Sydney on the Trails: Rock Climbing near Table Rock

Trail Team 11

MORGANTON, N.C. (WJHL)- During the fall, people begin looking for the perfect spot to take in the fall foliage.

Well, what about 50 feet up, while scaling a side of a rock? It’s possible if you want to give rock climbing with a guide a try!

For first time climbers, from anchors to knots, to rope systems, there is a lot to know before beginning a climb, so going out with a guide is highly recommended. “Climbing done correctly is a safe sport it’s just you need a lot of knowledge before you start going out on your own,” explains Scott Thrift, lead guide and owner of NC Outdoor Adventure. “You don’t want to scare somebody to death the very first time they’re out because if you do that you can create a phobia and then the climb is never obtainable for them.”

A huge aspect of safety while climbing is your gear and commands.

If you’re hiking with a guide, they will usually take the gear you need, but remember to bring shoes with good grip, and clothes that will cover your legs from scratches.

Also, don’t forget the sunscreen and the bug spray! Thrift says you need to, “Bring your sense of adventure… you are going to put in some time learning some knots, learning some communication so you can be safe throughout your day.” Watch the video below to learn more about the verbal commands you need to know.

The spot that NC Outdoor Adventures took us was near the Chimneys at Table Rock, right next to the Linville Gorge. Thrift says, “The level we’re on is it’s probably about a 55-56 territory. So that means physically any human should be able to claim this if they can get over the mental block the mental fear of heights is what stops most people.” Even though it’s a relatively easy climb, you’re going to be happy you have a guide there to help. “A guide is going to mitigate a lot of the hazards. There’s a ton of hazards that I would say that somebody who’s not familiar with the territory… doesn’t even know they’re there.” They also help you find your limits and let you know when you’re pushing yourself too far. “My goal is, I want you to get up there and get to the top and not get overwhelmed your first time out and not be able to reach the top the first time out, I like to put people on obtainable goals,” explains Thrift.

It’s also important to realize that gym rock climbing and outdoor rock climbing are very different.

Switching from one to the other without practice isn’t recommended. “I think with the popularity the climbing is getting, I think that now a lot of people I looking at it as an outdoor activity they like to get into, but the biggest thing is you need to go climbing is knowledge…” says Thrift. “You can have all the upper body strength in the world but that’s not going to keep you from getting yourself killed. So knowledge is key.”

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