Dixon School Rd Bouldering

My buddy Steve has been raving about the newly opened bouldering area, Dixon School Road, near Crowders Mountain State Park. Not being much of a boulderer but still intrigued, I decided to go check it out with Jessica one weekend. We found great problems on quality stone of varying difficulty. Check out the pictures and even better, go for a visit this fall and winter because that is when the friction and conditions will be excellent. Big thanks go out to the NC Park Service and The Carolina Climbers Coalition for putting in the hard work to finally get this area opened.


Looking towards Table Rock from Grandfather Boulders

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Highest State Peaks

Phil and I burrowed in for a recent rainy day and watched a nature series about Hawaii. We were astounded to learn that the highest peak in Hawaii is Mauna Kea at 13,796. This is a far cry from Mount Mitchell, the highest point in North Carolina at 6,684. Still, elevation differences throughout western North Carolina can make a huge impact on outdoor conditions, making it possible to rockclimb in the middle of summer, iceclimb at Thanksgiving and boulder in February.

Here are a few key times to visit certain NC elevations:

Ship Rock, NC
At 4592 ft, this is a great summer crag, known for summer breezes and unpredictable storms throughout the year.

Chimney Rock, NC
At only 1096 ft, Chimney Rock and Rumbling Bald are popular for rockclimbing and bouldering in fall and winter once the poison ivy dies and the temperatures become conducive to friction.

Mount Mitchell, NC
The state's tallest peak at 6684 ft is often covered in mist and clouds, but clear, summer days are the best for visiting this area for hiking or camping. But, if time is of essence, be aware that you can drive all the way to Mount Mitchell from the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Whitesides Mountain, NC
The summit of this impressive rock face can be accessed via a 2 mile round trip loop, or, via roughly 9 pitches of incredible climbing. The Main Wall is south facing, so spring and fall are your best weather windows for rockclimbing to the 4850 ft summit.

Feel free to stop in the shop for more NC beta!


Rain Day in Brevard

Nothing stymies climbers at Looking Glass more than a day of rain, and we have gotten our fair (or even unfair) share lately. Luckily, many cliffs in the area are south facing, so they can dry quickly. Here are a few things to do when twittling your thumbs and waiting for dry rock.

Go Bowling
Everybody is a winner when it comes to rolling a heavy ball at some pins, right? Go through Brevard on 64 and you will find Strykes Again on Rosman Highway828.884.2695
Sip Coffee
Nothing like a hot drink and some internet surfing to drown your sorrows.
Indie Coffee House is virtually across the street from Looking Glass Outfitters, or try Quotations on the south side of downtown Brevard.

Devour Calories
Three of our favorite non-budget-busting places to get food fast are Pad Thai, Poppies and Pescado's Burritos.

Trail Run in Pisgah
If you are antsy to get your heart rate up, trailrunning is a great rainy day activity! Two of our favorites are the North Slope Trail and Avery Creek. Pop in LGO or the Pisgah Ranger Station
for directions.

Throw Down on Plastic
Brevard Rock Gym can help you get a pump when the weather won't cooperate! It is just around the corner from basically everything on this list. 828.884.7625

Tour a WNC Brewery
If the day is fairly shot, it is worth a drive to tour Pisgah Brewing Company or Highland Brewing Company. If you don't want to drive too far, grab a brew at The Square Root, Jordan Street Cafe, or Dugan's Pub. Tasty!

Drool over Gear
You know it is time to replace that sorry, old .... Check out Brevard's favorite gear shop at Looking Glass Outfitters! We have an excellent selection of c
limbing shoes, ropes, gear and outdoor apparel. Chances are, your better half or better self will thank you! We may even give you the WiFi password...


Our Favorite Things

Since becoming gear shop owners, we certainly have seen our gear closet expand a bit, but not as much as you might think. Here are a few of our favorite things:

Sterling Marathon BiColor 60 Meter Rope- Sure, it is hard to spring for the extra $30-$40 to buy a bicolor rope, but countless times I have been extremely thankful for the super obvious middle marker on this rope. Compared to a trip to the hospital for getting lowered off the end of your rope on that rope stretcher at T-Wall, the extra cash is well worth it.

