Gilbert's Rock

View from Berea Church Road.

The main face of Gilbert's Rock

Gilbert's Rock is an integral part of the progression-based climbing system at Falling Creek Camp.

Located about thirty minutes from Falling Creek, Gilbert's Rock is the first rock climbing experience for many boys. Boys that are new to climbing complete a "Gil 1" prep. This occurs at camp and includes learning the basic climbing safety skills such as expectations from the staff, learning the climbing harness, and figure-eight-follow-through knot as well as other skills. The boys then travel to Gilbert's to climb the rock!

Instruction at Gilbert's.

Camper preparing to climb at Gilbert's

After the Gil 1 experience, climbers proceed to the Gil 2 trip, where they will learn more complex skills that will allow them to participate in more advanced climbing trips. This is why Gilbert's is such an effective teaching resource for Falling Creek Camp.

Gilbert's uniqueness comes from the way it lends itself to the needs of the beginner climber and seasoned climbing instructor. The routes at Gilbert's are far more straight-foward 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 areas.

History of Gilbert's Rock

Early Climbing at Gilbert's.

Donnie Bain, on the FCC staff for 35 years, climbing at Gilbert's in the 1980's.

Located in Flat Rock NC, 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 to "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 aginst a fall. This route became known as the Bolt Route. There are now six established routes located on the main face of Gilbert's. These routes include Gil 1, Gil 2, Sour Milk, Hole in Four, the Monarch Crack and the Bolt Route.

Routes on the main face

The highly featured main face of Gilbert's Rock

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 sixteen camps in the Hendersonville, Asheville & Brevard areas. It is privately owned by Falling Creek Director Emeritus and Henderson County Commissioner Chuck McGrady. Chuck has been gracious enough to continue 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 recreationaly at Gilbert's at this time. Climbing at Gilbert's is a priviledge and we must respect the wishes of the land owner.

Trip Programs


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