A Weekend Of Camping At Lake Norman State Park & Climbing At Rocky Face, NC

Rocky Face Rock Climbing

Outdoor rock climbing is thrilling, and North Carolina has plenty of places to climb. Rock climbing at Rocky Face is great for a weekend trip. 

On belay? Belay on!

Inhaling a deep breath through my nose the cool air and the distinct smell of bonfires reaches my senses instantly as I step out of our fifteen-passenger van.

Plenty of camping nearby

There are several camping spots close by. We choose to camp at Lake Norman campground. The campsite is not primitive-it has bathrooms, showers, and running water.

It has been almost a year since the last time I went camping, and I missed it.

Assembling tents/ dinnertime 

We scramble to assemble our tents before the sun goes down.

One of the other people in my group started the fire and we roast hot dogs on sticks over the warm flames. The perfect camping food. Hot dogs are easy to cook in the woods. 

I love that I can see the stars here. Some people associate the outdoors with being grungy, but for me, the clean air I am breathing in is the freshest I have felt since my last time camping.

After we ate dinner and toasted marshmallows we clean the dishes and head to bed, or more accurately we head to the rectangle on the earth where we placed our sleeping pads and bags.

I sleep to the white noise of crickets and the slow breeze in the distance rustling against my tent.

Camping at Lake Norman

 The first day on the rocks

Groggily I awaken early ready for a full day of climbing. Birds and other wildlife serenade me and make their presence known. The fresh air is like waking up in a cloud. After heating up some hot water and enjoying some instant oatmeal we drive the 45-minute drive to Rocky Face Recreation Park.

One aspect of Rocky Face rock climbing is going during the right seasons. Since Rocky Face is directly in the sun. The rocks will be too hot to climb during the summer. Early spring and fall are the best times to go

Grade ranging 5.4-5.12

Upon arriving to the Rocky Face rock climbing area, excitement pumps through my veins. The rock formation is much bigger than I remember. Rocky Face has over twenty routes ranging from 5.4-5.12, so there is something for everyone.

I am a much better climber now than I was when I first came to Rocky Face two years ago. Back then I could barely do a 5.5, but it was the first time ever went climbing.

Rocky Face has something for both beginners, intermediate, and advanced climbers. On the five sections there are trad, sport, and top-rope routes.

Here are some of the routes per section:

Section 1
Leaky room- 5.5 sport
Too short – 5.7 sport
Ben’s done been- 5.8+ sport
Section 2
Sunny day- 5.8 sport
Section 3
Bullet holes- 5.7+ tr
Section 4
Gateway- 5.4 sport
Left of time- 5.7 sport
Flight time- 5.7+ sport
Growing pains- 5.7 sport
Swampy thing- 5.8 sport
Short face- 5.9 sport,
Blast in black- 5.9+ sport
Black hole 5.10 sport
Hardman- 5.11d sport
Section 5
Spike left- 5.8 sport
Safety left- 5.9 sport
Lightning crack- 5.10 trad
Snake charmer- 5.10 sport

Each route has a personality of its own. There is one route where I have to fit my entire body through the crack between two rocks.

Pictures from the routes

Rocky Face rock climbing Rocky Face rock climbingRocky Face rock climbing rock climbing at Rocky Face

“Not pictured; all the blisters, chalk, and hand cramps it took to send this route. It has been a crazy ride of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bonfires, tents, bruises, and chalk everywhere.”

Rocky Face rock climbing

Headed home

The combination of camping and climbing is the perfect formula for an outdoor adventure. Jamming to the sound of Country Roads blaring in the background we drive back home, away from the exciting world of outdoor climbing.

top roping in North CarolinaI hope this helped you plan your rock climbing at Rocky Face trip.

For climbing gear check out these sites.



Rope -FREE shipping on orders over $50 at REI

Other articles about climbing:

Canoeing-Camping in Lake James and Climbing at Rocky Mount.

Everything You Need to Know About Rock Climbing In Aruba

3 responses to “A Weekend Of Camping At Lake Norman State Park & Climbing At Rocky Face, NC”

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