Though nowhere near as appealing as our neighbor to the north, South Carolina does have a few excellent climbing areas and some cool granite bouldering. Problem is, you’ll either have to do some serious exploring or ask around to find most of them. Here in the Palmetto State, access is often as sensitive (if not more) than the Cashiers Valley!
The one legal area in South Carolina that deserves a wintertime visit is Table Rock State Park. Located in the state’s northwestern corner in Pickens County, Table Rock is a 350-foot granite face that faces almost due south. If you’ve ever driven the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway north of Greenville (SC 11), this is the monstrous wall that faces the road. The wall’s East Face has almost a dozen routes ranging from the typical 5.9 water grooves to steep, gear protected 5.12 faces.
If you come to Table Rock and only do one route, it should be Stone Wall Action (5.11c). This classic four-pitch line was established in the early 1990s by Doc Bayne and Chris Caldwell and includes everything from a dihedral to an overhanging shield of pebbly black granite. Topos for Stone Wall Action – if you can believe it – are available at the park headquarters.
If you want to climb at Table Rock, you can visit between the months of August and December (although we strongly recommend waiting until November and December sine the wall bakes like no place else in the South). Table Rock is closed for peregrine falcon nesting from Jan. 1 through early August. You’ll also need to sign in at the park office before you climb. The park opens daily at 8 a.m. There is no trail map, so be sure to ask the park rangers for directions to the trailhead. The hike is steep, strenuous and unmarked. On your first visit, plan for at least two hours and consider bringing a USGS topo map.
Table Rock State Park
158 E Ellison LN
Pickens, SC 29671
Fax (864) 878-9077
Additional Info: www.pawnclimbing.com