LOVE VALLEY, N.C. — Carolina Climbers’ Coalition (CCC) and Access Fund are pleased to announce the purchase and protection of the Maibauer Boulders in North Carolina. The purchase secures 32 acres of hardwood forests topped with a compact cluster of high-quality granite boulders within the Brushy Mountains. In an area of the state without many climbing destinations, the Maibauer Boulders will provide sustainable recreation access and conservation value for generations to come.
Carolina Climbers’ Coalition members and partners at the Maibauer Boulders. Ancestral lands of the Keyanwee, Cheraw, Catawba, and Yesan (Tutelo).
“The purchase of the Maibauer Boulders represents CCC’s fifth land acquisition,” says CCC Executive Director Mike Reardon. “This prime granite bouldering area, less than 90 minutes from Charlotte, provides Carolina climbers with yet another unique winter destination. It is a landmark purchase for recreation and conservation in Alexander County and the greater Brushy Mountain range.”
Until today, access to this quality boulder field—sometimes known as the Love Valley Boulders, Hiddenite Boulders, or Local Boulders—was only by word of mouth. When the area’s owners decided to sell their property, CCC and Access Fund worked to secure climbing access to the area in perpetuity. This process concluded when CCC purchased the property using an Access Fund conservation loan.
“This purchase fits perfectly within CCC’s core mission to protect, preserve, and expand climbing access,” says CCC President Andrew AJ Jackson. “Purchases like the Maibauer Boulders ensure permanent recreational access for climbing and other outdoor user groups. It’s a model for conservation we need to replicate as often as we are able.”
Development of the Maibauer Boulders began in the 1990s. Today, more than 100 boulder problems can be found scattered along the ridge. These documented problems range from V0-V9, including many excellent lines in the V3-V6 range.
“Sometimes the only way to protect a climbing area is to buy it,” says Access Fund National Acquisitions Director Brian Tickle. “Thanks to a longstanding partnership between Access Fund and CCC, North Carolina is gaining yet another free and open climbing area that was once only accessible to those fortunate enough to have known the area’s owners.”
The previous owners of the property, Karl and Merna Hesse (née Maibauer), were always friendly toward climbers. When they decided to sell the property, Triple Crown founder and longtime Maibauer Boulders climber Jim Horton took action to protect climbing access. Horton contacted CCC and local advocate Steve Pope and arranged a meeting with the Hesses. They discussed the importance of the boulder field for both recreational climbing and conservation and soon agreed on a conservation purchase of the property.
“Merna Maibauer and I are a team that advocates for the environment,” Karl Hesse says. “Merna helped to preserve these hills, big rocks, and woods that we love.”
CCC now needs the help of local climbers and conservationists to raise $135,000 to pay back the loan used to purchase the property, to build the parking lot, and to fund the long-term stewardship and legal defense costs associated with owning the Maibauer Boulders. For more information on how to ensure the permanent protection of the Maibauer Boulders, visit carolinaclimbers.org/maibauer.
As of January 2023, we are proud to call the Maibauer Boulders open to your climbing enjoyment. The 18 car parking lot is newly built by CCC and located in the vicinity of 2319 Pilgirm Church Rd Hiddenite, NC 28689. Park and follow the trail to the boulders. Please do not park on the road, especially on the opposit side of the street and please do not enter private property. The boulders are a 10 minute hike on the obvious trail. A kiosk and information on-site is forth coming but does not exist currently. Follow CCC at carolinaclimbers.org/events to stay informed about volunteer days.
Limit chalk use and scrub your chalk off the rock when complete
Place pads on durable surfaces
Dogs on leash
No off road vehicles
No trespassing on other surrounding properties
Keep noise to a minimum
Wear hunter orange during hunting season (hunters use adjacent properties)
It is a rare treat for the CCC to be able to permanenetly protect access to a climbing area through a land purchase. This would not be possible without many people chipping in. First thank you is to Merna and Karl Hesse, and to 30 years of many climbers accessing this land with their permission. Big thanks to those climbers in the past who have had permission from the Hesses and have maintained such a great relationship with them. Surveyor and climber Steve Pope is the first known climber to have bouldered at the Maibauer Boulders and was pivotal in this transaction. Steve performed the pro bono survey of the property and helped make key introductions. Jim Horton, founder of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series was also a pivotal climber who had a pivotal role in each step in this acquisition from introductions to parking lot building. If Jim had not let the CCC know that this land was likely going on the market in upcoming years, it is very likely that it would have been purchased by someone who was no longer amicable to climbing access. Deal, Moseley & Smith LLP performed our legal closing of the property and almost no cost; thank you! The Access Fund have been with us at the CCC throughout this process and have supplied a Land Conservation loan that is interest free for one year. Please help us pay off the loan! Lastly, please help me thank each member of the CCC board and CCC supporters for helping to put us in a position where climbers can own, conserve, and maintain climbing lands in the Carolinas! For more reading, Climbing.com published this article about our acquisition.
Donors ($500+ or in-kind)
Triangle Rock Club, Anonymous, Jim Horton (in-kind), Triangle Rock Club, Progression Climbing, Triple Crown Bouldering Series (in-kind), Karl and Merna Hesse, Steve Pope Surveys (in-kind), Deal Moseley & Smith LLP (in-kind), Thomas Matthew, Mike Stam, Rob Ehret, Triple Crown Bouldering Series, First Hand Climbing, Kenneth Kratz Family Charitable Foundation, Inner Peaks, La Sportiva
Bryce Mahoney firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo above of Jim Horton at Maibauer Boulders photo by Mike Ishamura.