Chockstone Jacket- I have honestly searched high and low for a simple, lightweight, truly stretchy softhshell jacket WITH a hood. It sounds simple enough, but it is hard to find. The Chockstone Jacket is light enough to run in during a wintry drizzle, yet understated enough to wear to Jordan Street Cafe. I love this thing and it is under $100!!

ATC Guide- Between the extra grooves for lowering heavier partners, to the guide mode, which keeps top belays happy when belaying your second on a multi pitch route, this little belay device is highly appreciated and versatile!


La Sportiva Muira VS climbing shoe:
Edging power, slight down turn, and what's this? Comfort. (ps, did you see Lauren Lee wearing them on the current cover of Rock & Ice? Wow!)

Black Diamond Tracer Helmet
I used to abhor wearing climbing helmets for the weight, bulk and lack of comfort. No more excuses with the Tracer. Bike helmet comfort and light weight with great looks and great protection. The best part? Under $90

Sport Science Looking Glass Outfitters Logo Tech T:
We are proud of our shop and excited in the new direction we are headed! What better way to show it with the new logo Tech T from Sport Science. An 85% poly, 15% cotton blend that wicks and breathes.


Arborwear Single Front Tech Pant and Shorts:
Better than my favorite jeans and durable enough for laying carpet with Dan, Dan the Carpet Man

Aid Gear from Black Diamond and Yates
My favorite? Peckers, RURPS, Duckbills, Scream Aids and Cam Hooks. If you don't know what any of these things are...you're a sport climber.

Georgia Bulldogs.
'nuff said.

Looking Glass Outfitters is a full service gear shop open 7 Days a week at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest and around the corner from Hendersonville, Brevard & Asheville.

Happy Exploring..........


Denali Jacket

It is here, the iconic classic from The North Face that continues to be a perennial bestseller. Get your Denali Jacket before they disappear! This fleece jacket lasts for ages, keeps you toasty warm and the style lasts forever!!

The North Face Denali Jacket

Free Ground Shipping Through 11/30/2009
Use Code

Looking Glass Outfitters is a full service gear shop open 7 Days a week at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest and around the corner from Hendersonville, Brevard & Asheville.

Happy Exploring..........


Oh the Places You'll Go... with a Headlamp

Our headlamp wall at the shop is fairly famous thanks to Marcus' genius paint cans, but also because headlamps are one of the most useful and bestselling products we carry. Here are a few times headlamps have come in handy:

Abandoning the Trail & Walking the Road
When my brother, sister-in-law, dog and I overestimated how long we could hike when hurricaine-damaged roads delayed our start, we had to abandon the Tanawah Trail and walk the Blue Ridge Parkway as darkness enveloped us. I used my headlamp on the back of my head in emergency mode to help vehicles spot us.

Stranded on Whitesides
When our friends got stranded on Whitesides due to a stuck rope, we were thrilled to spot their headlamps, which helped us get to them before freezing temps and an early season snow.

Middle of the Night Camping
I somehow frequently have to leave the cozy, stretchy comfort of my Montbell sleeping bag for a quick trip to heed nature's call. My trusty Petzl Tikka helps me see the way and is easy to stow in the tent or van.

Heading back from The Bald
Since winter is the best time to climb at Rumbling Bald, we are always pushing our limit with daylight hours, whether sprinting for an afternoon bouldering session or heading to tick classic routes. I can't count how many times we have hiked out with headlamps drooling over the thought of pumpkin salsa at Papa's & Beer.

When it comes to headlamps, a pretty small purchase can be a pretty huge help in an unplanned situation!


Pisgah National Forest Packing List

Headed to the mountains of western North Carolina this fall? Here are a few key pieces of gear and outdoor clothing that will come in handy no matter what activity you will be partaking in, whether a climb in Linville, antiquing in Brevard, or hiking along the Art Loeb in Pisgah National Forest.

