On September 18th, 2017 the CCC purchased 55 acres of boulders and beautiful land in Watauga County, NC from our partner at Highland Foresty, Land and Timber. Because of that purchase, adjacent land owners have granted us recreational and access easements to more boulders and for a trail system. Known as Buckeye Knob and the Barn Boulders, this area has long been a local secret to Boone climbers and visited by climbers like Chris Sharma, Carlo Traversi and more when they were passing through the area. Joey Henson has stewarded the area for years and is largely responsible for making this project happen. In Joey's words, here's what it's all about:
"This boulder field lies strewn up a mountain slope and across a high plateau 10 miles west of Boone and contains over 180 boulders with around 500 established boulder problems. The rock type is an extremely solid granitic gneiss that sets up as large round freestanding “egg” boulders and walls with an ideal variety of sizes and shapes, and represents Boone’s best granitic area. The many tall and small cracks, arêtes, roofs, slabs and overhanging faces consistently form amazing individual lines above perfect flat landings. The very best of these boulders lie in 2 main concentrations known as the upper and lower areas and these two zones form the heart of the boulder field. The lower area consists of 6 main boulders with 135 established individual lines in a flat “savanna like” environment. It is warm and sunny in winter and cool and shady in summer and widely known as the fastest drying rocks near Boone. The technical granite climbing is most like that of California’s legendary Buttermilks boulders except this stone is more solid and finer grained. It is also similar to Asheboro NC boulders and also similar to the famous granite of Gold bar and Leavenworth WA and also Squamish BC.
A legacy of classic lines was established by Boones most active climbers since the late 1980’s. Jon Woodruff’s “Woodruff test piece” V7, one of Boone’s best and hardest faces of that era, along with the Layback crack V2, Barn door crack V2, Terror slab V0+, and The original classic V6, were featured in Tim Toula’s Rock N Road; the first and only comprehensive climbing guide to America. In the late 90’s Jack Bowers, Scott Freeman, and Matt Childress established harder lines like the amazing highball the Thimble V7, the Scott problem V8, Colby Bryant V9, Steppin Razor V10 and Under pressure V10.These last two routes are on what is considered to be one of Boones best single boulders, the Woodruff boulder, a giant egg containing 35 classic lines of all styles and difficulties above flat grassy landings.
It is not only the elite climbers who appreciate these rocks. Scores of climbers had their first climbing experiences here on the classic easier circuit above the great landings. The legendary V1 thru V3 circuit allows climbers to safely climb over 40 problems in one small zone!"
With a purchase price of $145,000, plus several thousand in survey and appraisal fees, the Buckeye Knob project represents the second largest acquisition in our history by dollars and the largest by acreage. We're extremely excited to permanently protect this historical area and to be able to open it to everyone!
The project is financed by a loan of $120,000 from the Access Fund Climbing Conservation Loan Program, which gives us 3 years to pay back the loan. You can make a contribution now to the Buckeye Knob fund to help.
Thanks to our partners at Highland Forestry, Land and Timber for working with us to protect this area. Thanks also to Joey Henson, Tucker Deal, and all the climbers who have been working on this project behind-the-scenes for the past few months!