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Laurel Knob, new routes

Laurel Knob, a 1,200’ dome in the Cashiers Valley, saw a boom in 2012 with four new routes, all 700–1,000’ in length and 5.11 or harder. Brad Wilson, Mike Fischesser, and Joe Lovenshimer established two routes. The first, Fathom Escape Hatch (875’, III 5.11 A2), starts right of Cruising With the Top Down, and climbs seven pitches up a water groove. The second, Steep in the Teacups of Laurel (935’, 5.12d), starts between Hone Ranger and Have Not Need, ascending a steep water groove through bulges and some mandatory runouts. To date, it is one of the hardest routes established at Laurel Knob.

Nathan Brown and partners established the other two routes. The first, High & Dry (700’, 5.11-), begins between Dolphin Graveyard and Stemming Laurel in a vegetated right-facing corner; from there, it climbs a high-quality face through two steeper sections, with high-friction rock throughout. The last route, Dike Hike–Monster Groove (1,000’, 5.11a), begins downhill from Groover on an old project, which it follows for two pitches before ascending four more pitches up the tallest part of the wall. As the name suggests, the lower half follows a huge dike, while the upper follows a huge groove. All four routes employ a mix of gear and bolts, with some sizeable runouts, which is common style for the cliff.

Erik Rieger, from information by Brad Wilson and Nathan Brown