hatter without a soul in sight.

Hope you had a great weekend! Stop by the shop to check out new arrivals from Sterling Ropes and Smith Eyewear.

top left: Benjamin Weaver tearing it up near The Nose
bottom right: A Georgia Climber on Sundial Crack


Trailrunning in Pisgah National Forest - The North Slope Trail

One of my favorite runs to do after a day at the office is the North Slope Trail in Pisgah National Forest. I pull into the visitor center and park near the second entrance. There is a trail right by this NW end of the building which is part of the "Exercise Trail." I stay left on the trail and quickly cross over 276 and the Davidson River. I head right along the Davidson River and past the Davidson River Campground until the second sign for the North Slope Trail which is a true "Y" intersection, where I head left and uphill.

The trail winds up steeply through rhododendrons and sycamore trees until you reach the Art Loeb Connector. I stay left at this intersection, heading downhill and breathing a sigh of relief because I am finished with the most uphill sections of the loop. From here, the trail meanders across a ridge before descending down towards the campground, which I avoid by staying left at several intersections. Eventually, it spits me back out by the Davidson river at the first turn off I passed for the North Slope Trail. I head right along the Davidson, back over the bridge & 276 to the visitor center. It is a lovely run, maybe 4 miles, and I have yet to encounter much traffic on the further sections of the loop. There are some minor creek beds to cross and a few bridges. On a hot day, you could of course take a dip in the Davidson River to cool off at the end!

* Don't forget a good, wicking pair of socks and some sturdy trail shoes to keep your feet happy the WHOLE loop!

More info on hiking trails and waterfalls in Pisgah National Forest here


Thanks to all who came to see Lisa Rands!

Lisa did a great job presenting photos, video, and anecdotes from climbing around the world. We had a cozy crowd and a great community vibe. The beer & burgers disappeared quickly!

A big thank you to all who helped the event be a success:

Lisa Rands - lisarands.com
Kurt Smith- Evolv
Joe Moerschbaecher- Pura Vida Adventures
Anthony Love- Carolina Climbers Coalition
Marcus Webb- Resident LGO Expert
Falling Creek Camp
Jeremy Whitworth- Brevard Rock Gym


Meet Clyde

Regular Looking Glass Outfitters patrons may have noticed some of the changes around here lately, but one of them is named Clyde. You may have seen him parked out front and I think he deserves a proper introduction. Clyde is a 1991 VW Vanagon that we purchased in Seattle last summer after falling in love with a totally different van that blew a head gasket during the first ten minutes of the test drive. You will see in the pictures that the other van was quite a looker, but not so functional. Enter Clyde. Having just driven his previous owners from Maryland to Seattle, we could look through their blog and see that Clyde performed very well on the coast to coast trip, which it turns out is more useful than nifty rims.

We did not tempt our fate when we moved back to NC from Idaho, so Clyde enjoyed riding in style back across the country (behind a U-Haul). He has been a ton of fun so far and we particularly appreciate that the seats fold down to a queen size bed. With his odometer reading about 275,000 miles, we hope he is around for many more climbing adventures. Look for him to be getting a pretty nifty face lift in the coming months.

Our new "tent" (aka Clyde-a-Bus) at Wild Iris