COPE & Climbing - Climbing Programs

The climbing program in Mecklenburg County Council features two climbing towers at our two camps, Belk Scout Camp and the Mecklenburg Scout Reservation (MSR).

The tower at Belk offers 6 climbing routes on three faces and two high rappels in addition to the low rappel. The climbing faces include a gentle slope to build confidence, a straight up wall and a variable face with easy slopes, climbing chimney and a roof for more advanced climbers.

The tower at MSR features 3 climbing routes and two rappelling options including the free rappel. The tower at MSR now also includes our newest addition - the Mock Lead climb. The dining hall facility at MSR includes an indoor climbing wall with 4 climbing routes to allow climbing to continue at night or in less then ideal weather conditions.

The climbing program also offers off-site natural rock climbing at several locations around the state of North Carolina. See below for more details on our natural rock program.

We supply all of the gear and equipment required for a successful climbing experience including trained instructors and staff.


Belk Scout Camp also features an outdoor bouldering wall. Located just behind the climbing tower this structure is open to scouts and scouters of all ages, sizes and skill levels. The bouldering wall is open year round, any time of the day. Please be sure to swing by on your next visit to Belk and unleash your inner monkey.

A special thanks to the Catawba Lodge for financial support, Cliff Hangers Climbing for their technical expertise.


You can also view a 1 minute slide show of the construction of the bouldering wall.

Climbing Merit Badge

Are your scouts interested in learning more about climbing? Maybe they've had a taste through a camporee and are ready for that next step. We are happy to offer climbing merit badge at either of our camps or at a natural rock location for that something special. The class usually runs a full day (8+ hours) for 6-10 scouts. We may be able to accommodate larger groups or patrols with appropriate planning and available instructors.

The requirements of the Climbing merit badge are available on the website.

Natural Rock Program

Our BSA trained and qualified climbing instructors have all the gear to take your group top rope climbing and rappelling in a number of locations across the state and we are actively pursuing new locations. Each of the locations below offers something different - a unique experience for your unit. We offer overnight camping trips and simple day trips.

Please be sure to check the Guide to Safe Scouting and the Age Appropriate Guidelines when considering a natural rock program for your unit. It is also required that at least one adult attending the event complete Climb On Safely training prior to a natural rock event. (To complete this course, visit and look for My Training -> Expanded Learning -> Program Safety.)

To schedule a natural rock event please complete the Natural Rock Interest Form.


Climbing Venues

Following is a list of climbing venues that we often use for scouts. If there is another area in which you would be interested please let us know when you send in your request.

  • Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area - Rocky Face is an old rock quarry in Alexander County near Hiddenite, NC. The climbing area is basically a climbing tower made of natural rock. It is adjacent to the parking area which includes multiple picnic tables, potable water and flush plumbing. This is an excellent area for beginning groups that have never been out on natural rock before and are looking for an easy day trip. Camping is available but it is backcountry with no car access and no potable water. Hiking trails run through the park for about 6 miles total. There is a group permit that must be submitted at least 14 days in advance. The group fee of $45 must be paid on site the day of the event.

    The only camping at the park is primitive backcountry, hike-in camping. Camping is available at Lake Norman State Park about 40 minutes away.

  • Pilot Mountain State Park - Pilot offers over 42 top rope climbing routes while many of the beginner routes are the easiest to access from the parking area at the top of the mountain. The parking area has flush plumbing and is a short 10 minute hike to the climbing access trail.

    Pilot can be very popular in the spring and fall and an early start will be advised before the parking lot at the top of the mountain is closed to vehicles.

    Group camping is available farther down the mountain from the parking area (not in walking/hiking distance).

  • Melrose Mountain - Located in the hills above Tryon, NC, Melrose is a small secluded crag offering a wide range of climbing styles from slabs to overhanging. The routes tend to be short but this allows the scouts to get many tries at a route and succeed on a climb before they fatigue. The rappels start down easy terraced rock before dropping over the edge into a free rappel. The approach to Melrose is a steep but easy 5-10 minute hike down the mountain side. Please note that there is no potable water or toilets available at this location.

    Parking at Melrose is limited and carpooling is highly recommended.

    Units often camp at the FENCE Equestrian Center or the Orchard Lake Campground - both a short 20-25 minute drive from the venue.

  • Crowders Mountain State Park - A modest drive from Charlotte, Crowders offers excellent top rope climbing and rappelling opportunities with views of Uptown Charlotte in the distance. There are several climbing areas available with an approach hike of about 1 mile or more (45 minutes).

    Crowders offers ample overnight camping areas and additional hiking trails. The campgrounds are not within a short walk of the climbing areas. A short drive to the trail head for the climbing areas will be required.

  • Table Rock, NC - On the eastern edge of the Linville Gorge, Table Rock offers spectacular views of the gorge and the piedmont foothills to the east. Two climbing areas are available - The Chimneys and Devil's Cellar. Both areas are accessed by a short hike (~0.5 mi) from the parking lot.

    Primitive camping is available with pit toilets but no water or electricity.

    A bit far from Charlotte for a day trip however a day trip from MSR is possible as the drive is a little over 1 hour from camp.

    *** NOTE: This area may only be accessed from April 1 to December 31.

  • Hanging Rock State Park (Moores Wall) - Moores Wall does not offer much in the way of top rope climbing for beginning climbers but does offer long climbs and inspiring views for more advanced groups. The approach in can be moderate to strenuous. Ample group camping and excellent hiking trails in Hanging Rock State Park can still make this a viable option for many units. A shorter hike than the climbing faces is a large bouldering field. Parking for the climbing area is outside the main park and while potable water is available the restroom facility is a vault toilet.

  • Chimney Rock State Park (Rumbling Bald) - Similar to Moores Wall Rumbling Bald has limited top rope climbing for beginning climbers but also offers long climbs and inspiring views for more advanced groups. The approach in is a moderate uphill hike.

    There are no camping facilities at Chimney Rock. The closest state park with camping is Lake James State Park.

Note that all state parks have a $45 group fee and may be limited to 14 total participants including instructors. Often we are able to get two group permits if we are taking a larger group.