In December 2007, Mike Grimm, Nathan Brown, and Lee Carter sent a new route, Solar Plexus, at Table Rock, North Carolina. The two-pitch (5.12b), 200-foot trad route feeds off Mourning Maiden (established in the 1980s by Lee Carter and Tommy Howard; 5.10 R with one bolt and one pin). Solar Plexus is located on the same wall as Indecent Exposure.
The trio spent four days, over a period of two months, completing the new line - drilling it ground up and on lead. Grimm, 45, the owner of Misty Mountain Threadworks, summed it up as, "One day to put in the bolts, one day to work it, one day of failure, and the final day of success!"
The route is a fusion of crimps, slopers, and underclings — creating a "perplexing series of sequences," according to Grimm. These characteristics — coupled with the crag soakin' up all-day SUN — led to the name.
Grimm recommends a standard rack, with mainly small nuts and small cams. “Some RPs are useful through the roof and a large cam (#4 Camalot) protects the flaring crack crux,” Grimm notes. The quartzite rock is sprinkled with slick holds, funky high steps, and peculiar moves – typical Table Rock climbing.
During his 28 years in the Linville Gorge region, Grimm has morphed from wide-eyed novice climber to veteran trad-dude. Solar Plexus provided Grimm the opportunity to field-test some of the company’s wicked new products and to keep his gear-placing skills finely honed.
When asked about his climbing partners, Grimm responded, “Lee and Nathan are two of the most prolific first ascentionists in the history of North Carolina. No matter what we get into, it’s going to be an adventure!” Brown, Carter, and Grimm usually break out to the crag together once a month.
Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” the 12-mile-long, 2,000-foot deep Linville Gorge is Grimm’s favorite climbing spot. The gorge is located in the western mountains of North Carolina, in the Pisgah National Forest. Grandfather Mountain, notes Grimm, offers an abundance of smaller crags.
Grimm remarks, “There are several hard, trad-style routes at Table Rock, and quite a few in Linville Gorge. [Solar Plexus] is by no means the hardest, but a proud line for sure.”