Wicking Base Layer
With temperatures ranging from 40-80 degrees this September, a wicking shirt is a key place to start your layers. Whether you grab a short sleeve or a long sleeve tee, the ability of synthetic or wool layers to keep you cool when temps are hot and warm when temps drop, is unprecedented. A Wicked Tee from Mountain Hardwear is a daily staple in the mountains!

Re-fillable Water Bottle
No need to waste fuel on disposable water bottles. Get in the habit of filling a Sigg, Nalgene or Klean Kanteen and your wallet and the landfill will thank you. Even as temps lower, it is essential to keep yourself hydrated when playing in the mountains!

A Lightweight Daypack

A comfortable, light day pack will keep you ready for a quick hike to one of Brevard's waterfalls, or keep your essentials nearby while toe tapping at Brevard Music Center. Daypacks have 1001 uses in western North Carolina!

Wool Socks
Whether sipping coffee by the fire, or heading out to bag some Pisgah peaks, Darn Tough & Smartwool Socks will keep your feet comfy and happy. Merino Wool= Cozy all year round!

A Fleece Pullover or Jacket
Fleece has come a long ways since the first hand me down I got from my brother (which is still alive and kicking.) You will love to curl up in a furry Monkey Man or Monkey Woman from Mountain Hardwear, and will find the temps just right to zip up a Marmot Power Stretch for a morning jaunt.

A Map or Guidebook
Word of mouth works great in Pisgah Forest for sure, but to get your hands dirty climbing, hiking, trailrunning or camping, you will fare best with either Selected Climbs in North Carolina or a map of Pisgah National Forest. We have both in stock (plus plenty of free beta) every day!

Looking Glass Outfitters is a full service gear shop open 7 Days a week at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest and around the corner from Hendersonville, Brevard & Asheville.

Happy Exploring..........


Fun at The New River Gorge

After a summer of staying close to home, Phil and I were itching to climb some steep trad and sport climbs, so we packed up the Subaru with dogs and climbing gear, and headed to The New. The moist, steamy days of summer seem to have broken, and we have been enjoying the beginning of fall in Fayetteville, West Virginia. It is such a treat to have a plethora of cliffs and climbing styles to choose from, but we have been focusing on crack climbs as much as possible, doing routes like Triple Treat, Celibate Mallard and The Undeserved. The weather, as usual, has vacillated from perfect sunshiny days to ominous gray days with roaring thunder. We spent a rest day rafting The New River, and saw lots of paddlers at the ready for the first bit of Gauley season, which starts later this week. A few more days of steepness to come!

Photos Courtesy Jay Young


Slab Climbing Shoe

Since Looking Glass is famous for slab climbing, we are often asked "What climbing shoe is best for slab climbing?" Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are packing your bags to head to Looking Glass.

1. Comfy Shoes
Since many climbs at Looking Glass are multi-pitch, your shoes need to be comfortable. A down-turned performance shoe that is made for steep sport climbing can be excruciating on this type of climb. While you can take your shoes off in between pitches, choose a shoe that offers all day comfort.

2. Sticky Shoes
On Looking Glass, your "foot hold" will often be a slight indention in less-than-vertical rock. So you need to wear shoes that you trust. If you cannot trust your feet, you won't get very far off the ground at Looking Glass!

3. Non-aggressive Shoes
In western North Carolina, slab climbing means a lot of climbing with your heels in a downward position- much like hanging your heel off a step. Aggressive shoes are made for the opposite position- stepping on your toe in a pointed position. Therefore, shoes that do not force your toes downward are your best pick for slab climbing.

Often, your beloved "first pair of climbing shoes" can be a great slab climbing shoe since they are likely not super tight and not performance oriented. So many shoes dubbed "beginner friendly" can be perfect for a trip up The Nose. Also, many shoes that are good for trad climbing and crack climbing, are perfectly suitable for slab climbing. Here are a few of our bestselling shoes that do well on the slab of Looking Glass and beyond:

Scarpa Techno

Evolv Defy
La Sportiva Mythos Lady