Gilbert’s Rock is an integral part of the progression-based climbing system at Falling Creek Camp. Located about 30 minutes from Falling Creek, Gilbert’s Rock is the first rock climbing experience for many boys.
Gilbert’s uniqueness comes from the way it lends itself to the needs of the beginning climber and the seasoned climbing instructor. The routes at Gilbert’s are far more straight-forward than some of the neighboring crags. Parts of Gilbert’s are highly featured and allow ample hand and foot holds for new climbers. Boys climb at Gilbert’s as training for the more challenging routes on Looking Glass and other surrounding rocks.
History of Gilbert’s Rock
Located in Flat Rock, North Carolina, just past the Carl Sandburg Historical Home, a granite dome protrudes from the forest by the name of Tater Knob. Tater Knob was first climbed in 1965 by Steve Longenecker, Bob Watts, and Robert John Gillespie. They renamed Tater Knob “Gilbert’s Rock” after asking local resident and owner, Frank Gilbert, if they could climb it. Frank said, “sure” and the trio hiked in and gazed up at the steep slab.
Because of the lack of cracks to place protection, the team wondered how they were going to protect themselves as they climbed. Using traditional North Carolina ethics, the team placed bolts into the rock face as they ascended, which they would clip a carabiner to and then clip the rope to for protection against falls. This route became known as the Bolt Route. There are now six established routes located on the main face of Gilbert’s. These include Gil 1, Gil 2, Sour Milk, Hole in Four, the Monarch Crack, and the Bolt Route.
Also at Gilbert’s are several unnamed top rope possibilities from the anchor bolts on the top of the cliff. Due to Gilbert’s size, the cliff is considered “climbed out," meaning all possible routes have been discovered and climbed.
Scheduling and Use
Gilbert’s Rock is currently used by roughly 25 camps, outdoor education groups, schools, and universities in the Hendersonville, Asheville, and Brevard areas. It is privately owned by the Falling Creek family who has continued to allow area camps and organizations to use Gilbert’s.
Gilbert’s Rock Usage Guidelines
If you are a camp or organization looking to use Gilbert’s Rock, you must contact Ben Williams at Falling Creek for scheduling and policies regarding use. Individuals are not allowed to climb at Gilbert’s. Climbing at Gilbert’s is a privilege and we must respect the wishes of the land owner.